ResearchPad - luminescent-proteins https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Thalamic, cortical, and amygdala involvement in the processing of a natural sound cue of danger]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7872 When others stop and silence ensues, animals respond as if threatened. This study highlights the brain areas involved in listening to the dangerous silence.

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<![CDATA[Variants encoding a restricted carboxy-terminal domain of SLC12A2 cause hereditary hearing loss in humans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd1837fa5-7737-42fc-aa07-ce2092d99c03

Hereditary hearing loss is challenging to diagnose because of the heterogeneity of the causative genes. Further, some genes involved in hereditary hearing loss have yet to be identified. Using whole-exome analysis of three families with congenital, severe-to-profound hearing loss, we identified a missense variant of SLC12A2 in five affected members of one family showing a dominant inheritance mode, along with de novo splice-site and missense variants of SLC12A2 in two sporadic cases, as promising candidates associated with hearing loss. Furthermore, we detected another de novo missense variant of SLC12A2 in a sporadic case. SLC12A2 encodes Na+, K+, 2Cl cotransporter (NKCC) 1 and plays critical roles in the homeostasis of K+-enriched endolymph. Slc12a2-deficient mice have congenital, profound deafness; however, no human variant of SLC12A2 has been reported as associated with hearing loss. All identified SLC12A2 variants mapped to exon 21 or its 3’-splice site. In vitro analysis indicated that the splice-site variant generates an exon 21-skipped SLC12A2 mRNA transcript expressed at much lower levels than the exon 21-included transcript in the cochlea, suggesting a tissue-specific role for the exon 21-encoded region in the carboy-terminal domain. In vitro functional analysis demonstrated that Cl influx was significantly decreased in all SLC12A2 variants studied. Immunohistochemistry revealed that SLC12A2 is located on the plasma membrane of several types of cells in the cochlea, including the strial marginal cells, which are critical for endolymph homeostasis. Overall, this study suggests that variants affecting exon 21 of the SLC12A2 transcript are responsible for hereditary hearing loss in humans.

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<![CDATA[Split green fluorescent protein as a tool to study infection with a plant pathogen, Cauliflower mosaic virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897773d5eed0c4847d2d2c

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.

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<![CDATA[Enhanced in vivo-imaging in medaka by optimized anaesthesia, fluorescent protein selection and removal of pigmentation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c9902e5d5eed0c484b98849

Fish are ideally suited for in vivo-imaging due to their transparency at early stages combined with a large genetic toolbox. Key challenges to further advance imaging are fluorophore selection, immobilization of the specimen and approaches to eliminate pigmentation. We addressed all three and identified the fluorophores and anaesthesia of choice by high throughput time-lapse imaging. Our results indicate that eGFP and mCherry are the best conservative choices for in vivo-fluorescence experiments, when availability of well-established antibodies and nanobodies matters. Still, mVenusNB and mGFPmut2 delivered highest absolute fluorescence intensities in vivo. Immobilization is of key importance during extended in vivo imaging. Here, traditional approaches are outperformed by mRNA injection of α-Bungarotoxin which allows a complete and reversible, transient immobilization. In combination with fully transparent juvenile and adult fish established by the targeted inactivation of both, oca2 and pnp4a via CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in medaka we could dramatically improve the state-of-the art imaging conditions in post-embryonic fish, now enabling light-sheet microscopy of the growing retina, brain, gills and inner organs in the absence of side effects caused by anaesthetic drugs or pigmentation.

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<![CDATA[A mutagenesis screen for essential plastid biogenesis genes in human malaria parasites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d3cd5eed0c484c82311

Endosymbiosis has driven major molecular and cellular innovations. Plasmodium spp. parasites that cause malaria contain an essential, non-photosynthetic plastid—the apicoplast—which originated from a secondary (eukaryote–eukaryote) endosymbiosis. To discover organellar pathways with evolutionary and biomedical significance, we performed a mutagenesis screen for essential genes required for apicoplast biogenesis in Plasmodium falciparum. Apicoplast(−) mutants were isolated using a chemical rescue that permits conditional disruption of the apicoplast and a new fluorescent reporter for organelle loss. Five candidate genes were validated (out of 12 identified), including a triosephosphate isomerase (TIM)-barrel protein that likely derived from a core metabolic enzyme but evolved a new activity. Our results demonstrate, to our knowledge, the first forward genetic screen to assign essential cellular functions to unannotated P. falciparum genes. A putative TIM-barrel enzyme and other newly identified apicoplast biogenesis proteins open opportunities to discover new mechanisms of organelle biogenesis, molecular evolution underlying eukaryotic diversity, and drug targets against multiple parasitic diseases.

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<![CDATA[The Cdk8/19-cyclin C transcription regulator functions in genome replication through metazoan Sld7]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59feebd5eed0c4841357c1

Accurate genome duplication underlies genetic homeostasis. Metazoan Mdm2 binding protein (MTBP) forms a main regulatory platform for origin firing together with Treslin/TICRR and TopBP1 (Topoisomerase II binding protein 1 (TopBP1)–interacting replication stimulating protein/TopBP1-interacting checkpoint and replication regulator). We report the first comprehensive analysis of MTBP and reveal conserved and metazoa-specific MTBP functions in replication. This suggests that metazoa have evolved specific molecular mechanisms to adapt replication principles conserved with yeast to the specific requirements of the more complex metazoan cells. We uncover one such metazoa-specific process: a new replication factor, cyclin-dependent kinase 8/19–cyclinC (Cdk8/19-cyclin C), binds to a central domain of MTBP. This interaction is required for complete genome duplication in human cells. In the absence of MTBP binding to Cdk8/19-cyclin C, cells enter mitosis with incompletely duplicated chromosomes, and subsequent chromosome segregation occurs inaccurately. Using remote homology searches, we identified MTBP as the metazoan orthologue of yeast synthetic lethal with Dpb11 7 (Sld7). This homology finally demonstrates that the set of yeast core factors sufficient for replication initiation in vitro is conserved in metazoa. MTBP and Sld7 contain two homologous domains that are present in no other protein, one each in the N and C termini. In MTBP the conserved termini flank the metazoa-specific Cdk8/19-cyclin C binding region and are required for normal origin firing in human cells. The N termini of MTBP and Sld7 share an essential origin firing function, the interaction with Treslin/TICRR or its yeast orthologue Sld3, respectively. The C termini may function as homodimerisation domains. Our characterisation of broadly conserved and metazoa-specific initiation processes sets the basis for further mechanistic dissection of replication initiation in vertebrates. It is a first step in understanding the distinctions of origin firing in higher eukaryotes.

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<![CDATA[Rapid and sensitive detection of NADPH via mBFP-mediated enhancement of its fluorescence]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b2618d5eed0c4842892e3

The reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) functions as a reducing agent involved in many biosynthetic and antioxidant reactions in cells. Therefore, a lots of detection or assaying method of this cofactor are developed and used broadly in various research and application fields. These detection or assay tools, however, have often some problems, such as the low sensitivity, susceptibility to environmental interference and time-consuming pretreatment steps, remaining hurdle to successful quantification of NADPH or its derivatives accurately and immediately. Herein, we present a rapid (assay time < 30 s) and sensitive (detection limit < 2 pmol) detection method of NADPH using metagenome-derived blue fluorescent protein (mBFP), a protein capable of significantly enhancing NADPH fluorescence upon binding to this cofactor. Our method takes advantage of the high specificity of mBFP to NADPH and the immediate fluorescence enhancement upon the addition of mBFP to a solution of interest containing NADPH. We can apply this detection scheme to directly quantitative assessment of NADP(H)-dependent enzyme activities in-vitro, and further accessed to quantitative assay of other nicotine amide cofactors, such as NAD+ and NADH, by coupling assay using NAD(H) kinase. Thus, our method enabled us to quantitatively assess the activity of nicotinamide cofactor-associated enzymes in both bacterial and human cell lysates.

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<![CDATA[MEKK3 coordinates with FBW7 to regulate WDR62 stability and neurogenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c23f305d5eed0c484049ed6

Mutations of WD repeat domain 62 (WDR62) lead to autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH), and down-regulation of WDR62 expression causes the loss of neural progenitor cells (NPCs). However, how WDR62 is regulated and hence controls neurogenesis and brain size remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 3 (MEKK3) forms a complex with WDR62 to promote c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling synergistically in the control of neurogenesis. The deletion of Mekk3, Wdr62, or Jnk1 resulted in phenocopied defects, including premature NPC differentiation. We further showed that WDR62 protein is positively regulated by MEKK3 and JNK1 in the developing brain and that the defects of wdr62 deficiency can be rescued by the transgenic expression of JNK1. Meanwhile, WDR62 is also negatively regulated by T1053 phosphorylation, leading to the recruitment of F-box and WD repeat domain-containing protein 7 (FBW7) and proteasomal degradation. Our findings demonstrate that the coordinated reciprocal and bidirectional regulation among MEKK3, FBW7, WDR62, and JNK1, is required for fine-tuned JNK signaling for the control of balanced NPC self-renewal and differentiation during cortical development.

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<![CDATA[Deep learning image recognition enables efficient genome editing in zebrafish by automated injections]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d011cd5eed0c484038663

One of the most popular techniques in zebrafish research is microinjection. This is a rapid and efficient way to genetically manipulate early developing embryos, and to introduce microbes, chemical compounds, nanoparticles or tracers at larval stages. Here we demonstrate the development of a machine learning software that allows for microinjection at a trained target site in zebrafish eggs at unprecedented speed. The software is based on the open-source deep-learning library Inception v3. In a first step, the software distinguishes wells containing embryos at one-cell stage from wells to be skipped with an accuracy of 93%. A second step was developed to pinpoint the injection site. Deep learning allows to predict this location on average within 42 μm to manually annotated sites. Using a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), both steps together take less than 100 milliseconds. We first tested our system by injecting a morpholino into the middle of the yolk and found that the automated injection efficiency is as efficient as manual injection (~ 80%). Next, we tested both CRISPR/Cas9 and DNA construct injections into the zygote and obtained a comparable efficiency to that of an experienced experimentalist. Combined with a higher throughput, this results in a higher yield. Hence, the automated injection of CRISPR/Cas9 will allow high-throughput applications to knock out and knock in relevant genes to study their mechanisms or pathways of interest in diverse areas of biomedical research.

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<![CDATA[In vivo assembly and large-scale purification of a GPCR - Gα fusion with Gβγ, and characterization of the active complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3e5017d5eed0c484d7d26f

G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are central players in recognizing a variety of stimuli to mediate diverse cellular responses. This myriad of functions is accomplished by their modular interactions with downstream intracellular transducers, such as heterotrimeric G proteins and arrestins. Assembling a specific GPCR–G protein pair as a purified complex for their structural and functional investigations remains a challenging task, however, because of the low affinity of the interaction. Here, we optimized fusion constructs of the Gα subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein and engineered versions of rat Neurotensin receptor 1 (NTR1), coexpressed and assembled in vivo with Gβ and Gγ. This was achieved by using the baculovirus-based MultiBac system. We thus generated a functional receptor–G protein fusion complex, which can be efficiently purified using ligand-based affinity chromatography on large scales. Additionally, we utilized a purification method based on a designed ankyrin repeat protein tightly binding to Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP-DARPin) that may be used as a generic approach for a large-scale purification of GPCR–G protein fusion complexes for which no ligands column can be generated. The purification methods described herein will support future studies that aim to understand the structural and functional framework of GPCR activation and signaling.

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<![CDATA[Quantitative comparison of the neutralizing capacity, immunogenicity and cross-reactivity of anti-TNF-α biologicals and an Infliximab-biosimilar]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1966ebd5eed0c484b53548

Introduction

TNF-α-neutralizing antibodies, such as infliximab (IFX) and adalimumab (ADA), are effective in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), but they are expensive and become ineffective when patients develop anti-IFX or anti-ADA antibodies (ATI and ATA, respectively). Second-generation anti-TNF-α antibodies, such as Golimumab, Etanercept, Certolizumab-pegol and IFX biosimilars, may solve these issues.

Aim

To determine the neutralizing capacity of first- and second generation anti-TNF-α antibodies and to determine whether ATI show cross-reactivity with the IFX biosimilar CT-P13 (Inflectra).

Methods

TNF-α neutralization was measured using a quantitative TNF-α sensor assay consisting of HeLa 8D8 cells that express the Green Fluorescence Protein (GFP) under control of a NF-кB response element. All available anti-TNF-α drugs and the IFX biosimilar CT-P13 (Inflectra) were tested for their TNF-α-neutralizing capacity. In addition, patient sera with ATI were tested for their potential to block the activity of IFX, IFX (F)ab2-fragment, biosimilar CT-P13 (Inflectra) and ADA.

Results

TNF-α strongly induced GFP expression in Hela 8D8 cells. Higher concentrations of first-generation anti-TNF-α drugs were required to neutralize TNF-α compared to the second-generation anti-TNF-α drugs. Serum of IBD patients with proven ATI blocked TNF-α-neutralizing properties of IFX biosimilar CT-P13 (Inflectra), whereas such sera did not block the effect of ADA.

Conclusion

The second-generation anti-TNF-α drugs show increased TNF-α-neutralizing potential compared to first-generation variants. ATI show cross-reactivity toward IFX biosimilar CT-P13 (Inflectra), consequently patients with ATI are unlikely to benefit from treatment with this IFX biosimilar.

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<![CDATA[Identification of molecular determinants that govern distinct STIM2 activation dynamics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bf86f32d5eed0c48405a4b8

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ sensors stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) and STIM2, which connect ER Ca2+ depletion with extracellular Ca2+ influx, are crucial for the maintenance of Ca2+ homeostasis in mammalian cells. Despite the recent progress in unraveling the role of STIM2 in Ca2+ signaling, the mechanistic underpinnings of its activation remain underexplored. We use an engineering approach to direct ER-resident STIMs to the plasma membrane (PM) while maintaining their correct membrane topology, as well as Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensors that enabled in cellulo real-time monitoring of STIM activities. This allowed us to determine the calcium affinities of STIM1 and STIM2 both in cellulo and in situ, explaining the current discrepancies in the literature. We also identified the key structural determinants, especially the corresponding G residue in STIM1, which define the distinct activation dynamics of STIM2. The chimeric E470G mutation could switch STIM2 from a slow and weak Orai channel activator into a fast and potent one like STIM1 and vice versa. The systemic dissection of STIM2 activation by protein engineering sets the stage for the elucidation of the regulation and function of STIM2-mediated signaling in mammals.

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<![CDATA[A suppressor of a wtf poison-antidote meiotic driver acts via mimicry of the driver’s antidote]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c059dd8d5eed0c4849c94f9

Meiotic drivers are selfish alleles that subvert gametogenesis to increase their transmission into progeny. Drivers impose a fitness cost, putting pressure on the genome to evolve suppressors. Here we investigate the wtf gene family from Schizosaccharomyces pombe, previously shown to contain meiotic drivers in wild isolates. We discovered that wtf13 found in lab stocks is a meiotic driver. wtf13 kills spores that do not inherit it by generating both a diffusible poison and a spore-specific antidote. Additionally, we demonstrate that wtf13 is suppressed by another wtf gene, wtf18-2, that arose spontaneously in the lab and makes only an antidote. Wtf18-2 does not act indiscriminately to prevent spore destruction. Instead, it rescues only the spores that inherit wtf18-2. In this way, wtf18-2 selfishly gains a transmission advantage of its own while dampening the drive of wtf13. This establishes a novel paradigm for meiotic drive suppressors and provides insight into the mechanisms and evolution of drive systems.

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<![CDATA[Peak emission wavelength and fluorescence lifetime are coupled in far-red, GFP-like fluorescent proteins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c084205d5eed0c484fcb81a

The discovery and use of fluorescent proteins revolutionized cell biology by allowing the visualization of proteins in living cells. Advances in fluorescent proteins, primarily through genetic engineering, have enabled more advanced analyses, including Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) and the development of genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors. These fluorescence protein-based sensors are highly effective in cells grown in monolayer cultures. However, it is often desirable to use more complex models including tissue explants, organoids, xenografts, and whole animals. These types of samples have poor light penetration owing to high scattering and absorption of light by tissue. Far-red light with a wavelength between 650-900nm is less prone to scatter, and absorption by tissues and can thus penetrate more deeply. Unfortunately, there are few fluorescent proteins in this region of the spectrum, and they have sub-optimal fluorescent properties including low brightness and short fluorescence lifetimes. Understanding the relationships between the amino-acid sequences of far-red fluorescence proteins and their photophysical properties including peak emission wavelengths and fluorescence lifetimes would be useful in the design of new fluorescence proteins for this region of the spectrum. We used both site-directed mutagenesis and gene-shuffling between mScarlet and mCardinal fluorescence proteins to create new variants and assess their properties systematically. We discovered that for far-red, GFP-like proteins the emission maxima and fluorescence lifetime have a strong inverse correlation.

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<![CDATA[Illuminating pathogen–host intimacy through optogenetics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b5ff78f463d7e28ade495c3

The birth and subsequent evolution of optogenetics has resulted in an unprecedented advancement in our understanding of the brain. Its outstanding success does usher wider applications; however, the tool remains still largely relegated to neuroscience. Here, we introduce selected aspects of optogenetics with potential applications in infection biology that will not only answer long-standing questions about intracellular pathogens (parasites, bacteria, viruses) but also broaden the dimension of current research in entwined models. In this essay, we illustrate how a judicious integration of optogenetics with routine methods can illuminate the host–pathogen interactions in a way that has not been feasible otherwise.

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<![CDATA[Hey1- and p53-dependent TrkC proapoptotic activity controls neuroblastoma growth]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b04166f463d7e0b28e418aa

The neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) receptor tropomyosin receptor kinase C (TrkC/NTRK3) has been described as a dependence receptor and, as such, triggers apoptosis in the absence of its ligand NT-3. This proapoptotic activity has been proposed to confer a tumor suppressor activity to this classic tyrosine kinase receptor (RTK). By investigating interacting partners that might facilitate TrkC-induced cell death, we have identified the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor Hey1 and importin-α3 (karyopherin alpha 4 [KPNA4]) as direct interactors of TrkC intracellular domain, and we show that Hey1 is required for TrkC-induced apoptosis. We propose here that the cleaved proapoptotic portion of TrkC intracellular domain (called TrkC killer-fragment [TrkC-KF]) is translocated to the nucleus by importins and interacts there with Hey1. We also demonstrate that Hey1 and TrkC-KF transcriptionally silence mouse double minute 2 homolog (MDM2), thus contributing to p53 stabilization. p53 transcriptionally regulates the expression of TrkC-KF cytoplasmic and mitochondrial interactors cofactor of breast cancer 1 (COBRA1) and B cell lymphoma 2–associated X (BAX), which will subsequently trigger the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis. Of interest, TrkC was proposed to constrain tumor progression in neuroblastoma (NB), and we demonstrate in an avian model that TrkC tumor suppressor activity requires Hey1 and p53.

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<![CDATA[UMG Lenti: Novel Lentiviral Vectors for Efficient Transgene- and Reporter Gene Expression in Human Early Hematopoietic Progenitors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da28ab0ee8fa60b81522

Lentiviral vectors are widely used to investigate the biological properties of regulatory proteins and/or of leukaemia-associated oncogenes by stably enforcing their expression in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. In these studies it is critical to be able to monitor and/or sort the infected cells, typically via fluorescent proteins encoded by the modified viral genome. The most popular strategy to ensure co-expression of transgene and reporter gene is to insert between these cDNAs an IRES element, thus generating bi-cistronic mRNAs whose transcription is driven by a single promoter. However, while the product of the gene located upstream of the IRES is generally abundantly expressed, the translation of the downstream cDNA (typically encoding the reporter protein) is often inconsistent, which hinders the detection and the isolation of transduced cells. To overcome these limitations, we developed novel lentiviral dual-promoter vectors (named UMG-LV5 and –LV6) where transgene expression is driven by the potent UBC promoter and that of the reporter protein, EGFP, by the minimal regulatory element of the WASP gene. These vectors, harboring two distinct transgenes, were tested in a variety of human haematopoietic cell lines as well as in primary human CD34+ cells in comparison with the FUIGW vector that contains the expression cassette UBC-transgene-IRES-EGFP. In these experiments both UMG-LV5 and UMG–LV6 yielded moderately lower transgene expression than FUIGW, but dramatically higher levels of EGFP, thereby allowing the easy distinction between transduced and non-transduced cells. An additional construct was produced, in which the cDNA encoding the reporter protein is upstream, and the transgene downstream of the IRES sequence. This vector, named UMG-LV11, proved able to promote abundant expression of both transgene product and EGFP in all cells tested. The UMG-LVs represent therefore useful vectors for gene transfer-based studies in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, as well as in non-hematopoietic cells.

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<![CDATA[A New Generation of FRET Sensors for Robust Measurement of Gαi1, Gαi2 and Gαi3 Activation Kinetics in Single Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2cab0ee8fa60b82abb

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) can activate a heterotrimeric G-protein complex with subsecond kinetics. Genetically encoded biosensors based on Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) are ideally suited for the study of such fast signaling events in single living cells. Here we report on the construction and characterization of three FRET biosensors for the measurement of Gαi1, Gαi2 and Gαi3 activation. To enable quantitative long-term imaging of FRET biosensors with high dynamic range, fluorescent proteins with enhanced photophysical properties are required. Therefore, we use the currently brightest and most photostable CFP variant, mTurquoise2, as donor fused to Gαi subunit, and cp173Venus fused to the Gγ2 subunit as acceptor. The Gαi FRET biosensors constructs are expressed together with Gβ1 from a single plasmid, providing preferred relative expression levels with reduced variation in mammalian cells. The Gαi FRET sensors showed a robust response to activation of endogenous or over-expressed alpha-2A-adrenergic receptors, which was inhibited by pertussis toxin. Moreover, we observed activation of the Gαi FRET sensor in single cells upon stimulation of several GPCRs, including the LPA2, M3 and BK2 receptor. Furthermore, we show that the sensors are well suited to extract kinetic parameters from fast measurements in the millisecond time range. This new generation of FRET biosensors for Gαi1, Gαi2 and Gαi3 activation will be valuable for live-cell measurements that probe Gαi activation.

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<![CDATA[Genetic Modification of Cancer Cells Using Non-Viral, Episomal S/MAR Vectors for In Vivo Tumour Modelling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafaab0ee8fa60bc443f

The development of genetically marked animal tumour xenografts is an area of ongoing research to enable easier and more reliable testing of cancer therapies. Genetically marked tumour models have a number of advantages over conventional tumour models, including the easy longitudinal monitoring of therapies and the reduced number of animals needed for trials. Several different methods have been used in previous studies to mark tumours genetically, however all have limitations, such as genotoxicity and other artifacts related to the usage of integrating viral vectors. Recently, we have generated an episomally maintained plasmid DNA (pDNA) expression system based on Scaffold/Matrix Attachment Region (S/MAR), which permits long-term luciferase transgene expression in the mouse liver. Here we describe a further usage of this pDNA vector with the human Ubiquitin C promoter to create stably transfected human hepatoma (Huh7) and human Pancreatic Carcinoma (MIA-PaCa2) cell lines, which were delivered into “immune deficient” mice and monitored longitudinally over time using a bioluminometer. Both cell lines revealed sustained episomal long-term luciferase expression and formation of a tumour showing the pathological characteristics of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and pancreatic carcinoma (PaCa), respectively. This is the first demonstration that a pDNA vector can confer sustained episomal luciferase transgene expression in various mouse tumour models and can thus be readily utilised to follow tumour formation without interfering with the cellular genome.

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<![CDATA[Evaluating Tissue-Specific Recombination in a Pdgfrα-CreERT2 Transgenic Mouse Line]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9daab0ee8fa60b6727a

In the central nervous system (CNS) platelet derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα) is expressed exclusively by oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), making the Pdgfrα promoter an ideal tool for directing transgene expression in this cell type. Two Pdgfrα-CreERT2 mouse lines have been generated for this purpose which, when crossed with cre-sensitive reporter mice, allow the temporally restricted labelling of OPCs for lineage-tracing studies. These mice have also been used to achieve the deletion of CNS-specific genes from OPCs. However the ability of Pdgfrα-CreERT2 mice to induce cre-mediated recombination in PDGFRα+ cell populations located outside of the CNS has not been examined. Herein we quantify the proportion of PDGFRα+ cells that become YFP-labelled following Tamoxifen administration to adult Pdgfrα-CreERT2::Rosa26-YFP transgenic mice. We report that the vast majority (>90%) of PDGFRα+ OPCs in the CNS, and a significant proportion of PDGFRα+ stromal cells within the bone marrow (~38%) undergo recombination and become YFP-labelled. However, only a small proportion of the PDGFRα+ cell populations found in the sciatic nerve, adrenal gland, pituitary gland, heart, gastrocnemius muscle, kidney, lung, liver or intestine become YFP-labelled. These data suggest that Pdgfrα-CreERT2 transgenic mice can be used to achieve robust recombination in OPCs, while having a minimal effect on most PDGFRα+ cell populations outside of the CNS.

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