ResearchPad - model-organisms https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[TIM, a targeted insertional mutagenesis method utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 in <i>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13864 Generation and subsequent analysis of mutants is critical to understanding the functions of genes and proteins. Here we describe TIM, an efficient, cost-effective, CRISPR-based targeted insertional mutagenesis method for the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. TIM utilizes delivery into the cell of a Cas9-guide RNA (gRNA) ribonucleoprotein (RNP) together with exogenous double-stranded (donor) DNA. The donor DNA contains gene-specific homology arms and an integral antibiotic-resistance gene that inserts at the double-stranded break generated by Cas9. After optimizing multiple parameters of this method, we were able to generate mutants for six out of six different genes in two different cell-walled strains with mutation efficiencies ranging from 40% to 95%. Furthermore, these high efficiencies allowed simultaneous targeting of two separate genes in a single experiment. TIM is flexible with regard to many parameters and can be carried out using either electroporation or the glass-bead method for delivery of the RNP and donor DNA. TIM achieves a far higher mutation rate than any previously reported for CRISPR-based methods in C. reinhardtii and promises to be effective for many, if not all, non-essential nuclear genes.

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<![CDATA[A prospective study of bloodstream infections among febrile adolescents and adults attending Yangon General Hospital, Yangon, Myanmar]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13833 Bloodstream infection (BSI) is common among persons seeking healthcare for severe febrile illness in low-and middle-income countries. Data on community-onset BSI are few for some countries in Asia, including Myanmar. Such data are needed to inform empiric antimicrobial treatment of patients and to monitor and control antimicrobial resistance. We performed a one year, prospective study collecting information and blood cultures from patients presenting with fever at a tertiary referral hospital in Yangon, Myanmar. We found that almost 10% of participants had a bloodstream infection, and that Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A were the most common pathogens. Typhoidal Salmonella were universally resistant to ciprofloxacin. More than half of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae were resistant to extended-spectrum cephalosporins and resistance to carbapenems was also identified in some isolates. We show that typhoid and paratyphoid fever are common, and fluoroquinolone resistance is widespread. Extended-spectrum cephalosporin resistance is common in E. coli and K. pneumoniae and carbapenem resistance is present. Our findings inform empiric antimicrobial management of severe febrile illness, underscore the value of routine use of blood cultures, indicate that measures to prevent and control enteric fever are warranted, and suggest a need to monitor and mitigate antimicrobial resistance among community-acquired pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Early correction of synaptic long-term depression improves abnormal anxiety-like behavior in adult GluN2B-C456Y-mutant mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13831 Mice that carry a heterozygous, autism spectrum disorder-risk C456Y mutation in the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) subunit GluN2B show decreased protein levels, hippocampal NMDAR currents, and NMDAR-dependent long-term depression and have abnormal anxiolytic-like behavior. Early, but not late, treatment of the young mice with the NMDAR agonist D-cycloserine rescues these phenotypes.

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<![CDATA[Host interactors of effector proteins of the lettuce downy mildew <i>Bremia lactucae</i> obtained by yeast two-hybrid screening]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13834 Plant pathogenic bacteria, fungi and oomycetes secrete effector proteins to manipulate host cell processes to establish a successful infection. Over the last decade the genomes and transcriptomes of many agriculturally important plant pathogens have been sequenced and vast candidate effector repertoires were identified using bioinformatic analyses. Elucidating the contribution of individual effectors to pathogenicity is the next major hurdle. To advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying lettuce susceptibility to the downy mildew Bremia lactucae, we mapped physical interactions between B. lactucae effectors and lettuce candidate target proteins. Using a lettuce cDNA library-based yeast-two-hybrid system, 61 protein-protein interactions were identified, involving 21 B. lactucae effectors and 46 unique lettuce proteins. The top ten interactors based on the number of independent colonies identified in the Y2H and two interactors that belong to gene families involved in plant immunity, were further characterized. We determined the subcellular localization of the fluorescently tagged lettuce proteins and their interacting effectors. Importantly, relocalization of effectors or their interactors to the nucleus was observed for four protein-pairs upon their co-expression, supporting their interaction in planta.

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<![CDATA[Aging-associated sinus arrest and sick sinus syndrome in adult zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13853 Because of its powerful genetics, the adult zebrafish has been increasingly used for studying cardiovascular diseases. Considering its heart rate of ~100 beats per minute at ambient temperature, which is very close to human, we assessed the use of this vertebrate animal for modeling heart rhythm disorders such as sinus arrest (SA) and sick sinus syndrome (SSS). We firstly optimized a protocol to measure electrocardiogram in adult zebrafish. We determined the location of the probes, implemented an open-chest microsurgery procedure, measured the effects of temperature, and determined appropriate anesthesia dose and time. We then proposed an PP interval of more than 1.5 seconds as an arbitrary criterion to define an SA episode in an adult fish at ambient temperature, based on comparison between the current definition of an SA episode in humans and our studies of candidate SA episodes in aged wild-type fish and Tg(SCN5A-D1275N) fish (a fish model for inherited SSS). With this criterion, a subpopulation of about 5% wild-type fish can be considered to have SA episodes, and this percentage significantly increases to about 25% in 3-year-old fish. In response to atropine, this subpopulation has both common SSS phenotypic traits that are shared with the Tg(SCN5A-D1275N) model, such as bradycardia; and unique SSS phenotypic traits, such as increased QRS/P ratio and chronotropic incompetence. In summary, this study defined baseline SA and SSS in adult zebrafish and underscored use of the zebrafish as an alternative model to study aging-associated SSS.

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<![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[Nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of purple sweet corn juice before and after boiling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7720 Sweet corn juice is becoming increasingly popular in China. In order to provide valuable health-related information to consumers, the nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of raw and boiled purple sweet corn juices were herein investigated. Sugars, antinutrients, total free phenols, anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity were analyzed by conventional chemical methods. The viscosity and stability of juices were determined by Ubbelohde viscosity meter and centrifugation, respectively. Boiling process could elevate viscosity, stability and sugar content, and reduce antinutrients, total free phenols, anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity in corn juice. In addition, short time boiling efficiently reduced the degradation of anthocyanins during subsequent refrigeration. The content of amino acids, vitamin B1/B2 and E were detected by High Performance Liquid Chromatography. Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry was used for the analysis of fatty acids and aroma compounds. Several aroma compounds not previously reported in corn were identified, including 1-heptanol, 2-methyl-2-butenal, (Z)-3-nonen-1-ol, 3-ethyl-2-methyl-1,3-hexadiene, and 2,4-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)phenol. Interestingly, the boiling process had no apparent effect on the amino acids profile, but it caused a 45.8% loss of fatty acids in the juice by promoting the retention of fatty acids in the corn residue. These results provide detailed information that could be used for increasing consumers’ knowledge of sweet corn juice, further development of sweet corn juice by food producers, and maize breeding programs.

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<![CDATA[Identification of miRNA signatures associated with radiation-induced late lung injury in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7641 Acute radiation exposure of the thorax can lead to late serious, and even life-threatening, pulmonary and cardiac damage. Sporadic in nature, late complications tend to be difficult to predict, which prompted this investigation into identifying non-invasive, tissue-specific biomarkers for the early detection of late radiation injury. Levels of circulating microRNA (miRNA) were measured in C3H and C57Bl/6 mice after whole thorax irradiation at doses yielding approximately 70% mortality in 120 or 180 days, respectively (LD70/120 or 180). Within the first two weeks after exposure, weight gain slowed compared to sham treated mice along with a temporary drop in white blood cell counts. 52% of C3H (33 of 64) and 72% of C57Bl/6 (46 of 64) irradiated mice died due to late radiation injury. Lung and heart damage, as assessed by computed tomography (CT) and histology at 150 (C3H mice) and 180 (C57Bl/6 mice) days, correlated well with the appearance of a local, miRNA signature in the lung and heart tissue of irradiated animals, consistent with inherent differences in the C3H and C57Bl/6 strains in their propensity for developing radiation-induced pneumonitis or fibrosis, respectively. Radiation-induced changes in the circulating miRNA profile were most prominent within the first 30 days after exposure and included miRNA known to regulate inflammation and fibrosis. Importantly, early changes in plasma miRNA expression predicted survival with reasonable accuracy (88–92%). The miRNA signature that predicted survival in C3H mice, including miR-34a-5p, -100-5p, and -150-5p, were associated with pro-inflammatory NF-κB-mediated signaling pathways, whereas the signature identified in C57Bl/6 mice (miR-34b-3p, -96-5p, and -802-5p) was associated with TGF-β/SMAD signaling. This study supports the hypothesis that plasma miRNA profiles could be used to identify individuals at high risk of organ-specific late radiation damage, with applications for radiation oncology clinical practice or in the context of a radiological incident.

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<![CDATA[A Novel HIV Vaccine Adjuvanted by IC31 Induces Robust and Persistent Humoral and Cellular Immunity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab9ab0ee8fa60badf30

The HIV vaccine strategy that, to date, generated immune protection consisted of a prime-boost regimen using a canarypox vector and an HIV envelope protein with alum, as shown in the RV144 trial. Since the efficacy was weak, and previous HIV vaccine trials designed to generate antibody responses failed, we hypothesized that generation of T cell responses would result in improved protection. Thus, we tested the immunogenicity of a similar envelope-based vaccine using a mouse model, with two modifications: a clade C CN54gp140 HIV envelope protein was adjuvanted by the TLR9 agonist IC31®, and the viral vector was the vaccinia strain NYVAC-CN54 expressing HIV envelope gp120. The use of IC31® facilitated immunoglobulin isotype switching, leading to the production of Env-specific IgG2a, as compared to protein with alum alone. Boosting with NYVAC-CN54 resulted in the generation of more robust Th1 T cell responses. Moreover, gp140 prime with IC31® and alum followed by NYVAC-CN54 boost resulted in the formation and persistence of central and effector memory populations in the spleen and an effector memory population in the gut. Our data suggest that this regimen is promising and could improve the protection rate by eliciting strong and long-lasting humoral and cellular immune responses.

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<![CDATA[The natural drug DIAVIT is protective in a type II mouse model of diabetic nephropathy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c92b34ad5eed0c4843a3d15

There is evidence to suggest that abnormal angiogenesis, inflammation, and fibrosis drive diabetic nephropathy (DN). However, there is no specific treatment to counteract these processes. We aimed to determine whether DIAVIT, a natural Vaccinium myrtillus (blueberry) and Hippophae Rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) extract, is protective in a model of type II DN. Diabetic db/db mice were administered DIAVIT in their drinking water for 14 weeks. We assessed the functional, structural, and ultra-structural phenotype of three experimental groups (lean+vehicle, db/db+vehicle, db/db+DIAVIT). We also investigated the angiogenic and fibrotic pathways involved in the mechanism of action of DIAVIT. Diabetic db/db mice developed hyperglycaemia, albuminuria, and an increased glomerular water permeability; the latter two were prevented by DIAVIT. db/db mice developed fibrotic glomeruli, endothelial insult, and glomerular ultra-structural changes, which were not present in DIAVIT-treated mice. Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) splicing was altered in the db/db kidney cortex, increasing the pro-angiogenic VEGF-A165 relative to the anti-angiogenic VEGF-A165b. This was partially prevented with DIAVIT treatment. Delphinidin, an anthocyanin abundant in DIAVIT, increased the VEGF-A165b expression relative to total VEGF-A165 in cultured podocytes through phosphorylation of the splice factor SRSF6. DIAVIT, in particular delphinidin, alters VEGF-A splicing in type II DN, rescuing the DN phenotype. This study highlights the therapeutic potential of natural drugs in DN through the manipulation of gene splicing and expression.

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<![CDATA[The SET Domain Protein, Set3p, Promotes the Reliable Execution of Cytokinesis in Schizosaccharomyces pombe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadeab0ee8fa60bbafce

In response to perturbation of the cell division machinery fission yeast cells activate regulatory networks that ensure the faithful completion of cytokinesis. For instance, when cells are treated with drugs that impede constriction of the actomyosin ring (low doses of Latrunculin A, for example) these networks ensure that cytokinesis is complete before progression into the subsequent mitosis. Here, we identify three previously uncharacterized genes, hif2, set3, and snt1, whose deletion results in hyper-sensitivity to LatA treatment and in increased rates of cytokinesis failure. Interestingly, these genes are orthologous to TBL1X, MLL5, and NCOR2, human genes that encode components of a histone deacetylase complex with a known role in cytokinesis. Through co-immunoprecipitation experiments, localization studies, and phenotypic analysis of gene deletion mutants, we provide evidence for an orthologous complex in fission yeast. Furthermore, in light of the putative role of the complex in chromatin modification, together with our results demonstrating an increase in Set3p levels upon Latrunculin A treatment, global gene expression profiles were generated. While this analysis demonstrated that the expression of cytokinesis genes was not significantly affected in set3Δ backgrounds, it did reveal defects in the ability of the mutant to regulate genes with roles in the cellular response to stress. Taken together, these findings support the existence of a conserved, multi-protein complex with a role in promoting the successful completion of cytokinesis.

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<![CDATA[Host factors that promote retrotransposon integration are similar in distantly related eukaryotes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab4e87b463d7e0cbd0422e6

Retroviruses and Long Terminal Repeat (LTR)-retrotransposons have distinct patterns of integration sites. The oncogenic potential of retrovirus-based vectors used in gene therapy is dependent on the selection of integration sites associated with promoters. The LTR-retrotransposon Tf1 of Schizosaccharomyces pombe is studied as a model for oncogenic retroviruses because it integrates into the promoters of stress response genes. Although integrases (INs) encoded by retroviruses and LTR-retrotransposons are responsible for catalyzing the insertion of cDNA into the host genome, it is thought that distinct host factors are required for the efficiency and specificity of integration. We tested this hypothesis with a genome-wide screen of host factors that promote Tf1 integration. By combining an assay for transposition with a genetic assay that measures cDNA recombination we could identify factors that contribute differentially to integration. We utilized this assay to test a collection of 3,004 S. pombe strains with single gene deletions. Using these screens and immunoblot measures of Tf1 proteins, we identified a total of 61 genes that promote integration. The candidate integration factors participate in a range of processes including nuclear transport, transcription, mRNA processing, vesicle transport, chromatin structure and DNA repair. Two candidates, Rhp18 and the NineTeen complex were tested in two-hybrid assays and were found to interact with Tf1 IN. Surprisingly, a number of pathways we identified were found previously to promote integration of the LTR-retrotransposons Ty1 and Ty3 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, indicating the contribution of host factors to integration are common in distantly related organisms. The DNA repair factors are of particular interest because they may identify the pathways that repair the single stranded gaps flanking the sites of strand transfer following integration of LTR retroelements.

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<![CDATA[Comparing in vitro and in vivo virulence phenotypes of Burkholderia pseudomallei type G strains]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc780

Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bpm) is a saprophytic rod-shaped gram-negative bacterium and the causative agent of melioidosis. This disease has previously been described as endemic in areas such as northern Australia and Southeast Asia, but, more recently, a better understanding of the epidemiology of melioidosis indicated that the disease is distributed worldwide, including regions of the Americas and Africa. A 16S-23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) typing system has been developed for Bpm and has revealed that ITS types C, E, and hybrid CE are mainly associated with Australia and Southeast Asia while type G strains are more associated with cases of melioidosis in the Western Hemisphere. The purpose of the current study was to determine the in vitro and in vivo virulence profiles of the understudied Bpm type G strains Ca2009, Ca2013a, Mx2013, and 724644 and compared such phenotypes to the commonly studied Bpm type C strain K96243. We evaluated virulence by measuring invasion/uptake and survival of these Bpm strains in murine respiratory epithelial LA-4 cells and alveolar macrophage MH-S cells using different multiplicity of infections (MOIs of 1 and 10). We also calculated the lethal dose 50 values (LD50) in BALB/c mice that were inoculated intranasally with either Ca2009, Ca2013a, or Mx2013. Overall, the virulence and lethality phenotypes of Bpm type G strains were similar to the Bpm type C strain K96243. Additional comparative analyses between the Bpm ITS types may lead to a better understanding of the contribution of the ITS type to the epidemiology and ecology of Bpm strains.

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<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

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<![CDATA[Dysregulated biodynamics in metabolic attractor systems precede the emergence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd64c8bc4-d849-4cf6-88a9-792b4ee4d346

Evolutionarily conserved mechanisms maintain homeostasis of essential elements, and are believed to be highly time-variant. However, current approaches measure elemental biomarkers at a few discrete time-points, ignoring complex higher-order dynamical features. To study dynamical properties of elemental homeostasis, we apply laser ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to tooth samples to generate 500 temporally sequential measurements of elemental concentrations from birth to 10 years. We applied dynamical system and Information Theory-based analyses to reveal the longest-known attractor system in mammalian biology underlying the metabolism of nutrient elements, and identify distinct and consistent transitions between stable and unstable states throughout development. Extending these dynamical features to disease prediction, we find that attractor topography of nutrient metabolism is altered in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as early as childhood, suggesting these pathways are involved in disease risk. Mechanistic analysis was undertaken in a transgenic mouse model of ALS, where we find similar marked disruptions in elemental attractor systems as in humans. Our results demonstrate the application of a phenomological analysis of dynamical systems underlying elemental metabolism, and emphasize the utility of these measures in characterizing risk of disease.

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<![CDATA[Neuroprotective effects of exogenous erythropoietin in Wistar rats by downregulating apoptotic factors to attenuate N-methyl-D-aspartate-mediated retinal ganglion cells death]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N85685bba-c047-422b-abfc-358a98ed1fe7

The aim of this study was to investigate whether exogenous erythropoietin (EPO) administration attenuates N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-mediated excitotoxic retinal damage in Wistar rats. The survival rate of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) were investigated by flat mount analysis and flow cytometry. A total of 125 male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to five groups: negative control, NMDA80 (i.e., 80 nmoles NMDA intravitreally injected), NMDA80 + 10ng EPO, NMDA80 + 50ng EPO, and NMDA80 + 250ng EPO. The NMDA80 + 50ng EPO treatment group was used to evaluate various administrated points (pre-/co-/post- administration of NMDA80). Meanwhile, the transferase dUTP Nick-End Labeling (TUNEL) assay of RGCs, the inner plexiform layer (IPL) thickness and the apoptotic signal transduction pathways of μ-calpain, Bax, and caspase 9 were assessed simultaneously using an immunohistochemical method (IHC). When EPO was co-administered with NMDA80, attenuated cell death occurred through the downregulation of the apoptotic indicators: μ-calpain was activated first (peak at ~18hrs), followed by Bax and caspase 9 (peak at ~40hrs). Furthermore, the images of retinal cross sections have clearly demonstrated that thickness of the inner plexiform layer (IPL) was significantly recovered at 40 hours after receiving intravitreal injection with NMDA80 and 50ng EPO. Exogenous EPO may protect RGCs and bipolar cell axon terminals in IPL by downregulating apoptotic factors to attenuate NMDA-mediated excitotoxic retinal damage.

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<![CDATA[Role of MPK4 in pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered alternative splicing in Arabidopsis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4009e20f-330a-49f1-8a3f-309ba227a41c

Alternative splicing (AS) of pre-mRNAs in plants is an important mechanism of gene regulation in environmental stress tolerance but plant signals involved are essentially unknown. Pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity (PTI) is mediated by mitogen-activated protein kinases and the majority of PTI defense genes are regulated by MPK3, MPK4 and MPK6. These responses have been mainly analyzed at the transcriptional level, however many splicing factors are direct targets of MAPKs. Here, we studied alternative splicing induced by the PAMP flagellin in Arabidopsis. We identified 506 PAMP-induced differentially alternatively spliced (DAS) genes. Importantly, of the 506 PAMP-induced DAS genes, only 89 overlap with the set of 1950 PAMP-induced differentially expressed genes (DEG), indicating that transcriptome analysis does not identify most DAS events. Global DAS analysis of mpk3, mpk4, and mpk6 mutants in the absence of PAMP treatment showed no major splicing changes. However, in contrast to MPK3 and MPK6, MPK4 was found to be a key regulator of PAMP-induced DAS events as the AS of a number of splicing factors and immunity-related protein kinases is affected, such as the calcium-dependent protein kinase CPK28, the cysteine-rich receptor like kinases CRK13 and CRK29 or the FLS2 co-receptor SERK4/BKK1. Although MPK4 is guarded by SUMM2 and consequently, the mpk4 dwarf and DEG phenotypes are suppressed in mpk4 summ2 mutants, MPK4-dependent DAS is not suppressed by SUMM2, supporting the notion that PAMP-triggered MPK4 activation mediates regulation of alternative splicing.

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<![CDATA[The inhibitor of apoptosis proteins antagonist Debio 1143 promotes the PD-1 blockade-mediated HIV load reduction in blood and tissues of humanized mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N65563527-6ce7-4ff1-862d-df2c817374ce

The immune checkpoint programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) plays a major role in T cell exhaustion in cancer and chronic HIV infection. The inhibitor of apoptosis protein antagonist Debio 1143 (D1143) enhances tumor cell death and synergizes with anti-PD-1 agents to promote tumor immunity and displayed HIV latency reversal activity in vitro. We asked in this study whether D1143 would stimulate the potency of an anti-human PD-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) to reduce HIV loads in humanized mice. Anti-PD-1 mAb treatment decreased PD-1+ CD8+ cell population by 32.3% after interruption of four weeks treatment, and D1143 co-treatment further reduced it from 32.3 to 73%. Anti-PD-1 mAb administration reduced HIV load in blood by 94%, and addition of D1143 further enhanced this reduction from 94 to 97%. D1143 also more profoundly promoted with the anti-PD-1-mediated reduction of HIV loads in all tissues analyzed including spleen (71 to 96.4%), lymph nodes (64.3 to 80%), liver (64.2 to 94.4), lung (64.3 to 80.1%) and thymic organoid (78.2 to 98.2%), achieving a >5 log reduction of HIV loads in CD4+ cells isolated from tissues 2 weeks after drug treatment interruption. Ex vivo anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation increased the ability to activate exhausted CD8+ T cells in infected mice having received in vivo anti-PD-1 treatment by 7.9-fold (5 to 39.6%), and an additional increase by 1.7-fold upon D1143 co-treatment (39.6 to 67.3%). These findings demonstrate for the first time that an inhibitor of apoptosis protein antagonist enhances in a statistically manner the effects of an immune check point inhibitor on antiviral immunity and on HIV load reduction in tissues of humanized mice, suggesting that the combination of two distinct classes of immunomodulatory agents constitutes a promising anti-HIV immunotherapeutic approach.

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<![CDATA[Functional dynamics of bacterial species in the mouse gut microbiome revealed by metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N74c1e0c6-8f1d-4282-af8e-273065d64236

Background

Microbial communities of the mouse gut have been extensively studied; however, their functional roles and regulation are yet to be elucidated. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses may allow us a comprehensive profiling of bacterial composition and functions of the complex gut microbiota. The present study aimed to investigate the active functions of the microbial communities in the murine cecum by analyzing both metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data on specific bacterial species within the microbial communities, in addition to the whole microbiome.

Results

Bacterial composition of the healthy mouse gut microbiome was profiled using the following three different approaches: 16S rRNA-based profiling based on amplicon and shotgun sequencing data, and genome-based profiling based on shotgun sequencing data. Consistently, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Deferribacteres emerged as the major phyla. Based on NCBI taxonomy, Muribaculaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Deferribacteraceae were the predominant families identified in each phylum. The genes for carbohydrate metabolism were upregulated in Muribaculaceae, while genes for cofactors and vitamin metabolism and amino acid metabolism were upregulated in Deferribacteraceae. The genes for translation were commonly enhanced in all three families. Notably, combined analysis of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing data revealed that the functions of translation and metabolism were largely upregulated in all three families in the mouse gut environment. The ratio of the genes in the metagenome and their expression in the metatranscriptome indicated higher expression of carbohydrate metabolism in Muribaculum, Duncaniella, and Mucispirillum.

Conclusions

We demonstrated a fundamental methodology for linking genomic and transcriptomic datasets to examine functional activities of specific bacterial species in a complicated microbial environment. We investigated the normal flora of the mouse gut using three different approaches and identified Muribaculaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Deferribacteraceae as the predominant families. The functional distribution of these families was reflected in the entire microbiome. By comparing the metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data, we found that the expression rates differed for different functional categories in the mouse gut environment. Application of these methods to track microbial transcription in individuals over time, or before and after administration of a specific stimulus will significantly facilitate future development of diagnostics and treatments.

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<![CDATA[Accelerated brain aging towards transcriptional inversion in a zebrafish model of the K115fs mutation of human PSEN2]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N35618ab8-cca5-47c4-ba7f-8d3941adbaaf

Background

The molecular changes involved in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression remain unclear since we cannot easily access antemortem human brains. Some non-mammalian vertebrates such as the zebrafish preserve AD-relevant transcript isoforms of the PRESENILIN genes lost from mice and rats. One example is PS2V, the alternative transcript isoform of the PSEN2 gene. PS2V is induced by hypoxia/oxidative stress and shows increased expression in late onset, sporadic AD brains. A unique, early onset familial AD mutation of PSEN2, K115fs, mimics the PS2V coding sequence suggesting that forced, early expression of PS2V-like isoforms may contribute to AD pathogenesis. Here we use zebrafish to model the K115fs mutation to investigate the effects of forced PS2V-like expression on the transcriptomes of young adult and aged adult brains.

Methods

We edited the zebrafish genome to model the K115fs mutation. To explore its effects at the molecular level, we analysed the brain transcriptome and proteome of young (6-month-old) and aged (24-month-old) wild type and heterozygous mutant female sibling zebrafish. Finally, we used gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) to compare molecular changes in the brains of these fish to human AD.

Results

Young heterozygous mutant fish show transcriptional changes suggesting accelerated brain aging and increased glucocorticoid signalling. These early changes precede a transcriptional ‘inversion’ that leads to glucocorticoid resistance and other likely pathological changes in aged heterozygous mutant fish. Notably, microglia-associated immune responses regulated by the ETS transcription factor family are altered in both our zebrafish mutant model and in human AD. The molecular changes we observe in aged heterozygous mutant fish occur without obvious histopathology and possibly in the absence of Aβ.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that forced expression of a PS2V-like isoform contributes to immune and stress responses favouring AD pathogenesis. This highlights the value of our zebrafish genetic model for exploring molecular mechanisms involved in AD pathogenesis.

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