ResearchPad - spectrophotometry Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[CRISPR-mediated ablation of overexpressed EGFR in combination with sunitinib significantly suppresses renal cell carcinoma proliferation]]> Receptor tyrosine kinases, such as VEGFR, PDGFR and EGFR, play important roles in renal cancer. In this study, we investigated EGFR knockout as a therapeutic approach in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We showed that a renal cell carcinoma cell line (RC21) has higher expression of EGFR as compared to other frequently used cell lines such as HEK293, A549, Hela and DLD1. Ablation of EGFR by CRISPR/Cas9 significantly restrained tumor cell growth and activated the MAPK (pERK1/2) pathway. The VEGFR and PDGFR inhibitor, sunitinib, attenuated the expression of MAPK (pERK1/2) and pAKT induced by EGFR loss and further inhibited EGFR-/- cell proliferation. We showed that loss of EGFR eventually leads to resistance to SAHA and cisplatin. Furthermore, EGFR loss induced G2/M phase arrest and resulted in an increased resistance to TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in renal cell carcinoma. Thus, ablation of overexpressed EGFR by CRISPR/Cas9 alone or in combination with sunitinib may be a new treatment option for renal cell carcinoma.

<![CDATA[Quantification of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity by spectrophotometry: A systematic review and meta-analysis]]> Complete cure of vivax malaria, the most geographically widespread malaria species, requires the use of 8-aminoquinoline drugs to clear dormant liver stages of the parasite (‘radical cure’); however, these drugs can cause severe haemolysis in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.Ultraviolet (UV) spectrophotometry is used as the reference test to measure G6PD activity, for validating new point-of-care diagnostics, and to determine population-specific definitions of G6PD deficiency.Currently, there is no universal threshold to define G6PD deficiency, and each laboratory must invest time and resources to derive site- and laboratory-specific definitions of G6PD deficiency.What did the researchers do and find?We pooled measurements of G6PD activity from studies conducted across different countries and laboratories worldwide.We assessed the comparability of spectrophotometry results between these laboratories to see whether a universal definition and diagnostic cutoff for G6PD deficiency could be determined.There was substantial variation in the performance and absolute measurements of spectrophotometry conducted in different laboratories, hindering the definition of a universal cutoff for G6PD deficiency.What do these findings mean?These findings highlight the importance of quality-control measures to minimise the influence of laboratory procedures on observed measurements.The data suggest that while a robust universal, assay-specific G6PD activity cutoff value can be established for diagnosis of severe G6PD deficiency (<30% normal enzyme activity), this approach is less robust for diagnosing intermediate G6PD deficiency.Newly developed diagnostic assays that are less sensitive to laboratory conditions and require less sample preparation are required and may help provide more standardised quantitative G6PD activity measurements across different contexts. ]]> <![CDATA[Highly efficient serum-free manipulation of miRNA in human NK cells without loss of viability or phenotypic alterations is accomplished with TransIT-TKO]]>

Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes with functions that include target cell killing, inflammation and regulation. NK cells integrate incoming activating and inhibitory signals through an array of germline-encoded receptors to gauge the health of neighbouring cells. The reactive potential of NK cells is influenced by microRNA (miRNA), small non-coding sequences that interfere with mRNA expression. miRNAs are highly conserved between species, and a single miRNA can have hundreds to thousands of targets and influence entire cellular programs. Two miRNA species, miR-155-5p and miR-146a-5p are known to be important in controlling NK cell function, but research to best understand the impacts of miRNA species within NK cells has been bottlenecked by a lack of techniques for altering miRNA concentrations efficiently and without off-target effects. Here, we describe a non-viral and straightforward approach for increasing or decreasing expression of miRNA in primary human NK cells. We achieve >90% transfection efficiency without off-target impacts on NK cell viability, education, phenotype or function. This opens the opportunity to study and manipulate NK cell miRNA profiles and their impacts on NK cellular programs which may influence outcomes of cancer, inflammation and autoimmunity.

<![CDATA[Investigation of synovial fluid induced Staphylococcus aureus aggregate development and its impact on surface attachment and biofilm formation]]>

Periprosthetic joint infections (PJIs) are a devastating complication that occurs in 2% of patients following joint replacement. These infections are costly and difficult to treat, often requiring multiple corrective surgeries and prolonged antimicrobial treatments. The Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most common causes of PJIs, and it is often resistant to a number of commonly used antimicrobials. This tolerance can be partially attributed to the ability of S. aureus to form biofilms. Biofilms associated with the surface of indwelling medical devices have been observed on components removed during chronic infection, however, the development and localization of biofilms during PJIs remains unclear. Prior studies have demonstrated that synovial fluid, in the joint cavity, promotes the development of bacterial aggregates with many biofilm-like properties, including antibiotic resistance. We anticipate these aggregates have an important role in biofilm formation and antibiotic tolerance during PJIs. Therefore, we sought to determine specifically how synovial fluid promotes aggregate formation and the impact of this process on surface attachment. Using flow cytometry and microscopy, we quantified the aggregation of various clinical S. aureus strains following exposure to purified synovial fluid components. We determined that fibrinogen and fibronectin promoted bacterial aggregation, while cell free DNA, serum albumin, and hyaluronic acid had minimal effect. To determine how synovial fluid mediated aggregation affects surface attachment, we utilized microscopy to measure bacterial attachment. Surprisingly, we found that synovial fluid significantly impeded bacterial surface attachment to a variety of materials. We conclude from this study that fibrinogen and fibronectin in synovial fluid have a crucial role in promoting bacterial aggregation and inhibiting surface adhesion during PJI. Collectively, we propose that synovial fluid may have conflicting protective roles for the host by preventing adhesion to surfaces, but by promoting bacterial aggregation is also contributing to the development of antibiotic tolerance.

<![CDATA[Investigating the potential use of an ionic liquid (1-Butyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide) as an anti-fungal treatment against the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis]]>

The disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has contributed to global amphibian declines. Bd infects the keratinized epidermal tissue in amphibians and causes hyperkeratosis and excessive skin shedding. In individuals of susceptible species, the regulatory function of the amphibian’s skin is disrupted resulting in an electrolyte depletion, osmotic imbalance, and eventually death. Safe and effective treatments for chytridiomycosis are urgently needed to control chytrid fungal infections and stabilize populations of endangered amphibian species in captivity and in the wild. Currently, the most widely used anti-Bd treatment is itraconazole. Preparations of itraconazole formulated for amphibian use has proved effective, but treatment involves short baths over seven to ten days, a process which is logistically challenging, stressful, and causes long-term health effects. Here, we explore a novel anti-fungal therapeutic using a single application of the ionic liquid, 1-Butyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (BMP-NTf2), for the treatment of chytridiomycosis. BMP-NTf2 was found be effective at killing Bd in vitro at low concentrations (1:1000 dilution). We tested BMP-NTf2 in vivo on two amphibian species, one that is relatively tolerant of chytridiomycosis (Pseudacris regilla) and one that is highly susceptible (Dendrobates tinctorius). A toxicity trial revealed a surprising interaction between Bd infection status and the impact of BMP-NTf2 on D. tinctorius survival. Uninfected D. tinctorius tolerated BMP-NTf2 (mean ± SE; 96.01 ± 9.00 μl/g), such that only 1 out of 30 frogs died following treatment (at a dose of 156.95 μL/g), whereas, a lower dose (mean ± SE; 97.45 ± 3.52 μL/g) was not tolerated by Bd-infected D. tinctorius, where 15 of 23 frogs died shortly upon BMP-NTf2 application. Those that tolerated the BMP-NTf2 application did not exhibit Bd clearance. Thus, BMP-NTf2 application, under the conditions tested here, is not a suitable option for clearing Bd infection in D. tinctorius. However, different results were obtained for P. regilla. Two topical applications of BMP-NTf2 on Bd-infected P. regilla (using a lower BMP-NTf2 dose than on D. tinctorius, mean ± SE; 9.42 ± 1.43 μL/g) reduced Bd growth, although the effect was lower than that obtained by daily doses of itracanozole (50% frogs exhibited complete clearance on day 16 vs. 100% for itracanozole). Our findings suggest that BMP-NTf2 has the potential to treat Bd infection, however the effect depends on several parameters. Further optimization of dose and schedule are needed before BMP-NTf2 can be considered as a safe and effective alternative to more conventional antifungal agents, such as itraconazole.

<![CDATA[Swainsonine, an alpha-mannosidase inhibitor, may worsen cervical cancer progression through the increase in myeloid derived suppressor cells population]]>

Cervical cancer, caused by high oncogenic risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, continues to be a public health problem, mainly in developing countries. Using peptide phage display as a tool to identify potential molecular targets in HPV associated tumors, we identified α-mannosidase, among other enriched sequences. This enzyme is expressed in both tumor and inflammatory compartment of the tumor microenvironment. Several studies in experimental models have shown that its inhibition by swainsonine (SW) led to inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis directly and indirectly, through activation of macrophages and NK cells, promoting anti-tumor activity. Therefore, the aim of this work was to test if swainsonine treatment could modulate anti-tumor immune responses and therefore interfere in HPV associated tumor growth. Validation of our biopanning results showed that cervical tumors, both tumor cells and leukocytes, expressed α-mannosidase. Ex vivo experiments with tumor associated macrophages showed that SW could partially modulate macrophage phenotype, decreasing CCL2 secretion and impairing IL-10 and IL-6 upregulation, which prompted us to proceed to in vivo tests. However, in vivo, SW treatment increased tumor growth. Investigation of the mechanisms leading to this result showed that SW treatment significantly induced the accumulation of myeloid derived suppressor cells in the spleen of tumor bearing mice, which inhibited T cell activation. Our results suggested that SW contributes to cervical cancer progression by favoring proliferation and accumulation of myeloid cells in the spleen, thus exacerbating these tumors systemic effects on the immune system, therefore facilitating tumor growth.

<![CDATA[Uncovering and resolving challenges of quantitative modeling in a simplified community of interacting cells]]>

Quantitative modeling is useful for predicting behaviors of a system and for rationally constructing or modifying the system. The predictive power of a model relies on accurate quantification of model parameters. Here, we illustrate challenges in parameter quantification and offer means to overcome these challenges, using a case example in which we quantitatively predict the growth rate of a cooperative community. Specifically, the community consists of two Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains, each engineered to release a metabolite required and consumed by its partner. The initial model, employing parameters measured in batch monocultures with zero or excess metabolite, failed to quantitatively predict experimental results. To resolve the model–experiment discrepancy, we chemically identified the correct exchanged metabolites, but this did not improve model performance. We then remeasured strain phenotypes in chemostats mimicking the metabolite-limited community environments, while mitigating or incorporating effects of rapid evolution. Almost all phenotypes we measured, including death rate, metabolite release rate, and the amount of metabolite consumed per cell birth, varied significantly with the metabolite environment. Once we used parameters measured in a range of community-like chemostat environments, prediction quantitatively agreed with experimental results. In summary, using a simplified community, we uncovered and devised means to resolve modeling challenges that are likely general to living systems.

<![CDATA[Detailed characterization of the solution kinetics and thermodynamics of biotin, biocytin and HABA binding to avidin and streptavidin]]>

The high affinity (KD ~ 10−15 M) of biotin for avidin and streptavidin is the essential component in a multitude of bioassays with many experiments using biotin modifications to invoke coupling. Equilibration times suggested for these assays assume that the association rate constant (kon) is approximately diffusion limited (109 M-1s-1) but recent single molecule and surface binding studies indicate that they are slower than expected (105 to 107 M-1s-1). In this study, we asked whether these reactions in solution are diffusion controlled, which reaction model and thermodynamic cycle describes the complex formation, and if there are any functional differences between avidin and streptavidin. We have studied the biotin association by two stopped-flow methodologies using labeled and unlabeled probes: I) fluorescent probes attached to biotin and biocytin; and II) unlabeled biotin and HABA, 2-(4’-hydroxyazobenzene)-benzoic acid. Both native avidin and streptavidin are homo-tetrameric and the association data show no cooperativity between the binding sites. The kon values of streptavidin are faster than avidin but slower than expected for a diffusion limited reaction in both complexes. Moreover, the Arrhenius plots of the kon values revealed strong temperature dependence with large activation energies (6–15 kcal/mol) that do not correspond to a diffusion limited process (3–4 kcal/mol). Accordingly, we propose a simple reaction model with a single transition state for non-immobilized reactants whose forward thermodynamic parameters complete the thermodynamic cycle, in agreement with previously reported studies. Our new understanding and description of the kinetics, thermodynamics, and spectroscopic parameters for these complexes will help to improve purification efficiencies, molecule detection, and drug screening assays or find new applications.

<![CDATA[TRIM2, a novel member of the antiviral family, limits New World arenavirus entry]]>

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

<![CDATA[Exposure of Candida albicans β (1,3)-glucan is promoted by activation of the Cek1 pathway]]>

Candida albicans is among the most common causes of human fungal infections and is an important source of mortality. C. albicans is able to diminish its detection by innate immune cells through masking of β (1,3)-glucan in the inner cell wall with an outer layer of heavily glycosylated mannoproteins (mannan). However, mutations or drugs that disrupt the cell wall can lead to exposure of β (1,3)-glucan (unmasking) and enhanced detection by innate immune cells through receptors like Dectin-1, the C-type signaling lectin. Previously, our lab showed that the pathway for synthesizing the phospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) plays a role in β (1,3)-glucan masking. The homozygous PS synthase knockout mutant, cho1Δ/Δ, exhibits increased exposure of β (1,3)-glucan. Several Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathways and their upstream Rho-type small GTPases are important for regulating cell wall biogenesis and remodeling. In the cho1Δ/Δ mutant, both the Cek1 and Mkc1 MAPKs are constitutively activated, and they act downstream of the small GTPases Cdc42 and Rho1, respectively. In addition, Cdc42 activity is up-regulated in cho1Δ/Δ. Thus, it was hypothesized that activation of Cdc42 or Rho1 and their downstream kinases cause unmasking. Disruption of MKC1 does not decrease unmasking in cho1Δ/Δ, and hyperactivation of Rho1 in wild-type cells increases unmasking and activation of both Cek1 and Mkc1. Moreover, independent hyperactivation of the MAP kinase kinase kinase Ste11 in wild-type cells leads to Cek1 activation and increased β (1,3)-glucan exposure. Thus, upregulation of the Cek1 MAPK pathway causes unmasking, and may be responsible for unmasking in cho1Δ/Δ.

<![CDATA[Conformational regulation of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase V by RecA and ATP]]>

Mutagenic translesion DNA polymerase V (UmuD′2C) is induced as part of the DNA damage-induced SOS response in Escherichia coli, and is subjected to multiple levels of regulation. The UmuC subunit is sequestered on the cell membrane (spatial regulation) and enters the cytosol after forming a UmuD′2C complex, ~ 45 min post-SOS induction (temporal regulation). However, DNA binding and synthesis cannot occur until pol V interacts with a RecA nucleoprotein filament (RecA*) and ATP to form a mutasome complex, pol V Mut = UmuD′2C-RecA-ATP. The location of RecA relative to UmuC determines whether pol V Mut is catalytically on or off (conformational regulation). Here, we present three interrelated experiments to address the biochemical basis of conformational regulation. We first investigate dynamic deactivation during DNA synthesis and static deactivation in the absence of DNA synthesis. Single-molecule (sm) TIRF-FRET microscopy is then used to explore multiple aspects of pol V Mut dynamics. Binding of ATP/ATPγS triggers a conformational switch that reorients RecA relative to UmuC to activate pol V Mut. This process is required for polymerase-DNA binding and synthesis. Both dynamic and static deactivation processes are governed by temperature and time, in which onoff switching is “rapid” at 37°C (~ 1 to 1.5 h), “slow” at 30°C (~ 3 to 4 h) and does not require ATP hydrolysis. Pol V Mut retains RecA in activated and deactivated states, but binding to primer-template (p/t) DNA occurs only when activated. Studies are performed with two forms of the polymerase, pol V Mut-RecA wt, and the constitutively induced and hypermutagenic pol V Mut-RecA E38K/ΔC17. We discuss conformational regulation of pol V Mut, determined from biochemical analysis in vitro, in relation to the properties of pol V Mut in RecA wild-type and SOS constitutive genetic backgrounds in vivo.

<![CDATA[Interaction between nectin-1 and the human natural killer cell receptor CD96]]>

Regulation of Natural Killer (NK) cell activity is achieved by the integration of both activating and inhibitory signals acquired at the immunological synapse with potential target cells. NK cells express paired receptors from the immunoglobulin family which share common ligands from the nectin family of adhesion molecules. The activating receptor CD226 (DNAM-1) binds to nectin-2 and CD155, which are also recognized by the inhibitory receptor TIGIT. The third receptor in this family is CD96, which is less well characterized and may have different functions in human and mouse models. Human CD96 interacts with CD155 and ligation of this receptor activates NK cells, while in mice the presence of CD96 correlates with decreased NK cell activation. Mouse CD96 also binds nectin-1, but the effect of this interaction has not yet been determined. Here we show that human nectin-1 directly interacts with CD96 in vitro. The binding site for CD96 is located on the nectin-1 V-domain, which comprises a canonical interface that is shared by nectins to promote cell adhesion. The affinity of nectin-1 for CD96 is lower than for other nectins such as nectin-3 and nectin-1 itself. However, the affinity of nectin-1 for CD96 is similar to its affinity for herpes simplex virus glycoprotein D (HSV gD), which binds the nectin-1 V-domain during virus entry. The affinity of human CD96 for nectin-1 is lower than for its known activating ligand CD155. We also found that human erythroleukemia K562 cells, which are commonly used as susceptible targets to assess NK cell cytotoxicity did not express nectin-1 on their surface and were resistant to HSV infection. When expressed in K562 cells, nectin-1-GFP accumulated at cell contacts and allowed HSV entry. Furthermore, overexpression of nectin-1-GFP led to an increased susceptibility of K562 cells to NK-92 cell cytotoxicity.

<![CDATA[Yellow fever virus is susceptible to sofosbuvir both in vitro and in vivo]]>

Yellow fever virus (YFV) is a member of the Flaviviridae family. In Brazil, yellow fever (YF) cases have increased dramatically in sylvatic areas neighboring urban zones in the last few years. Because of the high lethality rates associated with infection and absence of any antiviral treatments, it is essential to identify therapeutic options to respond to YFV outbreaks. Repurposing of clinically approved drugs represents the fastest alternative to discover antivirals for public health emergencies. Other Flaviviruses, such as Zika (ZIKV) and dengue (DENV) viruses, are susceptible to sofosbuvir, a clinically approved drug against hepatitis C virus (HCV). Our data showed that sofosbuvir docks onto YFV RNA polymerase using conserved amino acid residues for nucleotide binding. This drug inhibited the replication of both vaccine and wild-type strains of YFV on human hepatoma cells, with EC50 values around 5 μM. Sofosbuvir protected YFV-infected neonatal Swiss mice and adult type I interferon receptor knockout mice (A129-/-) from mortality and weight loss. Because of its safety profile in humans and significant antiviral effects in vitro and in mice, Sofosbuvir may represent a novel therapeutic option for the treatment of YF. Key-words: Yellow fever virus; Yellow fever, antiviral; sofosbuvir

<![CDATA[Accelerated bacterial detection in blood culture by enhanced acoustic flow cytometry (AFC) following peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization (PNA-FISH)]]>

Bacteraemia is a risk factor for subsequent clinical deterioration and death. Current reliance on culture-based methods for detection of bacteraemia delays identification and assessment of this risk until after the optimal period for positively impacting treatment decisions has passed. Therefore, a method for rapid detection and identification of bacterial infection in the peripheral bloodstream in acutely ill patients is crucial for improved patient survival through earlier targeted antibiotic treatment. The turnaround time for current clinical laboratory methods ranges from 12 to 48 hours, emphasizing the need for a faster diagnostic test. Here we describe a novel assay for accelerated generic detection of bacteria in blood culture (BC) using peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization enhanced acoustic flow cytometry (PNA-FISH-AFC). For assay development, we used simulated blood cultures (BCs) spiked with one of three bacterial species at a low starting concentration of 10 CFU/mL: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Under current clinical settings, it takes a minimum of 12 hours incubation to reach positivity on the BacTEC system, corresponding to a bacterial concentration of 107−109 CFU/mL optimal for further analyses. In contrast, our PNA-FISH-AFC assay detected 103–104 CFU/mL bacteria in BC following a much shorter culture incubation of 5 to 10 hours. Using either PCR-based FilmArray assay or MALDI-TOF for bacterial detection, it took 7–10 and 12–24 hours of incubation, respectively, to reach the positive result. These findings indicate a potential time advantage of PNA-FISH-AFC assay for rapid bacterial detection in BC with significantly improved turnaround time over currently used laboratory techniques.

<![CDATA[Comparative analysis reveals a role for TGF-β in shaping the residency-related transcriptional signature in tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells]]>

Tissue-resident CD8+ memory T (TRM) cells are immune cells that permanently reside at tissue sites where they play an important role in providing rapid protection against reinfection. They are not only phenotypically and functionally distinct from their circulating memory counterparts, but also exhibit a unique transcriptional profile. To date, the local tissue signals required for their development and long-term residency are not well understood. So far, the best-characterised tissue-derived signal is transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), which has been shown to promote the development of these cells within tissues. In this study, we aimed to determine to what extent the transcriptional signatures of TRM cells from multiple tissues reflects TGF-β imprinting. We activated murine CD8+ T cells, stimulated them in vitro by TGF-β, and profiled their transcriptomes using RNA-seq. Upon comparison, we identified a TGF-β-induced signature of differentially expressed genes between TGF-β-stimulated and -unstimulated cells. Next, we linked this in vitro TGF-β-induced signature to a previously identified in vivo TRM-specific gene set and found considerable (>50%) overlap between the two gene sets, thus showing that a substantial part of the TRM signature can be attributed to TGF-β signalling. Finally, gene set enrichment analysis further revealed that the altered gene signature following TGF-β exposure reflected transcriptional signatures found in TRM cells from both epithelial and non-epithelial tissues. In summary, these findings show that TGF-β has a broad footprint in establishing the residency-specific transcriptional profile of TRM cells, which is detectable in TRM cells from diverse tissues. They further suggest that constitutive TGF-β signaling might be involved for their long-term persistence at tissue sites.

<![CDATA[Flow cytometry, a powerful novel tool to rapidly assess bacterial viability in metal working fluids: Proof-of-principle]]>

Metalworking fluids (MWF) are water- or oil-based liquids to cool and lubricate tools, work pieces and machines, inhibit corrosion and remove swarf. One of the major problems in the MWF industry is bacterial growth as bacterial enzymes can cause MWF degradation. In addition, bacteria can form biofilms which hamper the functioning of machines. Last but not least, some bacterial by-products are toxic (e.g. endotoxins) and present potential health risks for metalworking machine operators via the formation of aerosols. Therefore, a novel fast yet accurate analytical method to evaluate and predict the antibacterial capacity of MWF would be an important asset. As such a tool is currently lacking, the present study aimed to develop a protocol based on flow cytometry (FCM) to assess the antibacterial potential of newly developed MWF independent of bacterial growth. Results of this novel method were compared to a biochallenge test currently used in MWF industry and also to traditional plate counts. Our results represent a proof-of-principle that FCM can reliably predict the antibacterial capacity of MWF already within one day of incubation with Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Proteus mirabilis, being substantially faster than the current growth-based methods.

<![CDATA[Desensitization and treatment with APRIL/BLyS blockade in rodent kidney transplant model]]>

Alloantibody represents a significant barrier in kidney transplant through the sensitization of patients prior to transplant through antibody mediated rejection (ABMR). APRIL BLyS are critical survival factors for mature B lymphocytes plasma cells, the primary source of alloantibody. We examined the effect of APRIL/BLyS blockade via TACI-Ig (Transmembrane activator calcium modulator cyclophilin lig interactor-Immunoglobulin) in a preclinical rodent model as treatment for both desensitization ABMR. Lewis rats were sensitized with Brown Norway (BN) blood for 21 days. Following sensitization, animals were then sacrificed or romized into kidney transplant (G4, sensitized transplant control); desensitization with TACI-Ig followed by kidney transplant (G5, sensitized + pre-transplant TACI-Ig); kidney transplant with post-transplant TACI-Ig for 21 days (G6, sensitized + post-transplant TACI-Ig); desensitization with TACI-Ig followed by kidney transplant post-transplant TACI-Ig for 21 days (G7, sensitized + pre- post-transplant TACI-Ig). Animals were sacrificed on day 21 post-transplant tissues were analyzed using flow cytometry, IHC, ELISPOT, RT-PCR. Sensitized animals treated with APRIL/BLyS blockade demonstrated a significant decrease in marginal zone non-switched B lymphocyte populations (p<0.01). Antibody secreting cells were also significantly reduced in the sensitized APRIL/BLyS blockade treated group. Post-transplant APRIL/BLyS blockade treated animals were found to have significantly less C4d deposition less ABMR as defined by Banff classification when compared to groups receiving APRIL/BLyS blockade before transplant or both before after transplant (p<0.0001). The finding of worse ABMR in groups receiving APRIL/BLyS blockade before both before after transplant may indicate that B lymphocyte depletion in this setting also resulted in regulatory lymphocyte depletion resulting in a worse rejection. Data presented here demonstrates that the targeting of APRIL BLyS can significantly deplete mature B lymphocytes, antibody secreting cells, effectively decrease ABMR when given post-transplant in a sensitized animal model.

<![CDATA[Trabecular bone score in active or former smokers with and without COPD]]>


Smoking is a recognized risk factor for osteoporosis. Trabecular bone score (TBS) is a novel texture parameter to evaluate bone microarchitecture. TBS and their main determinants are unknown in active and former smokers.


To assess TBS in a population of active or former smokers with and without Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and to determine its predictive factors.


Active and former smokers from a pulmonary clinic were invited to participate. Clinical features were recorded and bone turnover markers (BTMs) measured. Lung function, low dose chest Computed Tomography scans (LDCT), dual energy absorptiometry (DXA) scans were performed and TBS measured. Logistic regression analysis explored the relationship between measured parameters and TBS.


One hundred and forty five patients were included in the analysis, 97 (67.8%) with COPD. TBS was lower in COPD patients (median 1.323; IQR: 0.13 vs 1.48; IQR: 0.16, p = 0.003). Regression analysis showed that a higher body mass index (BMI), younger age, less number of exacerbations and a higher forced expiratory volume-one second (FEV1%) was associated with better TBS (β = 0.005, 95% CI:0.000–0.011, p = 0.032; β = -0.003, 95% CI:-0.007(-)-0.000, p = 0.008; β = -0.019, 95% CI:-0.034(-)-0.004, p = 0.015; β = 0.001, 95% CI:0.000–0.002, p = 0.012 respectively). The same factors with similar results were found in COPD patients.


A significant proportion of active and former smokers with and without COPD have an affected TBS. BMI, age, number of exacerbations and the degree of airway obstruction predicts TBS values in smokers with and without COPD. This important information should be considered when evaluating smokers at risk of osteoporosis.

<![CDATA[Modulation of the immune response and infection pattern to Leishmania donovani in visceral leishmaniasis due to arsenic exposure: An in vitro study]]>

The arsenic contamination of ground water in visceral leishmaniasis (VL) endemic areas in Bihar, India leads to human exposure through drinking water. Possibly, the consumed arsenic (As) accumulates in the tissues of VL patients, who subsequently internalize intracellular amastigotes to confer resistance against chemotherapy to the parasite, leading to modulation in the host’s immune response. This hypothesis appears to be consistent with the in vitro findings that in arsenic-exposed parasites, the mitochondrial membrane potential became depolarized, whereas the reduced thiol and lactate production was overexpressed with enhanced glucose consumption; therefore, the reduced thiol possibly supports an immunosuppressive state in the host cells. This observation was well supported by the down-regulated expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-2, IL-12, IFN-γ, and TNF-α) with a suppressed anti-leishmanial function of macrophage (NO, ROS). In contrast, the pathophysiological mechanism of VL has received ample support by the promotion of Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) in the presence of arsenic-exposed Leishmania parasites (LdAS). Dysfunction of mitochondria and the overexpression of lactate production raise the possibility of the Warburg effect being operative through the up-regulation of glucose consumption by parasites to enhance the energy production, possibly augmenting virulence. Therefore, we surmise from our data that arsenic exposure to Leishmania donovani modulates the immune response and infection pattern by impairing parasite function, which may affect the anti-leishmanial effect in VL.

<![CDATA[Collective radioresistance of T47D breast carcinoma cells is mediated by a Syncytin-1 homologous protein]]>

It is generally accepted that radiotherapy must target clonogenic cells, i.e., those cells in a tumour that have self-renewing potential. Focussing on isolated clonogenic cells, however, may lead to an underestimate or even to an outright neglect of the importance of biological mechanisms that regulate tumour cell sensitivity to radiation. We develop a new statistical and experimental approach to quantify the effects of radiation on cell populations as a whole. In our experiments, we change the proximity relationships of the cells by culturing them in wells with different shapes, and we find that the radiosensitivity of T47D human breast carcinoma cells in tight clusters is different from that of isolated cells. Molecular analyses show that T47D cells express a Syncytin-1 homologous protein (SyHP). We observe that SyHP translocates to the external surface of the plasma membrane of cells killed by radiation treatment. The data support the fundamental role of SyHP in the formation of intercellular cytoplasmic bridges and in the enhanced radioresistance of surviving cells. We conclude that complex and unexpected biological mechanisms of tumour radioresistance take place at the cell population level. These mechanisms may significantly bias our estimates of the radiosensitivity of breast carcinomas in vivo and thereby affect treatment plans, and they call for further investigations.