Melbourne Veterinary School - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 95
A Major Role for Mammals in the Ecology of Mycobacterium ulcerans
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2010-08-01)
BACKGROUND: Mycobacterium ulcerans is the causative agent of Buruli ulcer (BU), a destructive skin disease found predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa and south-eastern Australia. The precise mode(s) of transmission and environmental reservoir(s) remain unknown, but several studies have explored the role of aquatic invertebrate species. The purpose of this study was to investigate the environmental distribution of M. ulcerans in south-eastern Australia. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A range of environmental samples was collected from Point Lonsdale (a small coastal town southwest of Melbourne, Australia, endemic for BU) and from areas with fewer or no reported incident cases of BU. Mycobacterium ulcerans DNA was detected at low levels by real-time PCR in soil, sediment, water residue, aquatic plant biofilm and terrestrial vegetation collected in Point Lonsdale. Higher levels of M. ulcerans DNA were detected in the faeces of common ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) and common brushtail (Trichosurus vulpecula) possums. Systematic testing of possum faeces revealed that M. ulcerans DNA could be detected in 41% of faecal samples collected in Point Lonsdale compared with less than 1% of faecal samples collected from non-endemic areas (p<0.0001). Capture and clinical examination of live possums in Point Lonsdale validated the accuracy of the predictive value of the faecal surveys by revealing that 38% of ringtail possums and 24% of brushtail possums had laboratory-confirmed M. ulcerans skin lesions and/or M. ulcerans PCR positive faeces. Whole genome sequencing revealed an extremely close genetic relationship between human and possum M. ulcerans isolates. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The prevailing wisdom is that M. ulcerans is an aquatic pathogen and that BU is acquired by contact with certain aquatic environments (swamps, slow-flowing water). Now, after 70 years of research, we propose a transmission model for BU in which terrestrial mammals are implicated as reservoirs for M. ulcerans.
Muscarinic receptor binding changes in postmortem Parkinson's disease
(SPRINGER WIEN, 2017-02-01)
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating disorder, affecting approximately 2% of people aged 60 and above. It is marked by progressive neurodegeneration that has long been known to impact dopaminergic cells and circuits, but more recently the acetylcholine system has also been implicated in the complex aetiology and symptomatology of the disease. While broad changes in cholinergic markers have been described, insight into the contribution of specific acetylcholine receptors is less clear. To address this important unknown, in this study we performed [3H] pirenzepine, [3H] 4DAMP, and [3H] AF-DX 384 in situ radioligand binding on postmortem tissues from Brodmann's area 6, 9, 46, and the caudate putamen, from PD and matched controls to detect muscarinic M1, M3, and M1/2/4 receptors, respectively. We found no difference in [3H] pirenzepine binding between PD and controls across all regions assessed. [3H] 4DAMP binding was found to be higher in PD CPu and BA9 than in controls. [3H] AF-DX 384 was higher in BA9 of PD compared with controls. In sum, we show selective increase in M3 receptors in cortical and subcortical regions, as well as increased M2/M4 in cortical area BA9, which together support a role for cholinergic dysfunction in PD.
The Performance of Three Immune Assays to Assess the Serological Status of Cattle Experimentally Exposed to Mycoplasma bovis.
© 2018 by the authors. Mycoplasma bovis is associated with several clinical syndromes of cattle. Currently, limited information is available on the sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) of serological assays used for the detection of M. bovis-specific antibodies. Consequently, it is difficult to critically evaluate the outcomes of studies that use these assays. Therefore, the current study used bovine sera sourced from M. bovis exposure studies from three countries to estimate the Se and Sp of two commercial M. bovis enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), BIO K302 and BIO K260, and Western blotting. Western blotting had the highest Se estimate of 74% (95% confidence interval (CI): 16-98%), compared to the BIO K302: 47% (95% CI: 10-87%) and BIO K260: 28% (95% CI: 1-92%). However, for Sp, the BIO K302: 96% (95% CI: 87-99%) and the BIO K260: 100% (95% CI: 93-100%) out-performed Western blotting: 88% (95% CI: 56-98%). Western blotting was the best assay for detecting seroconversion, correctly identifying 61% (95% CI: 29-86%) of exposed animals compared to 35% for BIO K302 (95% CI: 21-54%) and 8% for BIO K260 (95% CI: 0-87%). While none of the methods assessed had high Se and Sp, the availability of these estimates will aid in the interpretation of studies that use these assays. The results of this study highlight the difficulties encountered when using serology to detect exposure to M. bovis in cattle.
Golgi-Located NTPDase1 of Leishmania major Is Required for Lipophosphoglycan Elongation and Normal Lesion Development whereas Secreted NTPDase2 Is Dispensable for Virulence
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-12-01)
Parasitic protozoa, such as Leishmania species, are thought to express a number of surface and secreted nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolases (NTPDases) which hydrolyze a broad range of nucleoside tri- and diphosphates. However, the functional significance of NTPDases in parasite virulence is poorly defined. The Leishmania major genome was found to contain two putative NTPDases, termed LmNTPDase1 and 2, with predicted NTPDase catalytic domains and either an N-terminal signal sequence and/or transmembrane domain, respectively. Expression of both proteins as C-terminal GFP fusion proteins revealed that LmNTPDase1 was exclusively targeted to the Golgi apparatus, while LmNTPDase2 was predominantly secreted. An L. major LmNTPDase1 null mutant displayed increased sensitivity to serum complement lysis and exhibited a lag in lesion development when infections in susceptible BALB/c mice were initiated with promastigotes, but not with the obligate intracellular amastigote stage. This phenotype is characteristic of L. major strains lacking lipophosphoglycan (LPG), the major surface glycoconjugate of promastigote stages. Biochemical studies showed that the L. major NTPDase1 null mutant synthesized normal levels of LPG that was structurally identical to wild type LPG, with the exception of having shorter phosphoglycan chains. These data suggest that the Golgi-localized NTPase1 is involved in regulating the normal sugar-nucleotide dependent elongation of LPG and assembly of protective surface glycocalyx. In contrast, deletion of the gene encoding LmNTPDase2 had no measurable impact on parasite virulence in BALB/c mice. These data suggest that the Leishmania major NTPDase enzymes have potentially important roles in the insect stage, but only play a transient or non-major role in pathogenesis in the mammalian host.
Lucilia cuprina genome unlocks parasitic fly biology to underpin future interventions
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-06-01)
Lucilia cuprina is a parasitic fly of major economic importance worldwide. Larvae of this fly invade their animal host, feed on tissues and excretions and progressively cause severe skin disease (myiasis). Here we report the sequence and annotation of the 458-megabase draft genome of Lucilia cuprina. Analyses of this genome and the 14,544 predicted protein-encoding genes provide unique insights into the fly's molecular biology, interactions with the host animal and insecticide resistance. These insights have broad implications for designing new methods for the prevention and control of myiasis.
Influence of allergen-specific immunotherapy on allergen-specific IgG subclasses in dogs with atopic dermatitis
Canine atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common pruritic skin diseases in dogs and is diagnosed based on compatible history, clinical signs and exclusion of other pruritic skin diseases. Allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) is widely used to treat AD but the precise mechanism of action is unknown. The aims of our study were to investigate the influence of ASIT on levels of Dermatophagoides farinae (D. farinae) specific IgG (D. farinae-IgG) subclasses and to explore whether changes in IgG subclasses are associated with the efficacy of ASIT. Sera from 98 dogs were collected before and during ASIT (duration of at least 2 years) with D. farinae. All dogs had serum IgE specific for D. farinae (imovet bg assay). Atopic dogs were divided into two groups: ASIT Group (n=48, ASIT as the sole therapy) and ASIT+ Group (n=50, insufficient control with ASIT requiring additional glucocorticoid treatment). A control group (CTRL Group, n=32) consisted of dogs without dermatological disease. Allergen-specific IgG subclass antibodies were detected by ELISA using monoclonal antibodies specific for canine IgG1 – IgG4. D. farinae-IgG1 and IgG4 were detected in >78% of all sera before ASIT while D. farinae-IgG2 and IgG3 were found in < 31%. Prior to therapy, dogs from the ASIT Group had significantly higher serum D. farinae-IgG1 than dogs in the ASIT+ Group (p<0.05). ASIT led to a significant increase in D. farinae-IgG1 in dogs from the ASIT (p<0.05) and ASIT+ (p<0.01) groups. D. farinae-IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4 concentrations were comparable for all groups before and during ASIT. Allergen-specific IgE concentration was not influenced by ASIT and the concentrations of IgG1 and IgG4 specific to an irrelevant antigen (Betula; birch pollen) were not influenced by ASIT against D. farinae. We conclude that long term ASIT increases levels of D. farinae-IgG1 and that dogs responding well to ASIT have a higher D. farinae-IgG1 concentration before therapy than partial responders.
Gene content evolution in the arthropods
BACKGROUND: Arthropods comprise the largest and most diverse phylum on Earth and play vital roles in nearly every ecosystem. Their diversity stems in part from variations on a conserved body plan, resulting from and recorded in adaptive changes in the genome. Dissection of the genomic record of sequence change enables broad questions regarding genome evolution to be addressed, even across hyper-diverse taxa within arthropods. RESULTS: Using 76 whole genome sequences representing 21 orders spanning more than 500 million years of arthropod evolution, we document changes in gene and protein domain content and provide temporal and phylogenetic context for interpreting these innovations. We identify many novel gene families that arose early in the evolution of arthropods and during the diversification of insects into modern orders. We reveal unexpected variation in patterns of DNA methylation across arthropods and examples of gene family and protein domain evolution coincident with the appearance of notable phenotypic and physiological adaptations such as flight, metamorphosis, sociality, and chemoperception. CONCLUSIONS: These analyses demonstrate how large-scale comparative genomics can provide broad new insights into the genotype to phenotype map and generate testable hypotheses about the evolution of animal diversity.
Histone deacetylase enzymes as drug targets for the control of the sheep blowfly, Lucilia cuprina
(ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2015-12-01)
The Australian sheep blowfly, Lucilia cuprina, is an ecto-parasite that causes significant economic losses in the sheep industry. Emerging resistance to insecticides used to protect sheep from this parasite is driving the search for new drugs that act via different mechanisms. Inhibitors of histone deacetylases (HDACs), enzymes essential for regulating eukaryotic gene transcription, are prospective new insecticides based on their capacity to kill human parasites. The blowfly genome was found here to contain five HDAC genes corresponding to human HDACs 1, 3, 4, 6 and 11. The catalytic domains of blowfly HDACs 1 and 3 have high sequence identity with corresponding human and other Dipteran insect HDACs (Musca domestica and Drosophila melanogaster). On the other hand, HDACs 4, 6 and 11 from the blowfly and the other Dipteran species showed up to 53% difference in catalytic domain amino acids from corresponding human sequences, suggesting the possibility of developing HDAC inhibitors specific for insects as desired for a commercial insecticide. Differences in transcription patterns for different blowfly HDACs through the life cycle, and between the sexes of adult flies, suggest different functions in regulating gene transcription within this organism and possibly different vulnerabilities. Data that supports HDACs as possible new insecticide targets is the finding that trichostatin A and suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid retarded growth of early instar blowfly larvae in vitro, and reduced the pupation rate. Trichostatin A was 8-fold less potent than the commercial insecticide cyromazine in inhibiting larval growth. Our results support further development of inhibitors of blowfly HDACs with selectivity over human and other mammalian HDACs as a new class of prospective insecticides for sheep blowfly.
Signal quality of simultaneously recorded endovascular, subdural and epidural signals are comparable
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-05-30)
Recent work has demonstrated the feasibility of minimally-invasive implantation of electrodes into a cortical blood vessel. However, the effect of the dura and blood vessel on recording signal quality is not understood and may be a critical factor impacting implementation of a closed-loop endovascular neuromodulation system. The present work compares the performance and recording signal quality of a minimally-invasive endovascular neural interface with conventional subdural and epidural interfaces. We compared bandwidth, signal-to-noise ratio, and spatial resolution of recorded cortical signals using subdural, epidural and endovascular arrays four weeks after implantation in sheep. We show that the quality of the signals (bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio) of the endovascular neural interface is not significantly different from conventional neural sensors. However, the spatial resolution depends on the array location and the frequency of recording. We also show that there is a direct correlation between the signal-noise-ratio and classification accuracy, and that decoding accuracy is comparable between electrode arrays. These results support the consideration for use of an endovascular neural interface in a clinical trial of a novel closed-loop neuromodulation technology.
Different changes in cortical tumor necrosis factor-alpha-related pathways in schizophrenia and mood disorders
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-07-01)
The growing body of evidence implicating tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders led us to measure levels of that protein in the cortex of subjects with major depressive disorders (MDD). Having reported an increase (458%) in the levels of the transmembrane (tmTNFα), but not the soluble (sTNFα), form of the protein in Brodmann's area (BA) 46, but not 24, in people with the disorder, we decided to examine additional components of TNFα-related pathways in the same regions in people with MDD and extend our studies to the same cortical regions of people with schizophrenia (Sz) and bipolar disorders (BD). Using postmortem tissue, western blots and quantitative PCR, we have now shown there is a significant increase (305%) in tmTNFα in Brodmann's area 24, but not 46, from subjects with BD, and that levels of the protein were not altered in Sz. Levels of sTNFα were not altered in BD or Sz. In addition, we have shown that levels of TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) mRNA are increased in BA 24 (53%) and BA 46 (82%) in people with Sz, whereas levels of TNFR2 mRNA was decreased in BA 46 in people with mood disorders (MDD=-51%; BD=-67%). Levels of proteins frequently used as surrogate markers of neuronal, astrocytic and microglia numbers, as well as levels of the pro-inflammatory marker (interleukin 1β), were not changed in the cortex of people with mood disorders. Our data suggest there are differential changes in TNFα-related markers in the cortex of people with MDD, BD and Sz that may not be related to classical inflammation and may cause changes in different TNFα-related signaling pathways.
AMPA receptor expression is increased post-mortem samples of the anterior cingulate from subjects with major depressive disorder
(ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2012-02-01)
BACKGROUND: Glutamate is thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder; however, the molecular changes underlying abnormal glutamatergic signalling remain poorly understood. Whilst previous studies have suggested that the NMDA receptor may be involved in the pathophysiology of mood disorders, it is unclear whether the non-NMDA receptors are also involved. Therefore, we sought to examine whether the expression of the non-NMDA, ionotropic glutamate receptors, AMPA receptor and kainate receptor, is altered in mood disorders. METHODS: We used [3H]AMPA and [3H]kainate to measure the levels of AMPA and kainate receptor, respectively, in the anterior cingulate (BA 24) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 46) from post-mortem CNS in 10 subjects with major depressive disorder, 10 subjects with bipolar disorder and 10 control subjects. RESULTS: A 20.7% to 27.7% increase in [3H]AMPA binding density was seen in BA 24 (p<0.05) but not BA 46 (p>0.05) in major depressive disorder compared to control levels. [3H]AMPA binding density was not changed in bipolar disorder in either BA 24 or BA 46 (p>0.05) compared to controls. [3H]Kainate binding was not changed in either BA 24 or BA 46 in either disorder compared to controls (p>0.05). LIMITATIONS: Small sample sizes (n=10) were used in this study. The subjects were not drug naïve. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggests increased in AMPA receptor levels in the anterior cingulate are involved in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder. This data has relevance for the development of new anti-depressant drugs targeted towards the AMPA receptors.