Research, Innovation and Commercialisation - Research Publications
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Environmental Flows Can Reduce the Encroachment of Terrestrial Vegetation into River Channels: A Systematic Literature Review
Encroachment of riparian vegetation into regulated river channels exerts control over fluvial processes, channel morphology, and aquatic ecology. Reducing encroachment of terrestrial vegetation is an oft-cited objective of environmental flow recommendations, but there has been no systematic assessment of the evidence for and against the widely-accepted cause-and-effect mechanisms involved. We systematically reviewed the literature to test whether environmental flows can reduce the encroachment of terrestrial vegetation into river channels. We quantified the level of support for five explicit cause-effect hypotheses drawn from a conceptual model of the effects of flow on vegetation. We found that greater inundation, variously expressed as changes in the area, depth, duration, frequency, seasonality, and volume of surface water, generally reduces riparian vegetation abundance in channels, but most studies did not investigate the specific mechanisms causing these changes. Those that did show that increased inundation results in increased mortality, but also increased germination. The evidence was insufficient to determine whether increased inundation decreases reproduction. Our results contribute to hydro-ecological understanding by using the published literature to test for general cause-effect relationships between flow regime and terrestrial vegetation encroachment. Reviews of this nature provide robust support for flow management, and are more defensible than expert judgement-based approaches. Overall, we predict that restoration of more natural flow regimes will reduce encroachment of terrestrial vegetation into regulated river channels, partly through increased mortality. Conversely, infrequent deliveries of environmental flows may actually increase germination and subsequent encroachment.
Assessing the benefits and risks of translocations in changing environments: a genetic perspective
Translocations are being increasingly proposed as a way of conserving biodiversity, particularly in the management of threatened and keystone species, with the aims of maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function under the combined pressures of habitat fragmentation and climate change. Evolutionary genetic considerations should be an important part of translocation strategies, but there is often confusion about concepts and goals. Here, we provide a classification of translocations based on specific genetic goals for both threatened species and ecological restoration, separating targets based on 'genetic rescue' of current population fitness from those focused on maintaining adaptive potential. We then provide a framework for assessing the genetic benefits and risks associated with translocations and provide guidelines for managers focused on conserving biodiversity and evolutionary processes. Case studies are developed to illustrate the framework.
MHC class I expression in intestinal cells is reduced by rotavirus infection and increased in bystander cells lacking rotavirus antigen
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-01-08)
Detection of viral infection by host cells leads to secretion of type I interferon, which induces antiviral gene expression. The class I major histocompatibility complex (MHCI) is required for viral antigen presentation and subsequent infected cell killing by cytotoxic T lymphocytes. STAT1 activation by interferon can induce NLRC5 expression, promoting MHCI expression. Rotavirus, an important pathogen, blocks interferon signalling through inhibition of STAT1 nuclear translocation. We assessed MHCI expression in HT-29 intestinal epithelial cells following rotavirus infection. MHCI levels were upregulated in a partially type I interferon-dependent manner in bystander cells lacking rotavirus antigen, but not in infected cells. MHCI and NLRC5 mRNA expression also was elevated in bystander, but not infected, cells, suggesting a transcriptional block in infected cells. STAT1 was activated in bystander and infected cells, but showed nuclear localisation in bystander cells only. Overall, the lack of MHCI upregulation in rotavirus-infected cells may be at least partially due to rotavirus blockade of interferon-induced STAT1 nuclear translocation. The reduced MHCI protein levels in infected cells support the existence of an additional, non-transcriptional mechanism that reduces MHCI expression. It is possible that rotavirus also may suppress MHCI expression in vivo, which might limit T cell-mediated killing of rotavirus-infected enterocytes.
Understanding CD8(+) T-cell responses toward the native and alternate HLA-A*02:01-restricted WT1 epitope
The Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1) antigen is expressed in solid and hematological malignancies, but not healthy tissues, making it a promising target for cancer immunotherapies. Immunodominant WT1 epitopes, the native HLA-A2/WT1126-134 (RMFPNAPYL) (HLA-A2/RMFPNAPYL epitope (WT1A)) and its modified variant YMFPNAPYL (HLA-A2/YMFPNAPYL epitope (WT1B)), can induce WT1-specific CD8+ T cells, although WT1B is more stably bound to HLA-A*02:01. Here, to further determine the benefits of those two targets, we assessed the naive precursor frequencies; immunogenicity and cross-reactivity of CD8+ T cells directed toward these two WT1 epitopes. Ex vivo naive WT1A- and WT1B-specific CD8+ T cells were detected in healthy HLA-A*02:01+ individuals with comparable precursor frequencies (1 in 105-106) to other naive CD8+ T-cell pools (for example, A2/HIV-Gag77-85), but as expected, ~100 × lower than those found in memory populations (influenza, A2/M158-66; EBV, A2/BMLF1280-288). Importantly, only WT1A-specific naive precursors were detected in HLA-A2.1 mice. To further assess the immunogenicity and recruitment of CD8+ T cells responding to WT1A and WT1B, we immunized HLA-A2.1 mice with either peptide. WT1A immunization elicited numerically higher CD8+ T-cell responses to the native tumor epitope following re-stimulation, although both regimens produced functionally similar responses toward WT1A via cytokine analysis and CD107a expression. Interestingly, however, WT1B immunization generated cross-reactive CD8+ T-cell responses to WT1A and could be further expanded by WT1A peptide revealing two distinct populations of single- and cross-reactive WT1A+CD8+ T cells with unique T-cell receptor-αβ gene signatures. Therefore, although both epitopes are immunogenic, the clinical benefits of WT1B vaccination remains debatable and perhaps both peptides may have separate clinical benefits as treatment targets.
CD8(+) T Cells from a Novel T Cell Receptor Transgenic Mouse Induce Liver-Stage Immunity That Can Be Boosted by Blood-Stage Infection in Rodent Malaria
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-05-01)
To follow the fate of CD8+ T cells responsive to Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) infection, we generated an MHC I-restricted TCR transgenic mouse line against this pathogen. T cells from this line, termed PbT-I T cells, were able to respond to blood-stage infection by PbA and two other rodent malaria species, P. yoelii XNL and P. chabaudi AS. These PbT-I T cells were also able to respond to sporozoites and to protect mice from liver-stage infection. Examination of the requirements for priming after intravenous administration of irradiated sporozoites, an effective vaccination approach, showed that the spleen rather than the liver was the main site of priming and that responses depended on CD8α+ dendritic cells. Importantly, sequential exposure to irradiated sporozoites followed two days later by blood-stage infection led to augmented PbT-I T cell expansion. These findings indicate that PbT-I T cells are a highly versatile tool for studying multiple stages and species of rodent malaria and suggest that cross-stage reactive CD8+ T cells may be utilized in liver-stage vaccine design to enable boosting by blood-stage infections.
Rotavirus acceleration of murine type 1 diabetes is associated with a T helper 1-dependent specific serum antibody response and virus effects in regional lymph nodes
AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Rotavirus infection in at-risk children correlates with production of serum autoantibodies indicative of type 1 diabetes progression. Oral infection with rhesus monkey rotavirus (RRV) accelerates diabetes onset in mice. This relates to their rotavirus-specific serum antibody titre and local pro-inflammatory cytokine induction without pancreatic infection. Our aim was to further investigate the roles of serum antibodies and viral extra-intestinal spread in diabetes acceleration by rotavirus. METHODS: Rotavirus-specific serum antibody production was detected by ELISA in diabetes-prone mice given either inactivated or low-dose RRV, in relation to their diabetes development. Serum anti-rotavirus antibody titres and infectious virus in lymph nodes were measured in mice given RRV or porcine rotavirus CRW-8. In lymph node cells, rotavirus antigen presence and immune activation were determined by flow cytometry, in conjunction with cytokine mRNA levels. RESULTS: Acceleration of diabetes by RRV required virus replication, which correlated with antibody presence. CRW-8 induced similar specific total immunoglobulin and IgA titres to those induced by RRV, but did not accelerate diabetes. RRV alone elicited specific serum IgG antibodies with a T helper (Th)1 bias, spread to regional lymph nodes and activated antigen-presenting cells at these sites. RRV increased Th1-specific cytokine expression in pancreatic lymph nodes. Diabetes onset was more rapid in the RRV-infected mice with the greater Th1 bias. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Acceleration of murine diabetes by rotavirus is virus strain-specific and associated with virus spread to regional lymph nodes, activation of antigen-presenting cells at these sites and induction of a Th1-dominated antibody and cytokine response.