Medical Biology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1767
Publisher Correction: Anopheles ecology, genetics and malaria transmission in northern Cambodia.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-06-09)
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Ubiquitylation of MLKL at lysine 219 positively regulates necroptosis-induced tissue injury and pathogen clearance
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-06-07)
Necroptosis is a lytic, inflammatory form of cell death that not only contributes to pathogen clearance but can also lead to disease pathogenesis. Necroptosis is triggered by RIPK3-mediated phosphorylation of MLKL, which is thought to initiate MLKL oligomerisation, membrane translocation and membrane rupture, although the precise mechanism is incompletely understood. Here, we show that K63-linked ubiquitin chains are attached to MLKL during necroptosis and that ubiquitylation of MLKL at K219 significantly contributes to the cytotoxic potential of phosphorylated MLKL. The K219R MLKL mutation protects animals from necroptosis-induced skin damage and renders cells resistant to pathogen-induced necroptosis. Mechanistically, we show that ubiquitylation of MLKL at K219 is required for higher-order assembly of MLKL at membranes, facilitating its rupture and necroptosis. We demonstrate that K219 ubiquitylation licenses MLKL activity to induce lytic cell death, suggesting that necroptotic clearance of pathogens as well as MLKL-dependent pathologies are influenced by the ubiquitin-signalling system.
Procalcitonin and Interleukin-10 May Assist in Early Prediction of Bacteraemia in Children With Cancer and Febrile Neutropenia
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-05-20)
Objectives: Febrile neutropenia (FN) causes treatment disruption and unplanned hospitalization in children with cancer. Serum biomarkers are infrequently used to stratify these patients into high or low risk for serious infection. This study investigated plasma abundance of cytokines in children with FN and their ability to predict bacteraemia. Methods: Thirty-three plasma cytokines, C-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin (PCT) were measured using ELISA assays in samples taken at FN presentation (n = 79) and within 8-24 h (Day 2; n = 31). Optimal thresholds for prediction of bacteraemia were identified and the predictive ability of biomarkers in addition to routinely available clinical variables was assessed. Results: The median age of included FN episodes was 6.0 years and eight (10%) had a bacteraemia. On presentation, elevated PCT, IL-10 and Mip1-beta were significantly associated with bacteraemia, while CRP, IL-6 and IL-8 were not. The combination of PCT (≥0.425 ng/ml) and IL-10 (≥4.37 pg/ml) had a sensitivity of 100% (95% CI 68.8-100%) and specificity of 89% (95% CI 80.0-95.0%) for prediction of bacteraemia, correctly identifying all eight bacteraemia episodes and classifying 16 FN episodes as high-risk. There was limited additive benefit of incorporating clinical variables to this model. On Day 2, there was an 11-fold increase in PCT in episodes with a bacteraemia which was significantly higher than that observed in the non-bacteraemia episodes. Conclusion: Elevated PCT and IL-10 accurately identified all bacteraemia episodes in our FN cohort and may enhance the early risk stratification process in this population. Prospective validation and implementation is required to determine the impact on health service utilisation.
A Sensitive Whole Blood Assay Detects Antigen-Stimulated Cytokine Release From CD4+T Cells and Facilitates Immunomonitoring in a Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Nexvax2 in Coeliac Disease
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-05-19)
Improved blood tests assessing the functional status of rare gluten-specific CD4+ T cells are needed to effectively monitor experimental therapies for coeliac disease (CD). Our aim was to develop a simple, but highly sensitive cytokine release assay (CRA) for gluten-specific CD4+ T cells that did not require patients to undergo a prior gluten challenge, and would be practical in large, multi-centre clinical trials. We developed an enhanced CRA and used it in a phase 2 clinical trial ("RESET CeD") of Nexvax2, a peptide-based immunotherapy for CD. Two participants with treated CD were assessed in a pilot study prior to and six days after a 3-day gluten challenge. Dye-dilution proliferation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was assessed, and IL-2, IFN-γ and IL-10 were measured by multiplex electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECL) after 24-hour gluten-peptide stimulation of whole blood or matched PBMC. Subsequently, gluten-specific CD4+ T cells in blood were assessed in a subgroup of the RESET CeD Study participants who received Nexvax2 (maintenance dose 900 μg, n = 12) or placebo (n = 9). The pilot study showed that gluten peptides induced IL-2, IFN-γ and IL-10 release from PBMCs attributable to CD4+ T cells, but the PBMC CRA was substantially less sensitive than whole blood CRA. Only modest gluten peptide-stimulated IL-2 release could be detected without prior gluten challenge using PBMC. In contrast, whole blood CRA enabled detection of IL-2 and IFN-γ before and after gluten challenge. IL-2 and IFN-γ release in whole blood required more than 6 hours incubation. Delay in whole blood incubation of more than three hours from collection substantially reduced antigen-stimulated IL-2 and IFN-γ secretion. Nexvax2, but not placebo treatment in the RESET CeD Study was associated with significant reductions in gluten peptide-stimulated whole blood IL-2 and IFN-γ release, and CD4+ T cell proliferation. We conclude that using fresh whole blood instead of PBMC substantially enhances cytokine secretion stimulated by gluten peptides, and enables assessment of rare gluten-specific CD4+ T cells without requiring CD patients to undertake a gluten challenge. Whole blood assessment coupled with ultra-sensitive cytokine detection shows promise in the monitoring of rare antigen-specific T cells in clinical studies.
NLRP1 variant M1184V decreases inflammasome activation in the context of DPP9 inhibition and asthma severity
BACKGROUND: NLRP1 is an innate immune sensor that can form cytoplasmic inflammasome complexes. Polymorphisms in NLRP1 are linked to asthma; however, there is currently no functional or mechanistic explanation for this. OBJECTIVE: We sought to clarify the role of NLRP1 in asthma pathogenesis. METHODS: Results from the GALA II cohort study were used to identify a link between NLRP1 and asthma in Mexican Americans. In vitro and in vivo models for NLRP1 activation were applied to investigate the role of this inflammasome in asthma at the molecular level. RESULTS: We document the association of an NLRP1 haplotype with asthma for which the single nucleotide polymorphism rs11651270 (M1184V) individually is the most significant. Surprisingly, M1184V increases NLRP1 activation in the context of N-terminal destabilization, but decreases NLRP1 activation on dipeptidyl peptidase 9 inhibition. In vitro studies demonstrate that M1184V increases binding to dipeptidyl peptidase 9, which can account for its inhibitory role in this context. In addition, in vivo data from a mouse model of airway inflammation reveal a protective role for NLRP1 inflammasome activation reducing eosinophilia in this setting. CONCLUSIONS: Linking our in vitro and in vivo results, we found that the NLRP1 variant M1184V reduces inflammasome activation in the context of dipeptidyl peptidase 9 inhibition and could thereby increase asthma severity. Our studies may have implications for the treatment of asthma in patients carrying this variant of NLRP1.
A single-cell RNA expression atlas of normal, preneoplastic and tumorigenic states in the human breast
To examine global changes in breast heterogeneity across different states, we determined the single-cell transcriptomes of > 340,000 cells encompassing normal breast, preneoplastic BRCA1+/- tissue, the major breast cancer subtypes, and pairs of tumors and involved lymph nodes. Elucidation of the normal breast microenvironment revealed striking changes in the stroma of post-menopausal women. Single-cell profiling of 34 treatment-naive primary tumors, including estrogen receptor (ER)+ , HER2+ , and triple-negative breast cancers, revealed comparable diversity among cancer cells and a discrete subset of cycling cells. The transcriptomes of preneoplastic BRCA1+/- tissue versus tumors highlighted global changes in the immune microenvironment. Within the tumor immune landscape, proliferative CD8+ T cells characterized triple-negative and HER2+ cancers but not ER+ tumors, while all subtypes comprised cycling tumor-associated macrophages, thus invoking potentially different immunotherapy targets. Copy number analysis of paired ER+ tumors and lymph nodes indicated seeding by genetically distinct clones or mass migration of primary tumor cells into axillary lymph nodes. This large-scale integration of patient samples provides a high-resolution map of cell diversity in normal and cancerous human breast.
Measuring pathway database coverage of the phosphoproteome
(PEERJ INC, 2021-05-25)
Protein phosphorylation is one of the best known post-translational mechanisms playing a key role in the regulation of cellular processes. Over 100,000 distinct phosphorylation sites have been discovered through constant improvement of mass spectrometry based phosphoproteomics in the last decade. However, data saturation is occurring and the bottleneck of assigning biologically relevant functionality to phosphosites needs to be addressed. There has been finite success in using data-driven approaches to reveal phosphosite functionality due to a range of limitations. The alternate, more suitable approach is making use of prior knowledge from literature-derived databases. Here, we analysed seven widely used databases to shed light on their suitability to provide functional insights into phosphoproteomics data. We first determined the global coverage of each database at both the protein and phosphosite level. We also determined how consistent each database was in its phosphorylation annotations compared to a global standard. Finally, we looked in detail at the coverage of each database over six experimental datasets. Our analysis highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of each database, providing a guide in how each can be best used to identify biological mechanisms in phosphoproteomic data.
First Description of the Composition and the Functional Capabilities of the Skin Microbial Community Accompanying Severe Scabies Infestation in Humans
Epidemiological studies link Sarcoptes scabiei infection and impetigo. Scabies mites can promote Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Streptococcus) and Staphylococcus aureus infections by breaching the skin barrier and excreting molecules that inhibit host innate immune responses. However, little is known about the composition and the function of the scabies-associated microbiota. Here, high-throughput whole-metagenome sequencing was used to explore the scabies-associated microbiome. Scabies mites including their immediate microenvironments were isolated from two patients with severe scabies in Northern Australia. Two ~45-50 million paired-end reads Illumina libraries were generated of which ~2 (5.1%) and 0.7 million (1.3%) microbial reads were filtered out by mapping to human (hg19) and mite draft genomes. Taxonomic profiling revealed a microbial community dominated by the phylum Firmicutes (A: 79% and B: 59%) and genera that comprise Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Acinetobacter, and Corynebacterium. Assembly of the metagenome reads resulted in genome bins representing reference genomes of Acinetobacter baumannii, Streptococcus dysgalactiae (Group C/G), Proteus mirablis and Staphylococcus aureus. The contigs contained genes relevant to pathogenicity and antibiotics resistance. Confocal microscopy of a patient skin sample confirmed A. baumannii, Streptococci and S. aureus in scabies mite gut and faeces and the surrounding skin. The study provides fundamental evidence for the association of opportunistic pathogens with scabies infection.
Targeting RIP Kinases in Chronic Inflammatory Disease.
(MDPI AG, 2021-04-28)
Chronic inflammatory disorders are characterised by aberrant and exaggerated inflammatory immune cell responses. Modes of extrinsic cell death, apoptosis and necroptosis, have now been shown to be potent drivers of deleterious inflammation, and mutations in core repressors of these pathways underlie many autoinflammatory disorders. The receptor-interacting protein (RIP) kinases, RIPK1 and RIPK3, are integral players in extrinsic cell death signalling by regulating the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF), and coordinating the activation of the NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome, which underpin pathological inflammation in numerous chronic inflammatory disorders. In this review, we firstly give an overview of the inflammatory cell death pathways regulated by RIPK1 and RIPK3. We then discuss how dysregulated signalling along these pathways can contribute to chronic inflammatory disorders of the joints, skin, and gastrointestinal tract, and discuss the emerging evidence for targeting these RIP kinases in the clinic.
Ultra-low dose immunization and multi-component vaccination strategies enhance protection against malaria in mice.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-05-24)
An effective vaccine would be a valuable tool for malaria control and elimination; however, the leading malaria vaccine in development, RTS,S/AS01, provided only partial protection in a Phase 3 trial. R21 is a next-generation RTS,S-like vaccine. We have previously shown in mice that R21 administered in Matrix-M is highly immunogenic, able to elicit complete protection against sporozoite challenge, and can be successfully administered with TRAP based viral-vectors resulting in enhanced protection. In this study, we developed a novel, GMP-compatible purification process for R21, and evaluated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of ultra-low doses of both R21 and RTS,S when formulated in AS01. We demonstrated that both vaccines are highly immunogenic and also elicit comparable high levels of protection against transgenic parasites in BALB/c mice. By lowering the vaccine dose there was a trend for increased immunogenicity and sterile protection, with the highest dose vaccine groups achieving the lowest efficacy (50% sterile protection). We also evaluated the ability to combine RTS,S/AS01 with TRAP based viral-vectors and observed concurrent induction of immune responses to both antigens with minimal interference when mixing the vaccines prior to administration. These studies suggest that R21 or RTS,S could be combined with viral-vectors for a multi-component vaccination approach and indicate that low dose vaccination should be fully explored in humans to maximize potential efficacy.
There's more to death than life: Noncatalytic functions in kinase and pseudokinase signaling.
(Elsevier BV, 2021-01)
Protein kinases are present in all domains of life and play diverse roles in cellular signaling. Whereas the impact of substrate phosphorylation by protein kinases has long been appreciated, it is becoming increasingly clear that protein kinases also play other, noncatalytic, functions. Here, we review recent developments in understanding the noncatalytic functions of protein kinases. Many noncatalytic activities are best exemplified by protein kinases that are devoid of enzymatic activity altogether-known as pseudokinases. These dead proteins illustrate that, beyond conventional notions of kinase function, catalytic activity can be dispensable for biological function. Through key examples we illustrate diverse mechanisms of noncatalytic kinase activity: as allosteric modulators; protein-based switches; scaffolds for complex assembly; and as competitive inhibitors in signaling pathways. In common, these noncatalytic mechanisms exploit the nature of the protein kinase fold as a versatile protein-protein interaction module. Many examples are also intrinsically linked to the ability of the protein kinase to switch between multiple states, a function shared with catalytic protein kinases. Finally, we consider the contemporary landscape of small molecules to modulate noncatalytic functions of protein kinases, which, although challenging, has significant potential given the scope of noncatalytic protein kinase function in health and disease.
The neutrotime transcriptional signature defines a single continuum of neutrophils across biological compartments.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-05-17)
Neutrophils are implicated in multiple homeostatic and pathological processes, but whether functional diversity requires discrete neutrophil subsets is not known. Here, we apply single-cell RNA sequencing to neutrophils from normal and inflamed mouse tissues. Whereas conventional clustering yields multiple alternative organizational structures, diffusion mapping plus RNA velocity discloses a single developmental spectrum, ordered chronologically. Termed here neutrotime, this spectrum extends from immature pre-neutrophils, largely in bone marrow, to mature neutrophils predominantly in blood and spleen. The sharpest increments in neutrotime occur during the transitions from pre-neutrophils to immature neutrophils and from mature marrow neutrophils to those in blood. Human neutrophils exhibit a similar transcriptomic pattern. Neutrophils migrating into inflamed mouse lung, peritoneum and joint maintain the core mature neutrotime signature together with new transcriptional activity that varies with site and stimulus. Together, these data identify a single developmental spectrum as the dominant organizational theme of neutrophil heterogeneity.