Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences Collected Works - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 329
Are high-impact species predictable? An analysis of naturalised grasses in northern Australia.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2013)
Predicting which species are likely to cause serious impacts in the future is crucial for targeting management efforts, but the characteristics of such species remain largely unconfirmed. We use data and expert opinion on tropical and subtropical grasses naturalised in Australia since European settlement to identify naturalised and high-impact species and subsequently to test whether high-impact species are predictable. High-impact species for the three main affected sectors (environment, pastoral and agriculture) were determined by assessing evidence against pre-defined criteria. Twenty-one of the 155 naturalised species (14%) were classified as high-impact, including four that affected more than one sector. High-impact species were more likely to have faster spread rates (regions invaded per decade) and to be semi-aquatic. Spread rate was best explained by whether species had been actively spread (as pasture), and time since naturalisation, but may not be explanatory as it was tightly correlated with range size and incidence rate. Giving more weight to minimising the chance of overlooking high-impact species, a priority for biosecurity, meant a wider range of predictors was required to identify high-impact species, and the predictive power of the models was reduced. By-sector analysis of predictors of high impact species was limited by their relative rarity, but showed sector differences, including to the universal predictors (spread rate and habitat) and life history. Furthermore, species causing high impact to agriculture have changed in the past 10 years with changes in farming practice, highlighting the importance of context in determining impact. A rationale for invasion ecology is to improve the prediction and response to future threats. Although our study identifies some universal predictors, it suggests improved prediction will require a far greater emphasis on impact rather than invasiveness, and will need to account for the individual circumstances of affected sectors and the relative rarity of high-impact species.
Induction of Protective CD4(+) T Cell-Mediated Immunity by a Leishmania Peptide Delivered in Recombinant Influenza Viruses
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-03-21)
The available evidence suggests that protective immunity to Leishmania is achieved by priming the CD4(+) Th1 response. Therefore, we utilised a reverse genetics strategy to generate influenza A viruses to deliver an immunogenic Leishmania peptide. The single, immunodominant Leishmania-specific LACK(158-173) CD4(+) peptide was engineered into the neuraminidase stalk of H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses. These recombinant viruses were used to vaccinate susceptible BALB/c mice to determine whether the resultant LACK(158-173)-specific CD4(+) T cell responses protected against live L. major infection. We show that vaccination with influenza-LACK(158-173) triggers LACK(158-173)-specific Th1-biased CD4(+) T cell responses within an appropriate cytokine milieu (IFN-γ, IL-12), essential for the magnitude and quality of the Th1 response. A single intraperitoneal exposure (non-replicative route of immunisation) to recombinant influenza delivers immunogenic peptides, leading to a marked reduction (2-4 log) in parasite burden, albeit without reduction in lesion size. This correlated with increased numbers of IFN-γ-producing CD4(+) T cells in vaccinated mice compared to controls. Importantly, the subsequent prime-boost approach with a serologically distinct strain of influenza (H1N1->H3N2) expressing LACK(158-173) led to a marked reduction in both lesion size and parasite burdens in vaccination trials. This protection correlated with high levels of IFN-γ producing cells in the spleen, which were maintained for 6 weeks post-challenge indicating the longevity of this protective effector response. Thus, these experiments show that Leishmania-derived peptides delivered in the context of recombinant influenza viruses are immunogenic in vivo, and warrant investigation of similar vaccine strategies to generate parasite-specific immunity.
Development of Vaccines against Visceral Leishmaniasis.
(Hindawi Limited, 2012)
Leishmaniasis is a neglected disease resulting in a global morbidity of 2,090 thousand Disability-Adjusted Life Years and a mortality rate of approximately 60,000 per year. Among the three clinical forms of leishmaniasis (cutaneous, mucosal, and visceral), visceral leishmaniasis (VL) accounts for the majority of mortality, as if left untreated VL is almost always fatal. Caused by infection with Leishmania donovani or L. infantum, VL represents a serious public health problem in endemic regions and is rapidly emerging as an opportunistic infection in HIV patients. To date, no vaccine exists for VL or any other form of leishmaniasis. In endemic areas, the majority of those infected do not develop clinical symptoms and past infection leads to robust immunity against reinfection. Thus the development of vaccine for Leishmania is a realistic public health goal, and this paper summarizes advances in vaccination strategies against VL.
The cross-pathway control system regulates production of the secondary metabolite toxin, sirodesmin PL, in the ascomycete, Leptosphaeria maculans
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2011-07-26)
BACKGROUND: Sirodesmin PL is a secondary metabolite toxin made by the ascomycetous plant pathogen, Leptosphaeria maculans. The sirodesmin biosynthetic genes are clustered in the genome. The key genes are a non-ribosomal peptide synthetase, sirP, and a pathway-specific transcription factor, sirZ. Little is known about regulation of sirodesmin production. RESULTS: Genes involved in regulation of sirodesmin PL in L. maculans have been identified. Two hundred random insertional T-DNA mutants were screened with an antibacterial assay for ones producing low levels of sirodesmin PL. Three such mutants were isolated and each transcribed sirZ at very low levels. One of the affected genes had high sequence similarity to Aspergillus fumigatus cpcA, which regulates the cross-pathway control system in response to amino acid availability. This gene was silenced in L. maculans and the resultant mutant characterised. When amino acid starvation was artificially-induced by addition of 3-aminotriazole for 5 h, transcript levels of sirP and sirZ did not change in the wild type. In contrast, levels of sirP and sirZ transcripts increased in the silenced cpcA mutant. After prolonged amino acid starvation the silenced cpcA mutant produced much higher amounts of sirodesmin PL than the wild type. CONCLUSIONS: Production of sirodesmin PL in L. maculans is regulated by the cross pathway control gene, cpcA, either directly or indirectly via the pathway-specific transcription factor, sirZ.
In Vivo Yeast Cell Morphogenesis Is Regulated by a p21-Activated Kinase in the Human Pathogen Penicillium marneffei
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-11-01)
Pathogens have developed diverse strategies to infect their hosts and evade the host defense systems. Many pathogens reside within host phagocytic cells, thus evading much of the host immune system. For dimorphic fungal pathogens which grow in a multicellular hyphal form, a central attribute which facilitates growth inside host cells without rapid killing is the capacity to switch from the hyphal growth form to a unicellular yeast form. Blocking this transition abolishes or severely reduces pathogenicity. Host body temperature (37 degrees C) is the most common inducer of the hyphal to yeast transition in vitro for many dimorphic fungi, and it is often assumed that this is the inducer in vivo. This work describes the identification and analysis of a new pathway involved in sensing the environment inside a host cell by a dimorphic fungal pathogen, Penicillium marneffei. The pakB gene, encoding a p21-activated kinase, defines this pathway and operates independently of known effectors in P. marneffei. Expression of pakB is upregulated in P. marneffei yeast cells isolated from macrophages but absent from in vitro cultured yeast cells produced at 37 degrees C. Deletion of pakB leads to a failure to produce yeast cells inside macrophages but no effect in vitro at 37 degrees C. Loss of pakB also leads to the inappropriate production of yeast cells at 25 degrees C in vitro, and the mechanism underlying this requires the activity of the central regulator of asexual development. The data shows that this new pathway is central to eliciting the appropriate morphogenetic response by the pathogen to the host environment independently of the common temperature signal, thus clearly separating the temperature- and intracellular-dependent signaling systems.
The SPRY domain-containing SOCS box protein SPSB2 targets iNOS for proteasomal degradation
(ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2010-07-12)
Inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase (iNOS; NOS2) produces NO and related reactive nitrogen species, which are critical effectors of the innate host response and are required for the intracellular killing of pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Leishmania major. We have identified SPRY domain-containing SOCS (suppressor of cytokine signaling) box protein 2 (SPSB2) as a novel negative regulator that recruits an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex to polyubiquitinate iNOS, resulting in its proteasomal degradation. SPSB2 interacts with the N-terminal region of iNOS via a binding interface on SPSB2 that has been mapped by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mutational analyses. SPSB2-deficient macrophages showed prolonged iNOS expression, resulting in a corresponding increase in NO production and enhanced killing of L. major parasites. These results lay the foundation for the development of small molecule inhibitors that could disrupt the SPSB-iNOS interaction and thus prolong the intracellular lifetime of iNOS, which may be beneficial in chronic and persistent infections.
Knockdown of piRNA pathway proteins results in enhanced Semliki Forest virus production in mosquito cells
(MICROBIOLOGY SOC, 2013-07-01)
The exogenous siRNA pathway is important in restricting arbovirus infection in mosquitoes. Less is known about the role of the PIWI-interacting RNA pathway, or piRNA pathway, in antiviral responses. Viral piRNA-like molecules have recently been described following infection of mosquitoes and derived cell lines with several arboviruses. The piRNA pathway has thus been suggested to function as an additional small RNA-mediated antiviral response to the known infection-induced siRNA response. Here we show that piRNA-like molecules are produced following infection with the naturally mosquito-borne Semliki Forest virus in mosquito cell lines. We show that knockdown of piRNA pathway proteins enhances the replication of this arbovirus and defines the contribution of piRNA pathway effectors, thus characterizing the antiviral properties of the piRNA pathway. In conclusion, arbovirus infection can trigger the piRNA pathway in mosquito cells, and knockdown of piRNA proteins enhances virus production.
Ability of the Encephalitic Arbovirus Semliki Forest Virus To Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier Is Determined by the Charge of the E2 Glycoprotein
(AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2015-08-01)
UNLABELLED: Semliki Forest virus (SFV) provides a well-characterized model system to study the pathogenesis of virus encephalitis. Several studies have used virus derived from the molecular clone SFV4. SFV4 virus does not have the same phenotype as the closely related L10 or the prototype virus from which its molecular clone was derived. In mice, L10 generates a high-titer plasma viremia, is efficiently neuroinvasive, and produces a fatal panencephalitis, whereas low-dose SFV4 produces a low-titer viremia, rarely enters the brain, and generally is avirulent. To determine the genetic differences responsible, the consensus sequence of L10 was determined and compared to that of SFV4. Of the 12 nucleotide differences, six were nonsynonymous; these were engineered into a new molecular clone, termed SFV6. The derived virus, SFV6, generated a high-titer viremia and was efficiently neuroinvasive and virulent. The phenotypic difference mapped to a single amino acid residue at position 162 in the E2 envelope glycoprotein (lysine in SFV4, glutamic acid in SFV6). Analysis of the L10 virus showed it contained different plaque phenotypes which differed in virulence. A lysine at E2 247 conferred a small-plaque avirulent phenotype and glutamic acid a large-plaque virulent phenotype. Viruses with a positively charged lysine at E2 162 or 247 were more reliant on glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) to enter cells and were selected for by passage in BHK-21 cells. Interestingly, viruses with the greatest reliance on binding to GAGs replicated to higher titers in the brain and more efficiently crossed an in vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB). IMPORTANCE: Virus encephalitis is a major disease, and alphaviruses, as highlighted by the recent epidemic of chikungunya virus (CHIKV), are medically important pathogens. In addition, alphaviruses provide well-studied experimental systems with extensive literature, many tools, and easy genetic modification. In this study, we elucidate the genetic basis for the difference in phenotype between SFV4 and the virus stocks from which it was derived and correct this by engineering a new molecular clone. We then use this clone in one comprehensive study to demonstrate that positively charged amino acid residues on the surface of the E2 glycoprotein, mediated by binding to GAGs, determine selective advantage and plaque size in BHK-21 cells, level of viremia in mice, ability to cross an artificial BBB, efficiency of replication in the brain, and virulence. Together with studies on Sindbis virus (SINV), this study provides an important advance in understanding alphavirus, and probably other virus, encephalitis.
Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes ricinus tick cell lines respond to infection with tick-borne encephalitis virus: transcriptomic and proteomic analysis
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015-11-18)
BACKGROUND: Ixodid ticks are important vectors of a wide variety of viral, bacterial and protozoan pathogens of medical and veterinary importance. Although several studies have elucidated tick responses to bacteria, little is known about the tick response to viruses. To gain insight into the response of tick cells to flavivirus infection, the transcriptomes and proteomes of two Ixodes spp cell lines infected with the flavivirus tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) were analysed. METHODS: RNA and proteins were isolated from the Ixodes scapularis-derived cell line IDE8 and the Ixodes ricinus-derived cell line IRE/CTVM19, mock-infected or infected with TBEV, on day 2 post-infection (p.i.) when virus production was increasing, and on day 6 p.i. when virus production was decreasing. RNA-Seq and mass spectrometric technologies were used to identify changes in abundance of, respectively, transcripts and proteins. Functional analyses were conducted on selected transcripts using RNA interference (RNAi) for gene knockdown in tick cells infected with the closely-related but less pathogenic flavivirus Langat virus (LGTV). RESULTS: Differential expression analysis using DESeq resulted in totals of 43 and 83 statistically significantly differentially-expressed transcripts in IDE8 and IRE/CTVM19 cells, respectively. Mass spectrometry detected 76 and 129 statistically significantly differentially-represented proteins in IDE8 and IRE/CTVM19 cells, respectively. Differentially-expressed transcripts and differentially-represented proteins included some that may be involved in innate immune and cell stress responses. Knockdown of the heat-shock proteins HSP90, HSP70 and gp96, the complement-associated protein Factor H and the protease trypsin resulted in increased LGTV replication and production in at least one tick cell line, indicating a possible antiviral role for these proteins. Knockdown of RNAi-associated proteins Argonaute and Dicer, which were included as positive controls, also resulted in increased LGTV replication and production in both cell lines, confirming their role in the antiviral RNAi pathway. CONCLUSIONS: This systems biology approach identified several molecules that may be involved in the tick cell innate immune response against flaviviruses and highlighted that ticks, in common with other invertebrate species, have other antiviral responses in addition to RNAi.
A Systematic Analysis of Host Factors Reveals a Med23-Interferon-lambda l Regulatory Axis against Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Replication
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-08-01)
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a neurotropic virus causing vesicular oral or genital skin lesions, meningitis and other diseases particularly harmful in immunocompromised individuals. To comprehensively investigate the complex interaction between HSV-1 and its host we combined two genome-scale screens for host factors (HFs) involved in virus replication. A yeast two-hybrid screen for protein interactions and a RNA interference (RNAi) screen with a druggable genome small interfering RNA (siRNA) library confirmed existing and identified novel HFs which functionally influence HSV-1 infection. Bioinformatic analyses found the 358 HFs were enriched for several pathways and multi-protein complexes. Of particular interest was the identification of Med23 as a strongly anti-viral component of the largely pro-viral Mediator complex, which links specific transcription factors to RNA polymerase II. The anti-viral effect of Med23 on HSV-1 replication was confirmed in gain-of-function gene overexpression experiments, and this inhibitory effect was specific to HSV-1, as a range of other viruses including Vaccinia virus and Semliki Forest virus were unaffected by Med23 depletion. We found Med23 significantly upregulated expression of the type III interferon family (IFN-λ) at the mRNA and protein level by directly interacting with the transcription factor IRF7. The synergistic effect of Med23 and IRF7 on IFN-λ induction suggests this is the major transcription factor for IFN-λ expression. Genotypic analysis of patients suffering recurrent orofacial HSV-1 outbreaks, previously shown to be deficient in IFN-λ secretion, found a significant correlation with a single nucleotide polymorphism in the IFN-λ3 (IL28b) promoter strongly linked to Hepatitis C disease and treatment outcome. This paper describes a link between Med23 and IFN-λ, provides evidence for the crucial role of IFN-λ in HSV-1 immune control, and highlights the power of integrative genome-scale approaches to identify HFs critical for disease progression and outcome.
Induction and suppression of tick cell antiviral RNAi responses by tick-borne flaviviruses
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2014-01-01)
Arboviruses are transmitted by distantly related arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes (class Insecta) and ticks (class Arachnida). RNA interference (RNAi) is the major antiviral mechanism in arthropods against arboviruses. Unlike in mosquitoes, tick antiviral RNAi is not understood, although this information is important to compare arbovirus/host interactions in different classes of arbovirus vectos. Using an Ixodes scapularis-derived cell line, key Argonaute proteins involved in RNAi and the response against tick-borne Langat virus (Flaviviridae) replication were identified and phylogenetic relationships characterized. Analysis of small RNAs in infected cells showed the production of virus-derived small interfering RNAs (viRNAs), which are key molecules of the antiviral RNAi response. Importantly, viRNAs were longer (22 nucleotides) than those from other arbovirus vectors and mapped at highest frequency to the termini of the viral genome, as opposed to mosquito-borne flaviviruses. Moreover, tick-borne flaviviruses expressed subgenomic flavivirus RNAs that interfere with tick RNAi. Our results characterize the antiviral RNAi response in tick cells including phylogenetic analysis of genes encoding antiviral proteins, and viral interference with this pathway. This shows important differences in antiviral RNAi between the two major classes of arbovirus vectors, and our data broadens our understanding of arthropod antiviral RNAi.
Natural Enemies Delay Insect Resistance to Bt Crops
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-03-03)
We investigated whether development of resistance to a Bt crop in the presence of a natural enemy would be slower than without the natural enemy and whether biological control, in conjunction with a Bt crop, could effectively suppress the pest population. Additionally, we investigated whether insecticide-sprayed refuges of non-Bt crops would delay or accelerate resistance to the Bt crop. We used a system of Bt broccoli expressing Cry1Ac, a population of the pest Plutella xylostella with a low frequency of individuals resistant to Cry1Ac and the insecticide spinosad, and a natural enemy, Coleomegilla maculata, to conduct experiments over multiple generations. The results demonstrated that after 6 generations P. xylostella populations were very low in the treatment containing C. maculata and unsprayed non-Bt refuge plants. Furthermore, resistance to Bt plants evolved significantly slower in this treatment. In contrast, Bt plants with no refuge were completely defoliated in treatments without C. maculata after 4-5 generations. In the treatment containing sprayed non-Bt refuge plants and C. maculata, the P. xylostella population was low, although the speed of resistance selection to Cry1Ac was significantly increased. These data demonstrate that natural enemies can delay resistance to Bt plants and have significant implications for integrated pest management (IPM) with Bt crops.