School of Biomedical Sciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 103
Comprehensive identification of essential Staphylococcus aureus genes using Transposon-Mediated Differential Hybridisation (TMDH)
BACKGROUND: In recent years there has been an increasing problem with Staphylococcus aureus strains that are resistant to treatment with existing antibiotics. An important starting point for the development of new antimicrobial drugs is the identification of "essential" genes that are important for bacterial survival and growth. RESULTS: We have developed a robust microarray and PCR-based method, Transposon-Mediated Differential Hybridisation (TMDH), that uses novel bioinformatics to identify transposon inserts in genome-wide libraries. Following a microarray-based screen, genes lacking transposon inserts are re-tested using a PCR and sequencing-based approach. We carried out a TMDH analysis of the S. aureus genome using a large random mariner transposon library of around a million mutants, and identified a total of 351 S. aureus genes important for survival and growth in culture. A comparison with the essential gene list experimentally derived for Bacillus subtilis highlighted interesting differences in both pathways and individual genes. CONCLUSION: We have determined the first comprehensive list of S. aureus essential genes. This should act as a useful starting point for the identification of potential targets for novel antimicrobial compounds. The TMDH methodology we have developed is generic and could be applied to identify essential genes in other bacterial pathogens.
Comprehensive Identification of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Genes Required for Infection of BALB/c Mice
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-07-01)
Genes required for infection of mice by Salmonella Typhimurium can be identified by the interrogation of random transposon mutant libraries for mutants that cannot survive in vivo. Inactivation of such genes produces attenuated S. Typhimurium strains that have potential for use as live attenuated vaccines. A quantitative screen, Transposon Mediated Differential Hybridisation (TMDH), has been developed that identifies those members of a large library of transposon mutants that are attenuated. TMDH employs custom transposons with outward-facing T7 and SP6 promoters. Fluorescently-labelled transcripts from the promoters are hybridised to whole-genome tiling microarrays, to allow the position of the transposon insertions to be determined. Comparison of microarray data from the mutant library grown in vitro (input) with equivalent data produced after passage of the library through mice (output) enables an attenuation score to be determined for each transposon mutant. These scores are significantly correlated with bacterial counts obtained during infection of mice using mutants with individual defined deletions of the same genes. Defined deletion mutants of several novel targets identified in the TMDH screen are effective live vaccines.
Inhibition of NOX1/4 with GKT137831: a potential novel treatment to attenuate neuroglial cell inflammation in the retina
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015-07-30)
BACKGROUND: Inflammation and the excess production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of ischemic retinopathies such as diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. We hypothesized that GKT137831, a dual inhibitor of NADPH oxidases (NOX) 1 and NOX4, reduces inflammation in the ischemic retina by dampening the pro-inflammatory phenotype of retinal immune cells as well as macroglial Müller cells and neurons. METHODS: Ischemic retinopathy was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by exposure to 80 % O2 cycled with 21 % O2 for 3 h per day from postnatal day (P) 0 to P11, followed by room air (P12 to P18). GKT137831 was administered P12 to P18 (60 mg/kg, subcutaneous) and comparisons were to room air controls. Retinal inflammation was examined by measuring leukocyte adherence to the retinal vasculature, ionized calcium-binding adaptor protein-1-positive microglia/macrophages, and the mRNA and protein levels of key inflammatory factors involved in retinal disease. Damage to Müller cells was evaluated by quantitating glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive cells and vascular leakage with an albumin ELISA. To verify the anti-inflammatory actions of GKT137831 on glia and neurons involved in ischemic retinopathy, primary cultures of rat retinal microglia, Müller cells, and ganglion cells were exposed to the in vitro counterpart of ischemia, hypoxia (0.5 %), and treated with GKT137831 for up to 72 h. ROS levels were evaluated with dihydroethidium and the protein and gene expression of inflammatory factors with quantitative PCR, ELISA, and a protein cytokine array. RESULTS: In the ischemic retina, GKT137831 reduced the increased leukocyte adherence to the vasculature, the pro-inflammatory phenotype of microglia and macroglia, the increased gene and protein expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and leukocyte adhesion molecules as well as vascular leakage. In all cultured cell types, GKT137831 reduced the hypoxia-induced increase in ROS levels and protein expression of various inflammatory mediators. CONCLUSIONS: NOX1/4 enzyme inhibition with GKT137831 has potent anti-inflammatory effects in the retina, indicating its potential as a treatment for a variety of vision-threatening retinopathies.
Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells Provide Protection Against Bacterial-Induced Colitis
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-04-09)
We have examined the influence of depleting plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) in mice on the immune response to the gut pathogen Citrobacter rodentium, an organism that is a model for human attaching effacing pathogens such as enterohaemorraghic E. coli. A significantly higher number of C. rodentium were found in mice depleted of pDC from 7 days after infection and pDC depleted mice showed increased gut pathology and higher levels of mRNA encoding inflammatory cytokines in the colon upon infection. pDC-depletion led to a compromising of the gut mucosal barrier that may have contributed to increased numbers of C. rodentium in systemic organs. pDC-depleted mice infected with C. rodentium suffered substantial weight loss necessitating euthanasia. A number of observations suggested that this was not simply the result of dysregulation of immunity in the colon as pDC-depleted mice infected intravenously with C. rodentium also exhibited exacerbated weight loss, arguing that pDC influence systemic immune responses. Overall, these data indicate that pDC contribute at multiple levels to immunity to C. rodentium including control of bacterial numbers in the colon, maintenance of colon barrier function and regulation of immune responses to disseminated bacteria.
Update on the treatment of diabetic retinopathy
(HINDAWI LTD, 2008-01-01)
Retinopathy is the most feared complication of diabetes, compromising quality of life in most sufferers. Almost all patients with type 1 diabetes will develop retinopathy over a 15- to 20-year period, and approximately 20-30% will advance to the blinding stage of the disease. Greater than 60% of patients with type 2 diabetes will have retinopathy. This situation is highlighted by the frightening statistic that diabetic retinopathy (DR) remains the most common cause of vision impairment in people of working age in Western society. With the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes, this predicament is set to worsen as over 360 million people are projected to suffer from diabetes and its complications by 2030. Vision loss from diabetes is due to a number of factors, including haemorrhage from new and poorly formed blood vessels, retinal detachment due to contraction of deposited fibrous tissue, and neovascular glaucoma resulting in an increase in intraocular pressure. Diabetic macular oedema is now the principal cause of vision loss in diabetes and involves leakage from a disrupted blood-retinal barrier. In terms of treatment, there is clear evidence that strict metabolic and blood pressure control can lower the risk of developing DR and reduce disease progression. Laser photocoagulation and vitrectomy are effective in preventing severe vision loss in DR, particularly in the most advanced stages of the disease. However, both procedures have limitations. This review examines evidence from preclinical and clinical studies that shows that targeting inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system, vascular endothelial growth factor, corticosteroids, protein kinase C, growth hormone, and advanced glycation end-products are potential treatments for DR.
Application of a chemical probe to detect neutrophil elastase activation during inflammatory bowel disease
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-09-16)
Neutrophil elastase is a serine protease that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Due to post-translational control of its activation and high expression of its inhibitors in the gut, measurements of total expression poorly reflect the pool of active, functional neutrophil elastase. Fluorogenic substrate probes have been used to measure neutrophil elastase activity, though these tools lack specificity and traceability. PK105 is a recently described fluorescent activity-based probe, which binds to neutrophil elastase in an activity-dependent manner. The irreversible nature of this probe allows for accurate identification of its targets in complex protein mixtures. We describe the reactivity profile of PK105b, a new analogue of PK105, against recombinant serine proteases and in tissue extracts from healthy mice and from models of inflammation induced by oral cancer and Legionella pneumophila infection. We apply PK105b to measure neutrophil elastase activation in an acute model of experimental colitis. Neutrophil elastase activity is detected in inflamed, but not healthy, colons. We corroborate this finding in mucosal biopsies from patients with ulcerative colitis. Thus, PK105b facilitates detection of neutrophil elastase activity in tissue lysates, and we have applied it to demonstrate that this protease is unequivocally activated during colitis.
The Salmonella Effector SseK3 Targets Small Rab GTPases
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2020-08-19)
During infection, Salmonella species inject multiple type III secretion system (T3SS) effector proteins into host cells that mediate invasion and subsequent intracellular replication. At early stages of infection, Salmonella exploits key regulators of host intracellular vesicle transport, including the small GTPases Rab5 and Rab7, to subvert host endocytic vesicle trafficking and establish the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV). At later stages of intracellular replication, interactions of the SCV with Rab GTPases are less well defined. Here we report that Rab1, Rab5, and Rab11 are modified at later stages of Salmonella infection by SseK3, an arginine N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) transferase effector translocated via the Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2) type III secretion system. SseK3 modified arginines at positions 74, 82, and 111 within Rab1 and this modification occurred independently of Rab1 nucleotide binding. SseK3 exhibited Golgi localization that was independent of its glycosyltransferase activity but Arg-GlcNAc transferase activity was required for inhibition of alkaline phosphatase secretion in transfected cells. While SseK3 had a modest effect on SEAP secretion during infection of HeLa229 cells, inhibition of IL-1 and GM-CSF cytokine secretion was only observed upon over-expression of SseK3 during infection of RAW264.7 cells. Our results suggest that, in addition to targeting death receptor signaling, SseK3 may contribute to Salmonella infection by interfering with the activity of key Rab GTPases.
High antibody titres induced by protein subunit vaccines using Mycobacterium ulcerans antigens Hsp18 and MUL _3720 with a TLR-2 agonist fail to protect against Buruli ulcer in mice
(PEERJ INC, 2020-08-07)
Background: Mycobacterium ulcerans is the causative agent of a debilitating skin and soft tissue infection known as Buruli ulcer (BU). There is no vaccine against BU. The purpose of this study was to investigate the vaccine potential of two previously described immunogenic M. ulcerans proteins, MUL_3720 and Hsp18, using a mouse tail infection model of BU. Methods: Recombinant versions of the two proteins were each electrostatically coupled with a previously described lipopeptide adjuvant. Seven C57BL/6 and seven BALB/c mice were vaccinated and boosted with each of the formulations. Vaccinated mice were then challenged with M. ulcerans via subcutaneous tail inoculation. Vaccine performance was assessed by time-to-ulceration compared to unvaccinated mice. Results: The MUL_3720 and Hsp18 vaccines induced high titres of antigen-specific antibodies that were predominately subtype IgG1. However, all mice developed ulcers by day-40 post-M. ulcerans challenge. No significant difference was observed in the time-to-onset of ulceration between the experimental vaccine groups and unvaccinated animals. Conclusions: These data align with previous vaccine experiments using Hsp18 and MUL_3720 that indicated these proteins may not be appropriate vaccine antigens. This work highlights the need to explore alternative vaccine targets and different approaches to understand the role antibodies might play in controlling BU.
Complexity of the Inoculum Determines the Rate of Reversion of SIV Gag CD8 T Cell Mutant Virus and Outcome of Infection
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-04-01)
Escape mutant (EM) virus that evades CD8+ T cell recognition is frequently observed following infection with HIV-1 or SIV. This EM virus is often less replicatively "fit" compared to wild-type (WT) virus, as demonstrated by reversion to WT upon transmission of HIV to a naïve host and the association of EM virus with lower viral load in vivo in HIV-1 infection. The rate and timing of reversion is, however, highly variable. We quantified reversion to WT of a series of SIV and SHIV viruses containing minor amounts of WT virus in pigtail macaques using a sensitive PCR assay. Infection with mixes of EM and WT virus containing > or =10% WT virus results in immediate and rapid outgrowth of WT virus at SIV Gag CD8 T cell epitopes within 7 days of infection of pigtail macaques with SHIV or SIV. In contrast, infection with biologically passaged SHIV(mn229) viruses with much smaller proportions of WT sequence, or a molecular clone of pure EM SIV(mac239), demonstrated a delayed or slow pattern of reversion. WT virus was not detectable until > or =8 days after inoculation and took > or =8 weeks to become the dominant quasispecies. A delayed pattern of reversion was associated with significantly lower viral loads. The diversity of the infecting inoculum determines the timing of reversion to WT virus, which in turn predicts the outcome of infection. The delay in reversion of fitness-reducing CD8 T cell escape mutations in some scenarios suggests opportunities to reduce the pathogenicity of HIV during very early infection.
Natural Host Genetic Resistance to Lentiviral CNS Disease: A Neuroprotective MHC Class I Allele in SIV-Infected Macaques
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2008-11-03)
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection frequently causes neurologic disease even with anti-retroviral treatment. Although associations between MHC class I alleles and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) have been reported, the role MHC class I alleles play in restricting development of HIV-induced organ-specific diseases, including neurologic disease, has not been characterized. This study examined the relationship between expression of the MHC class I allele Mane-A*10 and development of lentiviral-induced central nervous system (CNS) disease using a well-characterized simian immunodeficiency (SIV)/pigtailed macaque model. The risk of developing CNS disease (SIV encephalitis) was 2.5 times higher for animals that did not express the MHC class I allele Mane-A*10 (P = 0.002; RR = 2.5). Animals expressing the Mane-A*10 allele had significantly lower amounts of activated macrophages, SIV RNA, and neuronal dysfunction in the CNS than Mane-A*10 negative animals (P<0.001). Mane-A*10 positive animals with the highest CNS viral burdens contained SIV gag escape mutants at the Mane-A*10-restricted KP9 epitope in the CNS whereas wild type KP9 sequences dominated in the brain of Mane-A*10 negative animals with comparable CNS viral burdens. These concordant findings demonstrate that particular MHC class I alleles play major neuroprotective roles in lentiviral-induced CNS disease.
Control of viremia and prevention of AIDS following immunotherapy of SIV-infected macaques with peptide-pulsed blood
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2008-05-01)
Effective immunotherapies for HIV are needed. Drug therapies are life-long with significant toxicities. Dendritic-cell based immunotherapy approaches are promising but impractical for widespread use. A simple immunotherapy, reinfusing fresh autologous blood cells exposed to overlapping SIV peptides for 1 hour ex vivo, was assessed for the control of SIV(mac251) replication in 36 pigtail macaques. An initial set of four immunizations was administered under antiretroviral cover and a booster set of three immunizations administered 6 months later. Vaccinated animals were randomized to receive Gag peptides alone or peptides spanning all nine SIV proteins. High-level, SIV-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell immunity was induced following immunization, both during antiretroviral cover and without. Virus levels were durably approximately 10-fold lower for 1 year in immunized animals compared to controls, and a significant delay in AIDS-related mortality resulted. Broader immunity resulted following immunizations with peptides spanning all nine SIV proteins, but the responses to Gag were weaker in comparison to animals only immunized with Gag. No difference in viral outcome occurred in animals immunized with all SIV proteins compared to animals immunized against Gag alone. Peptide-pulsed blood cells are an immunogenic and effective immunotherapy in SIV-infected macaques. Our results suggest Gag alone is an effective antigen for T-cell immunotherapy. Fresh blood cells pulsed with overlapping Gag peptides is proceeding into trials in HIV-infected humans.