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1.  Chirality Transfer in Gold(I)-Catalysed Direct Allylic Etherifications of Unactivated Alcohols: Experimental and Computational Study 
Gold(I)-catalysed direct allylic etherifications have been successfully carried out with chirality transfer to yield enantioenriched, γ-substituted secondary allylic ethers. Our investigations include a full substrate-scope screen to ascertain substituent effects on the regioselectivity, stereoselectivity and efficiency of chirality transfer, as well as control experiments to elucidate the mechanistic subtleties of the chirality-transfer process. Crucially, addition of molecular sieves was found to be necessary to ensure efficient and general chirality transfer. Computational studies suggest that the efficiency of chirality transfer is linked to the aggregation of the alcohol nucleophile around the reactive π-bound Au–allylic ether complex. With a single alcohol nucleophile, a high degree of chirality transfer is predicted. However, if three alcohols are present, alternative proton transfer chain mechanisms that erode the efficiency of chirality transfer become competitive.
PMCID: PMC4586480  PMID: 26248980
alcohols; allylations; asymmetric reactions; chirality transfer; gold
2.  External Validation of a Multiplex Urinary Protein Panel for the Detection of Bladder Cancer in a Multicenter Cohort 
Due to the faltering sensitivity and/or specificity, urine-based assays currently have a limited role in the management of patients with bladder cancer (BCa). The aim of this study was to externally validate our previously reported protein biomarker panel from multiple sites in the US and Europe.
This multicenter external validation study included a total of 320 subjects (BCa = 183). The 10 biomarkers (IL8, MMP9, MMP10, SERPINA1, VEGFA, ANG, CA9, APOE, SDC1 and SERPINE1) were measured using commercial ELISA assays in an external laboratory. The diagnostic performance of the biomarker panel was assessed using receiver operator curves (ROC) and descriptive statistical values.
Utilizing the combination of all 10 biomarkers, the AUROC for the diagnostic panel was noted to be 0.847 [95% CI: 0.796 – 0.899], outperforming any single biomarker. The multiplex assay at optimal cutoff value achieved an overall sensitivity of 0.79, specificity of 0.79, PPV of 0.73 and NPV of 0.84 for BCa classification. Sensitivity values of the diagnostic panel for high-grade BCa, low-grade BCa, MIBC and NMIBC were 0.81, 0.90, 0.95 and 0.77, respectively.
Urinary levels of the biomarker panel enabled discrimination of BCa patients and controls, and the levels of biomarker subsets were associated with advancing tumor grade and stage.
If proven to be reliable, urinary diagnostic biomarker assays can detect BCa in a timely manner such that the patient can expect improvements in overall survival and quality of life.
PMCID: PMC4154967  PMID: 24920641
3.  Gold(I)-Catalysed Direct Thioetherifications Using Allylic Alcohols: an Experimental and Computational Study 
A gold(I)-catalysed direct thioetherification reaction between allylic alcohols and thiols is presented. The reaction is generally highly regioselective (SN2′). This dehydrative allylation procedure is very mild and atom economical, producing only water as the by-product and avoiding any unnecessary waste/steps associated with installing a leaving or activating group on the substrate. Computational studies are presented to gain insight into the mechanism of the reaction. Calculations indicate that the regioselectivity is under equilibrium control and is ultimately dictated by the thermodynamic stability of the products.
PMCID: PMC4517163  PMID: 25080400
allylation; allylic alcohols; gold; mechanism; thiols
4.  The Contribution of Non-human Primate Models to the Development of Human Vaccines 
Discovery medicine  2014;18(101):313-322.
The nonhuman primates (NHPs) model in biomedical research has contributed to the study of human infectious, autoimmune, oncogenic, and neurological diseases. This review focuses on the importance of NHP models in vaccine development for tuberculosis, pertussis, Dengue, group A streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes) infection, HIV infection, and certain diseases in the elderly (influenza, for example). From understanding disease pathogenesis and mechanisms of protection, to assessing vaccine safety and efficacy, we discuss selected cases where the importance of the use of NHP models is highlighted.
PMCID: PMC4465840  PMID: 25549702
5.  Convergent weaponry in a biological arms race 
eLife  null;4:e08710.
Bacterial surface proteins covalently attach to host cells via a mechanism that is also used by immune system proteins that help eliminate invading pathogens.
PMCID: PMC4462647  PMID: 26062771
Streptococcus pyogenes; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Clostridium perfringens; host-microbe interactions; fibrinogen; bacterial surface protein; other
6.  Novel Simvastatin Inhalation Formulation and Characterisation 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2014;15(4):956-962.
Simvastatin (SV), a drug of the statin class currently used orally as an anti-cholesterolemic via the inhibition of the 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-Coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, has been found not only to reduce cholesterol but also to have several other pharmacological actions that might be beneficial in airway inflammatory diseases. Currently, there is no inhalable formulation that could deliver SV to the lungs. In this study, a pressurised metered-dose inhaler (pMDI) solution formulation of SV was manufactured, with ethanol as a co-solvent, and its aerosol performance and physico-chemical properties investigated. A pMDI solution formulation containing SV and 6% w/w ethanol was prepared. This formulation was assessed visually and quantitatively for SV solubility. Furthermore, the aerosol performance (using Andersen Cascade impactor at 28.3 L/min) and active ingredient chemical stability up to 6 months at different storage temperatures, 4 and 25°C, were also evaluated. The physico-chemical properties of the SV solution pMDI were also characterised by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and laser diffraction. The aerosol particles, determined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), presented a smooth surface morphology and were spherical in shape. The aerosol produced had a fine particle fraction of 30.77 ± 2.44% and a particle size distribution suitable for inhalation drug delivery. Furthermore, the short-term chemical stability showed the formulation to be stable at 4°C for up to 6 months, whilst at 25°C, the formulation was stable up to 3 months. In this study, a respirable and stable SV solution pMDI formulation for inhalation has been presented that could potentially be used clinically as an anti-inflammatory therapy for the treatment of several lung diseases.
PMCID: PMC4113616  PMID: 24806822
lung inflammation; pMDI; pressurised metered dose inhaler; simvastatin
7.  The I22V and L72S substitutions in West Nile virus prM protein promote enhanced prM/E heterodimerisation and nucleocapsid incorporation 
Virology Journal  2015;12:72.
Amino acid substitutions I22V and L72S in the prM protein of West Nile virus Kunjin strain (WNVKUN) were previously shown to enhance virus secretion and virulence, but a mechanism by which this occurred was not determined.
Using pulse-chase experiments followed by co-immunoprecipitation with anti-E antibody, we demonstrated that the I22V and L72S substitutions enhanced prM/E heterodimerization for both the E-glycosylated and E-unglycosylated virus. Furthermore, analysis of secreted particles revealed that I22V and L72S substitutions also enhanced nucleocapsid incorporation.
We have demonstrated mechanistically that improved secretion of virus particles in the presence of I22V and L72S substitutions was contributed by more efficient prM/E heterodimerization.
PMCID: PMC4424586  PMID: 25946997
Flavivirus; West Nile virus; prM; Heterodimerisation
8.  Maternal Antibody and Viral Factors in the Pathogenesis of Dengue Virus in Infants 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2007;196(3):416-424.
The pathogenesis of dengue in infants is poorly understood. We postulated that dengue severity in infants would be positively associated with markers of viral burden and that maternally derived, neutralizing antidengue antibody would have decayed before the age at which infants with dengue presented to the hospital. In 75 Vietnamese infants with primary dengue, we found significant heterogeneity in viremia and NS1 antigenemia at hospital presentation, and these factors were independent of disease grade or continuous measures of disease severity. Neutralizing antibody titers, predicted in each infant at the time of their illness, suggested that the majority of infants (65%) experienced dengue hemorrhagic fever when the maternally derived neutralizing antibody titer had declined to <1:20. Collectively, these data have important implications for dengue vaccine research because they suggest that viral burden may not solely explain severe dengue in infants and that neutralizing antibody is a reasonable but not absolute marker of protective immunity in infants.
PMCID: PMC4333207  PMID: 17597456
9.  Fever in sepsis: is it cool to be hot? 
Critical Care  2014;18(1):109.
Changes in body temperature are a characteristic feature of sepsis. The study by Kushimoto and colleagues in a recent issue of Critical Care demonstrates that hypothermia is a very important manifestation of infection associated with very high mortality. Combined with recent data suggesting that febrile patients with infections have the lowest mortality risk, the study raises the question of whether inducing therapeutic hyperthermia might be beneficial in this patient group. Body temperature is easily measured and manipulated in the ICU, and interventional trials defining the most appropriate temperature targets in ICU patients with infections are urgently needed. One such study is in progress.
PMCID: PMC4056432  PMID: 24521542
10.  Early temperature and mortality in critically ill patients with acute neurological diseases: trauma and stroke differ from infection 
Intensive Care Medicine  2015;41(5):823-832.
Fever suppression may be beneficial for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke, but for patients with meningitis or encephalitis [central nervous system (CNS) infection], the febrile response may be advantageous.
To evaluate the relationship between peak temperature in the first 24 h of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and all-cause hospital mortality for acute neurological diseases.
Design, setting and participants
Retrospective cohort design from 2005 to 2013, including 934,159 admissions to 148 ICUs in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and 908,775 admissions to 236 ICUs in the UK.
There were 53,942 (5.8 %) patients in ANZ and 56,696 (6.2 %) patients in the UK with a diagnosis of TBI, stroke or CNS infection. For both the ANZ (P = 0.02) and UK (P < 0.0001) cohorts there was a significant interaction between early peak temperature and CNS infection, indicating that the nature of the relationship between in-hospital mortality and peak temperature differed between TBI/stroke and CNS infection. For patients with CNS infection, elevated peak temperature was not associated with an increased risk of death, relative to the risk at 37–37.4 °C (normothermia). For patients with stroke and TBI, peak temperature below 37 °C and above 39 °C was associated with an increased risk of death, compared to normothermia.
The relationship between peak temperature in the first 24 h after ICU admission and in-hospital mortality differs for TBI/stroke compared to CNS infection. For CNS infection, increased temperature is not associated with increased risk of death.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00134-015-3676-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4414938  PMID: 25643903
Temperature; Mortality; Stroke; Traumatic brain injury; Meningitis; Encephalitis
11.  Combined Inhaled Salbutamol and Mannitol Therapy for Mucus Hyper-secretion in Pulmonary Diseases 
The AAPS Journal  2014;16(2):269-280.
This study focuses on the co-engineering of salbutamol sulphate (SS), a common bronchodilator, and mannitol (MA), a mucolytic, as a potential combination therapy for mucus hypersecretion. This combination was chosen to have a synergic effect on the airways: the SS will act on the β2-receptor for relaxation of smooth muscle and enhancement of ciliary beat frequency, whilst mannitol will improve the fluidity of mucus, consequently enhancing its clearance from the lung. A series of co-spray-dried samples, containing therapeutically relevant doses of SS and MA, were prepared. The physico-chemical characteristics of the formulations were evaluated in terms of size distribution, morphology, thermal and moisture response and aerosol performance. Additionally, the formulations were evaluated for their effects on cell viability and transport across air interface Calu-3 bronchial epithelial cells, contractibility effects on bronchial smooth muscle cells and cilia beat activity using ciliated nasal epithelial cells in vitro. The formulations demonstrated size distributions and aerosol performance suitable for inhalation therapy. Transport studies revealed that the MA component of the formulation enhanced penetration of SS across the complex mucus layer and the lung epithelia cells. Furthermore, the formulation in the ratios of SS 10−6 and MA 10−3 M gave a significant increase in cilia beat frequency whilst simultaneously preventing smooth muscle contraction associated with mannitol administration. These studies have established that co-spray dried combination formulations of MA and SS can be successfully prepared with limited toxicity, good aerosol performance and the ability to increase ciliary beat frequency for improving the mucociliary clearance in patients suffering from hyper-secretory diseases, whilst simultaneously acting on the underlying smooth muscle.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1208/s12248-014-9560-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3933573  PMID: 24431080
cilia responce; epithelia transport; lung delivery; mannitol; salbutamol; smooth muscle responce
12.  Structural Conservation, Variability, and Immunogenicity of the T6 Backbone Pilin of Serotype M6 Streptococcus pyogenes 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(7):2949-2957.
Group A streptococcus (GAS; Streptococcus pyogenes) is a Gram-positive human pathogen that causes a broad range of diseases ranging from acute pharyngitis to the poststreptococcal sequelae of acute rheumatic fever. GAS pili are highly diverse, long protein polymers that extend from the cell surface. They have multiple roles in infection and are promising candidates for vaccine development. This study describes the structure of the T6 backbone pilin (BP; Lancefield T-antigen) from the important M6 serotype. The structure reveals a modular arrangement of three tandem immunoglobulin-like domains, two with internal isopeptide bonds. The T6 pilin lysine, essential for polymerization, is located in a novel VAKS motif that is structurally homologous to the canonical YPKN pilin lysine in other three- and four-domain Gram-positive pilins. The T6 structure also highlights a conserved pilin core whose surface is decorated with highly variable loops and extensions. Comparison to other Gram-positive BPs shows that many of the largest variable extensions are found in conserved locations. Studies with sera from patients diagnosed with GAS-associated acute rheumatic fever showed that each of the three T6 domains, and the largest of the variable extensions (V8), are targeted by IgG during infection in vivo. Although the GAS BP show large variations in size and sequence, the modular nature of the pilus proteins revealed by the T6 structure may aid the future design of a pilus-based vaccine.
PMCID: PMC4097639  PMID: 24778112
13.  Expert consensus and recommendations on safety criteria for active mobilization of mechanically ventilated critically ill adults 
Critical Care  2014;18(6):658.
The aim of this study was to develop consensus recommendations on safety parameters for mobilizing adult, mechanically ventilated, intensive care unit (ICU) patients.
A systematic literature review was followed by a meeting of 23 multidisciplinary ICU experts to seek consensus regarding the safe mobilization of mechanically ventilated patients.
Safety considerations were summarized in four categories: respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and other. Consensus was achieved on all criteria for safe mobilization, with the exception being levels of vasoactive agents. Intubation via an endotracheal tube was not a contraindication to early mobilization and a fraction of inspired oxygen less than 0.6 with a percutaneous oxygen saturation more than 90% and a respiratory rate less than 30 breaths/minute were considered safe criteria for in- and out-of-bed mobilization if there were no other contraindications. At an international meeting, 94 multidisciplinary ICU clinicians concurred with the proposed recommendations.
Consensus recommendations regarding safety criteria for mobilization of adult, mechanically ventilated patients in the ICU have the potential to guide ICU rehabilitation whilst minimizing the risk of adverse events.
PMCID: PMC4301888  PMID: 25475522
14.  Beyond early infant diagnosis: case finding strategies for identification of HIV-infected infants and children 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(0 2):S235-S245.
There are 3.4 million children infected with HIV worldwide, with up to 2.6 million eligible for treatment under current guidelines. However, roughly 70% of infected children are not receiving live-saving HIV care and treatment. Strengthening case finding through improved diagnosis strategies, and actively linking identified HIV-infected children to care and treatment is essential to ensuring that these children benefit from the care and treatment available to them. Without attention or advocacy, the majority of these children will remain undiagnosed and die from complications of HIV. In this article, we summarize the challenges of identifying HIV-infected infants and children, review currently available evidence and guidance, describe promising new strategies for case finding, and make recommendations for future research and interventions to improve identification of HIV-infected infants and children.
PMCID: PMC4122794  PMID: 24361633
case finding; HIV testing; pediatric HIV; PITC
15.  Discovery of a Novel Retrovirus Sequence in an Australian Native Rodent (Melomys burtoni): A Putative Link between Gibbon Ape Leukemia Virus and Koala Retrovirus 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106954.
Gibbon ape leukaemia virus (GALV) and koala retrovirus (KoRV) share a remarkably close sequence identity despite the fact that they occur in distantly related mammals on different continents. It has previously been suggested that infection of their respective hosts may have occurred as a result of a species jump from another, as yet unidentified vertebrate host. To investigate possible sources of these retroviruses in the Australian context, DNA samples were obtained from 42 vertebrate species and screened using PCR in order to detect proviral sequences closely related to KoRV and GALV. Four proviral partial sequences totalling 2880 bases which share a strong similarity with KoRV and GALV were detected in DNA from a native Australian rodent, the grassland melomys, Melomys burtoni. We have designated this novel gammaretrovirus Melomys burtoni retrovirus (MbRV). The concatenated nucleotide sequence of MbRV shares 93% identity with the corresponding sequence from GALV-SEATO and 83% identity with KoRV. The geographic ranges of the grassland melomys and of the koala partially overlap. Thus a species jump by MbRV from melomys to koalas is conceivable. However the genus Melomys does not occur in mainland South East Asia and so it appears most likely that another as yet unidentified host was the source of GALV.
PMCID: PMC4175076  PMID: 25251014
16.  The human Piwi protein Hiwi2 associates with tRNA-derived piRNAs in somatic cells 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(14):8984-8995.
The Piwi-piRNA pathway is active in animal germ cells where its functions are required for germ cell maintenance and gamete differentiation. Piwi proteins and piRNAs have been detected outside germline tissue in multiple phyla, but activity of the pathway in mammalian somatic cells has been little explored. In particular, Piwi expression has been observed in cancer cells, but nothing is known about the piRNA partners or the function of the system in these cells. We have surveyed the expression of the three human Piwi genes, Hiwi, Hili and Hiwi2, in multiple normal tissues and cancer cell lines. We find that Hiwi2 is ubiquitously expressed; in cancer cells the protein is largely restricted to the cytoplasm and is associated with translating ribosomes. Immunoprecipitation of Hiwi2 from MDAMB231 cancer cells enriches for piRNAs that are predominantly derived from processed tRNAs and expressed genes, species which can also be found in adult human testis. Our studies indicate that a Piwi-piRNA pathway is present in human somatic cells, with an uncharacterised function linked to translation. Taking this evidence together with evidence from primitive organisms, we propose that this somatic function of the pathway predates the germline functions of the pathway in modern animals.
PMCID: PMC4132735  PMID: 25038252
17.  Impact of next-generation sequencing error on analysis of barcoded plasmid libraries of known complexity and sequence 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(16):e129.
Barcoded vectors are promising tools for investigating clonal diversity and dynamics in hematopoietic gene therapy. Analysis of clones marked with barcoded vectors requires accurate identification of potentially large numbers of individually rare barcodes, when the exact number, sequence identity and abundance are unknown. This is an inherently challenging application, and the feasibility of using contemporary next-generation sequencing technologies is unresolved. To explore this potential application empirically, without prior assumptions, we sequenced barcode libraries of known complexity. Libraries containing 1, 10 and 100 Sanger-sequenced barcodes were sequenced using an Illumina platform, with a 100-barcode library also sequenced using a SOLiD platform. Libraries containing 1 and 10 barcodes were distinguished from false barcodes generated by sequencing error by a several log-fold difference in abundance. In 100-barcode libraries, however, expected and false barcodes overlapped and could not be resolved by bioinformatic filtering and clustering strategies. In independent sequencing runs multiple false-positive barcodes appeared to be represented at higher abundance than known barcodes, despite their confirmed absence from the original library. Such errors, which potentially impact barcoding studies in an application-dependent manner, are consistent with the existence of both stochastic and systematic error, the mechanism of which is yet to be fully resolved.
PMCID: PMC4176369  PMID: 25013183
18.  Structure and Activity of Streptococcus pyogenes SipA: A Signal Peptidase-Like Protein Essential for Pilus Polymerisation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99135.
The pili expressed on the surface of the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes play an important role in host cell attachment, colonisation and pathogenesis. These pili are built from two or three components, an adhesin subunit at the tip, a major pilin that forms a polymeric shaft, and a basal pilin that is attached to the cell wall. Assembly is carried out by specific sortase (cysteine transpeptidase) enzyme. These components are encoded in a small gene cluster within the S. pyogenes genome, often together with another protein, SipA, whose function is unknown. We show through functional assays, carried out by expressing the S. pyogenes pilus components in Lactococcus lactis, SipA from the clinically important M1T1 strain is essential for pilus assembly, and that SipA function is likely to be conserved in all S. pyogenes. From the crystal structure of SipA we confirm that SipA belongs to the family of bacterial signal peptidases (SPases), which process the signal-peptides of secreted proteins. In contrast to a previous arm-swapped SipA dimer, this present structure shows that its principal domain closely resembles the catalytic domain of SPases and has a very similar peptide-binding cleft, but it lacks the catalytic Ser and Lys residues characteristic of SPases. In SipA these are replaced by Asp and Gly residues, which play no part in activity. We propose that SipA functions by binding a key component at the bacterial cell surface, in a conformation that facilitates pilus assembly.
PMCID: PMC4049620  PMID: 24911348
19.  Decreased dendritic spine density as a consequence of tetanus toxin light chain expression in single neurons in vivo 
Neuroscience letters  2013;555:36-41.
Tetanus toxin light chain has been used for some time as a genetically-encoded tool to inhibit neurotransmission and thereby dissect mechanisms underlying neural circuit formation and function. In addition to cleaving v-SNARE proteins involved in axonal neurotransmitter release, tetanus toxin light chain can also block activity-dependent dendritic exocytosis. The application of tetanus toxin light chain as a research tool in mammalian models has been limited to a small number of cell types however. Here, we have induced expression of tetanus toxin light chain in a very small number of fluorescently labeled neurons in many regions of the adult mouse brain. This was achieved by crossing SLICK (single-neuron labeling with inducible cre-mediated knockout) transgenic lines with RC::Ptox mice that have Cre recombinase-controlled expression of the tetanus toxin light chain. Using this system we have examined the cell-autonomous effects of tetanus toxin light chain expression on dendritic spines in vivo. We find that dendritic spine density is reduced by 15% in tetanus toxin expressing hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells, while spine morphology is unaltered. This effect is likely to be a consequence of inhibition of activity-dependent dendritic exocytosis and suggests that on-going plasticity-associated exocytosis is required for long-term dendritic spine maintenance in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4035819  PMID: 24035894
20.  Fever management in intensive care patients with infections 
Critical Care  2014;18(2):206.
PMCID: PMC4056101  PMID: 25029624
21.  Genetic and physical interaction of Ssp1 CaMKK and Rad24 14-3-3 during low pH and osmotic stress in fission yeast 
Open Biology  2014;4(1):130127.
The Ssp1 calmodulin kinase kinase (CaMKK) is necessary for stress-induced re-organization of the actin cytoskeleton and initiation of growth at the new cell end following division in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In addition, it regulates AMP-activated kinase and functions in low glucose tolerance. ssp1− cells undergo mitotic delay at elevated temperatures and G2 arrest in the presence of additional stressors. Following hyperosmotic stress, Ssp1-GFP forms transient foci which accumulate at the cell membrane and form a band around the cell circumference, but not co-localizing with actin patches. Hyperosmolarity-induced localization to the cell membrane occurs concomitantly with a reduction of its interaction with the 14-3-3 protein Rad24, but not Rad25 which remains bound to Ssp1. The loss of rad24 in ssp1− cells reduces the severity of hyperosmotic stress response and relieves mitotic delay. Conversely, overexpression of rad24 exacerbates stress response and concomitant cell elongation. rad24− does not impair stress-induced localization of Ssp1 to the cell membrane, however this response is almost completely absent in cells overexpressing rad24.
PMCID: PMC3909272  PMID: 24451546
Ssp1; Rad24; 14-3-3; hyperosmotic stress; relocalization; pH
22.  The Human Immune Response to Dengue Virus Is Dominated by Highly Cross-Reactive Antibodies Endowed with Neutralizing and Enhancing Activity 
Cell host & microbe  2010;8(3):10.1016/j.chom.2010.08.007.
Antibodies protect against homologous Dengue virus (DENV) infection but can precipitate severe dengue by promoting heterotypic virus entry via Fcγ receptors (FcγR). We immortalized memory B cells from individuals after primary or secondary infection and analyzed anti-DENV monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) thus generated. MAbs to envelope (E) protein domain III (DIII) were either serotype specific or cross-reactive and potently neutralized DENV infection. DI/DII- or viral membrane protein prM-reactive mAbs neutralized poorly and showed broad cross-reactivity with the four DENV serotypes. All mAbs enhanced infection at subneutralizing concentrations. Three mAbs targeting distinct epitopes on the four DENV serotypes and engineered to prevent FcγR binding did not enhance infection and neutralized DENV in vitro and in vivo as postexposure therapy in a mouse model of lethal DENV infection. Our findings reveal an unexpected degree of cross-reactivity in human antibodies against DENV and illustrate the potential for an antibody-based therapy to control severe dengue.
PMCID: PMC3884547  PMID: 20833378
23.  Ciprofloxacin Is Actively Transported across Bronchial Lung Epithelial Cells Using a Calu-3 Air Interface Cell Model 
Ciprofloxacin is a well-established broad-spectrum fluoroquinolone antibiotic that penetrates well into the lung tissues; still, the mechanisms of its transepithelial transport are unknown. The contributions of specific transporters, including multidrug efflux transporters, organic cation transporters, and organic anion-transporting polypeptide transporters, to the uptake of ciprofloxacin were investigated in vitro using an air interface bronchial epithelial model. Our results demonstrate that ciprofloxacin is subject to predominantly active influx and a slight efflux component.
PMCID: PMC3716180  PMID: 23507281
24.  Koala retroviruses: characterization and impact on the life of koalas 
Retrovirology  2013;10:108.
Koala retroviruses (KoRV) have been isolated from wild and captive koalas in Australia as well as from koala populations held in zoos in other countries. They are members of the genus Gammaretrovirus, are most closely related to gibbon ape leukemia virus (GaLV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) and are likely the result of a relatively recent trans-species transmission from rodents or bats. The first KoRV to be isolated, KoRV-A, is widely distributed in the koala population in both integrated endogenous and infectious exogenous forms with evidence from museum specimens older than 150 years, indicating a relatively long engagement with the koala population. More recently, additional subtypes of KoRV that are not endogenized have been identified based on sequence differences and host cell receptor specificity (KoRV-B and KoRV-J). A specific association with fatal lymphoma and leukemia has been recently suggested for KoRV-B. In addition, it has been proposed that the high viral loads found in many animals may lead to immunomodulation resulting in a higher incidence of diseases such as chlamydiosis. Although the molecular basis of this immunomodulation is still unclear, purified KoRV particles and a peptide corresponding to a highly conserved domain in the envelope protein have been shown to modulate cytokine expression in vitro, similar to that induced by other gammaretroviruses. While much is still to be learned, KoRV induced lymphoma/leukemia and opportunistic disease arising as a consequence of immunomodulation are likely to play an important role in the stability of koala populations both in the wild and in captivity.
PMCID: PMC4016316  PMID: 24148555
Gammaretroviruses; Koala retrovirus; Lymphoma; Immunodeficiency
25.  Glioma microvesicles carry selectively packaged coding and non-coding RNAs which alter gene expression in recipient cells 
RNA Biology  2013;10(8):1333-1344.
Interactions between glioma cells and their local environment are critical determinants of brain tumor growth, infiltration and neovascularisation. Communication with host cells and stroma via microvesicles represents one pathway by which tumors can modify their surroundings to achieve a tumor-permissive environment. Here we have taken an unbiased approach to identifying RNAs in glioma-derived microvesicles, and explored their potential to regulate gene expression in recipient cells. We find that glioma microvesicles are predominantly of exosomal origin and contain complex populations of coding and noncoding RNAs in proportions that are distinct from those in the cells from which they are derived. Microvesicles show a relative depletion in microRNA compared with their cells of origin, and are enriched in unusual or novel noncoding RNAs, most of which have no known function. Short-term exposure of brain microvascular endothelial cells to glioma microvesicles results in many gene expression changes in the endothelial cells, most of which cannot be explained by direct delivery of transcripts. Our data suggest that the scope of potential actions of tumor-derived microvesicles is much broader and more complex than previously supposed, and highlight a number of new classes of small RNA that remain to be characterized.
PMCID: PMC3817155  PMID: 23807490
exosome; microparticle; glioblastoma; small noncoding RNA; vault RNA; gene expression

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