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1.  Do-it-yourself: construction of a custom cDNA macroarray platform with high sensitivity and linear range 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:97.
Background
Research involving gene expression profiling and clinical applications, such as diagnostics and prognostics, often require a DNA array platform that is flexibly customisable and cost-effective, but at the same time is highly sensitive and capable of accurately and reproducibly quantifying the transcriptional expression of a vast number of genes over the whole transcriptome dynamic range using low amounts of RNA sample. Hereto, a set of easy-to-implement practical optimisations to the design of cDNA-based nylon macroarrays as well as sample 33P-labeling, hybridisation protocols and phosphor screen image processing were analysed for macroarray performance.
Results
The here proposed custom macroarray platform had an absolute sensitivity as low as 50,000 transcripts and a linear range of over 5 log-orders. Its quality of identifying differentially expressed genes was at least comparable to commercially available microchips. Interestingly, the quantitative accuracy was found to correlate significantly with corresponding reversed transcriptase - quantitative PCR values, the gold standard gene expression measure (Pearson's correlation test p < 0.0001). Furthermore, the assay has low cost and input RNA requirements (0.5 μg and less) and has a sound reproducibility.
Conclusions
Results presented here, demonstrate for the first time that self-made cDNA-based nylon macroarrays can produce highly reliable gene expression data with high sensitivity and covering the entire mammalian dynamic range of mRNA abundances. Starting off from minimal amounts of unamplified total RNA per sample, a reasonable amount of samples can be assayed simultaneously for the quantitative expression of hundreds of genes in an easily customisable and cost-effective manner.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-11-97
PMCID: PMC3217856  PMID: 22026914
2.  Disruption of the SapM locus in Mycobacterium bovis BCG improves its protective efficacy as a vaccine against M. tuberculosis 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2011;3(4):222-234.
Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) provides only limited protection against pulmonary tuberculosis. We tested the hypothesis that BCG might have retained immunomodulatory properties from its pathogenic parent that limit its protective immunogenicity. Mutation of the molecules involved in immunomodulation might then improve its vaccine potential. We studied the vaccine potential of BCG mutants deficient in the secreted acid phosphatase, SapM, or in the capping of the immunomodulatory ManLAM cell wall component with α-1,2-oligomannoside. Both systemic and intratracheal challenge of mice with Mycobacterium tuberculosis following vaccination showed that the SapM mutant, compared to the parental BCG vaccine, provided better protection: it led to longer-term survival. Persistence of the SapM-mutated BCG in vivo resembled that of the parental BCG indicating that this mutation will likely not compromise the safety of the BCG vaccine. The SapM mutant BCG vaccine was more effective than the parental vaccine in inducing recruitment and activation of CD11c+MHC-IIintCD40int dendritic cells (DCs) to the draining lymph nodes. Thus, SapM acts by inhibiting recruitment of DCs and their activation at the site of vaccination.
doi:10.1002/emmm.201000125
PMCID: PMC3377067  PMID: 21328541
Mycobacterium; SapM; tuberculosis; vaccine; BCG
3.  Transcriptome analysis of monocyte-HIV interactions 
Retrovirology  2010;7:53.
Background
During HIV infection and/or antiretroviral therapy (ART), monocytes and macrophages exhibit a wide range of dysfunctions which contribute significantly to HIV pathogenesis and therapy-associated complications. Nevertheless, the molecular components which contribute to these dysfunctions remain elusive. We therefore applied a parallel approach of genome-wide microarray analysis and focused gene expression profiling on monocytes from patients in different stages of HIV infection and/or ART to further characterise these dysfunctions.
Results
Processes involved in apoptosis, cell cycle, lipid metabolism, proteasome function, protein trafficking and transcriptional regulation were identified as areas of monocyte dysfunction during HIV infection. Individual genes potentially contributing to these monocyte dysfunctions included several novel factors. One of these is the adipocytokine NAMPT/visfatin, which we show to be capable of inhibiting HIV at an early step in its life cycle. Roughly half of all genes identified were restored to control levels under ART, while the others represented a persistent dysregulation. Additionally, several candidate biomarkers (in particular CCL1 and CYP2C19) for the development of the abacavir hypersensitivity reaction were suggested.
Conclusions
Previously described areas of monocyte dysfunction during HIV infection were confirmed, and novel themes were identified. Furthermore, individual genes associated with these dysfunctions and with ART-associated disorders were pinpointed. These genes form a useful basis for further functional studies concerning the contribution of monocytes/macrophages to HIV pathogenesis. One such gene, NAMPT/visfatin, represents a possible novel restriction factor for HIV.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-7-53
PMCID: PMC2900222  PMID: 20546557

Results 1-3 (3)