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1.  Upregulation of the Rab27a-Dependent Trafficking and Secretory Mechanisms Improves Lysosomal Transport, Alleviates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, and Reduces Lysosome Overload in Cystinosis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(15):2950-2962.
Cystinosis is a lysosomal storage disorder caused by the accumulation of the amino acid cystine due to genetic defects in the CTNS gene, which encodes cystinosin, the lysosomal cystine transporter. Although many cellular dysfunctions have been described in cystinosis, the mechanisms leading to these defects are not well understood. Here, we show that increased lysosomal overload induced by accumulated cystine leads to cellular abnormalities, including vesicular transport defects and increased endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and that correction of lysosomal transport improves cellular function in cystinosis. We found that Rab27a was expressed in proximal tubular cells (PTCs) and partially colocalized with the lysosomal marker LAMP-1. The expression of Rab27a but not other small GTPases, including Rab3 and Rab7, was downregulated in kidneys from Ctns−/− mice and in human PTCs from cystinotic patients. Using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, we found that lysosomal transport is impaired in Ctns−/− cells. Ctns−/− cells showed significant ER expansion and a marked increase in the unfolded protein response-induced chaperones Grp78 and Grp94. Upregulation of the Rab27a-dependent vesicular trafficking mechanisms rescued the defective lysosomal transport phenotype and reduced ER stress in cystinotic cells. Importantly, reconstitution of lysosomal transport mediated by Rab27a led to decreased lysosomal overload, manifested as reduced cystine cellular content. Our data suggest that upregulation of the Rab27a-dependent lysosomal trafficking and secretory pathways contributes to the correction of some of the cellular defects induced by lysosomal overload in cystinosis, including ER stress.
doi:10.1128/MCB.00417-13
PMCID: PMC3719680  PMID: 23716592
2.  A comprehensive comparison of IMRT and VMAT plan quality for prostate cancer treatment 
Purpose
We performed a comprehensive comparative study of the plan quality between volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Methods and Materials
Eleven patients with prostate cancer treated at our institution were randomly selected for this study. For each patient, a VMAT plan and a series of IMRT plans using an increasing number of beams (8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 beams) were examined. All plans were generated using our in-house-developed automatic inverse planning (AIP) algorithm. An existing 8-beam clinical IMRT plan, which was used to treat the patient, was used as the reference plan. For each patient, all AIP-generated plans were optimized to achieve the same level of planning target volume (PTV) coverage as the reference plan. Plan quality was evaluated by measuring mean dose to and dose-volume statistics of the organs-at-risk, especially the rectum, from each type of plan.
Results
For the same PTV coverage, the AIP-generated VMAT plans had significantly better plan quality in terms of rectum sparing than the 8-beam clinical and AIP-generated IMRT plans (p < 0.0001). However, the differences between the IMRT and VMAT plans in all the dosimetric indices decreased as the number of beams used in IMRT increased. IMRT plan quality was similar or superior to that of VMAT when the number of beams in IMRT was increased to a certain number, which ranged from 12 to 24 for the set of patients studied. The superior VMAT plan quality resulted in approximately 30% more monitor units than the 8-beam IMRT plans, but the delivery time was still less than 3 minutes.
Conclusions
Considering the superior plan quality as well as the delivery efficiency of VMAT compared with that of IMRT, VMAT may be the preferred modality for treating prostate cancer.
doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.09.015
PMCID: PMC3805837  PMID: 22704703
Volumetric modulated arc therapy; Intensity-modulated radiation therapy; Treatment planning; Prostate cancer; OAR sparing
3.  Dodecafluoropentane Emulsion Decreases Infarct Volume in a Rabbit Ischemic Stroke Model 
Purpose
To assess the efficacy of dodecafluoropentane emulsion (DDFPe), a nano droplet emulsion with significant oxygen transport potential, in decreasing infarct volume using an insoluble emboli rabbit stroke model.
Methods
New Zealand White rabbits (n=64; 5.1±0.50 kg) received angiography and embolic spheres in the internal carotid artery occluding branches. Rabbits were randomly assigned to groups in 4-hour and 7-hour studies. Four-hour groups included: control (n=7, embolized without treatment) or DDFPe treatment 30-min before stroke (n=7), or at stroke onset (n=8), 30-min after stroke (n=5), 1-hour after stroke (n=7), 2-hours after stroke (n=5), or 3-hours after stroke (n=6). Seven-hour groups included control (n=6), DDFPe at 1-hour after stroke (n=8), and DDFPe at 6-hours after stroke (n=5). DDFPe dose was 2% w/v (weight/volume) intravenous injection, 0.6 mL/kg, and repeated every 90 minutes as time allowed. Following euthanasia infarct volume was determined using vital stains on brain sections.
Results
At 4-hours, median percent infarct volume decreased for all DDFPe treatment times (pre-treatment=0.30%, p=0.004; onset=0.20%, p=0.004; 30-min=0.35%, p=0.009, 1-hour=0.30%, p=0.01, 2-hours=0.40%, p=0.009, 3-hours=0.25%, p=0.003) compared with controls (3.20%). At 7-hours, median percent infarct volume decreased with treatment at 1-hour (0.25%, p=0.007) but not for 6-hours (1.4%, p=0.49) compared with controls (2.2%).
Conclusions
Intravenous DDFPe in an animal model decreases infarct volumes and protects brain tissue from ischemia justifying further investigation.
doi:10.1016/j.jvir.2011.10.001
PMCID: PMC3253225  PMID: 22079515
4.  Vesicular trafficking through cortical actin during exocytosis is regulated by the Rab27a effector JFC1/Slp1 and the RhoA-GTPase–activating protein Gem-interacting protein 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(10):1902-1916.
The mechanism of cytoskeleton remodeling during exocytosis is not well defined. A combination of vesicular dynamics and functional studies shows that the Rab27a effector JFC1 and the RhoA-GTPase–activating protein Gem-interacting protein are necessary for RhoA regulation, actin depolymerization, and vesicular transport through the actin cortex during exocytosis.
Cytoskeleton remodeling is important for the regulation of vesicular transport associated with exocytosis, but a direct association between granular secretory proteins and actin-remodeling molecules has not been shown, and this mechanism remains obscure. Using a proteomic approach, we identified the RhoA-GTPase–activating protein Gem-interacting protein (GMIP) as a factor that associates with the Rab27a effector JFC1 and modulates vesicular transport and exocytosis. GMIP down-regulation induced RhoA activation and actin polymerization. Importantly, GMIP-down-regulated cells showed impaired vesicular transport and exocytosis, while inhibition of the RhoA-signaling pathway induced actin depolymerization and facilitated exocytosis. We show that RhoA activity polarizes around JFC1-containing secretory granules, suggesting that it may control directionality of granule movement. Using quantitative live-cell microscopy, we show that JFC1-containing secretory organelles move in areas near the plasma membrane deprived of polymerized actin and that dynamic vesicles maintain an actin-free environment in their surroundings. Supporting a role for JFC1 in RhoA inactivation and actin remodeling during exocytosis, JFC1 knockout neutrophils showed increased RhoA activity, and azurophilic granules were unable to traverse cortical actin in cells lacking JFC1. We propose that during exocytosis, actin depolymerization commences near the secretory organelle, not the plasma membrane, and that secretory granules use a JFC1- and GMIP-dependent molecular mechanism to traverse cortical actin.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E11-12-1001
PMCID: PMC3350554  PMID: 22438581
5.  On the origin of a domesticated species: Identifying the parent population of Russian silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) 
The foxes at Novosibirsk, Russia, are the only population of domesticated foxes in the world. These domesticated foxes originated from farm-bred silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes), whose genetic source is unknown. In this study we examined the origin of the domesticated strain of foxes and two other farm-bred fox populations (aggressive and unselected) maintained in Novosibirsk. To identify the phylogenetic origin of these populations we sequenced two regions of mtDNA, cytochrome b and D-loop, from 24 Novosibirsk foxes (8 foxes from each population) and compared them with corresponding sequences of native red foxes from Europe, Asia, Alaska and Western Canada, Eastern Canada, and the Western Mountains of the USA. We identified seven cytochrome b - D-loop haplotypes in Novosibirsk populations, four of which were previously observed in Eastern North America. The three remaining haplotypes differed by one or two base change from the most common haplotype in Eastern Canada. ΦST analysis showed significant differentiation between Novosibirsk populations and red fox populations from all geographic regions except Eastern Canada. No haplotypes of Eurasian origin were identified in the Novosibirsk populations. These results are consistent with historical records indicating that the original breeding stock of farm-bred foxes originated from Prince Edward Island, Canada. Mitochondrial DNA data together with historical records indicate two stages in the selection of domesticated foxes: the first includes captive breeding for ~50 years with unconscious selection for behaviour; the second corresponds to over 50 further years of intensive selection for tame behaviour.
doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01629.x
PMCID: PMC3101803  PMID: 21625363
domestication; mitochondrial DNA; phylogeography; red fox; tameness
6.  Increased Survival and Reduced Neutrophil Infiltration of the Liver in Rab27a- but Not Munc13-4-Deficient Mice in Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Systemic Inflammation ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2011;79(9):3607-3618.
Genetic defects in the Rab27a or Munc13-4 gene lead to immunodeficiencies in humans, characterized by frequent viral and bacterial infections. However, the role of Rab27a and Munc13-4 in the regulation of systemic inflammation initiated by Gram-negative bacterium-derived pathogenic molecules is currently unknown. Using a model of lipopolysaccharide-induced systemic inflammation, we show that Rab27a-deficient (Rab27aash/ash) mice are resistant to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced death, while Munc13-4-deficient (Munc13-4jinx/jinx) mice show only moderate protection. Rab27aash/ash but not Munc13-4jinx/jinx mice showed significantly decreased tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) plasma levels after LPS administration. Neutrophil sequestration in lungs from Rab27aash/ash and Munc13-4jinx/jinx LPS-treated mice was similar to that observed for wild-type mice. In contrast, Rab27a- but not Munc13-4-deficient mice showed decreased neutrophil infiltration in liver and failed to undergo LPS-induced neutropenia. Decreased liver infiltration in Rab27aash/ash mice was accompanied by lower CD44 but normal CD11a and CD11b expression in neutrophils. Both Rab27a- and Munc13-4-deficient mice showed decreased azurophilic granule secretion in vivo, suggesting that impaired liver infiltration and improved survival in Rab27aash/ash mice is not fully explained by deficient exocytosis of this granule subset. Altogether, our data indicate that Rab27a but not Munc13-4 plays an important role in neutrophil recruitment to liver and LPS-induced death during endotoxemia, thus highlighting a previously unrecognized role for Rab27a in LPS-mediated systemic inflammation.
doi:10.1128/IAI.05043-11
PMCID: PMC3165471  PMID: 21746860
7.  Sequence comparison of prefrontal cortical brain transcriptome from a tame and an aggressive silver fox (Vulpes vulpes) 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:482.
Background
Two strains of the silver fox (Vulpes vulpes), with markedly different behavioral phenotypes, have been developed by long-term selection for behavior. Foxes from the tame strain exhibit friendly behavior towards humans, paralleling the sociability of canine puppies, whereas foxes from the aggressive strain are defensive and exhibit aggression to humans. To understand the genetic differences underlying these behavioral phenotypes fox-specific genomic resources are needed.
Results
cDNA from mRNA from pre-frontal cortex of a tame and an aggressive fox was sequenced using the Roche 454 FLX Titanium platform (> 2.5 million reads & 0.9 Gbase of tame fox sequence; >3.3 million reads & 1.2 Gbase of aggressive fox sequence). Over 80% of the fox reads were assembled into contigs. Mapping fox reads against the fox transcriptome assembly and the dog genome identified over 30,000 high confidence fox-specific SNPs. Fox transcripts for approximately 14,000 genes were identified using SwissProt and the dog RefSeq databases. An at least 2-fold expression difference between the two samples (p < 0.05) was observed for 335 genes, fewer than 3% of the total number of genes identified in the fox transcriptome.
Conclusions
Transcriptome sequencing significantly expanded genomic resources available for the fox, a species without a sequenced genome. In a very cost efficient manner this yielded a large number of fox-specific SNP markers for genetic studies and provided significant insights into the gene expression profile of the fox pre-frontal cortex; expression differences between the two fox samples; and a catalogue of potentially important gene-specific sequence variants. This result demonstrates the utility of this approach for developing genomic resources in species with limited genomic information.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-482
PMCID: PMC3199282  PMID: 21967120
8.  Mapping loci for fox domestication: deconstruction/reconstruction of a behavioral phenotype 
Behavior genetics  2010;41(4):593-606.
During the second part of the 20th century, Belyaev selected tame and aggressive foxes (Vulpes vulpes), in an effort known as the “farm-fox experiment”, to recapitulate the process of animal domestication. Using these tame and aggressive foxes as founders of segregant backcross and intercross populations we have employed interval mapping to identify a locus for tame behavior on fox chromosome VVU12. This locus is orthologous to, and therefore validates, a genomic region recently implicated in canine domestication. The tame versus aggressive behavioral phenotype was characterized as the first principal component (PC) of a PC matrix made up of many distinct behavioral traits (e.g. wags tail; comes to the front of the cage; allows head to be touched; holds observer’s hand with its mouth; etc.). Mean values of this PC for F1, backcross and intercross populations defined a linear gradient of heritable behavior ranging from tame to aggressive. The second PC did not follow such a gradient, but also mapped to VVU12, and distinguished between active and passive behaviors. These data suggest that 1) there are at least two VVU12 loci associated with behavior; 2) expression of these loci is dependent on interactions with other parts of the genome (the genome context) and therefore varies from one crossbred population to another depending on the individual parents that participated in the cross.
doi:10.1007/s10519-010-9418-1
PMCID: PMC3076541  PMID: 21153916
behavior genetics; domestication; social behavior; Vulpes vulpes; Canis familiaris
9.  Rab27a and Rab27b Regulate Neutrophil Azurophilic Granule Exocytosis and NADPH oxidase Activity by Independent Mechanisms 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2009;11(4):533-547.
Neutrophils rely on exocytosis to mobilize receptors and adhesion molecules and to release microbicidal factors. This process should be strictly regulated because uncontrolled release of toxic proteins would be injurious to the host. In vivo studies showed that the small GTPase Rab27a regulates azurophilic granule exocytosis. Using mouse neutrophils deficient in Rab27a (Rab27aash/ash), Rab27b (Rab27b knockout) or both (Rab27a/b double KO), we investigated the role of the Rab27 isoforms in neutrophils. We found that both Rab27a and Rab27b deficiencies impaired azurophilic granule exocytosis. Rab27aash/ash neutrophils showed upregulation of Rab27b expression which did not compensate for the secretory defects observed in Rab27a-deficient cells suggesting that Rab27 isoforms play independent roles in neutrophil exocytosis. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy analysis showed that Rab27aash/ash and Rab27b knockout neutrophils have a decreased number of azurophilic granules near the plasma membrane. The effect was exacerbated in Rab27a/b double KO neutrophils. Rab27-deficient neutrophils, showed impaired activation of the NADPH oxidase at the plasma membrane although intraphagosomal ROS production was not affected. Exocytosis of secretory vesicles in Rab27-deficient neutrophils was functional, suggesting that Rab27 GTPases selectively control the exocytosis of neutrophil granules.
doi:10.1111/j.1600-0854.2009.01029.x
PMCID: PMC2937183  PMID: 20028487
10.  DNase I Inhibits a Late Phase of Reactive Oxygen Species Production in Neutrophils 
Journal of Innate Immunity  2009;1(6):527-542.
Neutrophils kill bacteria on extracellular complexes of DNA fibers and bactericidal proteins known as neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). The NET composition and the bactericidal mechanisms they use are not fully understood. Here, we show that treatment with deoxyribonuclease (DNase I) impairs a late oxidative response elicited by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and also by phorbol ester. Isoluminol-dependent chemiluminescence elicited by opsonized Listeria monocytogenes-stimulated neutrophils was inhibited by DNase I, and the DNase inhibitory effect was also evident when phagocytosis was blocked, suggesting that DNase inhibits an extracellular mechanism of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. The DNase inhibitory effect was independent of actin polymerization. Phagocytosis and cell viability were not impaired by DNase I. Immunofluorescence analysis shows that myeloperoxidase is present on NETs. Furthermore, granular proteins were detected in NETs from Rab27a-deficient neutrophils which have deficient exocytosis, suggesting that exocytosis and granular protein distribution on NETs proceed by independent mechanisms. NADPH oxidase subunits were also detected on NETs, and the detection of extracellular trap-associated NADPH oxidase subunits was abolished by treatment with DNase I and dependent on cell stimulation. In vitro analyses demonstrate that MPO and NADPH oxidase activity are not directly inhibited by DNase I, suggesting that its effect on ROS production depends on NET disassembly. Altogether, our data suggest that inhibition of ROS production by microorganism-derived DNase would contribute to their ability to evade killing.
doi:10.1159/000235860
PMCID: PMC2919508  PMID: 20375609
Neutrophil extracellular traps; NADPH oxidase; Myeloperoxidase; Exocytosis; Rab27; Luminol; Isoluminol
11.  Chromosomal Mapping of Canine-Derived BAC Clones to the Red Fox and American Mink Genomes 
Journal of Heredity  2009;100(Suppl 1):S42-S53.
High-quality sequencing of the dog (Canis lupus familiaris) genome has enabled enormous progress in genetic mapping of canine phenotypic variation. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes), another canid species, also exhibits a wide range of variation in coat color, morphology, and behavior. Although the fox genome has not yet been sequenced, canine genomic resources have been used to construct a meiotic linkage map of the red fox genome and begin genetic mapping in foxes. However, a more detailed gene-specific comparative map between the dog and fox genomes is required to establish gene order within homologous regions of dog and fox chromosomes and to refine breakpoints between homologous chromosomes of the 2 species. In the current study, we tested whether canine-derived gene–containing bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones can be routinely used to build a gene-specific map of the red fox genome. Forty canine BAC clones were mapped to the red fox genome by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Each clone was uniquely assigned to a single fox chromosome, and the locations of 38 clones agreed with cytogenetic predictions. These results clearly demonstrate the utility of FISH mapping for construction of a whole-genome gene-specific map of the red fox. The further possibility of using canine BAC clones to map genes in the American mink (Mustela vison) genome was also explored. Much lower success was obtained for this more distantly related farm-bred species, although a few BAC clones were mapped to the predicted chromosomal locations.
doi:10.1093/jhered/esp037
PMCID: PMC3139363  PMID: 19546120
Canis lupus familiaris; comparative genomics; FISH; Mustela vison; Vulpes vulpes
12.  Canine RD3 mutation establishes rod cone dysplasia type 2 (rcd2) as ortholog of human and murine rd3 
Rod cone dysplasia type 2 (rcd2) is an autosomal recessive disorder that segregates in collie dogs. Linkage disequilibrium and meiotic linkage mapping were combined to take advantage of population structure within this breed, and to fine map rcd2 to a 230 kb candidate region that included the gene C1orf36 responsible for human and murine rd3, and within which all affected dogs were homozygous for one haplotype. In one of three identified canine retinal RD3 splice variants, an insertion was found that cosegregates with rcd2, and is predicted to alter the last 61 codons of the normal open reading frame and further extend the ORF. Thus combined meiotic linkage and LD mapping within a single canine breed can yield critical reduction of the disease interval when appropriate advantage is taken of within breed population structure. This should permit a similar approach to tackle other hereditary traits that segregate in single closed populations.
doi:10.1007/s00335-008-9163-4
PMCID: PMC2652121  PMID: 19130129
dog genetics; progressive retinal atrophy; retinitis pigmentosa; linkage disequilibrium mapping
13.  Radiation hybrid mapping of cataract genes in the dog 
Molecular vision  2006;12:588-596.
Purpose
To facilitate the molecular characterization of naturally occurring cataracts in dogs by providing the radiation hybrid location of 21 cataract-associated genes along with their closely associated polymorphic markers. These can be used for segregation testing of the candidate genes in canine cataract pedigrees.
Methods
Twenty-one genes with known mutations causing hereditary cataracts in man and/or mouse were selected and mapped to canine chromosomes using a canine:hamster radiation hybrid RH5000 panel. Each cataract gene ortholog was mapped in relation to over 3,000 markers including microsatellites, ESTs, genes, and BAC clones. The resulting independently determined RH-map locations were compared with the corresponding gene locations from the draft sequence of the canine genome.
Results
Twenty-one cataract orthologs were mapped to canine chromosomes. The genetic locations and nearest polymorphic markers were determined for 20 of these orthologs. In addition, the resulting cataract gene locations, as determined experimentally by this study, were compared with those determined by the canine genome project. All genes mapped within or near chromosomal locations with previously established homology to the corresponding human gene locations based on canine:human chromosomal synteny.
Conclusions
The location of selected cataract gene orthologs in the dog, along with their nearest polymorphic markers, serves as a resource for association and linkage testing in canine pedigrees segregating inherited cataracts. The recent development of canine genomic resources make canine models a practical and valuable resource for the study of human hereditary cataracts. Canine models can serve as large animal models intermediate between mouse and man for both gene discovery and the development of novel cataract therapies.
PMCID: PMC1509099  PMID: 16760895
14.  Improving cyclodextrin complexation of a new antihepatitis drug with glacial acetic acid 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2006;7(1):E125-E130.
The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a solid nonaqueous oral dosage form for a new hepatitis C drug, PG301029, which is insoluble and unstable in water. Hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPβCD) and PG301029 were dissolved in glacial acetic acid. The acetic acid was removed by rotoevaporation such that the drug exists primarily in the complexed form. The stability of formulated PG301029 was determined upon dry storage and after reconstitution in simulated intestinal fluid (SIF), simulated gastric fluid (SGF), and water. Formulated PG301029 was found to be stable upon storage and can be reconstituted with water to a concentration 200 times that of the intrinsic solubility. Once reconstituted, the powder dissolves rapidly and PG301029 remains stable for 21 hours in SGF, SIF, and water. The unique use of acetic acid and HPβCD results in a solid dosage form of PG301029 that is both soluble and stable in water.
doi:10.1208/pt070118
PMCID: PMC2750725
Hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin; acetic acid; solid dose; oral formulation; complexation; solubility; stability; PG301029
15.  Reformulation of a new vancomycin analog: An example of the importance of buffer species and strength 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2006;7(1):E33-E37.
The purpose of this research was to use our previously validated dynamic injection apparatus as a rapid method for screening pH-adjusted formulations of a new vancomycin analog, Van-An, for their potential to precipitate upon dilution. In 1 vial, Van-An was reconstituted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In a separate vial, the Van-An formulation’s existing phosphate buffer species was supplemented with acetate buffer, which has a pKa in the desired range: between the pH values of the formulation (pH 3.9) and blood (pH 7.4). The formulations were injected using the dynamic injection apparatus into a flowing stream of isotonic Sorensen’s phosphate buffer at rates of 0.25, 0.5, 1, and 2 mL/min. The peaks obtained with the spectrophotometer were reproducible for each injection rate/formulation combination. For the phosphate-buffered formulation, the least amount of precipitation was obtained at the 0.25 mL/min injection rate. Acetate buffer was able to substantially reduce such precipitation, even at the highest injection rate. The opacity peaks for the formulation with the acetate addition were significantly smaller (P<.05) than those obtained for the unaltered formulation at all 4 injection rates. The results suggest that acetate is a better buffer species than phosphate for the pH range defined. Furthermore, we present evidence to support a generally applicable approach to screening new formulations of drug products that may be clinically useful for reducing the incidence of phlebitis in humans.
doi:10.1208/pt070105
PMCID: PMC2750712  PMID: 16796351
Precipitation; phlebitis; pH; solubility; prediction; probability; sensitivity; specificity; in vitro model; blood surrogate; buffer species
16.  Cloning and characterization of canine PAX6 and evaluation as a candidate gene in a canine model of aniridia 
Molecular Vision  2007;13:431-442.
Purpose
Mutations in PAX6 cause human aniridia. The small eye (sey) mouse represents an animal model for aniridia. However, no large animal model currently exists. We cloned and characterized canine PAX6, and evaluated PAX6 for causal associations with inherited aniridia in dogs.
Methods
Canine PAX6 was cloned from a canine retinal cDNA library using primers designed from human and mouse PAX6 consensus sequences. An RH3000 radiation hybrid panel was used to localize PAX6 within the canine genome. Genomic DNA was extracted from whole blood of dogs with inherited aniridia, and association testing was performed using markers on CFA18. Fourteen PAX6 exons were sequenced and scanned for mutations, and a Southern blot was used to test for large deletions.
Results
Like the human gene, canine PAX6 has 13 exons and 12 introns, plus an alternatively spliced exon (5a). PAX6 nucleotide and amino acid sequences were highly conserved between dog, human, and mouse. The canine PAX6 cDNA sequence determined in this study spans 2 large gaps present in the current canine genomic sequence. Radiation hybrid mapping placed canine PAX6 on CFA18 in a region with synteny to HSA11p13. Exon-scanning revealed single nucleotide polymorphisms, but no pathological mutations, and Southern blot analysis revealed no differences between normal and affected animals.
Conclusions
Canine PAX6 was cloned and characterized, and results provide sequence information for gaps in the current canine genome sequence. Canine PAX6 nucleotide and amino acid sequences, as well as gene organization and map location, were highly homologous with that of the human gene. PAX6 was evaluated in dogs with an inherited form of aniridia, and sequence analysis indicated no pathological mutations in the coding regions or splice sites of aniridia-affected dogs, and Southern blot analysis showed no large deletions.
PMCID: PMC2647561  PMID: 17417604
17.  Gene transfer and expression in human neutrophils. The phox homology domain of p47phox translocates to the plasma membrane but not to the membrane of mature phagosomes 
BMC Immunology  2006;7:28.
Background
Neutrophils are non-dividing cells with poor survival after isolation. Consequently, exogenous gene expression in neutrophils is challenging. We report here the transfection of genes and expression of active proteins in human primary peripheral neutrophils using nucleofection.
Results
Exogenous gene expression in human neutrophils was achieved 2 h post-transfection. We show that neutrophils transfected by nucleofection are functional cells, able to respond to soluble and particulate stimuli. They conserved the ability to undergo physiological processes including phagocytosis. Using this technique, we were able to show that the phox homology (PX) domain of p47phox localizes to the plasma membrane in human neutrophils. We also show that RhoB, but not the PX domain of p47phox, is translocated to the membrane of mature phagosomes.
Conclusion
We demonstrated that cDNA transfer and expression of exogenous protein in human neutrophils is compatible with cell viability and is no longer a limitation for the study of protein function in human neutrophils.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-7-28
PMCID: PMC1712351  PMID: 17150107
18.  Oral formulation of a novel antiviral agent, PG301029, in a mixture of Gelucire 44/14 and DMA (2∶1, wt/wt) 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2005;6(1):E1-E5.
To develop an oral formulation for PG301029, a novel potent agent for the treatment of Hepatitis C virus infection, that not only has very low aqueous solubility but also degrades rapidly in water. The solubility of PG301029 was determined in water, various aqueous media, and several neat organic solvents. The stability of PG301029 was monitored at room temperature in buffess for 4 days, and in several neat organic solvents for up to 8 mo. Drug concentrations were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Based on solubility and stability data, Gelucire 44/14 and DMA (N,N-dimethylacetamide) at a weight ratio of 2 to 1 were chosen as the formulation vehicle. After the vehicle was prepared, it was maintained in liquid form at ∼40°C until the PG301029 was dissolved. The final formulation product was a semisolid at room temperature. The bioavailability of the formulation was tested on 4 female BALB/c mice. PG301029 is insoluble in all tested aqueous media, while its solubility is promising in DMA. This compound is unstable in aqueous media and some organic solvents; however, it is stable in DMA. This proposed formulation is able to hold up to 10 mg/mL of drug and is stable at 4°C. The shelf life for this formulation stored at 4°C is extrapolated to be greater than 4 years. This formulation dramatically increases the bioavailability of PG301029. This nonaqueous formulation solves the stability, solubility, and bioavailability problems for PG301029. This semisolid formulation can easily be incorporated into soft elastic capsules.
doi:10.1208/pt060101
PMCID: PMC2750404  PMID: 16353952
PG301029; Gelucire 44/14; DMA (N,N-dimethylacetamide); oral formulation; HCV
19.  Comparison of the BAX for Screening/E. coli O157:H7 Method with Conventional Methods for Detection of Extremely Low Levels of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ground Beef 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1998;64(11):4390-4395.
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an important food-borne pathogen. Often E. coli O157:H7 is difficult to detect, because it is present sporadically at very low levels together with very high levels of competitor organisms which can be difficult to distinguish phenotypically. Cultural methods are time-consuming and give variable results in the detection of E. coli O157:H7. This study examined the performance of BAX for Screening/E. coli O157:H7, a new rapid method for the detection of E. coli O157:H7, against traditional and improved cultural methods and an immunodiffusion assay. All cultural methods demonstrated inadequacy in detecting the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in inoculated samples. The limitations of these cultural methods further complicate evaluation of screening methodologies. The BAX for Screening/E. coli O157:H7 assay outperformed the other methods, with a detection rate of 96.5%, compared to 39% for the best cultural method and 71.5% for the immunodiffusion method. The BAX for Screening/E. coli O157:H7 assay proved to be a rapid, highly sensitive test for the detection of low levels of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef.
PMCID: PMC106658  PMID: 9797296
20.  Membrane-Bound IL-21 Promotes Sustained Ex Vivo Proliferation of Human Natural Killer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30264.
NK cells have therapeutic potential for a wide variety of human malignancies. However, because NK cells expand poorly in vitro, have limited life spans in vivo, and represent a small fraction of peripheral white blood cells, obtaining sufficient cell numbers is the major obstacle for NK-cell immunotherapy. Genetically-engineered artificial antigen-presenting cells (aAPCs) expressing membrane-bound IL-15 (mbIL15) have been used to propagate clinical-grade NK cells for human trials of adoptive immunotherapy, but ex vivo proliferation has been limited by telomere shortening. We developed K562-based aAPCs with membrane-bound IL-21 (mbIL21) and assessed their ability to support human NK-cell proliferation. In contrast to mbIL15, mbIL21-expressing aAPCs promoted log-phase NK cell expansion without evidence of senescence for up to 6 weeks of culture. By day 21, parallel expansion of NK cells from 22 donors demonstrated a mean 47,967-fold expansion (median 31,747) when co-cultured with aAPCs expressing mbIL21 compared to 825-fold expansion (median 325) with mbIL15. Despite the significant increase in proliferation, mbIL21-expanded NK cells also showed a significant increase in telomere length compared to freshly obtained NK cells, suggesting a possible mechanism for their sustained proliferation. NK cells expanded with mbIL21 were similar in phenotype and cytotoxicity to those expanded with mbIL15, with retained donor KIR repertoires and high expression of NCRs, CD16, and NKG2D, but had superior cytokine secretion. The mbIL21-expanded NK cells showed increased transcription of the activating receptor CD160, but otherwise had remarkably similar mRNA expression profiles of the 96 genes assessed. mbIL21-expanded NK cells had significant cytotoxicity against all tumor cell lines tested, retained responsiveness to inhibitory KIR ligands, and demonstrated enhanced killing via antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity. Thus, aAPCs expressing mbIL21 promote improved proliferation of human NK cells with longer telomeres and less senescence, supporting their clinical use in propagating NK cells for adoptive immunotherapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030264
PMCID: PMC3261192  PMID: 22279576

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