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1.  Rapid detection of haemotropic mycoplasma infection of feline erythrocytes using a novel flow cytometric approach 
Parasites & Vectors  2013;6:158.
The haemotropic mycoplasmas Mycoplasma haemofelis and Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum cause feline infectious anaemia with infection rates in feline populations reflecting widespread subclinical infection. Clinically significant infections are much rarer but can be life-threatening. Current diagnosis is dependent upon visualising organisms in stained blood smears, PCR or quantitative PCR (qPCR). These procedures are labour-intensive and time-consuming. Furthermore, PCR-based approaches offer limited insight into the disease burden of the infected animal.
We have developed a novel and rapid flow cytometric system that permits diagnosis of haemotropic mycoplasma infections and quantitation of the percentage of erythrocytes that are parasitized. The method exploits the fact that mature mammalian erythrocytes, the host cell for haemoplasmas, are enucleated and thus lack nucleic acid. DRAQ5 is a synthetic anthrocycline dye which rapidly crosses cell membranes and binds to nucleic acids. The presence of exogenous bacterial DNA in mammalian erythrocytes can, therefore, be detected by DRAQ5 uptake and flow cytometric detection of DRAQ5 fluorescence.
Here, we show that this system can detect epi-erythrocytic infection of companion felines by haemotropic mycoplasma. Due to their differences in size, and hence the quantity of DNA, the two major feline hemoplasmas M. haemofelis and Candidatus M. haemominutum can be distinguished according to DRAQ5 fluorescence. We have also shown the usefulness of DRAQ5 uptake in monitoring a cat infected with M. haemofelis sequentially during treatment with doxycycline.
The technique described is the first report of a flow cytometric method for detecting haemotropic mycoplasmas in any species and could be applied to widespread screening of animal populations to assess infection by these epi-erythrocytic parasites.
PMCID: PMC3673821  PMID: 23725366
Hemoplasma; Hemotropic mycoplasma; Flow cytometry; Diagnosis
2.  A novel Kluyveromyces marxianus strain with an inducible flocculation phenotype 
AMB Express  2012;2:38.
Flocculation is a very useful phenotype for industrial yeast strains, since it facilitates cell harvest and represents an easy way of cell immobilization in continuous fermentation processes. The present work represents the first time that an inducible flocculation phenotype has been generated in a non flocculent strain of Kluyveromyces marxianus. This was accomplished by expressing Saccharomyces cerevisiae FLO5 gene in K. marxianus CECT 11769 strain. The FLO 5 gene was placed under the control of an EPG promoter, not repressed by glucose and induced by anoxia. Our experimental approach successfully generated two novel K. marxianus flocculent phenotypes: one inducible and one constitutive. The constitutive phenotype originated from deletions in the FLO5 promoter region, indicating the existence of putative upstream repressor site involved in oxygen regulation of the EPG1 promoter. The novel strains here generated had a unique set of characteristics that provided an advantage, over the wild-type strain, for the industrial co-production of ethanol and polygalacturonase.
PMCID: PMC3431993  PMID: 22838397
Kluyveromyces marxianus; Inducible flocculent phenotype; Polygalacturonase; Ethanol
3.  Construction of a novel Pichia pastoris strain for production of xanthophylls 
AMB Express  2012;2:24.
In this study, we used the yeast carotenogenic producer Pichia pastoris Pp-EBIL strain, which has been metabolically engineered, by heterologously expressing β-carotene-pathway enzymes to produce β-carotene, as a vessel for recombinant astaxanthin expression. For this purpose, we designed new P. pastoris recombinant-strains harboring astaxanthin-encoding genes from carotenogenic microorganism, and thus capable of producing xanthophyllic compounds. We designed and constructed a plasmid (pGAPZA-WZ) containing both the β-carotene ketolase (crtW) and β-carotene hydroxylase (crtZ) genes from Agrobacterium aurantiacum, under the control of the GAP promoter and containing an AOX-1 terminator. The plasmid was then integrated into the P. pastoris Pp-EBIL strain genomic DNA, producing clone Pp-EBILWZ. The recombinant P. pastoris (Pp-EBILWZ) cells exhibited a strong reddish carotenoid coloration and were confirmed, by HPLC, to produce not only the previous described carotenoids lycopene and β-carotene, but also de novo synthesized astaxanthin.
PMCID: PMC3485114  PMID: 22534340
Pichia pastoris; Carotenoids; β-carotene; Astaxanthin

Results 1-3 (3)