Our group has recently demonstrated that Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) infection significantly associates with T1D in Sardinian adult patients. Due to the potential role played by MAP in T1D pathogenesis, it is relevant to better characterize the prevalence of anti-MAP antibodies (Abs) in the Sardinian population, studying newly diagnosed T1D children. Therefore, we investigated the seroreactivity against epitopes derived from the ZnT8 autoantigen involved in children at T1D onset and their homologous sequences of the MAP3865c protein. Moreover, sera from all individuals were tested for the presence of Abs against: the corresponding ZnT8 C-terminal region, the MAP specific protein MptD, the T1D autoantigen GAD65 and the T1D unrelated Acetylcholine Receptor. The novel MAP3865c281–287 epitope emerges here as the major C-terminal epitope recognized. Intriguingly ZnT8186–194 immunodominant peptide was cross-reactive with the homologous sequences MAP3865c133–141, strengthening the hypothesis that MAP could be an environmental trigger of T1D through a molecular mimicry mechanism. All eight epitopes were recognized by circulating Abs in T1D children in comparison to healthy controls, suggesting that these Abs could be biomarkers of T1D. It would be relevant to investigate larger cohorts of children, followed over time, to elucidate whether Ab titers against these MAP/Znt8 epitopes wane after diagnosis.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the cause of Johne’s disease, an enteric granulomatous disease. Recently, MAP has been associated with different autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes (T1D) and multiple sclerosis. Transthyretin (TTR) is a plasma transport protein for thyroid hormone and forms a complex with retinol-binding protein. Reduced TTR plasma levels in MAP infected ovines have been reported.
TTR exerts also a functional role in the pancreas promoting insulin release and protecting β-cells from death.
Our objective was to identify a protein that could be used as a diagnostic marker of T1D for determining disease progression and monitoring at-risk patients. We postulate that serological TTR levels would be reduced in T1D MAP exposed patients. Our hypothesis is based on the observation of cases of T1D patients with decreased TTR levels beside the reduced TTR plasma levels in ovines with Johne’s disease.
We quantified the plasma protein levels of TTR in 50 people with T1D and 51 age-matched healthy controls (HCs) by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA).
Our pilot study showed that plasma TTR levels were not significantly lower/higher in T1D Sardinian cases compared to the HCs.
These preliminary data indicate that plasma TTR may not be a good candidate biomarker for T1D diagnosis and further studies to elucidate the possible link are needed.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis; Type 1 diabetes; Transthyretin; Biomarker; Sardinia
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is a zoonotic pathogen, a very slow growing bacterium which is difficult to isolate and passage in conventional laboratory culture. Although its association with Johne’s disease or paratuberculosis of cattle is well established, it has been only putatively linked to Crohn’s disease in humans. Further, MAP has been recently suggested to be a trigger for other autoimmune diseases such as type-1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Recently, some studies have indicated that exposure to MAP is associated with elevated levels of antibodies against MAP lysate although the exact mechanism and significance of the same remains unclear. Further, the cytokine profiles relevant in MAP associated diseases of humans and their exact role in the pathophysiology are not clearly known. We performed in vitro cytokine analyses after exposing different cultured human cells to the whole cell lysate of MAP and found that MAP lysate induces secretion of cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and TNF-α by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Also, it induces secretion of IL-8 by cultured human stomach adenocarcinoma cells (AGS) and PANC-1(human pancreatic carcinoma cell line) cells. We also found that MAP lysate induced cytotoxicity in PANC-1cells. Collectively, these results provide a much needed base-line data set of cytokines broadly signifying a MAP induced cellular response by human cells.
The Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome contains two large gene families encoding proteins of unknown function, characterized by conserved N-terminal proline and glutamate (PE and PPE) motifs. The presence of a large number of PE/PPE proteins with repetitive domains and evidence of strain variation has given rise to the suggestion that these proteins may play a role in immune evasion via antigenic variation, while emerging data suggests that some family members may play important roles in mycobacterial pathogenesis. In this study, we examined cellular immune responses to a panel of 36 PE/PPE proteins during human and bovine infection. We observed a distinct hierarchy of immune recognition, reflected both in the repertoire of PE/PPE peptide recognition in individual cows and humans and in the magnitude of IFN-γ responses elicited by stimulation of sensitized host cells. The pattern of immunodominance was strikingly similar between cattle that had been experimentally infected with Mycobacterium bovis and humans naturally infected with clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis. The same pattern was maintained as disease progressed throughout a four-month course of infection in cattle, and between humans with latent as well as active tuberculosis. Detailed analysis of PE/PPE responses at the peptide level suggests that antigenic cross-reactivity amongst related family members is a major determinant in the observed differences in immune hierarchy. Taken together, these results demonstrate that a subset of PE/PPE proteins are major targets of the cellular immune response to tuberculosis, and are recognized at multiple stages of infection and in different disease states. Thus this work identifies a number of novel antigens that could find application in vaccine development, and provides new insights into PE/PPE biology.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the etiological agent of Johne's disease in ruminants. Recent studies have linked MAP to type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the Sardinian population. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of MAP infection in a T1D cohort from continental Italy compared with healthy control subjects. 247 T1D subjects and 110 healthy controls were tested for the presence of MAP. MAP DNA was detected using IS900-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The presence of antibodies towards a MAP antigen, heparin binding hemoagglutinin (HBHA), was detected by ELISA. We demonstrated a higher MAP DNA prevalence in plasma samples from T1D patients and a stronger immune response towards MAP HBHA, compared with healthy control subjects. Moreover, in the recent onset patients, we observed an association between anti-MAP antibodies and HLA DQ2 (DQA1 0201/DQB1 0202).
These findings taken together support the hypothesis of MAP as an environmental risk factor for the development of T1D in genetically predisposed subjects, probably involving a mechanism of molecular mimicry between MAP antigens and pancreatic islet β-cells.
Recent studies have identified in Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP), already known as a pathogen in ruminants, a potential zoonotic agent of some autoimmune diseases in humans. Therefore, considering the possible risk for public health, it is necessary a thorough understanding of MAP's gene expression during infection of human host as well as the identification of its immunogenic and/or virulence factors for the development of appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
In order to characterize MAP's transcriptome during macrophage infection, we analyzed for the first time the whole gene expression of a human derived strain of MAP in simulated intraphagosomal conditions and after intracellular infection of the human macrophage cell line THP-1 by using the DNA-microarray technology. Results showed that MAP shifts its transcriptome to an adaptive metabolism for an anoxic environment and nutrient starvation. It up-regulates several response factors to oxidative stress or intracellular conditions and allows, in terms of transcription, a passive surface peptidoglycan spoliation within the macrophage along with an intensification of the anabolic activity for lipidic membrane structures.
These results indicate a possible interactive system between MAP and its host cell based on the internal mimicry unlike other intracellular pathogens, bringing new hypothesis in the virulence and pathogenicity of MAP and its importance in human health.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis; functional genomics; DNA-microarray; simulated intra-phagosomal multi-stress; macrophage infection
Mycobacteria are able to enter into a state of non-replication or dormancy, which may result in their chronic persistence in soil, aquatic environments, and permissive hosts. Stresses such as nutrient deprivation and hypoxia provide environmental cues to enter a persistent state; however, a clear definition of the mechanism that mycobacteria employ to achieve this remains elusive. While the concept of sporulation in mycobacteria is not novel, it continues to spark controversy and challenges our perceptions of a non-replication. We investigated the potential role of sporulation in one-year old broth cultures of Mycobacterium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP).
We show that dormant cultures of MAP contain a mix of vegetative cells and a previously unknown morphotype resembling a spore. These spore-like structures can be enriched for using sporulating media. Furthermore, purified MAP spore forms survive exposure to heat, lysozyme and proteinase K. Heat-treated spores are positive for MAP 16SrRNA and IS900. MAP spores display enhanced infectivity as well as maintain acid-fast characteristics upon germination in a well-established bovine macrophage model. This is the first study to demonstrate a new MAP morphotype possessing spore-like qualities. Data suggest that sporulation may be a viable mechanism by which MAP accomplishes persistence in the host and/or environment. Thus, our current understanding of mycobacterial persistence, pathogenesis, epidemiology and rational drug and vaccine design may need to be reevaluated.
The role of vitamins in the combat of disease is usually conceptualized as acting by modulating the immune response of an infected, eukaryotic host. We hypothesized that some vitamins may directly influence the growth of prokaryotes, particularly mycobacteria.
The effect of four fat-soluble vitamins was studied in radiometric Bactec® culture. The vitamins were A (including a precursor and three metabolites,) D, E and K. We evaluated eight strains of three mycobacterial species (four of M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), two of M. avium and two of M. tb. complex).
Vitamins A and D cause dose-dependent inhibition of all three mycobacterial species studied. Vitamin A is consistently more inhibitory than vitamin D. The vitamin A precursor, β-carotene, is not inhibitory, whereas three vitamin A metabolites cause inhibition. Vitamin K has no effect. Vitamin E causes negligible inhibition in a single strain.
We show that vitamin A, its metabolites Retinyl acetate, Retinoic acid and 13-cis Retinoic acid and vitamin D directly inhibit mycobacterial growth in culture. These data are compatible with the hypothesis that complementing the immune response of multicellular organisms, vitamins A and D may have heretofore unproven, unrecognized, independent and probable synergistic, direct antimycobacterial inhibitory activity.
Experimental and clinical studies indicate that exposure to high aldosterone concentrations causes cardiac damage independent of the blood pressure level. In recent years, it has become clear that the effects of aldosterone on the heart are mediated by actions on a variety of cell types and intracellular mechanisms that contribute to regulation of specific tissue responses, leading to hypertrophy and fibrosis. Most cardiac effects of aldosterone are mediated by activation of mineralocorticoid receptors that are detected in cardiac myocytes and fibroblasts. Clinical evidence of the unfavorable cardiac effects of aldosterone has been established in landmark studies that have tested the benefits of aldosterone antagonists in patients with heart failure and decreased ejection fraction. However, evidence of benefits of aldosterone antagonists occurring independent of the renal effects of these agents is not limited to patients with systolic heart failure. In this article, we briefly summarize the current knowledge on the effects of aldosterone antagonists on cardiac protection and highlight the most recent findings that have been obtained in different cardiac conditions with use of these drugs.
Aldosterone; aldosterone antagonists; atrial fibrillation; diastolic cardiac failure; essential hypertension; primary aldosteronism
We investigated the interaction of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, M. bovis and M. tuberculosis and different glial cells (enteric glial and microglial cells) in order to evaluate the infecting ability of these microorganisms and the effects produced on these cells, such as the evaluation of cytokines expression.
Our experiments demonstrated the adhesion of M. paratuberculosis to the enteroglial cells and the induction of IL-1A and IL-6 expression; M. tuberculosis and M. bovis showed a good adhesive capability to the enteric cell line with the expression of the following cytokines: IL-1A and IL-1B, TNF-α, G-CSF and GM-CSF; M. bovis induced the expression of IL-6 too.
The experiment performed with the microglial cells confirmed the results obtained with the enteroglial cells after the infection with M. tuberculosis and M. bovis, whereas M. paratuberculosis stimulated the production of IL-1A and IL-1B.
Enteroglial and microglial cells, could be the target of pathogenic mycobacteria and, even if present in different locations (Enteric Nervous System and Central Nervous System), show to have similar mechanism of immunomodulation.
Mycobacteria; enteric glial cells; microglia; cytokines
The environmental factors at play in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes (T1D) remain enigmatic. Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) is transmitted from dairy herds to humans through food contamination. MAP causes an asymptomatic infection that is highly prevalent in Sardinian T1D patients compared with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and healthy controls. Moreover, MAP elicits humoral responses against several mycobacterial proteins. We asked whether antibodies (Abs) against one of these proteins, namely MAP3865c, which displays a sequence homology with the β-cell protein zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) could be cross-reactive with ZnT8 epitopes. To this end, Ab responses against MAP3865c were analyzed in Sardinian T1D, T2D and healthy subjects using an enzymatic immunoassay. Abs against MAP3865c recognized two immunodominant transmembrane epitopes in 52–65% of T1D patients, but only in 5–7% of T2D and 3–5% of healthy controls. There was a linear correlation between titers of anti-MAP3865c and anti-ZnT8 Abs targeting these two homologous epitopes, and pre-incubation of sera with ZnT8 epitope peptides blocked binding to the corresponding MAP3865c peptides. These results demonstrate that Abs recognizing MAP3865c epitopes cross-react with ZnT8, possibly underlying a molecular mimicry mechanism, which may precipitate T1D in MAP-infected individuals.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis has a global population structure consisting of six main phylogenetic lineages associated with specific geographic regions and human populations. One particular M. tuberculosis genotype known as “Beijing” has repeatedly been associated with drug resistance and has been emerging in some parts of the world. “Beijing” strains are traditionally defined based on a characteristic spoligotyping pattern. We used three alternative genotyping techniques to revisit the phylogenetic classification of M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) strains exhibiting the typical “Beijing” spoligotyping pattern.
Methods and Findings
MTBC strains were obtained from an ongoing molecular epidemiological study in Switzerland and Nepal. MTBC genotyping was performed based on SNPs, genomic deletions, and 24-loci MIRU-VNTR. We identified three MTBC strains from patients originating from Tibet, Portugal and Nepal which exhibited a spoligotyping patterns identical to the classical Beijing signature. However, based on three alternative molecular markers, these strains were assigned to Lineage 3 (also known as Delhi/CAS) rather than to Lineage 2 (also known as East-Asian lineage). Sequencing of the RD207 in one of these strains showed that the deletion responsible for this “Pseudo-Beijing” spoligotype was about 1,000 base pairs smaller than the usual deletion of RD207 in classical “Beijing” strains, which is consistent with an evolutionarily independent deletion event in the direct repeat (DR) region of MTBC.
We provide an example of convergent evolution in the DR locus of MTBC, and highlight the limitation of using spoligotypes for strain classification. Our results indicate that a proportion of “Beijing” strains may have been misclassified in the past. Markers that are more phylogenetically robust should be used when exploring strain-specific differences in experimental or clinical phenotypes.
Tuberculosis (TB) continues to pose a serious challenge to human health afflicting a large number of people throughout the world. In spite of the availability of drugs for the treatment of TB, the non-compliance to 6–9 months long chemotherapeutic regimens often results in the emergence of multidrug resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis adding to the precariousness of the situation. This has necessitated the development of more effective drugs. Thiamin biosynthesis, an important metabolic pathway of M.tuberculosis, is shown to be essential for the intracellular growth of this pathogen and hence, it is believed that inhibition of this pathway would severely affect the growth of M.tuberculosis. In this study, a comparative homology model of M.tuberculosis thiamin phosphate synthase (MtTPS) was generated and employed for virtual screening of NCI diversity set II to select potential inhibitors. The best 39 compounds based on the docking results were evaluated for their potential to inhibit the MtTPS activity. Seven compounds inhibited MtTPS activity with IC50 values ranging from 20 – 100 µg/ml and two of these exhibited weak inhibition of M.tuberculosis growth with MIC99 values being 125 µg/ml and 162.5 µg/ml while one compound was identified as a very potent inhibitor of M.tuberculosis growth with an MIC99 value of 6 µg/ml. This study establishes MtTPS as a novel drug target against M.tuberculosis leading to the identification of new lead molecules for the development of antitubercular drugs. Further optimization of these lead compounds could result in more potent therapeutic molecules against Tuberculosis.
Helicobacter pylori induces cytokine mediated changes in gastroduodenal pathophysiology, wherein, the activated macrophages at the sub-mucosal space play a central role in mounting innate immune response against the antigens. The bacterium gains niche through persistent inflammation and local immune-suppression causing peptic ulcer disease or chronic gastritis; the latter being a significant risk factor for the development of gastric adenocarcinoma. What favors persistence of H. pylori in the gastric niches is not clearly understood. We report detailed characterization of a functionally unknown gene (HP986), which was detected in patient isolates associated with peptic ulcer and gastric carcinoma. Expression and purification of recombinant HP986 (rHP986) revealed a novel, ∼29 kDa protein in biologically active form which associates with significant levels of humoral immune responses in diseased individuals (p<0.001). Also, it induced significant levels of TNF-α and Interleukin-8 in cultured human macrophages concurrent to the translocation of nuclear transcription factor-κB (NF-κB). Further, the rHP986 induced apoptosis of cultured macrophages through a Fas mediated pathway. Dissection of the underlying signaling mechanism revealed that rHP986 induces both TNFR1 and Fas expression to lead to apoptosis. We further demonstrated interaction of HP986 with TNFR1 through computational and experimental approaches. Independent proinflammatory and apoptotic responses triggered by rHP986 as shown in this study point to its role, possibly as a survival strategy to gain niche through inflammation and to counter the activated macrophages to avoid clearance.
The intra- and inter-species genetic diversity of bacteria and the absence of ‘reference’, or the most representative, sequences of individual species present a significant challenge for sequence-based identification. The aims of this study were to determine the utility, and compare the performance of several clustering and classification algorithms to identify the species of 364 sequences of 16S rRNA gene with a defined species in GenBank, and 110 sequences of 16S rRNA gene with no defined species, all within the genus Nocardia.
A total of 364 16S rRNA gene sequences of Nocardia species were studied. In addition, 110 16S rRNA gene sequences assigned only to the Nocardia genus level at the time of submission to GenBank were used for machine learning classification experiments. Different clustering algorithms were compared with a novel algorithm or the linear mapping (LM) of the distance matrix. Principal Components Analysis was used for the dimensionality reduction and visualization.
The LM algorithm achieved the highest performance and classified the set of 364 16S rRNA sequences into 80 clusters, the majority of which (83.52%) corresponded with the original species. The most representative 16S rRNA sequences for individual Nocardia species have been identified as ‘centroids’ in respective clusters from which the distances to all other sequences were minimized; 110 16S rRNA gene sequences with identifications recorded only at the genus level were classified using machine learning methods. Simple kNN machine learning demonstrated the highest performance and classified Nocardia species sequences with an accuracy of 92.7% and a mean frequency of 0.578.
The identification of centroids of 16S rRNA gene sequence clusters using novel distance matrix clustering enables the identification of the most representative sequences for each individual species of Nocardia and allows the quantitation of inter- and intra-species variability.
Conventionally, signaling through BCR initiates sequence of events necessary for activation and differentiation of B cells. We report an alternative approach, independent of BCR, for stimulating resting B (RB) cells, by involving TLR-2 and CD40 - molecules crucial for innate and adaptive immunity. CD40 triggering of TLR-2 stimulated RB cells significantly augments their activation, proliferation and differentiation. It also substantially ameliorates the calcium flux, antigen uptake capacity and ability of B cells to activate T cells. The survival of RB cells was improved and it increases the number of cells expressing activation induced deaminase (AID), signifying class switch recombination (CSR). Further, we also observed increased activation rate and decreased threshold period required for optimum stimulation of RB cells. These results corroborate well with microarray gene expression data. This study provides novel insights into coordination between the molecules of innate and adaptive immunity in activating B cells, in a BCR independent manner. This strategy can be exploited to design vaccines to bolster B cell activation and antigen presenting efficiency, leading to faster and better immune response.
Mycobacteria have always proven difficult to identify due to their low growth rate and fastidious nature. Therefore molecular biology and more recently nanotechnology, have been exploited from early on for the detection of these pathogens. Here we present the first stage of development of an assay incorporating cadmium selenide quantum dots (QDs) for the detection of mycobacterial surface antigens. The principle of the assay is the separation of bacterial cells using magnetic beads coupled with genus-specific polyclonal antibodies and monoclonal antibodies for heparin-binding hemagglutinin. These complexes are then tagged with anti-mouse biotinylated antibody and finally streptavidin-conjugated QDs which leads to the detection of a fluorescent signal. For the evaluation of performance, the method under study was applied on Mycobacterium bovis BCG and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (positive controls), as well as E. coli and Salmonella spp. that constituted the negative controls. The direct observation of the latter category of samples did not reveal fluorescence as opposed to the mycobacteria mentioned above. The minimum detection limit of the assay was defined to 104 bacteria/ml, which could be further decreased by a 1 log when fluorescence was measured with a spectrofluorometer. The method described here can be easily adjusted for any other protein target of either the pathogen or the host, and once fully developed it will be directly applicable on clinical samples.
Variations in the gene for the nucleotide-binding oligomerisation domain (NOD) 2 have been associated with Crohn's disease but not multiple sclerosis (MS). Here we investigate the effect of three polymorphisms in the NOD2 gene (rs5743277, rs2066842 and rs5743291) on cytokine production and CD4+ T cell proliferation elicited by human myelin basic protein (MBP) in blood mononuclear cell (MNC) cultures from 29 patients with MS. No polymorphism was observed at rs5743277. No associations with the rs2066842 polymorphism were found. Concerning rs5743291, none were homozygous for the minor allele. Seven of 29 (24%) patients were heterozygous, and five of these (71%) exhibited increased MBP-induced CD4+ T cell proliferation versus four of 22 (18%), who were homozygous for the major allele (p<0.04). Interleukin (IL)-5 was induced by MBP in MNC from the same five carriers versus two (9%) homozygotes (p<0.004); four carriers (57%) versus three non-carriers (14%) exhibited IL-17 responses to MBP (p<0.04). By contrast, we found no association between the polymorphisms investigated and interferon-gamma-, tumor necrosis factor-alpha-, IL-2, -4- or IL-10 responses to MBP. These results indicate that the rs5743291 polymorphism influences T helper (Th) cell 2- and Th17 cell responses in MNC from MS patients.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major causative agent of severe infections, including sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, and otitis media, that has since become a major public health concern. In this study, the serotypes distribution of pneumococcal isolates was investigated to predict the efficacy of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) among the Malaysian populations.
A total of 151 clinical isolates were serotyped using multiplex PCR assays. Out of them, there were 21.2% penicillin-resistant, 29.1% penicillin-intermediate, and 49.7% penicillin-susceptible S.pneumoniae strains. Serotypes detected among the Malaysian isolates were 1, 3, 10A, 11A/11D, 12F/12A, 14, 15A, 15B/15C, 16F, 18C/18B/18A/18F, 19A, 19F, 23F, 35B, 35F/47F, 6A/6B, 7C/7B/40, 7F/7A, 9V/9A, and 34. Serotype 19F and 23F were the two most prevalent serotypes detected. Serotypes are highly associated with invasiveness of isolates (p = 0.001) and penicillin susceptibility (p<0.001). Serotype 19F was observed to have increased resistance against penicillin while serotype 19A has high invasive tendency. Age of patients was an important factor underlying the pneumococcal serotypes (p = 0.03) and clinical sites of infections (p<0.001). High prevalence of pneumococcal isolates were detected among children <5 years old at nasopharyngeal sites while elderly adults ≥60 years old were at increased risk for pneumococcal bacteremia.
Current study revealed that a number of serotypes, especially those associated with high penicillin resistance, have been formulated in the PCV7. Therefore, the protections expected from the routine use of PCV7 would be encouraging for the Malaysian. However, it is not possible to predict serotypes that might become predominant in the future and hence continued surveillance of circulating serotypes will be needed.
Alpha-tomatine (α-tomatine) is the major saponin in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). This study investigates the chemopreventive potential of α-tomatine on androgen-independent human prostatic adenocarcinoma PC-3 cells.
Treatment of highly aggressive human prostate cancer PC-3 cells with α-tomatine resulted in a concentration-dependent inhibition of cell growth with a half-maximal efficient concentration (EC50) value of 1.67±0.3 µM. It is also less cytotoxic to normal human liver WRL-68 cells and normal human prostate RWPE-1 cells. Assessment of real-time growth kinetics by cell impedance-based Real-Time Cell Analyzer (RTCA) showed that α-tomatine exhibited its cytotoxic effects against PC-3 cells as early as an hour after treatment. The inhibitory effect of α-tomatine on PC-3 cancer cell growth was mainly due to induction of apoptosis as evidenced by positive Annexin V staining and decreased in mitochondrial membrane potential but increased in nuclear condensation, polarization of F-actin, cell membrane permeability and cytochrome c expressions. Results also showed that α-tomatine induced activation of caspase-3, -8 and -9, suggesting that both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis pathways are involved. Furthermore, nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) nuclear translocation was inhibited, which in turn resulted in significant decreased in NF-κB/p50 and NF-κB/p65 in the nuclear fraction of the treated cells compared to the control untreated cells. These results provide further insights into the molecular mechanism of the anti-proliferative actions of α-tomatine.
α-tomatine induces apoptosis and inhibits NF-κB activation on prostate cancer cells. These results suggest that α-tomatine may be beneficial for protection against prostate cancer development and progression.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) infection is highly spread in the ruminant herds of Sardinia, in the Western Mediterranean. The objective of this study was to investigate prevalence of MAP infection in association with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) using clinical specimen from patients and controls. We analyzed samples for the presence of MAP specific DNA and to demonstrate humoral response to a MAP protein (MAP2694), a predicted homologue of the T-cell receptor gamma-chain/complement component 1 of the host. We found presence of MAP DNA in 42% of the MS patients and an extremely significant humoral immune response revealed by the MS patients against the MAP protein. In our opinion, this is the first report that significantly associates MAP infection with MS. Further studies will be required to confirm if MAP could be one of the triggers of MS, according to the molecular mimicry theory, in susceptible (and genetically at risk) individuals.
Autoantibodies to GAD65 (anti-GAD65) are present in the sera of 70–80% of patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but antibodies to the structurally similar 67 kDa isoform GAD67 are rare. Antibodies to GAD67 may represent a cross-reactive population of anti-GAD65, but this has not been formally tested.
In this study we examined the frequency, levels and affinity of anti-GAD67 in diabetes sera that contained anti-GAD65, and compared the specificity of GAD65 and GAD67 reactivity. Anti-GAD65 and anti-GAD67 were measured by radioimmunoprecipitation (RIP) using 125I labeled recombinant GAD65 and GAD67. For each antibody population, the specificity of the binding was measured by incubation with 100-fold excess of unlabeled GAD in homologous and heterologous inhibition assays, and the affinity of binding with GAD65 and GAD67 was measured in selected sera. Sera were also tested for reactivity to GAD65 and GAD67 by immunoblotting. Of the 85 sera that contained antibodies to GAD65, 28 contained anti–GAD67 measured by RIP. Inhibition with unlabeled GAD65 substantially or completely reduced antibody reactivity with both 125I GAD65 and with 125I GAD67. In contrast, unlabeled GAD67 reduced autoantibody reactivity with 125I GAD67 but not with 125I GAD65. Both populations of antibodies were of high affinity (>1010 l/mol).
Our findings show that autoantibodies to GAD67 represent a minor population of anti-GAD65 that are reactive with a cross-reactive epitope found also on GAD67. Experimental results confirm that GAD65 is the major autoantigen in T1D, and that GAD67 per se has very low immunogenicity. We discuss our findings in light of the known similarities between the structures of the GAD isoforms, in particular the location of a minor cross-reactive epitope that could be induced by epitope spreading.
The probiotic Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 (EcN) has been shown to interfere in a human in vitro model with the invasion of several bacterial pathogens into epithelial cells, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not known.
In this study, we investigated the inhibitory effects of EcN on Salmonella Typhimurium invasion of porcine intestinal epithelial cells, focusing on EcN effects on the various stages of Salmonella infection including intracellular and extracellular Salmonella growth rates, virulence gene regulation, and adhesion. We show that EcN affects the initial Salmonella invasion steps by modulating Salmonella virulence gene regulation and Salmonella SiiE-mediated adhesion, but not extra- and intracellular Salmonella growth. However, the inhibitory activity of EcN against Salmonella invasion always correlated with EcN adhesion capacities. EcN mutants defective in the expression of F1C fimbriae and flagellae were less adherent and less inhibitory toward Salmonella invasion. Another E. coli strain expressing F1C fimbriae was also adherent to IPEC-J2 cells, and was similarly inhibitory against Salmonella invasion like EcN.
We propose that EcN affects Salmonella adhesion through secretory components. This mechanism appears to be common to many E. coli strains, with strong adherence being a prerequisite for an effective reduction of SiiE-mediated Salmonella adhesion.
Conventional leather processing involving depilation of animal hide by lime and sulphide treatment generates considerable amounts of chemical waste causing severe environmental pollution. Enzymatic depilation is an environmentally friendly process and has been considered to be a viable alternative to the chemical depilation process. We isolated an extracellular protease from Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain MCM B-327 with high depilation activity using buffalo hide as a substrate. This 33 kDa protease generated a peptide mass fingerprint and de novo sequence that matched perfectly with LasB (elastase), of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In support of this data a lasB mutant of MCM B-327 strain lacked depilatory activity and failed to produce LasB. LasB heterologously over-produced and purified from Escherichia coli also exhibited high depilating activity. Moreover, reintroduction of the lasB gene to the P. aeruginosa lasB mutant via a knock-in strategy also successfully restored depilation activity thus confirming the role of LasB as the depilating enzyme.
BCG has been administered globally for more than 75 years, yet tuberculosis (TB) continues to kill more than 2 million people annually. Further, BCG protects childhood TB but is quite inefficient in adults. This indicates that BCG fails to induce long-term protection. Hence there is a need to explore alternative vaccination strategies that can stimulate enduring T cell memory response. Dendritic cell based vaccination has attained extensive popularity following their success in various malignancies. In our previous study, we have established a novel and unique vaccination strategy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) and Salmonella typhimurium by utilizing infected macrophages (IM). In short-term experiments (30 days), substantial degree of protection was observed. However, remarkable difference was not observed in long-term studies (240 days) due to failure of the vaccine to generate long-lasting memory T cells. Hence, in the present study we employed T cell memory augmenting cytokines IL-1+IL-6+TNF-α and IL-7+IL-15 for the induction of the enhancement of long-term protection by the vaccine. We co-administered the M. tb infected macrophages vaccine with IL-1+IL-6+TNF-α (IM-1.6.α) and IL-7+IL-15 (IM-7.15). The mice were then rested for a reasonably large period (240 days) to study the bona fide T cell memory response before exposing them to aerosolized M. tb. IM-1.6.α but not IM-7.15 significantly improved memory T cell response against M. tb, as evidenced by recall responses of memory T cells, expansion of both central as well as effector memory CD4 and CD8 T cell pools, elicitation of mainly Th1 memory response, reduction in the mycobacterial load and alleviated lung pathology. Importantly, the protection induced by IM-1.6.α was significantly better than BCG. Thus, this study demonstrates that not only antigen-pulsed DCs can be successfully employed as vaccines against cancer and infectious diseases but also macrophages infected with M. tb can be utilized with great efficacy especially in protection against TB.