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1.  Detection of Francisella tularensis-Specific Antibodies in Patients with Tularemia by a Novel Competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay 
A novel competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) was developed and evaluated for detection of antibodies against Francisella tularensis in humans. The assay is based on the ability of serum antibodies to inhibit the binding of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed against F. tularensis lipopolysaccharide antigens. The assay was evaluated using serum samples of tularemia patients, inactivated F. tularensis-immunized rabbits, and F. tularensis-infected mice. Antibodies against F. tularensis were successfully detected in serum samples of tularemia patients as well as the immunized and infected animals. The cELISA method was compared to indirect ELISA (iELISA) and the commonly used microagglutination test (MA) using serum samples of 19 tularemia patients and 50 healthy individuals. The sensitivity and specificity of cELISA were 93.9 and 96.1%, respectively, in comparison to the iELISA. MA was less sensitive than cELISA with a sensitivity and specificity of only 81.8 and 98.0%, respectively. A high degree of correlation (R2 = 0.8226) was observed between cELISA and iELISA results. The novel cELISA developed in this study appears to be highly sensitive and specific for serodiagnosis of human tularemia. The potential of the MAb-based cELISA to be used in both human and animal samples emphasizes its usefulness for serological survey of tularemia among multiple animal species.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00516-12
PMCID: PMC3535769  PMID: 23114700
2.  Altered specificity of single-chain antibody fragments bound to pandemic H1N1-2009 influenza virus after conversion of the phage-bound to the soluble form 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:483.
Background
In 2009, a novel influenza A/H1N1 virus (H1N1pdm) quickly spread worldwide and co-circulated with then-existing seasonal H1N1 virus (sH1N1). Distinguishing between these 2 viruses was necessary to better characterize the epidemiological properties of the emergent virus, including transmission patterns, pathogenesis, and anti-influenza drug resistance. This situation prompted us to develop a point-of-care virus differentiation system before entering the 2009–2010 influenza season. Aiming to establish H1N1pdm-specific detection tools rapidly, we employed phage display libraries to select H1N1pdm-specific single-chain variable fragments (scFvs).
Findings
Human single-fold scFv libraries (Tomlinson I + J) underwent selection for the ability to bind H1N1pdm virus particles. Three rounds of panning brought 1152 phage-bound scFvs, of which 58 clones reacted with H1N1pdm specifically or preferentially over sH1N1 in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). After conversion of the scFvs to soluble form, 7 clones demonstrating high/stable expression were finally obtained. However, all the soluble scFvs except No. 29 were found to have lost their specificity/preference for H1N1pdm in ELISA. The specificity/preference of No. 29 was also confirmed by immunofluorescence assay and immunoprecipitation, and the viral nucleoprotein was identified by ELISA as its target protein. The change in specificity associated with scFv conversion from phage-bound to soluble form could be due to loss of phage scaffold pIII protein, which likely provides structural support for the scFv antigen-binding site. It is also possible that the similar antigenic properties of H1N1pdm and sH1N1 led to the observed alterations in scFv specificity.
Discussion
Using a phage display library, we obtained 7 soluble scFv clones reactive against H1N1pdm; however, only 1 showed specificity/preference toward H1N1pdm. Our results confirmed that using phage display libraries was highly advantageous for the rapid development of molecules to detect target antigens. However, our results also indicated that this strategy might not have been effective for selecting H1N1pdm-specific antibodies during the 2009 pandemic, where the co-circulating sH1N1 virus shared similar antigenic properties. This suggests that it might be advisable to use a synthetic scFv phage display library by strategically considering the characteristics of target antigens and the potential situations.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-483
PMCID: PMC3492028  PMID: 22943792
Influenza; Pandemic; Diagnosis; Single-chain variable fragment (scFv); Altered specificity
3.  Adult onset cardiac dilatation in a transgenic mouse line with Galβ1,3GalNAc α2,3-sialyltransferase II (ST3Gal-II) transgenes: a new model for dilated cardiomyopathy 
Sugar chain abnormalities in glycolipids and glycoproteins are associated with various diseases. Here, we report an adult onset cardiac dilatation in a transgenic mouse line with Galβ1,3GalNAc α2,3-sialyltransferase II (ST3Gal-II) transgenes. The transgenic hearts at the end-stage, at around 7 months old, were enlarged, with enlarged cavities and thin, low-tensile walls, typical of dilated cardiomyopathy. Although no apparent change was found in heart gangliosides, glycosylation of heart proteins was altered. Interestingly, sugar moieties not directly related to the ST3Gal-II catalytic reaction were also changed. Significant increases in calreticulin and calnexin were observed in hearts of the transgenic mice. These results suggest that expression of ST3Gal-II transgenes induces abnormal protein glycosylation, which disorganizes the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum quality control system and elevates the calreticulin/calnexin level, resulting in suppression of cardiac function. The transgenic mice showed 100% incidence of adult onset cardiac dilatation, suggesting great potential as a new model for dilated cardiomyopathy.
doi:10.2183/pjab.87.550
PMCID: PMC3313694  PMID: 21986317
ST3Gal-II; cardiac dilatation; calreticulin; calnexin; cardiomyopathy; ER stress

Results 1-3 (3)