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1.  Generation of Cell Lines to Complement Adenovirus Vectors using Recombination-Mediated Cassette Exchange 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:92.
Background
Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) has many favourable characteristics for development as a gene therapy vector. However, the utility of current Ad5 vectors is limited by transient transgene expression, toxicity and immunogenicity. The most promising form of vector is the high capacity type, which is deleted for all viral genes. However, these vectors can only be produced to relatively low titres and with the aid of helper virus. Therefore a continuing challenge is the generation of more effective Ad5 vectors that can still be grown to high titres. Our approach is to generate complementing cell lines to support the growth of Ad5 vectors with novel late gene deficiencies.
Results
We have used LoxP/Cre recombination mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) to generate cell lines expressing Ad5 proteins encoded by the L4 region of the genome, the products of which play a pivotal role in the expression of Ad5 structural proteins. A panel of LoxP parent 293 cell lines was generated, each containing a GFP expression cassette under the control of a tetracycline-regulated promoter inserted at a random genome location; the cassette also contained a LoxP site between the promoter and GFP sequence. Clones displayed a variety of patterns of regulation, stability and level of GFP expression. Clone A1 was identified as a suitable parent for creation of inducible cell lines because of the tight inducibility and stability of its GFP expression. Using LoxP-targeted, Cre recombinase-mediated insertion of an L4 cassette to displace GFP from the regulated promoter in this parent clone, cell line A1-L4 was generated. This cell line expressed L4 100K, 22K and 33K proteins at levels sufficient to complement L4-33K mutant and L4-deleted viruses.
Conclusions
RMCE provides a method for rapid generation of Ad5 complementing cell lines from a pre-selected parental cell line, chosen for its desirable transgene expression characteristics. Parent cell lines can be selected for high or low gene expression, and for tight regulation, allowing viral protein expression to mirror that found during infection. Cell lines derived from a single parent will allow the growth of different vectors to be assessed without the complication of varying complementing protein expression.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-92
PMCID: PMC3018391  PMID: 21182761
2.  Human TGFalpha-derived peptide TGFalphaL3 fused with superantigen for immunotherapy of EGFR-expressing tumours 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:91.
Background
Monoclonal antibodies have been employed as targeting molecules of superantigen for the preclinical treatment of a variety of tumours. However, other targeting molecules, such as tumour-related ligands or peptides, are less exploited. Here, we tested other targeting molecules by genetically fusing the third loop of transforming growth factor alpha (TGFalphaL3) to mutant staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEAD227A).
Results
The resultant fusion proteins were expressed in E. coli and purified to homogeneity through a Ni-NTA affinity column. Fusion protein TGFalphaL3SEAD227A can promote splenocyte proliferation to a level comparable to recombinant SEA (rSEA) and bind to EGFR-expressing tumour cells in an EGFR-dependent way. Consistent with these observations, TGFalphaL3SEAD227A exerted an inhibitory effect on the growth of EGFR-expressing tumour cells both in vitro and in vivo. Notably, significant infiltrations of CD8+ and CD4+ T cells were detected in the tumour tissues of these C57BL/6 mice treated with TGFalphaL3SEAD227A, suggesting the involvement of T cells in this tumour-inhibitory process.
Conclusions
The data here showed that TGFαL3 is capable of targeting superantigen to tumours and exerting an inhibitory effect on tumour growth, which enables TGFαL3SEAD227A to be an attractive candidate for the immunotherapy of EGFR-expressing tumours.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-91
PMCID: PMC3018390  PMID: 21176167
3.  Analysis of conditional gene deletion using probe based Real-Time PCR 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:90.
Following publication of this article [1] the authors noticed that an incorrect probe reference was cited on page 3, 4, 5 and 6 ("UP #69, Roche Applied Science"). The correct probe that was used for the 1lox/2lox allele ratio analysis in the paper is as follows
Probe for 1lox/2lox allele quantification:
5'-6-FAM-atAaCtTCgtatagCATaCattatac-BHQ-1 -3'
(uppercase letters = LNA bases)
Manufacturer: EUROGENTEC, Seraing, Belgium
All other information and reaction conditions in the paper are correct as stated.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-90
PMCID: PMC3018389
4.  A multiplex endpoint RT-PCR assay for quality assessment of RNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:89.
Background
RNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples is chemically modified and degraded, which compromises its use in gene expression studies. Most of the current approaches for RNA quality assessment are not suitable for FFPE derived RNA.
Results
We have developed a single-tube multiplex endpoint RT-PCR assay specifically designed to evaluate RNA extracted from FFPE tissues for mRNA integrity and performance in reverse transcription - quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) assays. This single-tube quality control (QC) assay minimises the amount of RNA used in quality control. mRNA integrity and the suitability of RNA for RT-PCR is evaluated by the multiplex endpoint RT-PCR assay using the TBP gene mRNA as the target sequence. The RT-PCR amplicon sizes, 92, 161, 252 and 300 bp, cover a range of amplicon sizes suitable for a wide range of RT-qPCR assays. The QC assay was used to evaluate RNA prepared by two different protocols for extracting total RNA from needle microdissected FFPE breast tumour samples. The amplification products were analysed by gel electrophoresis where the spectrum of amplicon sizes indicated the level of RNA degradation and thus the suitability of the RNA for PCR. The ability of the multiplex endpoint RT-PCR QC assay to identify FFPE samples with an adequate RNA quality was validated by examining the Cq values of an RT-qPCR assay with an 87 bp amplicon.
Conclusions
The multiplex endpoint RT-PCR assay is well suited for the determination of the quality of FFPE derived RNAs, to identify which RT-PCR assays they are suitable for, and is also applicable to assess non-FFPE RNA for gene expression studies. Furthermore, the assay can also be used for the evaluation of RNA extraction protocols from FFPE samples.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-89
PMCID: PMC3016381  PMID: 21162754
5.  An efficient Foxtail mosaic virus vector system with reduced environmental risk 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:88.
Background
Plant viral vectors offer high-yield expression of pharmaceutical and commercially important proteins with a minimum of cost and preparation time. The use of Agrobacterium tumefaciens has been introduced to deliver the viral vector as a transgene to each plant cell via a simple, nonsterile infiltration technique called "agroinoculation". With agroinoculation, a full length, systemically moving virus is no longer necessary for excellent protein yield, since the viral transgene is transcribed and replicates in every infiltrated cell. Viral genes may therefore be deleted to decrease the potential for accidental spread and persistence of the viral vector in the environment.
Results
In this study, both the coat protein (CP) and triple gene block (TGB) genetic segments were eliminated from Foxtail mosaic virus to create the "FECT" vector series, comprising a deletion of 29% of the genome. This viral vector is highly crippled and expresses little or no marker gene within the inoculated leaf. However, when co-agroinoculated with a silencing suppressor (p19 or HcPro), FECT expressed GFP at 40% total soluble protein in the tobacco host, Nicotiana benthamiana. The modified FoMV vector retained the full-length replicase ORF, the TGB1 subgenomic RNA leader sequence and either 0, 22 or 40 bases of TGB1 ORF (in vectors FECT0, FECT22 and FECT40, respectively). As well as N. benthamiana, infection of legumes was demonstrated. Despite many attempts, expression of GFP via syringe agroinoculation of various grass species was very low, reflecting the low Agrobacterium-mediated transformation rate of monocots.
Conclusions
The FECT/40 vector expresses foreign genes at a very high level, and yet has a greatly reduced biohazard potential. It can form no virions and can effectively replicate only in a plant with suppressed silencing.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-88
PMCID: PMC3022558  PMID: 21162736
6.  An efficient system to generate monoclonal antibodies against membrane-associated proteins by immunisation with antigen-expressing mammalian cells 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:87.
Background
The generation of monoclonal antibodies specific for protein antigens usually depends on purified recombinant protein for both immunisation and hybridoma screening. Purification of recombinant protein in sufficient yield and purity is a tedious undertaking and can be demanding especially in the case of membrane proteins. Furthermore, antibodies generated against a purified recombinant protein are frequently incapable of binding to the endogenous protein in its native context.
Results
We describe a strategy to generate monoclonal antibodies against membrane or membrane-associated proteins that completely bypasses any need for purified recombinant antigen. This approach utilises stably transfected mammalian cells expressing recombinant antigens on their cell surface for immunisation of mice. The transfected cells are also used for measuring seroconversion, hybridoma selection and antibody characterisation. By presenting the antigen in its native conformation for immunisation and hybridoma selection, this procedure promotes the generation of antibodies capable of binding to the endogenous protein. In the present study, we applied this approach successfully for three predicted GPI-anchored proteins of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
Conclusions
The described entirely cell-based technology is a fast and efficient approach for obtaining antibodies reactive with endogenous cell-surface proteins in their native conformation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-87
PMCID: PMC3019159  PMID: 21159168
7.  Production of 3,4-dihydroxy L-phenylalanine by a newly isolated Aspergillus niger and parameter significance analysis by Plackett-Burman design 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:86.
Background
The amino acid derivative 3,4-dihydroxy L-phenylalanine (L-dopa) is gaining interest as a drug of choice for Parkinson's disease. Aspergillus oryzae is commonly used for L-dopa production; however, a slower growth rate and relatively lower tyrosinase activity of mycelia have led to an increasing interest in exploiting alternative fungal cultures. In the present investigation, we report on the microbiological transformation of L-tyrosine to L-dopa accomplished by a newly isolated filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger.
Results
The culture A. niger (isolate GCBT-8) was propagated in 500 ml Erlenmeyer flasks and the pre-grown mycelia (48 h old) were used in the reaction mixture as a source of enzyme tyrosinase. Grinded mycelia gave 1.26 fold higher L-dopa production compared to the intact at 6% glucose (pH 5.5). The rate of L-tyrosine consumption was improved from 0.198 to 0.281 mg/ml. Among the various nitrogen sources, 1.5% peptone, 1% yeast extract and 0.2% ammonium chloride were optimized. The maximal L-dopa was produced (0.365 mg/ml) at 0.3% potassium dihydrogen phosphate with L-tyrosine consumption of 0.403 mg/ml.
Conclusion
Over ~73% yield was achieved (degree of freedom 3) when the process parameters were identified using 2k-Plackett-Burman experimental design. The results are highly significant (p ≤ 0.05) and mark the commercial utility (LSD 0.016) of the mould culture which is perhaps the first ever report on L-dopa production from A. niger.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-86
PMCID: PMC3013077  PMID: 21143944
8.  DNAzyme-mediated recovery of small recombinant RNAs from a 5S rRNA-derived chimera expressed in Escherichia coli 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:85.
Background
Manufacturing large quantities of recombinant RNAs by overexpression in a bacterial host is hampered by their instability in intracellular environment. To overcome this problem, an RNA of interest can be fused into a stable bacterial RNA for the resulting chimeric construct to accumulate in the cytoplasm to a sufficiently high level. Being supplemented with cost-effective procedures for isolation of the chimera from cells and recovery of the recombinant RNA from stabilizing scaffold, this strategy might become a viable alternative to the existing methods of chemical or enzymatic RNA synthesis.
Results
Sequence encoding a 71-nucleotide recombinant RNA was inserted into a plasmid-borne deletion mutant of the Vibrio proteolyticus 5S rRNA gene in place of helix III - loop C segment of the original 5S rRNA. After transformation into Escherichia coli, the chimeric RNA (3×pen aRNA) was expressed constitutively from E. coli rrnB P1 and P2 promoters. The RNA chimera accumulated to levels that exceeded those of the host's 5S rRNA. A novel method relying on liquid-solid partitioning of cellular constituents was developed for isolation of total RNA from bacterial cells. This protocol avoids toxic chemicals, and is therefore more suitable for large scale RNA purification than traditional methods. A pair of biotinylated 8-17 DNAzymes was used to bring about the quantitative excision of the 71-nt recombinant RNA from the chimera. The recombinant RNA was isolated by sequence-specific capture on beads with immobilized complementary deoxyoligonucleotide, while DNAzymes were recovered by biotin affinity chromatography for reuse.
Conclusions
The feasibility of a fermentation-based approach for manufacturing large quantities of small RNAs in vivo using a "5S rRNA scaffold" strategy is demonstrated. The approach provides a route towards an economical method for the large-scale production of small RNAs including shRNAs, siRNAs and aptamers for use in clinical and biomedical research.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-85
PMCID: PMC3019158  PMID: 21134283
9.  Mimotopes selected with a neutralizing antibody against urease B from Helicobacter pylori induce enzyme inhibitory antibodies in mice upon vaccination 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:84.
Background
Urease B is an important virulence factor that is required for Helicobacter pylori to colonise the gastric mucosa. Mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that inhibit urease B enzymatic activity will be useful as vaccines for the prevention and treatment of H. pylori infection. Here, we produced murine mAbs against urease B that neutralize the enzyme's activity. We mapped their epitopes by phage display libraries and investigated the immunogenicity of the selected mimotopes in vivo.
Results
The urease B gene was obtained (GenBank accession No. DQ141576) and the recombinant pGEX-4T-1/UreaseB protein was expressed in Escherichia coli as a 92-kDa recombinant fusion protein with glutathione-S-transferase (GST). Five mAbs U001-U005 were produced by a hybridoma-based technique with urease B-GST as an immunogen. Only U001 could inhibit urease B enzymatic activity. Immunoscreening via phage display libraries revealed two different mimotopes of urease B protein; EXXXHDM from ph.D.12-library and EXXXHSM from ph.D.C7C that matched the urease B proteins at 347-353 aa. The antiserum induced by selected phage clones clearly recognised the urease B protein and inhibited its enzymatic activity, which indicated that the phagotope-induced immune responses were antigen specific.
Conclusions
The present work demonstrated that phage-displayed mimotopes were accessible to the mouse immune system and triggered a humoral response. The urease B mimotope could provide a novel and promising approach for the development of a vaccine for the diagnosis and treatment of H. pylori infection.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-84
PMCID: PMC3012656  PMID: 21118490
10.  Lipase-catalysed acylation of starch and determination of the degree of substitution by methanolysis and GC 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:82.
Background
Natural polysaccharides such as starch are becoming increasingly interesting as renewable starting materials for the synthesis of biodegradable polymers using chemical or enzymatic methods. Given the complexity of polysaccharides, the analysis of reaction products is challenging.
Results
Esterification of starch with fatty acids has traditionally been monitored by saponification and back-titration, but in our experience this method is unreliable. Here we report a novel GC-based method for the fast and reliable quantitative determination of esterification. The method was used to monitor the enzymatic esterification of different starches with decanoic acid, using lipase from Thermomyces lanuginosus. The reaction showed a pronounced optimal water content of 1.25 mL per g starch, where a degree of substitution (DS) of 0.018 was obtained. Incomplete gelatinization probably accounts for lower conversion with less water.
Conclusions
Lipase-catalysed esterification of starch is feasible in aqueous gel systems, but attention to analytical methods is important to obtain correct DS values.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-82
PMCID: PMC3006361  PMID: 21114817
11.  Recombinant Expression Screening of P. aeruginosa Bacterial Inner Membrane Proteins 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:83.
Background
Transmembrane proteins (TM proteins) make up 25% of all proteins and play key roles in many diseases and normal physiological processes. However, much less is known about their structures and molecular mechanisms than for soluble proteins. Problems in expression, solubilization, purification, and crystallization cause bottlenecks in the characterization of TM proteins. This project addressed the need for improved methods for obtaining sufficient amounts of TM proteins for determining their structures and molecular mechanisms.
Results
Plasmid clones were obtained that encode eighty-seven transmembrane proteins with varying physical characteristics, for example, the number of predicted transmembrane helices, molecular weight, and grand average hydrophobicity (GRAVY). All the target proteins were from P. aeruginosa, a gram negative bacterial opportunistic pathogen that causes serious lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis. The relative expression levels of the transmembrane proteins were measured under several culture growth conditions. The use of E. coli strains, a T7 promoter, and a 6-histidine C-terminal affinity tag resulted in the expression of 61 out of 87 test proteins (70%). In this study, proteins with a higher grand average hydrophobicity and more transmembrane helices were expressed less well than less hydrophobic proteins with fewer transmembrane helices.
Conclusions
In this study, factors related to overall hydrophobicity and the number of predicted transmembrane helices correlated with the relative expression levels of the target proteins. Identifying physical characteristics that correlate with protein expression might aid in selecting the "low hanging fruit", or proteins that can be expressed to sufficient levels using an E. coli expression system. The use of other expression strategies or host species might be needed for sufficient levels of expression of transmembrane proteins with other physical characteristics. Surveys like this one could aid in overcoming the technical bottlenecks in working with TM proteins and could potentially aid in increasing the rate of structure determination.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-83
PMCID: PMC3009615  PMID: 21114855
12.  Improved Tet-responsive promoters with minimized background expression 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:81.
Background
The performance of the tetracycline controlled transcriptional activation system (Tet system) depends critically on the choice of minimal promoters. They are indispensable to warrant low expression levels with the system turned "off". On the other hand, they must support high level of gene expression in the "on"-state.
Results
In this study, we systematically modified the widely used Cytomegalovirus (CMV) minimal promoter to further minimize background expression, resulting in an improved dynamic expression range. Using both plasmid-based and retroviral gene delivery, our analysis revealed that especially background expression levels could be significantly reduced when compared to previously established "standard" promoter designs. Our results also demonstrate the possibility to fine-tune expression levels in non-clonal cell populations. They also imply differences regarding the requirements for tight regulation and high level induction between transient and stable gene transfer systems.
Conclusions
Until now, our understanding of mammalian transcriptional regulation including promoter architecture is limited. Nevertheless, the partly empirical modification of cis-elements as shown in this study can lead to the specific improvement of the performance of minimal promoters. The novel composite Ptet promoters introduced here will further expand the utility of the Tet system.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-81
PMCID: PMC3002914  PMID: 21106052
13.  Baculovirus display of single chain antibody (scFv) using a novel signal peptide 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:80.
Background
Cells permissive to virus can become refractory to viral replication upon intracellular expression of single chain fragment variable (scFv) antibodies directed towards viral structural or regulatory proteins, or virus-coded enzymes. For example, an intrabody derived from MH-SVM33, a monoclonal antibody against a conserved C-terminal epitope of the HIV-1 matrix protein (MAp17), was found to exert an inhibitory effect on HIV-1 replication.
Results
Two versions of MH-SVM33-derived scFv were constructed in recombinant baculoviruses (BVs) and expressed in BV-infected Sf9 cells, N-myristoylation-competent scFvG2/p17 and N-myristoylation-incompetent scFvE2/p17 protein, both carrying a C-terminal HA tag. ScFvG2/p17 expression resulted in an insoluble, membrane-associated protein, whereas scFvE2/p17 was recovered in both soluble and membrane-incorporated forms. When coexpressed with the HIV-1 Pr55Gag precursor, scFvG2/p17 and scFvE2/p17 did not show any detectable negative effect on virus-like particle (VLP) assembly and egress, and both failed to be encapsidated in VLP. However, soluble scFvE2/p17 isolated from Sf9 cell lysates was capable of binding to its specific antigen, in the form of a synthetic p17 peptide or as Gag polyprotein-embedded epitope. Significant amounts of scFvE2/p17 were released in the extracellular medium of BV-infected cells in high-molecular weight, pelletable form. This particulate form corresponded to BV particles displaying scFvE2/p17 molecules, inserted into the BV envelope via the scFv N-terminal region. The BV-displayed scFvE2/p17 molecules were found to be immunologically functional, as they reacted with the C-terminal epitope of MAp17. Fusion of the N-terminal 18 amino acid residues from the scFvE2/p17 sequence (N18E2) to another scFv recognizing CD147 (scFv-M6-1B9) conferred the property of BV-display to the resulting chimeric scFv-N18E2/M6.
Conclusion
Expression of scFvE2/p17 in insect cells using a BV vector resulted in baculoviral progeny displaying scFvE2/p17. The function required for BV envelope incorporation was carried by the N-terminal octadecapeptide of scFvE2/p17, which acted as a signal peptide for BV display. Fusion of this peptide to the N-terminus of scFv molecules of interest could be applied as a general method for BV-display of scFv in a GP64- and VSV-G-independent manner.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-80
PMCID: PMC3002913  PMID: 21092083
14.  A miniaturized sandwich immunoassay platform for the detection of protein-protein interactions 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:78.
Background
Analysis of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) is a valuable approach for the characterization of huge networks of protein complexes or proteins of unknown function. Co-immunoprecipitation (coIP) using affinity resins coupled to protein A/G is the most widely used method for PPI detection. However, this traditional large scale resin-based coIP is too laborious and time consuming. To overcome this problem, we developed a miniaturized sandwich immunoassay platform (MSIP) by combining antibody array technology and coIP methods.
Results
Based on anti-FLAG antibody spotted aldehyde slides, MSIP enables simple, rapid and large scale detection of PPIs by fluorescent labeling anti-myc antibody. By analyzing well-known interacting and non-interacting protein pairs, MSIP was demonstrated to be highly accurate and reproducible. Compared to traditional resin-based coIP, MSIP results in higher sensitivity and enhanced throughput, with the additional benefit of digital read-outs. In addition, MSIP was shown to be a highly useful validation platform to confirm PPI candidates that have been identified from yeast two hybrid systems.
Conclusions
In conclusion, MSIP is proved to be a simple, cost-saving and highly efficient technique for the comprehensive study of PPIs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-78
PMCID: PMC2978116  PMID: 20979660
15.  Creation of a novel peptide with enhanced nuclear localization in prostate and pancreatic cancer cell lines 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:79.
Background
For improved uptake of oligonucleotide-based therapy, the oligonucleotides often are coupled to peptides that facilitate entry into cells. To this end, novel cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) were designed for mediating intracellular uptake of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics. The novel peptides were based on taking advantage of the nuclear localization properties of transcription factors in combination with a peptide that would bind putatively to cell surfaces. It was observed that adding a glutamate peptide to the N-terminus of the nuclear localization signal (NLS) of the Oct6 transcription factor resulted in a novel CPP with better uptake and better nuclear colocalization than any other peptide tested.
Results
Uptake of the novel peptide Glu-Oct6 by cancer cell lines was rapid (in less than 1 hr, more than 60% of DU-145 cells were positive for FITC), complete (by 4 hr, 99% of cells were positive for FITC), concentration-dependent, temperature-dependent, and inhibited by sodium azide (NaN3). Substitution of Phe, Tyr, or Asn moieties for the glutamate portion of the novel peptide resulted in abrogation of novel CPP uptake; however none of the substituted peptides inhibited uptake of the novel CPP when coincubated with cells. Live-cell imaging and analysis by imaging flow cytometry revealed that the novel CPP accumulated in nuclei. Finally, the novel CPP was coupled to a carboxyfluorescein-labeled synthetic oligonucleotide, to see if the peptide could ferry a therapeutic payload into cells.
Conclusions
These studies document the creation of a novel CPP consisting of a glutamate peptide coupled to the N-terminus of the Oct6 NLS; the novel CPP exhibited nuclear colocalization as well as uptake by prostate and pancreatic cancer cell lines.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-79
PMCID: PMC2987774  PMID: 21029412
16.  Intranasal vaccination with messenger RNA as a new approach in gene therapy: Use against tuberculosis 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:77.
Background
mRNAs are highly versatile, non-toxic molecules that are easy to produce and store, which can allow transient protein expression in all cell types. The safety aspects of mRNA-based treatments in gene therapy make this molecule one of the most promising active components of therapeutic or prophylactic methods. The use of mRNA as strategy for the stimulation of the immune system has been used mainly in current strategies for the cancer treatment but until now no one tested this molecule as vaccine for infectious disease.
Results
We produce messenger RNA of Hsp65 protein from Mycobacterium leprae and show that vaccination of mice with a single dose of 10 μg of naked mRNA-Hsp65 through intranasal route was able to induce protection against subsequent challenge with virulent strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Moreover it was shown that this immunization was associated with specific production of IL-10 and TNF-alpha in spleen. In order to determine if antigen presenting cells (APCs) present in the lung are capable of capture the mRNA, labeled mRNA-Hsp65 was administered by intranasal route and lung APCs were analyzed by flow cytometry. These experiments showed that after 30 minutes until 8 hours the populations of CD11c+, CD11b+ and CD19+ cells were able to capture the mRNA. We also demonstrated in vitro that mRNA-Hsp65 leads nitric oxide (NO) production through Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7).
Conclusions
Taken together, our results showed a novel and efficient strategy to control experimental tuberculosis, besides opening novel perspectives for the use of mRNA in vaccines against infectious diseases and clarifying the mechanisms involved in the disease protection we noticed as well.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-77
PMCID: PMC2972232  PMID: 20961459
17.  Controlled expression of functional miR-122 with a ligand inducible expression system 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:76.
Background
To study the biological function of miRNAs, and to achieve sustained or conditional gene silencing with siRNAs, systems that allow controlled expression of these small RNAs are desirable. Methods for cell delivery of siRNAs include transient transfection of synthetic siRNAs and expression of siRNAs in the form of short hairpins using constitutive RNA polymerase III promoters. Systems employing constitutive RNA polymerase II promoters have been used to express miRNAs. However, for many experimental systems these methods do not offer sufficient control over expression.
Results
We present an inducible mammalian expression system that allows for the conditional expression of short hairpin RNAs that are processed in vivo to generate miRNAs or siRNAs. Using modified nuclear receptors in a two hybrid format and a synthetic ligand, the Rheoswitch system allows rapid and reversible induction of mRNA expression. We evaluated the system's properties using miR-122 as a model miRNA. A short hairpin encoding miR-122 cloned into the expression vector was correctly processed to yield mature miRNA upon induction with ligand and the amount of miRNA produced was commensurate with the concentration of ligand. miR-122 produced in this way was capable of silencing both endogenous target genes and appropriately designed reporter genes. Stable cell lines were obtained, resulting in heritable, consistent and reversible expression of miR-122, a significant advantage over transient transfection. Based on these results, obtained with a microRNA we adapted the method to produce a desired siRNA by designing short hairpins that can be accurately and efficiently processed.
Conclusion
We established an Inducible expression system with a miR-122 backbone that can be used for functional studies of miRNAs and their targets, in heterologous cells that do not normally express the miRNA. Additionally we demonstrate the feasibility of using the miR-122 backbone to express shRNA with a desired siRNA guide strand for inducible RNAi silencing.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-76
PMCID: PMC2976731  PMID: 20961424
18.  Analysis of conditional gene deletion using probe based Real-Time PCR 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:75.
Background
Conditional gene deletion using Cre-lox recombination is frequently used in mouse genetics; however recombination is frequently incomplete, resulting in a mixture of cells containing the functional (2lox) allele and the truncated (1lox) allele. Conventional analysis of 1lox/2lox allele ratios using Southern Blotting is time consuming, requires relatively large amounts of DNA and has a low sensitivity. We therefore evaluated the utility of Real-Time PCR to measure 1lox/2lox allele ratios.
Results
We show that SYBR Green based Real-Time PCR analysis of 1lox/2lox allele ratios can generate erroneous peaks in the melting curve that are possibly caused by alternate hybridization products promoted by the palindromic loxP sequence motif. Since abnormal melting curves frequently contribute to dismissal of SYBR Green based data, we developed a convenient method with improved specificity that avoids such erroneous signals. Our data show that probe based Real-Time PCR, using a universal probe directed against the loxP site, can accurately detect small differences in 1lox/2lox allele ratios. We also validated this method in Fabpl4× at -132-Cre transgenic mice, measuring 1lox/2lox allele ratios that are in agreement with published data. Our Real-Time PCR protocol requires the use of one probe only for all reactions. Also the universal probe established in our assay is generally applicable to any experiment analyzing Cre-lox recombination efficiency, such that only primer sequences have to be adapted.
Conclusions
Our data show that 1lox/2lox allele ratios are detected with high accuracy and high sensitivity with Real-Time PCR analysis using a probe directed against the loxP site. Due to the generally applicable probe the assay is conveniently adapted to all models of Cre-lox mediated gene deletion.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-75
PMCID: PMC2966447  PMID: 20950424
19.  Multiplexed, rapid detection of H5N1 using a PCR-free nanoparticle-based genomic microarray assay 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:74.
Background
For more than a decade there has been increasing interest in the use of nanotechnology and microarray platforms for diagnostic applications. In this report, we describe a rapid and simple gold nanoparticle (NP)-based genomic microarray assay for specific identification of avian influenza virus H5N1 and its discrimination from other major influenza A virus strains (H1N1, H3N2).
Results
Capture and intermediate oligonucleotides were designed based on the consensus sequences of the matrix (M) gene of H1N1, H3N2 and H5N1 viruses, and sequences specific for the hemaglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes of the H5N1 virus. Viral RNA was detected within 2.5 hours using capture-target-intermediate oligonucleotide hybridization and gold NP-mediated silver staining in the absence of RNA fragmentation, target amplification, and enzymatic reactions. The lower limit of detection (LOD) of the assay was less than 100 fM for purified PCR fragments and 103 TCID50 units for H5N1 viral RNA.
Conclusions
The NP-based microarray assay was able to detect and distinguish H5N1 sequences from those of major influenza A viruses (H1N1, H3N2). The new method described here may be useful for simultaneous detection and subtyping of major influenza A viruses.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-74
PMCID: PMC2964543  PMID: 20942949
20.  Overexpression of biotin synthase and biotin ligase is required for efficient generation of sulfur-35 labeled biotin in E. coli 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:73.
Background
Biotin is an essential enzyme cofactor that acts as a CO2 carrier in carboxylation and decarboxylation reactions. The E. coli genome encodes a biosynthetic pathway that produces biotin from pimeloyl-CoA in four enzymatic steps. The final step, insertion of sulfur into desthiobiotin to form biotin, is catalyzed by the biotin synthase, BioB. A dedicated biotin ligase (BirA) catalyzes the covalent attachment of biotin to biotin-dependent enzymes. Isotopic labeling has been a valuable tool for probing the details of the biosynthetic process and assaying the activity of biotin-dependent enzymes, however there is currently no established method for 35S labeling of biotin.
Results
In this study, we produced [35S]-biotin from Na35SO4 and desthiobiotin with a specific activity of 30.7 Ci/mmol, two orders of magnitude higher than previously published methods. The biotinylation domain (PfBCCP-79) from the Plasmodium falciparum acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) was expressed in E. coli as a biotinylation substrate. We found that overexpression of the E. coli biotin synthase, BioB, and biotin ligase, BirA, increased PfBCCP-79 biotinylation 160-fold over basal levels. Biotinylated PfBCCP-79 was purified by affinity chromatography, and free biotin was liberated using acid hydrolysis. We verified that we had produced radiolabeled biologically active [D]-biotin that specifically labels biotinylated proteins through reuptake in E. coli.
Conclusions
The strategy described in our report provides a simple and effective method for the production of [35S]-biotin in E. coli based on affinity chromatography.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-73
PMCID: PMC2964542  PMID: 20937134
21.  Development of an EGFRvIII specific recombinant antibody 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:72.
Background
EGF receptor variant III (EGFRvIII) is the most common variant of the EGF receptor observed in human tumors. It results from the in frame deletion of exons 2-7 and the generation of a novel glycine residue at the junction of exons 1 and 8. This novel juxtaposition of amino acids within the extra-cellular domain of the EGF receptor creates a tumor specific and immunogenic epitope. EGFRvIII expression has been seen in many tumor types including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), breast adenocarcinoma, non-small cell lung carcinoma, ovarian adenocarcinoma and prostate cancer, but has been rarely observed in normal tissue. Because this variant is tumor specific and highly immunogenic, it can be used for both a diagnostic marker as well as a target for immunotherapy. Unfortunately many of the monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies directed against EGFRvIII have cross reactivity to wild type EGFR or other non-specific proteins. Furthermore, a monoclonal antibody to EGFRvIII is not readily available to the scientific community.
Results
In this study, we have developed a recombinant antibody that is specific for EGFRvIII, has little cross reactivity for the wild type receptor, and which can be easily produced. We initially designed a recombinant antibody with two anti-EGFRvIII single chain Fv's linked together and a human IgG1 Fc component. To enhance the specificity of this antibody for EGFRvIII, we mutated tyrosine H59 of the CDRH2 domain and tyrosine H105 of the CDRH3 domain to phenylalanine for both the anti-EGFRvIII sequence inserts. This mutated recombinant antibody, called RAbDMvIII, specifically detects EGFRvIII expression in EGFRvIII expressing cell lines as well as in EGFRvIII expressing GBM primary tissue by western blot, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence (IF) and FACS analysis. It does not recognize wild type EGFR in any of these assays. The affinity of this antibody for EGFRvIII peptide is 1.7 × 107 M-1 as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Conclusion
This recombinant antibody thus holds great potential to be used as a research reagent and diagnostic tool in research laboratories and clinics because of its high quality, easy viability and unique versatility. This antibody is also a strong candidate to be investigated for further in vivo therapeutic studies.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-72
PMCID: PMC2959087  PMID: 20925961
22.  Novel concept microarray enabling PCR and multistep reactions through pipette-free aperture-to-aperture parallel transfer 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:71.
Background
The microarray has contributed to developing the omic analysis. However, as it depends basically on the surface reaction, it is hard to perform bulk reactions and sequential multistep reactions. On the other hand, the popular microplate technology, which has a great merit of being able to perform parallel multistep reactions, has come to its limit in increasing the number of wells (currently, up to 9600) and reducing the volume to deal with due to the difficulty in operations.
Results
Here, we report a novel microarray technology which enables us to explore advanced applications, termed microarray-with-manageable volumes (MMV). The technical essence is in the pipette-free direct parallel transfer from well to well performed by centrifugation, evading the evaporation and adsorption-losses during handling. By developing the MMV plate, accompanying devices and techniques, generation of multiple conditions (256 kinds) and performance of parallel multistep reactions, including PCR and in vitro translation reactions, have been made possible. These were demonstrated by applying the MMV technology to searching lysozyme-crystallizing conditions and selecting peptides aimed for Aβ-binding or cathepsin E-inhibition.
Conclusions
With the introduction of a novel concept microarray (MMV) technology, parallel and multistep reactions in sub-μL scale have become possible.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-71
PMCID: PMC2959086  PMID: 20923572
23.  Development of a serum-free medium for in vitro expansion of human cytotoxic T lymphocytes using a statistical design 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:70.
Background
Serum-containing medium (SCM), which has a number of poorly defined components with varying concentrations, hampers standardization of lymphocyte cultures. In order to develop a serum-free medium (SFM) for the expansion of human lymphocytes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), a statistical optimization approach based on a fractional factorial method and a response surface method was adopted. A basal medium was prepared by supplementing RPMI1640 medium with insulin, albumin, ferric citrate, ethanolamine, fatty acids, glutamine, sodium pyruvate, 2-mercaptoethanol, 1-thioglycerol, nonessential amino acids, and vitamins. We identified additional positive determinants and their optimal concentrations for cell growth through a statistical analysis.
Results
From a statistical analysis using the fractional factorial method, cholesterol and polyamine supplement were identified as positive determinants for cell growth. Their optimal concentrations were determined by the response surface method. The maximum viable cell concentration in the developed SFM was enhanced by more than 1.5-fold when compared to that in RPMI1640 supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS). Furthermore, a cytotoxicity assay and an enzyme-linked immunospot assay revealed that the effector function of cytotoxic T lymphocytes generated from PBMCs grown in SFM, by stimulation of peptide-presenting dendritic cells, was retained or even better than that in SCM.
Conclusions
The use of a developed SFM with cholesterol and polyamine supplement for human lymphocyte culture resulted in better growth without loss of cellular function when compared to SCM.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-70
PMCID: PMC2954940  PMID: 20854694
24.  Evaluation of combinatorial cis-regulatory elements for stable gene expression in chicken cells 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:69.
Background
Recent successes in biotechnological application of birds are based on their unique physiological traits such as unlimited manipulability onto developing embryos and simple protein constituents of the eggs. However it is not likely that target protein is produced as kinetically expected because various factors affect target gene expression. Although there have been various attempts to minimize the silencing of transgenes, a generalized study that uses multiple cis-acting elements in chicken has not been made. The aim of the present study was to analyze whether various cis-acting elements can help to sustain transgene expression in chicken fibroblasts.
Results
We investigated the optimal transcriptional regulatory elements for enhancing stable transgene expression in chicken cells. We generated eight constructs that encode enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) driven by either CMV or CAG promoters (including the control), containing three types of key regulatory elements: a chicken lysozyme matrix attachment region (cMAR), 5'-DNase I-hypersensitive sites 4 (cHS4), and the woodchuck hepatitis virus posttranscriptional regulatory element (WPRE). Then we transformed immortalized chicken embryonic fibroblasts with these constructs by electroporation, and after cells were expanded under G418 selection, analyzed mRNA levels and mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) by quantitative real-time PCR and flow cytometry, respectively. We found that the copy number of each construct significantly decreased as the size of the construct increased (R2 = 0.701). A significant model effect was found in the expression level among various constructs in both mRNA and protein (P < 0.0001). Transcription with the CAG promoter was 1.6-fold higher than the CMV promoter (P = 0.027) and the level of eGFP expression activity in cMAR- or cHS4-flanked constructs increased by two- to three-fold compared to the control CMV or CAG promoter constructs. In addition, flow cytometry analysis showed that constructs having cis-acting elements decreased the level of gene silencing as well as the coefficient of variance of eGFP-expressing cells (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions
Our current data show that an optimal combination of cis-acting elements and promoters/enhancers for sustaining gene expression in chicken cells is suggested. These results provide important information for avian transgenesis and gene function studies in poultry.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-69
PMCID: PMC2949789  PMID: 20849657
25.  Effects of Fetal Bovine Serum deprivation in cell cultures on the production of Anticarsia gemmatalis Multinucleopolyhedrovirus 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:68.
Background
Anticarsia gemmatalis is a pest in South America's soybean crops, which could be controlled by the Multinucleopolyhedrovirus of A. gemmatalis (AgMNPV). Currently, its commercial production is based on infected larvae. However, the possibility of using modified baculoviruses in Integrated Pest Management programs has stimulated an interest to develop alternative multiplication processes. This study evaluated the AgMNPV production in UFL-Ag-286 cells previously deprived Fetal Bovine Serum.
Results
Culture media containing 1% FBS during the previous 48 hours achieved a synchronized condition where 90% of cells were found in G0/G1 stage, showing the presence of non-filamentous actin. All characteristics were estimated from cellular viability tests, cell actin detection trials and flow cytometer cell cycle analysis. AgMNPV production was tested by transcript studies and budded viruses (BVs) and occlusion bodies (OBs) yield quantitation. Results showed that the productivity in FBS deprived cells was 9.8 times more in BVs and 3.8 times more in OBs with respect to non-treated cells.
Conclusions
UFL-Ag-286 cells previously deprived in FBS shown to be a better host for AgMNPV propagation, increasing the useful for both in vitro bioinsecticide production and applications such as recombinant protein expression or gene delivery.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-68
PMCID: PMC2949788  PMID: 20843354

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