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1.  Temporal activation of anti- and pro-apoptotic factors in human gingival fibroblasts infected with the periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis: potential role of bacterial proteases in host signalling 
BMC Microbiology  2006;6:26.
Background
Porphyromonas gingivalis is the foremost oral pathogen of adult periodontitis in humans. However, the mechanisms of bacterial invasion and the resultant destruction of the gingival tissue remain largely undefined.
Results
We report host-P. gingivalis interactions in primary human gingival fibroblast (HGF) cells. Quantitative immunostaining revealed the need for a high multiplicity of infection for optimal infection. Early in infection (2–12 h), P. gingivalis activated the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-kappa B, partly via the PI3 kinase/AKT pathway. This was accompanied by the induction of cellular anti-apoptotic genes, including Bfl-1, Boo, Bcl-XL, Bcl2, Mcl-1, Bcl-w and Survivin. Late in infection (24–36 h) the anti-apoptotic genes largely shut down and the pro-apoptotic genes, including Nip3, Hrk, Bak, Bik, Bok, Bax, Bad, Bim and Moap-1, were activated. Apoptosis was characterized by nuclear DNA degradation and activation of caspases-3, -6, -7 and -9 via the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. Use of inhibitors revealed an anti-apoptotic function of NF-kappa B and PI3 kinase in P. gingivalis-infected HGF cells. Use of a triple protease mutant P. gingivalis lacking three major gingipains (rgpA rgpB kgp) suggested a role of some or all these proteases in myriad aspects of bacteria-gingival interaction.
Conclusion
The pathology of the gingival fibroblast in P. gingivalis infection is affected by a temporal shift from cellular survival response to apoptosis, regulated by a number of anti- and pro-apoptotic molecules. The gingipain group of proteases affects bacteria-host interactions and may directly promote apoptosis by intracellular proteolytic activation of caspase-3.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-6-26
PMCID: PMC1431544  PMID: 16524480
2.  Activation of cytokines and NF-kappa B in corneal epithelial cells infected by respiratory syncytial virus: potential relevance in ocular inflammation and respiratory infection 
BMC Microbiology  2004;4:28.
Background
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of lower respiratory tract infection, claiming millions of lives annually. The virus infects various cells of the respiratory tract as well as resident inflammatory cells such as macrophages. Infection activates a variety of cellular factors such as cytokines and the pro-inflammatory transcription factor, NF-kappa B, all of which are important players in the respiratory disease. However, the exact natural route of RSV infection and its etiology remain relatively unknown. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that human corneal epithelial cells, which constitute the outermost layer of the cornea, can be infected with RSV, and that the infection leads to the activation of proinflammatory macromolecules.
Results
Corneal swabs obtained from pediatric patients with acute respiratory disease were found to contain RSV at a high frequency (43 positive out of 72 samples, i.e., 60%). Primary corneal epithelial cells in tissue culture supported robust infection and productive growth of RSV. Infection resulted in the activation of TNF-α, IL-6 and sixteen chemokines as well as NF-κB. Three proinflammatory CXC chemokines (MIG, I-TAC, IP-10) underwent the greatest activation.
Conclusions
The ocular epithelium is readily infected by RSV. The pro-inflammatory cytokines are likely to play critical roles in the etiology of inflammation and conjunctivitis commonly seen in pediatric patients with respiratory infections. RSV-eye interactions have important implications in RSV transmission, immunopathology of RSV disease, and in the management of conjunctivitis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-4-28
PMCID: PMC481065  PMID: 15256003
3.  Profilin is required for viral morphogenesis, syncytium formation, and cell-specific stress fiber induction by respiratory syncytial virus 
BMC Microbiology  2003;3:9.
Background
Actin is required for the gene expression and morphogenesis of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a clinically important Pneumovirus of the Paramyxoviridae family. In HEp-2 cells, RSV infection also induces actin stress fibers, which may be important in the immunopathology of the RSV disease. Profilin, a major regulator of actin polymerization, stimulates viral transcription in vitro. Thus, we tested the role of profilin in RSV growth and RSV-actin interactions in cultured cells (ex vivo).
Results
We tested three cell lines: HEp-2 (human), A549 (human), and L2 (rat). In all three, RSV grew well and produced fused cells (syncytium), and two RSV proteins, namely, the phosphoprotein P and the nucleocapsid protein N, associated with profilin. In contrast, induction of actin stress fibers by RSV occurred in HEp-2 and L2 cells, but not in A549. Knockdown of profilin by RNA interference had a small effect on viral macromolecule synthesis but strongly inhibited maturation of progeny virions, cell fusion, and induction of stress fibers.
Conclusions
Profilin plays a cardinal role in RSV-mediated cell fusion and viral maturation. In contrast, interaction of profilin with the viral transcriptional proteins P and N may only nominally activate viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Stress fiber formation is a cell-specific response to infection, requiring profilin and perhaps other signaling molecules that are absent in certain cell lines. Stress fibers per se play no role in RSV replication in cell culture. Clearly, the cellular architecture controls multiple steps of host-RSV interaction, some of which are regulated by profilin.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-3-9
PMCID: PMC156654  PMID: 12740026
4.  Phenotypic silencing of cytoplasmic genes using sequence-specific double-stranded short interfering RNA and its application in the reverse genetics of wild type negative-strand RNA viruses 
BMC Microbiology  2001;1:34.
Background
Post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) by short interfering RNA has opened up new directions in the phenotypic mutation of cellular genes. However, its efficacy on non-nuclear genes and its effect on the interferon pathway remain unexplored. Since directed mutation of RNA genomes is not possible through conventional mutagenesis, we have tested sequence-specific 21-nucleotide long double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) for their ability to silence cytoplasmic RNA genomes.
Results
Short dsRNAs were generated against specific mRNAs of respiratory syncytial virus, a nonsegmented negative-stranded RNA virus with a cytoplasmic life cycle. At nanomolar concentrations, the dsRNAs specifically abrogated expression of the corresponding viral proteins, and produced the expected mutant phenotype ex vivo. The dsRNAs did not induce an interferon response, and did not inhibit cellular gene expression. The ablation of the viral proteins correlated with the loss of the specific mRNAs. In contrast, viral genomic and antigenomic RNA, which are encapsidated, were not directly affected.
Conclusions
Synthetic inhibitory dsRNAs are effective in specific silencing of RNA genomes that are exclusively cytoplasmic and transcribed by RNA-dependent RNA polymerases. RNA-directed RNA gene silencing does not require cloning, expression, and mutagenesis of viral cDNA, and thus, will allow the generation of phenotypic null mutants of specific RNA viral genes under normal infection conditions and at any point in the infection cycle. This will, for the first time, permit functional genomic studies, attenuated infections, reverse genetic analysis, and studies of host-virus signaling pathways using a wild type RNA virus, unencumbered by any superinfecting virus.
PMCID: PMC64570  PMID: 11801185
5.  A novel tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) containing PP5 serine/threonine protein phosphatase in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum 
BMC Microbiology  2001;1:31.
Background
The malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum (Pf), is responsible for nearly 2 million deaths worldwide. However, the mechanisms of cellular signaling in the parasite remain largely unknown. Recent discovery of a few protein kinases and phosphatases point to a thriving reversible phosphorylation system in the parasite, although their function and regulation need to be determined.
Results
We provide biochemical and sequence evidence for a protein serine/threonine phosphatase type PP5 in Plasmodium falciparum, and named it PfPP5. The 594-amino acid polypeptide was encoded by a 1785 nucleotide long intronless gene in the parasite. The recombinant protein, expressed in bacteria, was indistinguishable from native PfPP5. Sequencing comparison indicated that the extra-long N-terminus of PfPP5 outside the catalytic core contained four tetratricopeptide repeats (TPRs), compared to three such repeats in other PP5 phosphatases. The PfPP5 N-terminus was required for stimulation of the phosphatase activity by polyunsaturated fatty acids. Co-immunoprecipitation demonstrated an interaction between native PfPP5 and Pf heat shock protein 90 (hsp90). PfPP5 was expressed in all the asexual erythrocytic stages of the parasite, and was moderately sensitive to okadaic acid.
Conclusions
This is the first example of a TPR-domain protein in the Apicomplexa family of parasites. Since TPR domains play important roles in protein-protein interaction, especially relevant to the regulation of PP5 phosphatases, PfPP5 is destined to have a definitive role in parasitic growth and signaling pathways. This is exemplified by the interaction between PfPP5 and the cognate chaperone hsp90.
PMCID: PMC60990  PMID: 11737864

Results 1-5 (5)