Collections in this community

Recent Submissions

  • Apolipoprotein E ε4 allele modulates the immediate impact of acute exercise on prefrontal function

    De Marco, M.; Clough, P.J.; Dyer, C.E.; Vince, R.V.; Waby, Jennifer S.; Midgley, A.W.; Venneri, A. (2015-01)
    The difference between Apolipoprotein E ε4 carriers and non-carriers in response to single exercise sessions was tested. Stroop and Posner tasks were administered to young untrained women immediately after walking sessions or moderately heavy exercise. Exercise had a significantly more profound impact on the Stroop effect than on the Posner effect, suggesting selective involvement of prefrontal function. A significant genotype-by-exercise interaction indicated differences in response to exercise between ε4 carriers and non-carriers. Carriers showed facilitation triggered by exercise. The transient executive down-regulation was construed as due to exercise-dependent hypofrontality. The facilitation observed in carriers was interpreted as better management of prefrontal metabolic resources, and explained within the antagonistic pleiotropy hypothesis framework. The findings have implications for the interpretation of differences between ε4 carriers and non-carriers in the benefits triggered by long-term exercise that might depend, at least partially, on mechanisms of metabolic response to physical activity.
  • An alternative synthesis of Vandetanib (CaprelsaTM) via a microwave accelerated Dimroth rearrangement

    Brocklesby, K.L.; Waby, Jennifer S.; Cawthorne, C.; Smith, G. (2017-04-12)
    Vandetanib is an orally available tyrosine kinase inhibitor used in the treatment of cancer. The current synthesis proceeds via an unstable 4-chloroquinazoline, using harsh reagents, in addition to requiring sequential protection and deprotection steps. In the present work, use of the Dimroth rearrangement in the key quinazoline forming step enabled the synthesis of Vandetanib in nine steps (compared to the previously reported 12–14).
  • Anticancer, antifungal and antibacterial potential of bis(β-ketoiminato)ruthenium(II) carbonyl complexes

    Madzivire, C.R.; Carames-Mendez, P.; Pask, C.M.; Phillips, Roger M.; Lord, Rianne M.; McGowan, P.C. (2019-12-01)
    Herein we report a library of new ruthenium(II) complexes which incorporate a range of functionalised β -ketoiminate ligands. The complexes undergo an unusual reduction from Ru(III) to Ru(II), and consequently incorporate carbonyl ligands from the 2-ethoxyethanol solvent, forming ruthenium dicarbonyl complexes. In order to address the potential applications of these complexes, we have screened the library against a range of tumour cell lines, however, all compounds exhibit low cellular activity and this is tentatively assigned to the decomposition of the compounds in aqueous media. Studies to establish the antifungal and antibacterial potential of these complexes was addressed and show increased growth inhibitions for C. neoformans and S. aureus species.
  • Modulation of Aneuploidy in Leishmania donovani during Adaptation to Different In Vitro and In Vivo Environments and Its Impact on Gene Expression.

    Dumetz, F.; Imamura, H.; Sanders, M.; Seblova, V.; Myskova, J.; Pescher, P.; Vanaerschot, M.; Meehan, Conor J.; Cuypers, B.; De Muylder, G.; et al. (2017-05)
    Aneuploidy is usually deleterious in multicellular organisms but appears to be tolerated and potentially beneficial in unicellular organisms, including pathogens. Leishmania, a major protozoan parasite, is emerging as a new model for aneuploidy, since in vitro-cultivated strains are highly aneuploid, with interstrain diversity and intrastrain mosaicism. The alternation of two life stages in different environments (extracellular promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes) offers a unique opportunity to study the impact of environment on aneuploidy and gene expression. We sequenced the whole genomes and transcriptomes of Leishmania donovani strains throughout their adaptation to in vivo conditions mimicking natural vertebrate and invertebrate host environments. The nucleotide sequences were almost unchanged within a strain, in contrast to highly variable aneuploidy. Although high in promastigotes in vitro, aneuploidy dropped significantly in hamster amastigotes, in a progressive and strain-specific manner, accompanied by the emergence of new polysomies. After a passage through a sand fly, smaller yet consistent karyotype changes were detected. Changes in chromosome copy numbers were correlated with the corresponding transcript levels, but additional aneuploidy-independent regulation of gene expression was observed. This affected stage-specific gene expression, downregulation of the entire chromosome 31, and upregulation of gene arrays on chromosomes 5 and 8. Aneuploidy changes in Leishmania are probably adaptive and exploited to modulate the dosage and expression of specific genes; they are well tolerated, but additional mechanisms may exist to regulate the transcript levels of other genes located on aneuploid chromosomes. Our model should allow studies of the impact of aneuploidy on molecular adaptations and cellular fitness.
  • Apolipoprotein L1 Variant Associated with Increased Susceptibility to Trypanosome Infection

    Cuypers, B.; Lecordier, L.; Meehan, Conor J.; Van den Broeck, F.; Imamura, H.; Büscher, P.; Dujardin, J.-C.; Laukens, K.; Schnaufer, A.; Dewar, C.; et al. (2016-04-12)
    African trypanosomes, except Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, which cause human African trypanosomiasis, are lysed by the human serum protein apolipoprotein L1 (ApoL1). These two subspecies can resist human ApoL1 because they express the serum resistance proteins T. b. gambiense glycoprotein (TgsGP) and serum resistance-associated protein (SRA), respectively. Whereas in T. b. rhodesiense, SRA is necessary and sufficient to inhibit ApoL1, in T. b. gambiense, TgsGP cannot protect against high ApoL1 uptake, so different additional mechanisms contribute to limit this uptake. Here we report a complex interplay between trypanosomes and an ApoL1 variant, revealing important insights into innate human immunity against these parasites. Using whole-genome sequencing, we characterized an atypical T. b. gambiense infection in a patient in Ghana. We show that the infecting trypanosome has diverged from the classical T. b. gambiense strains and lacks the TgsGP defense mechanism against human serum. By sequencing the ApoL1 gene of the patient and subsequent in vitro mutagenesis experiments, we demonstrate that a homozygous missense substitution (N264K) in the membrane-addressing domain of this ApoL1 variant knocks down the trypanolytic activity, allowing the trypanosome to avoid ApoL1-mediated immunity. IMPORTANCE. Most African trypanosomes are lysed by the ApoL1 protein in human serum. Only the subspecies Trypanosoma b. gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense can resist lysis by ApoL1 because they express specific serum resistance proteins. We here report a complex interplay between trypanosomes and an ApoL1 variant characterized by a homozygous missense substitution (N264K) in the domain that we hypothesize interacts with the endolysosomal membranes of trypanosomes. The N264K substitution knocks down the lytic activity of ApoL1 against T. b. gambiense strains lacking the TgsGP defense mechanism and against T. b. rhodesiense if N264K is accompanied by additional substitutions in the SRA-interacting domain. Our data suggest that populations with high frequencies of the homozygous N264K ApoL1 variant may be at increased risk of contracting human African trypanosomiasis.
  • Genomic characterization of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria

    Fedrizzi, T.; Meehan, Conor J.; Grottola, A.; Giacobazzi, E.; Fregni Serpini, G.; Tagliazucchi, S.; Fabio, A.; Bettua, C.; Bertorelli, R.; De Sanctis, V.; et al. (2017-03)
    Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae have remained, for many years, the primary species of the genus Mycobacterium of clinical and microbiological interest. The other members of the genus, referred to as nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), have long been underinvestigated. In the last decades, however, the number of reports linking various NTM species with human diseases has steadily increased and treatment difficulties have emerged. Despite the availability of whole genome sequencing technologies, limited effort has been devoted to the genetic characterization of NTM species. As a consequence, the taxonomic and phylogenetic structure of the genus remains unsettled and genomic information is lacking to support the identification of these organisms in a clinical setting. In this work, we widen the knowledge of NTMs by reconstructing and analyzing the genomes of 41 previously uncharacterized NTM species. We provide the first comprehensive characterization of the genomic diversity of NTMs and open new venues for the clinical identification of opportunistic pathogens from this genus.
  • The predominance of Ethiopian specific Mycobacterium tuberculosis families and minimal contribution of Mycobacterium bovis in tuberculous lymphadenitis patients in Southwest Ethiopia

    Tadesse, M.; Abebe, G.; Bekele, A.; Bezabih, M.; de Rijk, P.; Meehan, Conor J.; de Jong, B.C.; Rigouts, L. (2017-11)
    Background: Ethiopia has an extremely high rate of extrapulmonary tuberculosis, dominated by tuberculous lymphadenitis (TBLN). However, little is known about Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBc) lineages re-sponsible for TBLN in Southwest Ethiopia.Methods:A total of 304 MTBc isolates from TBLN patients in Southwest Ethiopia were genotyped primarily by spoligotyping. Isolates of selected spoligotypes were further analyzed by 15-loci mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit–variable number tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) (n = 167) and qPCR-based single nucleotide polymorphism (n = 38). Isolates were classified into main phylogenetic lineages and families by using the re-ference strain collections and identification tools available at MIRU-VNTRplus data base. Resistance to rifampicin was determined by Xpert MTB/RIF. Results: The majority of isolates (248; 81.6%) belonged to the Euro-American lineage (Lineage 4), with the ill-defined T and Haarlem as largest families comprising 116 (38.2%) and 43 (14.1%) isolates respectively. Of the T family, 108 isolates were classified as being part of the newly described Ethiopian families, namely Ethiopia_2(n = 44), Ethiopia_3 (n = 34) and Ethiopia_H37Rv-like (n = 30). Other sub-lineages included URAL (n = 18), S(n = 17), Uganda I (n = 16), LAM (n = 13), X (n = 5), TUR (n = 5), Uganda II (n = 4) and unknown (n = 19).Lineage 3 (Delhi/CAS) was the second most common lineage comprising 44 (14.5%) isolates. Interestingly, six isolates (2%) were belonged to Lineage 7, unique to Ethiopia. Lineage 1 (East-African Indian) and Lineage 2(Beijing) were represented by 3 and 1 isolates respectively.M. bovis was identified in only two (0.7%) TBLN cases. The cluster rate was highest for Ethiopia_3 isolates showing clonal similarity with isolates from North Ethiopia. Lineage 3 was significantly associated with rifampicin resistance. Conclusions: In TBLN in Southwest Ethiopia, the recently described Ethiopia specific Lineage 4 families were predominant, followed by Lineage 3 and Lineage 4-Haarlem. The contribution of M. bovis in TBLN infection is minimal.
  • The new phylogeny of the genus Mycobacterium: The old and the news

    Tortoli, E.; Fedrizzi, T.; Meehan, Conor J.; Trovato, A.; Grottola, A.; Giacobazzi, E.; Fregni Serpini, G.; Tagliazucchi, S.; Fabio, A.; Bettua, C.; et al. (2017-12)
    Background: Phylogenetic studies of bacteria have been based so far either on a single gene (usually the 16SrRNA) or on concatenated housekeeping genes. For what concerns the genus Mycobacterium these approaches support the separation of rapidly and slowly growing species and the clustering of most species in well-defined phylogenetic groups. The advent of high-throughput shotgun sequencing leads us to revise conventional tax-onomy of mycobacteria on the light of genomic data. For this purpose we investigated 88 newly sequenced species in addition to 60 retrieved from GenBank and used the Average Nucleotide Identity pairwise scores to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships within this genus.Results:Our analysis confirmed the separation of slow and rapid growers and the intermediate position occupied by the M. terrae complex. Among the rapid growers, the species of the M. chelonae-abscessus complex belonged to the most ancestral cluster. Other major clades of rapid growers included the species related to M. fortuitum and M. smegmatis and a large grouping containing mostly environmental species rarely isolated from humans. The members of the M. terrae complex appeared as the most ancestral slow growers. Among slow growers two deep branches led to the clusters of species related to M. celatum and M. xenopi and to a large group harboring most of the species more frequently responsible of disease in humans, including the major pathogenic mycobacteria (M.tuberculosis,M. leprae,M. ulcerans). The species previously grouped in the M. simiae complex were allocated in a number of sub-clades; of them, only the one including the species M. simiae identified the real members of this complex. The other clades included also species previously not considered related to M. simiae. The ANI analysis,in most cases supported by Genome to Genome Distance and by Genomic Signature-Delta Difference, showed that a number of species with standing in literature were indeed synonymous.Conclusions:Genomic data revealed to be much more informative in comparison with phenotype. We believe that the genomic revolution enabled by high-throughput shotgun sequencing should now be considered in order to revise the conservative approaches still informing taxonomic sciences.
  • Multiple Introductions and Recent Spread of the Emerging Human Pathogen Mycobacterium ulcerans across Africa

    Vandelannoote, K.; Meehan, Conor J.; Eddyani, M.; Affolabi, D.; Phanzu, D.M.; Eyangoh, S.; Jordaens, K.; Portaels, F.; Mangas, K.; Seemann, T.; et al. (2017-03)
    Buruli ulcer (BU) is an insidious neglected tropical disease. Cases are reported around the world but the rural regions of West and Central Africa are most affected. How BU is transmitted and spreads has remained a mystery, even though the causative agent, Mycobacterium ulcerans, has been known for more than 70 years. Here, using the tools of population genomics, we reconstruct the evolutionaryhistoryofM. ulceransbycomparing165isolatesspanning48yearsandrepresenting11endemiccountriesacrossAfrica. The genetic diversity of African M. ulcerans was found to be restricted due to the bacterium’s slow substitution rate coupled with its relatively recent origin. We identified two specific M. ulcerans lineages within the African continent, and inferred that M. ulcerans lineage Mu_A1 existed in Africa for several hundreds of years, unlike lineage Mu_A2, which was introduced much more recently, approximately during the 19th century. Additionally, we observed that specific M. ulcerans epidemic Mu_A1 clones were introduced during the same time period in the three hydrological basins that were well covered in our panel. The estimated time span of the introduction events coincides with the Neo-imperialism period, during which time the European colonial powers divided the African continent among themselves. Using this temporal association, and in the absence of a known BU reservoir or—vector on the continent, we postulate that the so-called "Scramble for Africa" played a significant role in the spread of the disease across the continent.
  • Genome-Wide SNP Analysis Reveals Distinct Origins of Trypanosoma evansi and Trypanosoma equiperdum.

    Cuypers, B.; Van den Broeck, F.; Van Reet, N.; Meehan, Conor J.; Cauchard, J.; Wilkes, J.M.; Claes, F.; Goddeeris, B.; Birhanu, H.; Dujardin, J.-C.; et al. (2017-08)
    Trypanosomes cause a variety of diseases in man and domestic animals in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. In the Trypanozoon subgenus, Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense cause human African trypanosomiasis, whereas Trypanosoma brucei brucei, Trypanosoma evansi, and Trypanosoma equiperdum are responsible for nagana, surra, and dourine in domestic animals, respectively. The genetic relationships between T. evansi and T. equiperdum and other Trypanozoon species remain unclear because the majority of phylogenetic analyses has been based on only a few genes. In this study, we have conducted a phylogenetic analysis based on genome-wide SNP analysis comprising 56 genomes from the Trypanozoon subgenus. Our data reveal that T. equiperdum has emerged at least once in Eastern Africa and T. evansi at two independent occasions in Western Africa. The genomes within the T. equiperdum and T. evansi monophyletic clusters show extremely little variation, probably due to the clonal spread linked to the independence from tsetse flies for their transmission.
  • Diagnosis of Bacterial Bloodstream Infections: A 16S Metagenomics Approach.

    Decuypere, S.; Meehan, Conor J.; Van Puyvelde, S.; De Block, T.; Maltha, J.; Palpouguini, L.; Tahita, M.; Tinto, H.; Jacobs, J.; Deborggraeve, S. (2016-02-29)
    Background. Bacterial bloodstream infection (bBSI) is one of the leading causes of death in critically ill patients and accurate diagnosis is therefore crucial. We here report a 16S metagenomics approach for diagnosing and understanding bBSI. Methodology/Principal Findings. The proof-of-concept was delivered in 75 children (median age 15 months) with severe febrile illness in Burkina Faso. Standard blood culture and malaria testing were conducted at the time of hospital admission. 16S metagenomics testing was done retrospectively and in duplicate on the blood of all patients. Total DNA was extracted from the blood and the V3–V4 regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA genes were amplified by PCR and deep sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq sequencer. Paired reads were curated, taxonomically labeled, and filtered. Blood culture diagnosed bBSI in 12 patients, but this number increased to 22 patients when combining blood culture and 16S metagenomics results. In addition to superior sensitivity compared to standard blood culture, 16S metagenomics revealed important novel insights into the nature of bBSI. Patients with acute malaria or recovering from malaria had a 7-fold higher risk of presenting polymicrobial bloodstream infections compared to patients with no recent malaria diagnosis (p-value = 0.046). Malaria is known to affect epithelial gut function and may thus facilitate bacterial translocation from the intestinal lumen to the blood. Importantly, patients with such polymicrobial blood infections showed a 9-fold higher risk factor for not surviving their febrile illness (p-value = 0.030). Conclusions/Significance. Our data demonstrate that 16S metagenomics is a powerful approach for the diagnosis and understanding of bBSI. This proof-of-concept study also showed that appropriate control samples are crucial to detect background signals due to environmental contamination.
  • Characterizing the Syphilis-Causing Treponema pallidum ssp. pallidum Proteome Using Complementary Mass Spectrometry

    Osbak, K.K.; Houston, S.; Lithgow, K.V.; Meehan, Conor J.; Strouhal, M.; Šmajs, D.; Cameron, C.E.; Van Ostade, X.; Kenyon, C.R.; Van Raemdonck, G.A. (2016-09)
    Background. The spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum ssp. pallidum is the etiological agent of syphilis, a chronic multistage disease. Little is known about the global T. pallidum proteome, therefore mass spectrometry studies are needed to bring insights into pathogenicity and protein expression profiles during infection. Methodology/Principal Findings. To better understand the T. pallidum proteome profile during infection, we studied T. pallidum ssp. pallidum DAL-1 strain bacteria isolated from rabbits using complementary mass spectrometry techniques, including multidimensional peptide separation and protein identification via matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF/TOF) and electrospray ionization (ESI-LTQ-Orbitrap) tandem mass spectrometry. A total of 6033 peptides were detected, corresponding to 557 unique T. pallidum proteins at a high level of confidence, representing 54% of the predicted proteome. A previous gel-based T. pallidum MS proteome study detected 58 of these proteins. One hundred fourteen of the detected proteins were previously annotated as hypothetical or uncharacterized proteins; this is the first account of 106 of these proteins at the protein level. Detected proteins were characterized according to their predicted biological function and localization; half were allocated into a wide range of functional categories. Proteins annotated as potential membrane proteins and proteins with unclear functional annotations were subjected to an additional bioinformatics pipeline analysis to facilitate further characterization. A total of 116 potential membrane proteins were identified, of which 16 have evidence supporting outer membrane localization. We found 8/12 proteins related to the paralogous tpr gene family: TprB, TprC/D, TprE, TprG, TprH, TprI and TprJ. Protein abundance was semi-quantified using label-free spectral counting methods. A low correlation (r = 0.26) was found between previous microarray signal data and protein abundance. Conclusions. This is the most comprehensive description of the global T. pallidum proteome to date. These data provide valuable insights into in vivo T. pallidum protein expression, paving the way for improved understanding of the pathogenicity of this enigmatic organism.
  • A Genomic Approach to Resolving Relapse versus Reinfection among Four Cases of Buruli Ulcer

    Eddyani, M.; Vandelannoote, K.; Meehan, Conor J.; Bhuju, S.; Porter, J.L.; Aguiar, J.; Seemann, T.; Jarek, M.; Singh, M.; Portaels, F.; et al. (2015-11-30)
    Background. Increased availability of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques allows, for the first time, to distinguish relapses from reinfections in patients with multiple Buruli ulcer (BU) episodes. Methodology. We compared the number and location of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified by genomic screening between four pairs of Mycobacterium ulcerans isolates collected at the time of first diagnosis and at recurrence, derived from a collection of almost 5000 well characterized clinical samples from one BU treatment center in Benin. Principal Findings. The findings suggest that after surgical treatment—without antibiotics—the second episodes were due to relapse rather than reinfection. Since specific antibiotics were introduced for the treatment of BU, the one patient with a culture available from both disease episodes had M. ulcerans isolates with a genomic distance of 20 SNPs, suggesting the patient was most likely reinfected rather than having a relapse. Conclusions. To our knowledge, this study is the first to study recurrences in M. ulcerans using NGS, and to identify exogenous reinfection as causing a recurrence of BU. The occurrence of reinfection highlights the contribution of ongoing exposure to M. ulcerans to disease recurrence, and has implications for vaccine development.
  • Characterizing the Diverse Mutational Pathways Associated with R5-Tropic Maraviroc Resistance: HIV-1 That Uses the Drug-Bound CCR5 Coreceptor

    Jiang, X.; Feyertag, F.; Meehan, Conor J.; McCormack, G.P.; Travers, S.A.; Craig, C.; Westby, M.; Lewis, M.; Robertson, D.L. (2015-11)
    ABSTRACT Entry inhibitors represent a potent class of antiretroviral drugs that target a host cell protein, CCR5, an HIV-1 entry coreceptor, and not viral protein. Lack of sensitivity can occur due to preexisting virus that uses the CXCR4 coreceptor, while true resistance occurs through viral adaptation to use a drug-bound CCR5 coreceptor. To understand this R5 resistance pathway, we analyzed >500 envelope protein sequences and phenotypes from viruses of 20 patients from the clinical trials MOTIVATE 1 and 2, in which treatment-experienced patients received maraviroc plus optimized background therapy. The resistant viral population was phylogenetically distinct and associated with a genetic bottleneck in each patient, consistent with de novo emergence of resistance. Recombination analysis showed that the C2-V3-C3 region tends to genotypically correspond to the recombinant’s phenotype, indicating its primary importance in conferring resistance. Between patients, there was a notable lack of commonality in the specific sites conferring resistance, confirming the unusual nature of R5-tropic resistance. We used coevolutionary and positive-selection analyses to characterize the genotypic determinants of resistance and found that (i) there are complicated covariation networks, indicating frequent coevolutionary/compensatory changes in the context of protein structure; (ii) covarying sites under positive selection are enriched in resistant viruses; (iii) CD4 binding sites form part of a unique covariation network independent of the V3 loop; and (iv) the covariation network formed between the V3 loop and other regions of gp120 and gp41 intersects sites involved in glycosylation and protein secretion. These results demonstrate that while envelope sequence mutations are the key to conferring maraviroc resistance, the specific changes involved are context dependent and thus inherently unpredictable. IMPORTANCE The entry inhibitor drug maraviroc makes the cell coreceptor CCR5 unavailable for use by HIV-1 and is now used in combination antiretroviral therapy. Treatment failure with drug-resistant virus is particularly interesting because it tends to be rare, with lack of sensitivity usually associated with the presence of CXCR4-using virus (CXCR4 is the main alternative coreceptor HIV-1 uses, in addition to CD4). We analyzed envelope sequences from HIV-1, obtained from 20 patients who enrolled in maraviroc clinical trials and experienced treatment failure, without detection of CXCR4-using virus. Evolutionary analysis was employed to identify molecular changes that confer maraviroc resistance. We found that in these individuals, resistant viruses form a distinct population that evolved once and was successful as a result of drug pressure. Further evolutionary analysis placed the complex network of interdependent mutational changes into functional groups that help explain the impediments to the emergence of maraviroc-associated R5 drug resistance.
  • Microbial shifts in the aging mouse gut

    Langille, M.G.I.; Meehan, Conor J.; Koenig, J.E.; Dhanani, A.S.; Rose, R.A.; Howlett, S.E.; Beiko, R.G. (2014-12-05)
    Background: The changes that occur in the microbiome of aging individuals are unclear, especially in light of the imperfect correlation of frailty with age. Studies in older human subjects have reported subtle effects, but these results may be confounded by other variables that often change with age such as diet and place of residence. To test these associations in a more controlled model system, we examined the relationship between age, frailty, and the gut microbiome of female C57BL/6 J mice. Results: The frailty index, which is based on the evaluation of 31 clinical signs of deterioration in mice, showed a near-perfect correlation with age. We observed a statistically significant relationship between age and the taxonomic composition of the corresponding microbiome. Consistent with previous human studies, the Rikenellaceae family, which includes the Alistipes genus, was the most significantly overrepresented taxon within middle-aged and older mice. The functional profile of the mouse gut microbiome also varied with host age and frailty. Bacterial-encoded functions that were underrepresented in older mice included cobalamin (B12) and biotin (B7) biosynthesis, and bacterial SOS genes associated with DNA repair. Conversely, creatine degradation, associated with muscle wasting, was overrepresented within the gut microbiomes of the older mice, as were bacterial-encoded β-glucuronidases, which can influence drug-induced epithelial cell toxicity. Older mice also showed an overabundance of monosaccharide utilization genes relative to di-, oligo-, and polysaccharide utilization genes, which may have a substantial impact on gut homeostasis. Conclusion: We have identified taxonomic and functional patterns that correlate with age and frailty in the mouse microbiome. Differences in functions related to host nutrition and drug pharmacology vary in an age-dependent manner, suggesting that the availability and timing of essential functions may differ significantly with age and frailty. Future work with larger cohorts of mice will aim to separate the effects of age and frailty, and other factors.
  • NMDA receptor-dependent signalling pathways regulate arginine vasopressin expression in the paraventricular nucleus of the rat

    Lake, D.; Corrêa, Sonia A.L.; Müller, Jurgen (2019-11-01)
    The antidiuretic hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) regulates water homeostasis, blood pressure and a range of stress responses. It is synthesized in the hypothalamus and released from the posterior pituitary into the general circulation upon a range of stimuli. While the mechanisms leading to AVP secretion have been widely investigated, the molecular mechanisms regulating AVP gene expression are mostly unclear. Here we investigated the neurotransmitters and signal transduction pathways that activate AVP gene expression in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the rat using acute brain slices and quantitative real-time PCR. We show that stimulation with l-glutamate robustly induced AVP gene expression in acute hypothalamic brain slices containing the PVN. More specifically, we show that AVP transcription was stimulated by NMDA. Using pharmacological treatments, our data further reveal that the activation of ERK1/2 (PD184352), CaMKII (KN-62) and PI3K (LY294002; 740 Y-P) is involved in the NMDA-induced AVP gene expression in the PVN. Together, this study identifies NMDA-mediated cell signalling pathways that regulate AVP gene expression in the rat PVN.
  • Reduced keratin expression in colorectal neoplasia and associated fields is reversible by diet and resection

    Evans, C.A.; Rosser, R.; Waby, Jennifer S.; Noirel, J.; Lai, D.; Wright, P.C.; Williams, E.A.; Riley, S.A.; Bury, J.P.; Corfe, B.M. (2015-12-31)
    Patients with adenomatous colonic polyps are at increased risk of developing further polyps suggesting field-wide alterations in cancer predisposition. The current study aimed to identify molecular alterations in the normal mucosa in the proximity of adenomatous polyps and to assess the modulating effect of butyrate, a chemopreventive compound produced by fermentation of dietary residues. A cross-sectional study was undertaken in patients with adenomatous polyps: biopsy samples were taken from the adenoma, and from macroscopically normal mucosa on the contralateral wall to the adenoma and from the mid-sigmoid colon. In normal subjects biopsies were taken from the mid-sigmoid colon. Biopsies were frozen for proteomic analysis or formalin-fixed for immunohistochemistry. Proteomic analysis was undertaken using iTRAQ workflows followed by bioinformatics analyses. A second dietary fibre intervention study arm used the same endpoints and sampling strategy at the beginning and end of a high-fibre intervention. Key findings were that keratins 8, 18 and 19 were reduced in expression level with progressive proximity to the lesion. Lesional tissue exhibited multiple K8 immunoreactive bands and overall reduced levels of keratin. Biopsies from normal subjects with low faecal butyrate also showed depressed keratin expression. Resection of the lesion and elevation of dietary fibre intake both appeared to restore keratin expression level. Changes in keratin expression associate with progression towards neoplasia, but remain modifiable risk factors. Dietary strategies may improve secondary chemoprevention.
  • Structurally optimised BODIPY derivatives for imaging of mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer and heart cells

    Nigam, S.; Burke, B.P.; Davies, L.H.; Domarkas, J.; Wallis, J.F.; Waddell, P.G.; Waby, Jennifer S.; Benoit, D.M.; Seymour, A.-M.; Cawthorne, C.; et al. (2016-05)
    The structural features required for mitochondrial uptake of BODIPY-based optical imaging agents have been explored. The first derivatives of this class of dyes shown to have mitochondrial membrane potential-dependent uptake in both cancer and heart cells have been developed.
  • A practical microwave method for the synthesis of fluoromethy 4-methylbenzenesulfonate in tert-amyl alcohol

    Brocklesby, K.L.; Waby, Jennifer S.; Cawthorne, C.; Smith, G. (2018-04-25)
    Fluorine substitution is an established tool in medicinal chemistry to favourably alter the molecular properties of a lead compound of interest. However, gaps still exist in the library of synthetic methods for accessing certain fluorine-substituted motifs. One such area is the fluoromethyl group, particularly when required in a fluoroalkylating capacity. The cold fluorination of methylene ditosylate is under evaluated in the literature, often proceeding with low yields or harsh conditions. This report describes a novel microwave method for the rapid nucleophilic fluorination of methylene ditosylate using inexpensive reagents in good isolated yield (65%).
  • Isoniazid resistance levels of Mycobacterium tuberculosis can largely be predicted by high-confidence resistance-conferring mutations.

    Lempens, P.; Meehan, Conor J.; Vandelannoote, K.; Fissette, K.; de Rijk, P.; Van Deun, A.; Rigouts, L.; de Jong, B.C. (2018-02-19)
    The majority of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates resistant to isoniazid harbour a mutation in katG. Since these mutations cause a wide range of minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs), largely below the serum level reached with higher dosing (15 mg/L upon 15–20 mg/kg), the drug might still remain partly active in presence of a katG mutation. We therefore investigated which genetic mutations predict the level of phenotypic isoniazid resistance in clinical M. tuberculosis isolates. To this end, the association between known and unknown isoniazid resistance-conferring mutations in whole genome sequences, and the isoniazid MICs of 176 isolates was examined. We found mostly moderate-level resistance characterized by a mode of 6.4 mg/L for the very common katG Ser315Thr mutation, and always very high MICs (≥19.2 mg/L) for the combination of katG Ser315Thr and inhA c-15t. Contrary to common belief, isolates harbouring inhA c-15t alone, partly also showed moderate-level resistance, particularly when combined with inhA Ser94Ala. No overt association between low-confidence or unknown mutations, except in katG, and isoniazid resistance (level) was found. Except for the rare katG deletion, line probe assay is thus not sufficiently accurate to predict the level of isoniazid resistance for a single mutation in katG or inhA.

View more