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  • mSphere of Influence: MmuPV1-a dual tropic papillomavirus, red herring, or novel insight into HPV pathogenesis
    Romero-Masters, James (American Society for Microbiology, 2024-06-26)
    James Romero-Masters works in the field of tumor virology, focusing on the role of the human papillomavirus oncogenes in pathogenesis. In this mSphere of Influence article, they reflect on how the article "Mouse papillomavirus infection persists in mucosal tissues of an immunocompetent mouse strain and progresses to cancer" impacted them, informing their research strategies, and what it means for the mouse papillomavirus model.
  • Outbreak of Chlamydia psittaci Infection in a Commercial Psittacine Breeding Aviary in Argentina
    Riccio, María Belén; García, Jorge Pablo; Chiapparrone, María Laura; Cantón, Juliana; Cacciato, Claudio; Origlia, Javier Anibal; Cadario, María Estela; Diab, Santiago Sain; Uzal, Francisco Alejandro (MDPI, 2024-07-02)
    Chlamydiosis, caused by Chlamydia psittaci is a bacterial infection found in at least 465 species of birds worldwide. It is highly contagious among birds and can spread to humans. In birds, the disease can manifest itself in acute, subacute, and chronic forms with signs including anorexia, diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, or, occasionally, mucopurulent or serous oculonasal discharge. This article describes an outbreak of chlamydiosis that occurred in a commercial psittacine breeding aviary in 2021 in Buenos Aires province, Argentina. In total, 16 juvenile blue-fronted parrots, more than 60 blue-fronted parrot chicks, and 2 adult macaws died during the outbreak. In all cases, clinical signs were weight loss, diarrhea, yellowish green excrement, and respiratory distress. The necropsy of four juvenile blue-fronted parrots, two blue-fronted parrot chicks, and two adult macaws revealed cachexia, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, splenic petechial hemorrhages, ascites, pulmonary edema, and hydropericardium. Histologically, multifocal lymphoplasmacytic and heterophilic airsaculitis, multifocal lymphoplasmacytic and necrotizing hepatitis with intracytoplasmic elementary bodies, multifocal necro-heterophilic hepatitis, multifocal lymphoplasmacytic nephritis, and diffuse heterophilic pneumonia were found. A presumptive diagnosis was established based on gross and microscopic lesions, and it was confirmed using immunohistochemistry and polymerase chain reactions. The sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the ompA gene revealed genotype A and B of Chlamydia psittaci.
  • NF-κB Inducing Kinase Attenuates Colorectal Cancer by Regulating Noncanonical NF-κB Mediated Colonic Epithelial Cell Q1 Regeneration
    Morrison, Holly A.; Eden, Kristin; Trusiano, Brie; Rothschild, Daniel E.; Qin, Yufeng; Wade, Paul A.; Rowe, Audrey J.; Mounzer, Christina; Stephens, Morgan C.; Hanson, Katherine M.; Brown, Stephan L.; Holl, Eda K.; Allen, Irving C. (Elsevier, 2024-06)
    BACKGROUND & AIMS: Dysregulated colonic epithelial cell (CEC) proliferation is a critical feature in the development of colorectal cancer. We show that NF-𝜅B-inducing kinase (NIK) attenuates colorectal cancer through coordinating CEC regeneration/ differentiation via noncanonical NF-𝜅B signaling that is unique from canonical NF-𝜅B signaling. METHODS: Initial studies evaluated crypt morphology/functionality, organoid generation, transcriptome profiles, and the microbiome. Inflammation and inflammation-induced tumorigenesis were initiated in whole-body NIK knockout mice (Nik⁻/⁻) and conditional-knockout mice following administration of azoxymethane and dextran sulfate sodium. RESULTS: Human transcriptomic data revealed dysregulated noncanonical NF-𝜅B signaling. In vitro studies evaluating Nik⁻/⁻ crypts and organoids derived from mature, nondividing CECs, and colonic stem cells exhibited increased accumulation and stunted growth, respectively. Transcriptomic analysis of Nik⁻/⁻ cells revealed gene expression signatures associated with altered differentiation-regeneration. When assessed in vivo, Nik⁻/⁻ mice exhibited more severe colitis with dextran sulfate sodium administration and an altered microbiome characterized by increased colitogenic microbiota. In the inflammationinduced tumorigenesis model, we observed both increased tumor burdens and inflammation in mice where NIK is knocked out in CECs (NikΔCEC). Interestingly, this was not recapitulated when NIK was conditionally knocked out in myeloid cells (NikΔMYE). Surprisingly, conditional knockout of the canonical pathway in myeloid cells (RelAΔMYE) revealed decreased tumor burden and inflammation and no significant changes when conditionally knocked out in CECs (RelAΔCEC) CONCLUSIONS: Dysregulated noncanonical NF-𝜅B signaling is associated with the development of colorectal cancer in a tissue-dependent manner and defines a critical role for NIK in regulating gastrointestinal inflammation and regeneration associated with colorectal cancer.
  • Identification and Genomic Characterization of Two Novel Hepatoviruses in Shrews from Yunnan Province, China
    Tang, Yi; Zhao, Kai; Yin, Hong-Min; Yang, Li-Ping; Wu, Yue-Chun; Li, Feng-Yi; Yang, Ze; Lu, Hui-Xuan; Wang, Bo; Yang, Yin; Zhang, Yun-Zhi; Yang, Xing-Lou (MDPI, 2024-06-17)
    Hepatitis A virus (HAV), a member of the genus Hepatovirus (Picornaviridae HepV), remains a significant viral pathogen, frequently causing enterically transmitted hepatitis worldwide. In this study, we conducted an epidemiological survey of HepVs carried by small terrestrial mammals in the wild in Yunnan Province, China. Utilizing HepV-specific broad-spectrum RT-PCR, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and QNome nanopore sequencing (QNS) techniques, we identified and characterized two novel HepVs provisionally named EpMa-HAV and EpLe-HAV, discovered in the long-tailed mountain shrew (Episoriculus macrurus) and long-tailed brown-toothed shrew (Episoriculus leucops), respectively. Our sequence and phylogenetic analyses of EpMa-HAV and EpLe-HAV indicated that they belong to the species Hepatovirus I (HepV-I) clade II, also known as the Chinese shrew HepV clade. Notably, the codon usage bias pattern of novel shrew HepVs is consistent with that of previously identified Chinese shrew HepV. Furthermore, our structural analysis demonstrated that shrew HepVs differ from other mammalian HepVs in RNA secondary structure and exhibit variances in key protein sites. Overall, the discovery of two novel HepVs in shrews expands the host range of HepV and underscores the existence of genetically diverse animal homologs of human HAV within the genus HepV.
  • Epidemiology of sarcoptic mange in a geographically constrained insular red fox population
    Wails, Christy N.; Helmke, Claire C.; Black, Kathleen M.; Ramirez-Barrios, Roger; Karpanty, Sarah M.; Catlin, Daniel H.; Fraser, James D. (2024-06-06)
    Background: Sarcoptic mange is a skin disease caused by the contagious ectoparasite Sarcoptes scabiei, capable of suppressing and extirpating wild canid populations. Starting in 2015, we observed a multi-year epizootic of sarcoptic mange affecting a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) population on Fire Island, NY, USA. We explored the ecological factors that contributed to the spread of sarcoptic mange and characterized the epizootic in a landscape where red foxes are geographically constrained. Methods: We tested for the presence of S. scabiei DNA in skin samples collected from deceased red foxes with lesions visibly consistent with sarcoptic mange disease. We deployed 96–100 remote trail camera stations each year to capture red fox occurrences and used generalized linear mixed-effects models to assess the affects of red fox ecology, human and other wildlife activity, and island geography on the frequency of detecting diseased red foxes. We rated the extent of visual lesions in diseased individuals and mapped the severity and variability of the sarcoptic mange disease. Results: Skin samples that we analyzed demonstrated 99.8% similarity to S. scabiei sequences in GenBank. Our top-ranked model (weight = 0.94) showed that diseased red foxes were detected more frequently close to roadways, close to territories of other diseased red foxes, away from human shelters, and in areas with more mammal activity. There was no evidence that detection rates in humans and their dogs or distance to the nearest red fox den explained the detection rates of diseased red foxes. Although detected infrequently, we observed the most severe signs of sarcoptic mange at the periphery of residential villages. The spread of visual signs of the disease was approximately 7.3 ha/week in 2015 and 12.1 ha/week in 2017. Conclusions: We quantified two separate outbreaks of sarcoptic mange disease that occurred > 40 km apart and were separated by a year. Sarcoptic mange revealed an unfettered spread across the red fox population. The transmission of S. scabiei mites in this system was likely driven by red fox behaviors and contact between individuals, in line with previous studies. Sarcoptic mange is likely an important contributor to red fox population dynamics within barrier island systems.
  • Widespread Circulation of Tick-Borne Viruses in Virginia—Evidence of Exposure to Heartland, Bourbon, and Powassan Viruses in Wildlife and Livestock
    Garba, Ahmed; Riley, Jennifer; Lahmers, Kevin K.; Eastwood, Gillian (MDPI, 2024-04-30)
    Emerging tick-borne viruses such as Powassan virus (POWV), Bourbon virus (BRBV), and Heartland virus (HRTV), whilst rare, can cause severe health problems in humans. While limited clinical cases have been reported thus far in Virginia, the presence of tick-borne viruses poses a serious health threat, and the extent of their prevalence in Virginia is unknown. Here, we sought evidence of POWV, BRBV, and HRTV exposure in Virginia via a serological assessment of wildlife and livestock. Wildlife in Virginia were found to be seropositive against POWV (18%), BRBV (8%), and HRTV (5%), with western and northern regions of the state having a higher prevalence. Multiple wildlife species were shown to have been exposed to each virus examined. To a lesser extent, cattle also showed exposure to tick-borne viruses, with seroprevalences of 1%, 1.2%, and 8% detected in cattle against POWV, BRBV, and HRTV, respectively. Cross-reactivity against other known circulating mosquito-borne flaviviruses was ruled out. In conclusion, there is widespread exposure to tick-borne viruses in western and northern Virginia, with exposure to a diverse range of animal populations. Our study provides the first confirmation that HRTV is circulating in the Commonwealth. These findings strengthen the existing evidence of emerging tick-borne viruses in Virginia and highlight the need for public health vigilance to avoid tick bites.
  • Genomic Diversity and Geographic Distribution of Newcastle Disease Virus Genotypes in Africa: Implications for Diagnosis, Vaccination, and Regional Collaboration
    Amoia, Charlie F.; Hakizimana, Jean N.; Chengula, Augustino A.; Munir, Muhammad; Misinzo, Gerald; Weger-Lucarelli, James (MDPI, 2024-05-16)
    The emergence of new virulent genotypes and the continued genetic drift of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) implies that distinct genotypes of NDV are simultaneously evolving in different geographic locations across the globe, including throughout Africa, where NDV is an important veterinary pathogen. Expanding the genomic diversity of NDV increases the possibility of diagnostic and vaccine failures. In this review, we systematically analyzed the genetic diversity of NDV genotypes in Africa using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Information published between 1999 and 2022 were used to obtain the genetic background of different genotypes of NDV and their geographic distributions in Africa. The following genotypes were reported in Africa: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, XI, XIII, XIV, XVII, XVIII, XX, and XXI. A new putative genotype has been detected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, of 54 African countries, only 26 countries regularly report information on NDV outbreaks, suggesting that this number may be vastly underestimated. With eight different genotypes, Nigeria is the country with the greatest genotypic diversity of NDV among African countries. Genotype VII is the most prevalent group of NDV in Africa, which was reported in 15 countries. A phylogeographic analysis of NDV sequences revealed transboundary transmission of the virus in Eastern Africa, Western and Central Africa, and in Southern Africa. A regional and continental collaboration is recommended for improved NDV risk management in Africa.
  • Cage-Free Pullets Minimally Affected by Stocking Density Stressors
    Abraham, Meagan E.; Robison, Cara I.; Serpa, Priscila B. S.; Strandberg, Natalia J.; Erasmus, Marisa A.; Fraley, Gregory S.; Erf, Gisela F.; Karcher, Darrin M. (MDPI, 2024-05-20)
    Management choices during the pullet phase can affect behavior, welfare, and health later in life, but few studies have evaluated the pullet phase, particularly in extensive housing systems. This study was a 2 × 2 factorial randomized complete block design (RCBD) with two strains and two stocking densities. The Lohmann LB-Lite and Lohmann LSL-Lite were housed on the floor at high-stocking density (619–670 cm2/bird) and low-stocking density (1249–1352 cm2/bird), which changed with age from 2 to 16 weeks of age (WOA). Bird-based measures of appearance, blood parameters, organ measurements, and production values were evaluated. Stocking density alone affected (p < 0.05) only relative bursal weight (% of body weight)—3.32% in the low-density versus 3.08% in the high-density group. High-stocking density was correlated with decreased uniformity (high—89.33 ± 0.24%; low—90.41 ± 0.24; p < 0.02) and worse feather coverage in the brown strain. High-stocking density was correlated with greater uniformity (High—90.39 ± 0.24%; Low—88.47 ± 0.24%; p < 0.001) and better feather coverage in the white strain. This study’s feed conversion ratio (FCR) was improved by 0.07 in the low-stocking density for both strains. The remaining parameters were affected by strain and age only. Thus, while stocking density effects vary slightly depending on the strain used, cage-free pullets had limited negative effects at both the high and low-stocking densities tested in this study; there were few to no changes in the numerous bird-based welfare parameters tested.
  • Molecular Prevalence, Genetic Diversity, and Tissue Tropism of Bartonella Species in Small Mammals from Yunnan Province, China
    Han, Pei-Yu; Xu, Fen-Hui; Tian, Jia-Wei; Zhao, Jun-Ying; Yang, Ze; Kong, Wei; Wang, Bo; Guo, Li-Jun; Zhang, Yun-Zhi (MDPI, 2024-04-28)
    Bartonella is an intracellular parasitic zoonotic pathogen that can infect animals and cause a variety of human diseases. This study investigates Bartonella prevalence in small mammals in Yunnan Province, China, focusing on tissue tropism. A total of 333 small mammals were sampled from thirteen species, three orders, four families, and four genera in Heqing and Gongshan Counties. Conventional PCR and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) were utilized for detection and quantification, followed by bioinformatic analysis of obtained DNA sequences. Results show a 31.5% detection rate, varying across species. Notably, Apodemus chevrieri, Eothenomys eleusis, Niviventer fulvescens, Rattus tanezumi, Episoriculus leucops, Anourosorex squamipes, and Ochotona Thibetana exhibited infection rates of 44.4%, 27.7%, 100.0%, 6.3%, 60.0%, 23.5%, and 22.2%, respectively. Genetic analysis identified thirty, ten, and five strains based on ssrA, rpoB, and gltA genes, with nucleotide identities ranging from 92.1% to 100.0%. Bartonella strains were assigned to B. grahamii, B. rochalimae, B. sendai, B. koshimizu, B. phoceensis, B. taylorii, and a new species identified in Episoriculus leucops (GS136). Analysis of the different tissues naturally infected by Bartonella species revealed varied copy numbers across different tissues, with the highest load in spleen tissue. These findings underscore Bartonella’s diverse species and host range in Yunnan Province, highlighting the presence of extensive tissue tropism in Bartonella species naturally infecting small mammalian tissues.
  • Peeling back the many layers of competitive exclusion
    Maurer, John J.; Cheng, Ying; Pedroso, Adriana; Thompson, Kasey K.; Akter, Shamima; Kwan, Tiffany; Morota, Gota; Kinstler, Sydney; Porwollik, Steffen; McClelland, Michael; Escalante-Semerena, Jorge C.; Lee, Margie D. (Frontiers, 2024-03-21)
    Baby chicks administered a fecal transplant from adult chickens are resistant to Salmonella colonization by competitive exclusion. A two-pronged approach was used to investigate the mechanism of this process. First, Salmonella response to an exclusive (Salmonella competitive exclusion product, Aviguard®) or permissive microbial community (chicken cecal contents from colonized birds containing 7.85 Log₁ₒ Salmonella genomes/gram) was assessed ex vivo using a S. typhimurium reporter strain with fluorescent YFP and CFP gene fusions to rrn and hilA operon, respectively. Second, cecal transcriptome analysis was used to assess the cecal communities’ response to Salmonella in chickens with low (≤5.85 Log₁ₒ genomes/g) or high (≥6.00 Log₁ₒ genomes/g) Salmonella colonization. The ex vivo experiment revealed a reduction in Salmonella growth and hilA expression following co-culture with the exclusive community. The exclusive community also repressed Salmonella’s SPI-1 virulence genes and LPS modification, while the anti-virulence/inflammatory gene avrA was upregulated. Salmonella transcriptome analysis revealed significant metabolic disparities in Salmonella grown with the two different communities. Propanediol utilization and vitamin B12 synthesis were central to Salmonella metabolism co-cultured with either community, and mutations in propanediol and vitamin B12 metabolism altered Salmonella growth in the exclusive community. There were significant differences in the cecal community’s stress response to Salmonella colonization. Cecal community transcripts indicated that antimicrobials were central to the type of stress response detected in the low Salmonella abundance community, suggesting antagonism involved in Salmonella exclusion. This study indicates complex community interactions that modulate Salmonella metabolism and pathogenic behavior and reduce growth through antagonism may be key to exclusion.
  • Risk of Excess Maternal Folic Acid Supplementation in Offspring
    Xu, Xiguang; Zhang, Ziyu; Lin, Yu; Xie, Hehuang (MDPI, 2024-03-06)
    Folate, also known as vitamin B9, facilitates the transfer of methyl groups among molecules, which is crucial for amino acid metabolism and nucleotide synthesis. Adequate maternal folate supplementation has been widely acknowledged for its pivotal role in promoting cell proliferation and preventing neural tube defects. However, in the post-fortification era, there has been a rising concern regarding an excess maternal intake of folic acid (FA), the synthetic form of folate. In this review, we focused on recent advancements in understanding the influence of excess maternal FA intake on offspring. For human studies, we summarized findings from clinical trials investigating the effects of periconceptional FA intake on neurodevelopment and molecular-level changes in offspring. For studies using mouse models, we compiled the impact of high maternal FA supplementation on gene expression and behavioral changes in offspring. In summary, excessive maternal folate intake could potentially have adverse effects on offspring. Overall, we highlighted concerns regarding elevated maternal folate status in the population, providing a comprehensive perspective on the potential adverse effects of excessive maternal FA supplementation on offspring.
  • mRNA-Based Vaccines Are Highly Immunogenic and Confer Protection in the Gnotobiotic Pig Model of Human Rotavirus Diarrhea
    Hensley, Casey; Roier, Sandro; Zhou, Peng; Nyblade, Charlotte; Parreno, Viviana; Frazier, Annie; Frazier, Maggie; O'Brien, Samantha; Liang, Yu; Mayer, Bryan; Wu, Ruizhe; Mahoney, Celia; McNeal, Monica; Petsch, Benjamin; Rauch, Susanne; Yuan, Lijuan (MDPI, 2024-03-01)
    Human rotavirus (HRV) is still a leading cause of severe dehydrating gastroenteritis globally, particularly in infants and children. Previously, we demonstrated the immunogenicity of mRNA-based HRV vaccine candidates expressing the viral spike protein VP8* in rodent models. In the present study, we assessed the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of two mRNA-based HRV trivalent vaccine candidates, encoding VP8* of the genotypes P[8], P[6], or P[4], in the gnotobiotic (Gn) pig model of Wa (G1P[8]) HRV infection and diarrhea. Vaccines either encoded VP8* alone fused to the universal T-cell epitope P2 (P2-VP8*) or expressed P2-VP8* as a fusion protein with lumazine synthase (LS-P2-VP8*) to allow the formation and secretion of protein particles that present VP8* on their surface. Gn pigs were randomly assigned into groups and immunized three times with either P2-VP8* (30 µg) or LS-P2-VP8* (30 µg or 12 µg). A trivalent alum-adjuvanted P2-VP8* protein vaccine or an LNP-formulated irrelevant mRNA vaccine served as the positive and negative control, respectively. Upon challenge with virulent Wa HRV, a significantly shortened duration and decreased severity of diarrhea and significant protection from virus shedding was induced by both mRNA vaccine candidates compared to the negative control. Both LS-P2-VP8* doses induced significantly higher VP8*-specific IgG antibody titers in the serum after immunizations than the negative as well as the protein control. The P[8] VP8*-specific IgG antibody-secreting cells in the ileum, spleen, and blood seven days post-challenge, as well as VP8*-specific IFN-γ-producing T-cell numbers increased in all three mRNA-vaccinated pig groups compared to the negative control. Overall, there was a clear tendency towards improved responses in LS-P2-VP8* compared to the P2-VP8*mRNA vaccine. The demonstrated strong humoral immune responses, priming for effector T cells, and the significant reduction of viral shedding and duration of diarrhea in Gn pigs provide a promising proof of concept and may provide guidance for the further development of mRNA-based rotavirus vaccines.
  • SARS-CoV-2 Specific Nanobodies Neutralize Different Variants of Concern and Reduce Virus Load in the Brain of h-ACE2 Transgenic Mice
    Pavan, María Florencia; Bok, Marina; Betanzos San Juan, Rafael; Malito, Juan Pablo; Marcoppido, Gisela Ariana; Franco, Diego Rafael; Militelo, Daniela Ayelen; Schammas, Juan Manuel; Bari, Sara Elizabeth; Stone, William; López, Krisangel; Porier, Danielle LaBrie; Muller, John Anthony; Auguste, Albert Jonathan; Yuan, Lijuan; Wigdorovitz, Andrés; Parreño, Viviana Gladys; Ibañez, Lorena Itat (MDPI, 2024-01-25)
    Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant need to develop antivirals and vaccines to combat the disease. In this work, we developed llama-derived nanobodies (Nbs) directed against the receptor binding domain (RBD) and other domains of the Spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2. Most of the Nbs with neutralizing properties were directed to RBD and were able to block S-2P/ACE2 interaction. Three neutralizing Nbs recognized the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the S-2P protein. Intranasal administration of Nbs induced protection ranging from 40% to 80% after challenge with the WA1/2020 strain in k18-hACE2 transgenic mice. Interestingly, protection was associated with a significant reduction in virus replication in nasal turbinates and a reduction in virus load in the brain. Employing pseudovirus neutralization assays, we identified Nbs with neutralizing capacity against the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants, including a Nb capable of neutralizing all variants tested. Furthermore, cocktails of different Nbs performed better than individual Nbs at neutralizing two Omicron variants (B.1.529 and BA.2). Altogether, the data suggest the potential of SARS-CoV-2 specific Nbs for intranasal treatment of COVID-19 encephalitis.
  • Phase I/II Trial of Urokinase Plasminogen Activator-Targeted Oncolytic Newcastle Disease Virus for Canine Intracranial Tumors
    Rossmeisl, John H.; King, Jamie N.; Robertson, John L.; Weger-Lucarelli, James; Elankumaran, Subbiah (MDPI, 2024-01-29)
    Neurotropic oncolytic viruses are appealing agents to treat brain tumors as they penetrate the blood–brain barrier and induce preferential cytolysis of neoplastic cells. The pathobiological similarities between human and canine brain tumors make immunocompetent dogs with naturally occurring tumors attractive models for the study of oncolytic virotherapies. In this dose-escalation/expansion study, an engineered Lasota NDV strain targeting the urokinase plasminogen activator system (rLAS-uPA) was administered by repetitive intravenous infusions to 20 dogs with intracranial tumors with the objectives of characterizing toxicities, immunologic responses, and neuroradiological anti-tumor effects of the virus for up to 6 months following treatment. Dose-limiting toxicities manifested as fever, hematologic, and neurological adverse events, and the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of rLAS-uPA was 2 × 107 pfu/mL. Mild adverse events, including transient infusion reactions, diarrhea, and fever were observed in 16/18 of dogs treated at or below MTD. No infectious virus was recoverable from body fluids. Neutralizing antibodies to rLAS-uPA were present in all dogs by 2 weeks post-treatment, and viral genetic material was detected in post-treatment tumors from six dogs. Tumor volumetric reductions occurred in 2/11 dogs receiving the MTD. Systemically administered rLAS-uPA NDV was safe and induced anti-tumor effects in canine brain tumors, although modifications to evade host anti-viral immunity are needed to optimize this novel therapy.
  • Immunoregulatory and neutrophil-like monocyte subsets with distinct single-cell transcriptomic signatures emerge following brain injury
    Gudenschwager Basso, Erwin K.; Ju, Jing; Soliman, Eman; de Jager, Caroline; Wei, Xiaoran; Pridham, Kevin J.; Olsen, Michelle L.; Theus, Michelle H. (2024-02-03)
    Monocytes represent key cellular elements that contribute to the neurological sequela following brain injury. The current study reveals that trauma induces the augmented release of a transcriptionally distinct CD115+/Ly6Chi monocyte population into the circulation of mice pre-exposed to clodronate depletion conditions. This phenomenon correlates with tissue protection, blood–brain barrier stability, and cerebral blood flow improvement. Uniquely, this shifted the innate immune cell profile in the cortical milieu and reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory Il6, IL1r1, MCP-1, Cxcl1, and Ccl3 cytokines. Monocytes that emerged under these conditions displayed a morphological and gene profile consistent with a subset commonly seen during emergency monopoiesis. Single-cell RNA sequencing delineated distinct clusters of monocytes and revealed a key transcriptional signature of Ly6Chi monocytes enriched for Apoe and chitinase-like protein 3 (Chil3/Ym1), commonly expressed in pro-resolving immunoregulatory monocytes, as well as granule genes Elane, Prtn3, MPO, and Ctsg unique to neutrophil-like monocytes. The predominate shift in cell clusters included subsets with low expression of transcription factors involved in monocyte conversion, Pou2f2, Na4a1, and a robust enrichment of genes in the oxidative phosphorylation pathway which favors an anti-inflammatory phenotype. Transfer of this monocyte assemblage into brain-injured recipient mice demonstrated their direct role in neuroprotection. These findings reveal a multifaceted innate immune response to brain injury and suggest targeting surrogate monocyte subsets may foster tissue protection in the brain.
  • Systematic literature review identifying bacterial constituents in the core intestinal microbiome of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
    Hines, Ian S.; Marshall, Maggie A.; Smith, Stephen A.; Kuhn, David D.; Stevens, Ann M. (Wiley, 2023-08-11)
    Fish aquaculture has become the fastest growing sector in global food production. Thus, ensuring the sustainability of aquaculture practices is of the utmost importance. Studies in higher vertebrates (i.e. mammals) have demonstrated the role of the host microbiome in physiological processes from nutrient acquisition to pathogen protection. Therefore, analysis of fish microbiomes is an important factor to consider with regard to overall animal health and welfare. Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are an economically valued fish cultured worldwide. Several studies have identified microbial constituents inhabiting the intestinal tract of rainbow trout. To better elucidate some of the core constituents of the rainbow trout intestinal microbiome, this systematic literature review analysed the relative abundance results from 25 articles published on the rainbow trout intestinal microbiome from 2017 to 2021. Bacteria classified within the phyla Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were observed in every study. At the family level, Lactobacillaceae was consistently observed. Additionally, bacteria in the Actinobacteria, Bacteroides, and Tenericutes phyla were identified in at least 50% of the studies. Interestingly, Mycoplasma spp. were occasionally the most dominant organisms present in the microbiome. Overall, the results here identify bacteria that are commonly found members of the rainbow trout intestinal microbiome.
  • Identification of a Novel Hepacivirus in Southeast Asian Shrew (Crocidura fuliginosa) from Yunnan Province, China
    Guo, Ling; Li, Bei; Han, Peiyu; Dong, Na; Zhu, Yan; Li, Fuli; Si, Haorui; Shi, Zhengli; Wang, Bo; Yang, Xinglou; Zhang, Yunzhi (MDPI, 2023-11-28)
    The genus Hepacivirus contains single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses belonging to the family Flaviviridae, which comprises 14 species. These 14 hepaciviruses have been found in different mammals, such as primates, dogs, bats, and rodents. To date, Hepacivirus has not been reported in the shrew genus of Crocidura. To study the prevalence and genetic evolution of Hepacivirus in small mammals in Yunnan Province, China, molecular detection of Hepacivirus in small mammals from Yunnan Province during 2016 and 2017 was performed using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Our results showed that the overall infection rate of Hepacivirus in small mammals was 0.12% (2/1602), and the host animal was the Southeast Asian shrew (Crocidura fuliginosa) (12.5%, 2/16). Quantitative real-time PCR showed that Hepacivirus had the highest viral RNA copy number in the liver. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the hepaciviruses obtained in this study does not belong to any designated species of hepaciviruses and forms an independent clade. To conclude, a novel hepacivirus was identified for the first time in C. fuliginosa specimens from Yunnan Province, China. This study expands the host range and viral diversity of hepaciviruses.
  • Phosphorylation of RPT6 Controls Its Ability to Bind DNA and Regulate Gene Expression in the Hippocampus of Male Rats during Memory Formation
    Farrell, Kayla; Auerbach, Aubrey; Musaus, Madeline; Navabpour, Shaghayegh; Liu, Catherine; Lin, Yu; Xie, Hehuang; Jarome, Timothy J. (Society for Neuroscience, 2024-01)
    Memory formation requires coordinated control of gene expression, protein synthesis, and ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS)-mediated protein degradation. The catalytic component of the UPS, the 26S proteasome, contains a 20S catalytic core surrounded by two 19S regulatory caps, and phosphorylation of the 19S cap regulatory subunit RPT6 at serine 120 (pRPT6-S120) has been widely implicated in controlling activity-dependent increases in proteasome activity. Recently, RPT6 was also shown to act outside the proteasome where it has a transcription factor-like role in the hippocampus during memory formation. However, little is known about the proteasome-independent function of “free” RPT6 in the brain or during memory formation and whether phosphorylation of S120 is required for this transcriptional control function. Here, we used RNA-sequencing along with novel genetic approaches and biochemical, molecular, and behavioral assays to test the hypothesis that pRPT6-S120 functions independently of the proteasome to bind DNA and regulate gene expression during memory formation. RNA-sequencing following siRNA-mediated knockdown of free RPT6 revealed 46 gene targets in the dorsal hippocampus of male rats following fear conditioning, where RPT6 was involved in transcriptional activation and repression. Through CRISPR-dCas9-mediated artificial placement of RPT6 at a target gene, we found that RPT6 DNA binding alone may be important for altering gene expression following learning. Further, CRISPR-dCas13-mediated conversion of S120 to glycine on RPT6 revealed that phosphorylation at S120 is necessary for RPT6 to bind DNA and properly regulate transcription during memory formation. Together, we reveal a novel function for phosphorylation of RPT6 in controlling gene transcription during memory formation.
  • A bacterial pigment provides cross-species protection from H2O2- and neutrophil-mediated killing
    Liu, Yiwei; McQuillen, Eleanor A.; Rana, Pranav S. J. B.; Gloag, Erin S.; Parsek, Matthew R.; Wozniak, Daniel J. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2024-01-03)
    Bacterial infections are often polymicrobial. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus cause chronic co-infections, which are more problematic than mono-species infections. Understanding the mechanisms of their interactions is crucial for treating co-infections. Staphyloxanthin (STX), a yellow pigment synthesized by the S. aureus crt operon, promotes S. aureus resistance to oxidative stress and neutrophil-mediated killing. We found that STX production by S. aureus, either as surface-grown macrocolonies or planktonic cultures, was elevated when exposed to the P. aeruginosa exoproduct, 2-heptyl- 4- hydroxyquinoline N-oxide (HQNO). This was observed with both mucoid and non-mucoid P. aeruginosa strains. The induction phenotype was found in a majority of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus clinical isolates examined. When subjected to hydrogen peroxide or human neutrophils, P. aeruginosa survival was significantly higher when mixed with wild-type (WT) S. aureus, compared to P. aeruginosa alone or with an S. aureus crt mutant deficient in STX production. In a murine wound model, co-infection with WT S. aureus, but not the STX-deficient mutant, enhanced P. aeruginosa burden and disease compared to mono-infection. In conclusion, we identified a role for P. aeruginosa HQNO mediating polymicrobial interactions with S. aureus by inducing STX production, which consequently promotes resistance to the innate immune effectors H2O2 and neutrophils. These results further our understanding of how different bacterial species cooperatively cause co-infections.
  • Sex linked behavioral and hippocampal transcriptomic changes in mice with cell-type specific Egr1 loss
    Swilley, Cody; Lin, Yu; Zheng, Yuze; Xu, Xiguang; Liu, Min; Jarome, Timothy J.; Hodes, Georgia E.; Xie, Hehuang (Frontiers, 2023-10-19)
    The transcription factor EGR1 is instrumental in numerous neurological processes, encompassing learning and memory as well as the reaction to stress. Egr1 complete knockout mice demonstrate decreased depressive or anxiety-like behavior and impaired performance in spatial learning and memory. Nevertheless, the specific functions of Egr1 in distinct cell types have been largely underexplored. In this study, we cataloged the behavioral and transcriptomic character of Nestin-Cre mediated Egr1 conditional knockout (Egr1cKO) mice together with their controls. Although the conditional knockout did not change nociceptive or anxiety responses, it triggered changes in female exploratory activity during anxiety testing. Hippocampus-dependent spatial learning in the object location task was unaffected, but female Egr1cKO mice did exhibit poorer retention during testing on a contextual fear conditioning task compared to males. RNA-seq data analyses revealed that the presence of the floxed Egr1 cassette or Nestin-Cre driver alone exerts a subtle influence on hippocampal gene expression. The sex-related differences were amplified in Nestin-Cre mediated Egr1 conditional knockout mice and female mice are more sensitive to the loss of Egr1 gene. Differentially expressed genes resulted from the loss of Egr1 in neuronal cell lineage were significantly associated with the regulation of Wnt signaling pathway, extracellular matrix, and axon guidance. Altogether, our results demonstrate that Nestin-Cre and the loss of Egr1 in neuronal cell lineage have distinct impacts on hippocampal gene expression in a sex-specific manner.