Abstract: Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochetal agent of Lyme disease, is maintained in nature in a cycle involving a tick vector and a mammalian host. Adaptation to the diverse conditions of temperature, pH, oxygen tension and nutrient availability in these two environments requires the precise orchestration of gene expression. Over 25 microarray analyses relating to B. burgdorferi genomics and transcriptomics have been published. The majority of these studies has explored the global transcriptome under a variety of conditions and has contributed substantially to the current understanding of B. burgdorferi transcriptional regulation. In this review, we present a summary of these studies with particular focus on those that helped define the roles of transcriptional regulators in modulating gene expression in the tick and mammalian milieus. By performing comparative analysis of results derived from the published microarray expression profiling studies, we identified composite gene lists comprising differentially expressed genes in these two environments. Further, we explored the overlap between the regulatory circuits that function during the tick and mammalian phases of the enzootic cycle. Taken together, the data indicate that there is interplay among the distinct signaling pathways that function in feeding ticks and during adaptation to growth in the mammal.
Abstract: Cell fate decisions like apoptosis are heterogeneously implemented within a cell population and, consequently, the population response is recognized as sum of many individual dynamic events. Here, we report on the use of micro-patterned single-cell arrays for real-time tracking of nanoparticle-induced (NP) cell death in sets of thousands of cells in parallel. Annexin (pSIVA) and propidium iodide (PI), two fluorescent indicators of apoptosis, are simultaneously monitored after exposure to functionalized polystyrene () nanobeads as a model system. We find that the distribution of Annexin onset times shifts to later times and broadens as a function of decreasing NP dose. We discuss the mean time-to-death as a function of dose, and show how the value depends both on dose and time of measurement. In addition, the correlations between the early and late apoptotic markers indicate a systematic shift from apoptotic towards necrotic cell death during the course of the experiment. Thus, our work demonstrates the potential of array-based single cell cytometry for kinetic analysis of signaling cascades in a high-throughput format.
Abstract: Accurate and rapid identification or confirmation of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), point mutations and other human genomic variation facilitates understanding the genetic basis of disease. We have developed a new methodology (called MENA (Mismatch EndoNuclease Array)) pairing DNA mismatch endonuclease enzymology with tiling microarray hybridization in order to genotype both known point mutations (such as SNPs) as well as identify previously undiscovered point mutations and small indels. We show that our assay can rapidly genotype known SNPs in a human genomic DNA sample with 99% accuracy, in addition to identifying novel point mutations and small indels with a false discovery rate as low as 10%. Our technology provides a platform for a variety of applications, including: (1) genotyping known SNPs as well as confirming newly discovered SNPs from whole genome sequencing analyses; (2) identifying novel point mutations and indels in any genomic region from any organism for which genome sequence information is available; and (3) screening panels of genes associated with particular diseases and disorders in patient samples to identify causative mutations. As a proof of principle for using MENA to discover novel mutations, we report identification of a novel allele of the beethoven (btv) gene in Drosophila, which encodes a ciliary cytoplasmic dynein motor protein important for auditory mechanosensation.
Abstract: Genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia encompassing the major histocompatibility locus (MHC) were highly significant following genome-wide correction. This broad region implicates many genes including the MHC complex class II. Within this interval we examined the expression of two MHC II genes (HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DRB1) in brain from individual subjects with schizophrenia (SZ), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and controls by differential gene expression methods. A third MHC II mRNA, CD74, was studied outside of the MHC II locus, as it interacts within the same immune complex. Exon microarrays were performed in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in BD compared to controls, and both HLA-DPA1 and CD74 were decreased in expression in BD. The expression of HLA-DPA1 and CD74 were both reduced in hippocampus, amygdala, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex regions in SZ and BD compared to controls by specific qPCR assay. We found several novel HLA-DPA1 mRNA variants spanning HLA-DPA1 exons 2-3-4 as suggested by exon microarrays. The intronic rs9277341 SNP was a significant cis expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) that was associated with the total expression of HLA-DPA1 in five brain regions. A biomarker study of MHC II mRNAs was conducted in SZ, BD, MDD, and control lymphoblastic cell lines (LCL) by qPCR assay of 87 subjects. There was significantly decreased expression of HLA-DPA1 and CD74 in BD, and trends for reductions in SZ in LCLs. The discovery of multiple splicing variants in brain for HLA-DPA1 is important as the HLA-DPA1 gene is highly conserved, there are no reported splicing variants, and the functions in brain are unknown. Future work on the function and localization of MHC Class II proteins in brain will help to understand the role of alterations in neuropsychiatric disorders. The HLA-DPA1 eQTL is located within a large linkage disequilibrium block that has an irrefutable association with schizophrenia. Future tests in a larger cohort are needed to determine the significance of this eQTL association with schizophrenia. Our findings support the long-held hypothesis that alterations in immune function are associated with the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders.
Abstract: A double-hybridization approach was developed for the enzyme-free detection of specific mRNA of a housekeeping gene. Targeted mRNA was immobilized by hybridization to complementary DNA capture probes spotted onto a microarray. A second hybridization step of Cy5-conjugated label DNA to another section of the mRNA enabled specific labeling of the target. Thus, enzymatic artifacts could be avoided by omitting transcription and amplification steps. This manuscript describes the development of capture probe molecules used in the transcription- and amplification-free analysis of RPLP0 mRNA in isolated total RNA. An increase in specific signal was found with increasing length of the target-specific section of capture probes. Unspecific signal comprising spot autofluorescence and unspecific label binding did not correlate with the capture length. An additional spacer between the specific part of the capture probe and the substrate attachment site increased the signal significantly only on a short capture probe of approximately 30 nt length.