Abstract: In this study we evaluate the capacity of Virtual Hybridization to identify between highly related bacterial strains. Eight genomic fingerprints were obtained by virtual hybridization for the Bacillus anthracis genome set, and a set of 15,264 13-nucleotide short probes designed to produce genomic fingerprints unique for each organism. The data obtained from each genomic fingerprint were used to obtain hybridization patterns simulating a DNA microarray. Two virtual hybridization methods were used: the Direct and the Extended method to identify the number of potential hybridization sites and thus determine the minimum sensitivity value to discriminate between genomes with 99.9% similarity. Genomic fingerprints were compared using both methods and phylogenomic trees were constructed to verify that the minimum detection value is 0.000017. Results obtained from the genomic fingerprints suggest that the distribution in the trees is correct, as compared to other taxonomic methods. Specific virtual hybridization sites for each of the genomes studied were also identified.
Abstract: One of the main challenges in drug development is the prediction of in vivo toxicity based on in vitro data. The standard cultivation system for primary human hepatocytes is based on monolayer cultures, even if it is known that these conditions result in a loss of hepatocyte morphology and of liver-specific functions, such as drug-metabolizing enzymes and transporters. As it has been demonstrated that hepatocytes embedded between two sheets of collagen maintain their function, various hydrogels and scaffolds for the 3D cultivation of hepatocytes have been developed. To further improve or maintain hepatic functions, 3D cultivation has been combined with perfusion. In this manuscript, we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different 3D microfluidic devices. For most systems that are currently available, the main issues are the requirement of large cell numbers, the low throughput, and expensive equipment, which render these devices unattractive for research and the drug-developing industry. A higher acceptance of these devices could be achieved by their simplification and their compatibility with high-throughput, as both aspects are of major importance for a user-friendly device.
Abstract: The screening of living cells using high-throughput microarrays is technically challenging. Great care must be taken in the chemical presentation of potential ligands and the number of collisions that cells make with them. To overcome these issues, we have developed a glass slide-based microarray system to discover small molecule ligands that preferentially bind to one cell type over another, including when the cells differ by only a single receptor. Chemical spots of 300 ± 10 µm in diameter are conjugated covalently to glass slides using an arraying robot, and novel near-infrared fluorophores with peak emission at 700 nm and 800 nm are used to label two different cell types. By carefully optimizing incubation conditions, including cell density, motion, kinetics, detection, etc. we demonstrate that cell-ligand binding occurs, and that the number of cells bound per chemical spot correlates with ligand affinity and specificity. This screening system lays the foundation for high-throughput discovery of novel ligands to the cell surface.
Abstract: The detection of small molecules by biosensors remains a challenge for diagnostics in many areas like pharmacology, environment or homeland security. The main difficulty comes from both the low molecular weight and low concentrations of most targets, which generally requires an indirect detection with an amplification or a sandwich procedure. In this study, we combine both strategies as the amplification of Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging (SPRi) signal is obtained by the use of gold nanoparticles and the sequence engineering of split-aptamers, short oligonucleotides strands with strong affinity towards small targets, allows for a sandwich structure. Combining those two strategies, we obtained state-of-the-art results in the limit of detection (LOD = 50 nM) with the model target adenosine. Furthermore, the SPRi detection led on aptamer microarrays paves the way for potential multi-target detections thanks to the multi-probe imaging approach.
Abstract: 5-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is a precursor of the photosensitizer used in photodynamic therapy. It accumulates in tumor cells and subsequently metabolizes to protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), which generates singlet oxygen after light irradiation. PpIX enhances the generation of reactive oxygen species following physicochemical interactions with X-rays. ALA-based treatment using fractionated doses of irradiation suppressed tumor growth in a mouse melanoma model. To study the transcriptomic effects of PpIX, microarray analyses were conducted using HeLa cells with limited proliferation capacity. Based on the p-values (p < 0.01), we selected genes showing altered expression in each treatment group with reference to the non-treatment (NT) group. We detected 290, 196 and 28 upregulated genes, as well as 203, 146 and 36 downregulated genes after a 6 h-long PpIX treatment (1 μg/mL) prior to 3 Gy X-ray irradiation (PpIX-XT), 3 Gy X-ray irradiation alone (XT) and PpIX treatment alone (PpIXT), respectively. Functional analysis revealed that a majority of the regulated genes in the XT and PpIX-XT groups were related to cell-cycle arrest. The XT and PpIX-XT groups differed in the quantity, but not in the quality of their gene expression. The combined effect of PpIX and X-ray irradiation sensitized HeLa cells to X-ray treatment.
Abstract: Our group has been systematically investigating the effects of the neuropeptide pituitary adenylate-cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) on the ischemic brain. To do so, we have established and utilized the permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (PMCAO) mouse model, in which PACAP38 (1 pmol) injection is given intracerebroventrically and compared to a control saline (0.9% sodium chloride, NaCl) injection, to unravel genome‑wide gene expression changes using a high-throughput DNA microarray analysis approach. In our previous studies, we have accumulated a large volume of data (gene inventory) from the whole brain (ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres) after both PMCAO and post-PACAP38 injection. In our latest research, we have targeted specifically infarct or ischemic core (hereafter abbreviated IC) and penumbra (hereafter abbreviated P) post-PACAP38 injections in order to re-examine the transcriptome at 6 and 24 h post injection. The current study aims to delineate the specificity of expression and localization of differentially expressed molecular factors influenced by PACAP38 in the IC and P regions. Utilizing the mouse 4 × 44 K whole genome DNA chip we show numerous changes (≧/≦ 1.5/0.75-fold) at both 6 h (654 and 456, and 522 and 449 up- and down-regulated genes for IC and P, respectively) and 24 h (2568 and 2684, and 1947 and 1592 up- and down-regulated genes for IC and P, respectively) after PACAP38 treatment. Among the gene inventories obtained here, two genes, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) and transthyretin (Ttr) were found to be induced by PACAP38 treatment, which we had not been able to identify previously using the whole hemisphere transcriptome analysis. Using bioinformatics analysis by pathway- or specific-disease-state focused gene classifications and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) the differentially expressed genes are functionally classified and discussed. Among these, we specifically discuss some novel and previously identified genes, such as alpha hemoglobin stabilizing protein (Ahsp), cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (Camp), chemokines, interferon beta 1 (Ifnb1), and interleukin 6 (Il6) in context of PACAP38-mediated neuroprotection in the ischemic brain. Taken together, the DNA microarray analysis provides not only a great resource for further study, but also reinforces the importance of region-specific analyses in genome-wide identification of target molecular factors that might play a role in the neuroprotective function of PACAP38.