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See detailMultifactorial Optimization of Contrast-Enhanced Nanofocus Computed Tomography for Quantitative Analysis of Neo-Tissue Formation in Tissue Engineering Constructs.
Sonnaert, Maarten; Kerckhofs, Greet; Papantoniou, Ioannis et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(6), 0130227

To progress the fields of tissue engineering (TE) and regenerative medicine, development of quantitative methods for non-invasive three dimensional characterization of engineered constructs (i.e. cells ... [more ▼]

To progress the fields of tissue engineering (TE) and regenerative medicine, development of quantitative methods for non-invasive three dimensional characterization of engineered constructs (i.e. cells/tissue combined with scaffolds) becomes essential. In this study, we have defined the most optimal staining conditions for contrast-enhanced nanofocus computed tomography for three dimensional visualization and quantitative analysis of in vitro engineered neo-tissue (i.e. extracellular matrix containing cells) in perfusion bioreactor-developed Ti6Al4V constructs. A fractional factorial 'design of experiments' approach was used to elucidate the influence of the staining time and concentration of two contrast agents (Hexabrix and phosphotungstic acid) and the neo-tissue volume on the image contrast and dataset quality. Additionally, the neo-tissue shrinkage that was induced by phosphotungstic acid staining was quantified to determine the operating window within which this contrast agent can be accurately applied. For Hexabrix the staining concentration was the main parameter influencing image contrast and dataset quality. Using phosphotungstic acid the staining concentration had a significant influence on the image contrast while both staining concentration and neo-tissue volume had an influence on the dataset quality. The use of high concentrations of phosphotungstic acid did however introduce significant shrinkage of the neo-tissue indicating that, despite sub-optimal image contrast, low concentrations of this staining agent should be used to enable quantitative analysis. To conclude, design of experiments allowed us to define the most optimal staining conditions for contrast-enhanced nanofocus computed tomography to be used as a routine screening tool of neo-tissue formation in Ti6Al4V constructs, transforming it into a robust three dimensional quality control methodology. [less ▲]

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See detailNon Digestible Oligosaccharides Modulate the Gut Microbiota to Control the Development of Leukemia and Associated Cachexia in Mice.
Bindels, Laure B.; Neyrinck, Audrey M.; Salazar, Nuria et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(6), 0131009

We tested the hypothesis that changing the gut microbiota using pectic oligosaccharides (POS) or inulin (INU) differently modulates the progression of leukemia and related metabolic disorders. Mice were ... [more ▼]

We tested the hypothesis that changing the gut microbiota using pectic oligosaccharides (POS) or inulin (INU) differently modulates the progression of leukemia and related metabolic disorders. Mice were transplanted with Bcr-Abl-transfected proB lymphocytes mimicking leukemia and received either POS or INU in their diet (5%) for 2 weeks. Combination of pyrosequencing, PCR-DGGE and qPCR analyses of the 16S rRNA gene revealed that POS decreased microbial diversity and richness of caecal microbiota whereas it increased Bifidobacterium spp., Roseburia spp. and Bacteroides spp. (affecting specifically B. dorei) to a higher extent than INU. INU supplementation increased the portal SCFA propionate and butyrate, and decreased cancer cell invasion in the liver. POS treatment did not affect hepatic cancer cell invasion, but was more efficient than INU to decrease the metabolic alterations. Indeed, POS better than INU delayed anorexia linked to cancer progression. In addition, POS treatment increased acetate in the caecal content, changed the fatty acid profile inside adipose tissue and counteracted the induction of markers controlling beta-oxidation, thereby hampering fat mass loss. Non digestible carbohydrates with prebiotic properties may constitute a new nutritional strategy to modulate gut microbiota with positive consequences on cancer progression and associated cachexia. [less ▲]

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See detailZebrafish bone and general physiology are differently affected by hormones or changes in gravity.
Aceto, Jessica ULg; Nourizadeh-Lillabadi, Rasoul; Marée, Raphaël ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(6), 1-42

Teleost fish such as zebrafish (Danio rerio) are increasingly used for physiological, genetic and developmental studies. Our understanding of the physiological consequences of altered gravity in an entire ... [more ▼]

Teleost fish such as zebrafish (Danio rerio) are increasingly used for physiological, genetic and developmental studies. Our understanding of the physiological consequences of altered gravity in an entire organism is still incomplete. We used altered gravity and drug treatment experiments to evaluate their effects specifically on bone formation and more generally on whole genome gene expression. By combining morphometric tools with an objective scoring system for the state of development for each element in the head skeleton and specific gene expression analysis, we confirmed and characterized in detail the decrease or increase of bone formation caused by a 5 day treatment (from 5dpf to 10 dpf) of, respectively parathyroid hormone (PTH) or vitamin D3 (VitD3). Microarray transcriptome analysis after 24 hours treatment reveals a general effect on physiology upon VitD3 treatment, while PTH causes more specifically developmental effects. Hypergravity (3g from 5dpf to 9 dpf) exposure results in a significantly larger head and a significant increase in bone formation for a subset of the cranial bones. Gene expression analysis after 24 hrs at 3g revealed differential expression of genes involved in the development and function of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. Finally, we propose a novel type of experimental approach, the "Reduced Gravity Paradigm", by keeping the developing larvae at 3g hypergravity for the first 5 days before returning them to 1g for one additional day. 5 days exposure to 3g during these early stages also caused increased bone formation, while gene expression analysis revealed a central network of regulatory genes (hes5, sox10, lgals3bp, egr1, edn1, fos, fosb, klf2, gadd45ba and socs3a) whose expression was consistently affected by the transition from hyper- to normal gravity. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat do Pneumocystis organisms tell us about the phylogeography of their hosts? The case of the woodmouse Apodemus sylvaticus in continental Europe and western Mediterranean islands
Demanche, christine; Deville, Manjula; Michaux, Johan ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), DOI:10.1371

Pneumocystis fungi represent a highly diversified biological group with numerous species, which display a strong host-specificity suggesting a long co-speciation process. In the present study, the ... [more ▼]

Pneumocystis fungi represent a highly diversified biological group with numerous species, which display a strong host-specificity suggesting a long co-speciation process. In the present study, the presence and genetic diversity of Pneumocystis organisms was investigated in 203 lung samples from woodmice (Apodemus sylvaticus) collected on western continental Europe and Mediterranean islands. The presence of Pneumocystis DNA was assessed by nested PCR at both large and small mitochondrial subunit (mtLSU and mtSSU) rRNA loci. Direct sequencing of nested PCR products demonstrated a very high variability among woodmouse-derived Pneumocystis organisms with a total number of 30 distinct combined mtLSU and mtSSU sequence types. However, the genetic divergence among these sequence types was very low (up to 3.87%) and the presence of several Pneumocystis species within Apodemus sylvaticus was considered unlikely. The analysis of the genetic structure of woodmouse-derived Pneumocystis revealed two distinct groups. The first one comprised Pneumocystis from woodmice collected in continental Spain, France and Balearic islands. The second one included Pneumocystis from woodmice collected in continental Italy, Corsica and Sicily. These two genetic groups were in accordance with the two lineages currently described within the host species Apodemus sylvaticus. Pneumocystis organisms are emerging as powerful tools for phylogeographic studies in mammals [less ▲]

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See detailLayman versus Professional Musician: Who Makes the Better Judge?
Larrouy, Pauline ULg; Magis, David ULg; Grabenhorst, Matthias et al

in PLoS ONE (2015)

The increasing number of casting shows and talent contests in the media over the past years suggests a public interest in rating the quality of vocal performances. In many of these formats, laymen ... [more ▼]

The increasing number of casting shows and talent contests in the media over the past years suggests a public interest in rating the quality of vocal performances. In many of these formats, laymen alongside music experts act as judges. Whereas experts' judgments are considered objective and reliable when it comes to evaluating singing voice, little is known about laymen’s ability to evaluate peers. On the one hand, layman listeners–who by definition did not have any formal training or regular musical practice–are known to have internalized the musical rules on which singing accuracy is based. On the other hand, lay- man listeners’ judgment of their own vocal skills is highly inaccurate. Also, when compared with that of music experts, their level of competence in pitch perception has proven limited. The present study investigates laypersons' ability to objectively evaluate melodies per- formed by untrained singers. For this purpose, laymen listeners were asked to judge sung melodies. The results were compared with those of music experts who had performed the same task in a previous study. Interestingly, the findings show a high objectivity and reliabil- ity in layman listeners. Whereas both the laymen's and experts' definition of pitch accuracy overlap, differences regarding the musical criteria employed in the rating task were evident. The findings suggest that the effect of expertise is circumscribed and limited and supports the view that laypersons make trustworthy judges when evaluating the pitch accuracy of untrained singers. [less ▲]

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See detailCarnosol Inhibits Pro-Inflammatory and Catabolic Mediators of Cartilage Breakdown in Human Osteoarthritic Chondrocytes and Mediates Cross-Talk between Subchondral Bone Osteoblasts and Chondrocytes.
Sanchez, Christelle ULg; Horcajada, Marie-Noelle; Membrez Scalfo, Fanny et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(8), 0136118

AIM: The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of carnosol, a rosemary polyphenol, on pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes and via bone-cartilage ... [more ▼]

AIM: The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of carnosol, a rosemary polyphenol, on pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes and via bone-cartilage crosstalk. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Osteoarthritic (OA) human chondrocytes were cultured in alginate beads for 4 days in presence or absence of carnosol (6 nM to 9 muM). The production of aggrecan, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, interleukin (IL)-6 and nitric oxide (NO) and the expression of type II collagen and ADAMTS-4 and -5 were analyzed. Human osteoblasts from sclerotic (SC) or non-sclerotic (NSC) subchondral bone were cultured for 3 days in presence or absence of carnosol before co-culture with chondrocytes. Chondrocyte gene expression was analyzed after 4 days of co-culture. RESULTS: In chondrocytes, type II collagen expression was significantly enhanced in the presence of 3 muM carnosol (p = 0.008). MMP-3, IL-6, NO production and ADAMTS-4 expression were down-regulated in a concentration-dependent manner by carnosol (p<0.01). TIMP-1 production was slightly increased at 3 muM (p = 0.02) and ADAMTS-5 expression was decreased from 0.2 to 9 muM carnosol (p<0.05). IL-6 and PGE2 production was reduced in the presence of carnosol in both SC and NSC osteoblasts while alkaline phosphatase activity was not changed. In co-culture experiments preincubation of NSC and SC osteoblasts wih carnosol resulted in similar effects to incubation with anti-IL-6 antibody, namely a significant increase in aggrecan and decrease in MMP-3, ADAMTS-4 and -5 gene expression by chondrocytes. CONCLUSIONS: Carnosol showed potent inhibition of pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes. Inhibition of matrix degradation and enhancement of formation was observed in chondrocytes cocultured with subchondral osteoblasts preincubated with carnosol indicating a cross-talk between these two cellular compartments, potentially mediated via inhibition of IL-6 in osteoblasts as similar results were obtained with anti-IL-6 antibody. [less ▲]

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See detailEstimation of canine leishmania infection prevalence in six cities of the algerian littoral zone using a bayesian approach
Amel, A; Abatih, E; Speybroeck, N et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(3),

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See detailImpact of Pre-Transplant Anti-T Cell Globulin (ATG) on Immune Recovery after Myeloablative Allogeneic Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation.
SERVAIS, Sophie ULg; Menten-Dedoyart, Catherine; Beguin, Yves ULg et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(6), 0130026

BACKGROUND: Pre-transplant infusion of rabbit anti-T cell globulin (ATG) is increasingly used as prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Pre-transplant infusion of rabbit anti-T cell globulin (ATG) is increasingly used as prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT). However, the precise impact of pre-transplant ATG on immune recovery after PBSCT is still poorly documented. METHODS: In the current study, we compared immune recovery after myeloablative PBSCT in 65 patients who either received (n = 37) or did not (n = 28) pre-transplant ATG-Fresenius (ATG-F). Detailed phenotypes of circulating T, B, natural killer (NK) and invariant NKT (iNKT) cells were analyzed by multicolor flow cytometry at serial time-points from day 40 to day 365 after transplantation. Thymic function was also assessed by sjTREC quantification. Serious infectious events were collected up to 2 years post-transplantation. RESULTS: Pre-transplant ATG-F had a prolonged (for at least up to 1-year) and selective negative impact on the T-cell pool, while it did not impair the recovery of B, NK nor iNKT cells. Among T cells, ATG-F selectively compromised the recovery of naive CD4+, central memory CD4+ and naive CD8+ cells, while it spared effector memory T and regulatory T cells. Levels of sjTRECs were similar in both cohorts at 1-year after PBSCT, suggesting that ATG-F unlikely impaired thymopoiesis at long-term after PBSCT. Finally, the incidence and rate of serious infections were similar in both groups, while ATG-F patients had a lower incidence of grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease. CONCLUSIONS: Pre-transplant ATG-F induces long-lasting modulation of the circulating T-cell pool after myeloablative PBSCT, that may participate in preventing graft-versus-host disease without deeply compromising anti-pathogen defenses. [less ▲]

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See detailMembrane Topology and Biochemical Characterization of the Escherichia coli BacA Undecaprenyl-Pyrophosphate Phosphatase.
Manat, Guillaume; El Ghachi, Meriem ULg; Auger, Rodolphe et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(11), 0142870

Several integral membrane proteins exhibiting undecaprenyl-pyrophosphate (C55-PP) phosphatase activity were previously identified in Escherichia coli that belonged to two distinct protein families: the ... [more ▼]

Several integral membrane proteins exhibiting undecaprenyl-pyrophosphate (C55-PP) phosphatase activity were previously identified in Escherichia coli that belonged to two distinct protein families: the BacA protein, which accounts for 75% of the C55-PP phosphatase activity detected in E. coli cell membranes, and three members of the PAP2 phosphatidic acid phosphatase family, namely PgpB, YbjG and LpxT. This dephosphorylation step is required to provide the C55-P carrier lipid which plays a central role in the biosynthesis of various cell wall polymers. We here report detailed investigations of the biochemical properties and membrane topology of the BacA protein. Optimal activity conditions were determined and a narrow-range substrate specificity with a clear preference for C55-PP was observed for this enzyme. Alignments of BacA protein sequences revealed two particularly well-conserved regions and several invariant residues whose role in enzyme activity was questioned by using a site-directed mutagenesis approach and complementary in vitro and in vivo activity assays. Three essential residues Glu21, Ser27, and Arg174 were identified, allowing us to propose a catalytic mechanism for this enzyme. The membrane topology of the BacA protein determined here experimentally did not validate previous program-based predicted models. It comprises seven transmembrane segments and contains in particular two large periplasmic loops carrying the highly-conserved active site residues. Our data thus provide evidence that all the different E. coli C55-PP phosphatases identified to date (BacA and PAP2) catalyze the dephosphorylation of C55-PP molecules on the same (outer) side of the plasma membrane. [less ▲]

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See detailPhenotype Classification of Zebrafish Embryos by Supervised Learning
Jeanray, Nathalie ULg; Marée, Raphaël ULg; Pruvot, Benoist et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(1), 01169891-20

Zebrafish is increasingly used to assess biological properties of chemical substances and thus is becoming a specific tool for toxicological and pharmacological studies. The effects of chemical substances ... [more ▼]

Zebrafish is increasingly used to assess biological properties of chemical substances and thus is becoming a specific tool for toxicological and pharmacological studies. The effects of chemical substances on embryo survival and development are generally evaluated manually through microscopic observation by an expert and documented by several typical photographs. Here, we present a methodology to automatically classify brightfield images of wildtype zebrafish embryos according to their defects by using an image analysis approach based on supervised machine learning. We show that, compared to manual classification, automatic classification results in 90 to 100 % agreement with consensus voting of biological experts in nine out of eleven considered defects in 3 days old zebrafish larvae. Automation of the analysis and classification of zebrafish embryo pictures reduces the workload and time required for the biological expert and increases the reproducibility and objectivity of this classification. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Interferon-Inducible Mouse Apolipoprotein L9 and Prohibitins Cooperate to Restrict Theiler's Virus Replication.
Kreit, Marguerite; Vertommen, Didier; Gillet, Laurent ULg et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(7), 0133190

Apolipoprotein L9b (Apol9b) is an interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) that has antiviral activity and is weakly expressed in primary mouse neurons as compared to other cell types. Here, we show that both ... [more ▼]

Apolipoprotein L9b (Apol9b) is an interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) that has antiviral activity and is weakly expressed in primary mouse neurons as compared to other cell types. Here, we show that both Apol9 isoforms (Apol9b and Apol9a) inhibit replication of Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) but not replication of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), Murid herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4), or infection by a lentiviral vector. Apol9 genes are strongly expressed in mouse liver and, to a lesser extent, in pancreas, adipose tissue and intestine. Their expression is increased by type I interferon and viral infection. In contrast to genuine apolipoproteins that are involved in lipid transport, ApoL9 has an intracytoplasmic localization and does not seem to be secreted. The cytoplasmic localization of ApoL9 is in line with the observation that ApoL9 inhibits the replication step of TMEV infection. In contrast to human ApoL6, ApoL9 did not sensitize cells to apoptosis, in spite of the presence of a conserved putative BH3 domain, required for antiviral activity. ApoL9a and b isoforms interact with cellular prohibitin 1 (Phb1) and prohibitin 2 (Phb2) and this interaction might contribute to ApoL9 antiviral activity. Knocking down Phb2 slightly increased TMEV replication, irrespective of ApoL9 overexpression. The antiviral activity of prohibitins against TMEV contrasts with the pro-viral activity of prohibitins observed for VSV and reported previously for Dengue 2 (DENV-2), Chikungunya (CHIKV) and influenza H5N1 viruses. ApoL9 is thus an example of ISG displaying a narrow antiviral range, which likely acts in complex with prohibitins to restrict TMEV replication. [less ▲]

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See detailAnatomically discrete sex differences in neuroplasticity in zebra finches as reflected by perineuronal nets.
Cornez, Gilles ULg; Ter Haar, Sita M.; Cornil, Charlotte ULg et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(4), 0123199

Large morphological sex differences in the vertebrate brain were initially identified in song control nuclei of oscines. Besides gross differences between volumes of nuclei in males and females, sex ... [more ▼]

Large morphological sex differences in the vertebrate brain were initially identified in song control nuclei of oscines. Besides gross differences between volumes of nuclei in males and females, sex differences also concern the size and dendritic arborization of neurons and various neurochemical markers, such as the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV). Perineuronal nets (PNN) of the extracellular matrix are aggregates of different compounds, mainly chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, that surround subsets of neurons, often expressing PV. PNN develop in zebra finches song control nuclei around the end of the sensitive period for song learning and tutor deprivation, known to delay the end of the song learning sensitive period, decreases the numbers of PNN in HVC. We demonstrate here the existence in zebra finches of a major sex difference (males > females) affecting the number of PNN (especially those surrounding PV-positive cells) in HVC and to a smaller extent the robust nucleus of the arcopallium, RA, the two main nuclei controlling song production. These differences were not present in Area X and LMAN, the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium. A dense expression of material immunoreactive for chondroitin sulfate was also detected in several nuclei of the auditory and visual pathways. This material was often organized in perineuronal rings but quantification of these PNN did not reveal any sex difference with the exception that the percentage of PNN surrounding PV-ir cells in the dorsal lateral mesencephalic nucleus, MLd, was larger in females than in males, a sex difference in the opposite direction compared to what is seen in HVC and RA. These data confirm and extend previous studies demonstrating the sex difference affecting PNN in HVC-RA by showing that this sex difference is anatomically specific and does not concern visual or auditory pathways. [less ▲]

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See detailIndividual Monitoring of Immune Response in Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar following Experimental Infection with Infectious Salmon Anaemia Virus (ISAV).
Collet, Bertrand; Urquhart, Katy; Mira Monte, Milena ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(9), 0137767

Monitoring the immune response in fish over the progression of a disease is traditionally carried out by experimental infection whereby animals are killed at regular intervals and samples taken. We ... [more ▼]

Monitoring the immune response in fish over the progression of a disease is traditionally carried out by experimental infection whereby animals are killed at regular intervals and samples taken. We describe here a novel approach to infectiology for salmonid fish where blood samples are collected repeatedly in a small group of PIT-tagged animals. This approach contributes to the reduction of animals used in research and to improved data quality. Two groups of 12 PIT-tagged Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) were i.p infected with Infectious Salmon Anaemia Virus (ISAV) or culture medium and placed in 1 m3 tanks. Blood samples were collected at 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, 21 and 25 days post infection. The viral load, immune and stress response were determined in individual fish by real-time quantitative PCR (QPCR) on the blood cells, as well as the haematocrit used as an indicator of haemolysis, a clinical consequence of ISAV infection. "In-tank" anaesthesia was used in order to reduce the stress related to chase and netting prior to sampling. The data were analysed using a statistical approach which is novel with respect to its use in fish immunology. The repeated blood collection procedure did not induce stress response as measured by HSP70 and HSP90 gene expression in the un-infected animals. A strong increase in viraemia as well as a significant induction of Mx and gammaIP gene expression were observed in the infected group. Interleukin 10 was found induced at the later stage of the infection whereas no induction of CD8 or gamma IFN could be detected. These results and the advantages of this approach are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailBacterial Community Composition in Three Freshwater Reservoirs of Different Alkalinity and Trophic Status
Llirós, Marc; Inceoğlu, Özgul; García-Armisen, Tamara et al

in PLoS ONE (2014)

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See detailHydrophobin Fusion of an Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin Allows High Transient Expression in Nicotiana benthamiana, Easy Purification and Immune Response with Neutralizing Activity
Jacquet, Nicolas; Navarre, Catherine; Desmecht, Daniel ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(12), 115944

The expression of recombinant hemagglutinin in plants is a promising alternative to the current egg-based production system for the influenza vaccines. Protein-stabilizing fusion partners have been ... [more ▼]

The expression of recombinant hemagglutinin in plants is a promising alternative to the current egg-based production system for the influenza vaccines. Protein-stabilizing fusion partners have been developed to overcome the low production yields and the high downstream process costs associated with the plant expression system. In this context, we tested the fusion of hydrophobin I to the hemagglutinin ectodomain of the influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus controlled by the hybrid En2PMA4 transcriptional promoter to rapidly produce high levels of recombinant antigen by transient expression in agro-infiltrated Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. The fusion increased the expression level by a factor of ∼2.5 compared to the unfused protein allowing a high accumulation level of 8.6% of the total soluble proteins. Hemagglutinin was located in ER-derived protein bodies and was successfully purified by combining an aqueous-two phase partition system and a salting out step. Hydrophobin interactions allowed the formation of high molecular weight hemagglutinin structures, while unfused proteins were produced as monomers. Purified protein was shown to be biologically active and to induce neutralizing antibodies after mice immunization. Hydrophobin fusion to influenza hemagglutinin might therefore be a promising approach for rapid, easy, and low cost production of seasonal or pandemic influenza vaccines in plants. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst Evidence of a Volatile Sex Pheromone in Lady Beetles
Fassotte, Bérénice ULg; Fischer, Christophe ULg; Durieux, Delphine ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014)

To date, volatile sex pheromones have not been identified in the Coccinellidae family; yet, various studies have suggested that such semiochemicals exist. Here, we collected volatile chemicals released by ... [more ▼]

To date, volatile sex pheromones have not been identified in the Coccinellidae family; yet, various studies have suggested that such semiochemicals exist. Here, we collected volatile chemicals released by virgin females of the multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), which were either allowed or not allowed to feed on aphids. Virgin females in the presence of aphids, exhibited “calling behavior”, which is commonly associated with the emission of a sex pheromone in several Coleoptera species. These calling females were found to release a blend of volatile compounds that is involved in the remote attraction (i.e., from a distance) of males. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses revealed that (–)-β-caryophyllene was the major constituent of the volatile blend (ranging from 80 to 86%), with four other chemical components also being present; β-elemene, methyl-eugenol, α-humulene, and α-bulnesene. In a second set of experiments, the emission of the five constituents identified from the blend was quantified daily over a 9-day period after exposure to aphids. We found that the quantity of all five chemicals significantly increased across the experimental period. Finally, we evaluated the activity of a synthetic blend of these chemicals by performing bioassays which demonstrated the same attractive effect in males only. The results confirm that female H. axyridis produce a volatile sex pheromone. These findings have potential in the development of more specific and efficient biological pest-control management methods aimed at manipulating the behavior of this invasive lady beetle. [less ▲]

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See detailRGD surface functionalization of the hydrophilic acrylic intraocular lens material to control posterior capsular opacification
Huang, Yi-Shiang ULg; Bertrand, Virginie ULg; Bozukova, Dimitriya et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(12), 32

Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO) is the capsule fibrosis developed on implanted IntraOcular Lens (IOL) by the de-differentiation of Lens Epithelial Cells (LECs) undergoing Epithelial Mesenchymal ... [more ▼]

Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO) is the capsule fibrosis developed on implanted IntraOcular Lens (IOL) by the de-differentiation of Lens Epithelial Cells (LECs) undergoing Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition (EMT). Literature has shown that the incidence of PCO is multifactorial including the patient’s age or disease, surgical technique, and IOL design and material. Reports comparing hydrophilic and hydrophobic acrylic IOLs have shown that the former has more severe PCO. On the other hand, we have previously demonstrated that the adhesion of LECs is favored on hydrophobic compared to hydrophilic materials. By combining these two facts and contemporary knowledge in PCO development via the EMT pathway, we propose a biomimetically inspired strategy to promote LEC adhesion without de-differentiation to reduce the risk of PCO development. By surface grafting of a cell adhesion molecule (RGD peptide) onto the conventional hydrophilic acrylic IOL material, the surface-functionalized IOL can be used to reconstitute a capsule-LEC-IOL sandwich structure, which has been considered to prevent PCO formation in literature. Our results show that the innovative biomaterial improves LEC adhesion, while also exhibiting similar optical (light transmittance, optical bench) and mechanical (haptic compression force, IOL injection force) properties compared to the starting material. In addition, compared to the hydrophobic IOL material, our bioactive biomaterial exhibits similar abilities in LEC adhesion, morphology maintenance, and EMT biomarker expression, which is the crucial pathway to induce PCO. The in vitro assays suggest that this biomaterial has the potential to reduce the risk factor of PCO development. [less ▲]

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