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The hallmark of stem cells is their capability to either self-renew or to differentiate into a different cell type. Adult skeletal muscle contains a resident muscle stem cell population (MuSCs) known as satellite cells, which enables regeneration of damaged muscle tissue throughout most of adult life. During skeletal muscle regeneration, few MuSCs self-renew to maintain the muscle stem cell pool while others expand rapidly and subsequently undergo myogenic differentiation to form new myofibers. However, like for other stem cell types, the molecular networks that govern self-renewal and/or differentiation of MuSCs remain largely elusive. We recently reported a method to isolate sufficient amounts of purified MuSCs from skeletal muscle which enables us to study their cell autonomous properties. Here, we describe a lentiviral, image-based loss-of function screening pipeline on primary MuSCs that enables systematic identification of genes that regulate muscle stem cell function.
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A highly protective malaria vaccine would greatly facilitate the prevention and elimination of malaria and containment of drug-resistant parasites1. A high level (more than 90%) of protection against malaria in humans has previously been achieved only by immunization with radiation-attenuated Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoites (PfSPZ) inoculated by mosquitoes2,3,4; by intravenous injection of aseptic, purified, radiation-attenuated, cryopreserved PfSPZ (‘PfSPZ Vaccine’)5,6; or by infectious PfSPZ inoculated by mosquitoes to volunteers taking chloroquine7,8,9,10 or mefloquine11 (chemoprophylaxis with sporozoites). We assessed immunization by direct venous inoculation of aseptic, purified, cryopreserved, non-irradiated PfSPZ (‘PfSPZ Challenge’12,13) to malaria-naive, healthy adult volunteers taking chloroquine for antimalarial chemoprophylaxis (vaccine approach denoted as PfSPZ-CVac)14. Three doses of 5.12 × 104 PfSPZ of PfSPZ Challenge12,13 at 28-day intervals were well tolerated and safe, and prevented infection in 9 out of 9 (100%) volunteers who underwent controlled human malaria infection ten weeks after the last dose (group III). Protective efficacy was dependent on dose and regimen. Immunization with 3.2 × 103 (group I) or 1.28 × 104 (group II) PfSPZ protected 3 out of 9 (33%) or 6 out of 9 (67%) volunteers, respectively. Three doses of 5.12 × 104 PfSPZ at five-day intervals protected 5 out of 8 (63%) volunteers. The frequency of Pf-specific polyfunctional CD4 memory T cells was associated with protection. On a 7,455 peptide Pf proteome array, immune sera from at least 5 out of 9 group III vaccinees recognized each of 22 proteins. PfSPZ-CVac is a highly efficacious vaccine candidate; when we are able to optimize the immunization regimen (dose, interval between doses, and drug partner), this vaccine could be used for combination mass drug administration and a mass vaccination program approach to eliminate malaria from geographically defined areas.
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Evaluation of yolk protein levels as estrogenic biomarker in bivalves; comparison of the alkali-labile phosphate method (ALP) and a species-specific immunoassay (ELISA)
Altered concentration of the vertebrate yolk protein precursor vitellogenin is a recognized biomarker for endocrine disruption in fish, and within recent years yolk protein alteration has also been associated with endocrine disruption in bivalves. Species-specific, direct and sensitive methods for quantification of vitellogenin in fish have been available for years whereas bivalve yolk protein levels have been estimated indirectly by alkali-labile phosphate (ALP) liberated from high molecular weight proteins because the sequence and biochemical structure of most bivalve yolk proteins are unknown. By applying a species-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for accurate determination of yolk protein level the impact of 17β-estradiol (57, 164 and 512 ng/L) on the freshwater bivalve Unio tumidus was investigated and compared with ALP estimations. Seven weeks of exposure during the pre-spawning and spawning period had no consistent effect on yolk protein concentration in hemolymph, and ALP levels in hemolymph also remained unchanged in both males and females. Further, basal male and female ALP levels were indistinguishable whereas the ELISA demonstrated that yolk protein levels of females exceeded male levels at the time of sampling, although male basal levels were high compared to fish. Altogether it is shown that individual ALP levels do not reflect yolk protein levels and hence hemolymph ALP levels cannot serve as biomarker for estrogenic exposure during the pre-spawning and spawning period in U. tumidus. The necessity of sensitive and validated biomarkers for reliable interpretation of data and the utility of ALP and yolk protein levels as biomarkers in bivalves are discussed.
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