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Publications (4)20.07 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The spaceflight environment is relevant to conditions encountered by pathogens during the course of infection and induces novel changes in microbial pathogenesis not observed using conventional methods. It is unclear how microbial cells sense spaceflight-associated changes to their growth environment and orchestrate corresponding changes in molecular and physiological phenotypes relevant to the infection process. Here we report that spaceflight-induced increases in Salmonella virulence are regulated by media ion composition, and that phosphate ion is sufficient to alter related pathogenesis responses in a spaceflight analogue model. Using whole genome microarray and proteomic analyses from two independent Space Shuttle missions, we identified evolutionarily conserved molecular pathways in Salmonella that respond to spaceflight under all media compositions tested. Identification of conserved regulatory paradigms opens new avenues to control microbial responses during the infection process and holds promise to provide an improved understanding of human health and disease on Earth.
    PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(12):e3923. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A comprehensive analysis of both the molecular genetic and phenotypic responses of any organism to the space flight environment has never been accomplished because of significant technological and logistical hurdles. Moreover, the effects of space flight on microbial pathogenicity and associated infectious disease risks have not been studied. The bacterial pathogen Salmonella typhimurium was grown aboard Space Shuttle mission STS-115 and compared with identical ground control cultures. Global microarray and proteomic analyses revealed that 167 transcripts and 73 proteins changed expression with the conserved RNA-binding protein Hfq identified as a likely global regulator involved in the response to this environment. Hfq involvement was confirmed with a ground-based microgravity culture model. Space flight samples exhibited enhanced virulence in a murine infection model and extracellular matrix accumulation consistent with a biofilm. Strategies to target Hfq and related regulators could potentially decrease infectious disease risks during space flight missions and provide novel therapeutic options on Earth.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2007; 104(41):16299-304. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    Cheryl A Nickerson, Emily G Richter, C Mark Ott
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    ABSTRACT: Representative, reproducible, and high-throughput models of human cells and tissues are critical for a meaningful evaluation of host-pathogen interactions and are an essential component of the research developmental pipeline. The most informative infection models-animals, organ explants, and human trials-are not suited for extensive evaluation of pathogenesis mechanisms and screening of candidate drugs. At the other extreme, more cost-effective and accessible infection models such as conventional cell culture and static coculture may not capture physiological and three-dimensional (3-D) aspects of tissue biology that are important in assessing pathogenesis, effectiveness, and cytotoxicity of therapeutics. Our lab has used innovative bioengineering technology to establish biologically meaningful 3-D models of human tissues that recapitulate many aspects of the differentiated structure and function of the parental tissue in vivo, and we have applied these models to study infectious disease. We have established a variety of different 3-D models that are currently being used in infection studies-including small intestine, colon, lung, placenta, bladder, periodontal ligament, and neuronal models. Published work from our lab has shown that our 3-D models respond to infection with bacterial and viral pathogens in ways that reflect the infection process in vivo. By virtue of their physiological relevance, 3-D cell cultures may also hold significant potential as models to provide insight into the neuropathogenesis of HIV infection. Furthermore, the experimental flexibility, reproducibility, cost efficiency, and high-throughput platform afforded by these 3-D models may have important implications for the design and development of drugs with which to effectively treat neurological complications of HIV infection.
    Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology 04/2007; 2(1):26-31. · 3.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In vitro cell culture models used to study how Salmonella initiates disease at the intestinal epithelium would benefit from the recognition that organs and tissues function in a three-dimensional (3-D) environment and that this spatial context is necessary for development of cultures that more realistically resemble in vivo tissues/organs. Our aim was to establish and characterize biologically meaningful 3-D models of human colonic epithelium and apply them to study the early stages of enteric salmonellosis. The human colonic cell line HT-29 was cultured in 3-D and characterized by immunohistochemistry, histology, and scanning electron microscopy. Wild-type Salmonella typhimurium and an isogenic SPI-1 type three secretion system (TTSS) mutant derivative (invA) were used to compare the interactions with 3-D cells and monolayers in adherence/invasion, tissue pathology, and cytokine expression studies. The results showed that 3-D culture enhanced many characteristics normally associated with fully differentiated, functional intestinal epithelia in vivo, including better organization of junctional, extracellular matrix, and brush-border proteins, and highly localized mucin production. Wild-type Salmonella demonstrated increased adherence, but significantly lower invasion for 3-D cells. Interestingly, the SPI-I TTSS mutant showed wild-type ability to invade into the 3-D cells but did not cause significant structural changes to these cells. Moreover, 3-D cells produced less interleukin-8 before and after Salmonella infection. These results suggest that 3-D cultures of human colonic epithelium provide valuable alternative models to study human enteric salmonellosis with potential for novel insight into Salmonella pathogenesis.
    Microbes and Infection 07/2006; 8(7):1813-25. · 2.92 Impact Factor