[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alveolar macrophages (AMs) phagocytose Bacillus anthracis following inhalation and induce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines to mediate the activation of innate immunity. Ames, the virulent strain of B. anthracis, contains two plasmids that encode the antiphagocytic poly-γ-d-glutamic acid capsule and the lethal toxin. The attenuated Sterne strain of B. anthracis, which lacks the plasmid encoding capsule, is widely adapted as a vaccine strain. Although differences in the outcome of infection with the two strains may have originated from the presence or absence of an anti-phagocytic capsule, the disease pathogenesis following infection will be manifested via the host responses, which is not well understood. To gain understanding of the host responses at cellular level, a microarray analysis was performed using primary rhesus macaque AMs infected with either Ames or Sterne spores. Notably, 528 human orthologs were identified to be differentially expressed in AMs infected with either strain of the B. anthracis. Meta-analyses revealed genes differentially expressed in response to B. anthracis infection were also induced upon infections with multiple pathogens such as Francisella Novicida or Staphylococcus aureus. This suggests the existence of a common molecular signature in response to pathogen infections. Importantly, the microarray and protein expression data for certain cytokines, chemokines and host factors provide further insights on how cellular processes such as innate immune sensing pathways, anti-apoptosis versus apoptosis may be differentially modulated in response to the virulent or vaccine strain of B. anthracis. The reported differences may account for the marked difference in pathogenicity between these two strains.
PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e87201. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0087201 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High-throughput screening (HTS) has become an important technology for the drug discovery process. It has been noted that certain compounds frequently appear as hits in many screening campaigns. By mining an HTS database covering large chemical space and diverse biological functions, we identified many novel chemical features, as well as several biological processes that were associated with a significant portion of frequent hits. However, we also noted that several marketed drugs also contained characteristics that commonly were associated with frequent hits. This observation suggested that current generally employed strategies for triaging compounds may result in the removal of compounds with desirable properties. Therefore, we developed a novel strategy that overlaid chemical scaffolds and biological processes, along with empirical hit frequency data, in order to provide a more functional frequent hit triage strategy; the risk of removing biologically relevant frequent hits was reduced compared to the typical empirical hit frequency-based filtering strategy.
Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 03/2012; 52(4). DOI:10.1021/ci300005y · 3.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathogens commonly utilize endocytic pathways to gain cellular access. The endosomal pattern recognition receptors TLR7 and TLR9 detect pathogen-encoded nucleic acids to initiate MyD88-dependent proinflammatory responses to microbial infection. Using genome-wide RNAi screening and integrative systems-based analysis, we identify 190 cofactors required for TLR7- and TLR9-directed signaling responses. A set of cofactors were crossprofiled for their activities downstream of several immunoreceptors and then functionally mapped based on the known architecture of NF-κB signaling pathways. Protein complexes and pathways involved in ubiquitin-protein ligase activities, sphingolipid metabolism, chromatin modifications, and ancient stress responses were found to modulate innate recognition of endosomal nucleic acids. Additionally, hepatocyte growth factor-regulated tyrosine kinase substrate (HRS) was characterized as necessary for ubiquitin-dependent TLR9 targeting to the endolysosome. Proteins and pathways identified here should prove useful in delineating strategies to manipulate innate responses for treatment of autoimmune disorders and microbial infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most malaria drug development focuses on parasite stages detected in red blood cells, even though, to achieve eradication, next-generation drugs active against both erythrocytic and exo-erythrocytic forms would be preferable. We applied a multifactorial approach to a set of >4000 commercially available compounds with previously demonstrated blood-stage activity (median inhibitory concentration < 1 micromolar) and identified chemical scaffolds with potent activity against both forms. From this screen, we identified an imidazolopiperazine scaffold series that was highly enriched among compounds active against Plasmodium liver stages. The orally bioavailable lead imidazolopiperazine confers complete causal prophylactic protection (15 milligrams/kilogram) in rodent models of malaria and shows potent in vivo blood-stage therapeutic activity. The open-source chemical tools resulting from our effort provide starting points for future drug discovery programs, as well as opportunities for researchers to investigate the biology of exo-erythrocytic forms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identifying disease genes is crucial to the understanding of disease pathogenesis, and to the improvement of disease diagnosis and treatment. In recent years, many researchers have proposed approaches to prioritize candidate genes by considering the relationship of candidate genes and existing known disease genes, reflected in other data sources. In this paper, we propose an expandable framework for gene prioritization that can integrate multiple heterogeneous data sources by taking advantage of a unified graphic representation. Gene-gene relationships and gene-disease relationships are then defined based on the overall topology of each network using a diffusion kernel measure. These relationship measures are in turn normalized to derive an overall measure across all networks, which is utilized to rank all candidate genes. Based on the informativeness of available data sources with respect to each specific disease, we also propose an adaptive threshold score to select a small subset of candidate genes for further validation studies. We performed large scale cross-validation analysis on 110 disease families using three data sources. Results have shown that our approach consistently outperforms other two state of the art programs. A case study using Parkinson disease (PD) has identified four candidate genes (UBB, SEPT5, GPR37 and TH) that ranked higher than our adaptive threshold, all of which are involved in the PD pathway. In particular, a very recent study has observed a deletion of TH in a patient with PD, which supports the importance of the TH gene in PD pathogenesis. A web tool has been implemented to assist scientists in their genetic studies.
PLoS ONE 06/2011; 6(6):e21137. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0021137 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic background of a patient determines in part if a person develops a mild form of malaria and recovers, or develops a severe form and dies. We have used a mouse model to detect genes involved in the resistance or susceptibility to Plasmodium berghei malaria infection. To this end we first characterized 32 different mouse strains infected with P. berghei and identified survival as the best trait to discriminate between the strains. We found a locus on chromosome 6 by linking the survival phenotypes of the mouse strains to their genetic variations using genome wide analyses such as haplotype associated mapping and the efficient mixed-model for association. This new locus involved in malaria resistance contains only two genes and confirms the importance of Ppar-gamma in malaria infection.
PLoS ONE 05/2010; 5(5):e10903. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0010903 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Up to 40% of the world's population is at risk for Plasmodium vivax malaria, a disease that imposes a major public health and economic burden on endemic countries. Because P. vivax produces latent liver forms, eradication of P. vivax malaria is more challenging than it is for P. falciparum. Genetic analysis of P. vivax is exceptionally difficult due to limitations of in vitro culture. To overcome the barriers to traditional molecular biology in P. vivax, we examined parasite transcriptional changes in samples from infected patients and mosquitoes in order to characterize gene function, define regulatory sequences and reveal new potential vaccine candidate genes.
We observed dramatic changes in transcript levels for various genes at different lifecycle stages, indicating that development is partially regulated through modulation of mRNA levels. Our data show that genes involved in common biological processes or molecular machinery are co-expressed. We identified DNA sequence motifs upstream of co-expressed genes that are conserved across Plasmodium species that are likely binding sites of proteins that regulate stage-specific transcription. Despite their capacity to form hypnozoites we found that P. vivax sporozoites show stage-specific expression of the same genes needed for hepatocyte invasion and liver stage development in other Plasmodium species. We show that many of the predicted exported proteins and members of multigene families show highly coordinated transcription as well.
We conclude that high-quality gene expression data can be readily obtained directly from patient samples and that many of the same uncharacterized genes that are upregulated in different P. vivax lifecycle stages are also upregulated in similar stages in other Plasmodium species. We also provide numerous examples of how systems biology is a powerful method for determining the likely function of genes in pathogens that are neglected due to experimental intractability.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the amount of chemical literature increases, it is critical that researchers be enabled to accurately locate documents related to a particular aspect of a given compound. Existing solutions, based on text and chemical search engines alone, suffer from the inclusion of "false negative" and "false positive" results, and cannot accommodate diverse repertoire of formats currently available for chemical documents. To address these concerns, we developed an approach called Entity-Canonical Keyword Indexing (ECKI), which converts a chemical entity embedded in a data source into its canonical keyword representation prior to being indexed by text search engines. We implemented ECKI using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Search, and the resultant hybrid search engine not only supported complex mixed chemical and keyword queries but also was applied to both intranet and Internet environments. We envision that the adoption of ECKI will empower researchers to pose more complex search questions that were not readily attainable previously and to obtain answers at much improved speed and accuracy.
Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 01/2010; 50(1):47-54. DOI:10.1021/ci900380s · 3.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza A virus is an RNA virus that encodes up to 11 proteins and this small coding capacity demands that the virus use the host cellular machinery for many aspects of its life cycle. Knowledge of these host cell requirements not only informs us of the molecular pathways exploited by the virus but also provides further targets that could be pursued for antiviral drug development. Here we use an integrative systems approach, based on genome-wide RNA interference screening, to identify 295 cellular cofactors required for early-stage influenza virus replication. Within this group, those involved in kinase-regulated signalling, ubiquitination and phosphatase activity are the most highly enriched, and 181 factors assemble into a highly significant host-pathogen interaction network. Moreover, 219 of the 295 factors were confirmed to be required for efficient wild-type influenza virus growth, and further analysis of a subset of genes showed 23 factors necessary for viral entry, including members of the vacuolar ATPase (vATPase) and COPI-protein families, fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) proteins, and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3)-beta. Furthermore, 10 proteins were confirmed to be involved in post-entry steps of influenza virus replication. These include nuclear import components, proteases, and the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaM kinase) IIbeta (CAMK2B). Notably, growth of swine-origin H1N1 influenza virus is also dependent on the identified host factors, and we show that small molecule inhibitors of several factors, including vATPase and CAMK2B, antagonize influenza virus replication.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One therapeutic approach to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) recently entering clinical trials aims to convert DMD phenotypes to that of a milder disease variant, Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD), by employing antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) targeting splice sites, to induce exon skipping and restore partial dystrophin function. In order to search for small molecule and genetic modulators of AON-dependent and independent exon skipping, we screened approximately 10,000 known small molecule drugs, >17,000 cDNA clones, and >2,000 kinase- targeted siRNAs against a 5.6 kb luciferase minigene construct, encompassing exon 71 to exon 73 of human dystrophin. As a result, we identified several enhancers of exon skipping, acting on both the reporter construct as well as endogenous dystrophin in mdx cells. Multiple mechanisms of action were identified, including histone deacetylase inhibition, tubulin modulation and pre-mRNA processing. Among others, the nucleolar protein NOL8 and staufen RNA binding protein homolog 2 (Stau2) were found to induce endogenous exon skipping in mdx cells in an AON-dependent fashion. An unexpected but recurrent theme observed in our screening efforts was the apparent link between the inhibition of cell cycle progression and the induction of exon skipping.
PLoS ONE 12/2009; 4(12):e8348. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0008348 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of genetic changes that confer drug resistance or other phenotypic changes in pathogens can help optimize treatment strategies, support the development of new therapeutic agents, and provide information about the likely function of genes. Elucidating mechanisms of phenotypic drug resistance can also assist in identifying the mode of action of uncharacterized but potent antimalarial compounds identified in high-throughput chemical screening campaigns against Plasmodium falciparum.
Here we show that tiling microarrays can detect de novo a large proportion of the genetic changes that differentiate one genome from another. We show that we detect most single nucleotide polymorphisms or small insertion deletion events and all known copy number variations that distinguish three laboratory isolates using readily accessible methods. We used the approach to discover mutations that occur during the selection process after transfection. We also elucidated a mechanism by which parasites acquire resistance to the antimalarial fosmidomycin, which targets the parasite isoprenoid synthesis pathway. Our microarray-based approach allowed us to attribute in vitro derived fosmidomycin resistance to a copy number variation event in the pfdxr gene, which enables the parasite to overcome fosmidomycin-mediated inhibition of isoprenoid biosynthesis.
We show that newly emerged single nucleotide polymorphisms can readily be detected and that malaria parasites can rapidly acquire gene amplifications in response to in vitro drug pressure. The ability to define comprehensively genetic variability in P. falciparum with a single overnight hybridization creates new opportunities to study parasite evolution and improve the treatment and control of malaria.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV-1 and HIV-2) rely upon host-encoded proteins to facilitate their replication. Here, we combined genome-wide siRNA analyses with interrogation of human interactome databases to assemble a host-pathogen biochemical network containing 213 confirmed host cellular factors and 11 HIV-1-encoded proteins. Protein complexes that regulate ubiquitin conjugation, proteolysis, DNA-damage response, and RNA splicing were identified as important modulators of early-stage HIV-1 infection. Additionally, over 40 new factors were shown to specifically influence the initiation and/or kinetics of HIV-1 DNA synthesis, including cytoskeletal regulatory proteins, modulators of posttranslational modification, and nucleic acid-binding proteins. Finally, 15 proteins with diverse functional roles, including nuclear transport, prostaglandin synthesis, ubiquitination, and transcription, were found to influence nuclear import or viral DNA integration. Taken together, the multiscale approach described here has uncovered multiprotein virus-host interactions that likely act in concert to facilitate the early steps of HIV-1 infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, a major increase in the occurrence of drug resistant falciparum malaria has been reported. Choline analogs, such as the bisthiazolium T4, represent a novel class of compounds with strong potency against drug sensitive and resistant P. falciparum clones. Although T4 and its analogs are presumed to target the parasite's lipid metabolism, their exact mechanism of action remains unknown. Here we have employed transcriptome and proteome profiling analyses to characterize the global response of P. falciparum to T4 during the intraerythrocytic cycle of this parasite.
No significant transcriptional changes were detected immediately after addition of T4 despite the drug's effect on the parasite metabolism. Using the Ontology-based Pattern Identification (OPI) algorithm with an increased T4 incubation time, we demonstrated cell cycle arrest and a general induction of genes involved in gametocytogenesis. Proteomic analysis revealed a significant decrease in the level of the choline/ethanolamine-phosphotransferase (PfCEPT), a key enzyme involved in the final step of synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC). This effect was further supported by metabolic studies, which showed a major alteration in the synthesis of PC from choline and ethanolamine by the compound.
Our studies demonstrate that the bisthiazolium compound T4 inhibits the pathways of synthesis of phosphatidylcholine from choline and ethanolamine in P. falciparum, and provide evidence for post-transcriptional regulations of parasite metabolism in response to external stimuli.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The growing resistance to current first-line antimalarial drugs represents a major health challenge. To facilitate the discovery of new antimalarials, we have implemented an efficient and robust high-throughput cell-based screen (1,536-well format) based on proliferation of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) in erythrocytes. From a screen of approximately 1.7 million compounds, we identified a diverse collection of approximately 6,000 small molecules comprised of >530 distinct scaffolds, all of which show potent antimalarial activity (<1.25 microM). Most known antimalarials were identified in this screen, thus validating our approach. In addition, we identified many novel chemical scaffolds, which likely act through both known and novel pathways. We further show that in some cases the mechanism of action of these antimalarials can be determined by in silico compound activity profiling. This method uses large datasets from unrelated cellular and biochemical screens and the guilt-by-association principle to predict which cellular pathway and/or protein target is being inhibited by select compounds. In addition, the screening method has the potential to provide the malaria community with many new starting points for the development of biological probes and drugs with novel antiparasitic activities.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2008; 105(26):9059-64. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0802982105 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcium-dependent protein kinases play a crucial role in intracellular calcium signaling in plants, some algae and protozoa. In Plasmodium falciparum, calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 (PfCDPK1) is expressed during schizogony in the erythrocytic stage as well as in the sporozoite stage. It is coexpressed with genes that encode the parasite motor complex, a cellular component required for parasite invasion of host cells, parasite motility and potentially cytokinesis. A targeted gene-disruption approach demonstrated that pfcdpk1 seems to be essential for parasite viability. An in vitro biochemical screen using recombinant PfCDPK1 against a library of 20,000 compounds resulted in the identification of a series of structurally related 2,6,9-trisubstituted purines. Compound treatment caused sudden developmental arrest at the late schizont stage in P. falciparum and a large reduction in intracellular parasites in Toxoplasma gondii, which suggests a possible role for PfCDPK1 in regulation of parasite motility during egress and invasion.
Nature Chemical Biology 07/2008; 4(6):347-56. DOI:10.1038/nchembio.87 · 13.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Described in this article are strategies implemented to increase the throughput of in vivo rodent pharmacokinetic (PK) studies using the snapshot PK study design and automated methods for compound submission, sample processing, data analysis and reporting. Applying snapshot PK studies to categorize the oral exposure of >1300 discovery compounds as low, moderate or high resulted in an attrition rate of 86%. The follow up full PK studies on the remaining compounds found that 98% of the compounds were predicted in the correct (69%) or adjacent (29%) oral exposure category by the snapshot PK studies. These results demonstrate that the snapshot PK screen in rodents can serve as an effective and efficient in vivo tool in the compound selection process in drug discovery.
Drug Discovery Today 05/2008; 13(7-8):360-7. DOI:10.1016/j.drudis.2007.10.014 · 6.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the sequence of the Plasmodium falciparum genome and several global mRNA and protein life cycle expression profiling projects now completed, elucidating the underlying networks of transcriptional control important for the progression of the parasite life cycle is highly pertinent to the development of new anti-malarials. To date, relatively little is known regarding the specific mechanisms the parasite employs to regulate gene expression at the mRNA level, with studies of the P. falciparum genome sequence having revealed few cis-regulatory elements and associated transcription factors. Although it is possible the parasite may evoke mechanisms of transcriptional control drastically different from those used by other eukaryotic organisms, the extreme AT-rich nature of P. falciparum intergenic regions (approximately 90% AT) presents significant challenges to in silico cis-regulatory element discovery.
We have developed an algorithm called Gene Enrichment Motif Searching (GEMS) that uses a hypergeometric-based scoring function and a position-weight matrix optimization routine to identify with high-confidence regulatory elements in the nucleotide-biased and repeat sequence-rich P. falciparum genome. When applied to promoter regions of genes contained within 21 co-expression gene clusters generated from P. falciparum life cycle microarray data using the semi-supervised clustering algorithm Ontology-based Pattern Identification, GEMS identified 34 putative cis-regulatory elements associated with a variety of parasite processes including sexual development, cell invasion, antigenic variation and protein biosynthesis. Among these candidates were novel motifs, as well as many of the elements for which biological experimental evidence already exists in the Plasmodium literature. To provide evidence for the biological relevance of a cell invasion-related element predicted by GEMS, reporter gene and electrophoretic mobility shift assays were conducted.
This GEMS analysis demonstrates that in silico regulatory element discovery can be successfully applied to challenging repeat-sequence-rich, base-biased genomes such as that of P. falciparum. The fact that regulatory elements were predicted from a diverse range of functional gene clusters supports the hypothesis that cis-regulatory elements play a role in the transcriptional control of many P. falciparum biological processes. The putative regulatory elements described represent promising candidates for future biological investigation into the underlying transcriptional control mechanisms of gene regulation in malaria parasites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A fundamental problem in systems biology and whole genome sequence analysis is how to infer functions for the many uncharacterized proteins that are identified, whether they are conserved across organisms of different phyla or are phylum-specific. This problem is especially acute in pathogens, such as malaria parasites, where genetic and biochemical investigations are likely to be more difficult. Here we perform comparative expression analysis on Plasmodium parasite life cycle data derived from P. falciparum blood, sporozoite, zygote and ookinete stages, and P. yoelii mosquito oocyst and salivary gland sporozoites, blood and liver stages and show that type II fatty acid biosynthesis genes are upregulated in liver and insect stages relative to asexual blood stages. We also show that some universally uncharacterized genes with orthologs in Plasmodium species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and humans show coordinated transcription patterns in large collections of human and yeast expression data and that the function of the uncharacterized genes can sometimes be predicted based on the expression patterns across these diverse organisms. We also use a comprehensive and unbiased literature mining method to predict which uncharacterized parasite-specific genes are likely to have roles in processes such as gliding motility, host-cell interactions, sporozoite stage, or rhoptry function. These analyses, together with protein-protein interaction data, provide probabilistic models that predict the function of 926 uncharacterized malaria genes and also suggest that malaria parasites may provide a simple model system for the study of some human processes. These data also provide a foundation for further studies of transcriptional regulation in malaria parasites.
PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(2):e1570. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0001570 · 3.23 Impact Factor