[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gender, genetic makeup, and prior experience interact to determine physiological responses to an external perceived stressor. Here, we investigated the contribution of both genetic variants and promoter methylation of the NR3C1 (glucocorticoid receptor) gene to the cardiovascular and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to the socially evaluated cold pressor test (seCPT).
Two hundred thirty-two healthy participants were recruited and underwent the experiment. They were randomly assigned to either the seCPT group (cold water) or a control group (warm water). The seCPT group had a clear stress reaction; salivary cortisol levels and peak systolic and diastolic blood pressure all increased significantly compared to the control group. GR genotype (TthIIII, NR3C1-I, 1H, E22E, R23K, BclI and 9beta) and methylation data were obtained from 218 participants. Haplotypes were built from the GR genotypes, and haplotype 2 (minor allele of BclI) carriers had a higher cortisol response to the seCPT in comparison to non-carriers (20.77 ± 13.22; 14.99 ± 8.42; p = 0.034), as well as independently of the experimental manipulation, higher baseline heart rate (72.44 ± 10.99; 68.74 ± 9.79; p = 0.022) and blood pressure (115.81 ± 10.47; 111.61 ± 10.74; p = 0.048). Average methylation levels throughout promoter 1F and 1H were low (2.76 and 1.69 %, respectively), but there was a strong correlation between individual CpGs and the distance separating them (Pearson’s correlation r = 0.725, p = 3.03 × 10 −26 ). Higher promoter-wide methylation levels were associated with decreased baseline blood pressure, and when incorporated into a linear mixed effect model significantly predicted lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure evolution over time in response to the experimental manipulation. The underlying genotype significantly predicted methylation levels; particularly, the homozygous BclI minor allele was associated with higher methylation in promoter 1H (p = 0.042).
This is one of the first studies linking epigenetic modifications of the GR promoter, receptor genotype and physiological measures of the stress response. At baseline, there were clear genetic and epigenetic effects on blood pressure. The seCPT induced a strong cardiovascular and HPA axis response, and both systems were affected by the functional genetic variants, although methylation also predicted blood pressure reactivity. The return to baseline was predominantly influenced by the genomic sequence. Overall, the physiological response to the seCPT is controlled by an exquisite mix of genetic and epigenetic factors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Europe, Ixodes ricinus ticks are the most important vectors of diseases threatening humans, livestock, wildlife and companion animals. Nevertheless, genomic sequence information is missing and functional annotation of transcripts and proteins is limited. This lack of information is restricting studies of the vector and its interactions with pathogens and hosts. Here we present and integrate the first analysis of the I. ricinus genome with the transcriptome and proteome of the unfed I. ricinus midgut.
Whole genome sequencing was performed on I. ricinus ticks and the sequences were de novo assembled. In parallel, I. ricinus ticks were dissected and the midgut transcriptome sequenced. Both datasets were integrated by transcript discovery analysis to identify putative genes and genome contigs were screened for homology. An alignment-based and a motif-search-based approach were combined for the annotation of the midgut transcriptome. Additionally, midgut proteins were identified and annotated by mass spectrometry with public databases and the in-house built transcriptome database as references and results were cross-validated.
The de novo assembly of 1 billion DNA sequences to a reference genome of 393 Mb length provides an unprecedented insight into the I. ricinus genome. A homology search revealed sequences in the assembled genome contigs homologous to 89 % of the I. scapularis genome scaffolds indicating coverage of most genome regions. We identified moreover 6,415 putative genes. More than 10,000 transcripts from naïve midgut were annotated with respect of predicted function and/or cellular localization. By combining an alignment-based with a motif-search-based annotation approach, we doubled the number of annotations throughout all functional categories. In addition, 574 gel spots were significantly identified by mass spectrometry (p < 0.05) and 285 distinct proteins expressed in the naïve midgut were annotated functionally and/or for cellular localization. Our systems approach reveals a midgut metabolism of the unfed tick that is prepared to sense and process an anticipated blood meal.
This multiple-omics study vastly extends the publicly available DNA and RNA databases for I. ricinus, paving the way for further in-depth analysis of the most important European disease vector and its interactions with pathogens and hosts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The variability and complexity of the transcription initiation process was examined by adapting RNA ligase-mediated rapid
amplification of 5′ cDNA ends (5′-RACE) to Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). We oligo-labelled 5′-m7G-capped mRNA from two genes, the simple mono-exonic Beta-2-Adrenoceptor (ADRB2R) and the complex multi-exonic Glucocorticoid Receptor (GR, NR3C1), and detected a variability in TSS location that has received little attention up to now. Transcription was not initiated
at a fixed TSS, but from loci of 4 to 10 adjacent nucleotides. Individual TSSs had frequencies from <0.001% to 38.5% of the
total gene-specific 5′ m7G-capped transcripts. ADRB2R used a single locus consisting of 4 adjacent TSSs. Unstimulated, the GR used a total of 358 TSSs distributed throughout 38 loci, that were principally in the 5′ UTRs and were spliced using established
donor and acceptor sites. Complete demethylation of the epigenetically sensitive GR promoter with 5-azacytidine induced one new locus and 127 TSSs, 12 of which were unique. We induced GR transcription with dexamethasone and Interferon-γ, adding one new locus and 185 additional TSSs distributed throughout the
promoter region. In-vitro the TSS microvariability regulated mRNA translation efficiency and the relative abundance of the different GR N-terminal protein isoform levels.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Nucleic Acids Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2012, mumps was introduced from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Vojvodina, causing an outbreak with 335 reported cases. The present manuscript analyses the epidemiological and laboratory characteristics of this outbreak, identifies its main causes and suggests potential future preventive measures. Sera of 133 patients were tested for mumps-specific antibodies by ELISA and 15 nose/throat swabs were investigated for mumps virus RNA by RT-PCR. IgG antibodies were found in 127 patients (95.5%). Mumps infection was laboratory-confirmed in 53 patients, including 44 IgM and 9 PCR positive cases. All other 282 cases were classified as epidemiologically-confirmed. More than half of the patients (n = 181, 54%) were 20-29 years old, followed by the 15-19 age bracket (n = 95, 28.4%). Twice as many males as females were affected (67% versus 33%). Disease complications were reported in 13 cases (3.9%), including 9 patients with orchitis and 4 with pancreatitis. According to medical records or anamnestic data, 190 patients (56.7%) were immunized with two doses and 35 (10.4%) with one dose of mumps-containing vaccine. The Serbian sequences corresponded to a minor genotype G variant detected during the 2011/2012 mumps outbreak in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vaccine failures, the initial one-dose immunization policy and a vaccine shortage between 1999 and 2002 contributed to the outbreak. Additional vaccination opportunities should be offered to young adults during transition periods in their life trajectories.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cuba is an HBsAg low-prevalence country with a high coverage of anti-hepatitis B vaccine. Its population is essentially the result of the population mix of Spanish descendants and former African slaves. Information about genetic characteristics of hepatitis B virus (HBV) strains circulating in the country is scarce. The HBV genotypes/subgenotypes, serotypes, mixed infections, and S gene mutations of 172 Cuban HBsAg and HBV-DNA positive patients were determined by direct sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. Phylogenetic analysis of HBV S gene sequences showed a predominance of genotype A (92.4%), subgenotype A2 (84.9%) and A1 (7.6%). Genotype D (7.0%) and subgenotype C1 (0.6%) were also detected but typical (sub)genotypes of contemporary West-Africa (E, A3) were conspicuously absent. All genotype A, D, and C strains exhibited sequence characteristics of the adw2, ayw2, and adrq serotypes, respectively. Thirty-three (19.1%) patients showed single, double, or multiple point mutations inside the Major Hydrophilic domain associated with vaccine escape; eighteen (10.5%) patients had mutations in the T-cell epitope (amino acids 28-51), and there were another 111 point mutations downstream of the S gene. One patient had an HBV A1/A2 mixed infection. This first genetic study of Cuban HBV viruses revealed only strains that were interspersed with strains from particularly Europe, America, and Asia. The absence of genotype E supports previous hypotheses about an only recent introduction of this genotype into the general population in Africa. The presence of well-known vaccine escape (3.5%) and viral resistance mutants (2.9%) warrants strain surveillance to guide vaccination and treatment strategies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
During late 2012 and early 2013 several outbreaks of diphtheria were notified in the North of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The aim of this study was to determine whether the re-emergence of this vaccine-preventable disease was due to insufficient vaccination coverage or reduction of vaccine effectiveness within the affected regions.
A serosurvey was conducted in the Huaphan Province on a cluster sampling of 132 children aged 12-59 months. Serum samples, socio-demographic data, nutritional status and vaccination history were collected when available. Anti-diphtheria and anti-tetanus IgG antibody levels were measured by ELISA.
Overall, 63.6% of participants had detectable diphtheria antibodies and 71.2% tetanus antibodies. Factors independently associated with non-vaccination against diphtheria were the distance from the health centre (OR: 6.35 [95% CI: 1.4-28.8], p = 0.01), the Lao Theung ethnicity (OR: 12.2 [95% CI:1,74-85, 4], p = 0.01) and the lack of advice on vaccination given at birth (OR: 9.8 [95% CI: 1.5-63.8], (p = 0.01) while the level of maternal edu-cation was a protective factor (OR: 0.08 [95% CI: 0.008-0.81], p = 0.03). Most respondents claimed financial difficulties as the main reason for non-vaccination. Out of 55 children whose vaccination certificates stated that they were given all 3 doses of diphtheria-containing vaccine, 83.6% had diphtheria antibodies and 92.7% had tetanus antibodies. Furthermore, despite a high prevalence of stunted and underweight children (53% and 25.8%, respectively), the low levels of anti-diphtheria antibodies were not correlated to the nutritional status.
Our data highlight a significant deficit in both the vaccination coverage and diphtheria vaccine effectiveness within the Huaphan Province. Technical deficiencies in the methods of storage and distribution of vaccines as well as unreliability of vaccination cards are discussed. Several hypotheses are advanced to explain such a decline in immunity against diphtheria and recommendations are provided to prevent future outbreaks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and aims:
Healthcare workers (HCW) have an increased risk of exposure to infectious diseases and are a potential source of infections for their patients. The Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has no national policy regarding HCW vaccinations and routine vaccination coverage is low within the general population. This cross-sectional serostudy determines the level of exposure and risk of infection in Lao HCW against 6 vaccine preventable diseases and hepatitis C.
1128 HCW were recruited from 3 central, 2 provincial and 8 district hospitals. Sera were tested by ELISA for the presence of antibodies and antigens to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, measles, rubella, varicella zoster, tetanus and diphtheria.
Only 53.1% of the HCW had protective anti-hepatitis B surface antigen antibodies (anti-HBs) with 48.8% having anti-hepatitis B core antibodies (anti-HBc), indicating previous exposure and 8.0% were hepatitis B surface antigen carriers. 3.9% were hepatitis C seropositive. Measles and rubella antibodies were detected in 95.4% and 86.2% of the HCW, with 11.9% of females being unprotected against rubella. Antibodies against varicella zoster, tetanus and diphtheria were detected in 95%, 78.8% and 55.3%, respectively. Seroprevalence varied according to age, gender and number of children.
An unacceptably high proportion of Lao HCW remain susceptible to infection with hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus and rubella. Furthermore, a high number of healthcare workers are chronically infected with hepatitis B and C viruses. These data emphasize the need for a robust HCW vaccination policy in addition to increased awareness within this subpopulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The worst Ebola virus (EV) outbreak in history has hit Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea hardest and the trendlines in this crisis are grave, and now represents global public health threat concern. Limited therapeutic and/or prophylactic options which are available for humans suffering from Ebola virus disease (EVD) further complicate situation. Previous studies suggested that the EV glycoprotein (GP) is the main determinant causing structural damage of endothelial cells that triggers the hemorrhagic diathesis, but molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remains elusive. Using the informational spectrum method (ISM), a virtual spectroscopy method for analysis of the protein-protein interactions, the interaction of GP with endothelial extracellular matrix (ECM) was investigated. Presented results of this in silico study suggest that Elastin Microfibril Interface Located Proteins (EMILINs) are involved in interaction between GP and ECM. This finding could contribute to better understanding of EV/endothelium interaction and its role in pathogenesis, prevention and therapy of EVD.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Frontiers in Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and Objective: Early life adverse events may influence susceptibility/resistance to chronic inflammatory diseases later in life by permanently dysregulating brain-controlled immune-regulatory systems. We have investigated the impact of infant-mother separation during early postnatal life on the severity of experimental periodontitis, as well as systemic stress and immune responses, in adulthood.
Material and Methods: Pups of periodontitis resistant Lewis rats were separated from their mothers for 3 h daily during postnatal days 2-14 (termed maternal deprivation; MD), separated for 15 min daily during the same time period (termed handling; HD), or left undisturbed. As adults, their behaviour was tested in a novel stressful situation, and ligature-induced periodontitis applied for 21 days. Two h before sacrifice all rats were exposed to a gram-negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge to induce a robust immune and stress response.
Results: Compared to undisturbed controls, MD rats developed significantly more periodontal bone loss as adults, whereas HD rats showed a tendency to less disease. MD and HD rats exhibited depression-like behaviour in a novel open field test, while MD rats showed higher glucocorticoid receptor (Gr) expression in the hippocampus, and HD rats had altered methylation of genes involved in the expression of hippocampal Gr. LPS provoked a significantly lower increase in circulating levels of the cytokine TGF-1β in MD and HD rats, but there were no significant differences in levels of the stress hormone corticosterone.
Conclusion: Stressful environmental exposures in very early life may alter immune responses in a manner that influences susceptibility/resistance to periodontitis.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · The Open Dentistry Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Besides birds, pigs are another important reservoir of influenza A viruses that can be transmitted to human, as highlighted by the emergence and spread of the pandemic (H1N1) virus (pdm/09) in 2009. Surveillance in pigs is therefore necessary for public health and influenza pandemic preparedness. Nevertheless, there is a serious lack of data on influenza in Africa, especially in swine. We therefore collected serum samples from pigs in Nigeria (2009, 2012) and Cameroon (2011) in which the presence of anti-influenza A neutralizing antibodies was investigated. Our serological survey suggests that, before the 2009 pandemic, only rare swine and human H3N2 or human H1N1 infections occurred in Nigeria in swine. However, in 2011-2012, 27.4% of pigs in Nigeria and 5,6% in Cameroon had antibodies against H1N1 viruses. Higher antibody titers against pdm/09 suggested that pigs were exposed to this or a similar virus, either by multiple introductions or sustained circulation, and that reactivity against American and European swine H1N1 viruses resulted from cross-reaction.
No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Veterinary Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The external environment plays a primordial role in determining gene expression, and protein production, which may in turn define a behavioral or physiological phenotype. This control occurs at both the transcriptional and translational levels and involves a wide range of mechanisms, providing a plethora of opportunities for altering the final level of functional proteins. These mechanisms all share the common feature that they do not alter the underlying genomic sequence, but they act as biological annotations to the genome. In this section we review these mechanisms, and how they are related to health. In particular the role of the three epigenetic mechanisms in controlling the glucocorticoid receptor, as well as the stress phenotype, are reviewed in detail.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite hepatitis B vaccination at birth and at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection continues to be endemic in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). We carried out a cross-sectional serological study in infants, pre-school children, school pupils and pregnant women to determine their burden of disease, risk of infection and vaccination status.
A total of 2471 participants between 9 months and 46 years old were recruited from urban (Vientiane Capital, Luang Prabang), semi-urban (Boulhikhamxai and Savannakhet) and remote rural areas (Huaphan). All sera were tested for anti-HBs and anti-HBc. Sera testing positive for anti-HBc alone were further tested for the presence of HBsAg.
A low prevalence of HBsAg (0.5%) was detected among infants from Vientiane and Luang Prabang, indicating some success of the vaccination policy. However, only 65.6% had protective anti-HBs antibodies, suggesting that vaccination coverage or responses remain sub-optimal, even in these urban populations.
In pre-school children from remote areas in Huaphan, 21.2% were positive for anti-HBc antibodies, and 4.6% were for HBsAg positive, showing that a significant proportion of children in these rural regions have early exposure to HBV. In pre-school children with 3 documented HBV vaccinations, only 17.0% (15/55) were serologically protected.
Among school-children from semi-urban regions of Luang Prabang, Boulhikhamxai and Savannakhet provinces, those below the age of 9 who were born after HBV vaccine introduction had anti-HBc and HBsAg prevalence of 11.7% and 4.1%, respectively. The prevalence increased to 19.4% and 7.8% of 10–14 year olds and to 27% and 10.2% of 15–19 year olds.
Pregnant women from Luang Prabang and Vientiane had very high anti-HBc and HBsAg prevalence (49.5% and 8.2%), indicating high exposure and risk of onward vertical transmission to the unborn infant.
Overall, the results demonstrate a dramatic deficiency in vaccination coverage and vaccine responses and/or documentation within the regions of Lao PDR studied, which included urbanized areas with better health care access. Timely and effective hepatitis B vaccination coverage is needed in Lao PDR.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · BMC Infectious Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GR transcripts display a remarkable heterogeneity in their 5' untranslated regions (5'UTRs). These variable 5'UTRs are encoded by a series of alternative 1st exons, and together with their associated promoters they maintain tissue-specific GR expression levels. In this study we over-expressed GR transcripts containing individual 1st exons, and assessed their effect on RNA stability, 3'-splicing, translation initiation and protein isoform production. We showed that these alternative 5'UTRs influence the predicted mRNA structure and free energy, and were associated with differential levels of functional spliced mRNA. However, the 5'UTR had little influence on the relative levels of the two principal 3' splice transcripts, GR-α and -β. The overall mRNA length, the free energy of the transcript and the translational efficiency directly influenced total GR levels. However, individual N-terminal protein isoform levels appeared to depend upon elements within the 5'UTR. Membrane-GR specific labelling suggested that the mGR originates from transcripts containing exon 1D and possibly 1H, although the specific trafficking sequences or structures within these transcripts remain unidentified. The role of the alternative first exons and their associated 5'UTRs has now been expanded to translational control, influencing total GR levels, individual constituent isoform levels, as well as trafficking to the cell surface.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quantitative gel-based proteomics (2D DIGE coupled to MALDI-TOF/TOF MS) has been used to investigate the effects of different measles virus (MV) strains on the host cell proteome. A549/hSLAM cells were infected either with wild type MV strains, an attenuated vaccine or a multiple passaged Vero cell adapted strain. By including interferon beta treatment as a control it was possible to distinguish between the classical antiviral response and changes induced specifically by the different strains. Of 38 differentially expressed proteins in total (p-value ≤ 0.05, fold change ≥ 2), 18 proteins were uniquely modulated following MV infection with up to 9 proteins specific per individual strain. Interestingly, wt strains displayed distinct protein patterns particularly during the late phase of infection. Proteins were grouped into cytoskeleton, metabolism, transcription/translation, immune response and mitochondrial proteins. Bioinformatics analysis revealed mostly changes in proteins regulating cell death and apoptosis. Surprisingly, wt strains affected the cytokeratin system much stronger than the vaccine strain. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the MV–host proteome addressing interstrain differences.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Proteomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Epidemiological data about congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) are scarce and rubella vaccine is not yet included in the childhood immunization schedule in Sudan. This study aimed to identify and describe CRS cases among Sudanese infants with congenital eye or heart defects.
Between February and September 2010, paired oral fluid and dried blood spot samples were collected from 98 infants aged up to 12 months. These infants were enrolled during their visits to five hospitals in Khartoum, Sudan. Clinical samples were screened for rubella IgM and for ≥ 6 months old infants also for IgG antibodies by ELISA. The oral fluid of IgM and/or IgG positive patients was tested for rubella RNA by reverse transcriptase PCR.
Our findings revealed that two children (2.0%) were IgM positive and another five children (5.1%) were positive for IgG antibodies. None of the five infants of which enough oral fluid was available for RNA investigation was PCR positive.
This study documented the presence of CRS in Sudan and highlighted the importance of rubella vaccine introduction for preventing future CRS cases in the country.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BMC Infectious Diseases