[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The capA gene (FTT0807) from Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis SCHU S4 encodes a 44.4 kDa integral membrane protein composed of 403 amino acid residues that is part of an apparent operon that encodes at least two other membrane proteins, CapB, and CapC, which together play a critical role in the virulence and pathogenesis of this bacterium. The capA gene was overexpressed in Escherichia coli as a C-terminal His6-tagged fusion with a folding reporter green fluorescent protein (frGFP). Purification procedures using several detergents were developed for the fluorescing and membrane-bound product, yielding approximately 30 mg of pure protein per liter of bacterial culture. Dynamic light scattering indicated that CapA-frGFP was highly monodisperse, with a size that was dependent upon both the concentration and choice of detergent. Circular dichroism showed that CapA-frGFP was stable over the range of 3 to 9 for the pH, with approximately half of the protein having well-defined α-helical and β-sheet secondary structure. The addition of either sodium chloride or calcium chloride at concentrations producing ionic strengths above 0.1M resulted in a small increase of the α-helical content and corresponding decrease in the random coil content. Secondary structure predictions based on the analysis of the sequence indicate that the CapA membrane protein has two transmembrane helices with a substantial hydrophilic domain. The hydrophillic domain is predicted to contain a long disordered region of 50 to 60 residues, suggesting that the increase of alpha helical content at high ionic strength could arise due to electrostatic interactions involving the disordered region. CapA is shown to be an inner membrane protein and predicted to play a key cellular role in the assembly of polysaccharides.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Burkholderia are highly evolved Gram-negative bacteria that primarily infect solipeds but are transmitted to humans by ingestion and cutaneous or aerosol exposures. Heightened concern over human infections of Burkholderia mallei and the very closely related species B. pseudomallei is due to the pathogens' proven effectiveness as bioweapons, and to the increased potential for natural opportunistic infections in the growing diabetic and immuno-compromised populations. These Burkholderia species are nearly impervious to antibiotic treatments and no vaccine exists. In this study, the genome of the highly virulent B. mallei ATCC23344 strain was examined by expression library immunization for gene-encoded protective antigens. This protocol for genomic-scale functional screening was customized to accommodate the unusually large complexity of Burkholderia, and yielded 12 new putative vaccine candidates. Five of the candidates were individually tested as protein immunogens and three were found to confer significant partial protection against a lethal pulmonary infection in a murine model of disease. Determinations of peripheral blood cytokine and chemokine profiles following individual protein immunizations show that interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-4 are elicited by the three confirmed candidates, but unexpectedly interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α are not. We suggest that these pathogen components, discovered using genetic immunization and confirmed in a conventional protein format, will be useful toward the development of a safe and effective glanders vaccine.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Frontiers in Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To meet the growing demand for synthetic genes more robust, scalable and inexpensive gene assembly technologies must be developed. Here, we present a protocol for high-quality gene assembly directly from low-cost marginal-quality microarray-synthesized oligonucleotides. Significantly, we eliminated the time- and money-consuming oligonucleotide purification steps through the use of hybridization-based selection embedded in the assembly process. The protocol was tested on mixtures of up to 2000 oligonucleotides eluted directly from microarrays obtained from three different chip manufacturers. These mixtures containing <5% perfect oligos, and were used directly for assembly of 27 test genes of different sizes. Gene quality was assessed by sequencing, and their activity was tested in coupled in vitro transcription/translation reactions. Genes assembled from the microarray-eluted material using the new protocol matched the quality of the genes assembled from >95% pure column-synthesized oligonucleotides by the standard protocol. Both averaged only 2.7 errors/kb, and genes assembled from microarray-eluted material without clonal selection produced only 30% less protein than sequence-confirmed clones. This report represents the first demonstration of cost-efficient gene assembly from microarray-synthesized oligonucleotides. The overall cost of assembly by this method approaches 5¢ per base, making gene synthesis more affordable than traditional cloning.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Nucleic Acids Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new method for biolistic delivery of nucleic acids using a combination of cationic micro- and nanoparticles is reported. The new method is simpler to perform than the conventional calcium/spermidine-based formulations and shows 11-fold improved nucleic acid binding capacity and dose-dependent performance both for in vitro and in vivo applications relative to either the conventional preparation or our recently reported direct cationic microparticle method. These features may enable higher throughput gene delivery and genetic immunization programs and open new venues for the biolistic delivery method.