Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 555 Views Jan 20, 2023

Genome-wide CRISPR-based screening is a powerful tool in forward genetics, enabling biologic discovery by linking a desired phenotype to a specific genetic perturbation. However, hits from a genome-wide screen require individual validation to reproduce and accurately quantify their effects outside of a pooled experiment. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol to rapidly assess the effects of individual sgRNAs from CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) and CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) systems. All steps, including cloning, lentivirus generation, cell transduction, and phenotypic readout, can be performed entirely in 96-well plates. The system is highly flexible in both cell type and selection system, requiring only that the phenotype(s) of interest be read out via flow cytometry. We expect that this protocol will provide researchers with a rapid way to sift through potential screening hits, and prioritize them for deeper analysis in more complex in vitro or even in vivo systems.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 217 Views Dec 20, 2022

Periodontal disease is a chronic multifactorial disease triggered by a complex of bacterial species. These interact with host tissues to cause the release of a broad array of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and tissue remodelers, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which lead to the destruction of periodontal tissues. Patients with severe forms of periodontitis are left with a persistent pro-inflammatory transcriptional profile throughout the periodontium, even after clinical intervention, leading to the destruction of teeth-supporting tissues. The oral spirochete, Treponema denticola , is consistently found at significantly elevated levels at sites with advanced periodontal disease. Of all T. denticola virulence factors that have been described, its chymotrypsin-like protease complex, also called dentilisin, has demonstrated a multitude of cytopathic effects consistent with periodontal disease pathogenesis, including alterations in cellular adhesion activity, degradation of various endogenous extracellular matrix–substrates, degradation of host chemokines and cytokines, and ectopic activation of host MMPs. Thus, the following model of T. denticola –human periodontal ligament cell interactions may provide new knowledge about the mechanisms that drive the chronicity of periodontal disease at the protein, transcriptional, and epigenetic levels, which could afford new putative therapeutic targets.

0 Q&A 282 Views Dec 20, 2022

Atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by thickening of the arteries due to lipid deposition, is the major contributor to and hallmark of cardiovascular disease. Although great progress has been made in lowering the lipid plaques in patients, the conventional therapies fail to address the needs of those that are intolerant or non-responsive to the treatment. Therefore, additional novel therapeutic approaches are warranted. We have previously shown that increasing the cellular amounts of microRNA-30c (miR-30c) with the aid of viral vectors or liposomes can successfully reduce plasma cholesterol and atherosclerosis in mice. To avoid the use of viruses and liposomes, we have developed new methods to synthesize novel miR-30c analogs with increasing potency and efficacy, including 2’-O-methyl (2’OMe), 2’-fluoro (2’F), pseudouridine (ᴪ), phosphorothioate (PS), and N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc). The discovery of these modifications has profoundly impacted the modern RNA therapeutics, as evidenced by their increased nuclease stability and reduction in immune responses. We show that modifications on the passenger strand of miR-30c not only stabilize the duplex but also aid in a more readily uptake by the cells without the aid of viral vectors or lipid emulsions. After uptake, the analogs with PS linkages and GalNAc-modified ribonucleotides significantly reduce the secretion of apolipoprotein B (ApoB) without affecting apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) in human hepatoma Huh-7 cells. We envision an enormous potential for these modified miR-30c analogs in therapeutic intervention for treating cardiovascular diseases.

0 Q&A 398 Views Dec 5, 2022

Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a significant complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In order to develop new therapeutic approaches, there is a need to recapitulate GvHD effects in pre-clinical, in vivo systems, such as mouse and humanized mouse models. In humanized mouse models of GvHD, mice are reconstituted with human immune cells, which become activated by xenogeneic (xeno) stimuli, causing a multi-system disorder known as xenoGvHD. Testing the ability of new therapies to prevent or delay the development of xenoGvHD is often used as pre-clinical, proof-of-concept data, creating the need for standardized methodology to induce, monitor, and report xenoGvHD. Here, we describe detailed methods for how to induce xenoGvHD by injecting human peripheral blood mononuclear cells into immunodeficient NOD SCID gamma mice. We provide comprehensive details on methods for human T cell preparation and injection, mouse monitoring, data collection, interpretation, and reporting. Additionally, we provide an example of the potential utility of the xenoGvHD model to assess the biological activity of a regulatory T-cell therapy. Use of this protocol will allow better standardization of this model and comparison of datasets across different studies.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 627 Views Nov 5, 2022

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and pulmonary hypertension associated with BPD (BPD-PH) are of multifactorial origin and share common risk factors. Most murine models of BPD expose newborn pups to only one of these risk factors—more commonly postnatal hyperoxia—thereby mimicking the vital increased fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) that preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units often require. To improve representation of the multifactorial origins of BPD and BPD-PH, we established a double hit model, combining antenatal systemic inflammation followed by postnatal hyperoxia. On embryonic day 14, pups are exposed to systemic maternal inflammation via a single intraperitoneal injection of 150 µg/kg of lipopolysaccharide to the dam. Within 24 h after birth, pups and dams are randomized and exposed to gas with either an FiO2 of 0.21 (room air) or 0.65 (hyperoxia 65%). In our BPD and BPD-PH double hit model, we can obtain multiple readouts from individual pups that include echocardiography, lung histology and immunohistochemistry, ex vivo X-ray micro computed tomography, and pulmonary and plasmatic immunity by RNA, protein, or flow cytometry.

Graphical abstract:

Figure 1. Murine double hit model of cardiopulmonary disease.
On embryonic day (E)14, pups are exposed to systemic maternal inflammation via a single intraperitoneal injection of 150 µg/kg lipopolysaccharide to the dam. Within 24 h after birth, pups and dams are randomized to be exposed to gas with either a fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) of 0.21 (air; 21% O2) or 0.65 (hyperoxia; 65% O2) for a maximum of 28 days. According to the murine stage of lung development (Schittny, 2017), experimental endpoints include postnatal day (D)3, D5, D14, D28, and D60.

1 Q&A 1084 Views Aug 20, 2022

Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is a complex glycoprotein found in plasma, composed of disulfide-bond-linked multimers with apparent molecular weights between 500 kDa and 20,000 kDa. After release of VWF from storage granules, it is cleaved in flowing blood by the specific metalloproteinase ADAMTS13, resulting in a highly characteristic cleavage pattern and structure. As the structure of VWF multimers determines diagnosis of von Willebrand disease, which has different sub-types with different multimer- and cleavage patterns, VWF analysis is performed using low-resolution horizontal SDS-agarose gel electrophoresis. However, almost every laboratory uses a different protocol, and all experimental details are rarely, if at all, described. Therefore, the results from similar methods may be substantially different. Here, we present a detailed description of a validated VWF multimer method that we have developed. It has been successfully used for over more than 20 years in quality control of recombinant and plasma-derived VWF drug products, and in preclinical and clinical studies with VWF drug candidates. As most of the published methods, it enables visualization of VWF multimers separated by electrophoresis by immunostaining with a polyclonal anti-human VWF antibody followed by a secondary antibody coupled to alkaline phosphatase. VWF appears as a series of regularly spaced bands on the low and middle molecular weight range of the gel, with an unresolved zone in the high molecular weight (HMW) range, where ultra-large multimers are found. An example is shown below. This low-resolution agarose gel electrophoresis allows the determination of the number of VWF multimers with high reproducibility.

Graphical abstract:

Example of electrophoretic analysis of multimer structure of four batches of a recombinant VWF drug substance.

0 Q&A 1558 Views May 20, 2022

The majority of biopsies in both basic research and translational cancer studies are preserved in the format of archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples. Profiling histone modifications in archived FFPE tissues is critically important to understand gene regulation in human disease. The required input for current genome-wide histone modification profiling studies from FFPE samples is either 10–20 tissue sections or whole tissue blocks, which prevents better resolved analyses. Nevertheless, it is desirable to consume a minimal amount of FFPE tissue sections in the analysis as clinical tissue of interest are limited. Here, we present FFPE tissue with antibody-guided chromatin tagmentation with sequencing (FACT-seq), highly sensitive method to efficiently profile histone modifications in FFPE tissue by combining a novel fusion protein of hyperactive Tn5 transposase and protein A (T7-pA-Tn5) transposition and T7 in vitro transcription. FACT-seq generates high-quality chromatin profiles from different histone modifications with low number of FFPE nuclei. We showed a very small piece of FFPE tissue section containing ~4000 nuclei is sufficient to decode H3K27ac modifications with FACT-seq. In archived FFPE human colorectal and human glioblastoma cancer tissue, H3K27ac FACT-seq revealed disease specific super enhancers. In summary, FACT-seq allows researchers to decode histone modifications like H3K27ac and H3K27me3 in archival FFPE tissues with high sensitivity, thus allowing us to understand epigenetic regulation.

Graphical abstract:

(i) FFPE tissue section; (ii) Isolated nuclei; (iii) Primary antibody, secondary antibody and T7-pA-Tn5 bind to targets; (iv) DNA purification; (v) In vitro transcription and sequencing library preparation; (vi) Sequencing

0 Q&A 1671 Views May 20, 2022

Human adipose tissue-resident microvascular endothelial cells are not only garnering attention for their emergent role in the pathogenesis of obesity-related metabolic disorders, but are also of considerable interest for vascular tissue engineering due, in part, to the abundant, accessible, and uniquely dispensable nature of the tissue. Here, we delineate a protocol for the acquisition of microvascular endothelial cells from human fat. A cheaper, smaller, and simpler alternative to fluorescence-assisted cell sorting for the immunoselection of cells, our protocol adapts magnet-assisted cell sorting for the isolation of endothelial cells from enzymatically digested adipose tissue and the subsequent enrichment of their primary cultures. Strategies are employed to mitigate the non-specific uptake of immunomagnetic microparticles, enabling the reproducible acquisition of human adipose tissue-resident microvascular endothelial cells with purities ≥98%. They exhibit morphological, molecular, and functional hallmarks of endothelium, yet retain a unique proteomic signature when compared with endothelial cells derived from different vascular beds. Their cultures can be expanded for >10 population doublings and can be maintained at confluence for at least 28 days without being overgrown by residual stromal cells from the cell sorting procedure. The isolation of human adipose tissue-resident microvascular endothelial cells can be completed within 6 hours and their enrichment within 2 hours, following approximately 7 days in culture.

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0 Q&A 1074 Views Apr 5, 2022

Oral administration of colon-targeting nanoformulations holds many advantages over the systemic delivery of free drugs, or traditional nontargeting formulations in the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC). Currently, the most conventional method for constructing colon-targeting drug delivery systems (DDS) is by integrating the biocompatible materials poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and polylactic acid (PLA) into a copolymer. This PLGA/PLA-polyethylene glycol-folic acid (PEG-FA) copolymeric nanoformulation effectively delivers the drugs for uptake by various human colon cancer cells (e.g., HT-29 and HCT-116) and mouse colon cancer cells (CT-26). There is, however, a distinct lack of comprehensive protocols for the construction of such copolymer. This protocol details an easy-to-follow single-step method for the construction of a colon-targeting PLGA/PLA-PEG-FA nanoformulation, which encapsulates a fluorescent dye and demonstrates the visualization of its cell uptake in vitro.

0 Q&A 1184 Views Apr 5, 2022

Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) are of particular importance because they can prevent binding of the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein (S protein) to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor present at the surface of human cells, preventing virus entry into the host cells. The gold standard method for detection of NAbs is the plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). Based on the measurement of cell lysis due to viral infection, this test is able to detect antibodies that prevent cell infection (Muruato et al., 2020; Lau et al., 2021). This technique requires the use of live pathogens, i.e., SARS-CoV-2 in this case, and must be done in a biosafety level 3 (BL3) laboratory. In addition, it requires expensive installations, skillful and meticulous staff, and a high workload, which prevents its wide implementation even in research laboratories. A SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus will express the S protein responsible for cell entrance, but will not express the pathogenic genetic material of the virus, making them less dangerous for laboratory staff and the environment.

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