Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 410 Views May 5, 2023

During infection, complement plays a critical role in inflammation, opsonisation, and destruction of microorganisms. This presents a challenge for pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus to overcome when invading the host. Our current knowledge on the mechanisms that evolved to counteract and disable this system is limited by the molecular tools available. Present techniques utilise labelled complement-specific antibodies to detect deposition upon the bacterial surface, a method not compatible with pathogens such as S. aureus, which are equipped with immunoglobulin-binding proteins, Protein A and Sbi. This protocol uses a novel antibody-independent probe, derived from the C3 binding domain of staphylococcal protein Sbi, in combination with flow cytometry, to quantify complement deposition. Sbi-IV is biotinylated, and deposition is quantified with fluorophore-labelled streptavidin. This novel method allows observation of wild-type cells without the need to disrupt key immune modulating proteins, presenting the opportunity to analyse the complement evasion mechanism used by clinical isolates. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol for the expression and purification of Sbi-IV protein, quantification and biotinylation of the probe, and finally, optimisation of flow cytometry to detect complement deposition using normal human serum (NHS) and both Lactococcus lactis and S. aureus.

0 Q&A 1849 Views Oct 5, 2021

The complement system is a central component of innate immunity, responsible for recognition and killing of bacteria by tagging invaders through opsonisation, thereby promoting phagocytosis, and by direct lysis. Complement activity is routinely measured using functional assays that utilise erythrocytes as targets. The classical pathway haemolytic assay (CH50) with antibody sensitised sheep erythrocytes as target is used worldwide in clinical and research laboratories to measure complement activity in human and rodent sera. While there are no particular limitations in the human assay, measuring complement in mouse serum is more difficult and usually requires large amounts of serum, which is challenging to collect in experiments. In particular, it is challenging to measure the activities of individual mouse complement proteins. To overcome this hurdle, we have developed protocols that employ human sera depleted of single complement proteins as the source of the other complement proteins and test mouse serum to restore the relevant component. This simple haemolytic assay is a useful tool for confirming natural or engineered complement deficiencies and complement dysregulation in mouse models.

0 Q&A 3222 Views Feb 20, 2021

Initiation of the complement system results in the formation of a multiprotein pore termed the membrane attack complex (MAC, C5b-C9). MAC pores accumulate on a cell surface and can result in cell lysis. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a single monolayer of pigmented epithelial cells located at the posterior poll of the eye that forms the outer blood retinal barrier. RPE cells are highly polarized with apical microvilli and basolateral contact with Bruch’s membrane. In order to obtain biologically relevant polarized RPE cultures in vitro, RPE cells are seeded onto the apical side of a transwell filter and cultured for 4 weeks in low serum media. MAC formation on RPE cells has been reported to be sub-lytic. MAC formation can be achieved in vitro by introduction of normal human serum (NHS) to media following serum starvation for 24 h. NHS contains all serum complement proteins required to initiate complement activation and MAC formation. We combined in vitro RPE polarization and complement activation to visualize MAC formation in vitro utilizing confocal microscopy allowing for high resolution MAC imaging.

0 Q&A 3939 Views Apr 20, 2020
Influenza infection models in mice are widely used to study flu-mediated immune responses and pathology. However, most laboratory mice are housed at 20 °C and 50% relative humidity (RH). To better recapitulate influenza epidemics and immune responses during winter seasons, mice were housed at 20 °C under different humidity conditions, 10-20% or 50% RH. Here, we describe a protocol for using aerosolized droplets to infect mice with influenza under different environmental conditions. Using this method enables influenza infection studies performed under more physiologically relevant conditions which better mimics human viral exposure.
0 Q&A 3154 Views Apr 20, 2020
Asthma is a global problem that affects millions of individuals. An increased risk of respiratory viral and bacterial infections is one of the complications of asthma. We recently reported that mice with ovalbumin-induced allergic airway disease (AAD) are protected against influenza-Streptococcus pneumoniae co-infection. Here, we describe in detail a protocol on how to induce AAD and influenza-S. pneumoniae co-infection in mice and to evaluate the specific roles of asthma on immunity to viral and bacterial pathogens in the hope of translating findings to benefit asthmatic individuals.
2 Q&A 5197 Views Dec 20, 2018
Complement pathways function to identify and remove pathogens and infected cells. There are three complement pathways: the classical, lectin and alternative pathway (AP). While all pathways are activated following pathogen stimuli, the AP is constitutively active and tightly controlled by activators (e.g., Factor B, Factor D) and negative regulators (e.g., Factor H). Complement activity can be measured by well-established methods that are often used in a diagnostic setting to determine the CH50 (50% complement hemolytic activity) or AP50, specifically to measure AP activity. The protocol here has adapted the traditional AP50 method designed to measure AP activity in human sera, to measure the positive or negative AP regulatory activity within a given test sample. The assay relies on the ability of AP components in human serum to lyse rabbit erythrocytes under in vitro conditions specific for the AP with subsequent release of hemoglobin that is quantitated by measurement of optical density. Our method has added test substances, such as cell culture media with defined changes in individual complement components and determined the ability to either promote or inhibit AP activity in vitro. Thus, this protocol reflects the overall functional ability of a sample to effect AP activity and can be used in the research laboratory to determine AP regulatory activity in a complex biological sample, or to test the ability of drugs or novel biomolecules to regulate AP activity.
0 Q&A 11547 Views Jan 20, 2017
The binding and internalization of adeno-associated virus (AAV) is an important determinant of viral infectivity and tropism. The ability to dissect these two tightly connected cellular processes would allow better understanding and provide insight on virus entry and trafficking. In the following protocol, we describe a quantitative PCR (qPCR) based method to determine the amount of vector bound to the cell surface and the amount of subsequent virus internalization based on viral genome quantification. This protocol is optimized for studying AAV. Nevertheless, it can serve as a backbone for studying other viruses with careful modification.
0 Q&A 8288 Views Dec 5, 2015
Many therapeutic viruses, such as oncolytic viruses, vaccines, or gene therapy vectors, may be administered by the intravenous route to maximize their delivery to target tissues. Blood components, such as antibody, complement and blood cells (such as neutrophils, monocytes, T cells, B cells or platelets) may result in viral neutralization and therefore reduce the therapeutic efficacy. This protocol will describe an in vitro assay by which to test the interaction of viruses with blood components. The effect of various factors can be isolated through fractionation. While whole blood can offer the most physiologically relevant snapshot, plasma can investigate the effects of antibody in concert with complement, and heat inactivated plasma will interrogate the effect of antibody alone.

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