Biological Sciences


Categories

Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 433 Views Jan 5, 2024

Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic protozoan parasite and one of the most successful foodborne pathogens. Upon infection and dissemination, the parasites convert into the persisting, chronic form called bradyzoites, which reside within cysts in muscle and brain tissue. Despite their importance, bradyzoites remain difficult to investigate directly, owing to limited in vitro models. In addition, the need for new drugs targeting the chronic stage, which is underlined by the lack of eradicating treatment options, remains difficult to address since in vitro access to drug-tolerant bradyzoites remains limited. We recently published the use of a human myotube-based bradyzoite cell culture system and demonstrated its applicability to investigate the biology of T. gondii bradyzoites. Encysted parasites can be functionally matured during long-term cultivation in these immortalized cells and possess many in vivo–like features, including pepsin resistance, oral infectivity, and antifolate resistance. In addition, the system is scalable, enabling experimental approaches that rely on large numbers, such as metabolomics. In short, we detail the cultivation of terminally differentiated human myotubes and their subsequent infection with tachyzoites, which then mature to encysted bradyzoites within four weeks at ambient CO2 levels. We also discuss critical aspects of the procedure and suggest improvements.


Key features

• This protocol describes a scalable human myotube-based in vitro system capable of generating encysted bradyzoites featuring in vivo hallmarks.

• Bradyzoite differentiation is facilitated through CO2 depletion but without additional artificial stress factors like alkaline pH.

• Functional maturation occurs over four weeks.


Graphical overview


0 Q&A 542 Views Nov 5, 2023

Campylobacter jejuni, a zoonotic foodborne pathogen, is the worldwide leading cause of acute human bacterial gastroenteritis. Biofilms are a significant reservoir for survival and transmission of this pathogen, contributing to its overall antimicrobial resistance. Natural compounds such as essential oils, phytochemicals, polyphenolic extracts, and D-amino acids have been shown to have the potential to control biofilms formed by bacteria, including Campylobacter spp. This work presents a proposed guideline for assessing and characterizing bacterial biofilm formation in the presence of naturally occurring inhibitory molecules using C. jejuni as a model. The following protocols describe: i) biofilm formation inhibition assay, designed to assess the ability of naturally occurring molecules to inhibit the formation of biofilms; ii) biofilm dispersal assay, to assess the ability of naturally occurring inhibitory molecules to eradicate established biofilms; iii) confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), to evaluate bacterial viability in biofilms after treatment with naturally occurring inhibitory molecules and to study the structured appearance (or architecture) of biofilm before and after treatment.

0 Q&A 529 Views Oct 20, 2023

Strawberries are delicious and nutritious fruits that are widely cultivated and consumed around the world, either fresh or in various products such as jam, juice, and ice cream. Botrytis cinerea is a fungal pathogen that causes gray mold disease on many crops, including strawberries. Disease monitoring is an important aspect for growing commercial crops like strawberry because there is an urgent need to develop effective strategies to control this destructive gray mold disease. In this protocol, we provide an important tool to monitor the gray mold fungal infection progression in different developmental stages of strawberry. There are different types of inoculation assays for B. cinerea on strawberry plants, such as in vitro (in/on a culture medium) or in vivo (in a living plant). In vivo inoculation assays can be performed at early, middle, and late stages of strawberry development. Here, we describe three methods for in vivo inoculation assays of B. cinerea on strawberry plants. For early-stage strawberry plants, we modified the traditional fungal disc inoculation method to apply to fungal infection on strawberry leaves. For middle-stage strawberry plants, we developed the flower infection assay by dropping fungal conidia onto flowers. For late-stage strawberry plants, we tracked the survival rate of strawberry fruits after fungal conidia infection. This protocol has been successfully used in both lab and greenhouse conditions. It can be applied to other flowering plants or non-model species with appropriate modifications.


Key features

• Fungal disc inoculation on early-stage strawberry leaves.

• Fungal conidia inoculation on middle-stage strawberry flowers.

• Disease rating for late-stage strawberry fruits.

• This protocol is applicable to the other flowering plants with appropriate modifications.


Graphical overview



In vivo infection progression assays of gray mold fungus Botrytis cinerea at different developmental stages of strawberry. Created with BioRender.com.

0 Q&A 408 Views Sep 5, 2023

Drug biotransformation by the host microbiome can impact the therapeutic success of treatment. In the context of cancer, drug degradation can take place within the microenvironment of the targeted tumor by intratumor bacteria. In pancreatic cancer, increased chemo-resistance against the frontline chemotherapy gemcitabine is thought to arise from drug degradation by the tumor microbiome. This bacterial–drug interaction highlights the need for developing rapid assays for monitoring bacterial gemcitabine breakdown. While chemical approaches such as high-performance liquid chromatography are suitable for this task, they require specialized equipment and expertise and are limited in throughput. Functional cell-based assays represent an alternate approach for performing this task. We developed a functional assay to monitor the rate of bacterial gemcitabine breakdown using a highly sensitive bacterial reporter strain. Our method relies on standard laboratory equipment and can be implemented at high throughput to monitor drug breakdown by hundreds of strains simultaneously. This functional assay can be readily adapted to monitor degradation of other drugs.


Key features

• Quantification of gemcitabine breakdown by incubating bacteria that degrades the drug and subsequently testing the growth of a reporter strain on filtered supernatant.

• Use of an optimized reporter strain that was genetically engineered to be a non-degrader strain and highly sensitive to gemcitabine.

• A high-throughput assay performed in microplates that can be adjusted for identifying bacteria with a fast or slow gemcitabine degradation rate.

• The assay results can be compared to results from a standard curve with known drug concentrations to quantify degradation rate.


Graphical overview



Protocol overview. (1) Bacteria are incubated with gemcitabine for a set period of time. (2) Samples are removed from co-incubated suspensions and filtered to remove bacteria to halt gemcitabine degradation. (3) A gemcitabine-sensitive reporter strain is then added to the conditioned supernatant and is supplemented with growth media. (4) Growth of the reporter strain is monitored over time. (5) Results from the growth experiments are used to infer the concentration of gemcitabine in the co-culture supernatant and the drug degradation rate.

1 Q&A 804 Views Aug 20, 2023

Yield losses attributed to plant pathogens pose a serious threat to plant productivity and food security. Botrytis cinerea is one of the most devastating plant pathogens, infecting a wide array of plant species; it has also been established as a model organism to study plant–pathogen interactions. In this context, development of different assays to follow the relative success of B. cinerea infections is required. Here, we describe two methods to quantify B. cinerea development in Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes through measurements of lesion development and quantification of fungal genomic DNA in infected tissues. This provides two independent techniques that are useful in assessing the susceptibility or tolerance of different Arabidopsis genotypes to B. cinerea.


Key features

• Protocol for the propagation of the necrotrophic plant pathogen fungus Botrytis cinerea and spore production.

• Two methods of Arabidopsis thaliana infection with the pathogen using droplet and spray inoculation.

• Two readouts, either by measuring lesion size or by the quantification of fungal DNA using quantitative PCR.

• The two methods are applicable across plant species susceptible the B. cinerea.


Graphical overview



A simplified overview of the droplet and spray infection methods used for the determination of B. cinerea growth in different Arabidopsis genotypes

0 Q&A 347 Views Aug 5, 2023

Plants elicit defense responses when exposed to pathogens, which partly contribute to the resistance of plants to Agrobacterium tumefaciens–mediated transformation. Some pathogenic bacteria have sophisticated mechanisms to counteract these defense responses by injecting Type III effectors (T3Es) through the Type III secretion system (T3SS). By engineering A. tumefaciens to express T3SS to deliver T3Es, we suppressed plant defense and enhanced plant genetic transformation. Here, we describe the optimized protocols for mobilization of T3SS-expressing plasmid to engineer A. tumefaciens to deliver proteins through T3SS and fractionation of cultures to study proteins from pellet and supernatants to determine protein secretion from engineered A. tumefaciens.

0 Q&A 325 Views Jul 5, 2023

Candida albicans, a well-known opportunistic pathogen, is a major cause of human fungal infections. Biofilm formation is considered an important pathogenesis factor. Biofilms are less sensitive to antibiotics and immune responses, allowing them to colonize and persist in host niches. Biofilm screening is important in the identification of anti-biofilm drugs. However, developing nations, with limited financial resources, often do not have access to advanced scientific equipment. Here, we describe an in vitro, protocol using common materials and simple equipment to evaluate static microbial biofilms.

0 Q&A 782 Views Jun 5, 2023

Gene deletion is one of the standard approaches in genetics to investigate the roles and functions of target genes. However, the influence of gene deletion on cellular phenotypes is usually analyzed sometime after the gene deletion was introduced. Such lags from gene deletion to phenotype evaluation could select only the fittest fraction of gene-deleted cells and hinder the detection of potentially diverse phenotypic consequences. Therefore, dynamic aspects of gene deletion, such as real-time propagation and compensation of deletion effects on cellular phenotypes, still need to be explored. To resolve this issue, we have recently introduced a new method that combines a photoactivatable Cre recombination system and microfluidic single-cell observation. This method enables us to induce gene deletion at desired timings in single bacterial cells and to monitor their dynamics for prolonged periods. Here, we detail the protocol for estimating the fractions of gene-deleted cells based on a batch-culture assay. The duration of blue light exposure significantly affects the fractions of gene-deleted cells. Therefore, gene-deleted and non-deleted cells can coexist in a cellular population by adjusting the duration of blue light exposure. Single-cell observations under such illumination conditions allow the comparison of temporal dynamics between gene-deleted and non-deleted cells and unravel phenotypic dynamics provoked by gene deletion.

0 Q&A 1451 Views May 20, 2023

Cotton is a significant industrial crop, playing an essential role in the global economy that suffers several setbacks due to biotic and abiotic adversities. Despite such problems, biotechnological advances in cotton are limited because of genetic transformation and regeneration limitations. Here, we present a detailed protocol optimized based on previously published papers, along with our modifications. These involve changes in Agrobacterium concentration, co-cultivation time and temperature, hormones used for regeneration, media manipulation for embryogenic callus production, and efficient rescue of deformed embryos. Further, this protocol has been used in genetic studies on biotic and abiotic stress in cotton. This protocol assures a reproducible stable transgenic cotton development procedure via somatic embryogenesis that can be used by researchers worldwide.

0 Q&A 802 Views Nov 5, 2022

Ubiquitination is a post-translational modification conserved across eukaryotic species. It contributes to a variety of regulatory pathways, including proteasomal degradation, DNA repair, and cellular differentiation. The ubiquitination of substrate proteins typically requires three ubiquitination enzymes: a ubiquitin-activating E1, a ubiquitin-conjugating E2, and an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Cooperation between E2s and E3s is required for substrate ubiquitination, but some ubiquitin-conjugating E2s are also able to catalyze by themselves the formation of free di-ubiquitin, independently or in cooperation with a ubiquitin E2 variant. Here, we describe a method for assessing (i) di-ubiquitin formation by an E1 together with an E2 and an E2 variant, and (ii) the cooperation of an E3 with an E1 and E2 (with or without the E2 variant). Reaction products are assessed using western blotting with one of two antibodies: the first detects all ubiquitin conjugates, while the second specifically recognizes K63-linked ubiquitin. This allows unambiguous identification of ubiquitinated species and assessment of whether K63 linkages are present. We have developed these methods for studying ubiquitination proteins of Leishmania mexicana, specifically the activities of the E2, UBC2, and the ubiquitin E2 variant UEV1, but we anticipate the assays to be applicable to other ubiquitination systems with UBC2/UEV1 orthologues.




We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to allow the storage of cookies on your computer.