Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 652 Views Nov 20, 2022

Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by pathogens belonging to the genus Babesia. In humans, the disease presents as a malaria-like illness and can be fatal in immunocompromised and elderly people. In the past few years, human babesiosis has been a rising concern worldwide. The disease is transmitted through tick bite, blood transfusion, and transplacentally in rare cases, with several species of Babesia causing human infection. Babesia microti, Babesia duncani, and Babesia divergens are of particular interest because of their important health impact and amenability to research inquiries. B. microti, the most commonly reported Babesia pathogen infecting humans, can be propagated in immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice but so far has not been successfully continuously propagated in vitro in human red blood cells (hRBCs). Conversely, B. divergens can be propagated in vitro in hRBCs but lacks a mouse model to study its virulence. Recent studies have highlighted the uniqueness of B. duncani as an ideal model organism to study intraerythrocytic parasitism in vitro and in vivo. An optimized B. duncani in culture and in mouse (ICIM) model has recently been described, combining long-term continuous in vitro culture of the parasite in human red blood cells with an animal model of parasitemia (P) and lethal infection in C3H/HeJ mice. Here, we provide a detailed protocol for the use of the B. duncani ICIM model in research. This model provides a unique and sound foundation to gain further insights into the biology, pathogenesis, and virulence of Babesia and other intraerythrocytic parasites, and has been validated as an efficient system to evaluate novel strategies for the treatment of human babesiosis and possibly other parasitic diseases.

Graphical abstract:

ICIM model [Adapted and modified from Pal et al. (2022)]

0 Q&A 1516 Views Jul 20, 2022

Microorganisms have evolved adaptive strategies to respond to the autonomous degradation of their environment. Indeed, a growing culture progressively exhausts nutrients from its media and modifies its composition. Yet, how single cells react to these modifications remains difficult to study since it requires population-scale growth experiments to allow cell proliferation to have a collective impact on the environment, while monitoring the same individuals exposed to this environment for days. For this purpose, we have previously described an integrated microfluidic pipeline, based on continuous separation of the cells from the media and subsequent perfusion of the filtered media in an observation chamber containing isolated single cells. Here, we provide a detailed protocol to implement this methodology, including the setting up of the microfluidic system and the processing of timelapse images.

0 Q&A 2164 Views Sep 5, 2021

The relapsing malaria species, Plasmodium vivax, is the most widely distributed and difficult-to-treat cause of human malaria. The merozoites of P. vivax preferentially invade ephemeral human CD71+ reticulocytes (nascent reticulocytes), thereby limiting the development of a robust continuous culture in vitro. Fortunately, P. vivax’s sister species, P. cynomolgi Berok, can be cultured continuously, providing the ability to screen novel therapeutics drug and vaccine candidates in a reliable and high-throughput manner. Based on well-established growth inhibition activity (GIA) assays against P. falciparum and P. knowlesi, this protocol adopts the current flow cytometry assay methodology and investigates P. vivax inhibitory antibodies using the P. cynomolgi Berok invasion model based on the thiol-reactivity and DNA abundance of viable parasites in macaque erythrocytes. Established GIA assays screen antibodies at either a single concentration or high/low dose concentrations to provide quick insights for prioritizing potential antibodies capable of specifically interrupting parasite ligand and host receptor binding with minimal concentrations. Hence, this protocol expands on the existing GIA assay by using serially diluted antibodies and generating a dose-response curve to better quantify the inhibitory efficacy amongst selected vaccine candidates.

0 Q&A 3382 Views Jul 5, 2021

The diversity of lipid structures, properties, and combinations in biological tissues makes their extraction and analysis an experimental challenge. Accordingly, even for one of the simplest single-cellular fungi, the budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), numerous extraction and analysis protocols have been developed to separate and quantitate the different molecular lipid species. Among them, most are quite sophisticated and tricky to follow. Herein, we describe a yeast total lipids extraction procedure with a relatively good yield, which is appropriate for subsequent thin-layer chromatography (TLC) or liquid chromatography-mass (LC-MS) analysis. We then discuss the most widely used solvent systems to separate yeast phospholipids and neutral lipids by TLC. Finally, we describe an easy and rapid method for silica gel staining by a Coomassie Brilliant Blue-methanol mixture. The stained lipid species can then be quantitated using imaging software such as ImageJ. Overall, the methods described in this protocol are time-saving and novice-friendly.

0 Q&A 2570 Views Jun 5, 2021

Plasmodium falciparum is a unicellular eukaryotic parasite that causes malaria in humans. The parasite is spread by Anopheles mosquitoes after ingestion of sexual stage parasites known as gametocytes. Malaria transmission depends on parasites switching from the disease-causing asexual blood forms to male and female gametocytes. The current protocol allows the simultaneous isolation of male and female parasites from the same population to study this critical lifecycle stage in a sex-specific manner. We have generated a transgenic P. falciparum cell line that expresses a GFP-tagged parasite protein in female, but not male, parasites. Gametocyte production is stress induced and, through a series of steps, sexual stage parasites are enriched relative to uninfected red blood cells or red blood cells infected with asexual stage parasites. Finally, male and female gametocytes are separated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. This protocol allows for the separation of up to 12 million live male and female parasites from the same population, which are amenable to further analysis.

0 Q&A 3288 Views May 5, 2021

Hypnozoites are dormant liver-stage parasites unique to relapsing malarial species, including the important human pathogen Plasmodium vivax, and pose a barrier to the elimination of malaria. Little is known regarding the biology of these stages, largely due to their inaccessible location. Hypnozoites can be cultured in vitro but these cultures always consist of a mixture of hepatocytes, developing forms, and hypnozoites. Here, using a GFP-expressing line of the hypnozoite model parasite Plasmodium cynomolgi, we describe a protocol for the FACS-based isolation of malarial hypnozoites. The purified hypnozoites can be used for a range of ‘-omics’ studies to dissect the biology of this cryptic stage of the malarial life cycle.

0 Q&A 3167 Views Mar 20, 2020
Although many spherical and rod-shaped plant virus purification protocols are now available, only a few protocols on filamentous plant virus purification have been published. Here, we report a protocol for large-scale purification of Rice stripe virus (RSV) from RSV-infected rice tissues. RSV virions with high infectivity were first precipitated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) followed by pelleting through primary ultracentrifugation, ultracentrifugation in a glycerol cushion and ultracentrifugation in density gradient. The purified RSV virions can not only be viewed as filamentous particles under an electron microscope, but can also be acquired by insect vector through direct injection into insect body or through membrane feeding prior to transmission to rice plants.
0 Q&A 4894 Views Oct 5, 2019
Unculturable bacteria are those bacteria which proliferate in their native habitat but unable to grow or thrive in the normal laboratory media and conditions. The molecular techniques have revealed the significance of these uncultured bacteria in terms of their functional diversity and potential to produce secondary metabolites. To achieve these benefits, scientists have attempted to isolate and cultivate unculturable bacteria in the laboratory using transwell plates, optical tweezers, laser microdissection, microbioreactors, and diffusions bioreactors. However, these techniques are still inadequate to resolve the difficulties of cultivating unculturable bacteria. Therefore, it is essential to develop new cultivation method that enables growth of diverse range of bacteria in the laboratory conditions. Diffusion bioreactor is a membrane bound chamber which allows microbes to proliferate in their native environment by providing the excess to naturally occurring nutrients and signaling compounds. This paper presents efficient and reliable protocol to construct a diffusion bioreactor and its utilization to isolate and cultivate unculturable soil bacteria in laboratory.
1 Q&A 5950 Views Sep 5, 2019
Single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) has become an established method for uncovering the intrinsic complexity within populations. Even within seemingly homogenous populations of isogenic yeast cells, there is a high degree of heterogeneity that originates from a compact and pervasively transcribed genome. Research with microorganisms such as yeast represents a major challenge for single-cell transcriptomics, due to their small size, rigid cell wall, and low RNA content per cell. Because of these technical challenges, yeast-specific scRNA-seq methodologies have recently started to appear, each one of them relying on different cell-isolation and library-preparation methods. Consequently, each approach harbors unique strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered. We have recently developed a yeast single-cell RNA-seq protocol (yscRNA-seq), which is inexpensive, high-throughput and easy-to-implement, tailored to the unique needs of yeast. yscRNA-seq provides a unique platform that combines single-cell phenotyping via index sorting with the incorporation of unique molecule identifiers on transcripts that allows to digitally count the number of molecules in a strand- and isoform-specific manner. Here, we provide a detailed, step-by-step description of the experimental and computational steps of yscRNA-seq protocol. This protocol will ease the implementation of yscRNA-seq in other laboratories and provide guidelines for the development of novel technologies.
0 Q&A 4418 Views Jun 20, 2019
The protocol separates bacteria from atmospheric particles, obtaining with greater precision their abundance in the atmospheric deposition. This procedure is similar to the one used to separate bacteria in streambed sediments. The detachment procedure consists of a chemical treatment with sodium pyrophosphate and Tween 20 and a physical treatment with agitation and ultrasonic bath to disperse the bacteria in the liquid sample. We recover the total (free and attached) bacteria by generating a density gradient with Nycodenz by centrifugation. The techniques prior to this procedure do not include the microorganisms that are attached to the aerosol particles and, therefore, considerably underestimate the total load and deposition of airborne microorganisms.

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