Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 280 Views Apr 5, 2024

Periodontal disease is characterized by the destruction of the hard and soft tissues comprising the periodontium. This destruction translates to a degradation of the extracellular matrices (ECM), mediated by bacterial proteases, host-derived matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and other proteases released by host tissues and immune cells. Bacterial pathogens interact with host tissue, triggering adverse cellular functions, including a heightened immune response, tissue destruction, and tissue migration. The oral spirochete Treponema denticola is highly associated with periodontal disease. Dentilisin, a T. denticola outer membrane protein complex, contributes to the chronic activation of pro-MMP-2 in periodontal ligament (PDL) cells and triggers increased expression levels of activators and effectors of active MMP-2 in PDL cells. Despite these advances, no mechanism for dentilisin-induced MMP-2 activation or PDL cytopathic behaviors leading to disease is known. Here, we describe a method for purification of large amounts of the dentilisin protease complex from T. denticola and demonstrate its ability to activate MMP-2, a key regulator of periodontal tissue homeostasis. The T. denticola dentilisin and MMP-2 activation model presented here may provide new insights into the dentilisin protein and identify potential therapeutic targets for further research.

0 Q&A 293 Views Mar 5, 2024

Intracellular bacterial pathogens have evolved to be adept at manipulating host cellular function for the benefit of the pathogen, often by means of secreted virulence factors that target host pathways for modulation. The lysosomal pathway is an essential cellular response pathway to intracellular pathogens and, as such, represents a common target for bacterial-mediated evasion. Here, we describe a method to quantitatively assess bacterial pathogen–mediated suppression of host cell trafficking to lysosomes, using Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection of epithelial cells as a model. This live-cell imaging assay involves the use of a BODIPY TR-X conjugate of BSA (DQ-Red BSA) that traffics to and fluoresces in functional lysosomes. This method can be adapted to study infection with a broad array of pathogens in diverse host cell types. It is capable of being applied to identify secreted virulence factors responsible for a phenotype of interest as well as domains within the bacterial protein that are important for mediating the phenotype. Collectively, these tools can provide invaluable insight into the mechanisms of pathogenesis of a diverse array of pathogenic bacteria, with the potential to uncover virulence factors that may be suitable targets for therapeutic intervention.

Key features

• Infection-based analysis of bacterial-mediated suppression of host trafficking to lysosomes, using Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection of human epithelial cells as a model.

• Live microscopy–based analysis allows for the visualization of individually infected host cells and is amenable to phenotype quantification.

• Assay can be adapted to a broad array of pathogens and diverse host cell types.

• Assay can identify virulence factors mediating a phenotype and protein domains that mediate a phenotype.

0 Q&A 336 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 400 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 432 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 948 Views Aug 5, 2022

Microbiome studies are quickly gaining momentum. Since most of the resident microbes (consisting of bacteria, fungi, and viruses) are difficult to culture, sequencing the microbial genome is the method of choice to characterize them. It is therefore important to have efficient methodology for gDNA isolation of gut microbes. Mouse models are widely used to understand human disease etiology while avoiding human ethics-related complications. However, the widely used kit-based methods are costly, and sometimes yields (in terms of quality and quantity) are sub-optimal. To overcome this problem, we developed a straightforward, standardized DNA isolation procedure from mouse cecal content for further microbiome-related studies. The reagents we used to standardize the procedure are readily available even in a not-so-well-equipped laboratory, and the reagents are not expensive. The yield and quality of the DNA are also better than those obtained by the readily available kit-based methods.

Additionally, we modified the kit-based method of RNA isolation from the colon tissue sample of the mouse for better yield. Churning the tissue with liquid nitrogen at the beginning of the procedure improves RNA quality and quantity.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 1593 Views Jul 5, 2022

Competition assays are a simple phenotyping strategy that confront two bacterial strains to evaluate their relative fitness. Because they are more accurate than single-strain growth assays, competition assays can be used to highlight slight differences that would not otherwise be detectable. In the frame of host-pathogens interactions, they can be very useful to study the contribution of individual bacterial genes to bacterial fitness and lead to the identification of new adaptive traits. Here, we describe how to perform such competition assays by taking the example of the model phytopathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris during infection of the mesophyll of its cauliflower host. This phenotypic assay is based on the use of a Competitive Index (CI) that compares the relative abundance of co-inoculated strains before and after inoculation. Since multiplication is a direct proxy for bacterial fitness, the evolution of the ratio between both strains in the mixed population is a direct way to assess differences in fitness in a given environment. In this protocol, we exploit the blue staining of GUS-expressing bacteria to count blue vs. white colonies on plates and estimate the competitiveness of the strains of interest in plant mesophyll.

0 Q&A 1467 Views May 20, 2022

Microbiologists are learning to appreciate the importance of “functional amyloids” that are produced by numerous bacterial species and have impacts beyond the microbial world. These structures are used by bacteria to link together, presumably to increase survival, protect against harsh conditions, and perhaps to influence cell-cell communication. Bacterial functional amyloids are also beginning to be appreciated in the context of host-pathogen interactions, where there is evidence that they can trigger the innate immune system and are recognized as non-self-molecular patterns. The characteristic three-dimensional fold of amyloids renders them similar across the bacterial kingdom and into the eukaryotic world, where amyloid proteins can be undesirable and have pathological consequences. The bacterial protein curli, produced by pathogenic Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli strains, was one of the first functional amyloids discovered. Curli have since been well characterized in terms of function, and we are just starting to scratch the surface about their potential impact on eukaryotic hosts. In this manuscript, we present step-by-step protocols with pictures showing how to purify these bacterial surface structures. We have described the purification process from S. enterica, acknowledging that the same method can be applied to E. coli. In addition, we describe methods for detection of curli within animal tissues (i.e., GI tract) and discuss purifying curli intermediates in a S. enterica msbB mutant strain as they are more cytotoxic than mature curli fibrils. Some of these methods were first described elsewhere, but we wanted to assemble them together in more detail to make it easier for researchers who want to purify curli for use in biological experiments. Our aim is to provide methods that are useful for specialists and non-specialists as bacterial amyloids become of increasing importance.

0 Q&A 2343 Views Jan 20, 2022

Caenorhabditis elegans is a ubiquitous free-living nematode that feeds on bacteria. The organism was introduced into a laboratory setting in the 1970s and has since gained popularity as a model to study host-bacteria interactions. One advantage of using C. elegans is that its intestine can be colonized by the bacteria on which it feeds. Quantifying the bacterial load within C. elegans is an important and easily obtainable metric when investigating host-bacteria interactions. Although quantification of bacteria harbored in C. elegans via whole-worm lysis is not a novel assay, there is great variation between existing methods. To lyse C. elegans, many protocols rely on the use of a hand-held homogenizer, which could introduce systematic error and subsequent variation between researchers performing the same experiment. Here, we describe a method of lysing the intestines of C. elegans to quantify the bacterial load within the intestine. Our method has been optimized for removing exogenous bacteria while maintaining worm paralysis, to ensure no bactericidal agents are swallowed, which could kill bacteria within the intestine and affect results. We utilize and compare the efficiency of two different homogenization tools: a battery-powered hand-held homogenizer, and a benchtop electric homogenizer, where the latter minimizes variability. Thus, our protocol has been optimized to reduce systematic error and decrease the potential for variability among experimenters.

Graphic abstract:

Simplified overview of the procedure used to quantify the bacterial load within C. elegans. The two different methods are herein described for worm lysis: “Option 1” is a hand-held homogenizer, and “Option 2” is a benchtop homogenizer.

0 Q&A 2670 Views Dec 5, 2021

Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or protozoa can cause acute and chronic infections in their hosts. The intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes serves as a model pathogen to assess the molecular mechanisms regulating CD8 T cell activation, differentiation, and function. We set up an experimental workflow to investigate cell-intrinsic roles of the nuclear receptor NR2F6 in CD8 T cell memory formation upon Listeria monocytogenes (LmOVA) infection (Jakic et al., 2021). The current protocol details how to cultivate ovalbumin-expressing LmOVA, infect naïve C57BL/6 mice with these bacteria and determine the bacterial load in host organs. Furthermore, we describe how to evaluate antigen-specific CD8 T cell responses and discriminate between short-lived effector and memory precursor cells in vivo following LmOVA infection (Figure 1). To assess CD8 T cell-intrinsic molecular mechanisms, we integrated an adoptive cell transfer (ACT) experiment of genetically modified naïve OT-I CD8 T cells into congenic hosts before LmOVA infection.

Graphic abstract:

Figure 1. Experimental workflow depicting the steps for infection of mice with Listeria and subsequent analysis of antigen-specific CD8 memory responses. Bacteria (ovalbumin expressing Listeria monocytogenes) are thawed and grown on lysogeny broth (LB) plates overnight (ON). A single colony is picked and grown in LB medium ON. Bacteria from the exponential growth phase are then injected into a C57BL/6 mouse via tail vein injection. Colony forming units (CFU) of the bacteria can be detected in the spleen on day 3 post injection. Antigen-specific CD8 T cell immune response can be investigated during the acute phase (d3 after infection), during the peak of the adaptive immune response (d7), the clearance phase (d26), or the memory phase (d70) by flow cytometry. Created with BioRender.com.

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