Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 5514 Views Feb 20, 2021

Phytophthora infestans is a hemibiotroph oomycete that primarily infects potato and tomato. It infects stems, leaves, and tubers and fruits of potato and tomato. High throughput and reproducible infection assays are prerequisites to find sources of resistance in any crop. In this protocol, we describe a detached leaf assay (DLA) for conducting the virulence assay of P. infestans in potato leaves. A late blight infection assay using a potato detached leaf is a semi-high throughput assay in which hundreds of plants can be screened in a laboratory setting.

0 Q&A 2998 Views Jul 20, 2020
Human astroviruses (HAstV) are non-enveloped, positive-sense single stranded RNA viruses that typically cause gastroenteritis in children, the elderly and among immunocompromised individuals. Some HAstV species have also been implicated in neurological diseases. It is important to study these viruses to understand the pathogenesis and develop therapeutics. Here we describe HAstV infection in epithelium-only human intestinal enteroids (HIE) isolated from biopsy-derived intestinal crypts. Although different HAstV clades have been propagated in transformed immortalized cell lines such as A549, Caco-2, HEK293T and Huh7.5, we chose HIE because they better mimic the human intestine and thus are more physiologically relevant. Additionally, HIE support the replication of all HAstV clades including clinical samples, thus making HIE a valuable potential universal model to study HAstV biology.
0 Q&A 3910 Views Mar 5, 2020
The study of host-pathogen interactions has improved our understanding of both pathogenesis and the response of the host to infection, including both innate and adaptive responses. Neutrophils and macrophages represent the first line of innate host defense against any infection. The zebrafish is an ideal model to study the response of these cells to a variety of pathogens. Zebrafish possess both neutrophils and macrophages exhibiting similar defense mechanisms to their human counterparts. The transparency of zebrafish embryos greatly facilitates in vivo tracking of infection dynamics in a non-invasive manner at high-resolution using labelled pathogens, while immune cells can also be labelled transgenically to enable even more in-depth analysis. Here we describe a procedure for performing a bacterial infection assay in zebrafish embryos using fluorescently-labelled E. coli bacteria and demonstrate the monitoring and quantification of the infection kinetics. Of note, this procedure helps in understanding the functional role of genes that are important in driving the innate immune response.
0 Q&A 4397 Views Dec 20, 2019
Red palm weevil (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier, is a devastating pest of palm trees worldwide. RPW gut is colonized by diverse bacterial species which profoundly influence host development and nutritional metabolism. However, the molecular mechanisms behind the interactions between RPW and its gut microbiota remain mostly unknown. Antibiotics are usually employed to remove gut bacteria to investigate the impact of gut bacteria on insect fitness. However, administration of antibiotics cannot thoroughly remove gut bacteria for most insect species. Therefore, establishing germfree (GF) organisms is a powerful way to reveal the mutual interactions between gut bacteria and their insect hosts. Here, we describe a protocol to generate and maintain RPW GF larvae, being completely devoid of gut bacteria in laboratory. RPW GF larvae were established from the dechorionated fresh eggs which were reared on the sterilized artificial food under axenic conditions. The establishment of GF larvae set a solid foundation to deeply elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind the interactions between RPW and its gut microbiota.
0 Q&A 9469 Views Oct 20, 2019
Platelets regulate hemostasis and are the key determinants of pathogenic thrombosis following atherosclerotic plaque rupture. Platelets circulate in an inactive state, but become activated in response to damage to the endothelium, which exposes thrombogenic material such as collagen to the blood flow. Activation results in a number of responses, including secretion of soluble bioactive molecules via the release of alpha and dense granules, activation of membrane adhesion receptors, release of microparticles, and externalization of phosphatidylserine. These processes facilitate firm adhesion to sites of injury and the recruitment and activation of other platelets and leukocytes, resulting in aggregation and thrombus formation. Platelet activation drives the hemostatic response, and also contributes to pathogenic thrombus formation. Thus, quantification of platelet-associated responses is key to many pathophysiologically relevant processes. Here we describe protocols for isolating, counting, and activating platelets, and for the rapid quantification of cell surface proteins using flow cytometry.
0 Q&A 5018 Views Oct 20, 2018
Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) is a pattern recognition receptor (PRR) that senses double stranded DNA (dsDNA) in the cytosol and this leads to the activation of stimulator of interferon genes (STING) via the secondary messenger 2’3’-cyclic GMP-AMP (2’3’-cGAMP). STING then recruits TANK binding kinase 1 (TBK-1) and this complex can phosphorylate and activate interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) leading to the induction of type I interferons and other antiviral genes. The cGAS:DNA complex catalyzes the synthesis of 2’3’-cGAMP and the purpose of the protocol presented here is to measure the in vitro activity of purified cGAS in the presence of dsDNA. The protocol was developed to elucidate the relationship between dsDNA length and the level of cGAS activity. The method involves an in vitro reaction with low concentrations of cGAS and dsDNA followed by quantification of the reaction product using anion exchange chromatography. The low concentrations of cGAS and dsDNA and the high sensitivity of this assay is a key advantage when comparing different DNA fragments’ ability to activate cGAS.
0 Q&A 11737 Views Dec 20, 2017
Even though autophagy was firstly observed by transmission electron microscopy already in the 1950s (reviewed in Eskelinen et al., 2011), nowadays this technique remains one of the most powerful systems to monitor autophagic processes. The autophagosome, an LC3-positive double membrane structures enclosing cellular materials, represents the key organelle in autophagy and its simple visualization and/or numeration allow to draw important conclusions about the autophagic flux. Therefore, the accurate identification of autophagosomes is crucial for a comprehensive and detailed dissection of autophagy. Here we present a simple protocol to identify autophagosomes by transmission electron microscopy coupled to immunogold labeling of LC3 starting from a relatively low cell number, which we recently developed to follow the autophagic pathway during viral-mediated human carcinogenesis.
0 Q&A 20550 Views May 20, 2017
The apoptosis-associated speck-like protein with a caspase-recruitment domain (ASC) adaptor protein bridges inflammasome sensors and caspase-1. Upon inflammasome activation, ASC nucleates in a prion-like manner into a large and single platform responsible for the recruitment and the activation of caspase-1. Active caspase-1 will in turn promote the proteolytic maturation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β. ASC oligomerization is direct evidence for inflammasome activation and its detection allows a read-out independent of caspase-1 and IL-1β. This protocol describes how to detect the oligomerization of ASC by Western blot.
0 Q&A 14200 Views May 20, 2017
To achieve the C-terminal tagging of endogenous proteins in T. cruzi we use the Cas9/pTREX-n vector (Lander et al., 2015) to insert a specific tag sequence (3xHA or 3xc-Myc) at the 3’ end of a specific gene of interest (GOI). Chimeric sgRNA targeting the 3’ end of the GOI is PCR-amplified and cloned into Cas9/pTREX-n vector. Then a DNA donor molecule to induce DNA repair by homologous recombination is amplified. This donor sequence contains the tag sequence and a marker for antibiotic resistance, plus 100 bp homology arms corresponding to regions located right upstream of the stop codon and downstream of the Cas9 target site at the GOI locus. Vectors pMOTag23M (Oberholzer et al., 2006) or pMOHX1Tag4H (Lander et al., 2016b) are used as PCR templates for DNA donor amplification. Epimastigotes co-transfected with the sgRNA/Cas9/pTREX-n construct and the DNA donor cassette are then cultured for 5 weeks with antibiotics for selection of double resistant parasites. Endogenous gene tagging is finally verified by PCR and Western blot analysis.
0 Q&A 15210 Views Mar 20, 2017
Nucleosomes are the core units of cellular chromatin and are comprised of 147 base pairs (bp) of DNA wrapped around an octamer of histone proteins. Proteins such as chromatin remodelers, transcription factors, and DNA repair proteins interact dynamically with chromatin to regulate access to DNA, control gene transcription, and maintain genome integrity. The extent of association with chromatin changes rapidly in response to stresses, such as immune activation, oxidative stress, or viral infection, resulting in downstream effects on chromatin conformation and transcription of target genes. To elucidate changes in the composition of proteins associated with chromatin under different conditions, we adapted existing protocols to isolate nuclei and fractionate cellular chromatin using a gradient of salt concentrations. The presence of specific proteins in different salt fractions can be assessed by Western blotting or mass spectrometry, providing insight into the degree to which they are associated with chromatin.

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