Publications

The Pirbright Institute publication directory contains details of selected publications written by our researchers.

There were a total of 2294 results for your search.

Abstract

Throughout the 21st century, livestock diseases will impact upon the productivity of domesticated livestock and compromise the ability to feed a growing global population. The focus of the present review is to outline how the recent rapid expansion of genetic sequence data available for both pathogens and hosts can be exploited to develop new tools to improve the ways in which livestock diseases can be controlled. In the post-genomics era of the future, there will be a more intimate understanding of the way in which pathogens interact with their hosts and the key molecules that define host pathogen relationships; knowledge that can be utilized to generate novel diagnostics and vaccination strategies. However, experience from the global rinderpest eradication programme highlights that effective disease control is a multifactorial process. Clearly, appropriate new therapeutic and diagnostic tools can play a critical role in our ability to monitor and limit the spread of diseases. However, adequate resources are also required: these are principally financial and also include the availability of trained personnel and veterinary infrastructure; international cooperation, transparency between different countries and sharing of epidemiological data and ownership of disease; acceptance of the difference in perception of importance of diseases in the developed world v. the developing world.
Simmons G S, McKemey A R, Morrison N I, O'Connell S, Tabashnik B E, Claus J, Fu G, Tang G, Sledge M, Walker A S, Phillips C E, Miller E D, Rose R I, Staten R T, Donnelly C A, Alphey L (2011)

Field performance of a genetically engineered strain of pink bollworm

PLoS One 6 (9), e24110

Abstract

Pest insects harm crops, livestock and human health, either directly or by acting as vectors of disease. The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) - mass-release of sterile insects to mate with, and thereby control, their wild counterparts - has been used successfully for decades to control several pest species, including pink bollworm, a lepidopteran pest of cotton. Although it has been suggested that genetic engineering of pest insects provides potential improvements, there is uncertainty regarding its impact on their field performance. Discrimination between released and wild moths caught in monitoring traps is essential for estimating wild population levels. To address concerns about the reliability of current marking methods, we developed a genetically engineered strain of pink bollworm with a heritable fluorescent marker, to improve discrimination of sterile from wild moths. Here, we report the results of field trials showing that this engineered strain performed well under field conditions. Our data show that attributes critical to SIT in the field - ability to find a mate and to initiate copulation, as well as dispersal and persistence in the release area - were comparable between the genetically engineered strain and a standard strain. To our knowledge, these represent the first open-field experiments with a genetically engineered insect. The results described here provide encouragement for the genetic control of insect pests.

Abstract

Leukotoxin (LKT) is a virulence factor for Mannheimia haemolytica. In this study, bovine alveolar macrophages (BAMs) were challenged with wild type (wt) and LKT deficient (lkt?) M. haemolytica at a concentration of 1 bacterium/BAM and the cytokine response was quantified by ELISA and real-time reverse transcriptase-PCR. Significant increases in protein concentrations of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-? and interleukin (IL)-10 were observed in supernatants obtained from BAMs challenged with the lkt? strain of M. haemolytica compared with wt challenged BAMs. There were no significant differences in mRNA expression of TNF?, IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8 or IL-10 between BAMs challenged with the lkt? strain of M. haemolytica compared with wt challenged BAMs. BAMs challenged with the wt strain exhibited, on average, 43% more cytotoxicity than lkt? challenged BAMs (P

Abstract

Actin-based motility of the melioidosis pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei requires BimA (Burkholderia intracellular motility A). The mechanism by which BimA mediates actin assembly at the bacterial pole is ill-defined. Toward an understanding of the regions of B. pseudomallei BimA required for intracellular motility and the binding and polymerization of actin, we constructed plasmid-borne bimA variants and glutathione-S-transferase fusion proteins with in-frame deletions of specific motifs. A 13-amino-acid direct repeat and IP7 proline-rich motif were dispensable for actin binding and assembly in vitro, and expression of the mutated proteins in a B. pseudomallei bimA mutant restored actin-based motility in J774.2 murine macrophage-like cells. However, two WASP homology 2 (WH2) domains were found to be required for actin binding, actin assembly, and plaque formation. A tract of five PDASX direct repeats influenced the polymerization of pyrene-actin monomers in vitro and was required for actin-based motility and intercellular spread, but not actin binding. None of the mutations impaired surface expression or polar targeting of BimA. The number of PDASX repeats varied in natural isolates from two to seven. Such repeats acted additively to promote pyrene-actin polymerization in vitro, with stepwise increases in the rate of polymerization as the number of repeats was increased. No differences in the efficiency of actin tail formation could be discerned between strains expressing BimA variants with two, five, or seven PDASX repeats. The data provide valuable new insights into the role of conserved and variable motifs of BimA in actin-based motility and intercellular spread of B. pseudomallei.

Abstract

RNA interference (RNAi) is an important mosquito defense mechanism against arbovirus infection. In this paper we study the processes underlying antiviral RNAi in Aedes albopictus-derived U4.4 mosquito cells infected with Semliki Forest virus (SFV) (Togaviridae; Alphavirus). The production of virus-derived small interfering RNAs (viRNAs) from viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a key event in this host response. dsRNA could be formed by RNA replication intermediates, by secondary structures in RNA genomes or antigenomes, or by both. Which of these dsRNAs is the substrate for the generation of viRNAs is a fundamental question. Here we used deep sequencing of viRNAs and bioinformatic analysis of RNA secondary structures to gain insights into the characteristics and origins of viRNAs. An asymmetric distribution of SFV-derived viRNAs with notable areas of high-level viRNA production (hot spots) and no or a low frequency of viRNA production (cold spots) along the length of the viral genome with a slight bias toward the production of genome-derived viRNAs over antigenome-derived viRNAs was observed. Bioinformatic analysis suggests that hot spots of viRNA production are rarely but not generally associated with putative secondary structures in the SFV genome, suggesting that most viRNAs are derived from replicative dsRNA. A pattern of viRNAs almost identical to those of A. albopictus cells was observed for Aedes aegypti-derived Aag2 cells, suggesting common mechanisms that lead to viRNA production. Hot-spot viRNAs were found to be significantly less efficient at mediating antiviral RNAi than cold-spot viRNAs, pointing toward a nucleic acid-based viral decoy mechanism to evade the RNAi response.

Abstract

Marek's disease virus (MDV) is a highly contagious oncogenic alphaherpesvirus that causes disease that is both a cancer model and a continuing threat to the world's poultry industry. This comprehensive gene expression study analyzes the host response to infection in both resistant and susceptible lines of chickens and inherent expression differences between the two lines following the infection of the host. A novel pathogenicity mechanism, involving the downregulation of genes containing HIC1 transcription factor binding sites as early as 4 days postinfection, was suggested from this analysis. HIC1 drives antitumor mechanisms, suggesting that MDV infection switches off genes involved in antitumor regulation several days before the expression of the MDV oncogene meq. The comparison of the gene expression data to previous QTL data identified several genes as candidates for involvement in resistance to MD. One of these genes, IRG1, was confirmed by single nucleotide polymorphism analysis to be involved in susceptibility. Its precise mechanism remains to be elucidated, although the analysis of gene expression data suggests it has a role in apoptosis. Understanding which genes are involved in susceptibility/resistance to MD and defining the pathological mechanisms of the disease gives us a much greater ability to try to reduce the incidence of this virus, which is costly to the poultry industry in terms of both animal welfare and economics.

Abstract

Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) vectors containing the full-length genomes of several herpesviruses have been used widely as tools to enable functional studies of viral genes. Marek's disease viruses (MDVs) are highly oncogenic alphaherpesviruses that induce rapid-onset T-cell lymphomas in chickens. Oncogenic strains of MDV reconstituted from BAC clones have been used to examine the role of viral genes in inducing tumours. Past studies have demonstrated continuous increase in virulence of MDV strains. We have previously reported on the UK isolate C12/130 that showed increased virulence features including lymphoid organ atrophy and enhanced tropism for the central nervous system. Here we report the construction of the BAC clones (pC12/130) of this strain. Chickens were infected with viruses reconstituted from the pC12/130 clones along with the wild-type virus for the comparison of the pathogenic properties. Our studies show that BAC-derived viruses induced disease similar to the wild-type virus, though there were differences in the levels of pathogenicity between individual viruses. Generation of BAC clones that differ in the potential to induce cytolytic disease provide the opportunity to identify the molecular determinants of increased virulence by direct sequence analysis as well as by using reverse genetics approaches on the infectious BAC clones.

Abstract

The identification of specific genetic changes associated with differences in the pathogenicity of Marek's disease virus strains (GaHV-2) has been a formidable task due to the large number of mutations in mixed-genotype populations within DNA preparations. Very virulent UK isolate C12/130 induces extensive lymphoid atrophy, neurological manifestations and early mortality in young birds. We have recently reported the construction of several independent full-length bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones of C12/130 capable of generating fully infectious viruses with significant differences in their pathogenicity profiles. Two of these clones (vC12/130-10 and vC12/130-15), which showed differences in virulence relative to each other and to the parental strain, had similar replication kinetics both in vitro and in vivo in spite of the fact that vC12/130-15 was attenuated. To investigate the possible reasons for this, the nucleotide sequences of both clones were determined. Sequence analysis of the two genomes identified mutations within eight genes. A single 494 bp insertion was identified within the genome of the virulent vC12/130-10 clone. Seven non-synonymous substitutions distinguished virulent vC12/130-10 from that of attenuated vC12/130-15. By sequencing regions of parental DNA that differed between the two BAC clones, we confirmed that C12/130 does contain these mutations in varying proportions. Since the individual reconstituted BAC clones were functionally attenuated in vivo and derived from a single DNA source of phenotypically very virulent C12/130, this suggests that the C12/130 virus population exists as a collection of mixed genotypes.
Tchilian E Z, Ronan E O, de Lara C, Lee L N, Franken K, Vordermeier M H, Ottenhoff T H M, Beverley P C L (2011)

Simultaneous immunization against tuberculosis

PLoS One 6 (11), e27477

Abstract

Background: BCG, the only licensed vaccine against tuberculosis, provides some protection against disseminated disease in infants but has little effect on prevention of adult pulmonary disease. Newer parenteral immunization prime boost regimes may provide improved protection in experimental animal models but are unproven in man so that there remains a need for new and improved immunization strategies. Methods and Findings: Mice were immunized parenterally, intranasally or simultaneously by both routes with BCG or recombinant mycobacterial antigens plus appropriate adjuvants. They were challenged with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and the kinetics of Mtb growth in the lungs measured. We show that simultaneous immunization (SIM) of mice by the intranasal and parenteral routes is highly effective in increasing protection over parenteral BCG administration alone. Intranasal immunization induces local pulmonary immunity capable of inhibiting the growth of Mtb in the early phase (the first week) of infection, while parenteral immunization has a later effect on Mtb growth. Importantly, these two effects are additive and do not depend on priming and boosting the immune response. The best SIM regimes reduce lung Mtb load by up to 2 logs more than BCG given by either route alone. Conclusions: These data establish SIM as a novel and highly effective immunization strategy for Mtb that could be carried out at a single clinic visit. The efficacy of SIM does not depend on priming and boosting an immune response, but SIM is complementary to prime boost strategies and might be combined with them.
Tippayawat P, Pinsiri M, Rinchai D, Riyapa D, Romphruk A, Gan Y H, Houghton R L, Felgner P L, Titball R W, Stevens M P, Galyov E E, Bancroft G J, Lertmemongkolchai G (2011)

Burkholderia pseudomallei proteins presented by monocyte-derived dendritic cells stimulate human memory T cells in vitro

Infection and Immunity 79 (1), 305-313

Abstract

Melioidosis is a severe infectious disease caused by the saprophytic facultative intracellular pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei. The disease is endemic in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, and no effective vaccine exists. To describe human cell-mediated immune responses to B. pseudomallei and to identify candidate antigens for vaccine development, the ability of antigen-pulsed monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) to trigger autologous T-cell responses to B. pseudomallei and its products was tested. moDCs were prepared from healthy individuals exposed or not exposed to B. pseudomallei, based on serological evidence. These were pulsed with heat-killed B. pseudomallei or purified antigens, including ABC transporters (LolC, OppA, and PotF), Bsa type III secreted proteins (BipD and BopE), tandem repeat sequence-containing proteins (Rp1 and Rp2), flagellin, and heat shock proteins (Hsp60 and Hsp70), prior to being mixed with autologous T-cell populations. After pulsing of cells with either heat-killed B. pseudomallei, LolC, or Rp2, coculturing the antigen-pulsed moDCs with T cells elicited gamma interferon production from CD4+ T cells from seropositive donors at levels greater than those for seronegative donors. These antigens also induced granzyme B (cytotoxic) responses from CD8+ T cells. Activation of antigen-specific CD4+ T cells required direct contact with moDCs and was therefore not dependent on soluble mediators. Rp peptide epitopes recognized by T cells in healthy individuals were identified. Our study provides valuable novel data on the induction of human cell-mediated immune responses to B. pseudomallei and its protein antigens that may be exploited in the rational development of vaccines to combat melioidosis.

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