Jaap Heringa, Ph.D.
Director & Professor of Bioinformatics, IBIVU VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Modeling strategy based on Petri-nets
In my talk I will introduce a formal modeling strategy based on Petri-nets, which are a convenient means of modeling biological processes. I will illustrate the capabilities of Petri-nets as reasoning vehicles using two examples: Haematopoietic stem cell differentiation in mice, and vulval development in C. elegance. The first system was modeled using a Boolean implementation, and the second using a coarse-grained multi-cellular Petri-net model. Concepts such as the model state space, attractor states, and reasoning to adapt the model to the biological reality will be discussed.
Nader Pourmand, Ph.D.
Director, UCSC Genome Technology Center,University of California, Santa Cruz
Biosensor and Single Cell Manipulation using Nanopipettes
Approaching sub-cellular biological problems from an engineering perspective begs for the incorporation of electronic readouts. With their high sensitivity and low invasiveness, nanotechnology-based tools hold great promise for biochemical sensing and single-cell manipulation. During my talk I will discuss the incorporation of electrical measurements into nanopipette technology and present results showing the rapid and reversible response of these subcellular sensors to different analytes such as antigens, ions and carbohydrates. In addition, I will present the development of a single-cell manipulation platform that uses a nanopipette in a scanning ion-conductive microscopy technique. We use this newly developed technology to position the nanopipette with nanoscale precision, and to inject and/or aspirate a minute amount of material to and from individual cells or organelle without comprising cell viability. Furthermore, if time permits, I will show our strategy for a new, single-cell DNA/ RNA sequencing technology that will potentially use nanopipette technology to analyze the minute amount of aspirated cellular material.
R. Manjunath, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dept of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India
REGULATION OF THE MHC COMPLEX AND HLA SOLUBILISATION BY THE FLAVIVIRUS, JAPANESE ENCEPHALITIS VIRUS
Viral encephalitis caused by Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that is prevalent in different parts of India and other parts of South East Asia. JEV is a positive single stranded RNA virus that belongs to the Flavivirus genus of the family Flaviviridae. The genome of JEV is about 11 kb long and codes for a polyprotein which is cleaved by both host and viral encoded proteases to form 3 structural and 7 non-structural proteins. It is a neurotropic virus which infects the central nervous system (CNS) and causes death predominantly in newborn children and young adults. JEV follows a zoonotic life-cycle involving mosquitoes and vertebrate, chiefly pigs and ardeid birds, as amplifying hosts. Humans are infected when bitten by an infected mosquito and are dead end hosts. Its structural, pathological, immunological and epidemiological aspects have been well studied. After entry into the host following a mosquito bite, JEV infection leads to acute peripheral neutrophil leucocytosis in the brain and leads to elevated levels of type I interferon, macrophage-derived chemotactic factor, RANTES,TNF-α and IL-8 in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid.
Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules play a very important role in adaptive immune responses. Along with various classical MHC class I molecules, other non-classical MHC class I molecules play an important role in modulating innate immune responses. Our lab has shown the activation of cytotoxic T-cells (CTLs) during JEV infection and CTLs recognize non-self peptides presented on MHC molecules and provide protection by eliminating infected cells. However, along with proinflammatory cytokines such as TNFα, they may also cause immunopathology within the JEV infected brain. Both JEV and WNV, another related flavivirus have been shown to increase MHC class I expression. Infection of human foreskin fibroblast cells (HFF) by WNV results in upregulation of HLA expression. Data from our lab has also shown that JEV infection upregulates classical as well as nonclassical (class Ib) MHC antigen expression on the surface of primary mouse brain astrocytes and mouse embryonic fibroblasts.
There are no reports that have discussed the expression of these molecules on other cells like endothelial and astrocyte that play an important role in viral invasion in humans. We have studied the expression of human classical class I molecules HLA-A, -B, -C and the non-classical HLA molecules, HLA-E as well as HLA-F in immortalized human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC), human endothelial cell line (ECV304), human glioblastoma cell line (U87MG) and human foreskin fibroblast cells (HFF). Nonclassical MHC molecules such as mouse Qa-1b and its human homologue, HLA-E have been shown to be the ligand for the inhibitory NK receptor, NKG2A/CD94 and may bridge innate and adaptive immune responses. We show that JEV infection of HBMEC and ECV 304 cells upregulates the expression of HLA-A, and –B antigens as well as HLA-E and HLA-F. Increased expression of total HLA-E upon JEV infection was also observed in other human cell lines as well like, human amniotic epithelial cells, AV-3, FL and WISH cells. Further, we show for the first time that soluble HLA-E (sHLA-E) was released from infected ECV and HBMECs. In contrast, HFF cells showed only upregulation of cell-surface HLA-E expression while U87MG, a human glioblastoma cell line neither showed any cell-surface induction nor its solubilization. This shedding of sHLA-E was found to be dependent on matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and an important MMP, MMP-9 was upregulated during JEV infection. Treatment with IFNγ resulted in the shedding of sHLA-E from ECV as well as U87MG but not from HFF cells. Also, sHLA-E was shed upon treatment with IFNβ and both IFNβ and TNFα, when present together caused an additive increase in the shedding of sHLA-E. HLA-E is an inhibitory ligand for CD94/NKG2A receptor of Natural Killer cells. Thus, MMP mediated solubilization of HLA-E from infected endothelial cells may have important implications in JEV pathogenesis including its ability to compromise the blood brain barrier.
Sudarslal S, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, School of Biotechnology, Amrita University
Electrospray ionization ion trap mass spectrometry for cyclic peptide characterization
There has been considerable interest in the isolation and structural characterization of bioactive peptides produced by bacteria and fungi. Most of the peptides are cyclic depsipeptides characterized by the presence of lactone linkages and β-hydroxy fatty acids. Occurrence of microheterogeneity is another remarkable property of these peptides. Even if tandem mass spectrometers are good analytical tools to structurally characterize peptides and proteins, sequence analysis of cyclic peptides is often ambiguous due to the random ring opening of the peptides and subsequent generation of a set of linear precursor ions with the same m/z. Here we report combined use of chemical derivatization and multistage fragmentation capability of ion trap mass spectrometers to determine primary sequences of a series of closely related cyclic peptides.
Ravindra Gudihal, Suresh Babu C V
Bioanalytical Characterization of Therapeutic Proteins
The characterization of therapeutic proteins such as monoclonal antibody (mAb) during different stages of manufacturing is crucial for timely and successful product release. Regulatory agencies require a variety of analytical technologies for comprehensive and efficient protein analysis. Electrophoresis-based techniques and liquid chromatography (LC) either standalone or coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) are at the forefront for the in-depth analysis of protein purity, isoforms, stability, aggregation, posttranslational modifications, PEGylation, etc. In this presentation, a combination of various chromatographic and electrophoretic techniques such as liquid-phase isoelectric focusing, microfluidic and capillary-based electrophoresis (CE), liquid chromatography (LC) and combinations of those with mass spectrometry techniques will be discussed. We present a workflow based approach to the analysis of therapeutic proteins. In successive steps critical parameters like purity, accurate mass, aggregation, peptide sequence, glycopeptide and glycan analysis are analyzed. In brief, the workflow involved proteolytic digestion of therapeutic protein for peptide mapping, N-Glycanase and chemical labeling reaction for glycan analysis, liquid-phase isoelectric focusing for enrichment of charge variants followed by a very detailed analysis using state of the art methods such as CE-MS and LC-MS. For the analysis of glycans, we use combinations of CE-MS and LC-MS to highlight the sweet spots of these techniques. CE-MS is found to be more useful in analysis of highly sialylated glycans (charged glycans) while nano LC-MS seems to be better adapted for analysis of neutral glycans. These two techniques can be used to get complementary data to profile all the glycans present in a given protein. In addition, microfluidic electrophoresis was used as a QC tool in initial screening for product purity, analysis of papain digestion fragments of mAb, protein PEGylation products, etc. The described workflow involves multiple platforms, provides an end to end solution for comprehensive protein characterization and aims at reducing the total product development time.