Plenary Talk: Modeling strategy based on Petri-nets @ Sathyam Hall
Aug 13 @ 9:20 am – 10:00 am

jaapJaap 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.

Plenary Talk: Biosensor and Single Cell Manipulation using Nanopipettes @ Amriteshwari Hall
Aug 13 @ 10:06 am – 10:49 am

NaderNader 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.

Invited Talk: Regulation of the MHC complex and HLA solubilisation by the Flavivirus, Japanese Encephalitis Virus @ Acharya Hall
Aug 13 @ 12:13 pm – 12:40 pm

ManjunathR. Manjunath, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dept of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India


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.

Manjunath (2)

Delegate Talk: Inefficient NETosis: Cause for Predisposition to Recurrent Infections in Type 2 Diabetes @ Acharya Hall
Aug 13 @ 6:18 pm – 6:25 pm
Delegate Talk: Inefficient NETosis: Cause for Predisposition to Recurrent Infections in Type 2 Diabetes @ Acharya Hall | Vallikavu | Kerala | India

Manjunath Joshi, Apoorva Lad, Bharat Prasad Alevoor, Aswath Balakrishnan, Lingadakai Ramachandra and Kapaettu Satyamoorthy


Pathological conditions during Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) are associated with elevated risk for common community acquired infections due to poor glycemic control. Multiple studies have indicated specific defects in innate and adaptive immune function in diabetic subjects. Neutrophils play an important role in eliminating pathogens as an active constituent of innate immune system. Apart from canonically known phagocytosis mechanism, neutrophils are endowed with a unique ability to produce extracellular traps (NETs) to kill pathogens by expelling DNA coated with bactericidal proteins and histone. NETosis is stimulated by diverse bacteria and their products, fungi, protozoans, cytokines, phorbol esters and by activated platelets. Considering deregulation of metabolic and immune response pathways during pathological state of diabetes and NETosis as a potential mechanism for killing bacteria, we therefore, investigated whether hyperglycemic conditions modulate formation of neutrophil NETs and attempted to identify underlying immunoregulatory mechanisms. Freshly isolated neutrophils from normal individuals were cultured in absence or presence of high glucose (different concentrations) for 24 hours and activated with either LPS (2 mg/ml) or PMA (20 ng/ml) or IL-6 (20 ng/ml) for 3 hours. NETs were visualized and quantified by addition of DNA binding dye SYTOX green using fluorescence microscope and fluorimetry. NETs were quantified in Normal and diabetic subjects. Serum IL-6 levels were measured using ELISA technique. NETs bound elasatse were quantified in normal and diabetic subjects in presence or absence of DNase. Bacterial killing assays were performed upon infecting E.coli with activated neutrophils from normal and diabetic subjects. Microscopy and fluorimetry analysis suggested dramatic impairment in NETs formation under high glucose conditions. Extracellular DNA lattices formed in hyperglycemic conditions were short lived and unstable leading to rapid disintegration. Subsequent, time course experiments showed that NETs production was delayed in hyperglycemic conditions. To validate our findings more closely to clinical conditions, we investigated the neutrophil activation and NETs formation in diabetic patients. Upon stimulation with LPS for three hours, neutrophils from diabetic subjects responded weakly to LPS and lesser NETs were formed; whereas, neutrophils from normal individuals showed robust release of NETs. In few patients we found short and imperfect NETs in basal conditions suggesting constitutive activation of neutrophils in diabetic subjects. Interestingly, NETs bound elastase activity was reduced in diabetes subjects when compared to non-diabetic individuals, indicating a dysfunction of one of the important protein component of NETs during diabetes. Neutrophils from diabetic subjects released higher levels of IL-6 without any stimulation suggesting an existence of constitutively activated pro-inflammatory state. IL-6 induced NETs formation and was abrogated by high glucose. Weobserved that glycolysis inhibitor 2-DG resensitize the high glucose attenuated LPS and IL-6 induced NETs. a) NETs are influenced by glucose homeostasis, b) IL-6 as potent inducer of energy dependent NETs formation and c) hyperglycemia mimics a state of constitutively active pro-inflammatory condition in neutrophils leading to reduced response to external stimuli making diabetic subjects susceptible for infections.