Alcoholic liver disease has been clinically well described, but the molecular mechanisms leading to hepatotoxicity have not been fully elucidated. Previously, we determined that microtubules are hyperacetylated and more stable in ethanol-treated WIF-B cells, VL-17A cells, liver slices, and in livers from ethanol-fed rats. From our recent studies, we believe that these modifications can explain alcohol-induced defects in microtubule motor-dependent protein trafficking including nuclear translocation of a subset of transcription factors. Since cytoplasmic dynein/dynactin is known to mediate both microtubule-dependent translocation and basolateral to apical/canalicular transcytosis, we predicted that transcytosis is impaired in ethanol-treated hepatic cells. We monitored transcytosis of three classes of newly synthesized canalicular proteins in polarized, hepatic WIF-B cells, an emerging model system for the study of liver disease. As predicted, canalicular delivery of all proteins tested was impaired in ethanol-treated cells. Unlike in control cells, transcytosing proteins were observed in discrete sub-canalicular puncta en route to the canalicular surface that aligned along acetylated microtubules. We further determined that the stalled transcytosing proteins colocalized with dynein/dynactin in treated cells. No changes in vesicle association were observed for either dynein or dynactin in ethanol-treated cells, but significantly enhanced dynein binding to microtubules was observed. From these results, we propose that enhanced dynein binding to microtubules in ethanol-treated cells leads to decreased motor processivity resulting in vesicle stalling and in impaired canalicular delivery. Our studies also importantly indicate that modulating cellular acetylation levels with clinically tolerated deacetylase agonists may be a novel therapeutic strategy for treating alcoholic liver disease.
There are no vaccines or therapeutics currently approved for the prevention or treatment of ebolavirus infection. Previously, a replicon vaccine based on Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) demonstrated protective efficacy against Marburg virus in nonhuman primates. Here, we report the protective efficacy of Sudan virus (SUDV)- and Ebola virus (EBOV)-specific VEEV replicon particle (VRP) vaccines in nonhuman primates. VRP vaccines were developed to express the glycoprotein (GP) of either SUDV or EBOV. A single intramuscular vaccination of cynomolgus macaques with VRP expressing SUDV GP provided complete protection against intramuscular challenge with SUDV. Vaccination against SUDV and subsequent survival of SUDV challenge did not fully protect cynomolgus macaques against intramuscular EBOV back-challenge. However, a single simultaneous intramuscular vaccination with VRP expressing SUDV GP combined with VRP expressing EBOV GP did provide complete protection against intramuscular challenge with either SUDV or EBOV in cynomolgus macaques. Finally, intramuscular vaccination with VRP expressing SUDV GP completely protected cynomolgus macaques when challenged with aerosolized SUDV, although complete protection against aerosol challenge required two vaccinations with this vaccine.
Chikungunya (CHIK) and Onyong-nyong (ONN) are important emerging arthropod-borne diseases. Molecular diagnosis of these two viruses in mosquitoes has not been evaluated, and the effects of extraneous mosquito tissue on assay performance have not been tested. Additionally, no real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay exists for detecting ONN virus (ONNV) RNA. We describe the development of sensitive and specific real-time RT-PCR assays for detecting CHIK and ONN viral RNA in mosquitoes, which have application for field use. In addition, we compared three methods for primer/probe design for assay development by evaluating their sensitivity and specificity. This comparison resulted in development of virus-specific assays that could detect less than one plaque-forming unit equivalent of each of the viruses in mosquitoes. The use of these assays will aid in arthropod-borne disease surveillance and in the control of the associated diseases.
Sand flies collected between April 2003 and November 2004 at Tallil Air Base, Iraq, were evaluated for the presence of Leishmania parasites using a combination of a real-time Leishmania-generic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and sequencing of a 360-bp fragment of the glucose-6-phosphate-isomerase (GPI) gene. A total of 2,505 pools containing 26,574 sand flies were tested using the real-time PCR assay. Leishmania DNA was initially detected in 536 pools; however, after extensive retesting with the real-time PCR assay, a total of 456 pools were considered positive and 80 were considered indeterminate. A total of 532 samples were evaluated for Leishmania GPI by sequencing, to include 439 PCR-positive samples, 80 PCR-indeterminate samples, and 13 PCR-negative samples. Leishmania GPI was detected in 284 samples that were sequenced, to include 281 (64%) of the PCR-positive samples and 3 (4%) of the PCR-indeterminate samples. Of the 284 sequences identified as Leishmania, 261 (91.9%) were L. tarentolae, 18 (6.3%) were L. donovani-complex parasites, 3 (1.1%) were L. tropica, and 2 were similar to both L. major and L. tropica. Minimum field infection rates were 0.09% for L. donovani-complex parasites, 0.02% for L. tropica, and 0.01% for the L. major/tropica-like parasite. Subsequent sequencing of a 600-bp region of the "Hyper" gene of 12 of the L. donovani-complex parasites showed that all 12 parasites were L. infantum. These data suggest that L. infantum was the primary leishmanial threat to U.S. military personnel deployed to Tallil Air Base. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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