In this study we developed, characterized and validated in vitro a functional superparagmagnetic iron-oxide based magnetic resonance contrast agent by conjugating a commercially available iron oxide nanoparticle, Molday ION Rhodamine-B Carboxyl (MIRB), with a deimmunized mouse monoclonal antibody (muJ591) targeting prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). This functional contrast agent is intended for the specific and non-invasive detection of prostate cancer cells that are PSMA positive, a marker implicated in prostate tumor progression and metastasis. The two-step carbodiimide reaction used to conjugate the antibody to the nanoparticle was efficient and we obtained an elemental iron content of 1958 ± 611 per antibody. Immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry showed that the conjugated muJ591:MIRB complex specifically binds to PSMA-positive (LNCaP) cells. The muJ591:MIRB complex reduced cell adhesion and cell proliferation on LNCaP cells and caused apoptosis as tested by Annexin V assay, suggesting anti-tumorigenic characteristics. Measurements of the T2 relaxation time of the muJ591:MIRB complex using a 400 MHz Innova NMR and a multi-echo spin-echo sequence on a 3T MRI (Achieva, Philips) showed a significant T2 relaxation time reduction for the muJ591:MIRB complex, with a reduced T2 relaxation time as a function of the iron concentration. PSMA-positive cells treated with muJ591:MIRB showed a significantly shorter T2 relaxation time as obtained using a 3T MRI scanner. The reduction in T2 relaxation time for muJ591:MIRB, combined with its specificity against PSMA+LNCaP cells, suggest its potential as a biologically-specific MR contrast agent.
We examined how well the human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 oncogene can function in the absence of the E7 oncogene during the carcinogenic process in human keratinocytes using a common HPV variant strongly associated with cervical cancer: the Asian-American E6 variant (AAE6). This E6 variant is 20 times more frequently detected in cervical cancer than the prototype European E6 variant, as evidenced by independent epidemiological data. Using cell culture and cell-based functional assays, we assessed how this variant can perform crucial carcinogenesis steps compared to the prototype E6 variant. The ability to immortalize and transform primary human foreskin keratinocytes (PHFKs) to acquire resilient phenotypes and the ability to promote cell migration were evaluated. The immortalization capability was assayed based on population doublings, number of passages, surpassing mortality stages 1 and 2, human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) expression, and the ability to overcome G(1) arrest via p53 degradation. Transformation and migration efficiency were analyzed using a combination of functional cell-based assays. We observed that either AAE6 or prototype E6 proteins alone were sufficient to immortalize PHFKs, although AAE6 was more potent in doing so. The AAE6 variant protein alone pushed PHFKs through transformation and significantly increased their migration ability over that of the E6 prototype. Our findings are in line with epidemiological data that the AA variant of HPV16 confers an increased risk over the European prototype for cervical cancer, as evidenced by a superior immortalization, transformation, and metastatic potential.
Recent reports have shown that certain bacterial strains attain the New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) enzyme and become resistant to a broad range of antibiotics. Similarly, more dangerous "superbugs" of multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensive drug resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains are gradually emerging through rapid genetic mutation caused by prescription non-compliance or unsupervised indiscriminate use of anti-tubercular drugs or other antibiotics. Mycobacterium tuberculosis cases have been reported in highly susceptible population groups including the aboriginal communities of US and Canada. In Canada alone, the total number of reported tuberculosis cases has decreased over the past decade. However, there is a steady increase in HIV cases in certain communities including the aboriginal communities. Reintroduction of MDR/XDR strains of tuberculosis is possible in these susceptible communities, which in turn may pose serious public health situation. MDR/XDR strains of tuberculosis are virtually untreatable using current anti-tubercular medication protocols. Thus, MDR/XDR tuberculosis presents a grave global public health threat. The unpredictable genetic mechanism involved in generating MDR/XDR resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis may pose greater challenges in developing appropriate treatment strategies. In this article, we briefly review potential genetic mechanism of emerging NDM-1 bacterial strains and draw a rationale parallel to the underlying genetic mechanism of MDR/XDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain development.
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