0 Q&A 248 Views Oct 5, 2023

Mixed communities of fungi and bacteria have been shown to be more efficient in degrading wood than fungi alone. Some standardised protocols for quantification of the wood decay ability of fungi have been developed (e.g., DIN V ENV 12038:2002 as the legal standard to test for the resistance of wood against wood-destroying basidiomycetes in Germany). Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol developed from the official standard DIN V ENV12038 to test combinations of bacteria and fungi for their combined wood degradation ability. Equally sized wood blocks are inoculated with wood decay fungi and bacterial strains. Axenic controls allow the analysis of varying degradation rates via comparison of the wood dry weights at the end of the experiments. This protocol provides new opportunities in exploration of inter- and intra-kingdom interactions in the wood-related environment and forms the basis for microcosm experiments.

Key features

• Quantification of wood decay ability of mixed cultures.

• Allows testing if fungi are more efficient in degrading wood when bacteria are present.

0 Q&A 552 Views Nov 20, 2022

The study of haloarchaea provides an opportunity to expand understanding of the mechanisms used by extremophiles to thrive in and respond to harsh environments, including hypersaline and oxidative stress conditions. A common strategy used to investigate molecular mechanisms of stress response involves the deletion and/or site-directed mutagenesis of genes identified through omics studies followed by a comparison of the mutant and wild-type strains for phenotypic differences. The experimental methods used to monitor these differences must be controlled and reproducible. Current methods to examine recovery of halophilic archaea from extreme stress are complicated by extended incubation times, nutrients not typically encountered in the environment, and other related limitations. Here we describe a method for assessing the function of genes during hypochlorite stress in the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii that overcomes these types of limitations. The method was found reproducible and informative in identifying genes needed for H. volcanii to recover from hypochlorite stress.

0 Q&A 1862 Views Aug 20, 2022

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening, high mortality pulmonary condition characterized by acute lung injury (ALI) resulting in diffuse alveolar damage. Despite progress regarding the understanding of ARDS pathophysiology, there are presently no effective pharmacotherapies. Due to the complexity and multiorgan involvement typically associated with ARDS, animal models remain the most commonly used research tool for investigating potential new therapies. Experimental models of ALI/ARDS use different methods of injury to acutely induce lung damage in both small and large animals. These models have historically played an important role in the development of new clinical interventions, such as fluid therapy and the use of supportive mechanical ventilation (MV). However, failures in recent clinical trials have highlighted the potential inadequacy of small animal models due to major anatomical and physiological differences, as well as technical challenges associated with the use of clinical co-interventions [e.g., MV and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)]. Thus, there is a need for larger animal models of ALI/ARDS, to allow the incorporation of clinically relevant measurements and co-interventions, hopefully leading to improved rates of clinical translation. However, one of the main challenges in using large animal models of preclinical research is that fewer species-specific experimental tools and metrics are available for evaluating the extent of lung injury, as compared to rodent models. One of the most relevant indicators of ALI in all animal models is evidence of histological tissue damage, and while histological scoring systems exist for small animal models, these cannot frequently be readily applied to large animal models. Histological injury in these models differs due to the type and severity of the injury being modeled. Additionally, the incorporation of other clinical support devices such as MV and ECMO in large animal models can lead to further lung damage and appearance of features absent in the small animal models. Therefore, semi-quantitative histological scoring systems designed to evaluate tissue-level injury in large animal models of ALI/ARDS are needed. Here we describe a semi-quantitative scoring system to evaluate histological injury using a previously established porcine model of ALI via intratracheal and intravascular lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration. Additionally, and owing to the higher number of samples generated from large animal models, we worked to implement a more sustainable and greener histopathological workflow throughout the entire process.

0 Q&A 1478 Views Jul 20, 2022

Microorganisms have evolved adaptive strategies to respond to the autonomous degradation of their environment. Indeed, a growing culture progressively exhausts nutrients from its media and modifies its composition. Yet, how single cells react to these modifications remains difficult to study since it requires population-scale growth experiments to allow cell proliferation to have a collective impact on the environment, while monitoring the same individuals exposed to this environment for days. For this purpose, we have previously described an integrated microfluidic pipeline, based on continuous separation of the cells from the media and subsequent perfusion of the filtered media in an observation chamber containing isolated single cells. Here, we provide a detailed protocol to implement this methodology, including the setting up of the microfluidic system and the processing of timelapse images.

0 Q&A 2350 Views Mar 5, 2022

Iron (Fe) is an indispensable micronutrient for plant growth and development. Since both deficiency, as well as a surplus of Fe, can be detrimental to plant health, plants need to constantly tune uptake rates to maintain an optimum level of Fe. Quantification of Fe serves as an important parameter for analyzing the fitness of plants from different accessions, or mutants and transgenic lines with altered expression of specific genes. To quantify metals in plant samples, methods based on inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) or inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) have been widely employed. Although these methods are highly accurate, these methodologies rely on sophisticated equipment which is not always available. Moreover, ICP-OES and ICP-MS allow for surveying several metals in the same sample, which may not be necessary if only the Fe status is to be determined. Here, we outline a simple and cost-efficient protocol to quantify Fe concentrations in roots and shoots of Arabidopsis seedlings, by using a spectroscopy-based assay to quantify Fe2+-BPDS3 complexes against a set of standards. This protocol provides a fast and reproducible method to determine Fe levels in plant samples with high precision and low costs, which does not depend on expensive equipment and expertise to operate such equipment.

0 Q&A 1317 Views Nov 5, 2021

We describe a method to test the preference of insects in response to (3E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene (DMNT). We use a device that includes a horizontal glass tube, two grooves (with activated carbon), air flow, rubber stoppers/tubes, transparent glass containers (optional), and a holder for the glass tube (optional). Equal amounts of activated carbon in the groove (removable) are placed at both ends to avoid air contamination. The air flow is generated by an air pump. In the closed device, different samples are placed at each end of the glass tube. The air pump at the top of the glass tube forms an air flow that converges to the middle site of the glass tube. In each test, insect larvae are located in the middle of the glass test tube. If the test samples release DMNT that can be sensed by insects, the insects will selectively move to one specific end of the glass tube. The number of insects that move to each end will be recorded for further studies. This method can also be used to test the preference of insects in response to other volatile compounds.

0 Q&A 2360 Views Nov 5, 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As this virus is classified as a biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) agent, the development of countermeasures and basic research methods is logistically difficult. Recently, using reverse genetics, we developed a BSL-2 cell culture system for production of transcription- and replication-component virus-like-particles (trVLPs) by genetic transcomplementation. The system consists of two parts: SARS-CoV-2 GFP/ΔN genomic RNA, in which the nucleocapsid (N) gene, a critical gene for virion packaging, is replaced by a GFP reporter gene; and a packaging cell line for ectopic expression of N (Caco-2-N). The complete viral life cycle can be recapitulated and confined to Caco-2-N cells, with GFP positivity serving as a surrogate readout for viral infection. In addition, we utilized an intein-mediated protein splicing technique to split the N gene into two independent vectors and generated the Caco-2-Nintein cells as a packaging cell line to further enhance the security of this cell culture model. Altogether, this system provides for a safe and convenient method to produce trVLPs in BSL-2 laboratories. These trVLPs can be modified to incorporate desired mutations, permitting high-throughput screening of antiviral compounds and evaluation of neutralizing antibodies. This protocol describes the details of the trVLP cell culture model to make SARS-CoV-2 research more readily accessible.

0 Q&A 2449 Views Oct 5, 2021

Dark respiration refers to experimental measures of leaf respiration in the absence of light, done to distinguish it from the photorespiration that occurs during photosynthesis. Dark aerobic respiration reactions occur solely in the mitochondria and convert glucose molecules from cytoplasmatic glycolysis and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water, with the generation of ATP molecules. Previous methods typically use oxygen sensors to measure oxygen depletion or complicated and expensive photosynthesis instruments to measure CO2 accumulation. Here, we provide a detailed, step-by-step approach to measure dark respiration in plants by recording CO2 fluxes of Arabidopsis shoot and root tissues. Briefly, plants are dark acclimated for 1 hour, leaves and roots are excised and placed separately in airtight chambers, and CO2 accumulation is measured over time with standard infrared gas analyzers. The time-series data is processed with R scripts to produce dark respiration rates, which can be standardized by fresh or dry tissue mass. The current method requires inexpensive infrared gas analyzers, off-the-shelf parts for chambers, and publicly available data analysis scripts.

0 Q&A 1579 Views Sep 20, 2021

Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) is a leading causative pathogen for food-borne gastroenteritis. During its course of infection, it confronts myriads of physiological barriers inside the host, such as nutrient deprivation, low micronutrient availability, and toxicity from bile salts, to promote bacterial survival and infection inside the host. The ability of the pathogen to overcome these stressful conditions determines the degree of virulence in the host. Therefore, assessment of the survival of a pathogen during different stress conditions, like glucose starvation, magnesium starvation, and bile stress, are important parameters to assess the virulence of the pathogen. Here, we describe protocols for estimating the survival of the pathogen during the above-mentioned stress conditions. We culture S. Enteritidis in an appropriate growth medium to a required O.D.600 and treat it with glucose starvation (M9 minimal culture medium containing 0.03% glucose), magnesium starvation (M9 minimal culture medium containing 20 µM MgSO4), and bile stress (bacterial cells treated with 15% bile salts in Luria Bertani (LB) culture medium) conditions. The number of surviving bacteria is obtained after the treatment by calculating the colony-forming units (CFU) of the surviving pathogen obtained on LB agar plates at relevant time intervals. The experiments are performed in biological replicates, and statistical analysis is performed to validate the experimental findings. The methodology of these stress response assays is simple and can be adapted to study the pathogenesis and stress response in other relevant and culturable enteric pathogens.

0 Q&A 3711 Views Sep 20, 2021

Identification of novel genes and their functions in rice is a critical step to improve economic traits. Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation is a proven method in many laboratories and widely adopted for genetic engineering in rice. However, the efficiency of gene transfer by Agrobacterium in rice is low, particularly among japonica and indica varieties. In this protocol, we elucidate a rapid and highly efficient protocol to transform and regenerate transgenic rice plants through important key features of Agrobacterium transformation and standard regeneration media, especially enhancing culture conditions, timing, and growth hormones. With this protocol, transformed plantlets from the embryogenetic callus of the japonica cultivar ‘Taichung 65’ may be obtained within 90 days. This protocol may be used with other japonica rice varieties.