微生物学


现刊
往期刊物
1 Q&A 178 Views Jan 5, 2023

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum causes white mold, leading to substantial losses on a wide variety of hosts around the world. Many genes encoding effector proteins play important roles in the pathogenesis of S. sclerotiorum. Therefore, establishment of a transformation system for the exploration of gene function is necessarily significant. Here, we introduce a modified protocol to acquire protoplasts for transformation and generate knockout strains, which completements the transformation system of S. sclerotiorum.


0 Q&A 379 Views Nov 20, 2022

Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by pathogens belonging to the genus Babesia. In humans, the disease presents as a malaria-like illness and can be fatal in immunocompromised and elderly people. In the past few years, human babesiosis has been a rising concern worldwide. The disease is transmitted through tick bite, blood transfusion, and transplacentally in rare cases, with several species of Babesia causing human infection. Babesia microti, Babesia duncani, and Babesia divergens are of particular interest because of their important health impact and amenability to research inquiries. B. microti, the most commonly reported Babesia pathogen infecting humans, can be propagated in immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice but so far has not been successfully continuously propagated in vitro in human red blood cells (hRBCs). Conversely, B. divergens can be propagated in vitro in hRBCs but lacks a mouse model to study its virulence. Recent studies have highlighted the uniqueness of B. duncani as an ideal model organism to study intraerythrocytic parasitism in vitro and in vivo. An optimized B. duncani in culture and in mouse (ICIM) model has recently been described, combining long-term continuous in vitro culture of the parasite in human red blood cells with an animal model of parasitemia (P) and lethal infection in C3H/HeJ mice. Here, we provide a detailed protocol for the use of the B. duncani ICIM model in research. This model provides a unique and sound foundation to gain further insights into the biology, pathogenesis, and virulence of Babesia and other intraerythrocytic parasites, and has been validated as an efficient system to evaluate novel strategies for the treatment of human babesiosis and possibly other parasitic diseases.


Graphical abstract:



ICIM model [Adapted and modified from Pal et al. (2022)]


0 Q&A 1342 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 1956 Views Mar 5, 2022

Dozens of Mycoplasma species belonging to the class Mollicutes bind to solid surfaces through the organelle formed at a cell pole and glide in its direction by a unique mechanism. In Mycoplasma mobile, the fastest gliding species in Mycoplasma, the force for gliding is generated by ATP hydrolysis on an internal structure. However, the spatial and temporal behaviors of the internal structures in living cells were unclear. High-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) is a powerful method to monitor the dynamic behaviors of biomolecules and cells that can be captured while maintaining their active state in aqueous solution. In this protocol, we describe a method to detect their movements using HS-AFM. This protocol should be useful for the studies of many kinds of microorganisms.


Graphic abstract:



Scannnig Mycoplasma cell


1 Q&A 2071 Views Feb 20, 2022

Recent advancements in 3D microscopy have enabled scientists to monitor signals of multiple cells in various animals/organs. However, segmenting and tracking the moving cells in three-dimensional time-lapse images (3D + T images), to extract their dynamic positions and activities, remains a considerable bottleneck in the field. We developed a deep learning-based software pipeline called 3DeeCellTracker, which precisely tracks cells with large movements in 3D + T images, obtained from different animals or organs, using highly divergent optical systems. In this protocol, we explain how to set up the computational environment, the required data, and the procedures to segment and track cells with 3DeeCellTracker. Our protocol will help scientists to analyze cell activities/movements in 3D + T image datasets that have been difficult to analyze.


Graphic abstract:




The flowchart illustrating how to use 3DeeCellTracker.

See the Equipment and Procedure sections for detailed explanations.


0 Q&A 1727 Views Feb 5, 2022

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a toxic oxidant produced as a byproduct of several biological processes. At too high levels of hydrogen peroxide cells will experience oxidative stress, leading to a cellular response to decrease its levels and to protect the cells. Previously, methods used to study and quantify intracellular H2O2 have been limited by both sensitivity and specificity. However, an increasing number of genetically encoded fluorescent indicators (GEFIs) are becoming available, which can specifically detect low levels of intracellular hydrogen peroxide. In this study, we use such a biosensor designed to monitor cytosolic H2O2 levels in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae during continuous cultivation and in the absence of a fluorescence microscope. The fluorescent biosensor contains a peroxiredoxin protein fused to an engineered GFP molecule expressed from a commonly used yeast plasmid (pRS416-TEF1). The peroxiredoxin-based fluorescent indicator reduces H2O2, ultimately resulting in a GFP signal being emitted by the sensor. Here, we apply this biosensor to study cytosolic H2O2 levels in S. cerevisiae strains with and without recombinant protein production.


Graphic abstract:




Schematic overview of experimental steps.


0 Q&A 1607 Views Jan 5, 2022

The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) performs several critical biological functions, including maintaining mitochondrial membrane potential, serving as an electron sink for important metabolic pathways, and contributing to the generation of ATP via oxidative phosphorylation. The ETC is important for the survival of many eukaryotic organisms, including intracellular parasites such as the apicomplexan Toxoplasma gondii. The ETC of T. gondii and related parasites differs in several ways from the ETC of the mammalian host cells they infect, and can be targeted by anti-parasitic drugs, including the clinically used compound atovaquone. To characterize the function of novel ETC proteins found in the parasite and to identify new ETC inhibitors, a scalable assay that assesses both ETC function and non-mitochondrial parasite metabolism (e.g., glycolysis) is desirable. Here, we describe methods to measure the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) of intact T. gondii parasites and thereby assess ETC function, while simultaneously measuring the extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) as a measure of general parasite metabolism, using a Seahorse XFe96 extracellular flux analyzer. We also describe a method to pinpoint the location of ETC defects and/or the targets of inhibitors, using permeabilized T. gondii parasites. We have successfully used these methods to investigate the function of T. gondii proteins, including the apicomplexan parasite-specific protein subunit TgQCR11 of the coenzyme Q:cytochrome c oxidoreductase complex (ETC Complex III). We note that these methods are also amenable to screening compound libraries to identify candidate ETC inhibitors.


0 Q&A 2430 Views Sep 5, 2021

Throughout their life cycle, bacteria shed portions of their outermost membrane comprised of proteins, lipids, and a diversity of other biomolecules. These biological nanoparticles have been shown to have a range of highly diverse biological activities, including pathogenesis, community regulation, and cellular defense (among others). In recent publications, we have isolated and characterized membrane vesicles (MVs) from several species of Lactobacilli, microbes classified as commensals within the human gut microbiome (Dean et al., 2019 and 2020). With increasing scientific understanding of host-microbe interactions, the gut-brain axis, and tailored probiotics for therapeutic or performance increasing applications, the protocols described herein will be useful to researchers developing new strategies for gut community engineering or the targeted delivery of bio-active molecules.


Graphic abstract:



Figure 1. Atomic force microscopic image of Lactobacillus casei ATCC 393 bacteria margins (white arrows) and membrane vesicles (black arrows)


0 Q&A 2059 Views Sep 5, 2021

The relapsing malaria species, Plasmodium vivax, is the most widely distributed and difficult-to-treat cause of human malaria. The merozoites of P. vivax preferentially invade ephemeral human CD71+ reticulocytes (nascent reticulocytes), thereby limiting the development of a robust continuous culture in vitro. Fortunately, P. vivax’s sister species, P. cynomolgi Berok, can be cultured continuously, providing the ability to screen novel therapeutics drug and vaccine candidates in a reliable and high-throughput manner. Based on well-established growth inhibition activity (GIA) assays against P. falciparum and P. knowlesi, this protocol adopts the current flow cytometry assay methodology and investigates P. vivax inhibitory antibodies using the P. cynomolgi Berok invasion model based on the thiol-reactivity and DNA abundance of viable parasites in macaque erythrocytes. Established GIA assays screen antibodies at either a single concentration or high/low dose concentrations to provide quick insights for prioritizing potential antibodies capable of specifically interrupting parasite ligand and host receptor binding with minimal concentrations. Hence, this protocol expands on the existing GIA assay by using serially diluted antibodies and generating a dose-response curve to better quantify the inhibitory efficacy amongst selected vaccine candidates.

0 Q&A 2479 Views Jul 5, 2021

Phlebotomine vectors, sand flies of the order Diptera, are known to transmit Leishmania parasites as well as RNA viruses (arboviruses) to humans. The arbovirus, Icoaraci Phlebovirus (BeAN 24262 - ICOV), used in this study was isolated from Nectomys rodents, a mammalian species that is the same natural sylvatic reservoir of Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis. This Leishmania species is distributed in primary and secondary forests in Brazil and other countries in America and causes localized and diffuse anergic skin lesions. In our recent studies, we observed an aggravation of the protozoan infection by ICOV through the modulation of cytokine expression, such as IL-10 and IFN-β, enhancing the parasite load and possibly the pathogenesis. Efficient viral production and quantitation had to be developed and standardized to ensure that immuno-molecular assays provide consistent and reproducible viral infection results. The standardization of these procedures becomes a particularly useful tool in research, with several applications in understanding the interaction between the host cell and Phlebovirus, as well as co-infections, allowing the study of intracellular signaling pathways. Here, we detail a protocol that allows the production and quantitation of the Icoaraci Phlebovirus using BHK-21 cells (baby hamster kidney cells) and subsequent infection of peritoneal macrophages from C57BL/6 mice.