Potential of antibody test using Schistosoma mansoni recombinant

Potential of antibody test using Schistosoma mansoni recombinant serpin and RP26 to detect light-intensity infections in endemic areas

Schistosomiasis remains a worldwide public health problem, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization targets the goal for its elimination as a public health problem in the 2030 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Roadmap. Concerted action and agile responses to challenges will be necessary to achieve the targets. Better diagnostic tests can accelerate progress towards the elimination by monitoring disease trends and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions; however, current examinations such as Kato-Katz technique are of limited power to detect light-intensity infections.

The point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen (POC-CCA) test shows a higher sensitivity compared to the reference standard, Kato-Katz technique, but it still lacks sufficient sensitivity with low infection intensity. In this study, we examined antibody reactions against recombinant protein antigens; Schistosoma mansoni serine protease-inhibitor (SmSerpin) and RP26, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in plasma samples with light-intensity infection.

The sensitivity using the cocktail antigen of recombinant SmSerpin and RP26 showed 83.7%. The sensitivity using S. mansoni soluble egg antigen (SmSEA) was 90.8%, but it showed poor specificity (29.7%), while the cocktail antigen presented improved specificity (61.4%). We conclude that antibody detection to the SmSerpin and RP26 protein antigens is effective to detect S. mansoni light-intensity infections. Our study indicates the potential of detecting antibody against recombinant protein antigens to monitor the transmission of schistosomiasis in low endemicity contexts.


DNA priming immunization is more effective than recombinant protein vaccine in eliciting antigen-specific B cell responses

While DNA prime-protein boost vaccination approach has been widely used in preclinical and clinical studies especially in the field of HIV vaccine development, the exact role of DNA immunization has not been fully identified. Our previous work demonstrated that DNA immunization was able to elicit T follicular helper (Tfh) cell responses and germinal center (GC) B cell development in a mouse model. In the current report, a mouse immunogenicity study was conducted to further ask whether DNA immunization is able to elicit antigen-specific B cell responses.

Using HIV-1 Env as model antigen delivered in the form of DNA prime – protein boost, our data demonstrated that DNA prime was able to enhance the antigen-specific B cell responses for both Env-specific antibody secreting cells (ASC) and memory B cells. Furthermore, the DNA priming can greatly reduce the need of including an adjuvant as part of the recombinant protein vaccine boost formulation. Our findings revealed one mechanism that supports the value of DNA priming in assisting the inductin of high affinity and long lasting antigen specific antibody responses.

Construction of recombinant Escherichia coli for production of L-phenylalanine-derived compounds

L-phenylalanine is an important amino acid that is widely used in the fields of food flavors and pharmaceuticals. Apart from L-phenylalanine itself, various commercially valuable chemical compounds can also be generated via the L-phenylalanine biosynthesis pathway. Compared with direct extraction from plants or synthesis by chemical reaction, microbial production of L-phenylalanine -derived compounds can overcome the drawbacks of environmental pollution, low yield, and mixtures of stereoisomeric products.

Accordingly, increasing intracellular levels of precursors, deregulating feedback inhibition and transcription repression, engineering global regulators and other effective strategies have been implemented to produce different L-phenylalanine -derived compounds in the excellent chassis host Escherichia coli. Finally, this review highlights principal strategies for improving the production of L-phenylalanine and/or its derivatives in E. coli, and discusses the future outlook for further enhancing the titer and yields of these compounds.

A phase II clinical study on the efficacy and predictive biomarker of pegylated recombinant arginase on hepatocellular carcinoma

Background: Pegylated recombinant human arginase (PEG-BCT-100) is an arginine depleting drug. Preclinical studies showed that HCC is reliant on exogenous arginine for growth due to the under-expression of the arginine regenerating enzymes argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS) and ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC).

Methods: This is a single arm open-label Phase II trial to assess the potential clinical efficacy of PEG-BCT-100 in chemo naïve sorafenib-failure HCC patients. Pre-treatment tumour biopsy was mandated for ASS and OTC expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Weekly intravenous PEG-BCT-100 at 2.7 mg/kg was given. Primary endpoint was time to progression (TTP); secondary endpoints included radiological response as per RECIST1.1, progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Treatment outcomes were correlated with tumour immunohistochemical expressions of ASS and OTC.

Results: In total 27 patients were recruited. The median TTP and PFS were both 6 weeks (95% CI, 5.9-6.0 weeks). The disease control rate (DCR) was 21.7% (5 stable disease). The drug was well tolerated. Post hoc analysis showed that duration of arginine depletion correlated with OS. For patients with available IHC results, 10 patients with ASS-negative tumour had OS of 35 weeks (95% CI: 8.3-78.0 weeks) vs. 15.14 weeks (95% CI: 13.4-15.1 weeks) in 3 with ASS-positive tumour; expression of OTC did not correlate with treatment outcomes.

Conclusions: PEG-BCT-100 in chemo naïve post-sorafenib HCC is well tolerated with moderate DCR. ASS-negative confers OS advantage over ASS-positive HCC. ASS-negativity is a potential biomarker for OS in HCC and possibly for other ASS-negative arginine auxotrophic cancers.

Recombinant pseudorabies virus with gI/gE deletion generated by overlapping polymerase chain reaction and homologous recombination technology induces protection against the PRV variant PRV-GD2013

Background: Since 2011, numerous highly virulent and antigenic variant viral strains have been reported in pigs that were vaccinated against the swine pseudorabies virus. These infections have led to substantial economic losses in the Chinese swine industry.

Results: This study, constructed a novel recombinant vaccine strain with gI/gE deletion (PRV-GD2013-ΔgI/gE) by overlapping PCR and homologous recombination technology. The growth curves and plaque morphology of the recombinant virus were similar to those of the parental strain. However, PRV-GD2013-ΔgI/gE infection was significantly attenuated in mice compared with that of PRV-GD2013. Two-week-old piglets had normal rectal temperatures and displayed no clinical symptoms after being inoculated with 105 TCID50 PRV-GD2013-ΔgI/gE, indicating that the recombinant virus was avirulent in piglets. Piglets were immunized with different doses of PRV-GD2013-ΔgI/gE, or a single dose of Bartha-K61 or DMEM, and infected with PRV-GD2013 at 14 days post-vaccination. Piglets given high doses of PRV-GD2013-ΔgI/gE showed no obvious clinical symptoms, and their antibody levels were higher than those of other groups, indicating that the piglets were completely protected from PRV-GD2013.

Conclusions: The PRV-GD2013-ΔgI/gE vaccine strain could be effective for immunizing Chinese swine herds against the pseudorabies virus (PRV) strain.

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