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1.
Chemosensors ; 10(8):299, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2023203

ABSTRACT

The rapid and selective detection of bacterial contaminations and bacterial infections in a non-laboratory setting using advanced sensing materials holds the promise to enable robust point-of-care tests and rapid diagnostics for applications in the medical field as well as food safety. Among the various possible analytes, bacterial enzymes have been targeted successfully in various sensing formats. In this current work, we focus on the systematic investigation of the role of surface area on the sensitivity in micro- and nanostructured autonomously reporting sensing hydrogel materials for the detection of bacterial enzymes. The colorimetric sensing materials for the detection of β-glucuronidase (ß-GUS) from Escherichia coli (E. coli) were fabricated by template replication of crosslinked pullulan acetoacetate (PUAA) and by electrospinning chitosan/polyethylene oxide nanofibers (CS/PEO NFs), both equipped with the chromogenic substrate 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-β-D-glucuronide. The investigation of the dependence of the initial reaction rates on surface area unveiled a linear relationship of rate and thereby time to observe a signal for a given concentration of bacterial enzyme. This knowledge was exploited in nanoscale sensing materials made of CS/PEO NFs with diameters of 295 ± 100 nm. Compared to bulk hydrogel slabs, the rate of hydrolysis was significantly enhanced in NFs when exposed to bacteria suspension cultures and thus ensuring a rapid detection of living E. coli that produces the enzyme β-GUS. The findings afford generalized design principles for the improvement of known and novel sensing materials towards rapid detection of bacteria by nanostructuring in medical and food related settings.

2.
Hum Vaccin Immunother ; : 2079346, 2022 Jun 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1878720

ABSTRACT

Low-cost, refrigerator-stable COVID-19 vaccines will facilitate global access and improve vaccine coverage in low- and middle-income countries. To this end, subunit-based approaches targeting the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein remain attractive. Antibodies against RBD neutralize SARS-CoV-2 by blocking viral attachment to the host cell receptor, ACE2. Here, a yeast-produced recombinant RBD antigen (RBD-L452K-F490W or RBD-J) was formulated with various combinations of aluminum-salt (Alhydrogel®, AH; AdjuPhos®, AP) and CpG 1018 adjuvants. We assessed the effect of antigen-adjuvant interactions on the stability and mouse immunogenicity of various RBD-J preparations. While RBD-J was 50% adsorbed to AH and <15% to AP, addition of CpG resulted in complete AH binding, yet no improvement in AP adsorption. ACE2 competition ELISA analyses of formulated RBD-J stored at varying temperatures (4, 25, 37°C) revealed that RBD-J was destabilized by AH, an effect exacerbated by CpG. DSC studies demonstrated that aluminum-salt and CpG adjuvants decrease the conformational stability of RBD-J and suggest a direct CpG-RBD-J interaction. Although AH+CpG-adjuvanted RBD-J was the least stable in vitro, the formulation was most potent at eliciting SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus neutralizing antibodies in mice. In contrast, RBD-J formulated with AP+CpG showed minimal antigen-adjuvant interactions, a better stability profile, but suboptimal immune responses. Interestingly, the loss of in vivo potency associated with heat-stressed RBD-J formulated with AH+CpG after one dose was abrogated by a booster. Our findings highlight the importance of elucidating the key interrelationships between antigen-adjuvant interactions, storage stability, and in vivo performance to enable successful formulation development of stable and efficacious subunit vaccines.

3.
Sci Adv ; 8(11): eabl6015, 2022 Mar 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745843

ABSTRACT

Authorized vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 remain less available in low- and middle-income countries due to insufficient supply, high costs, and storage requirements. Global immunity could still benefit from new vaccines using widely available, safe adjuvants, such as alum and protein subunits, suited to low-cost production in existing manufacturing facilities. Here, a clinical-stage vaccine candidate comprising a SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain-hepatitis B surface antigen virus-like particle elicited protective immunity in cynomolgus macaques. Titers of neutralizing antibodies (>104) induced by this candidate were above the range of protection for other licensed vaccines in nonhuman primates. Including CpG 1018 did not significantly improve the immunological responses. Vaccinated animals challenged with SARS-CoV-2 showed reduced median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage (~3.4 log10) and nasal mucosa (~2.9 log10) versus sham controls. These data support the potential benefit of this design for a low-cost modular vaccine platform for SARS-CoV-2 and other variants of concern or betacoronaviruses.

4.
Crit Rev Immunol ; 41(2): 1-19, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1468219

ABSTRACT

Elucidating the role of probiotic bacteria in health and disease perhaps constitutes one of the most exciting and fastest growing fields in medicine as we uncover the beneficial roles of these bacteria in many disease processes including cancer. We and others have reported previously that probiotic bacteria play a significant role in the activation of many cells including the cancer fighting natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells are the key immune effectors which control tumor growth and metastasis due to their ability to mediate direct cytotoxicity and/or differentiation of cancer stem cells/undifferentiated tumors through secreted and membrane bound interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. In this review, we present an overview of recent studies from our laboratory and those of the others on their beneficial effects on immune cell function in particular on NK cells. In addition, we also highlight the current understanding of the role of probiotics in enhancement of the effectiveness of cancer therapeutics. Moreover, we discuss the functional impairment of cancer patients' NK cells and the role of probiotics in reversal of such functional impairment. NK cell-based immuno-therapies in combination with well-selected strains of probiotic bacteria may probably represent one of the best adjunct therapeutic approaches to prevent and treat cancer in the future.


Subject(s)
Killer Cells, Natural/cytology , Lymphocyte Activation , Neoplasms , Probiotics , Humans , Neoplasms/therapy , Probiotics/therapeutic use
5.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(38)2021 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1397979

ABSTRACT

Global containment of COVID-19 still requires accessible and affordable vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Recently approved vaccines provide needed interventions, albeit at prices that may limit their global access. Subunit vaccines based on recombinant proteins are suited for large-volume microbial manufacturing to yield billions of doses annually, minimizing their manufacturing cost. These types of vaccines are well-established, proven interventions with multiple safe and efficacious commercial examples. Many vaccine candidates of this type for SARS-CoV-2 rely on sequences containing the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which mediates viral entry to cells via ACE2. Here we report an engineered sequence variant of RBD that exhibits high-yield manufacturability, high-affinity binding to ACE2, and enhanced immunogenicity after a single dose in mice compared to the Wuhan-Hu-1 variant used in current vaccines. Antibodies raised against the engineered protein exhibited heterotypic binding to the RBD from two recently reported SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (501Y.V1/V2). Presentation of the engineered RBD on a designed virus-like particle (VLP) also reduced weight loss in hamsters upon viral challenge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Protein Engineering/methods , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral , Binding Sites , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/economics , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Models, Molecular , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Saccharomycetales/metabolism , Vaccines, Subunit
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