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Pinnapureddy A.R.,University of Otago | Stayner C.,University of Otago | McEwan J.,Agresearch Ltd. | Baddeley O.,New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders | And 3 more authors.
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases | Year: 2015

Animals that accurately model human disease are invaluable in medical research, allowing a critical understanding of disease mechanisms, and the opportunity to evaluate the effect of therapeutic compounds in pre-clinical studies. Many types of animal models are used world-wide, with the most common being small laboratory animals, such as mice. However, rodents often do not faithfully replicate human disease, despite their predominant use in research. This discordancy is due in part to physiological differences, such as body size and longevity. In contrast, large animal models, including sheep, provide an alternative to mice for biomedical research due to their greater physiological parallels with humans. Completion of the full genome sequences of many species, and the advent of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies, means it is now feasible to screen large populations of domesticated animals for genetic variants that resemble human genetic diseases, and generate models that more accurately model rare human pathologies. In this review, we discuss the notion of using sheep as large animal models, and their advantages in modelling human genetic disease. We exemplify several existing naturally occurring ovine variants in genes that are orthologous to human disease genes, such as the Cln6 sheep model for Batten disease. These, and other sheep models, have contributed significantly to our understanding of the relevant human disease process, in addition to providing opportunities to trial new therapies in animals with similar body and organ size to humans. Therefore sheep are a significant species with respect to the modelling of rare genetic human disease, which we summarize in this review. © 2015 Pinnapureddy et al.

Grattan D.R.,University of Otago | Grattan D.R.,Maurice Wilkins Center for Molecular Biodiscovery
Journal of Endocrinology | Year: 2015

The hypothalamic control of prolactin secretion is different from other anterior pituitary hormones, in that it is predominantly inhibitory, by means of dopamine from the tuberoinfundibular dopamine neurons. In addition, prolactin does not have an endocrine target tissue, and therefore lacks the classical feedback pathway to regulate its secretion. Instead, it is regulated by short loop feedback, whereby prolactin itself acts in the brain to stimulate production of dopamine and thereby inhibit its own secretion. Finally, despite its relatively simplename,prolactinhas a broadrange offunctions inthebody, inadditiontoitsdefiningrole in promoting lactation. As such, the hypothalamo-prolactin axis has many characteristics that are quite distinct from other hypothalamo-pituitary systems. This review will provide a brief overview of our current understanding of the neuroendocrine control of prolactin secretion, in particular focusing on the plasticity evident in this system, which keeps prolactin secretion at low levels most of the time, but enables extended periods of hyperprolactinemia when necessary for lactation. Key prolactin functions beyond milk production will be discussed, particularly focusing on the role of prolactin in inducing adaptive responses in multiple different systems to facilitate lactation, and the consequences if prolactin action is impaired. A feature of this pleiotropic activity is that functions thatmay be adaptive in the lactating state might bemaladaptive if prolactin levels are elevated inappropriately. Overall,my goal is to give aflavourofboth the history and current state of thefield ofprolactin neuroendocrinology, and identify some exciting new areas of research development. © 2015 Society for Endocrinology.

Jones N.M.,Victoria University of Wellington | Rowe M.R.,Victoria University of Wellington | Shepherd P.R.,University of Auckland | Shepherd P.R.,Maurice Wilkins Center for Molecular Biodiscovery | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Oncology | Year: 2016

Cancer stem cells (CSC) exhibit therapy resistance and drive self-renewal of the tumour, making cancer stem cells an important target for therapy. The PI3K signalling pathway has been the focus of considerable research effort, including in glioblastoma (GBM), a cancer that is notoriously resistant to conventional therapy. Different isoforms of the catalytic subunit have been associated with proliferation, migration and differentiation in stem cells and cancer stem cells. Blocking these processes in CSC would improve patient outcome. We examined the effect of isoform specific PI3K inhibitors in two models of GBM CSC, an established GBM stem cell line 08/04 and a neurosphere formation model. We identified the dominant catalytic PI3K isoform for each model, and inhibition of the dominant isoform blocked AKT phosphorylation, as did pan-PI3K/mTOR inhibition. Analysis of SOX2, OCT4 and MSI1 expression revealed that inhibition of the dominant p110 subunit increased expression of cancer stem cell genes, while pan-PI3K/mTOR inhibition caused a similar, though not identical, increase in cancer stem cell gene expression. This suggested that PI3K inhibition enhanced, rather than blocked, CSC activity. Careful analysis of the response to specific isoform inhibition will be necessary before specific subunit inhibitors can be successfully deployed against GBM CSC.

Mainini F.,University of Otago | Larsen D.S.,University of Otago | Webster G.A.,Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd. | Young S.L.,University of Otago | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

MIS416 is an intact minimal cell wall skeleton derived from Proprionibacterium acnes that is phagocytosed by antigen presenting cells, including dendritic cells (DCs). This property allows MIS416 to be exploited as a vehicle for the delivery of peptide antigens or other molecules (for example, nucleic acids) to DCs. We previously showed that covalent (non-cleav-able) conjugation of OVA, a model antigen derived from ovalbumin, to MIS416 enhanced immune responses in DCs in vivo, compared to unconjugated MIS416 and OVA. Intracellular trafficking promotes the lysosomal degradation of MIS416, leading to the destruction of MIS416 plus the associated cargos conjugated to MIS416. However, lysosomal degradation of cargo may not be desired for some MIS416 conjugates. Here we have investigated whether a cleavable linkage could facilitate release of the cargo in the cytoplasm of DCs to avoid lysosomal degradation. DCs were treated in vitro with disulfide-containing conjugates, and as hypothesised faster release of SIINFEKL peptide in the cytoplasm of DCs was observed with the inclusion of a disulfide bond between MIS416 and cargo. The inclusion of a cleavable disulfide bond in the conjugates did not significantly alter the amount of SIINFEKL antigens presented on MHC I molecules on DCs as compared with conjugates without a disulfide bond. However, the conjugates containing disulfide-linkages performed either slightly better (p<0.05) than, or the same as conjugates without a disulfide bond with respect toin vitro OT-1 T-cell proliferation induced by the presentation of SIINFEKL antigens on DCs, or DC activation studies, respectively. However, disulfide-containing conjugates were less effective than conjugates without a disulfide bond in in vivo cytotoxicity assays. In conclusion, inclusion of a disulfide bond in MIS416-peptide conjugates was associated with efficient release of peptides in the cytoplasm of DCs, an important consideration for MIS416-mediated delivery of degradation-sensitive cargoes. However, treatment of DCs with disulfide-containing conjugates did not significantly alter the presentation of peptide antigens on MHC class I molecules to T-cells, or greatly enhance antigen-associated T-cell proliferation in vitro. © 2015 Mainini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Williamson D.A.,University of Auckland | Williamson D.A.,Institute of Environmental Science and Research | Williamson D.A.,Maurice Wilkins Center for Molecular Biodiscovery | Monecke S.,Alere Technologies GmbH | And 8 more authors.
Clinical Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

Our aim was to assess national prescribing trends and determine longitudinal resistance patterns for topical antimicrobials in New Zealand.We observed a dramatic increase in fusidic acid (FA) resistance, and clonal expansion of FA-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This increase was concurrent with a significant national increase in topical FA dispensing. © The Author 2014.

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