Research and Testing Laboratory

Lubbock, TX, United States

Research and Testing Laboratory

Lubbock, TX, United States

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Hail D.,University of Texas at Tyler | Dowd S.E.,Research and Testing Laboratory | Bextine B.,University of Texas at Tyler
Environmental Entomology | Year: 2012

The potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli, Sulc) is an invasive pest of solenaceous plants including potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.)and tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.). The insect transmits the phytopathogen Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, which has been identified as the causal agent of Zebra Chip in potatoes. The microbiome of the potato psyllid provides knowledge of the insect's bacterial makeup which enables researchers to develop targeted biological control strategies. In this study, the microbes associated with four B. cockerelli life stages were evaluated by 16S bTEFAP pyrosequencing. The sequences were compared with a 16S-rDNA database derived from NCBI's GenBank. Some bacteria identified are initial discoveries. Species of Wolbachia, Rhizobium, Gordonia, Mycobacterium, Xanthomonas and others were also detected and an assessment of the microbiome associated with B. cockerelli was established. © 2012 Entomological Society of America.


Hail D.,University of Texas at Tyler | Lauziere I.,University of Texas at Tyler | Dowd S.E.,Research and Testing Laboratory | Bextine B.,University of Texas at Tyler
Environmental Entomology | Year: 2011

The glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar), is an invasive pest that has spread across the southern and western United States. H. vitripennis is highly polyphagous and voracious, feeding on at least 100 plant species and consuming up to 100 times its weight in xylem fluid daily. The insect is a vector of the phytopathogen Xylella fastidiosa (Wells), which is the causative agent of Pierce's disease in grapevines. To evaluate the microbial flora associated with H. vitripennis, total DNA extracts from hemolymph, alimentary canal excretions, and whole insect bodies were subjected to 16S rDNA pyrosequencing using the bTEFAP methodology and the resulting sequences (370-520 bp in length) were compared with a curated high quality 16S database derived from GenBank (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Species from the genera Wolbachia, Delftia (formerly Pseudomonas), Pectobacterium, Moraxella, Serratia, Bacillus, and many others were detected and a comprehensive picture of the microbiome associated with H. vitripennis was established. Some of the bacteria identified in this report are initial discoveries; providing a breadth of knowledge to the microbial flora of this insect pest can serve as a reservoir of information for developing biological control strategies. © 2011 Entomological Society of America.


Andreotti R.,EMBRAPA - Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária | De Leon A.A.P.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Dowd S.E.,Research and Testing Laboratory | Guerrero F.D.,Research and Testing Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
BMC Microbiology | Year: 2011

Background: Ticks are regarded as the most relevant vectors of disease-causing pathogens in domestic and wild animals. The cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, hinders livestock production in tropical and subtropical parts of the world where it is endemic. Tick microbiomes remain largely unexplored. The objective of this study was to explore the R. microplus microbiome by applying the bacterial 16S tag-encoded FLX-titanium amplicon pyrosequencing (bTEFAP) technique to characterize its bacterial diversity. Pyrosequencing was performed on adult males and females, eggs, and gut and ovary tissues from adult females derived from samples of R. microplus collected during outbreaks in southern Texas. Results. Raw data from bTEFAP were screened and trimmed based upon quality scores and binned into individual sample collections. Bacteria identified to the species level include Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus chromogenes, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Staphylococcus sciuri, Serratia marcescens, Corynebacterium glutamicum, and Finegoldia magna. One hundred twenty-one bacterial genera were detected in all the life stages and tissues sampled. The total number of genera identified by tick sample comprised: 53 in adult males, 61 in adult females, 11 in gut tissue, 7 in ovarian tissue, and 54 in the eggs. Notable genera detected in the cattle tick include Wolbachia, Coxiella, and Borrelia. The molecular approach applied in this study allowed us to assess the relative abundance of the microbiota associated with R. microplus. Conclusions. This report represents the first survey of the bacteriome in the cattle tick using non-culture based molecular approaches. Comparisons of our results with previous bacterial surveys provide an indication of geographic variation in the assemblages of bacteria associated with R. microplus. Additional reports on the identification of new bacterial species maintained in nature by R. microplus that may be pathogenic to its vertebrate hosts are expected as our understanding of its microbiota expands. Increased awareness of the role R. microplus can play in the transmission of pathogenic bacteria will enhance our ability to mitigate its economic impact on animal agriculture globally. This recognition should be included as part of analyses to assess the risk for re-invasion of areas like the United States of America where R. microplus was eradicated. © 2011 Andreotti et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Shrestha B.,Texas Tech University | Acosta-Martinez V.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Cox S.B.,Research and Testing Laboratory | Green M.J.,Texas Tech University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Hazardous Materials | Year: 2013

This study evaluated the impacts of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) on microbial community composition and functioning in a sandy loam soil over 90. d. We used test concentrations in the range of lower MWNT concentrations (10. mg/kg) to extremely high MWNT concentrations (10,000. mg/kg) as a worst case scenario. We observed no effects of MWNTs on soil respiration, enzymatic activities, and microbial community composition at 10, 100 and 1000. mg/kg. However, increases in fungal fatty acid methyl ester markers were observed at the highest treatment. In addition, pyrosequencing demonstrated a decreased abundance of some bacterial genera like Derxia, Holophaga, Opitutus and Waddlia at the highest treatment while bacterial genera that are considered potential degraders of recalcitrant contaminants (such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) like Rhodococcus, Cellulomonas, Nocardioides and Pseudomonas increased. These results suggest a shift in soil microbial community composition to more tolerant microbial populations in the presence of extremely high MWNT concentrations. It is unlikely that the change observed at 10,000. mg/kg is due to metal or carbon impurities as the MWNTs used in this study were of high purity. Given the need for wide-ranging data for regulation and risk assessment of nanomaterials, this study provides valuable data. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Lin Y.-T.,University of Texas at Austin | Kincaid R.P.,University of Texas at Austin | Arasappan D.,University of Texas at Austin | Dowd S.E.,Research and Testing Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
RNA | Year: 2010

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human tumor virus that encodes 12 precursor microRNAs (pre-miRNAs) that give rise to 17 different known ∼22-nucleotide (nt) effector miRNAs. Like all herpesviruses, KSHV has two modes of infection: (1) a latent mode whereby only a subset of viral genes are expressed and (2) a lytic mode during which the full remaining viral genes are expressed. To date, KSHV miRNAs have been mostly identified via analysis of cells that are undergoing latent infection. Here, we developed a method to profile small RNAs (∼18-75 nt) from populations of cells undergoing predominantly lytic infection. Using two different next-generation sequencing platforms, we cloned and sequenced both premiRNAs and derivative miRNAs. Our analysis shows that the vast majority of viral and host 5p miRNAs are co-terminal with the 5′ end of the cloned pre-miRNAs, consistent with both being defined by microprocessor cleavage. We report the complete repertoire (25 total) of 5p and 3p derivative miRNAs from all 12 previously described KSHV pre-miRNAs. Two KSHV premiRNAs, pre-miR-K12-8 and pre-miR-K12-12, encode abundant derivative miRNAs from the previously unreported strands of the pre-miRNA. We identify several novel small RNAs of low abundance, including viral miRNA-offset-RNAs (moRNAs), and antisense viral miRNAs (miRNA-AS) that are encoded antisense to previously reported KSHV pre-miRNAs. Finally, we observe widespread antisense transcription relative to known coding sequences during lytic replication. Despite the enormous potential to form double-stranded RNA in KSHV-infected cells, we observe no evidence for the existence of abundant viral-derived small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Copyright © 2010 RNA Society.


Galley J.D.,Ohio State University | Yu Z.,Ohio State University | Kumar P.,Ohio State University | Dowd S.E.,Research and Testing Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Gut Microbes | Year: 2015

The commensal microbiota of the human gastrointestinal tract live in a largely stable community structure, assisting in host physiological and immunological functions. Changes to this structure can be injurious to the health of the host, a concept termed dysbiosis. Psychological stress is a factor that has been implicated in causing dysbiosis, and studies performed by our lab have shown that restraint stress can indeed shift the cecal microbiota structure as well as increase the severity of a colonic infection caused by Citrobacter rodentium. However, this study, like many others, have focused on fecal contents when examining the effect of dysbiosis-causing stimuli (e.g. psychological stress) upon the microbiota. Since the mucosa-associated microbiota have unique properties and functions that can act upon the host, it is important to understand how stressor exposure might affect this niche of bacteria. To begin to understand whether chronic restraint stress changes the mucosa-associated and/or luminal microbiota mice underwent 7 16-hour cycles of restraint stress, and the microbiota of both colonic tissue and fecal contents were analyzed by sequencing using nextgen bacterial tag-encoded FLX amplicon technology (bTEFAP) pyrosequencing. Both control and stress groups had significantly different mucosa-associated and luminal microbiota communities, highlighting the importance of focusing gastrointestinal community structure analysis by microbial niche. Furthermore, restraint stress was able to disrupt both the mucosa-associated and luminally-associated colonic microbiota by shifting the relative abundances of multiple groups of bacteria. Among these changes, there was a significant reduction in the immunomodulatory commensal genus Lactobacillus associated with colonic mucosa. The relative abundance of Lactobacillus spp. was not affected in the lumen. These results indicate that stressor-exposure can have distinct effects upon the colonic microbiota situated at the mucosal epithelium in comparison to the luminal-associated microbiota. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Holliday Jr. M.W.,Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center | Cox S.B.,Research and Testing Laboratory | Kang M.H.,Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center | Maurer B.J.,Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

We previously reported that fenretinide (4-HPR) was cytotoxic to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cell lines in vitro in association with increased levels of de novo synthesized dihydroceramides, the immediate precursors of ceramides. However, the cytotoxic potentials of native dihydroceramides have not been defined. Therefore, we determined the cytotoxic effects of increasing dihydroceramide levels via de novo synthesis in T-cell ALL cell lines and whether such cytotoxicity was dependent on an absolute increase in total dihydroceramide mass versus an increase of certain specific dihydroceramides. A novel method employing supplementation of individual fatty acids, sphinganine, and the dihydroceramide desaturase-1 (DES) inhibitor, GT-11, was used to increase de novo dihydroceramide synthesis and absolute levels of specific dihydroceramides and ceramides. Sphingolipidomic analyses of four T-cell ALL cell lines revealed strong positive correlations between cytotoxicity and levels of C22:0-dihydroceramide (ρ = 0.74-0.81, P ≤ 0.04) and C24:0-dihydroceramide (ρ = 0.84-0.90, P ≤ 0.004), but not between total or other individual dihydroceramides, ceramides, or sphingoid bases or phosphorylated derivatives. Selective increase of C22:0- and C24:0-dihydroceramide increased level and flux of autophagy marker, LC3B-II, and increased DNA fragmentation (TUNEL assay) in the absence of an increase of reactive oxygen species; pan-caspase inhibition blocked DNA fragmentation but not cell death. C22:0-fatty acid supplemented to 4-HPR treated cells further increased C22:0-dihydroceramide levels (P ≤ 0.001) and cytotoxicity (P ≤ 0.001). These data demonstrate that increases of specific dihydroceramides are cytotoxic to T-cell ALL cells by a caspase-independent, mixed cell death mechanism associated with increased autophagy and suggest that dihydroceramides may contribute to 4-HPR-induced cytotoxicity. The targeted increase of specific acyl chain dihydroceramides may constitute a novel anticancer approach. © 2013 Holliday et al.


Schaible T.D.,Baylor College of Medicine | Harris R.A.,Baylor College of Medicine | Dowd S.E.,Research and Testing Laboratory | Smith C.W.,Baylor College of Medicine | Kellermayer R.,Baylor College of Medicine
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

Developmental epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation, have been recognized as potential pathogenic factors in inflammatory bowel diseases, the hallmark of which is an exaggerated immune response against luminal microbes. A methyl-donor (MD) diet can modify DNA methylation at select murine genomic loci during early development. The components of the MDs are routinely incorporated into prenatal human supplements. Therefore, we studied the effects of maternal MD supplementation on offspring colitis susceptibility and colonic mucosal DNA methylation and gene expression changes in mice as a model. Additionally, we investigated the offspring mucosal microbiomic response to the maternal dietary supplementation. Colitis was induced by dextran sulfate sodium. Colonic mucosa from offspring of MD-supplemented mothers following reversal to control diet at weaning was interrogated by methylation-specific microarrays and pyrosequencing at postnatal days 30 (P30) and P90. Transcriptomic changes were analyzed by microarray profiling and real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The mucosal microbiome was studied by high throughput pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA. Maternal MD supplementation induced a striking susceptibility to colitis in offspring. This phenotype was associated with colonic mucosal DNA methylation and expression changes. Metagenomic analyses did not reveal consistent bacteriomic differences between P30 and P90, but showed a prolonged effect of the diet on the offspring mucosal microbiome. In conclusion, maternal MD supplementation increases offspring colitis susceptibility that associates with persistent epigenetic and prolonged microbiomic changes. These findings underscore that epigenomic reprogramming relevant to mammalian colitis can occur during early development in response to maternal dietary modifications. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Dalton T.,Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center | Dowd S.E.,Research and Testing Laboratory | Wolcott R.D.,Research and Testing Laboratory | Sun Y.,Research and Testing Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Chronic wound infections are typically polymicrobial; however, most in vivo studies have focused on monospecies infections. This project was designed to develop an in vivo, polymicrobial, biofilm-related, infected wound model in order to study multispecies biofilm dynamics and in relation to wound chronicity. Multispecies biofilms consisting of both Gram negative and Gram positive strains, as well as aerobes and anaerobes, were grown in vitro and then transplanted onto the wounds of mice. These in vitro-to-in vivo multi-species biofilm transplants generated polymicrobial wound infections, which remained heterogeneous with four bacterial species throughout the experiment. We observed that wounded mice given multispecies biofilm infections displayed a wound healing impairment over mice infected with a single-species of bacteria. In addition, the bacteria in the polymicrobial wound infections displayed increased antimicrobial tolerance in comparison to those in single species infections. These data suggest that synergistic interactions between different bacterial species in wounds may contribute to healing delays and/or antibiotic tolerance. © 2011 Dalton et al.


Sun Y.,Research and Testing Laboratory
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) | Year: 2011

Comprehensive evaluation of microbial diversity in almost any environment is now possible. Questions such as "Does the addition of fiber to the diet of humans change the gastrointestinal microbiota?" can now be answered easily and inexpensively. Tag-encoded FLX-amplicon pyrosequencing (TEFAP) has been utilized to evaluate bacterial, archaeal, fungal, algal, as well as functional genes. Using the new tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing (bTEFAP) approach, we have evaluated the microbial diversity using a more cost-effective and largely reproducible method that would allow us to sequence the ribosomal RNA genes of microorganisms (hereafter focused on bacteria), without the need for the inherent bias of culture methods. These developments have ushered in a new age of microbial ecology studies, and we have utilized this technology to evaluate the microbiome in a wide range of systems in almost any conceivable environment.

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