Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research

San Antonio, TX, United States

Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research

San Antonio, TX, United States
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Carrion R.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Carrion R.,Southwest National Primate Research Center | Patterson J.L.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research
Human Vaccines | Year: 2011

Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a group of disease syndromes caused by infection with certain RNA viruses. The disease is marked by a febrile response, malaise, coagulopathy and vascular permeability culminating in death. Case fatality rates can reach 90% depending on the etiologic agent. Currently, there is no approved antiviral treatment. Because of the high case fatality, risk of importation and the potential to use these agents as biological weapons, development of countermeasures to these agents is a high priority. The sporadic nature of disease outbreaks and the ethical issues associated with conducting a human trial for such diseases make human studies impractical; therefore, development of countermeasures must occur in relevant animal models. Non-human primates are superior models to study infectious disease because their immune system is similar to humans and they are good predictors of efficacy in vaccine development and other intervention strategies. This review article summarizes viral hemorrhagic fever non-human primate models. © 2011 Landes Bioscience.

Winkler A.M.,Yale University | Winkler A.M.,The Institute of Living | Kochunov P.,University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio | Blangero J.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | And 8 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2010

Choosing the appropriate neuroimaging phenotype is critical to successfully identify genes that influence brain structure or function. While neuroimaging methods provide numerous potential phenotypes, their role for imaging genetics studies is unclear. Here we examine the relationship between brain volume, grey matter volume, cortical thickness and surface area, from a genetic standpoint. Four hundred and eighty-six individuals from randomly ascertained extended pedigrees with high-quality T1-weighted neuroanatomic MRI images participated in the study. Surface-based and voxel-based representations of brain structure were derived, using automated methods, and these measurements were analysed using a variance-components method to identify the heritability of these traits and their genetic correlations. All neuroanatomic traits were significantly influenced by genetic factors. Cortical thickness and surface area measurements were found to be genetically and phenotypically independent. While both thickness and area influenced volume measurements of cortical grey matter, volume was more closely related to surface area than cortical thickness. This trend was observed for both the volume-based and surface-based techniques. The results suggest that surface area and cortical thickness measurements should be considered separately and preferred over gray matter volumes for imaging genetic studies. © 2009 Elsevier Inc.

Liddelow S.A.,University of Melbourne | Dziegielewska K.M.,University of Melbourne | VandeBerg J.L.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Noor N.M.,University of Melbourne | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2011

A developmentally regulated protein-specific transfer mechanism across choroid plexus epithelial cells has previously been proposed to contribute to the characteristically high concentration of protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the immature brain. Here we demonstrate that this mechanism is sensitive to protein variations in plasma resulting in changed numbers of transferring cells for individual proteins and altered transfer into the CSF. Pups of Monodelphis domestica at postnatal day (P)9, P65 and P110 were injected intraperitoneally with either adult Monodelphis plasma or exogenous bovine fetuin. Samples of CSF, blood and brain were collected from terminally anaesthetized animals 3-48h later. The concentration of total protein was measured and levels of albumin, hemopexin, α-fetoprotein and bovine fetuin were estimated by western blotting. Numbers of lateral ventricular choroid plexus cells positive for total and individual plasma proteins were counted in paraffin sections of brains stained with appropriate antibodies. Following intraperitoneal injections, the content of proteins in the CSF increased at all three ages, but the concentration increased only in the CSF of older animals. The total numbers of plexus cells positive for plasma protein did not change significantly, but cells positive for individual proteins did. Fetuin was detected in all protein-positive cells, but apparently displaced α-fetoprotein and, to a lesser degree, hemopexin. The results indicate that protein transfer across the blood/CSF barrier appears to be regulated by a molecular recognition mechanism that is probably saturable but may not be as specific for individual proteins as previously suggested. © 2010 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2010 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

McDonald T.J.,University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio | Comuzzie A.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Mattern V.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Nathanielsz P.W.,University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology | Year: 2011

Developmental programming of postnatal pancreatic β-cell and peripheral insulin function by maternal nutrient reduction (MNR) has been extensively investigated in rodents and sheep, but no data exist from nonhuman primate offspring of MNR mothers. We hypothesized that moderate levels of MNR would result in developmental programming of postnatal β-cell function and peripheral insulin sensitivity that lead to emergence of a prediabetic state prior to puberty. Prepregnancy phenotype of 18 nonpregnant baboons was matched. During pregnancy and lactation 12 mothers ate chow ad libitum (controls), while six ate 70% of chow consumed by controls (weight-adjusted MNR). Weaned offspring ate normal chow. At 3.5 ± 0.18 yr (mean ± SE) in an intravenous glucose tolerance test, conscious, tethered MNR juvenile offspring (2 females and 4 males) showed increased fasting glucose (P< 0.04), fasting insulin (P< 0.04), and insulin area under the curve (AUC; P < 0.01) compared with controls (8 females and 4 males). Insulin AUC also increased following an arginine challenge (P < 0.02). Baseline homeostatic model assessment insulin β-cell sensitivity was greater in MNR offspring than controls (P < 0.03). In a hyperinsulinemic, euglycemic clamp, the glucose disposal rate decreased 26% in MNR offspring. Changes observed were not sex dependent. MNR in pregnancy and lactation programs offspring metabolic responses, increasing insulin resistance and β-cell responsiveness, resulting in emergence of an overall phenotype that would predispose to later life type-2 diabetes, especially, should other dietary challenges such as a Westernized diet be experienced. © 2011 the American Physiological Society.

Conway J.O.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Sherwood L.J.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Collazo M.T.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Garza J.A.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Hayhurst A.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: There are currently 7 known serotypes of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) classified upon non-cross reactivity of neutralizing immunoglobulins. Non-neutralizing immunoglobulins, however, can exhibit cross-reactivities between 2 or more serotypes, particularly mosaic forms, which can hamper the development of highly specific immunoassays, especially if based on polyclonal antisera. Here we employ facile recombinant antibody technology to subtractively select ligands to each of the 7 BoNT serotypes, resulting in populations with very high specificity for their intended serotype. Methods and Findings: A single llama was immunized with a cocktail of 7 BoNT toxoids to generate a phage display library of single domain antibodies (sdAb, VHH or nanobodies) which were selected on live toxins. Resulting sdAb were capable of detecting both toxin and toxin complex with the best combinations able to detect 100s-10s of pg per 50 μL sample in a liquid bead array. The most sensitive sdAb were combined in a heptaplex assay to identify each of the BoNT serotypes in buffer and milk and to a lesser extent in carrot juice, orange juice and cola. Several anti-A(1) sdAb recognized A2 complex, showing that subtype cross-reactivity within a serotype was evident. Many of our sdAb could act as both captor and tracer for several toxin and toxin complexes suggesting sdAb can be used as architectural probes to indicate BoNT oligomerisation. Six of 14 anti-A clones exhibited inhibition of SNAP-25 cleavage in the neuro-2A assay indicating some sdAb had toxin neutralizing capabilities. Many sdAb were also shown to be refoldable after exposure to high temperatures in contrast to polyclonal antisera, as monitored by circular dichroism. Conclusions:Our panel of molecularly flexible antibodies should not only serve as a good starting point for ruggedizing assays and inhibitors, but enable the intricate architectures of BoNT toxins and complexes to be probed more extensively. © 2010 Conway et al.

Anderson T.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Nkhoma S.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Ecker A.,Columbia University | Fidock D.,Columbia University
Pharmacogenomics | Year: 2011

This article outlines genome-scale approaches that can be used to identify mutations in malaria (Plasmodium) parasites that underlie drug resistance and contribute to treatment failure. These approaches include genetic mapping by linkage or genome-wide association studies, drug selection and characterization of resistant mutants, and the identification of genome regions under strong recent selection. While these genomic approaches can identify candidate resistance loci, genetic manipulation is needed to demonstrate causality. We therefore also describe the growing arsenal of available transfection approaches for direct incrimination of mutations suspected to play a role in resistance. Our intention is both to review past progress and highlight promising approaches for future investigations. © 2011 Future Medicine Ltd.

Mota J.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Rico-Hesse R.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Animal models of dengue virus disease have been very difficult to develop because of the virus' specificity for infection and replication in certain human cells. We developed a model of dengue fever in immunodeficient mice transplanted with human stem cells from umbilical cord blood. These mice show measurable signs of dengue disease as in humans (fever, viremia, erythema and thrombocytopenia), and after infection with the most virulent strain of dengue serotype 2, humanized mice showed infection in human cells in bone marrow, spleen and blood. Cytokines and chemokines were secreted by these human cells into the mouse bloodstream. We demonstrated that the pathology of dengue virus infection in these mice follows that reported in human patients, making this the first valid and relevant model for studying dengue fever pathogenesis in humans. © 2011 Mota, Rico-Hesse.

Hageman R.S.,The Jackson Laboratory | Leduc M.S.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Korstanje R.,The Jackson Laboratory | Paigen B.,The Jackson Laboratory | Churchill G.A.,The Jackson Laboratory
Genetics | Year: 2011

Complex genetic interactions lie at the foundation of many diseases. Understanding the nature of these interactions is critical to developing rational intervention strategies. In mammalian systems hypothesis testing in vivo is expensive, time consuming, and often restricted to a few physiological endpoints. Thus, computational methods that generate causal hypotheses can help to prioritize targets for experimental intervention. We propose a Bayesian statistical method to infer networks of causal relationships among genotypes and phenotypes using expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) data from genetically randomized populations. Causal relationships between network variables are described with hierarchical regression models. Prior distributions on the network structure enforce graph sparsity and have the potential to encode prior biological knowledge about the network. An efficient Monte Carlo method is used to search across the model space and sample highly probable networks. The result is an ensemble of networks that provide a measure of confidence in the estimated network topology. These networks can be used to make predictions of system-wide response to perturbations. We applied our method to kidney gene expression data from an MRL/MpJ × SM/J intercross population and predicted a previously uncharacterized feedback loop in the local renin-angiotensin system. © 2011 by the Genetics Society of America.

Cox J.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Brown H.E.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research | Brown H.E.,University of Arizona | Rico-Hesse R.,Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2011

Background: Dengue virus genotypes of Southeast Asian origin have been associated with higher virulence and transmission compared to other genotypes of serotype 2 (DEN-2). We tested the hypothesis that genetic differences in dengue viruses may result in differential binding to the midgut of the primary vector, Aedes aegypti, resulting in increased transmission or vectorial capacity. Methodology/Principal Finding: Two strains of each of the four DEN-2 genotypes (Southeast Asian, American, Indian, and West African) were tested to determine their binding affinity for mosquito midguts from two distinct populations (Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico and McAllen, Texas, USA). Our previous studies demonstrated that Southeast Asian viruses disseminated up to 65-fold more rapidly in Ae. aegypti from Texas and were therefore more likely to be transmitted to humans. Results shown here demonstrate that viruses from all four genotypes bind to midguts at the same rate, in a titer-dependent manner. In addition, we show population differences when comparing binding affinity for DEN-2 between the Tapachula and McAllen mosquito colonies. Conclusions: If midgut binding potential is the same for all DEN-2 viruses, then viral replication differences in these tissues and throughout the mosquito can thus probably explain the significant differences in dissemination and vector competence. These conclusions differ from the established paradigms to explain mosquito barriers to infection, dissemination, and transmission. © 2011 Cox et al.

Oler J.A.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Fox A.S.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Shelton S.E.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Rogers J.,Baylor College of Medicine | And 7 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2010

Anxious temperament (AT) in human and non-human primates is a trait-like phenotype evident early in life that is characterized by increased behavioural and physiological reactivity to mildly threatening stimuli. Studies in children demonstrate that AT is an important risk factor for the later development of anxiety disorders, depression and comorbid substance abuse. Despite its importance as an early predictor of psychopathology, little is known about the factors that predispose vulnerable children to develop AT and the brain systems that underlie its expression. To characterize the neural circuitry associated with AT and the extent to which the function of this circuit is heritable, we studied a large sample of rhesus monkeys phenotyped for AT. Using 238 young monkeys from a multigenerational single-family pedigree, we simultaneously assessed brain metabolic activity and AT while monkeys were exposed to the relevant ethological condition that elicits the phenotype. High-resolution 18 F-labelled deoxyglucose positron-emission tomography (FDG-PET) was selected as the imaging modality because it provides semi-quantitative indices of absolute glucose metabolic rate, allows for simultaneous measurement of behaviour and brain activity, and has a time course suited for assessing temperament- associated sustained brain responses. Here we demonstrate that the central nucleus region of the amygdala and the anterior hippocampus are key components of the neural circuit predictive of AT. We also show significant heritability of the AT phenotype by using quantitative genetic analysis. Additionally, using voxelwise analyses, we reveal significant heritability of metabolic activity in AT-associated hippocampal regions. However, activity in the amygdala region predictive of AT is not significantly heritable. Furthermore, the heritabilities of the hippocampal and amygdala regions significantly differ from each other. Even though these structures are closely linked, the results suggest differential influences of genes and environment on how these brain regions mediate AT and the ongoing risk of developing anxiety and depression. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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