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Coming theses from other universities

  • Avian Influenza Virus : Deciphering receptor interactions and their role in interspecies transmission Author: Per Eriksson Link: Publication date: 2019-11-21 14:17

    Influenza A virus (IAV) annually infects approximately 5–15 % of the human population, causing ~500,000 deaths globally. Novel IAVs have emerged and spread pandemically in the human population, but have over time established endemic circulation with reduced pathogenicity causing seasonal influenza. The natural reservoir of IAVs is wild waterfowl. The past pandemics have been associated with host switch and have partly or entirely originated from birds, or adapted via passage through pigs (postulated IAV mixing vessel). Understanding IAV interspecies transmission mechanisms is essential for pandemic preparedness. Enzootic circulation of avian IAV (AIV) is concentrated to a few waterfowl species, while other bird species seldom are infected. A species barrier preventing IAV interspecies transmission has been suggested. To investigate IAV host range and mixing vessels, histochemistry studies were conducted with tissues from avian species, pigs, and humans. Virus adaptation to new hosts was studied by challenging tufted ducks and chickens with mallard-derived AIVs, together with AIV receptor tropism and glycoproteomic analysis of receptor distribution. Finally, receptor and tissue tropism in ducks was studied systematically for AIV (H1–16). More abundant AIV attachment to human than pig tissues was observed, questioning the pig mixing vessel theory. Attachment patterns of AIVs to bird tissues was generally broad with abundant attachment to trachea. However, among ducks, pronounced attachment was observed to colon of Anas spp., suggesting that intestinal infection might be restricted to Anas spp., whereas other species may be susceptible to respiratory infection. Tufted ducks and chickens could not be infected by intraesophageal inoculation further supporting this hypothesis. Glycan array analysis revealed 3’SLN, 3’STF, and their fucosylated and sulfated analogues as main AIV receptors. Moreover, AIV Neu5Acα2,6 recognition was widespread. Avian respiratory and intestinal tracts glycoproteomic analysis revealed that avian and mammalian receptor structures are much more similar than earlier thought. Furthermore, observed AIV subtype titer variation in challenged tufted ducks and chickens did not correlate with virus receptor tropism. In summary, this thesis suggests that IAV receptor recognition, in particular α2,3 vs. α2,6 sialylated receptor structures, is less important for the IAV interspecies barrier than previously thought.

  • Towards Better Understanding of Etiological Mechanisms at the Neuromuscular Junction Author: Evgenii Bogatikov Link: Publication date: 2019-11-20 12:05

    The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) serves as a model for understanding the mechanisms that determine communication between neurons and their target cells. Disorders of the NMJ can be either autoimmune or genetic (hereditary). The autoimmune disorder myasthenia gravis (MG) is caused by antibodies against the presynaptic nerve terminal or the postsynaptic muscle membrane, which make up the NMJ. The most common antibodies are directed against the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) or muscle specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK). An alternative to expand on preclinical in-vivo methods for studying mechanisms underlying diseases of neuromuscular transmission is to apply physiologic in-vitro models that would allow tissue-tissue as well as cell-cell interactions. A system that would allow cell-cell interactions in a biological fashion is the micro-electrode array (MEA) chip that allows co-culturing of motor neurons and muscle cells.

    The primary hypothesis is that the suggested MEA can be used in creating a reliable model for healthy and diseased NMJ, allowing for manipulations and treatment assays. The secondary hypothesis is that small non-coding RNA, so called microRNAs (miRNA) have a specific role in neuromuscular transmission and in MG.

    Study I demonstrated a method of long-term muscle cell culture on the MEA chips, which allows us to trace the development of muscle cells through the observation of their electrical activity at subcellular resolution. The maturation of skeletal muscle tissue was accompanied by a gradual increase in the amplitude and frequency of extracellular individual electrical spikes. The mature muscle tissue demonstrated the steady electrical activity with synchronized spike propagation in different directions across the chip.

    Study II showed a specific upregulated profile of miRNAs in the muscles of MuSK antibody seropositive MG mice. Transfection of these miRNAs, miR-1933 and miR-1930, promoted downregulation of several proteins and further confirmation with qPCR revealed a specific blocking of IMPA1 and MRPL27, which are involved in intracellular signal transduction and mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscles.

    Study III revealed no correlation between the morphology of skeletal muscle cells and their electrical activity at an early developmental stage. However, the application of recombinant rat agrin increased the number of AChRs clusters in the culture of skeletal muscle and promoted a higher degree of spontaneous activity.

  • Pharmacogenetic biomarkers for chemotherapy-induced adverse drug reactions Author: Niclas Björn Link: Publication date: 2019-11-20 10:33

    Cancer is a serious disease expected to be the world-leading cause of death in the 21st century. The use of harsh chemotherapies is motivated and accepted but, unfortunately, is often accompanied by severe toxicity and adverse drug reactions (ADRs). These occur because the classical chemotherapies’ common modes of action effectively kill and/or reduce the growth rate not only of tumour cells, but also of many other rapidly dividing healthy cells in the body. There are also considerable interindividual differences in ADRs, even between patients with similar cancers and disease stage treated with equal doses; some experience severe to life-threatening ADRs after one dose, leading to treatment delays, adjustments, or even discontinuation resulting in suboptimal treatment, while others remain unaffected through all treatment cycles. Being able to predict which patients are at high or low risk of ADRs, and to adjust doses accordingly before treatment, would probably decrease toxicity and patient suffering while also increasing treatment tolerability and effects. In this thesis, we have used next-generation sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics for the prediction of myelosuppressive ADRs in lung and ovarian cancer patients treated with gemcitabine/carboplatin and paclitaxel/carboplatin.

    Paper I shows that ABCB1 and CYP2C8 genotypes have small effects inadequate for stratification of paclitaxel/carboplatin toxicity. This supports the transition to whole-exome sequencing (WES) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Papers II and IV, respectively, use WES and WGS, and demonstrate that genetic variation in or around genes involved in blood cell regulation and proliferation, or genes differentially expressed at chemotherapy exposure, can be used in polygenic prediction models for stratification of gemcitabine/carboplatininduced myelosuppression. Paper III reassuringly shows that WES and WGS are concordant and mostly yield comparable genotypes across the exome. Paper V proves that single-cell RNA sequencing of hematopoietic stem cells is a feasible method for elucidating differential transcriptional effects induced as a response to in vitro chemotherapy treatment.

    In conclusion, our results supports the transition to genome-wide approaches using WES, WGS, and RNA sequencing to establish polygenic models that combine effects of multiple pharmacogenetic biomarkers for predicting chemotherapy-induced ADRs. This approach could be applied to improve risk stratification and our understanding of toxicity and ADRs related to other drugs and diseases. We hope that our myelosuppression prediction models can be refined and validated to facilitate personalized treatments, leading to increased patient wellbeing and quality of life.