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May 1, 2019

Slow Delivery Immunization Enhances HIV Neutralizing Antibody and Germinal Center Responses via Modulation of Immunodominance.

Conventional immunization strategies will likely be insufficient for the development of a broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) vaccine for HIV or other difficult pathogens because of the immunological hurdles posed, including B cell immunodominance and germinal center (GC) quantity and quality. We found that two independent methods of slow delivery immunization of rhesus monkeys (RMs) resulted in more robust T follicular helper (TFH) cell responses and GC B cells with improved Env-binding, tracked by longitudinal fine needle aspirates. Improved GCs correlated with the development of >20-fold higher titers of autologous nAbs. Using a new RM genomic immunoglobulin locus reference, we identified differential…

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December 1, 2018

Extensive alternative splicing of KIR transcripts.

The killer-cell Ig-like receptors (KIR) form a multigene entity involved in modulating immune responses through interactions with MHC class I molecules. The complexity of the KIR cluster is reflected by, for instance, abundant levels of allelic polymorphism, gene copy number variation, and stochastic expression profiles. The current transcriptome study involving human and macaque families demonstrates that KIR family members are also subjected to differential levels of alternative splicing, and this seems to be gene dependent. Alternative splicing may result in the partial or complete skipping of exons, or the partial inclusion of introns, as documented at the transcription level. This…

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March 1, 2018

Coupling of single molecule, long read sequencing with IMGT/HighV-QUEST analysis expedites identification of SIV gp140-specific antibodies from scFv phage display libraries.

The simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)/macaque model of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome pathogenesis is critical for furthering our understanding of the role of antibody responses in the prevention of HIV infection, and will only increase in importance as macaque immunoglobulin (IG) gene databases are expanded. We have previously reported the construction of a phage display library from a SIV-infected rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) using oligonucleotide primers based on human IG gene sequences. Our previous screening relied on Sanger sequencing, which was inefficient and generated only a few dozen sequences. Here, we re-analyzed this library using single molecule, real-time (SMRT)…

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October 1, 2017

Isoform evolution in primates through independent combination of alternative RNA processing events.

Recent RNA-seq technology revealed thousands of splicing events that are under rapid evolution in primates, whereas the reliability of these events, as well as their combination on the isoform level, have not been adequately addressed due to its limited sequencing length. Here, we performed comparative transcriptome analyses in human and rhesus macaque cerebellum using single molecule long-read sequencing (Iso-seq) and matched RNA-seq. Besides 359 million RNA-seq reads, 4,165,527 Iso-seq reads were generated with a mean length of 14,875?bp, covering 11,466 human genes, and 10,159 macaque genes. With Iso-seq data, we substantially expanded the repertoire of alternative RNA processing events in…

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July 14, 2017

KIR3DL01 upregulation on gut natural killer cells in response to SIV infection of KIR- and MHC class I-defined rhesus macaques.

Natural killer cells provide an important early defense against viral pathogens and are regulated in part by interactions between highly polymorphic killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) on NK cells and their MHC class I ligands on target cells. We previously identified MHC class I ligands for two rhesus macaque KIRs: KIR3DL01 recognizes Mamu-Bw4 molecules and KIR3DL05 recognizes Mamu-A1*002. To determine how these interactions influence NK cell responses, we infected KIR3DL01+ and KIR3DL05+ macaques with and without defined ligands for these receptors with SIVmac239, and monitored NK cell responses in peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues. NK cell responses in blood were broadly…

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July 1, 2017

Whole genome sequencing predicts novel human disease models in rhesus macaques.

Rhesus macaques are an important pre-clinical model of human disease. To advance our understanding of genomic variation that may influence disease, we surveyed genome-wide variation in 21 rhesus macaques. We employed best-practice variant calling, validated with Mendelian inheritance. Next, we used alignment data from our cohort to detect genomic regions likely to produce inaccurate genotypes, potentially due to either gene duplication or structural variation between individuals. We generated a final dataset of >16 million high confidence variants, including 13 million in Chinese-origin rhesus macaques, an increasingly important disease model. We detected an average of 131 mutations predicted to severely alter…

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June 22, 2017

Case Study: SMRT sequencing brings clarity to HIV vaccine and transplant research at the Wisconsin national primate research center

The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) is a leading Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) typing lab that focuses on monkeys. While many scientists are familiar with the importance of characterizing the histocompatibility region of the human genome for applications like disease research or tissue typing before organ transplantation, fewer are aware of the need to accurately type this region in non-human primates. At the primate research lab, part of the University of Wisconsin- Madison, scientists are analyzing immune regions to help test potential HIV vaccines and AIDS therapies. Their work is essential for understanding the effects of treatment ahead of…

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June 17, 2017

An improved Plasmodium cynomolgi genome assembly reveals an unexpected methyltransferase gene expansion.

Plasmodium cynomolgi, a non-human primate malaria parasite species, has been an important model parasite since its discovery in 1907. Similarities in the biology of P. cynomolgi to the closely related, but less tractable, human malaria parasite P. vivax make it the model parasite of choice for liver biology and vaccine studies pertinent to P. vivax malaria. Molecular and genome-scale studies of P. cynomolgi have relied on the current reference genome sequence, which remains highly fragmented with 1,649 unassigned scaffolds and little representation of the subtelomeres.  Methods: Using long-read sequence data (Pacific Biosciences SMRT technology), we assembled and annotated a new…

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April 20, 2017

Complete genome sequences of Mycobacterium kansasii strains isolated from rhesus macaques.

Mycobacterium kansasii is a nontuberculous mycobacterium. It causes opportunistic infections with pulmonary and extrapulmonary manifestations. We report here the complete genome sequences of two M. kansasii strains isolated from rhesus macaques. We performed genome comparisons with human and environmental isolates of M. kansasii to assess the genomic diversity of this species. Copyright © 2017 Panda et al.

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June 28, 2016

Normocyte-binding protein required for human erythrocyte invasion by the zoonotic malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi.

The dominant cause of malaria in Malaysia is now Plasmodium knowlesi, a zoonotic parasite of cynomolgus macaque monkeys found throughout South East Asia. Comparative genomic analysis of parasites adapted to in vitro growth in either cynomolgus or human RBCs identified a genomic deletion that includes the gene encoding normocyte-binding protein Xa (NBPXa) in parasites growing in cynomolgus RBCs but not in human RBCs. Experimental deletion of the NBPXa gene in parasites adapted to growth in human RBCs (which retain the ability to grow in cynomolgus RBCs) restricted them to cynomolgus RBCs, demonstrating that this gene is selectively required for parasite…

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November 16, 2015

The genomic sequence of lymphocryptovirus from cynomolgus macaque.

Lymphocryptoviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) cause persistent infections in human and non-human primates, and suppression of the immune system can increase the risk of lymphocryptovirus (LCV)-associated tumor development in both human and non-human primates. To enable LCV infection as a non-clinical model to study effects of therapeutics on EBV immunity, we determined the genomic DNA sequence of the LCV from cynomolgus macaque, a species commonly used for non-clinical testing. Comparison to rhesus macaque LCV and human EBV sequences indicates that LCV from the cynomolgus macaque has the same genomic arrangement and a high degree of similarity in most genes,…

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July 1, 2015

Emergence, retention and selection: A trilogy of origination for functional de novo proteins from ancestral lncRNAs in primates.

While some human-specific protein-coding genes have been proposed to originate from ancestral lncRNAs, the transition process remains poorly understood. Here we identified 64 hominoid-specific de novo genes and report a mechanism for the origination of functional de novo proteins from ancestral lncRNAs with precise splicing structures and specific tissue expression profiles. Whole-genome sequencing of dozens of rhesus macaque animals revealed that these lncRNAs are generally not more selectively constrained than other lncRNA loci. The existence of these newly-originated de novo proteins is also not beyond anticipation under neutral expectation, as they generally have longer theoretical lifespan than their current age,…

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