April 21, 2020  |  

Current advances in HIV vaccine preclinical studies using Macaque models.

The macaque simian or simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SIV/SHIV) challenge model has been widely used to inform and guide human vaccine trials. Substantial advances have been made recently in the application of repeated-low-dose challenge (RLD) approach to assess SIV/SHIV vaccine efficacies (VE). Some candidate HIV vaccines have shown protective effects in preclinical studies using the macaque SIV/SHIV model but the model’s true predictive value for screening potential HIV vaccine candidates needs to be evaluated further. Here, we review key parameters used in the RLD approach and discuss their relevance for evaluating VE to improve preclinical studies of candidate HIV vaccines.Crown Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Deciphering bacterial epigenomes using modern sequencing technologies.

Prokaryotic DNA contains three types of methylation: N6-methyladenine, N4-methylcytosine and 5-methylcytosine. The lack of tools to analyse the frequency and distribution of methylated residues in bacterial genomes has prevented a full understanding of their functions. Now, advances in DNA sequencing technology, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing and nanopore-based sequencing, have provided new opportunities for systematic detection of all three forms of methylated DNA at a genome-wide scale and offer unprecedented opportunities for achieving a more complete understanding of bacterial epigenomes. Indeed, as the number of mapped bacterial methylomes approaches 2,000, increasing evidence supports roles for methylation in regulation of gene expression, virulence and pathogen-host interactions.


April 21, 2020  |  

Atlas of group A streptococcal vaccine candidates compiled using large-scale comparative genomics.

Group A Streptococcus (GAS; Streptococcus pyogenes) is a bacterial pathogen for which a commercial vaccine for humans is not available. Employing the advantages of high-throughput DNA sequencing technology to vaccine design, we have analyzed 2,083 globally sampled GAS genomes. The global GAS population structure reveals extensive genomic heterogeneity driven by homologous recombination and overlaid with high levels of accessory gene plasticity. We identified the existence of more than 290 clinically associated genomic phylogroups across 22 countries, highlighting challenges in designing vaccines of global utility. To determine vaccine candidate coverage, we investigated all of the previously described GAS candidate antigens for gene carriage and gene sequence heterogeneity. Only 15 of 28 vaccine antigen candidates were found to have both low naturally occurring sequence variation and high (>99%) coverage across this diverse GAS population. This technological platform for vaccine coverage determination is equally applicable to prospective GAS vaccine antigens identified in future studies.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Anaplasma ovis genome reveals a high proportion of pseudogenes.

The genus Anaplasma is made up of organisms characterized by small genomes that are undergoing reductive evolution. Anaplasma ovis, one of the seven recognized species in this genus, is an understudied pathogen of sheep and other ruminants. This tick-borne agent is thought to induce only mild clinical disease; however, small deficits may add to larger economic impacts due to the wide geographic distribution of this pathogen.In this report we present the first complete genome sequence for A. ovis and compare the genome features with other closely related species. The 1,214,674?bp A. ovis genome encodes 933 protein coding sequences, the split operon arrangement for ribosomal RNA genes, and more pseudogenes than previously recognized for other Anaplasma species. The metabolic potential is similar to other Anaplasma species. Anaplasma ovis has a small repertoire of surface proteins and transporters. Several novel genes are identified.Analyses of these important features and significant gene families/genes with potential to be vaccine candidates are presented in a comparative context. The availability of this genome will significantly facilitate research for this pathogen.


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