Publications by Year: 2020


Kelley, Holden, V, Sarah M Waibel, Sabeen Sidiki, Cristina Tomatis-Souverbielle, Julia M Scordo, Garret Hunt, N Barr, et al. (2020) 2020. “Accuracy of Two Point-of-Care Tests for Rapid Diagnosis of Bovine Tuberculosis at Animal Level Using Non-Invasive Specimens”. Scientific Reports 10 (1): 5441.

Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) testing in cattle requires a significant investment of time, equipment, and labor. Novel, rapid, cheaper and accurate methods are needed. The Alere Determine TB lipoarabinomannan antigen (LAM-test) is a World Health Organization-endorsed point-of-care urine test designed to detect active TB disease in humans. The Lionex Animal TB Rapid Test (Lionex-test) is a novel animal specific TB diagnostic blood test. An animal level analysis was performed using urine (n = 141) and milk (n = 63) samples from depopulated BTB-suspected cattle to test the accuracy of the LAM-test when compared to results of positive TB detection by any routine BTB tests (BOVIGAM, necropsy, histology, culture, PCR) that are regularly performed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The agreement between the urine LAM-test and USDA standard tests were poor at varying testing time points. The same milk samples did not elicit statistically significant agreement with the Lionex-test, although positive trends were present. Hence, we cannot recommend the LAM-test as a valid BTB diagnostic test in cattle using either urine or milk. The Lionex-test's production of positive trends using milk samples suggests larger sample sizes may validate the Lionex-test in accurately diagnosing BTB in cattle using milk samples, potentially providing a quick and reliable field test for BTB.

Zumla, Alimuddin, Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Anita L Michel, Esam I Azhar, Jordi B Torrelles, Simeon I Cadmus, Sharon L Kendall, Jeremiah M Chakaya, Ben Marais, and Richard Kock. (2020) 2020. “Zoonotic Tuberculosis-a Call for an Open One Health Debate”. The Lancet. Infectious Diseases 20 (6): 642-44.
Tang, Juan, Sha Tu, Guoxin Lin, Hui Guo, Chengkai Yan, Qingjun Liu, Ling Huang, et al. (2020) 2020. “Sequential Ubiquitination of NLRP3 by RNF125 and Cbl-B Limits Inflammasome Activation and Endotoxemia”. The Journal of Experimental Medicine 217 (4).

Aberrant NLRP3 inflammasome activation contributes to the development of endotoxemia. The importance of negative regulation of NLRP3 inflammasomes remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b is essential for preventing endotoxemia induced by a sub-lethal dose of LPS via a caspase-11/NLRP3-dependent manner. Further studies show that NLRP3 undergoes both K63- and K48-linked polyubiquitination. Cbl-b binds to the K63-ubiquitin chains attached to the NLRP3 leucine-rich repeat domain (LRR) via its ubiquitin-associated region (UBA) and then targets NLRP3 at K496 for K48-linked ubiquitination and proteasome-mediated degradation. We also identify RNF125 as an additional E3 ubiquitin ligase that initiates K63-linked ubiquitination of the NLRP3 LRR domain. Therefore, NLRP3 is sequentially ubiquitinated by K63- and K48-linked ubiquitination, thus keeping the NLRP3 inflammasomes in check and restraining endotoxemia.

Shibabaw, Agumas, Baye Gelaw, Holden Kelley V, Ephrem Tesfaye, Joan Miquel Balada-Llasat, Carlton A Evans, Jordi B Torrelles, Shu-Hua Wang, and Belay Tessema. (2020) 2020. “MDR/XDR-TB/Colour/Test/for/Drug/Susceptibility/Testing/of/Mycobacterium/Tuberculosis,/Northwest/Ethiopia”. International Journal of Infectious Diseases : IJID : Official Publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases 90: 213-18.

BACKGROUND: Appropriate technology tests are needed for Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug-susceptibility testing (DST) in resource-constrained settings. This study was performed to evaluate the MDR/XDR-TB Colour Test (a colour platethin-layer agar test; TB-CX) for M. tuberculosis DST by directly testing sputum at University of Gondar Hospital.

METHODS: Sputum samples were each divided into two aliquots. One aliquot was mixed with disinfectant and applied directly to the TB-CX quadrant petri-plate containing culture medium with and without isoniazid, rifampicin, or ciprofloxacin. Concurrently, the other aliquot was decontaminated with sodium hydroxide, centrifuged, and cultured on Lӧwenstein-Jensen medium; the stored M. tuberculosis isolates were then sub-cultured in BACTEC Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) 960 for reference DST.

RESULTS: The TB-CX test yielded DST results for 94% (123/131) of positive samples. For paired DST results, the median number of days from sputum processing to DST was 12 for TB-CX versus 35 for LJ-MGIT (p<0.001). Compared with LJ-MGIT for isoniazid, rifampicin, and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, TB-CX had 59%, 96%, and 95% sensitivity; 96%, 94%, and 98% specificity; and 85%, 94%, and 98% agreement, respectively. All ciprofloxacin DST results were susceptible by both methods.

CONCLUSION: The TB-CX test was simple and rapid for M. tuberculosis DST. Discordant DST results may have resulted from sub-optimal storage and different isoniazid concentrations used in TB-CX versus the reference standard test.

Dunlap, Micah D, Oliver A Prince, Javier Rangel-Moreno, Kimberly A Thomas, Julia M Scordo, Jordi B Torrelles, Jeffery Cox, et al. (2020) 2020. “Formation of Lung Inducible Bronchus Associated Lymphoid Tissue Is Regulated by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Expressed Determinants”. Frontiers in Immunology 11: 1325.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is the causative agent of the infectious disease tuberculosis (TB), which is a leading cause of death worldwide. Approximately one fourth of the world's population is infected with Mtb. A major unresolved question is delineating the inducers of protective long-lasting immune response without inducing overt, lung inflammation. Previous studies have shown that the presence of inducible Bronchus-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (iBALT) correlate with protection from Mtb infection. In this study, we hypothesized that specific Mtb factors could influence the formation of iBALT, thus skewing the outcome of TB disease. We infected non-human primates (NHPs) with a transposon mutant library of Mtb, and identified specific Mtb mutants that were over-represented within iBALT-containing granulomas. A major pathway reflected in these mutants was Mtb cell wall lipid transport and metabolism. We mechanistically addressed the function of one such Mtb mutant lacking mycobacteria membrane protein large 7 (MmpL7), which transports phthiocerol dimycocerosate (PDIM) to the mycobacterial outer membrane (MOM). Accordingly, murine aerosol infection with the Mtb mutant Δmmpl7 correlated with increased iBALT-containing granulomas. Our studies showed that the Δmmpl7 mutant lacking PDIMs on the surface overexpressed diacyl trehaloses (DATs) in the cell wall, which altered the cytokine/chemokine production of epithelial and myeloid cells, thus leading to a dampened inflammatory response. Thus, this study describes an Mtb specific factor that participates in the induction of iBALT formation during TB by directly modulating cytokine and chemokine production in host cells.

Oladunni, Fatai S, Jun-Gyu Park, Paula A Pino, Olga Gonzalez, Anwari Akhter, Anna Allué-Guardia, Angélica Olmo-Fontánez, et al. (2020) 2020. “Lethality of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in K18 Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 Transgenic Mice”. Nature Communications 11 (1): 6122.

Vaccine and antiviral development against SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 disease would benefit from validated small animal models. Here, we show that transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) by the human cytokeratin 18 promoter (K18 hACE2) represent a susceptible rodent model. K18 hACE2 transgenic mice succumbed to SARS-CoV-2 infection by day 6, with virus detected in lung airway epithelium and brain. K18 ACE2 transgenic mice produced a modest TH1/2/17 cytokine storm in the lung and spleen that peaked by day 2, and an extended chemokine storm that was detected in both lungs and brain. This chemokine storm was also detected in the brain at day 6. K18 hACE2 transgenic mice are, therefore, highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and represent a suitable animal model for the study of viral pathogenesis, and for identification and characterization of vaccines (prophylactic) and antivirals (therapeutics) for SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated severe COVID-19 disease.

García, Juan Ignacio, Johanna Meléndez, Rosa Álvarez, Carlos Mejía-Chew, Holden Kelley V, Sabeen Sidiki, Alejandra Castillo, et al. (2020) 2020. “Accuracy of the Tuberculosis Point-of-Care Alere Determine Lipoarabinomannan Antigen Diagnostic Test Using α-Mannosidase Treated and Untreated Urine in a Cohort of People Living With HIV in Guatemala”. AIDS Research and Therapy 17 (1): 62.

BACKGROUND: Improved point-of-care diagnostic tests for tuberculosis (TB) in severe immune suppressed people living with HIV (PLWH) are needed to decrease morbidity and mortality outcomes. The aim of the study is to evaluate the performance of the lipoarabinomannan antigen test (LAM-test) with and without α-mannosidase pre-treated urine in a cohort of PLWH in primary care clinics in Guatemala. We further determined TB incidence, and mortality rates and its risk factors in PLWH with TB symptoms.

METHODS: Prospective longitudinal study of PLWH with TB symptoms. Urine samples were collected at 2 HIV sites to test the sensitivity of the LAM-test in urine with and without α-mannosidase pre-treatment. A composite reference standard of either a positive Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex culture and/or GeneXpert® MTB/RIF (Xpert, Cepheid, Sunnyvale, CA, USA) results was used in the LAM-test diagnostic accuracy studies. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to study mortality predictors.

RESULTS: The overall sensitivity of the LAM-test was of 56.1% with 95% CI of (43.3-68.3). There were no differences in the LAM-test sensitivity neither by hospital nor by CD4 T cell values. LAM-test sensitivity in PLWH with < 200 CD4 T cells/µl was of 62.2% (95% CI 46.5-76.2). There were no significant differences in sensitivity when comparing LAM-test results obtained from untreated vs. α-mannosidase treated urine [55.2% (95% CI 42.6-67.4) vs. 56.9% (95% CI 44-69.2), respectively]. TB incidence in our cohort was of 21.4/100 person years (PYs) (95% CI 16.6-27.6), and mortality rate was of 11.1/100 PYs (95% CI 8.2-15.0). Importantly, PLWH with a positive LAM-test result had an adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) of death of 1.98 (1.0-3.8) with a significant p value of 0.044 when compared to PLWH with a negative LAM-test result.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, α-mannosidase treatment of urine did not significantly increase the LAM-test performance, however; this needs to be further evaluated in a large-scale study due to our study limitations. Importantly, high rates of TB incidence and mortality were found, and a positive LAM-test result predicted mortality in PLWH with TB clinical symptoms.