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Archive for January, 2017

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Paper Highlights How Cells Respond to Stress Conditions

Dr Burga Kalz Fuller, Product Manager at HypOxygen (Don Whitley Scientific’s Hypoxystation provider in the USA/Canada) summarises a study entitled “Adaptation to Stressors by Systemic Protein Amyloidogenesis”. The paper, by Whitley Hypoxystation users Tim Audas and Stephen Lee, details how certain cells activate a process of systemic amyloidogenesis, which allows them to survive during difficult conditions.

Cells facing environmental threats have developed numerous coping mechanisms, and Hypoxystation users Tim Audas and Stephen Lee have uncovered a fascinating new cellular strategy to remain viable under stress and restore homeostasis when the crisis ends. In their recent paper “Adaptation to Stressors by Systemic Protein Amyloidogenesis“, they describe a physiological process of amyloidogenesis which cells activate under stress conditions, such as hypoxia and acidosis, to remove copious amounts of heterogeneous proteins from circulation, enabling cells to survive in a dormant state. This discovery expands our current view of amyloids as a rare and pathological phenomenon associated with neuropathies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and exposes a novel post-translational, regulatory form of protein organization.

Using a combination of Congo red staining, proteinase K digestion, and OC antibody detection on cells exposed to a variety of stimuli in the Hypoxystation, Audas et al. were able to identify nuclear foci consisting of immobilized, insoluble protein in a crossed β-sheet conformation which they named A-Bodies. In amyloidogenic proteins such as VHL and RNF8, an ACM (amyloid-converting motif) containing arginine and histidine was identified as essential for capture specifically in the A-bodies; a similar motif was also identified in the pathological β-amyloid associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Upon environmental insult, the ACM interacts with ribosomal intergenic spacer RNA (rIGSRNA) to concentrate the proteins and trigger their polymerization in the A-bodies allowing the cells to enter a dormant state.

Audas et al. exerted this type of severe stress on the cells through incubation at pH 6.0 and 1% oxygen in the H35 Hypoxystation by Don Whitley Scientific. The Hypoxystation’s closed workstation format and rigorous control of oxygen, CO2, temperature and humidity facilitate accurate regulation of cell culture conditions as the in vivo situation of adverse environmental stimuli is simulated. Upon reversion to standard growth conditions (21% oxygen and pH 7.4), the A-bodies dissipated within 4 hours and protein was refolded into the native conformation. The hypoxic and acidotic conditions simulated in the Hypoxystation are also characteristic of the tumor microenvironment, where mouse xenograft assays identified the same process of rIGSRNA-mediated A-body formation causing cancer cell dormancy.

Read more on this paper by HypOxygen

Read the full paper here

WASP Touch

WASP Touch Training for Spanish Distributors

As part of the continued roll out of the Whitley WASP Touch to our distributors around the world, Steve Robertson and Joe Walton recently visited Spain. Here they carried out Whitley WASP Touch training with our distributor there. This included a short refresher course on spiral plating techniques and bespoke WASP Touch demonstrations. The training was followed by a series of customer visits.

 

Feedback on the Whitley WASP Touch continues to be positive. In particular, the intuitive touch screen and automatic filling of the wash station are seen to be big positives in customers’ eyes. This, coupled with the reputation for quality of the WASP 2 (predecessor to the Whitley WASP Touch), continues to position the new spiral plater as a top quality laboratory device.

 

The Whitley WASP Touch is designed to fit the needs of modern microbiology laboratories. It is fundamentally different from its predecessors, with no need for a separate vacuum source. An easy to use touch screen and automatic sanitising system (patent pending) ensures that set up and operation is simple and straight forward.

joe in spain

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The Hallmarks of Cancer

The Hallmarks of Cancer are a specific set of characteristics that are inherent to cancer. The Hallmarks were published by Hanahan and Weinberg in 2000 (updated in 2011) and have become extremely recognisable in the cancer research community both as a scientific concept and as a strong, visual image.

The Hallmarks of Cancer have been an area of study for several years and a key focus of research into causes and progression of cancer. One such study by a lab in Sweden using the H35 Hypoxystation, entitled “Therapeutic targeting of hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factors in cancer” by Wigerup, Pahlman and Bexell links cancer characteristics with hypoxia as an underlying cause.  This review of hypoxia-driven cancer characteristics and tumour progression makes a crucial connection between hypoxia and the “Hallmarks of Cancer”, a set of specific characteristics that are inherent to cancer. There are many more publications showing that hypoxia is intimately involved in every aspect of the disease complex cancer.

The image below summarises the 9 Hallmarks of Cancer. The Hypoxystation in the middle of the graphic symbolises how the low oxygen environment re-creates the atmosphere where cancer cells are required to act in a physiological manner. The dial around the Hypoxystation indicates the different levels of oxygen required for specific types of cancer work. Ultimately, the graphic shows how the Hypoxystation facilitates a level of oxygen that cannot be achieved reliably in an incubator, and which is necessary to effectively research cancer therapies.

hypoxia-and-the-hallmarks-of-cancer

Graphic provided by HypOxygen