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Systems and Methods for Monodisperse Drop Generation and Use

UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed systems and methods to produce single particle, monodisperse droplets for use in digital assays, targeted drug delivery, and theranostics.

HRas Selective Depalmitoylating Drugs

HRas is a member of the Ras family of GTPases, which function as key regulatory proteins in cell differentiation, proliferation, and survival. Mutations in HRas are associated with several cancers, as well as Costello syndrome, a severe congenital disorder for which there is no cure. Therefore, there is significant interest in developing therapeutics which target HRas signaling. However, Ras proteins are challenging to target

A Microfluidic Single-Cell Pairing Array for Studying Cell-Cell Interaction in Isolated Compartments

Cell interactions are fundamental to biological processes. Microfluidics provides a reliable platform to study these intricate phenomena. The researchers have developed a microfluidic trapping array which efficiently pairs single cells in isolated compartments in an easy to operate manner to study cell-cell interaction, especially at single-cell level.

Improved Highly Potent Specific Human Kunitz Inhibitor of Fibrinolytic Enzyme Plasmin

UCLA researchers in the School of Medicine have developed mutant polypeptides of the tissue factor pathway inhibitor-2 (TFPI-2) Kunitz domain 1 (KD1), which can serve as potent inhibitors of fibrinolysis.

TRM: Dishevelled Segment Polarity Protein 3 (Dvl3) Mutant Mice

Dishevelled (Dvl) proteins are important signaling components of both the canonical β-catenin/Wnt pathway, which controls cell proliferation and patterning, migration, differentiation, stem cell renewal and the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway. Mammals share three Dishevelled (Dvl) family members and while the roles of Dvl1 and Dvl2 have been described previously, the functions of Dvl3 have remained an area of active research. The lack of Dvl3 in mice affects the formation of the heart, neural tube, and inner ear and that the defects in these tissues are much more severe when the mice are deficient in more than one Dvl family member, indicating redundant functions for these genes. Congenital heart disease affects approximately 75 in every 1,000 live human births, and approximately 30% of these diseases are due to disruptions in the outflow tract, the region affected in mice lacking Dvl genes.

TRM:CRAMP Knockout Mice In The C57bl/6 Background

The mouse Camp gene is an ortholog of the human gene CAMP, which encodes the precursor of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37 (or CRAMP in mouse). Expressed mucosal epithelial cells, circulating neutrophils, and myeloid bone marrow cells, Camp is an essential part of the first line of defense against infection. In addition to antimicrobial activity, cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide plays a role in NK cell-mediated tumor growth suppression, and when secreted by neutrophils acts, as an attractant for monocytes, promoting wound healing or angiogenesis. Mouse CRAMP is implicated in adaptive immune response regulation and can interfere with TLR function via interactions with hyaluronan. Mice deficient in CRAMP are more susceptible to experimentally induced necrotic skin infection with Group A Streptococcus, urinary tract infection with uropathogenic E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, and meningococcal Neisseria meningitidis infection.

TRM: Two Mutant Mice Strains for the Study of Miller–Dieker syndrome (MDS)

Miller–Dieker syndrome (MDS), or 17p13.3 deletion syndrome results in human neuronal migration disorders characterized by type 1 lissencephaly sequence (ILS), severe mental retardation and reduced life expectancy. The understanding of these syndromes is often incomplete and is the subject of active research. Researchers have demonstrated that the gene encoding 14-3-3ε (YWHAE), one of a family of ubiquitous phosphoserine/threonine–binding proteins, is always deleted in individuals with MDS. Mice deficient in Ywhae have defects in brain development and neuronal migration, similar to defects observed in mice heterozygous with respect to Pafah1b1.  Gene specific transcriptional activation or repression is regulated by a complex network of transcription factors designated the Myc/Max/Mad network. MNT (max binding protein) binds DNA and a heterodimer with MAX and represses transcription and acts as an antagonist of Myc-dependent transcriptional activation and cell growth. Described below are two mice strains that may be useful in studies of Miller-Dieker Lissencephaly Syndrome generated by the same researcher.

TRM: Slc7a2/CAT2 KO Mice

CAT2 is a membrane associated protein involved in the cellular uptake of cationic amino acids such as arginine, lysine and ornithine. CAT2 plays a regulatory role in the activation of macrophages. Arginine is a substrate for nitric oxide synthase (NOS) during the production of nitric oxide (NO). The release of NO by inflammatory cells contributes to the progression of diseases such as cancer, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, and atherosclerosis. CAT2 plays a role in controlling inflammation and IL-17 activation in an injury model of colitis.

TRM: Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus-PyMT Transgenic Mice

Transgenic mouse models that develop spontaneous mammary adenocarcinomas have proven valuable in revealing molecular mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis and metastasis . Models target specific pathways depending on the transgene being expressed under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus long terminal repeat (MMTV-LTR) or whey acid protein (WAP) mammary gland promoters and thereby replicate genetic defects in subsets of human tumors.

Augmentations to Lentiviral Vectors to Increase Expression

UCLA researchers in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics have developed a novel method to produce short lentiviral vectors with tissue-specific expression, with a primary focus on lentiviral vectors for treating sickle cell disease and other disorders of hemoglobin.

Optimized Lentiviral Vector for Stem Cell Gene Therapy of Hemoglobinopathies

UCLA researchers in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics have developed a novel method to produce short lentiviral vectors with tissue-specific expression, with a primary focus on lentiviral vectors for treating sickle cell disease and other disorders of hemoglobin.

TRM: Eph Receptor A4 (EphA4) Conditional Allele Mice

Ephrins and Eph receptor tyrosine kinases are cell-surface molecules that serve a multitude of functions in cell–cell communication in development, physiology, and disease.

TRM: Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Potassium Channel 4 (HCN4)nLacZ/H2BGFP Mice

The hyperpolarization activated nucleotide gated cation channel HCN4 is a pacemaker channel that is highly expressed in the sinoatrial node during development and in the adult. To better facilitate visualization of HCN4 expression, we generated mice with a nuclear localized (n) LacZ or H2BGFP knocked into the endogenous HCN4 locus and analyzed reporter expression in the heart during development.

TRM:Sox9CreER BAC Transgenic Mice

These transgenic mice express an inducible version of cre recombinase mice under the direction of a Sox9 promoter. They are suitable for performing cre-recombination in pancreatic ductal cells and their progenitors.

Technologies that can be Used to Selectively Bind Messenger RNA and Enhance Protein Translation

Control of gene expression is a general approach to treat diseases where there is too much or too little of a gene product. However, while there are many methods which are available to downregulate the expression of messenger RNA transcripts, very few strategies can upregulate the endogenous gene product. The vast majority of gene regulatory drugs which are commercially available or being developed are designed to knockdown gene expression (i.e. siRNAs, miRNAs, anti-sense, etc.). There exist some methods to enhance gene expression, such as the delivery of messenger RNAs; although, therapeutic delivery of such large and charged RNA molecules is technically challenging, inefficient, and may not be practical. There are also classical gene therapy approaches where a gene product is delivered as viral-encoded products (AAV or lentivirus-packaged). However, these methods suffer from not being able to accurately reproduce the correct alternatively spliced isoforms in the right ratios in cells.  

TRM:Murine Pancreatic Cancer Cell Lines

Brief description not available

Strategy for in vivo Depalmitoylation of Proteins and Therapeutic Applications Thereof

The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs), commonly grouped together as Batten disease, are the most common neurodegenerative lysosomal storage diseases of the pediatric population. No cure for NCL has yet been realized. Current treatment regimens offer only symptomatic relief and do not target the underlying cause of the disease. Although the underlying pathophysiology that drives disease progression is unknown, several small molecules have been identified with diverse mechanisms of action that provide promise for the treatment of this devastating disease. On this point, several researchers have reported the use of potential drugs for NCL patient lymphoblasts and fibroblasts, along with neurons derived from animal models of NCL disease. Unfortunately, most of these studies were inconclusive or clinical trials or follow-up results were not available. High concentrations employed and toxicity of the small molecules are clear disadvantages to the use of some of the corresponding derivatives as potential drugs. To circumvent these effects, development of nontoxic alkyl cysteines would be useful for the non-enzymatic and chemo-selective depalmitoylation of S-palmitoyl proteins, which hold good promise as an effective treatment for neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses.

Generation Of Minimal Enhancer Elements Using Massively Parallel Reporter Assays

UCLA researchers in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics have developed a novel method to produce short lentiviral vectors with tissue-specific expression, with a primary focus on lentiviral vectors for treating sickle cell disease and other disorders of hemoglobin.

Phage-Mediated Delivery Of Genes To The Gut Microbiota

UCSF researchers have developed a novel method of manipulating the gut microbiome via delivery of bacteriophages to selectively remove or modify members of an existing microbial community. 

Hydrodealkenylative C(Sp3)–C(Sp2) Bond Scission

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a new chemical reaction that combines ozone, an iron salt, and a hydrogen atom donor to enable hydrodealkenylative cleavage of C(sp3)–C(sp2) bonds in a widely applicable manner.

Antibody and Vaccine Therapy for C. diff. Infection

Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) infection is estimated to cause nearly 0.5 million illnesses in the US. C. diff. can cause severe gastrointestinal effects, including life-threatening inflammation, is contagious, and is an urgent antibiotic-resistant threat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. UCI researchers have determined the crystal structure for the virulent C. diff. toxin, TcdB, and characterized sites to target for neutralization along with immunogens that can be used in vaccine strategies to prevent and treat C. diff. infection.

Predicting Cefixime Susceptiblity Using Molecular Genotyping

UCLA researchers in the David Geffen School of Medicine have developed a novel method to detect the susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to the antibiotic cefixime.

Method To Implement A Crispr-Cas9 Copycat Gene Drive In Rodents

Currently, alleles at multiple loci in the mouse genome must be combined by Mendelian genetics in crosses of animals to one another to produce a desired compound mutant genotype. For example, to combine homozygous mutations at two loci, animals that are heterozygous for each gene must be produced by breeding, and these are subsequently crossed to one another. Since the frequency of homozygosity for each allele is 1:4 the frequency of homozygosity for both genes is 1:16. Since the average litter of mice is approximately 10 pups, and the generation time from conception to reproductive age is about 3 months, this requires a substantial number of animals and time. With the addition of each new locus (three, four, etc), the cost measured in animals, time, and money increases exponentially. These factors increase substantially more if two or more loci are genetically linked, which requires rare recombination events to combine engineered alleles on the same chromosome. The CRISPR-Cas9 gene drive system stands to revolutionize rodent breeding. If each desired allele is encoded as a gene drive element that contains an sgRNA designed to target the same genomic location in the wild type homologous chromosome, each locus will be “driven” to homozygosity in the presence of Cas9. Therefore, in order to combine three alleles, for example, a mouse with one gene drive element (A) would be crossed to a mouse that encodes Cas9. Offspring of this cross would then be crossed to mice carrying gene drive element B, and these offspring would be crossed to mice carrying gene drive element C. In the presence of Cas9 at each generation, these gene drive elements at three distinct loci will be converted to homozygosity such that 50% of offspring, those that inherit Cas9, will be triple homozygous after three generations, even if they are genetically linked loci. A CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene drive leverages the native cellular mechanism of homology directed repair to copy a desired allele from one chromosome to another. This process can convert a heterozygous genotype to homozygosity in a single generation. While CRISPR-Cas9 gene drives have been implemented in two species of insects, flies and mosquitos, it has not been reported in any non-insect animal species. 

Drug Repurposing To Explore Novel Treatment For Cushing Disease

UCLA researchers in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Molecular and Medicinal Pharmacology have identified several small molecule reagents to treat Cushing disease.

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