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  • Journal article
    Heriot DA, Stock CJW, Mumtaz Z-U-A, Jenkins RG, Chua F, Molyneaux PL, Devaraj A, Kouranos V, Wells AU, Renzoni EA, Padley SPG, Desai SR, George PMet al., 2024,

    The impact of hiatus hernia in hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

    , Respirology, Vol: 29, Pages: 421-425
  • Journal article
    Chakraborty A, Alsharqi L, Kostrzewa M, Armstrong-James D, Larrouy-Maumus Get al., 2024,

    Intact cell lipidomics using the Bruker MBT lipid Xtract assay allows the rapid detection of glycosyl-inositol-phospho-ceramides from Aspergillus fumigatus.

    , Mol Omics

    Glycosyl-inositol-phospho-ceramides (GIPCs) or glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored fungal polysaccharides are major lipids in plant and fungal plasma membranes and play an important role in stress adaption. However, their analysis remains challenging due to the multiple steps involved in their extraction and purification prior to mass spectrometry analysis. To address this challenge, we report here a novel simplified method to identify GIPCs from Aspergillus fumigatus using the new Bruker MBT lipid Xtract assay. A. fumigatus reference strains and clinical isolates were cultured, harvested, heat-inactivated and suspended in double-distilled water. A fraction of this fungal preparation was then dried in a microtube, mixed with an MBT lipid Xtract matrix (Bruker Daltonik, Germany) and loaded onto a MALDI target plate. Analysis was performed using a Bruker MALDI Biotyper Sirius system in the linear negative ion mode. Mass spectra were scanned from m/z 700 to m/z 2 000. MALDI-TOF MS analysis of cultured fungi showed a clear signature of GIPCs in Aspergillus fumigatus reference strains and clinical isolates. Here, we have demonstrated that routine MALDI-TOF in the linear negative ion mode combined with the MBT lipid Xtract is able to detect Aspergillus fumigatus GIPCs.

  • Journal article
    McNally P, Davies J, Ciet P, Tiddens Het al., 2024,

    Reply to Dournes and Benlala: Hierarchical Computed Tomography Scoring Systems Cannot Discriminate Between Reversible Bronchiectasis and Mucus Plugs.

    , Am J Respir Crit Care Med, Vol: 209, Pages: 1039-1040
  • Journal article
    Bhatti MF, Kotta-Loizou I, Coutts RHA, 2024,

    Editorial: Mycoviruses of pathogenic fungi: the current research landscape

    , Frontiers in Fungal Biology, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2673-6128
  • Journal article
    Richter F, Calonne-Salmon M, van der Heijden MGA, Declerck S, Stanley CEet al., 2024,

    AMF-SporeChip provides new insights into arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal asymbiotic hyphal growth dynamics at the cellular level

    , Lab on a Chip: miniaturisation for chemistry, physics, biology, materials science and bioengineering, Vol: 24, Pages: 1930-1946, ISSN: 1473-0189

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form symbiotic associations with the majority of land plants and deliver a wide range of soil-based ecosystem services. Due to their conspicuous belowground lifestyle in a dark environment surrounded by soil particles, much is still to be learned about the influence of environmental (i.e., physical) cues on spore germination, hyphal morphogenesis and anastomosis/hyphal healing mechanisms. To fill existing gaps in AMF knowledge, we developed a new microfluidic platform – the AMF-SporeChip – to visualise the foraging behaviour of germinating Rhizophagus and Gigaspora spores and confront asymbiotic hyphae with physical obstacles. In combination with timelapse microscopy, the fungi could be examined at the cellular level and in real-time. The AMF-SporeChip allowed us to acquire movies with unprecedented visual clarity and therefore identify various exploration strategies of AMF asymbiotic hyphae. We witnessed tip-to-tip and tip-to-side hyphal anastomosis formation. Anastomosis involved directed hyphal growth in a “stop-and-go” manner, yielding visual evidence of pre-anastomosis signalling and decision-making. Remarkably, we also revealed a so-far undescribed reversible cytoplasmic retraction, including the formation of up to 8 septa upon retraction, as part of a highly dynamic space navigation, probably evolved to optimise foraging efficiency. Our findings demonstrated how AMF employ an intricate mechanism of space searching, involving reversible cytoplasmic retraction, branching and directional changes. In turn, the AMF-SporeChip is expected to open many future frontiers for AMF research.

  • Journal article
    McNally P, Singh A, McColley SA, Davies JC, Higgins M, Liu M, Lu J, Rodriguez-Romero V, Shih JL, Rosenfeld M, VX15-770-124 Study Groupet al., 2024,

    Safety and efficacy of ivacaftor in infants aged 1 to less than 4 months with cystic fibrosis

    , Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, ISSN: 1569-1993

    BACKGROUND: Ivacaftor (IVA) has been shown to be safe and efficacious in children aged ≥4 months with cystic fibrosis (CF) and CFTR gating variants. We evaluated safety, pharmacokinetics (PK), and efficacy of IVA in a small cohort of infants aged 1 to <4 months with CF. METHODS: In this phase 3, open-label study, infants 1 to <4 months with CF and an IVA-responsive CFTR variant received an initial low dose of IVA based on age and weight. Because IVA is a sensitive CYP3A substrate and CYP3A maturation is uncertain in infants, doses were adjusted at day 15 to better match median adult exposures based on individual PK measurements taken on day 4. Primary endpoints were safety and PK measurements. RESULTS: Seven infants (residual function CFTR variants [n=5]; minimal function CFTR variants [n=2]) received ≥1 dose of IVA. Six infants had doses adjusted at day 15 and one infant did not require dose adjustment; subsequent PK analyses showed mean trough concentrations for IVA and metabolites were within range of prior clinical experience. Four infants (57.1%) had adverse events (AEs); no serious AEs were noted. One infant discontinued study drug due to a non-serious AE of elevated alanine aminotransferase >8x the upper limit of normal. Mean sweat chloride concentration decreased (-40.3 mmol/L [SD: 29.2]) through week 24. Improvements in biomarkers of pancreatic function and intestinal inflammation, as well as growth parameters, were observed. CONCLUSIONS: In this small, open-label study, IVA dosing in infants achieved exposures previously shown to be safe and efficacious. Because PK was predictable, a dosing regimen based on age and weight is proposed. IVA was generally safe and well tolerated, and led to improvements in CFTR function, markers of pancreatic function and intestinal inflammation, and growth parameters, supporting use in infants as young as 1 month of age.

  • Journal article
    Wu Y, Li Y, Liu Y, Xiu X, Liu J, Zhang L, Li J, Du G, Lv X, Chen J, Ledesma-Amaro R, Liu Let al., 2024,

    Multiplexed in-situ mutagenesis driven by a dCas12a-based dual-function base editor

    , Nucleic Acids Research, Vol: 52, Pages: 4739-4755, ISSN: 0305-1048

    Mutagenesis driving genetic diversity is vital for understanding and engineering biological systems. However, the lack of effective methods to generate in-situ mutagenesis in multiple genomic loci combinatorially limits the study of complex biological functions. Here, we design and construct MultiduBE, a dCas12a-based multiplexed dual-function base editor, in an all-in-one plasmid for performing combinatorial in-situ mutagenesis. Two synthetic effectors, duBE-1a and duBE-2b, are created by amalgamating the functionalities of cytosine deaminase (from hAPOBEC3A or hAID*Δ ), adenine deaminase (from TadA9), and crRNA array processing (from dCas12a). Furthermore, introducing the synthetic separator Sp4 minimizes interference in the crRNA array, thereby facilitating multiplexed in-situ mutagenesis in both Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Guided by the corresponding crRNA arrays, MultiduBE is successfully employed for cell physiology reprogramming and metabolic regulation. A novel mutation conferring streptomycin resistance has been identified in B. subtilis and incorporated into the mutant strains with multiple antibiotic resistance. Moreover, surfactin and riboflavin titers of the combinatorially mutant strains improved by 42% and 15-fold, respectively, compared with the control strains with single gene mutation. Overall, MultiduBE provides a convenient and efficient way to perform multiplexed in-situ mutagenesis.

  • Journal article
    Walker K, Li IS, Lee K, Ellis Tet al., 2024,

    Self-pigmenting textiles grown from cellulose-producing bacteria with engineered tyrosinase expression

    , Nature Biotechnology, ISSN: 1087-0156

    Environmental concerns are driving interest in postpetroleum synthetic textiles produced from microbial and fungal sources. Bacterial cellulose (BC) is a promising sustainable leather alternative, on account of its material properties, low infrastructure needs and biodegradability. However, for alternative textiles like BC to be fully sustainable, alternative ways to dye textiles need to be developed alongside alternative production methods. To address this, we genetically engineer Komagataeibacter rhaeticus to create a bacterial strain that grows self-pigmenting BC. Melanin biosynthesis in the bacteria from recombinant tyrosinase expression achieves dark black coloration robust to material use. Melanated BC production can be scaled up for the construction of prototype fashion products, and we illustrate the potential of combining engineered self-pigmentation with tools from synthetic biology, through the optogenetic patterning of gene expression in cellulose-producing bacteria. With this study, we demonstrate that combining genetic engineering with current and future methods of textile biofabrication has the potential to create a new class of textiles.

  • Journal article
    Wu Z, Spencer LG, Banya W, Westoby J, Tudor VA, Rivera-Ortega P, Chaudhuri N, Jakupovic I, Patel B, Thillai M, West A, Wijsenbeek M, Maher TM, Smith JA, Molyneaux PLet al., 2024,

    Morphine for treatment of cough in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (PACIFY COUGH): a prospective, multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-way crossover trial

    , The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 12, Pages: 273-280, ISSN: 2213-2600

    BackgroundIdiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive fibrotic lung disease, with most patients reporting cough. Currently, there are no proven treatments. We examined the use of low dose controlled-release morphine compared with placebo as an antitussive therapy in individuals with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.MethodsThe PACIFY COUGH study is a phase 2, multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-way crossover trial done in three specialist centres in the UK. Eligible patients aged 40–90 years had a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis within 5 years, self-reported cough (lasting >8 weeks), and a cough visual analogue scale (VAS) score of 30 mm or higher. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to placebo twice daily or controlled-release morphine 5 mg orally twice daily for 14 days followed by crossover after a 7-day washout period. Patients were randomised sequentially to a sequence group defining the order in which morphine and placebo were to be given, according to a computer-generated schedule. Patients, investigators, study nurses, and pharmacy personnel were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was percentage change in objective awake cough frequency (coughs per h) from baseline as assessed by objective digital cough monitoring at day 14 of treatment in the intention-to-treat population, which included all randomised participants. Safety data were summarised for all patients who took at least one study drug and did not withdraw consent. This study was registered at, NCT04429516, and has been completed.FindingsBetween Dec 17, 2020, and March 21, 2023, 47 participants were assessed for eligibility and 44 were enrolled and randomly allocated to treatment. Mean age was 71 (SD 7·4) years, and 31 (70%) of 44 participants were male and 13 (30%) were female. Lung function was moderately impaired; mean forced vital capacity (FVC) was 2·7 L (SD 0·76), mean predicted FVC was 82%

  • Journal article
    Wang Z, Cuthbertson LF, Thomas C, Sallah HJ, Mosscrop LG, Li H, Talts T, Kumar K, Moffatt MF, Tregoning JSet al., 2024,

    IL-1α is required for T cell driven weight loss after respiratory viral infection

    , Mucosal Immunology, Vol: 17, Pages: 272-287, ISSN: 1933-0219

    Respiratory viral infections remain a major cause of hospitalization and death worldwide. Patients with respiratory infections often lose weight. While acute weight loss is speculated to be a tolerance mechanism to limit pathogen growth, severe weight loss following infection can cause quality of life deterioration. Despite the clinical relevance of respiratory infection-induced weight loss, its mechanism is not yet completely understood. We utilized a model of CD 8+ T cell-driven weight loss during respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection to dissect the immune regulation of post-infection weight loss. Supporting previous data, bulk RNA sequencing indicated significant enrichment of the interleukin (IL)-1 signaling pathway after RSV infection. Despite increased viral load, infection-associated weight loss was significantly reduced after IL-1α (but not IL-1β) blockade. IL-1α depletion resulted in a reversal of the gut microbiota changes observed following RSV infection. Direct nasal instillation of IL-1α also caused weight loss. Of note, we detected IL-1α in the brain after either infection or nasal delivery. This was associated with changes in genes controlling appetite after RSV infection and corresponding changes in signaling molecules such as leptin and growth/differentiation factor 15. Together, these findings indicate a lung-brain-gut signaling axis for IL-1α in regulating weight loss after RSV infection.

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