Publications by authors named "Darren A Pickering"

9 Publications

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Suppression of inflammation and tissue damage by a hookworm recombinant protein in experimental colitis.

Clin Transl Immunology 2017 Oct 6;6(10):e157. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

Centre for the Biodiversity and Molecular Development of Therapeutics, Australian Institute of Tropical Health Medicine, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Gastrointestinal parasites, hookworms in particular, have evolved to cause minimal harm to their hosts when present in small numbers, allowing them to establish chronic infections for decades. They do so by creating an immunoregulatory environment that promotes their own survival, but paradoxically also benefits the host by protecting against the onset of many inflammatory diseases. To harness the therapeutic value of hookworms without using live parasites, we have examined the protective properties of the recombinant protein anti-inflammatory protein (AIP)-1, secreted in abundance by hookworms within the intestinal mucosa, in experimental colitis. Colitic inflammation assessed by weight loss, colon atrophy, oedema, ulceration and necrosis, as well as abdominal adhesion was significantly suppressed in mice treated with a single intraperitoneal dose of AIP-1 at 1 mg kg. Local infiltration of inflammatory cells was also significantly reduced, with minimal goblet cell loss and preserved mucosal architecture. Treatment with AIP-1 promoted the production of colon interleukin (IL)-10, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), resulting in the suppression of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-13 and IL-17 A cytokines and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), CX motif chemokine (CXCL)-11 and cyclooxygenase synthase (COX)-2 mRNA transcripts. AIP-1 promoted the accumulation of regulatory T cells in the colon likely allowing rapid healing of the colon mucosa. Hookworm recombinant AIP-1 is a novel therapeutic candidate for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases that can be explored for the prevention of acute inflammatory relapses, an important cause of colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/cti.2017.42DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5671989PMC
October 2017

Hookworm recombinant protein promotes regulatory T cell responses that suppress experimental asthma.

Sci Transl Med 2016 10;8(362):362ra143

Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

In the developed world, declining prevalence of some parasitic infections correlates with increased incidence of allergic and autoimmune disorders. Moreover, experimental human infection with some parasitic worms confers protection against inflammatory diseases in phase 2 clinical trials. Parasitic worms manipulate the immune system by secreting immunoregulatory molecules that offer promise as a novel therapeutic modality for inflammatory diseases. We identify a protein secreted by hookworms, anti-inflammatory protein-2 (AIP-2), that suppressed airway inflammation in a mouse model of asthma, reduced expression of costimulatory markers on human dendritic cells (DCs), and suppressed proliferation ex vivo of T cells from human subjects with house dust mite allergy. In mice, AIP-2 was primarily captured by mesenteric CD103 DCs and suppression of airway inflammation was dependent on both DCs and Foxp3 regulatory T cells (T) that originated in the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) and accumulated in distant mucosal sites. Transplantation of MLNs from AIP-2-treated mice into naïve hosts revealed a lymphoid tissue conditioning that promoted T induction and long-term maintenance. Our findings indicate that recombinant AIP-2 could serve as a novel curative therapeutic for allergic asthma and potentially other inflammatory diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf8807DOI Listing
October 2016

Lipopeptide Nanoparticles: Development of Vaccines against Hookworm Parasite.

ChemMedChem 2015 Oct 12;10(10):1647-54. Epub 2015 Aug 12.

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland (St. Lucia), Brisbane, Queensland 4072 (Australia).

Necator americanus (hookworm) infects over half a billion people worldwide. Anthelminthic drugs are commonly used to treat the infection; however, vaccination is a more favorable strategy to combat this parasite. We designed new B-cell peptide epitopes based on the aspartic protease of N. americanus (Na-APR-1). The peptides were conjugated to self-adjuvanting lipid core peptide (LCP) systems via stepwise solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) and copper catalyst azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) reactions. The LCP vaccine candidates were able to self-assemble into nanoparticles, were administered to mice without the use of additional adjuvant, and generated antibodies that recognized the parent epitope. However, only one LCP derivative was able to produce a high titer of antibodies specific to Na-APR-1; circular dichroism analyses of this compound showed a β-sheet conformation for the incorporated epitope. This study provides important insight in epitope and delivery system design for the development of a vaccine against hookworm infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cmdc.201500227DOI Listing
October 2015

The use of a conformational cathepsin D-derived epitope for vaccine development against Schistosoma mansoni.

Bioorg Med Chem 2015 Mar 30;23(6):1307-12. Epub 2015 Jan 30.

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland (St Lucia), Chemistry Blg #68, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia; School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland (St Lucia), Woolloongabba, Queensland 4012, Australia. Electronic address:

Schistosomiasis is caused by the infection from Schistosoma species. Among these, Schistosoma mansoni is one of the major species that infects millions of people worldwide. The use of praziquantel is effective in clearing the infestation but treatment of a large and widespread population in endemic areas is unsustainable. Thus, synergistic approach of using drug and vaccination can serve as an alternative to the current treatment. In this study, we have developed vaccine candidates that composed of three components: a B-cell epitope derived from S. mansoni cathepsin D protein (Sm-CatD) flanked by GCN4 helix promoting peptide; a promiscuous T-helper epitope (P25); and a lipid core peptide system, in attempt to develop self-adjuvanting vaccine candidates against the schistosome. Physicochemical properties of the vaccine candidates were analysed and antibodies to each construct were raised in BALB/c mice. The vaccine candidates were able to self-assemble into particles that induced high titres of IgG without the use of additional adjuvant. The antibody levels were comparable to that induced by peptide formulated with strong but toxic Freund's adjuvant. The integration of a GCN4 sequence induced the helical conformation of the epitope, while the addition of the T helper peptide was very effective in inducing consistent IgG-specific antibodies response amongst mice. These findings are particularly encouraging for the development of efficient and immunogenic vaccine against schistosomiasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2015.01.033DOI Listing
March 2015

Probing of a human proteome microarray with a recombinant pathogen protein reveals a novel mechanism by which hookworms suppress B-cell receptor signaling.

J Infect Dis 2015 Feb 19;211(3):416-25. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Cairns.

Na-ASP-2 is an efficacious hookworm vaccine antigen. However, despite elucidation of its crystal structure and studies addressing its immunobiology, the function of Na-ASP-2 has remained elusive. We probed a 9000-protein human proteome microarray with Na-ASP-2 and showed binding to CD79A, a component of the B-cell antigen receptor complex. Na-ASP-2 bound to human B lymphocytes ex vivo and downregulated the transcription of approximately 1000 B-cell messenger RNAs (mRNAs), while only approximately 100 mRNAs were upregulated, compared with control-treated cells. The expression of a range of molecules was affected by Na-ASP-2, including factors involved in leukocyte transendothelial migration pathways and the B-cell signaling receptor pathway. Of note was the downregulated transcription of lyn and pi3k, molecules that are known to interact with CD79A and control B-cell receptor signaling processes. Together, these results highlight a previously unknown interaction between a hookworm-secreted protein and B cells, which has implications for helminth-driven immunomodulation and vaccine development. Further, the novel use of human protein microarrays to identify host-pathogen interactions, coupled with ex vivo binding studies and subsequent analyses of global gene expression in human host cells, demonstrates a new pipeline by which to explore the molecular basis of infectious diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiu451DOI Listing
February 2015

Novel scabies mite serpins inhibit the three pathways of the human complement system.

PLoS One 2012 11;7(7):e40489. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Infectious Diseases Program, Biology Department, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Scabies is a parasitic infestation of the skin by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei that causes significant morbidity worldwide, in particular within socially disadvantaged populations. In order to identify mechanisms that enable the scabies mite to evade human immune defenses, we have studied molecules associated with proteolytic systems in the mite, including two novel scabies mite serine protease inhibitors (SMSs) of the serpin superfamily. Immunohistochemical studies revealed that within mite-infected human skin SMSB4 (54 kDa) and SMSB3 (47 kDa) were both localized in the mite gut and feces. Recombinant purified SMSB3 and SMSB4 did not inhibit mite serine and cysteine proteases, but did inhibit mammalian serine proteases, such as chymotrypsin, albeit inefficiently. Detailed functional analysis revealed that both serpins interfered with all three pathways of the human complement system at different stages of their activation. SMSB4 inhibited mostly the initial and progressing steps of the cascades, while SMSB3 showed the strongest effects at the C9 level in the terminal pathway. Additive effects of both serpins were shown at the C9 level in the lectin pathway. Both SMSs were able to interfere with complement factors without protease function. A range of binding assays showed direct binding between SMSB4 and seven complement proteins (C1, properdin, MBL, C4, C3, C6 and C8), while significant binding of SMSB3 occurred exclusively to complement factors without protease function (C4, C3, C8). Direct binding was observed between SMSB4 and the complement proteases C1s and C1r. However no complex formation was observed between either mite serpin and the complement serine proteases C1r, C1s, MASP-1, MASP-2 and MASP-3. No catalytic inhibition by either serpin was observed for any of these enzymes. In summary, the SMSs were acting at several levels mediating overall inhibition of the complement system and thus we propose that they may protect scabies mites from complement-mediated gut damage.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0040489PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3394726PMC
April 2013

Enhanced protective efficacy of a chimeric form of the schistosomiasis vaccine antigen Sm-TSP-2.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2012 13;6(3):e1564. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

Queensland Tropical Health Alliance and School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

The large extracellular loop of the Schistosoma mansoni tetraspanin, Sm-TSP-2, when fused to a thioredoxin partner and formulated with Freund's adjuvants, has been shown to be an efficacious vaccine against murine schistosomiasis. Moreover, Sm-TSP-2 is uniquely recognised by IgG(1) and IgG(3) from putatively resistant individuals resident in S. mansoni endemic areas in Brazil. In the present study, we expressed Sm-TSP-2 at high yield and in soluble form in E. coli without the need for a solubility enhancing fusion partner. We also expressed in E. coli a chimera called Sm-TSP-2/5B, which consisted of Sm-TSP-2 fused to the immunogenic 5B region of the hookworm aspartic protease and vaccine antigen, Na-APR-1. Sm-TSP-2 formulated with alum/CpG showed significant reductions in adult worm and liver egg burdens in two separate murine schistosomiasis challenge studies. Sm-TSP-2/5B afforded significantly greater protection than Sm-TSP-2 alone when both antigens were formulated with alum/CpG. The enhanced protection obtained with the chimeric fusion protein was associated with increased production of anti-Sm-TSP-2 antibodies and IL-4, IL-10 and IFN-γ from spleen cells of vaccinated animals. Sera from 666 individuals from Brazil who were infected with S. mansoni were screened for potentially deleterious IgE responses to Sm-TSP-2. Anti-Sm-TSP-2 IgE to this protein was not detected (also shown previously for Na-APR-1), suggesting that the chimeric antigen Sm-TSP-2/5B could be used to safely and effectively vaccinate people in areas where schistosomes and hookworms are endemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0001564DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3302818PMC
July 2012

Neutralizing antibodies to the hookworm hemoglobinase Na-APR-1: implications for a multivalent vaccine against hookworm infection and schistosomiasis.

J Infect Dis 2010 May;201(10):1561-9

Division of Infectious Diseases, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, The Australian Centre for Vaccine Development, Queensland, Australia.

The aspartic protease of Necator americanus, Na-APR-1, is a vaccine antigen that induces antibodies that neutralize hemoglobin proteolysis in the gut of the worm. To define the epitopes recognized by these antibodies, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were raised and assessed for neutralizing activity. Three immunoglobulin (Ig) G1 mAbs bound to the intestine of N. americanus and inhibited Na-APR-1 enzymatic activity. Overlapping fragments of Na-APR-1 were expressed, and one (APR-1/5B) was recognized by all 3 mAbs; the epitope was further characterized as AGPKAQVEAIQKY (A(291)Y). This same peptide with a Phe/Tyr(303) substitution was recognized by mAbs in APR-1 orthologues from Ancylostoma species hookworms. IgG from humans infected with hookworms did not recognize A(291)Y but, rather, recognized the S(107)L epitope. APR-1/5B was fused to other helminth vaccine antigens, including Schistosoma mansoni Sm-TSP-2 and N. americanus Na-GST-1; antibodies against both chimeras neutralized the enzymatic activity of Na-APR-1. These findings support the incorporation of Na-APR-1 into a multivalent vaccine against hookworm and/or schistosomiasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/651953DOI Listing
May 2010

An enzymatically inactivated hemoglobinase from Necator americanus induces neutralizing antibodies against multiple hookworm species and protects dogs against heterologous hookworm infection.

FASEB J 2009 Sep 20;23(9):3007-19. Epub 2009 Apr 20.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Queensland Institute of Medical Research and The Australian Centre for Vaccine Development, Brisbane, Australia.

Hookworms digest hemoglobin from erythrocytes via a proteolytic cascade that begins with the aspartic protease, APR-1. Ac-APR-1 from the dog hookworm, Ancylostoma caninum, protects dogs against hookworm infection via antibodies that neutralize enzymatic activity and interrupt blood-feeding. Toward developing a human hookworm vaccine, we expressed both wild-type (Na-APR-1(wt)) and mutant (Na-APR-1(mut)-mutagenesis of the catalytic aspartic acids) forms of Na-APR-1 from the human hookworm, Necator americanus. Refolded Na-APR-1(wt) was catalytically active, and Na-APR-1(mut) was catalytically inactive but still bound substrates. Vaccination of canines with Na-APR-1(mut) and heterologous challenge with A. caninum resulted in significantly reduced parasite egg burdens (P=0.034) and weight loss (P=0.022). Vaccinated dogs also had less gut pathology, fewer adult worms, and reduced blood loss compared to controls but these did not reach statistical significance. Vaccination with Na-APR-1(mut) induced antibodies that bound the native enzyme in the parasite gut and neutralized enzymatic activity of Na-APR-1(wt) and APR-1 orthologues from three other hookworm species that infect humans. IgG1 against Na-APR-1(mut) was the most prominently detected antibody in sera from people resident in high-transmission areas for N. americanus, indicating that natural boosting may occur in exposed humans. Na-APR-1(mut) is now a lead antigen for the development of an antihematophagy vaccine for human hookworm disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.09-131433DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2735369PMC
September 2009
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