Publications by authors named "October Michael Sessions"

7 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Comparative genomic analysis of Streptococcus dysgalactiae subspecies dysgalactiae, an occasional cause of zoonotic infection.

Pathology 2020 Feb 16;52(2):262-266. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.

Streptococcus dysgalactiae comprise two subspecies. Typically, S. dysgalactiae subspecies equisimilis (SDSE) are large colony β-haemolytic Group C and Group G streptococci that cause pharyngitis, skin and soft tissue infections in humans. On the other hand, S. dysgalactiae subspecies dysgalactiae (SDSD) are classically described as α-haemolytic Group C streptococci that are animal pathogens. We compared the genome sequences of five S. dysgalactiae isolated from four cases of bacteraemia in women with breast cancer, and one from fish meat. One human isolate was SDSE, all other isolates were SDSD. Zoonotic SDSD infection may be under-recognised because of lack of patient and clinician awareness, and failure to distinguish SDSD from SDSE in the routine lab. The possibility of zoonotic SDSD should be suspected in patients with bacteraemia and ascending cellulitis of the upper limb with a history of handling raw fish and meat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pathol.2019.09.016DOI Listing
February 2020

Persistent Dengue Infection in an Immunosuppressed Patient Reveals the Roles of Humoral and Cellular Immune Responses in Virus Clearance.

Cell Host Microbe 2019 11 29;26(5):601-605.e3. Epub 2019 Oct 29.

Department of Paediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore; Khoo Teck Puat-National University Children's Medical Institute, National University Health System, Singapore, Singapore.

Detailed understanding of the roles of humoral and cellular immune responses in sterilizing dengue virus (DENV) infection in humans is required to inform effective vaccine development. We report an unusual case of persistent DENV infection in a lymphopenic renal transplant recipient who was therapeutically immunosuppressed to prevent organ rejection. Following resolution of symptomatic dengue, this patient remained positive for DENV3 RNA in the blood for 4 months and viruric up to 9 months post-infection despite demonstrable levels of serum neutralizing antibodies throughout this period. Full resolution of DENV infection instead coincided with recovery of CD8+ T cell counts during reversal from lymphopenia. Taken collectively, our observations suggest a role for cellular immunity in sterilizing DENV infection in humans. Any dengue vaccine should thus be able to induce both humoral and cellular immunity that respectively prevent symptomatic infection and enable effective viral clearance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2019.10.005DOI Listing
November 2019

Application of a targeted-enrichment methodology for full-genome sequencing of Dengue 1-4, Chikungunya and Zika viruses directly from patient samples.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2019 04 25;13(4):e0007184. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.

The frequency of epidemics caused by Dengue viruses 1-4, Zika virus and Chikungunya viruses have been on an upward trend in recent years driven primarily by uncontrolled urbanization, mobility of human populations and geographical spread of their shared vectors, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Infections by these viruses present with similar clinical manifestations making them challenging to diagnose; this is especially difficult in regions of the world hyperendemic for these viruses. In this study, we present a targeted-enrichment methodology to simultaneously sequence the complete viral genomes for each of these viruses directly from clinical samples. Additionally, we have also developed a customized computational tool (BaitMaker) to design these enrichment baits. This methodology is robust in its ability to capture diverse sequences and is amenable to large-scale epidemiological studies. We have applied this methodology to two large cohorts: a febrile study based in Colombo, Sri Lanka taken during the 2009-2015 dengue epidemic (n = 170) and another taken during the 2016 outbreak of Zika virus in Singapore (n = 162). Results from these studies indicate that we were able to cover an average of 97.04% ± 0.67% of the full viral genome from samples in these cohorts. We also show detection of one DENV3/ZIKV co-infected patient where we recovered full genomes for both viruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007184DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6504110PMC
April 2019

A novel method for the capture-based purification of whole viral native RNA genomes.

AMB Express 2019 Apr 8;9(1):45. Epub 2019 Apr 8.

Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, Singapore.

Current technologies for targeted characterization and manipulation of viral RNA primarily involve amplification or ultracentrifugation with isopycnic gradients of viral particles to decrease host RNA background. The former strategy is non-compatible for characterizing properties innate to RNA strands such as secondary structure, RNA-RNA interactions, and also for nanopore direct RNA sequencing involving the sequencing of native RNA strands. The latter strategy, ultracentrifugation, causes loss in genomic information due to its inability to retrieve unassembled viral RNA. To address this, we developed a novel application of current nucleic acid hybridization technologies for direct characterization of RNA. In particular, we modified a current enrichment protocol to capture whole viral native RNA genomes for downstream RNA assays to circumvent the abovementioned problems. This technique involves hybridization of biotinylated baits at 500 nucleotides (nt) intervals, stringent washes and release of free native RNA strands using DNase I treatment, with a turnaround time of about 6 h 15 min. RT-qPCR was used as the primary proof of concept that capture-based purification indeed removes host background. Subsequently, capture-based purification was applied to direct RNA sequencing as proof of concept that capture-based purification can be coupled with downstream RNA assays. We report that this protocol was able to successfully purify viral RNA by 561- to 791-fold. We also report that application of this protocol to direct RNA sequencing yielded a reduction in human host RNA background by 1580-fold, a 99.91% recovery of viral genome with at least 15× coverage, and a mean coverage across the genome of 120×. This report is, to the best of our knowledge, the first description of a capture-based purification method for assays that involve direct manipulation or characterisation of native RNA. This report also describes a successful application of capture-based purification as a direct RNA sequencing strategy that addresses certain limitations of current strategies in sequencing RNA viral genomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13568-019-0772-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6453989PMC
April 2019

Valine/isoleucine variants drive selective pressure in the VP1 sequence of EV-A71 enteroviruses.

BMC Infect Dis 2017 05 8;17(1):333. Epub 2017 May 8.

Cirad, UMR 17, Intertryp, TA-A17/G, Campus International de Baillarguet, 34398, Montpellier Cedex 5, France.

Background: In 2011-2012, Northern Vietnam experienced its first large scale hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) epidemic. In 2011, a major HFMD epidemic was also reported in South Vietnam with fatal cases. This 2011-2012 outbreak was the first one to occur in North Vietnam providing grounds to study the etiology, origin and dynamic of the disease. We report here the analysis of the VP1 gene of strains isolated throughout North Vietnam during the 2011-2012 outbreak and before.

Methods: The VP1 gene of 106 EV-A71 isolates from North Vietnam and 2 from Central Vietnam were sequenced. Sequence alignments were analyzed at the nucleic acid and protein level. Gene polymorphism was also analyzed. A Factorial Correspondence Analysis was performed to correlate amino acid mutations with clinical parameters.

Results: The sequences were distributed into four phylogenetic clusters. Three clusters corresponded to the subgenogroup C4 and the last one corresponded to the subgenogroup C5. Each cluster displayed different polymorphism characteristics. Proteins were highly conserved but three sites bearing only Isoleucine (I) or Valine (V) were characterized. The isoleucine/valine variability matched the clusters. Spatiotemporal analysis of the I/V variants showed that all variants which emerged in 2011 and then in 2012 were not the same but were all present in the region prior to the 2011-2012 outbreak. Some correlation was found between certain I/V variants and ethnicity and severity.

Conclusions: The 2011-2012 outbreak was not caused by an exogenous strain coming from South Vietnam or elsewhere but by strains already present and circulating at low level in North Vietnam. However, what triggered the outbreak remains unclear. A selective pressure is applied on I/V variants which matches the genetic clusters. I/V variants were shown on other viruses to correlate with pathogenicity. This should be investigated in EV-A71. I/V variants are an easy and efficient way to survey and identify circulating EV-A71 strains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-017-2427-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5422960PMC
May 2017

Enterovirus 71 infection of motor neuron-like NSC-34 cells undergoes a non-lytic exit pathway.

Sci Rep 2016 11 16;6:36983. Epub 2016 Nov 16.

Department of Microbiology &Immunology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 117456, Singapore.

Enterovirus 71 (EV71) causing Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, is regarded as the most important neurotropic virus worldwide. EV71 is believed to replicate in muscles and infect motor neurons to reach the central nervous system (CNS). To further investigate the mechanisms involved, we have employed the motor neuron cell line NSC-34. NSC-34 cells were permissive to EV71 and virus production yields were strain-dependent with differential efficacy at the entry, replication and egress steps. Furthermore, unlike all the other cell lines previously reported, EV71-infected NSC-34 cells neither displayed cytopathic effect nor underwent apoptosis. Instead, autophagy was markedly up-regulated and virus-containing autophagic vacuoles were isolated from the culture supernatant, providing the first experimental evidence that EV71 can adopt a non-lytic exit pathway. Finally, the ability of EV71 to infect productively NSC-34 cells correlated with its ability to invade the CNS in vivo, supporting the relevance of NSC-34 cells to study the intrinsic neurovirulence of EV71 strains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep36983DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5111112PMC
November 2016

Molecular determinants of plaque size as an indicator of dengue virus attenuation.

Sci Rep 2016 05 17;6:26100. Epub 2016 May 17.

Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore 169857, Singapore.

The development of live viral vaccines relies on empirically derived phenotypic criteria, especially small plaque sizes, to indicate attenuation. However, while some candidate vaccines successfully translated into licensed applications, others have failed safety trials, placing vaccine development on a hit-or-miss trajectory. We examined the determinants of small plaque phenotype in two dengue virus (DENV) vaccine candidates, DENV-3 PGMK30FRhL3, which produced acute febrile illness in vaccine recipients, and DENV-2 PDK53, which has a good clinical safety profile. The reasons behind the failure of PGMK30FRhL3 during phase 1 clinical trial, despite meeting the empirically derived criteria of attenuation, have never been systematically investigated. Using in vitro, in vivo and functional genomics approaches, we examined infections by the vaccine and wild-type DENVs, in order to ascertain the different determinants of plaque size. We show that PGMK30FRhL3 produces small plaques on BHK-21 cells due to its slow in vitro growth rate. In contrast, PDK53 replicates rapidly, but is unable to evade antiviral responses that constrain its spread hence also giving rise to small plaques. Therefore, at least two different molecular mechanisms govern the plaque phenotype; determining which mechanism operates to constrain plaque size may be more informative on the safety of live-attenuated vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep26100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4868997PMC
May 2016