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  • Holvikari, Kira (2015)
    MRP2 on ABC-kuljetinproteiineihin kuuluva effluxi-kuljetinproteiini, joka esiintyy solukalvojen apikaalipuolella pääasiassa maksassa, maha-suolikanavan enterosyyteissä, munuaisissa ja keuhkoissa. Tämä kuljetinproteiini on yhdistetty ilmiöön (lääkeresistenssi, multidrug resistance), jossa lääkkeen imeytyminen vähenee kuljetinproteiinin ansiosta tämän kuljettaessa lääkeainetta ulos solusta. Tämän ilmiön estämiseksi etsitään voimakkaita kuljetinproteiinin estäjiä ja substraatteja. On esitetty, että lukuisat flavonoidit ovat inhibiittoreita MRP2-kuljetinproteiiniille, mutta tutkimus flavonoideihin liittyen jatkuu. Toinen ryhmä aineita, joista on esitetty estäjiä MRP2 kuljetinproteiinille, on farmaseuttiset apuaineet. Molemmat, sekä flavonoidit että apuaineet, ovat aineita, joita tutkitaan jatkuvasti lääke-yhteisvaikutuksiin liittyen. Nykyään voidaankin arvioida, että apuaineet eivät ole täysin reagoimattomia aineita elimistössä, kuten aiemmin on ajateltu. Tällä hetkellä MRP2-kuljetinproteiinin tieteellinen tutkimus keskittyy in vitro tutkimuksiin. Tämän erikoistyön kokeellisessa osuudessa tutkitaan luonnonaineiden ja farmaseuttisten apuaineiden vaikutuksia MRP2-kuljetinproteiiniin vesikkelikuljetusanalyysillä (VT-analyysi), käyttäen MRP2-Spodoptera frugiperda 9 (Sf9)- membraanivesikkeleitä ja 5(6)-karboksi-2,′7′-diklorofluoresiini (CDCF)-yhdistettä koettimena. Ajatuksena on löytää MRP2 kuljetinproteiinin estäjiä ja substraatteja. Yhteensä 157 ainetta seulotaan käyttäen tätä in vitro metodia ja näistä löytyvät potentiaaliset aineet tutkitaan tarkemmin suorittamalla IC50- ja Ki-määrityksiä. Potentiaalisia aineita tutkitaan myös kahdella eri metodilla, dynaamisella valo sironnalla (Dynamic light scattering, DLS) ja nefelometrillä, jotta voidaan varmistua täydellisestä aineiden liukenemisesta ja siitä että kuljetinproteiinin esto ei aiheudu mikrokeräytymien johdosta. Lopuksi potentiaaliset MRP2 substraatit tutkitaan käyttäen VTanalyysiä, jossa on detektorina nestekromatografi-massa spetrometri (LC-MS). 157 yhdisteestä löytyi 19 (12%) ainetta, jotka osoittivat muutoksia CDCF:n kuljetuksessa. 6 ainetta stimuloi (CDCF:n kuljetus kasvoi ≥ 150%) ja 13 ainetta inhibioi MRP2 kuljetusta (CDCF kuljetus laski ≦ 50%). IC50 määritys tehtiin 12 aineelle, joille saattiin seuraavat tulokset: Ellaghappo 10.4 μM, gossypiini 17.4 μM, moriinidihydraatti 19.4 μM, myrisetiini 27.1 μM, nordihydroguaiareettihappo (NDGA) 36.2 μM, oktyyligallaatti 20.3 μM, silybiini 52.3 μM, pluronic ®F98 6.9 μM, lutrol F127 ∼ 8.2 μM and tanniinihappo 1.99 μM. Ki määritys tehtiin kolmelle aineelle, joista tuloksiksi saatiin seuraavaa: Myrisetiini 42.9 ± 47.4 μM, gossypiini 19.4 ± 12.5 μM and tanniinihappo 0.0538 ± 0.0398 μM. Ki määrityksen yhteydessä myös inhibition tyyppi määritettiin: Kilpaileva inhibitio; tanniinihappo ja gossypiini sekä kilpailematon inhibitio; myrisetiini. Mikrokeräytymien ja liukoisuuden mittauksissa ei esiintynyt merkittäviä keräytymiä ja inhibitio tällä mekanismilla voidaan sulkea pois. Mikrokertymien ja liukoisuuden mittaaminen tulisi kuitenkin optimoida, luotettavien tulosten saamiseksi. Stimulaattorit baikaleiini, baikaliini, digitoksigeniini sekä inhibiittorit myrisetiini, gossypiini ja tanniinihappo tutkittiin lopuksi LC-MS metodilla. Tuloksista käy ilmi, että gossypiini, jonka +ATP tulos oli suurempi kuin -ATP tulos 50μM:n konsentraatiossa, voisi olla MRP2-substraatti. Yhteenvetona, gossypiinilla on kilpailevaa inhibitiota MRP2-kuljetinproteiinia kohtaan ja näyttää siltä, että se olisi myös MRP2-substraatti. Nämä tulokset on kuitenkin varmistettava jatkotutkimuksin.
  • Hukkinen, Maria (2010)
    Tupakointitutkimukset keskittyvät perinteisesti säännöllisesti tai runsaasti tupakoiviin. Koska ei ole osoitettu mitään terveyden kannalta haitattoman tupakoinnin rajaa, määrältään vähäisenkin tupakoinnin tutkiminen on tärkeää. Tutkielman tavoitteina oli analysoida päivittäin 1-4 savuketta polttavien ominaispiirteitä, tupakointitottumusten pysyvyyttä sekä tupakointitavan muutosta ennustavia tekijöitä. Tutkimuksessa käytettiin vuosina 1975, 1981 ja 1990 kerätyn suomalaisen kaksoskohorttitutkimuksen kyselyaineistoa. Vuoden 1975 aineistossa oli 9 940 päivittäistupakoitsijaa, joista 8% poltti alle 5 ja 20% vähintään 20 savuketta päivässä. Tutkimuksessa verrattiin päivittäin vähän ja paljon polttavien ominaispiirteitä. Vähän tupakoivat olivat todennäköisemmin naisia, yksin eläviä, liikunnallisia, korkeammin koulutettuja, elämäänsä tyytyväisiä ja vähemmän stressaantuneita kuin runsaasti polttavat. Pienempi osuus vähemmän tupakoivista käytti runsaasti kahvia ja alkoholia tai tupakoidessaan hengitti savua keuhkoihin. Pitkittäistarkastelussa ikä, koulutusaste, siviilisäädyn muutos ja alkoholin käyttö ennustivat tupakointitapojen muuttumista. Yksilötasolla vähäinen tupakointi oli usein väliaikaista: seuranta-aikana valtaosa lopetti tupakoinnin tai lisäsi savukemäärää. Väestötasolla vähän tupakoivien osuus pysytteli samana: tupakoinnin aloittajia, vähentäjiä sekä aiemmin lopettaneita mutta uudelleen aloittaneita siirtyi tähän ryhmään.
  • Sainio, Janne (2011)
    Lactose is probably the most used tablet excipient in the field of pharmacy. Although lactose is thoroughly characterized and available in many different forms there is a need to find a replacer for lactose as a filler/binder in tablet formulations because it has some downsides. Melibiose is a relatively unknown disaccharide that has not been thoroughly characterized and not previously used as an excipient in tablets. Structurally melibiose is close to lactose as it is also formed from the same two monosaccharides, glucose and galactose. Aim of this research is to characterize and to study physicochemical properties of melibiose. Also the potential of melibiose to be used as pharmaceutical tablet excipient, even as a substitute for lactose is evaluated. Current knowledge about fundamentals of tableting and methods for determinating of deformation behavior and tabletability are reviewed. In this research Raman spectroscopy, X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) were used to study differences between two melibiose batches purchased from two suppliers. In NIR and FT-IR measurements no difference between materials could be observed. XPRD and Raman however found differences between the two melibiose batches. Also the effects of moisture content and heating to material properties were studied and moisture content of materials seems to cause some differences. Thermal analytical methods, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetry (TG) were used to study thermal behaviour of melibiose and difference between materials was found. Other melibiose batch contains residual water which evaporates at higher temperatures causing the differences in thermal behaviour. Scanning electron microscopy images were used to evaluate particle size, particle shape and morphology. Bulk, tapped and true densities and flow properties of melibiose was measured. Particle size of the melibiose batches are quite different resulting causing differences in the flowability. Instrumented tableting machine and compression simulator were used to evaluate tableting properties of melbiose compared to α-lactose monohydrate. Heckel analysis and strain-rate sensitivity index were used to determine deformation mechanism of melibiose monohydrate in relation to α–lactose monohydrate during compaction. Melibiose seems to have similar deformation behaviour than α-lactose monohydrate. Melibiose is most likely fragmenting material. Melibiose has better compactibility than α – lactose monohydrate as it produces tablets with higher tensile strength with similar compression pressures. More compression studies are however needed to confirm these results because limitations of this study.
  • Tsitko, Irina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Species of the genera Rhodococcus, Gordonia and Mycobacterium are known as degraders of recalcitrant pollutants. These bacteria are good survivors in harsh environments. Due to such properties these organisms are able to occupy a wide range of environmental niches. The members of these taxa have been suggested as tools for biotechnical applications such as bioremediation and biosynthesis. At the same time several of the species are known as opportunistic human pathogens. Therefore, the detailed characterization of any isolate that has potential for biotechnological applications is very important. This thesis deals with several corynebacterial strains originating from different polluted environments: soil, water-damaged indoor walls, and drinking water distribution systems. A polyphasic taxonomic approach was applied for characterization of the isolates. We found that the strains degrading monoaromatic compounds belonged to Rhodococcus opacus, a species that has not been associated with any health problem. The taxonomic position of strain B293, used for many years in degradation research under different names, was clarified. We assigned it to the species Gordonia polyisoprenivorans. This species is classified under European Biohazard grouping 1, meaning that it is not considered a health hazard for humans. However, there are reports of catheter-associated bacteraemia caused by G. polyisoprenivorans. Our results suggested that the ability of the organism to grow on phthalate esters, used as softeners in medical plastics, may be associated with the colonization of catheters and other devices. In this thesis Mycobacterium lentiflavum, a new emerging opportunistic human pathogen, was isolated from biofilms growing in public drinking water distribution systems. Our report on isolation of M. lentiflavum from water supplies is the second report on this species from drinking water systems, which may thus constitute a reservoir of M. lentiflavum. Automated riboprinting was evaluated for its applicability in rapidly identifying environmental mycobacteria. The technique was found useful in the characterization of several species of rapidly and slowly growing environmental mycobacteria. The second aspect of this thesis refers to characterization of the degradation and tolerance power of several R. opacus, M. murale and G. polyisoprenivorans strains. R. opacus GM-14 utilizes a wide range of aromatic substrates, including benzene, 15 different halobenzenes, 18 phenols and 7 benzoates. This study revealed the high tolerance of R. opacus strains toward toxic hydrophobic compounds. R. opacus GM-14 grew in mineral medium to which benzene or monochlorobenzene was added in amounts of 13 or 3 g l-1, respectively. R. opacus GM-29 utilized toluene and benzene for growth. Strain GM-29 grew in mineral medium with 7 g l-1 of liquid toluene or benzene as the sole carbon source, corresponding to aqueous concentrations of 470 and 650 mg l-1, respectively. Most organic solvents, such as toluene and benzene, due to their high level of hydrophobicity, pass through the bacterial membrane, causing its disintegration. In this thesis the mechanisms of adaptation of rhodococci to toxic hydrophobic compounds were investigated. The rhodococcal strains increased the level of saturation of their cellular fatty acids in response to challenge with phenol, chlorophenol, benzene, chlorobenzene or toluene. The results indicated that increase in the saturation level of cellular fatty acids, particularly that in tuberculostearic acid, is part of the adaptation mechanism of strains GM-14 and GM-29 to the presence of toxic hydrophobic compounds.
  • Gonzalez, Manuel (2012)
    Campylobacter Spp are recognized as a major cause of bacterial food-borne gastroenteritis worldwide, with Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli being the most common species isolated in human infections (WHO, 2011). The number of registered cases of human campylobacteriosis in Finland has ranged from 3,796 cases in 2001 to 4,231 cases in 2011. The reported incidence in Finland in the last 10 years is higher than the European Union average. In order to compare human, chicken and cattle C. jejuni isolates, the presence or absence of four nonubiquitous genes were determined so that they could be associated with the source of the isolate. First, we tested the presence of dmsA, which encodes a subunit of the putative tripartite anaerobic dimethyl sulfoxide oxidoreductase (DMSO/trimethylamine N-oxide reductase). Second, we detected cj1585c, which encodes another oxidoreductase. Third, the serine protease gene cjj81176-1367/1371 was isolated. Fourth, γ-glutamyl-transpeptidase gene ggt was detected. We ascertained that ggt and dmsA are present more frequently in isolates obtained from humans and chickens, whereas cjj81176-1367/1371 and cj1585c are the most common in bovine isolates. Campylobacter jejuni is able to survive in different environments and in a wide range of temperatures. The study of C. jejuni inactivation in minced chicken meat and dug well water ascertain that the Weibull model could be applied optimally to the data to build a reliable prediction model for the survival of this microorganism as a function of temperature. The longest survival time found for C. jejuni in minced meat chicken was at the storage temperature of -20°C, and that of dug well water was at 4°C. We analyzed the effect of different seasoning as dry marinade combinations on accelerating the reduction of C. jejuni counts on chicken drumsticks and observed a decrease of more than 1 log CFU/g. In addition, our results showed that using some fractions of potato protein in combination with food additives and sodium lactate obtained inactivation levels in excess than 1.66 log CFU/g. The most important C. jejuni counts reductions were always obtained within the first hours after the application of the seasoning combinations onto the chicken meat.
  • Pesonen, Antto (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    The increased use of liquid biofuels has created a need for an accurate and a reliable technique for determining blend ratios of biofuel and fossil fuel due to technical reasons related to car engines and due to legislative reasons. The true portion of biological carbon in a fuel can be determined reliably only by radiocarbon measurement. Radiocarbon is created in upper atmosphere by cosmic radiation and is transferred to flora and fauna via photosynthesis. When an organism dies, the radiocarbon in its body starts do decay. Because the half-life of radiocarbon is very long and because biofuels are manufactured from relatively young feedstock materials, it is possible to calculate the biofraction of a fuel sample by determining its radiocarbon contents. The most popular techniques for determining this are, to date, accelerator mass spectrometry and liquid scintillation counting. Liquid scintillation counting is cheaper and easier to use, but in low concentrations the accuracy is not as good. In addition, the technique has the drawback of quenching effects. Accelerator mass spectrometry is the most accurate method, but the disadvantages are the price and size of the equipment and labor-intensive sample preparation process, which can take several days. In addition to the radioanalytical techniques, the biofractions of biofuels have been determined by infrared, Raman, nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray and fluorescence spectroscopy and by gas and liquid chromatography, but these techniques have more limited applicability. In these techniques, the determination is usually based on direct or indirect detection of fatty acid methyl ester groups. However, the newer generation biofuels do not anymore contain these groups and their chemical composition is similar to fossil fuels. In addition, by using these techniques one cannot determine e.g. whether the ethanol in petrol blend is in fact manufactured from biological or fossil sources. In the experimental section of the thesis an elemental analyzer -based sample preparation method was developed, by which the time spent on sample preparation for accelerator mass spectrometer was decreased when compared to previous method, described by standard ASTM D6866-10. The biodiesel samples were combusted in the elemental analyzer and the carbon dioxide collected cryogenically. The carbon dioxide was reduced to graphite and their radiocarbon contents was measured by accelerator mass spectrometry. In addition, the results from elemental analyzer method were compared to previous results by closed-tube-combustion method. It was noticed that the elemental analyzer method was more accurate, faster and easier to use.
  • Beklen Tanzer, Arzu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Periodontal Disease affects the supporting structures of the teeth and is initiated by a microbial biofilm called dental plaque. Severity ranges from superficial inflammation of the gingiva (gingivitis) to extensive destruction of connective tissue and bone leading to tooth loss (periodontitis). In periodontitis the destruction of tissue is caused by a cascade of microbial and host factors together with proteolytic enzymes. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are known to be central mediators of the pathologic destruction in periodontitis. Initially plaque bacteria provide pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) which are sensed by Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and initiate intracellular signaling cascades leading to host inflammation. Our aim was to characterize TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and its type I and II receptors in periodontal tissues, as well as, the effects of TNF-α, IL-1β (interleukin-1beta) and IL-17 on the production and/or activation of MMP-3, MMP-8 and MMP-9. Furthermore we mapped the TLRs in periodontal tissues and assessed how some of the PAMPs binding to the key TLRs found in periodontal tissues affect production of TNF-α and IL-1β by gingival epithelial cells with or without combination of IL-17. TNF-α and its receptors were detected in pericoronitis. Furthermore, increased expression of interleukin-1β and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 was found as a biological indicator of TNF-α ligand-receptor interaction. MMP-3, -8, and 9 were investigated in periodontitis affected human gingival crevicular fluid and gingival fibroblasts produced pro-MMP-3. Following that, the effect of IL-17 was studied on MMP and pro-inflammatory cytokine production. IL-17 was increased in periodontitis and up-regulated IL-1β, TNF-α, MMP-1 and MMP-3. We continued by demonstrating TLRs in gingival tissues, in which significant differences between patients with periodontitis and healthy controls were found. Finally, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were performed to show that the gingival cells response to inflammatory responses in a TLR-dependent manner. Briefly, this thesis demonstrates that TLRs are present in periodontal tissues and present differences in periodontitis compared to healthy controls. The cells of gingival tissues respond to inflammatory process in a TLR-dependent manner by producing pro-inflammatory cytokines. During the destruction of periodontal tissues, the release (IL-1β and TNF-α) and co-operation with other pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-17), which in turn increase the inflammation and thus be more harmful to the host with the increased presence of MMPs (MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-8, MMP-9) in diseased over healthy sites.
  • Savolainen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Tuberculosis (TB) still ranks among the most lethal infectious diseases in the world. The traditional distinction between active tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is changing; at the moment, tuberculosis infection is described as a continuum with different stages of infection. The development of TB prevention, treatment and diagnostics is hampered by the diverse pathogenesis of the disease and the ability of the bacteria to fight host defence mechanisms. Traditional culture methods are slow and staining methods not sufficiently sensitive. Nucleic acid amplification techniques (NAAT) tend to be costly and in some cases lack sensitivity. New methods are needed for rapid and inexpensive detection of active disease and to distinguish between stages of infection in cases where the patient presents with symptoms compatible with active TB and with a positive Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) result, but bacteriological confirmation is not yet available. In addition, methods are needed that enable us to predict the activation of infection or monitor the effects of treatment. The aim of this thesis was to investigate: a) the possible diagnostic use of heparin-binding haemagglutinin (HBHA), a surface protein of M. tuberculosis, in distinguishing between stages of infection in a vaccinated population; b) the effect of sample concentration on the properties of Clearview® TB ELISA, a urine antigen test measuring lipoarabinomannan (LAM), a M. tuberculosis glycolipid, in the diagnosis of active TB; c) the suitability of granzyme B (GrB), perforin (Prf), and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)-producing and CD107a-degranulation factor-expressing cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) for differentiating between stages of infection; d) the suitability of IFN-γ, interleukin (IL) -17, IL-4, IL-4δ2 and Forkhead box P3 (FoxP3) mRNA expression levels for differentiation between stages of infection. The results showed that HBHA-specific cells producing IFN-γ were also found in the circulation of healthy subjects who had been given the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine. In view of this, use of the HBHA antigen for diagnostic purposes does not look promising in countries where a widespread vaccination programme has taken place. No differences were found in the numbers or phenotypic properties of CTLs between persons with active TB and those with LTBI, which is why they are not suited for the differential diagnosis of infection stages. Functional antigen-specific CTLs were found in the circulation of persons who had been treated for TB. This most significant finding of this thesis demonstrates that the T cell memory generated by active TB maintains functionally active CTL populations decades after infection and despite adequate treatment with rifampicin. Although no statistically significant differences were found between patients with active TB and LTBI in the quantitative detection of IFN-γ, IL-17, or IL-4 mRNA from cells stimulated with purified protein derivative (PPD), this approach revealed a trend towards discrimination. The usefulness of combined quantitative IFN-γ, IL-17, and IL-4 mRNA expression for the differential diagnosis of active TB and LTBI should be retested with a larger sample size enrolling more homogenous patients in the LTBI group. The findings indicating that LAM may be detected with moderate sensitivity (57%) in the urine samples of TB patients show the greatest promise from a diagnostic point of view. The 100-fold concentration of urine used in this study improved the sensitivity of the Clearview® TB ELISA test from 7% to 57%, although specificity was decreased somewhat from 98% to 89%. Based on the results, demonstrating the presence of LAM in urine samples may be considered a potential diagnostic tool for detecting active TB. The method does require further development, however.
  • Palgi, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Among neurotrophic factors MANF/CDNF family is unique as their protein sequences are evolutionarily conserved between multicellular organisms. Still, little is known about their mechanism of action and interacting molecules. At the time of initiation of this study there were no known neurotrophic factors in invertebrates. According to the protein sequence homology there was an uncharacterized homologue to the novel neurotrophic factor MANF in Drosophila melanogaster. We found that Drosophila Manf (DmManf) is an essential gene in a fruit fly development. DmManf represents a true orthologue to mammalian MANF as its mutant lethality is rescued by human MANF. We have generated DmManf deletion mutant surviving to second instar larval stage with maternal contribution. When the maternal contribution of DmManf is abolished, the mutants die at the end of embryogenesis before hatching. In DmManf mutant the dopaminergic neurites degenerate and the dopamine level is extremely low. Ultrastructural analysis reveals nonapoptotic cell death in the embryonic ventral nerve cord and neuropile decomposition together with cell body glia activation taking place. In secretory cells like gastric caeca or fat body the visible loss of rough endoplasmic reticulum and drastic accumulation of vesicles, some filled with cellular debris, occur. According to microarray expression analysis data, expression of genes involved in vesicular transport and metabolism were altered in DmManf mutants. The expression of several genes implicated in pathology of Parkinson s disease (PD) was also altered. The degeneration of dopaminergic neurons is the hallmark for PD and this thesis work makes an effort to enlighten the mechanisms how the neurotrophic factor MANF protects these degenerating neurons.
  • Kärenlampi, Rauni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli are the most frequent causes of bacterial gastroenteritis in Finland. Most Campylobacter infections are sporadic and the sources of infection remain unidentified. Risk factors for Campylobacter infections include eating undercooked meat, especially chicken, drinking unpasteurized milk or contaminated water, having contact with pets and foreign travel. The asaccharolytic nature and inertness in traditional biochemical tests makes the identification of Campylobacter spp. difficult. We studied the phylogeny of 12 Campylobacter spp. based on partial 593-bp groEL gene sequences. In general, lower interspecies sequence similarities were observed for groEL (range from 65% to 94%) than for the 16S rRNA gene (range from 90% to 99%). However, the intraspecies groEL sequence similarities were high (range from 95% to 100%) making groEL gene sequencing and the PCR-RFLP method developed in our study valuable for the identification of Campylobacter species. The minimum growth temperature of around 30°C makes multiplication of Campylobacter in foods highly unlikely. However, the survival in cool and humid conditions, such as chicken meat stored refrigerated, has been shown to be good. The survival of C. jejuni was investigated on iceberg lettuce, cantaloupe, cucumber, carrot and strawberries. Survival on strawberries was significantly lower than on the other produce, as was survival at 21°C compared to 7°C. Survival on the other produce was comparable with earlier reports in water and milk, but not as good as that observed on chicken meat. The association of Penner HS serotypes and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) SmaI/KpnI genotypes of 208 human and 30 chicken caecal C. jejuni isolates was studied during the seasonal peak in 1999 in Finland. Of the strains from humans, 46% had overlapping sero/genotypes with those from chicken. During the seasonal peak in 2003, C. jejuni and C. coli isolates from human fecal samples showed 5.7% and 61% PFGE (KpnI) profile overlap with cattle fecal and poultry retail meat isolates, respectively, demonstrating the importance of genotypes circulating in chicken as compared to those isolated from cattle in human infections. However, in 1999, human cases were also isolated prior to the slaughter of the chicken flock colonized by the same Campylobacter sero/genotype, suggesting that common environmental sources may exist for both human infections and chicken flock contamination. Multilocus sequence typing analysis of 361 Finnish C. jejuni and C. coli isolates from human patients, cattle, chicken and turkey samples, provided new information on the potential association of some clonal groups of this diverse organism with source of isolation as well as demographic characteristics.
  • Sorsa, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) represent a diverse group of strains of E. coli, which infect extraintestinal sites, such as the urinary tract, the bloodstream, the meninges, the peritoneal cavity, and the lungs. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) caused by uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), the major subgroup of ExPEC, are among the most prevalent microbial diseases world wide and a substantial burden for public health care systems. UTIs are responsible for serious morbidity and mortality in the elderly, in young children, and in immune-compromised and hospitalized patients. ExPEC strains are different, both from genetic and clinical perspectives, from commensal E. coli strains belonging to the normal intestinal flora and from intestinal pathogenic E. coli strains causing diarrhea. ExPEC strains are characterized by a broad range of alternate virulence factors, such as adhesins, toxins, and iron accumulation systems. Unlike diarrheagenic E. coli, whose distinctive virulence determinants evoke characteristic diarrheagenic symptoms and signs, ExPEC strains are exceedingly heterogeneous and are known to possess no specific virulence factors or a set of factors, which are obligatory for the infection of a certain extraintestinal site (e. g. the urinary tract). The ExPEC genomes are highly diverse mosaic structures in permanent flux. These strains have obtained a significant amount of DNA (predictably up to 25% of the genomes) through acquisition of foreign DNA from diverse related or non-related donor species by lateral transfer of mobile genetic elements, including pathogenicity islands (PAIs), plasmids, phages, transposons, and insertion elements. The ability of ExPEC strains to cause disease is mainly derived from this horizontally acquired gene pool; the extragenous DNA facilitates rapid adaptation of the pathogen to changing conditions and hence the extent of the spectrum of sites that can be infected. However, neither the amount of unique DNA in different ExPEC strains (or UPEC strains) nor the mechanisms lying behind the observed genomic mobility are known. Due to this extreme heterogeneity of the UPEC and ExPEC populations in general, the routine surveillance of ExPEC is exceedingly difficult. In this project, we presented a novel virulence gene algorithm (VGA) for the estimation of the extraintestinal virulence potential (VP, pathogenicity risk) of clinically relevant ExPECs and fecal E. coli isolates. The VGA was based on a DNA microarray specific for the ExPEC phenotype (ExPEC pathoarray). This array contained 77 DNA probes homologous with known (e.g. adhesion factors, iron accumulation systems, and toxins) and putative (e.g. genes predictably involved in adhesion, iron uptake, or in metabolic functions) ExPEC virulence determinants. In total, 25 of DNA probes homologous with known virulence factors and 36 of DNA probes representing putative extraintestinal virulence determinants were found at significantly higher frequency in virulent ExPEC isolates than in commensal E. coli strains. We showed that the ExPEC pathoarray and the VGA could be readily used for the differentiation of highly virulent ExPECs both from less virulent ExPEC clones and from commensal E. coli strains as well. Implementing the VGA in a group of unknown ExPECs (n=53) and fecal E. coli isolates (n=37), 83% of strains were correctly identified as extraintestinal virulent or commensal E. coli. Conversely, 15% of clinical ExPECs and 19% of fecal E. coli strains failed to raster into their respective pathogenic and non-pathogenic groups. Clinical data and virulence gene profiles of these strains warranted the estimated VPs; UPEC strains with atypically low risk-ratios were largely isolated from patients with certain medical history, including diabetes mellitus or catheterization, or from elderly patients. In addition, fecal E. coli strains with VPs characteristic for ExPEC were shown to represent the diagnostically important fraction of resident strains of the gut flora with a high potential of causing extraintestinal infections. Interestingly, a large fraction of DNA probes associated with the ExPEC phenotype corresponded to novel DNA sequences without any known function in UTIs and thus represented new genetic markers for the extraintestinal virulence. These DNA probes included unknown DNA sequences originating from the genomic subtractions of four clinical ExPEC isolates as well as from five novel cosmid sequences identified in the UPEC strains HE300 and JS299. The characterized cosmid sequences (pJS332, pJS448, pJS666, pJS700, and pJS706) revealed complex modular DNA structures with known and unknown DNA fragments arranged in a puzzle-like manner and integrated into the common E. coli genomic backbone. Furthermore, cosmid pJS332 of the UPEC strain HE300, which carried a chromosomal virulence gene cluster (iroBCDEN) encoding the salmochelin siderophore system, was shown to be part of a transmissible plasmid of Salmonella enterica. Taken together, the results of this project pointed towards the assumptions that first, (i) homologous recombination, even within coding genes, contributes to the observed mosaicism of ExPEC genomes and secondly, (ii) besides en block transfer of large DNA regions (e.g. chromosomal PAIs) also rearrangements of small DNA modules provide a means of genomic plasticity. The data presented in this project supplemented previous whole genome sequencing projects of E. coli and indicated that each E. coli genome displays a unique assemblage of individual mosaic structures, which enable these strains to successfully colonize and infect different anatomical sites.
  • Kisko, Kaisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Hydrophobins are a group of particularly surface active proteins. The surface activity is demonstrated in the ready adsorption of hydrophobins to hydrophobic/hydrophilic interfaces such as the air/water interface. Adsorbed hydrophobins self-assemble into ordered films, lower the surface tension of water, and stabilize air bubbles and foams. Hydrophobin proteins originate from filamentous fungi. In the fungi the adsorbed hydrophobin films enable the growth of fungal aerial structures, form protective coatings and mediate the attachment of fungi to solid surfaces. This thesis focuses on hydrophobins HFBI, HFBII, and HFBIII from a rot fungus Trichoderma reesei. The self-assembled hydrophobin films were studied both at the air/water interface and on a solid substrate. In particular, using grazing-incidence x-ray diffraction and reflectivity, it was possible to characterize the hydrophobin films directly at the air/water interface. The in situ experiments yielded information on the arrangement of the protein molecules in the films. All the T. reesei hydrophobins were shown to self-assemble into highly crystalline, hexagonally ordered rafts. The thicknesses of these two-dimensional protein crystals were below 30 Å. Similar films were also obtained on silicon substrates. The adsorption of the proteins is likely to be driven by the hydrophobic effect, but the self-assembly into ordered films involves also specific protein-protein interactions. The protein-protein interactions lead to differences in the arrangement of the molecules in the HFBI, HFBII, and HFBIII protein films, as seen in the grazing-incidence x-ray diffraction data. The protein-protein interactions were further probed in solution using small-angle x-ray scattering. Both HFBI and HFBII were shown to form mainly tetramers in aqueous solution. By modifying the solution conditions and thereby the interactions, it was shown that the association was due to the hydrophobic effect. The stable tetrameric assemblies could tolerate heating and changes in pH. The stability of the structure facilitates the persistence of these secreted proteins in the soil.
  • Munsterhjelm, Edward (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Aim: To characterize the inhibition of platelet function by paracetamol in vivo and in vitro, and to evaluate the possible interaction of paracetamol and diclofenac or valdecoxib in vivo. To assess the analgesic effect of the drugs in an experimental pain model. Methods: Healthy volunteers received increasing doses of intravenous paracetamol (15, 22.5 and 30 mg/kg), or the combination of paracetamol 1 g and diclofenac 1.1 mg/kg or valdecoxib 40 mg (as the pro-drug parecoxib). Inhibition of platelet function was assessed with photometric aggregometry, the platelet function analyzer (PFA-100), and release of thromboxane B2. Analgesia was assessed with the cold pressor test. The inhibition coefficient of platelet aggregation by paracetamol was determined as well as the nature of interaction between paracetamol and diclofenac by an isobolographic analysis in vitro. Results: Paracetamol inhibited platelet aggregation and TxB2-release dose-dependently in volunteers and concentration-dependently in vitro. The inhibition coefficient was 15.2 mg/L (95% CI 11.8 - 18.6). Paracetamol augmented the platelet inhibition by diclofenac in vivo, and the isobole showed that this interaction is synergistic. Paracetamol showed no interaction with valdecoxib. PFA-100 appeared insensitive in detecting platelet dysfunction by paracetamol, and the cold-pressor test showed no analgesia. Conclusions: Paracetamol inhibits platelet function in vivo and shows synergism when combined with diclofenac. This effect may increase the risk of bleeding in surgical patients with an impaired haemostatic system. The combination of paracetamol and valdecoxib may be useful in patients with low risk for thromboembolism. The PFA-100 seems unsuitable for detection of platelet dysfunction and the cold-pressor test seems unsuitable for detection of analgesia by paracetamol.