Methods: The NanoLuc™ Luciferase reporter protein was engineered to be expressed as a fusion protein for MNV-1 minor capsid protein, VP2. The foot-and-mouth disease virus 2A (FMDV2A) sequence was inserted between the 3'end of the reporter gene and the VP2 start sequence to allow co-translational 'cleavage' of fusion proteins during intracellular transcript expression. Amplification of the fusion gene was performed using a series of standard and overlapping polymerase chain reactions. The resulting amplicon was then cloned into three readily available backbones of MNV-1 cDNA clones.
Results: Restriction enzyme analysis indicated that the NanoLucTM Luciferase gene was successfully inserted into the parental MNV-1 cDNA clone. The insertion was further confirmed by using DNA sequencing.
Conclusion: NanoLuc™ Luciferase-tagged MNV-1 cDNA clones were successfully engineered. Such clones can be exploited to develop robust experimental assays for in vitro assessments of viral RNA replication.
EXPERIMENTS: New graphene-philic surfactants carrying aromatic moieties in the hydrophilic headgroups and hydrophobic tails were synthesized by swapping the traditional sodium counterion with anilinium. 1H NMR spectroscopy was used to characterize the surfactants. These custom-made surfactants were used to assist the dispersion of GNPs in natural rubber latex matrices for the preparation of conductive nanocomposites. The properties of nanocomposites with the new anilinium surfactants were compared with commercial sodium surfactant sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS), sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate (SDBS), and the previously synthesized aromatic tri-chain sodium surfactant TC3Ph3 (sodium 1,5-dioxo-1,5-bis(3-phenylpropoxy)-3-((3phenylpropoxy)carbonyl) pentane-2-sulfonate). Structural properties of the nanocomposites were studied using Raman spectroscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). Electrical conductivity measurements and Zeta potential measurements were used to assess the relationships between total number of aromatic groups in the surfactant molecular structure and nanocomposite properties. The self-assembly structure of surfactants in aqueous systems and GNP dispersions was assessed using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS).
FINDINGS: Among these different surfactants, the anilinium version of TC3Ph3 namely TC3Ph3-AN (anilinium 1,5-dioxo-1,5-bis(3-phenylpropoxy)-3-((3phenylpropoxy)carbonyl) pentane-2-sulfonate) was shown to be highly efficient for dispersing GNPs in the NRL matrices, increasing electrical conductivity eleven orders of magnitude higher than the neat rubber latex. Comparisons between the sodium and anilinium surfactants show significant differences in the final properties of the nanocomposites. In general, the strategy of increasing the number of surfactant-borne aromatic groups by incorporating anilinium ions in surfactant headgroups appears to be effective.
METHODS: This study is based entirely on the available secondary data sources on dengue in Malaysia. The age-specific incidence of dengue between 2001 and 2013 was estimated using the prevalence and mortality estimates in an incidence-prevalence-mortality (IPM) model. Data on dengue prevalence were extracted from six sero-surveys conducted in Malaysia between 2001 and 2013; while statistics on dengue notification and Case Fatality Rate were derived from National Dengue Surveillance System. Dengue hospitalization data for the years 2009 to 2013 were extracted from the Health Informatics Centre and the volumes of dengue hospitalization for hospitals with missing data were estimated with Poisson models.
RESULTS: The dengue incidence in Malaysia varied from 69.9 to 93.4 per 1000 population (pkp) between 2001 and 2013.The temporal trend in incidence rate was decreasing since 2001. It has been reducing at an average rate of 2.57 pkp per year from 2001 to 2013 (p = 0.011). The age-specific incidence of dengue decreased steadily with dengue incidence reaching zero by age > 70 years. Dengue notification rate has remained stable since 2001 and the number of notified cases each year was only a small fraction of the incident cases (0.7 to 2.3%). Similarly, the dengue hospitalization was larger but still a small fraction of the incident cases (3.0 to 5.6%).
CONCLUSION: Dengue incidence can be estimated with the use of sero-prevalence surveys and mortality data. This study highlights a reducing trend of dengue incidence in Malaysia and demonstrates the discrepancy between true dengue disease burden and cases reported by national surveillance system. Sero-prevalence studies with representative samples should be conducted regularly to allow better estimation of dengue burden in Malaysia.