Methane hydrates (MHs) are present in large amounts in the ocean floor and permafrost regions. Methane and hydrogen hydrates are being studied as future energy resources and energy storage media. To develop a method for gas production from natural MH-bearing sediments and hydrate-based technologies, it is imperative to understand the thermal properties of gas hydrates. The thermal properties' measurements of samples comprising sand, water, methane, and MH are difficult because the melting heat of MH may affect the measurements. To solve this problem, we performed thermal properties' measurements at supercooled conditions during MH formation. The measurement protocol, calculation method of the saturation change, and tips for thermal constants' analysis of the sample using transient plane source techniques are described here. The effect of the formation heat of MH on measurement is very small because the gas hydrate formation rate is very slow. This measurement method can be applied to the thermal properties of the gas hydrate-water-guest gas system, which contains hydrogen, CO2, and ozone hydrates, because the characteristic low formation rate of gas hydrate is not unique to MH. The key point of this method is the low rate of phase transition of the target material. Hence, this method may be applied to other materials having low phase-transition rates.
Co-expression of multiple proteins is increasingly essential for synthetic biology, studying protein-protein complexes, and characterizing and harnessing biosynthetic pathways. In this manuscript, the use of a highly effective system for the construction of multigene synthetic operons under the control of an inducible T7 RNA polymerase is described. This system allows many genes to be expressed simultaneously from one plasmid. Here, a set of four related vectors, pMGX-A, pMGX-hisA, pMGX-K, and pMGX-hisK, with either the ampicillin or kanamycin resistance selectable marker (A and K) and either possessing or lacking an N-terminal hexahistidine tag (his) are disclosed. Detailed protocols for the construction of synthetic operons using this vector system are provided along with the corresponding data, showing that a pMGX-based system containing five genes can be readily constructed and used to produce all five encoded proteins in Escherichia coli. This system and protocol enables researchers to routinely express complex multi-component modules and pathways in E. coli.
The aim of this protocol presents an optimized procedure for the purification and cultivation of pBECs and to establish in vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) models based on pBECs in mono-culture (MC), MC with astrocyte-conditioned medium (ACM), and non-contact co-culture (NCC) with astrocytes of porcine or rat origin. pBECs were isolated and cultured from fragments of capillaries from the brain cortices of domestic pigs 5-6 months old. These fragments were purified by careful removal of meninges, isolation and homogenization of grey matter, filtration, enzymatic digestion, and centrifugation. To further eliminate contaminating cells, the capillary fragments were cultured with puromycin-containing medium. When 60-95% confluent, pBECs growing from the capillary fragments were passaged to permeable membrane filter inserts and established in the models. To increase barrier tightness and BBB characteristic phenotype of pBECs, the cells were treated with the following differentiation factors: membrane permeant 8-CPT-cAMP (here abbreviated cAMP), hydrocortisone, and a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, RO-20-1724 (RO). The procedure was carried out over a period of 9-11 days, and when establishing the NCC model, the astrocytes were cultured 2-8 weeks in advance. Adherence to the described procedures in the protocol has allowed the establishment of endothelial layers with highly restricted paracellular permeability, with the NCC model showing an average transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) of 1249 ± 80 Ω cm2, and paracellular permeability (Papp) for Lucifer Yellow of 0.90 10-6 ± 0.13 10-6 cm sec-1 (mean ± SEM, n=55). Further evaluation of this pBEC phenotype showed good expression of the tight junctional proteins claudin 5, ZO-1, occludin and adherens junction protein p120 catenin. The model presented can be used for a range of studies of the BBB in health and disease and, with the highly restrictive paracellular permeability, this model is suitable for studies of transport and intracellular trafficking.
The effect of physical cues, such as the stiffness of biomaterials on the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells, has been investigated by several researchers. However, most of these investigators have used polyacrylamide hydrogels for stem cell culture in their studies. Therefore, their results are controversial because those results might originate from the specific characteristics of the polyacrylamide and not from the physical cue (stiffness) of the biomaterials. Here, we describe a protocol for preparing hydrogels, which are not based on polyacrylamide, where various stem, cells including human embryonic stem (ES) cells and human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, can be cultured. Hydrogels with varying stiffness were prepared from bioinert polyvinyl alcohol-co-itaconic acid (P-IA), with stiffness controlled by crosslinking degree by changing crosslinking time. The P-IA hydrogels grafted with and without oligopeptides derived from extracellular matrix were investigated as a future platform for stem cell culture and differentiation. The culture and passage of amniotic fluid stem cells, adipose-derived stem cells, human ES cells, and human iPS cells is described in detail here. The oligopeptide P-IA hydrogels showed superior performances, which were induced by their stiffness properties. This protocol reports the synthesis of the biomaterial, their surface manipulation, along with controlling the stiffness properties and finally, their impact on stem cell fate using xeno-free culture conditions. Based on recent studies, such modified substrates can act as future platforms to support and direct the fate of various stem cells line to different linkages; and further, regenerate and restore the functions of the lost organ or tissue.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. parahaemolyticus) is a common foodborne pathogen that contributes to a large proportion of public health problems globally, significantly affecting the rate of human mortality and morbidity. Conventional methods for the detection of V. parahaemolyticus such as culture-based methods, immunological assays, and molecular-based methods require complicated sample handling and are time-consuming, tedious, and costly. Recently, biosensors have proven to be a promising and comprehensive detection method with the advantages of fast detection, cost-effectiveness, and practicality. This research focuses on developing a rapid method of detecting V. parahaemolyticus with high selectivity and sensitivity using the principles of DNA hybridization. In the work, characterization of synthesized polylactic acid-stabilized gold nanoparticles (PLA-AuNPs) was achieved using X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Ultraviolet-visible Spectroscopy (UV-Vis), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Field-emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM), and Cyclic Voltammetry (CV). We also carried out further testing of stability, sensitivity, and reproducibility of the PLA-AuNPs. We found that the PLA-AuNPs formed a sound structure of stabilized nanoparticles in aqueous solution. We also observed that the sensitivity improved as a result of the smaller charge transfer resistance (Rct) value and an increase of active surface area (0.41 cm2). The development of our DNA biosensor was based on modification of a screen-printed carbon electrode (SPCE) with PLA-AuNPs and using methylene blue (MB) as the redox indicator. We assessed the immobilization and hybridization events by differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). We found that complementary, non-complementary, and mismatched oligonucleotides were specifically distinguished by the fabricated biosensor. It also showed reliably sensitive detection in cross-reactivity studies against various food-borne pathogens and in the identification of V. parahaemolyticus in fresh cockles.
Cellular microenvironments consist of a variety of cues, such as growth factors, extracellular matrices, and intercellular interactions. These cues are well orchestrated and are crucial in regulating cell functions in a living system. Although a number of researchers have attempted to investigate the correlation between environmental factors and desired cellular functions, much remains unknown. This is largely due to the lack of a proper methodology to mimic such environmental cues in vitro, and simultaneously test different environmental cues on cells. Here, we report an integrated platform of microfluidic channels and a nanofiber array, followed by high-content single-cell analysis, to examine stem cell phenotypes altered by distinct environmental factors. To demonstrate the application of this platform, this study focuses on the phenotypes of self-renewing human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). Here, we present the preparation procedures for a nanofiber array and the microfluidic structure in the fabrication of a Multiplexed Artificial Cellular MicroEnvironment (MACME) array. Moreover, overall steps of the single-cell profiling, cell staining with multiple fluorescent markers, multiple fluorescence imaging, and statistical analyses, are described.
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have been identified as an important component for tumor growth, invasion, metastasis, and resistance to cancer therapies. However, tumor-associated macrophages can be harmful to the tumor depending on the tumor microenvironment and can reversibly alter their phenotypic characteristics by either antagonizing the cytotoxic activity of immune cells or enhancing anti-tumor response. The molecular actions of macrophages and their interactions with tumor cells (e.g., phagocytosis) have not been extensively studied. Therefore, the interaction between immune cells (M1/M2-subtype TAM) and cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment is now a focus of cancer immunotherapy research. In the present study, a live cell coculture model of induced M1 macrophages and mouse mammary 4T1 carcinoma cells was developed to assess the phagocytic activity of macrophages using a time-lapse video feature using phase-contrast, fluorescent, and differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy. The present method can observe and document multipoint live-cell imaging of phagocytosis. Phagocytosis of 4T1 cells by M1 macrophages can be observed using fluorescent microscopy before staining 4T1 cells with carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE). The current publication describes how to coculture macrophages and tumor cells in a single imaging dish, polarize M1 macrophages, and record multipoint events of macrophages engulfing 4T1 cells during 13 h of coculture.