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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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Transcriptomic Profiling of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cerebellar Organoids

Transcriptomic Profiling of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cerebellar Organoids | iBB | Scoop.it

 

Endogenous human brain tissue is not easily available for studying neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative diseases. However, human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) have been used to generate a variety of glial and neuronal cells of the central nervous system. Still, reproducible protocols for generating in vitro models of the human cerebellum are scarce. In this context, Silva et al. describe the scalable production of human PSC-derived cerebellar organoids using single-use vertical-wheel bioreactors. The transcriptomic profile of cerebellar organoids derived under dynamic conditions demonstrates a faster cerebellar differentiation combined with significant enrichment of extracellular matrix and upregulation of transcripts involved in angiogenesis when compared with the static protocol. The authors anticipate that large-scale production of cerebellar organoids may help developing models for drug screening, toxicological tests and studying pathological pathways involved in cerebellar degeneration.

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Transcriptomic Analysis of 3D Cardiac Differentiation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Transcriptomic Analysis of 3D Cardiac Differentiation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells | iBB | Scoop.it

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) represent an almost limitless source of cells for biomedical applications including cardiomyocytes (CMs), the most predominant cell type in the human heart. iBB researchers have established an efficient and robust 3D platform for CM production from hiPSCs and studied the impact of 3D culture on CM differentiation and maturation compared with a 2D monolayer culture. It was found that CMs mature earlier and show an improved communication system in this 3D environment which was suggested to be responsible for a higher structural and functional maturation. This novel 3D culture platform and the CMs obtained can be used for disease modelling, drug screening and cardiotoxicity tests. The results were published in Scientific Reports.

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"The Admirable World of Microbes": A Training Course for Secondary School Teachers

"The Admirable World of Microbes": A Training Course for Secondary School Teachers | iBB | Scoop.it

A training course for secondary school teachers entiled "The admirable world of Microbes: small in size, great in action" was carried out at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) on the 17 and 22 september within the frame of the commemorations of the International Microorganism Day 2018. The course was accredited by the Training Center of the Ordem dos Biólogos (OB) and aimed at updating and reinforcing theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the area of Microbiology and Biotechnology. The 12-hour training included theoretical (4 hours), computational (2 hours) and laboratory (4 hours) modules as well as a roundtable discussion (2 hours). The course was organized and taught by Arsénio Fialho, Cristina Viegas and Leonilde Moreira from the Bioengineering Department of IST and BSRG-iBB. It was attended by 22 teachers from schools all over the country. The initiative was supported by the Portuguese Society of Microbiology (SPM), OB and IST.

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Lactic Acid Bacterial Factories

Lactic Acid Bacterial Factories | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "LactoSynt: Lactic Acid Bacteria as Cell Factories: a Synthetic Biology Approach for Plasmid DNA and Recombinant Protein Production" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of LactoSynt is to engineer lactic acid bacteria and plasmid vectors in order to develop a flexible platform for biomolecule production. Applications in the pharmaceutical field (DNA vaccines, recombinant proteins) are envisaged. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Medical Biotechnology, is headed by Gabriel Monteiro from BERG-iBB and Leonilde Moreira from BSRG-iBB.

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Role of D-Lactate Dehydrogenase in Burkholderia Aggregation

Role of D-Lactate Dehydrogenase in Burkholderia Aggregation | iBB | Scoop.it
Cystic fibrosis patients often suffer from chronic respiratory infections caused by microorganisms. Among them are the Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria, which cause progressive deterioration of lung function. Burkholderia pathogenesis is multifactorial as they express several virulence factors, form biofilms, and are highly resistant to antimicrobial compounds, making their eradication from the CF patients' airways very difficult. As Burkholderia is commonly found in CF lungs in the form of cell aggregates and biofilms, the need to investigate the mechanisms of cellular aggregation is obvious. In a recent study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a team of researchers from iBB and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência led by Leonilde Moreira from BSRG-iBB has demonstrated the importance of a D-lactate dehydrogenase and LdhR regulator in controlling carbon overflow, planktonic cellular aggregates, and surface-attached biofilm formation. This not only enhances the understanding of Burkholderia pathogenesis but can also lead to the development of drugs to circumvent cell aggregation and biofilm formation (Click on title to learn more).
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Minimum Information About a Biosynthetic Gene Cluster (MIBiG)

Minimum Information About a Biosynthetic Gene Cluster (MIBiG) | iBB | Scoop.it

A wide variety of enzymatic pathways producing specialized metabolites in bacteria, fungi and plants are known to be encoded in biosynthetic gene clusters. Information about these clusters, pathways and metabolites is dispersed throughout the literature, making it difficult to exploit. To facilitate consistent and systematic deposition and retrieval of data on biosynthetic gene clusters, in a recent publication in Nature Chemical Biology, an international consortium of researchers, including Leonilde M. Moreira from BSRG-iBB, proposed the Minimum Information about a Biosynthetic Gene cluster (MIBiG) data standard (http://mibig.secondarymetabolites.org/). MIBiG will empower next-generation research on the biosynthesis, chemistry and ecology of broad classes of societally relevant bioactive secondary metabolites, guided by robust experimental evidence and rich metadata components. Click on title to learn more.

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Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Clinical and Environmental Samples

Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Clinical and Environmental Samples | iBB | Scoop.it

A new research project “CAPTURA- Use of functionalized particles for the enrichment and efficient detection of SARS-CoV-2 in clinical and environmental samples” has been recently awarded to IST by the Compete 2020 programme (Call 02/SAICT/2020 - SAICT, Projetos de IC&DT, Testar com Ciência). The project’s overarching goal is to detect SARS-CoV-2 in samples other than nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs, like urine, saliva and also in environmental samples, like residual waters. Efforts will be also mobilized to develop tests for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. The project is a consortium of three research units of IST - iBB, the Center for Nuclear Sciences and Technologies and the Laboratory of Analysis of IST - and is headed by Leonilde Moreira from BSRG-iBB.

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Sofia Duarte Joins LactoSynt Team as Research Scientist

Sofia Duarte Joins LactoSynt Team as Research Scientist | iBB | Scoop.it

Sofia Duarte has joined the team of the FCT-funded project "LactoSynt: Lactic Acid Bacteria as Cell Factories: a Synthetic Biology Approach for Plasmid DNA and Recombinant Protein Production". During the next three years Sofia will be responsible for engineering lactic acid bacteria and plasmid vectors with the goal of developing a flexible platform for biomolecule production. The project is a joint collaboration between iBB groups BERG (Gabriel Monteiro) and BSRG (Leonilde Moreira).

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The OmpR Regulator of Burkholderia multivorans Controls Properties Associated with Persistence in the Cystic Fibrosis Lung

The OmpR Regulator of Burkholderia multivorans Controls Properties Associated with Persistence in the Cystic Fibrosis Lung | iBB | Scoop.it

Within the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung, bacteria experience high-osmolarity conditions due to an ion unbalance resulting from defects in CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein activity in epithelial cells. Understanding how bacterial CF pathogens thrive in this environment might help the development of new therapeutic interventions to prevent chronic respiratory infections. In a recent publication in Journal of Bacteriology, researchers from BSRG-iBB led by Leonilde M. Moreira, in collaboration with Dr. Vaughn Cooper from University of Pittsburgh, USA, and Dr. Jörg Becker from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, provide evidence that mutations in OmpR experience positive selection during the adaptation of Burkholderia to chronic infections of the CF airway, and these selective forces can be recapitulated in the laboratory. Characterization of OmpR shows that it is a major regulator of many traits related to cell envelope composition and central metabolism, in which loss-of-function mutants enable greater tolerance and growth under stress conditions but are costly for fitness under other conditions.

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Study of Legionella pneumophila Virulence in a Galleria mellonella Infection Model

Study of Legionella pneumophila Virulence in a Galleria mellonella Infection Model | iBB | Scoop.it

Legionella pneumophila is ubiquitous in freshwater environments and in man-made water systems. Most studies on L. pneumophila virulence focus on clinical strains and isolates from man-made environments, but little is known about the nature and extent of virulence  in strains isolated from natural environments. In a recent publication in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, Leonilde M. Moreira from BSRG-iBB, in collaboration with the group of Joana Costa from University of Coimbra, studied whether unrelated L. pneumophila strains, isolated from different environments, displayed differences in virulence, using the infection model Galleria mellonella. The work suggests that in water distribution systems, environmental filtering selection and biotic competition structure L. pneumophila populations by selecting more resilient and adapted strains that can rise to high concentration if unchecked. Click on title to learn more.

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Evolution of Burkholderia multivorans During Chronic Lung Infections

Evolution of Burkholderia multivorans During Chronic Lung Infections | iBB | Scoop.it

B. multivorans is the most commonly isolated Burkholderia species from chronic infections of the airways of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients worldwide, yet our understanding of the traits required for bacterial colonization and persistence, as well as the molecular mechanisms underlying this adaptation, are limited. In a recently published paper in mSystems, Inês N. Silva and Leonilde M. Moreira from BSRG-iBB, in collaboration with researchers from Canada, US and Portugal, put together their expertise to study how the bacteria adapts in CF patients. The genomic and functional evolution of B. multivorans was analyzed by studying sputum samples collected from a CF patient over a 20-year period. The evolutionary history of these isolates highlighted bacterial genes and pathways that were likely subject to strong selection within the host and were associated with altered phenotypes, such as biofilm production, and antimicrobial resistance. Notably, multiple lineages coexisted for years or even decades within the infection, and the period of diversification within the dominant lineage was associated with deterioration of the patient’s lung function. The work sheds new light onto Burkholderia evolution and suggests that monitoring evolutionary and molecular patterns could be used to design responsive therapies that limit population diversity and disease progression. Click on the title to learn more and access paper at

 http://msystems.asm.org/content/1/3/e00029-16.

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Mário Santos to Defend PhD Thesis in Biotechnology

Mário Santos to Defend PhD Thesis in Biotechnology | iBB | Scoop.it

Mário Rui Santos will be defending his Ph D thesis in Biotechnology at Instituto Superior Técnico, monday the 22nd September 2014 (14 H, room PA3). During the last years, and under the supervision of Leonilde Moreira from BSRG-IBB and Dr Jorg Becker from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Mário studied Sinorhizobium meliloti, a Gram-negative nitrogen-fixing bacterium that forms a symbiotic relationship with legumes from the genera Medicago, Melilotus and Trigonella, generating new plant organs termed root nodules. His work focused specifically on the roles played by certain S. meliloti proteins on root-nodule symbiosis. The title of the thesis is “Sinorhizobium meliloti outer membrane protein TolC and the transcriptional repressor EmrR are bacterial determinants of root-nodule symbiosis”. 

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