Twyman Research Management
Specialist consultants in
scientific project development,
management and presentation
to Twyman Research Management
Twyman Research Management Ltd is a UK company that specializes in scientific project development, management and presentation, including the preparation of research proposals, project management and reporting, project dissemination and complementary activities, and expert assistance with the preparation, editing and revision of scientific manuscripts.
We have been working for more than 20 years to develop and manage research projects and improve the quality of scientific publications.
Article of the Month
Parasitoid wasps lay their eggs in or on other insects, providing a source of food for the developing larvae. Some allow the host insect to continue developing, but others, known as idiobionts, arrest the development of the host and sabotage its immune system. It is not clear how this is achieved. In June's article of the month, Özbek et al. show that the parasitoid wasp Pimpla turionellae takes control of host gene expression, switching off genes related to two important developmental hormones as well as those involved in host immunity and defense responses. The reprogramming of host gene expression is controlled epigenetically, by disrupting normal DNA methylation, histone acetylation and miRNA expression. Parasitoid wasps therefore appear to promote the survival of their offspring by hijacking the key mechanisms of gene regulation in the host to interfere with immunity and development.
Article details: Özbek R et al. (2020) Reprograming of epigenetic mechanisms controlling host insect immunity and development in response to egg-laying by a parasitoid wasp. Proc Biol Sci 287 (1928) 20200704.
Image shows an adult parasitoid wasp of the species Pimpla turionellae.
Image credit: Gail Hampshire (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Plant viruses can be developed as vaccines by engineering them to display proteins or peptides from other viruses responsible for diseases in humans. This is advantageous for several reasons: plant viruses are safe because they do not replicate in humans, they are effective because they induce a strong immune response, and they are easy to produce in large quantities using plants. But plant viruses can also be engineered to carry human peptides that induce immunotolerance, and the resulting therapeutic vaccines can be used to treat autoimmune disorders. In May's article of the month, Zampieri et al. show how plant viruses carrying major autoantigens associated with type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can induce immunotolerance in mice. Vaccination completely prevented the onset of diabetes and reduced the severity of arthritis symptoms. The peptides were carried by different plant viruses that triggered different but overlapping immunotolerance mechanisms. These results could lead to clinical tests in humans and ultimately to new treatments for autoimmune disorders.
Article details: Zampieri R et al. (2020) Prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases with plant virus nanoparticles. Sci Adv 6 (19) eaaz0295.
Image shows computer models of Cowpea mosaic virus, one of the two viruses used in this study to carry human autoantigens.
Image credit: Thomas Splettstoesser (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic. There is a massive international effort underway to develop diagnostic reagents, vaccines and antiviral drugs in a bid to slow down the spread of the disease and save lives. One part of that international effort involves the plant science research community, uniting researchers and commercial enterprises from around the world to achieve the rapid supply of protein antigens and antibodies for diagnostic kits, and scalable production systems for the emergency manufacturing of vaccines and antiviral drugs. In April's article of the month, Capell et al. discuss some of the ways in which plants are being used in the fight against COVID-19 and how they might be used in the future against this and other pandemics.
Article details: Capell T et al. (2020) Potential applications of plant biotechnology against SARS-CoV-2. Trends Plant Sci 25 (7) 635–643.