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
Plant viruses are harmless to humans but have many favorable properties allowing them to be developed as imaging reagents, drug carriers and vaccines. In October's article of the month, Wang et al. show that the immunostimulatory properties of Cowpea mosaic virus in a mouse model of ovarian cancer differ according to whether they are presented as complete virus particles (including genomic RNA) or as empty protein shells. The two different forms trigger overlapping immune responses, with both types of particles promoting the secretion of cytokines and the stimulation of immune cells, but only the RNA-containing particles recruiting tumor-infiltrating neutrophils and other antigen-presenting cells to the tumor site. The detailed investigation of immune responses to different plant virus formulations will allow the development of tailored vaccines and adjuvants for cancer therapy.
Article details: Wang C et al. (2019) Cowpea mosaic virus nanoparticles and empty virus-like particles show distinct but overlapping immunostimulatory properties. J Virol 93, e00129-19.
Image shows a computer model of Cowpea mosaic virus.
Image credit: wwPDB, created with NGL Viewer.
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder responsible for 60–70% of cases of dementia. There is growing evidence that vascular inflammation and leukocyte trafficking in the brain contribute to the disease, although the underlying mechanisms are unclear. In September's article of the month, Pietronigro et al. demonstrate that integrin α4β1 (also known as VLA-4) controls leukocyte–endothelial interactions in the brains of mice with Alzheimer-like pathology. VLA-4 was more abundant on certain T-cell populations and neutrophils in these mice, favoring their interaction with blood cells expressing the counterligand VCAM-1. Antibodies that block α4 integrins improved the memory of these mice and reduced the disease hallmarks, such as the accumulation of amyloid beta plaques and abnormal tau protein. The development of drugs that target α4 integrins could therefore improve the outlook for human Alzheimer’s patients.
Article details: Pietronigro E et al. (2019) Blockade of α4 integrins reduces leukocyte-endothelial interactions in cerebral vessels and improves memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Sci Rep 9 (1) 12055.
Image shows an adherent T cell (stained pale blue for marker CD3) inside an endothelial vessel (stained yellow for marker VCAM-1) in the cortex of a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, with the nuclei of surrounding cells stained deep blue. Scale bar = 5 μm.
Image credit: Dr Gabriela Constantin, University of Verona/Scientific Reports (CCL)
Plants are useful expression systems for recombinant proteins. However, screening many different expression constructs and/or conditions is time consuming and expensive because large numbers of plants must be grown and tested. It would be easier to screen plant cells, but results are not easily translatable from cells in culture to whole plants due to the dissimilar growth environments. In August's article of the month, Rademacher et al. describe an innovative screening platform in which plant cells grown in culture are compacted into porous aggregates called plant cell packs. These can be prepared at different scales, allowing screening in microtiter plates and direct scale-up to 150-mL columns. The results achieved in plant cell packs are similar to transient expression in whole plants. This new platform will allow the rapid screening of expression constructs and the production of recombinant proteins and metabolites at a variety of scales.
Article details: Rademacher T et al. (2019) Plant cell packs: a scalable platform for recombinant protein production and metabolic engineering. Plant Biotechnol J 17, 1560–1566.