Effects of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infection on nuclear amyloid aggregation

Detta är en Master-uppsats från KTH/Skolan för kemi, bioteknologi och hälsa (CBH)

Sammanfattning: Huntington’s disease (HD) and Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) are incurable neurodegenerative diseases that affect the central nervous system. Amyloids, highly organized protein aggregates, are a hallmark for many neurodegenerative diseases. The presence and accumulation of amyloids are toxic and constitute the major cause of neuron cell death. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the onset and progression of these diseases. However, despite intensive research, the underlying cause remains unclear. The role of viral infection as an environmental factor in the context of neurodegenerative diseases has not received much attention. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1) infection on nuclear amyloid aggregation in model cell lines of HD and SCA. The research process consists mainly of laboratory work which involved the use of several molecular techniques used in the field of biotechnology. The work comprises cultivating cells, infecting cells with HSV-1, Fluorescence microscopy, Western Blot and isolation and detection of amyloids. Western Blot is used for the analysis of specific proteins associated with protein aggregation in HD and SCA. The techniques used for detecting amyloids are Dot Blot and Antibody-staining of amyloids in cells. The results from Western Blot showed that aggregates changed in the presence of the virus. This pattern is observed for both HD and SCA1 cell lines. A big effort is done in this study to optimize Dot Blot as it is method that could be applied in every lab. Normalization of samples proved to be the most challenging part with Dot Blot. No definitive conclusions can be drawn from the Dot Blot results as reproducibility and sensitivity were lacking. This work addresses some of the difficulties encountered when working with detection of amyloids especially Dot Blot. Antibody-staining of amyloids showed that amyloids were formed in the presence of virus in comparison to non-infected. To conclude, aggregates changed, and amyloids were formed in the presence of virus. These results point to the fact that HSV-1 infection could be involved in the process of nuclear amyloid aggregation. The data presented in this thesis will need further investigation and characterization to identify the precise role of viral-induced amyloid formation in HD and SCA patient cells.

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