Director: John Kappes, Ph.D.
Co-Director: Charles O. Elson, M.D.
Units: Bacterial Unit , Viral Unit
The Bacterial Unit acquires, characterizes and facilitates standardization of defined commensal bacteria and/or their recombinant products for in vitro and in vivo systems. The Unit also provides genetically-defined or genetically-manipulated bacteria for colonization of germ-free animals. In addition, the Unit provides bacterial 16S rDNA analysis to characterize and provide control quality of defined organisms. Such analysis is a useful check that gnotobiotic mice with a defined flora are colonized only with the intended organism(s). This method does not require culture and thus is ideal for analysis of enteric bacteria, many of which have never been cultured. The use of standardized, genetically-defined strains in in vitro and in vivo systems allows investigators to build data sets that can be compared and assembled into a larger context of understanding.
The Retroviral Unit provides services and expertise in virus vector gene transfer and expression. The Unit centralizes and makes available innovative genetic manipulation technologies, particularly lentiviral vectors, that otherwise would not be broadly accessible. The Unit constructs viral vectors with genes of interest and genetically engineered recombinant cell lines and assay systems to address specific questions regarding HIV mucosal interaction. By providing specific expertise and the high cost equipment required for this technology, the Unit facilitates and broadens the research capabilities of investigators in digestive diseases.
Core 2: Molecular Pathology and HUMAN Cell/Tissue Core
Director: Robin G. Lorenz, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Director: Lesley E. Smythies, Ph.D.
Units: Molecular Pathology Unit, Human Cell and Tissue Unit
The Molecular Pathology and Human Cell/Tissue Core provides expertise on the structural biology of the gastrointestinal tract mucosa. The Molecular Pathology Unit under Dr. Lorenz focuses on the detection of how mucosal structures and cells interact, such as the “cross-talk” between the epithelium and lamina propria stromal (mesenchymal) cells, using techniques that include immunohistochemistry. This Unit is an important resource for rapid processing of tissue specimens and for providing investigators with newly developed methods, protocols and reagents for labeling tissue sections. The Human Cell and Tissue Unit under Dr. Lesley Smythies provides purified, primary, human mucosal cells and mucosal cell/tissue products. Thus, the function of Core 2 is to provide (1) service and training in the morphologic analysis of mucosal tissues and (2) purified primary human intestinal cells to investigators for studies that seek to elucidate the interactions between mucosal cells and commensal bacteria, pathogenic organisms, and the products of these organisms.
Core 3: GNOTOBIOTIC AND GENETICALLY-ENGINEERED MOUSE CORE
Director: Casey T. Weaver, M.D.
Co-Directors: Trenton Schoeb, D.V.M., Ph.D. , Xiaoyun Wu, M.D.
Units: Genetically-Engineered Unit, Gnotobiotic Unit, Lentiviral Vector Transgenesis Unit
The Gnotobiotic and Genetically-Engineered Mouse Core generates and provides gnotobiotic and genetically engineered mice, such as transgenic mice, for studies using mouse models. The Core maintains breeding stocks of germ-free, derived and experimental mice. The Core also provides marker-assisted genotyping and pathological evaluation support services for studies using these mice. The consolidation of these resources into a single, shared core facility expedites animal model development, facilitates technology exchange, reduces investigator costs, and provides an important resource for investigators who study mucosal cell immunobiology and mucosal inflammatory diseases.