• Georgia Cancer Center Integrated Genomics Resource & HPC Server

      Chang, Chang-Shen (Sam); Georgia Cancer Center
      Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University is home to a High Performance Computing (HPC) Server. One goal of the HPC server is to host the new Biorepository software, LabVantage. This software is a web-based laboratory information management system, which tracks samples throughout their lifespan. All specimens that the Georgia Cancer Center Biorepository receives is entered into LabVantage, which generates a unique barcode number for each sample. Chain of custody is recorded throughout the sample’s lifespan, from inception to eventual withdrawal. LabVantage organizes data such as patient demographics, diagnosis, organ site, and linked pathology reports. 
LabVantage is compliant with all regulations relevant to patient privacy and satisfies all regulations set forth by The College of American Pathologists (CAP). All Biorepository personnel are trained to maintain confidentiality of patient information according to HIPAA regulations. The HPC Server is also used for the analysis of complex data including Next-Generation Sequencing data (NGS). It is currently used to perform data analysis on datasets such as those obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). The analyses that used to take several weeks can now be performed in a matter of days. Georgia Cancer Center HPC Server is composed of 544 total compute cores and an aggregated memory of 2.9TB. The system is composed of (15) PowerEdge R430 1U systems (128 GB RAM each), (1) PowerEdge R830 (1024 GB RAM) and a high-speed 10GbE interconnect for intra-node communication. The HPCC also houses 633 TB RAW storage capacity. We will also be integrating existing Cancer Center servers including our Illumina Compute system that collects data directly from the Sequencer housed in the Georgia Cancer Center Integrated Genomics Shared Resource and the existing Bioinformatics HPC (see configuration diagram below). Access to the server is available to all Augusta University employees. There is a nominal fee associated with usage and users are required to undergo training.
    • Molecular Biology of Amino Acid and Peptide Transport Systems

      Li, Huiwu; Georgia Cancer Center (1999)
      (First Paragraph) Amino acids are essential components in cellular metabolism. Some of these amino acids can be synthesized within the cells from other biological molecules and these amino acids are termed ‘nonessential’. These ‘nonessential’ amino acids are alanine, aspartate, cysteine, glutamate, glycine, pro line, serine, tyrosine, glutamine and asparagine. In contrast, some amino acids cannot be synthesized endogenously and have to be supplied in the diet (1). These amino acids are termed ‘essential’. These ‘essential’ amino acids are histidine, arginine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and valine. Mammalian cells require ‘essential’ as well as ‘nonessential’ amino acids for their metabolic activity. Even though the cells can synthesize the ‘nonessential’ amino acids to some extent, most of the amino acids have to be supplied to the cells via specific membrane transport mechanisms.
    • Protection Against Colonic Inflammation and Colon Cancer by Commensal Bacterial Metabolites: An Obligatory Role for the Short- Chain Fatty Acid Transporter Slc5a8

      Gurav, Ashish; Georgia Cancer Center (2014-11)
      Dietary fiber consumption has long been known to protect against inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal carcinogenesis. In mammals, large intestinal microorganisms ferment dietary fiber to generate energy, while releasing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate, propionate and butyrate. Interestingly, SCFAs are also known to protect against intestinal inflammation and colorectal carcinogenesis, although the molecular mechanisms behind these actions are still being investigated. For most of their biological effects, SCFAs must be transported from lumen into the intestinal tissue, where they activate multiple biological processes. We and others have reported Slc5a8 as a high affinity transport mechanism for SCFAs, which would remain fully functional, even when SCFA concentration drops to sub-millimolar range, whereas other transport mechanisms are rendered inefficient. The aim of the current study was to test protective role of Slc5a8 against intestinal inflammation and colorectal carcinogenesis during suboptimal intake of dietary fiber. We observed that Slc5a8 is obligatory for HDAC-inhibition in colonic epithelium and intestinal barrier function, only when the animals were fed a dietary fiber-free diet (FF diet), and not when the animals were fed diet containing optimal amounts of fibers (FC Diet). Compared to WT, Slc5a8-/- animals demonstrated higher susceptibility to AOMDSS- mediated intestinal inflammation and colorectal carcinogenesis under FF dietary conditions, but not under FC dietary conditions. At molecular level, we found that butyrate and propionate could induce potent immunosuppressive enzymes Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase and Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1A2 in dendritic cells obtained from WT animals, but not from Slc5a8-/- animals. Butyrate, transported via Slc5a8 enabled DCs to suppress conversion of naïve T cells to interferon-γ secreting pro-inflammatory T cells and Slc5a8-/- animals harbored higher proportion of interferon-γ+ CD4+ T cells in vivo. Taken together, our data provide crucial evidence for critical role of Slc5a8 mediating protective effects of dietary fiber metabolites, SCFAs in protecting against intestinal inflammation and colorectal carcinogenesis.
    • Regulation and Function of the Major Stress-Induced HSP70 Molecular Chaperone in vivo: Analysis of Mice with Targeted Gene Disruption of the HSP70.1 or HSP70A1

      Huang, Lei; Georgia Cancer Center (6/3/2002)
      (First Paragraph) The cellular response to stress, including exposure to environmental (UV radiation, heat shock, heavy metals), pathological (infection, fever, inflammation, malignancy, ischemia) or physiological (growth factor, hormonal stimulation, tissue development) stimuli is represented at the molecular level by synthesis of groups of protein named heat shock proteins [hsp(s)] (Benjamin 1998; Feder and others 1992; Jolly and Morimoto 2000; Li and Mivechi 1986; Lindquist 1986; Smith 1998). The presence of hsp(s) protect host cells from the damage caused by thermal stress, and after induction of hsp expression, cells are protected well from higher temperatures than they can normally tolerate. This phenomenon is defined as themiotoleranee (Gemer 1975; Li and Mivechi 1986). The protective role of hsp(s) is attributed to several functional properties, including active participation in maintaining proteins in their native correctly folded states, promoting degradation and refolding of misfolded proteins, and minimizing aggregation and incorrect interactions between proteins (Agashe and Hartl 2000; Gething and Sambrook 1992). In addition, hsp(s) can function in cellular protection by modulating the engagement and progression of apoptosis induced by a variety of stress stimuli (Beere and Green 2001). Besides the recognition of the cytoprotective function of hsp(s) under stress conditions, widespread clinical interests exist in their chaperone function during a range of human pathologies, including neurodegenerative conditions, such as amyloidosis, prion disease, and Alzheimer's disease, and cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial ischemia, cardiac hypertrophy, stroke, and blood vessel injury (Benjamin 1998; Planas and others 1997; Smith 1998).
    • T Cell Immune Response in Persistent Infection of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV)

      Ou, Rong; Georgia Cancer Center (2004-07)
      The m urine LCMV system provides a ciassic model to study the mechanism of immunological tolerance, an efficient strategy used by virus to establish a persistent infection by selective down-regulation of virus-specific T lymphocytes. High viral burden in the onset o f infection drives responding cells into functional unresposiveness (anergy) that can, be followed by their physical elimination. In this study, the downregulation o f the virus-specific CD8^-T-ceil response was studied during a persistent infection o f adult mice, with particular emphasis on the contribution of the interferon response in promoting host defense, or perforin-, Fas/FasL-, or TN FR l-m ediated cytolysis in regulating T-cell homeostasis. Since LCMV infects a broad range o f host tissues, the functional properties o f virus-specific CD8'^ T cells in different tissues during LCMV infection were also evaluated. Infection of mice deficient in receptor for type I (IFN-a/p), type II (IFN-y), or both type I and II IFNs with LCMV isolates that vary in their capacity to induce T-celi exhaustion, revealed a critical role for IFN -a/p in restricting LCMV spread at the onset o f infection while IFN-y has impact on effector cells. The production o f IF N -a/p and/or IFN-y critically regulates the virus-host balance during the acute phase o f infection, such that a high viral burden drives responding cells into different programs o f exhaustion. Infection o f mice deficient in perferin, FasL or TNFRl with the Docile or Aggressive strains of LCMV revealed comparable kinetics of expansion and functional inactivation o f virusspecific C D ^ T cells in the early phase o f Infection in C57BL/6 controls. However, the data underscore a critical role for these molecules in the persistence o f the virus-specific CD8"‘-T-ceil population once it has become anergic. Study o f the functional properties of virus-specific CD8'^ T cells in different tissues during LCMV infections showed that a centra! role for the viral load in lymphoid tissue in the induction and maintenance of clonal exhaustion. The data strongly suggest that CD8^ T ceils may be differentially regulated in the environments o f lymphoid versus nonlymphoid tissues, and the pattern of T cell exhaustion observed with mice is likely a common feature o f the immune response during chronic infections in humans.