David obtained a degree in Chemistry from the University of Hull and completed a PhD studying the structures of the O- and K-polysaccharide antigens of the opportunistic pathogen Serratia marcescens. He then moved to the Plant Cell Biology Research Centre at the University of Melbourne in Australia, working first on the structure/function of the S-ribonucleases, the female component of the self-incompatibility system in the many flowering plants; and also on arabinogalactan proteins – ubiquitous plant cell surface and extracellular matrix proteoglycans. After a short spell at Proteome Systems Ltd – a biotech company in Sydney, where he set-up the LC-MS based platform for proteomic analysis and developed high sensitivity LC-MS methods for the analysis of glycoproteins. David joined the Babraham Institute in 2002 and established the Mass Spectrometry Facility, which he still runs.
Reprogramming of somatic cells into induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) is a major leap towards personalised approaches to disease modelling and cell-replacement therapies. However, we still lack the ability to fully control the epigenetic status of iPSCs, which is a major hurdle for their downstream applications. Epigenetic fidelity can be tracked by genomic imprinting, a phenomenon dependent on DNA methylation, which is frequently perturbed in iPSCs by yet unknown reasons. To try to understand the causes underlying these defects, we conducted a thorough imprinting analysis using IMPLICON, a high-throughput method measuring DNA methylation levels, in multiple female and male murine iPSC lines generated under different experimental conditions. Our results show that imprinting defects are remarkably common in iPSCs, but their nature depends on the sex of donor cells and their response to culture conditions. Imprints in female iPSCs resist the initial genome-wide DNA demethylation wave during reprogramming, but ultimately cells accumulate hypomethylation defects irrespective of culture medium formulations. In contrast, imprinting defects on male iPSCs depends on the experimental conditions and arise during reprogramming, being mitigated by the addition of vitamin C (VitC). Our findings are fundamental to further optimise reprogramming strategies and generate iPSCs with a stable epigenome.
Host defense against bacterial and fungal infections diminishes with age. In humans, impaired neutrophil responses are thought to contribute to this decline. However, it remains unclear whether neutrophil responses are also impaired in old mice. Here, we investigated neutrophil function in old mice, focusing on responses primed by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an endotoxin released by gram-negative bacteria like , which signals through toll-like receptor (TLR) 4. We show that old mice have a reduced capacity to clear pathogenic during septic peritonitis. Neutrophil recruitment was elevated during LPS-induced but not aseptic peritonitis. Neutrophils from old mice showed reduced killing of . Their reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was impaired upon priming with LPS but not with GM-CSF/TNFα. Phagocytosis and degranulation were reduced in a partially LPS-dependent manner, whereas impairment of NET release in response to was independent of LPS. Unexpectedly, chemotaxis was normal, as were Rac1 and Rac2 GTPase activities. LPS-primed activation of Erk and p38 Mapk was defective. PIP production was reduced upon priming with LPS but not with GM-CSF/TNFα, whereas PIP levels were constitutively low. The expression of 5% of neutrophil proteins was dysregulated in old age. Granule proteins, particularly cathepsins and serpins, as well as TLR-pathway proteins and membrane receptors were upregulated, whereas chromatin and RNA regulators were downregulated. The upregulation of CD180 and downregulation of MyD88 likely contribute to the impaired LPS signaling. In summary, all major neutrophil responses except chemotaxis decline with age in mice, particularly upon LPS priming. This LPS/TLR4 pathway dependence resolves previous controversy regarding effects of age on murine neutrophils and confirms that mice are an appropriate model for the decline in human neutrophil function.
Complete, reproducible extraction of protein material is essential for comprehensive and unbiased proteome analyses. A current gold standard is single-pot, solid-phase-enhanced sample preparation (SP3), in which organic solvent and magnetic beads are used to denature and capture protein aggregates, with subsequent washes removing contaminants. However, SP3 is dependent on effective protein immobilization onto beads, risks losses during wash steps, and exhibits losses and greater costs at higher protein inputs. Here, we propose solvent precipitation SP3 (SP4) as an alternative to SP3 protein cleanup, capturing acetonitrile-induced protein aggregates by brief centrifugation rather than magnetism─with optional low-cost inert glass beads to simplify handling. SP4 recovered equivalent or greater protein yields for 1-5000 μg preparations and improved reproducibility (median protein 0.99 (SP4) 0.97 (SP3)). Deep proteome profiling revealed that SP4 yielded a greater recovery of low-solubility and transmembrane proteins than SP3, benefits to aggregating protein using 80 50% organic solvent, and equivalent recovery by SP4 and S-Trap. SP4 was verified in three other labs across eight sample types and five lysis buffers─all confirming equivalent or improved proteome characterization SP3. With near-identical recovery, this work further illustrates protein precipitation as the primary mechanism of SP3 protein cleanup and identifies that magnetic capture risks losses, especially at higher protein concentrations and among more hydrophobic proteins. SP4 offers a minimalistic approach to protein cleanup that provides cost-effective input scalability, the option to omit beads entirely, and suggests important considerations for SP3 applications─all while retaining the speed and compatibility of SP3.