Publications -- Robert C. Barber

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This collection is limited to articles published under the terms of a creative commons license or other open access publishing agreement since 2016. It is not intended as a complete list of the author's works.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
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    Top Alzheimer's disease risk allele frequencies differ in HABS-HD Mexican- versus Non-Hispanic White Americans
    (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2024-01-02) Housini, Mohammad; Zhou, Zhengyang; Gutierrez, John; Rao, Sumedha; Jomaa, Rodwan; Subasinghe, Kumudu; Reid, Danielle M.; Silzer, Talisa; Phillips, Nicole; O'Bryant, Sid E.; Barber, Robert C.; Team, HABS-HD Study
    INTRODUCTION: Here we evaluate frequencies of the top 10 Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk alleles for late-onset AD in Mexican American (MA) and non-Hispanic White (NHW) American participants enrolled in the Health and Aging Brain Study-Health Disparities Study cohort. METHODS: Using DNA extracted from this community-based diverse population, we calculated the genotype frequencies in each population to determine whether a significant difference is detected between the different ethnicities. DNA genotyping was performed per manufacturers' protocols. RESULTS: Allele and genotype frequencies for 9 of the 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (two apolipoprotein E variants, CR1, BIN1, DRB1, NYAP1, PTK2B, FERMT2, and ABCA7) differed significantly between MAs and NHWs. DISCUSSION: The significant differences in frequencies of top AD risk alleles observed here across MAs and NHWs suggest that ethnicity-specific genetic risks for AD exist. Given our results, we are advancing additional projects to further elucidate ethnicity-specific differences in AD.
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    A Synthetic Formula Amino Acid Diet Leads to Microbiome Dysbiosis, Reduced Colon Length, Inflammation, and Altered Locomotor Activity in C57BL/6J Mice
    (MDPI, 2023-11-25) Mancilla, Viviana J.; Braden-Kuhle, Paige N.; Brice, Kelly N.; Mann, Allison E.; Williams, Megan T.; Zhang, Yan; Chumley, Michael J.; Barber, Robert C.; White, Sabrina N.; Boehm, Gary W.; Allen, Michael S.
    The effects of synthetic, free-amino acid diets, similar to those prescribed as supplements for (phenylketonuria) PKU patients, on gut microbiota and overall health are not well understood. In the current, multidisciplinary study, we examined the effects of a synthetically-derived, low-fiber, amino acid diet on behavior, cognition, gut microbiome composition, and inflammatory markers. A cohort of 20 male C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to either a standard or synthetic diet (n = 10) at post-natal day 21 and maintained for 13 weeks. Sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene from fecal samples revealed decreased bacterial diversity, increased abundance of bacteria associated with disease, such as Prevotella, and a downward shift in gut microbiota associated with fermentation pathways in the synthetic diet group. Furthermore, there were decreased levels of short chain fatty acids and shortening of the colon in mice consuming the synthetic diet. Finally, we measured TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-10 in serum, the hippocampus, and colon, and found that the synthetic diet significantly increased IL-6 production in the hippocampus. These results demonstrate the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to future diet and microbiome studies, as diet not only impacts the gut microbiome composition but potentially systemic health as well.
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    Mitochondrial SOS: how mtDNA may act as a stress signal in Alzheimer's disease
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2023-10-12) Gorham, Isabelle K.; Barber, Robert C.; Jones, Harlan P.; Phillips, Nicole R.
    BACKGROUND: Alterations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) levels have been observed in Alzheimer's disease and are an area of research that shows promise as a useful biomarker. It is well known that not only are the mitochondria a key player in producing energy for the cell, but they also are known to interact in other important intracellular processes as well as extracellular signaling and communication. BODY: This mini review explores how cells use mtDNA as a stress signal, particularly in Alzheimer's disease. We investigate the measurement of these mtDNA alterations, the mechanisms of mtDNA release, and the immunological effects from the release of these stress signals. CONCLUSION: Literature indicates a correlation between the release of mtDNA in Alzheimer's disease and increased immune responses, showing promise as a potential biomarker. However, several questions remain unanswered and there is great potential for future studies in this area.
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    Hypermethylation at CREBBP Is Associated with Cognitive Impairment in a Mexican American Cohort
    (IOS Press, 2023-03-07) Abraham Daniel, Ann; Silzer, Talisa; Sun, Jie; Zhou, Zhengyang; Hall, Courtney; Phillips, Nicole; Barber, Robert C.
    BACKGROUND: The aging Mexican American (MA) population is the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the US. MAs have a unique metabolic-related risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), compared to non-Hispanic whites (NHW). This risk for cognitive impairment (CI) is multifactorial involving genetics, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Changes in environment and lifestyle can alter patterns and even possibly reverse derangement of DNA methylation (a form of epigenetic regulation). OBJECTIVE: We sought to identify ethnicity-specific DNA methylation profiles that may be associated with CI in MAs and NHWs. METHODS: DNA obtained from peripheral blood of 551 participants from the Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Consortium was typed on the Illumina Infinium® MethylationEPIC chip array, which assesses over 850K CpG genomic sites. Within each ethnic group (N = 299 MAs, N = 252 NHWs), participants were stratified by cognitive status (control versus CI). Beta values, representing relative degree of methylation, were normalized using the Beta MIxture Quantile dilation method and assessed for differential methylation using the Chip Analysis Methylation Pipeline (ChAMP), limma and cate packages in R. RESULTS: Two differentially methylated sites were significant: cg13135255 (MAs) and cg27002303 (NHWs) based on an FDR p < 0.05. Three suggestive sites obtained were cg01887506 (MAs) and cg10607142 and cg13529380 (NHWs). Most methylation sites were hypermethylated in CI compared to controls, except cg13529380 which was hypomethylated. CONCLUSION: The strongest association with CI was at cg13135255 (FDR-adjusted p = 0.029 in MAs), within the CREBBP gene. Moving forward, identifying additional ethnicity-specific methylation sites may be useful to discern CI risk in MAs.
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    Common Lung Microbiome Identified among Mechanically Ventilated Surgical Patients
    (PLOS, 2016-11-29) Smith, Ashley D.; Zhang, Yan; Barber, Robert C.; Minshall, Christian T.; Huebinger, Ryan M.; Allen, Michael S.
    The examination of the pulmonary microbiome in patients with non-chronic disease states has not been extensively examined. Traditional culture based screening methods are often unable to identify bacteria from bronchoalveolar lavage samples. The advancement of next-generation sequencing technologies allows for a culture-independent molecular based analysis to determine the microbial composition in the lung of this patient population. For this study, the Ion Torrent PGM system was used to assess the microbial complexity of culture negative bronchoalveolar lavage samples. A group of samples were identified that all displayed high diversity and similar relative abundance of bacteria. This group consisted of Hydrogenophaga, unclassified Bacteroidetes, Pedobacter, Thauera, and Acinetobacter. These bacteria may be representative of a common non-pathogenic pulmonary microbiome associated within this population of patients.
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    Identification of novel alternative splicing biomarkers for breast cancer with LC/MS/MS and RNA-Seq
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2020-12-03) Zhang, Fan; Deng, Chris K.; Wang, Mu; Deng, Bin; Barber, Robert C.; Huang, Gang
    Background: Alternative splicing isoforms have been reported as a new and robust class of diagnostic biomarkers. Over 95% of human genes are estimated to be alternatively spliced as a powerful means of producing functionally diverse proteins from a single gene. The emergence of next-generation sequencing technologies, especially RNA-seq, provides novel insights into large-scale detection and analysis of alternative splicing at the transcriptional level. Advances in Proteomic Technologies such as liquid chromatography coupled tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), have shown tremendous power for the parallel characterization of large amount of proteins in biological samples. Although poor correspondence has been generally found from previous qualitative comparative analysis between proteomics and microarray data, significantly higher degrees of correlation have been observed at the level of exon. Combining protein and RNA data by searching LC-MS/MS data against a customized protein database from RNA-Seq may produce a subset of alternatively spliced protein isoform candidates that have higher confidence. Results: We developed a bioinformatics workflow to discover alternative splicing biomarkers from LC-MS/MS using RNA-Seq. First, we retrieved high confident, novel alternative splicing biomarkers from the breast cancer RNA-Seq database. Then, we translated these sequences into in silico Isoform Junction Peptides, and created a customized alternative splicing database for MS searching. Lastly, we ran the Open Mass spectrometry Search Algorithm against the customized alternative splicing database with breast cancer plasma proteome. Twenty six alternative splicing biomarker peptides with one single intron event and one exon skipping event were identified. Further interpretation of biological pathways with our Integrated Pathway Analysis Database showed that these 26 peptides are associated with Cancer, Signaling, Metabolism, Regulation, Immune System and Hemostasis pathways, which are consistent with the 256 alternative splicing biomarkers from the RNA-Seq. Conclusions: This paper presents a bioinformatics workflow for using RNA-seq data to discover novel alternative splicing biomarkers from the breast cancer proteome. As a complement to synthetic alternative splicing database technique for alternative splicing identification, this method combines the advantages of two platforms: mass spectrometry and next generation sequencing and can help identify potentially highly sample-specific alternative splicing isoform biomarkers at early-stage of cancer.
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    Circulating mitochondrial DNA: New indices of type 2 diabetes-related cognitive impairment in Mexican Americans
    (PLoS, 2019-03-12) Silzer, Talisa K.; Barber, Robert C.; Sun, Jie; Pathak, Gita A.; Johnson, Leigh A.; O'Bryant, Sid E.; Phillips, Nicole
    Mitochondrial function has been implicated and studied in numerous complex age-related diseases. Understanding the potential role of mitochondria in disease pathophysiology is of importance due to the rise in prevalence of complex age-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). These two diseases specifically share common pathophysiological characteristics which potentially point to a common root cause or factors for disease exacerbation. Studying the shared phenomena in Mexican Americans is of particular importance due to the disproportionate prevalence of both T2D and AD in this population. Here, we assessed the potential role of mitochondria in T2D and cognitive impairment (CI) in a Mexican American cohort by analyzing blood-based indices of mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNACN) and cell-free mitochondrial DNA (CFmtDNA). These mitochondrial metrics were also analyzed for correlation with relevant neuropsychological variables and physiological data collected as indicators of disease and/or disease progression. We found mtDNACN to be significantly decreased in individuals with CI, while CFmtDNA was significantly elevated in T2D; further, CFmtDNA elevation was significantly exacerbated in individuals with both diseases. MtDNACN was found to negatively correlate with age and fatty acid binding protein concentration, while positively correlating with CFmtDNA as well as CERAD total recall score. Candidate gene SNP-set analysis was performed on genes previously implicated in maintenance and control of mitochondrial dynamics to determine if nuclear variants may account for variability in mtDNACN. The results point to a single significant locus, in the LRRK2/MUC19 region, encoding leucine rich repeat kinase 2 and mucin 19. This locus has been previously implicated in Parkinson's disease, among others; rs7302859 was the driver SNP. These combined findings further indicate that mitochondrial dysfunction (as assessed by proxy via mtDNACN) is intimately linked to both T2D and CI phenotypes as well as aging.
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    Identification of long non-coding RNA-related and -coexpressed mRNA biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2019-01-31) Zhang, Fan; Ding, Linda; Cui, Li; Barber, Robert C.; Deng, Bin
    Background: While changes in mRNA expression during tumorigenesis have been used widely as molecular biomarkers for the diagnosis of a number of cancers, the approach has limitations. For example, traditional methods do not consider the regulatory and positional relationship between mRNA and lncRNA. The latter has been largely shown to possess tumor suppressive or oncogenic properties. The combined analysis of mRNA and lncRNA is likely to facilitate the identification of biomarkers with higher confidence. Results: Therefore, we have developed an lncRNA-related method to identify traditional mRNA biomarkers. First we identified mRNAs that are differentially expressed in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) by comparing cancer and matched adjacent non-tumorous liver tissues. Then, we performed mRNA-lncRNA relationship and coexpression analysis and obtained 41 lncRNA-related and -coexpressed mRNA biomarkers. Next, we performed network analysis, gene ontology analysis and pathway analysis to unravel the functional roles and molecular mechanisms of these lncRNA-related and -coexpressed mRNA biomarkers. Finally, we validated the prediction and performance of the 41 lncRNA-related and -coexpressed mRNA biomarkers using Support Vector Machine model with five-fold cross-validation in an independent HCC dataset from RNA-seq. Conclusions: Our results suggested that mRNAs expression profiles coexpressed with positionally related lncRNAs can provide important insights into early diagnosis and specific targeted gene therapy of HCC.
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    The Health & Aging Brain among Latino Elders (HABLE) study methods and participant characteristics
    (Wiley Periodicals, LLC, 2021-06-21) O'Bryant, Sid E.; Johnson, Leigh A.; Barber, Robert C.; Braskie, Meredith N.; Christian, Bradley; Hall, James R.; Hazra, Nalini; King, Kevin; Kothapalli, Deydeep; Large, Stephanie; Mason, David; Matsiyevskiy, Elizabeth; McColl, Roderick; Nandy, Rajesh; Palmer, Raymond; Petersen, Melissa E.; Philips, Nicole; Rissman, Robert A.; Shi, Yonggang; Toga, Arthur W.; Vintimilla, Raul; Vig, Rocky; Zhang, Fan; Yaffe, Kristine
    Introduction: Mexican Americans remain severely underrepresented in Alzheimer's disease (AD) research. The Health & Aging Brain among Latino Elders (HABLE) study was created to fill important gaps in the existing literature. Methods: Community-dwelling Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic White adults and elders (age 50 and above) were recruited. All participants underwent comprehensive assessments including an interview, functional exam, clinical labs, informant interview, neuropsychological testing, and 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. Amyloid and tau positron emission tomography (PET) scans were added at visit 2. Blood samples were stored in the Biorepository. Results: Data was examined from n = 1705 participants. Significant group differences were found in medical, demographic, and sociocultural factors. Cerebral amyloid and neurodegeneration imaging markers were significantly different between Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Whites. Discussion: The current data provide strong support for continued investigations that examine the risk factors for and biomarkers of AD among diverse populations.
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    Variations of the lung microbiome and immune response in mechanically ventilated surgical patients
    (PLOS, 2018-10-24) Huebinger, Ryan M.; Smith, Ashley D.; Zhang, Yan; Monson, Nancy L.; Ireland, Sara J.; Barber, Robert C.; Kubasiak, John C.; Minshall, Christian T.; Minei, Joseph P.; Wolf, Steven E.; Allen, Michael S.
    Mechanically ventilated surgical patients have a variety of bacterial flora that are often undetectable by traditional culture methods. The source of infection in many of these patients remains unclear. To address this clinical problem, the microbiome profile and host inflammatory response in bronchoalveolar lavage samples from the surgical intensive care unit were examined relative to clinical pathology diagnoses. The hypothesis was tested that clinical diagnosis of respiratory tract flora were similar to culture positive lavage samples in both microbiome and inflammatory profile. Bronchoalveolar lavage samples were collected in the surgical intensive care unit as standard of care for intubated individuals with a clinical pulmonary infection score of >6 or who were expected to be intubated for >48 hours. Cytokine analysis was conducted with the Bioplex Pro Human Th17 cytokine panel. The microbiome of the samples was sequenced for the 16S rRNA region using the Ion Torrent. Microbiome diversity analysis showed the culture-positive samples had the lowest levels of diversity and culture negative with the highest based upon the Shannon-Wiener index (culture positive: 0.77 ± 0.36, respiratory tract flora: 2.06 ± 0.73, culture negative: 3.97 ± 0.65). Culture-negative samples were not dominated by a single bacterial genera. Lavages classified as respiratory tract flora were more similar to the culture-positive in the microbiome profile. A comparison of cytokine expression between groups showed increased levels of cytokines (IFN-g, IL-17F, IL-1B, IL-31, TNF-a) in culture-positive and respiratory tract flora groups. Culture-positive samples exhibited a more robust immune response and reduced diversity of bacterial genera. Lower cytokine levels in culture-negative samples, despite a greater number of bacterial species, suggest a resident nonpathogenic bacterial community may be indicative of a normal pulmonary environment. Respiratory tract flora samples were most similar to the culture-positive samples and may warrant classification as culture-positive when considering clinical treatment.