Specific inhibition of NADPH oxidase 2 modifies chronic epilepsyAbstract
Recent work by us and others has implicated NADPH oxidase (NOX) enzymes as main producers of reactive oxygen species (ROS) following a brain insult such as status epilepticus, contributing to neuronal damage and development of epilepsy. Although several NOX isoforms have been examined in the context of epilepsy, most attention has focused on NOX2. In this present study, we demonstrate the effect of gp91ds-tat, a specific competitive inhibitor of NOX2, in in vitro epileptiform activity model as well as in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) model in rats. We showed that in in vitro seizure model, gp91ds-tat modulated Ca2+ oscillation, prevented epileptiform activity-induced ROS generation, mitochondrial depolarization, and neuronal death. Administration of gp91ds-tat 1 h after kainic acid-induced status epilepticus significantly decreased the expression of NOX2, as well as the overall NOX activity in the cortex and the hippocampus. Finally, we showed that upon continuous intracerebroventricular administration to epileptic rats, gp91ds-tat significantly reduced the seizure frequency and the total number of seizures post-treatment compared to the scrambled peptide-treated animals.
The results of the study suggest that NOX2 may have an important effect on modulation of epileptiform activity and has a critical role in mediating seizure-induced NOX activation, ROS generation and oxidative stress in the brain, and thus significantly contributes to development of epilepsy following a brain insult.
The μ2 and λ1 Proteins of Mammalian Reovirus Modulate Early Events Leading to Induction of the Interferon Signaling NetworkAbstract
It has been previously shown that amino acid polymorphisms in reovirus proteins μ2 and λ1 are associated with differing levels of interferon induction. In the present study, viruses carrying these polymorphisms in either or both proteins, were further studied. The two viral determinants exert a synergistic effect on the control of β-interferon induction at the protein and mRNA level, with a concomitant increase in RIG-I. In contrast, levels of phospho-Stat1 and interferon-stimulated genes are increased in singly substituted viruses but with no further increase when both substitutions were present. This suggests that the viral determinants are acting during initial events of viral recognition. Accordingly, difference between viruses was reduced when infection was performed with partially uncoated virions (ISVPs) and transfection of RNA recovered from early-infected cells recapitulates the differences between viruses harboring the different polymorphisms. Altogether, the data are consistent with a redundant or complementary role of μ2 and λ1, affecting either early disassembly or the nature of the viral RNA in the incoming viral particle. Proteins involved in viral RNA synthesis are thus involved in this likely critical aspect of the ability of different reovirus variants to infect various cell types, and to discriminate between parental and transformed/cancer cells.
Silencing of a mannitol transport gene in Phelipanche aegyptiaca by the tobacco rattle virus system reduces the parasite germination on the host rootAbstract
Root parasitic weed Phelipanche aegyptiaca is an obligate plant parasite that causes severe damage to host
crops. Agriculture crops mainly belong to the Brassicaceae, Leguminosae, Cruciferae, and Solanaceae plant
families affected by this parasitic weed, leading to the devastating loss of crop yield and economic growth. This
root-specific parasitic plant is not able to complete its life cycle without a suitable host and is dependent on the
host plant for nutrient uptake and germination. Therefore, selected parasitic genes of P. aegyptiaca which were
known to be upregulated upon interaction with the host were chosen. These genes are essential for parasitism,
and reduced activity of these genes could affect host-parasitic interaction and provide resistance to the host
against these parasitic weeds. To check and examine the role of these parasitic genes which can affect the
development of host resistance, we silenced selected genes in the P. aegyptiaca using the tobacco rattle virus
(TRV) based virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) method. Our results demonstrated that the total number of
P. aegyptiaca parasite tubercles attached to the root of the host plant Nicotiana benthamiana was substantially
decreased in all the silenced plants. However, silencing of the P. aegyptiaca MNT1 gene which encodes the
mannitol transporter showed a significantly reduced number of germinated shoots and tubercles. Thus, our
study indicates that the mannitol transport gene of P. aegyptiaca plays a crucial role in parasitic germination,
and silencing of the PaMNT1 gene abolishes the germination of parasites on the host roots.
Mutations in FBXL4 Cause Mitochondrial Encephalopathy and a Disorder of Mitochondrial DNA MaintenanceAbstract
Nuclear genetic disorders causing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion are clinically and genetically heterogeneous, and the
molecular etiology remains undiagnosed in the majority of cases. Through whole-exome sequencing, we identified recessive nonsense
and splicing mutations in FBXL4 segregating in three unrelated consanguineous kindreds in which affected children present with a
fatal encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and severe mtDNA depletion in muscle. We show that FBXL4 is an F-box protein that colocalizes
with mitochondria and that loss-of-function and splice mutations in this protein result in a severe respiratory chain deficiency, loss
of mitochondrial membrane potential, and a disturbance of the dynamic mitochondrial network and nucleoid distribution in fibroblasts
from affected individuals. Expression of the wild-type FBXL4 transcript in cell lines from two subjects fully rescued the levels of
mtDNA copy number, leading to a correction of the mitochondrial biochemical deficit. Together our data demonstrate that mutations
in FBXL4 are disease causing and establish FBXL4 as a mitochondrial protein with a possible role in maintaining mtDNA integrity and
Infection by Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium DT104 Modulates Immune Responses, the Metabolome, and the Function of the Enteric Microbiota in Neonatal Broiler ChickensAbstract
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium incites salmonellosis in many different species
including chickens and human beings. Acute salmonellosis was studied in neonatal broiler chicks
by orally inoculating 2-day-old chicks with S. Typhimurium DT104. The temporal impact of disease
(1, 2, and 4 days post-inoculation) on the structure and function of the enteric microbiota, on the
bird’s immune response in the ileum, cecum, and colon, and on the metabolome of digesta, breast
muscle, liver, serum, and hippocampus were examined. Substantive histopathologic changes were
observed in the small and large intestine, including the colon of chicks inoculated with S. Typhimurium, and increased in magnitude over the experimental time period. A variety of inflammatory
genes (IFNγ, IL8, IL10, INOS, MIP1β, TGFβ2, TLR4, and TLR15) were temporally regulated. In addition, the metabolome of ileal digesta, breast muscle, liver, serum, and hippocampus was temporally altered in infected chicks. Although the structure of bacterial communities in digesta was not
affected by S. Typhimurium infection, metabolomic analysis indicated that the function of the microbiota was changed. Collectively, the study findings demonstrate that infection of neonatal chicks
by S. Typhimurium imparts a temporal and systemic impact on the host, affecting the immune system, the metabolome, and the function of the enteric microbiota.
The Role of Chromatin Remodeler BAF in Neuronal Activity-Induced TranscriptionAbstract
The BAF complex is an ATP dependent chromatin remodeling complex that
is known to facilitate gene transcription. However, underlying mechanisms are not
fully understood. We expected neuronal activity-induced gene transcription of
delayed IEGs to require BAF complex-dependent chromatin remodeling and to be
impaired when the latter functions sub-optimally, while rapid IEGs were expected
to not need BAF as they already have accessible chromatin. Pharmacological
inhibition or degradation of cBAF, but not the PBAF, and RNAi knockdown (KD) of
nBAF subunit 170 and 53b significantly attenuated transcription of neuronal
immediate early genes including rapid IEGs. BAF subunit KD didn’t alter
phosphorylation of MAPK-ERK, a necessary signaling cascade for transcription.
Also, pulse-chase with the nBAF inhibitor showed that the BAF complex is required
for IEG transcription on a continuous basis. Taken together, using multiple
experimental approaches, this is the first study to demonstrate a critical role of
nBAF in neuronal activity-induced transcription.
Spatio-temporal and cell type-specific expression of Nrf2 following an acute epileptic seizure in ratsAbstract
The modulation of Nrf2 activity has been reported to be implicated in the pathology of various
neurological disorders, including epilepsy. Previous studies have demonstrated that Nrf2 is
activated in the post-status epilepticus rat model, however, the spatio-temporal, as well as cell
type-specific expression of Nrf2 following brief epileptic seizures remains unclear. Here, we
evaluated how an acute epileptic seizure affected the expression of Nrf2 and its downstream
genes in the cortex and the hippocampus up to 1-week following the induced seizure.
We found that after a pentylenetetrazol-induced seizure, Nrf2 significantly increased at 24 h at
the mRNA level and 3 to 6 h at the protein level in the cortex. In the hippocampus, the Nrf2
mRNA level peaked at 3 h after the seizure, and no significant changes were observed in the
protein level. Interestingly, the mRNA level of Nrf2 downstream genes peaked at 3-6 h after
seizure in both the cortex and the hippocampus. A significant increase in the expression of Nrf2
was observed in the neuronal population of CA1 and CA3 regions of the hippocampus, as well
as in the cortex. Moreover, we observed no change in the co-localization of Nrf2 with
astrocytes neither in the cortex nor in CA1 and CA3.
Our results revealed that following a brief acute epileptic seizure, the expression of Nrf2 and
its downstream genes is transiently increased and peaked at early timepoints after seizure
predominantly in the hippocampus, and this expression is restricted to the neuronal population.
Kisspeptin Is Upregulated at the Maternal-Fetal Interface of the Preeclamptic-like BPH/5 Mouse and Normalized after Synchronization of Sex Steroid HormonesAbstract
Insufficient invasion of conceptus-derived trophoblast cells in the maternal decidua is a key event in the development of early-onset preeclampsia (PE), a subtype of PE associated with high maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Kisspeptins, a family of peptides previously shown to inhibit trophoblast cell invasion, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of early-onset PE. However, a role of kisspeptin signaling during the genesis of this syndrome has not been elucidated. Herein, we used the preeclamptic-like BPH/5 mouse model to investigate kisspeptin expression and potential upstream regulatory mechanisms in a PE-like syndrome. Expression of the kisspeptin encoding gene, Kiss1, and the 10-amino-acid kisspeptide (Kp-10), are upregulated in the non-pregnant uterus of BPH/5 females during diestrus and in the maternal-fetal interface during embryonic implantation and decidualization. Correspondingly, the dysregulation of molecular pathways downstream to kisspeptins also occurs in this mouse model. BPH/5 females have abnormal sex steroid hormone profiles during early gestation. In this study, the normalization of circulating concentrations of 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) in pregnant BPH/5 females not only mitigated Kiss1 upregulation, but also rescued the expression of multiple molecules downstream to kisspeptin and ameliorated adverse fetoplacental outcomes. Those findings suggest that uterine Kiss1 upregulation occurs pre-pregnancy and persists during early gestation in a PE-like mouse model. Moreover, this study highlights the role of sex steroid hormones in uteroplacental Kiss1 dysregulation and the improvement of placentation by normalization of E2, P4 and Kiss1.
THE ROLE OF ACTIVATOR E2FS IN ADULT NEURAL STEM CELL QUIESCENCE AND ACTIVATIONAbstract
Within the adult mammalian brain, Neural Stem Cell (NSC)s are maintained in distinct neurogenic niches in a mostly quiescent state. Activation of quiescent NSCs first requires re-entry into the cell cycle in order for the pool to proliferate and eventually commit to a neural fate, giving rise to newborn neurons. The canonical Retinoblastoma (Rb)-E2 Promoter Binding Factor (E2f) pathway is not only key in overcoming the Gap 1 Phase (G1)/S-phase restriction, but novelly appears to be involved in adult neurogenesis and NSC activation. I hypothesized that activator transcription factors E2 Promoter Binding Factor 1 (E2f1) and E2 Promoter Binding Factor 3 (E2f3) are crucial for exit from a quiescent state in adult NSCs. The contribution of the activator E2fs in this transition was studied using a Nestin-driven Cre Recombinase-Estrogen Receptor Tamoxifen-2 Ligand Binding Domain (Cre-ERT2) system to induce targeted deletion of E2f1/3 within NSCs in adult mice. We show that loss of E2f1/3 causes significant neurogenic defects, including pro-neural activation and decreased pools of adult NSCs, that preferentially adopt a quiescent profile in the subventricular zone. We employed this model to further isolate subventricular zone-derived NSCs using a Rosa26:Yellow Fluorescent Protein (YFP) reporter and subsequently analysed transcriptional profiles by RNA sequencing. Loss of E2f1/3 shifts NSC transcriptomes towards one overlapping with quiescent neural stem cell signatures (Codega et al., 2014; Basak et al., 2018), further highlighting the requirement of these E2fs for initial activation. A significant portion of these differentially expressed genes are putative E2f targets. Transcriptionally, major pathways involving cell metabolism, cellular signaling, and neural development are perturbed without activator E2f expression. In effect, this combined approach based on in vivo data and bioinformatics analyses offers a method of prospective identification of novel regulators of adult neurogenesis that require the activator E2fs. Preliminary data suggests that AT-Hook Transcription Factor (Akna) is one such target worth pursuing. Cumulatively, this project describes a unique role for E2f1 and E2f3 during NSC exit from quiescence and subsequent activation towards differentiation. As ongoing maintenance of quiescent NSCs is a necessary prerequisite for lifelong neurogenesis, conclusions from this study could determine the therapeutic potential of targeting activator E2fs to combat the niche exhaustion associated with aging, injury, and neurodegenerative diseases.
A diet rich in fermentable fiber promotes robust changes in the intestinal microbiota, mitigates intestinal permeability, and attenuates autoimmune uveitisAbstract
Therapeutic approaches for noninfectious uveitis have expanded greatly over the past 10 years, but are limited by potential side effects and limited efficacy. Thus, therapeutic approaches that include less toxic, potentially preventative strategies to manage noninfectious uveitis are essential areas of study. Diets rich in fermentable fiber are potentially preventative in various conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 1 diabetes. We studied the effects of various fermentable dietary fibers in an inducible model of experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) and found that they differentially modulated uveitis severity. A high pectin diet was the most protective, reducing clinical disease severity through the induction of regulatory T lymphocytes and the suppression of Th1 and Th17 lymphocytes at peak ocular inflammation in either intestinal or extra-intestinal lymphoid tissues. The high pectin diet also promoted intestinal homeostasis as shown by changes in intestinal morphology and gene expression, as well as intestinal permeability. Pectin-induced modulation of intestinal bacteria appeared to be associated with protective changes in immunophenotype in the intestinal tract, and correlated with reduced uveitis severity. In summary, our current findings support the potential for dietary intervention as a strategy to mitigate noninfectious uveitis severity.
Highly tailorable gellan gum nanoparticles as a platform for the development of T cell activator systemsAbstract
T cell priming has been shown to be a powerful immunotherapeutic approach for cancer treatment in terms of efficacy and relatively weak side effects. Systems that optimize the stimulation of T cells to improve therapeutic efficacy are therefore in constant demand. A way to achieve this is through artificial antigen presenting cells that are complexes between vehicles and key molecules that target relevant T cell subpopulations, eliciting antigen-specific T cell priming. In such T cell activator systems, the vehicles chosen to deliver and present the key molecules to the targeted cell populations are of extreme importance. In this work, a new platform for the creation of T cell activator systems based on highly tailorable nanoparticles made from the natural polymer gellan gum (GG) was developed and validated.
GG nanoparticles were produced by a water in oil emulsion procedure, and characterized by dynamic light scattering, high resolution scanning electronic microscopy and water uptake. Their biocompatibility with cultured cells was assessed by a metabolic activity assay. Surface functionalization was performed with anti-CD3/CD28 antibodies via EDC/NHS or NeutrAvidin/Biotin linkage. Functionalized particles were tested for their capacity to stimulate CD4+ T cells and trigger T cell cytotoxic responses.
Nanoparticles were approximately 150 nm in size, with a stable structure and no detectable cytotoxicity. Water uptake originated a weight gain of up to 3200%. The functional antibodies did efficiently bind to the nanoparticles, as confirmed by SDS-PAGE, which then targeted the desired CD4+ populations, as confirmed by confocal microscopy. The developed system presented a more sustained T cell activation over time when compared to commercial alternatives. Concurrently, the expression of higher levels of key cytotoxic pathway molecules granzyme B/perforin was induced, suggesting a greater cytotoxic potential for future application in adoptive cancer therapy.
Our results show that GG nanoparticles were successfully used as a highly tailorable T cell activator system platform capable of T cell expansion and re-education.
Neddylation in Schwann cell myelinationAbstract
Schwann cells (SCs) are the main glial cells in the peripheral nervous system. The main function of these glial cells is to produce the myelin sheets that isolate neurons and improve the nerve conduction velocity. This activity is vital for the correct functioning of the nervous system. Schwann cells also provide trophic and metabolic support to the neurons. Over the last few years, there has been an explosion in studies aimed at identifying the signals and molecules that drive the Schwann cell phenotype during development and in disease situations. Thus, Schwann cell myelination has been shown to be regulated by several extrinsic and intrinsic signals, including neuregulin (NRG) type III, laminin, and mTOR amongst others. In addition, a complex transcriptional and epigenetic regulatory program has been uncovered, with key roles described for master transcription factors such Egr2, Sox10 and Zeb2 in positively regulating the myelinating phenotype. This process is opposed by negative regulators of myelination, including Notch, Sox2, mTOR and c-Jun signaling pathways that are downregulated during myelinogenesis. Post-translational mechanisms, on the other hand, have barely been studied, even though these modifications can fine-tune the interactions, trafficking, stability, localization and activity of proteins, which could have a key role in the dynamic processes of myelin formation and breakdown. Neddylation, a ubiquitylation-like pathway that conjugates a ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8 to target proteins, has emerged as a critical regulatory process controlling ubiquitination, protein transcription and signaling transduction. Dysregulation of neddylation
has been linked to a broad spectrum of pathological conditions ranging from tumorigenesis to neurodegeneration. So far, its role in Schwann cell development and function has not been examined. In this thesis, we have found that neddylation is a critical regulator of Schwann cell myelination. We found that genetic ablation of Nae 1 (Nae1 cKO), a key enzyme in the
neddylation pathway, in Schwann cells, led to striking defects in peripheral nerves that had all the hallmarks of a severe neuropathy. The conditional knockout mice developed gait abnormalities, muscle weakness, and hindlimb clasping, a typical presentation of neuromuscular dysfunction very early after birth, and most mice did not survive past three weeks of age. In
neurophysiological tests, we recorded a severe reduction in nerve conduction velocity (NCV) in Nae1 cKO compared to control mice. Strikingly, electron microscopy (EM) revealed that Nae1-6 deficient mice lacked peripheral myelination and exhibited active myelin breakdown of the few formed myelin sheaths. This lack of myelin was accompanied by an absence of the myelin structural proteins, and the master myelination transcriptional regulator Egr2. We found widespread changes in the transcriptomic and proteomic profile of Nae1 cKO nerves. Notably, we found an upregulation of the negative regulator of myelination c-Jun, and that neddylation via regulation of the activity of Cullin Ring Ligases (CRL), E3 ubiquitin ligases that control the stability of numerous proteins, was responsible for regulating protein expression of c-Jun during myelination. On the other hand, using a tamoxifen-inducible Nae1 knockout model, we did not find any robust role of neddylation for the maintenance of mature myelin sheaths, and in pilot studies, on the regeneration of nerves after nerve injury. In summary, we found that neddylation is a critical regulator of the Schwann cell myelination and that one of the key mechanisms behind its biological function is the regulation of expression of negative regulators of myelination.
Quantifying the effect of human population mobility on malaria risk in the Peruvian AmazonAbstract
The impact of human population movement (HPM) on the epidemiology of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, has been described. However, there are limited data on the use of new technologies for the study of HPM in endemic areas with difficult access such as the Amazon. In this study conducted in rural Peruvian Amazon, we used self-reported travel surveys and GPS trackers coupled with a Bayesian spatial model to quantify the role of HPM on malaria risk. By using a densely sampled population cohort, this study highlighted the elevated malaria transmission in a riverine community of the Peruvian Amazon. We also found that the high connectivity between Amazon communities for reasons such as work, trading or family plausibly sustains such transmission levels. Finally, by using multiple human mobility metrics including GPS trackers, and adapted causal inference methods we identified for the first time the effect of human mobility patterns on malaria risk in rural Peruvian Amazon. This study provides evidence of the causal effect of HPM on malaria that may help to adapt current malaria control programmes in the Amazon.
Ubiquitination and deubiquitination of 4E-T regulate neural progenitor cell maintenance and neurogenesis by controlling P-body formationAbstract
During embryogenesis, neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs) proliferate and differentiate to form brain tissues.
Here, we show that in the developing murine cerebral cortex, the balance between the NPC maintenance and
differentiation is coordinated by ubiquitin signals that control the formation of processing bodies (P-bodies),
cytoplasmic membraneless organelles critical for cell state regulation. We find that the deubiquitinase Otud4
and the E3 ligase Trim56 counter-regulate the ubiquitination status of a core P-body protein 4E-T to orches-
trate the assembly of P-bodies in NPCs. Aberrant induction of 4E-T ubiquitination promotes P-body assem-
bly in NPCs and causes a delay in their cell cycle progression and differentiation. In contrast, loss of 4E-T
ubiquitination abrogates P-bodies and results in premature neurogenesis. Thus, our results reveal a critical
role of ubiquitin-dependent regulation of P-body formation in NPC maintenance and neurogenesis during
Comprehensive landscape of tRNA-derived fragments in lung cancerAbstract
tRNA-derived fragment (tRDF) is novel small non-coding RNA that presences in different types of cancer. The comprehensive understanding of tRDFs in non-small cell lung cancer remains largely unknown. In this study, 1550 patient samples of NSCLC were included, and 52 tRDFs with four subtypes were identified. Six tRDFs were picked as diagnostic signatures based on the tRDFs expression patterns, and under the curve (AUC) in independent validations is up to 0.90. Two signatures were validated successfully in plasma samples, and six signatures were confirmed the consistency of distinguished expression in NSCLC cell lines. Ten tRDFs along with independent risk scores can be used to predict survival outcomes by stages, 5a_tRF-Ile-AAT/GAT can be prognosis biomarker for early stage. Association analysis of tRDFs signatures correlated mRNAs and miRNA were targeted to the cell cycle and oocyte meiosis signaling pathways. Five tRDFs were assessed to associate with PD-L1 immune checkpoint and correlated with the genes that targets in PD-L1 checkpoint signaling pathway. Our study is the first to provide a comprehensive analysis of tRDFs in lung cancer including four subtypes of tRDFs, investigating the diagnostic and prognostic values, and demonstrated their biological function and transcriptional role as well as potential immune therapeutic value.
Differences between the global transcriptomes of Salmonella enterica serovars Dublin and Cerro infecting bovine epithelial cellsAbstract
The impact of S. enterica colonization in cattle is highly variable and often serovar-dependent. The aim of this study was to compare the global transcriptomes of highly pathogenic bovine-adapted S. enterica serovar Dublin and the less pathogenic, bovine-adapted, serovar Cerro during interactions with bovine epithelial cells, to identify genes that impact serovar-related outcomes of S. enterica infections in dairy animals.
Bovine epithelial cells were infected with S. enterica strains from serovars Dublin and Cerro, and the bacterial RNA was extracted and sequenced. The total number of paired-end reads uniquely mapped to non-rRNA and non-tRNA genes in the reference genomes ranged between 12.1 M (Million) and 23.4 M (median: 15.7 M). In total, 360 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified with at least two-fold differences in the transcript abundances between S. Dublin and S. Cerro (false discovery rate ≤ 5%). The highest number of DEGs (17.5%, 63 of 360 genes) between the two serovars were located on the genomic regions potentially associated with Salmonella Pathogenicity Islands (SPIs). DEGs potentially located in the SPI-regions that were upregulated (≥ 2-fold) in the S. Dublin compared with S. Cerro included: 37 SPI-1 genes encoding mostly Type 3 Secretion System (T3SS) apparatus and effectors; all of the six SPI-4 genes encoding type I secretion apparatus (siiABCDEF); T3SS effectors and chaperone (sopB, pipB, and sigE) located in SPI-5; type VI secretion system associated protein coding genes (sciJKNOR) located in SPI-6; and T3SS effector sopF in SPI-11. Additional major functional categories of DEGs included transcription regulators (n = 25), amino acid transport and metabolism (n = 20), carbohydrate transport and metabolism (n = 20), energy production and metabolism (n = 19), cell membrane biogenesis (n = 18), and coenzyme transport and metabolism (n = 15). DEGs were further mapped to the metabolic pathways listed in the KEGG database; most genes of the fatty acid β-oxidation pathway were upregulated/uniquely present in the S. Dublin strains compared with the S. Cerro strains.
This study identified S. enterica genes that may be responsible for symptomatic or asymptomatic infection and colonization of two bovine-adapted serovars in cattle.
A STUDY OF THE EFFEC Y OF THE EFFECT OF PH T OF PHYSIOLOGICAL STRESSORS ON OGICAL STRESSORS ON HYPOTHALAMIC REGUL AMIC REGULATION OF REPRODUC TION OF REPRODUCTION USING AN IN TION USING AN IN VITRO SYSTEMAbstract
Stressors have a negative impact on reproductive efficiency in humans and other animals, which has an economic cost due to infertility treatments for humans and reduced income for food producers. We wished to determine the molecular pathways by which metabolic disturbances and low-level inflammation impact the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal (HPG) axis using an in vitro model. To this end, we used the GT1-7 cell line, an immortalized line expressing the Kiss1R receptor that responds to kisspeptin stimulation with the release of GnRH to assess the impact of stressors on the
GnRH-releasing cells. Additionally, we used the KTaV-3 and KTaR-1 cell lines, immortalize lines derived from the rodent anteroventral periventricular and arcuate nuclei, respectively, to assess the impact of stressors on kisspeptin-producing cells. We modeled metabolic disease and negative energy balance by exposing cells to betahydroxybutyric acid (BHB) and inflammation by exposure to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα [alpha]). We determined that exposure to BHB significantly increased the intrinsic production of GnRH by GT1-7 cells, but that there were no additional changes in the expression of GnRH mRNA or release of GnRH protein. Additionally, there were no significant changes in calcium signaling or in the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, suggesting that the direct effect of stressors does not impact the GnRH-producing cells of the
hypothalamus. Exposure to stressors in culture did not change the expression of kiss mRNA in KTaV-3 cells upon exposure to estradiol. However, KTaV-1 cells exhibited a significantly decreased expression of kiss1 mRNA and kiss1 protein release upon
exposure to both BHB and tumor necrosis factor alpha. There was also a reduction in the expression of neurokinin B (nkb) mRNA under these conditions, suggesting that the impact of stressors on the HPG axis may be acting through the suppression of signaling in the arcuate nucleus. Disruption of neurokinin B and kisspeptin expression in the arcuate nucleus could impact the production of tonic levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), resulting in a deficiency in follicle production and oocyte maturation.
The dynamic nature of the coronavirus receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in differentiating airway epitheliaAbstract
Once inhaled, SARS-CoV-2 particles enter respiratory ciliated cells by interacting with angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Understanding the nature of ACE2 within airway tissue has become a recent focus particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airway mucociliary tissue was generated in-vitro using primary human nasal epithelial cells and the air-liquid interface (ALI) model of differentiation. Using ALI tissue, three distinct transcript variants of ACE2 were identified. One transcript encodes the documented full-length ACE2 protein. The other two transcripts are unique truncated isoforms, that until recently had only been predicted to exist via sequence analysis software. Quantitative PCR revealed that all three transcript variants are expressed throughout differentiation of airway mucociliary epithelia. Immunofluorescence analysis of individual ACE2 protein isoforms exogenously expressed in cell-lines revealed similar abilities to localize in the plasma membrane and interact with the SARS CoV 2 spike receptor binding domain. Immunohistochemistry on differentiated ALI tissue using antibodies to either the N-term or C-term of ACE2 revealed both overlapping and distinct signals in cells, most notably only the ACE2 C-term antibody displayed plasma-membrane localization. We also demonstrate that ACE2 protein shedding is different in ALI Tissue compared to ACE2-transfected cell lines, and that ACE2 is released from both the apical and basal surfaces of ALI tissue. Together, our data highlights various facets of ACE2 transcripts and protein in airway mucociliary tissue that may represent variables which impact an individual's susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection, or the severity of Covid-19.
Members of the AP-1 Family of Transcription Factors Regulate the Expression of Gja1 in Mouse GC-1 Spermatogonial CellsAbstract
Gap junctions, mainly formed by Gja1 (Connexin43), play an essential role in the regulation of proliferation and differentiation of spermatogonia in the testis. Regulation of the abundance of Gja1 in spermatogonia involves various processes, including gene transcription, mRNA maturation, protein synthesis, post-translational modifications, plasma membrane integration and protein degradation. However, gene expression of Gja1 is abnormally decreased in most testicular germ cell tumors. Hence, a better understanding of the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation of Gja1 in spermatogonia is essential to understand how the loss of its expression occurs during the development of testicular cancer. As in other cell types, activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factors may be involved in such regulatory process. Thus, AP-1 members were overexpressed in GC-1 cells to assess their impact on Gja1 expression. We showed that Jun and Fosl2 cooperate to activate the Gja1 promoter in GC-1 cells. Furthermore, the recruitment of Jun to the proximal region (−153 to +46 bp) of the Gja1 promoter has been confirmed via chromatin immunoprecipitation. Protein kinase A and calcium-calmodulin protein kinase I also contribute to the activation of Gja1 expression by improving the cooperation between AP-1 factors. Therefore, the reduction in Gja1 expression in testicular germ cell tumors may involve a loss of cooperation between AP-1 factors.
The RNA binding protein IMP2 drives a stromal-Th17 cell circuit in autoimmune neuroinflammationAbstract
Stromal cells are emerging as key drivers of autoimmunity, in part by producing inflammatory chemokines that orchestrate inflammation. Chemokine expression is regulated transcriptionally but also through post-transcriptional mechanisms, the specific drivers of which are still incompletely defined. CCL2 (MCP1) is a multifunctional chemokine that drives myeloid cell
recruitment. During experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an IL-17-driven model of multiple sclerosis, CCL2 produced by lymph node (LN) stromal cells is essential for immunopathology. Here, we show that Ccl2 mRNA upregulation in human stromal fibroblasts in response to IL-17 requires the RNA binding protein (RBP) insulin like growth factor 2 mRNA
binding protein 2 (IGF2BP2, IMP2), which is expressed almost exclusively in non-hematopoietic cells. IMP2 binds directly to CCL2 mRNA, markedly extending its transcript half-life and thus required for efficient CCL2 secretion. Consistent with this, Imp2−/− mice showed reduced CCL2 production in LN during EAE, causing impairments in monocyte recruitment and Th17 cell polarization. Imp2-/- mice were fully protected from CNS inflammation. Moreover, deletion of IMP2 after EAE onset was sufficient to mitigate disease severity. These data show that posttranscriptional control of Ccl2 in stromal cells by IMP2 is required to permit IL-17-driven progression of EAE pathogenesis.
Anti-psoriatic and anti-inflammatory effects of Kaempferia parviflora in keratinocytes and macrophage cellsAbstract
Kaempferia parviflora (KP) has been used as folk medicine for curing various conditions, including anti-inflammatory diseases. However, anti-psoriatic effects in an aspect of suppression of NF-κB activation have not been explored. Therefore, our current study aimed to elucidate the anti-inflammation of KP in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW264.7 cells and anti-psoriatic effects of KP in cytokine-induced human keratinocytes, HaCaT cells. We discovered that KP extract significantly suppressed LPS-induced inflammation at both gene expression and protein production. Specifically, dramatic reduction of nitric oxide (NO) was explored by using Griess method. Consistently, data from RT-qPCR, ELISA, and western blot analysis confirmed that crucial inflammatory and psoriatic markers including inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-17, IL-22, and IL-23 were significantly decreased by the action of KP. These events were associated with the results from immunofluorescence study and western blot analysis where the activation of NF-κB upon LPS stimulation was clearly inhibited by KP through its ability to suppress IκB-α degradation resulting in inhibition of NF-κB nuclear translocation. Furthermore, KP extract significantly inhibited LPS-stimulated phosphorylation of ERK1/2, JNK, and p38 in a dose-dependent manner, along with inhibition of ERK1/2 activation in both TNF-α- and EGF-induced HaCaT cells. Interestingly, HaCaT cells exposed to 15 μg/mL of KP also exhibited significant decrease of cell migration and proliferation. Our results revealed that KP extract has a potential to be developed as a promising agent for treating inflammation and psoriasis, in part through targeting the proliferation and the NF-κB pathways.
Influenza A virus infection in turkeys induces respiratory and enteric bacterial dysbiosis correlating with cytokine gene expressionAbstract
Turkey respiratory and gut microbiota play important roles in promoting health and production performance. Loss of microbiota homeostasis due to pathogen infection can worsen the disease or predispose the bird to infection by other pathogens. While turkeys are highly susceptible to influenza viruses of different origins, the impact of influenza virus infection on turkey gut and respiratory microbiota has not been demonstrated. In this study, we investigated the relationships between low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) virus replication, cytokine gene expression, and respiratory and gut microbiota disruption in specific-pathogen-free turkeys. Differential replication of two LPAI H5N2 viruses paralleled the levels of clinical signs and cytokine gene expression. During active virus shedding, there was significant increase of ileal and nasal bacterial contents, which inversely corresponded with bacterial species diversity. Spearman’s correlation tests between bacterial abundance and local viral titers revealed that LPAI virus-induced dysbiosis was strongest in the nasal cavity followed by trachea, and weakest in the gut. Significant correlations were also observed between cytokine gene expression levels and relative abundances of several bacteria in tracheas of infected turkeys. For example, interferon γ/λ and interleukin-6 gene expression levels were correlated positively with Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas abundances, and negatively with Lactobacillus abundance. Overall, our data suggest a potential relationship where bacterial community diversity and enrichment or depletion of several bacterial genera in the gut and respiratory tract are dependent on the level of LPAI virus replication. Further work is needed to establish whether respiratory and enteric dysbiosis in LPAI virus-infected turkeys is a result of host immunological responses or other causes such as changes in nutritional uptake.
SIRT4 is an early regulatorof branched-chain amino acid catabolismthat promotes adipogenesisAbstract
Upon nutrient stimulation, pre-adipocytes undergo differentiation to transform into mature adipocytescapable of storing nutrients as fat. We profiled cellular metabolite consumption to identify early metabolicdrivers of adipocyte differentiation. We find that adipocyte differentiation raises the uptake and consumptionof numerous amino acids. In particular, branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism precedes and pro-motes peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARg), a key regulator of adipogenesis. In earlyadipogenesis, the mitochondrial sirtuin SIRT4 elevates BCAA catabolism through the activation of methylcro-tonyl-coenzyme A (CoA) carboxylase (MCCC). MCCC supports leucine oxidation by catalyzing the carboxyl-ation of 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA to 3-methylglutaconyl-CoA. Sirtuin 4 (SIRT4) expression is decreased in adi-pose tissue of numerous diabetic mouse models, and its expression is most correlated with BCAA enzymes,suggesting a potential role for SIRT4 in adipose pathology through the alteration of BCAA metabolism. Insummary, this work provides a temporal analysis of adipocyte differentiation and uncovers early metabolicevents that stimulate transcriptional reprogramming.
Novel Role of Tieg1 in Muscle Metabolism and Mitochondrial Oxidative CapacitiesAbstract
Aim: Tieg1 is involved in multiple signaling pathways, human diseases, and is highly
expressed in muscle where its functions are poorly understood.
Methods: We have utilized Tieg1 KO mice to identify novel and important roles for this
transcription factor in regulating muscle ultrastructure, metabolism and mitochondrial
functions in the soleus and EDL muscles. RNA sequencing, immunoblotting, TEM, MRI,
NMR, histochemical and mitochondrial function assays were performed.
Results: Loss of Tieg1 expression resulted in altered sarcomere organization and a significant
decrease in mitochondrial number. Histochemical analyses demonstrated an absence of SDH
staining and a decrease in COX enzyme activity in KO soleus with similar, but diminished,
effects in the EDL. Decreased complex I, COX and citrate synthase activities were detected in
the soleus muscle of KO mice indicating altered mitochondrial function. Complex I activity
was also diminished in KO EDL. Significant decreases in citrate synthase and respiratory
chain complex activities were identified in KO soleus. 1H-NMR spectra revealed no
significant metabolic difference between WT and KO muscles. However, 31P spectra revealed
a significant decrease in phosphocreatine and ATP. Altered expression of 279 genes, many
of which play roles in mitochondrial and muscle function, were identified in KO soleus
muscle. Ultimately, all of these changes resulted in an exercise intolerance phenotype in Tieg1
Conclusion: Our findings have implicated novel roles for Tieg1 in muscle including
regulation of gene expression, metabolic activity and organization of tissue ultrastructure.
This muscle phenotype resembles diseases associated with exercise intolerance and
myopathies of unknown consequence.
Cardiomyocytes Derived from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells as a Disease Model for Propionic AcidemiaAbstract
Propionic acidemia (PA), one of the most frequent life-threatening organic acidemias, is
caused by mutations in either the PCCA or PCCB genes encoding both subunits of the mitochondrial
propionyl-CoA carboxylase (PCC) enzyme. Cardiac alterations (hypertrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, long QT) are one of the major causes of mortality in patients surviving the neonatal period. To
overcome limitations of current cellular models of PA, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells
(iPSCs) from a PA patient with defects in the PCCA gene, and successfully differentiated them into
cardiomyocytes. PCCA iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes exhibited reduced oxygen consumption, an
accumulation of residual bodies and lipid droplets, and increased ribosomal biogenesis. Furthermore, we found increased protein levels of HERP, GRP78, GRP75, SIG-1R and MFN2, suggesting
endoplasmic reticulum stress and calcium perturbations in these cells. We also analyzed a series of
heart-enriched miRNAs previously found deregulated in the heart tissue of a PA murine model and
confirmed their altered expression. Our novel results show that PA iPSC-cardiomyocytes represent a
promising model for investigating the pathological mechanisms underlying PA cardiomyopathies,
also serving as an ex vivo platform for therapeutic evaluation.
An ionising radiation-induced specic transcriptional signature of inammationassociated genes in human whole blood: a pilot studyAbstract
This communication reports the identication of a new panel of transcriptional changes in inammationassociated genes observed in response to ionising radiation received by radiotherapy patients. Peripheral blood samples were taken with ethical approval and informed consent from a total of 20 patients undergoing external beam radiotherapy for breast, lung, gastrointestinal or genitourinary tumours.
Nanostring nCounter analysis of transcriptional changes was carried out in samples prior and 24 hours
post-delivery of the 1st radiotherapy fraction, just prior to the 5th or 6th fraction, and just before the last fraction. Statistical analysis with BRB Array Tools, GLM MANOVA and nSolver, revealed a radiation responsive panel of genes which varied by patient group (type of cancer) and with time since exposure (as an analogue for dose received), which may be useful as a biomarker of radiation response. Further validation in a wider group of patients is ongoing, together with work towards a full understanding of patient specic responses in support of personalised approaches to radiation medicine.
SIRT7 deficiency suppresses inflammation, induces EndoMT, and increases vascular permeability in primary pulmonary endothelial cellsAbstract
Acute lung injury (ALI), a common condition in critically ill patients, has limited treatments and high mortality. Aging is a risk factor for ALI. Sirtuins (SIRTs), central regulators of the aging process, decrease during normal aging and in aging-related diseases. We recently showed decreased SIRT7 expression in lung tissues and fibroblasts from patients with pulmonary fibrosis compared to controls. To gain insight into aging-related mechanisms in ALI, we investigated the effects of SIRT7 depletion on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory responses and endothelial barrier permeability in human primary pulmonary endothelial cells. Silencing SIRT7 in pulmonary artery or microvascular endothelial cells attenuated LPS-induced increases in ICAM1, VCAM1, IL8, and IL6 and induced endomesenchymal transition (EndoMT) with decreases in VE-Cadherin and PECAM1 and increases in collagen, alpha-smooth muscle actin, TGFβ receptor 1, and the transcription factor Snail. Loss of endothelial adhesion molecules was accompanied by increased F-actin stress fibers and increased endothelial barrier permeability. Together, these results show that an aging phenotype induced by SIRT7 deficiency promotes EndoMT with impaired inflammatory responses and dysfunction of the lung vascular barrier.
CTCF loss mediates unique DNA hypermethylation landscapes in human cancersAbstract
The chromatin insulator CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) displays tissue-specific DNA binding sites that regulate transcription and chromatin organization. Despite evidence linking CTCF to the protection of epigenetic states through barrier insulation, the impact of CTCF loss on genome-wide DNA methylation sites in human cancer remains undefined.
Here, we demonstrate that prostate and breast cancers within The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) exhibit frequent copy number loss of CTCF and that this loss is associated with increased DNA methylation events that occur preferentially at CTCF binding sites. CTCF sites differ among tumor types and result in tissue-specific methylation patterns with little overlap between breast and prostate cancers. DNA methylation and transcriptome profiling in vitro establish that forced downregulation of CTCF leads to spatially distinct DNA hypermethylation surrounding CTCF binding sites, loss of CTCF binding, and decreased gene expression that is also seen in human tumors. DNA methylation inhibition reverses loss of expression at these CTCF-regulated genes.
These findings establish CTCF loss as a major mediator in directing localized DNA hypermethylation events in a tissue-specific fashion and further support its role as a driver of the cancer phenotype.
Microbial community similarity and dissimilarity inside and across full-scale activated sludge processes for simultaneous nitrification and denitrificationAbstract
Simultaneous nitrification and denitrification under low dissolved oxygen conditions is an energy-saving modification of the activated sludge process to achieve efficient nitrogen removal. Geographically distinct full-scale treatment plants are excellent platforms to address the links of microbial community with operating parameters. Mixed liquor samples were collected from a sequencing batch reactor plant, oxidation ditch plant, and step-feed activated sludge plant. Next-Generation Sequencing of the samples showed that the microbial communities were similar at the phylum level among the plants, being dominated by Proteobacteria. Microbial composition of functional groups was similar between the react fill and react phases of the sequencing batch reactors, among four sequencing batch reactors, and among four oxidation ditches. Nitrospira was the only identified genus of autotropic nitrifying bacteria with a relative abundance of 2.2–2.5% in the oxidation ditches and 0.4–0.7% at the other plants. Heterotrophic nitrifying–aerobic denitrifying bacteria were dominated by Dechloromonas with a relative abundance of 0.4–1.0%. Microbial community composition and nitrogen removal mechanisms were related to overall level and local zonation of dissolved oxygen, mixed liquor suspended solids concentration, nitrogen and organic loadings, and solids retention time. Low dissolved oxygen and low organic and nitrogen loadings favored growth of Nitrospira.
Inhibition of PIM2 in liver cancer decreases tumor cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo primarily through the modulation of cell cycle progressionAbstract
Liver cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer‑related mortality worldwide with limited therapeutic options. Thus, novel treatment strategies are urgently required. While the oncogenic kinase, proviral integration site for Moloney murine leukemia virus 2 (PIM2), has been shown to be overexpressed in liver cancer, little is known about the role of PIM2 in this tumor entity. In this study, we explored the functional relevance and therapeutic potential of PIM2 in liver cancer. Using PIM2‑specific siRNAs, we examined the effects of PIM2 knockdown on proliferation (WST‑1 assays and spheroid assays), 3D‑colony formation and colony spread, apoptosis (flow cytometry and caspase 3/caspase 7 activity), as well as cell cycle progression (flow cytometry, RT‑qPCR and western blot analysis) in the two liver cancer cell lines, HepG2 and Huh‑7. In subcutaneous liver cancer xenografts, we assessed the effects of PIM2 knockdown on tumor growth via the systemic delivery of polyethylenimine (PEI)‑complexed siRNA. The knockdown of PIM2 resulted in potent anti‑proliferative effects in cells grown on plastic dishes, as well as in spheroids. This was due to G0/G1 cell cycle blockade and the subsequent downregulation of genes related to the S phase as well as the G2/M phase of the cell cycle, whereas the apoptotic rates remained unaltered. Furthermore, colony formation and colony spread were markedly inhibited by PIM2 knockdown. Notably, we found that HepG2 cells were more sensitive to PIM2 knockdown than the Huh‑7 cells. In vivo, the therapeutic nanoparticle‑mediated delivery of PIM2 siRNA led to profound anti‑tumor effects in a liver cancer xenograft mouse model. On the whole, the findings of this study underscore the oncogenic role of PIM2 and emphasize the potential of targeted therapies based on the specific inhibition of PIM2 in liver cancer.
Assessment of the ptxD gene as a growth and selective marker in Trichoderma atroviride using Pccg6, a novel constitutive promoterAbstract
Trichoderma species are among the most effective cell factories to produce recombinant proteins, whose productivity relies on the molecular toolkit and promoters available for the expression of the target protein. Although inducible promoter systems have been developed for producing recombinant proteins in Trichoderma, constitutive promoters are often a desirable alternative. Constitutive promoters are simple to use, do not require external stimuli or chemical inducers to be activated, and lead to purer enzyme preparations. Moreover, most of the promoters for homologous and heterologous expression reported in Trichoderma have been commonly evaluated by directly assessing production of industrial enzymes, requiring optimization of laborious protocols.
Here we report the identification of Pccg6, a novel Trichoderma atroviride constitutive promoter, that has similar transcriptional strength as that of the commonly used pki1 promoter. Pccg6 displayed conserved arrangements of transcription factor binding sites between promoter sequences of Trichoderma ccg6 orthologues genes, potentially involved in their regulatory properties. The predicted ccg6-encoded protein potentially belongs to the SPE1/SPI1 protein family and shares high identity with CCG6 orthologue sequences from other fungal species including Trichoderma reesei, Trichoderma virens, Trichoderma asperellum, and to a lesser extent to that of Neurospora crassa. We also report the use of the Pccg6 promoter to drive the expression of PTXD, a phosphite oxidoreductase of bacterial origin, which allowed T. atroviride to utilize phosphite as a sole source of phosphorus. We propose ptxD as a growth reporter gene that allows real-time comparison of the functionality of different promoters by monitoring growth of Trichoderma transgenic lines and enzymatic activity of PTXD. Finally, we show that constitutive expression of ptxD provided T. atroviride a competitive advantage to outgrow bacterial contaminants when supplied with phosphite as a sole source of phosphorus.
A new constitutive promoter, ccg6, for expression of homologous and heterologous proteins has been identified and tested in T. atroviride to express PTXD, which resulted in an effective and visible phenotype to evaluate transcriptional activity of sequence promoters. Use of PTXD as a growth marker holds great potential for assessing activity of other promoters and for biotechnological applications as a contamination control system.
The Cutaneous Inflammatory Response to Thermal Burn Injury in a Murine ModelAbstract
Many burn interventions aim to target the inflammatory response as a means of enhancing
healing or limiting hypertrophic scarring. Murine models of human burns have been developed, but
the inflammatory response to injury in these models has not been well defined. The aim of this study
was to profile inflammatory cell populations and gene expression relative to healing and scarring in a
murine model of thermal burns. Cutaneous injuries were created on the dorsal region of C57Bl/6
mice using a heated metal rod. Animals were euthanized at selected time points over ten weeks, with
the lesions evaluated using macroscopic measurements, histology, immunofluorescent histochemistry
and quantitative PCR. The burn method generated a reproducible, partial-thickness injury that
healed within two weeks through both contraction and re-epithelialization, in a manner similar to
human burns. The injury caused an immediate increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine
expression, coinciding with an influx of neutrophils, and the disappearance of Langerhans cells and
mast cells. This preceded an influx of dendritic cells and macrophages, a quarter of which displayed
an inflammatory (M1) phenotype, with both populations peaking at closure. As with human burns,
the residual scar increased in size, epidermal and dermal thickness, and mast cell numbers over
10 weeks, but abnormal collagen I-collagen III ratios, fibre organization and macrophage populations
resolved 3–4 weeks after closure. Characterisation of the inflammatory response in this promising
murine burn model will assist future studies of burn complications and aid in the preclinical testing
of new anti-inflammatory and anti-scarring therapies.
Fructose-1,6-bisphosphate prevents pulmonary fibrosis by regulating extracellular matrix deposition and inducing phenotype reversal of lung myofibroblastsAbstract
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is the result of chronic injury where fibroblasts become activated and secrete large amounts of extracellular matrix (ECM), leading to impaired fibroblasts degradation followed by stiffness and loss of lung function. Fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (FBP), an intermediate of glycolytic pathway, decreases PF development, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. To address this issue, PF was induced in vivo using a mouse model, and pulmonary fibroblasts were isolated from healthy and fibrotic animals. In PF model mice, lung function was improved by FBP as revealed by reduced collagen deposition and downregulation of ECM gene expression such as collagens and fibronectin. Fibrotic lung fibroblasts (FLF) treated with FBP for 3 days in vitro showed decreased proliferation, contraction, and migration, which are characteristic of myofibroblast to fibroblast phenotype reversal. ECM-related genes and proteins such as collagens, fibronectin and α-smooth muscle actin, were also downregulated in FBP-treated FLF. Moreover, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 1, responsible for ECM degradation, was produced only in fibroblasts obtained from healthy lungs (HLF) and FBP did not alter its expression. On the other hand, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, a MMP1 inhibitor, and MMP2, related to fibroblast tissue-invasion, were predominantly produced by FLF and FBP was able to downregulate its expression. These results demonstrate that FBP may prevent bleomycin-induced PF development through reduced expression of collagen and other ECM components mediated by a reduced TIMP-1 and MMP2 expression.
Glucocorticoid receptor modulation decreases ER-positive breast cancer cell proliferation and suppresses wild-type and mutant ER chromatin associationAbstract
Background: Non-ER nuclear receptor activity can alter estrogen receptor (ER) chromatin association and resultant
ER-mediated transcription. Consistent with GR modulation of ER activity, high tumor glucocorticoid receptor (GR)
expression correlates with improved relapse-free survival in ER+ breast cancer (BC) patients.
Methods: In vitro cell proliferation assays were used to assess ER-mediated BC cell proliferation following GR
modulation. ER chromatin association following ER/GR co-liganding was measured using global ChIP sequencing
and directed ChIP analysis of proliferative gene enhancers.
Results: We found that GR liganding with either a pure agonist or a selective GR modulator (SGRM) slowed estradiol
(E2)-mediated proliferation in ER+ BC models. SGRMs that antagonized transcription of GR-unique genes both
promoted GR chromatin association and inhibited ER chromatin localization at common DNA enhancer sites. Gene
expression analysis revealed that ER and GR co-activation decreased proliferative gene activation (compared to ER
activation alone), specifically reducing CCND1, CDK2, and CDK6 gene expression. We also found that ligand-dependent
GR occupancy of common ER-bound enhancer regions suppressed both wild-type and mutant ER chromatin
association and decreased corresponding gene expression. In vivo, treatment with structurally diverse SGRMs
also reduced MCF-7 Y537S ER-expressing BC xenograft growth.
Conclusion: These studies demonstrate that liganded GR can suppress ER chromatin occupancy at shared
ER-regulated enhancers, including CCND1 (Cyclin D1), regardless of whether the ligand is a classic GR agonist or
antagonist. Resulting GR-mediated suppression of ER+ BC proliferative gene expression and cell division suggests that
SGRMs could decrease ER-driven gene expression.
The TLR4 adaptor TRAM controls the phagocytosis of Gram-negative bacteria by interacting with the Rab11-family interacting protein 2Abstract
Phagocytosis is a complex process that eliminates microbes and is performed by specialised cells such as macrophages. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is expressed on the surface of macrophages and recognizes Gram-negative bacteria. Moreover, TLR4 has been suggested to play a role in the phagocytosis of Gram-negative bacteria, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Here we have used primary human macrophages and engineered THP-1 monocytes to show that the TLR4 sorting adapter, TRAM, is instrumental for phagocytosis of Escherichia coli as well as Staphylococcus aureus. We find that TRAM forms a complex with Rab11 family interacting protein 2 (FIP2) that is recruited to the phagocytic cups of E. coli. This promotes activation of the actin-regulatory GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42. Our results show that FIP2 guided TRAM recruitment orchestrates actin remodelling and IRF3 activation, two events that are both required for phagocytosis of Gram-negative bacteria.
Influence of the concentration of dietary digestible calcium on growth performance, bone mineralization, plasma calcium, and abundance of genes involved in intestinal absorption of calcium in pigs from 11 to 22 kg fed diets with different concentrations oAbstract
A 21-day experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that Ca requirements to maximize growth performance expressed as the standardized total tract digestible (STTD) Ca to STTD P ratio is less than 1.40:1. The second hypothesis was that increasing dietary Ca increases plasma Ca concentration and downregulates abundance of genes related to Ca absorption (TRPV6, S100G, and ATP2B1) in the duodenum, and tight junction proteins (OCLN, CLDN1, and ZO1) in the duodenum and ileum.
Twenty corn-soybean meal diets were formulated using a 4 × 5 factorial design with diets containing 0.16%, 0.33%, 0.42%, or 0.50% STTD P, and 0.14%, 0.29%, 0.44%, 0.59%, or 0.74% STTD Ca. Six hundred and forty pigs (initial weight: 11.1 ± 1.4 kg) were allotted to 20 diets and 5 blocks in a randomized complete block design. On day 21, weights of pigs and feed left in feeders were recorded and blood, duodenal tissue, ileal mucosa, and the right femur were collected from 1 pig per pen. Abundance of mRNA was determined in duodenal and ileal tissue via quantitative RT-PCR. Data were analyzed using a response surface model.
The predicted maximum ADG (614 g), G:F (0.65), and bone ash (11.68 g) was obtained at STTD Ca:STTD P ratios of 1.39:1, 1.25:1, and 1.66:1, respectively, when STTD P was provided at the requirement (0.33%). If dietary STTD P was below the requirement, increasing dietary Ca resulted in reduced (P < 0.05) ADG and G:F. However, if dietary STTD P was above the requirement, negative effects (P < 0.05) on ADG and G:F of increasing STTD Ca were observed only if dietary STTD Ca exceeded 0.6%. Plasma Ca concentration was positively affected by STTD Ca over the range studied (quadratic, P < 0.01) and negatively affected by increasing STTD P (linear, P < 0.01). There was a linear negative effect (P < 0.05) of STTD Ca on the abundance of S100G, TRPV6, OCLN, and ZO1 in duodenum, and CLDN and ZO1 in ileum.
The STTD Ca:STTD P ratio needed to maximize growth performance of 11- to 25-kg pigs is less than 1.40:1, if P is at the estimated requirement. Increasing dietary Ca reduces transcellular absorption of Ca and increases paracellular absorption of Ca.
Brf1 loss and not overexpression disrupts tissues homeostasis in the intestine, liver and pancreasAbstract
RNA polymerase III (Pol-III) transcribes tRNAs and other small RNAs essential for protein synthesis and cell growth. Pol-III is deregulated during carcinogenesis; however, its role in vivo has not been studied. To address this issue, we manipulated levels of Brf1, a Pol-III transcription factor that is essential for recruitment of Pol-III holoenzyme at tRNA genes in vivo. Knockout of Brf1 led to embryonic lethality at blastocyst stage. In contrast, heterozygous Brf1 mice were viable, fertile and of a normal size. Conditional deletion of Brf1 in gastrointestinal epithelial tissues, intestine, liver and pancreas, was incompatible with organ homeostasis. Deletion of Brf1 in adult intestine and liver induced apoptosis. However, Brf1 heterozygosity neither had gross effects in these epithelia nor did it modify tumorigenesis in the intestine or pancreas. Overexpression of BRF1 rescued the phenotypes of Brf1 deletion in intestine and liver but was unable to initiate tumorigenesis. Thus, Brf1 and Pol-III activity are absolutely essential for normal homeostasis during development and in adult epithelia. However, Brf1 overexpression or heterozygosity are unable to modify tumorigenesis, suggesting a permissive, but not driving role for Brf1 in the development of epithelial cancers of the pancreas and gut.
No evidence that gut microbiota impose a net cost on their butterfly hostAbstract
Gut microbes are believed to play a critical role in most animal life, yet fitness effects and cost–benefit trade‐offs incurred by the host are poorly understood. Unlike most hosts studied to date, butterflies largely acquire their nutrients from larval feeding, leaving relatively little opportunity for nutritive contributions by the adult's microbiota. This provides an opportunity to measure whether hosting gut microbiota comes at a net nutritional price. Because host and bacteria may compete for sugars, we hypothesized that gut flora would be nutritionally neutral to adult butterflies with plentiful food, but detrimental to semistarved hosts, especially when at high density. We held field‐caught adult Speyeria mormonia under abundant or restricted food conditions. Because antibiotic treatments did not generate consistent variation in their gut microbiota, we used interindividual variability in bacterial loads and operational taxonomic unit abundances to examine correlations between host fitness and the abdominal microbiota present upon natural death. We detected strikingly few relationships between microbial flora and host fitness. Neither total bacterial load nor the abundances of dominant bacterial taxa were related to butterfly fecundity, egg mass or egg chemical content. Increased abundance of a Commensalibacter species did correlate with longer host life span, while increased abundance of a Rhodococcus species correlated with shorter life span. Contrary to our expectations, these relationships were unchanged by food availability to the host and were unrelated to reproductive output. Our results suggest the butterfly microbiota comprises parasitic, commensal and beneficial taxa that together do not impose a net reproductive cost, even under caloric stress.
Altered Gene Response to Aflatoxin B1 in the Spleens of Susceptible and Resistant TurkeysAbstract
Susceptibility and/or resistance to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a threshold trait governed
principally by glutathione S transferase (GST)-mediated detoxification. In poultry, domesticated turkeys are highly sensitive to AFB1, most likely due to dysfunction in hepatic GSTs. In contrast, wild turkeys are comparatively resistant to aflatoxicosis due to the presence of functional hepatic GSTAs and other possible physiological and immunological interactions. The underlying genetic basis for the disparate GST function in turkeys is unknown as are the broader molecular interactions that control the systemic response. This study quantifies the effects of dietary AFB1 on gene expression in the turkey spleen, specifically contrasting genetically distinct domesticated (DT, susceptible) and Eastern wild (EW, resistant) birds. Male turkey poults were subjected to a short-term AFB1 treatment protocol with feed supplemented with 320 ppb AFB1 beginning on day 15 of age and continuing for 14 days. Spleen tissues were harvested and subjected to deep RNA sequencing and transcriptome analysis. Analysis of differential gene expression found the effects of AFB1 treatment on the spleen transcriptomes considerably more prominent in the DT birds compared to EW. However, expression of the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) was directionally biased, with the majority showing higher expression in EW (i.e., down-regulation in DT). Significantly altered pathways included FXR/RXR and LXR/RXR activation, coagulation system, prothrombin activation, acute phase response, and atherosclerosis signaling. Differential extra-hepatic expression of acute phase protein genes was confirmed by quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) in the original experiment and additional turkey lines. Results demonstrate that wild turkeys possess a capacity to more effectively respond to AFB1 exposure
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria induce changes in Arabidopsis thaliana gene expression of nitrate and ammonium uptake genesAbstract
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) enhance plant growth under the influence of multigenic processes, including nitrate (NO−3) and ammonium (NH+4) uptake genes, which could potentially explain the improvement in plant nutrition and plant growth promotion. Studies on the effects of PGPR inoculation on regulation of NO−3 and NH+4 plant uptake genes and nutrient accumulation using soil or soil-like substrates are limited. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the application of PGPR Bacillus mixtures increases overall plant growth, nutrient uptake and the transcript levels of nitrate and ammonium uptake genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. All three PGPR mixtures tested in this study significantly increased plant shoot fresh weight, root fresh, chlorophyll content, nutrient uptake and plant diameter. The transcript levels of five nitrate and four ammonium uptake genes were significantly higher in PGPR-treated plants compared to untreated plants. These results demonstrate that plant growth promotion and enhanced nutrient uptake by select PGPR mixtures.
The effect of maxillary sinus antrostomy size on the sinus microbiomeAbstract
The optimal maxillary antrostomy size to surgically treat sinusitis is not well known. In this study, we examined clinical metrics of disease severity and symptom scores, measured secreted inflammatory markers, and characterized the sinus microbiome to determine if there were significant differences in outcome between different maxillary ostial sizes.
Prospective randomized, single‐blinded clinical trial enrolling 12 individuals diagnosed with recurrent acute or chronic rhinosinusitis. Each patient was blinded and randomized to receive minimal maxillary ostial dilation via balloon sinuplasty on 1 side vs a mega‐antrostomy on the contralateral side. Data collected included symptom scores (20‐item Sino‐Nasal Outcome Test [SNOT‐20]), endoscopy, and radiologic Lund‐Mackay scores. During surgery and at their postoperative visit swabs were obtained from each maxillary sinus, and 16S DNA and inflammatory cytokine levels analyzed. The use of each patient as their own control allowed us to minimize confounding variables.
There was statistically significant improvement in SNOT‐20 symptom scores postoperatively in all patients. There were no significant differences between maxillary ostial size in postoperative endoscopy scores, cytokine profile, or bacterial burden. There were statistically significant differences in relative postoperative abundance of Staphylococcus, Lactococcus, and Cyanobacteria between the mega‐antrostomy and mini‐antrostomy.
The method used in surgical maxillary antrostomies had no effect on endoscopy scores or cytokine profiles. Microbiome analysis determined significant differences between the different antrostomy sizes in postoperative Staphylococcus, Lactococcus, and Cyanobacteria abundance. The clinical significance of these changes in the sinus microbiome are not known but may be a result of increased access to postoperative sinonasal irrigations.
An Fc-Optimized CD133 Antibody for Induction of Natural Killer Cell Reactivity Against Colorectal CancerAbstract
The introduction of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) has largely improved treatment options for cancer patients. The ability of antitumor mAbs to elicit antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) contributes to a large extent to their therapeutic efficacy. Many efforts accordingly aim to improve this important function by engineering mAbs with Fc parts that display enhanced affinity to the Fc receptor CD16 expressed, e.g., on natural killer (NK) cells. Here we characterized the CD133 mAb 293C3-SDIE that contains an engineered Fc part modified by the amino acid exchanges S239D/I332E—that reportedly increase the affinity to CD16—with regard to its ability to induce NK reactivity against colorectal cancer (CRC). 293C3-SDIE was found to be a stable protein with favorable binding characteristics achieving saturating binding to CRC cells at concentrations of approximately 1 µg/mL. While not directly affecting CRC cell growth and viability, 293C3-SDIE potently induced NK cell activation, degranulation, secretion of Interferon-γ, as well as ADCC resulting in potent lysis of CRC cell lines. Based on the preclinical characterization presented in this study and the available data indicating that CD133 is broadly expressed in CRC and represents a negative prognostic marker, we conclude that 293C3-SDIE constitutes a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of CRC and thus warrants clinical evaluation.
Epigenetic Changes at the Birc5 Promoter Induced by YM155 in Synovial SarcomaAbstract
YM155 is an anti-cancer therapy that has advanced into 11 different human clinical trials to treat various cancers. This apoptosis-inducing therapy indirectly affects the protein levels of survivin (gene: Birc5), but the molecular underpinnings of the mechanism remain largely unknown. Synovial sarcoma is a rare soft-tissue malignancy with high protein expression of survivin. We investigated whether YM155 would be a viable therapeutic option to treat synovial sarcoma. YM155 therapy was applied to human synovial sarcoma cell lines and to a genetically engineered mouse model of synovial sarcoma. We discovered that YM155 exhibited nanomolar potency against human synovial sarcoma cell lines and the treated mice with synovial sarcoma demonstrated a 50% reduction in tumor volume compared to control treated mice. We further investigated the mechanism of action of YM155 by looking at the change of lysine modifications of the histone tails that were within 250 base pairs of the Birc5 promoter. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-qPCR, we discovered that the histone epigenetic marks of H3K27 for the Birc5 promoter changed upon YM155 treatment. H3K27me3 and H3K27ac increased, but the net result was decreased Birc5/survivin expression. Furthermore, the combination of molecular events resulted in caspase 3/7/8 upregulation and death of the sarcoma cells.
Chemokine Receptor Redundancy and Specificity Are Context DependentAbstract
Currently, we lack an understanding of the individual and combinatorial roles for chemokine receptors in the inflammatory process. We report studies on mice with a compound deletion of Ccr1, Ccr2, Ccr3, and Ccr5, which together control monocytic and eosinophilic recruitment to resting and inflamed sites. Analysis of resting tissues from these mice, and mice deficient in each individual receptor, provides clear evidence for redundant use of these receptors in establishing tissue-resident monocytic cell populations. In contrast, analysis of cellular recruitment to inflamed sites provides evidence of specificity of receptor use for distinct leukocyte subtypes and no indication of comprehensive redundancy. We find no evidence of involvement of any of these receptors in the recruitment of neutrophils or lymphocytes to resting or acutely inflamed tissues. Our data shed important light on combinatorial inflammatory chemokine receptor function and highlight Ccr2 as the primary driver of myelomonocytic cell recruitment in acutely inflamed contexts.
Localization of the 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin d-mediated response in the intestines of miceAbstract
1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D) elicits a transcriptional response in the intestines. Assessments of this response are often derived from crude tissue homogenates and eliminate the ability to discriminate among different cell types. Here, we used an RNA in situ hybridization assay, RNAScope (Advanced Cell Diagnostics, Newark, CA), to identify the cells in the intestine that respond to 1,25(OH)2D with expression of cytochrome P450 family 24 subfamily A member 1 (Cyp24a1) mRNA. Mice were gavaged with a single bolus dose of 1,25(OH)2D to target the duodenum or a glucuronic acid conjugate of 1,25(OH)2D, β-G-1,25(OH)2D, to target the colon. QRT-PCR analysis of Cyp24a1 mRNA verified that the 1,25(OH)2D-induced responses were present. RNAScope revealed that the mRNA response present after six hours is limited to mature enterocytes exposed to the intestinal lumen in both the duodenum and colon. No detectable expression was observed in goblet cells, lamina propria, muscularis mucosa muscle, submucosa and submucosal lymphoid follicles, or tunica muscularis. Our findings have identified epithelial enterocytes to be the intestinal targets for 1,25(OH)2D in both the duodenum and colon.
Characterization of myofibroblasts isolated from the intestine of patients with inflammatory bowel disease [version 1; peer review: 1 approved, 1 approved with reservations]Abstract
Background: Intestinal fibrosis represents a serious complication of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), often necessitating surgical resections. Myofibroblasts are primarily responsible for interstitial matrix accumulation in fibrotic diseases. However intestinal myofibroblasts (IMF) remain inadequately characterized. The aim was to examine fibroblast markers and fibrosis-associated gene expression in IMF isolated from resected intestine from IBD and control patients. As well as determining the effect of the fibrogenic cytokine TGFβ.
Methods: Intestinal resections were obtained (n =35) from consenting patients undergoing elective surgery (2014-16). Primary cultures of IMF were isolated using DTT and EDTA and cultured. Viability and phenotypic characterization of IMF was carried out by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. IMF (passages 3-8) were treated for 24 hours. Cytokines were quantified in IMF by real time PCR and in supernatants using the human pro-inflammatory cytokine panel
Results: All markers and most fibrosis mediators studied were preferentially expressed by IMF compared to mucosal tissue. Metalloproteinases (MMP) 2 and 3, as well as their inhibitor TIMP1, are highly expressed by IMF. They also highly expressed inflammatory mediators, including IL-6, IL-8, CCL2 and PTGS2. Whereas mucosal expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNFα and IL-17 is increased in IBD, that of fibrosis mediators was not different. Fibrosis-related gene expression in IMF from IBD patients and controls was similar, but IMF from IBD expressed higher levels of several inflammatory genes. IMF from CD and UC had mostly similar expression profiles. TGFβ induced expression of fibrogenic genes αSMA, COL1A1, CTGF, FN1 and LOX. TGFβ-stimulated IMF released increased levels of IL-6, whereas IL-6, IL-8, as well as small amounts of IFN-γ and IL12p70 were produced following stimulation with IL-1β+IL-23.
Conclusions: This study extends knowledge about the pathogenesis of fibrosis in IBD. Further research in the identification of mechanisms involved in IMF activation and fibrogenesis are required.
Hairless regulates p53 target genes to exert tumor suppressive functions in glioblastomaAbstract
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor and is associated with a poor prognosis, with most patients living less than a year after diagnosis. Given that GBM nearly always recurs after conventional treatments, there is an urgent need to identify novel molecular targets. Hairless (HR) is a nuclear factor enriched in the skin and has been previously implicated in hair cycling. HR is also highly expressed in the brain, but its significance is unknown. We found that human hairless gene (HR) expression is significantly decreased in all GBM subtypes compared with normal brain tissue and is predictive of prognosis, which suggests that loss of HR expression can contribute to GBM pathogenesis. HR was recently discovered to bind to and regulate p53 responsive elements, and thus we hypothesized that HR may have a tumor suppressive function in GBM by modulating p53 target gene expression. We found that HR indeed regulates p53 target genes, including those implicated in cell cycle progression and apoptosis in the GBM‐derived U87 cell line, and restoring HR expression triggered G2/M arrest and apoptosis. An analysis of sequenced genomes from patients with GBM revealed 10 HR somatic mutations in patients with glioma, two of which are located in the histone demethylase domain of HR. These two mutations, P996S and K1004N, were reconstructed and found to have impaired p53 transactivating properties. Collectively, the results of our study suggest that HR has tumor suppressive functions in GBM, which may be clinically relevant and a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention.
Neuroendocrine Whiplash: Slamming the Breaks on Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids Following Repetitive Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats May Worsen OutcomesAbstract
Sport-related concussion is an increasingly common injury among adolescents, with repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries (RmTBI) being a significant risk factor for long-term neurobiological and psychological consequences. It is not uncommon for younger professional athletes to consume anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) in an attempt to enhance their performance, subjecting their hormonally sensitive brains to potential impairment during neurodevelopment. Furthermore, RmTBI produces acute neuroendocrine dysfunction, specifically in the anterior pituitary, disrupting the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis, lowering cortisol secretion that is needed to appropriately respond to injury. Some AAS users exhibit worse symptoms post-RmTBI if they quit their steroid regime. We sought to examine the pathophysiological outcomes associated with the abrupt cessation of the commonly abused AAS, Metandienone (Met) on RmTBI outcomes in rats. Prior to injury, adolescent male rats received either Met or placebo, and exercise. Rats were then administered RmTBIs or sham injuries, followed by steroid and exercise cessation (SEC) or continued treatment. A behavioral battery was conducted to measure outcomes consistent with clinical representations of post-concussion syndrome and chronic AAS exposure, followed by analysis of serum hormone levels, and qRT-PCR for mRNA expression and telomere length. RmTBI increased loss of consciousness and anxiety-like behavior, while also impairing balance and short-term working memory. SEC induced hyperactivity while Met treatment alone increased depressive-like behavior. There were cumulative effects whereby RmTBI and SEC exacerbated anxiety and short-term memory outcomes. mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, and pituitary were modified in response to Met and SEC. Analysis of telomere length revealed the negative impact of SEC while Met and SEC produced changes in serum levels of testosterone and corticosterone. We identified robust changes in mRNA to serotonergic circuitry, neuroinflammation, and an enhanced stress response. Interestingly, Met treatment promoted glucocorticoid secretion after injury, suggesting that maintained AAS may be more beneficial than abstaining after mTBI.
Fine-scale spatial and temporal dynamics of kdr haplotypes in Aedes aegypti from MexicoAbstract
As resistance to insecticides increases in disease vectors, it has become exceedingly important to monitor populations for susceptibility. Most studies of field populations of Aedes aegypti have largely characterized resistance patterns at the spatial scale of the city or country, which may not be completely informative given that insecticide application occurs at the scale of the house or city block. Phenotypic resistance to pyrethroids dominates in Ae. aegypti, and it has been partially explained by mutations in the voltage-gated sodium channel gene. Here, we assess community-level patterns of four knockdown resistance (kdr) haplotypes (C1534/I1016, F1534/I1016, C1534/V1016 and F1534/V1016) in Ae. aegypti in 24 randomly chosen city blocks from a city in Yucatán State, Mexico, during both the dry and wet season and over two years.
Three of the four haplotypes, C1534/I1016, C1534/V1016 and F1534/V1016 were heterogeneous between city blocks at all four sampling time points, and the double mutant haplotype, C1534/I1016, showed a significant increase following the wet season. The F1534/I1016 haplotype was rarely detected, similar to other studies. However, when haplotype frequencies were aggregated to a coarser spatial scale, the differences in space and time were obscured.
Our results provide empirical evidence that the selection of kdr alleles is occurring at fine spatial scales, indicating that future studies should include this scale to better understand evolutionary processes of resistance in natural populations.
Loss-of-function mutations in caspase recruitment domain-containing protein 14 (CARD14) are associated with a severe variant of atopic dermatitisAbstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a highly prevalent chronic inflammatory skin disease that is known to be, at least in part, genetically determined. Mutations in caspase recruitment domain-containing protein 14 (CARD14) have been shown to result in various forms of psoriasis and related disorders.
We aimed to identify rare DNA variants conferring a significant risk for AD through genetic and functional studies in a cohort of patients affected with severe AD.
Whole-exome and direct gene sequencing, immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR, ELISA, and functional assays in human keratinocytes were used.
In a cohort of patients referred with severe AD, DNA sequencing revealed in 4 patients 2 rare heterozygous missense mutations in the gene encoding CARD14, a major regulator of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). A dual luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that both mutations exert a dominant loss-of-function effect and result in decreased NF-κB signaling. Accordingly, immunohistochemistry staining showed decreased expression of CARD14 in patients' skin, as well as decreased levels of activated p65, a surrogate marker for NF-κB activity. CARD14-deficient or mutant-expressing keratinocytes displayed abnormal secretion of key mediators of innate immunity.
Although dominant gain-of-function mutations in CARD14 are associated with psoriasis and related diseases, loss-of-function mutations in the same gene are associated with a severe variant of AD.
Superresolution microscopy reveals linkages between ribosomal DNA on heterologous chromosomesAbstract
The spatial organization of the genome is enigmatic. Direct evidence of physical contacts between chromosomes and their
visualization at nanoscale resolution has been limited. We used superresolution microscopy to demonstrate that ribosomal DNA
(rDNA) can form linkages between chromosomes. We observed rDNA linkages in many different human cell types and
demonstrated their resolution in anaphase. rDNA linkages are coated by the transcription factor UBF and their formation
depends on UBF, indicating that they regularly occur between transcriptionally active loci. Overexpression of c-Myc increases
rDNA transcription and the frequency of rDNA linkages, further suggesting that their formation depends on active
transcription. Linkages persist in the absence of cohesion, but inhibition of topoisomerase II prevents their resolution in
anaphase. We propose that linkages are topological intertwines occurring between transcriptionally active rDNA loci spatially
colocated in the same nucleolar compartment. Our findings suggest that active DNA loci engage in physical
interchromosomal connections that are an integral and pervasive feature of genome organization
Serum FHR1 binding to necrotic-type cells activates monocytic inflammasome and marks necrotic sites in vasculopathiesAbstract
Persistent inflammation is a hallmark of many human diseases, including anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis (AAV) and atherosclerosis. Here, we describe a dominant trigger of inflammation: human serum factor H-related protein FHR1. In vitro, this protein selectively binds to necrotic cells via its N-terminus; in addition, it binds near necrotic glomerular sites of AAV patients and necrotic areas in atherosclerotic plaques. FHR1, but not factor H, FHR2 or FHR3 strongly induces inflammasome NLRP3 in blood-derived human monocytes, which subsequently secrete IL-1β, TNFα, IL-18 and IL-6. FHR1 triggers the phospholipase C-pathway via the G-protein coupled receptor EMR2 independent of complement. Moreover, FHR1 concentrations of AAV patients negatively correlate with glomerular filtration rates and associate with the levels of inflammation and progressive disease. These data highlight an unexpected role for FHR1 during sterile inflammation, may explain why FHR1-deficiency protects against certain diseases, and identifies potential targets for treatment of auto-inflammatory diseases.
RAL GTPases Drive Intestinal Stem Cell Function and Regeneration through Internalization of WNT SignalosomesAbstract
Ral GTPases are RAS effector molecules and by implication a potential therapeutic target for RAS mutant cancer. However, very little is known about their roles in stem cells and tissue homeostasis. Using Drosophila, we identified expression of RalA in intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and progenitor cells of the fly midgut. RalA was required within ISCs for efficient regeneration downstream of Wnt signaling. Within the murine intestine, genetic deletion of either mammalian ortholog, Rala or Ralb, reduced ISC function and Lgr5 positivity, drove hypersensitivity to Wnt inhibition, and impaired tissue regeneration following damage. Ablation of both genes resulted in rapid crypt death. Mechanistically, RALA and RALB were required for efficient internalization of the Wnt receptor Frizzled-7. Together, we identify a conserved role for RAL GTPases in the promotion of optimal Wnt signaling, which defines ISC number and regenerative potential.
A Neuronal Relay Mediates a Nutrient Responsive Gut/Fat Body Axis Regulating Energy Homeostasis in Adult DrosophilaAbstract
The control of systemic metabolic homeostasis involves complex inter-tissue programs that coordinate energy production, storage, and consumption, to maintain organismal fitness upon environmental challenges. The mechanisms driving such programs are largely unknown. Here, we show that enteroendocrine cells in the adult Drosophila intestine respond to nutrients by secreting the hormone Bursicon α, which signals via its neuronal receptor DLgr2. Bursicon α/DLgr2 regulate energy metabolism through a neuronal relay leading to the restriction of glucagon-like, adipokinetic hormone (AKH) production by the corpora cardiaca and subsequent modulation of AKH receptor signaling within the adipose tissue. Impaired Bursicon α/DLgr2 signaling leads to exacerbated glucose oxidation and depletion of energy stores with consequent reduced organismal resistance to nutrient restrictive conditions. Altogether, our work reveals an intestinal/neuronal/adipose tissue inter-organ communication network that is essential to restrict the use of energy and that may provide insights into the physiopathology of endocrine-regulated metabolic homeostasis.
A Role for FACT in RNA Polymerase II Promoter-Proximal PausingAbstract
FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription) is an evolutionarily conserved histone chaperone that was initially identified as an activity capable of promoting RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription through nucleosomes in vitro. In this report, we describe a global analysis of FACT function in Pol II transcription in Drosophila. We present evidence that loss of FACT has a dramatic impact on Pol II elongation-coupled processes including histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) and H3K36 methylation, consistent with a role for FACT in coordinating histone modification and chromatin architecture during Pol II transcription. Importantly, we identify a role for FACT in the maintenance of promoter-proximal Pol II pausing, a key step in transcription activation in higher eukaryotes. These findings bring to light a broader role for FACT in the regulation of Pol II transcription.
Suppression of UV-B stress induced flavonoids by biotic stress: Is there reciprocal crosstalk?Abstract
Plants respond to abiotic UV-B stress with enhanced expression of genes for flavonoid production, especially the key-enzyme chalcone synthase (CHS). Some flavonoids are antioxidative, antimicrobial and/or UV-B protective secondary metabolites. However, when plants are challenged with concomitant biotic stress (simulated e.g. by the bacterial peptide flg22, which induces MAMP triggered immunity, MTI), the production of flavonoids is strongly suppressed in both Arabidopsis thaliana cell cultures and plants. On the other hand, flg22 induces the production of defense related compounds, such as the phytoalexin scopoletin, as well as lignin, a structural barrier thought to restrict pathogen spread within the host tissue. Since all these metabolites require the precursor phenylalanine for their production, suppression of the flavonoid production appears to allow the plant to focus its secondary metabolism on the production of pathogen defense related compounds during MTI. Interestingly, several flavonoids have been reported to display anti-microbial activities. For example, the plant flavonoid phloretin targets the Pseudomonas syringae virulence factors flagella and type 3 secretion system. That is, suppression of flavonoid synthesis during MTI might have also negative side-effects on the pathogen defense. To clarify this issue, we deployed an Arabidopsis flavonoid mutant and obtained genetic evidence that flavonoids indeed contribute to ward off the virulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000. Finally, we show that UV-B attenuates expression of the flg22 receptor FLS2, indicating that there is negative and reciprocal interaction between this abiotic stress and the plant-pathogen defense responses.
Diet and diet‐associated bacteria shape early microbiome development in Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi)Abstract
The supply of quality juveniles via land‐based larviculture represents a major bottleneck to the growing finfish aquaculture industry. As the microbiome plays a key role in animal health, this study aimed to assess the microbial community associated with early larval development of commercially raised Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi). We used qPCR and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to monitor changes in the microbiome associated with the development of S. lalandi from larvae to juveniles. We observed an increase in the bacterial load during larval development, which consisted of a small but abundant core microbiota including taxa belonging to the families Rhodobacteraceae, Lactobacillaceae and Vibrionaceae. The greatest change in the microbiome occurred as larvae moved from a diet of live feeds to formulated pellets, characterized by a transition from Proteobacteria to Firmicutes as the dominant phylum. A prediction of bacterial gene functions found lipid metabolism and secondary metabolite production were abundant in the early larval stages, with carbohydrate and thiamine metabolism functions increasing in abundance as the larvae age and are fed formulated diets. Together, these results suggest that diet is a major contributor to the early microbiome development of commercially raised S. lalandi.
Therapeutic Targeting of Stat3 Using Lipopolyplex Nanoparticle-Formulated siRNA in a Syngeneic Orthotopic Mouse Glioma ModelAbstract
Glioblastoma (GBM), WHO grade IV, is the most aggressive primary brain tumor in
adults. The median survival time using standard therapy is only 12–15 months with a 5-year
survival rate of around 5%. Thus, new and effective treatment modalities are of significant
importance. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) is a key signaling protein
driving major hallmarks of cancer and represents a promising target for the development of targeted
glioblastoma therapies. Here we present data showing that the therapeutic application of siRNAs,
formulated in nanoscale lipopolyplexes (LPP) based on polyethylenimine (PEI) and the phospholipid
1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC), represents a promising new approach to target
Stat3 in glioma. We demonstrate that the LPP-mediated delivery of siRNA mediates efficient
knockdown of Stat3, suppresses Stat3 activity and limits cell growth in murine (Tu2449) and
human (U87, Mz18) glioma cells in vitro. In a therapeutic setting, intracranial application of the
siRNA-containing LPP leads to knockdown of STAT3 target gene expression, decreased tumor
growth and significantly prolonged survival in Tu2449 glioma-bearing mice compared to negative
control-treated animals. This is a proof-of-concept study introducing PEI-based lipopolyplexes as an
efficient strategy for therapeutically targeting oncoproteins with otherwise limited druggability
Infection with Toxoplasma gondii (Eucoccidiorida: Sarcocystidae) in bats of Campeche and Yucatán, MexicoAbstract
Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite recognized as the causative agent of toxoplasmosis, a zoonotic disease that affects humans and domestic or wild animals. In Mexico, it represents a public and animal health problem, especially in regions with tropical and subtropical climates. Bats have been reported as accidental hosts in the transmission cycle; however, there is no preceding information in Mexico. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to report the T. gondii infection in bats captured in sites of Campeche and Yucatan states, Mexico. Bats were captured in two sites in Yucatan (X’matkuil and Panaba) and one in Campeche (Hampolol), located in the Yucatan Peninsula. Kidneys, spleen, and liver were collected and used in the total DNA extraction. Toxoplasma gondii infection was detected through the amplification of a B1 gene fragment, using nested PCR. The positive PCR products were purified and sent to sequencing for a posterior sequence identity analysis. Additionally, a phylogenetic tree was made. A total of 69 bats belonging to eight different species were processed: 41 (59.4 %, 41/69) Artibeus jamaicensis; six (8.7 %, 6/69) Pteronotus parnellii; six (8.7 %, 6/69) Noctilio leporinus; six (8.7 %, 6/69) Chiroderma villosum; four (5.8 %, 4/69) Glossophaga soricina; two (2.9 %, 2/69) Carollia sowelli; two (2.89 %, 2/69) Artibeus lituratus; and two (2.9 %, 2/69) Rhogeessa aeneus. The nested PCR identified eight (11.6 %, 8/69) infected bats: six (75 %, 6/8) A. jamaicensis, captured in X'matkuil and Panaba, one (12.5 %, 1/8) G. soricina, and one (12.5 %, 1/8) C. villosum, both captured in Panaba. The alignment analysis yielded 99-100 % for cover and 97-99 % for identity to T. gondii sequences. Our results contribute to the understanding of the T. gondii transmission cycle in the region; however, future research is needed to determine circulating genotypes, as previous studies have demonstrated that these animals might be infected with identified genotypes in other domestic or wild animals and even in humans.
Overlapping Activities of Two Neuronal Splicing Factors Switch the GABA Effect from Excitatory to Inhibitory by Regulating RESTAbstract
A truncating mutation in the mouse Srrm4 gene, which encodes a neuronal splicing factor, causes alternative splicing defects selectively in the ear. The mechanism by which splicing is preserved in the brain of these mice is not known. Here, we show that SRRM3 limits the Srrm4 mutation-associated defects to the ear and that, in cortical neurons, overlapping SRRM3-SRRM4 activity regulates the development of interneuronal inhibition. In vitro, SRRM3 and SRRM4 regulate the same splicing events, but a mutation in mouse Srrm3 causes tremors and mild defects in neuronal alternative splicing, demonstrating unique SRRM3 roles in vivo. Mice harboring mutations in both Srrm3 and Srrm4 die neonatally and exhibit severe splicing defects. In these mice, splicing alterations prevent inactivation of the gene repressor REST, which maintains immature excitatory GABAergic neurotransmission by repressing K-Cl cotransporter 2. Thus, our data reveal that SRRM3 and SRRM4 act redundantly to regulate GABAergic neurotransmission by inactivating REST.
The chemokine receptor CXCR2 contributes to murine adipocyte developmentAbstract
Chemokines are members of a large family of chemotactic cytokines that signal through their receptors to mediate leukocyte recruitment during inflammation and homeostasis. The chemokine receptor CXCR2 has largely been associated with neutrophil recruitment. However, there is emerging evidence of roles for chemokines and their receptors in processes other than leukocyte migration. We have previously demonstrated that CXCR2 knockout (KO) mice have thinner skin compared to wild‐type mice. Herein we demonstrate that this is due to a thinner subcutaneous adipose layer, as a result of fewer and smaller individual adipocytes. We observe a similar phenotype in other fat depots and present data that suggests this may be due to reduced expression of adipogenesis related genes associated with adipocyte specific CXCR2 signaling. Interestingly, this phenotype is evident in female, but not male, CXCR2 KO mice. These findings expand our understanding of nonleukocyte related chemokine receptor functions and help to explain some previously observed adipose‐related phenotypes in CXCR2 KO mice.
Effects of 50 Hz magnetic fields on circadian rhythm control in miceAbstract
Artificial light and power frequency magnetic fields are ubiquitous in the built environment. Light is a potent zeitgeber but it is unclear whether power frequency magnetic fields can influence circadian rhythm control. To study this possibility, 8–12‐week‐old male C57BL/6J mice were exposed for 30 min starting at zeitgeber time 14 (ZT14, 2 h into the dark period of the day) to 50 Hz magnetic fields at 580 μT using a pair of Helmholtz coils and/or a blue LED light at 700 lux or neither. Our experiments revealed an acute adrenal response to blue light, in terms of increased adrenal per1 gene expression, increased serum corticosterone levels, increased time spent sleeping, and decreased locomotor activity (in all cases, P < 0.0001) compared to an unexposed control group. There appeared to be no modulating effect of the magnetic fields on the response to light, and there was also no effect of the magnetic fields alone (in both cases, P > 0.05) except for a decrease in locomotor activity (P < 0.03). Gene expression of the cryptochromes cry1 and cry2 in the adrenals, liver, and hippocampus was also not affected by exposures (in all cases, P > 0.05). In conclusion, these results suggest that 50 Hz magnetic fields do not significantly affect the acute light response to a degree that can be detected in the adrenal response. Bioelectromagnetics. 2019;9999:XX–XX. © 2019 Bioelectromagnetics Society.
Transcriptome Response of Female Culicoides sonorensis Biting Midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) to Early Infection with Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV-2)Abstract
Female Culicoides sonorensis biting midges are vectors of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), which causes morbidity and mortality in wild and domesticated ruminants. The aims in this study were to identify key changes in female midge transcriptome profiles occurring during early infection with EHDV-2. Midges were fed either negative control bloodmeals or bloodmeals containing EHDV-2 and transcriptomes were acquired at 36 h through deep sequencing. Reads were de novo assembled into a transcriptome comprised of 18,754 unigenes. Overall, there were 2401 differentially expressed unigenes and ~60% were downregulated in response to the virus (953 up; 1448 down). Downstream Gene Ontology enrichment, KEGG pathway mapping, and manual analyses were used to identify the effect of virus ingestion at both the gene and pathway levels. Downregulated unigenes were predominantly assigned to pathways related to cell/tissue structure and integrity (actin cytoskeleton, adherens junction, focal adhesion, hippo signaling), calcium signaling, eye morphogenesis and axon guidance. Unigenes attributed to sensory functions (especially vision), behavior, learning and memory were largely downregulated. Upregulated unigenes included those coding for innate immune processes, olfaction and photoreceptor pigments. Our results suggest that midges respond to virus infection as soon as 36 h post-ingestion, and that EHDV-2 may have a significant phenotypic effect on sensory and neural tissues.
S-adenosyl methionine prevents ASD like behaviors triggered by earlypostnatal valproic acid exposure in very young miceAbstract
Introduction:A common animal model of ASD is the one induced by valproic acid (VPA), inducing epigeneticchanges and oxidative stress. We studied the possible preventive effect of the methyl donor for epigenetic en-zymatic reactions, S-adenosine methionine (SAM), on ASD like behavioral changes and on redox potential in thebrain and liver in this model.Methods:ICR albino mice were injected on postnatal day 4 with one dose of 300 mg/kg of VPA, with normalsaline (controls) or with VPA and SAM that was given orally for 3 days at the dose of 30 mg/kg body weight.From day 50, we carried out neurobehavioral tests and assessment of the antioxidant status of the prefrontalcerebral cortex, liver assessing SOD and CAT activity, lipid peroxidation and the expression of antioxidant genes.Results:Mice injected with VPA exhibited neurobehavioral deficits typical of ASD that were more prominent inmales. Changes in the activity of SOD and CAT increased lipid peroxidation and changes in the expression ofantioxidant genes were observed in the prefrontal cortex of VPA treated mice, more prominent in females, whileASD like behavior was more prominent in males. There were no changes in the redox potential of the liver. Theco-administration of VPA and SAM alleviated most ASD like neurobehavioral symptoms and normalized theredox potential in the prefrontal cortex.Conclusions:Early postnatal VPA administration induces ASD like behavior that is more severe in males, whilethe redox status changes are more severe in females; SAM corrects both. VPA-induced ASD seems to result fromepigenetic changes, while the redox status changes may be secondary.
Human-based fibrillar nanocomposite hydrogels as bioinstructive matrices to tune stem cell behaviorAbstract
The extracellular matrix (ECM)-biomimetic fibrillar structure of platelet lysate (PL) gels along with their enriched milieu of biomolecules has drawn significant interest in regenerative medicine applications. However, PL-based gels have poor structural stability, which severely limits their performance as a bioinstructive biomaterial. Here, rod-shaped cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are used as a novel approach to modulate the physical and biochemical microenvironment of PL gels enabling their effective use as injectable human-based cell scaffolds with a level of biomimicry that is difficult to recreate with synthetic biomaterials. The incorporation of CNC (0 to 0.61 wt%) into the PL fibrillar network during the coagulation cascade leads to decreased fiber branching, increased interfiber porosity (from 66 to 83%) and modulates fiber (from 1.4 ± 0.7 to 27 ± 12 kPa) and bulk hydrogel (from 18 ± 4 to 1256 ± 82 Pa) mechanical properties. As a result of these physicochemical alterations, nanocomposite PL hydrogels resist the typical extensive clot retraction (from 76 ± 1 to 24 ± 3 at day 7) and show favored retention of PL bioactive molecules. The feedback of these cues on the fate of human adipose-derived stem cells is evaluated, showing how it can be explored to modulate the commitment of encapsulated stem cells toward different genetic phenotypes without the need for additional external biological stimuli. These fibrillar nanocomposite hydrogels allow therefore the exploration of the outstanding biological properties of human-based PL as an efficient engineered ECM which can be tailored to trigger specific regenerative pathways in minimal invasive strategies.
Maternal malnourishment induced upregulation of fetuin-B blunts nephrogenesis in the low birth weight neonateAbstract
Maternal undernutrition during pregnancy (MUN) often leads to low birth weight (LBW) neonates that have a reduced total nephron endowment, leaving these neonates susceptible to kidney disease throughout their lives. For reasons unknown, these LBW neonates have impaired kidney development due to a severe reduction in renal SIX2+ stem cells during nephrogenesis. Using a mouse model of MUN, we investigated SIX2+ stem cell reduction in the LBW neonate. Significant upregulation of the protein fetuin-B (measured by PCR and immunoblotting) in the MUN mother's placenta, organs and circulation yielded a 3-fold increase of this protein in the embryonic kidney. Recombinant fetuin-B, administered to healthy pregnant mothers at the concentration equivalent to that in the MUN mother, crossed the placenta and reduced both SIX2+ stem cells by 50% and nephron formation by 66% in embryonic kidneys (measured by immunofluorescence and the physical dissector/fractionator stereological method). Administration of fetuin-B to kidney explants yielded similar reductions in renal SIX2+ stem cells and nephron formation. Fetuin-B treatment of isolated embryonic renal SIX2+ stem cell primary cultures 1) increased NF-kB activity and apoptosis, 2) reduced cell proliferation due to upregulated p21 nuclear activity and subsequent cell cycle arrest, and 3) enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species (measured by fluorescence microscopy). In conclusion, MUN increases fetuin-B in the developing embryonic kidney. The increase in fetuin-B blunts nephrogenesis by reducing SIX2+ stem cells by promoting their apoptosis (via NF-kB upregulation), blunting their proliferative renewal (via p21 upregulation) and enhancing oxidative stress.
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Induce ROS Synthesis in Microvascular Endothelial CellsAbstract
In sepsis, endothelial dysfunction is a crucial driver known to limit the survival rate of affected patients. For this, ROS-mediated signaling plays an important role in endothelial communication and functionality. In the management of sepsis, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have received increasing attention regarding their anti-inflammatory potential neglecting the oxidative properties of these substances. Therefore, in the present study we examined the capacity of PUFA to interfere with the expression of major ROS-producing enzymes, as well as endothelial ROS production itself. The human microvascular endothelial cells TIME (ATCC number: CRL-4025) were used. Cells were cultured in medium enriched with LNA (C18:3n3), EPA (C20:5n3), DHA (C22:6n3), LA (C18:2n6), or AA (C20:4n6) in concentrations of 15 μM totaling 144 h. Stimulation of cells was performed in the last 24 h of fatty acid supplementation by addition of the cytokines TNF-α + IL-1β + IFN-γ (5 ng/ml each). Gene expression of eNOS, COX-2, and NOX-4 was evaluated by qPCR. ROS synthesis was analyzed by means of a flow cytometry-based rhodamine 123 assay. Cytokine stimulation was found to differentially affect gene expression of major ROS synthesizing enzymes: eNOS was decreased whereas COX-2 and NOX-4 were increased. As a consequence, cytokine stimulation had no effect on rhodamine accumulation in endothelial cells. PUFA supplementation alone did not affect the gene expression of eNOS, COX-2, and NOX-4. Nevertheless, an increasing action of PUFA on the stimulation-induced reduction in eNOS expression was found. More importantly, the number of rhodamine positive endothelial cells almost doubled following enrichment with the PUFA EPA, DHA or AA. This effect was independent of the stimulation status of the cells but seemed to be related to the number of double bonds of a supplemented fatty acid. Our data warrant further studies to ensure that increased endothelial cell oxidative stress is not boosted by PUFA in septic patients.
Detection of coliphages and human adenoviruses in a subtropical estuarine lakeAbstract
Fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) have been used to assess fecal contamination in recreational water. However, enteric viruses have been shown to be more persistent in the environment and resistant to wastewater treatment than bacteria. Recently, U.S Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the use of coliphages as viral indicators to better protect against viral waterborne outbreaks. This study aimed to detect and determine correlation between coliphages (F-specific and somatic), fecal indicator bacteria (enterococci and fecal coliforms), and human enteric viruses (human adenovirus) in a subtropical brackish estuarine lake. Water samples were collected from 9 estuarine recreation sites on Lake Pontchartrain in southeast Louisiana. Water samples (n = 222, collected weekly) were analyzed for coliphages and fecal indicator bacteria using culture-based methods and large volume water samples (n = 54, collected monthly) were analyzed for human adenovirus using quantitative PCR. Somatic coliphage and F-specific coliphage were found in 93.7 and 65.2% of samples with geometric mean concentrations of 30 and 3 plaque forming units (PFU) per 100 mL, respectively. Enterococci, fecal coliforms, and adenovirus were found in all samples with geometric mean concentrations of 27 most probable number (MPN), 77 MPN, and 3.0 × 104 gene copies per 100 mL, respectively. Watersheds in suburban areas exhibited significantly higher concentrations of coliphages and fecal indicator bacteria, indicating potential fecal contamination from septic systems. There was no significant correlation (p > 0.05) observed between the presence of adenoviruses and fecal indicator bacteria and coliphages. The presence of human adenovirus in Lake Pontchartrain poses a significant public health problem for both recreational use and seafood harvesting as it increases exposure risks. This study demonstrated the lack of relationship between fecal indicators and human viral pathogen in Lake Pontchartrain supporting an alternative microbial surveillance system such as direct pathogen detection.
Restoring Endothelial Function by Targeting Desert Hedgehog Downstream of Klf2 Improves Critical Limb Ischemia in AdultsAbstract
Rationale: Klf2 is critical to establish and maintain endothelial integrity. Objective:Therefore, determining upstream and downstream mediators of Klf2 would lead to alternative therapeutic targets in cardiovascular disease management. Methods and Results: Here we identify Desert Hedgehog (Dhh) as a downstream effector of Klf2, whose expression in endothelial cells (ECs) is upregulated by shear stress and decreased by inflammatory cytokines. Consequently, we show that Dhh knock down in ECs promotes endothelial permeability and EC activation and that Dhh agonist prevents TNFα or glucose-induced EC dysfunction. Moreover, we demonstrate that human critical limb ischemia (CLI), a pathological condition linked to diabetes and inflammation, is associated to major EC dysfunction. By recreating a complex model of CLI in diabetic mice, we found that Dhh-signaling agonist significantly improved EC function without promoting angiogenesis, which subsequently improved muscle perfusion. Conclusions: Restoring EC functi...
AAV8-mediated overexpression of mPCSK9 in liver differs between male and female miceAbstract
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor and is associated with a poor prognosis, with most patients living less than a year after diagnosis. Given that GBM nearly always recurs after conventional treatments, there is an urgent need to identify novel molecular targets. Hairless (HR) is a nuclear factor enriched in the skin and has been previously implicated in hair cycling. HR is also highly expressed in the brain, but its significance is unknown. We found that human hairless gene (HR) expression is significantly decreased in all GBM subtypes compared with normal brain tissue and is predictive of prognosis, which suggests that loss of HR expression can contribute to GBM pathogenesis. HR was recently discovered to bind to and regulate p53 responsive elements, and thus we hypothesized that HR may have a tumor suppressive function in GBM by modulating p53 target gene expression. We found that HR indeed regulates p53 target genes, including those implicated in cell cycle progression and apoptosis in the GBM-derived U87 cell line, and restoring HR expression triggered G2/M arrest and apoptosis. An analysis of sequenced genomes from patients with GBM revealed 10 HR somatic mutations in patients with glioma, two of which are located in the histone demethylase domain of HR. These two mutations, P996S and K1004N, were reconstructed and found to have impaired p53 transactivating properties. Collectively, the results of our study suggest that HR has tumor suppressive functions in GBM, which may be clinically relevant and a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention.
AAV8-mediated overexpression of mPCSK9 in liver differs between male and female miceAbstract
Background and aims
The recombinant adeno-associated viral vector serotype 8 expressing the gain-of-function mutation of mouse proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (AAV8- PCSK9) is a new model for the induction of hypercholesterolemia. AAV8 preferentially infects hepatocytes and the incorporated liver-specific promoter should ensure expression of PCSK9 in the liver. Since tissue distribution of AAVs can differ between male and female mice, we investigated the differences in PCSK9 expression and hypercholesterolemia development between male and female mice using the AAV8-PCSK9 model.
Male and female C57BL/6 mice were injected with either a low-dose or high-dose of AAV8-PCSK9 and fed a high-fat diet. Plasma lipid levels were evaluated as a measure of the induction of hypercholesterolemia.
Injection of mice with low dose AAV8-PCSK9 dramatically elevated both serum PCSK9 and cholesterol levels in male but not female mice. Increasing the dose of AAV8-PCSK9 threefold in female mice rescued the hypercholesterolemia phenotype but did not result in full restoration of AAV8-PCSK9 transduction of livers in female mice compared to the low-dose male mice. Our data demonstrate female mice respond differently to AAV8-PCSK9 injection compared to male mice.
These differences do not hinder the use of female mice when AAV8-PCSK9 doses are taken into consideration. However, localization to and production of AAV8-PCSK9 in organs besides the liver in mice may introduce confounding factors into studies and should be considered during experimental design.
Genetic diversity of Hepatitis C Virus in Pakistan using Next Generation SequencingAbstract
In Pakistan, HCV disease is considered a major public health issue with about 10–17 million people suffering with this infection and rate is increasing every day without any hindrance. The currently available Pyrosequencing approach used to analyze complex viral genomes as it can determine minor variants. It is crucial to understand viral evolution and quasispecies diversity in complex viral strains.
To assess genetic diversity in patients with HCV using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and compare nucleotide diversity of genotype 3a with respect to other genotypes.
Intra-host viral diversity of HCV was determined using NGS from 13 chronically HCV infected individuals. NGS of three different regions (E2 (HVR1), NS3 and NS5B) of HCV-3a allowed for a comprehensive analysis of the viral population.
Phylogenetic analysis of different HCV genes revealed great variability within the Pakistani population. The average nucleotide diversity for HVR1, NS3 and NS5B was 0.029, 0.011 and 0.010 respectively.
Our findings clearly indicate that patient-2 greater quasispecies heterogeneity than other patients of same genotype-3a using phylogenetic and one step network analyses. Initially phylogenetic analysis of these three genes showed that genotype 3a samples have greater genetic diversity. However, no significant difference was determined when nucleotide variability of genotype 3a compared with other genotypes (1a, 1b, 2a & 4a).
Localization of the 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-mediated response in the intestines of miceAbstract
1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D) elicits a transcriptional response in the intestines. Assessments of this response are often derived from crude tissue homogenates and eliminate the ability to discriminate among different cell types. Here, we used an RNA in situ hybridization assay, RNAScope (Advanced Cell Diagnostics, Newark, CA), to identify the cells in the intestine that respond to 1,25(OH)2D with expression of cytochrome P450 family 24 subfamily A member 1 (Cyp24a1) mRNA. Mice were gavaged with a single bolus dose of 1,25(OH)2D to target the duodenum or a glucuronic acid conjugate of 1,25(OH)2D, β-G-1,25(OH)2D, to target the colon. QRT-PCR analysis of Cyp24a1 mRNA verified that the 1,25(OH)2D-induced responses were present. RNAScope revealed that the mRNA response present after six hours is limited to mature enterocytes exposed to the intestinal lumen in both the duodenum and colon. No detectable expression was observed in goblet cells, lamina propria, muscularis mucosa muscle, submucosa and submucosal lymphoid follicles, or tunica muscularis. Our findings have identified epithelial enterocytes to be the intestinal targets for 1,25(OH)2D in both the duodenum and colon.
Loss-of-function mutations in CARD14 are associated with a severe variant of atopic dermatitisAbstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a highly prevalent chronic inflammatory skin disease which is known to be, at least in part, genetically determined. Mutations in CARD14 have been shown to result in various forms of psoriasis and related disorders.
We aimed to identify rare DNA variants conferring a significant risk for AD through genetic and functional studies in a cohort of patients affected with severe atopic dermatitis.
Whole exome and direct gene sequencing, immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR, ELISA and functional assays in human keratinocytes were used.
In a cohort of individuals referred with severe atopic dermatitis, DNA sequencing revealed in 4 patients two rare heterozygous missense mutations in CARD14 encoding the Caspase Recruitment Domain-Containing Protein 14, a major regulator of NF-κB. A dual luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that both mutations exert a dominant loss-of-function effect and result in decreased NF-κB signaling. Accordingly, immunohistochemistry staining showed decreased expression of CARD14 in patient skin as well as decreased levels of activated p65, a surrogate marker for NF-κB activity. CARD14-deficient or mutant-expressing keratinocytes displayed abnormal secretion of key mediators of innate immunity.
While dominant gain-of-function mutations in CARD14 are associated with psoriasis and related diseases, loss-of-function mutations in the same gene are associated with a severe variant of atopic dermatitis.
Tissue-specific gene regulation corresponds with seasonal plasticity in female testosteroneAbstract
Testosterone (T) is a sex steroid hormone that often varies seasonally and mediates trade-offs between territorial aggression and parental care. Prior work has provided key insights into the ‘top-down’ hypothalamic control of this seasonal plasticity in T, yet mechanisms acting outside of the brain may also influence circulating T levels. We hypothesized that peripheral mechanisms may be especially critical for females, because peripheral regulation may mitigate the costs of systemically elevated T. Here, we begin to test this hypothesis using a seasonal comparative approach, measuring gene expression in peripheral tissues in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), a songbird with intense female-female competition and T-mediated aggression. We focused on the gonad and liver for their role in T production and metabolism, respectively, and we contrasted females captured during territory establishment versus incubation. During territory establishment, when T levels are highest, we found elevated gene expression of the hepatic steroid metabolizing enzyme CYP2C19 along with several ovarian steroidogenic enzymes, including the androgenic 5α-reductase. Despite these seasonal changes in gene expression along the steroidogenic pathway, we did not observe seasonal changes in sensitivity to upstream signals, measured as ovarian mRNA abundance of luteinizing hormone receptor. Together, these data suggest that differential regulation of steroidogenic gene expression in the ovary is a potentially major contributor to seasonal changes in T levels in females. Furthermore, these data provide a unique and organismal glimpse into tissue-specific gene regulation and its potential role in hormonal plasticity in females.
Potent in vivo lung cancer Wnt signaling inhibition via cyclodextrin-LGK974 inclusion complexesAbstract
Activation of the Wnt signaling pathway promotes lung cancer progression and contributes to poor patient prognosis. The porcupine inhibitor LGK974, a novel orally bioavailable cancer therapeutic in Phase I clinical trials, induces potent Wnt inhibition leading to suppressed growth and progression of multiple types of cancers. The clinical use of LGK974, however, is limited in part due to its low solubility and high toxicity in tissues that rely on Wnt signaling for normal homeostasis. Here, we report the use of host-guest chemistry to enhance solubility and bioavailability of LGK974 in mice through complexation with cyclodextrins (CD). We assessed the effects of these complexes to inhibit Wnt signaling in lung adenocarcinomas that are typically driven by overactive Wnt signaling. 2D H1 NMR confirmed host-guest complexation of CDs with LGK974. CD:LGK974 complexes significantly decreased the expression of Wnt target genes both in vitro and in vivo. Further, CD:LGK974 complexes increased the bioavailability upon oral administration in mice compared to free LGK974. In a mouse lung cancer allograft model, CD:LGK974 complexes induced potent Wnt signaling inhibition with reduced intestinal toxicity compared to administration of free drug. Collectively, the development of these complexes enables safer and repeated oral or parenteral administration of porcupine inhibitors, which hold promise for the treatment of multiple types of malignancies.
Alterations of EDEM1 functions enhance ATF6 pro-survival signalingAbstract
Activating transcription factor 6 alpha (referred to as ATF6 hereafter) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident glycoprotein and one of the 3 sensors of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Upon ER stress, ATF6 is exported to the Golgi complex where it is cleaved by the S1P and S2P proteases thus releasing ATF6 cytosolic fragment and leading to the transcription of ATF6 target genes. In this study, we performed a phenotypic small interfering RNA (siRNA) screening to better characterize the ER mechanisms involved in ATF6 activation upon ER stress. This revealed that silencing of ER-degradation enhancing alpha-mannosidase-like protein-1 (EDEM1) increased the bioavailability of ER stress-induced ATF6 export to the Golgi complex through the stabilization of the natively unstable ATF6 protein. Moreover, we characterized a somatic variant of EDEM1 (N198I) found in hepatocellular carcinoma that alters ATF6 signaling and might provide a selective advantage to the transforming cells. Hence, our work confirms the natively unstable nature of ATF6 and links this property to potentially associated pro-oncogenic functions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Expression of a hyperthermophilic endoglucanase in hybrid poplar modifies the plant cell wall and enhances digestibilityAbstract
Expression of glycosyl hydrolases in lignocellulosic biomass has been proposed as an alternative to improve efficiency of cellulosic ethanol production. In planta production of hyperthermophilic hydrolytic enzymes could prevent the detrimental effects often seen resulting from the expression of recombinant mesophilic enzymes to plant hosts. Utilizing lignocellulosic feedstocks to produce hyperthermophilic hydrolases provides additional benefits for ethanol production in the way of transgenic feedstocks serving as both enzyme providers and cellulosic substrates.
Endocrine-immune signaling as a predictor of survival: A prospective study in developing songbird chicksAbstract
Immune function varies with an animal’s endocrine physiology and energy reserves, as well as its abiotic and biotic environment. This context-dependency is thought to relate to adaptive trade-off resolution that varies from one context to the next; however, it is less clear how state- and environmentally-dependent differences in endocrine-immune signaling relate to survival in natural populations. We begin to address this question in a prospective study on a free-living passerine bird, the tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), by capitalizing upon naturally-occurring variation in ectoparasitism in 12-day old chicks. We measured body mass, hematological gene expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) as well as corticosterone (CORT) secretion at baseline and in response to 30 min of handling. We found that chicks with ectoparasites had smaller body mass and higher levels of IL-6 gene expression at this critical stage of post-natal growth and development. Mass and IL-6 were positively correlated, but only among parasitized chicks, suggesting that larger chicks mount stronger immune responses when necessary, i.e. in the presence of ectoparasites that are known to induce inflammation. IL-6 mRNA expression was negatively correlated with stress-induced CORT levels, suggesting that this proxy of inflammation may be co-regulated with or coordinated by glucocorticoids. More importantly, these endocrine-immune parameters predicted survival to fledging, which was positively associated with IL-6 mRNA abundance and, to a lesser degree, CORT reactivity. These results suggest a link between endocrine-immune interactions and performance in nature, and as a consequence, they shed light on the potentially adaptive, context-dependent interplay between body mass, immunity, and endocrine physiology during development.
time-ChIP: A Method to Determine Long-Term Locus-Specific Nucleosome InheritanceAbstract
Understanding chromatin dynamics is essential to define the contribution of chromatin to heritable gene silencing and the long-term maintenance of gene expression. Here we present a detailed protocol for time-ChIP, a novel method to measure histone turnover at high resolution across long timescales. This method is based on the SNAP-tag, a self-labeling enzyme that can be pulse labeled with small molecules in cells. Upon pulse biotinylation of a cohort of SNAP-tagged histones we can determine their abundance and fate across a chase period using a biotin-specific chromatin pulldown followed by DNA sequencing or quantitative PCR. This method is unique in its ability to trace the long-term fate of a chromatin bound histone pool, genome wide. In addition to a step by step protocol, we outline advantages and limitations of the method in relation to other existing techniques. time-ChIP can define regions of high and low histone turnover and identify the location of pools of long lived histones.
Exploiting the impact of the secretome of MSCs isolated from different tissue sources on neuronal differentiation and axonal growthAbstract
Cell transplantation free-based therapies using Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) secretome have recently been presented as a possible for CNS related disorders. MSC secretome is rich in several bio-factors that act synergically towards the repair of damaged tissues, thus making it an ideal candidate for regenerative applications. Great effort is currently being made to map the molecules that compose the MSC secretome. Previous proteomic characterization of the secretome (in the form of conditioned media - CM) of MSCs derived from adipose tissue (ASC), bone-marrow (BMSC) and umbilical cord (HUCPVC) was performed by our group, where proteins relevant for neuroprotection, neurogenic, neurodifferentiation, axon guidance and growth functions were identified. Moreover, we have found significant differences among the expression of several molecules, which may indicate that their therapeutic outcome might be distinct. Having this in mind, in the present study, the neuroregulatory potential of ASC, BMSC and HUCPVC CM in promoting neurodifferentiation and axonal outgrowth was tested in vitro, using human telencephalon neuroprogenitor cells and dorsal root ganglion explants, respectively. The CM from the three MSC populations induced neuronal differentiation from human neural progenitor cells, as well as neurite outgrowth from dorsal root ganglion explants. Moreover, all the MSC populations promoted the same extent of neurodifferentiation, while ASC CM demonstrated higher potential in promoting axonal growth.
Bifidobacterium pseudolongum in the Ceca of Rats Fed Hi-Maize Starch Has Characteristics of a Keystone Species in Bifidobacterial BloomsAbstract
Starches resistant to mammalian digestion are present in foods and pass to the large bowel, where they may be degraded and fermented by the microbiota. Increases in relative abundances of bifidobacteria (blooms) have been reported in rats whose diet was supplemented with Hi-Maize resistant starch. We determined that the bifidobacterial species present in the rat cecum under these circumstances mostly belonged to Bifidobacterium animalis. However, cultures of B. animalis isolated from the rats failed to degrade Hi-Maize starch to any extent. In contrast, Bifidobacterium pseudolongum also detected in the rat microbiota had high starch-degrading ability. Transcriptional comparisons showed increased expression of a type 1 pullulanase, alpha-amylase, and glycogen debranching enzyme by B. pseudolongum when cultured in medium containing Hi-Maize starch. Maltose was released into the culture medium, and B. animalis cultures had shorter doubling times in maltose medium than did B. pseudolongum. Thus, B. pseudolongum, which was present at a consistently low abundance in the microbiota, but which has extensive enzymatic capacity to degrade resistant starch, showed the attributes of a keystone species associated with the bifidobacterial bloom.
IMPORTANCE This study addresses the microbiology and function of a natural ecosystem (the rat gut) using DNA-based observations and in vitro experimentation. The microbial community of the large bowel of animals, including humans, has been studied extensively through the use of high-throughput DNA sequencing methods and advanced bioinformatics analysis. These studies reveal the compositions and genetic capacities of microbiotas but not the intricacies of how microbial communities function. Our work, combining DNA sequence analysis and laboratory experiments with cultured strains of bacteria, revealed that the increased abundance of bifidobacteria in the rat gut, induced by feeding indigestible starch, involved a species that cannot itself degrade the starch (Bifidobacterium animalis) but cohabits with a species that can (Bifidobacterium pseudolongum). B. pseudolongum has the characteristics of a keystone species in the community because it had low abundance but high ability to perform a critical function, the hydrolysis of resistant starch.
Increased Alternative Splicing as a Host Response to Edwardsiella ictaluri Infection in CatfishAbstract
Alternative splicing is the process of generating multiple transcripts from a single pre-mRNA used by eukaryotes to regulate gene expression and increase proteomic complexity. Although alternative splicing profiles have been well studied in mammalian species, they have not been well studied in aquatic species, especially after biotic stresses. In the present study, genomic information and RNA-Seq datasets were utilized to characterize alternative splicing profiles and their induced changes after bacterial infection with Edwardsiella ictaluri in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). A total of 27,476 alternative splicing events, derived from 9694 genes, were identified in channel catfish. Exon skipping was the most abundant while mutually exclusive exon was the least abundant type of alternative splicing. Alternative splicing was greatly induced by E. ictaluri infection with 21.9% increase in alternative splicing events. Interestingly, genes involved in RNA binding and RNA splicing themselves were significantly enriched in differentially alternatively spliced genes after infection. Sequence analyses of splice variants of a representative alternatively spliced gene, splicing factor srsf2, revealed that certain spliced transcripts may undergo nonsense-mediated decay (NMD), suggesting functional significance of the induced alternative splicing. Although statistical analysis was not possible with such large datasets, results from quantitative real-time PCR from representative differential alternative splicing events provided general validation of the bacterial infection-induced alternative splicing. This is the first comprehensive study of alternative splicing and its changes in response to bacterial infection in fish species, providing insights into the molecular mechanisms of host responses to biotic stresses.
Segregation of dopamine and glutamate release sites in dopamine neuron axons: regulation by striatal target cellsAbstract
Dopamine (DA) is a key regulator of circuits controlling movement and motivation. A subset of midbrain DA neurons has been shown to express the vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT)2, underlying their capacity for glutamate release. Glutamate release is found mainly by DA neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and can be detected at terminals contacting ventral, but not dorsal, striatal neurons, suggesting the possibility that target-derived signals regulate the neurotransmitter phenotype of DA neurons. Whether glutamate can be released from the same terminals that release DA or from a special subset of axon terminals is unclear. Here, we provide in vitro and in vivo data supporting the hypothesis that DA and glutamate-releasing terminals in mice are mostly segregated and that striatal neurons regulate the cophenotype of midbrain DA neurons and the segregation of release sites. Our work unveils a fundamental feature of dual neurotransmission and plasticity of the DA system.—Fortin, G. M., Ducrot, C., Giguère, N., Kouwenhoven, W. M., Bourque, M.-J., Pacelli, C., Varaschin, R. K., Brill, M., Singh, S., Wiseman, P. W., Trudeau, L.-E. Segregation of dopamine and glutamate release sites in dopamine neuron axons: regulation by striatal target cells.
Differentiation of the granulosa layer from hen prehierarchal follicles associated with follicle stimulating hormone receptor signalingAbstract
Recruitment of a single follicle into the preovulatory hierarchy of the domestic hen ovary occurs from a small cohort of prehierarchal follicles measuring 6-8 mm in diameter. We have previously reported that granulosa cells (GC) collected from prehierarchal follicles express highest levels of membrane-localized follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) during follicle development, yet fail to initiate signaling via cAMP following short-term incubation with FSH. Consequently, GC from prehierarchal follicles remain in an undifferentiated state and lack the capacity for steroidogenesis due to a deficiency of cAMP-dependent STAR protein and CYP11A1 gene expression. The present studies investigate FSH responsiveness in GC before and after the transition from undifferentiated to a differentiated state at follicle recruitment. Prior to recruitment focus is directed towards the inhibition of FSHR signaling by β-ARRESTIN (βARR). Specifically, knockdown of βARR mRNA in cultured, undifferentiated GC using small interfering RNA (siRNA) facilitated FSH-induced cAMP formation, STAR expression and progesterone production. Furthermore, over-expression of bovine βARR1 and G PROTEIN-COUPLED RECEPTOR KINASE2 in actively differentiating GC significantly decreased cAMP accumulation and progesterone production following a challenge with FSH. We propose that a βARR-mediated mechanism maintains FSHR unresponsiveness in undifferentiated GC from prehierarchal follicles, and as a result prevents GC differentiation until the time of follicle recruitment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Thymoquinone inhibits cell proliferation, migration, and invasion by regulating the elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF-2K) signaling axis in triple-negative breast cancerAbstract
Background/purposeTriple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive and chemoresistant subtype of breast cancer. Therefore, new molecular targets and treatments need to be developed to improve poor patient prognosis and survival. We have previously shown that eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF-2K) is highly expressed in TNBC cells, is associated with poor patient survival and prognosis, and promotes cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. In vivo targeting of eEF-2K significantly reduces the tumor growth of orthotopic TNBC xenograft mouse models, suggesting that eEF-2K may serve as a potential novel therapeutic target.Methods/resultsIn the current study, we identified thymoquinone (TQ), an active ingredient of Nigella sativa, as a potential safe and effective eEF-2K inhibitor in TNBC. We demonstrated for the first time that TQ inhibits the protein and mRNA expression of eEF-2K, as well as the clinically relevant downstream targets, including Src/FAK and Akt, and induces the tumor suppressor miR-603, in response to NF-kB inhibition. This effect was associated with a significant decrease in the proliferation, colony formation, migration, and invasion of TNBC cells. Furthermore, systemic in vivo injection of TQ (20 and 100 mg/kg) significantly reduced the growth of MDA-MB-231 tumors and inhibited the eEF-2K expression in an orthotopic tumor model in mice.ConclusionOur study provides first evidence that TQ treatment inhibits cell proliferation, migration/invasion, and tumor growth, in part through the inhibition of eEF-2K signaling in TNBC. Thus, our findings suggest that systemic TQ treatment may be used as a targeted therapeutic strategy for the inhibition of eEF-2K in TNBC tumor growth and progression.
Exercise Preconditioning Diminishes Skeletal Muscle Atrophy after Hindlimb Suspension in Mice*Abstract
The aim of the present study was to investigate if short-term, concurrent exercise training prior to hindlimb suspension (HLS) prevents or diminishes both soleus and gastrocnemius atrophy and to analyze if changes in mitochondrial molecular markers were associated. Male C57BL/6 (WT) mice (12-14 weeks old) were assigned to control, 7-day HLS (HLS), 2-weeks exercise training prior to 7-day HLS (Ex+HLS), and 2-weeks exercise training (Ex) groups. HLS resulted in a 27.1% and 21.5% decrease in soleus and gastrocnemius muscle weight to bodyweight ratio, respectively, in WT mice. Exercise training prior to HLS resulted in a 5.6% and 8.1% decrease in soleus and gastrocnemius weight to bodyweight ratio, respectively. Exercise increased mitochondrial biogenesis and function associated markers, slow myosin heavy chain (SMHC) expression, and reduced the fiber-type transitioning marker myosin heavy chain 4 (Myh4). Ex+HLS revealed decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress compared to HLS. Our data indicated the time prior to an atrophic setting, particularly caused by muscle unloading, may be a useful period to intervene short-term, progressive exercise training to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy and is associated with mitochondrial biogenesis, function, and redox balance.
In Silico Analyses of Rice Thionin genes and the Antimicrobial Activity of OsTHION15 against PhytopathogensAbstract
Thionins are a family of antimicrobial peptides. We performed in silico expression analyses of the 44 rice (Oryza sativa L.) thionins (OsTHIONs). Modulated expression levels of OsTHIONs under different treatments suggest their involvement in many processes, including biotic, abiotic and nutritional stress responses, and in hormone signaling. OsTHION15 (LOC_Os06g32600) was selected for further characterization based on several in silico analyses. OsTHION15 in O. sativa L. ssp. indica ‘KDML 105’ was expressed in all of the tissues/organs examined, including germinating seeds, leaves and roots of seedlings and mature plants, and inflorescences. To investigate the antimicrobial activity of OsTHION15, we produced a recombinant peptide in Escherichia coli Rosetta-gami (DE3). The recombinant OsTHION15 exhibited inhibitory activities toward rice pathogenic bacteria, such as Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae and Pectobacterium carotovorum pv. atroseptica, with minimum inhibitory concentrations of 112.6 and 14.1 µg ml-1, respectively. A significant hyphal growth inhibition was also observed towards Fusarium oxysporum ssp. cubense and Helminthosporium oryzae. In addition, we demonstrated the in planta antibacterial activity of this peptide in Nicotiana benthamiana against Xanthomonas campestris pv. glycines. These activities suggest the possible application of OsTHION15 in plant disease control.
Pax-5 Inhibits NF-κB Activity in Breast Cancer Cells Through IKKε and miRNA-155 EffectorsAbstract
Pax-5, an essential transcription factor in B cell development, is aberrantly expressed in various B cell cancer lesions and solid tumors such as breast carcinoma. We have recently shown that Pax-5 regulates NF-κB activity which lead to the modulation of breast cancer phenotypic features (EMT-MET). NF-κB is known as a central mediator in inflammation, stress response as well as being a gatekeeper of pro-tumorigenic activity. However, little is known as to how Pax-5 affects this modulation. We thus turned our attention to microRNAs as potential regulatory effectors. In this study, we set out to elucidate the regulatory network between differential Pax-5 expression and NF-κB activity which dictate breast cancer malignancy. Through next-generation sequencing (NGS) of breast cancer cells conditionally expressing Pax-5, we profile significantly upregulated microRNAs; including microRNA-155, a known regulator of pathological processes and suppressor of malignant growth. Through the conditional expression of microRNA-155 in breast cancer models, we identify and validate IKKε (IKBKE) as a downstream target and an essential effector of Pax-5-mediated suppression of NF-κB signaling. Using rescue experiments, we also confirm that Pax-5 modulates NF-κB activity via IKKε downregulation. Interestingly, we also show that microRNA-155, in turn, supresses Pax-5 expression, indicative of an auto-regulatory feedback loop. Altogether, we demonstrate that Pax-5 inhibits NF-κB signalling through the regulation of microRNA-155 and its downstream target IKKε. The elucidation of this signaling network is relevant as Pax-5 and NF-κB are potent transcriptional regulators of breast cancer aggressivity. In addition, IKKε is relevant oncogene aberrantly expressed in 30% of breast carcinomas. Further insight into the regulatory pathways of breast cancer progression will eventually identify strategic therapeutic and prognostic targets to improve cancer patient outcome.
The effects of electronic cigarette vapor on placental trophoblast cell function: Short title : E-cigarette and trophoblast functionAbstract
Despite evidence that maternal smoking is associated with numerous adverse outcomes, 10-35% of women still smoke during pregnancy. Recently, many smokers have turned to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as a smoking cessation tool. However, there is considerable uncertainty regarding their safety for use during pregnancy. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of e-cigarette vapor on placental trophoblast function. HTR-8/SVneo cells were exposed to unflavored e-cigarette vapor-conditioned media with and without nicotine to assess cell viability, proliferation, migration (wound healing assay), invasion (transwell extracellular matrix invasion assay), and tube formation, a surrogate for angiogenesis. While there was no effect on cell viability, proliferation or migration (all p > 0.05), e-cigarette conditioned media significantly reduced trophoblast invasion and tube formation; these effects could not be solely attributed to the presence of nicotine. These results suggest that an evaluation of the safety of e-cigarette use during pregnancy is urgently required.
Post-exposure effects of the piscicide 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM) on the stress response and liver metabolic capacity in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)Abstract
The piscicide 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM) has been used to control invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) populations in the Great Lakes for almost 60 years. Applied to rivers and streams containing larval lampreys, TFM seldom harms non-target fishes, but the effects of sub-lethal treatments on fish physiology are not well understood. We examined the effects of 9 h exposure to TFM on the stress axis and liver metabolic capacity of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) using in vivo and in vitro approaches. The fish that had been acutely exposed to TFM in vivo had increased plasma cortisol levels at 12 h post-treatment, but TFM exposure did not interfere with in vitro cortisol production in head kidney preparations. Subjecting trout to an acute handling stressor 12 h post-TFM exposure resulted in a relative attenuation of the plasma cortisol and glucose response compared to pre-stress levels. We conclude that routine TFM treatments can lead to elevations of plasma cortisol following exposure, plus a relative dampening of the stress response in rainbow trout, with high cortisol levels lasting at least 12 h post-treatment. Since the ability of the fish to produce cortisol and the liver metabolic capacity were not compromised following TFM exposure, it is likely that their ability to cope with other stressors is not altered in the long-term.
Antimicrobial peptide expression in swine granulosa cells in response to lipopolysaccharideAbstract
Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are host defense peptides present in all species examined. The objective of the current study was to characterize the expression of a group of antimicrobial peptides in ovarian cells, and to investigate their expression response to pathogen ligands. It was found that while PG1 transcript was not detected in the ovary, the expression of BD2 is the highest in small follicle derived granulosa cells (SGC), and its expression decreases during follicular development to large follicle stage (LGC; p < 0.05). The expression of BD2 in cumulus cells also decreased from GV to MII stage of oocyte maturation. ANG4 expression increased in granulosa cells during follicular development from SGC to LGC stage (p < 0.05), although no significant difference was observed in cumulus cells from different stages of oocyte maturation. We further examined AMP expression in follicle cells treated with different toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands which mimic pathogen exposure in the ovary. Of the four TLR ligands examined, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure resulted in a 11.5 fold increase of BD2 expression, and a significant decrease of LYZ in LGC. A similar response pattern in BD2 and LYZ expression was also observed in SGC. These responses of AMP expression to LPS are associated with increased TLR4 signaling pathway component in mRNA and protein level, such as MyD88 and NFkB, and pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines, such as IL-6, TNFα and IL-8 (p < 0.05). Our data suggest that AMPs may play a role in innate defense as well as other physiological functions during ovarian follicular development and oocyte maturation.
Effect of Tim23 Knockdown in vivo on Mitochondrial Protein Import and Retrograde Signaling to the UPRmt in MuscleAbstract
The mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) is a protein quality control mechanism that strives to achieve proteostasis in the face of misfolded proteins. Due to the reliance of mitochondria on both the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, a perturbation of the coordination of these genomes results in a mito-nuclear imbalance in which holoenzymes are unable to assume mature stoichiometry and thereby activates the UPRmt. Thus, we sought to perturb this genomic coordination by using a systemic anti-sense oligonucleotide (in-vivo Morpholino) targeted to Tim23, the major channel of the inner membrane. This resulted in a 40% reduction in Tim23 protein content, a 32% decrease in matrix-destined protein import, and a trend to elevate ROS emission under maximal respiration conditions. This import defect activated the CHOP-branch of the UPRmt, as evident from increases in ClpP and cpn10, but not the ATF5 arm. Thus, in the face of proteotoxic stress, CHOP and ATF5 could be activated independently to regain proteostasis. Our second aim was to investigate the role of proteolytically-derived peptides in mediating retrograde signaling. Peptides released from the mitochondrion following basal proteolysis were isolated and incubated with import reactions. Dose- and time-dependent effect of peptides on protein import was observed. Our data suggest that mitochondrial proteolytic byproducts exert an inhibitory effect on protein import, possibly to reduce excessive protein import as a potential negative feedback mechanism. The inhibition of import into the organelle also serves a retrograde function, possibly via ROS emission, to modify nuclear gene expression and ultimately improve folding capacity.
HISTONE DEACETYLASE 19 and the flowering time gene FD maintain reproductive meristem identity in an age-dependent mannerAbstract
The shoot apical meristem (SAM) undergoes developmental transitions that include a shift from vegetative to reproductive growth. This transition is triggered by flowering time genes, which up-regulate floral meristem (FM) identity genes that, in turn, control flower development by activating floral organ identity genes. This cascade of transcriptional activation is refined by repression mechanisms that temporally and spatially restrict gene expression to ensure proper development. Here, we demonstrate that HISTONE DEACETYLASE 19 (HDA19) maintains the identity of the reproductive SAM, or inflorescence meristem (IM), late in Arabidopsis thaliana development. At late stages of growth, hda19 IMs display a striking patterning defect characterized by ectopic expression of floral organ identity genes and the replacement of flowers with individual stamenoid organs. We further show that the flowering time gene FD has a specific function in this regulatory process, as fd hastens the emergence of these patterning defects in hda19 growth. Our work therefore identifies a new role for FD in reproductive patterning, as FD regulates IM function together with HDA19 in an age-dependent fashion. To effect these abnormalities, hda19 and fd may accentuate the weakening of transcriptional repression that occurs naturally with reproductive meristem proliferation.
Rnd3/RhoE expression is regulated by G-actin through MKL1-SRF signaling pathwayAbstract
Rnd3/RhoE is an atypical member of the Rho family of small GTPases, devoid of intrinsic GTP hydrolytic activity and a general modulator of important cellular processes such as migration and proliferation. Here, we show that Rnd3 is a target of the transcription factor SRF and its co-activator MKL1. The MKL1-SRF pathway assures the translation of physical forces into a transcriptional response. Rho GTPases can modulate the activity of this mechanotransduction pathway through actin cytoskeleton regulation, and many MKL1-SRF targets are involved in the regulation of actin. We found that Rnd3 expression is altered by G-actin signaling and sensitive to actin-targeting drugs and MKL1 mutants. We further characterized a consensus SRF binding site in the Rnd3 promoter. We found that MKL1-SRF modulation regulates Rnd3 promoter activity and Rnd3 expression can affect MKL1-SRF pathway activity in return. We demonstrated that this novel MKL1-SRF target is required in mechanosensitive mechanisms such as cell spreading and spheroid formation. Thus, Rnd3 is a MKL1-SRF target that plays a key role in the feedback loop described between the MKL1-SRF pathway and the organization of the actin cytoskeleton.
Improved fatty acid profiles in seeds of Camelina sativa by artificial microRNA mediated FATB gene suppressionAbstract
The fatty acid profile of plant oils determines their quality and uses. Saturated fatty acids are often not desirable from the standpoints of nutrition and some industrial applications. Camelina sativa is a re-emerged oilseed crop, however its oil needs to be improved to meet different application requirements. In this study, saturated fatty acids were greatly reduced by down-regulating genes encoding the fatty acyl-ACP thioesterases (FATB). An artificial microRNA (amiFATB) was created by replacing a microRNA sequence in the camelina Csa-miR159a gene with a FATB gene specific sequence. Seed-specific expression of amiFATB caused a 45% reduction of palmitic acid (16:0) and a 38% reduction of stearic acid (18:0) compared to wildtype seeds. The total saturated fatty acid content was decreased by 35% from 14.6% to 9.4% of total fatty acids. When amiFATB was expressed in a high-oleic acid transgenic line, it caused further increased oleic acid content. This work demonstrates that the FATB genes in camelina can be effectively knocked down by an artificial microRNA targeting gene-specific sequences, thus provides an additional tool to improve seed oils for desired properties.
Mechanical load increase–induced changes in cytoskeletal structure and cellular barrier function in human cerebral endothelial cellsAbstract
Globally, approximately a billion patients are estimated to suffer from neurological disorders. Although there are many therapeutic candidates for the central nervous system, treatment of brain disorders is restricted by the blood–brain barrier (BBB), which is a highly selective membrane that protects the brain from exogenous substances. This study was undertaken to develop a novel strategy to overcome the BBB and improve the efficiency of drug delivery to the brain by mechanical load increase using hypergravity. Human cerebral microvascular endothelial cells were exposed three times to 20 min hypergravity (10g), with a 20-min rest period between each exposure. The applied hypergravity reversibly decreased the cellular metabolic activity and increased the permeation rate of fluorescein sodium salt, fluorescein isothiocyanate–labeled dextran (FD-4), and fluorescein-labeled jacalin. Following the exposure to hypergravity, we also observed structural changes of the cytoskeleton and tight junctions, and an alteration in the expression levels of related genes. These results indicate that increased mechanical load due to the applied hypergravity affects the cytoskeletal arrangement and tight junctions, thereby weakening the cell barrier function and enhancing the permeability of the paracellular pathway. Thus, the mechanical load increase by hypergravity has the potential of being used as a novel strategy to overcome the BBB for brain drug delivery.
The ATP-stimulated translocation promoter (ASTP) activity of glycerol kinase plays central role in adipogenesisAbstract
Glycerol kinase (GK) is a multifunctional enzyme located at the interface of carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It contributes to both central carbon metabolism and adipogenesis; specifically, through its role as the ATP-stimulated translocation promoter (ASTP). GK overexpression leads to increased ASTP activity and increased fat storage in H4IIE cells. We performed metabolic flux analysis in human GK-overexpressing H4IIE cells and found that overexpressing cells had significantly altered fluxes through central carbon and lipid metabolism including increased flux through the pentose phosphate pathway and increased production of lipids. We also observed an equal contribution of glycerol to carbohydrate metabolism in all cell lines, suggesting that GK's alternate functions rather than its enzymatic function are important for these processes. To further elucidate the contributions of the enzymatic (phosphorylation) and alternative (ASTP) functions of GK in adipogenesis, we performed experiments on mammalian GK and E. coli GK. We determined that the ASTP function of GK (which is absent in E. coli GK) plays a greater role than the enzymatic activity in these processes. These studies further emphasize GK's diverse functionality and provides fundamental insights into the multiple protein functions of glycerol kinase.
IL-36 and IL-1/IL-17 Drive Immunity to Oral Candidiasis via Parallel MechanismsAbstract
Protection against microbial infection by the induction of inflammation is a key function of the IL-1 superfamily, including both classical IL-1 and the new IL-36 cytokine families. Candida albicans is a frequent human fungal pathogen causing mucosal infections. Although the initiators and effectors important in protective host responses to C. albicans are well described, the key players in driving these responses remain poorly defined. Recent work has identified a central role played by IL-1 in inducing innate Type-17 immune responses to clear C. albicans infections. Despite this, lack of IL-1 signaling does not result in complete loss of immunity, indicating that there are other factors involved in mediating protection to this fungus. In this study, we identify IL-36 cytokines as a new player in these responses. We show that C. albicans infection of the oral mucosa induces the production of IL-36. As with IL-1α/β, induction of epithelial IL-36 depends on the hypha-associated peptide toxin Candidalysin. Epithelial IL-36 gene expression requires p38-MAPK/c-Fos, NF-κB, and PI3K signaling and is regulated by the MAPK phosphatase MKP1. Oral candidiasis in IL-36R−/− mice shows increased fungal burdens and reduced IL-23 gene expression, indicating a key role played by IL-36 and IL-23 in innate protective responses to this fungus. Strikingly, we observed no impact on gene expression of IL-17 or IL-17–dependent genes, indicating that this protection occurs via an alternative pathway to IL-1–driven immunity. Thus, IL-1 and IL-36 represent parallel epithelial cell–driven protective pathways in immunity to oral C. albicans infection.
Molecular cloning and characterization of a sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) from Y-organs of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus)Abstract
Existing data indicate that a Ca2+ signal stimulates ecdysteroid hormone production by crustacean molting glands (Y-organs). Ca2+ signaling is dependent on a tightly regulated Ca2+ gradient, with intracellular free Ca2+ maintained at a low basal level (typically sub-micromolar). This is achieved through the action of proteins intrinsic to the plasma membrane and the membranes of organelles. One such protein, the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA), pumps Ca2+ from cytosol to the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum. As a step toward understanding Ca2+-mediated regulation of ecdysteroidogenesis, we have begun investigating Ca2+ transport proteins in Y-organs. In studies reported here, we used a PCR-based strategy to clone from Y-organs of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) a cDNA encoding a putative SERCA protein. The cloned Cas-SERCA cDNA (3806 bp) includes a 3057-bp open reading frame that encodes a 1019-residue protein (Cas-SERCA). The conceptually translated protein has a predicted molecular mass of 111.42 × 103 and contains all signature domains of an authentic SERCA, including ten transmembrane domains and a phosphorylation site at aspartate 351. A homology model of Cas-SERCA closely resembles models of related SERCA proteins. Phylogenetic analysis shows Cas-SERCA clusters with SERCA proteins from other arthropods. An assessment of tissue distribution indicates the Cas-SERCA transcript is widely distributed across tissues. Studies using quantitative PCR showed Cas-SERCA transcript abundance increased significantly in Y-organs activated by eyestalk ablation, a pattern consistent with the hypothesis that Cas-SERCA functions to maintain Ca2+ homeostasis in Y-organs.
Accelerated neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells on aligned GYIGSR-functionalized nanofibersAbstract
Substrates for embryonic stem cell culture are typified by poorly defined xenogenic, whole proteins or cellular components that are difficult and expensive to generate, characterize, and recapitulate. Herein, the generation of well-defined scaffolds of Gly-Tyr-Ile-Gly-Ser-Arg (GYIGSR) peptide-functionalized poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) aligned nanofibers are used to accelerate the neural lineage commitment and differentiation of D3 mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Gene expression trends and immunocytochemistry analysis were similar to laminin-coated glass, and indicated an earlier differentiation progression than D3 mESCs on laminin. Further, GYIGSR-functionalized nanofiber substrates yielded an increased gene expression of Sox1, a neural progenitor cell marker, and Tubb3, Cdh2, Syp, neuronal cell markers, at early time points. In addition, guidance of neurites was found to parallel the fiber direction. We demonstrate the fabrication of a well-defined, xeno-free functional nanofiber scaffold and demonstrates its use as a surrogate for xenogenic and complex matrixes currently used for the neural differentiation of stem cells ex vivo.
Statement of Significance
In this paper, we report the use of GYIGSR-functionalized poly(ε-caprolactone) aligned nanofibers as a tool to accelerate the neural lineage commitment and differentiation of D3 mouse embryonic stem cells. The results indicate that functional nanofiber substrates promote faster differentiation than laminin coated substrates. The data suggest that aligned nanofibers and post-electrospinning surface modification with bioactive species can be combined to produce translationally relevant xeno-free substrates for stem cell therapy. Future development efforts are focused on additional bioactive species that are able to function as surrogates for other xenogenic factors found in differentiation media.
Leaderless mRNAs are circularized in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mitochondriaAbstract
The mitochondrial genome of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii encodes eight protein coding genes transcribed on two polycistronic primary transcripts. The mRNAs are endonucleolytically cleaved from these transcripts directly upstream of their AUG start codons, creating leaderless mRNAs with 3′ untranslated regions (UTR) comprised of most or all of their downstream intergenic regions. In this report, we provide evidence that these processed linear mRNAs are circularized, which places the 3′ UTR upstream of the 5′ start codon, creating a leader sequence ex post facto. The circular mRNAs were found to be ribosome associate by polysome profiling experiments suggesting they are translated. Sequencing of the 3′–5′ junctions of the circularized mRNAs found the intra-molecular ligations occurred between fully processed 5′ ends (the start AUG) and a variable 3′ terminus. For five genes (cob, cox, nd2, nd4, and nd6), some of the 3′ ends maintained an oligonucleotide addition during ligation, and for two of them, cob and nd6, these 3′ termini were the most commonly recovered sequence. Previous reports have shown that after cleavage, three untemplated oligonucleotide additions may occur on the 3′ termini of these mRNAs—adenylation, uridylylation, or cytidylation. These results suggest oligo(U) and oligo(C) additions may be part of the maturation process since they are maintained in the circular mRNAs. Circular RNAs occur in organisms across the biological spectrum, but their purpose in some systems, such as organelles (mitochondria and chloroplasts) is unclear. We hypothesize, that in C. reinhardtii mitochondria it may create a leader sequence to facilitate translation initiation, which may negate the need for an alternative translation initiation mechanism in this system, as previously speculated. In addition, circularization may play a protective role against exonucleases, and/or increase translational productivity.
The Yeast Three-Hybrid System for Screening RNA-Binding Proteins in PlantsAbstract
Yeast-hybrid methods have been successfully applied for screening interacting partners of DNAs or proteins. A yeast-based method, the yeast three-hybrid system, using a chimeric protein of a DNA-binding domain (LexA or GAL4BD) with a protein (MS2 coat protein or HIV Rev. M10) having a hybrid RNA at the 3′ end of a target RNA sequence, has been developed for screening RNA-binding proteins. When the target RNA interacts with RNA-binding proteins fused with an activation domain (AD), yeast cells having all the interacting components can survive on selection media, and interacting reporters, HIS3 and LacZ, are activated. Based on this selection, interaction can be easily monitored and detected by simple biochemical assays. The in vivo screening strategy has been widely applied for characterizing and evaluating specific interactions between target RNAs and RNA-binding proteins. Here, we describe a library screening strategy for isolating RNA-binding proteins of select target RNAs using the yeast three-hybrid method. We also describe strategies to verify binding specificity using both a yeast-dependent reporter system and a yeast-independent method, in vivo RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP).
PAK1 regulates ATXN1 levels providing an opportunity to modify its toxicity in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1Abstract
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is caused by the expansion of a trinucleotide repeat that encodes a polyglutamine tract in ataxin-1 (ATXN1). The expanded polyglutamine in ATXN1 increases the protein’s stability and results in its accumulation and toxicity. Previous studies have demonstrated that decreasing ATXN1 levels ameliorates SCA1 phenotypes and pathology in mouse models. We rationalized that reducing ATXN1 levels through pharmacological inhibition of its modulators could provide a therapeutic avenue for SCA1. Here, through a forward genetic screen in Drosophila we identified, p21-activated kinase 3 (Pak3) as a modulator of ATXN1 levels. Loss-of-function of fly Pak3 or Pak1, whose mammalian homologs belong to Group I of PAK proteins, reduces ATXN1 levels, and accordingly, improves disease pathology in a Drosophila model of SCA1. Knockdown of PAK1 potently reduces ATXN1 levels in mammalian cells independent of the well-characterized S776 phosphorylation site (known to stabilize ATXN1) thus revealing a novel molecular pathway that regulates ATXN1 levels. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of PAKs decreases ATXN1 levels in a mouse model of SCA1. To explore the potential of using PAK inhibitors in combination therapy, we combined the pharmacological inhibition of PAK with MSK1, a previously identified modulator of ATXN1, and examined their effects on ATXN1 levels. We found that inhibition of both pathways results in an additive decrease in ATXN1 levels. Together, this study identifies PAK signaling as a distinct molecular pathway that regulates ATXN1 levels and presents a promising opportunity to pursue for developing potential therapeutics for SCA1.
The distribution and detection of grapevine red blotch virus in its host depends on time of sampling and tissue typeAbstract
Grapevine red blotch virus (GRBV) is the causal agent of grapevine red blotch, an emerging disease that affects cultivated grapevine such as Vitis vinifera. The ability to detect viruses in grapevine is often hindered by low virus titers compounded by a variable distribution in the plant and seasonal variations. In order to examine these two variables in relation to GRBV, we developed a quantitative qPCR method that incorporates both internal and external references to enhance assay robustness. In greenhouse-grown vines infected with GRBV, qPCR identified highest virus titers in the petioles of fully expanded leaves and significantly reduced levels of virus in the shoot extremities. In vineyard-grown vines infected with GRBV, the virus titer in July and October 2016 followed a similar pattern to that found for the greenhouse-grown plants, but most strikingly close to half (44%) of the samples analyzed in June 2015 tested negative for infection. The technique presented and results obtained highlight the variability of virus distribution in its host and provide a useful guide for selecting the best tissues for optimal GRBV diagnosis.
Porcine circovirus 2 infection induces IFNβ expression through increased expression of genes involved in RIG-I and IRF7 signaling pathwaysAbstract
Porcine circovirus-associated disease (PCVAD), caused by porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2), is characterized by a highly variable pathogenesis that is manifested by various disease syndromes and includes immune evasion. Hence, even though PCVAD is effectively controlled by vaccination, pigs and farms remain infected so that continued vaccination is necessary to control disease. We investigated the molecular interactions of PCV2 and its permissive VR1BL host cell for gene expression signatures that could provide insight into mechanisms leading towards disease. Molecular pathways involved in the innate immune response to PCV2 infection were examined to identify changes in gene expression associated with productive infection of VR1BL cells. RNA profiling from infected and uninfected cells showed that 139 genes were induced by infection and 43 genes were down-regulated, using a p value <0.05 and an absolute fold-change difference>2. A strong type 1 interferon response, including an increase in genes involved in the RIG-I/MDA5 pathway and downstream interferon induced genes, was observed. Key regulators involved in PCV2 infection were identified as IFNβ, DDX58 (RIG-I), and IRF7. PCV2 infection induces a strong interferon response which unexpectedly facilitates viral gene expression, perhaps due to the presence of an interferon-sensitive response element in the viral promoter. The findings suggest that PCV2 interventions that attenuate type 1 interferon responses at the cellular level might enhance immunity and eliminate persistent infection.
Molecular network, pathway, and functional analysis of time-dependent gene changes related to cathepsin G exposure in neonatal rat cardiomyocytesAbstract
The molecular pathways activated in response to acute cathepsin G (CG) exposure, as well as the mechanisms involved in activation of signaling pathways that culminate in myocyte detachment and apoptosis remain unclear. This study aimed to determine the changes in gene expression patterns associated with time dependent CG exposure to neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCMs). Microarray analysis revealed a total of 451, 572 and 1127 differentially expressed genes after CG exposure at 1, 4 and 8 h respectively. A total of 54 overlapped genes at each time point were mapped by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). The top up-regulated genes included Hamp, SMAD6, NR4A1, FOSL2, ID3 and SLAMF7, and down-regulated genes included CYR61, GDF6, Olr640, Vom2r36, DUSP6 and MMP20. Our data suggest that there are multiple deregulated pathways associated with cardiomyocyte death after CG exposure, including JAK/Stat signaling, IL-9 signaling and Nur77 signaling. In addition, we also generated the molecular network of expressed gene and found most of the molecules were connected to ERK1/2, caspase, BCR (complex) and Cyclins. Our study reveals the ability to assess time-dependent changes in gene expression patterns in NRCMs associated with CG exposure. The global gene expression profiles may provide insight into the cellular mechanism that regulates CG dependent myocyte apoptosis. In future, the pathways important in CG response, as well as the genes found to be differentially expressed might represent the therapeutic targets for myocyte survival in heart failure.
Treatment of limb wounds of horses with orf virus IL-10 and VEGF-E accelerates resolution of exuberant granulation tissue, but does not prevent its developmentAbstract
Bandaging of limb wounds in horses leads to formation of exuberant granulation tissue (EGT) that retards healing due to protracted inflammation, aberrant vascularisation and delayed epithelialisation. EGT is not observed if wounds are left undressed or when wounds are on the body. A previous study showed that short-term administration of proteins derived from orf virus dampened inflammation and promoted epithelialisation of open wounds in horses. Here, we investigated the impact of orf virus interleukin-10 and vascular endothelial growth factor-E on the development and resolution of EGT. Excisional wounds were created on the forelimb of four horses, and bandages were maintained until full healing to induce EGT formation. Matching body wounds were created to ensure EGT was limited to the limb, and to differentiate the effects of the viral proteins on normal healing and on EGT formation. Viral proteins or the hydrogel vehicle control were administered topically to site-matched wounds at day 1, with repeat administration at day 8. Wound healing and EGT formation were monitored macroscopically. Wound margin samples were harvested at 2, 7 and 14 days, and at full healing, with histology used to observe epithelialisation, immunofluorescence used to detect inflammatory cells, angiogenesis and cell death, and qPCR to measure expression of genes regulating inflammation and angiogenesis. Limb wounds developed EGT, and exhibited slower healing than body wounds. Viral protein treatment did not accelerate healing at either location nor limit EGT formation in limb wounds. Treatment of limb wounds did however increase epithelialisation and angiogenesis, without dampening inflammatory cell infiltration or gene expression. The healed wounds also had less occlusion and death of blood vessels and fewer epidermal rete ridges following viral protein treatment. These findings indicate that the viral protein treatment does not suppress wound inflammation or EGT formation, but does promote vascular and epidermal repair and EGT resolution.
Association of residual feed intake with abundance of ruminal bacteria and biopolymer hydrolyzing enzyme activities during the peripartal period and early lactation in Holstein dairy cowsAbstract
Residual feed intake (RFI) in dairy cattle typically calculated at peak lactation is a measure of feed efficiency independent of milk production level. The objective of this study was to evaluate differences in ruminal bacteria, biopolymer hydrolyzing enzyme activities, and overall performance between the most- and the least-efficient dairy cows during the peripartal period. Twenty multiparous Holstein dairy cows with daily ad libitum access to a total mixed ration from d − 10 to d 60 relative to the calving date were used. Cows were classified into most-efficient (i.e. with low RFI, n = 10) and least-efficient (i.e. with high RFI, n = 10) based on a linear regression model involving dry matter intake (DMI), fat-corrected milk (FCM), changes in body weight (BW), and metabolic BW.
Different adaptive strategies in E. coli populations evolving under macronutrient limitation and metal ion limitationAbstract
Adaptive responses to nutrient limitation involve mutations that increase the efficiency of usage or uptake of the limiting nutrient. However, starvation of different nutrients has contrasting effects on physiology, resulting in different evolutionary responses. Most studies performed to understand these evolutionary responses have focused only on macronutrient limitation. Hence our understanding of adaptation under limitation of other forms of nutrients is limited. In this study, we compared the evolutionary response in populations evolving under growth-limiting conditions for a macronutrient and a major cation.
Cocoa procyanidins modulate transcriptional pathways linked to inflammation and metabolism in human dendritic cellsAbstract
Foods rich in polyphenols such as procyanidins (PC) have been proposed to have anti-inflammatory properties, and we have previously reported inhibition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory cytokine secretion in human dendritic cells (DCs) by PC derived from cocoa. To explore the mechanistic basis of this inhibition, here we conducted transcriptomic analysis on DCs cultured with either LPS or LPS combined with oligomeric cocoa PC. Procyanidins suppressed a number of genes encoding cytokines and chemokines such as CXCL1, but also genes involved in the cGMP pathway such as GUCY1A3 (encoding guanylate cyclase soluble subunit alpha-3). Upregulated genes were involved in diverse metabolic pathways, but notably two of the four most upregulated genes (NMB, encoding neuromedin B and ADCY3, encoding adenyl cyclase type 3) were involved in the cAMP signalling pathway. Gene-set enrichment analysis demonstrated that upregulated gene pathways were primarily involved in nutrient transport, carbohydrate metabolism and lysosome function, whereas down-regulated gene pathways involved cell cycle, signal transduction and gene transcription, as well as immune function. qPCR analysis verified differential expression of GUCY1A3, ADCY3, NMB as well as a number of other genes, and marked suppression of LPS-induced CXCL1 and IL-23 protein secretion was also observed. Thus, our results confirm a marked anti-inflammatory effect of PC in human DCs, which may be related mechanistically to second-messenger function and metabolic activity. Our results provide a foundation to further investigate metabolic pathways altered by PC during intestinal inflammation, and further encourage investigation of the health-promoting potential of PC-rich functional foods.
The Phenotypic Effects of Exosomes Secreted from Distinct Cellular Sources: a Comparative Study Based on miRNA CompositionAbstract
Exosomes are nano-sized vesicles composed of lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Their molecular landscape is diverse, and exosomes derived from different cell types have distinct biological activities. Since exosomes are now being utilized as delivery vehicles for exogenous therapeutic cargoes, their intrinsic properties and biological effects must be understood. We performed miRNA profiling and found substantial differences in the miRNA landscape of prostate cancer (PC3) and human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 exosomes with little correlation in abundance of common miRNAs (R2 = 0.16). Using a systems-level bioinformatics approach, the most abundant miRNAs in PC3 exosomes but not HEK exosomes were predicted to significantly modulate integrin signaling, with integrin-β3 loss inducing macrophage M2 polarization. PC3 but not HEK exosomes downregulated integrin-β3 expression levels by 70%. There was a dose-dependent polarization of RAW 264.7 macrophages toward an M2 phenotype when treated with PC3-derived exosomes but not HEK-derived exosomes. Conversely, HEK exosomes, widely utilized as delivery vehicles, were predicted to target cadherin signaling, with experimental validation showing a significant increase in the migratory potential of MCF7 breast cancer cells treated with HEK exosomes. Even widely utilized exosomes are unlikely to be inert, and their intrinsic activity ought to be assessed before therapeutic deployment.
Characterization of Chlamydial Rho and the Role of Rho-Mediated Transcriptional Polarity during Interferon-gamma-mediated Tryptophan LimitationAbstract
As an obligate intracellular, developmentally regulated bacterium, Chlamydia is sensitive to amino acid fluctuations within its host cell. When human epithelial cells are treated with the cytokine interferon-γ (IFNγ), the tryptophan (trp)-degrading enzyme, indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase, is induced. Chlamydiae within such cells are starved for trp and enter a state of so-called persistence. Chlamydia lacks the stringent response used by many eubacteria to respond to this stress. Unusually, chlamydial transcription is globally elevated during trp starvation with transcripts for trp-codon containing genes disproportionately increased. Yet, the presence of trp codons destabilized 3′ ends of transcripts in operons or large genes. We initially hypothesized that ribosome stalling on trp codons rendered the 3′ ends sensitive to ribonuclease activity. The half-life of chlamydial transcripts containing different numbers of trp codons was thus measured in untreated and IFNγ-treated infected cells to determine whether trp codons influenced the stability of transcripts. However, no effect of trp codon content was detected. Therefore, we investigated whether Rho-dependent transcription termination could play a role in mediating transcript instability. Rho is expressed as a mid-cycle gene product, interacts with itself as predicted, and is present in all chlamydial species. Inhibition of Rho via the Rho-specific antibiotic, bicyclomycin, as well as overexpression of Rho are detrimental to chlamydiae. Finally, when we measured transcript abundance 3′ to trp codons in the presence of bicyclomycin, we observed that transcript abundance increased. These data are the first to demonstrate the importance of Rho in Chlamydia and the role of Rho-dependent transcription polarity during persistence.
The influence of oxygen and methane on nitrogen fixation in subarcticAbstract
Biological nitrogen fixation is an important source of bioavailable nitrogen in Sphagnum dominated peatlands. Sphagnum mosses harbor a diverse microbiome including nitrogen-fixing and methane (CH4) oxidizing bacteria. The inhibitory effect of oxygen on microbial nitrogen fixation is documented for many bacteria. However, the role of nitrogen-fixing methanotrophs in nitrogen supply to Sphagnum peat mosses is not well explored. Here, we investigated the role of both oxygen and methane on nitrogen fixation in subarctic Sphagnum peat mosses. Five species of Sphagnum mosses were sampled from two mesotrophic and three oligotrophic sites within the Lakkasuo peatland in Orivesi, central Finland. Mosses were incubated under either ambient or low oxygen conditions in the presence or absence of methane. Stable isotope activity assays revealed considerable nitrogen-fixing and methane-assimilating rates at all sites (1.4 ± 0.2 µmol 15N–N2 g−1 DW day−1 and 12.0 ± 1.1 µmol 13C–CH4 g−1 DW day−1, respectively). Addition of methane did not stimulate incorporation of 15N-nitrogen into biomass, whereas oxygen depletion increased the activity of the nitrogen-fixing community. Analysis of the 16S rRNA genes at the bacterial community level showed a very diverse microbiome that was dominated by Alphaproteobacteria in all sites. Bona fide methane-oxidizing taxa were not very abundant (relative abundance less than 0.1%). Based on our results we conclude that methanotrophs did not contribute significantly to nitrogen fixation in the investigated peatlands.
Orsay δ protein is required for non-lytic viral egressAbstract
Non-enveloped gastrointestinal viruses such as human rotavirus can exit infected cells from the apical surface without cell lysis. The mechanism of such non-lytic exit is poorly understood. The non-enveloped Orsay virus is an RNA virus infecting the intestine cells of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Dye staining results suggested that Orsay exits from the intestine of infected worms in a non-lytic manner. Therefore, the Orsay-C. elegans system provides an excellent in vivo model to study viral exit. The Orsay genome encodes three proteins: RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, capsid protein (CP), and a nonstructural protein δ. δ can also be expressed as a structural CP-δ fusion. We generated an ATG-to-CTG mutant virus that had normal CP-δ fusion but could not produce free δ due to lack of the start codon. This mutant virus showed a viral exit defect without obvious phenotypes in other steps of viral infection, suggesting that δ is involved in viral exit. Ectopically expressed free δ localized near the apical membrane of intestine cells in C. elegans and co-localized with ACT-5, an intestine-specific actin that is a component of the terminal web. Orsay infection rearranged ACT-5 apical localization. Reduction of ACT-5 level via RNAi significantly exacerbated the viral exit defect of the δ mutant virus, suggesting that δ and ACT-5 functionally interact to promote Orsay exit. Together, these data support a model that the viral δ protein interacts with the actin network at the apical side of host intestine cells to mediate polarized, non-lytic egress of the Orsay virus.
Importance An important step of the viral life cycle is how viruses exit from host cells to spread to other cells. Certain non-enveloped viruses can exit cultured cells in non-lytic ways, however, such non-lytic exit has not been demonstrated in vivo. In addition, it is not clear how such non-lytic exit is achieved mechanistically in vivo. Orsay is a non-enveloped RNA virus that infects the intestine cells of the nematode C. elegans. It is currently the only virus known to naturally infect C. elegans. Using this in vivo model, we show that the δ protein encoded by Orsay facilitates the non-lytic exit of the virus, possibly by interacting with host actin on the apical side of the worm intestine cells.
The Alternative NF-κB Pathway in Regulatory T Cell Homeostasis and Suppressive FunctionAbstract
CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) are essential regulators of immune responses. Perturbation of Treg homeostasis or function can lead to uncontrolled inflammation and autoimmunity. Therefore, understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in Treg biology remains an active area of investigation. It has been shown previously that the NF-κB family of transcription factors, in particular, the canonical pathway subunits, c-Rel and p65, are crucial for the development, maintenance, and function of Tregs. However, the role of the alternative NF-κB pathway components, p100 and RelB, in Treg biology remains unclear. In this article, we show that conditional deletion of the p100 gene, nfkb2, in Tregs, resulted in massive inflammation because of impaired suppressive function of nfkb2-deficient Tregs. Surprisingly, mice lacking RelB in Tregs did not exhibit the same phenotype. Instead, deletion of both relb and nfkb2 rescued the inflammatory phenotype, demonstrating an essential role for p100 as an inhibitor of RelB in Tregs. Our data therefore illustrate a new role for the alternative NF-κB signaling pathway in Tregs that has implications for the understanding of molecular pathways driving tolerance and immunity.
LasΔ5315 Effector Induces Extreme Starch Accumulation and Chlorosis as Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus Infection in Nicotiana benthamianaAbstract
Huanglongbing (HLB), a destructive plant bacterial disease, severely impedes worldwide citrus production. HLB is associated with a phloem-limited α-proteobacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las). Las infection causes yellow shoots and blotchy mottle on leaves and is associated with excessive starch accumulation. However, the mechanisms underlying the starch accumulation remain unknown. We previously showed that the Las5315mp effector induced callose deposition and cell death in Nicotiana benthamiana. In this study, we demonstrated that Las can experimentally infect N. benthamiana via dodder transmission. Furthermore, we revealed another key function of the Las5315 effector by demonstrating that transient expression of the truncated form of the effector, LasΔ5315, induced excessive starch accumulation by 6 fold after 8 dpi in N. benthamiana after removal of the chloroplast transit peptide from the Las5315mp. The induction mechanisms of LasΔ5315 in N. benthamiana were attributed to the up-regulation of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, granule-bound starch synthase, soluble starch synthase, and starch branching enzyme for increasing starch production, and to the significant down-regulation of the starch degradation enzymes: alpha-glucosidase, alpha-amylase, and glycosyl hydrolase for decreasing starch degradation. This is the first report that Las can infect the model plant N. benthamiana. Using this model plant, we demonstrated that the LasΔ5315 effector caused the most prominent HLB symptoms, starch accumulation and chlorosis as Las infection in N. benthamiana. Altogether the Las 5315 effector is critical for Las pathogenesis, and therefore, an important target for interference.
Development-related aberrations in Kv1.1 α-subunit exert disruptive effects on bioelectrical activities of neurons in a mouse model of fragile X syndromeAbstract
Kv1.1, a Shaker homologue potassium channel, plays a critical role in homeostatic regulation of neuronal excitability. Aberrations in the functional properties of Kv1.1 have been implicated in several neurological disorders featured by neuronal hyperexcitability. Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common form of inherited mental retardation, is characterized by hyperexcitability in neural network and intrinsic membrane properties. The Kv1.1 channel provides an intriguing mechanistic candidate for FXS. We investigated the development-related expression pattern of the Kv1.1 α-subunit by using a Fmr1 knockout (KO) mouse model of FXS. Markedly decreased protein expression of Kv1.1 was found in neonatal and adult stages when compared to age-matched wild-type (WT) mice. Immunohistochemical investigations supported the delayed development-related increases in Kv1.1 expression, especially in CA3 pyramidal neurons. By applying a Kv1.1-specific blocker, dendrotoxin-κ (DTX-κ), we isolated the Kv1.1-mediated currents in the CA3 pyramidal neurons. The isolated DTX-κ-sensitive current of neurons from KO mice exhibited decreased amplitude, lower threshold of activation, and faster recovery from inactivation. The equivalent reduction in potassium current in the WT neurons following application of the appropriate amount of DTX-κ reproduced the enhanced firing abilities of KO neurons, suggesting the Kv1.1 channel as a critical contributor to the hyperexcitability of KO neurons. The role of Kv1.1 in controlling neuronal discharges was further supported by the parallel developmental trajectories of Kv1.1 expression, current amplitude, and discharge impacts, with a significant correlation between the amplitude of Kv1.1-mediated currents and Kv1.1-blocking-induced firing enhancement. These data suggest that the expression of the Kv1.1 α-subunit has a profound pathological relevance to hyperexcitability in FXS, as well as implications for normal development, maintenance, and control of neuronal activities.
The effects of feeding mixed tocopherol oil on whole-blood respiratory burst and neutrophil immunometabolic-related gene expression in lactating dairy cowsAbstract
The 4 major tocopherol isoforms differ in their biochemical reactivity and cellular effects due to basic chemical structural differences. Alpha-tocopherol has been well studied regarding effects on bovine polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) function and its involvement in respiratory burst. However, no studies to date have identified the effects of supplementing a mixed tocopherol oil (Tmix) particularly enriched in non-α tocopherol isoforms (i.e., γ- and δ-isoforms) on fundamental immunometabolic changes in dairy cows. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine whether short-term feeding of vegetable oil–derived Tmix alters specific biomarkers of metabolism, whole-blood leukocyte populations, respiratory burst, immunometabolic-related gene expression of PMN, or gene expression of isolated PMN when challenged with lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Clinically healthy multiparous lactating Holstein cows (n = 12; 179 ± 17 d in milk, 40.65 ± 3.68 kg of milk yield) were fed Tmix (620 g/d) for 7 consecutive days. Jugular blood (EDTA anticoagulant) was collected from all cows on d 0 before treatment initiation and again on d 7 after Tmix feeding. Total stimulated respiratory burst activity (RBA) and leukocyte populations were assessed in whole blood, and tocopherol isoform concentrations, metabolites, and hormones were measured in plasma. For gene expression analysis, isolated PMN from cows before and after Tmix feeding were incubated with LPS at a final concentration of either 0.0 or 1.5 µg/mL. Feeding of Tmix for 7 d increased the concentrations of α- and γ-tocopherol. The Tmix did not alter plasma insulin but decreased cholesterol. The Tmix did not alter whole-blood RBA or the leukocyte populations. The LPS challenge increased the expression of proinflammatory genes TNFA and IL6. However, Tmix treatment did not alter the patterns of LPS-affected expression of genes (e.g., TNFA, ITGB2, PPARA, and RXRA) associated with the immune or metabolic response. In conclusion, short-term feeding of Tmix may have no negative effect on animal health as Tmix increased α- and γ-tocopherol concentrations in blood and did not impair whole-blood RBA or alter leukocyte populations. The data provide further support that the α- and γ-tocopherol isoforms do not interfere with normal immune or metabolic function.
Na+/H+ Exchanger Isoform 1-Induced Osteopontin Expression Facilitates Cardiac Hypertrophy Through p90 Ribosomal S6 KinaseAbstract
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. One in three cases of heart failure is due to dilated cardiomyopathy. The Na+/H+ exchanger isoform 1 (NHE1), a multifunctional protein and the key pH regulator in the heart, has been demonstrated to be increased in this condition. We have previously demonstrated that elevated NHE1 activity induced cardiac hypertrophy in vivo. Furthermore, the overexpression of active NHE1 elicited modulation of gene expression in cardiomyocytes including an upregulation of myocardial osteopontin (OPN) expression. To determine the role of OPN in inducing NHE1 mediated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, a double transgenic mouse expressing active NHE1 and OPN knock-out were generated and assessed by echocardiography and the cardiac phenotype. Our studies showed that hearts expressing active NHE1 exhibited cardiac remodeling indicated by increased systolic and diastolic left ventricular internal diameter and increased ventricular volume. Moreover, these hearts demonstrated impaired function with decreased fractional shortening and ejection fraction. Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) mRNA was upregulated, and there was an increase in heart cell cross sectional area confirming the cardiac hypertrophic effect. Moreover, NHE1 transgenic mice also showed increased collagen deposition, upregulation of CD44 and phosphorylation of p90 ribosomal s6 kinase (RSK), effects that were regressed in OPN knock-out mice. In conclusion, we developed an interesting comparative model of active NHE1 transgenic mouse lines which express a dilated hypertrophic phenotype expressing CD44 and phosphorylated RSK, effects which are regressed in absence of OPN.
Inhibition of tomato fruit ripening by 1-MCP, wortmannin and hexanal is associated with a decrease in transcript levels of phospholipase D and other ripening related genesAbstract
Membrane deterioration is an inherent aspect of the advancement in senescence and loss in fruit quality during storage. Postharvest technologies used for extending shelf life and quality are targeted to reduce membrane damage through downregulating or blocking ethylene action. In this study, mature green tomato fruit were treated with inhibitors of ethylene receptor (ETR), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and phospholipase D (PLD), all recognized to be targets of regulation of fruit ripening. The inhibitors used included 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP, an ethylene receptor blocker), wortmannin (an inhibitor of PI3K), and hexanal (a PLD inhibitor). Fruit were treated at optimal levels of the inhibitors and were stored at 21 °C for 10 days. Color development was strongly delayed in wortmannin treated tomatoes just as in 1-MCP treated fruit; while, changes in respiration, firmness and ethylene evolution were very similar to that of control fruit. Hexanal delayed the initiation of these changes; while 1-MCP and wortmannin blocked the ripening process. Changes in expression levels of key genes involved in ethylene signalling, phosphoinositide metabolism, and lycopene synthesis that occurred in response to inhibitors, suggested potential roles for PI3K and PLD in ethylene signalling. Furthermore, fruit treated with all the three inhibitors showed a marked reduction in PLD transcript levels; suggesting that, regulation of PLD gene expression is a common critical regulatory point that regulates ripening. Lowered PLD levels may reduce membrane lipid catabolism and the generation of phosphatidic acid (PA), an intermediate in ethylene signalling regulation through downstream components.
Inhibition of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) signaling rescues renal anemiaAbstract
Severe anemia and iron deficiency are common complications in chronic kidney disease. The cause of renal anemia is multifactorial and includes decreased erythropoietin (Epo) production, iron deficiency, and inflammation, and it is currently treated with injections of synthetic Epo. However, the use of recombinant Epo has several adverse effects. We previously reported that high fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) levels in mice are associated with decreased red blood cell production, whereas genetic inactivation of Fgf23 results in expansion of the erythroid lineage. The present study is the first to show that high FGF23 levels in a mouse model of renal failure contribute to renal anemia, and inhibiting FGF23 signaling stimulates erythropoiesis and abolishes anemia and iron deficiency. Moreover, we show that inhibition of FGF23 signaling significantly decreases erythroid cell apoptosis and influences the commitment of hematopoietic stem cells toward the erythroid linage. Furthermore, we show that blocking FGF23 signaling attenuates inflammation, resulting in increased serum iron and ferritin levels. Our data clearly demonstrate that elevated FGF23 is a causative factor in the development of renal anemia and iron deficiency, and importantly, blocking FGF23 signaling represents a novel approach to stimulate erythropoiesis and possibly improve survival for millions of chronic kidney disease patients worldwide.—Agoro, R., Montagna, A., Goetz, R., Aligbe, O., Singh, G., Coe, L. M., Mohammadi, M., Rivella, S., Sitara, D. Inhibition of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) signaling rescues renal anemia.
Blood Glutamate Scavenger as a novel neuroprotective treatment in spinal cord injuryAbstract
Neurotrauma causes immediate elevation of extracellular glutamate levels, which creates excitotoxicity and facilitates inflammation, glial scar formation and consequently neuronal death. Finding factors that reduce the inflammatory response, glial scar formation and increase neuronal survival and neurite outgrowth, are of major importance for improving the outcome after spinal cord injury (SCI). In the present study, we evaluated a new treatment aiming to remove CNS glutamate into the systemic blood circulation by intravenous administration of blood glutamate scavengers (BGS) such as recombinant enzyme glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase (rGOT1) and its co-substrate. In this study we induced in mice a spinal cord injury (hemisection), and one-hour post injury started administering BGS treatment for five consecutive days. The treatment reduced the expression levels of p-p38, which regulates apoptosis and increased the expression of p-Akt, which mediates cell survival. Moreover, this treatment decreased pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and microglia activation, reduced astrocytes’ reactivity and facilitated expression of radial glia markers such as Pax6 and nestin. BGS treatment increased the survival of neurons at lesion site and enabled axonal regeneration into the injury site. These effects were correlated with improved functional recovery of the left paretic hindlimb. Thus, early pharmacological intervention with BGS following SCI may be neuroprotective and create a pro-regenerative environment by modulating glia cell response. In light of our results, the availability of the method to remove excess glutamate from CNS without the need to deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and with minimal or no adverse effects may provide a major therapeutic asset.
Safety Analysis of Leishmania Vaccine Used in a Randomized Canine Vaccine/Immunotherapy TrialAbstract
In Leishmania infantum–endemic countries, controlling infection within dogs, the domestic reservoir, is critical to public health. There is a need for safe vaccines that prevent canine progression with disease and transmission to others. Protective vaccination against Leishmania requires mounting a strong, inflammatory, Type 1 response. Three commercially available canine vaccines on the global veterinary market use saponin or inflammatory antigen components (Letifend) as a strong pro-inflammatory adjuvant. There is very little information detailing safety of saponin as an adjuvant in field trials. Safety analyses for the use of vaccine as an immunotherapeutic in asymptomatically infected animals are completely lacking. Leishmania infantum, the causative agent of canine leishmaniasis, is enzootic within U.S. hunting hounds. We assessed the safety of LeishTec® after use in dogs from two different clinical states: 1) without clinical signs and tested negative on polymerase chain reaction and serology or 2) without clinical signs and positive for at least one Leishmania diagnostic test. Vaccine safety was assessed after all three vaccinations to quantify the number and severity of adverse events. Vaccinated animals had an adverse event rate of 3.09%, whereas placebo animals had 0.68%. Receiving vaccine was correlated with the occurrence of mild, site-specific, reactions. Occurrence of severe adverse events was not associated with having received vaccine. Infected, asymptomatic animals did not have a higher rate of adverse events. Use of vaccination is, therefore, likely to be safe in infected, asymptomatic animals.
Altered DNA methylation is associated with aberrant gene expression in parenchymal but not airway fibroblasts isolated from individuals with COPDAbstract
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous disease of the lungs that is currently the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. Genetic factors account for only a small amount of COPD risk, but epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, have the potential to mediate the interactions between an individual’s genetics and environmental exposure. DNA methylation is highly cell type-specific, and individual cell type studies of DNA methylation in COPD are sparse. Fibroblasts are present within the airway and parenchyma of the lung and contribute to the aberrant deposition of extracellular matrix in COPD. No assessment or comparison of genome-wide DNA methylation profiles in the airway and parenchymal fibroblasts from individuals with and without COPD has been undertaken. These data provide valuable insight into the molecular mechanisms contributing to COPD and the differing pathologies of small airways disease and emphysema in COPD.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in seaside sparrows (Ammodramus maritimus) following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spillAbstract
The seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus) is an abundant and permanent resident of coastal salt marshes impacted by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Such terrestrial species are often overlooked in the aftermath of marine spills, despite the potential for long-term oil exposure. We sampled the livers of seaside sparrows residing in oiled and unoiled sites from 2011 to 2014 and quantified expression of cytochrome p450 1A (CYP1A), a gene involved in the metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In August 2011, CYP1A expression was markedly higher in birds from an oiled site compared to an unoiled site, but differences had disappeared by June 2012. In June 2013, CYP1A expression was elevated compared to 2012 levels on all sites, including those collected from sites that had not been directly oiled during the spill. This rise in CYP1A expression was possibly due to Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall near our sites between the 2012 and 2013 sampling periods. CYP1A expression was significantly attenuated again in June 2014. We also collected sediment samples from the same marshes for a total concentration analysis of PAHs. The PAH concentrations in sediment samples exhibited a similar pattern to the CYP1A data, supporting the link between marsh PAHs and bird CYP1A expression. These results indicate that contamination from marine oil spills can immediately extend to terrestrial ecosystems, and that storms, weather, or other factors may influence subsequent spatial and temporal oil exposure for several additional years.
Steroid Receptor Coactivator-1 Knockdown Decreases Synaptic Plasticity and Impairs Spatial Memory in the Hippocampus of MiceAbstract
Steroids have been demonstrated to play profound roles in the regulation of hippocampal function by acting on their receptors, which need coactivators for their transcriptional activities. Previous studies have shown that steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1) is the predominant coactivator in the hippocampus, but its exact role and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we constructed SRC-1 RNA interference (RNAi) lentiviruses, injected them into the hippocampus of male mice, and then examined the changes in the expression of selected synaptic proteins, CA1 synapse density, postsynaptic density (PSD) thickness, and in vivo long-term potentiation (LTP). Spatial learning and memory behavior changes were investigated using the Morris water maze. We then transfected the lentiviruses into cultured hippocampal cells and examined the changes in synaptic protein and phospho-cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (pCREB) expression. The in vivo results showed that SRC-1 knockdown significantly decreased the expression of synaptic proteins and CA1 synapse density as well as PSD thickness; SRC-1 knockdown also significantly impaired in vivo LTP and disrupted spatial learning and memory. The in vitro results showed that while the expression of synaptic proteins was significantly decreased by SRC-1 knockdown, pCREB expression was also significantly decreased. The above results suggest a pivotal role of SRC-1 in the regulation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity and spatial learning and memory, strongly indicating SRC-1 may serve as a novel therapeutic target for hippocampus-dependent memory disorders.
Inhibition of pMAPK14 Overcomes Resistance to Sorafenib in Hepatoma Cells with Hepatitis B VirusAbstract
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) targets the liver and is a major driver for liver cancer. Clinical data suggest that HBV infection is associated with reduced response to treatment with the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib, the first available molecularly targeted anti-hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) drug. Given that Raf is one of the major targets of sorafenib, we investigated the activation state of the Raf-Mek-Erk pathway in the presence of HBV and in response to sorafenib. Here we show that hepatoma cells with replicating HBV are less susceptible to sorafenib inhibitory effect as compared to cells in which HBV expression is suppressed. However, although HBV replication is associated with increased level of pErk, its blockade only modestly augments sorafenib effect. In contrast, the phosphorylated form of the pro-oncogenic Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 14 (pMAPK14), a protein kinase that was recently linked to sorafenib resistance, is induced in sorafenib-treated hepatoma cells in association with HBV X protein expression. Knocking down pMAPK14 results in augmentation of the therapeutic efficacy of sorafenib and largely alleviates resistance to sorafenib in the presence of HBV. Thus, this study suggests that HBV promotes HCC resistance to sorafenib. Combining pMAPK14 inhibitors with sorafenib may be beneficial in patients with HBV-associated HCC.
Implant delivering hydroxychloroquine attenuates vaginal T lymphocyte activation and inflammationAbstract
Evidence suggests that women who are naturally resistant to HIV infection exhibit low baseline immune activation at the female genital tract (FGT). This “immune quiescent” state is associated with lower expression of T-cell activation markers, reduced levels of gene transcription and pro-inflammatory cytokine or chemokine production involved in HIV infection while maintaining an intact immune response against pathogens. Therefore, if this unique immune quiescent state can be pharmacologically induced locally, it will provide an excellent women-oriented strategy against HIV infection To our knowledge, this is the first research article evaluating in vivo, an innovative trackable implant that can provide controlled delivery of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to successfully attenuate vaginal T lymphocyte activation and inflammation in a rabbit model as a potential strategy to induce an “immune quiescent” state within the FGT for the prevention of HIV infection. This biocompatible implant can deliver HCQ above therapeutic concentrations in a controlled manner, reduce submucosal immune cell recruitment, improve mucosal epithelium integrity, decrease protein and gene expression of T-cell activation markers, and attenuate the induction of key pro-inflammatory mediators. Our results suggest that microbicides designed to maintain a low level of immune activation at the FGT may offer a promising new strategy for reducing HIV infection.
Effect of contractile activity on PGC-1α transcription in young and aged skeletal muscleAbstract
Mitochondrial impairments are often noted in aged skeletal muscle. The transcriptional coactivator PGC-1α is integral to maintaining mitochondria, and its expression declines in aged muscle. It remains unknown whether this is due to a transcriptional deficit during aging. Our study examined PGC-1α transcription in muscle from young and old F344BN rats. Using a rat PGC-1α promoter-reporter construct, we found that PGC-1α transcription was reduced by ~65% in aged TA muscle, accompanied by decreases in PGC-1α mRNA and transcript stability. Altered expression patterns in PGC-1α transcription regulatory factors, including Nrf2, USF1, ATF2 and YY1, were noted in aged muscle. Acute contractile activity (CA) followed by recovery was employed to examine whether PGC-1α transcription could be activated in aged muscle similar to that observed in young muscle. AMPK and p38 signaling was attenuated in aged muscle. CA evoked an upregulation of PGC-1α transcription in both young and aged groups, while mRNAs encoding PGC-1α and COX IV were induced during the recovery period. Global DNA methylation, an inhibitory event for transcription, was enhanced in aged muscle, likely a result of elevated methyltransferase enzyme Dnmt3b in aged muscle. Successive bouts of CA for 7 days to evaluate longer-term consequences resulted in a rescue of PGC-1α and downstream mRNAs in aged muscle. Our data indicate that diminished mitochondria in aged muscle is partly due to a deficit in PGC-1α transcription, a result of attenuated upstream signaling. Contractile activity is an appropriate countermeasure to restore PGC-1α expression and mitochondrial content in aged muscle.
Overexpression of miR169o, an Overlapping MicroRNA in Response to Both Nitrogen Limitation and Bacterial Infection, Promotes Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Susceptibility to Bacterial Blight in RiceAbstract
Limiting nitrogen (N) supply contributes to improved resistance to bacterial blight (BB) caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) in susceptible rice (Oryza sativa). To understand the regulatory roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in this phenomenon, 63 differentially expressed overlapping miRNAs in response to Xoo infection and N limitation stress in rice were identified through deep RNA sequencing and stem–loop quantitative real-time PCR. Among these, miR169o was further assessed as a typical overlapping miRNA through the overexpression of the miR169o primary gene. Osa-miR169o-OX plants were taller, and had more biomass accumulation with significantly increased nitrate and total amino acid contents in roots than the wild type (WT). Transcript level assays showed that under different N supply conditions, miR169o oppositely regulated NRT2, and this is reduced under normal N supply conditions but remarkably induced under N-limiting stress. On the other hand, osa-miR169o-OX plants also displayed increased disease lesion lengths and reduced transcriptional levels of defense gene (PR1b, PR10a, PR10b and PAL) compared with the WT after inoculation with Xoo. In addition, miR169o impeded Xoo-mediated NRT transcription. Therefore, the overlapping miR169o contributes to increase N use efficiency and negatively regulates the resistance to BB in rice. Consistently, transient expression of NF-YA genes in rice protoplasts promoted the transcripts of PR genes and NRT2 genes, while it reduced the transcripts of NRT1 genes. Our results provide novel and additional insights into the co ordinated regulatory mechanisms of cross-talk between Xoo infection and N deficiency responses in rice.
Continuous Exposure to Simulated Hypergravity-Induced Changes in Proliferation, Morphology, and Gene Expression of Human Tendon CellsAbstract
Gravity influences physical and biological processes, especially during development and homeostasis of several tissues in the human body. Studies under altered gravity have been receiving great attention toward a better understanding of microgravity-, hypogravity (<1 g)-, or hypergravity (>1 g)-induced alterations. In this work, the influence of simulated hypergravity over human tendon-derived cells (hTDCs) was studied at 5, 10, 15, and 20 g for 4 or 16 h, using a large diameter centrifuge. Main results showed that 16 h of simulated hypergravity limited cell proliferation. Cell area was higher in hTDCs cultured at 5, 10, and 15 g for 16 h, in comparison to 1 g control. Actin filaments were more pronounced in hTDCs cultured at 5 and 10 g for 16 h. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) was mainly expressed in focal adhesion sites upon hypergravity stimulation, in comparison to perinuclear localization in control cells after 16 h; and FAK number/cell increased with increasing g-levels. A tendency toward an upregulation of tenogenic markers was observed; scleraxis (SCX), tenascin C (TNC), collagen type III (COL3A1), and decorin (DCN) were significantly upregulated in hTDCs cultured at 15 g and COL3A1 and DCN were significantly upregulated in hTDCs cultured at 20 g. Overall, simulated hypergravity affected the behavior of hTDCs, with more pronounced effects in the long-term period (16 h) of stimulation.
High calcium, phosphate and calcitriol supplementation leads to an osteocyte-like phenotype in calcified vessels and bone mineralisation defect in uremic ratsAbstract
A link between vascular calcification and bone anomalies has been suggested in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with low bone turnover disease. We investigated the vascular expression of osteocyte markers in relation to bone microarchitecture and mineralization defects in a model of low bone turnover CKD rats with vascular calcification. CKD with vascular calcification was induced by 5/6 nephrectomy followed by high calcium and phosphate diet, and vitamin D supplementation (Ca/P/VitD). CKD + Ca/P/VitD group (n = 12) was compared to CKD + normal diet (n = 12), control + normal diet (n = 8) and control + Ca/P/VitD supplementation (n = 8). At week 6, tibia, femurs and the thoracic aorta were analysed by Micro-Ct, histomorphometry and for expression of osteocyte markers. High Ca/P/VitD treatment induced vascular calcification only in CKD rats, suppressed serum parathyroid hormone levels and led to higher sclerostin, DKK1 and FGF23 serum levels. Expression of sclerostin, DKK1 and DMP1 but not FGF23 were increased in calcified vessels from CKD + Ca/P/VitD rats. Despite low parathyroid hormone levels, tibia bone cortical thickness was significantly lower in CKD + Ca/P/VitD rats as compared to control rats fed a normal diet, which is likely the result of radial growth impairment. Finally, Ca/P/VitD treatment in CKD rats induced a bone mineralization defect, which is likely explained by the high calcitriol dose. In conclusion, Ca/P/VitD supplementation in CKD rats induces expression of osteocyte markers in vessels and bone mineralisation anomalies. Further studies should evaluate the mechanisms of high dose calcitriol-induced bone mineralisation defects in CKD.
The arginine methyltransferase CARM1 represses p300•ACT•CREMτ activity and is required for spermiogenesisAbstract
CARM1 is a protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) that has been firmly implicated in transcriptional regulation. However, the molecular mechanisms by which CARM1 orchestrates transcriptional regulation are not fully understood, especially in a tissue-specific context. We found that Carm1 is highly expressed in the mouse testis and localizes to the nucleus in spermatids, suggesting an important role for Carm1 in spermiogenesis. Using a germline-specific conditional Carm1 knockout mouse model, we found that it is essential for the late stages of haploid germ cell development. Loss of Carm1 led to a low sperm count and deformed sperm heads that can be attributed to defective elongation of round spermatids. RNA-seq analysis of Carm1-null spermatids revealed that the deregulated genes fell into similar categories as those impacted by p300-loss, thus providing a link between Carm1 and p300. Importantly, p300 has long been known to be a major Carm1 substrate. We found that CREMτ, a key testis-specific transcription factor, associates with p300 through its activator, ACT, and that this interaction is negatively regulated by the methylation of p300 by Carm1. Thus, high nuclear Carm1 levels negatively impact the p300•ACT•CREMτ axis during late stages of spermiogenesis.
In vitro bioassessment of the immunomodulatory activity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae components using bovine macrophages and Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosisAbstract
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its components are used for the prevention and treatment of enteric disease in different species; therefore, they may also be useful for preventing Johne's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP). The objective of this study was to identify potential immunomodulatory S. cerevisiae components using a bovine macrophage cell line (BOMAC). The BOMAC phagocytic activity, reactive oxygen species production, and immune-related gene (IL6, IL10, IL12p40, IL13, IL23), transforming growth factor β, ARG1, CASP1, and inducible nitric oxide synthase expression were investigated when BOMAC were cocultured with cell wall components from 4 different strains (A, B, C, and D) and 2 forms of dead yeast from strain A. The BOMAC phagocytosis of mCherry-labeled MAP was concentration-dependently attenuated when BOMAC were cocultured with yeast components for 6 h. Each yeast derivative also induced a concentration-dependent increase in BOMAC reactive oxygen species production after a 6-h exposure. In addition, BOMAC mRNA expression of the immune-related genes was investigated after 6 and 24 h of exposure to yeast components. All yeast components were found to regulate the immunomodulatory genes of BOMAC; however, the response varied among components and over time. The in vitro bioassessment studies reported here suggest that dead yeast and its cell wall components may be useful for modulating macrophage function before or during MAP infection.
Neuropilin-2 regulates airway inflammatory responses to inhaled lipopolysaccharideAbstract
Neuropilins are multifunctional receptors that play important roles in immune regulation. Neuropilin-2 (NRP2) is expressed in the lungs, but whether it regulates airway immune responses is unknown. Here, we report that Nrp2 is weakly expressed by alveolar macrophages (AM) in the steady-state, but is dramatically up-regulated following in vivo lipopolysaccharide (LPS) inhalation. Ex vivo treatment of human AM with LPS also increased NRP2 mRNA expression and cell-surface display of NRP2 protein. LPS-induced Nrp2 expression in AM was dependent upon the MyD88 signaling pathway and the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB). In addition to up-regulating display of NRP2 on the cell membrane, inhaled LPS also triggered AM to release soluble NRP2 into the airways. Finally, myeloid-specific ablation of NRP2 resulted in increased expression of the chemokine Ccl2 in the lungs and prolonged leukocyte infiltration in the airways following LPS inhalation. These findings suggest that NRP2 expression by AM regulates LPS-induced inflammatory cell recruitment to the airways, and reveal a novel role for NRP2 during innate immune responses in the lungs.
Genome-wide expression analysis suggests a role for jasmonates in the resistance to blue mold in appleAbstract
Blue mold, caused by the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Penicillium expansum, causes serious postharvest losses in apple, and threatens human health through production of the potent mycotoxin patulin. Recent studies indicate a quantitative control of resistance against this disease in apple cultivars. A whole genome apple microarray covering 60k transcripts was used to identify gene(s) that appear to be differentially regulated between resistant and susceptible cultivars in P. expansum-infected fruits. A number of potential candidates was encountered among defense- and oxidative stress-related genes, cell wall modification and lignification genes, and genes related to localization and transport. Induction of one cell wall-related gene and three genes involved in the ‘down-stream’ flavonoid biosynthesis pathway, demonstrates the fundamental role of the cell wall as an important barrier, and suggests that fruit flavonoids are involved in the resistance to blue mold. Moreover, exogenous application of the plant hormone methyl jasmonate (MeJA) reduced the symptoms resulting from inoculating apples with P. expansum. This is the first report linking MeJA and activation of cell wall and flavonoid pathway genes to resistance against blue mold in a study comparing different cultivars of domesticated apple. Our results provide an initial categorization of genes that are potentially involved in the resistance mechanism, and should be useful for developing tools for gene marker-assisted breeding of apple cultivars with an improved resistance to blue mold.
Phosphorylation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-like 2 (NFE2L2) in mammary tissue of Holstein cows during the periparturient period is associated with mRNA abundance of antioxidant gene networksAbstract
Changes in the production of reactive oxygen species in the mammary gland of dairy cows during the periparturient period could lead to oxidative stress and potentially impair mammary function. Phosphorylation of the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-like 2 (NFE2L2), also known as nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2, controls mRNA abundance of genes encoding antioxidant proteins and enzymes. The hypothesis was that NFE2L2 phosphorylation status and target gene mRNA abundance in the mammary gland of dairy cows is altered around parturition. Total NFE2L2 protein, phosphorylated protein (p-NFE2L2), and ratio of p-NFE2L2 to NFE2L2 along with mRNA abundance of 24 genes related to the NFE2L2 signaling pathway, apoptosis, and cell proliferation were measured in mammary tissue samples from Holstein cows at −30, 1, 15, and 30 d relative to parturition. Although total NFE2L2 protein abundance did not differ, p-NFE2L2 and p-NFE2L2-to-NFE2L2 ratio were greater after parturition. The upregulation of DNA damage inducible transcript 3 (DDIT3) postpartum indicated a localized oxidative stress state. Among genes evaluated, thioredoxin (TXN), glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX1), and glutathione S-transferase mu 1 (GSTM1) had the highest (37.1, 15.1, and 4.8% of total mRNA measured, respectively) abundance. The mRNA abundance of various target genes with detoxifying enzymatic functions and free radical scavenging activities [glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic subunit (GCLC); glutathione reductase (GSR); ferrochelatase (FECH); TXN; thioredoxin reductase 1 (TXNRD1); and NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase 1 (NQO1)] were consistently upregulated (linear effect of time) as parturition approached and lactation began. Among the transcription regulators, NFE2L2 had the highest mRNA abundance (7.3% of total mRNA measured). Abundance of NFE2L2 and other transcription factors [nuclear factor kappa B subunit 1 (NFKB1), retinoid X receptor α (RXRA), and mitogen-activated protein kinase 14 (MAPK14)] were upregulated (linear effect of time) from −30 d to 30 d relative to parturition. Overall, NFE2L2 phosphorylation and downstream signaling leading to postpartal upregulation of genes associated with oxidative stress and inflammation in the mammary gland seem to be key components of normal cellular function to maintain proper redox homeostasis. However, if the longitudinal increases in mRNA and protein abundance of these antioxidant mechanisms are a reflection of cellular oxidative stress, then the likelihood of protein and DNA damage would be greater and might be one factor compromising cell viability and potentially lactation persistency. The actual cues coordinating these molecular responses remain to be determined.
Combined analytical approaches to define biodistribution and biological activity of semi-synthetic berberrubine, the active metabolite of natural berberineAbstract
Berberine (BBR) is a natural alkaloid obtained from Berberis species plants, known for its protective effects against several diseases. Among the primary BBR metabolites, berberrubine (M1) showed the highest plasma concentration but few and conflicting data are available regarding its concentration in biological fluids related to its new potential activity on vascular cells. A combined analytical approach was applied to study biodistribution of M1 in comparison with BBR. The optimization of sample clean-up combined with a fully validated HPLC-ESI-MS/MS tailored for M1 allows sufficient detectability and accuracy to be reached in the different studied organs even when administered at low dose, comparable to that assumed by human. A predictive human vascular endothelial cell-based assay to measure intracellular xanthine oxidase has been developed and applied to study unexplored activities of M1 alongside other common activities. Results showed that oral M1 treatment exhibits higher plasma levels than BBR, reaching maximum concentration 400-fold higher than BBR (204 vs 0.5 ng/mL); moreover, M1 exhibits higher concentrations than BBR also in all the biological compartments analyzed. Noteworthy, the two compounds follow two different excretion routes: M1 through urine, while BBR through feces. In vitro studies demonstrated that M1 inhibited intracellular xanthine oxidase activity, one of the major sources of reactive oxygen species in vasculature, with an IC50 = 9.90 ± 0.01 μg/mL and reduced the expression of the inflammatory marker ICAM-1. These peculiar characteristics allow new perspectives to be opened up for the direct use of M1 instead of BBR in endothelial dysfunction treatment.
Teriparatide (human PTH1–34) compensates for impaired fracture healing in COX-2 deficient miceAbstract
Genetic ablation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in mice is known to impair fracture healing. To determine if teriparatide (human PTH1–34) can promote healing of Cox-2-deficient fractures, we performed detailed in vivo analyses using a murine stabilized tibia fracture model. Periosteal progenitor cell proliferation as well as bony callus formation was markedly reduced in Cox-2−/− mice at day 10 post-fracture. Remarkably, intermittent PTH1–34 administration increased proliferation of periosteal progenitor cells, restored callus formation on day 7, and enhanced bone formation on days 10, 14 and 21 in Cox-2-deficient mice. PTH1–34 also increased biomechanical torsional properties at days 10 or 14 in all genotypes, consistent with enhanced bony callus formation by radiologic examinations. To determine the effects of intermittent PTH1–34 for callus remodeling, TRAP staining was performed. Intermittent PTH1–34 treatment increased the number of TRAP positive cells per total callus area on day 21 in Cox-2−/− fractures. Taken together, the present findings indicate that intermittent PTH1–34 treatment could compensate for COX-2 deficiency and improve impaired fracture healing in Cox-2-deficient mice.
Histamine H3 Receptors Decrease Dopamine Release in the Ventral Striatum by Reducing the Activity of Striatal Cholinergic InterneuronsAbstract
Histamine H3 receptors are widely distributed Gi-coupled receptors whose activation reduces neuronal activity and inhibits release of numerous neurotransmitters. Although these receptors are abundantly expressed in the striatum, their modulatory role on activity-dependent dopamine release is not well understood. Here, we observed that histamine H3 receptor activation indirectly diminishes dopamine overflow in the ventral striatum by reducing cholinergic interneuron activity. Acute brain slices from C57BL/6 or channelrhodopsin-2-transfected DAT-cre mice were obtained, and dopamine transients evoked either electrically or optogenetically were measured by fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. The H3 agonist α-methylhistamine significantly reduced electrically- evoked dopamine overflow, an effect blocked by the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist dihydro-β-erythroidine, suggesting involvement of cholinergic interneurons. None of the drug treatments targeting H3 receptors affected optogenetically evoked dopamine overflow, indicating that direct H3-modulation of dopaminergic axons is unlikely. Next, we used qPCR and confirmed the expression of histamine H3 receptor mRNA in cholinergic interneurons, both in ventral and dorsal striatum. Activation of H3 receptors by α-methylhistamine reduced spontaneous firing of cholinergic interneurons in the ventral, but not in the dorsal striatum. Resting membrane potential and number of spontaneous action potentials in ventral-striatal cholinergic interneurons were significantly reduced by α-methylhistamine. Acetylcholine release from isolated striatal synaptosomes, however, was not altered by α-methylhistamine. Together, these results indicate that histamine H3 receptors are important modulators of dopamine release, specifically in the ventral striatum, and that they do so by decreasing the firing rate of cholinergic neurons and, consequently, reducing cholinergic tone on dopaminergic axons.
Endogenous Sonic Hedgehog limits inflammation and angiogenesis in the ischaemic skeletal muscle of miceAbstract
AimsHedgehog (Hh) signalling has been shown to be re-activated in ischaemic tissues and participate in ischaemia-induced angiogenesis. Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) is upregulated by more than 80-fold in the ischaemic skeletal muscle, however its specific role in ischaemia-induced angiogenesis has not yet been fully investigated.The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of endogenous Shh in ischaemia-induced angiogenesis.Methods and resultsTo this aim, we used inducible Shh knock-out (KO) mice and unexpectedly found that capillary density was significantly increased in re-generating muscle of Shh deficient mice 5 days after hind limb ischaemia was induced, demonstrating that endogenous Shh does not promote angiogenesis but more likely limits it. Myosin and MyoD expression were equivalent in Shh deficient mice and control mice, indicating that endogenous Shh is not required for ischaemia-induced myogenesis. Additionally, we observed a significant increase in macrophage infiltration in the ischaemic muscle of Shh deficient mice. Our data indicate that this was due to an increase in chemokine expression by myoblasts in the setting of impaired Hh signalling, using tissue specific Smoothened conditional KO mice. The increased macrophage infiltration in mice deficient for Hh signalling in myocytes was associated with increased VEGFA expression and a transiently increased angiogenesis, demonstrating that Shh limits inflammation and angiogenesis indirectly by signalling to myocytes.ConclusionAlthough ectopic administration of Shh has previously been shown to promote ischaemia-induced angiogenesis, the present study reveals that endogenous Shh does not promote ischaemia-induced angiogenesis. On the contrary, the absence of Shh leads to aberrant ischaemic tissue inflammation and a transiently increased angiogenesis.
Pituitary adenylate-cyclase activating-polypeptide (PACAP) signaling in the prefrontal cortex modulates cued fear learning, but not spatial working memory, in female ratsAbstract
A genetic polymorphism within the gene encoding the pituitary adenylate-cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) receptor type I (PAC1R) has recently been associated with hyper-reactivity to threat-related cues in women, but not men, with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PACAP is a highly conserved peptide, whose role in mediating adaptive physiological stress responses is well established. Far less is understood about the contribution of PACAP signaling in emotional learning and memory, particularly the encoding of fear to discrete cues. Moreover, a neurobiological substrate that may account for the observed link between PAC1R and PTSD in women, but not men, has yet to be identified. Sex differences in PACAP signaling during emotional learning could provide novel targets for the treatment of PTSD. Here we investigated the contribution of PAC1R signaling within the prefrontal cortex to the acquisition of cued fear in female and male rats. We used a variant of fear conditioning called trace fear conditioning, which requires sustained attention to fear cues and depends on working-memory like neuronal activity within the prefrontal cortex. We found that cued fear learning, but not spatial working memory, was impaired by administration of a PAC1R antagonist directly into the prelimbic area of the prefrontal cortex. This effect was specific to females. We also found that levels of mRNA for the PAC1R receptor in the prelimbic cortex were greater in females compared with males, and were highest during and immediately following the proestrus stage of the estrous cycle. Together, these results demonstrate a sex-specific role of PAC1R signaling in learning about threat-related cues.
Matrix Metalloproteinase 12 (MMP-12) Promotes Tumor Propagation in the LungAbstract
Past studies are inconsistent with regard to the role of MMP-12 in lung tumorigenesis. This is due, in part, to differential tumorigenesis based on tumor- versus immune-derived MMP-12 expression. Our study aims to thoroughly dissect the role of MMP-12 in lung tumorigenesis.
We tested MMP-12 expression, and association with prognosis using a tissue-array and a published NSCLC gene expression database. In addition, we characterized the contribution of MMP-12 to tumor propagation in the lung using a series of in vitro and in vivo studies.
Tumor cells of a diverse set of human lung-cancers stained positive for MMP-12 and high MMP-12 mRNA levels in the tumor were associated with reduced survival. The lung microenvironment stimulated endogenous production of MMP-12 in lung-cancer cells (H460, LLC). In-vitro MMP-12 KO LLC and LLC cells had the same proliferation rate but LLC showed increased invasiveness. In-vivo, deficiency of MMP-12 in LLC cells -- but not in the host -- reduced tumor growth and invasiveness.
We suggest that tumor-cell-derived MMP-12 promotes tumor propagation in the lung and that in the context of pulmonary malignancies MMP-12 should further be tested as a potential novel therapeutic target.
Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 and Transforming Growth Factor-beta1 Oppositely Regulate miR-221 that Targets Thrombospondin-1 in Bovine Luteal Endothelial CellsAbstract
Thrombospondin-1 (THBS1) is an important mediator of corpus luteum (CL) regression. Highly induced during luteolysis, it acts as a natural anti-angiogenic, proapoptotic compound. THBS1 expression is regulated in bovine luteal endothelial cells (LECs) by fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGFB1) acting in an opposite manner. In this study we sought to identify specific microRNAs (miRNAs) targeting THBS1 and investigate their possible involvement in FGF2 and TGFB1-mediated THBS1 expression. Several miRNAs predicted to target THBS1 mRNA (miR-1, miR-18a, miR-144, miR-194, and miR-221) were experimentally tested. Of these, miR-221 was shown to efficiently target THBS1 expression and function in LECs. We found that this miRNA is highly expressed in luteal cells and in mid-cycle CL. Consistent with the inhibition of THBS1 function, miR-221 also reduced SERPINE1 in LECs and promoted angiogenic characteristics of LECs. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), the gene product of SERPINE1, inhibited cell adhesion, suggesting that PAI-1, like THBS1, has anti-angiogenic properties. Importantly, FGF2, which negatively regulates THBS1, elevates miR-221. Conversely, TGFB1 that stimulates THBS1, significantly reduces miR-221. Furthermore, FGF2 enhances the suppression of THBS1 caused by miR-221 mimic, and prevents the increase in THBS1 induced by miR-221 inhibitor. In contrast, TGFB1 reverses the inhibitory effect of miR-221 mimic on THBS1, and enhances the upregulation of THBS1 induced by miR-221 inhibitor. These data support the contention that FGF2 and TGFB1 modulate THBS1 via miR-221. These in vitro data propose that dynamic regulation of miR-221 throughout the cycle, affecting THBS1 and SERPINE1, can modulate vascular function in the CL.
Crosstalk between adipose stem cells and tendon cells reveals a temporal regulation of tenogenesis by matrix deposition and remodelingAbstract
Tendon injuries constitute an unmet clinical challenge owing to the limited intrinsic regenerative ability of this tissue. Cell-based therapies aim at improving tendon healing through the delicate orchestration of tissue rebuilding and regain of function. Hence, human adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs) have been proposed as a promising cell source for boosting tendon regeneration. In this work, we investigated the influence of hASCs on native human tendon-derived cells (hTDCs) through the establishment of a direct contact co-culture system. Results demonstrated that direct interactions between these cell types resulted in controlled proliferation and spontaneous cell elongation. ECM-related genes, particularly COL1A1 and TNC, and genes involved in ECM remodeling, such as MMP1, MMP2, MMP3 and TIMP1, were expressed in co-cultures in a temporally regulated manner. In addition, deposition of collagen type I was accelerated in co-cultures systems and favored over the production of collagen type III, resulting in an enhanced COL1/COL3 ratio as soon as 7 days. In conclusion, hASCs seem to be good candidates in modulating the behavior of native tendon cells, particularly through a balanced process of ECM synthesis and degradation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Identification of Estrogen-Related Receptor Alpha Agonists in the Tox21 Compound LibraryAbstract
The estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRα) is an orphan nuclear receptor (NR) that plays a role in energy homeostasis and controls mitochondrial oxidative respiration. Increased expression of ERRα in certain ovarian, breast, and colon cancers has a negative prognosis, indicating an important role for ERRα in cancer progression. An interaction between ERRα and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) has also recently been shown to regulate an enzyme in the β-oxidation of free fatty acids, thereby suggesting that ERRα plays an important role in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it would be prudent to identify compounds that can act as activators of ERRα. In this study, we screened ∼10,000 (8,311 unique) compounds, known as the Tox21 10K collection, to identify agonists of ERRα. We performed this screen using two stably transfected HEK 293 cell lines, one with the ERRα-reporter alone and the other with both ERRα-reporter and PGC-1α expression vectors. After the primary screening, we identified more than five agonist clusters based on compound structural similarity analysis (e.g., statins). By examining the activities of the confirmed ERRα modulators in other Tox21 NR assays, eliminating those with promiscuous NR activity, and performing follow-up assays (e.g., siRNA knockdown) we identified compounds that might act as endocrine disrupters through effects on ERRα signaling. This study is the first comprehensive analysis in discovering potential endocrine disrupters which affect the ERRα signaling pathway.
Expression of heterologous non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway from Bacillus methanolicus and phosphoglucose isomerase deletion improves methanol assimilation and metabolite production by a synthetic Escherichia coli methylotrophAbstract
Synthetic methylotrophy aims to develop non-native methylotrophic microorganisms to utilize methane or methanol to produce chemicals and biofuels. We report two complimentary strategies to further engineer a previously engineered methylotrophic E. coli strain for improved methanol utilization. First, we demonstrate improved methanol assimilation in the presence of small amounts of yeast extract by expressing the non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) from Bacillus methanolicus. Second, we demonstrate improved co-utilization of methanol and glucose by deleting the phosphoglucose isomerase gene (pgi), which rerouted glucose carbon flux through the oxidative PPP. Both strategies led to significant improvements in methanol assimilation as determined by 13C-labeling in intracellular metabolites. Introduction of an acetone-formation pathway in the pgi-deficient methylotrophic E. coli strain led to improved methanol utilization and acetone titers during glucose fed-batch fermentation.
The effect of within-instar development on tracheal diameter and hypoxia-inducible factors α and β in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sextaAbstract
As insects grow within an instar, body mass increases, often more than doubling. The increase in mass causes an increase in metabolic rate and hence oxygen demand. However, the insect tracheal system is hypothesized to increase only after molting and may be compressed as tissues grow within an instar. The increase in oxygen demand in the face of a potentially fixed or decreasing supply could result in hypoxia as insects near the end of an instar. To test these hypotheses, we first used synchrotron X-ray imaging to determine how diameters of large tracheae change within an instar and after molting to the next instar in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. Large tracheae did not increase in diameter within the first, second, third, and fourth instars, but increased upon molting. To determine if insects are hypoxic at the end of instars, we used the presence of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) as an index. HIF-α and HIF-β dimerize in hypoxia and act as a transcription factor that turns on genes that will increase oxygen delivery. We sequenced both of these genes and measured their mRNA levels at the beginning and end of each larval instar. Finally, we obtained an antibody to HIF-α and measured protein expression during the same time. Both mRNA and protein levels of HIFs were increased at the end of most instars. These data support the hypothesis that some insects may experience hypoxia at the end of an instar, which could be a signal for molting.
As caterpillars grow within an instar, major tracheae do not increase in size, while metabolic demand increases. At the same life stages, caterpillars increased expression of hypoxia inducible factors, suggesting that they become hypoxic near the end of an instar.
Effects of a novel microtubule-depolymerizer on pro-inflammatory signaling in RAW264.7 macrophagesAbstract
The Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway is vital for immune system regulation and pro-inflammatory signaling. Many inflammatory disorders and diseases, including cancer, are linked to dysregulation of NF-κB signaling. When macrophages recognize the presence of a pathogen, the signaling pathway is activated, resulting in the nuclear translocation of the transcription factor, NF-κB, to turn on pro-inflammatory genes. Here, we demonstrate the effects of a novel microtubule depolymerizer, NT-07-16, a polysubstituted pyrrole compound, on this process. Treatment with NT-07-16 decreased the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in RAW264.7 mouse macrophages. It appears that the reduction in pro-inflammatory mediators produced by the macrophages after exposure to NT-07-16 may be due to activities upstream of the translocation of NF-κB into the nucleus. NF-κB translocation occurs after its inhibitory protein, IκB-α is phosphorylated which signals for its degradation releasing NF-κB so it is free to move into the nucleus. Previous studies from other laboratories indicate that these processes are associated with the microtubule network. Our results show that exposure to the microtubule-depolymerizer, NT-07-16 reduces the phosphorylation of IκB-α and also decreases the association of NF-κB with tubulin which may affect the ability of NF-κB to translocate into the nucleus. Therefore, the anti-inflammatory activity of NT-07-16 may be explained, at least in part, by alterations in these steps in the NF-κB signaling pathway leading to less NF-κB entering the nucleus and reducing the production of pro-inflammatory mediators by the activated macrophages.
Nlrp12 Mediates Adverse Neutrophil Recruitment during Influenza Virus InfectionAbstract
Exaggerated inflammatory responses during influenza A virus (IAV) infection are typically associated with severe disease. Neutrophils are among the immune cells that can drive this excessive and detrimental inflammation. In moderation, however, neutrophils are necessary for optimal viral control. In this study, we explore the role of the nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing receptor family member Nlrp12 in modulating neutrophilic responses during lethal IAV infection. Nlrp12−/− mice are protected from lethality during IAV infection and show decreased vascular permeability, fewer pulmonary neutrophils, and a reduction in levels of neutrophil chemoattractant CXCL1 in their lungs compared with wild-type mice. Nlrp12−/− neutrophils and dendritic cells within the IAV-infected lungs produce less CXCL1 than their wild-type counterparts. Decreased CXCL1 production by Nlrp12−/− dendritic cells was not due to a difference in CXCL1 protein stability, but instead to a decrease in Cxcl1 mRNA stability. Together, these data demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for Nlrp12 in exacerbating the pathogenesis of IAV infection through the regulation of CXCL1-mediated neutrophilic responses.
BDNF Function in Long-Term Synaptic Plasticity in the Dentate Gyrus In Vivo: Methods for Local Drug Delivery and Biochemical Analysis of TranslationAbstract
Neurotrophins are essential for multiple aspects of neuronal development and to important functions like synaptic plasticity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a critical activity-dependent modulator of gene expression which regulates both transcription and translation. BDNF is crucial in the maintenance of long-term potentiation (LTP) at synapses and regulates protein synthesis at the dendritic and synaptic level. To elucidate the mechanisms operating in the hippocampal dentate gyrus region, in vivo electrophysiology and pharmacology is combined with analysis of signaling pathways and protein synthesis. Here, we present methods for the analysis of translation initiation, polysome formation, and translational efficiency in the context of LTP consolidation in live rodents.
Allelic variants of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor differentially influence UVB-mediated skin inflammatory responses in SKH1 miceAbstract
The mouse strain SKH1 is widely used in skin research due to its hairless phenotype and intact immune system. Due to the complex nature of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) function in the skin, the development of additional in vivo models is necessary to study its role in cutaneous homeostasis and pathology. Variants of the Ah allele, exist among different mouse strains. The Ahb−1 and Ahd alleles express high and low affinity ligand binding forms of the AHR, respectively. The outbred SKH1 mice express the Ahb−2 and/or Ahd alleles. SKH1 mice were crossed with C57BL/6J mice, which harbor the Ahb−1 allele, to create useful models for studying endogenous AHR function. SKH1 mice were bred to be homozygous for either the Ahb−1 or Ahd allele to establish strains for use in comparative studies of the effects of differential ligand-mediated activation through gene expression changes upon UVB exposure. Ahb−1 or Ahd allelic status was confirmed by DNA sequence analysis. We tested the hypothesis that SKH1-Ahb−1 mice would display enhanced inflammatory signaling upon UVB exposure compared to SKH1-Ahd mice. Differential basal AHR activation between the strains was determined by assessing Cyp1a1 expression levels in the small intestine, liver, and skin of the SKH1-Ahb−1 mice compared to SKH1-Ahd mice. To determine whether SKH1-Ahb−1 mice are more prone to a pro-inflammatory phenotype in response to UVB, gene expression of inflammatory mediators was analyzed. SKH1-Ahb−1 mice expressed enhanced gene expression of the chemotactic factors Cxcl5, Cxcl1, and Ccl20, as well as the inflammatory signaling factors S100a9 and Ptgs2, compared to SKH1-Ahd mice in skin. These data supports a role for AHR activation and enhanced inflammatory signaling in skin.
Uptake and biological responses in land snail Cornu aspersum exposed to vaporized CdCl2Abstract
The uptake of Cd and some biomarkers of exposure and effects have been investigated in specimens of land snail Cornu aspersum exposed to vaporized CdCl2 (10mg/L) for 7 days. The Cd levels quantified in snail's whole bodies confirmed Cd bioavailability trough vaporization and an higher accumulation in the midgut gland compared to the foot. Biological responses investigated showed a reduction of destabilization time of lysosomal membranes (NRRT) in hemocytes and an induction of catalase activities (CAT) in midgut gland. A further evidence of CdCl2 vaporized exposure was given by an increase in MT protein content as well as induction of Cd-MT gene expression, highlighting the central role of the midgut gland in Cd detoxification. These biomarkers can thus be considered as sensitive tools for the assessment of Cd contamination in the air using land snails as bioindicators. No changes in of GST activity and MDA were observed. From the overall results, the land snail, C. aspersum, could be used as good bioindicator of air quality for pollution monitoring purposes having shown clear signs of exposure and effects due Cd exposure by air.
Quantifying mitochondrial DNA copy number using robust regression to interpret real time PCR resultsAbstract
Real time PCR (rtPCR) is a quantitative assay to determine the relative DNA copy number in a sample versus a reference. The $$\Delta C_T$$ Δ C T method is the standard for the analysis of the output data generated by an rtPCR experiment. We developed an alternative based on fitting a robust regression to the rtPCR signal. This new data analysis tool reduces potential biases and does not require all of the compared DNA fragments to have the same PCR efficiency.
Abnormal Microglia and Enhanced Inflammation-Related Gene Transcription in Mice with Conditional Deletion of Ctcf in Camk2a-Cre-Expressing Neurons. | Journal of NeuroscienceAbstract
CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is an 11 zinc finger DNA-binding domain protein that regulates gene expression by modifying three dimensional chromatin structure. Human mutations in CTCF cause intellectual disability and autistic features. Knocking out Ctcf in mouse embryonic neurons is lethal by neonatal age, but the effects of CTCF deficiency in postnatal neurons are less well studied. We knocked out Ctcf postnatally in glutamatergic forebrain neurons under the control of Camk2a-Cre. CtcfloxP/loxP;Camk2a-Cre+ (Ctcf CKO) mice of both sexes were viable and exhibited profound deficits in spatial learning/memory, impaired motor co-ordination, and decreased sociability by 4 months of age. Ctcf CKO mice also had reduced dendritic spine density in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Microarray analysis of mRNA from Ctcf CKO mouse hippocampus identified increased transcription of inflammation-related genes linked to microglia. Separate microarray analysis of mRNA isolated specifically from Ctcf CKO mouse hippocampal neurons by ribosomal affinity purification identified upregulation of chemokine signaling genes, suggesting crosstalk between neurons and microglia in Ctcf CKO hippocampus. Finally, we found that microglia in Ctcf CKO mouse hippocampus had abnormal morphology by Sholl analysis and increased immunostaining for CD68, a marker of microglial activation. Our findings confirm that Ctcf knockout in postnatal neurons causes a neurobehavioral phenotype in mice, and we provide novel evidence that CTCF depletion leads to overexpression of inflammation-related genes and microglial dysfunction.
CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is a DNA-binding protein that organizes nuclear chromatin topology. Mutations in CTCF cause intellectual disability and autistic features in humans. CTCF deficiency in embryonic neurons is lethal in mice, but mice with postnatal CTCF depletion are less well studied. We find that mice lacking Ctcf in Camk2a-expressing neurons (Ctcf CKO mice) have: spatial learning/memory deficits, impaired fine-motor skills, subtly altered social interactions, and decreased dendritic spine density. We uniquely demonstrate that Ctcf CKO mice overexpress inflammation-related genes in the brain, and have microglia with abnormal morphology that label positive for CD68, a marker of microglial activation. Our findings suggest that inflammation and dysfunctional neuron-microglia interactions are factors in the pathology of CTCF deficiency.
Effects of EPSPS Copy Number Variation (CNV) and Glyphosate Application on the Aromatic and Branched Chain Amino Acid Synthesis Pathways in Amaranthus palmeriAbstract
A key enzyme of the shikimate pathway, 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS; EC 126.96.36.199), is the known target of the widely used herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate resistance in Amaranthus palmeri, one of the most troublesome weeds in agriculture, has evolved through increased EPSPS gene copy number. The aim of this work was to study the pleiotropic effects of (i) EPSPS increased transcript abundance due to gene copy number variation (CNV) and of (ii) glyphosate application on the aromatic amino acid (AAA) and branched chain amino acid (BCAA) synthesis pathways. Hydroponically grown glyphosate sensitive (GS) and glyphosate resistant (GR) plants were treated with glyphosate three days after treatment. In absence of glyphosate treatment, high EPSPS gene copy number had only a subtle effect on transcriptional regulation of AAA and BCAA pathway genes. In contrast, glyphosate treatment provoked a general accumulation of the transcripts corresponding to genes of the AAA pathway leading to synthesis of chorismate in both GS and GR. After chorismate, anthranilate synthase transcript abundance was higher while chorismate mutase transcription showed a small decrease in GR and remained stable in GS, suggesting a regulatory branch point in the pathway that favors synthesis towards tryptophan over phenylalanine and tyrosine after glyphosate treatment. This was confirmed by studying enzyme activities in vitro and amino acid analysis. Importantly, this upregulation was glyphosate dose dependent and was observed similarly in both GS and GR populations. Glyphosate treatment also had a slight effect on the expression of BCAA genes but no general effect on the pathway could be observed. Taken together, our observations suggest that the high copy number variation of EPSPS in A. palmeri GR populations has no major pleiotropic effect on the expression of AAA biosynthetic genes, even in response to glyphosate treatment. This finding supports the idea that the fitness cost associated with EPSPS CNV in A. palmeri may be limited.
miR-25 Tough Decoy enhances cardiac function in heart failureAbstract
microRNAs are promising therapeutic targets since their inhibition has the potential to normalize gene expression in diseased states. Recently, our group found that miR-25 is a key SERCA2a regulating microRNA, and we showed that multiple injections of antagomiRs against miR-25 enhances cardiac contractility and function through SERCA2a restoration in a murine heart failure model. However, for clinical application, a more stable suppressor of miR-25 would be desirable. Tough Decoy inhibitors are emerging as a highly effective method for microRNA inhibition due to their resistance to endonucleolytic degradation, high miRNA binding affinity, and efficient delivery. We generated a miR-25 Tough Decoy inhibitor and subcloned it into a cardiotropic AAV9 vector to evaluate its efficacy. The AAV9 Tough Decoy showed selective inhibition of miR-25 in vitro cardiomyoblast culture. In vivo, AAV9-miR25 Tough Decoy delivered to the murine pressure-overload heart failure model selectively decreased expression of miR- 25, increased levels of SERCA2a protein and ameliorated cardiac dysfunction and fibrosis. Our data indicate that miR-25 Tough Decoy is an effective long-term suppressor of miR-25 and a promising therapeutic candidate to treat heart failure.
EXERSOMES, METHODS OF PRODUCING AND METHOD OF USINGAbstract
An exosome pellet or physiological solution comprising resuspended exosomes is provided. The exosomes are essentially free from undesirable particles having a diameter less than 20 nm or greater than 140 nm, and the exosomes comprise one or more metabolic products. The exosomes may be used to induce mitochondrial biogenesis, increase thermogenesis (browning) of subcutaneous white adipose tissue, and/or mediate other systemic effects of exercise in a mammal.
Exercise induces TFEB expression and activity in skeletal muscle in a PGC-1α-dependent mannerAbstract
The mitochondrial network in muscle is controlled by the opposing processes of mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy. The coactivator PGC-1α regulates biogenesis, while the transcription of mitophagy-related genes is controlled by transcription factor EB (TFEB). PGC-1α activation is induced with exercise, however the effect of exercise on TFEB is not fully known. We investigated the interplay between PGC-1α and TFEB on mitochondria in response to acute contractile activity in C2C12 myotubes, and following exercise in WT and PGC-1α KO mice. TFEB nuclear localization was increased by 1.6-fold following 2 hours of acute myotube contractile activity. TFEB transcription and LC3 localization to mitochondria were also simultaneously increased by 2-3-fold. Viral overexpression of TFEB increased PGC-1α and COXIV gene expression. In WT mice, TFEB translocation to the nucleus increased 2.4-fold in response to acute exercise, while TFEB transcription, assessed through the electroporation of a TFEB promoter construct, was elevated by 4-fold. These exercise effects were dependent on the presence of PGC-1α. Our data suggest that acute exercise provokes TFEB expression and activation both in vitro and in vivo, in a PGC-1α-dependent manner. Our results indicate that TFEB, along with PGC-1α, are important regulators of mitochondrial biogenesis in muscle as a result of exercise.
TIEG and estrogen modulate SOST expression in the murine skeletonAbstract
TIEG knockout (KO) mice exhibit a female-specific osteopenic phenotype and altered expression of TIEG in humans is associated with osteoporosis. Gene expression profiling studies identified sclerostin as one of the most highly up-regulated transcripts in the long bones of TIEG KO mice relative to WT littermates suggesting that TIEG may regulate SOST expression. TIEG was shown to substantially suppress SOST promoter activity and the regulatory elements through which TIEG functions were identified using promoter deletion and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Knockdown of TIEG in IDG-SW3 osteocyte cells using shRNA and CRISPR-Cas9 technology resulted in increased SOST expression and delayed mineralization, mimicking the results obtained from TIEG KO mouse bones. Given that TIEG is an estrogen regulated gene, and since changes in the hormonal milieu affect SOST expression, we performed ovariectomy (OVX) and estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) studies in WT and TIEG KO mice followed by miRNA and mRNA sequencing of cortical and trabecular compartments of femurs. SOST expression levels were considerably higher in cortical bone compared to trabecular bone. In cortical bone, SOST expression was increased following OVX only in WT mice and was suppressed following ERT in both genotypes. In contrast, SOST expression in trabecular bone was decreased following OVX and significantly increased following ERT. Interestingly, a number of miRNAs that are predicted to target sclerostin exhibited inverse expression levels in response to OVX and ERT. These data implicate important roles for TIEG and estrogen-regulated miRNAs in modulating SOST expression in bone. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Genome-wide binding analysis of AtGNC and AtCGA1 demonstrates their cross-regulation and common and specific functionsAbstract
GATA transcription factors are involved in multiple processes in plant growth and development. Two GATA factors, NITRATE-INDUCIBLE, CARBON METABOLISM-INVOLVED (GNC) and CYTOKININ-RESPONSIVE GATA FACTOR 1 (CGA1, also named GNL), are important regulators in greening, flowering, senescence, and hormone signaling. However, their direct target genes related to these biological processes are poorly characterized. Here, GNC and CGA1 are shown to be transcription activators and by using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq), 1475 and 638 genes are identified to be associated with GNC and CGA1 binding, respectively. Enrichment of diverse motifs in the peak binding regions for GNC and CGA1 suggests the possibility that these two transcription factors also interact with other transcription factors and in addition genes coding for DNA-binding proteins are highly enriched among GNC- and CGA1-associated genes. Despite the fact that these two GATA factors are known to share a large portion of co-expressed genes, our analysis revealed a low percentage of overlapping binding-associated genes for these two homologues. This suggests a possible cross-regulation between these, which is verified using ChIP-qPCR. The common and specific biological processes regulated by GNC and CGA1 also support this notion. Functional analysis of the binding-associated genes revealed that those encoding transcription factors, E3 ligase, as well as genes with roles in plant development are highly enriched, indicating that GNC and CGA1 mediate complex genetic networks in regulating different aspects of plant growth and development.
A newly distal hereditary motor neuropathy caused by a rare AIFM1 mutationAbstract
In two siblings, who suffer from an early childhood-onset axonal polyneuropathy with exclusive involvement of motor fibers, the c.629T>C (p.F210S) mutation was identified in the X-linked AIFM1 gene, which encodes for the apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF). The mutation was predicted as deleterious, according to in silico analysis. A decreased expression of the AIF protein, altered cellular morphology, and a fragmented mitochondrial network were observed in the proband’s fibroblasts. This new form of motor neuropathy expands the phenotypic spectrum of AIFM1 mutations and therefore, the AIFM1 gene should be considered in the diagnosis of hereditary motor neuropathies.
Loop-mediated isothermal DNA amplification for asymptomatic malaria detection in challenging field settings: Technical performance and pilot implementation in the Peruvian AmazonAbstract
Background Loop-mediated isothermal DNA amplification (LAMP) methodology offers an opportunity for point-of-care (POC) molecular detection of asymptomatic malaria infections. However, there is still little evidence on the feasibility of implementing this technique for population screenings in isolated field settings. Methods Overall, we recruited 1167 individuals from terrestrial (‘road’) and hydric (‘riverine’) communities of the Peruvian Amazon for a cross-sectional survey to detect asymptomatic malaria infections. The technical performance of LAMP was evaluated in a subgroup of 503 samples, using real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) as reference standard. The operational feasibility of introducing LAMP testing in the mobile screening campaigns was assessed based on field-suitability parameters, along with a pilot POC-LAMP assay in a riverine community without laboratory infrastructure. Results LAMP had a sensitivity of 91.8% (87.7–94.9) and specificity of 91.9% (87.8–95.0), and the overall accuracy was significantly better among samples collected during road screenings than riverine communities (p≤0.004). LAMP-based diagnostic strategy was successfully implemented within the field-team logistics and the POC-LAMP pilot in the riverine community allowed for a reduction in the turnaround time for case management, from 12–24 hours to less than 5 hours. Specimens with haemolytic appearance were regularly observed in riverine screenings and could help explaining the hindered performance/interpretation of the LAMP reaction in these communities. Conclusions LAMP-based molecular malaria diagnosis can be deployed outside of reference laboratories, providing similar performance as qPCR. However, scale-up in remote field settings such as riverine communities needs to consider a number of logistical challenges (e.g. environmental conditions, labour-intensiveness in large population screenings) that can influence its optimal implementation.
Human Metapneumovirus Induces Formation of Inclusion Bodies for Efficient Genome Replication and TranscriptionAbstract
Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) causes significant upper and lower respiratory disease to all age groups worldwide. The virus possesses a negative-sense single-stranded RNA genome of approximately 13.3 Kb encapsidated by multiple copies of the nucleoprotein (N), giving rise to helical nucleocapsids. In addition, copies of the phosphoprotein (P) and the large RNA polymerase (L) decorate the viral nucleocapsids. After viral attachment, endocytosis, and fusion mediated by the viral glycoproteins, HMPV nucleocapsids are released into the cell cytoplasm. To visualize the subsequent steps of genome transcription and replication, a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) protocol was established to detect different viral RNA subpopulations in infected cells. The FISH probes were specific for detection of HMPV positive-sense RNA (+RNA) and genomic RNA (vRNA). Time-course analysis of human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells infected with HMPV revealed the formation of inclusion bodies (IBs) from early times post-infection. HMPV IBs were shown to be cytoplasmic sites of active transcription and replication, with translation of viral proteins closely associated. Inclusion body formation was consistent with an actin-dependent coalescence of multiple early replicative sites. Time-course RT-qPCR analysis suggested that coalescence of inclusion bodies is a strategy to efficiently replicate and transcribe the viral genome. These results provide a better understanding of the steps following HMPV entry and have important clinical implications.
IMPORTANCE Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a recently discovered pathogen that affects human populations of all ages worldwide. Reinfections are common throughout life, but no vaccines or antiviral treatments are currently available. In this work, a spatio-temporal analysis of HMPV replication and transcription in bronchial epithelial-derived immortal cells was performed. HMPV was shown to induce formation of large cytoplasmic granules, named inclusion bodies, for genome replication and transcription. Unlike other cytoplasmic structures such as stress granules and P-bodies, inclusion bodies are exclusively present in infected cells and contain HMPV RNA and proteins to more efficiently transcribe and replicate the viral genome. Though nuanced, inclusion body formation corresponds to a more generalized strategy used by different viruses, including filoviruses and rhabdoviruses, for genome transcription and replication. Thus, understanding inclusion body formation is crucial for the discovery of innovative therapeutic targets.
Solar thermotherapy reduces the titer of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus and enhances canopy growth by altering gene expression profiles in HLB-affected citrus plantsAbstract
Huanglongbing (HLB), a systemic and destructive disease of citrus, is associated with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (Las) in the United States. Our earlier work has shown that Las bacteria were significantly reduced or eliminated when potted HLB-affected citrus were continuously exposed to high temperatures of 40 to 42 °C for a minimum of 48 h. To determine the feasibility and effectiveness of solar thermotherapy in the field, portable plastic enclosures were placed over commercial and residential citrus, exposing trees to high temperatures through solarization. Within 3–6 weeks after treatment, most trees responded with vigorous new growth. Las titer in new growth was greatly reduced for 18–36 months after treatment. Unlike with potted trees, exposure to high heat did not eradicate the Las population under field conditions. This may be attributed to reduced temperatures at night in the field compared to continuous high temperature exposure that can be maintained in growth chambers, and the failure to achieve therapeutic temperatures in the root zone. Despite the presence of Las in heat-treated commercial citrus, many trees produced abundant flush and grew vigorously for 2 to 3 years after treatment. Transcriptome analysis comparing healthy trees to HLB-affected citrus both before and after heat treatment demonstrated that post-treatment transcriptional expression patterns more closely resembled the expression patterns of healthy controls for most differentially expressed genes and that genes involved with plant-bacterium interactions are upregulated after heat treatment. Overall, these results indicate that solar thermotherapy can be an effective component of an integrated control strategy for citrus HLB.
Protective role of Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus associated immune response in airway epithelial cellsAbstract
RSV is a major cause of severe lower respiratory infection in infants and young children. With no vaccine yet available, it is important to clarify mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. Since indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is an immunomodulatory enzyme and is upregulated with RSV infection, we studied it in vivo during infection of BALB/c mice and in vitro in A549 cells. RSV infection upregulated IDO transcripts in vivo and in vitro. IDO siRNA decreased IDO transcripts ~2 fold compared to control siRNA after RSV infection but this decrease did not affect RSV replication. In the presence of IFN-γ, siRNA-induced a decrease in IDO expression that was associated with an increase in virus replication and increased levels of IL-6, IL-8, CXCL10 and CCL4. Thus, our results show IDO is upregulated with RSV infection and this upregulation likely participates with IFN-γ in inhibition of virus replication and suppression of some host cell responses to infection.
High environmental ammonia exposure has developmental-stage specific and long-term consequences on the cortisol stress response in zebrafishAbstract
The capacity for early life environmental stressors to induce programming effects on the endocrine stress response in fish is largely unknown. In this study we determined the effects of high environmental ammonia (HEA) exposure on the stress response in larval zebrafish, assessed the tolerance of embryonic and larval stages to HEA, and evaluated whether early life HEA exposure has long-term consequences on the cortisol response to a novel stressor. Exposure to 500–2000μM NH4Cl for 16h did not affect the gene expression of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) system components in 1day post-fertilization (dpf) embryos, but differentially increased crfa, crfb and CRF binding protein (crfbp) expression and stimulated both dose- and time-dependent increases in the whole body cortisol of 5dpf larvae. Pre-acclimation to HEA at 1dpf did not affect the cortisol response to a subsequent NH4Cl exposure at 5dpf. In contrast, pre-acclimation to HEA at 5dpf caused a small but significant reduction in the cortisol response to a second NH4Cl exposure at 10dpf. While continuous exposure to 500–2000μM NH4Cl between 0 and 5dpf had a modest effect on mean survival time, exposure to 400–1000μM NH4Cl between 10 and 14dpf decreased mean survival time in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, pre-acclimation to HEA at 5dpf significantly decreased the risk of mortality to continuous NH4Cl exposure between 10 and 14dpf. Finally, while HEA at 1dpf did not affect the cortisol stress response to a novel vortex stressor at 5dpf, the same HEA treatment at 5dpf abolished vortex stressor-induced increases in whole body cortisol at 10 and 60dpf. Together these results show that the impact of HEA on the cortisol stress response during development is life-stage specific and closely linked to ammonia tolerance. Further, we demonstrate that HEA exposure at the larval stage can have persistent effects on the capacity to respond to stressors in later life.
Sphingosine Kinase 1 expression in Peritoneal Macrophages is required for Colon CarcinogenesisAbstract
Accumulating evidence suggests that the sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1)/sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) pathway plays a pivotal role in colon carcinogenesis. Our previous studies indicate that the SphK1/S1P pathway mediates colon carcinogenesis at least by regulating COX-2 expression and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production. However, the mechanisms by which this pathway regulates colon carcinogenesis are still unclear. First, we show that SphK1 deficient mice significantly attenuated azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colon carcinogenesis as measured by colon tumor incidence, multiplicity, and volume. We found that AOM activates peritoneal macrophages to induce SphK1, COX-2, and TNF-α expression in WT mice. Interestingly, SphK1 KO mice revealed significant reduction of COX-2 and TNF-α expression from AOM-activated peritoneal macrophages, suggesting that SphK1 regulates COX-2 and TNF-α expression in peritoneal macrophages. We found that inoculation of WT peritoneal macrophages restored the carcinogenic effect of AOM in Sphk1 KO mice as measured by aberrant crypt foci (ACF) formation, preneoplastic lesions of colon cancer. In addition, downregulation of SphK1 only in peritoneal macrophage by shRNA reduced the number of ACF per colon induced by AOM. Intraperitoneal injection of sphingolipids demonstrates that S1P enhanced AOM-induced ACF formation, while ceramide inhibited. Finally, we show that SphK inhibitor SKI-II significantly reduced the number of ACF per colon. These results suggest that SphK1 expression plays a pivotal role in the early stages of colon carcinogenesis through regulating COX-2 and TNF-α expression from activated peritoneal macrophages.
Short chain fatty acids ameliorate immune-mediated uveitis partially by altering migration of lymphocytes from the intestineAbstract
Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) are metabolites of intestinal bacteria resulting from fermentation of dietary fiber. SCFA are protective in various animal models of inflammatory disease. We investigated the effects of exogenous administration of SFCAs, particularly propionate, on uveitis using an inducible model of experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). Oral SCFA administration attenuated uveitis severity in a mouse strain-dependent manner through regulatory T cell induction among lymphocytes in the intestinal lamina propria (LPL) and cervical lymph nodes (CLN). SCFA also suppressed effector T cell induction in the CLN and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN). Alterations in intestinal morphology and gene expression demonstrated in the EAU model prior to the onset of uveitis were blunted by oral SCFA administration. Using a Kaede transgenic mouse, we demonstrated enhanced leukocyte trafficking between the intestine and the eye in EAU. Propionate suppressed T effector cell migration between the intestine and the spleen in EAU Kaede mice. In conclusion, our findings support exogenous administration of SCFAs as a potential treatment strategy for uveitis through the stabilization of subclinical intestinal alterations that occur in inflammatory diseases including uveitis, as well as prevention of trafficking of leukocytes between the gastrointestinal tract and extra-intestinal tissues.