Elimination of potential self-reactive T cells in the thymus is crucial for preventing the onset of autoimmune diseases. Epithelial cell subsets localized in thymic medulla [medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs)] contribute to this process by supplying a wide range of self-antigens that are otherwise expressed in a tissue-specific manner (TSAs). Expression of some TSAs in mTECs is controlled by the autoimmune regulator (AIRE) protein, of which dysfunctional mutations are the causative factor of autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED). In addition to the elimination of self-reactive T cells, recent studies indicated roles of mTECs in the development of Foxp3-positive regulatory T cells, which suppress autoimmunity and excess immune reactions in peripheral tissues. The TNF family cytokines, RANK ligand, CD40 ligand, and lymphotoxin were found to promote the differentiation of AIRE- and TSA-expressing mTECs. Furthermore, activation of NF-κB is essential for mTEC differentiation. In this mini-review, we focus on molecular mechanisms that regulate induction of AIRE and TSA expression and discuss possible contributions of these mechanisms to prevent the onset of autoimmune diseases.
medullary thymic epithelial cells; autoimmune disease; NF-κB; TNF receptor family; gene expression
Medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) are characterized by ectopic expression of self-antigens during the establishment of central tolerance. The autoimmune regulator (Aire), which is specifically expressed in mTECs, is responsible for the expression of a large repertoire of tissue-restricted antigens (TRAs) and plays a role in the development of mTECs. However, Aire-deficient mTECs still express TRAs. Moreover, a subset of mTECs, which are considered to be at a stage of terminal differentiation, exists in the Aire-deficient thymus. The phenotype of a specific cell type in a multicellular organism is governed by the epigenetic regulation system. DNA methylation modification is an important component of this system. Every cell or tissue type displays a DNA methylation profile, consisting of tissue-dependent and differentially methylated regions (T-DMRs), and this profile is involved in cell-type-specific genome usage. The aim of this study was to examine the DNA methylation profile of mTECs by using Aire-deficient mTECs as a model.
We identified the T-DMRs of mTECs (mTEC-T-DMRs) via genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of Aire−/− mTECs by comparison with the liver, brain, thymus, and embryonic stem cells. The hypomethylated mTEC-T-DMRs in Aire−/− mTECs were associated with mTEC-specific genes, including Aire, CD80, and Trp63, as well as other genes involved in the RANK signaling pathway. While these mTEC-T-DMRs were also hypomethylated in Aire+/+ mTECs, they were hypermethylated in control thymic stromal cells. We compared the pattern of DNA methylation levels at a total of 55 mTEC-T-DMRs and adjacent regions and found that the DNA methylation status was similar for Aire+/+ and Aire−/− mTECs but distinct from that of athymic cells and tissues.
These results indicate a unique DNA methylation profile that is independent of Aire in mTECs. This profile is distinct from other cell types in the thymic microenvironment and is indicated to be involved in the differentiation of the mTEC lineage.
Medullary thymic epithelial cells; Aire; T-DMR
The interaction between the receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) and its receptor RANK plays a critical role in the development and function of diverse tissues. This review summarizes the studies regarding the functions of RANKL signaling in immune regulatory systems. Previous in vitro and in vivo studies have indicated that the RANKL signal promotes the survival of dendritic cells (DCs), thereby activating the immune response. In addition, RANKL signaling to DCs in the body surface barriers controls self-tolerance and oral-tolerance through regulatory T cell functions. In addition to regulating DC functions, the RANKL and RANK interaction is critical for the development and organization of several lymphoid organs. The RANKL signal initiates the formation of clusters of lymphoid tissue inducer cells, which is crucial for lymph node organogenesis. Moreover, the RANKL-RANK interaction controls the differentiation of M cells, specialized epithelial cells in mucosal tissues, that take up and transcytose antigen particles to control the immune response to pathogens or commensal bacterium. The development of epithelial cells localized in the thymic medulla (mTECs) is also regulated by the RANKL-RANK signal. Given that the unique property of mTECs to express a wide variety of tissue-specific self-antigens is critical for the elimination of self-antigen reactive T cells in the thymus, the RANKL-RANK interaction contributes to the suppression of autoimmunity. Future studies on the roles of the RANKL-RANK system in immune regulatory functions would be informative for the development and application of inhibitors of RANKL signaling for disease treatment.
RANKL; T cells; Dendritic cells; Thymus; Medullary thymic epithelial cells; Lymphoid tissue inducer cells; Lymph node; M cells; Peyer’s patches
Thymic epithelial cells (TECs) provide the microenvironment required for the development of T cells in the thymus. A unique property of medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) is their expression of a wide range of tissue-restricted self-antigens, critically regulated by the nuclear protein AIRE, which contributes to the selection of the self-tolerant T cell repertoire, thereby suppressing the onset of autoimmune diseases. The TNF receptor family (TNFRF) protein receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK), CD40 and lymphotoxin β receptor (LtβR) regulate the development and functions of mTECs. The engagement of these receptors with their specific ligands results in the activation of the NF-κB family of transcription factors. Two NF-κB activation pathways, the classical and non-classical pathways, promote the development of mature mTECs induced by these receptors. Consistently, TNF receptor-associated factor (TRAF6), the signal transducer of the classical pathway, and NF-κB inducing kinase (NIK), the signal transducer of the non-classical pathway, are essential for the development of mature mTECs. This review summarizes the current understanding of how the signaling by the TNF receptor family controls the development and functions of mTEC.
medullary thymic epithelial cells; TNF receptor family; NF-κB; signal transduction; self-tolerance; autoimmune disease
Apomixis is an intriguing trait in plants that results in maternal clones through seed reproduction. Apomixis is an elusive, but potentially revolutionary, trait for plant breeding and hybrid seed production. Recent studies arguing that apomicts are not evolutionary dead ends have generated further interest in the evolution of asexual flowering plants.
In the present study, we investigate karyotypic variation in a single chromosome responsible for transmitting apomixis, the Apospory-Specific Genomic Region carrier chromosome, in relation to species phylogeny in the genera Pennisetum and Cenchrus. A 1 kb region from the 3' end of the ndhF gene and a 900 bp region from trnL-F were sequenced from 12 apomictic and eight sexual species in the genus Pennisetum and allied genus Cenchrus. An 800 bp region from the Apospory-Specific Genomic Region also was sequenced from the 12 apomicts. Molecular cytological analysis was conducted in sixteen Pennisetum and two Cenchrus species. Our results indicate that the Apospory-Specific Genomic Region is shared by all apomictic species while it is absent from all sexual species or cytotypes. Contrary to our previous observations in Pennisetum squamulatum and Cenchrus ciliaris, retrotransposon sequences of the Opie-2-like family were not closely associated with the Apospory-Specific Genomic Region in all apomictic species, suggesting that they may have been accumulated after the Apospory-Specific Genomic Region originated.
Given that phylogenetic analysis merged Cenchrus and newly investigated Pennisetum species into a single clade containing a terminal cluster of Cenchrus apomicts, the presumed monophyletic origin of Cenchrus is supported. The Apospory-Specific Genomic Region likely preceded speciation in Cenchrus and its lateral transfer through hybridization and subsequent chromosome repatterning may have contributed to further speciation in the two genera.
Samples of porous Ti metal were subjected to different acid and heat treatments. Ectopic bone formation on specimens embedded in dog muscle was compared with the surface characteristics of the specimen. Treatment of the specimens by H2SO4/HCl and heating at 600°C produced micrometer-scale roughness with surface layers composed of rutile phase of titanium dioxide. The acid- and heat-treated specimens induced ectopic bone formation within 6 months of implantation. A specimen treated using NaOH followed by HCl acid and then heat treatment produced nanometer-scale surface roughness with a surface layer composed of both rutile and anatase phases of titanium dioxide. These specimens also induced bone formation after 6 months of implantation. Both these specimens featured positive surface charge and good apatite-forming abilities in a simulated body fluid. The amount of the bone induced in the porous structure increased with apatite-forming ability and higher positive surface charge. Untreated porous Ti metal samples showed no bone formation even after 12 months. Specimens that were only heat treated featured a smooth surface composed of rutile. A mixed acid treatment produced specimens with micrometer-scale rough surfaces composed of titanium hydride. Both of them also showed no bone formation after 12 months. The specimens that showed no bone formation also featured almost zero surface charge and no apatite-forming ability. These results indicate that osteoinduction of these porous Ti metal samples is directly related to positive surface charge that facilitates formation of apatite on the metal surfaces in vitro.
Interleukin 2-inducible T cell kinase (ITK) influences T cell signaling by coordinating actin polymerization and polarization as well as recruitment of kinases and adapter proteins. ITK regulates multiple steps of HIV-1 replication, including virion assembly and release. Fluorescent microscopy was used to examine the functional interactions between ITK and HIV-1 Gag during viral particle release. ITK and Gag colocalized at the plasma membrane and were concentrated at sites of F-actin accumulation and membrane lipid rafts in HIV-1 infected T cells. There was polarized staining of ITK, Gag, and actin towards sites of T cell conjugates. Small molecule inhibitors of ITK disrupted F-actin capping, perturbed Gag-ITK colocalization, inhibited virus like particle release, and reduced HIV replication in primary human CD4+ T cells. These data provide insight as to how ITK influences HIV-1 replication and suggest that targeting host factors that regulate HIV-1 egress provides an innovative strategy for controlling HIV infection.
HIV; ITK; Tec kinases; Gag; Actin; Virus release; Kinase inhibitors
The rate of graft survival has dramatically increased using calcineurin inhibitors, however chronic graft rejection and risk of infection are difficult to manage. Induction of allograft-specific regulatory T-cells (Tregs) is considered an ideal way to achieve long-term tolerance for allografts. However, efficient in vitro methods for developing allograft-specific Tregs which is applicable to MHC full-mismatched cardiac transplant models have not been established. We compared antigen-nonspecific polyclonal-induced Tregs (iTregs) as well as antigen-specific iTregs and thymus-derived Tregs (nTregs) that were expanded via direct and indirect pathways. We found that iTregs induced via the indirect pathway had the greatest ability to prolong graft survival and suppress angiitis. Antigen-specific iTregs generated ex vivo via both direct and indirect pathways using dendritic cells from F1 mice also induced long-term engraftment without using MHC peptides. In antigen-specific Treg transferred models, activation of dendritic cells and allograft-specific CTL generation were suppressed. The present study demonstrated the potential of ex vivo antigen-specific Treg expansion for clinical cell-based therapeutic approaches to induce lifelong immunological tolerance for allogeneic cardiac transplants.
Drug-resistant Providencia rettgeri producing metallo-β-lactamase and 16S rRNA methylase has been reported in several countries. We analyzed P. rettgeri clinical isolates with resistance to carbapenems and aminoglycosides in a hospital in Nepal.
Five clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant P. rettgeri were obtained in a hospital in Nepal. Antimicrobial susceptibilities were determined using the microdilution method and entire genomes were sequenced to determine drug-resistant genes. Epidemiological analysis was performed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.
Four of the 5 isolates were resistant to carbapenems (imipenem and meropenem), with MICs ≥16 mg/L, with the remaining isolate showing intermediate resistance to imipenem, with an MIC of 2 mg/L and susceptibility to meropenem with an MIC ≤1 mg/L. All 5 isolates had blaVEB-1. Of the 4 carbapenem-resistant strains, 3 had blaNDM-1 and 1 had blaOXA-72. All isolates were highly resistant to aminoglycosides (MICs ≥1,024 mg/L) and harbored armA. As the result of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern analysis in the 5 P. rettgeri isolates, 4 had identical PFGE patterns and the fifth showed 95.7% similarity.
This is the first report describing multidrug-resistant P. rettgeri strains harboring blaNDM-1 or blaOXA-72 and armA isolated from patients in Nepal.
NDM-1; OXA-72; 16S rRNA methylase; Providencia rettgeri; Molecular epidemiology
The clinical diagnosis of Parkinson disease (PD) is incorrect in 30% or more of subjects, particularly at the time of symptom onset. Because Lewy-type α-synucleinopathy (LTS) is present in the submandibular glands of PD patients, we assessed the feasibility of submandibular gland biopsy for diagnosing PD. We performed immunohistochemical staining for LTS in sections of large segments (simulating open biopsy) and needle cores of submandibular gland from 128 autopsied and neuropathologically classified subjects, including 28 PD, 5 incidental Lewy body disease, 5 progressive supranuclear palsy ([PSP] 3 with concurrent PD), 3 corticobasal degeneration, 2 multiple system atrophy, 22 Alzheimer disease with Lewy bodies (ADLB), 16 Alzheimer disease without Lewy bodies and 50 normal elderly. Immunoreactive nerve fibers were present in large submandibular gland sections of all 28 PD subjects (including 3 that also had PSP); 3 ADLB subjects were also positive, but none of the other subjects were positive. Cores from frozen submandibular glands taken with 18 gauge needles (total length 15–38 mm, between 10 and 118 sections per subject examined) were positive for LTS in 17 of 19 PD patients. These results suggest that biopsy of the submandibular gland may be a feasible means of improving PD clinical diagnostic accuracy. This would be particularly advantageous for subject selection in early-stage clinical trials, for invasive therapies or for verifying other biomarker studies.
α-Synuclein; Biomarker; Clinical trial; Deep brain stimulation; Gene therapy; Lewy body; Parkinson disease; Surgery; Transplantation
Modifications of α-synuclein resulting in changes in its conformation are considered to be key pathological events for Lewy body diseases (LBD), which include Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We have previously described a histopathological Unified Staging System for LBD that classifies the spread of α-synuclein phosphorylated at serine 129 (pS129-α-synuclein) from olfactory bulb to brainstem or limbic regions, and finally neocortex. Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites are highly enriched in pS129-α-synuclein. Increased formation of pS129-α-synuclein changes its solubility properties enhancing its tendency to aggregate and disrupt normal function. As in vitro and animal studies have shown that inhibiting formation of pS129-α-synuclein can prevent toxic consequences, this has become one of the therapeutic targets for LBD. However, detailed biochemical descriptions of the changes in pS129-α-synuclein properties in diseased human brains are needed to further our understanding of how these might contribute to molecular pathogenesis. In this study, we used 130 separate brain samples from cingulate cortex (limbic cortex) and 131 from temporal cortex (neocortex) that had been staged according to our Unified Staging System to examine progressive changes in properties of pS129-α-synuclein with the formation of progressively more severe histological Lewy-type pathology. The brain samples from these staged cases had been separated into cytosol-enriched, membrane-enriched (detergent soluble) and insoluble (ureas/SDS soluble) fractions. We also characterized the nature and appearance of higher molecular weight forms of pS129-α-synuclein. The major species was the 16 kD monomeric form; this accumulated with increasing stage with a large increase in Stage IV samples. By comparing two brain regions, we showed higher accumulation of insoluble pS129-α-synuclein in cingulate cortex, where histological deposits occur first, than in temporal cortex in samples with advanced (Stage IV) LB pathology.
Western blots; Parkinson’s disease; antibodies; fractionation; post-translational modification; postmortem brain tissue; dementia with Lewy bodies; incidental Lewy body disease; pathogenesis; aggregation
To compare various pulse sequences in terms of percent contrast and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) for detection of focal multiple myeloma lesions and to assess the dependence of lesion conspicuity on the bone marrow plasma cell percent (BMPC%).
Materials and Methods
Sagittal T1-weighted FSE, fat-suppressed T2-weighted FSE (FS- T2 FSE), fast STIR and iterative decomposition of water and fat with echo asymmetry and least-squares estimation (IDEAL) imaging of the lumbar spine were performed (n = 45). Bone marrow (BM)-focal myeloma lesion percent contrast and CNR were calculated. Spearman rank correlation coefficients were obtained between percent contrast, CNR and BMPC%. Percent contrasts and CNRs were compared among the three imaging sequences.
BM-focal lesion percent contrasts, CNRs and BMPC% showed significant negative correlations in the three fat-suppression techniques. Percent contrast and CNRs were significantly higher for FS- T2 FSE than for STIR (P<0.01, P<0.05, respectively), but no significant differences were found among the three fat-suppression methods in the low tumor load BM group.
The higher BMPC% was within BM, the less conspicuous the focal lesion was on fat-suppressed MRI. The most effective protocol for detecting focal lesions was FS- T2 FSE. In the high tumor load BM group, no significant differences in lesion conspicuity were identified among the three fat-suppression techniques.
A mutation that confers white plumage with black eyes was identified in the Minohiki breed of Japanese native chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). The white plumage, with a few partially pigmented feathers, was not associated with the tyrosinase gene, and displayed an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance against the pigmented phenotype. All F1 offspring derived from crosses with mottled chickens (mo/mo), which show characteristic pigmented feathers with white tips, had plumage with a mottled-like pattern. This result indicates that the white plumage mutation is a novel allele at the mo locus; we propose the gene symbol mow for this mutant allele. Furthermore, the F1 hybrid between the mow/mow chicken and the panda (s/s) mutant of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica), whose causative gene is the endothelin receptor B2 (EDNRB2) gene, showed a mow/mow chicken-like plumage, suggesting the possibility that the mutations in parental species are alleles of the same gene, EDNRB2. Nucleotide sequencing of the entire coding region of EDNRB2 revealed a non-synonymous G1008T substitution, which causes Cys244Phe amino acid substitution in exon 5 (which is part of the extracellular loop between the putative fourth and fifth transmembrane domains of EDNRB2) in the mutant chicken. This Cys244Phe mutation was also present in individuals of four Japanese breeds with white plumage. We also identified a non-synonymous substitution leading to Arg332His substitution that was responsible for the mottled (mo/mo) plumage phenotype. These results suggest that the EDN3 (endothelin 3)–EDNRB2 signaling is essential for normal pigmentation in birds, and that the mutations of EDNRB2 may cause defective binding of the protein with endothelins, which interferes with melanocyte differentiation, proliferation, and migration.
Inflammation clearly occurs in pathologically vulnerable regions of the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain, and it does so with the full complexity of local peripheral inflammatory responses. In the periphery, degenerating tissue and the deposition of highly insoluble abnormal materials are classical stimulants of inflammation. Likewise, in the AD brain damaged neurons and neurites and highly insoluble amyloid β peptide deposits and neurofibrillary tangles provide obvious stimuli for inflammation. Because these stimuli are discrete, microlocalized, and present from early preclinical to terminal stages of AD, local upregulation of complement, cytokines, acute phase reactants, and other inflammatory mediators is also discrete, microlocalized, and chronic. Cumulated over many years, direct and bystander damage from AD inflammatory mechanisms is likely to significantly exacerbate the very pathogenic processes that gave rise to it. Thus, animal models and clinical studies, although still in their infancy, strongly suggest that AD inflammation significantly contributes to AD pathogenesis. By better understanding AD inflammatory and immunoregulatory processes, it should be possible to develop anti-inflammatory approaches that may not cure AD but will likely help slow the progression or delay the onset of this devastating disorder.
Alzheimer’s disease; Inflammation; Nervous system; Neuroinflammation; Complement; Cytokine; Chemokine; Acute phase protein; Microglia; Astrocyte; Neuron
Tissue-engineered skeletal muscle should possess a high cell-dense structure with unidirectional cell alignment. However, limited nutrient and/or oxygen supply within the artificial tissue constructs might restrict cell viability and muscular functions. In this study, we genetically modified myoblast cells with the anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) gene and evaluated their function in artificial skeletal muscle tissue constructs. Magnetite cationic liposomes were used to magnetically label C2C12 myoblast cells for the construction of skeletal muscle bundles by applying a magnetic force. Bcl-2-overexpressing muscle bundles formed highly cell-dense and viable tissue constructs, while muscle bundles without Bcl-2 overexpression exhibited substantial necrosis/apoptosis at the central region of the bundle. Bcl-2-overexpressing muscle bundles contracted in response to electrical pulses and generated a significantly higher physical force. These findings indicate that the incorporation of anti-apoptotic gene-transduced myoblast cells into tissue constructs significantly enhances skeletal muscle formation and function.
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) comprise a heterogeneous population of postnatal progenitor cells with profound immunomodulatory properties, such as upregulation of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) and downregulation of Th17 cells. However, it is unknown whether different MSC subpopulations possess the same range of immunomodulatory function. Here, we show that a subset of single colony-derived MSCs producing IL-17 is different from bulk MSC population in that it cannot upregulate Tregs, downregulate Th17 cells, or ameliorate disease phenotypes in a colitis mouse model. Mechanistically, we reveal that IL-17, produced by these MSCs, activates the NFκB pathway to downregulate TGF-β production in MSCs, resulting in abolishment of MSC-based immunomodulation. Furthermore, we show that NFκB is able to directly bind to TGF-β promoter region to regulate TGF-β expression in MSCs. Moreover, these IL-17+ MSCs possess anti-Candida albicans growth effects in vitro and therapeutic effect in C. albicans-infected mice. In summary, this study shows that MSCs contain an IL-17+ subset capable of inhibiting C. albicans growth, but attenuating MSC-based immunosuppression via NFκB-mediated downregulation of TGF-β.
stem cell biology; development; immunity; molecular pathogenesis
To evaluate the geometric change of osteoporotic bone trabecular patterns using root mean square (RMS) values, first moment power spectrum (FMP) values and fractal dimension values. With the use of these methods, we attempted computerised analysis of osteoporotic bone patterns using texture parameters characterising bone architecture and computer-aided diagnosis of osteoporosis.
32 patient cases from Korea University Guro Hospital were analysed. Patient ages ranged from 51 to 89 years, with a mean age of 65 years. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed with determination of the area under the curve (AUC).
The bone mineral density (BMD) measurement (AUC=0.78) was a better indicator of bone quantity than the RMS, FMP and fractal dimension values (AUC=0.72) for diagnosis; therefore the combination of RMS, FMP and fractal dimension values was a better indicator of bone quality.
Measurements that combined BMD measurement and RMS values and combined FMP and fractal dimension values (AUC=0.85) together produced better results than the use of the two parameter sets separately for a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Advances in knowledge
For more effective application, additional study on more cases and data will be required.
The sphingolipid backbone ceramide (Cer) is a major component of lipid lamellae in the stratum corneum of epidermis and has a pivotal role in epidermal barrier formation. Unlike Cers in other tissues, Cers in epidermis contain extremely long fatty acids (FAs). Decreases in epidermal Cer levels, as well as changes in their FA chain lengths, cause several cutaneous disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms that produce such extremely long Cers and determine their chain lengths are poorly understood. We generated mice deficient in the Elovl1 gene, which encodes the FA elongase responsible for producing C20 to C28 FAs. Elovl1 knockout mice died shortly after birth due to epidermal barrier defects. The lipid lamellae in the stratum corneum were largely diminished in these mice. In the epidermis of the Elovl1-null mice, the levels of Cers with ≥C26 FAs were decreased, while those of Cers with ≤C24 FAs were increased. In contrast, the levels of C24 sphingomyelin were reduced, accompanied by an increase in C20 sphingomyelin levels. Two ceramide synthases, CerS2 and CerS3, expressed in an epidermal layer-specific manner, regulate Elovl1 to produce acyl coenzyme As with different chain lengths. Elovl1 is a key determinant of epidermal Cer chain length and is essential for permeability barrier formation.
Temperature-dependent regulation of affinity binding between bioactive ligands and their cell membrane receptors is an attractive approach for the dynamic control of cellular adhesion, proliferation, migration, differentiation, and signal transduction. Covalent conjugation of bioactive ligands onto thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PIPAAm)-grafted surfaces facilitates the modulation of one-on-one affinity binding between bioactive ligands and cellular receptors by changing temperature. For the dynamic control of the multivalent affinity binding between heparin and heparin-binding proteins, thermoresponsive cell culture surface modified with heparin, which interacts with heparin-binding proteins such as basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), has been proposed. Heparin-functionalized thermoresponsive cell culture surface induces (1) the multivalent affinity binding of bFGF in active form and (2) accelerating cell sheet formation in the state of shrunken PIPAAm chains at 37°C. By lowering temperature to 20°C, the affinity binding between bFGF and immobilized heparin is reduced with increasing the mobility of heparin and the swollen PIPAAm chains, leading to the detachment of cultured cells. Therefore, heparin-functionalized thermoresponsive cell culture surface was able to enhance cell proliferation and detach confluent cells as a contiguous cell sheet by changing temperature. A cell cultivation system using heparin-functionalized thermoresponsive cell culture surface is versatile for immobilizing other heparin-binding proteins such as vascular endothelial growth factor, fibronectin, antithrombin III, and hepatocyte growth factor, etc. for tuning the adhesion, growth, and differentiation of various cell species.
poly(N-isopropylacrylamide); 2-carboxyisopropylacrylamide; thermoresponsive cell culture surface; heparin; basic fibroblast growth factor; cell sheet
Arabidopsis thaliana is one of the most popular experimental plants. However, only 40% of its genes have at least one experimental Gene Ontology (GO) annotation assigned. Systematic observation of mutant phenotypes is an important technique for elucidating gene functions. Indeed, several large-scale phenotypic analyses have been performed and have generated phenotypic data sets from many Arabidopsis mutant lines and overexpressing lines, which are freely available online. Since each Arabidopsis mutant line database uses individual phenotype expression, the differences in the structured term sets used by each database make it difficult to compare data sets and make it impossible to search across databases. Therefore, we obtained publicly available information for a total of 66,209 Arabidopsis mutant lines, including loss-of-function (RATM and TARAPPER) and gain-of-function (AtFOX and OsFOX) lines, and integrated the phenotype data by mapping the descriptions onto Plant Ontology (PO) and Phenotypic Quality Ontology (PATO) terms. This approach made it possible to manage the four different phenotype databases as one large data set. Here, we report a publicly accessible web-based database, the RIKEN Arabidopsis Genome Encyclopedia II (RARGE II; http://rarge-v2.psc.riken.jp/), in which all of the data described in this study are included. Using the database, we demonstrated consistency (in terms of protein function) with a previous study and identified the presumed function of an unknown gene. We provide examples of AT1G21600, which is a subunit in the plastid-encoded RNA polymerase complex, and AT5G56980, which is related to the jasmonic acid signaling pathway.
Arabidopsis; Database; Gene function; Mutant line; Ontology; Phenotype
The bacterial heat shock transcription factor, Ïƒ32, maintains proper protein homeostasis only after it is targeted to the inner membrane by the signal recognition particle (SRP), thereby enabling integration of protein folding information from both the cytoplasm and cell membrane.
All cells must adapt to rapidly changing conditions. The heat shock response (HSR) is an intracellular signaling pathway that maintains proteostasis (protein folding homeostasis), a process critical for survival in all organisms exposed to heat stress or other conditions that alter the folding of the proteome. Yet despite decades of study, the circuitry described for responding to altered protein status in the best-studied bacterium, E. coli, does not faithfully recapitulate the range of cellular responses in response to this stress. Here, we report the discovery of the missing link. Surprisingly, we found that σ32, the central transcription factor driving the HSR, must be localized to the membrane rather than dispersed in the cytoplasm as previously assumed. Genetic analyses indicate that σ32 localization results from a protein targeting reaction facilitated by the signal recognition particle (SRP) and its receptor (SR), which together comprise a conserved protein targeting machine and mediate the cotranslational targeting of inner membrane proteins to the membrane. SRP interacts with σ32 directly and transports it to the inner membrane. Our results show that σ32 must be membrane-associated to be properly regulated in response to the protein folding status in the cell, explaining how the HSR integrates information from both the cytoplasm and bacterial cell membrane.
All cells have to adjust to frequent changes in their environmental conditions. The heat shock response is a signaling pathway critical for survival of all organisms exposed to elevated temperatures. Under such conditions, the heat shock response maintains enzymes and other proteins in a properly folded state. The mechanisms for sensing temperature and the subsequent induction of the appropriate transcriptional response have been extensively studied. Prior to this work, however, the circuitry described in the best studied bacterium E. coli could not fully explain the range of cellular responses that are observed following heat shock. We report the discovery of this missing link. Surprisingly, we find that σ32, a transcription factor that induces gene expression during heat shock, needs to be localized to the membrane, rather than being active as a soluble cytoplasmic protein as previously thought. We show that, equally surprisingly, σ32 is targeted to the membrane by the signal recognition particle (SRP) and its receptor (SR). SRP and SR constitute a conserved protein targeting machine that normally only operates on membrane and periplasmic proteins that contain identifiable signal sequences. Intriguingly, σ32 does not have any canonical signal sequence for export or membrane-integration. Our results indicate that membrane-associated σ32, not soluble cytoplasmic σ32, is the preferred target of regulatory control in response to heat shock. Our new model thus explains how protein folding status from both the cytoplasm and bacterial cell membrane can be integrated to control the heat shock response.
Overexpression of pruritogens and their precursors may contribute to the sensitization of histamine-dependent and –independent itch-signaling pathways in chronic itch. We presently investigated self- and cross-sensitization of scratching behavior elicited by various pruritogens, and their effects on primary sensory neurons. The MrgprC11 agonist BAM8–22 exhibited self- and reciprocal cross-sensitization of scratching evoked by the protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) agonist SLIGRL. The MrgprA3 agonist chloroquine unidirectionally cross-sensitized BAM8–22-evoked scratching. Histamine unidirectionally cross-sensitized scratching evoked by chloroquine and BAM8–22. SLIGRL unidirectionally cross-sensitized scratching evoked by chloroquine. Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cells responded to various combinations of pruritogens and algogens. Neither chloroquine, BAM8–22 nor histamine had any effect on responses of DRG cell responses to subsequently applied pruritogens, implying that their behavioral self- and cross-sensitization effects are mediated indirectly. SLIGRL unilaterally cross-sensitized responses of DRG cells to chloroquine and BAM8–22, consistent with the behavioral data. These results indicate that unidirectional cross-sensitization of histamine-independent itch-signaling pathways might occur at a peripheral site through PAR-2. PAR-2 expressed in pruriceptive nerve endings is a potential target to reduce sensitization associated with chronic itch.
Advances in immunology, biochemistry, and molecular biology have enabled the development of a number of assays for measuring autoantibodies. ELISA has been widely used, because it can deal with relatively large numbers of serum samples more quickly than other immunologic methods, such as immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation. Recombinant autoantigens, which are generally produced in E. coli using the relevant cloned cDNA, are necessary for ELISA. Conventional clinical ELISA tests are limited in their ability to purify proteins free of bacterial contaminants, and the process is labor intensive. We recently developed new ELISA tests that utilize simple in vitro transcription and translation labeling of autoantigens in order to measure dermatomyositis- (DM-) specific autoantibodies, including autoantibodies to Mi-2, MDA5, NXP-2, TIF1-α, and TIF1-γ. This method may allow for the rapid conversion of cDNAs to a chemiluminescent ELISA to detect autoantibodies that are found not only in DM but also in other autoimmune diseases.
Tumors are largely classified by histological appearance, yet morphological features do not necessarily predict cellular origin. To determine the origin of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), we labeled and traced pancreatic cell populations after induction of a PDA-initiating Kras mutation. Our studies reveal that ductal and stem-like centroacinar cells are surprisingly refractory to oncogenic transformation, whereas acinar cells readily form PDA precursor lesions with ductal features. We show that formation of acinar-derived premalignant lesions depends on ectopic induction of the ductal gene Sox9. Moreover, when concomitantly expressed with oncogenic Kras, Sox9 accelerates formation of premalignant lesions. These results provide insight into the cellular origin of PDA and suggest that its precursors arise via induction of a duct-like state in acinar cells.
Colonic diverticula are located predominantly on the right side in Asia and on the left side in Europe and the United States. Factors associated with uncomplicated colonic diverticulosis and its distribution pattern have been unknown. Our aims are to investigate the prevalence and risk factors for uncomplicated colonic diverticulosis. We conducted a prospective cross-sectional study in adults who underwent colonoscopy. Alcohol, alcohol related flushing, smoking, medications, and comorbidities were assessed by interview on the colonoscopy day. Alcohol consumption was categorized as nondrinker, light (1–180 g/week), moderate (181–360 g/week), and heavy (≥361 g/week). Smoking index was defined as the number of cigarettes per day multiplied by the number of smoking years and categorized as nonsmoker, <400, 400–799, and ≥800. A total of 2,164 consecutive patients were enrolled. Overall, 542 patients (25.1%) had uncomplicated colonic diverticulosis located on the right side (50%), bilaterally (29%), and on the left side (21%). Univariate analysis revealed age, male, smoking index, alcohol consumption, aspirin use, anticoagulants use, corticosteroid use, hypertension, and atherosclerotic disease as factors significantly associated with diverticulosis. Alcohol related flushing was not associated with the disease. Multivariate analysis showed increasing age (P<0.01), increasing alcohol consumption (P<0.01) and smoking (P<0.01), and atherosclerotic disease (P<0.01) as significantly associated factors. Alcohol and smoking were associated with right-sided and bilateral diverticula. In conclusion, one in four Japanese adults have colonic diverticulosis (50% right-sided). Age, alcohol consumption, and smoking were found to be significant risk factors for uncomplicated colonic diverticulosis, particularly right-sided and bilateral.