Understanding the origins and evolution of synapses may provide insight into species diversity and organisation of the brain. Using comparative proteomics and genomics we examined the evolution of the postsynaptic density (PSD) and MAGUK associated signalling complexes (MASCs) underlying learning and memory. PSD/MASC orthologues found in yeast perform basic cellular functions regulating protein synthesis and structural plasticity. Striking changes in signalling complexity were observed at the yeast:metazoan and invertebrate:vertebrate boundaries, with expansion of key synapse components, notably receptors, adhesion/cytoskeletal and scaffold proteins. Proteomic comparison of Drosophila and mouse MASCs revealed species-specific adaptation with greater signalling complexity in mouse. Although synapse components were conserved amongst diverse vertebrate species, mapping mRNA and protein expression within the mouse brain showed vertebrate-specific components preferentially contributed to differences between brain regions. We propose that evolution of synapse complexity around a core proto-synapse has contributed to invertebrate–vertebrate differences and to brain specialisation.
Multiple osteochondromas is an autosomal dominant skeletal disorder characterized by the formation of multiple cartilage-capped tumours. Two causal genes have been identified, EXT1 and EXT2, which account for 65% and 30% of cases, respectively. We have undertaken a mutation analysis of the EXT1 and EXT2 genes in 39 unrelated Spanish patients, most of them with moderate phenotype, and looked for genotype-phenotype correlations. We found the mutant allele in 37 patients, 29 in EXT1 and 8 in EXT2. Five of the EXT1 mutations were deletions identified by MLPA. Two cases of mosaicism were documented. We detected a lower number of exostoses in patients with missense mutation versus other kinds of mutations. In conclusion, we found a mutation in EXT1 or in EXT2 in 95% of the Spanish patients. Eighteen of the mutations were novel.
Individual differences in the energy cost of self-maintenance (resting metabolic rate, RMR) are substantial and the focus of an emerging research area. These differences may influence fitness because self-maintenance is considered as a life-history component along with growth and reproduction. In this review, we ask why do some individuals have two to three times the ‘maintenance costs’ of conspecifics, and what are the fitness consequences? Using evidence from a range of species, we demonstrate that diverse factors, such as genotypes, maternal effects, early developmental conditions and personality differences contribute to variation in individual RMR. We review evidence that RMR is linked with fitness, showing correlations with traits such as growth and survival. However, these relationships are modulated by environmental conditions (e.g. food supply), suggesting that the fitness consequences of a given RMR may be context-dependent. Then, using empirical examples, we discuss broad-scale reasons why variation in RMR might persist in natural populations, including the role of both spatial and temporal variation in selection pressures and trans-generational effects. To conclude, we discuss experimental approaches that will enable more rigorous examination of the causes and consequences of individual variation in this key physiological trait.
standard metabolic rate; resting metabolic rate; basal metabolic rate; maternal effects; metabolism; energetics
We created SynSysNet, available online at http://bioinformatics.charite.de/synsysnet, to provide a platform that creates a comprehensive 4D network of synaptic interactions. Neuronal synapses are fundamental structures linking nerve cells in the brain and they are responsible for neuronal communication and information processing. These processes are dynamically regulated by a network of proteins. New developments in interaction proteomics and yeast two-hybrid methods allow unbiased detection of interactors. The consolidation of data from different resources and methods is important to understand the relation to human behaviour and disease and to identify new therapeutic approaches. To this end, we established SynSysNet from a set of ∼1000 synapse specific proteins, their structures and small-molecule interactions. For two-thirds of these, 3D structures are provided (from Protein Data Bank and homology modelling). Drug-target interactions for 750 approved drugs and 50 000 compounds, as well as 5000 experimentally validated protein–protein interactions, are included. The resulting interaction network and user-selected parts can be viewed interactively and exported in XGMML. Approximately 200 involved pathways can be explored regarding drug-target interactions. Homology-modelled structures are downloadable in Protein Data Bank format, and drugs are available as MOL-files. Protein–protein interactions and drug-target interactions can be viewed as networks; corresponding PubMed IDs or sources are given.
The relationship between aquaculture and infestations of sea lice on wild sea trout (Salmo trutta) populations is controversial. Although some authors have concluded that there is a link between aquaculture and lice burdens on wild fish, others have questioned this interpretation. Lice levels have been shown to be generally higher on Atlantic salmon farms during the second years of two-year production cycles. Here we investigate whether this pattern relates to lice burdens on wild fish across broad temporal and spatial axes. Within Loch Shieldaig across five successive farm cycles from 2000 to 2009, the percentage of sea trout with lice, and those above a critical level, were significantly higher in the second year of a two-year production cycle. These patterns were mirrored in 2002–2003 across the Scottish west coast. The results suggest a link between Atlantic salmon farms and sea lice burdens on sea trout in the west of Scotland.
Lepeophtheirus; Salmo trutta; aquaculture
Protein-protein interaction (PPI) data are widely used to generate network models that aim to describe the relationships between proteins in biological systems. The fidelity and completeness of such networks is primarily limited by the paucity of protein interaction information and by the restriction of most of these data to just a few widely studied experimental organisms. In order to extend the utility of existing PPIs, computational methods can be used that exploit functional conservation between orthologous proteins across taxa to predict putative PPIs or 'interologs'. To date most interolog prediction efforts have been restricted to specific biological domains with fixed underlying data sources and there are no software tools available that provide a generalised framework for 'on-the-fly' interolog prediction.
We introduce Bio::Homology::InterologWalk, a Perl module to retrieve, prioritise and visualise putative protein-protein interactions through an orthology-walk method. The module uses orthology and experimental interaction data to generate putative PPIs and optionally collates meta-data into an Interaction Prioritisation Index that can be used to help prioritise interologs for further analysis. We show the application of our interolog prediction method to the genomic interactome of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. We analyse the resulting interaction networks and show that the method proposes new interactome members and interactions that are candidates for future experimental investigation.
Our interolog prediction tool employs the Ensembl Perl API and PSICQUIC enabled protein interaction data sources to generate up to date interologs 'on-the-fly'. This represents a significant advance on previous methods for interolog prediction as it allows the use of the latest orthology and protein interaction data for all of the genomes in Ensembl. The module outputs simple text files, making it easy to customise the results by post-processing, allowing the putative PPI datasets to be easily integrated into existing analysis workflows. The Bio::Homology::InterologWalk module, sample scripts and full documentation are freely available from the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) under the GNU Public license.
Drosophila larvae change from exhibiting attraction to aversion as the concentration of salt in a substrate is increased. However, some aversive concentrations appear to act as positive reinforcers, increasing attraction to an odour with which they have been paired. We test whether this surprising dissociation between the unconditioned and conditioned response depends on the larvae's experience of salt concentration in their food. We find that although the point at which a NaCl concentration becomes aversive shifts with different rearing experience, the dissociation remains evident. Testing larvae using a substrate 0.025M above the NaCl concentration on which the larvae were reared consistently results in aversive choice behaviour but appetitive reinforcement effects.
Current models of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder implicate multiple genes,
however their biological relationships remain elusive. To test the genetic role
of glutamate receptors and their interacting scaffold proteins, the exons of ten
glutamatergic ‘hub’ genes in 1304 individuals were re-sequenced in
case and control samples. No significant difference in the overall number of
non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) was observed between
cases and controls. However, cluster analysis of nsSNPs identified two exons
encoding the cysteine-rich domain and first transmembrane helix of GRM1 as a
risk locus with five mutations highly enriched within these domains. A new
splice variant lacking the transmembrane GPCR domain of GRM1 was discovered in
the human brain and the GRM1 mutation cluster could perturb the regulation of
this variant. The predicted effect on individuals harbouring multiple mutations
distributed in their ten hub genes was also examined. Diseased individuals
possessed an increased load of deleteriousness from multiple concurrent rare and
common coding variants. Together, these data suggest a disease model in which
the interplay of compound genetic coding variants, distributed among glutamate
receptors and their interacting proteins, contribute to the pathogenesis of
schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
Temporal expression profiling of sensory precursor cells reveals how the atonal proneural transcription factor regulates a specialized neuronal differentiation pathway.
In neurogenesis, neural cell fate specification is generally triggered by proneural transcription factors. Whilst the role of proneural factors in fate specification is well studied, the link between neural specification and the cellular pathways that ultimately must be activated to construct specialised neurons is usually obscure. High-resolution temporal profiling of gene expression reveals the events downstream of atonal proneural gene function during the development of Drosophila chordotonal (mechanosensory) neurons. Among other findings, this reveals the onset of expression of genes required for construction of the ciliary dendrite, a key specialisation of mechanosensory neurons. We determine that atonal activates this cellular differentiation pathway in several ways. Firstly, atonal directly regulates Rfx, a well-known highly conserved ciliogenesis transcriptional regulator. Unexpectedly, differences in Rfx regulation by proneural factors may underlie variations in ciliary dendrite specialisation in different sensory neuronal lineages. In contrast, fd3F encodes a novel forkhead family transcription factor that is exclusively expressed in differentiating chordotonal neurons. fd3F regulates genes required for specialized aspects of chordotonal dendrite physiology. In addition to these intermediate transcriptional regulators, we show that atonal directly regulates a novel gene, dilatory, that is directly associated with ciliogenesis during neuronal differentiation. Our analysis demonstrates how early cell fate specification factors can regulate structural and physiological differentiation of neuronal cell types. It also suggests a model for how subtype differentiation in different neuronal lineages may be regulated by different proneural factors. In addition, it provides a paradigm for how transcriptional regulation may modulate the ciliogenesis pathway to give rise to structurally and functionally specialised ciliary dendrites.
Early during development, cells differentiate and take on specialized forms and functions. This requires the activation of specific genes for different cellular pathways. Our study addresses how this activation is regulated in the developing Drosophila nervous system. In this model, it is well known that proneural transcription factors are involved in directing cells to differentiate into various types of neurons. However, the mechanism by which they choreograph the activation of genes for neuronal differentiation is not clear. In this study, we focused on events leading to differentiation of mechanosensory neurons, which have specialized dendritic processes that mediate sensory perception. In these developing neurons we profiled the time course of gene expression that is triggered by the proneural factor atonal. Our analysis revealed the activation of genes required for the formation of these specialized dendrites, called cilia. We then identified several ways in which atonal regulated these genes. First, it activates intermediate transcription factors that regulate different subsets of differentiation genes. Second, in at least one case, atonal activates a differentiation gene directly, one that is involved in the formation of cilia (ciliogenesis). These findings offer new insight into how proneural factors regulate specialized neuronal differentiation pathways.
One of the most commonly performed tasks when analysing high throughput gene expression data is to use clustering methods to classify the data into groups. There are a large number of methods available to perform clustering, but it is often unclear which method is best suited to the data and how to quantify the quality of the classifications produced.
Here we describe an R package containing methods to analyse the consistency of clustering results from any number of different clustering methods using resampling statistics. These methods allow the identification of the the best supported clusters and additionally rank cluster members by their fidelity within the cluster. These metrics allow us to compare the performance of different clustering algorithms under different experimental conditions and to select those that produce the most reliable clustering structures. We show the application of this method to simulated data, canonical gene expression experiments and our own novel analysis of genes involved in the specification of the peripheral nervous system in the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster.
Our package enables users to apply the merged consensus clustering methodology conveniently within the R programming environment, providing both analysis and graphical display functions for exploring clustering approaches. It extends the basic principle of consensus clustering by allowing the merging of results between different methods to provide an averaged clustering robustness. We show that this extension is useful in correcting for the tendency of clustering algorithms to treat outliers differently within datasets. The R package, clusterCons, is freely available at CRAN and sourceforge under the GNU public licence.
It is well established that the average metabolism of many species of fish varies with group size. However, it is not clear whether all individuals respond in the same way. Here, we use a newly calibrated method of measuring the metabolic rate of fish from opercular (ventilatory) movements that allows for the first-time estimation of changes in resting metabolic rate (RMR) of each individual within different social groups and when alone. The presence of a conspecific had divergent effects on the RMR of juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, depending on its relative body size: the presence of a smaller fish caused a 40 per cent reduction, whereas the presence of a slightly larger fish approximately doubled RMR. These effects occurred in the absence of activity and were sustained at lower magnitude in the case of the relatively smaller conspecific even if a transparent barrier prevented any physical interactions between fish. Changes in RMR were mirrored by changes in eye colour that indicate they were linked to stress levels. These contrasting and strong responses show that even the nearby presence of a conspecific can have profound and variable effects on an individual's energy budget; they also highlight the complex trade-offs involved in social interactions.
Salmo salar; resting metabolism; salmon; body size; social behaviour; stress
Metastatic melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and with an overall 5-year survival rate of <11%, there is an acute need for novel therapeutic strategies. Activating mutations in the BRAF oncogene are present in 50–70% of cases and contribute to tumourigenesis, thus, defining downstream targets of oncogenic BRAF may help define novel targets for therapeutic intervention. The Ca2+/calcineurin-regulated transcription factor, Nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT), is important in the pathogenesis of several human cancers, target genes of which are also known to contribute to melanoma progression. One such NFAT target gene is COX-2, increased expression of which correlates with poor prognosis; however, upstream regulators of COX-2 in melanoma remain undefined. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate NFAT expression and activity in metastatic melanoma and establish whether or not oncogenic BRAF signalling modulates NFAT activity and determine if NFAT is a key upstream regulator of COX-2 in melanoma.
Nuclear factor of activated T-cells transcriptional activity and protein expression were determined in three human metastatic melanoma cell lines with differing B-RAF mutational status. NFAT activation by oncogenic BRAFV600E was explored by BRAFV600E overexpression and application of the specific MEK inhibitor PD98059. Regulation of COX-2 expression by NFAT was investigated using NFAT-targeted siRNA, calcineurin inhibitors cyclosporin A and FK506, in addition to COX-2 luciferase reporter vectors that selectively lacked NFAT binding sites.
NFAT transcriptional activity was increased in BRAF-mutated melanoma cells compared with wild-type cells. Furthermore, in wild-type cells, overexpression of BRAFV600E increased NFAT activity, which was blocked by the MEK inhibitor PD98059. Using calcineurin inhibitors and siRNA-mediated knockdown of NFAT2 and 4, we show NFAT is required for COX-2 promoter activation and protein induction in metastatic melanoma cells.
NFAT2 and 4 are expressed in human metastatic melanoma cell lines and are activated by oncogenic BRAFV600E via MEK/ERK signalling. NFAT is an important upstream regulator of COX-2 in metastatic melanoma. Furthermore, as the BRAF/MEK/ERK pathway is hyperactive in other malignancies and MEK/ERK are also activated by oncogenic RAS in 30% of all human cancers, the potential to exploit NFAT signalling for therapeutic benefit warrants further investigation.
B-RAF; NFAT; melanoma; COX-2
Motivational states are important determinants of behavior. In fruit flies appetitive memory expression is constrained by satiety and promoted by hunger. Here we identify a neural mechanism that integrates the motivational state of hunger and memory. We show that stimulation of neurons that express Neuropeptide F (dNPF), an ortholog of mammalian NPY, mimicks food-deprivation and promotes memory performance in satiated flies. Robust appetitive memory performance requires the dNPF receptor in six dopaminergic neurons that innervate a distinct region of the mushroom bodies. Blocking these dopaminergic neurons releases memory performance in satiated flies whereas stimulation suppresses memory performance in hungry flies. Therefore dNPF and dopamine provide a motivational switch in the mushroom body that controls the output of appetitive memory.
Basal or standard metabolic rate (SMR) has been found to exhibit substantial intraspecific variation in a range of taxa, but the consequences of this variation are little understood. Here we explore how SMR is related to the energy cost of processing food, known as apparent specific dynamic action or the heat increment of feeding. Using juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, we show that fishes with a higher SMR had a higher peak and a greater total energy expenditure when digesting a given size of meal. However, the duration over which their metabolism was elevated after consuming the meal was shorter. The greater energy costs they incur for processing food may be related to their assimilation efficiency. These relationships are likely to have implications for feeding strategies and growth rates, since individuals with a higher SMR have higher routine costs of living but recover more quickly following feeding and so may have a greater potential for processing food.
metabolic rate; energetics; fish; digestion; growth
Protein-trap strains of Drosophila melanogaster provide a very useful tool for examining the 3D-expression patterns of proteins and purification of protein complexes. Here we present BrainTrap, available at http://fruitfly.inf.ed.ac.uk/braintrap, an online database of 3D confocal datasets showing reporter gene expression and protein localization in the adult brain of Drosophila. Full size images throughout the volume of the entire brain can be viewed interactively in a web browser. The database includes searchable annotations linked to the FlyBase Drosophila anatomy ontology. Anatomical search criteria can be specified using automatic completion and a hierarchical browser for the ontology. The provenance of all annotation is retained and the location where the annotator made the conclusion can be highlighted.
Database URL: http://fruitfly.inf.ed.ac.uk/braintrap
Diurnal variations in the incidence of events such as heart attack and stroke suggest a role for circadian rhythms in the etiology of cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) circadian clock on cardiovascular function.
Heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP) and locomotor activity (LA) were measured in circadian mutant (Vipr2−/−) mice and wild type littermates, using implanted radio-telemetry devices. Sleep and wakefulness were studied in similar mice implanted with electroencephalograph (EEG) electrodes. There was less diurnal variation in the frequency and duration of bouts of rest/activity and sleep/wake in Vipr2−/− mice than in wild type (WT) and short “ultradian” episodes of arousal were more prominent, especially in constant conditions (DD). Activity was an important determinant of circadian variation in BP and HR in animals of both genotypes; altered timing of episodes of activity and rest (as well as sleep and wakefulness) across the day accounted for most of the difference between Vipr2−/− mice and WT. However, there was also a modest circadian rhythm of resting HR and BP that was independent of LA.
If appropriate methods of analysis are used that take into account sleep and locomotor activity level, mice are a good model for understanding the contribution of circadian timing to cardiovascular function. Future studies of the influence of sleep and wakefulness on cardiovascular physiology may help to explain accumulating evidence linking disrupted sleep with cardiovascular disease in man.
To increase the awareness among at risk relatives of the availability of genetic testing for a familial disorder while respecting their autonomy and privacy.
This was a comparison of preintervention and postintervention cohorts of families carried out in a state wide clinical service providing genetic counselling and testing for people at risk of familial adult onset cancer. Unaffected relatives who were not clients of the service in 74 kindreds with familial mutations causing familial breast and ovarian cancer, hereditary non‐polyposis colorectal cancer, or Cowden syndrome were included in the study. In the baseline cohort (41 kindreds), family members who were clients of the clinical service and had been shown to be carriers of mutations were asked to advise relatives that genetic testing was available. In the intervention cohort (33 kindreds), the clinical service obtained consent to advise at risk relatives by letter that genetic testing was available. The main outcome measures were: (a) proportion of unaffected first and second degree relatives of the proband in each family whose genetic status was clarified within 2 years of the mutation being identified in the family, and (b) concerns regarding privacy and autonomy voiced by relatives receiving these letters.
In the baseline cohort, the average proportion of relatives in each family whose genetic status was clarified was 23%. In the intervention cohort, the average proportion of relatives in each family whose genetic status was clarified was 40% (p = 0.001). None of the relatives in the intervention cohort complained of a breach of privacy or autonomy.
Clinical services can take an effective and proactive approach to notifying relatives who are not their clients of the availability of genetic testing without compromising principles of privacy and autonomy.
ethics; privacy; risk notification; genetic testing
Anti‐glomerular basement membrane (anti‐GBM) disease represents the spectrum of disease attributable to circulating anti‐GBM antibodies. While active anti‐GBM disease in the absence of circulating anti‐GBM antibodies has been described, it is considered rare with the use of current routinely available assays. We report four subjects with features consistent with active anti‐GBM antibody disease without detectable antibodies by routinely available enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblot techniques. All were smokers who presented with diffuse alveolar haemorrhage, minimal renal involvement, and undetectable anti‐GBM antibodies. Seronegative anti‐GBM disease with predominant pulmonary involvement may be more common than previously appreciated and should be part of the differential diagnosis for otherwise unexplained diffuse alveolar haemorrhage. Renal biopsy with immunofluorescent studies should be considered in the diagnostic evaluation of such subjects, including those with idiopathic pulmonary haemosiderosis.
anti‐glomerular basement membrane disease; alveolar haemorrhage
The molecular complexity of mammalian proteomes demands new methods for mapping the organization of multiprotein complexes. Here, we combine mouse genetics and proteomics to characterize synapse protein complexes and interaction networks. New tandem affinity purification (TAP) tags were fused to the carboxyl terminus of PSD-95 using gene targeting in mice. Homozygous mice showed no detectable abnormalities in PSD-95 expression, subcellular localization or synaptic electrophysiological function. Analysis of multiprotein complexes purified under native conditions by mass spectrometry defined known and new interactors: 118 proteins comprising crucial functional components of synapses, including glutamate receptors, K+ channels, scaffolding and signaling proteins, were recovered. Network clustering of protein interactions generated five connected clusters, with two clusters containing all the major ionotropic glutamate receptors and one cluster with voltage-dependent K+ channels. Annotation of clusters with human disease associations revealed that multiple disorders map to the network, with a significant correlation of schizophrenia within the glutamate receptor clusters. This targeted TAP tagging strategy is generally applicable to mammalian proteomics and systems biology approaches to disease.
gene targeting; postsynaptic complexes; postsynaptic density-95; schizophrenia; tandem affinity purification
Neuroscience databases linking genes, proteins, (patho)physiology, anatomy and behaviour across species will be valuable in a broad range of studies of the nervous system. G2Cdb is such a neuroscience database aiming to present a global view of the role of synapse proteins in physiology and disease. G2Cdb warehouses sets of genes and proteins experimentally elucidated by proteomic mass spectroscopy of signalling complexes and proteins biochemically isolated from mammalian synapse preparations, giving an experimentally validated definition of the constituents of the mammalian synapse. Using automated text-mining and expert (human) curation we have systematically extracted information from published neurobiological studies in the fields of synaptic signalling electrophysiology and behaviour in knockout and other transgenic mice. We have also surveyed the human genetics literature for associations to disease caused by mutations in synaptic genes. The synapse proteome datasets that G2Cdb provides offer a basis for future work in synapse biology and provide useful information on brain diseases. They have been integrated in a such way that investigators can rapidly query whether a gene or protein is found in brain-signalling complex(es), has a phenotype in rodent models or whether mutations are associated with a human disease. G2Cdb can be freely accessed at http://www.genes2cognition.org.
Isomerisation to all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) is widely accepted as the key mechanism underlying the favourable clinical properties of 13-cis-retinoic acid (13cisRA). As intracellular metabolism of ATRA by CYP26 may result in clinical resistance to 13cisRA, an increase in efficacy may be achieved through modulation of this metabolic pathway. We have evaluated the effect of the CYP26 inhibitor R116010 on retinoid metabolism in neuroblastoma cell lines and a xenograft model. In neuroblastoma cells, which showed a high level of CYP26 induction in response to ATRA, R116010 selectively inhibited ATRA metabolism. In addition, siRNA-mediated knockdown of CYP26 selectively increased ATRA levels and the expression of retinoid-responsive marker genes was potentiated by R116010. Treatment of mice bearing SH-SY5Y xenografts with 13cisRA (100 mg kg−1) revealed substantial levels (16%) of intratumoral ATRA after 6 h, despite plasma ATRA levels representing only 1% total retinoids under these conditions. Co-administration of R116010 with 13cisRA in this mouse model resulted in significant increases in plasma ATRA and 13cisRA concentrations. Furthermore, R116010 induced significant decreases in levels of 4-oxo metabolites in hepatic tissue after co-administration with either ATRA or 13cisRA. These data suggest considerable potential for CYP26 inhibitors in the future treatment of neuroblastoma with 13cisRA.
retinoic acid; CYP26; R116010; neuroblastoma
Transformation of differentiated thyroid cancer into poorly differentiated carcinoma is rare. This report describes a case in which preoperative fine needle aspiration suggested a squamous cell carcinoma whereas needle core biopsy favoured an undifferentiated carcinoma of probable thyroid origin. Histology of the subsequent total thyroidectomy specimen revealed a biphasic tumour comprising areas of tall cell papillary carcinoma merging with moderately to poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma. The immunohistochemical findings are discussed in detail.
thyroid; tall cell papillary carcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) malfunction, leading to ER stress, can be a consequence of genome instability and hypoxic tissue environments. Cancer cells survive by acquiring or enhancing survival mechanisms to counter the effects of ER stress and these homeostatic responses may be new therapeutic targets. Understanding the links between ER stress and apoptosis may be approached using drugs specifically to target ER stress responses in cancer cells. The retinoid analogue fenretinide [N-(4-hydroxyphenyl) retinamide] is a new cancer preventive and chemotherapeutic drug, that induces apoptosis of some cancer cell types via oxidative stress, accompanied by induction of an ER stress-related transcription factor, GADD153. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that fenretinide induces ER stress in neuroectodermal tumour cells, and to elucidate the role of ER stress responses in fenretinide-induced apoptosis. The ER stress genes ERdj5, ERp57, GRP78, calreticulin and calnexin were induced in neuroectodermal tumour cells by fenretinide. In contrast to the apoptosis-inducing chemotherapeutic drugs vincristine and temozolomide, fenretinide induced the phosphorylation of eIF2α, expression of ATF4 and splicing of XBP-1 mRNA, events that define ER stress. In these respects, fenretinide displayed properties similar to the ER stress inducer thapsigargin. ER stress responses were inhibited by antioxidant treatment. Knockdown of ERp57 or ERdj5 by RNA interference in these cells increased the apoptotic response to fenretinide. These data suggest that downregulating homeostatic ER stress responses may enhance apoptosis induced by oxidative stress-inducing drugs acting through the ER stress pathway. Therefore, ER-resident proteins such as ERdj5 and ERp57 may represent novel chemotherapeutic targets.
endoplasmic reticulum stress; apoptosis; fenretinide; neuro-ectodermal tumours
Drosophila mushroom bodies (MB) are bilaterally symmetric multi-lobed brain structures required for olfactory memory. Previous studies suggested that neurotransmission from MB neurons is only required for memory retrieval. Our unexpected observation that Dorsal Paired Medial (DPM) neurons, which project only to MB neurons, are required during memory storage but not for acquisition or retrieval, led us to revisit the role of MB neurons in memory processing. We show that neurotransmission from the α′β′ subset of MB neurons is required to acquire and stabilize aversive and appetitive odor memory but is dispensable during memory retrieval. In contrast neurotransmission from MB αβ neurons is only required for memory retrieval. These data suggest a dynamic requirement for the different subsets of MB neurons in memory and are consistent with the notion that recurrent activity in a MB α′β′ neuron-DPM neuron loop is required to stabilize memories formed in the MB αβ neurons.