Enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic E. coli (EHEC and EPEC) can cause severe and potentially life-threatening infections. Their pathogenicity is mediated by at least 40 effector proteins which they inject into their host cells by a type-III secretion system leading to the subversion of several cellular pathways. However, the molecular function of several effectors remains unknown, even though they contribute to virulence. Here we show that one of them, NleF, binds to caspase-4, -8, and -9 in yeast two-hybrid, LUMIER, and direct interaction assays. NleF inhibits the catalytic activity of the caspases in vitro and in cell lysate and prevents apoptosis in HeLa and Caco-2 cells. We have solved the crystal structure of the caspase-9/NleF complex which shows that NleF uses a novel mode of caspase inhibition, involving the insertion of the carboxy-terminus of NleF into the active site of the protease. In conformance with our structural model, mutagenized NleF with truncated or elongated carboxy-termini revealed a complete loss in caspase binding and apoptosis inhibition. Evasion of apoptosis helps pathogenic E. coli and other pathogens to take over the host cell by counteracting the cell’s ability to self-destruct upon infection. Recently, two other effector proteins, namely NleD and NleH, were shown to interfere with apoptosis. Even though NleF is not the only effector protein capable of apoptosis inhibition, direct inhibition of caspases by bacterial effectors has not been reported to date. Also unique so far is its mode of inhibition that resembles the one obtained for synthetic peptide-type inhibitors and as such deviates substantially from previously reported caspase-9 inhibitors such as the BIR3 domain of XIAP.
When cell cycle withdrawal accompanies terminal differentiation, biosynthesis and cellular growth are likely to change also. In this study, nucleolus size was monitored during cell fate specification in the Drosophila eye imaginal disc using fibrillarin antibody labeling. Nucleolus size is an indicator of ribosome biogenesis and can correlate with cellular growth rate. Nucleolar size was reduced significantly during cell fate specification and differentiation, predominantly as eye disc cells entered a cell cycle arrest that preceded cell fate specification. This reduction in nucleolus size required Dpp and Hh signaling. A transient enlargement of the nucleolus accompanied cell division in the Second Mitotic Wave. Nucleoli continued to diminish in postmitotic cells following fate specification. These results suggest that cellular growth is regulated early in the transition from proliferating progenitor cells to terminal cell fate specification, contemporary with regulation of the cell cycle, and requiring the same extracellular signals.
Interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) encodes a highly conserved helix-turn-helix DNA binding protein and is a member of the interferon regulatory family of DNA transcription factors. Mutations in IRF6 lead to isolated and syndromic forms of cleft lip and palate, most notably Van der Woude syndrome (VWS) and Popliteal Ptyerigium Syndrome (PPS). Mice lacking both copies of Irf6 have severe limb, skin, palatal and esophageal abnormalities, due to significantly altered and delayed epithelial development. However, a recent report showed that MCS9.7, an enhancer near Irf6, is active in the tongue, suggesting that Irf6 may also be expressed in the tongue. Indeed, we detected Irf6 staining in the mesoderm-derived muscle during development of the tongue. Dual labeling experiments demonstrated that Irf6 was expressed only in the Myf5+ cell lineage, which originates from the segmental paraxial mesoderm and gives rise to the muscles of the tongue. Fate mapping of the segmental paraxial mesoderm cells revealed a cell-autonomous Irf6 function with reduced and poorly organized Myf5+ cell lineage in the tongue. Molecular analyses showed that the Irf6−/− embryos had aberrant cytoskeletal formation of the segmental paraxial mesoderm in the tongue. Fate mapping of the cranial neural crest cells revealed non-cell-autonomous Irf6 function with the loss of the inter-molar eminence. Loss of Irf6 function altered Bmp2, Bmp4, Shh, and Fgf10 signaling suggesting that these genes are involved in Irf6 signaling. Based on these data, Irf6 plays important cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous roles in muscular differentiation and cytoskeletal formation in the tongue.
Multiple genes involved in endocytosis and endosomal protein trafficking in Drosophila have been shown to function as neoplastic tumor suppressor genes (nTSGs), including Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport-II (ESCRT-II) components vacuolar protein sorting 22 (vps22), vps25, and vps36. However, most studies of endocytic nTSGs have been done in mosaic tissues containing both mutant and non-mutant populations of cells, and interactions among mutant and non-mutant cells greatly influence the final phenotype. Thus, the true autonomous phenotype of tissues mutant for endocytic nTSGs remains unclear. Here, we show that tissues predominantly mutant for ESCRT-II components display characteristics of neoplastic transformation and then undergo apoptosis. These neoplastic tissues show upregulation of c-Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK), Notch, and Janus Kinase (JAK)/Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT) signaling. Significantly, while inhibition of JNK signaling in mutant tissues partially inhibits proliferation, inhibition of JAK/STAT signaling rescues other aspects of the neoplastic phenotype. This is the first rigorous study of tissues predominantly mutant for endocytic nTSGs and provides clear evidence for cooperation among de-regulated signaling pathways leading to tumorigenesis.
We examined the association of common variants at the NPPA-NPPB locus with circulating concentrations of the natriuretic peptides, which have blood pressure–lowering properties. We genotyped SNPs at the NPPA-NPPB locus in 14,743 individuals of European ancestry, and identified associations of plasma atrial natriuretic peptide with rs5068 (P = 8 × 10−70), rs198358 (P = 8 × 10−30) and rs632793 (P = 2 × 10−10), and of plasma B-type natriuretic peptide with rs5068 (P = 3 × 10−12), rs198358 (P = 1 × 10−25) and rs632793 (P = 2 × 10−68). In 29,717 individuals, the alleles of rs5068 and rs198358 that showed association with increased circulating natriuretic peptide concentrations were also found to be associated with lower systolic (P = 2 × 10−6 and 6 × 10−5, respectively) and diastolic blood pressure (P = 1 × 10−6 and 5 × 10−5), as well as reduced odds of hypertension (OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.79–0.92, P = 4 × 10−5; OR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.85–0.95, P = 2 × 10−4, respectively). Common genetic variants at the NPPA-NPPB locus found to be associated with circulating natriuretic peptide concentrations contribute to interindividual variation in blood pressure and hypertension.
Activation of caspases is crucial for the execution of apoptosis. Although the caspase cascade associated with activation of the initiator caspase-8 (CASP8) has been investigated in molecular and biochemical detail, the dynamics of CASP8 activation are not fully understood.
We have established a biosensor based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) for visualizing apoptotic signals associated with CASP8 activation at the single-cell level. Our dual FRET (dual-FRET) system, comprising a triple fusion fluorescent protein, enabled us to simultaneously monitor the activation of CASP8 and its downstream effector, caspase-3 (CASP3) in single live cells. With the dual-FRET-based biosensor, we detected distinct activation patterns of CASP8 and CASP3 in response to various apoptotic stimuli in mammalian cells, resulting in the positive feedback amplification of CASP8 activation. We reproduced these observations by in vitro reconstitution of the cascade, with a recombinant protein mixture that included procaspases. Furthermore, using a plasma membrane-bound FRET-based biosensor, we captured the spatiotemporal dynamics of CASP8 activation by the diffusion process, suggesting the focal activation of CASP8 is sufficient to propagate apoptotic signals through death receptors.
Our new FRET-based system visualized the activation process of both initiator and effector caspases in a single apoptotic cell and also elucidated the necessity of an amplification loop for full activation of CASP8.
In humans, chronic inflammation, severe injury, infection and disease can result in changes in steroid hormone titers and delayed onset of puberty; however the pathway by which this occurs remains largely unknown. Similarly, in insects injury to specific tissues can result in a global developmental delay (e.g. prolonged larval/pupal stages) often associated with decreased levels of ecdysone – a steroid hormone that regulates developmental transitions in insects. We use Drosophila melanogaster as a model to examine the pathway by which tissue injury disrupts developmental progression. Imaginal disc damage inflicted early in larval development triggers developmental delays while the effects are minimized in older larvae. We find that the switch in injury response (e.g. delay/no delay) is coincident with the mid-3rd instar transition – a developmental time-point that is characterized by widespread changes in gene expression and marks the initial steps of metamorphosis. Finally, we show that developmental delays induced by tissue damage are associated with decreased expression of genes involved in ecdysteroid synthesis and signaling.
The cellular and molecular cues involved in creating branched tubular networks that transport liquids or gases throughout an organism are not well understood. To identify factors required in branching and lumen formation of Drosophila tracheal terminal cells, a model for branched tubular networks, we performed a forward genetic-mosaic screen to isolate mutations affecting these processes. From this screen, we have identified the first Drosophila mutation in the gene Zpr1 (Zinc finger protein 1) by the inability of Zpr1-mutant terminal cells to form functional, gas-filled lumens. We show that Zpr1 defective cells initiate lumen formation, but are blocked from completing the maturation required for gas filling. Zpr1 is an evolutionarily conserved protein first identified in mammalian cells as a factor that binds the intracellular domain of the unactivated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). We show that down-regulation of EGFR in terminal cells phenocopies Zpr1 mutations and that Zpr1 is epistatic to ectopic lumen formation driven by EGFR overexpression. However, while Zpr1 mutants are fully penetrant, defects observed when reducing EGFR activity are only partially penetrant. These results suggest that a distinct pathway operating in parallel to the EGFR pathway contributes to lumen formation, and this pathway is also dependent on Zpr1. We provide evidence that this alternative pathway may involve fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling. We suggest a model in which Zpr1 mediates both EGFR and FGFR signal transduction cascades required for lumen formation in terminal cells. To our knowledge, this is the first genetic evidence placing Zpr1 downstream of EGFR signaling, and the first time Zpr1 has been implicated in FGFR signaling. Finally, we show that down-regulation of Smn, a protein known to interact with Zpr1 in mammalian cells, shows defects similar to Zpr1 mutants.
Hematopoiesis occurs in two phases in Drosophila, with the first completed during embryogenesis and the second accomplished during larval development. The lymph gland serves as the venue for the final hematopoietic program, with this larval tissue well-studied as to its cellular organization and genetic regulation. While the medullary zone contains stem-like hematopoietic progenitors, the posterior signaling center (PSC) functions as a niche microenvironment essential for controlling the decision between progenitor maintenance versus cellular differentiation. In this report, we utilize a PSC-specific GAL4 driver and UAS-gene RNAi strains, to selectively knockdown individual gene functions in PSC cells. We assessed the effect of abrogating the function of 820 genes as to their requirement for niche cell production and differentiation. 100 genes were shown to be essential for normal niche development, with various loci placed into sub-groups based on the functions of their encoded protein products and known genetic interactions. For members of three of these groups, we characterized loss- and gain-of-function phenotypes. Gene function knockdown of members of the BAP chromatin-remodeling complex resulted in niche cells that do not express the hedgehog (hh) gene and fail to differentiate filopodia believed important for Hh signaling from the niche to progenitors. Abrogating gene function of various members of the insulin-like growth factor and TOR signaling pathways resulted in anomalous PSC cell production, leading to a defective niche organization. Further analysis of the Pten, TSC1, and TSC2 tumor suppressor genes demonstrated their loss-of-function condition resulted in severely altered blood cell homeostasis, including the abundant production of lamellocytes, specialized hemocytes involved in innate immune responses. Together, this cell-specific RNAi knockdown survey and mutant phenotype analyses identified multiple genes and their regulatory networks required for the normal organization and function of the hematopoietic progenitor niche within the lymph gland.
In Drosophila imaginal epithelia, cells mutant for the endocytic neoplastic tumor suppressor gene vps25 stimulate nearby untransformed cells to express Drosophila Inhibitor-of-Apoptosis-Protein-1 (DIAP-1), conferring resistance to apoptosis non-cell autonomously. Here, we show that the non-cell autonomous induction of DIAP-1 is mediated by Yorkie, the conserved downstream effector of Hippo signaling. The non-cell autonomous induction of Yorkie is due to Notch signaling from vps25 mutant cells. Moreover, activated Notch in normal cells is sufficient to induce non-cell autonomous Yorkie activity in wing imaginal discs. Our data identify a novel mechanism by which Notch promotes cell survival non-cell autonomously and by which neoplastic tumor cells generate a supportive microenvironment for tumor growth.
Sensory organs are constantly exposed to physical and chemical stresses that collectively threaten the survival of sensory neurons. Failure to protect stressed neurons leads to age-related loss of neurons and sensory dysfunction in organs in which the supply of new sensory neurons is limited, such as the human auditory system. Transducin β-like protein 1 (TBL1) is a candidate gene for ocular albinism with late-onset sensorineural deafness, a form of X-linked age-related hearing loss. TBL1 encodes an evolutionarily conserved F-box–like and WD40 repeats–containing subunit of the nuclear receptor co-repressor/silencing mediator for retinoid and thyroid hormone receptor and other transcriptional co-repressor complexes. Here we report that a Drosophila homologue of TBL1, Ebi, is required for maintenance of photoreceptor neurons. Loss of ebi function caused late-onset neuronal apoptosis in the retina and increased sensitivity to oxidative stress. Ebi formed a complex with activator protein 1 (AP-1) and was required for repression of Drosophila pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic genes expression. These results suggest that Ebi/AP-1 suppresses basal transcription levels of apoptotic genes and thereby protects sensory neurons from degeneration.
Regulation of gene expression downstream of the Receptor Tyrosine Kinase signaling pathway in Drosophila relies on a transcriptional effector network featuring two conserved Ets family proteins, Yan and Pointed, known as TEL1 (ETV6) and ETS1/ETS2, respectively, in mammals. As in Drosophila, both TEL1 and ETS1/ETS2 operate as Ras pathway transcriptional effectors and misregulated activity of either factor has been implicated in many human leukemias and solid tumors. Providing essential regulation to the Drosophila network, direct interactions with the SAM domain protein Mae attenuate both Yan-mediated repression and PointedP2-mediated transcriptional activation. Given the critical contributions of Mae to the Drosophila circuitry, we investigated whether the human Ets factors TEL1 and ETS1/ETS2 could be subject to analogous regulation. Here we demonstrate that the SAM domain of human TEL2 can inhibit the transcriptional activities of ETS1/2 and TEL1. Drosophila Mae can also attenuate human ETS1/ETS2 function, suggesting there could be cross-species conservation of underlying mechanism. In contrast, Mae is not an effective inhibitor of TEL1, suggesting the mode of TEL2SAM-mediated inhibition of TEL1 may be distinct from how Drosophila Mae antagonizes Yan. Together our results reveal both further similarities and new differences between the mammalian and Drosophila networks and more broadly suggest that SAM domain-mediated interactions could provide an effective mechanism for modulating output from the TEL1 and ETS1/2 oncogenes.
Ayurveda represents the traditional medicine system of India. Since mechanistic details of therapy in terms of current biology are not available in Ayurvedic literature, modern scientific studies are necessary to understand its major concepts and procedures. It is necessary to examine effects of the whole Ayurvedic formulations rather than their “active” components as is done in most current studies.
We tested two different categories of formulations, a Rasayana (Amalaki Rasayana or AR, an herbal derivative) and a Bhasma (Rasa-Sindoor or RS, an organo-metallic derivative of mercury), for effects on longevity, development, fecundity, stress-tolerance, and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) levels of Drosophila melanogaster using at least 200 larvae or flies for each assay.
A 0.5% (weight/volume) supplement of AR or RS affected life-history and other physiological traits in distinct ways. While the size of salivary glands, hnRNP levels in larval tissues, and thermotolerance of larvae/adult flies improved significantly following feeding either of the two formulations, the median life span and starvation resistance improved only with AR. Feeding on AR or RS supplemented food improved fecundity differently. Feeding of larvae and adults with AR increased the fecundity while the same with RS had opposite effect. On the contrary, feeding larvae on normal food and adults on AR supplement had no effect on fecundity but a comparable regime of feeding on RS-supplemented food improved fecundity. RS feeding did not cause heavy metal toxicity.
The present study with two Ayurvedic formulations reveals formulation-specific effects on several parameters of the fly's life, which seem to generally agree with their recommended human usages in Ayurvedic practices. Thus, Drosophila, with its very rich genetic tools and well-worked-out developmental pathways promises to be a very good model for examining the cellular and molecular bases of the effects of different Ayurvedic formulations.
Maternal Wnt/β-Catenin signaling establishes a program of dorsal-specific gene expression required for axial patterning in Xenopus. We previously reported that a subset of dorsally expressed genes depends not only on Wnt/β-Catenin stimulation, but also on a MyD88-dependent Toll-like receptor/IL1-receptor (TLR/IL1-R) signaling pathway. Here we show that these two signal transduction cascades converge in the nucleus to coactivate gene transcription in blastulae through a direct interaction between β-Catenin and NF-κB proteins. A transdominant inhibitor of NF-κB, ΔNIκBα, phenocopies loss of MyD88 protein function, implicating Rel/NF-κB proteins as selective activators of dorsal-specific gene expression. Sensitive axis formation assays in the embryo demonstrate that dorsalization by Wnt/β-Catenin requires NF-κB protein activity, and vice versa. Xenopus nodal-related 3 (Xnr3) is one of the genes with dual β-Catenin/NF-κB input, and a proximal NF-κB consensus site contributes to the regional activity of its promoter. We demonstrate in vitro binding of Xenopus β-Catenin to several XRel proteins. This interaction is observed in vivo upon Wnt-stimulation. Finally, we show that a synthetic luciferase reporter gene responds to both endogenous and exogenous β-Catenin levels in an NF-κB motif dependent manner. These results suggest that β-Catenin acts as a transcriptional co-activator of NF-κB-dependent transcription in frog primary embryonic cells.
Exploring adult stem cell dynamics in normal and disease states is crucial to both better understanding their in vivo role and better realizing their therapeutic potential. Here we address the division frequency of Germline Stem Cells (GSCs) in testes of Drosophila melanogaster. We show that GSC division frequency is under genetic control of the highly conserved Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) signaling pathway. When EGF signaling was attenuated, we detected a two-fold increase in the percentage of GSCs in mitotic division compared to GSCs in control animals. Ex vivo and in vivo experiments using a marker for cells in S-phase of the cell cycle showed that the GSCs in EGF mutant testes divide faster than GSCs in control testes. The increased mitotic activity of GSCs in EGF mutants was rescued by restoring EGF signaling in the GSCs, and reproduced in testes from animals with soma-depleted EGF-Receptor (EGFR). Interestingly, EGF attenuation specifically increased the GSC division frequency in adult testes, but not in larval testes. Furthermore, GSCs in testes with tumors resulting from the perturbation of other conserved signaling pathways divided at normal frequencies. We conclude that EGF signaling from the GSCs to the CySCs normally regulates GSC division frequency. The EGF signaling pathway is bifurcated and acts differently in adult compared to larval testes. In addition, regulation of GSC division frequency is a specific role for EGF signaling as it is not affected in all tumor models. These data advance our understanding concerning stem cell dynamics in normal tissues and in a tumor model.
The genome of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) encodes the canonical retroviral proteins, as well as additional accessory proteins that enhance the expression of viral genes, the infectivity of the virus and the production of virions. The accessory Viral Protein U (Vpu), in particular, enhances viral particle production, while also promoting apoptosis of HIV-infected human T lymphocytes. Some Vpu effects rely on its interaction with the ubiquitin–proteasome protein degradation system, but the mechanisms responsible for its pro-apoptotic effects in vivo are complex and remain largely to be elucidated.
We took advantage of the Drosophila model to study the effects of Vpu activity in vivo. Expression of Vpu in the developing Drosophila wing provoked tissue loss due to caspase-dependent apoptosis. Moreover, Vpu induced expression of the pro-apoptotic gene reaper, known to down-regulate Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) which are caspase-antagonizing E3 ubiquitin ligases. Indeed, Vpu also reduced accumulation of Drosophila IAP1 (DIAP1). Though our results demonstrate a physical interaction between Vpu and the proteasome-addressing SLIMB/β-TrCP protein, as in mammals, both SLIMB/βTrCP-dependent and -independent Vpu effects were observed in the Drosophila wing. Lastly, the pro-apoptotic effect of Vpu in this tissue was abrogated upon inactivation of the c-Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK) pathway. Our results in the fly thus provide the first functional evidence linking Vpu pro-apoptotic effects to activation of the conserved JNK pathway.
Drosophila melanogaster experience cold shock injury and die when exposed to low non-freezing temperatures. In this study, we generated transgenic D. melanogaster that express putative Ixodes scapularis antifreeze glycoprotein (IAFGP) and show that the presence of IAFGP increases the ability of flies to survive in the cold. Male and female adult iafgp-expressing D. melanogaster exhibited higher survival rates compared with controls when placed at non-freezing temperatures. Increased hatching rates were evident in embryos expressing IAFGP when exposed to the cold. The TUNEL assay showed that flight muscles from iafgp-expressing female adult flies exhibited less apoptotic damage upon exposure to non-freezing temperatures in comparison to control flies. Collectively, these data suggest that expression of iafgp increases cold tolerance in flies by preventing apoptosis. This study defines a molecular basis for the role of an antifreeze protein in cryoprotection of flies.
The discovery of microRNAs has resulted in a major expansion of the number of molecules known to be involved in gene regulation. Elucidating the functions of animal microRNAs has posed a significant challenge as their target interactions with messenger RNAs do not adhere to simple rules. Of the thousands of known animal microRNAs, relatively few microRNA:messenger RNA regulatory interactions have been biologically validated in an normal organismal context. Here we present evidence that three microRNAs from the Hox complex in Drosophila (miR-10-5p, miR-10-3p, miR-iab-4-5p) do not have significant effects during embryogenesis on the expression of Hox genes that contain high confidence microRNAs target sites in the 3′ untranslated regions of their messenger RNAs. This is significant, in that it suggests that many predicted microRNA-target interactions may not be biologically relevant, or that the outcomes of these interactions may be so subtle that mutants may only show phenotypes in specific contexts, such as in environmental stress conditions, or in combinations with other microRNA mutations.
Cabut (Cbt) is a C2H2-class zinc finger transcription factor involved in embryonic dorsal closure, epithelial regeneration and other developmental processes in Drosophila melanogaster. Cbt orthologs have been identified in other Drosophila species and insects as well as in vertebrates. Indeed, Cbt is the Drosophila ortholog of the group of vertebrate proteins encoded by the TGF-ß-inducible early-response genes (TIEGs), which belong to Sp1-like/Krüppel-like family of transcription factors. Several functional domains involved in transcriptional control and subcellular localization have been identified in the vertebrate TIEGs. However, little is known of whether these domains and functions are also conserved in the Cbt protein.
To determine the transcriptional regulatory activity of the Drosophila Cbt protein, we performed Gal4-based luciferase assays in S2 cells and showed that Cbt is a transcriptional repressor and able to regulate its own expression. Truncated forms of Cbt were then generated to identify its functional domains. This analysis revealed a sequence similar to the mSin3A-interacting repressor domain found in vertebrate TIEGs, although located in a different part of the Cbt protein. Using β-Galactosidase and eGFP fusion proteins, we also showed that Cbt contains the bipartite nuclear localization signal (NLS) previously identified in TIEG proteins, although it is non-functional in insect cells. Instead, a monopartite NLS, located at the amino terminus of the protein and conserved across insects, is functional in Drosophila S2 and Spodoptera exigua Sec301 cells. Last but not least, genetic interaction and immunohistochemical assays suggested that Cbt nuclear import is mediated by Importin-α2.
Our results constitute the first characterization of the molecular mechanisms of Cbt-mediated transcriptional control as well as of Cbt nuclear import, and demonstrate the existence of similarities and differences in both aspects of Cbt function between the insect and the vertebrate TIEG proteins.
We have recently developed a so-called genomic engineering approach that allows for directed, efficient and versatile modifications of Drosophila genome by combining the homologous recombination (HR)-based gene targeting with site-specific DNA integration. In genomic engineering and several similar approaches, a “founder” knock-out line must be generated first through HR-based gene targeting, which can still be a potentially time and resource intensive process. To significantly improve the efficiency and success rate of HR-based gene targeting in Drosophila, we have generated a new dual-selection marker termed W::Neo, which is a direct fusion between proteins of eye color marker White (W) and neomycin resistance (Neo). In HR-based gene targeting experiments, mutants carrying W::Neo as the selection marker can be enriched as much as fifty times by taking advantage of the antibiotic selection in Drosophila larvae. We have successfully carried out three independent gene targeting experiments using the W::Neo to generate genomic engineering founder knock-out lines in Drosophila.
Apoptosis, a genetically programmed cell death, allows for homeostasis and tissue remodelling during development of all multi-cellular organisms. Phagocytes swiftly recognize, engulf and digest apoptotic cells. Yet, to date the molecular mechanisms underlying this phagocytic process are still poorly understood. To delineate the molecular mechanisms of apoptotic cell clearance in Drosophila, we have carried out a deficiency screen and have identified three overlapping phagocytosis-defective mutants, which all delete the fly homologue of the ced-12 gene, known as Dmel\ced12. As anticipated, we have found that Dmel\ced-12 is required for apoptotic cell clearance, as for its C. elegans and mammalian homologues, ced-12 and elmo, respectively. However, the loss of Dmel\ced-12 did not solely account for the phenotypes of all three deficiencies, as zygotic mutations and germ line clones of Dmel\ced-12 exhibited weaker phenotypes. Using a nearby genetically interacting deficiency, we have found that the polycystic kidney disease 2 gene, pkd2, which encodes a member of the TRPP channel family, is also required for phagocytosis of apoptotic cells, thereby demonstrating a novel role for PKD2 in this process. We have also observed genetic interactions between pkd2, simu, drpr, rya-r44F, and retinophilin (rtp), also known as undertaker (uta), a gene encoding a MORN-repeat containing molecule, which we have recently found to be implicated in calcium homeostasis during phagocytosis. However, we have not found any genetic interaction between Dmel\ced-12 and simu. Based on these genetic interactions and recent reports demonstrating a role for the mammalian pkd-2 gene product in ER calcium release during store-operated calcium entry, we propose that PKD2 functions in the DRPR/RTP pathway to regulate calcium homeostasis during this process. Similarly to its C. elegans homologue, Dmel\Ced-12 appears to function in a genetically distinct pathway.
Biomarkers have proven their ability in the evaluation of cardiopulmonary diseases. We investigated the utility of concentrations of the biomarker procalcitonin (PCT) alone and with clinical variables for the diagnosis of pneumonia in patients presenting to emergency departments (EDs) with a chief complaint of shortness of breath.
Methods and results
The BACH trial was a prospective, international, study of 1641 patients presenting to EDs with dyspnoea. Blood samples were analysed for PCT and other biomarkers. Relevant clinical data were also captured. Patient outcomes were assessed at 90 days. The diagnosis of pneumonia was made using strictly validated guidelines. A model using PCT was more accurate [area under the curve (AUC) 72.3%] than any other individual clinical variable for the diagnosis of pneumonia in all patients, in those with obstructive lung disease, and in those with acute heart failure (AHF). Combining physician estimates of the probability of pneumonia with PCT values increased the accuracy to >86% for the diagnosis of pneumonia in all patients. Patients with a diagnosis of AHF and an elevated PCT concentration (>0.21 ng/mL) had a worse outcome if not treated with antibiotics (P = 0.046), while patients with low PCT values (<0.05 ng/mL) had a better outcome if they did not receive antibiotic therapy (P = 0.049).
Procalcitonin may aid in the diagnosis of pneumonia, particularly in cases with high diagnostic uncertainty. Importantly, PCT may aid in the decision to administer antibiotic therapy to patients presenting with AHF in which clinical uncertainty exists regarding a superimposed bacterial infection.
Trial registration: NCT00537628
Acute heart failure; Procalcitonin; Pneumonia; Survival; Diagnosis
The Drosophila dorsal vessel is a beneficial model system for studying the regulation of early heart development. Spire (Spir), an actin-nucleation factor, regulates actin dynamics in many developmental processes, such as cell shape determination, intracellular transport, and locomotion. Through protein expression pattern analysis, we demonstrate that the absence of spir function affects cell division in Myocyte enhancer factor 2-, Tinman (Tin)-, Even-skipped- and Seven up (Svp)-positive heart cells. In addition, genetic interaction analysis shows that spir functionally interacts with Dorsocross, tin, and pannier to properly specify the cardiac fate. Furthermore, through visualization of double heterozygous embryos, we determines that spir cooperates with CycA for heart cell specification and division. Finally, when comparing the spir mutant phenotype with that of a CycA mutant, the results suggest that most Svp-positive progenitors in spir mutant embryos cannot undergo full cell division at cell cycle 15, and that Tin-positive progenitors are arrested at cell cycle 16 as double-nucleated cells. We conclude that Spir plays a crucial role in controlling dorsal vessel formation and has a function in cell division during heart tube morphogenesis.
As the only known example of complete organ regeneration in mammals, deer antler in the growing or velvet phase is of major interest in developmental biology. This regeneration event initiates from self-renewing antler stem cells that exhibit pluripotency. At present, it remains unclear how the activation and quiescence of antler stem cells are regulated. Therefore, in the present study proteins that were differentially expressed between the antler stem cells and somatic cells (facial periosteum) were identified by a gel-based proteomic technique, and analysed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software. Several molecular pathways (PI3K/Akt, ERK/MAPK, p38 MAPK, etc.) were found to be activated during proliferation. Also expressed were the transcription factors POU5F1, SOX2, NANOG and MYC, which are key markers of embryonic stem cells. Expression of these proteins was confirmed in both cultured cells and fresh tissues by Western blot analysis. Therefore, the molecular pathways and transcription factors identified in the current study are common to embryonic and adult stem cells. However, expression of embryonic stem cell transcription factors would suggest that antler stem cells are, potentially, an intermediary stem cell type between embryonic and the more specialized tissue-specific stem cells like those residing in muscle, fat or from a hematopoietic origin. The retention of this embryonic, pluripotent lineage may be of fundamental importance for the subsequent regenerative capacity of antlers.
Disease progression in heart failure (HF) reflects derangements in neurohormonal systems, and biomarkers of these systems can help to establish the diagnosis and assess the prognosis. Serial measurements of the precursor peptides of the natriuretic and vasopressin systems (midregional proatrial natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP) and C-terminal provasopressin (copeptin), respectively) should add incremental value to risk stratification in ambulatory patients with HF.
Methods and results
A cohort of 187 patients with class III–IV HF was prospectively enrolled, with biomarkers collected every 3 months over 2 years and analysed in relation to death/transplantation. Time-dependent analyses (dichotomous and continuous variables) showed that increases in MR-proANP (HR 7.6, 95% CI 1.85 to 31.15, p<0.01) and copeptin (HR 2.7, 95% CI 1.27 to 5.61, p=0.01) were associated with increased risk, but, in multivariate analysis adjusted for troponin T (cTnT) ≥0.01 ng/ml, only raised MR-proANP remained an independent predictor (HR 5.49, 95% CI 1.31 to 23.01, p=0.02). Combined increases in MR-proANP and copeptin (HR 9.01, 95% CI 1.24 to 65.26, p=0.03) with cTnT (HR 11.1, 95% CI 1.52 to 80.85, p=0.02), and increases ≥30% above already raised values identified the patients at greatest risk (MR-proANP: HR 10.1, 95% CI 2.34 to 43.38, p=0.002; copeptin: HR 11.5, 95% CI 2.74 to 48.08, p<0.001).
A strategy of serial monitoring of MR-proANP and, of lesser impact, copeptin, combined with cTnT, may be advantageous in detecting and managing the highest-risk outpatients with HF.
MR-pro-ANP; CT-pro-vasopressin (copeptin); chronic heart failure; outcomes; heart failure; heart failure treatment; acute coronary syndrome; acute myocarditis; coronary heart disease; natriuretic peptides; troponin t; acute myocardial infarction