The population growth rate is linked to the distribution of age at death. We demonstrate that this link arises because both the birth and death rates depend on the variance of age-at-death. This bears the prospect to separate the influences of the age patterns of fertility and mortality on population growth rate. Here, we show how the age pattern of death affects population growth. Using this insight we derive a new approximation of the population growth rate that uses the first and second moments of the age-at-death distribution. We apply our new approximation to 46 mammalian life tables (including humans) and show that it is on par with the most prominent other approximations.
Euler-Lotka-equation; life history; net maternity; stable age distribution; reproductive senescence; mortality senescence
3-M syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder characterised by pre- and post-natal growth restriction, facial dysmorphism, normal intelligence and radiological features (slender long bones and tall vertebral bodies). It is known to be caused by mutations in the genes encoding cullin 7, obscurin-like 1 and coiled-coil domain containing 8. The mechanisms through which mutations in these genes impair growth are unclear. The aim of this study was to identify novel pathways involved in the growth impairment in 3-M syndrome. RNA was extracted from fibroblast cell lines derived from four 3-M syndrome patients and three control subjects, hybridised to Affymetrix HU 133 plus 2.0 arrays with quantitative real-time PCR used to confirm changes found on microarray. IGF-II protein levels in conditioned cell culture media were measured by ELISA. Of the top 10 downregulated probesets, three represented IGF2 while H19 was identified as the 23rd most upregulated probeset. QRT-PCR confirmed upregulation of H19 (P<0.001) and downregulation of IGF2 (P<0.001). Levels of IGF-II secreted into conditioned cell culture medium were higher for control fibroblasts than those for 3-M fibroblasts (10.2±2.9 vs 0.6±0.9 ng/ml, P<0.01). 3-M syndrome is associated with a gene expression profile of reduced IGF2 expression and increased H19 expression similar to that found in Silver–Russell syndrome. Loss of autocrine IGF-II in the growth plate may be associated with the short stature seen in children with 3-M syndrome.
SGA; IGF2; 3-M syndrome; CUL7; OBSL1; CCDC8
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that manifests as memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, and dementia. Animal models of Alzheimer's disease have been instrumental in understanding the underlying pathological mechanism and in evaluation of potential therapies. The triple transgenic (3×Tg) mouse model of AD is unique because it recapitulates both pathologic hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease - amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. The earliest cognitive deficits in this model have been shown at 6-m of age by most groups, necessitating aging of the mice to this age before initiating evaluation of the cognitive effects of therapies. To assess cognitive deficits in the 3×Tg mice, originally we employed a typical Barnes maze protocol of 15 training trials, but found no significant deficits in aged mice. Therefore, we shortened the protocol to include only 5 training trials to increase difficulty. We found cognitive deficits using this protocol using mainly measures from the probe day, rather than the training trials. This also decreased the effort involved with data analysis. We compared 3×Tg and wild-type mice at 4-m- and 15-m of age using both the original, long training, and the short training paradigms. We found that differences in learning between 3×Tg and wild-type mice disappeared after the 4th training trial. Measures of learning and memory on the probe day showed significant differences between 3×Tg and wild-type mice following the short, 5-training trial protocol but not the long, 15-training trial protocol. Importantly, we detected cognitive dysfunction already at 4-m of age in 3×Tg mice using the short Barnes-maze protocol. The ability to test learning and memory in 4-m old 3×Tg mice using a shortened Barnes maze protocol offers considerable time and cost savings and provides support for the utilization of this model at pre-pathology stages for therapeutic studies.
Developmental dynamics of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) are crucial for embryonic and adult neurogenesis, but its regulatory factors are not fully understood. By differential subtractive screening with NSPCs versus their differentiated progenies, we identified the radmis (radial fiber and mitotic spindle)/ckap2l gene, a novel microtubule-associated protein (MAP) enriched in NSPCs. Radmis is a putative substrate for the E3-ubiquitin ligase, anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C), and is degraded via the KEN box. Radmis was highly expressed in regions of active neurogenesis throughout life, and its distribution was dynamically regulated during NSPC division. In embryonic and perinatal brains, radmis localized to bipolar mitotic spindles and radial fibers (basal processes) of dividing NSPCs. As central nervous system development proceeded, radmis expression was lost in most brain regions, except for several neurogenic regions. In adult brain, radmis expression persisted in the mitotic spindles of both slowly-dividing stem cells and rapid amplifying progenitors. Overexpression of radmis in vitro induced hyper-stabilization of microtubules, severe defects in mitotic spindle formation, and mitotic arrest. In vivo gain-of-function using in utero electroporation revealed that radmis directed a reduction in NSPC proliferation and a concomitant increase in cell cycle exit, causing a reduction in the Tbr2-positive basal progenitor population and shrinkage of the embryonic subventricular zone. Besides, radmis loss-of-function by shRNAs induced the multipolar mitotic spindle structure, accompanied with the catastrophe of chromosome segregation including the long chromosome bridge between two separating daughter nuclei. These findings uncover the indispensable role of radmis in mitotic spindle formation and cell-cycle progression of NSPCs.
Social functioning depends on the ability to attribute and reason about the mental states of others – an ability known as theory of mind (ToM). Research in this field is limited by the use of tasks in which ceiling effects are ubiquitous, rendering them insensitive to individual differences in ToM ability and instances of subtle ToM impairment. Here, we present data from a new ToM task – the Short Story Task (SST) - intended to improve upon many aspects of existing ToM measures. More specifically, the SST was designed to: (a) assess the full range of individual differences in ToM ability without suffering from ceiling effects; (b) incorporate a range of mental states of differing complexity, including epistemic states, affective states, and intentions to be inferred from a first- and second-order level; (c) use ToM stimuli representative of real-world social interactions; (d) require participants to utilize social context when making mental state inferences; (e) exhibit adequate psychometric properties; and (f) be quick and easy to administer and score. In the task, participants read a short story and were asked questions that assessed explicit mental state reasoning, spontaneous mental state inference, and comprehension of the non-mental aspects of the story. Responses were scored according to a rubric that assigned greater points for accurate mental state attributions that included multiple characters’ mental states. Results demonstrate that the SST is sensitive to variation in ToM ability, can be accurately scored by multiple raters, and exhibits concurrent validity with other social cognitive tasks. The results support the effectiveness of this new measure of ToM in the study of social cognition. The findings are also consistent with studies demonstrating significant relationships among narrative transportation, ToM, and the reading of fiction. Together, the data indicate that reading fiction may be an avenue for improving ToM ability.
To assess the association between features of acute sore throat and the growth of streptococci from culturing a throat swab.
UK general practices.
Patients aged 5 or over presenting with an acute sore throat. Patients were recruited for a second cohort (cohort 2, n=517) consecutively after the first (cohort 1, n=606) from similar practices.
Predictors of the presence of Lancefield A/C/G streptococci.
The clinical score developed from cohort 1 had poor discrimination in cohort 2 (bootstrapped estimate of area under the receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve (0.65), due to the poor validity of the individual items in the second data set. Variables significant in multivariate analysis in both cohorts were rapid attendance (prior duration 3 days or less; multivariate adjusted OR 1.92 cohort, 1.67 cohort 2); fever in the last 24 h (1.69, 2.40); and doctor assessment of severity (severely inflamed pharynx/tonsils (2.28, 2.29)). The absence of coryza or cough and purulent tonsils were significant in univariate analysis in both cohorts and in multivariate analysis in one cohort. A five-item score based on Fever, Purulence, Attend rapidly (3 days or less), severely Inflamed tonsils and No cough or coryza (FeverPAIN) had moderate predictive value (bootstrapped area under the ROC curve 0.73 cohort 1, 0.71 cohort 2) and identified a substantial number of participants at low risk of streptococcal infection (38% in cohort 1, 36% in cohort 2 scored ≤1, associated with a streptococcal percentage of 13% and 18%, respectively). A Centor score of ≤1 identified 23% and 26% of participants with streptococcal percentages of 10% and 28%, respectively.
Items widely used to help identify streptococcal sore throat may not be the most consistent. A modified clinical scoring system (FeverPAIN) which requires further validation may be clinically helpful in identifying individuals who are unlikely to have major pathogenic streptococci.
Neonicotinoid residues in nectar and pollen from crop plants have been implicated as one of the potential factors causing the declines of honey bee populations. Median residues of thiamethoxam in pollen collected from honey bees after foraging on flowering seed treated maize were found to be between 1 and 7 µg/kg, median residues of the metabolite CGA322704 (clothianidin) in the pollen were between 1 and 4 µg/kg. In oilseed rape, median residues of thiamethoxam found in pollen collected from bees were between <1 and 3.5 µg/kg and in nectar from foraging bees were between 0.65 and 2.4 µg/kg. Median residues of CGA322704 in pollen and nectar in the oilseed rape trials were all below the limit of quantification (1 µg/kg). Residues in the hive were even lower in both the maize and oilseed rape trials, being at or below the level of detection of 1 µg/kg for bee bread in the hive and at or below the level of detection of 0.5 µg/kg for hive nectar, honey and royal jelly samples. The long-term risk to honey bee colonies in the field was also investigated, including the sensitive overwintering stage, from four years consecutive single treatment crop exposures to flowering maize and oilseed rape grown from thiamethoxam treated seeds at rates recommended for insect control. Throughout the study, mortality, foraging behavior, colony strength, colony weight, brood development and food storage levels were similar between treatment and control colonies. Detailed examination of brood development throughout the year demonstrated that colonies exposed to the treated crop were able to successfully overwinter and had a similar health status to the control colonies in the following spring. We conclude that these data demonstrate there is a low risk to honey bees from systemic residues in nectar and pollen following the use of thiamethoxam as a seed treatment on oilseed rape and maize.
Interest in stage-and age structured models has recently increased because they can describe quantitative traits such as size that are left out of age-only demography. Available methods for the analysis of effects of vital rates on lifespan in stage-structured models have not been widely applied because they are hard to use and interpret, and tools for age and stage structured populations are missing. We present easily interpretable expressions for the sensitivities and elasticities of life expectancy to vital rates in age-stage models, and illustrate their application with two biological examples. Much of our approach relies on trading of time and mortality risk in one stage for time and risk in others. Our approach contributes to the new framework of the study of age- and stage-structured biodemography.
Mulit-state models; age-stage structure; survival; markov chain process; life history evolution; perturbation analysis
As the thymus involutes with age, the maintenance of peripheral naive T cells in humans becomes strongly dependent on peripheral cell division. However, mechanisms that orchestrate homeostatic division remain unclear. In this study we present evidence that the frequency of naive CD4 T cells that express CD25 (IL-2 receptor α-chain) increases with age on subsets of both CD31+ and CD31− naive CD4 T cells. Analyses of TCR excision circles from sorted subsets indicate that CD25+ naive CD4 T cells have undergone more rounds of homeostatic proliferation than their CD25− counterparts in both the CD31+ and CD31− subsets, indicating that CD25 is a marker of naive CD4 T cells that have preferentially responded to survival signals from self-Ags or cytokines. CD25 expression on CD25− naive CD4 T cells can be induced by IL-7 in vitro in the absence of TCR activation. Although CD25+ naive T cells respond to lower concentrations of IL-2 as compared with their CD25− counterparts, IL-2 responsiveness is further increased in CD31− naive T cells by their expression of the signaling IL-2 receptor β-chain CD122, forming with common γ-chain functional high-affinity IL-2 receptors. CD25 plays a role during activation: CD25+ naive T cells stimulated in an APC-dependent manner were shown to produce increased levels of IL-2 as compared with their CD25− counterparts. This study establishes CD25+ naive CD4 T cells, which are further delineated by CD31 expression, as a major functionally distinct immune cell subset in humans that warrants further characterization in health and disease.
Movement away from an area or social group in response to increasing density (density-dependent dispersal) is known for most species; why it evolves is fundamental to our understanding of ecology and evolution. However, we have yet to fully appreciate how individuals of varying conditions (e.g., age and sex) might differently consider effects of density (quorum) when deciding to disperse or not, and scale dependence in their sense of quorum. We tracked movements of all individuals of a naturalized population of feral horses (Equus ferus caballus; Sable Island National Park Reserve, Nova Scotia, Canada) during a period of rapid population growth (N increased from 375 to 484 horses from 2008 to 2010). Permanent dispersal from breeding groups (bands) was positively density dependent for all age and sex categories with respect to local density (horses/km2, bounded by the 99th percentile of individual movements [8000 m]), but was negatively and positively density dependent for males and females, respectively, in relation to group (band) size. Dispersal was generally female biased, with the exception of foals which moved with their mothers (no sex effect), and for yearlings and subadults when band sizes were smaller than average, in which case males dispersed at higher rates than females. Dispersal distance was positively related to local density. We conclude that dispersal rate can be both positively and negatively density dependent for feral horses, contingent on the state of individuals and the scale at which quorum with respect to choosing to disperse or not is assessed. Scale effects and interactions of density-dependent and sex- and age-biased dispersal may have both ecological and evolutionary consequences through effects on resource and mate competition.
Density dependence; feral horse; quorum sensing; Sable Island; scale; social dispersal
Sulfation patterns along glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains dictate their functional role. The N-deacetylase N-sulfotransferase family (NDST) catalyzes the initial downstream modification of heparan sulfate and heparin chains by removing acetyl groups from subsets of N-acetylglucosamine units and, subsequently, sulfating the residual free amino groups. These enzymes transfer the sulfuryl group from 3′-phosphoadenosine-5′-phosphosulfate (PAPS), yielding sulfated sugar chains and 3′-phosphoadenosine-5′-phosphate (PAP). For the N-sulfotransferase domain of NDST1, Lys833 has been implicated to play a role in holding the substrate glycan moiety close to the PAPS cofactor. Additionally, Lys833 together with His716 interact with the sulfonate group, stabilizing the transition state. Such a role seems to be shared by Lys614 through donation of a proton to the bridging oxygen of the cofactor, thereby acting as a catalytic acid. However, the relevance of these boundary residues at the hydrophobic cleft is still unclear. Moreover, whether Lys833, His716 and Lys614 play a role in both glycan recognition and glycan sulfation remains elusive. In this study we evaluate the contribution of NDST mutants (Lys833, His716 and Lys614) to dynamical effects during sulfate transfer using comprehensive combined docking and essential dynamics. In addition, the binding location of the glycan moiety, PAPS and PAP within the active site of NDST1 throughout the sulfate transfer were determined by intermediate state analysis. Furthermore, NDST1 mutants unveiled Lys833 as vital for both the glycan binding and subsequent N-sulfotransferase activity of NDST1.
We report the case of a 78-year-old Caucasian gentleman who presented with a painful swelling in the nail bed of the right middle finger. Following amputation of the right middle phalanx histopathology confirmed aggressive digital papillary adenocarcinoma (ADPA). Further surgical treatment was offered but declined. Approximately 17 months later, the patient was found to have pulmonary metastasis. ADPA is a rare neoplasm of the eccrine sweat glands, which commonly presents as a slow-growing mass between the nail bed and distal interphalangeal joint. The disease is classically aggressive with a 14% chance of metastatic spread. The chance of recurrence is 50% with no or sub-optimal treatment, which reduces to 5% following removal with adequate resection margins. This case shows a prolonged period of disease-free survival, but highlights the need for thorough and aggressive management in cases of ADPA as well as frequent and long-term follow-up.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) is a general term for central nervous system malformations secondary to a failure of closure or development of the neural tube. The resulting pathologies may involve the brain, spinal cord and/or vertebral column, in addition to associated structures such as soft tissue or skin. The condition is reported among the more common birth defects in humans, leading to significant infant morbidity and mortality. The etiology remains poorly understood but genetic, nutritional, environmental factors, or a combination of these, are known to play a role in the development of NTDs. The variable conditions associated with NTDs occur naturally in dogs, and have been previously reported in the Weimaraner breed. Taking advantage of the strong linkage-disequilibrium within dog breeds we performed genome-wide association analysis and mapped a genomic region for spinal dysraphism, a presumed NTD, using 4 affected and 96 unaffected Weimaraners. The associated region on canine chromosome 8 (pgenome = 3.0×10−5), after 100,000 permutations, encodes 18 genes, including NKX2-8, a homeobox gene which is expressed in the developing neural tube. Sequencing NKX2-8 in affected Weimaraners revealed a G to AA frameshift mutation within exon 2 of the gene, resulting in a premature stop codon that is predicted to produce a truncated protein. The exons of NKX2-8 were sequenced in human patients with spina bifida and rare variants (rs61755040 and rs10135525) were found to be significantly over-represented (p = 0.036). This is the first documentation of a potential role for NKX2-8 in the etiology of NTDs, made possible by investigating the molecular basis of naturally occurring mutations in dogs.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are birth defects resulting from errors in the closure of the neural tube, an embryonic structure which develops into tissues of the central nervous system during pregnancy. NTDs commonly lead to costly lifelong disabilities. They are considered to be caused by a combination of nutritional, inherited and environmental factors, and their interactions. However, an obvious mechanism is currently unknown. Genetic studies in human populations are made difficult by the multifactorial nature of NTDs and because multiple cases within a single family are rare. Animal models are helpful in dissecting the genetics of such complex traits; however existing rodent models do not explain all of the NTD cases in humans. Dogs are excellent biomedical models for humans since they receive comparable medical care, share our home environment, and develop naturally occurring diseases comparable to those in humans. We used a naturally occurring NTD in Weimaraner dogs, termed spinal dysraphism, to identify a mutation in an associated regulatory gene, NKX2-8. Mutations in NKX2-8 were subsequently documented in human patients with a generally similar NTD termed spina bifida. This is the first documented evidence that NKX2-8 has a role in NTDs. It is expected that this discovery will contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms leading to NTDs.
To explore how participation in an online support community may impact upon the experience of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
An online survey.
Study participants recruited through 35 IBD online communities.
A total of 249 males and females aged 16–69 years, living with either Crohn’s disease (65.9%) or ulcerative colitis (26.1%) or awaiting formal diagnosis (8%).
Patients reported being members for an average of two years, with the majority accessing the community on a daily (46.9%) or weekly (40%) basis. Spending on average four hours per week online, approximately two-thirds of members posted between one and five messages per week. Members joined to find others in a similar situation and to obtain and share information and emotional support. Through participation members accessed a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of living with IBD and this was helpful in terms of accepting their illness and learning to manage it. The community also helped members see their illness more positively as well as contributing to an improvement in subjective wellbeing. However, some negatives aspects were noted.
Online support communities may provide a useful shared space through which IBD patients may seek and provide both informational and emotional support. Many of these benefits may not be available through traditional healthcare. Whilst online support communities may be beneficial for those who choose to participate in them, they are not without limitations. Health professionals should be aware of the potential benefits and limitations of online communities.
Genes for the production of a broad range of fungal secondary metabolites are frequently colinear. The prevalence of such gene clusters was systematically examined across the genome of the cereal pathogen Fusarium graminearum. The topological structure of transcriptional networks was also examined to investigate control mechanisms for mycotoxin biosynthesis and other processes.
The genes associated with transcriptional processes were identified, and the genomic location of transcription-associated proteins (TAPs) analyzed in conjunction with the locations of genes exhibiting similar expression patterns. Highly conserved TAPs reside in regions of chromosomes with very low or no recombination, contrasting with putative regulator genes. Co-expression group profiles were used to define positionally clustered genes and a number of members of these clusters encode proteins participating in secondary metabolism. Gene expression profiles suggest there is an abundance of condition-specific transcriptional regulation. Analysis of the promoter regions of co-expressed genes showed enrichment for conserved DNA-sequence motifs. Potential global transcription factors recognising these motifs contain distinct sets of DNA-binding domains (DBDs) from those present in local regulators.
Proteins associated with basal transcriptional functions are encoded by genes enriched in regions of the genome with low recombination. Systematic searches revealed dispersed and compact clusters of co-expressed genes, often containing a transcription factor, and typically containing genes involved in biosynthetic pathways. Transcriptional networks exhibit a layered structure in which the position in the hierarchy of a regulator is closely linked to the DBD structural class.
Transcriptional networks; DNA-binding domains; mycotoxin biosynthesis; filamentous fungi; gene clusters
A recombinant antigen vaccine against Schistosoma mansoni remains elusive, in part because the parasite deploys complex defensive and offensive strategies to combat immune attack. Nevertheless, research on rodent and primate models has shown that schistosomes can be defeated when appropriate responses are elicited. Acquired protection appears to involve protracted inhibition of larval migration or key molecular processes at the adult surfaces, not rapid cytolytic killing mechanisms. A successful vaccine will likely require a cocktail of antigens rather than a single recombinant protein. In addition, ways need to be found of keeping the immune system on permanent alert, either to achieve adequate inhibition of protein function in adults, or because a trickle of incoming parasites does not amplify the secondary response.
Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS), a genetic disorder of obesity, intellectual disability and sleep abnormalities, is caused by loss of non-coding RNAs on paternal chromosome 15q11-q13. The imprinted minimal PWS locus encompasses a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) transcript processed into multiple SNORD116 small nucleolar RNAs and the spliced exons of the host gene, 116HG. However, both the molecular function and the disease relevance of the spliced lncRNA 116HG are unknown. Here, we show that 116HG forms a subnuclear RNA cloud that co-purifies with the transcriptional activator RBBP5 and active metabolic genes, remains tethered to the site of its transcription and increases in size in post-natal neurons and during sleep. Snord116del mice lacking 116HG exhibited increased energy expenditure corresponding to the dysregulation of diurnally expressed Mtor and circadian genes Clock, Cry1 and Per2. These combined genomic and metabolic analyses demonstrate that 116HG regulates the diurnal energy expenditure of the brain. These novel molecular insights into the energy imbalance in PWS should lead to improved therapies and understanding of lncRNA roles in complex neurodevelopmental and metabolic disorders.
We previously showed that the facultative intracellular pathogen Rhodococcus equi produces a nondiffusible and catecholate-containing siderophore (rhequibactin) involved in iron acquisition during saprophytic growth. Here, we provide evidence that the rhbABCDE cluster directs the biosynthesis of a hydroxamate siderophore, rhequichelin, that plays a key role in virulence. The rhbC gene encodes a nonribosomal peptide synthetase that is predicted to produce a tetrapeptide consisting of N5-formyl-N5-hydroxyornithine, serine, N5-hydroxyornithine, and N5-acyl-N5-hydroxyornithine. The other rhb genes encode putative tailoring enzymes mediating modification of ornithine residues incorporated into the hydroxamate product of RhbC. Transcription of rhbC was upregulated during growth in iron-depleted medium, suggesting that it plays a role in iron acquisition. This was confirmed by deletion of rhbCD, rendering the resulting strain R. equi SID2 unable to grow in the presence of the iron chelator 2,2-dipyridyl. Supernatant of the wild-type strain rescued the phenotype of R. equi SID2. The importance of rhequichelin in virulence was highlighted by the rapid increase in transcription levels of rhbC following infection and the inability of R. equi SID2 to grow within macrophages. Unlike the wild-type strain, R. equi SID2 was unable to replicate in vivo and was rapidly cleared from the lungs of infected mice. Rhequichelin is thus a key virulence-associated factor, although nonpathogenic Rhodococcus species also appear to produce rhequichelin or a structurally closely related compound. Rhequichelin biosynthesis may therefore be considered an example of cooption of a core actinobacterial trait in the evolution of R. equi virulence.
The rotavirus spike protein domain VP8* is essential for recognition of cell surface carbohydrate receptors, notably those incorporating N-acylneuraminic acids (members of the sialic acid family). N-Acetylneuraminic acids occur naturally in both animals and humans, whereas N-glycolylneuraminic acids are acquired only through dietary uptake in normal human tissues. The preference of animal rotaviruses for these natural N-acylneuraminic acids has not been comprehensively established, and detailed structural information regarding the interactions of different rotaviruses with N-glycolylneuraminic acids is lacking. In this study, distinct specificities of VP8* for N-acetyl- and N-glycolylneuraminic acids were revealed using biophysical techniques. VP8* protein from the porcine rotavirus CRW-8 and the bovine rotavirus Nebraska calf diarrhea virus (NCDV) showed a preference for N-glycolyl- over N-acetylneuraminic acids, in contrast to results obtained with rhesus rotavirus (RRV). Crystallographic structures of VP8* from CRW-8 and RRV with bound methyl-N-glycolylneuraminide revealed the atomic details of their interactions. We examined the influence of amino acid type at position 157, which is proximal to the ligand's N-acetyl or N-glycolyl moiety and can mutate upon cell culture adaptation. A structure-based hypothesis derived from these results could account for rotavirus discrimination between the N-acylneuraminic acid forms. Infectivity blockade experiments demonstrated that the determined carbohydrate specificities of these VP8* domains directly correlate with those of the corresponding infectious virus. This includes an association between CRW-8 adaption to cell culture, decreased competition by N-glycolylneuraminic acid for CRW-8 infectivity, and a Pro157-to-Ser157 mutation in VP8* that reduces binding affinity for N-glycolylneuraminic acid.
Reversible ubiquitylation of proteins contributes to their integrity, abundance and activity. The RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) plays key physiological roles and is dysregulated in a spectrum of disease. It is rapidly turned over and is phosphorylated, polyubiquitylated and degraded en masse during neuronal differentiation and cell cycle progression. Through siRNA screening we identified the deubiquitylase USP15 as a key regulator of cellular REST. Both antagonism of REST polyubiquitylation and rescue of endogenous REST levels are dependent on the deubiquitylase activity of USP15. However, USP15 depletion does not destabilize pre-existing REST, but rather specifically impairs de novo REST synthesis. Indeed, we find that a small fraction of endogenous USP15 is associated with polysomes. In accordance with these findings, USP15 does not antagonize the degradation of phosphorylated REST at mitosis. Instead it is required for the rapid accumulation of newly synthesized REST on mitotic exit, thus playing a key role in its cell cycle oscillations. Importantly, this study reveals a novel role for a DUB in specifically promoting new protein synthesis.
NRSF; ubiquitin specific peptidase 15; deubiquitination; G1; co-translational; post-translational modification; protein degradation; cell cycle
Comparative analysis is an essential component to biology. When applied to genomics for example, analysis may require comparisons between the predicted presence and absence of genes in a group of genomes under consideration. Frequently, genes can be grouped into small categories based on functional criteria, for example membership of a multimeric complex, participation in a metabolic or signaling pathway or shared sequence features and/or paralogy. These patterns of retention and loss are highly informative for the prediction of function, and hence possible biological context, and can provide great insights into the evolutionary history of cellular functions. However, representation of such information in a standard spreadsheet is a poor visual means from which to extract patterns within a dataset.
We devised the Coulson Plot, a new graphical representation that exploits a matrix of pie charts to display comparative genomics data. Each pie is used to describe a complex or process from a separate taxon, and is divided into sectors corresponding to the number of proteins (subunits) in a complex/process. The predicted presence or absence of proteins in each complex are delineated by occupancy of a given sector; this format is visually highly accessible and makes pattern recognition rapid and reliable. A key to the identity of each subunit, plus hierarchical naming of taxa and coloring are included. A java-based application, the Coulson plot generator (CPG) automates graphic production, with a tab or comma-delineated text file as input and generating an editable portable document format or svg file.
CPG software may be used to rapidly convert spreadsheet data to a graphical matrix pie chart format. The representation essentially retains all of the information from the spreadsheet but presents a graphically rich format making comparisons and identification of patterns significantly clearer. While the Coulson plot format is highly useful in comparative genomics, its original purpose, the software can be used to visualize any dataset where entity occupancy is compared between different classes.
CPG software is available at sourceforge http://sourceforge.net/projects/coulson and http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6701906/Web/Sites/Labsite/CPG.html
Inflammation, which is directly regulated by interleukin-6 (IL-6) signaling, is implicated in the etiology of several chronic diseases. Although a common, non-synonymous variant in the IL-6 receptor gene (IL6R Asp358Ala; rs2228145 A>C) is associated with the risk of several common diseases, with the 358Ala allele conferring protection from coronary heart disease (CHD), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), atrial fibrillation (AF), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), and increased susceptibility to asthma, the variant's effect on IL-6 signaling is not known. Here we provide evidence for the association of this non-synonymous variant with the risk of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in two independent populations and confirm that rs2228145 is the major determinant of the concentration of circulating soluble IL-6R (sIL-6R) levels (34.6% increase in sIL-6R per copy of the minor allele 358Ala; rs2228145 [C]). To further investigate the molecular mechanism of this variant, we analyzed expression of IL-6R in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in 128 volunteers from the Cambridge BioResource. We demonstrate that, although 358Ala increases transcription of the soluble IL6R isoform (P = 8.3×10−22) and not the membrane-bound isoform, 358Ala reduces surface expression of IL-6R on CD4+ T cells and monocytes (up to 28% reduction per allele; P≤5.6×10−22). Importantly, reduced expression of membrane-bound IL-6R resulted in impaired IL-6 responsiveness, as measured by decreased phosphorylation of the transcription factors STAT3 and STAT1 following stimulation with IL-6 (P≤5.2×10−7). Our findings elucidate the regulation of IL-6 signaling by IL-6R, which is causally relevant to several complex diseases, identify mechanisms for new approaches to target the IL-6/IL-6R axis, and anticipate differences in treatment response to IL-6 therapies based on this common IL6R variant.
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a complex cytokine, which plays a critical role in the regulation of inflammatory responses. Genetic variation in the IL-6 receptor gene is associated with the risk of several human diseases with an inflammatory component, including coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. A common non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism in this gene (Asp358Ala) has been suggested to be the causal variant in this region by affecting the circulatory concentrations of soluble IL-6R (sIL-6R). In this study we extend the genetic association of this variant to type 1 diabetes and provide evidence that this variant exerts its functional mechanism by regulating the balance between sIL-6R (generated through cleavage of the surface receptor and by alternative splicing of a soluble IL6R isoform) and membrane-bound IL-6R. These data show for the first time that the minor allele of this non-synonymous variant (Ala358) directly controls the surface levels of IL-6R on individual immune cells and that these differences in protein levels translate into a functional impairment in IL-6R signaling. These findings may have implications for clinical trials targeting inflammatory mechanisms involving IL-6R signaling and may provide tools for identifying patients with specific benefit from therapeutic intervention in the IL-6R signaling pathway.
The lipid phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate (PtdIns(3,5)P2), synthesised by PIKfyve, regulates a number of intracellular membrane trafficking pathways. Genetic alteration of the PIKfyve complex, leading to even a mild reduction in PtdIns(3,5)P2, results in marked neurodegeneration via an uncharacterised mechanism. In the present study we have shown that selectively inhibiting PIKfyve activity, using YM-201636, significantly reduces the survival of primary mouse hippocampal neurons in culture. YM-201636 treatment promoted vacuolation of endolysosomal membranes followed by apoptosis-independent cell death. Many vacuoles contained intravacuolar membranes and inclusions reminiscent of autolysosomes. Accordingly, YM-201636 treatment increased the level of the autophagosomal marker protein LC3-II, an effect that was potentiated by inhibition of lysosomal proteases, suggesting that alterations in autophagy could be a contributing factor to neuronal cell death.
Rotaviruses are implicated as a viral trigger for the acceleration of type 1 diabetes in children. Infection of adult non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice with rotavirus strain RRV accelerates diabetes development, whereas RRV infection in infant NOD mice delays diabetes onset. In this study of infant mice, RRV titers and lymphocyte populations in the intestine, mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) and thymus of NOD mice were compared with those in diabetes-resistant BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. Enhanced intestinal RRV infection occurred in NOD mice compared with the other mouse strains. This was associated with increases in the frequency of CD8αβ TCRαβ intraepithelial lymphocytes, and their PD-L1 expression. Virus spread to the MLN and T cell numbers there also were greatest in NOD mice. Thymic RRV infection is shown here in all mouse strains, often in combination with alterations in T cell ontogeny. Infection lowered thymocyte numbers in infant NOD and C57BL/6 mice, whereas thymocyte production was unaltered overall in infant BALB/c mice. In the NOD mouse thymus, effector CD4+ T cell numbers were reduced by infection, whereas regulatory T cell numbers were maintained. It is proposed that maintenance of thymic regulatory T cell numbers may contribute to the increased suppression of inflammatory T cells in response to a strong stimulus observed in pancreatic lymph nodes of adult mice infected as infants. These findings show that rotavirus replication is enhanced in diabetes-prone mice, and provide evidence that thymic T cell alterations may contribute to the delayed diabetes onset following RRV infection.
For an understanding of the effect of climate change on animal population dynamics, it is crucial to be able to identify which climatologic parameters affect which demographic rate, and what the underlying mechanistic links are. An important reason for why the interactions between demography and climate still are poorly understood is that the effects of climate vary both geographically and taxonomically. Here, we analyse interspecifically how different climate variables affect the breeding success of North Atlantic seabird species along latitudinal and longitudinal gradients. By approaching the problem comparatively, we are able to generalize across populations and species. We find a strong interactive effect of climate and latitude on breeding success. Of the climatic variables considered, local sea surface temperatures during the breeding season tend to be more relevant than the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). However, the effect of NAO on breeding success shows a clear geographic pattern, changing in sign from positive in the south to negative in the north. If this interaction is taken account of, the model explains more variation than any model with sea surface temperature. This superiority of the NAO index is due to its ability to capture effects of more than one season in a single parameter. Mechanistically, however, several lines of evidence suggest that sea surface temperature is the biologically most relevant explanatory variable.
breeding success; demography; interspecific analysis; latitude; North Atlantic Oscillation; sea surface temperature