Assessing the pandemic risk posed by specific non-human influenza A viruses is an important goal in public health research. As influenza virus genome sequencing becomes cheaper, faster, and more readily available, the ability to predict pandemic potential from sequence data could transform pandemic influenza risk assessment capabilities. However, the complexities of the relationships between virus genotype and phenotype make such predictions extremely difficult. The integration of experimental work, computational tool development, and analysis of evolutionary pathways, together with refinements to influenza surveillance, has the potential to transform our ability to assess the risks posed to humans by non-human influenza viruses and lead to improved pandemic preparedness and response.
influenza; pandemic; emergence; human; viruses
Pathologists have long served as custodians of human biospecimens collected for diagnostic purposes. Rapid advancements in diagnostic technologies require that pathologists change their practices to optimize patient care. The proper handling of biospecimens creates opportunities for pathologists to improve their diagnoses while assessing prognosis and treatment. In addition, the growing need for high-quality biorepositories represents an opportunity for community pathologists to strengthen their role within the health care team, ensuring that clinical care is not compromised while facilitating research. This article provides a resource to community pathologists learning how to create high-quality biorepositories and participating in emerging opportunities in the biorepository field. While a variety of topics are covered to provide breadth of information, the intent is to facilitate a level of understanding that permits community pathologists to make more informed choices in identifying how best their skills and practice may be augmented to address developments in this field.
Exposure to glucocorticoids (GCs) in early development can lead to long-term changes in brain function and behavior although little is known about the underlying neural mechanisms. Perinatal exposure to GCs alters adult anxiety and neuroendocrine responses to stress. Therefore, we investigated the effects of either late gestational or neonatal exposure to the GC receptor agonist dexamethasone (DEX), on apoptosis within the amygdala, a region critical for emotional regulation. DEX was administered to timed-pregnant rat dams from gestational day 18 until parturition, or postnatal day 4-6. Offspring were sacrificed the day following the last DEX treatment and tissue was processed for immunohistochemical detection of cleaved caspase-3, a marker for apoptotic cells. Prenatal DEX treatment significantly increased the number of cleaved caspase-3 positive cells in the amygdala of both sexes, largely due to increases within the medial and basomedial sub-regions. Postnatal DEX treatment also increased cleaved caspase-3 immunoreactivity within the amygdala, although effects reached significance only in the central nucleus of females. Overall, DEX induction of cleaved caspase-3 in the amygdala was greater following prenatal compared to postnatal treatment, yet in both instances elevations in cleaved caspase-3 correlated with an increase in pro-apoptotic Bax mRNA expression. Dual-label immunohistochemistry of cleaved caspase-3 and the neuronal marker NeuN confirmed that virtually all cleaved caspase-3 positive cells in the amygdala were neurons and a subset of these cells (primarily following postnatal treatment) expressed a GABAergic calcium binding protein phenotype (calbindin or calretinin). Together these results indicate that early developmental GC exposure induces neuronal apoptosis within the amygdala in an age, sex, and region dependent manner.
dexamethasone; glucocorticoid; apoptosis; prenatal; neonatal; sex difference
Cells with osteogenic potential can be found in a variety of tissues. Here we show that circulating osteogenic precursor (COP) cells, a bone marrow-derived type I collagen+/CD45+ subpopulation of mononuclear adherent cells, are present in early pre-osseous fibroproliferative lesions in patients with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) and nucleate heterotopic ossification (HO) in a murine in vivo implantation assay. Blood samples from FOP patients with active episodes of HO contain significantly higher numbers of clonally-derived COP cell colonies than patients with stable disease or unaffected individuals. The highest level of COP cells was found in a patient just prior to the clinical onset of an HO exacerbation. Our studies show that even COP cells derived from an unaffected individual can contribute to HO in genetically susceptible host tissue. The possibility that circulating, hematopoietic-derived cells with osteogenic potential can seed inflammatory sites has tremendous implications and, to our knowledge, represents the first example of their involvement in clinical HO. Thus, bone formation is not limited to cells of the mesenchymal lineage, and circulating cells of hematopoietic origin can also serve as osteogenic precursors at remote sites of tissue inflammation.
Heterotopic ossification; mesenchymal progenitor cells; fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive; bone-marrow transplantation
We conducted a study designed to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of a multilevel self-management intervention to improve nutritional intake in a group of older adults receiving Medicare home health services who were at especially high risk for experiencing undernutrition. The Behavioral Nutrition Intervention for Community Elders (B-NICE) trial used a prospective randomized controlled design to determine whether individually tailored counseling focused on social and behavioral aspects of eating resulted in increased caloric intake and improved nutrition-related health outcomes in a high-risk population of older adults. The study was guided by the theoretical approaches of the Ecological Model and Social Cognitive Theory. The development and implementation of the B-NICE protocol, including the theoretical framework, methodology, specific elements of the behavioral intervention, and assurances of the treatment fidelity, as well as the health policy implications of the trial results, are presented in this article.
aging; care transitions; community health; home health care; nutrition; randomized controlled trial; self management
We describe the synthesis and development of new reactive DOTA-metal complexes for covalently targeting engineered receptors in vivo, which have superior tumor uptake and clearance properties for biomedical applications. These probes are found to clear efficiently through the kidneys and minimally through other routes, but bind persistently in the tumor target. We also explore the new technique of Cerenkov luminescence imaging to optically monitor radiolabeled probe distribution and kinetics in vivo. Cerenkov luminescence imaging uniquely enables sensitive noninvasive in vivo imaging of a β− emitter such as 90Y with an optical imager.
Infectious and inflammatory diseases have repeatedly shown strong genetic associations within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC); however, the basis for these associations remains elusive. To define host genetic effects on the outcome of a chronic viral infection, we performed genome-wide association analysis in a multiethnic cohort of HIV-1 controllers and progressors, and we analyzed the effects of individual amino acids within the classical human leukocyte antigen (HLA) proteins. We identified >300 genome-wide significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the MHC and none elsewhere. Specific amino acids in the HLA-B peptide binding groove, as well as an independent HLA-C effect, explain the SNP associations and reconcile both protective and risk HLA alleles. These results implicate the nature of the HLA–viral peptide interaction as the major factor modulating durable control of HIV infection.
The purpose of this column is to provide an overview of social cognition in schizophrenia. The column begins with a short introduction to social cognition. Then, we describe the application of social cognition to the study of schizophrenia, with an emphasis on key domains (i.e., emotion perception, Theory of Mind, and attributional style). We conclude the column by discussing the relationship of social cognition to neurocognition, negative symptoms, and functioning, with an eye toward strategies for improving social cognition in schizophrenia.
social cognition; attributions; emotion perception; theory of mind; functional outcome
The human X chromosome has a unique biology that was shaped by its evolution as the sex chromosome shared by males and females. We have determined 99.3% of the euchromatic sequence of the X chromosome. Our analysis illustrates the autosomal origin of the mammalian sex chromosomes, the stepwise process that led to the progressive loss of recombination between X and Y, and the extent of subsequent degradation of the Y chromosome. LINE1 repeat elements cover one-third of the X chromosome, with a distribution that is consistent with their proposed role as way stations in the process of X-chromosome inactivation. We found 1,098 genes in the sequence, of which 99 encode proteins expressed in testis and in various tumour types. A disproportionately high number of mendelian diseases are documented for the X chromosome. Of this number, 168 have been explained by mutations in 113 X-linked genes, which in many cases were characterized with the aid of the DNA sequence.
Deficits in a wide array of functional outcome areas (eg, social functioning, social skills, independent living skills, etc) are marked in schizophrenia. Consequently, much recent research has attempted to identify factors that may contribute to functional outcome; social cognition is one such domain. The purpose of this article is to review research examining the relationship between social cognition and functional outcome. Comprehensive searches of PsycINFO and MEDLINE/PUBMED were conducted to identify relevant published manuscripts to include in the current review. It is concluded that the relationship between social cognition and functional outcome depends on the specific domains of each construct examined; however, it can generally be concluded that there are clear and consistent relationships between aspects of functional outcome and social cognition. These findings are discussed in light of treatment implications for schizophrenia.
social functioning; emotion perception; social perception; theory of mind
In addition to maintaining the GenBank(R) nucleic acid sequence database, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) provides analysis and retrieval resources for the data in GenBank and other biological data made available through NCBI's Web site. NCBI resources include Entrez, the Entrez Programming Utilities, MyNCBI, PubMed, PubMed Central, Entrez Gene, the NCBI Taxonomy Browser, BLAST, BLAST Link (BLink), Electronic PCR, OrfFinder, Spidey, Splign, RefSeq, UniGene, HomoloGene, ProtEST, dbMHC, dbSNP, Cancer Chromosomes, Entrez Genomes and related tools, the Map Viewer, Model Maker, Evidence Viewer, Clusters of Orthologous Groups, Retroviral Genotyping Tools, HIV-1, Human Protein Interaction Database, SAGEmap, Gene Expression Omnibus, Entrez Probe, GENSAT, Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man, Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals, the Molecular Modeling Database, the Conserved Domain Database, the Conserved Domain Architecture Retrieval Tool and the PubChem suite of small molecule databases. Augmenting many of the Web applications are custom implementations of the BLAST program optimized to search specialized datasets. All of the resources can be accessed through the NCBI home page at: .
The binding of HDL to scavenger receptor–BI (SR-BI) mediates cholesterol movement. HDL also induces multiple cellular signals, which in endothelium occur through SR-BI and converge to activate eNOS. To determine the molecular basis of a signaling event induced by HDL, we examined the proximal mechanisms in HDL activation of eNOS. In endothelial cells, HDL and methyl-β-cyclodextrin caused comparable eNOS activation, whereas cholesterol-loaded methyl-β-cyclodextrin had no effect. Phosphatidylcholine-loaded HDL caused greater stimulation than native HDL, and blocking antibody against SR-BI, which prevents cholesterol efflux, prevented eNOS activation. In a reconstitution model in COS-M6 cells, wild-type SR-BI mediated eNOS activation by both HDL and small unilamellar vesicles (SUVs), whereas the SR-BI mutant AVI, which is incapable of efflux to SUV, transmitted signal by only HDL. In addition, eNOS activation by methyl-β-cyclodextrin was SR-BI dependent. Studies of mutant and chimeric class B scavenger receptors revealed that the C-terminal cytoplasmic PDZ-interacting domain and the C-terminal transmembrane domains of SR-BI are both necessary for HDL signaling. Furthermore, we demonstrated direct binding of cholesterol to the C-terminal transmembrane domain using a photoactivated derivative of cholesterol. Thus, HDL signaling requires cholesterol binding and efflux and C-terminal domains of SR-BI, and SR-BI serves as a cholesterol sensor on the plasma membrane.
On November 19, 2001, a case of inhalational anthrax was identified in a 94-year-old Connecticut woman, who later died. We conducted intensive surveillance for additional anthrax cases, which included collecting data from hospitals, emergency departments, private practitioners, death certificates, postal facilities, veterinarians, and the state medical examiner. No additional cases of anthrax were identified. The absence of additional anthrax cases argued against an intentional environmental release of Bacillus anthracis in Connecticut and suggested that, if the source of anthrax had been cross-contaminated mail, the risk for anthrax in this setting was very low. This surveillance system provides a model that can be adapted for use in similar emergency settings.
The rate of DNA mutation and divergence is highly variable across the tree of life. However, the reasons underlying this variation are not well understood. Comparing the rates of genetic changes between hosts and parasite lineages that diverged at the same time is one way to begin to understand differences in genetic mutation and substitution rates. Such studies have indicated that the rate of genetic divergence in parasites is often faster than that of their hosts when comparing single genes. However, the variation in this relative rate of molecular evolution across different genes in the genome is unknown. We compared the rate of DNA sequence divergence between humans, chimpanzees and their ectoparasitic lice for 1534 protein-coding genes across their genomes. The rate of DNA substitution in these orthologous genes was on average 14 times faster for lice than for humans and chimpanzees. In addition, these rates were positively correlated across genes. Because this correlation only occurred for substitutions that changed the amino acid, this pattern is probably produced by similar functional constraints across the same genes in humans, chimpanzees and their ectoparasites.
coevolution; genomics; molecular evolution; hosts and parasites; Pediculus
Flaviviruses, the human pathogens responsible for dengue fever, West Nile fever, tick-borne encephalitis and yellow fever, are endemic in tropical and temperate parts of the world. The flavivirus non-structural protein 1 (NS1) functions in genome replication as an intracellular dimer and in immune system evasion as a secreted hexamer. We report crystal structures for full-length, glycosylated NS1 from West Nile and dengue viruses. The NS1 hexamer in crystal structures is similar to a solution hexamer visualized by single-particle electron microscopy. Recombinant NS1 binds to lipid bilayers and remodels large liposomes into lipoprotein nanoparticles. The NS1 structures reveal distinct domains for membrane association of the dimer and interactions with the immune system, and are a basis for elucidating the molecular mechanism of NS1 function.
Plasmids harbor genes coding for specific functions including virulence factors and antibiotic resistance that permit bacteria to survive the hostile environment found in the host and resist treatment. Together with other genetic elements such as integrons and transposons, and using a variety of mechanisms, plasmids participate in the dissemination of these traits resulting in the virtual elimination of barriers among different kinds of bacteria. In this article we review the current information about physiology and role in virulence and antibiotic resistance of plasmids from the gram-negative opportunistic pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae. This bacterium has acquired multidrug resistance and is the causative agent of serious communityand hospital-acquired infections. It is also included in the recently defined ESKAPE group of bacteria that cause most of US hospital infections.
eskape; gram-negative; xer recombination; Klebsiella
Flagellin subunits are important inducers of host immune responses through activation of TLR5 when extracellular and the inflammasome if cytosolic. Our previous work demonstrated that systemic immunization of cattle with flagella generates systemic and mucosal IgA responses. The IgA response in mice is TLR5-dependent and TLR5 can impact on the general magnitude of the adaptive response. However, due to sequence differences between bovine and human/murine TLR5 sequences, it is not clear whether bovine TLR5 (bTLR5) is able to stimulate an inflammatory response following interaction with flagellin. To address this we have examined the innate responses of both human and bovine cells containing bTLR5 to H7 flagellin from E. coli O157:H7. Both HEK293 (human origin) and embryonic bovine lung (EBL) cells transfected with bTLR5 responded to addition of H7 flagellin compared to non-transfected controls. Responses were significantly reduced when mutations were introduced into the TLR5-binding regions of H7 flagellin, including an R90T substitution. In bovine primary macrophages, flagellin-stimulated CXCL8 mRNA and secreted protein levels were significantly reduced when TLR5 transcript levels were suppressed by specific siRNAs and stimulation was reduced with the R90T-H7 variant. While these results indicate that the bTLR5 sequence produces a functional flagellin-recognition receptor, cattle immunized with R90T-H7 flagella also demonstrated systemic IgA responses to the flagellin in comparison to adjuvant only controls. This presumably either reflects our findings that R90T-H7 still activates bTLR5, albeit with reduced efficiency compared to WT H7 flagellin, or that other flagellin recognition pathways may play a role in this mucosal response.
Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder in which patients carry premutation alleles of 55–200 CGG repeats in the FMR1 gene. To date, whether alterations in epigenetic regulation modulate FXTAS has gone unexplored. 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) converted from 5-methylcytosine (5mC) by the ten-eleven translocation (TET) family of proteins has been found recently to play key roles in neuronal functions. Here, we undertook genome-wide profiling of cerebellar 5hmC in a FXTAS mouse model (rCGG mice) and found that rCGG mice at 16 weeks showed overall reduced 5hmC levels genome-wide compared with age-matched wild-type littermates. However, we also observed gain-of-5hmC regions in repetitive elements, as well as in cerebellum-specific enhancers, but not in general enhancers. Genomic annotation and motif prediction of wild-type- and rCGG-specific differential 5-hydroxymethylated regions (DhMRs) revealed their high correlation with genes and transcription factors that are important in neuronal developmental and functional pathways. DhMR-associated genes partially overlapped with genes that were differentially associated with ribosomes in CGG mice identified by bacTRAP ribosomal profiling. Taken together, our data strongly indicate a functional role for 5hmC-mediated epigenetic modulation in the etiology of FXTAS, possibly through the regulation of transcription.
protein polymers (SELPs) combine the mechanical
and biological properties of silk and elastin. These properties have
led to the development of various SELP-based materials for drug delivery.
However, SELPs have rarely been developed into nanoparticles, partially
due to the complicated fabrication procedures, nor assessed for potential
as an anticancer drug delivery system. We have recently constructed
a series of SELPs (SE8Y, S2E8Y, and S4E8Y) with various ratios of
silk to elastin blocks and described their capacity to form micellar-like
nanoparticles upon thermal triggering. In this study, we demonstrate
that doxorubicin, a hydrophobic antitumor drug, can efficiently trigger
the self-assembly of SE8Y (SELPs with silk to elastin ratio of 1:8)
into uniform micellar-like nanoparticles. The drug can be loaded in
the SE8Y nanoparticles with an efficiency around 6.5% (65 ng doxorubicin/μg
SE8Y), S2E8Y with 6%, and S4E8Y with 4%, respectively. In vitro studies
with HeLa cell lines demonstrate that the protein polymers are not
cytotoxic (IC50 > 200 μg/mL), while the doxorubicin-loaded
SE8Y nanoparticles showed a 1.8-fold higher cytotoxicity than the
free drug. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and flow cytometry
indicate significant uptake of the SE8Y nanoparticles by the cells
and suggest internalization of the nanoparticles through endocytosis.
This study provides an all-aqueous, facile method to prepare nanoscale,
drug-loaded SELPs packages with potential for tumor cell treatments.
Sentinel surveillance has previously been used to monitor and identify disease outbreaks in both human and animal contexts. Three approaches for the selection of sentinel sites are proposed and evaluated regarding their ability to capture overall respiratory disease trends using provincial abattoir condemnation data from all abattoirs open throughout the study for use in a sentinel syndromic surveillance system.
All three sentinel selection criteria approaches resulted in the identification of sentinel abattoirs that captured overall temporal trends in condemnation rates similar to those reported by the full set of abattoirs. However, all selection approaches tended to overestimate the condemnation rates of the full dataset by 1.4 to as high as 3.8 times for cows, heifers and steers. Given the results, the selection approach using abattoirs open all weeks had the closest approximation of temporal trends when compared to the full set of abattoirs.
Sentinel abattoirs show promise for integration into a food animal syndromic surveillance system using Ontario provincial abattoir condemnation data. While all selection approaches tended to overestimate the condemnation rates of the full dataset to some degree, the abattoirs open all weeks selection approach appeared to best capture the overall seasonal and temporal trends of the full dataset and would be the most suitable approach for sentinel abattoir selection.
The midge, Belgica antarctica, is the only insect endemic to Antarctica, and thus it offers a powerful model for probing responses to extreme temperatures, freeze tolerance, dehydration, osmotic stress, ultraviolet radiation, and other forms of environmental stress. Here we present the first genome assembly of an extremophile, the first dipteran in the family Chironomidae, and the first Antarctic eukaryote to be sequenced. At 99 megabases, B. antarctica has the smallest insect genome sequenced thus far. Though it has a similar number of genes as other Diptera, the midge genome has very low repeat density and a reduction in intron length. Environmental extremes appear to constrain genome architecture, not gene content. The few transposable elements present are mainly ancient, inactive retroelements. An abundance of genes associated with development, regulation of metabolism, and responses to external stimuli may reflect adaptations for surviving in this harsh environment.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) are reported to have similar risk factors and similar recommendations apply to manage infected cats. However, some contrasting evidence exists in the literature with regard to commonly reported risk factors. In this study, we investigated whether the known risk factors for FIV and FeLV infections have a stronger effect for either infection. This retrospective study included samples from 696 cats seropositive for FIV and 593 cats seropositive for FeLV from the United States and Canada. Data were collected during two cross sectional studies, where cats were tested using IDEXX FIV/FeLV ELISA kits. To compare the effect of known risk factors for FIV infection compared to FeLV, using a case-case study design, random intercept logistic regression models were fit including cats’ age, sex, neuter status, outdoor exposure, health status and type of testing facility as independent variables. A random intercept for testing facility was included to account for clustering expected in testing practices at the individual clinics and shelters.
In the multivariable random intercept model, the odds of FIV compared to FeLV positive ELISA results were greater for adults (OR = 2.09, CI: 1.50-2.92), intact males (OR = 3.14, CI: 1.85-3.76), neutered males (OR = 2.68, CI: 1.44- 3.14), cats with outdoor access (OR = 2.58, CI: 1.85-3.76) and lower for cats with clinical illness (OR = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.52-0.90). The variance components obtained from the model indicated clustering at the testing facility level.
Risk factors that have a greater effect on FIV seropositivity include adulthood, being male (neutered or not) and having access to outdoors, while clinical illness was a stronger predictor for FeLV seropositivity. Further studies are warranted to assess the implications of these results for the management and control of these infections.
Cat; Epidemiology; Retrovirus; FIV; FeLV
Major depressive disorder is a prevalent, disabling, and often chronic or recurrent psychiatric condition. About 35% of patients fail to respond to conventional treatment approaches and are considered to have treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
We compared the safety and effectiveness of different stimulation levels of adjunctive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy for the treatment of TRD.
In a multicenter, double blind study, 331 patients with TRD were randomized to one of three dose groups: LOW (0.25 mA current, 130 μs pulse width), MEDIUM (0.5–1.0 mA, 250 μs), or HIGH (1.25–1.5 mA, 250 μs). A highly treatment-resistant population (>97% had failed to respond to ≥6 previous treatments) was enrolled. Response and adverse effects were assessed for 22 weeks (end of acute phase), after which output current could be increased, if clinically warranted. Assessments then continued until Week 50 (end of long-term phase).
VNS therapy was well tolerated. During the acute phase, all groups showed statistically significant improvement on the primary efficacy endpoint (change in Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Clinician Administered Version [IDS-C]), but not for any between-treatment group comparisons. In the long-term phase, mean change in IDS-C scores showed continued improvement. Post-hoc analyses demonstrated a statistically significant correlation between total charge delivered per day and decreasing depressive symptoms; and analysis of acute phase responders demonstrated significantly greater durability of response at MEDIUM and HIGH doses than at the LOW dose.
TRD patients who received adjunctive VNS showed significant improvement at study endpoint compared with baseline, and the effect was durable over 1 year. Higher electrical dose parameters were associated with response durability.
Dose response; Treatment durability; Treatment-resistant depression; VNS efficacy; Vagus nerve stimulation
Familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome (FCAS) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by recurrent episodes of rash, arthralgia, and fever after cold exposure. The genetic basis of this disease has been elucidated. Cryopyrin, the protein that is altered in FCAS, is one of the adaptor proteins that activate caspase 1, resulting in release of interleukin 1.
An experimental cold challenge protocol was developed to study the acute inflammatory mechanisms occurring after a general cold exposure in FCAS patients and to investigate the effects of pretreatment with an antagonist of interleukin 1 receptor (IL-1Ra). ELISA, real-time PCR, and immunohistochemistry were used to measure cytokine responses.
After cold challenge, untreated patients with FCAS developed rash, fever, and arthralgias within 1–4 h. Significant increases in serum concentrations of interleukin 6 and white-blood-cell counts were seen 4–8 h after cold challenge. Serum concentrations of interleukin 1 and cytokine mRNA in peripheral-blood leucocytes were not raised, but amounts of interleukin 1 protein and mRNA were high in affected skin. IL-1Ra administered before cold challenge blocked symptoms and increases in white-blood-cell counts and serum interleukin 6.
The ability of IL-1Ra to prevent the clinical features and haematological and biochemical changes in patients with FCAS indicates a central role for interleukin 1β in this disorder. Involvement of cryopyrin in activation of caspase 1 and NF-κB signalling suggests that it might have a role in many chronic inflammatory diseases.
Relevance to practice
These findings support a new therapy for a disorder with no previously known acceptable treatment. They also offer insights into the role of interleukin 1β in more common inflammatory diseases.