Chiral amines are important building blocks for the synthesis of pharmaceutical products, fine chemicals, and agrochemicals. ω-Transaminases are able to directly synthesize enantiopure chiral amines by catalysing the transfer of an amino group from a primary amino donor to a carbonyl acceptor with pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) as cofactor. In nature, (S)-selective amine transaminases are more abundant than the (R)-selective enzymes, and therefore more information concerning their structures is available. Here, we present the crystal structure of an (R)-ω-transaminase from Aspergillus terreus determined by X-ray crystallography at a resolution of 1.6 Å. The structure of the protein is a homodimer that displays the typical class IV fold of PLP-dependent aminotransferases. The PLP-cofactor observed in the structure is present in two states (i) covalently bound to the active site lysine (the internal aldimine form) and (ii) as substrate/product adduct (the external aldimine form) and free lysine. Docking studies revealed that (R)-transaminases follow a dual binding mode, in which the large binding pocket can harbour the bulky substituent of the amine or ketone substrate and the α-carboxylate of pyruvate or amino acids, and the small binding pocket accommodates the smaller substituent.
Background: Conjugative plasmid transfer is the prevalent means for spreading antibiotic resistance genes among bacteria.
Results: Surface exposure of transfer protein TraM from the Gram-positive (G+) plasmid pIP501 was confirmed, and its crystal structure was solved.
Conclusion: Structural relations to type IV secretion (T4S) proteins provide a novel classification scheme.
Significance: The novel classification will help elucidate structure-function relationships in G+ T4S systems.
Conjugative plasmid transfer is the most important means of spreading antibiotic resistance and virulence genes among bacteria and therefore presents a serious threat to human health. The process requires direct cell-cell contact made possible by a multiprotein complex that spans cellular membranes and serves as a channel for macromolecular secretion. Thus far, well studied conjugative type IV secretion systems (T4SS) are of Gram-negative (G−) origin. Although many medically relevant pathogens (e.g., enterococci, staphylococci, and streptococci) are Gram-positive (G+), their conjugation systems have received little attention. This study provides structural information for the transfer protein TraM of the G+ broad host range Enterococcus conjugative plasmid pIP501. Immunolocalization demonstrated that the protein localizes to the cell wall. We then used opsonophagocytosis as a novel tool to verify that TraM was exposed on the cell surface. In these assays, antibodies generated to TraM recruited macrophages and enabled killing of pIP501 harboring Enteroccocus faecalis cells. The crystal structure of the C-terminal, surface-exposed domain of TraM was determined to 2.5 Å resolution. The structure, molecular dynamics, and cross-linking studies indicated that a TraM trimer acts as the biological unit. Despite the absence of sequence-based similarity, TraM unexpectedly displayed a fold similar to the T4SS VirB8 proteins from Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Brucella suis (G−) and to the transfer protein TcpC from Clostridium perfringens plasmid pCW3 (G+). Based on the alignments of secondary structure elements of VirB8-like proteins from mobile genetic elements and chromosomally encoded T4SS from G+ and G− bacteria, we propose a new classification scheme of VirB8-like proteins.
Antibiotic Resistance; Bacterial Conjugation; Bacterial Pathogenesis; Crystal Structure; X-ray Crystallography; Conjugative Plasmid; Enteroccucus; Gram-positive; Type IV Secretion System; pIP501
Intramedullary nailing of pertrochanteric femoral fractures has grown in popularity over the past 2 decades likely because this procedure is associated with a low risk for postoperative morbidity and a fast recovery of function. The evaluation of outcomes associated with pertrochanteric nailing has mainly been based on objective measures. The purpose of the present study is to correlate patients’ health-related quality of life results after intramedullary nailing of pertrochanteric fractures with objective outcome measures.
We conducted a single-center study including 62 patients (mean age 80 ± 10 years) with pertrochanteric fractures treated with a Gamma 3 Nail. Health related quality of life was measured using the Short Form-36. These results were compared to both US and Austrian age and sex-adjusted population norms. The objective outcome measures studied at one year postoperatively included Harris Hip Score, range of motion, leg length, body mass index, neck-shaft angle and grade of osteoarthritis.
According to the Harris Hip Score 43 patients (67%) had excellent or good results. There was no significant difference in the average neck-shaft angle comparing affected hip to non-affected hip at 12 months postoperatively. The average osteoarthritis score, for both the injured and uninjured hip, did not differ significantly. We found significant differences between the bodily pain, social functioning and mental health subscales and two summary scores of the Short-Form 36 in comparison to Austrian population norms. Complication rate was 8%.
The results of this study confirm that intramedullary nailing with the use of a Gamma Nail is a safe treatment option for stable and unstable pertrochanteric fractures. Despite good functional and radiographic results we noticed a substantial fall off in patients’ quality of life up to 12 months after operation.
Monoacylglycerol lipases (MGLs) catalyse the hydrolysis of monoacylglycerol into free fatty acid and glycerol. MGLs have been identified throughout all genera of life and have adopted different substrate specificities depending on their physiological role. In humans, MGL plays an integral part in lipid metabolism affecting energy homeostasis, signalling processes and cancer cell progression. In bacteria, MGLs degrade short-chain monoacylglycerols which are otherwise toxic to the organism. We report the crystal structures of MGL from the bacterium Bacillus sp. H257 (bMGL) in its free form at 1.2 Å and in complex with phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride at 1.8 Å resolution. In both structures, bMGL adopts an α/β hydrolase fold with a cap in an open conformation. Access to the active site residues, which were unambiguously identified from the protein structure, is facilitated by two different channels. The larger channel constitutes the highly hydrophobic substrate binding pocket with enough room to accommodate monoacylglycerol. The other channel is rather small and resembles the proposed glycerol exit hole in human MGL. Molecular dynamics simulation of bMGL yielded open and closed states of the entrance channel and the glycerol exit hole. Despite differences in the number of residues, secondary structure elements, and low sequence identity in the cap region, this first structure of a bacterial MGL reveals striking structural conservation of the overall cap architecture in comparison with human MGL. Thus it provides insight into the structural conservation of the cap amongst MGLs throughout evolution and provides a framework for rationalising substrate specificities in each organism.
► First crystal structure of monoacylglycerol lipase from bacterial species. ► Small angle X-ray scattering shows that the protein is a monomer in solution. ► A large hydrophobic channel enables access of the substrate to the active site. ► Molecular dynamic simulations reveal open and closed states of the cap region. ► The cap architecture is conserved on a structural but not on a sequence level.
MGL, monoacylglycerol lipase; bMGL, monoacylglycerol lipase from Bacillus sp. H257; hMGL, human monoacylglycerol lipase; PMSF, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride; SAXS, small angle X-ray scattering; RMSD, root mean square deviation; SDS-PAGE, sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; Monoacylglycerol lipase; Open conformation; Evolutionary conservation; X-ray crystallography; Molecular dynamics simulation; Small-angle X-ray scattering
Working memory deficits are found in different psychiatric populations and are most pronounced in schizophrenia. There is preliminary evidence from pharmacological studies that the verbal and visuospatial subcomponents of working memory are subject to differential neurotransmitter modulation. Here, we investigated the impact of well-known polymorphisms of the dopamine transporter gene (SLC6A3, DAT) and the catechol-O-methyl-transferase gene (COMT) as well as the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4, 5-HTT) on these specific working memory subcomponents in a mixed sample of patients and healthy individuals. Twenty healthy subjects and 80 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder underwent genotyping for the DAT variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR), the COMT val/met-, and the 5-HTT promoter length polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) and neuropsychological testing using a battery of well-characterized, brain circuit–specific working memory tasks. DAT genotype revealed a significant and selective effect on visuospatial working memory, while there was no effect on verbal working memory functioning. 5-HTT genotype, by contrast, exerted a significant and selective effect on verbal working memory task performance. COMT genotype did not show any influence on either working memory domain. The results of the present study provide evidence for a differential impact of genetic polymorphisms of the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems on verbal and visuospatial working memory functioning. Together with prior evidence suggesting the existence of subgroups of schizophrenia patients exhibiting isolated deficits in only one working memory domain, this finding further supports the idea of endophenotypically and pathophysiologically distinct subgroups of schizophrenia with implications for personalized therapeutic approaches.
Genetics; Schizophrenia; Bipolar disorder; Working memory; Endophenotype; Neuroimaging
Verbal and visuospatial working memory (WM) impairment is a well-documented finding in psychiatric patients suffering from major psychoses such as schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder. However, in major depression (MDD) the literature on the presence and the extent of WM deficits is inconsistent. The use of a multitude of different WM tasks most of which lack process-specificity may have contributed to these inconsistencies. Eighteen MDD patients and 18 healthy controls matched with regard to age, gender and education were tested using process- and circuit-specific WM tasks for which clear brain-behaviour relationships had been established in prior functional neuroimaging studies. Patients suffering from acute MDD showed a selective impairment in articulatory rehearsal of verbal information in working memory. By contrast, visuospatial WM was unimpaired in this sample. There were no significant correlations between symptom severity and WM performance. These data indicate a dysfunction of a specific verbal WM system in acutely ill patients with MDD. As the observed functional deficit did not correlate with different symptom scores, further, longitudinal studies are required to clarify whether and how this deficit is related to illness acuity and clinical state of MDD patients.
Major depression; Neurocognition; Cognitive endophenotype; Psychosis; Brain imaging
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth abnormality and the etiology is unknown in the overwhelming majority of cases. ISLET1 (ISL1) is a transcription factor that marks cardiac progenitor cells and generates diverse multipotent cardiovascular cell lineages. The fundamental role of ISL1 in cardiac morphogenesis makes this an exceptional candidate gene to consider as a cause of complex congenital heart disease. We evaluated whether genetic variation in ISL1 fits the common variant–common disease hypothesis. A 2-stage case-control study examined 27 polymorphisms mapping to the ISL1 locus in 300 patients with complex congenital heart disease and 2,201 healthy pediatric controls. Eight genic and flanking ISL1 SNPs were significantly associated with complex congenital heart disease. A replication study analyzed these candidate SNPs in 1,044 new cases and 3,934 independent controls and confirmed that genetic variation in ISL1 is associated with risk of non-syndromic congenital heart disease. Our results demonstrate that two different ISL1 haplotypes contribute to risk of CHD in white and black/African American populations.
Working memory (WM) deficits are a neuropsychological core finding in patients with schizophrenia and also supposed to be a potential endophenotype of schizophrenia. Yet, there is a large heterogeneity between different WM tasks which is partly due to the lack of process specificity of the tasks applied. Therefore, we investigated WM functioning in patients with schizophrenia using process- and circuit-specific tasks. Thirty-one patients with schizophrenia and 47 controls were tested with respect to different aspects of verbal and visuospatial working memory using modified Sternberg paradigms in a computer-based behavioural experiment. Total group analysis revealed significant impairment of patients with schizophrenia in each of the tested WM components. Furthermore, we were able to identify subgroups of patients showing different patterns of selective deficits. Patients with schizophrenia exhibit specific and, in part, selective WM deficits with indirect but conclusive evidence of dysfunctions of the underlying neural networks. These deficits are present in tasks requiring only maintenance of verbal or visuospatial information. In contrast to a seemingly global working memory deficit, individual analysis revealed differential patterns of working memory impairments in patients with schizophrenia.
Neurocognitive functioning; Working memory; Schizophrenia
Purpose:The objective was to explore whether body mass and day 3 follicle-stimulating hormone have predictive value on odds of pregnancy after in vitro fertilisation. Few studies show that obesity produces a variety of alterations in the reproductive system, and that women with an elevation of day 3 FSH have declining ovarian function.
Methods: The data of one-hundred-seventy-one women who underwent a standard regime of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation was analyzed with particular reference to variations in body mass and hormone levels.
Results: By raising BMI and FSH (mIU/mL) by one unit, the odds for pregnancy were decreased by the respective factors 0.84 (95% confidence interval 0.73–0.97) and 0.77 (95% confidence interval 0.59–1.00).
Conclusions: The results demonstrate that for the purpose of raising the odds of pregnancy BMI should be reduced. A low FSH value may cause the same effect. Nontheless, obesity and hormonal function may be independent risk factors for failure in assisted reproduction.
BMI; body weight; FSH; IVF; pregnancy outcome
AKT3, a member of the serine/threonine kinase AKT family, is involved in a variety of biological processes. AKT3 is expressed in immune cells, and is the major AKT isoform in the CNS representing 30% of the total AKT expressed in spinal cord, and 50% in the brain. Myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a mouse model in which lymphocytes and monocytes enter the CNS, resulting in inflammation, demyelination, and axonal injury. We hypothesized that during EAE, deletion of AKT3 would negatively impact the CNS of AKT3-/- mice making them more susceptible to CNS damage. During acute EAE, AKT3-/-mice were more severely affected than wildtype (WT) mice. Evaluation of spinal cords showed that during acute and chronic disease, AKT3-/- spinal cords had more demyelination compared to WT spinal cords. Quantitative RT-PCR determined higher levels of IL-2, IL-17, and IFNγ mRNA in spinal cords from AKT3-/- mice than WT. Experiments using bone marrow chimeras demonstrated that AKT3-/- mice receiving AKT3-deficient bone marrow cells had elevated clinical scores relative to control WT mice reconstituted with WT cells, indicating that altered function of both CNS cells and bone marrow-derived immune cells contributed to the phenotype. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed decreased numbers of FoxP3+ Tregs in the spinal cord of AKT3-/- mice compared to WT mice, whereas in vitro suppression assays showed that AKT3-deficient T-helper cells were less susceptible to Treg-mediated suppression than their WT counterparts. These results indicate that AKT3 signaling contributes to the protection of mice against EAE.
AKT; myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; inflammation; cytokines; axonal damage; demyelination
Pulmonary exacerbations (PEs) cause significant morbidity and can severely impact disease progression in cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease, especially in patients who suffer from recurrent PEs. The assessments able to predict a future PE or a recurrent PE are limited. We hypothesized that combining clinical, molecular and patient reported data could identify patients who are at risk of PE.
We prospectively followed a cohort of 53 adult CF patients for 24 months. Baseline values for spirometry, clinical status using the Matouk Disease Score, quality of life (QOL), inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukins (IL)-1β, -6, -8, -10, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)), polyunsaturated fatty acids and lipid peroxidation in blood plasma were collected for all patients during periods of stable disease, and patients were monitored for PE requiring PO/IV antibiotic treatment. Additionally, we closely followed 13 patients during PEs collecting longitudinal data on changes in markers from baseline values. We assessed whether any markers were predictors of future PE at baseline and after antibiotic treatment.
Out of 53 patients, 37 experienced PEs during our study period. At baseline, we found that low lung function, clinical scoring and QOL values were associated with increased risk of PE events. PEs were associated with increased inflammatory markers at Day 1, and these biomarkers improved with treatment. The imbalance in arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid levels improved with treatment which coincided with reductions in lipid peroxidation. High levels of inflammatory markers CRP and IL-8 were associated with an early re-exacerbation.
Our results demonstrate that worse clinical and QOL assessments during stable disease are potential markers associated with a higher risk of future PEs, while higher levels of inflammatory markers at the end of antibiotic treatment may be associated with early re-exacerbation.
Heartsease (Viola tricolor L.), a member of the Violaceae family, has a long history as a medicinal plant and has been documented in the Pharmacopoeia of Europe. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties it is regarded as a traditional remedy against skin diseases, for example for the treatment of scabs, itching, ulcers, eczema or psoriasis, and it is also used in the treatment of inflammation of the lungs and chest such as bronchitis or asthma. Because T-cells play an important role in the pathological process of inflammatory diseases we investigated the effect of an aqueous Viola extract on lymphocyte functions and explored the ‘active’ principle of the extract using bioactivity-guided fractionation.
Material and Methods
An aqueous Viola extract was prepared by C18 solid-phase extraction. Effects on proliferation of activated lymphocytes (using the cell membrane permeable fluorescein dye CFSE), apoptosis and necrosis (using annexin V and propidium iodide staining), interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor expression (using fluorochrome-conjugated antibodies) and IL-2 cytokine secretion (using an ELISA-based bead array system) were measured by flow cytometry. Influence on lymphocyte polyfunctionality was characterized by Viola extract-induced production of IFN-γ and TNF-α, as well as its influence on lymphocyte degranulation activity. Fractionation and phytochemical analysis of the extract were performed by RP-HPLC and mass spectrometry.
The aqueous Viola extract inhibited proliferation of activated lymphocytes by reducing IL-2 cytokine secretion without affecting IL-2 receptor expression. Similarly, effector functions were affected as indicated by the reduction of IFN-γ and TNF-α production; degranulation capacity of activated lymphocytes remained unaffected. Bioassay-guided fractionation and phytochemical analysis of the extract led to identification of circular plant peptides, so called cyclotides, as bioactive components.
An aqueous Viola extract contains bioactive cyclotides, which inhibit proliferation of activated lymphocytes in an IL-2 dependent manner. The findings provide a rationale for use of herbal Viola preparations in the therapy of disorders related to an overactive immune system. However, further studies to evaluate its clinical potency and potential risks have to be performed.
Violaceae; Viola tricolor L.; Immunosuppression; Cyclotides; Psoriasis; Anthroposophical medicine; Phytotherapy
Condensin—an SMC-kleisin complex—is essential for efficient segregation of sister chromatids in eukaryotes [1–4]. In Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, deletion of condensin subunits results in severe growth phenotypes and the accumulation of cells lacking nucleoids [5, 6]. In many other bacteria and under slow growth conditions, however, the reported phenotypes are much milder or virtually absent [7–10]. This raises the question of what role prokaryotic condensin might play during chromosome segregation under various growth conditions. In B. subtilis and Streptococcus pneumoniae, condensin complexes are enriched on the circular chromosome near the single origin of replication by ParB proteins bound to parS sequences [11, 12]. Using conditional alleles of condensin in B. subtilis, we demonstrate that depletion of its activity results in an immediate and severe defect in the partitioning of replication origins. Multiple copies of the chromosome remain unsegregated at or near the origin of replication. Surprisingly, the growth and chromosome segregation defects in rich medium are suppressed by a reduction of replication fork velocity but not by partial inhibition of translation or transcription. Prokaryotic condensin likely prevents the formation of sister DNA interconnections at the replication fork or promotes their resolution behind the fork.
•Smc-ScpAB inactivation causes a severe chromosome segregation defect in B. subtilis•Replication origins remain interconnected in the absence of prokaryotic condensin•Defects in chromosome segregation are highly dependent on growth conditions•Reduction of replication fork velocity rescues segregation of replication origins
Gruber et al. show that conditional inactivation of prokaryotic condensin in B. subtilis results in immediate and severe defects in chromosome segregation under conditions promoting fast growth. The separation of replication origins is blocked in the absence of Smc-ScpAB but can be rescued by artificial reduction of replication fork speed.
The expression, purification and crystallization of human dipeptidyl peptidase 10, a component of voltage-gated potassium channels, is described.
Dipeptidyl peptidase 10 (DPP10, DPPY) is an inactive peptidase associated with voltage-gated potassium channels, acting as a modulator of their electrophysiological properties, cell-surface expression and subcellular localization. Because potassium channels are important disease targets, biochemical and structural characterization of their interaction partners was sought. DPP10 was cloned and expressed using an insect-cell system and the protein was purified via His-tag affinity and size-exclusion chromatography. Crystals obtained by the sitting-drop method were orthorhombic, belonging to space group P212121 with unit-cell parameters a = 80.91, b = 143.73, c = 176.25 Å. A single solution with two molecules in the asymmetric unit was found using the structure of DPP6 (also called DPPX; PDB entry 1xfd) as the search model in a molecular replacement protocol.
dipeptidyl peptidase 10; voltage-gated potassium channels
Inherited ichthyoses, defined as the generalized form of Mendelian disorders of cornification, are characterized by visible scaling and/or hyperkeratosis of most or all of the skin. This etiologically and phenotypically heterogenous group of conditions is caused by mutations in various different genes important for keratinocyte differentiation and epidermal barrier function. Diagnosing a specific entity is a particular challenge for the nonspecialist presented with the common clinical scaling. For the clinician, this review outlines an algorithmic approach for utilizing diagnostic clues to narrow down the differential diagnosis and to guide further testing and treatment options.
barrier function; corneocytes; electron microscopy; epidermal lipids; differentiation; keratinocytes
Although schools are identified as critical for detecting youth mental disorders, little is known about whether the number of mental health providers and types of resources they offer influence student mental health service use. Such information could inform the development and allocation of appropriate school-based resources to increase service use. This paper examines associations of school resources with past-year mental health service use among students with 12-month DSM-IV mental disorders.
Data come from the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), a national survey of adolescent mental health that included 4,445 adolescent-parent pairs in 227 schools in which principals and mental health coordinators completed surveys about school resources-policies for addressing student emotional problems. Adolescents and parents completed the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and reported mental health service use across multiple sectors. Multilevel multivariate regression was used to examine associations of school mental health resources and individual-level service use.
Roughly half (45.3%) of adolescents with a 12-month DSM-IV disorder received past-year mental health services. Substantial variation existed in school resources. Increased school engagement in early identification was significantly associated with mental health service use for adolescents with mild/moderate mental and behavior disorders. The ratio of students-to-mental health providers was not associated with overall service use, but was associated with sector of service use.
School mental health resources, particularly those related to early identification, may facilitate mental health service use and influence sector of service use for youths with DSM disorders.
schools; mental health; services; adolescence
The aim of this work was to conduct a comprehensive study about the transport properties of NSAIDs across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vitro. Transport studies with celecoxib, diclofenac, ibuprofen, meloxicam, piroxicam and tenoxicam were accomplished across Transwell models based on cell line PBMEC/C1-2, ECV304 or primary rat brain endothelial cells. Single as well as group substance studies were carried out. In group studies substance group compositions, transport medium and serum content were varied, transport inhibitors verapamil and probenecid were added. Resulted permeability coefficients were compared and normalized to internal standards diazepam and carboxyfluorescein. Transport rankings of NSAIDs across each model were obtained. Single substance studies showed similar rankings as corresponding group studies across PBMEC/C1-2 or ECV304 cell layers. Serum content, glioma conditioned medium and inhibitors probenecid and verapamil influenced resulted permeability significantly. Basic differences of transport properties of the investigated NSAIDs were similar comparing all three in vitro BBB models. Different substance combinations in the group studies and addition of probenecid and verapamil suggested that transporter proteins are involved in the transport of every tested NSAID. Results especially underlined the importance of same experimental conditions (transport medium, serum content, species origin, cell line) for proper data comparison.
Anticipation, manifested through decreasing age of onset or increased severity in successive generations, has been noted in several genetic diseases. Statistical methods for genetic anticipation range from a simple use of the paired t-test for age of onset restricted to affected parent-child pairs, to a recently proposed random effects model which includes extended pedigree data and unaffected family members [Larsen et al., 2009]. A naive use of the paired t-test is biased for the simple reason that age of onset has to be less than the age at ascertainment (interview) for both affected parent and child, and this right truncation effect is more pronounced in children than in parents. In this paper, we first review different statistical methods for testing genetic anticipation in affected parent-child pairs that address the issue of bias due to right truncation. Using affected parent-child pair data, we compare the paired t-test with the parametric conditional maximum likelihood approach of Huang and Vieland  and the nonparametric approach of Rabinowitz and Yang  in terms of Type I error and power under various simulation settings and departures from the modeling assumptions. We especially investigate the issue of multiplex ascertainment and its effect on the different methods. We then focus on exploring genetic anticipation in Lynch syndrome and analyze new data on age of onset in affected parent-child pairs from families seen at the University of Michigan Cancer Genetics clinic with a mutation in one of the three main mismatch repair (MMR) genes. In contrast to the clinic-based population, we re-analyze data on a population-based Lynch syndrome cohort, derived from the Danish HNPCC-register. Both datasets indicate evidence of genetic anticipation in Lynch syndrome. We then expand our review to incorporate recently proposed statistical methods that consider family instead of affected pairs as the sampling unit. These prospective censored regression models offer additional flexibility to incorporate unaffected family members, familial correlation and other covariates into the analysis. An expanded dataset from the Danish HNPCC-register is analyzed by these alternative set of methods.
Cox proportional hazards model; Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer; Mismatch repair genes; Multiplex ascertainment; Random effects; Sandwich estimator
Antagonists of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) have psychotomimetic effects in humans and are used to model schizophrenia in animals. We used high-density electrophysiological recordings to assess the effects of acute systemic injection of an NMDAR antagonist (MK-801) on ensemble neural processing in the medial prefrontal cortex of freely moving rats. Although MK-801 increased neuron firing rates and the amplitude of gamma-frequency oscillations in field potentials, the synchronization of action potential firing decreased and spike trains became more Poisson-like. This disorganization of action potential firing following MK-801 administration is consistent with changes in simulated cortical networks as the functional connections among pyramidal neurons become less clustered. Such loss of functional heterogeneity of the cortical microcircuit may disrupt information processing dependent on spike timing or the activation of discrete cortical neural ensembles, and thereby contribute to hallucinations and other features of psychosis induced by NMDAR antagonists.
Coral bleaching occurs when environmental stress induces breakdown of the coral-algae symbiosis and the host initiates algae expulsion. Two types of coral bleaching had been thoroughly discussed in the scientific literature; the first is primarily associated with mass coral bleaching events; the second is a seasonal loss of algae and/or pigments. Here, we describe a phenomenon that has been witnessed for repeated summers in the mesophotic zone (40–63 m) in the northern Red Sea: seasonal bleaching and recovery of several hermatypic coral species. In this study, we followed the recurring bleaching process of the common coral Stylophora pistillata. Bleaching occurred from April to September with a 66% decline in chlorophyll a concentration, while recovery began in October. Using aquarium and transplantation experiments, we explored environmental factors such as temperature, photon flux density and heterotrophic food availability. Our experiments and observations did not yield one single factor, alone, responsible for the seasonal bleaching. The dinoflagellate symbionts (of the genus Symbiodinium) in shallow (5 m) Stylophora pistillata were found to have a net photosynthetic rate of 56.98–92.19 µmol O2 cm−2 day−1. However, those from mesophotic depth (60 m) during months when they are not bleached are net consumers of oxygen having a net photosynthetic rate between −12.86 - (−10.24) µmol O2 cm−2 day−1. But during months when these mesophotic corals are partially-bleached, they yielded higher net production, between −2.83–0.76 µmol O2 cm−2 day−1. This study opens research questions as to why mesophotic zooxanthellae are more successfully meeting the corals metabolic requirements when Chl a concentration decreases by over 60% during summer and early fall.
Remodeling of the host cytoskeleton is a common strategy employed by bacterial pathogens. Although there is vigorous investigation of the cell biology underlying these bacterially mediated cytoskeleton modifications, knowledge of the plasticity and dynamics of the bacterial signaling networks that regulate the expression of genes necessary for these phenotypes is lacking. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli attaches to enterocytes, forming pedestal-like structures. Pedestal formation requires the expression of the locus-of-enterocyte-effacement (LEE) and espFu genes. The LEE encodes a molecular syringe, a type III secretion system (T3SS) used by pathogens to translocate effectors such as EspFu into the host cell. By using a combination of genetic, biochemical, and cell biology approaches, we show that pedestal formation relies on posttranscriptional regulation by two small RNAs (sRNAs), GlmY and GlmZ. The GlmY and GlmZ sRNAs are unique; they have extensive secondary structures and work in concert. Although these sRNAs may offer unique insights into RNA and posttranscriptional biology, thus far, only one target and one mechanism of action (exposure of the ribosome binding site from the glmS gene to promote its translation) has been described. Here we uncovered new targets and two different molecular mechanisms of action of these sRNAs. In the case of EspFu expression, they promote translation by cleavage of the transcript, while in regard to the LEE, they promote destabilization of the mRNA. Our findings reveal that two unique sRNAs act in concert through different molecular mechanisms to coordinate bacterial attachment to mammalian cells.
Pathogens evolve by horizontal acquisition of pathogenicity islands. We describe here how two sRNAs, GlmY and GlmZ, involved in cellular metabolism and cellular architecture, through the posttranscriptional control of GlmS (the previously only known target of GlmY and GlmZ), which controls amino sugar synthesis, have been coopted to modulate the expression of virulence. These sRNAs quickly allow for plasticity in gene expression in order for enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli to fine-tune the expression of its complex type III secretion machinery and its effectors to promote bacterial attachment and subsequent actin rearrangement on host cells. Pedestal formation is a very dynamic process. Many of the genes necessary for pedestal formation are located within the same operon to evolutionarily guarantee that they are inherited together. However, it is worth noting that within these operons, several genes need to yield more proteins than others and that these differences cannot be efficiently regulated at the transcriptional level.
The discovery of fluorescent proteins has revolutionized experimental biology. Whereas the majority of fluorescent proteins have been identified from cnidarians, recently several fluorescent proteins have been isolated across the animal tree of life. Here we show that biofluorescence is not only phylogenetically widespread, but is also phenotypically variable across both cartilaginous and bony fishes, highlighting its evolutionary history and the possibility for discovery of numerous novel fluorescent proteins. Fish biofluorescence is especially common and morphologically variable in cryptically patterned coral-reef lineages. We identified 16 orders, 50 families, 105 genera, and more than 180 species of biofluorescent fishes. We have also reconstructed our current understanding of the phylogenetic distribution of biofluorescence for ray-finned fishes. The presence of yellow long-pass intraocular filters in many biofluorescent fish lineages and the substantive color vision capabilities of coral-reef fishes suggest that they are capable of detecting fluoresced light. We present species-specific emission patterns among closely related species, indicating that biofluorescence potentially functions in intraspecific communication and evidence that fluorescence can be used for camouflage. This research provides insight into the distribution, evolution, and phenotypic variability of biofluorescence in marine lineages and examines the role this variation may play.
Teacher training may improve teaching effectiveness, but it might also have paradoxical effects. Research on expertise development suggests that the integration of new strategies may result in a temporary deterioration of performance until higher levels of competence are reached. In this study, the impact of a clinical teacher training on teaching effectiveness was assessed in an intensive course in emergency medicine. As primary study outcome students’ practical skills at the end of their course were chosen.
The authors matched 18 clinical teachers according to clinical experience and teaching experience and then randomly assigned them to a two-day-teacher training, or no training. After 14 days, both groups taught within a 12-hour intensive course in emergency medicine for undergraduate students. The course followed a clearly defined curriculum. After the course students were assessed by structured clinical examination (SCE) and MCQ. The teaching quality was rated by students using a questionnaire.
Data for 96 students with trained teachers, and 97 students with untrained teachers were included. Students taught by untrained teachers performed better in the SCE domains ‘alarm call’ (p < 0.01) and ‘ventilation’ (p = 0.01), while the domains ‘chest compressions’ and ‘use of automated defibrillator’ did not differ. MCQ scores revealed no statistical difference. Overall, teaching quality was rated significantly better by students of untrained teachers (p = 0.05).
At the end of a structured intensive course in emergency medicine, students of trained clinical teachers performed worse in 2 of 4 practical SCE domains compared to students of untrained teachers. In addition, subjective evaluations of teaching quality were worse in the group of trained teachers. Difficulties in integrating new strategies in their teaching styles might be a possible explanation.
Expertise; Faculty development; Standardized clinical examination; Teacher training; Teaching effectiveness
Neuropeptides and regulatory peptide hormones control many developmental, physiological and behavioural processes in animals, including humans. The nonapeptides oxytocin and arginine vasopressin are produced and released by the pituitary gland and have actions on many organs and tissues. Receptive cells possess particular receptors to which the peptides bind as ligands, leading to activation of G-protein-coupled receptors, hence cellular responses. In humans and other mammalian species, oxytocin and vasopressin mediate a range of peripheral and central physiological functions that are important for osmoregulation, reproduction, complex social behaviours, memory and learning. The origin of the oxytocin/vasopressin signalling system is thought to date back more than 600 million years. All vertebrate oxytocin- and vasopressin-like peptides have presumably evolved from the ancestral nonapeptide vasotocin by gene duplication and today are present in vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Oxytocin- and vasopressin-like peptides have been identified in several invertebrate species, including molluscs, annelids, nematodes and arthropods. Members of this peptide family share high sequence similarity, and it is possible that they are functionally related across the entire animal kingdom. However, it is evident that not all animals express oxytocin/vasopressin neuropeptides and that there is little information available about the biology and physiology of this signalling system of invertebrates and, in particular, of insects, which represent more than half of all known living organisms. This report describes the discovery of novel oxytocin- and vasopressin-like peptides in arthropods and summarizes the status quo of the functional relevance of this neuropeptide signalling system in invertebrates, which will have beneficial implications for the design of selective and potent ligands to human oxytocin and vasopressin receptors.