Current etching routes to process large graphene sheets into nanoscale graphene so as to open up a bandgap tend to produce structures with rough and disordered edges. This leads to detrimental electron scattering and reduces carrier mobility. In this work, we present a novel yet simple direct-growth strategy to yield graphene nanomesh (GNM) on a patterned Cu foil via nanosphere lithography. Raman spectroscopy and TEM characterizations show that the as-grown GNM has significantly smoother edges than post-growth etched GNM. More importantly, the transistors based on as-grown GNM with neck widths of 65-75 nm have a near 3-fold higher mobility than those derived from etched GNM with the similar neck widths.
One of the most significant evolutionary changes underlying the highly developed cognitive abilities of humans is the greatly enlarged brain volume. In addition to being far greater than in most other species, the volume of the human brain exhibits extensive variation and distinct sexual dimorphism in the general population. However, little is known about the genetic mechanisms underlying normal variation as well as the observed sex difference in human brain volume. Here we show that interleukin-3 (IL3) is strongly associated with brain volume variation in four genetically divergent populations. We identified a sequence polymorphism (rs31480) in the IL3 promoter which alters the expression of IL3 by affecting the binding affinity of transcription factor SP1. Further analysis indicated that IL3 and its receptors are continuously expressed in the developing mouse brain, reaching highest levels at postnatal day 1–4. Furthermore, we found IL3 receptor alpha (IL3RA) was mainly expressed in neural progenitors and neurons, and IL3 could promote proliferation and survival of the neural progenitors. The expression level of IL3 thus played pivotal roles in the expansion and maintenance of the neural progenitor pool and the number of surviving neurons. Moreover, we found that IL3 activated both estrogen receptors, but estrogen didn’t directly regulate the expression of IL3. Our results demonstrate that genetic variation in the IL3 promoter regulates human brain volume and reveals novel roles of IL3 in regulating brain development.
Unlike non-mammalian vertebrates, mammals cannot convert inner ear cochlear supporting cells (SCs) into sensory hair cells (HCs) after damage, thus causing permanent deafness. Here, we achieved in vivo conversion of two SC subtypes, pillar cells (PCs) and Deiters’ cells (DCs), into HCs by inducing targeted expression of Atoh1 at neonatal and juvenile ages using novel mouse models. The conversion only occurred in ~10% of PCs and DCs with ectopic Atoh1 expression and started with reactivation of endogenous Atoh1, followed by expression of 11 HC and synaptic markers; a process that took at least 3 weeks in vivo. These new HCs resided in the outer HC region, formed stereocilia, contained mechanoelectrical transduction channels, and survived for more than 2 months in vivo; however, they surprisingly lacked prestin and oncomodulin expression and mature HC morphology. In contrast, adult PCs and DCs no longer responded to ectopic Atoh1 expression, even after outer HC damage. Finally, permanent Atoh1 expression in endogenous HCs did not affect prestin expression, but caused cell loss of mature HCs. Together our results demonstrate that in vivo conversion of PCs and DCs into immature HCs by Atoh1 is age-dependent, and resembles normal HC development. Therefore combined expression of Atoh1 with additional factors holds therapeutic promise to convert PCs and DCs into functional HCs in vivo for regenerative purposes.
We detailed a facile detection technique to optically characterize graphene growth and domains directly on growth substrates through a simple thermal annealing process. It was found that thermal annealing transformed the naked Cu to Cu oxides while keeping graphene and graphene-covered Cu intact. This increases the interference color contrast between Cu oxides and Cu, thus making graphene easily visible under an optical microscope. By using this simple method, we studied the factors that affect graphene nucleation and growth and achieved graphene domains with the domain size as large as ~100 μm. The concept of chemically making graphene visible is universal, as demonstrated by the fact that a solution process based on selective H2O2 oxidation has been developed to achieve the similar results in a shorter time. These techniques should be valuable for studies towards elucidating the parameters that control the grains, boundaries, structures and properties of graphene.
Semiconductor nanowires (NWs) or nanobelts (NBs) have attracted more and more attention due to their potential application in novel optoelectronic devices. In this review, we present our recent work on novel NB photodetectors, where a three-terminal metal–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MESFET) device structure was exploited. In contrast to the common two-terminal NB (NW) photodetectors, the MESFET-based photodetector can make a balance among overall performance parameters, which is desired for practical device applications. We also present our recent work on graphene nanoribbon/semiconductor NW (SNW) heterojunction light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Herein, by taking advantage of both graphene and SNWs, we have fabricated, for the first time, the graphene-based nano-LEDs. This achievement opens a new avenue for developing graphene-based nano-electroluminescence devices. Moreover, the novel graphene/SNW hybrid devices can also find use in other applications, such as high-sensitivity sensor and transparent flexible devices in the future.
Schottky junction; Graphene; Nanowires; Nanobelts; Optoelectronics
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have found wide success in circuitry, photovoltaics, and other applications. In contrast, several hurdles exist in using CNTs towards applications in drug delivery. Raw, non-modified CNTs are widely known for their toxicity. As such, many have attempted to reduce CNT toxicity for intravenous drug delivery purposes by post-process surface modification. Alternatively, a novel sphere-like carbon nanocapsule (CNC) developed by the arc-discharge method holds similar electric and thermal conductivities, as well as high strength. This study investigated the systemic toxicity and biocompatibility of different non-surface modified carbon nanomaterials in mice, including multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), carbon nanocapsules (CNCs), and C60 fullerene (C60). The retention of the nanomaterials and systemic effects after intravenous injections were studied.
Methodology and Principal Findings
MWCNTs, SWCNTs, CNCs, and C60 were injected intravenously into FVB mice and then sacrificed for tissue section examination. Inflammatory cytokine levels were evaluated with ELISA. Mice receiving injection of MWCNTs or SWCNTs at 50 µg/g b.w. died while C60 injected group survived at a 50% rate. Surprisingly, mortality rate of mice injected with CNCs was only at 10%. Tissue sections revealed that most carbon nanomaterials retained in the lung. Furthermore, serum and lung-tissue cytokine levels did not reveal any inflammatory response compared to those in mice receiving normal saline injection.
Carbon nanocapsules are more biocompatible than other carbon nanomaterials and are more suitable for intravenous drug delivery. These results indicate potential biomedical use of non-surface modified carbon allotrope. Additionally, functionalization of the carbon nanocapsules could further enhance dispersion and biocompatibility for intravenous injection.
The distal-less homeobox gene 4 (DLX4) is a member of the DLX family of homeobox genes. Although absent from most normal adult tissues, DLX4 is widely expressed in leukemia, lung, breast, ovarian and prostate cancers. However the molecular targets, mechanisms and pathways that mediate the role of DLX4 in tumor metastasis are poorly understood. In this study, we found that DLX4 induces cancer cells to undergo epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) through TWIST. Overexpression of DLX4 increased expression of TWIST expression in cancer cell lines, resulting in increased migratory and invasive capacity. Likewise, knocking down expression of DLX4 decreased TWIST expression and the migration ability of cancer cell lines. DLX4 bound to regulatory regions of the TWIST gene. Both western blotting and immunohistochemistry staining showed that the expression of DLX4 and TWIST are correlated in most of breast tumors. Taken together, these data from both cell models and tumor tissues demonstrate that DLX4 not only upregulates TWIST expression but also induces EMT and tumor metastasis. Altogether, we propose a new pathway in which DLX4 drives expression of TWIST to promote EMT, cancer migration, invasion and metastasis.
DLX4; TWIST; E-Cadherin; breast cancer; metastasis
MicroRNA (miRNA) plays a critical role in a wide variety of biological processes. Profiling miRNA expression during differentiation of embryonic stem cells will help to understand the regulation pathway of differentiation, which in turn may elucidate disease mechanisms. The identified miRNAs could then serve as a new group of possible therapeutic targets. In the present paper, miRNA expression profiles were determined during cardiomyocyte-specific differentiation and maturation of murine embryonic stem (ES) cells. For this purpose a homogeneous cardiomyocyte population was generated from a transgenic murine ES cell line. Two high throughput array platforms (Affymetrix and Febit) were used for miRNA profiling in order to compare the effect of the platforms on miRNA profiling as well as to increase the validity of target miRNA identification. Four time points (i.e. day 0, day 12, day 19 and day 26) were chosen for the miRNA profiling study, which corresponded to different stages during cardiomyocyte-specific differentiation and maturation. Fifty platform and pre-processing method-independent miRNAs were identified as being regulated during the differentiation and maturation processes. The identification of these miRNAs is an important step for characterizing and understanding the events involved in cardiomyocyte-specific differentiation of ES cells and may also highlight candidate target molecules for therapeutic purposes.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) represent a particularly attractive cell type for bone tissue engineering because of their ex vivo expansion potential and multipotent differentiation capacity. MSC are readily differentiated towards mature osteoblasts with well-established protocols. However, tissue engineering frequently involves three-dimensional scaffolds which (i) allow for cell adhesion in a spatial environment and (ii) meet application-specific criteria, such as stiffness, degradability and biocompatibility.
In the present study, we analysed two synthetic, long-term degradable polymers for their impact on MSC-based bone tissue engineering: PLLA-co-TMC (Resomer® LT706) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL). Both polymers enhance the osteogenic differentiation compared to tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS) as determined by Alizarin red stainings, scanning electron microscopy, PCR and whole genome expression analysis. Resomer® LT706 and PCL differ in their influence on gene expression, with Resomer® LT706 being more potent in supporting osteogenic differentiation of MSC. The major trigger on the osteogenic fate, however, is from osteogenic induction medium.
This study demonstrates an enhanced osteogenic differentiation of MSC on Resomer® LT706 and PCL compared to TCPS. MSC cultured on Resomer® LT706 showed higher numbers of genes involved in skeletal development and bone formation. This identifies Resomer® LT706 as particularly attractive scaffold material for bone tissue engineering.
Gfi1encodes a zinc-finger transcription factor essential for the development and maintenance of haematopoiesis and the inner ear. In mouse inner ear, Gfi1 expression is confined to hair cells during development and in adulthood. To construct a genetic tool for inner ear hair cell-specific gene deletion, we generated a Gfi1-Cre mouse line by knocking-in Cre coding sequences into the Gfi1 locus and inactivating the endogenous Gfi1. The specificity and efficiency of Gfi1-Cre recombinase-mediated recombination in the developing inner ear was revealed through the expression of the conditional R26R-lacZ reporter gene. The onset of lacZ expression in the Gfi1Cre/+ inner ear was first detected at E13.5 in the vestibule and at E15.5 in the cochlea, coinciding with the generation of hair cells. Throughout inner ear development, lacZ expression was detected only in hair cells. Thus, Gfi1-Cre knock-in mouse line provides a useful tool for gene manipulations specifically in inner ear hair cells.
Gfi1; Cre recombinase; inner ear; hair cells
Atoh1 encodes a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor required for the development of the inner ear sensory epithelia, the dorsal spinal cord, brainstem, cerebellum, and intestinal secretory cells. In this study to create a genetic tool for the research on gene function in the ear sensory organs, we generated an Atoh1-Cre knock-in mouse line by replacing the entire Atoh1 coding sequences with the Cre coding sequences. Atoh1Cre/+mice were viable, fertile, and displayed no visible defects whereas the Atoh1Cre/Cremice died perinatally. The spatiotemporal activities of Cre recombinase were examined by crossing Atoh1-Cre mice with the R26R-lacZ conditional reporter mice. Atoh1-Cre activities were detected in the developing inner ear, the hindbrain, the spinal cord, and the intestine. In the inner ear, Atoh1-Cre activities were confined to the sensory organs in which lacZ expression is detected in nearly all of the hair cells and in many supporting cells. Thus, Atoh1-Cre mouse line serves as a useful tool for the functional study of genes in the inner ear. In addition, our results demonstrate that Atoh1 is expressed in the common progenitors destined for both hair and supporting cells.
Math1; Atoh1; Cre recombinase; inner ear; hair cells; supporting cells
Emerging evidence suggests immune proteins regulate activity-dependent synapse formation in the central nervous system (CNS). Mice with mutations in class I major histocompatibility complex (MHCI) genes have incomplete eye-specific segregation of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon projections to the CNS. This effect has been attributed to causes that are non-retinal in origin. We show that a key component of MHCI, CD3ζ, is expressed in RGCs and CD3ζ deficient mice have reduced RGC dendritic motility, an increase in RGC dendritic density and a selective defect of glutamate receptor-mediated synaptic activity in the retina. The disrupted RGC synaptic activity and dendritic motility is associated with a failure of eye-specific segregation of RGC axon projections to the CNS. These results provide direct evidence of an unrecognized requirement for immune proteins in the developmental regulation of RGC synaptic wiring, and indicate a possible retinal origin for the disruption of eye-specific segregation found in immune deficient mice.
The mammalian retina comprises six major neuronal cell types and one glial type that are further classified into multiple subtypes based on their anatomical and functional differences. Nevertheless, how these subtypes arise remains largely unknown at the molecular level. Here, we demonstrate that the expression of Bhlhb5, a bHLH transcription factor of the Olig family, is tightly associated with the generation of selective GABAergic amacrine and Type 2 OFF-cone bipolar subtypes throughout retinogenesis. Targeted deletion of Bhlhb5 results in a significant reduction in the generation of these selective bipolar and amacrine subtypes. Furthermore, although a Bhlhb5-null mutation has no effect on the expression of bHLH-class retinogenic genes, Bhlhb5 expression overlaps with that of the pan-amacrine factor NeuroD and the expression of Bhlhb5 and NeuroD is negatively regulated by ganglion cell-competence factor Math5. Our results reveal that a bHLH transcription factor cascade is involved in regulating retinal cell differentiation and imply that Bhlhb5 functions downstream of retinogenic factors to specify bipolar and amacrine subtypes.
Bhlhb5 (Beta3); bHLH; Math5 (Atoh7); NeuroD (Neurod1); Math3 (Neurod4); Amacrine cell; Bipolar cell; Retina; Neurogenesis; Transcription factors; Mouse
Math5-null mutation results in the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and in a concurrent increase of amacrine and cone cells. However, it remains unclear whether there is a cell fate switch of Math5-lineage cells in the absence of Math5 and whether MATH5 cell-autonomously regulates the differentiation of the above retinal neurons. Here, we performed a lineage analysis of Math5-expressing cells in developing mouse retinas using a conditional GFP reporter (Z/EG) activated by a Math5-Cre knock-in allele. We show that during normal retinogenesis, Math5-lineage cells mostly develop into RGCs, horizontal cells, cone photoreceptors, rod photoreceptors, and amacrine cells. Interestingly, amacrine cells of Math5-lineage cells are predominately of GABAergic, cholinergic, and A2 subtypes, indicating that Math5 plays a role in amacrine subtype specification. In the absence of Math5, more Math5-lineage cells undergo cell fate conversion from RGCs to the above retinal cell subtypes, and occasionally to cone-bipolar cells and Müller cells. This change in cell fate choices is accompanied by an up-regulation of NEUROD1, RXRγ and BHLHB5, the transcription factors essential for the differentiation of retinal cells other than RGCs. Additionally, loss of Math5 causes the failure of early progenitors to exit cell cycle and leads to a significant increase of Math5-lineage cells remaining in cell cycle. Collectively, these data suggest that Math5 regulates the generation of multiple retinal cell types via different mechanisms during retinogenesis.
Whereas the mammalian retina possesses a repertoire of factors known to establish general retinal cell types, these factors alone cannot explain the vast diversity of neuronal subtypes. In other CNS regions, the differentiation of diverse neuronal pools is governed by coordinately acting LIM-homeodomain proteins including the Islet-class factor Islet-1 (Isl1). We report that deletion of Isl1 profoundly disrupts retinal function as assessed by electroretinograms and vision as assessed by optomotor behavior. These deficits are coupled with marked reductions in mature ON- and OFF-bipolar (>76%), cholinergic amacrine (93%), and ganglion (71%) cells. Mosaic deletion of Isl1 permitted a chimeric analysis of “wild-type” cells in a predominantly Isl1-null environment, demonstrating a cell-autonomous role for Isl1 in rod bipolar and cholinergic amacrine development. Furthermore, the effects on bipolar cell development appear to be dissociable from the preceding retinal ganglion cell loss, because Pou4f2-null mice are devoid of similar defects in bipolar cell marker expression. Expression of the ON- and OFF-bipolar cell differentiation factors Bhlhb4 and Vsx1, respectively, requires the presence of Isl1, whereas the early bipolar cell marker Prox1 initially did not. Thus, Isl1 is required for engaging bipolar differentiation pathways but not for general bipolar cell specification. Spatiotemporal expression analysis of additional LIM-homeobox genes identifies a LIM-homeobox gene network during bipolar cell development that includes Lhx3 and Lhx4. We conclude that Isl1 has an indispensable role in retinal neuron differentiation within restricted cell populations and this function may reflect a broader role for other LIM-homeobox genes in retinal development, and perhaps in establishing neuronal subtypes.
retina; retinal bipolar cell; transcription factor; differentiation; ERG (electroretinogram); optomotor behavior; amacrine; retinal ganglion cell
The mammalian retina is comprised of six major neuronal cell types and is subdivided into more morphological and physiological subtypes. The transcriptional machinery underlying these subtype fate choices is largely unknown. The LIM-homeodomain protein, Isl1, plays an essential role in central nervous system (CNS) differentiation but its relationship to retinal neurogenesis remains unknown. We report here its dynamic spatiotemporal expression in the mouse retina. Among bipolar interneurons, Isl1 expression commences at postnatal day (P)5 and is later restricted to ON-bipolar cells. The intensity of Isl1 expression is found to segregate the pool of ON-bipolar cells into rod and ON-cone bipolar cells with higher expression in rod bipolar cells. As bipolar cell development proceeds from P5–10 the colocalization of Isl1 and the pan-bipolar cell marker Chx10 reveals the organization of ON-center bipolar cell nuclei to the upper portion of the inner nuclear layer. Further, whereas Isl1 is predominantly a ganglion cell marker prior to embryonic day (E)15.5, at E15.5 and later its expression in nonganglion cells expands. We demonstrate that these Isl1-positive, nonganglion cells acquire the expression of amacrine cell markers embryonically, likely representing nascent cholinergic amacrine cells. Taken together, Isl1 is expressed during the maturation of and is later maintained in retinal ganglion cells and subtypes of amacrine and bipolar cells where it may function in the maintenance of these cells into adulthood. J. Comp. Neurol. 503: 182–197, 2007.
ON-bipolar cells; Chx10; amacrine cell; retina; neurogenesis; transcription factors; subtype markers
Although its role to prevent secondary cardiovascular complications has been well established, how acetyl salicylic acid (ASA, aspirin) regulates certain key molecules in the atherogenesis is still not known. Considering the role of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) to destabilize the atherosclerotic plaques, the roles of the scavenger receptor class BI (SR-BI) and ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) to promote cholesterol efflux in the foam cells at the plaques, and the role of NF-κB in the overall inflammation related to the atherosclerosis, we addressed whether these molecules are all related to a common mechanism that may be regulated by acetyl salicylic acid. We investigated the effect of ASA to regulate the expressions and activities of these molecules in THP-1 macrophages. Our results showed that ASA inhibited MMP-9 mRNA expression, and caused the decrease in the MMP-9 activities from the cell culture supernatants. In addition, it inhibited the nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 subunit, thus the activity of this inflammatory molecule. On the contrary, acetyl salicylic acid induced the expressions of ABCA1 and SR-BI, two molecules known to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, at both mRNA and protein levels. It also stimulated the cholesterol efflux out of macrophages. These data suggest that acetyl salicylic acid may alleviate symptoms of atherosclerosis by two potential mechanisms: maintaining the plaque stability via inhibiting activities of inflammatory molecules MMP-9 and NF-κB, and increasing the cholesterol efflux through inducing expressions of ABCA1 and SR-BI.
During development, compartmentalization of an early embryonic structure produces blocks of cells with distinct properties and developmental potentials. The auditory and vestibular components of vertebrate inner ears are derived from defined compartments within the otocyst during embryogenesis. The vestibular apparatus, including three semicircular canals, saccule, utricle, and their associated sensory organs, detects angular and linear acceleration of the head and relays the information through vestibular neurons to vestibular nuclei in the brainstem. How the early developmental events manifest vestibular structures at the molecular level is largely unknown. Here, we show that LMO4, a LIM-domain-only transcriptional regulator, is required for the formation of semicircular canals and their associated sensory cristae. Targeted disruption of Lmo4 resulted in the dysmorphogenesis of the vestibule and in the absence of three semicircular canals, anterior and posterior cristae. In Lmo4-null otocysts, canal outpouches failed to form and cell proliferation was reduced in the dorsolateral region. Expression analysis of the known otic markers showed that Lmo4 is essential for the normal expression of Bmp4, Fgf10, Msx1, Isl1, Gata3, and Dlx5 in the dorsolateral domain of the otocyst, whereas the initial compartmentalization of the otocyst remains unaffected. Our results demonstrate that Lmo4 controls the development of the dorsolateral otocyst into semicircular canals and cristae through two distinct mechanisms: regulating the expression of otic specific genes and stimulating the proliferation of the dorsolateral part of the otocyst.
LIM; LMO; LMO4; otic vesicle; otocyst; vestibular morphogenesis; inner ear development; transcription factor
Forebrain cholinergic neurons modulate complex mammalian behaviors such as reward-related learning and cognitive functions. Although their dysfunction is implicated in various psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, the factors governing cholinergic neuron differentiation and diversity are mostly unknown. We tested the role of the LIM-homeobox gene Isl1 in the development of forebrain cholinergic neurons by conditionally deleting Isl1 using a Six3-cre transgene. A depletion of cholinergic interneurons in the dorsal and ventral striatum, and cholinergic projection neurons in the nucleus basalis is observed and is ascribed to an early and persistent defect in cholinergic neuron differentiation. Notably, cholinergic innervation to the neocortex is abolished, whereas that to the hippocampus is unaltered. The unique pattern of cholinergic hypoinnervation encountered is supported by the presence of cholinergic projection neurons in the medial septum, the magnocellular preoptic area, and the substantia innominata. Together, these results demonstrate the requirement for Isl1 in the development of restricted telencephalic cholinergic neurons and link the development of cholinergic neurons in anatomically disparate sites to Isl1 function.
transcription factor; cholinergic neuron; differentiation; forebrain; basal forebrain; basalis; striatum
Cell extrinsic signals can profoundly influence the production of various neurons from common progenitors. Yet mechanisms by which extrinsic signals coordinate progenitor cell proliferation, cell cycle exit, and cell fate choices are not well understood. Here, we address whether Hedgehog (Hh) signals independently regulate progenitor proliferation and neuronal fate decisions in the embryonic mouse retina. Conditional ablation of the essential Hh signaling component Smoothened (Smo) in proliferating progenitors, rather than in nascent postmitotic neurons, leads to a dramatic increase of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and a mild increase of cone photoreceptor precursors without significantly affecting other early born neuronal cell types. In addition, Smo deficient progenitors exhibit aberrant expression of cell cycle regulators and delayed G1/S transition, especially during the late embryonic stages, resulting in a reduced progenitor pool by birth. Deficiency in Smo function also causes reduced expression of the basic helix-loop-helix transcription repressor Hes1 and preferential elevation of the proneural gene Math5. In Smo and Math5 double knockout mutants, the enhanced RGC production observed in Smo deficient retinas is abolished, whereas defects in the G1/S transition persist, suggesting that Math5 mediates the Hh effect on neuronal fate specification but not on cell proliferation. These findings demonstrate that Hh signals regulate progenitor pool expansion primarily by promoting cell cycle progression and influence cell cycle exit and neuronal fates by controlling specific proneural genes. Together, these distinct cellular effects of Hh signaling in neural progenitor cells coordinate a balanced production of diverse neuronal cell types.
Hedgehog (Hh); Smoothened (Smo); Math5; mouse retina; neuronal fate; cell proliferation
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is genetically stable; and various schemes for the genotyping of VZV based on restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs), PCR, and sequencing have been developed. At least three major genotypes have been recognized among VZV isolates or clinical samples from different locations around the world; however, few data were available for viral isolates from China. In the current study, a collection of 19 VZV isolates from patients with zoster or varicella in the middle eastern region of China was examined for genetic variations. RFLP analysis of DNA fragments of open reading frames (ORFs) 38, 54, and 62 showed that all 19 isolates were PstI and BglI positive and SmaI negative, and this may represent the major restriction pattern of wild-type VZV strains in China. Further analysis of the R5 variable-repeat region in those strains revealed that 9 (47.4%) were type R5A, while the remaining 10 strains (52.6%) were type R5B. On the basis of the sequencing data for ORFs 1, 21, 22, and 54, all 19 Chinese strains could be grouped into genotype J or J1. A novel in-frame 3-nucleotide insertion (CGG) in ORF1 was found in 4 (21%) of the 19 isolates. Additionally three new nucleotide substitutions were detected in two of the isolates. A varicella isolate from the United States, strain MLS, was included in this study as a control for American wild-type VZV, and was found to be type M1, which represents one of the minor genotypes in North America.
While progenitor-restricted factors broadly specify area identities in developing neocortex, the downstream regulatory elements involved in acquisition of those identities in post-mitotic neurons are largely unknown. Here, we identify Bhlhb5, a transcription factor expressed in layers II–V, as a post-mitotic regulator of area identity. Bhlhb5 is initially expressed in a high caudomedial to low rostrolateral gradient that transforms into a sharp border between sensory and rostral motor cortices. Bhlhb5-null mice exhibit aberrant expression of area-specific genes and structural organization in the somatosensory and caudal motor cortices. In somatosensory cortex, Bhlhb5-null mice display post-synaptic disorganization of vibrissal barrels. In caudal motor cortex, Bhlhb5-null mice exhibit anomalous differentiation of corticospinal motor neurons, accompanied by failure of corticospinal tract formation. Together, these results demonstrate Bhlhb5’s function as an area-specific transcription factor that regulates the post-mitotic acquisition of area identities and elucidate the genetic hierarchy between progenitors and post-mitotic neurons driving neocortical arealization.
LIM-homeodomain (HD) and POU-HD transcription factors play critical roles in neurogenesis. However, it remains largely unknown how they cooperate in this process and what downstream target genes they regulate. Here we show that ISL1, a LIM-HD protein, is co-expressed with BRN3B, a POU-HD factor, in nascent, post-mitotic retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Similar to the Brn3b-null retinas, retina-specific deletion of Isl1 results in the apoptosis of a majority of RGCs and in RGC axon guidance defects. The Isl1 and Brn3b double null mice display more severe retinal abnormalities with a near complete loss of RGCs, indicating the synergistic functions of these two factors. Furthermore, we show that both Isl1 and Brn3b function downstream of Math5 to regulate the expression of a common set of RGC-specific genes. Whole retina chromatin immunoprecipitation and in vitro transactivation assays reveal that ISL1 and BRN3B concurrently bind to and synergistically regulate the expression of a common set of RGC-specific genes. Thus, our results uncover a novel regulatory mechanism of BRN3B and ISL1 in RGC differentiation.
LIM-homeodomain; POU-domain; Math5; Atoh7; Pou4f2; RGC; retinal development; transcription factor
Through transcriptional regulations the BarH family of homeodomain proteins play essential roles in cell fate specification, cell differentiation, migration and survival. Barhl2, a member of the Barh gene family, is expressed in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), amacrine cells (ACs) and horizontal cells. Here, to investigate the role of Barhl2 in retinal development, Barhl2 deficient mice were generated. Analysis of AC subtypes in Barhl2 deficient retinas suggests that Barhl2 plays a critical role in AC subtype determination. A significant reduction of glycinergic and GABAergic ACs with a substantial increase in the number of cholinergic ACs was observed in Barhl2-null retinas. Barhl2 is also critical for the development of a normal complement of RGCs. Barhl2 deficiency resulted in a 35% increase in RGCs undergoing apoptosis during development. Genetic analysis revealed that Barhl2 functions downstream of the Atoh7-Pou4f3 regulatory pathway and regulates the maturation and/or survival of RGCs. Thus, BARHL2 appears to have numerous roles in retinal development, including regulating neuronal subtype specification, differentiation, and survival.
BarH; Math5; Atoh7; Pou4f2; Isl1; retinal ganglion cells; amacrine cells; retinal development; transcription factor
During the process of metastasis, cells are subjected to various apoptotic stimuli. Aberrant expression of apoptotic regulators often contribute to cell metastasis. Heat shock protein 27(HSP27) is confirmed as an apoptosis regulator, but its antiapoptotic mechanism in metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells remains unclear.
Levels of HSP27 protein and its phosphorylation in Hep3B, MHCC97L to MHCC97H cells with different metastatic potentials were determined by western blot analysis. MHCC97H cells were transfected with specific small interference RNA (siRNA) against HSP27. The in vitro migration and invasion potentials of cells were evaluated by Transwell assay. The apoptosis ratio of MHCC97H cells was analyzed by TUNEL staining and Flow Cytometry. Alteration of signal transduction pathway after HSP27 knockdown in MHCC97H cells was evaluated through a Human Q Series Signal Transduction in Cancer Gene Array analysis. Nuclear NF-κB contentration and endogenous IKK activity were demonstrated by ELISA assay. The association of IKKα, IKKβ, IκBα with HSP27 and the association between IKKβ and IKKα in MHCC97H cells were determined by co-immunoprecipitation assay followed by western blot analysis.
HSP27 protein and its phosphorylation increased in parallel with enhanced metastatic potentials of HCC cells. siRNA-mediated HSP27 knockdown in MHCC97H significantly suppressed cells migration and invasion in vitro and induced cell apoptosis; the prominently altered signal transduction pathway was NF-κB pathway after HSP27 knockdown in MHCC97H cells. Furthermore, inhibition of HSP27 expression led to a significant decrease of nuclear NF-κB contentration and endogenous IKK activity. In addition, HSP27 was associated with IKKα, IKKβ, IκBα in three HCC cells above. ELISA assay and western blot analysis also showed a decrease of the association between IKKβ and IKKα, the association between phosphor-HSP27 and IKK complex, and an increase of total IκBα but reducing tendency of phosphor-IκBα when HSP27 expression was efficiently knocked down in MHCC97H cells.
Altogether, these findings revealed a possible effect of HSP27 on apoptosis in metastatic HCC cells, in which HSP27 may regulate NF-kB pathway activation.