In vivo, the activity of antibodies relies critically on properties of both the variable domain, responsible for antigen recognition, and the constant domain, responsible for innate immune recognition. Here, we describe a flexible, microsphere-based array format for capturing information about both functional ends of disease-specific antibodies from complex, polyclonal clinical serum samples. Using minimal serum, we demonstrate IgG subclass profiling of multiple antibody specificities. We further capture and determine the subclass of epitope-specific antibodies. The data generated in this array provides a profile of the humoral immune response with multi-dimensional metrics regarding properties of both variable and constant IgG domains. Significantly, these properties are assessed simultaneously, and therefore information about the relationship between variable and constant domain characteristics is captured, and can be used to predict functions such as antibody effector activity.
antibody; IgG subclass; clinical samples; humoral immunity
The effectiveness of management plans developed for responding to coral disease outbreaks is limited due to the lack of rapid methods of disease diagnosis. In order to fulfill current management guidelines for responding to coral disease outbreaks, alternative methods that significantly reduce response time must be developed. Hyperspectral sensing has been used by various groups to characterize the spectral signatures unique to asymptomatic and bleached corals. The 2010 combined bleaching and Caribbean yellow band disease outbreak in Puerto Rico provided a unique opportunity to investigate the spectral signatures associated with bleached and Caribbean yellow band-diseased colonies of Orbicella faveolata for the first time. Using derivative and cluster analyses of hyperspectral reflectance data, the present study demonstrates the proof of concept that spectral signatures can be used to differentiate between coral disease states. This method enhanced predominant visual methods of diagnosis by distinguishing between different asymptomatic conditions that are identical in field observations and photographic records. The ability to identify disease-affected tissue before lesions become visible could greatly reduce response times to coral disease outbreaks in monitoring efforts. Finally, spectral signatures associated with the poorly understood Caribbean yellow band disease are presented to guide future research on the role of pigments in the etiology.
Growth of the plasma membrane is as fundamental to cell reproduction as DNA replication, chromosome segregation and ribosome biogenesis, yet little is known about the underlying mechanisms. Membrane growth during the cell cycle requires mechanisms that control the initiation, location, and extent of membrane growth, as well as mechanisms that coordinate membrane growth with cell cycle progression. Recent experiments have established links between membrane growth and core cell cycle regulators. Further analysis of these links will yield insights into conserved and fundamental mechanisms of cell growth. A better understanding of the post-Golgi pathways by which membrane growth occurs will be essential for future progress.
Coral disease is a global problem. Diseases are typically named or described based on macroscopic changes, but broad signs of coral distress such as tissue loss or discoloration are unlikely to be specific to a particular pathogen. For example, there appear to be multiple diseases that manifest the rapid tissue loss that characterizes ‘white plague.’ PhyloChip™ G3 microarrays were used to compare the bacterial community composition of both healthy and white plague-like diseased corals. Samples of lobed star coral (Orbicella annularis, formerly of the genus Montastraea
) were collected from two geographically distinct areas, Dry Tortugas National Park and Virgin Islands National Park, to determine if there were biogeographic differences between the diseases. In fact, all diseased samples clustered together, however there was no consistent link to Aurantimonas coralicida, which has been described as the causative agent of white plague type II. The microarrays revealed a large amount of bacterial heterogeneity within the healthy corals and less diversity in the diseased corals. Gram-positive bacterial groups (Actinobacteria, Firmicutes) comprised a greater proportion of the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) unique to healthy samples. Diseased samples were enriched in OTUs from the families Corynebacteriaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Rhodobacteraceae, and Streptococcaceae. Much previous coral disease work has used clone libraries, which seem to be methodologically biased toward recovery of Gram-negative bacterial sequences and may therefore have missed the importance of Gram-positive groups. The PhyloChip™data presented here provide a broader characterization of the bacterial community changes that occur within Orbicella annularis during the shift from a healthy to diseased state.
This report focuses on the overall survival and complications associated with treatment of cerebral metastases with surgical resection followed by stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Management and complications of corticosteroid therapy are underreported in the literature but represent an important source of morbidity for patients.
Fifty-nine consecutive patients underwent surgical resection of a cerebral metastasis followed by SRS to the cavity. Patient charts were reviewed retrospectively to ascertain overall survival, local control, surgical complications, SRS complications, and corticosteroid complications.
Our mean follow-up was 14.4 months (median 12.0 months, range 0.9-62.9 months). Median overall survival in this series was 15.25 months and local control was 98.3%. There was a statistically significant survival benefit conferred by Radiation Therapy Oncology Group recursive partitioning analysis Classes 1 and 2. The surgical complication rate was 6.8% while the SRS complication rate was 2.4%. Corticosteroid complications are reported and dependence at 1 month was 20.3%, at 3 months 6.8%, at 6 months 1.7%, and at 12 months no patients remained on corticosteroid therapy.
Overall survival and local control with this treatment paradigm compare well to the other published literature. Complications associated with this patient population are low. A corticosteroid tapering protocol is proposed and demonstrated lower rates of steroid-related complications and dependence than previously reported.
Cerebral metastases; corticosteroids; stereotactic radiosurgery
NF-κB is a key transcription factor that regulates innate immune response. Its activity is tightly controlled by numerous feedback loops, including two negative loops mediated by NF-κB inducible inhibitors, IκBα and A20, which assure oscillatory responses, and by positive feedback loops arising due to the paracrine and autocrine regulation via TNFα, IL-1 and other cytokines. We study the NF-κB system of interlinked negative and positive feedback loops, combining bifurcation analysis of the deterministic approximation with stochastic numerical modeling. Positive feedback assures the existence of limit cycle oscillations in unstimulated wild-type cells and introduces bistability in A20-deficient cells. We demonstrated that cells of significant autocrine potential, i.e., cells characterized by high secretion of TNFα and its receptor TNFR1, may exhibit sustained cytoplasmic–nuclear NF-κB oscillations which start spontaneously due to stochastic fluctuations. In A20-deficient cells even a small TNFα expression rate qualitatively influences system kinetics, leading to long-lasting NF-κB activation in response to a short-pulsed TNFα stimulation. As a consequence, cells with impaired A20 expression or increased TNFα secretion rate are expected to have elevated NF-κB activity even in the absence of stimulation. This may lead to chronic inflammation and promote cancer due to the persistent activation of antiapoptotic genes induced by NF-κB. There is growing evidence that A20 mutations correlate with several types of lymphomas and elevated TNFα secretion is characteristic of many cancers. Interestingly, A20 loss or dysfunction also leaves the organism vulnerable to septic shock and massive apoptosis triggered by the uncontrolled TNFα secretion, which at high levels overcomes the antiapoptotic action of NF-κB. It is thus tempting to speculate that some cancers of deregulated NF-κB signaling may be prone to the pathogen-induced apoptosis.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become a signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many American soldiers, even those undiagnosed but likely suffering from mild TBI, display Alzheimer's disease (AD)-like cognitive impairments, suggesting a pathological overlap between TBI and AD. This study examined the cognitive and neurohistological effects of TBI in presymptomatic APP/PS1 AD-transgenic mice. AD mice and non-transgenic (NT) mice received an experimental TBI on the right parietal cortex using the controlled cortical impact model. Animals were trained in a water maze task for spatial memory before TBI, and then reevaluated in the same task at two and six weeks post-TBI. The results showed that AD mice with TBI made significantly more errors in the task than AD mice without TBI and NT mice regardless of TBI. A separate group of AD mice and NT mice were evaluated neurohistologically at six weeks after TBI. The number of extracellular beta-amyloid (Aβ)-deposits significantly increased by at least one fold in the cortex of AD mice that received TBI compared to the NT mice that received TBI or the AD and NT mice that underwent sham surgery. A significant decrease in MAP2 positive cells, indicating neuronal loss, was observed in the cortex of both the AD and NT mice that received TBI compared to the AD and NT mice subjected to sham surgery. Similar changes in extracellular Aβ deposits and MAP2 positive cells were also seen in the hippocampus. These results demonstrate for the first time that TBI precipitates cognitive impairment in presymptomatic AD mice, while also confirming extracellular Aβ deposits following TBI. The recognition of this pathological link between TBI and AD should aid in developing novel treatments directed at abrogating cellular injury and extracellular Aβ deposition in the brain.
Protease-producing bacteria play a vital role in degrading sedimentary organic nitrogen. However, the diversity of these bacteria and their extracellular proteases in most regions remain unknown. In this paper, the diversity of the cultivable protease-producing bacteria and of bacterial extracellular proteases in the sediments of Maxwell Bay, King George Island, Antarctica was investigated. The cultivable protease-producing bacteria reached 105 cells/g in all 8 sediment samples. The cultivated protease-producing bacteria were mainly affiliated with the phyla Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria, and the predominant genera were Bacillus (22.9%), Flavobacterium (21.0%) and Lacinutrix (16.2%). Among these strains, Pseudoalteromonas and Flavobacteria showed relatively high protease production. Inhibitor analysis showed that nearly all the extracellular proteases from the bacteria were serine proteases or metalloproteases. These results begin to address the diversity of protease-producing bacteria and bacterial extracellular proteases in the sediments of the Antarctic Sea.
Disease mechanisms leading to different forms of chondrodysplasia include extracellular matrix (ECM) alterations and intracellular stress resulting in abnormal changes to chondrocyte proliferation and survival. Delineating the relative contribution of these two disease mechanisms is a major challenge in understanding disease pathophysiology in genetic skeletal diseases and a prerequisite for developing effective therapies. To determine the influence of intracellular stress and changes in chondrocyte phenotype to the development of chondrodysplasia, we targeted the expression of the G2320R mutant form of thyroglobulin to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of resting and proliferating chondrocytes. Previous studies on this mutant protein have shown that it induces intracellular aggregates and causes cell stress and death in the thyroid gland. The expression and retention of this exogenous mutant protein in resting and proliferating chondrocytes resulted in a chronic cell stress response, growth plate dysplasia and reduced bone growth, without inducing any alterations to the architecture and organization of the cartilage ECM. More significantly, the decreased bone growth seemed to be the direct result of reduced chondrocyte proliferation in the proliferative zone of growth plates in transgenic mice, without transcriptional activation of a classical unfolded protein response (UPR) or apoptosis. Overall, these data show that mutant protein retention in the ER of resting and proliferative zone chondrocytes is sufficient to cause disrupted bone growth. The specific disease pathways triggered by mutant protein retention do not necessarily involve a prototypic UPR, but all pathways impact upon chondrocyte proliferation in the cartilage growth plate.
The last step of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria and plants is catalyzed by O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase. In bacteria, two isozymes, O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B, have been identified that share similar binding sites, although the respective specific functions are still debated. O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase plays a key role in the adaptation of bacteria to the host environment, in the defense mechanisms to oxidative stress and in antibiotic resistance. Because mammals synthesize cysteine from methionine and lack O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase, the enzyme is a potential target for antimicrobials. With this aim, we first identified potential inhibitors of the two isozymes via a ligand- and structure-based in silico screening of a subset of the ZINC library using FLAP. The binding affinities of the most promising candidates were measured in vitro on purified O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B from Salmonella typhimurium by a direct method that exploits the change in the cofactor fluorescence. Two molecules were identified with dissociation constants of 3.7 and 33 µM for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B, respectively. Because GRID analysis of the two isoenzymes indicates the presence of a few common pharmacophoric features, cross binding titrations were carried out. It was found that the best binder for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B exhibits a dissociation constant of 29 µM for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A, thus displaying a limited selectivity, whereas the best binder for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A exhibits a dissociation constant of 50 µM for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B and is thus 8-fold selective towards the former isozyme. Therefore, isoform-specific and isoform-independent ligands allow to either selectively target the isozyme that predominantly supports bacteria during infection and long-term survival or to completely block bacterial cysteine biosynthesis.
The antiproliferative response to anticancer treatment is the result of concurrent responses in all cell cycle phases, extending over several cell generations, whose complexity is not captured by current methods. In the proposed experimental/computational approach, the contemporary use of time-lapse live cell microscopy and flow cytometric data supported the computer rendering of the proliferative process through the cell cycle and subsequent generations during/after treatment. The effects of treatments were modelled with modules describing the functional activity of the main pathways causing arrest, repair and cell death in each phase. A framework modelling environment was created, enabling us to apply different types of modules in each phase and test models at the complexity level justified by the available data. We challenged the method with time-course measures taken in parallel with flow cytometry and time-lapse live cell microscopy in X-ray-treated human ovarian cancer cells, spanning a wide range of doses. The most suitable model of the treatment, including the dose-response of each effect, was progressively built, combining modules with a rational strategy and fitting simultaneously all data of different doses and platforms. The final model gave for the first time the complete rendering in silico of the cycling process following X-ray exposure, providing separate and quantitative measures of the dose-dependence of G1, S and G2M checkpoint activities in subsequent generations, reconciling known effects of ionizing radiations and new insights in a unique scenario.
The antiproliferative response to anticancer treatment is the result of concurrent effects in all cell cycle phases, where molecular control pathways (checkpoints) are activated and cells may be arrested to repair DNA damage or killed if not able to succeed in the repair process. The complexity and inter-cell variability of these phenomena are not captured by the available methods, and the origin of the dose-dependence of the response remains elusive. In this work, we present an experimental-computational method that discloses and measures the individual responses of cell cycle controls in each phase and generation. We demonstrate that the method, exploiting jointly data sets obtained by flow cytometry and time-lapse in vivo imaging with a suitable experimental design, is able to achieve a full reconstruction in silico of the actual movement of cell cohorts following X-ray exposure, providing separate and quantitative measures of the dose-dependence of G1, S and G2M checkpoint activities in subsequent generations. Best fit parameters values are actual measures of the probability of activation of the specific pathways of arrest, repair or death within the cell population, linking the molecular scale to the “macroscopic” response, with full appreciation of its dynamics and inter-cell heterogeneity.
The unparalleled specificity and activity of therapeutic proteins has reshaped many aspects of modern clinical practice, and aggressive development of new protein drugs promises a continued revolution in disease therapy. As a result of their biological origins, however, therapeutic proteins present unique design challenges for the biomolecular engineer. For example, protein drugs are subject to immune surveillance within the patient's body; this anti-drug immune response can compromise therapeutic efficacy and even threaten patient safety. Thus, there is a growing demand for broadly applicable protein deimmunization strategies. We have recently developed optimization algorithms that integrate computational prediction of T-cell epitopes and bioinformatics-based assessment of the structural and functional consequences of epitope-deleting mutations. Here, we describe the first experimental validation of our deimmunization algorithms using Enterobacter cloacae P99 β-lactamase, a component of antibody-directed enzyme prodrug cancer therapies. Compared with wild-type or a previously deimmunized variant, our computationally optimized sequences exhibited significantly less in vitro binding to human type II major histocompatibility complex immune molecules. At the same time, our globally optimal design exhibited wild-type catalytic proficiency. We conclude that our deimmunization algorithms guide the protein engineer towards promising immunoevasive candidates and thereby have the potential to streamline biotherapeutic development.
ADEPT; computational protein design; deimmunization; T-cell epitope; therapeutic protein
Background: Use of engineered nanoparticles (NPs) in consumer products is resulting in NPs in drinking water sources. Subsequent NP breakthrough into treated drinking water is a potential exposure route and human health threat.
Objectives: In this study we investigated the breakthrough of common NPs—silver (Ag), titanium dioxide (TiO2), and zinc oxide (ZnO)—into finished drinking water following conventional and advanced treatment.
Methods: NPs were spiked into five experimental waters: groundwater, surface water, synthetic freshwater, synthetic freshwater containing natural organic matter, and tertiary wastewater effluent. Bench-scale coagulation/flocculation/sedimentation simulated conventional treatment, and microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) simulated advanced treatment. We monitored breakthrough of NPs into treated water by turbidity removal and inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).
Results: Conventional treatment resulted in 2–20%, 3–8%, and 48–99% of Ag, TiO2, and ZnO NPs, respectively, or their dissolved ions remaining in finished water. Breakthrough following MF was 1–45% for Ag, 0–44% for TiO2, and 36–83% for ZnO. With UF, NP breakthrough was 0–2%, 0–4%, and 2–96% for Ag, TiO2, and ZnO, respectively. Variability was dependent on NP stability, with less breakthrough of aggregated NPs compared with stable NPs and dissolved NP ions.
Conclusions: Although a majority of aggregated or stable NPs were removed by simulated conventional and advanced treatment, NP metals were detectable in finished water. As environmental NP concentrations increase, we need to consider NPs as emerging drinking water contaminants and determine appropriate drinking water treatment processes to fully remove NPs in order to reduce their potential harmful health outcomes.
Citation: Abbott Chalew TE, Ajmani GS, Huang H, Schwab KJ. 2013. Evaluating nanoparticle breakthrough during drinking water treatment. Environ Health Perspect 121:1161–1166; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306574
The prediction of changes in protein stability and structure resulting from single amino acid substitutions is both a fundamental test of macromolecular modeling methodology and an important current problem as high throughput sequencing reveals sequence polymorphisms at an increasing rate. In principle, given the structure of a wild-type protein and a point mutation whose effects are to be predicted, an accurate method should recapitulate both the structural changes and the change in the folding-free energy. Here, we explore the performance of protocols which sample an increasing diversity of conformations. We find that surprisingly similar performances in predicting changes in stability are achieved using protocols that involve very different amounts of conformational sampling, provided that the resolution of the force field is matched to the resolution of the sampling method. Methods involving backbone sampling can in some cases closely recapitulate the structural changes accompanying mutations but not surprisingly tend to do more harm than good in cases where structural changes are negligible. Analysis of the outliers in the stability change calculations suggests areas needing particular improvement; these include the balance between desolvation and the formation of favorable buried polar interactions, and unfolded state modeling.
ΔΔG prediction; protein stability; backbone flexibility; free energy change
Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an excess of hypogalactosylated (G0) IgG that is considered relatively pro-inflammatory. Assessment of this association in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is complicated by age-dependent IgG glycan variation. We undertook the first large-scale survey of IgG glycans in normal children and in patients with JIA, with a focus on early childhood, the time of peak JIA incidence.
IgG glycans from healthy children and DMARD-naïve JIA patients were characterized using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Pro-inflammatory G0 glycans were quantitated with reference to monogalactosylated (G1) species. Associations were sought between G0/G1 and disease characteristics.
Among healthy children aged 9 months-16 years (n=165), G0/G1 was highly age-dependent, peaking in children <3 years old at 1.19 and declining to a nadir of 0.83 after age 10 years (Spearman ρ=0.60, p<0.0001). In patients with JIA (n=141), G0/G1 was elevated compared with controls (G0/G1 1.32 vs. 1.02, p<0.0001). Corrected for age, G0/G1 was abnormally high in all JIA subtypes (enthesitis-related arthritis not assessed), most strikingly in systemic JIA. Glycosylation aberrancy was comparable in patients with or without ANA and in both early- and late-onset disease, and exhibited at most a weak correlation with inflammatory markers.
IgG glycosylation is skewed toward pro-inflammatory G0 variants in healthy children, in particular during the first few years of life. This deviation is exaggerated in patients with JIA. The role for IgG glycan variation in immune function in children, including the predilection of JIA for early childhood, remains to be defined.
The word “theory” is used in at least two senses—to denote a body of widely accepted laws or principles, as in “Darwinian theory” or “quantum theory,” and to suggest a speculative hypothesis, often relying on mathematical analysis, that has not been experimentally confirmed. It is often said that there is no place for the second kind of theory in biology and that biology is not theoretical but based on interpretation of data. Here, ideas from a previous essay are expanded upon to suggest, to the contrary, that the second kind of theory has always played a critical role and that biology, therefore, is a good deal more theoretical than physics.
Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) offers a recruitment strategy for hard-to-reach populations. However, RDS faces logistical and theoretical challenges that threaten efficiency and validity in settings worldwide. We present innovative adaptations to conventional RDS to overcome barriers encountered in recruiting a large, representative sample of men who have sex with men (MSM) who travel internationally.
Novel methodological adaptations for the “International Travel Research to Inform Prevention” or “I-TRIP” study were offering participants a choice between electronic and paper coupons referrals for recruitment and modifying the secondary incentives structure from small cash amounts to raffle entries for periodic large cash prize raffle drawings. Staged referral limit increases from 3 to 10 referrals and progressive addition of 70 seeds were also implemented.
There were 501 participants enrolled in up to 13 waves of growth. Among participants with a choice of referral methods, 81% selected electronic referrals. Of participants who were recruited electronically, 90% chose to remain with electronic referrals when it was their turn to recruit. The mean number of enrolled referrals was 0.91 for electronic referrals compared to 0.56 for paper coupons. Median referral lag time, i.e., the time interval between when recruiters were given their referrals and when a referred individual enrolled in the study, was 20 days (IQR 10–40) for electronic referrals, 20 days (IQR 8–58) for paper coupons, 20 days (IQR 10–41) for raffle entries and 33 days (IQR 16–148) for small cash incentives.
The recruitment of MSM who travel internationally required maximizing known flexible tools of RDS while at the same time necessitating innovations to increase recruitment efficiency. Electronic referrals emerged as a major advantage in recruiting this hard-to-reach population who are of high socio-economic status, geographically diffuse and highly mobile. These enhancements may improve the performance of RDS in target populations with similar characteristics.
The diagnosis of transferase and galactokinase deficiency galactosemia usually involves the measurement of erythrocyte galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (GALT) and galactokinase (GALK) enzyme activity, respectively. The current gold standard assays for these enzymes are radioactive assays, which are laborious and/or incapable of measuring low enzyme activities. To further our knowledge of genotype-phenotype relationships, we had developed an assay for GALT activity alone using LC-MS/MS. In this study we generated a robust and sensitive LC-MS/MS based GALT and GALK assay using a novel normal phase chromatographic condition. We improved upon our earlier assay by drastically reducing the instrument run time and eliminating the use of an ion pairing reagent. Stable isotope labeled substrates were utilized in the GALT and GALK assays. The enzymatic products ([13C6]-uridine diphosphate galactose in GALT assay and [13C6]-galactose-1-phosphate in GALK assay) were quantified in a 3 min LC-MS/MS run. The assays were sensitive enough to allow for the quantification of enzyme activities as low as 0.2% and 0.3% of normal control values in the GALT and GALK assays, respectively. Thirty-three samples from non-galactosemic patients were assayed to have erythrocyte GALT activity of 23.4 ± 4.2 and GALK activity of 1.8 ± 0.47 (mean ± SD) µmol·(g Hgb) −1·hr−1. Erythrocyte GALT activities in a cohort of 16 patients with classic galactosemia were measured: 4 patients had GALT activity less than 1% of normal control values and the remaining 12 had no detectable GALT activity. No GALK activity was detected in a GALK deficient sample we analzyed. Lastly, we tested the feasibility of adapting this LC-MS/MS based GALT/GALK assay as a newborn screening (NBS) test.
Galactosemia; galactokinase (GALK); galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (GALT); Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
We have developed and validated a simple and sensitive stable isotope dilution liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometric (LC-MS/MS) method for the quantification of bumetanide in human serum. Samples were prepared with a simple acetonitrile based protein precipitation. The supernatant was then analyzed directly using LC-MS/MS. Chromatographic separation was achieved on a C18 reversed phase column using a methanol and water gradient. The detection was performed in selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mode via a positive electrospray ionization (ESI) interface. The method had a lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) of 1 ng/mL, linearity up to 1250 ng/mL, intra- and inter-day precision less than 10%, and accuracy within ±10%. This method was also demonstrated to be suitable for the analysis of bumetanide in rat serum and brain tissue. Bumetanide concentrations in rat serum and brain were determined for samples collected at several intervals following intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of bumetanide, and were used to calculate bumetanide permeability through the blood brain barrier.
bumetanide; liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS); stable isotope dilution
Several recent, large-scale studies have provided valuable insights into patient perspectives on postmenopausal vulvovaginal health. Symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy, which include dryness, irritation, itching, dysuria, and dyspareunia, can adversely affect interpersonal relationships, quality of life, and sexual function. While approximately half of postmenopausal women report these symptoms, far fewer seek treatment, often because they are uninformed about hypoestrogenic postmenopausal vulvovaginal changes and the availability of safe, effective, and well-tolerated treatments, particularly local vaginal estrogen therapy. Because women hesitate to seek help for symptoms, a proactive approach to conversations about vulvovaginal discomfort would improve diagnosis and treatment.
health care professional; hypoactive sexual desire disorder; local vaginal estrogen therapy; quality of life; urinary tract infection; vulvovaginal atrophy
Accurate energy functions are critical to macromolecular modeling and design. We describe new tools for identifying inaccuracies in energy functions and guiding their improvement, and illustrate the application of these tools to improvement of the Rosetta energy function. The feature analysis tool identifies discrepancies between structures deposited in the PDB and low energy structures generated by Rosetta; these likely arise from inaccuracies in the energy function. The optE tool optimizes the weights on the different components of the energy function by maximizing the recapitulation of a wide range of experimental observations. We use the tools to examine three proposed modifications to the Rosetta energy function: improving the unfolded state energy model (reference energies), using bicubic spline interpolation to generate knowledge based torisonal potentials, and incorporating the recently developed Dunbrack 2010 rotamer library (Shapovalov and Dunbrack, 2011).
Rosetta; energy function; scientific benchmarking; parameter estimation; decoy discrimination
Dbf2 kinase regulates two functionally distinct domains of Hof1 independently. The data suggest a novel role for Hof1 in septin organization and highlight the importance of Dbf2 in the coordination of septin and AMR functions via Hof1.
The conserved NDR-kinase Dbf2 plays a critical role in cytokinesis in budding yeast. Among its cytokinesis-related substrates is the F-BAR protein Hof1. Hof1 colocalizes at the cell division site with the septin complex and, as mitotic exit progresses, moves to the actomyosin ring (AMR). Neither the function of Hof1 at the septin complex nor the mechanism by which Hof1 supports AMR constriction is understood. Here we establish that Dbf2 has a dual function in Hof1 regulation. First, we show that the coiled-coil region, which is adjacent to the conserved F-BAR domain, is required for the binding of Hof1 to septins. The Dbf2-dependent phosphorylation of Hof1 at a single serine residue (serine 313) in this region diminishes the recruitment of Hof1 to septins both in vitro and in vivo. Genetic and functional analysis indicates that the binding of Hof1 to septins is important for septin rearrangement and integrity during cytokinesis. Furthermore, Dbf2 phosphorylation of Hof1 at serines 533 and 563 promotes AMR constriction most likely by inhibiting the SH3-domain–dependent interactions of Hof1. Thus our data show that Dbf2 coordinates septin and AMR functions during cytokinesis through the regulation/control of Hof1.
The authors conducted a cohort study of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) use and risk of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), using data from 4,735 men without BPH at baseline in the placebo arm of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (1993–2003). Incident BPH (n = 471) was defined as medical or surgical treatment or at least 2 International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS) values greater than or equal to 15. Proportional hazards models using time-dependent exposure for NSAID use were employed to estimate covariate-adjusted associations of NSAID-related medical conditions and NSAID use with BPH risk. Arthritis, other inflammation-related musculoskeletal conditions, and headaches were associated with increased BPH risk (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.77 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.37, 2.29), HR = 1.57 (95% CI: 1.14, 2.17), and HR = 1.40 (95% CI: 1.09, 1.80), respectively). Use of any NSAID, use of aspirin, and use of nonaspirin NSAIDs were associated with significant increases in BPH risk (HR = 1.21 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.46), HR = 1.20 (95% CI: 1.00, 1.45), and HR = 1.34 (95% CI: 1.07, 1.69), respectively). Control for indications for NSAID use, including baseline I-PSS, attenuated the associations slightly, but all became nonsignificant. Among men with no indications for NSAID use, the hazard ratio for any NSAID use was 1.06 (95% CI: 0.82, 1.38). The modest associations of NSAID use with BPH risk in this cohort were probably due to confounding by indication, and NSAID use was not associated with BPH risk.
anti-inflammatory agents, non-steroidal; aspirin; inflammation; prostatic hyperplasia
To investigate factors contributing to drug side effects, we systematically examine relationships between 4,199 side effects associated with 996 drugs and their 647 human protein targets. We find that it is the number of essential targets, not the number of total targets, that determines the side effects of corresponding drugs. Furthermore, within the context of a three-dimensional interaction network with atomic-resolution interaction interfaces, we find that drugs causing more side effects are also characterized by high degree and betweenness of their targets and highly shared interaction interfaces on these targets. Our findings suggest that both essentiality and centrality of a drug target are key factors contributing to side effects and should be taken into consideration in rational drug design.
The ultimate goal of medical research is to develop effective treatments for disease with minimal side effects. Currently, about 20% of drug candidates failed at clinical trial phases II and III due to safety issues. Therefore, understanding the determining factors of drug side effects is of paramount importance to human health and the pharmaceutical industry. Here, we present the first systematic study to uncover key factors leading to drug side effects within the framework of the human protein interactome network. Our results show that it is the number of essential targets, not the number of total targets, of a drug that determines the occurrence of its side effects. Furthermore, we find that the centrality, both degree and betweenness, of the drug targets is also an important determining factor of drug side effects. Our findings will shed light on new factors to be incorporated into the drug development pipeline.
Personality traits such as impulsivity and sensation seeking may contribute to the initiation and maintenance of illicit drug use. Since studies have reported higher impulsivity and sensation seeking traits in cocaine dependent subjects, we were interested in determining whether former heroin addicts in methadone pharmacotherapy with comorbid cocaine addiction have greater impulsivity than those without.
Instruments to assess impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale version 11) and sensation seeking (Sensation Seeking Scale version V) were administered to former severe heroin addicts meeting Federal criteria for methadone maintenance pharmacotherapy with (n = 71) or without cocaine dependence (n = 31) and to 145 normal healthy (non-methadone-maintained) volunteers.
The methadone-maintained without cocaine dependence and the methadone-maintained with cocaine dependence groups, both scored higher than did the normal volunteer group on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale total score (p < 0.001). On the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale Attentional, Nonplanning, and Motor subscales, the methadone-maintained and methadone-maintained with cocaine dependence groups scored higher than did normal volunteers with no history of drug abuse or dependence (p < 0.001). There was no difference among groups on total score or any subscale of the Sensation Seeking Scale. However, males in all groups overall scored higher than did females on Disinhibition and Thrill and Adventure seeking subscales of the Sensation Seeking Scale version V (p < 0.001).
This study demonstrates higher impulsivity in former severe heroin addicts meeting criteria for or currently in stable methadone maintenance pharmacotherapy, irrespective of a positive or negative history of cocaine dependence.
impulsiveness; sensation seeking; methadone maintenance; heroin addiction; cocaine dependence; gender differences