Stress influences many aspects of animal behaviour and is a major factor driving populations to adapt to changing living conditions, such as during domestication. Stress can affect offspring through non-genetic mechanisms, but recent research indicates that inherited epigenetic modifications of the genome could possibly also be involved.
Red junglefowl (RJF, ancestors of modern chickens) and domesticated White Leghorn (WL) chickens were raised in a stressful environment (unpredictable light-dark rhythm) and control animals in similar pens, but on a 12/12 h light-dark rhythm. WL in both treatments had poorer spatial learning ability than RJF, and in both populations, stress caused a reduced ability to solve a spatial learning task. Offspring of stressed WL, but not RJF, raised without parental contact, had a reduced spatial learning ability compared to offspring of non-stressed animals in a similar test as that used for their parents. Offspring of stressed WL were also more competitive and grew faster than offspring of non-stressed parents. Using a whole-genome cDNA microarray, we found that in WL, the same changes in hypothalamic gene expression profile caused by stress in the parents were also found in the offspring. In offspring of stressed WL, at least 31 genes were up- or down-regulated in the hypothalamus and pituitary compared to offspring of non-stressed parents.
Our results suggest that, in WL the gene expression response to stress, as well as some behavioural stress responses, were transmitted across generations. The ability to transmit epigenetic information and behaviour modifications between generations may therefore have been favoured by domestication. The mechanisms involved remain to be investigated; epigenetic modifications could either have been inherited or acquired de novo in the specific egg environment. In both cases, this would offer a novel explanation to rapid evolutionary adaptation of a population.
The notion that ADHD constitutes a heterogeneous disorder is well accepted. However, this study contributes with new important knowledge by examining independent effects of a large range of neuropsychological deficits. In addition, the study investigated whether deficits in emotional functioning constitute a dissociable component of ADHD.
The study included children with ADHD (n = 102; 7–13 years) and a control sample individually matched with regard to age and gender. The administered tasks were designed to tap into three different neuropsychological domains: executive functions (i.e., working memory, inhibition, and shifting), delay aversion, and reaction time variability. Parent ratings of emotion regulation and a test of emotion recognition were also included.
Children with ADHD differed significantly from controls on all measures, except for delay aversion and recognition of disgust. No main effects of gender or interaction effects of gender and group were found. More importantly, executive functioning, reaction time variability, and emotional functioning all contributed independently to distinguishing between children with ADHD and controls.
The current study supports the view of ADHD as a heterogeneous disorder related to multiple neuropsychological deficits. In addition, emotional functioning appears to be an area of importance for ADHD that needs to be incorporated into future theoretical models.
ADHD; executive function; emotion regulation; emotion recognition
There is a growing evidence that neuropeptides may be involved in the pathophysiology of suicidal behavior. A critical review of the literature was conducted to investigate the association between neuropeptides and suicidal behavior. Only articles from peer-reviewed journals were selected for the inclusion in the present review. Twenty-six articles were assessed for eligibility but only 22 studies were included. Most studies have documented an association between suicidality and some neuropeptides such as corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), VGF, cholecystokinin, substance P, and neuropeptide Y (NPY), which have been demonstrated to act as key neuromodulators of emotional processing. Significant differences in neuropeptides levels have been found in those who have attempted or completed suicide compared with healthy controls or those dying from other causes. Despite cross-sectional associations between neuropeptides levels and suicidal behavior, causality may not be inferred. The implications of the mentioned studies were discussed in this review paper.
DNA extracted from historical samples is an important resource for understanding genetic consequences of anthropogenic influences and long-term environmental change. However, such samples generally yield DNA of a lower amount and quality, and the extent to which DNA degradation affects SNP genotyping success and allele frequency estimation is not well understood. We conducted high density SNP genotyping and allele frequency estimation in both individual DNA samples and pooled DNA samples extracted from dried Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) scales stored at room temperature for up to 35 years, and assessed genotyping success, repeatability and accuracy of allele frequency estimation using a high density SNP genotyping array.
In individual DNA samples, genotyping success and repeatability was very high (> 0.973 and > 0.998, respectively) in samples stored for up to 35 years; both increased with the proportion of DNA of fragment size > 1000 bp. In pooled DNA samples, allele frequency estimation was highly repeatable (Repeatability = 0.986) and highly correlated with empirical allele frequency measures (Mean Adjusted R2 = 0.991); allele frequency could be accurately estimated in > 95% of pooled DNA samples with a reference group of at least 30 individuals. SNPs located in polyploid regions of the genome were more sensitive to DNA degradation: older samples had lower genotyping success at these loci, and a larger reference panel of individuals was required to accurately estimate allele frequencies.
SNP genotyping was highly successful in degraded DNA samples, paving the way for the use of degraded samples in SNP genotyping projects. DNA pooling provides the potential for large scale population genetic studies with fewer assays, provided enough reference individuals are also genotyped and DNA quality is properly assessed beforehand. We provide recommendations for future studies intending to conduct high-throughput SNP genotyping and allele frequency estimation in historical samples.
Atlantic salmon; SNP genotyping; Illumina® iSelect SNP-array; Degraded DNA; Archived samples; Fish scales; DNA pooling; Allelotyping; Allele frequency; Fragment size
Labdanes, leonurenones A–C, two known labdanes, luteolin 7-O-β-glucoside and luteolin were isolated and characterized from a commercial source of Leonotis leonurus. Genetic methods allowed for identification of the plant material. The leonurenones contain an uncommon α,β-unsaturated enone moiety in ring B, and leonurenones A and B were evaluated in a competitive inhibition assay at the GABA A neuroreceptor site.
Labdane; Diterpene; Leonotis leonurus; Leonurenone
Conserved ortholog set (COS) markers are an important functional genomics resource that has greatly improved orthology detection in Asterid species. A comprehensive list of these markers is available at Sol Genomics Network (http://solgenomics.net/) and many of these have been placed on the genetic maps of a number of solanaceous species.
We amplified over 300 COS markers from eight potato accessions involving two diploid landraces of Solanum tuberosum Andigenum group (formerly classified as S. goniocalyx, S. phureja), and a dihaploid clone derived from a modern tetraploid cultivar of S. tuberosum and the wild species S. berthaultii, S. chomatophilum, and S. paucissectum. By BLASTn (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool of the NCBI, National Center for Biotechnology Information) algorithm we mapped the DNA sequences of these markers into the potato genome sequence. Additionally, we mapped a subset of these markers genetically in potato and present a comparison between the physical and genetic locations of these markers in potato and in comparison with the genetic location in tomato. We found that most of the COS markers are single-copy in the reference genome of potato and that the genetic location in tomato and physical location in potato sequence are mostly in agreement. However, we did find some COS markers that are present in multiple copies and those that map in unexpected locations. Sequence comparisons between species show that some of these markers may be paralogs.
The sequence-based physical map becomes helpful in identification of markers for traits of interest thereby reducing the number of markers to be tested for applications like marker assisted selection, diversity, and phylogenetic studies.
Conserved ortholog set (COS); Genetic mapping; Potato genome; Solanum
Background: Exosome vesicles can transfer molecular information previously shown to stimulate tumor development; however, the mechanism of exosome uptake is unknown.
Results: Mammalian cells internalize exosomes through lipid raft-mediated endocytosis negatively regulated by caveolin-1.
Conclusion: Our findings provide novel insights into cellular uptake of exosomes.
Significance: Our data provide potential strategies for how the exosome uptake pathway may be targeted.
The role of exosomes in cancer can be inferred from the observation that they transfer tumor cell derived genetic material and signaling proteins, resulting in e.g. increased tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. However, the membrane transport mechanisms and the signaling events involved in the uptake of these virus-like particles remain ill-defined. We now report that internalization of exosomes derived from glioblastoma (GBM) cells involves nonclassical, lipid raft-dependent endocytosis. Importantly, we show that the lipid raft-associated protein caveolin-1 (CAV1), in analogy with its previously described role in virus uptake, negatively regulates the uptake of exosomes. We find that exosomes induce the phosphorylation of several downstream targets known to associate with lipid rafts as signaling and sorting platforms, such as extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2) and heat shock protein 27 (HSP27). Interestingly, exosome uptake appears dependent on unperturbed ERK1/2-HSP27 signaling, and ERK1/2 phosphorylation is under negative influence by CAV1 during internalization of exosomes. These findings significantly advance our general understanding of exosome-mediated uptake and offer potential strategies for how this pathway may be targeted through modulation of CAV1 expression and ERK1/2 signaling.
Caveolin; Endocytosis; Exosomes; Glioblastoma; Vesicles; Microvesicles
Immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC) purification of secreted histidine-tagged proteins in eukaryotic cell culture supernatants is often problematic. Incompatibility with the cell culture media appears as stripping of the immobilized metal ions required for binding of target proteins. The stripping effect is aggravated by low target protein concentrations and hence large sample volumes.
In this study, purifications of histidine-tagged proteins were performed using two novel Sepharose™ based IMAC media; Ni Sepharose excel and magnetic His Mag Sepharose excel. Both media have a new type of chelating ligand with exceptionally strong binding of nickel ions. Data showing successful purification of histidine-tagged proteins from CHO cell culture supernatants will be presented. In comparison, conventional IMAC medium showed no recovery of target protein.
Furthermore, the characteristics of new media enabled purification of target protein from insect cell culture supernatants. The purification was easily scaled up from 20 μl His Mag Sepharose excel beads to 1 mL pre-packed columns.
Spider dragline silk, used by spiders as safety line and web frame, is exceptionally strong, elastic, and biocompatible. These features make it attractive for a large number of applications. Spider silk proteins, spidroins, are highly modular, with long repetitive sequences rich in alanine and glycine flanked by nonrepetitive amino- and carboxy-terminal domains of about 100 amino acids.
The objective of the study was to purify a recombinant miniature spidroin, RepCT, derived from the nursery-web spider Euprosthenops australis. To facilitate chromatographic purification the miniature spidroin was fused to a solubility protein and affinity tagged resulting in HisSolRepCT. After induced protein expression in E. coli, harvesting using centrifugation, cell lysis, and clarification, the clarified lysate was immediately loaded onto an immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC) column, captured and eluted using step gradients with increasing concentrations of imidazole. Following proteolytic tag removal and desalting, the miniature spidroin, RepCT, was subjected to a polishing step consisting of anion exchange chromatography.
This purification strategy resulted in a purity of RepCT exceeding 95 % and a recovery of 60 %. Biological activity of RepCT was confirmed by the induced ability to assemble into macroscopic fibers. However, RepCT in aqueous solutions has a tendency to form amorphous aggregates before fiber formation. Herein, several low molecular weight compounds were investigated for their ability to delay this tendency.
Myosinopathies have emerged as a new group of diseases and are caused by mutations in genes encoding myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms. One major hallmark of these diseases is skeletal muscle weakness or paralysis, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we have undertaken a detailed functional study of muscle fibers from Myh4arl mice, which carry a mutation that provokes an L342Q change within the catalytic domain of the type IIb skeletal muscle myosin protein MYH4. Because homozygous animals develop rapid muscle-structure disruption and lower-limb paralysis, they must be killed by postnatal day 13, so all experiments were performed using skeletal muscles from adult heterozygous animals (Myh4arl/+). Myh4arl/+ mice contain MYH4L342Q expressed at 7% of the levels of the wild-type (WT) protein, and are overtly and histologically normal. However, mechanical and X-ray diffraction pattern analyses of single membrane-permeabilized fibers revealed, upon maximal Ca2+ activation, higher stiffness as well as altered meridional and equatorial reflections in Myh4arl/+ mice when compared with age-matched WT animals. Under rigor conditions, by contrast, no difference was observed between Myh4arl/+ and WT mice. Altogether, these findings prove that, in adult MYH4L342Q heterozygous mice, the transition from weak to strong myosin cross-bridge binding is facilitated, increasing the number of strongly attached myosin heads, thus enhancing force production. These changes are predictably exacerbated in the type IIb fibers of homozygous mice, in which the embryonic myosin isoform is fully replaced by MYH4L342Q, leading to a hypercontraction, muscle-structure disruption and lower-limb paralysis. Overall, these findings provide important insights into the molecular pathogenesis of skeletal myosinopathies.
Despite several lines of evidence from preclinical and post-mortem studies suggesting that inflammation is involved in Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), no previous studies have measured peripheral indices of inflammation in MSA patients.
We measured C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-6, soluble IL-2 receptor and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in blood samples from MSA patients (n = 14) and healthy controls (n = 40).
IL-6 and TNF-α were significantly elevated in MSA patients compared to healthy controls. After controlling for the potentially confounding effects of age, gender, and somatic co-morbidities, a diagnosis of MSA was still significantly associated with high levels of TNF-α. Higher TNF-α levels were associated with less severe motor symptoms and earlier disease stage.
Our findings are in line with the hypothesis that inflammation might be involved at an early stage of MSA pathophysiology.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotypes are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and lipid levels. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an association has been found with disease activity. We examined the associations between APOE genotypes and disease susceptibility and markers of disease severity in RA, including radiographic joint damage, inflammatory markers, lipid levels and cardiovascular markers.
A Norwegian cohort of 945 RA patients and 988 controls were genotyped for two APOE polymorphisms. We examined longitudinal associations between APOE genotypes and C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) as well as hand radiographs (van der Heijde Sharp Score(SHS)) in 207 patients with 10 year longitudinal data. Lipid levels, cardiovascular markers and history of CVD were compared across genotypes in a cross sectional study of 136 patients. Longitudinal radiological data of cohorts from Lund and Leiden were available for replication. (N = 935, with 4799 radiographs).
In the Norwegian cohort, associations between APOE genotypes and total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) were observed (ε2<ε3/ε3<ε4, p = 0.03 and p = 0.02, respectively). No association was present for acute phase reactant or CVD markers, but a longitudinal linear association between APOE genotypes and radiographic joint damage was observed (p = 0.007). No association between APOE genotypes and the severity of joint destruction was observed in the Lund and Leiden cohorts, and a meta- analysis combining all data was negative.
APOE genotypes are associated with lipid levels in patients with RA, and may contribute to dyslipidemia in some patients. APOE genotypes are not consistently associated with markers of inflammation or joint destruction in RA.
The NMDA-receptor antagonist ketamine has proven efficient in reducing symptoms of suicidality, although the mechanisms explaining this effect have not been detailed in psychiatric patients. Recent evidence points towards a low-grade inflammation in brains of suicide victims. Inflammation leads to production of quinolinic acid (QUIN) and kynurenic acid (KYNA), an agonist and antagonist of the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, respectively. We here measured QUIN and KYNA in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 64 medication-free suicide attempters and 36 controls, using gas chromatography mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography. We assessed the patients clinically using the Suicide Intent Scale and the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). We found that QUIN, but not KYNA, was significantly elevated in the CSF of suicide attempters (P<0.001). As predicted, the increase in QUIN was associated with higher levels of CSF interleukin-6. Moreover, QUIN levels correlated with the total scores on Suicide Intent Scale. There was a significant decrease of QUIN in patients who came for follow-up lumbar punctures within 6 months after the suicide attempt. In summary, we here present clinical evidence of increased QUIN in the CSF of suicide attempters. An increased QUIN/KYNA quotient speaks in favor of an overall NMDA-receptor stimulation. The correlation between QUIN and the Suicide Intent Scale indicates that changes in glutamatergic neurotransmission could be specifically linked to suicidality. Our findings have important implications for the detection and specific treatment of suicidal patients, and might explain the observed remedial effects of ketamine.
quinolinic acid; suicide; depression; glutamate; cytokine
To assess whether a psychosocial intervention teaching coping strategies to women can improve quality of life (QOL) in groups of Iranian women exposed to social pressures.
Quasi-experimental non-randomised group design involving two categories of Iranian women, each category represented by non-equivalent intervention and comparison groups.
A large urban area in Iran.
44 women; 25 single mothers and 19 newly married women.
Seventh-month psychosocial intervention aimed at providing coping strategies.
Primary outcome measures
Effect sizes in four specific health-related domains and two overall perceptions of QOL and health measured by the WHOQOL-BREF instrument.
Large effect sizes were observed among the women exposed to the intervention in the WHOQOL-BREF subdomains measuring physical health (r=0.68; p<0.001), psychological health (r=0.72; p<0.001), social relationships (r=0.52; p<0.01), environmental health (r=0.55; p<0.01) and in the overall perception of QOL (r=0.72; p<0.001); the effect size regarding overall perception of health was between small and medium (r=0.20; not significant). Small and not statistically significant effect sizes were observed in the women provided with traditional social welfare services.
Teaching coping strategies can improve the QOL of women in societies where gender discrimination is prevalent. The findings require reproduction in studies with a more rigorous design before the intervention model can be recommended for widespread distribution.
Quality of life; women; Iran; psychosocial intervention; coping
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with increased mortality and poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL) compared with the general population. The objective of this study was to identify clinical characteristics which predict mortality and very poor HRQoL among the COPD population and to develop a Bayesian prediction model.
The data consisted of 738 patients with COPD who had visited the Pulmonary Clinic of the Helsinki and Turku University Hospitals during 1995–2006. The data set contained 49 potential predictor variables and two outcome variables: survival (dead/alive) and HRQoL measured with a 15D instrument (very poor HRQoL < 0.70 vs. typical HRQoL ≥ 0.70).
In the first phase of model validation we randomly divided the material into a training set (n = 538), and a test set (n = 200). This procedure was repeated ten times in random fashion to obtain independently created training sets and corresponding test sets. Modeling was performed by using the training set, and each model was tested by using the corresponding test set, repeated in each training set. In the second phase the final model was created by using the total material and eighteen most predictive variables. The performance of six logistic regressions approaches were shown for comparison purposes.
In the final model, the following variables were associated with mortality or very poor HRQoL: age at onset, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, alcohol abuse, cancer, psychiatric disease, body mass index, Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1) % of predicted, atrial fibrillation, and prolonged QT time in ECG. The prediction accuracy of the model was 77%, sensitivity 0.30, specificity 0.95, positive predictive value 0.68, negative predictive value 0.78, and area under the ROC curve 0.69. While the sensitivity of the model reminded limited, good specificity, moderate accuracy, comparable or better performance in classification and better performance in variable selection and data usage in comparison to the logistic regression approaches, and positive and negative predictive values indicate that the model has potential in predicting mortality and very poor HRQoL in COPD patients.
We developed a Bayesian prediction model which is potentially useful in predicting mortality and very poor HRQoL in patients with COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Bayesian prediction; Bayesian methods; Prognosis; Mortality; Quality of life; Survival analysis
The crystal structures of two fragments of the l,d-transpeptidase from M. tuberculosis have been determined at 1.45 and 1.86 Å resolution. The extramembrane part of this enzyme consists of three domains: two domains related to the immunoglobulin fold and a catalytic domain belonging to the ErfK/YbiS/YhnG family at the C-terminus.
The transpeptidase LtdMt2 catalyzes the formation of the (3–3) cross-links characteristic of the peptidoglycan layer in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell wall. Bioinformatics analysis suggests that the extramembrane part of the enzyme consists of three domains: two smaller domains (denoted as A and B domains) and a transpeptidase domain (the C domain) at the C-terminus. The crystal structures of two fragments comprising the AB domains and the BC domains have been determined. The structure of the BC module, which was determined to 1.86 Å resolution using Se-SAD phasing, consists of the B domain with an immunoglobulin-related fold and the catalytic domain belonging to the ErfK/YbiS/YbnG fold family. The structure of the AB-domain fragment, which was solved by molecular replacement to 1.45 Å resolution, reveals that despite a lack of overall sequence identity the A domain is structurally very similar to the B domain. Combining the structures of the two fragments provides a view of the complete three-domain extramembrane part of LdtMt2 and shows that the protein extends at least 80–100 Å from the plasma membrane into the peptidoglycan layer and thus defines the maximal distance at which cross-links are formed by this enzyme. The LdtMt-related transpeptidases contain one or two immunoglobulin domains, which suggests that these might serve as extender units to position the catalytic domain at an appropriate distance from the membrane in the peptidoglycan layer.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; cell wall; peptidoglycans; transpeptidases; antibiotics
Accurate measurements of mRNA expression levels in tissues or cells are crucially dependent on the use of relevant reference genes for normalization of data. In this study we used quantitative real-time PCR and two Excel-based applets (geNorm and BestKeeper) to determine the best reference genes for quantification of target gene mRNA in a complex tissue organ such as the guinea pig cervix.
Gene expression studies were conducted in cervical epithelium and stroma during pregnancy and parturition and in cultures of primary cells from this tissue. Among 15 reference gene candidates examined, both geNorm and BestKeeper found CLF1 and CLTC to be the most stable in cervical stroma and cervical epithelium, ACTB and PPIB in primary stroma cells, and CLTC and PPIB in primary epithelial cells. The order of stability among the remaining candidate genes was not in such an agreement. Commonly used reference such as GAPDH and B2M demonstrated lower stability. Determination of pairwise variation values for reference gene combinations using geNorm revealed that the geometric mean of the two most stable genes provides sufficient normalization in most cases. However, for cervical stroma tissue in which many reference gene candidates displayed low stability, inclusion of three reference genes in the geometric mean may improve accuracy of target gene expression level analyses. Using the top ranked reference genes we examined the expression levels of target gene PTGS2 in cervical tissue and cultured cervical cells. We compared the results with PTGS2 expression normalized to the least stable gene and found significant differences in gene expression, up to 10-fold in some samples, emphasizing the importance of appropriately selecting reference genes.
We recommend using the geometric mean of CFL1 and CLTC for normalization of qPCR studies in guinea pig cervical tissue studies, ACTB and PPIB in primary stroma cells and CLTC and PPIB in primary epithelial cells from guinea pig.
Cervix; Guinea pig; qPCR; Reference genes; Parturition; Progesterone; Estradiol
The envelope glycoproteins of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2, with the exception of glycoprotein G, elicit cross-reactive B- and T-cell responses. Human vaccine trials, using the cross-reactive glycoproteins B and D, have shown no protection against genital HSV-2 infection or disease. In this study, the mature form of glycoprotein G (mgG-2) of HSV-2 was used for immunization of mice, either alone or in combination with adjuvant CpG, followed by an intravaginal challenge with a lethal dose of a fully virulent HSV-2 strain. Mice immunized with mgG-2 plus CpG showed low disease scores and a significantly higher survival rate (73%) than mice immunized with mgG-2 alone (20%) or controls (0%). Accordingly, limited numbers of infectious HSV-2 particles were detected in the spinal cord of mice immunized with mgG-2 plus CpG. The observed protection was associated with a gamma interferon (IFN-γ) response by splenic CD4+ T cells upon antigen restimulation in vitro and in vaginal washes 1 day postinfection. The majority of sera collected from mice immunized with mgG-2 plus CpG showed macrophage-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent complement-mediated cytolysis, while no neutralization activity was observed. In conclusion, we have shown that immunization with the type-specific mgG-2 protein in combination with CpG could elicit protective immunity against an otherwise lethal vaginal HSV-2 challenge. The mgG-2 protein may therefore constitute a promising HSV-2 vaccine antigen to be considered for future human trials.
Tumour suppressor genes encode a broad class of molecules whose mutational attenuation contributes to malignant progression. In the canonical situation, the tumour suppressor is completely inactivated through a two-hit process involving a point mutation in one allele and chromosomal deletion of the other1. Here, to identify tumour suppressor genes in lymphoma, we screen a short hairpin RNA library targeting genes deleted in human lymphomas. We functionally identify those genes whose suppression promotes tumorigenesis in a mouse lymphoma model. Of the nine tumour suppressors we identified, eight correspond to genes occurring in three physically linked ‘clusters’, suggesting that the common occurrence of large chromosomal deletions in human tumours reflects selective pressure to attenuate multiple genes. Among the new tumour suppressors are adenosylmethionine decarboxylase 1 (AMD1) and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF5A), two genes associated with hypusine, a unique amino acid produced as a product of polyamine metabolism through a highly conserved pathway2. Through a secondary screen surveying the impact of all polyamine enzymes on tumorigenesis, we establish the polyamine–hypusine axis as a new tumour suppressor network regulating apoptosis. Unexpectedly, heterozygous deletions encompassing AMD1 and eIF5A often occur together in human lymphomas and co-suppression of both genes promotes lymphomagenesis in mice. Thus, some tumour suppressor functions can be disabled through a two-step process targeting different genes acting in the same pathway.
The ability of microorganisms to perform dissimilatory (per)chlorate reduction is, for most species, known to be oxygen sensitive. Consequently, bioremediation processes for the removal of oxochlorates will be disturbed if oxygen is present. We measured the expression of chlorite dismutase and chlorate reductase in the presence of different terminal electron acceptors in the chlorate reducer Ideonella dechloratans. Enzyme activity assays and mRNA analyses by real-time quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR were performed on cell extracts from cells grown aerobically with and without chlorate and on cells grown anaerobically in the presence of chlorate. Our results showed that both chlorite dismutase and chlorate reductase are expressed during aerobic growth. However, transfer to anaerobic conditions with chlorate resulted in significantly enhanced enzyme activities and mRNA levels for both enzymes. Absence of oxygen was necessary for the induction to occur, since chlorate addition under aerobic conditions produced neither increased enzyme activities nor higher relative levels of mRNA. For chlorite dismutase, the observed increase in activity was on the same order of magnitude as the increase in the relative mRNA level, indicating gene regulation at the transcriptional level. However, chlorate reductase showed about 200 times higher enzyme activity in anaerobically induced cells, whereas the increase in mRNA was only about 10-fold, suggesting additional mechanisms influence the enzyme activity.
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease took place in the Swedish town Lidköping on Lake Vänern in August 2004 and the number of pneumonia cases at the local hospital increased markedly. As soon as the first patients were diagnosed, health care providers were informed and an outbreak investigation was launched.
Classical epidemiological investigation, diagnostic tests, environmental analyses, epidemiological typing and meteorological methods.
Thirty-two cases were found. The median age was 62 years (range 36 – 88) and 22 (69%) were males. No common indoor exposure was found. Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 was found at two industries, each with two cooling towers. In one cooling tower exceptionally high concentrations, 1.2 × 109 cfu/L, were found. Smaller amounts were also found in the other tower of the first industry and in one tower of the second plant. Sero- and genotyping of isolated L. pneumophila serogroup 1 from three patients and epidemiologically suspected environmental strains supported the cooling tower with the high concentration as the source. In all, two L. pneumophila strains were isolated from three culture confirmed cases and both these strains were detected in the cooling tower, but one strain in another cooling tower as well. Meteorological modelling demonstrated probable spread from the most suspected cooling tower towards the town centre and the precise location of four cases that were stray visitors to Lidköping.
Classical epidemiological, environmental and microbiological investigation of an LD outbreak can be supported by meteorological modelling methods.
The broad competence and cooperation capabilities in the investigation team from different authorities were of paramount importance in stopping this outbreak.
Legionnaires’ disease; Outbreak; Epidemiology; Cooling tower; Meteorological computer models; Sequence based typing
Smoking cessation is the cornerstone of COPD management, but difficult to achieve in clinical practice. The effect of comorbidities on smoking cessation and risk factors for mortality were studied in a cohort of 739 COPD patients recruited in two Finnish University Hospitals. The diagnosis of COPD was done for the first time on average 5.5 years prior to the enrollment. Data from the medical records and followup questionnaires (years 0, 1, 2, and 4) have been analyzed. The patients' lung function varied greatly; mean FEV1 58% of predicted. A total of 60.2% of men and 55.6% of women had been able to quit smoking. Alcohol abuse (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.4–3.3) and psychiatric conditions (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2–2.7) were strongly related to low success rates of quitting. Among current smokers high nicotine dependency was again explained by alcohol abuse and psychiatric conditions. Non-quitters were younger than quitters, but their mortality rates remained significantly higher even when the model was adjusted for impairment of lung functions and comorbidities. In conclusion, co-existing addiction and psychiatric diseases significantly decreased the success rates in smoking cessation and increased mortality among the patients.
To study patients’ levels of exercise activity and the clinical characteristics that relate to physical activity and inactivity among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
A postal questionnaire was administered to 719 patients with COPD in 2010; patients were recruited from the Helsinki and Turku University Central Hospitals in Finland and have been followed since 2005. The questionnaire asked participants about their exercise routines and other daily activities, potential restrictions to exercise, health-related quality of life, and subjective sensations of dyspnea upon exertion.
A total of 50% of the participants reported exercising > 2 times a week throughout the year. The proportion of the exercise inactive patients increased in parallel with disease progression, but the participants exhibited great variation in the degree of activity as well as in sport choices. Year-round activity was better maintained among patients who exercised both indoors and outdoors. Training activity was significantly correlated with patients’ reported subjective dyspnea (r = 0.32, P < 0.001), health-related quality of life (r = 0.25, P < 0.001), mobility score (r = 0.37, P < 0.001), and bronchial obstruction (r = 0.18, P < 0.001). Active patients did not differ from inactive patients in terms of sex, age, smoking status, somatic comorbidities, or body mass index. Irrespective of the level of severity of patients’ COPD, the most significant barrier to exercising was the subjective sensation of dyspnea.
When a patient with COPD suffers from dyspnea and does not have regular exercise routines, the patient will most likely benefit from an exercise program tailored to his or her physical capabilities.
COPD; physical fitness; exercise training; physical activity; pulmonary rehabilitation
Previous investigations have shown hyperhomocysteinemi in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). In the present study we evaluated the circulating level of homocysteine (Hcy) in relation to renal function, vitamins B6, B12 and folate status in AAA patients with special regard to aneurysm size, and rupture. Hcy, Creatinine, B6, B12 and folate were measured in 119 patients with AAA and 36 controls without aneurysm matched by age, gender and smoking habit. As expected there was a weak correlation between Hcy and vitamins B6, B12 or folate. We found similar levels of Hcy, B6 and folic acid in patients with nonruptured AAA compared to the control group matched by age, gender and smoking habit. There was no correlation between maximum diameter of the nonruptured AAA (n=78) and Hcy, B6 or folate. However, the present study shows a significant inverse correlation between maximum diameter of the nonruptured AAA (n=78) and B12 (r = -0.304, p=0.007) with significant higher levels in small AAA compared to large AAA. In conclusion, Hcy does not seem to be a useful biomarker in AAA disease. The unexpected finding of B12 levels correlating to aneurysm diameter warrants urgent further investigation of B12 supplement to prevent progression of small AAA.
Homocysteine; C-reactive protein; vitamin B6; vitamin B12; folate; aneurysm; aorta
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Motor symptoms are the focus of pharmacotherapy, yet non-motor features of the disease (e.g. fatigue, mood disturbances, sleep disturbances and symptoms of anxiety) are both common and disabling for the patient. The pathophysiological mechanisms behind the non-motor symptoms in PD are yet to be untangled. The main objective of this study was to investigate associations between pro-inflammatory substances and non-motor symptoms in patients with PD.
Methods and Materials
We measured C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-6, soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in blood samples from PD patients (n = 86) and healthy controls (n = 40). Symptoms of fatigue, depression, anxiety and sleeping difficulties were assessed using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD), and the Scales for Outcome in PD-Sleep Scale respectively.
IL-6 was significantly higher in PD patients than in healthy controls. Compared to healthy controls, PD patients displayed significantly higher mean scores on HAD and lower scores on FACIT, thus indicating more severe symptoms as measured with these scales. Within the PD sample, high levels of both sIL-2R and TNF-α were significantly associated with more severe symptoms assessed by means of FACIT and HAD (depression and anxiety subscales). SIL-2-R levels were able to significantly predict FACIT and HAD scores after the effects of age, gender, anti-parkinsonian medications, and severity of motor symptoms were controlled for.
We suggest that non-motor symptoms in PD patients, such as fatigue and depressive symptoms, might be generated via inflammatory mechanisms. This knowledge might contribute to the development of novel treatment options in PD, specifically targeting non-motor symptoms.