Age at onset of diagnostic motor manifestations in Huntington disease (HD) is strongly correlated with an expanded CAG trinucleotide repeat. The length of the normal CAG repeat allele has been reported also to influence age at onset, in interaction with the expanded allele. Due to profound implications for disease mechanism and modification, we tested whether the normal allele, interaction between the expanded and normal alleles, or presence of a second expanded allele affects age at onset of HD motor signs.
We modeled natural log-transformed age at onset as a function of CAG repeat lengths of expanded and normal alleles and their interaction by linear regression.
An apparently significant effect of interaction on age at motor onset among 4,068 subjects was dependent on a single outlier data point. A rigorous statistical analysis with a well-behaved dataset that conformed to the fundamental assumptions of linear regression (e.g., constant variance and normally distributed error) revealed significance only for the expanded CAG repeat, with no effect of the normal CAG repeat. Ten subjects with 2 expanded alleles showed an age at motor onset consistent with the length of the larger expanded allele.
Normal allele CAG length, interaction between expanded and normal alleles, and presence of a second expanded allele do not influence age at onset of motor manifestations, indicating that the rate of HD pathogenesis leading to motor diagnosis is determined by a completely dominant action of the longest expanded allele and as yet unidentified genetic or environmental factors. Neurology® 2012;78:690–695
Bryostatin is a unique lead in the development of potentially transformative therapies for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and the eradication of HIV/AIDS. However, the clinical use of bryostatin has been hampered by its limited supply, difficulties in accessing clinically-relevant derivatives, and side effects. Herein, we address these problems through the step-economical syntheses of seven members of a new family of designed bryostatin analogues utilizing a highly convergent Prins-macrocyclization strategy. We also demonstrate for the first time that such analogues effectively induce latent HIV activation in vitro with potencies similar to or better than bryostatin. Significantly, these analogues are up to 1000-fold more potent in inducing latent HIV expression than prostratin, the current clinical candidate for latent virus induction. This study provides the first demonstration that designed, synthetically-accessible bryostatin analogues could serve as superior candidates for the eradication of HIV/AIDS through induction of latent viral reservoirs in conjunction with current antiretroviral therapy.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS; or Brachmann-de Lange syndrome) is a dominantly inherited congenital malformation disorder with features that include characteristic facies, cognitive delays, growth retardation and limb anomalies. Mutations in nearly 60% of CdLS patients have been identified in NIPBL, which encodes a regulator of the sister chromatid cohesion complex. NIPBL, also known as delangin, is a homolog of yeast and amphibian Scc2 and C. elegans PQN-85. Although the exact mechanism of NIPBL function in sister chromatid cohesion is unclear, in vivo yeast and C. elegans experiments and in vitro vertebrate cell experiments have demonstrated that NIPBL/Scc2 functionally interacts with the MAU2/Scc4 protein to initiate loading of cohesin onto chromatin. To test the significance of this model in the clinical setting of CdLS, we fine-mapped the NIBPL–MAU2 interaction domain and tested the functional significance of missense mutations and variants in NIPBL and MAU2 identified in these minimal domains in a cohort of patients with CdLS. We demonstrate that specific novel mutations at the N-terminus of the MAU2-interacting domain of NIBPL result in markedly reduced MAU2 binding, although we appreciate no consistent clinical difference in the small group of patients with these mutations. These data suggest that factors in addition to MAU2 are essential in determining the clinical features and severity of CdLS.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome; cohesin; NIPBL; MAU2; SCC4; sister chromatid cohesion
A hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 has been established as a common cause of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, the minimum repeat number necessary for disease pathogenesis is not known. The aims of our study were to determine the frequency of the C9ORF72 repeat expansion in two FTD patient collections (one Australian and one Spanish, combined n = 190), to examine C9ORF72 expansion allele length in a subset of FTD patients, and to examine C9ORF72 allele length in ‘non-expansion’ patients (those with <30 repeats). The C9ORF72 repeat expansion was detected in 5–17% of patients (21–41% of familial FTD patients). For one family, the expansion was present in the proband but absent in the mother, who was diagnosed with dementia at age 68. No association was found between C9ORF72 non-expanded allele length and age of onset and in the Spanish sample mean allele length was shorter in cases than in controls. Southern blotting analysis revealed that one of the nine ‘expansion-positive’ patients examined, who had neuropathologically confirmed frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 pathology, harboured an ‘intermediate’ allele with a mean size of only ∼65 repeats. Our study indicates that the C9ORF72 repeat expansion accounts for a significant proportion of Australian and Spanish FTD cases. However, C9ORF72 allele length does not influence the age at onset of ‘non-expansion’ FTD patients in the series examined. Expansion of the C9ORF72 allele to as little as ∼65 repeats may be sufficient to cause disease.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a multisystem congenital anomaly disorder characterized by mental retardation, limb abnormalities, distinctive facial features, and hirsutism. Mutations in three genes involved in sister chromatid cohesion, NIPBL, SMC1A, and SMC3, account for ~55% of CdLS cases. The molecular etiology of a significant fraction of CdLS cases remains unknown. We hypothesized that large genomic rearrangements of cohesin complex subunit genes may play a role in the molecular etiology of this disorder.
Custom high-resolution oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization analyses interrogating candidate cohesin genes and breakpoint junction sequencing of identified genomic variants were performed.
Of the 162 patients with CdLS, for whom mutations in known CdLS genes were previously negative by sequencing, deletions containing NIPBL exons were observed in 7 subjects (~5%). Breakpoint sequences in five patients implicated microhomology-mediated replicative mechanisms—such as serial replication slippage and fork stalling and template switching/microhomology-mediated break-induced replication—as a potential predominant contributor to these copy number variations. Most deletions are predicted to result in haploinsuflciency due to heterozygous loss-of-function mutations; such mutations may result in a more severe CdLS phenotype.
Our findings suggest a potential clinical utility to testing for copy number variations involving NIPBL when clinically diagnosed CdLS cases are mutation-negative by DNA-sequencing studies.
aCGH; CdLS; CNV; genomic rearrangement; NIPBL
Bovine viral diarrhea virus is one of the most significant and costly viral pathogens of cattle worldwide. Alphavirus-derived replicon particles have been shown to be safe and highly effective vaccine vectors against a variety of human and veterinary pathogens. Replicon particles are non-propagating, DIVA compatible, and can induce both humoral and cell mediated immune responses. This is the first experiment to demonstrate that Alphavirus-based replicon particles can be utilized in a standard prime/boost vaccination strategy in calves against a commercially significant bovine pathogen.
Replicon particles that express bovine viral diarrhea virus sub-genotype 1b E2 glycoprotein were generated and expression was confirmed in vitro using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies specific to E2. Vaccine made from particles was generated in Vero cells and administered to BVDV free calves in a prime/boost regimen at two dosage levels. Vaccination resulted in neutralizing antibody titers that cross-neutralized both type 1 and type 2 BVD genotypes following booster vaccination. Additionally, high dose vaccine administration demonstrated some protection from clinical disease and significantly reduced the degree of leukopenia caused by viral infection.
Replicon particle vaccines administered in a prime/boost regimen expressing BVDV E2 glycoprotein can induce cross-neutralizing titers, reduce leukopenia post challenge, and mitigate clinical disease in calves. This strategy holds promise for a safe and effective vaccine to BVDV.
BVD; Bovine viral diarrhea virus; Alphavirus replicon; Replicon particle; Vaccine
Maintenance hemodialysis (HD) patients universally suffer from excess toxin load. Hemodiafiltration (HDF) has shown its potential in better removal of small as well as large sized toxins, but its efficacy is restricted by inter-compartmental clearance. Intra-dialytic exercise on the other hand is also found to be effective for removal of toxins; the augmented removal is apparently obtained by better perfusion of skeletal muscles and decreased inter-compartmental resistance. The aim of this trial is to compare the toxin removal outcome associated with intra-dialytic exercise in HD and with post-dilution HDF.
The main hypothesis of this study is that intra-dialytic exercise enhances toxin removal by decreasing the inter-compartmental resistance, a major impediment for toxin removal. To compare the HDF and HD with exercise, the toxin rebound for urea, creatinine, phosphate, and β2-microglobulin will be calculated after 2 hours of dialysis. Spent dialysate will also be collected to calculate the removed toxin mass. To quantify the decrease in inter-compartmental resistance, the recently developed regional blood flow model will be employed. The study will be single center, randomized, self-control, open-label prospective clinical research where 15 study subjects will undergo three dialysis protocols (a) high flux HD, (b) post-dilution HDF, (c) high flux HD with exercise. Multiple blood samples during each study session will be collected to estimate the unknown model parameters.
This will be the first study to investigate the exercise induced physiological change(s) responsible for enhanced toxin removal, and compare the toxin removal outcome both for small and middle sized toxins in HD with exercise and HDF. Successful completion of this clinical research will give important insights into exercise effect on factors responsible for enhanced toxin removal. The knowledge will give confidence for implementing, sustaining, and optimizing the exercise in routine dialysis care. We anticipate that toxin removal outcomes from intra-dialytic exercise session will be comparable to that obtained by standalone HDF. These results will encourage clinicians to combine HDF with intra-dialytic exercise for significantly enhanced toxin removal.
ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01674153
Hemodialysis; Hemodiafiltration; Intra-dialytic exercise; Toxin removal; Inter-compartmental resistance; Cardiac output; Regional blood flow model; Spent dialysate; Blood temperature
We explored the potential of mutant allele-specific gene silencing (ASGS) in providing therapeutic benefit in two established mouse models of the autosomal dominantly-inherited muscle disorders, Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) and Central Core Disease (CCD). Candidate ASGS siRNAs were designed and validated for efficacy and specificity on ryanodine receptor (RyR1) cDNA mini-constructs expressed in HEK293 cells using RT-PCR- and confocal microscopy-based assays. In vivo delivery of the most efficacious identified siRNAs into flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) muscles was achieved by injection/electroporation of footpads of 4–6 month old heterozygous Ryr1Y524S/+ (YS/+) and Ryr1I4895T/+ (IT/+) knock-in mice, established mouse models of MH with cores and CCD, respectively. Treatment of IT/+ mice resulted in a modest rescue of deficits in the maximum rate (∼38% rescue) and magnitude (∼78%) of ligand-induced Ca2+ release that occurred in the absence of a change in the magnitude of electrically-evoked Ca2+ release. Compared to the difference between the caffeine sensitivity of Ca2+ release in FDB fibers from YS/+ and WT mice treated with SCR siRNA (EC50: 1.1 mM versus 4.4 mM, respectively), caffeine sensitivity was normalized in FDB fibers from YS/+ mice following 2 (EC50: 2.8 mM) and 4 week (EC50: 6.6 mM) treatment with YS allele-specific siRNA. Moreover, the temperature-dependent increase in resting Ca2+ observed in FDB fibers from YS/+ mice was normalized to WT levels after 2 weeks of treatment with YS allele-specific siRNA. As determined by quantitative real time PCR, the degree of functional rescue in YS/+ and IT/+ mice correlated well with the relative increase in fractional WT allele expression.
Application of high-density microarrays to the diagnostic analysis of microbial communities is challenged by the optimization of oligonucleotide probe sensitivity and specificity, as it is generally unfeasible to experimentally test thousands of probes. This study investigated the adjustment of hybridization stringency using formamide with the idea that sensitivity and specificity can be optimized during probe design if the hybridization efficiency of oligonucleotides with target and non-target molecules can be predicted as a function of formamide concentration. Sigmoidal denaturation profiles were obtained using fluorescently labeled and fragmented 16S rRNA gene amplicon of Escherichia coli as the target with increasing concentrations of formamide in the hybridization buffer. A linear free energy model (LFEM) was developed and microarray-specific nearest neighbor rules were derived. The model simulated formamide melting with a denaturant m-value that increased hybridization free energy (ΔG°) by 0.173 kcal/mol per percent of formamide added (v/v). Using the LFEM and specific probe sets, free energy rules were systematically established to predict the stability of single and double mismatches, including bulged and tandem mismatches. The absolute error in predicting the position of experimental denaturation profiles was less than 5% formamide for more than 90 percent of probes, enabling a practical level of accuracy in probe design. The potential of the modeling approach for probe design and optimization is demonstrated using a dataset including the 16S rRNA gene of Rhodobacter sphaeroides as an additional target molecule. The LFEM and thermodynamic databases were incorporated into a computational tool (ProbeMelt) that is freely available at http://DECIPHER.cee.wisc.edu.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in men in Sweden and Geneva, and the third most common in men in Singapore. This population-based study describes trends in the incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer in Singapore, Sweden and Geneva (Switzerland) from 1973 to 2006 and explores possible explanations for these different trends.
Data from patients diagnosed with prostate cancer were extracted from national cancer registries in Singapore (n = 5,172), Sweden (n = 188,783) and Geneva (n = 5,755) from 1973 to 2006. Trends of incidence and mortality were reported using the Poisson and negative binomial regression models. The age, period and birth-cohort were tested as predictors of incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer.
Incidence rates of prostate cancer increased over all time periods for all three populations. Based on the age-period-cohort analysis, older age and later period of diagnosis were associated with a higher incidence of prostate cancer, whereas older age and earlier period were associated with higher mortality rates for prostate cancer in all three countries.
This study demonstrated an overall increase in incidence rates and decrease in mortality rates in Singapore, Sweden and Geneva. Both incidence and mortality rates were much lower in Singapore. The period effect is a stronger predictor of incidence and mortality of prostate cancer than the birth-cohort effect.
Lipolysis in adipocytes is associated with phosphorylation of hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) and translocation of HSL to lipid droplets. In this study, adipocytes were cultured in a high-throughput format (96-well dishes), exposed to lipolytic agents, and then fixed and labeled for nuclei, lipid droplets, and HSL (or HSL phosphorylated on serine 660 [pHSLser660]). The cells were imaged via automated digital fluorescence microscopy, and high-content analysis (HCA) methods were used to quantify HSL phosphorylation and the degree to which HSL (or pHSLser660) colocalizes with the lipid droplets. HSL:lipid droplet colocalization was quantified through use of Pearson's correlation, Mander's M1 Colocalization, and the Tanimoto coefficient. For murine 3T3L1 adipocytes, isoproterenol, Lys-γ3-melanocyte stimulating hormone, and forskolin elicited the appearance and colocalization of pHSLser660, whereas atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) did not. For human subcutaneous adipocytes, isoproterenol, forskolin, and ANP activated HSL phosphorylation/colocalization, but Lys-γ3-melanocyte stimulating hormone had little or no effect. Since ANP activates guanosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase, HSL serine 660 is likely a substrate for cGMP-dependent protein kinase in human adipocytes. For both adipocyte model systems, adipocytes with the greatest lipid content displayed the greatest lipolytic responses. The results for pHSLser660 were consistent with release of glycerol by the cells, a well-established assay of lipolysis, and the HCA methods yielded Z′ values >0.50. The results illustrate several key differences between human and murine adipocytes and demonstrate advantages of utilizing HCA techniques to study lipolysis in cultured adipocytes.
We review in part our computational, design, synthesis, and biological studies on a remarkable class of compounds and their designed analogs that have led to preclinical candidates for the treatment of cancer, a first-in-class approach to Alzheimer's disease, and a promising strategy to eradicate HIV/AIDS. Because these leads target, in part, protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes, they have therapeutic potential even beyond this striking set of therapeutic indications. This program has given rise to new synthetic methodology and represents an increasingly important direction of synthesis focused on achieving function through synthesis-informed design (function-oriented synthesis).
AIDS; Alzheimer's disease; bryostatin; function-oriented synthesis; protein kinase C (PKC
“Barcode-tagged” PCR primers used for multiplex amplicon sequencing generate a thus-far-overlooked amplification bias that produces variable terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and pyrosequencing data from the same environmental DNA template. We propose a simple two-step PCR approach that increases reproducibility and consistently recovers higher genetic diversity in pyrosequencing libraries.
Common acquired melanocytic nevi are benign neoplasms that are composed of small uniform melanocytes and typically present as flat or slightly elevated, pigmented lesions on the skin. We describe two families with a new autosomal dominant syndrome characterized by multiple skin-colored, elevated melanocytic tumors. In contrast to common acquired nevi, the melanocytic neoplasms in affected family members ranged histopathologically from epithelioid nevi to atypical melanocytic proliferations that showed overlapping features with melanoma. Some affected patients developed uveal or cutaneous melanomas. Segregating with this phenotype, we found inactivating germline mutations of the BAP1 gene. The majority of melanocytic neoplasms lost the remaining wild-type allele of BAP1 by various somatic alterations. In addition, we found BAP1 mutations in a subset of sporadic melanocytic neoplasms showing histologic similarities to the familial tumors. These findings suggest that loss of BAP1 is associated with a clinically and morphologically distinct type of melanocytic neoplasm.
Testosterone is necessary for the development of male pattern baldness, known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA); yet, the mechanisms for decreased hair growth in this disorder are unclear. We show that prostaglandin D2 synthase (PTGDS) is elevated at the mRNA and protein levels in bald scalp compared to haired scalp of men with AGA. The product of PTGDS enzyme activity, prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), is similarly elevated in bald scalp. During normal follicle cycling in mice, Ptgds and PGD2 levels increase immediately preceding the regression phase, suggesting an inhibitory effect on hair growth. We show that PGD2 inhibits hair growth in explanted human hair follicles and when applied topically to mice. Hair growth inhibition requires the PGD2 receptor G protein (heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide)–coupled receptor 44 (GPR44), but not the PGD2 receptor 1 (PTGDR). Furthermore, we find that a transgenic mouse, K14-Ptgs2, which targets prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 expression to the skin, demonstrates elevated levels of PGD2 in the skin and develops alopecia, follicular miniaturization, and sebaceous gland hyperplasia, which are all hallmarks of human AGA. These results define PGD2 as an inhibitor of hair growth in AGA and suggest the PGD2-GPR44 pathway as a potential target for treatment.
Freshwater wetlands are a major source of the greenhouse gas methane but at the same time can function as carbon sink. Their response to global warming and environmental pollution is one of the largest unknowns in the upcoming decades to centuries. In this review, we highlight the role of sulfate-reducing microorganisms (SRM) in the intertwined element cycles of wetlands. Although regarded primarily as methanogenic environments, biogeochemical studies have revealed a previously hidden sulfur cycle in wetlands that can sustain rapid renewal of the small standing pools of sulfate. Thus, dissimilatory sulfate reduction, which frequently occurs at rates comparable to marine surface sediments, can contribute up to 36–50% to anaerobic carbon mineralization in these ecosystems. Since sulfate reduction is thermodynamically favored relative to fermentative processes and methanogenesis, it effectively decreases gross methane production thereby mitigating the flux of methane to the atmosphere. However, very little is known about wetland SRM. Molecular analyses using dsrAB [encoding subunit A and B of the dissimilatory (bi)sulfite reductase] as marker genes demonstrated that members of novel phylogenetic lineages, which are unrelated to recognized SRM, dominate dsrAB richness and, if tested, are also abundant among the dsrAB-containing wetland microbiota. These discoveries point toward the existence of so far unknown SRM that are an important part of the autochthonous wetland microbiota. In addition to these numerically dominant microorganisms, a recent stable isotope probing study of SRM in a German peatland indicated that rare biosphere members might be highly active in situ and have a considerable stake in wetland sulfate reduction. The hidden sulfur cycle in wetlands and the fact that wetland SRM are not well represented by described SRM species explains their so far neglected role as important actors in carbon cycling and climate change.
dsrAB; dissimilatory (bi)sulfite reductase; rare biosphere; sulfur cycle; peatland; rice paddy; sulfate-reducing microorganisms; sulfur pollution
2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), the most abundant heterocyclic amine produced during the cooking of meats and fish, is suspected to be a human carcinogen. Metabolic activation of PhIP is primarily mediated by the enzyme cytochrome P450 (CYP) 1A2. Metabolism of PhIP by CYP1A2 differs considerably between humans and rodents, with more N2-hydroxylation (activation) and less 4′-hydroxylation (detoxication) in humans. Transgenic CYP1A-humanized mice (hCYP1A-mice), which have the human CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 genes but lack the murine orthologs Cyp1a1 and Cyp1a2, provide an excellent opportunity to develop a relevant model to study dietary-induced colon carcinogenesis. The treatment with 200 mg/kg PhIP by oral gavage, followed by 1.5% dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) in the drinking water for 7 days, was found to be an effective combination to induce colon carcinogenesis in hCYP1A-mice. Tumor multiplicity at week 6 was calculated to be 3.75 ± 0.70 and for week 10 was 3.90 ± 0.61 with 80–95% of the tumors being adenocarcinomas. No tumors were found in the similarly treated wild-type mice. Western blots revealed overexpression of β-catenin, c-Myc, cyclin D1, inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 in colon tumor samples. Strong nuclear localization of β-catenin was observed in tumors. These results illustrate that PhIP and DSS combination produces rapid colon carcinogenesis in hCYP1A-mice and this is an effective model to mimic human colon carcinogenesis.
We report on a recycling project in which α-Al2O3 was produced from aluminum cans because no such work has been reported in literature. Heated aluminum cans were mixed with 8.0 M of H2SO4 solution to form an Al2(SO4)3 solution. The Al2(SO4)3 salt was contained in a white semi-liquid solution with excess H2SO4; some unreacted aluminum pieces were also present. The solution was filtered and mixed with ethanol in a ratio of 2:3, to form a white solid of Al2(SO4)3·18H2O. The Al2(SO4)3·18H2O was calcined in an electrical furnace for 3 h at temperatures of 400–1400 °C. The heating and cooling rates were 10 °C/min. XRD was used to investigate the phase changes at different temperatures and XRF was used to determine the elemental composition in the alumina produced. A series of different alumina compositions, made by repeated dehydration and desulfonation of the Al2(SO4)3·18H2O, is reported. All transitional alumina phases produced at low temperatures were converted to α-Al2O3 at high temperatures. The X-ray diffraction results indicated that the α-Al2O3 phase was realized when the calcination temperature was at 1200 °C or higher.
precipitation; calcinations; phase transformations; α-alumina
Infectious and inflammatory diseases have repeatedly shown strong genetic associations within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC); however, the basis for these associations remains elusive. To define host genetic effects on the outcome of a chronic viral infection, we performed genome-wide association analysis in a multiethnic cohort of HIV-1 controllers and progressors, and we analyzed the effects of individual amino acids within the classical human leukocyte antigen (HLA) proteins. We identified >300 genome-wide significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the MHC and none elsewhere. Specific amino acids in the HLA-B peptide binding groove, as well as an independent HLA-C effect, explain the SNP associations and reconcile both protective and risk HLA alleles. These results implicate the nature of the HLA–viral peptide interaction as the major factor modulating durable control of HIV infection.
The I4898T (IT) mutation in type 1 ryanodine receptor (RyR1), the Ca2+ release channel of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) is linked to a form of central core disease (CCD) in humans and results in a non leaky channel and excitation-contraction uncoupling. We characterized age- and fiber type-dependent alterations in muscle ultrastructure, as well as the magnitude and spatiotemporal properties of evoked Ca2+ release in heterozygous Ryr1I4895T/WT (IT/+) knock-in mice on a mixed genetic background. The results indicate a classical but mild CCD phenotype that includes muscle weakness and the presence of mitochondrial-deficient areas in type I fibers. Electrically-evoked Ca2+ release is significantly reduced in single FDB fibers from young and old IT/+ mice. Structural changes are strongly fiber type-specific, affecting type I and IIB/IIX fibers in very distinct ways, and sparing type IIA fibers. Ultrastructural alterations in our IT/+ mice are also present in wild type, but at a lower frequency and older ages, suggesting that the disease mutation on the mixed background promotes an acceleration of normal age-dependent changes. The observed functional and structural alterations and their similarity to age-associated changes are entirely consistent with the known properties of the mutated channel, which result in reduced calcium release as is also observed in normal aging muscle. In strong contrast to these observations, a subset of patients with the analogous human heterozygous mutation and IT/+ mice on an inbred 129S2/SvPasCrl background exhibit a more severe disease phenotype, which is not directly consistent with the mutated channel properties.
muscle; excitation-contraction coupling; central core disease; ryanodine receptor
The Notch signalling pathway is conserved in pre-bilaterian animals. In the Cnidarian Hydra it is involved in interstitial stem cell differentiation and in boundary formation during budding. Experimental evidence suggests that in Hydra Notch is activated by presenilin through proteolytic cleavage at the S3 site as in all animals. However, the endogenous ligand for HvNotch has not been described yet.
We have cloned a cDNA from Hydra, which encodes a bona-fide Notch ligand with a conserved domain structure similar to that of Jagged-like Notch ligands from other animals. Hyjagged mRNA is undetectable in adult Hydra by in situ hybridisation but is strongly upregulated and easily visible at the border between bud and parent shortly before bud detachment. In contrast, HyJagged protein is found in all cell types of an adult hydra, where it localises to membranes and endosomes. Co-localisation experiments showed that it is present in the same cells as HvNotch, however not always in the same membrane structures.
The putative Notch ligand HyJagged is conserved in Cnidarians. Together with HvNotch it may be involved in the formation of the parent-bud boundary in Hydra. Moreover, protein distribution of both, HvNotch receptor and HyJagged indicate a more widespread function for these two transmembrane proteins in the adult hydra, which may be regulated by additional factors, possibly involving endocytic pathways.
The hybridization of nucleic acid targets with surface-immobilized probes is a widely used assay for the parallel detection of multiple targets in medical and biological research. Despite its widespread application, DNA microarray technology still suffers from several biases and lack of reproducibility, stemming in part from an incomplete understanding of the processes governing surface hybridization. In particular, non-random spatial variations within individual microarray hybridizations are often observed, but the mechanisms underpinning this positional bias remain incompletely explained.
This study identifies and rationalizes a systematic spatial bias in the intensity of surface hybridization, characterized by markedly increased signal intensity of spots located at the boundaries of the spotted areas of the microarray slide. Combining observations from a simplified single-probe block array format with predictions from a mathematical model, the mechanism responsible for this bias is found to be a position-dependent variation in lateral diffusion of target molecules. Numerical simulations reveal a strong influence of microarray well geometry on the spatial bias.
Reciprocal adjustment of the size of the microarray hybridization chamber to the area of surface-bound probes is a simple and effective measure to minimize or eliminate the diffusion-based bias, resulting in increased uniformity and accuracy of quantitative DNA microarray hybridization.