Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic mycosis caused by the thermodimorphic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Leukotrienes and lipoxins are lipid mediators produced after 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) activation that exhibit pro- and anti-inflammatory roles, respectively. Here, we have investigated the contribution of 5-LO enzymatic activity in PCM using an experimental model of P. brasiliensis infection. B6.129 wild-type (B6.129) and 5-LO-deficient (5-LO−/−) mice were intravenously inoculated with a virulent strain of P. brasiliensis (Pb18), and the survival rate of the infected mice was investigated on different days after yeast infection. 5-LO−/− mice exhibited an increased survival rate associated with a decreased number of CFU. The resistance of 5-LO−/− during PCM was associated with augmented nitric oxide (NO) production and the formation of compact granulomas. In addition, the absence of 5-LO was associated with a diminished number of CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells, higher levels of gamma interferon and interleukin-12, and increased T-bet (a T-box transcription factor that directs Th1 lineage commitment) mRNA levels in the lungs. Taken together, our results show for the first time that 5-LO enzymatic activity increases susceptibility to P. brasiliensis, suggesting that this pathway may be a potential target for therapeutic intervention during PCM.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer disease in the Western world, and about 40% of the patients die from this disease. The cancer cells are commonly genetically unstable, but only a few low-frequency recurrent fusion genes have so far been reported for this disease. In this study, we present a thorough search for novel fusion transcripts in CRC using high-throughput RNA sequencing. From altogether 220 million paired-end sequence reads from seven CRC cell lines, we identified 3391 candidate fused transcripts. By stringent requirements, we nominated 11 candidate fusion transcripts for further experimental validation, of which 10 were positive by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Sanger sequencing. Six were intrachromosomal fusion transcripts, and interestingly, three of these, AKAP13-PDE8A, COMMD10-AP3S1, and CTB-35F21.1-PSD2, were present in, respectively, 18, 18, and 20 of 21 analyzed cell lines and in, respectively, 18, 61, and 48 (17%-58%) of 106 primary cancer tissues. These three fusion transcripts were also detected in 2 to 4 of 14 normal colonic mucosa samples (14%–28%). Whole-genome sequencing identified a specific genomic breakpoint in COMMD10-AP3S1 and further indicates that both the COMMD10-AP3S1 and AKAP13-PDE8A fusion transcripts are due to genomic duplications in specific cell lines. In conclusion, we have identified AKAP13-PDE8A, COMMD10-AP3S1, and CTB-35F21.1-PSD2 as novel intrachromosomal fusion transcripts and the most highly recurring chimeric transcripts described for CRC to date. The functional and clinical relevance of these chimeric RNA molecules remains to be elucidated.
Toxoplasma gondii induces a potent IL-12 response early in infection that results in IFN-γ-dependent control of parasite growth. It was previously shown that T. gondii soluble tachyzoite antigen (STAg) injected 48 hr before intraperitoneal infection reduces lipoxin A4 and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO)-dependent systemic IL-12 and IFN-γ production as well as hepatic immunopathology. This study investigated the ability of STAg-pretreatment to control the fatal intestinal pathology that develops in C57BL/6 mice orally infected with 100 T. gondii cysts. STAg-pretreatment prolonged the animals’ survival by decreasing tissue parasitism and pathology, mainly in the ilea. Protection was associated with decreases in the systemic IFN-γ levels and IFN-γ and TNF message levels in the ilea and with increased TGF-β production in this tissue, but protection was independent of 5-LO and IL-4. STAg-pretreatment decreased CD4+ T cell, NK cell, CD11b+ monocyte and CD11b+CD11c+ dendritic cell numbers in the lamina propria and increased CD8+ T cells in the intestinal epithelial compartment. In parallel, decreases were observed in iNOS and IL-17 expression in this organ. These results demonstrate that pretreatment with STAg can induce the recruitment of protective CD8+ T cells to the intraepithelial compartment and decrease proinflammatory immune mechanisms that promote intestinal pathology in T. gondii infection.
Hyptis martiusii Benth. (Lamiaceae) is found in abundance in Northeastern Brazil where it is used in traditional medicine to treat gastric disorders. Since there are no studies reporting the toxicity and safety profile of this species, we investigated repeated-doses toxicity of the essential oil of Hyptis martiusii (EOHM). Swiss mice of both sexes were orally treated with EOHM (100 and 500 mg/kg) for 30 days, and biochemical, hematological, and morphological parameters were determined. No toxicity signs or deaths were recorded during the treatment with EOHM. The body weight gain was not affected, but there was an occasional variation in water and food consumption among mice of both sexes treated with both doses. The hematological and biochemical profiles did not show significant differences except for a decrease in the MCV and an increase in albumin, but these variations are within the limits described for the species. The microscopic analysis showed changes in liver, kidneys, lungs, and spleen; however, these changes do not have clinical relevance since they varied among the groups, including the control group. The results indicate that the treatment of repeated-doses with the essential oil of Hyptis martiusii showed low toxicity in mice.
A multi-step cascade strategy using integrated ligand- and target-based virtual screening methods was developed to select a small number of compounds from the ZINC database to be evaluated for trypanocidal activity. Winnowing the database to 23 selected compounds, 12 non-covalent binding cruzain inhibitors with affinity values (Ki) in the low micromolar range (3–60 µM) acting through a competitive inhibition mechanism were identified. This mechanism has been confirmed by determining the binding mode of the cruzain inhibitor Nequimed176 through X-ray crystallographic studies. Cruzain, a validated therapeutic target for new chemotherapy for Chagas disease, also shares high similarity with the mammalian homolog cathepsin L. Because increased activity of cathepsin L is related to invasive properties and has been linked to metastatic cancer cells, cruzain inhibitors from the same library were assayed against it. Affinity values were in a similar range (4–80 µM), yielding poor selectivity towards cruzain but raising the possibility of investigating such inhibitors for their effect on cell proliferation. In order to select the most promising enzyme inhibitors retaining trypanocidal activity for structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies, the most potent cruzain inhibitors were assayed against T. cruzi-infected cells. Two compounds were found to have trypanocidal activity. Using compound Nequimed42 as precursor, an SAR was established in which the 2-acetamidothiophene-3-carboxamide group was identified as essential for enzyme and parasite inhibition activities. The IC50 value for compound Nequimed42 acting against the trypomastigote form of the Tulahuen lacZ strain was found to be 10.6±0.1 µM, tenfold lower than that obtained for benznidazole, which was taken as positive control. In addition, by employing the strategy of molecular simplification, a smaller compound derived from Nequimed42 with a ligand efficiency (LE) of 0.33 kcal mol−1 atom−1 (compound Nequimed176) is highlighted as a novel non-peptidic, non-covalent cruzain inhibitor as a trypanocidal agent candidate for optimization.
Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) is a parasitic infection that kills millions of mostly poverty-stricken people in Latin America. In recent years it has also spread to nonendemic countries – the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan – as a result of immigration. The only available drugs for its treatment were introduced more than forty years ago, have low efficacy, and cause various severe side effects. This dire public health situation has prompted us to search for new small molecules to act as drug candidates to treat Chagas disease. The T. cruzi enzyme cruzain, a key biological catalyst used by the protozoan to digest host proteins, is a validated drug target for Chagas disease. By combining in silico molecular design, X-ray crystallography and biological screening, we found a new class of non-covalent small molecules that inhibit cruzain in low micromolar concentrations.
The purpose this study was to examine the effects of caffeine ingestion on performance and energy expenditure (anaerobic and aerobic contribution) during a 4-km cycling time trial (TT) performed after a carbohydrate (CHO) availability-lowering exercise protocol. After preliminary and familiarization trials, seven amateur cyclists performed three 4-km cycling TT in a double-blind, randomized and crossover design. The trials were performed either after no previous exercise (CON), or after a CHO availability-lowering exercise protocol (DEP) performed in the previous evening, followed by either placebo (DEP-PLA) or 5 mg.kg−1 of caffeine intake (DEP-CAF) 1 hour before the trial. Performance was reduced (−2.1%) in DEP-PLA vs CON (421.0±12.3 vs 412.4±9.7 s). However, performance was restored in DEP-CAF (404.6±17.1 s) compared with DEP-PLA, while no differences were found between DEP-CAF and CON. The anaerobic contribution was increased in DEP-CAF compared with both DEP-PLA and CON (67.4±14.91, 47. 3±14.6 and 55.3±14.0 W, respectively), and this was more pronounced in the first 3 km of the trial. Similarly, total anaerobic work was higher in DEP-CAF than in the other conditions. The integrated electromyographic activity, plasma lactate concentration, oxygen uptake, aerobic contribution and total aerobic work were not different between the conditions. The reduction in performance associated with low CHO availability is reversed with caffeine ingestion due to a higher anaerobic contribution, suggesting that caffeine could access an anaerobic “reserve” that is not used under normal conditions.
Objectives. To evaluate the association between physical exercise supervised in pregnant women with chronic hypertension and/or previous preeclampsia and maternal and neonatal outcomes. Method. Randomized controlled trial, which included 116 pregnant women with chronic hypertension and/or previous preeclampsia, considered risk of preeclampsia development. They were divided into two groups: study group that performed physical exercise with a stationary bicycle once a week, for 30 minutes; the intensity was controlled (heart rate 20% above resting values), under professional supervision and a control group that was not engaged in any physical exercise. The data was retrieved from medical charts. Significance level assumed was 5%. Results. Women from study group performed 9.24 ± 7.03 of physical exercise sessions. There were no differences between groups comparing type of delivery and maternal outcomes, including maternal morbidity and hospitalization in intensive unit care, and neonatal outcomes, including birth weight, adequacy of weight to gestational age, prematurity, Apgar scale at first and fifth minutes, hospitalization in intensive unit care, and neonatal morbidity. Conclusions. Physical exercise using a stationary bicycle in pregnant women with chronic hypertension and/or previous preeclampsia, once a week, under professional supervision, did not interfere in the delivery method and did not produce maternal and neonatal risks of the occurrence of morbidity. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01395342.
Sepsis, a major cause of morbidity/mortality in intensive care units worldwide, is commonly associated with cardiac dysfunction, which worsens the prognosis dramatically for patients. Although in recent years the concept of septic cardiomyopathy has evolved, the importance of myocardial structural alterations in sepsis has not been fully explored. This study offers novel and mechanistic data to clarify subcellular events that occur in the pathogenesis of septic cardiomyopathy and myocardial dysfunction in severe sepsis. Cultured neonatal mice cardiomyocytes subjected to serum obtained from mice with severe sepsis presented striking increment of [Ca2+]i and calpain-1 levels associated with decreased expression of dystrophin and disruption and derangement of F-actin filaments and cytoplasmic bleb formation. Severe sepsis induced in mice led to an increased expression of calpain-1 in cardiomyocytes. Moreover, decreased myocardial amounts of dystrophin, sarcomeric actin, and myosin heavy chain were observed in septic hearts associated with depressed cardiac contractile dysfunction and a very low survival rate. Actin and myosin from the sarcomere are first disassembled by calpain and then ubiquitinated and degraded by proteasome or sequestered inside specialized vacuoles called autophagosomes, delivered to the lysosome for degradation forming autophagolysosomes. Verapamil and dantrolene prevented the increase of calpain-1 levels and preserved dystrophin, actin, and myosin loss/reduction as well cardiac contractile dysfunction associated with strikingly improved survival rate. These abnormal parameters emerge as therapeutic targets, which modulation may provide beneficial effects on future vascular outcomes and mortality in sepsis. Further studies are needed to shed light on this mechanism, mainly regarding specific calpain inhibitors.
Gene fusions involving the erythroblast transformation-specific (ETS) transcription factors ERG, ETV1, ETV4, ETV5, and FLI1 are a common feature of prostate carcinomas (PCas). The most common upstream fusion partner described is the androgen-regulated prostate-specific gene TMPRSS2, most frequently with ERG, but additional 5′ fusion partners have been described. We performed 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends in 18 PCas with ETV1, ETV4, or ETV5 outlier expression to identify the 5′ fusion partners. We also evaluated the exon-level expression profile of these ETS genes in 14 cases. We identified and confirmed by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction the two novel chimeric genes OR51E2-ETV1 and UBTF-ETV4 in two PCas. OR51E2 encodes a G-protein-coupled receptor that is overexpressed in PCas, whereas UBTF is a ubiquitously expressed gene encoding an HMG-box DNA-binding protein involved in ribosome biogenesis. We additionally describe two novel gene fusion combinations of previously described genes, namely, SLC45A3-ETV4 and HERVK17-ETV4. Finally, we found one PCa with TMPRSS2-ETV1, one with C15orf21-ETV1, one with EST14-ETV1, and two with 14q133-q21.1-ETV1. In nine PCas (eight ETV1 and one ETV5), exhibiting ETS outlier expression and genomic rearrangement detected by FISH, no 5′ fusion partner was found. Our findings contribute significantly to characterize the heterogeneous group of ETS gene fusions and indicate that all genes described as 5′ fusion partners with one ETS gene can most likely be rearranged with any of the other ETS genes involved in prostate carcinogenesis.
To study the prevalence of potentially life-threatening maternal conditions and near miss in Brazil according to maternal age.
A secondary analysis of the 2006 Brazilian demographic health survey database using a validated questionnaire to evaluate maternal morbidity with a focus on age extremes. The study included 5,025 women with at least 1 live birth in the 5-year reference period preceding their interviews. Three age range periods were used: 15-19 years (younger age), 20-34 years (control), and 35-49 years (advanced maternal age). According to a pragmatic definition, any woman reporting eclampsia, hysterectomy, blood transfusion, or admission to the intensive care unit during her pregnancy/childbirth was considered a near-miss case. The associations between age and severe maternal morbidity were further assessed.
For the 6,833 reported pregnancies, 73.7% of the women were 20-34 years old, 17.9% were of advanced maternal age, and only 8.4% were of younger age. More than 22% of the women had at least one of the complications appraised, and blood transfusion, which was more prevalent among the controls, was the only variable with a significant difference among the age groups. The overall rate of maternal near miss was 21.1 per 1000 live births. There was a trend of higher maternal near miss with increasing age. The only significant risk factor identified for maternal near miss was a lower literacy level among older women.
There is a trend towards worse results with increasing age. The investigation of the determinants of maternal near miss at the community level using an innovative approach through a demographic health survey is an example suggested for under-resourced settings.
Morbidity; Obstetric Complication; Pregnancy in Adolescence; Maternal Age
Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that causes relevant clinical disease in humans and animals. Several studies have been performed in order to understand the interactions between proteins of the parasite and host cells. SAG2A is a 22 kDa protein that is mainly found in the surface of tachyzoites. In the present work, our aim was to correlate the predicted three-dimensional structure of this protein with the immune system of infected hosts.
To accomplish our goals, we performed in silico analysis of the amino acid sequence of SAG2A, correlating the predictions with in vitro stimulation of antigen presenting cells and serological assays.
Structure modeling predicts that SAG2A protein possesses an unfolded C-terminal end, which varies its conformation within distinct strain types of T. gondii. This structure within the protein shelters a known B-cell immunodominant epitope, which presents low identity with its closest phyllogenetically related protein, an orthologue predicted in Neospora caninum. In agreement with the in silico observations, sera of known T. gondii infected mice and goats recognized recombinant SAG2A, whereas no serological cross-reactivity was observed with samples from N. caninum animals. Additionally, the C-terminal end of the protein was able to down-modulate pro-inflammatory responses of activated macrophages and dendritic cells.
Altogether, we demonstrate herein that recombinant SAG2A protein from T. gondii is immunologically relevant in the host-parasite interface and may be targeted in therapeutic and diagnostic procedures designed against the infection.
Toxoplasmosis; Protein modeling; SAG2A; Monoclonal antibodies; Recombinant protein
Leishmania parasites are transmitted to their vertebrate hosts by infected Phlebotomine sand flies during the blood meal of the flies. Sand fly saliva is known to enhance Leishmania spp. infection, while pre-exposure to saliva protects mice against parasitic infections. In this study, we investigated the initial inflammatory leucocyte composition induced by one or three inocula of salivary gland extract (SGE) from Lutzomyia longipalpis in the presence or absence of Leishmania braziliensis.
We demonstrated that inoculating SGE once (SGE-1X) or three times (SGE-3X), which represented a co-inoculation or a pre-exposure to saliva, respectively, resulted in different cellular infiltrate profiles. Whereas SGE-1X led to the recruitment of all leucocytes subtypes including CD4+ T cells, CD4+CD25+ T cells, dendritic cells, macrophages and neutrophils, the immune cell profile in the SGE-3X group differed dramatically, as CD4+ T cells, CD4+CD25+ T cells, dendritic cells, macrophages and neutrophils were decreased and CD8+ T cells were increased. The SGE-1X group did not show differences in the ear lesion size; however, the SGE-1X group harbored a higher number of parasites. On the other hand, the SGE-3X group demonstrated a protective effect against parasitic disease, as the parasite burden was lower even in the earlier stages of the infection, a period in which the SGE-1X group presented with larger and more severe lesions. These effects were also reflected in the cytokine profiles of both groups. Whereas the SGE-1X group presented with a substantial increase in IL-10 production, the SGE-3X group showed an increase in IFN-γ production in the draining lymph nodes. Analysis of the inflammatory cell populations present within the ear lesions, the SGE-1X group showed an increase in CD4+FOXP3+ cells, whereas the CD4+FOXP3+ population was reduced in the SGE-3X group. Moreover, CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells producing IFN-γ were highly detected in the ears of the SGE-3X mice prior to infection. In addition, upon treatment of SGE-3X mice with anti-IFN-γ monoclonal antibody, we observed a decrease in the protective effect of SGE-3X against L. braziliensis infection.
These results indicate that different inocula of Lutzomyia longipalpis salivary gland extract can markedly modify the cellular immune response, which is reflected in the pattern of susceptibility or resistance to Leishmania braziliensis infection.
Phlebotomines saliva; Lutzomyia longipalpis saliva; Leishmania braziliensis; Inflammatory leucocytes; Cytokines; Immunoregulation
There are numerous studies concerning the effect of UVB light on skin cells but fewer on other skin components such as the interstitial fluid. This review highlights high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) as important targets of UVB in interstitial fluid. Tryptophan residues are the sole apolipoprotein residues absorbing solar UVB. The UVB-induced one-electron oxidation of Trp produces •Trp and •O2− radicals which trigger lipid peroxidation. Immunoblots from buffered solutions or suction blister fluid reveal that propagation of photooxidative damage to other residues such as Tyr or disulfide bonds produces intra- and intermolecular bonds in apolipoproteins A-I, A-II, and B100. Partial repair of phenoxyl tyrosyl radicals (TyrO•) by α-tocopherol is observed with LDL and HDL on millisecond or second time scales, whereas limited repair of α-tocopherol by carotenoids occurs in only HDL. More effective repair of Tyr and α-tocopherol is observed with the flavonoid, quercetin, bound to serum albumin, but quercetin is less potent than new synthetic polyphenols in inhibiting LDL lipid peroxidation or restoring α-tocopherol. The systemic consequences of HDL and LDL oxidation and the activation and/or inhibition of signalling pathways by oxidized LDL and their ability to enhance transcription factor DNA binding activity are also reviewed.
MGMT downregulation in high-grade gliomas (HGG) has been mostly attributed to aberrant promoter methylation and is associated with increased sensitivity to alkylating agent-based chemotherapy. However, HGG harboring 10q deletions also benefit from treatment with alkylating agents. Because the MGMT gene is mapped at 10q26, we hypothesized that both epigenetic and genetic alterations might affect its expression and predict response to chemotherapy. To test this hypothesis, promoter methylation and mRNA levels of MGMT were determined by quantitative methylation-specific PCR (qMSP) or methylation-specific multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA) and quantitative RT-PCR, respectively, in a retrospective series of 61 HGG. MGMT/chromosome 10 copy number variations were determined by FISH or MS-MLPA analysis. Molecular findings were correlated with clinical parameters to assess their predictive value. Overall, MGMT methylation ratios assessed by qMSP and MS-MLPA were inversely correlated with mRNA expression levels (best coefficient value obtained with MS-MLPA). By FISH analysis in 68.3% of the cases there was loss of 10q26.1 and in 15% of the cases polysomy was demonstrated; the latter displayed the highest levels of transcript. When genetic and epigenetic data were combined, cases with MGMT promoter methylation and MGMT loss depicted the lowest transcript levels, although an impact in response to alkylating agent chemotherapy was not apparent. Cooperation between epigenetic (promoter methylation) and genetic (monosomy, locus deletion) changes affecting MGMT in HGG is required for effective MGMT silencing. Hence, evaluation of copy number alterations might add relevant prognostic and predictive information concerning response to alkylating agent-based chemotherapy.
Silk-elastin-like proteins (SELPs) combining the physicochemical and biological properties of silk and elastin have a high potential for use in the pharmaceutical, regenerative medicine and materials fields. Their development for use is however restrained by their production levels. Here we describe the batch production optimisation for a novel recently described SELP in the pET-E. coli BL21(DE3) expression system. Both a comprehensive empirical approach examining all process variables (media, induction time and period, temperature, pH, aeration and agitation) and a detailed characterisation of the bioprocess were carried out in an attempt to maximise production with this system.
This study shows that maximum SELP volumetric production is achieved at 37°C using terrific broth at pH 6–7.5, a shake flask volume to medium volume ratio of 10:1 and an agitation speed of 200 rpm. Maximum induction is attained at the beginning of the stationary phase with 0.5 mM IPTG and an induction period of at least 4 hours. We show that the selection agents ampicillin and carbenicillin are rapidly degraded early in the cultivation and that plasmid stability decreases dramatically on induction. Furthermore, acetate accumulates during the bioprocess to levels which are shown to be inhibitory to the host cells. Using our optimised conditions, 500 mg/L of purified SELP was obtained.
We have identified the optimal conditions for the shake flask production of a novel SELP with the final production levels obtained being the highest reported to date. While this study is focused on SELPs, we believe that it could also be of general interest to any study where the pET (ampicillin selective marker)-E. coli BL21(DE3) expression system is used. In particular, we show that induction time is critical in this system with, in contrast to that which is generally believed, optimal production being obtained by induction at the beginning of the stationary phase. Furthermore, we believe that we are at or near the maximum productivity for the system used, with rapid degradation of the selective agent by plasmid encoded β-lactamase, plasmid instability on induction and high acetate production levels being the principal limiting factors for further improved production.
Biopolymers; Silk-elastin like polymers; pET-E. coli BL21(DE3); Batch production
The use of lignocellulosic constituents in biotechnological processes requires a selective separation of the main fractions (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin). During diluted acid hydrolysis for hemicellulose extraction, several toxic compounds are formed by the degradation of sugars and lignin, which have ability to inhibit microbial metabolism. Thus, the use of a detoxification step represents an important aspect to be considered for the improvement of fermentation processes from hydrolysates. In this paper, we evaluated the application of Advanced Oxidative Processes (AOPs) for the detoxification of rice straw hemicellulosic hydrolysate with the goal of improving ethanol bioproduction by Pichia stipitis yeast. Aiming to reduce the toxicity of the hemicellulosic hydrolysate, different treatment conditions were analyzed. The treatments were carried out according to a Taguchi L16 orthogonal array to evaluate the influence of Fe+2, H2O2, UV, O3 and pH on the concentration of aromatic compounds and the fermentative process.
The results showed that the AOPs were able to remove aromatic compounds (furan and phenolic compounds derived from lignin) without affecting the sugar concentration in the hydrolysate. Ozonation in alkaline medium (pH 8) in the presence of H2O2 (treatment A3) or UV radiation (treatment A5) were the most effective for hydrolysate detoxification and had a positive effect on increasing the yeast fermentability of rice straw hemicellulose hydrolysate. Under these conditions, the higher removal of total phenols (above 40%), low molecular weight phenolic compounds (above 95%) and furans (above 52%) were observed. In addition, the ethanol volumetric productivity by P. stipitis was increased in approximately twice in relation the untreated hydrolysate.
These results demonstrate that AOPs are a promising methods to reduce toxicity and improve the fermentability of lignocellulosic hydrolysates.
Ethanol; Pichia stipitis; Rice straw hemicellulosic hydrolysate; Advanced oxidative processes; Detoxification
The development of Chagas disease is determined by a complex interaction between the genetic traits of both the protozoan parasite, T. cruzi, and the infected host. This process is regulated by multiple genes that control different aspects of the host-parasite interaction. While determination of the relevant genes in humans is extremely difficult, it is feasible to use inbred mouse strains to determine the genes and loci responsible for host resistance to infection. In this study, we investigated the susceptibility of several inbred mouse strains to infection with the highly virulent Y strain of T. cruzi and found a considerable difference in susceptibility between A/J and C57BL/6 mice. We explored the differences between these two mouse strains and found that the A/J strain presented higher mortality, exacerbated and uncontrolled parasitemia and distinct histopathology in the target organs, which were associated with a higher parasite burden and more extensive tissue lesions. We then employed a genetic approach to assess the pattern of inheritance of the resistance phenotype in an F1 population and detected a strong parent-of-origin effect determining the susceptibility of the F1 male mice. This effect is unlikely to result from imprinted genes because the inheritance of this susceptibility was affected by the direction of the parental crossing. Collectively, our genetic approach of using the F1 population suggests that genes contained in the murine chromosome X contribute to the natural resistance against T. cruzi infection. Future linkage studies may reveal the locus and genes participating on the host resistance process reported herein.
Silk-elastin-like polymers (SELPs) are protein-based polymers composed of repetitive amino acid sequence motifs found in silk fibroin (GAGAGS) and mammalian elastin (VPGVG). These polymers are of much interest, both from a fundamental and applied point of view, finding potential application in biomedicine, nanotechnology and as materials. The successful employment of such polymers in such diverse fields, however, requires the ready availability of a variety of different forms with novel enhanced properties and which can be simply prepared in large quantities on an industrial scale. In an attempt to create new polymer designs with improved properties and applicability, we have developed four novel SELPs wherein the elastomer forming sequence poly(VPGVG) is replaced with a plastic-like forming sequence, poly(VPAVG), and combined in varying proportions with the silk motif. Furthermore, we optimised a simplified production procedure for these, making use of an autoinduction medium to reduce process intervention and with the production level obtained being 6-fold higher than previously reported for other SELPs, with volumetric productivities above 150 mg/L. Finally, we took advantage of the known enhanced stability of these polymers in developing an abridged, non-chromatographic downstream processing and purification protocol. A simple acid treatment allowed for cell disruption and the obtention of relative pure SELP in one-step, with ammonium sulphate precipitation being subsequently used to enable improved purity. These simplified production and purification procedures improve process efficiency and reduce costs in the preparation of these novel polymers and enhances their potential for application.
Silk-elastin-like polymers; Recombinant protein expression; Auto induction; Acid-based cell lysis; Ammonium sulphate purification; Non-chromatographic purification
Intensive care mortality of HIV-positive patients has progressively decreased. However, critically ill HIV-positive patients with sepsis present a worse prognosis. To better understand this condition, we propose a study comparing clinical, etiological and inflammatory data, and the hospital course of HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.
A prospective observational study enrolling patients with severe sepsis or septic shock associated or not with HIV infection, and admitted to intensive care unit (ICU). Clinical, microbiological and inflammatory parameters were assessed, including C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT), interleukin-6, interleukin-10 and TNF-α. Outcome measures were in-hospital and six-month mortality.
The study included 58 patients with severe sepsis/septic shock admitted to ICU, 36 HIV-positive and 22 HIV-negative. All HIV-positive patients met the criteria for AIDS (CDC/2008). The main foci of infection in HIV-positive patients were pulmonary and abdominal (p=0.001). Fungi and mycobacteria were identified in 44.4% and 16.7% of HIV-positive patients, respectively. In contrast, the main etiologies for sepsis in HIV-negative patients were Gram-negative bacilli (36.4%) and Gram-positive cocci (36.4%) (p=0.001). CRP and PCT admission concentrations were lower in HIV-positive patients (130 vs. 168 mg/dL p=0.005, and 1.19 vs. 4.06 ng/mL p=0.04, respectively), with a progressive decrease in surviving patients. Initial IL-10 concentrations were higher in HIV-positive patients (4.4 pg/mL vs. 1.0 pg/mL, p=0.005), with moderate accuracy for predicting death (area under receiver-operating characteristic curve =0.74). In-hospital and six-month mortality were higher in HIV-positive patients (55.6 vs. 27.3% p=0.03, and 58.3 vs. 27.3% p=0.02, respectively).
The course of sepsis was more severe in HIV-positive patients, with distinct clinical, etiological and inflammatory characteristics.
sepsis; HIV; AIDS; etiology; inflammatory markers; mortality
The aim of this study was to verify the possible interactions between ethanol extracts of Amburana cearensis A. C. Smith and Anadenanthera macrocarpa (Benth.) Brenan, combined with six antimicrobial drugs against multiresistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli isolated from humans. The antibacterial activity of the extracts was determined using the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). The microdilution assay was performed to verify the interactions between the natural products and the antibiotics using a subinhibitory concentration. The activity of amikacin associated with the extract of Anadenanthera macrocarpa against EC 27 was enhanced, demonstrating an MIC reduction from 128 to 4 μg/mL. Among the β-lactams, no potentiation on its activity was observed, with exception to the antagonism of the natural products with ampicillin against S. aureus 358.
The aim was to analyze variation in 12 Brazilian and Moroccan goat populations, and, through principal component analysis (PCA), check the importance of body measures and their indices as a means of distinguishing among individuals and populations. The biometric measurements were wither height (WH), brisket height (BH) and ear length (EL). Thorax depth (WH-BH) and the three indices, TD/WH, EL/TD and EL/WH, were also calculated. Of the seven components extracted, the first three principal components were sufficient to explain 99.5% of the total variance of the data. Graphical dispersion by genetic groups revealed that European dairy breeds clustered together. The Moroccan breeds were separated into two groups, one comprising the Drâa and the other the Zagora and Rhâali breeds. Whereas, on the one side, the Anglo-Nubian and undefined breeds were the closest to one another the goats of the Azul were observed to have the highest variation of all the breeds. The Anglo-Nubian and Boer breeds were similar to each other. The Nambi-type goats remained distinct from all the other populations. In general, the use of graphical representation of PCA values allowed to distinguish genetic groups.
biometrics; genetic resources; goat breeds; morphometrics; population characterization
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is one of the most common human cancers worldwide. In SCC, tumour development is accompanied by an immune response that leads to massive tumour infiltration by inflammatory cells, and consequently, local and systemic production of cytokines, chemokines and other mediators. Studies in both humans and animal models indicate that imbalances in these inflammatory mediators are associated with cancer development.
We used a multistage model of SCC to examine the involvement of elastase (ELA), myeloperoxidase (MPO), nitric oxide (NO), cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17, TGF-β and TNF-α), and neutrophils and macrophages in tumour development. ELA and MPO activity and NO, IL-10, IL −17, TNF-α and TGF-β levels were increased in the precancerous microenvironment.
ELA and MPO activity and NO, IL-10, IL −17, TNF-α and TGF-β levels were increased in the precancerous microenvironment. Significantly higher levels of IL-6 and lower levels of IL-10 were detected at 4 weeks following 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) treatment. Similar levels of IL-13 were detected in the precancerous microenvironment compared with control tissue. We identified significant increases in the number of GR-1+ neutrophils and F4/80+/GR-1- infiltrating cells in tissues at 4 and 8 weeks following treatment and a higher percentage of tumour-associated macrophages (TAM) expressing both GR-1 and F4/80, an activated phenotype, at 16 weeks. We found a significant correlation between levels of IL-10, IL-17, ELA, and activated TAMs and the lesions. Additionally, neutrophil infiltrate was positively correlated with MPO and NO levels in the lesions.
Our results indicate an imbalance of inflammatory mediators in precancerous SCC caused by neutrophils and macrophages and culminating in pro-tumour local tissue alterations.
Elastase; Nitric oxide; Myeloperoxidase; Inflammatory cells; Cytokines
FLI1 and ERG, the major ETS transcription factors involved in rearrangements in the Ewing’s sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT) and in prostate carcinomas (PCa), respectively, belong to the same subfamily, having 98% sequence identity in the DNA binding domain. We therefore decided to investigate whether the aberrant transcription factors in both malignancies have some common downstream targets. We crossed a publicly available list of all putative EWSR1-FLI1 target genes in ESFT with our microarray expression data on 24 PCa and 6 non-malignant prostate tissues (NPT) and choose four genes among the top-most differentially expressed between PCa with (PCa ERG+) and without (PCa ETS-) ETS fusion genes (HIST1H4L, KCNN2, ECRG4 and LDOC1), as well as four well-validated direct targets of the EWSR1-FLI1 chimeric protein in ESFT (NR0B1, CAV1, IGFBP3 and TGFBR2). Using quantitative expression analysis in 16 ESFT and seven alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (ARMS), we were able to validate the four genes previously described as direct targets of the EWSR1-FLI1 oncoprotein, showing overexpression of CAV1 and NR0B1 and underexpression of IGFBP3 and TGFBR2 in ESFT as compared to ARMS. Although none of these four genes showed significant expression differences between PCa ERG+ and PCa ETS-, CAV1, IGFBP3 and TGFBR2 were less expressed in PCa in an independent series of 56 PCa and 15 NPT, as also observed for ECRG4 and LDOC1, suggesting a role in prostate carcinogenesis in general. On the other hand, we demonstrate for the first time that both HIST1H4L and KCNN2 are significantly overexpressed in PCa ERG+ and that ERG binds to the promoter of these genes. Conversely, KCNN2 was found underexpressed in ESFT relative to ARMS, suggesting that the EWSR1-ETS oncoprotein may have the opposite effect of ERG rearrangements in PCa. We conclude that aberrant ETS transcription factors modulate target genes differently in ESFT and PCa.