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1.  Small Molecules Greatly Improve Conversion of Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to the Neuronal Lineage 
Stem Cells International  2012;2012:140427.
Efficient in vitro differentiation into specific cell types is more important than ever after the breakthrough in nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells and its potential for disease modeling and drug screening. Key success factors for neuronal differentiation are the yield of desired neuronal marker expression, reproducibility, length, and cost. Three main neuronal differentiation approaches are stromal-induced neuronal differentiation, embryoid body (EB) differentiation, and direct neuronal differentiation. Here, we describe our neurodifferentiation protocol using small molecules that very efficiently promote neural induction in a 5-stage EB protocol from six induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) lines from patients with Parkinson's disease and controls. This protocol generates neural precursors using Dorsomorphin and SB431542 and further maturation into dopaminergic neurons by replacing sonic hedgehog with purmorphamine or smoothened agonist. The advantage of this approach is that all patient-specific iPSC lines tested in this study were successfully and consistently coaxed into the neural lineage.
doi:10.1155/2012/140427
PMCID: PMC3339118  PMID: 22567022
2.  Both a Nicotinic Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) and a Noradrenergic SNP Modulate Working Memory Performance when Attention is Manipulated 
Journal of cognitive neuroscience  2009;21(11):2139-2153.
We investigated the relation between the two systems of visuospatial attention and working memory by examining the effect of normal variation in cholinergic and noradrenergic genes on working memory performance under attentional manipulation. We previously reported that working memory for location was impaired following large location precues, indicating the scale of visuospatial attention has a role in forming the mental representation of the target. In one of the first studies to compare effects of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the same cognitive task, we investigated the neurotransmission systems underlying interactions between attention and memory. Based on our previous report that the CHRNA4 rs#1044396 C/T nicotinic receptor SNP affected visuospatial attention, but not working memory, and the DBH rs#1108580 G/A noradrenergic enzyme SNP affected working memory, but not attention, we predicted that both SNPs would modulate performance when the two systems interacted and working memory was manipulated by attention. We found the scale of visuospatial attention deployed around a target affected memory for location of that target. Memory performance was modulated by the two SNPs. CHRNA4 C/C homozygotes and DBH G allele carriers showed the best memory performance but also the greatest benefit of visuospatial attention on memory. Overall, however, the CHRNA4 SNP exerted a stronger effect than the DBH SNP on memory performance when visuospatial attention was manipulated. This evidence of an integrated cholinergic influence on working memory performance under attentional manipulation is consistent with the view that working memory and visuospatial attention are separate systems which can interact.
doi:10.1162/jocn.2008.21164
PMCID: PMC2866643  PMID: 19016604
3.  Bak and Bax Function To Limit Adenovirus Replication through Apoptosis Induction 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(9):4547-4558.
Adenovirus infection and expression of E1A induces both proliferation and apoptosis, the latter of which is blocked by the adenovirus Bcl-2 homologue E1B 19K. The mechanism of apoptosis induction and the role that it plays in productive infection are not known. Unlike apoptosis mediated by death receptors, infection with proapoptotic E1B 19K mutant viruses did not induce cleavage of Bid but nonetheless induced changes in Bak and Bax conformation, Bak-Bax interaction, caspase 9 and 3 activation, and apoptosis. In wild-type-adenovirus-infected cells, in which E1B 19K inhibits apoptosis, E1B 19K was bound to Bak, precluding Bak-Bax interaction and changes in Bax conformation. Infection with E1B 19K mutant viruses induced apoptosis in wild-type and Bax- or Bak-deficient baby mouse kidney cells but not in those deficient for both Bax and Bak. Furthermore, Bax and Bak deficiency dramatically increased E1A expression and virus replication. Thus, Bax- and Bak-mediated apoptosis severely limits adenoviral replication, demonstrating that Bax and Bak function as an antiviral response at the cellular level.
doi:10.1128/JVI.76.9.4547-4558.2002
PMCID: PMC155112  PMID: 11932420
4.  E1B 19K Blocks Bax Oligomerization and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha-Mediated Apoptosis 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(16):7506-7516.
Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-mediated death signaling causes the recruitment of monomeric pro- apoptotic Bax into a 500-kDa protein complex. The adenovirus Bcl-2 homologue, E1B 19K, inhibits TNF-α-mediated apoptosis, interacts with Bax, and blocked the formation of the 500-kDa Bax complex. TNF-α and truncated Bid induced Bax-Bax cross-linking, indicative of oligomerization, and E1B 19K expression during infection inhibited this TNF-α-mediated Bax oligomerization. TNF-α signaled conformation changes at the Bax amino and carboxy termini. Exposure of the Bax amino terminus facilitates E1B 19K-Bax binding, which prevented exposure of the carboxy-terminal Bax Bcl-2 homology region 2 epitope. Inhibition of Bax oligomerization by E1B 19K is an activity that bears striking similarity to the means by which bacterial immunity proteins block pore formation by bacterial toxins which have structural homology to Bax.
doi:10.1128/JVI.75.16.7506-7516.2001
PMCID: PMC114986  PMID: 11462023

Results 1-4 (4)