Embelin is a small-molecule inhibitor extracted from plants of the Myrsinaceae family demonstrating specific inhibition of the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) to affect the proliferation and apoptosis of various types of tumor cells. However, the mechanism of action for this effect remains unclear. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of the mitochondrial pathway in embelin-induced HepG2 human hepatocellular carcinoma cell apoptosis and the effect of embelin on the cell cycle. HepG2 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells were treated with different doses of embelin. The MTT method was used to determine cell viability, and flow cytometry was used to assess the rate of apoptosis and the changes in mitochondrial membrane potential; the cell cycle was also analyzed. Western blot analysis was performed to determine the expression levels of the apoptosis-associated proteins Bax, Bcl-2 and the caspase family. The results revealed that embelin induced the apoptosis of the HepG2 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. In addition, embelin caused changes in mitochondrial membrane potential. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that embelin caused blockade of the HepG2 cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle.
embelin; XIAP; mitochondria; apoptosis; human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells
Stable analogs of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) have been proposed as novel line of therapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) based on their bronchodilatory and anti-inflammatory effects. We speculated that VIP analogs may provide additional benefits in that they exert vasodilatory properties in the lung, and tested this hypothesis in both ex vivo and in vivo models.
In isolated perfused mouse lungs and in an in vivo rat model, pulmonary blood vessels were preconstricted by hypoxia and hemodynamic changes in response to systemic (ex vivo) or inhaled (in vivo) administration of the cyclic VIP analog RO 25-1553 were determined.
In mouse lungs, RO 25-1553 reduced intrinsic vascular resistance at normoxia, and attenuated the increase in pulmonary artery pressure in response to acute hypoxia. Consistently, inhalation of RO 25-1553 (1 mg·mL−1 for 3 min) caused an extensive and sustained (> 60 min) inhibition of the pulmonary arterial pressure increase in response to hypoxia in vivo that was comparable to the effects of inhaled sildenafil. This effect was not attributable to systemic cardiovascular effects of RO 25-1553, but to a lung specific reduction in pulmonary vascular resistance, while cardiac output and systemic arterial hemodynamics remained unaffected. No adverse effects of RO 25-1553 inhalation on pulmonary gas exchange, ventilation-perfusion matching, or lung fluid content were detected.
Our findings demonstrate that inhaled delivery of the stable VIP analog RO 25-1553 induces a potent and sustained vasodilatory effect in the pulmonary circulation with no detectable adverse effects. Therapeutic inhalation of RO 25-1553 may provide vascular benefits in addition to its reported anti-inflammatory and bronchodilatory effects in COPD, yet caution is warranted given the overall poor results of vasodilator therapies for pulmonary hypertension secondary to COPD in a series of recent clinical trials.
Mutations in the KIF21A gene are detected in the patients with congenital fibrosis of the extraocular muscles. Mutations in the PAX6 gene are detected in the patients with congenital aniridia.
Herein we report a boy with both congenital fibrosis of extraocular muscles and aniridia. Sequence analysis of his KIF21A and PAX6 genes reveals a 1-bp deletion (c.745delC) in the PAX6 gene and a missense mutation of c.2860C > T (p.Arg954Trp) in KIF21A.
This study demonstrates that the occurrence of independent mutations in more than a single gene in a patient may lead to a complex phenotype.
Clustering is an important data processing tool for interpreting microarray data and genomic network inference. In this article, we propose a clustering algorithm based on the hierarchical Dirichlet processes (HDP). The HDP clustering introduces a hierarchical structure in the statistical model which captures the hierarchical features prevalent in biological data such as the gene express data. We develop a Gibbs sampling algorithm based on the Chinese restaurant metaphor for the HDP clustering. We apply the proposed HDP algorithm to both regulatory network segmentation and gene expression clustering. The HDP algorithm is shown to outperform several popular clustering algorithms by revealing the underlying hierarchical structure of the data. For the yeast cell cycle data, we compare the HDP result to the standard result and show that the HDP algorithm provides more information and reduces the unnecessary clustering fragments.
Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. In current paper, we first report our clinical data regarding administration of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transplantation in treatment of cerebral palsy. A 5-year-old girl with cerebral palsy was treated with multiple times of intravenous and intrathecal administration of MSCs derived from her young sister and was followed up for 28 months. The gross motor dysfunction was improved. Other benefits included enhanced immunity, increased physical strength, and adjusted speech and comprehension. Temporary low-grade fever was the only side effect during the treatment. MSCs may be a safe and effective therapy to improve symptoms in children with cerebral palsy.
Motivation: Genome-wide fitness is an emerging type of high-throughput
biological data generated for individual organisms by creating libraries of knockouts,
subjecting them to broad ranges of environmental conditions, and measuring the resulting
clone-specific fitnesses. Since fitness is an organism-scale measure of gene regulatory
network behaviour, it may offer certain advantages when insights into such phenotypical
and functional features are of primary interest over individual gene expression. Previous
works have shown that genome-wide fitness data can be used to uncover novel gene
regulatory interactions, when compared with results of more conventional gene expression
analysis. Yet, to date, few algorithms have been proposed for systematically using
genome-wide mutant fitness data for gene regulatory network inference.
Results: In this article, we describe a model and propose an inference
algorithm for using fitness data from knockout libraries to identify underlying gene
regulatory networks. Unlike most prior methods, the presented approach captures not only
structural, but also dynamical and non-linear nature of biomolecular systems involved. A
state–space model with non-linear basis is used for dynamically describing gene
regulatory networks. Network structure is then elucidated by estimating unknown model
parameters. Unscented Kalman filter is used to cope with the non-linearities introduced in
the model, which also enables the algorithm to run in on-line mode for practical use.
Here, we demonstrate that the algorithm provides satisfying results for both synthetic
data as well as empirical measurements of GAL network in yeast
Saccharomyces cerevisiae and TyrR–LiuR network
in bacteria Shewanella oneidensis.
Availability: MATLAB code and datasets are available to download at
http://www.duke.edu/∼lw174/Fitness.zip and http://genomics.lbl.gov/supplemental/fitness-bioinf/
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics
Background and Aims
Primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is usually presented in inflamed fibrotic/cirrhotic liver with extensive lymphocyte infiltration. We examined the associations between the HCC early recurrence and alterations in serum levels of inflammatory cytokines.
A cohort of 105 HCC patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection were included. Pre-therapy, we quantified their serum concentrations of Th1-, Th2-, Th17-, Treg-related, and other cytokines that have been reported to be associated with poor prognosis in human cancers. IL17-producing T-cells were generated in vitro from HCC patients and co-cultured with HCC cell lines separated by a 0.4 µM transwell.
All the 105 cases of HCC patients had liver cirrhosis. The patients who suffered from HCC early recurrence had higher pre-therapy serum levels of IL17 and lower levels of IL10 than those who did not suffer from recurrence after curative hepatectomy. After adjustment for general tumor clinicopathological factors, elevated serum levels of IL17 (≥0.9 pg/ml) was found to be an independent risk factor for HCC early recurrence with a hazard ratio of 2.46 (95%CI 1.34–4.51). Patients with bigger tumors (>5 cm in diameter) and elevated serum levels of IL17 had the highest risk of early recurrence as compared to those with only one of these factors (P = 0.009) or without any (P<0.001). These factors showed similar effects on the HCC patient overall survival. Intrahepatic infiltrated T-cells in HCC patients were identified as the major IL17-producing cells. Proliferation of HCC cells, QGY-7703, was augmented QGY-7703, was augmented in the presence of IL17-producing T-cells. This effect diminished after neutralizing antibody against human IL17A or TNFα was included.
Both tumors and IL17 from liver infiltrated T-cells contributed to HCC early recurrence and progression after curative resection. Pre-therapy serum IL17 levels may serve as an additional indicator for predicting high-risk patients.
Podocytes are highly differentiated cells that play an important role in maintaining glomerular filtration barrier integrity; a function regulated by small GTPase proteins of the Rho family. To investigate the role of Rho A in podocyte biology, we created transgenic mice expressing doxycycline-inducible constitutively active (V14Rho) or dominant-negative Rho A (N19Rho) in podocytes. Specific induction of either Rho A construct in podocytes caused albuminuria and foot process effacement along with disruption of the actin cytoskeleton as evidenced by decreased expression of the actin associated protein synaptopodin. The mechanisms of these adverse effects, however, appeared to be different. Active V14Rho enhanced actin polymerization, caused a reduction in nephrin mRNA and protein levels, promoted podocyte apoptosis, and decreased endogenous Rho A levels. In contrast, the dominant-negative N19Rho caused a loss of podocyte stress fibers, did not alter the expression of either nephrin or Rho A, and did not cause podocyte apoptosis. Thus, our findings suggest that Rho A plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier under basal conditions, but enhancement of Rho A activity above basal levels promotes podocyte injury.
Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) is a physiological mechanism by which pulmonary arteries constrict in hypoxic lung areas in order to redirect blood flow to areas with greater oxygen supply. Both oxygen sensing and the contractile response are thought to be intrinsic to pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells. Here we speculated that the ideal site for oxygen sensing might instead be at the alveolocapillary level, with subsequent retrograde propagation to upstream arterioles via connexin 40 (Cx40) endothelial gap junctions. HPV was largely attenuated by Cx40-specific and nonspecific gap junction uncouplers in the lungs of wild-type mice and in lungs from mice lacking Cx40 (Cx40–/–). In vivo, hypoxemia was more severe in Cx40–/– mice than in wild-type mice. Real-time fluorescence imaging revealed that hypoxia caused endothelial membrane depolarization in alveolar capillaries that propagated to upstream arterioles in wild-type, but not Cx40–/–, mice. Transformation of endothelial depolarization into vasoconstriction involved endothelial voltage-dependent α1G subtype Ca2+ channels, cytosolic phospholipase A2, and epoxyeicosatrienoic acids. Based on these data, we propose that HPV originates at the alveolocapillary level, from which the hypoxic signal is propagated as endothelial membrane depolarization to upstream arterioles in a Cx40-dependent manner.
The phosphorylation of a substrate at multiple sites is a common protein modification that can give rise to important structural and electrostatic changes. Scaffold proteins can enhance protein phosphorylation by facilitating an interaction between a protein kinase enzyme and its target substrate. In this work we consider a simple mathematical model of a scaffold protein and show that under specific conditions, the presence of the scaffold can substantially raise the likelihood that the resulting system will exhibit bistable behavior. This phenomenon is especially pronounced when the enzymatic reactions have sufficiently large KM, compared to the concentration of the target substrate. We also find for a closely related model that bistable systems tend to have a specific kinetic conformation. Using deficiency theory and other methods, we provide a number of necessary conditions for bistability, such as the presence of multiple phosphorylation sites and the dependence of the scaffold binding/unbinding rates on the number of phosphorylated sites.
The modification of a protein at multiple sites can result in a number of interesting behaviors at the cellular level, such as all-or-none responses to an external input, or two different stable cellular states in otherwise identical environments. Such behaviors can aid in many different forms of cellular decision-making, e.g., cell differentiation or cell division. In this paper, we show that bistable behavior can be greatly enhanced by the presence of a scaffold protein, which binds to the substrate protein and either relocates it or otherwise affects the action of the modifying enzymes. The scaffold protein substantially widens the range of parameters for which bistability is observed when, a key descriptor of enzymatic activity, assumes medium to large values found in a majority of enzymes. Indeed, when was greater than the concentration of the target substrate, bistability was never observed in the absence of a scaffold. In addition to extensive computational work, we also carried out a mathematical analysis of a simplified system in order to identify the conditions under which bistability is possible. We conclude that scaffold proteins can be a simple yet very useful addition to multisite protein systems when bistability is advantageous.
Akita mice are a genetic model of type 1 diabetes. In the present studies, we investigated the phenotype of Akita mice on the FVB/NJ background and examined urinary nephrin excretion as a marker of kidney injury. Male Akita mice were compared with non-diabetic controls for functional and structural characteristics of renal and cardiac disease. Podocyte number and apoptosis as well as urinary nephrin excretion were determined in both groups. Male FVB/NJ Akita mice developed sustained hyperglycemia and albuminuria by 4 and 8 weeks of age, respectively. These abnormalities were accompanied by a significant increase in systolic blood pressure in 10-week old Akita mice, which was associated with functional, structural and molecular characteristics of cardiac hypertrophy. By 20 weeks of age, Akita mice developed a 10-fold increase in albuminuria, renal and glomerular hypertrophy and a decrease in the number of podocytes. Mild-to-moderate glomerular mesangial expansion was observed in Akita mice at 30 weeks of age. In 4-week old Akita mice, the onset of hyperglycemia was accompanied by increased podocyte apoptosis and enhanced excretion of nephrin in urine before the development of albuminuria. Urinary nephrin excretion was also significantly increased in albuminuric Akita mice at 16 and 20 weeks of age and correlated with the albumin excretion rate. These data suggest that: 1. FVB/NJ Akita mice have phenotypic characteristics that may be useful for studying the mechanisms of kidney and cardiac injury in diabetes, and 2. Enhanced urinary nephrin excretion is associated with kidney injury in FVB/NJ Akita mice and is detectable early in the disease process.
Alpinetin is a novel plant flavonoid derived from Alpinia katsumadai Hayata, found to possess strong anticancer effects. However, the antitumor effect of alpinetin on pancreatic cancer cells and the detailed mechanism remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate alpinetin's beneficial effect on pancreatic cancer and the possible molecular mechanism involved. Pancreatic cancer cell lines were treated with alpinetin at various doses and for different times, and the effect of alpinetin on cell growth inhibition, apoptosis and the cell cycle was determined. The expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, XIAP and Bax, the activity of caspases and the levels of cytochrome c released were measured. The results showed that alpinetin inhibited the viability of three pancreatic cancer cell lines and induced apoptosis of BxPC-3 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. This was accompanied by regulation of the expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bax and XIAP. Furthermore, alpinetin treatment led to the release of cytochrome c and activation of caspases-3, −8 and −9 proteins. Taken together, our studies indicate that alpinetin inhibited the proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells possibly through the regulation of the Bcl-2 family and XIAP expression, release of cytochrome c and the activation of caspases. Alpinetin may serve as a potential agent for the development of pancreatic cancer cell therapies.
alpinetin; pancreatic cancer; proliferation; apoptosis; caspases; cell cycle
Alpinetin is a type of novel plant flavonoid derived from Alpinia katsumadai Hayata, found to possess strong anti-hepatoma effects. However, the detailed antitumor mechanism of Alpinetin remains unclear. Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase-7 (MKK7) can regulate cellular growth, differentiation and apoptosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of MKK7 in the anti-hepatoma effect mediated by Alpinetin. HepG2 cells were treated with Alpinetin at various doses and for different times, and the levels of phosphorylated MKK7 (p-MKK7) and total MKK7 were tested by RT-PCR and Western blotting. Following transient transfection with RNA interference, cell viability and cell cycle stage were determined using methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay and flow cytometry, in order to assess the antitumor action of Alpinetin. In addition, chemosensitization to cis-diammined dichloridoplatium (CDDP) by Alpinetin was assessed by cell counting array and the cell growth inhibitory rate was calculated. The results showed that Alpinetin suppressed HepG2 cell proliferation and arrested cells in the G0/G1 phase by up-regulating the expression levels of p-MKK7. On the contrary, inhibiting the expression of MKK7 reversed the antitumor effect of Alpinetin. Moreover, Alpinetin enhanced the sensitivity of HepG2 hepatoma cells to the chemotherapeutic agent CDDP. Taken together, our studies indicate that activation of MKK7 mediates the anti-hepatoma effect of Alpinetin. MKK7 may be a putative target for molecular therapy against hepatoma and Alpinetin could serve as a potential agent for the development of hepatoma therapy.
alpinetin; hepatocellular carcinoma; proliferation; MKK7; cis-diammined dichloridoplatium
Pheromones regulate male social behaviors in Drosophila, but the identities and behavioral role(s) of these chemosensory signals, and how they interact, are incompletely understood. Here we show that (Z)-7-tricosene (7-T), a male-enriched cuticular hydrocarbon (CH) previously shown to inhibit male-male courtship, is also essential for normal levels of aggression. The opposite influences of 7-T on aggression and courtship are independent, but both require the gustatory receptor Gr32a. Surprisingly, sensitivity to 7-T is required for the aggression-promoting effect of 11-cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA), an olfactory pheromone, but 7-T sensitivity is independent of cVA. 7-T and cVA therefore regulate aggression in a hierarchical manner. Furthermore, the increased courtship caused by depletion of male CHs is suppressed by a mutation in the olfactory receptor Or47b. Thus, male social behaviors are controlled by gustatory pheromones that promote and suppress aggression and courtship, respectively, and whose influences are dominant to olfactory pheromones that enhance these behaviors.
This paper studies monotone tridiagonal systems with negative feedback. These systems possess the Poincaré-Bendixson property, which implies that, if orbits are bounded, if there is a unique steady state and this unique steady state is asymptotically stable, and if one can rule out periodic orbits, then the steady state is globally asymptotically stable. Two different approaches are discussed to rule out period orbits, one based on direct linearization and another one based on the theory of second additive compound matrices. Among the examples that illustrate the theoretical results is the classical Goldbeter model of the circadian rhythm.
To identify the gene mutations causing X-linked infantile nystagmus in two Chinese families (NYS003 and NYS008), of which the NYS003 family was assigned to the FERM domain–containing 7 (FRMD7) gene linked region in our previous study, and no mutations were found by direct sequencing.
Two microsatellites, DXS1047 and DXS1001, were amplified using a PCR reaction for the linkage study in the NYS008 family. FRMD7 was sequenced and mutations were analyzed. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) was used to detect FRMD7 mutations in the NYS003 family.
The NYS008 family yielded a maximum logarithm of odds (LOD) score of 1.91 at θ=0 with DXS1001. FRMD7 sequencing showed a nucleotide change of c. 623A>G in exon7 of the patients’ FRMD7 gene, which was predicted to result in an H208R amino acid change. This novel mutation was absent in 100 normal Han Chinese controls. No FRMD7 gene mutations were detected by MLPA in the NYS003 family.
We identified a novel mutation, c. 623A>G (p. H208R), in a Han Chinese family with infantile nystagmus. This mutation expands the mutation spectrum of FRMD7 and contributes to the research on the molecular pathogenesis of FRMD7.
Aggression is regulated by pheromones in many animal species1,2,3. However in no system have aggression pheromones, their cognate receptors and corresponding sensory neurons been identified. Here we show that 11-cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA), a male-specific volatile pheromone, robustly promotes male-male aggression in the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster. The aggression-promoting effect of synthetic cVA requires olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) expressing the receptor Or67d4,5,6, as well as the receptor itself. Activation of Or67d-expressing OSNs, either by genetic manipulation of their excitability or by exposure to male pheromones in the absence of other classes of OSNs, is sufficient to promote aggression. High densities of male flies can promote aggression through release of volatile cVA. In turn, cVA-promoted aggression can promote male fly dispersal from a food resource, in a manner dependent upon Or67d-expressing OSNs. These data suggest that cVA may mediate negative feedback control of male population density, through its effect on aggression. Identification of a pheromone-OSN pair controlling aggression in a genetic organism opens the way to unraveling the neurobiology of this evolutionarily conserved behavior.
This study was undertaken to compare mitral valve repair and replacement as treatments for ischemic mitral regurgitation (IMR) with left ventricular dysfunction (LVD). Specifically, we sought to determine whether the choice of mitral valve procedure affected survival, and discover which patients were predicted to benefit from mitral valve repair and which from replacement.
A total of 218 consecutive patients underwent either mitral valve repair (MVP, n = 112) or mitral valve replacement (MVR, n = 106). We retrospectively reviewed the clinical material, operation methods, echocardiography check during operation and follow-up. Patients details and follow-up outcomes were compared using multivariate and Kaplan-Meier analyses.
No statistical difference was found between the two groups in term of intraoperative data. Early mortality was 3.2% (MVP 2.7% and MVR 3.8%). At discharge, Left ventricular end-systolic and end-diastolic diameter and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) were improved more in the MVP group than MVR group (P < 0.05), however, in follow-up no statistically significant difference was observed between the MVR and MVP group (P > 0.05). Follow-up mitral regurgitation grade was significantly improved in the MVR group compared with the MVP group (P < 0.05). The Kaplan-Meier survival estimates at 1, 3, and 5 years were simlar between MVP and MVR group. Logistic regression revealed poor survival was associated with old age(#75), preoperative renal insufficiency and low left ventricular ejection fraction (< 30%).
Mitral valve repair is the procedure of choice in the majority of patients having surgery for severe ischemic mitral regurgitation with left ventricular dysfunction. Early results of MVP treatment seem to be satisfactory, but several lines of data indicate that mitral valve repair provided less long-term benefit than mitral valve replacement in the LVD patients.
The invasive phenotype of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a hallmark of malignant process, yet the molecular mechanisms that dictate this locally invasive behavior remain poorly understood. Over-expression of PIAS3 effectively changes cell shape and inhibits GBM cell migration. We focused on the molecular target(s) of PIAS3 stimulated sumoylation, which play an important role in the inhibition of GBM cell motility. Here we report, through the immunoprecipitation with SUMO1 antibody, followed by proteomic analysis, the identification of vimentin (vimentin354), a nuclear component in GBM cells, as the main target of sumoylation promoted by PIAS3.
SUMOylation; vimentin; PIAS3; glioblastoma cell migration
To evaluate student tobacco control advocacy behavioural capacity using longitudinal trace data.
A tobacco control advocacy curriculum was developed and implemented at schools of public health (SPH) or departments of public health in seven universities in China. Participants comprised undergraduate students studying the public health curriculum in these 13 Universities. A standardised assessment tool was used to evaluate their tobacco control advocacy behavioural capacity. Repeated measures analysis of variance, paired t tests and paired χ2 tests were used to determine differences between dependent variables across time. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and multivariate logistic regression were used to assess treatment effects between intervention and control sites.
Respective totals of 426 students in the intervention group and 338 in the control group were available for the evaluation. Approximately 90% of respondents were aged 21 years or older and 56% were women. Findings show that the capacity building program significantly improved public health student advocacy behavioural capacity, including advocacy attitude, interest, motivation and anti-secondhand smoke behaviours. The curriculum did not impact student smoking behaviour.
This study provides sufficient evidence to support the implementation of tobacco control advocacy training at Chinese schools of public health.
Tobacco control; advocacy; behavioural capacity, undergraduate students; China; cessation; environmental tobacco smoke; young adults
Feedback modules, which appear ubiquitously in biological regulations, are often subject to disturbances from the input, leading to fluctuations in the output. Thus, the question becomes how a feedback system can produce a faithful response with a noisy input. We employed multiple time scale analysis, Fluctuation Dissipation Theorem, linear stability, and numerical simulations to investigate a module with one positive feedback loop driven by an external stimulus, and we obtained a critical quantity in noise attenuation, termed as “signed activation time”. We then studied the signed activation time for a system of two positive feedback loops, a system of one positive feedback loop and one negative feedback loop, and six other existing biological models consisting of multiple components along with positive and negative feedback loops. An inverse relationship is found between the noise amplification rate and the signed activation time, defined as the difference between the deactivation and activation time scales of the noise-free system, normalized by the frequency of noises presented in the input. Thus, the combination of fast activation and slow deactivation provides the best noise attenuation, and it can be attained in a single positive feedback loop system. An additional positive feedback loop often leads to a marked decrease in activation time, decrease or slight increase of deactivation time and allows larger kinetic rate variations for slow deactivation and fast activation. On the other hand, a negative feedback loop may increase the activation and deactivation times. The negative relationship between the noise amplification rate and the signed activation time also holds for the six other biological models with multiple components and feedback loops. This principle may be applicable to other feedback systems.
Many biological systems use feedback loops to regulate dynamic interactions among different genes and proteins. Here, we ask how interlinked feedback loops control the timing of signal transductions and responses and, consequently, attenuate noise. Drawing on simple modeling along with both analytical insights and computational assessments, we have identified a key quantity, termed as the “signed activation time”, that dictates a system's ability of attenuating noise. This quantity combining the speed of deactivation and activation in signal responses, relative to the input noise frequency, is determined by the property of feedback systems when noises are absent. In general, such quantity could be measured experimentally through the output response time of a signaling system driven by pulse stimulus. This principle for noise attenuation in feedback loops may also be applicable to other biological systems involving more complex regulations.
This study was designed to measure the pressure distribution of the intervertebral disc under different degrees of distraction of the interspinous process, because of a suspicion that the degree of distraction of the spinous process may have a close relationship with the disc load share. Six human cadaver lumbar spine L2-L5 segments were loaded in flexion, neutral position, and extension. The L3-L4 disc load was measured at each position using pressure measuring films. Shape-memory interspinous process implants (SMID) with different spacer heights, ranging in size from 10 to 20 mm at 2 mm increments, were used. It was found that a SMID with a spacer height equal to the distance of the interspinous process in the neutral position can share the biomechanical disc load without a significant change of load in the anterior annulus. An interspinous process stabilizing device (IPD) would not be appropriate to use in those cases with serious spinal stenosis because the over-distraction of the interspinous process by the SMID would lead to overloading the anterior annulus which is a recognized cause of disc degeneration.
Lumbar spine; disc pressure; interspinous process device; biomechanics
We introduce a method based on machine vision for automatically measuring aggression and courtship in Drosophila melanogaster. The genetic and neural circuit bases of these innate social behaviors are poorly understood. High-throughput behavioral screening in this genetically tractable model organism is a potentially powerful approach, but it is currently very laborious. Our system monitors interacting pairs of flies, and computes their location, orientation and wing posture. These features are used for detecting behaviors exhibited during aggression and courtship. Among these, wing threat, lunging and tussling are specific to aggression; circling, wing extension (courtship “song”) and copulation are specific to courtship; locomotion and chasing are common to both. Ethograms may be constructed automatically from these measurements, saving considerable time and effort. This technology should enable large-scale screens for genes and neural circuits controlling courtship and aggression.
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the safety and the cost-effectiveness of using preoperative IABP as support compared with postoperative IABP treatment in coronary patients with severe left ventricular dysfunction (SLVD) who is undergoing off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery (OPCAB), including early outcomes, hospital mortality and morbidity, and mid-term follow-up outcomes.
Between March 2000 and December 2008, we prospectively and randomly studied the insertion of preoperative IABP in 115 (7.4%) and postoperative IABP in 106 (6.8%) of the 1560 consecutive patients. Group A is preoperative IABP therapy. Group B is postoperative IABP therapy.
There was no significant difference in the number of grafts used between the two groups. Completeness of revascularization did not differ between the two groups. The statistically significant difference was hospital mortality (2.6% in group A vs. 3.8% in group B) (p < 0.05). And there was significant reduction in postoperative low cardiac output, malignant arrhythmia, acute renal failure and length of stay in ICU in group A, compared with group B (p < 0.05). In the two groups, six-, 12-, 24- and 48-month survival rates were similar. In the study the degree of improvement in angina and quality of life did not differ significantly between the two groups.
The use of preoperative IABP in SLVD patients undergoing OPCAB is of safety and effectiveness. The combined use of preoperative IABP and OPCAB allows complete revascularization in SLVD patients with an important reduction in operative mortality and excellent mid-term results.
NAD+ metabolism may be linked to telomere end protection in yeast.
Telomeres prevent the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes from being recognized as damaged DNA and protect against cancer and ageing. When telomere structure is perturbed, a co-ordinated series of events promote arrest of the cell cycle so that cells carrying damaged telomeres do not divide. In order to better understand the eukaryotic response to telomere damage, budding yeast strains harboring a temperature sensitive allele of an essential telomere capping gene (cdc13-1) were subjected to a transcriptomic study.
The genome-wide response to uncapped telomeres in yeast cdc13-1 strains, which have telomere capping defects at temperatures above approximately 27°C, was determined. Telomere uncapping in cdc13-1 strains is associated with the differential expression of over 600 transcripts. Transcripts affecting responses to DNA damage and diverse environmental stresses were statistically over-represented. BNA2, required for the biosynthesis of NAD+, is highly and significantly up-regulated upon telomere uncapping in cdc13-1 strains. We find that deletion of BNA2 and NPT1, which is also involved in NAD+ synthesis, suppresses the temperature sensitivity of cdc13-1 strains, indicating that NAD+ metabolism may be linked to telomere end protection.
Our data support the hypothesis that the response to telomere uncapping is related to, but distinct from, the response to non-telomeric double-strand breaks. The induction of environmental stress responses may be a conserved feature of the eukaryotic response to telomere damage. BNA2, which is involved in NAD+ synthesis, plays previously unidentified roles in the cellular response to telomere uncapping.