Asparagine-linked glycosylation is a complex protein modification conserved among all three domains of life. Herein we report the in vitro analysis of N-linked glycosylation from the methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus voltae. Using a suite of synthetic and semisynthetic substrates, we show that AglK initiates N-linked glycosylation in M. voltae through the formation of α-linked dolichyl monophosphate N-acetylglucosamine (Dol-P-GlcNAc), which contrasts with the polyprenyl-diphosphate intermediates that feature in both eukaryotes and bacteria. Intriguingly, AglK exhibits high sequence homology to dolichyl-phosphate β-glucosyltransferases, including Alg5 in eukaryotes, suggesting a common evolutionary origin. The combined action of the first two enzymes, AglK and AglC, afforded an α-linked Dol-P-glycan that serves as a competent substrate for the archaeal oligosaccharyl transferase AglB. These studies provide the first biochemical evidence revealing that despite the apparent similarity of the overall pathways, there are actually two general strategies to achieve N-linked glycoproteins across the domains of life.
Oxidative stress-mediated neuronal dysfunction is characteristic of several neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). The enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) catalyzes the formation of L-DOPA, the rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of dopamine. A lack of dopamine in the striatum is the most characteristic feature of PD, and the cause of the most dominant symptoms. Loss of function mutations in the PTEN-induced putative kinase (PINK1) gene cause autosomal recessive PD. This study explored the basic mechanisms underlying the involvement of pink1 in oxidative stress-mediated PD pathology using zebrafish as a tool. We generated a transgenic line, Tg(pink1:EGFP), and used it to study the effect of oxidative stress (exposure to H2O2) on pink1 expression. GFP expression was enhanced throughout the brain of zebrafish larvae subjected to oxidative stress. In addition to a widespread increase in pink1 mRNA expression, mild oxidative stress induced a clear decline in tyrosine hydroxylase 2 (th2), but not tyrosine hydroxylase 1 (th1) expression, in the brain of wild-type larvae. The drug L-Glutathione Reduced (LGR) has been associated with anti-oxidative and possible neuroprotective properties. Administration of LGR normalized the increased fluorescence intensity indicating pink1 transgene expression and endogenous pink1 mRNA expression in larvae subjected to oxidative stress by H2O2. In the pink1 morpholino oliogonucleotide-injected larvae, the reduction in the expression of th1 and th2 was partially rescued by LGR. The pink1 gene is a sensitive marker of oxidative stress in zebrafish, and LGR effectively normalizes the consequences of mild oxidative stress, suggesting that the neuroprotective effects of pink1 and LGR may be significant and useful in drug development.
Various genetic or toxin-induced mouse models are frequently used for investigation of early PD pathology. Although olfactory impairment is known to precede motor symptoms by years, it is not known whether it is caused by impairments in the brain, the olfactory epithelium, or both. In this study, we investigated the olfactory function in three genetic Parkinson’s disease (PD) mouse models and mice treated with MPTP intraperitoneally and intranasally. To investigate olfactory function, we performed electro-olfactogram recordings (EOGs) and an olfactory behavior test (cookie-finding test). We show that neither a parkin knockout mouse strain, nor intraperitoneal MPTP treated animals display any olfactory impairment in EOG recordings and the applied behavior test. We also found no difference in the responses of the olfactory epithelium to odorants in a mouse strain over-expressing doubly mutated α-synuclein, while this mouse strain was not suitable to test olfaction in a cookie-finding test as it displays a mobility impairment. A transgenic mouse expressing mutated α-synuclein in dopaminergic neurons performed equal to control animals in the cookie-finding test. Further we show that intranasal MPTP application can cause functional damage of the olfactory epithelium.
Although improving, the efficiency of producing offspring by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is still low (<1.5%). Our laboratory has demonstrated that histone deacetylase inhibitor (Scriptaid) treatment of reconstructed embryos enhances blastocyst formation and cloning efficiency in pigs. It has also been shown that proteasomal inhibitor MG132 treatment for 2 h after activation of oocytes increases blastocyst rate and pregnancy rate. The current experiment was carried out to determine the effects of combined MG132 and Scriptaid treatment on early embryo development in vitro and on term development in vivo. Immediately after electrofusion and activation, SCNT oocytes were treated with 0, 1, or 10 μM MG132 for 2 h in the presence of 500 nM Scriptaid, washed and treated with Scriptaid for an additional 14 to 15 h, then cultured in porcine zygote medium 3 (PZM3) until day 6. There was no difference in percent cleavage (58.1±7.2%, 62.7±7.2%, and 62.5±7.2%) on day 2, or total cell number (23.1±2.2, 24.0±2.0, and 24.5±2.3 for the 0, 1, and 10 μM MG132 groups, respectively) on day 6 among the three groups. Interestingly, there was no difference in percentage of blastocysts between the 0 (18.5±4.7%) and 1 (25.1±4.7%) μM MG132 treatment groups; however, compared with the 10 μM MG132 group (14.0±4.7%), more embryos from the 1 μM MG132 group developed into blastocysts (p<0.05). To determine the effects on term development in vivo, two MG132 groups were included (0 and 1 μM MG132), and embryos were treated as above and transferred into synchronized surrogates after treatment. There was no difference in the oocyte–donor cell fusion rate, number of embryos transferred, pregnancy rate at days 28, 60, and at term, pigs delivered per embryo transfer, litter size, body weight at birth, nor cloning efficiency between the Scriptaid-alone control and MG132+Scriptaid combined groups. In summary, the combined treatment of MG132 and Scriptaid did not improve term development compared to Scriptaid treatment alone.
Multipotent skin-derived progenitors (SKPs) can be traced back to embryonic neural crest cells and are able to differentiate into both neural and mesodermal progeny in vitro. Neural stem cells (NSCs) are capable of self-renewing and can contribute to neuron and glia in the nervous system. Recently, we derived porcine SKPs and NSCs from the same enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) transgenic fetuses and demonstrated that SKPs could contribute to neural and mesodermal lineages in vivo. However, it remains unclear whether porcine SKPs and NSCs can generate ectoderm and mesoderm lineages or other germ layers in vivo. Embryonic chimeras are a well-established tool for investigating cell lineage determination and cell potency through normal embryonic development. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the in vivo developmental potential of porcine SKPs and fetal brain-derived NSCs by chimera production. Porcine SKPs, NSCs, and fibroblasts were injected into precompact in vitro fertilized embryos (IVF) and then transferred into corresponding surrogates 24 h postinjection. We found that porcine SKPs could incorporate into the early embryos and contribute to various somatic tissues of the 3 germ layers in postnatal chimera, and especially have an endodermal potency. However, this developmental potential is compromised when they differentiate into fibroblasts. In addition, porcine NSCs fail to incorporate into host embryos and contribute to chimeric piglets. Therefore, neural crest-derived SKPs may represent a more primitive state than their counterpart neural stem cells in terms of their contributions to multiple cell lineages.
Background. Changes in the phenotype and function of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis)-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets in response to stage of infection may allow discrimination between active tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection.
Methods. A prospective comparison of M. tuberculosis-specific cellular immunity in subjects with active tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection, with and without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection. Polychromatic flow cytometry was used to measure CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subset phenotype and secretion of interferon γ (IFN-γ), interleukin 2 (IL-2), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α).
Results. Frequencies of CD4+ and CD8+ cells secreting IFN-γ-only, TNF-α-only and dual IFN-γ/TNF-α were greater in active tuberculosis vs latent tuberculosis infection. All M. tuberculosis-specific CD4+ subsets, with the exception of IL-2-only cells, switched from central to effector memory phenotype in active tuberculosis vs latent tuberculosis infection, accompanied by a reduction in IL-7 receptor α (CD127) expression. The frequency of PPD-specific CD4+ TNF-α-only-secreting T cells with an effector phenotype accurately distinguished active tuberculosis from latent tuberculosis infection with an area under the curve of 0.99, substantially more discriminatory than measurement of function alone.
Conclusions. Combined measurement of T-cell phenotype and function defines a highly discriminatory biomarker of tuberculosis disease activity. Unlocking the diagnostic and monitoring potential of this combined approach now requires validation in large-scale prospective studies.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; HIV; latent tuberculosis infection; active tuberculosis; biomarker
The purpose of this trial was to assess the effect of soft tissue massage on the efficacy of the mental and incisive nerve block (MINB). Thirty-eight volunteers received MINB of 2.2 mL of 2% lidocaine with 1 : 80,000 epinephrine on 2 occasions. At one visit the soft tissue overlying the injection site was massaged for 60 seconds (active treatment). At the other visit the crowns of the mandibular premolar teeth were massaged (control treatment). Order of treatments was randomized. An electronic pulp tester was used to measure pulpal anesthesia in the ipsilateral mandibular first molar, a premolar, and lateral incisor teeth up to 45 minutes following the injection. The efficacy of pulp anesthesia was determined by 2 methods: (a) by quantifying the number of episodes with no response to maximal electronic pulp stimulation after each treatment, and (b) by quantifying the number of volunteers with no response to maximal pulp stimulation (80 reading) on 2 or more consecutive tests, termed anesthetic success. Data were analyzed by McNemar, Mann-Whitney, and paired-samples t tests. Anesthetic success was 52.6% for active and 42.1% for control treatment for lateral incisors, 89.5 and 86.8% respectively for premolars, and 50.0 and 42.1% respectively for first molars (P = .344, 1.0, and .508 respectively). There were no significant differences in the number of episodes of negative response to maximum pulp tester stimulation between active and control massage. A total of 131 episodes were recorded after both active and control massage in lateral incisors (McNemar test, P = 1.0), 329 (active) versus 316 (control) episodes in the premolars (McNemar test, P = .344), and 119 (active) versus 109 (control) episodes respectively for first molars (McNemar test, P = .444). Speed of anesthetic onset and discomfort did not differ between treatments. We concluded that soft tissue massage after MINB does not influence anesthetic efficacy.
Dental pulp anesthesia; Lidocaine; Mental and incisive nerve block
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative disease characterized by the clinical triad: tremor, akinesia and rigidity. Several studies have suggested that PD patients show disturbances in olfaction at the earliest onset of the disease. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is becoming a powerful model organism to study neurodegenerative diseases. We sought to use this system to explore olfactory dysfunction, if any, in PINK1 mutants, which is a model for PD. PINK1 mutants display many important diagnostic symptoms of the disease such as akinetic motor behavior. In the present study, we describe for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, neurophysiological and neuroanatomical results concerning the olfactory function in PINK1 mutant flies. Electroantennograms were recorded in response to synthetic and natural volatiles (essential oils) from groups of PINK1 mutant adults at three different time points in their life cycle: one from 3–5 day-old flies, from 15–20 and from 27–30 days. The results obtained were compared with the same age-groups of wild type flies. We found that mutant adults showed a decrease in the olfactory response to 1-hexanol, α-pinene and essential oil volatiles. This olfactory response in mutant adults decreased even more as the flies aged. Immunohistological analysis of the antennal lobes in these mutants revealed structural abnormalities, especially in the expression of Bruchpilot protein, a marker for synaptic active zones. The combination of electrophysiological and morphological results suggests that the altered synaptic organization may be due to a neurodegenerative process. Our results indicate that this model can be used as a tool for understanding PD pathogensis and pathophysiology. These results help to explore the potential of using olfaction as a means of monitoring PD progression and developing new treatments.
Retinoic acid (RA) has paradoxical effects on cancer cells: promoting cell death, differentiation and cell cycle arrest, or cell survival and proliferation. Arachidonic acid (AA) release occurs in response to RA treatment and, therefore, AA and its downstream metabolites may be involved in cell survival signalling. To test this, we inhibited phospholipase A2-mediated AA release, cyclooxygenases and lipoxygenases with small-molecule inhibitors to determine if this would sensitise cells to cell death after RA treatment. The data suggest that, in response to RA, phospholipase A2-mediated release of AA and subsequent metabolism by lipoxygenases is important for cell survival. Evidence from gene expression reporter assays and PPARδ knockdown suggests that lipoxygenase metabolites activate PPARδ. The involvement of PPARδ in cell survival is supported by results of experiments with the PPARδ inhibitor GSK0660 and siRNA-mediated knockdown. Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR studies demonstrated that inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase after RA treatment resulted in a strong up-regulation of mRNA for PPARδ2, a putative inhibitory PPARδ isoform. Over-expression of PPARδ2 using a tetracycline-inducible system in neuroblastoma cells reduced proliferation and induced cell death. These data provide evidence linking lipoxygenases and PPARδ in a cell survival-signalling mechanism and suggest new drug-development targets for malignant and hyper-proliferative diseases.
Hessian fly (HF) is a biotrophic insect that interacts with wheat on a gene-for-gene basis. We profiled changes in membrane lipids in two isogenic wheat lines: a susceptible line and its backcrossed offspring containing the resistance gene H13. Our results revealed a 32 to 45% reduction in total concentrations of 129 lipid species in resistant plants during incompatible interactions within 24 h after HF attack. A smaller and delayed response was observed in susceptible plants during compatible interactions. Microarray and real-time PCR analyses of 168 lipid-metabolism related transcripts revealed that the abundance of many of these transcripts increased rapidly in resistant plants after HF attack, but did not change in susceptible plants. In association with the rapid mobilization of membrane lipids, the concentrations of some fatty acids and 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) increased specifically in resistant plants. Exogenous application of OPDA increased mortality of HF larvae significantly. Collectively, our data, along with previously published results, indicate that the lipids were mobilized through lipolysis, producing free fatty acids, which were likely further converted into oxylipins and other defense molecules. Our results suggest that rapid mobilization of membrane lipids constitutes an important step for wheat to defend against HF attack.
Wheat – Hessian fly interaction follows a typical gene-for-gene model. Hessian fly larvae die in wheat plants carrying an effective resistance gene, or thrive in susceptible plants that carry no effective resistance gene.
Gene sets affected by Hessian fly attack in resistant plants were found to be very different from those in susceptible plants. Differential expression of gene sets was associated with differential accumulation of intermediates in defense pathways. Our results indicated that resources were rapidly mobilized in resistant plants for defense, including extensive membrane remodeling and release of lipids, sugar catabolism, and amino acid transport and degradation. These resources were likely rapidly converted into defense molecules such as oxylipins; toxic proteins including cysteine proteases, inhibitors of digestive enzymes, and lectins; phenolics; and cell wall components. However, toxicity alone does not cause immediate lethality to Hessian fly larvae. Toxic defenses might slow down Hessian fly development and therefore give plants more time for other types of defense to become effective.
Our gene expression and metabolic profiling results suggested that remodeling and fortification of cell wall and cuticle by increased deposition of phenolics and enhanced cross-linking were likely to be crucial for insect mortality by depriving Hessian fly larvae of nutrients from host cells. The identification of a large number of genes that were differentially expressed at different time points during compatible and incompatible interactions also provided a foundation for further research on the molecular pathways that lead to wheat resistance and susceptibility to Hessian fly infestation.
Perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid are perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) widely distributed in the environment. Previous studies of PFCs and birth weight are equivocal. The authors examined this association in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), using data from 901 women enrolled from 2003 to 2004 and selected for a prior case-based study of PFCs and subfecundity. Maternal plasma samples were obtained around 17 weeks of gestation. Outcomes included birth weight z scores, preterm birth, small for gestational age, and large for gestational age. The adjusted birth weight z scores were slightly lower among infants born to mothers in the highest quartiles of PFCs compared with infants born to mothers in the lowest quartiles: for perfluorooctane sulfonate, β = −0.18 (95% confidence interval: −0.41, 0.05) and, for perfluorooctanoic acid, β = −0.21 (95% confidence interval: −0.45, 0.04). No clear evidence of an association with small for gestational age or large for gestational age was observed. Perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid were each associated with decreased adjusted odds of preterm birth, although the cell counts were small. Whether some of the associations suggested by these findings may be due to a noncausal pharmacokinetic mechanism remains unclear.
birth weight; MoBa; Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study; perfluorinated compounds; perfluorooctane sulfonate; perfluorooctanoic acid
Understanding the genetic architecture of quantitative traits is important for developing genome-based crop improvement methods. Genome-wide association study (GWAS) is a powerful technique for mining novel functional variants. Using a family-based design involving 1,200 apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) seedlings genotyped for an 8K SNP array, we report the first systematic evaluation of the relative contributions of different genomic regions to various traits related to eating quality and susceptibility to some physiological disorders. Single-SNP analyses models that accounted for population structure, or not, were compared with models fitting all markers simultaneously. The patterns of linkage disequilibrium (LD) were also investigated.
A high degree of LD even at longer distances between markers was observed, and the patterns of LD decay were similar across successive generations. Genomic regions were identified, some of which coincided with known candidate genes, with significant effects on various traits. Phenotypic variation explained by the loci identified through a whole-genome scan ranged from 3% to 25% across different traits, while fitting all markers simultaneously generally provided heritability estimates close to those from pedigree-based analysis. Results from ‘Q+K’ and ‘K’ models were very similar, suggesting that the SNP-based kinship matrix captures most of the underlying population structure. Correlations between allele substitution effects obtained from single-marker and all-marker analyses were about 0.90 for all traits. Use of SNP-derived realized relationships in linear mixed models provided a better goodness-of-fit than pedigree-based expected relationships. Genomic regions with probable pleiotropic effects were supported by the corresponding higher linkage group (LG) level estimated genetic correlations.
The accuracy of artificial selection in plants species can be increased by using more precise marker-derived estimates of realized coefficients of relationships. All-marker analyses that indirectly account for population- and pedigree structure will be a credible alternative to single-SNP analyses in GWAS. This study revealed large differences in the genetic architecture of apple fruit traits, and the marker-trait associations identified here will help develop genome-based breeding methods for apple cultivar development.
GWAS; Linkage disequilibrium; Genetic architecture; Allele substitution effect; Pleiotropy; Malus × domestica
Visualization of the reaction coordinate undertaken by glycosyltransferases has remained elusive, but is critical for understanding this important class of enzyme. Using substrates and substrate mimics, we describe structural snapshots of all species along the kinetic pathway for human O-GlcNAc transferase, an intracellular enzyme that catalyzes installation of a dynamic post-translational modification. The structures reveal key features of the mechanism and show that substrate participation is important during catalysis.
To estimate the frequency of mismatch repair deficiencies associated with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, or Lynch syndrome, in women less than age 50 with endometrial cancer.
Consecutive patients less than age 50 diagnosed with endometrial adenocarcinoma were identified. Available pathologic specimens were freshly sliced, and protein expression for MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Slides were scored on a semiquantitative method with complete absence of any of the four proteins suggesting a deficiency. All results were confirmed by microsatellite instability testing.
Sixty-one pathology specimens were analyzed. Twenty-one (34%) of the tumors had absence of staining of at least one of the four mismatch repair proteins determined by immunohistochemistry and confirmed by microsatellite instability testing. Obese patients were less likely than nonobese patients to have a mismatch repair deficiency (21% versus 59%, respectively). Non-obese patients had a relative risk for a mismatch repair deficiency of 5.5 (95% confidence interval 1.6–19.1; P=.01).
Many women diagnosed with endometrial cancer before age 50 will have a mismatch repair deficiency discovered by immunohistochemistry and microsatellite instability testing. A number of young women diagnosed with endometrial cancer will require further genetic testing for mismatch repair mutations.
We assessed the effects of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes on fecundability (as manifest by increased time-to-pregnancy (TTP)) in a large cohort of pregnant women.
This study is based on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Members of this large cohort were enrolled early in pregnancy and asked about TTP and other factors. Among the 58,004 women included in the analysis, we identified 221 cases of type 1 diabetes and 88 cases of type 2 diabetes using the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. A logistic analog of the proportional probability model, a Cox-like discrete-time model, was used to compute fecundability odds ratios (FOR) and 95% CI for type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, adjusted for maternal age and prepregnancy BMI.
Compared with non-diabetic women, the adjusted FOR for women with type 1 diabetes was 0.76 (95% CI=0.64, 0.89) and the adjusted FOR for women with type 2 diabetes was 0.64 (95% CI=0.48, 0.84). These FORs did not change substantively and remained statistically significant after excluding women with irregular menstrual cycles and accounting for cycle length.
The results from the present study provide evidence of substantially decreased fecundability for women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, even among those with normal menstrual cycles.
Pregestational Diabetes; Type 1 Diabetes; Type 2 Diabetes; Fecundability; Pregnancy; Time-to-Pregnancy
In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
LC3; autolysosome; autophagosome; flux; lysosome; phagophore; stress; vacuole
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that play critical roles in regulating post transcriptional gene expression. Gall midges encompass a large group of insects that are of economic importance and also possess fascinating biological traits. The gall midge Mayetiola destructor, commonly known as the Hessian fly, is a destructive pest of wheat and model organism for studying gall midge biology and insect – host plant interactions.
In this study, we systematically analyzed miRNAs from the Hessian fly. Deep-sequencing a Hessian fly larval transcriptome led to the identification of 89 miRNA species that are either identical or very similar to known miRNAs from other insects, and 184 novel miRNAs that have not been reported from other species. A genome-wide search through a draft Hessian fly genome sequence identified a total of 611 putative miRNA-encoding genes based on sequence similarity and the existence of a stem-loop structure for miRNA precursors. Analysis of the 611 putative genes revealed a striking feature: the dramatic expansion of several miRNA gene families. The largest family contained 91 genes that encoded 20 different miRNAs. Microarray analyses revealed the expression of miRNA genes was strictly regulated during Hessian fly larval development and abundance of many miRNA genes were affected by host genotypes.
The identification of a large number of miRNAs for the first time from a gall midge provides a foundation for further studies of miRNA functions in gall midge biology and behavior. The dramatic expansion of identical or similar miRNAs provides a unique system to study functional relations among miRNA iso-genes as well as changes in sequence specificity due to small changes in miRNAs and in their mRNA targets. These results may also facilitate the identification of miRNA genes for potential pest control through transgenic approaches.
Perfluorinated compounds are ubiquitous pollutants; epidemiologic data suggest they may be associated with adverse health outcomes, including subfecundity. We examined subfecundity in relation to two perfluorinated compounds, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
This case-control analysis included 910 women enrolled in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study in 2003 and 2004. Around gestational week 17, women reported their time to pregnancy and provided blood samples. Cases consisted of 416 women with a time to pregnancy greater than 12 months, considered subfecund. Plasma concentrations of perfluorinated compounds were analyzed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for each pollutant quartile using logistic regression. Estimates were further stratified by parity.
The median plasma concentration of PFOS was 13.0 ng/ml (interquartile range [IQR]=10.3-16.6 ng/ml) and of PFOA was 2.2 ng/ml (IQR=1.7-3.0 ng/ml). The relative odds of subfecundity among parous women was 2.1 (95% CI=1.2-3.8) for the highest PFOS quartile and 2.1 (1.0-4.0) for the highest PFOA quartile. Among nulliparous women, the respective relative odds were 0.7 (0.4-1.3) and 0.5 (0.2-1.2).
Previous studies suggest that the body burden of perfluorinated compounds decreases during pregnancy and lactation through transfer to the fetus and to breast milk. Afterwards, the body burden may rise again. Among parous women, increased body burden may be due to a long interpregnancy interval rather than the cause of a long time to pregnancy. Therefore, data from nulliparous women may be more informative regarding toxic effects of perfluorinated compounds. Our results among nulliparous women did not support an association with subfecundity.
Aims. To examine the effect of alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant with mitochondrial superoxide inhibitory properties, on adrenocorticotrophic hormone- (ACTH-HT) and dexamethasone-induced hypertensions (DEX-HT) in rats and if any antihypertensive effect is mediated via mitochondrial superoxide inhibition. Methods. In a prevention study, rats received ground food or alpha-lipoic-acid-laced food (10 mg/rat/day) for 15 nights. Saline, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH, 0.2 mg/kg/day), or dexamethasone (DEX, 10 μg/rat/day) was injected subcutaneously from day 5 to day 11. In a reversal study, rats received alpha-lipoic-acid-laced food 4 days after commencement of saline or DEX. Tail-cuff systolic blood pressure (SBP) was measured second daily. Kidney mitochondrial superoxide was examined using (MitoSOX) Red (MitoSOX) via flow cytometry. Results. SBP was increased by ACTH (P < 0.0005) and DEX (P < 0.0005). Alpha-lipoic acid alone did not alter SBP. With alpha-lipoic acid pretreatment, SBP was increased by ACTH (P′ < 0.005) but not by DEX. Alpha-lipoic partially prevented ACTH-HT (P′ < 0.0005) and fully prevented DEX-HT (P′ < 0.0005) but failed to reverse DEX-HT. ACTH and DEX did not increase MitoSOX signal. In ACTH-hypertensive rats, high-dose alpha-lipoic acid (100 mg/rat/day) did not decrease SBP further but raised MitoSOX signal (P < 0.001), suggesting prooxidant activity. Conclusion. Glucocorticoid-induced hypertension in rats is prevented by alpha-lipoic acid via mechanisms other than mitochondrial superoxide reduction.
Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy reduces risk of transmission to the uninfected partner in HIV discordant couples, but there are relatively little observational data on HIV transmission within couples from non-trial settings. The aims of this paper are to estimate HIV incidence among HIV discordant couples using longstanding observational data from a rural Ugandan population and to identify factors associated with HIV transmission within couples, including the role of HSV-2 infection.
Using existing data collected at population-wide annual serological and behavioural surveys in a rural district in southwest Uganda between 1989 and 2007, HIV discordant partners were identified. Stored serum samples were tested for HSV-2 serostatus using the Kalon ELISA test. HIV seroconversion rates and factors association with HIV seroconversion were analysed using Poisson regression.
HIV status of both partners was known in 2465 couples and of these 259 (10.5%) were HIV serodiscordant. At enrolment, HSV-2 prevalence was 87.3% in HIV positive partners and 71.5% in HIV negative partners. Of the 259 discordant couples, 62 converted to HIV (seroconversion rate 7.11/100 PYAR, 95%CI; 5.54, 9.11) with the rate decreasing from 10.89 in 1990–1994 to 4.32 in 2005–2007. Factors independently associated with HIV seroconversion were female sex, non-Muslim religion, greater age difference (man older than woman by more than 15 years), higher viral load in the positive partner and earlier calendar period. HSV-2 was not independently associated with HIV acquisition (HR 1.62, 95%CI; 0.57, 4.55) or transmission (HR 0.61, 95%CI; 0.24, 1.57). No transmissions occurred in the 29 couples where the index partner was on ART during follow up (872 person-years on ART).
HIV negative partners in serodiscordant couples have a high incidence of HIV if the index partner is not on antiretroviral therapy and should be provided with interventions such as couple counselling, condoms and antiretroviral treatment.
Corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea Boddie (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), and fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith, are occasional pests in sorghum, Sorghum bicolor L. Moench (Poales: Poaceae), and can be economically damaging when conditions are favorable. Despite the frequent occurrence of mixed-species infestations, the quantitative data necessary for developing yield loss relationships for S. frugiperda are not available. Although these species share similar biological characteristics, it is unknown whether their damage potentials in developing grain sorghum panicles are the same. Using no-choice feeding assays in the laboratory, this study examined larval growth and feeding duration for H. zea and S. frugiperda in the absence of competition. Each species responded positively when exposed to sorghum seed in the soft-dough stage, supporting evidence for the interactions between host-quality and larval growth and development. The results of this study also confirmed the suitability of using laboratory-reared H. zea to develop sorghum yield loss estimates in the field, and provided insights into the biological responses of S. frugiperda feeding on developing sorghum seed.
food consumption; grain sorghum; larval growth; phenology; Sorghum bicolor
Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that change in response to extracellular stimuli. These changes are essential for normal mitochondrial/cellular function and are controlled by a tight balance between two antagonistic pathways that promote fusion and fission. Although some molecules have been identified to mediate the mitochondrial fusion and fission process, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated protein 1 (TRAP1) is a mitochondrial molecule that regulates a variety of mitochondrial functions. Here, we examined the role of TRAP1 in the regulation of morphology. Stable TRAP1 knockdown cells showed abnormal mitochondrial morphology, and we observed significant decreases in dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) and mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), mitochondrial fission proteins. Similar results were obtained by transient knockdown of TRAP1 in two different cell lines, SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and KNS-42 glioma cells. However, TRAP1 knockdown did not affect expression levels of fusion proteins. The reduction in Drp1 and Mff protein levels was rescued following treatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132. These results suggest that TRAP1 regulates the expression of fission proteins and controls mitochondrial fusion/fission, which affects mitochondrial/cellular function.
The role of the Sin3A transcriptional corepressor in regulating the cell cycle is established in various metazoans. Little is known, however, about the signaling pathways that trigger or are triggered by Sin3A function. To discover genes that work in similar or opposing pathways to Sin3A during development, we have performed an unbiased screen of deficiencies of the Drosophila third chromosome. Additionally, we have performed a targeted loss of function screen to identify cell cycle genes that genetically interact with Sin3A. We have identified genes that encode proteins involved in regulation of gene expression, signaling pathways and cell cycle that can suppress the curved wing phenotype caused by the knockdown of Sin3A. These data indicate that Sin3A function is quite diverse and impacts a wide variety of cellular processes.
Transcription factors (TFs) are DNA-binding proteins that regulate gene expression by activating or repressing transcription. Some have housekeeping roles, while others regulate the expression of specific genes in response to environmental change. The majority of TFs are multi-domain proteins, and they can be divided into families according to their domain organisation. There is a need for user-friendly, rigorous and consistent databases to allow researchers to overcome the inherent variability in annotation between genome sequences.
P2TF (Predicted Prokaryotic Transcription Factors) is an integrated and comprehensive database relating to transcription factor proteins. The current version of the database contains 372,877 TFs from 1,987 completely sequenced prokaryotic genomes and 43 metagenomes. The database provides annotation, classification and visualisation of TF genes and their genetic context, providing researchers with a one-stop shop in which to investigate TFs. The P2TF database analyses TFs in both predicted proteomes and reconstituted ORFeomes, recovering approximately 3% more TF proteins than just screening predicted proteomes. Users are able to search the database with sequence or domain architecture queries, and resulting hits can be aligned to investigate evolutionary relationships and conservation of residues. To increase utility, all searches can be filtered by taxonomy, TF genes can be added to the P2TF cart, and gene lists can be exported for external analysis in a variety of formats.
P2TF is an open resource for biologists, allowing exploration of all TFs within prokaryotic genomes and metagenomes. The database enables a variety of analyses, and results are presented for user exploration as an interactive web interface, which provides different ways to access and download the data. The database is freely available at