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1.  Immobilization of Bone Morphogenetic Protein on DOPA- or Dopamine-Treated Titanium Surfaces to Enhance Osseointegration 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:265980.
Titanium was treated with 3,4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (DOPA) or dopamine to immobilize bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP2), a biomolecule. DOPA and dopamine solutions turned into suspensions, and precipitates were produced at high pH. Both treatments produced a brown surface on titanium that was thicker at high pH than low pH. Dopamine produced a thicker layer than DOPA. The hydrophobicity of the surfaces increased after treatment with dopamine independent of pH. Furthermore, there were more amino groups in the layers formed at pH 8.5 than pH 4.5 in both treatments. Dopamine treatment produced more amino groups in the layer than DOPA. BMP2 was immobilized on the treated surfaces via a coupling reaction using carbodiimide. More BMP2 was immobilized on surfaces treated at pH 8.5 than pH 4.5 in both treatments. The immobilized BMP induced specific signal transduction and alkali phosphatase, a differentiation marker. Thus, the present study demonstrates that titanium treated with DOPA or dopamine can become bioactive via the surface immobilization of BMP2, which induces specific signal transduction.
doi:10.1155/2013/265980
PMCID: PMC3888698  PMID: 24459666
2.  The BTB-zinc Finger Transcription Factor Abrupt Acts as an Epithelial Oncogene in Drosophila melanogaster through Maintaining a Progenitor-like Cell State 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(7):e1003627.
The capacity of tumour cells to maintain continual overgrowth potential has been linked to the commandeering of normal self-renewal pathways. Using an epithelial cancer model in Drosophila melanogaster, we carried out an overexpression screen for oncogenes capable of cooperating with the loss of the epithelial apico-basal cell polarity regulator, scribbled (scrib), and identified the cell fate regulator, Abrupt, a BTB-zinc finger protein. Abrupt overexpression alone is insufficient to transform cells, but in cooperation with scrib loss of function, Abrupt promotes the formation of massive tumours in the eye/antennal disc. The steroid hormone receptor coactivator, Taiman (a homologue of SRC3/AIB1), is known to associate with Abrupt, and Taiman overexpression also drives tumour formation in cooperation with the loss of Scrib. Expression arrays and ChIP-Seq indicates that Abrupt overexpression represses a large number of genes, including steroid hormone-response genes and multiple cell fate regulators, thereby maintaining cells within an epithelial progenitor-like state. The progenitor-like state is characterised by the failure to express the conserved Eyes absent/Dachshund regulatory complex in the eye disc, and in the antennal disc by the failure to express cell fate regulators that define the temporal elaboration of the appendage along the proximo-distal axis downstream of Distalless. Loss of scrib promotes cooperation with Abrupt through impaired Hippo signalling, which is required and sufficient for cooperative overgrowth with Abrupt, and JNK (Jun kinase) signalling, which is required for tumour cell migration/invasion but not overgrowth. These results thus identify a novel cooperating oncogene, identify mammalian family members of which are also known oncogenes, and demonstrate that epithelial tumours in Drosophila can be characterised by the maintenance of a progenitor-like state.
Author Summary
Cancer is a multigenic process, involving cooperative interactions between oncogenes or tumour suppressors. In this study, in a genetic screen in the vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, for genes that cooperate with a mutation in the cell polarity (shape) regulator, scribbled (scrib), we identify a novel cooperative oncogene, abrupt. Expression of abrupt in scrib mutant tissue in the developing eye/antennal epithelium results in overgrown invasive tumours. abrupt encodes a BTB-zinc finger transcription factor, which has homology to several cancer-causing proteins in humans, such as BCL6. Analysis of the Abrupt targets and misexpressed genes in abrupt expressing-tissue and abrupt-expressing scrib mutant tumours, revealed cell fate regulators as a major class of targets. Thus, our results reveal that deregulation of multiple cell fate factors by Abrupt expression in the context of polarity disruption is associated with a progenitor-like cell state and the formation of overgrown invasive tumours. Our findings suggest that defective polarity may also be a critical factor in BTB-zinc finger-driven human cancers, and warrants further investigation into this issue.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003627
PMCID: PMC3715428  PMID: 23874226
3.  A novel classification system for evolutionary aging theories 
Theories of lifespan evolution are a source of confusion amongst aging researchers. After a century of aging research the dispute over whether the aging process is active or passive persists and a comprehensive and universally accepted theoretical model remains elusive. Evolutionary aging theories primarily dispute whether the aging process is exclusively adapted to favor the kin or exclusively non-adapted to favor the individual. Interestingly, contradictory data and theories supporting both exclusively programmed and exclusively non-programmed theories continue to grow. However, this is a false dichotomy; natural selection favors traits resulting in efficient reproduction whether they benefit the individual or the kin. Thus, to understand the evolution of aging, first we must understand the environment-dependent balance between the advantages and disadvantages of extended lifespan in the process of spreading genes. As described by distinct theories, different niches and environmental conditions confer on extended lifespan a range of fitness values varying from highly beneficial to highly detrimental. Here, we considered the range of fitness values for extended lifespan and develop a fitness-based framework for categorizing existing theories. We show that all theories can be classified into four basic types: secondary (beneficial), maladaptive (neutral), assisted death (detrimental), and senemorphic aging (varying between beneficial to detrimental). We anticipate that this classification system will assist with understanding and interpreting aging/death by providing a way of considering theories as members of one of these classes rather than consideration of their individual details.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2013.00025
PMCID: PMC3589719  PMID: 23508239
senemorphism; caloric restriction; longevity; altruism; senescence; evolution
4.  Structural Basis of the γ-Lactone-Ring Formation in Ascorbic Acid Biosynthesis by the Senescence Marker Protein-30/Gluconolactonase 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53706.
The senescence marker protein-30 (SMP30), which is also called regucalcin, exhibits gluconolactonase (GNL) activity. Biochemical and biological analyses revealed that SMP30/GNL catalyzes formation of the γ-lactone-ring of l-gulonate in the ascorbic acid biosynthesis pathway. The molecular basis of the γ-lactone formation, however, remains elusive due to the lack of structural information on SMP30/GNL in complex with its substrate. Here, we report the crystal structures of mouse SMP30/GNL and its complex with xylitol, a substrate analogue, and those with 1,5-anhydro-d-glucitol and d-glucose, product analogues. Comparison of the crystal structure of mouse SMP30/GNL with other related enzymes has revealed unique characteristics of mouse SMP30/GNL. First, the substrate-binding pocket of mouse SMP30/GNL is designed to specifically recognize monosaccharide molecules. The divalent metal ion in the active site and polar residues lining the substrate-binding cavity interact with hydroxyl groups of substrate/product analogues. Second, in mouse SMP30/GNL, a lid loop covering the substrate-binding cavity seems to hamper the binding of l-gulonate in an extended (or all-trans) conformation; l-gulonate seems to bind to the active site in a folded conformation. In contrast, the substrate-binding cavities of the other related enzymes are open to the solvent and do not have a cover. This structural feature of mouse SMP30/GNL seems to facilitate the γ-lactone-ring formation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053706
PMCID: PMC3551927  PMID: 23349732
5.  Positively charged cholesterol–recombinant human gelatins foster the cellular uptake of proteins and murine immune reactions 
Purpose
Recombinant human gelatins with defined molecular weights were modified with cholesterol to make them amphiphilic in nature. We investigated the feasibility of these modified human gelatins acting as a carrier of antigenic proteins for inducing cellular immunity. The aim of this study was to synthesize novel and effective compounds for vaccine delivery in vivo.
Methods
Two types of cholesterol-modified gelatin micelles, anionic cholesterol-modified gelatin (aCMG) and cationic-cholesterol modified gelatin (cCMG), were synthesized using different cholesterol derivatives such as the cholesterol-isocyanate (Ch-I) for aCMG and amino-modified cholesterol for cCMG. One was anionic and the other cationic, and therefore they differed in terms of their zeta potential. The aCMG and cCMG were characterized for their size, zeta potential, and in their ability to form micelles. Cytotoxicity was also evaluated. The modified human gelatins were then investigated as a carrier of antigenic proteins for inducing cellular immunity both in vitro in DC 2.4 cells, a murine dendritic cell line, as well as in vivo. The mechanism of entry of the polymeric micelles into the cells was also evaluated.
Results
It was found that only cCMG successfully complexed with the model antigenic protein, fluorescein-isothiocyanate ovalbumin (OVA) and efficiently delivered and processed proteins in DC 2.4 cells. It was hypothesized that cCMG enter the cells predominantly by a caveolae-mediated pathway that required tyrosine kinase receptors on the cell surface. Animal testing using mice showed that the cationic cholesterol-modified gelatin complexed with OVA produced significantly high antibody titers against OVA: 2580-fold higher than in mice immunized with free OVA.
Conclusion
Conclusively, cCMG has shown to be very effective in stimulating an immune response due to its high efficiency, stability, and negligible cytotoxicity.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S36350
PMCID: PMC3471541  PMID: 23091385
recombinant human gelatin; cholesterol; micelle; protein delivery; caveolae pathway; receptor-mediated endocytosis
6.  Pharmacological modulation of histone demethylase activity by a small molecule isolated from subcritical water extracts of Sasa senanensis leaves prolongs the lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster 
Background
Extracts of Sasa senanensis Rehder are used in traditional Japanese medicine; however, little is known about the underlying mechanisms of their potential health benefits.
Methods
S. senanensis leaves were extracted with subcritical water. An active small-molecule was isolated using reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and identified as 3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde (protocatechuic aldehyde or PA). The effects of PA on the activity of histone demethylase, the Drosophila melanogaster lifespan and gene expression in Drosophila S2 cells were investigated.
Results
PA inhibited the activity of Jumonji domain-containing protein 2A (JMJD2A) histone demethylase in a dose-dependent manner with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 11.6 μM. However, there was no effect on lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) or HDAC8. PA significantly extended the lifespan of female, but not male, Drosophila. In Drosophila S2 cells, the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E binding protein (4E-BP) was up-regulated by PA exposure.
Conclusions
Our findings provide insight into the possible relationship between the pharmacological modulation of histone demethylation and lifespan extension by PA; they might also be important in the development of alternative therapies for age-related disorders.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-101
PMCID: PMC3551771  PMID: 22809229
Drosophila; Histone demethylase; Lifespan extension; Traditional Japanese medicine
7.  Senemorphism: a novel perspective on aging patterns and its implication for diet-related biology 
Biogerontology  2012;13(4):457-466.
Aging can be described as the accumulation of changes in organisms over time. Aging in organisms undergoing caloric restriction (CR) is widely considered as a slowed version of aging under ad libitum (AL) conditions. However, here we argue that aging under optimized CR is fundamentally different from aging under AL based on the following facts: (1) Comparing the two dietary groups, several age-related changes run in the opposite direction over time; (2) Switching from an AL to a CR diet clearly reverts (not only delays) several “normal” accumulated changes; (3) major causes of death are as different between both groups as they are between species. These observations support the idea that CR and AL initially modulate different metabolic and physiological programs, which exclusively over time generate two biologically different organisms. Such distinct diet-related senescence is analogous to the divergent aging processes and causes of death observed between castes of social insects, such as queens versus workers (“caste-related-senescence”) and also between breeding versus non-breeding semelparous animals (“reproduction-related-senescence”). All these aging phenotypes are different not because they accumulate changes at a different rate, but because they accumulate different changes over time. Thus, the environment does not simply affect the individual aging rate through stochastic effects (e.g. U.V.) but also modulates the activation of a particular program/strategy that influences lifespan (e.g. caste, calorie intake). We refer to the environment-dependent aging patterns encoded by the genome as “senemorphism”. Based on this idea we propose experimental schemes for aging, evolution and biomedical research.
doi:10.1007/s10522-012-9383-6
PMCID: PMC3407360  PMID: 22555514
Senemorphism; Caloric restriction; Longevity; Biomarkers; Senescence; Evolution
8.  Functional Evolution of Duplicated Odorant-Binding Protein Genes, Obp57d and Obp57e, in Drosophila 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29710.
Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) are extracellular proteins found in insect chemosensilla, where they participate in the sensing of odors, tastes, and pheromones. Although a large number of OBP genes have been identified in insect genomes, their molecular functions and biological roles have been clarified in limited cases. Two OBP genes, Obp57d and Obp57e, were involved in the evolution of host-plant preference in Drosophila sechellia. Comparative analyses of the Obp57d/e genomic sequences from 27 closely related species suggested that the two genes arose by tandem gene duplication and functionally diverged from each other. In this study, the functional evolution of Obp57d and Obp57e was examined by in vitro binding assays using recombinant proteins synthesized in a bacterial system. Compared to the ancestral Dpse\OBP57de, Dmel\OBP57d was more specialized to tridecanoic acid while Dmel\OBP57e was generalized regarding their binding affinity, suggesting that the two OBP genes underwent subfunctionalization and neofunctionalization. A behavioral analysis using knockout flies supported that the biological role is different between OBP57d and OBP57e in vivo. Site-directed mutagenesis of the evolutionarily conserved amino acids revealed that these residues play an important role in protein folding. These findings provide a clue to understanding how the repertoire of OBP genes is maintained in a genome under natural selection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029710
PMCID: PMC3253112  PMID: 22238638
9.  Increased Apoptosis of Myoblasts in Drosophila Model for the Walker-Warburg Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11557.
Walker-Warburg syndrome, a progressive muscular dystrophy, is a severe disease with various kinds of symptoms such as muscle weakness and occasional seizures. The genes of protein O-mannosyltransferases 1 and 2 (POMT1 and POMT2), fukutin, and fukutin-related protein are responsible for this syndrome. In our previous study, we cloned Drosophila orthologs of human POMT1 and POMT2 and identified their activity. However, the mechanism of onset of this syndrome is not well understood. Furthermore, little is known about the behavioral properties of the Drosophila POMT1 and POMT2 mutants, which are called rotated abdomen (rt) and twisted (tw), respectively. First, we performed various kinds of behavioral tests and described in detail the muscle structures by using these mutants. The mutant flies exhibited abnormalities in heavy exercises such as climbing or flight but not in light movements such as locomotion. Defective motor function in mutants appeared immediately after eclosion and was exaggerated with aging. Along with motor function, muscle ultrastructure in the tw mutant was altered, as seen in human patients. We demonstrated that expression of RNA interference (RNAi) for the rt gene and the tw mutant was almost completely lethal and semi-lethal, respectively. Flies expressing RNAi had reduced lifespans. These findings clearly demonstrate that Drosophila POMT mutants are models for human muscular dystrophy. We then observed a high density of myoblasts with an enhanced degree of apoptosis in the tw mutant, which completely lost enzymatic activity. In this paper, we propose a novel mechanism for the development of muscular dystrophy: POMT mutation causes high myoblast density and position derangement, which result in apoptosis, muscle disorganization, and muscle cell defects.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011557
PMCID: PMC2903483  PMID: 20644630
10.  The Drosophila TRPA channel, Painless, regulates sexual receptivity in virgin females 
Genes, brain, and behavior  2009;8(5):546-557.
Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels play crucial roles in sensory perception. Expression of the Drosophila painless (pain) gene, a homolog of the mammalian TRPA1/ANKTM1 gene, in the peripheral nervous system is required for avoidance behavior of noxious heat or wasabi. Here we report a novel role of the Pain TRP channel expressed in the nervous system in the sexual receptivity in Drosophila virgin females. Compared with wild-type females, pain mutant females copulated with wild-type males significantly earlier. Wild-type males showed comparable courtship latency and courtship index toward wild-type and pain mutant females. Therefore, the early copulation observed in wild-type male and pain mutant female pairs is the result of enhanced sexual receptivity in pain mutant females. Involvement of pain in enhanced female sexual receptivity was confirmed by rescue experiments in which expression of a pain transgene in a pain mutant background restored the female sexual receptivity to the wild-type level. Targeted expression of pain RNAi in putative cholinergic or GABAergic neurons phenocopied the mutant phenotype of pain females. On the other hand, target expression of pain RNAi in dopaminergic neurons did not affect female sexual receptivity. In addition, conditional suppression of neurotransmission in putative GABAergic neurons resulted in a similar enhanced sexual receptivity. Our results suggest that Pain TRP channels expressed in cholinergic and/or GABAergic neurons are involved in female sexual receptivity.
doi:10.1111/j.1601-183X.2009.00503.x
PMCID: PMC2728068  PMID: 19531155
painless; TRP channel; mating; sexual receptivity; Drosophila; brain; GAL4/UAS; GAL80
11.  MachiBase: a Drosophila melanogaster 5′-end mRNA transcription database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(Database issue):D49-D53.
MachiBase (http://machibase.gi.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp/) provides a comprehensive and freely accessible resource regarding Drosophila melanogaster 5′-end mRNA transcription at different developmental states, supporting studies on the variabilities of promoter transcriptional activities and gene-expression profiles in the fruitfly. The data were generated in conjunction with the recently developed high-throughput genome sequencer Illumina/Solexa using a newly developed 5′-end mRNA collection method.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkn694
PMCID: PMC2686457  PMID: 18842623
12.  Odorant-Binding Proteins OBP57d and OBP57e Affect Taste Perception and Host-Plant Preference in Drosophila sechellia  
PLoS Biology  2007;5(5):e118.
Despite its morphological similarity to the other species in the Drosophila melanogaster species complex, D. sechellia has evolved distinct physiological and behavioral adaptations to its host plant Morinda citrifolia, commonly known as Tahitian Noni. The odor of the ripe fruit of M. citrifolia originates from hexanoic and octanoic acid. D. sechellia is attracted to these two fatty acids, whereas the other species in the complex are repelled. Here, using interspecies hybrids between D. melanogaster deficiency mutants and D. sechellia, we showed that the Odorant-binding protein 57e (Obp57e) gene is involved in the behavioral difference between the species. D. melanogaster knock-out flies for Obp57e and Obp57d showed altered behavioral responses to hexanoic acid and octanoic acid. Furthermore, the introduction of Obp57d and Obp57e from D. simulans and D. sechellia shifted the oviposition site preference of D. melanogaster Obp57d/eKO flies to that of the original species, confirming the contribution of these genes to D. sechellia's specialization to M. citrifolia. Our finding of the genes involved in host-plant determination may lead to further understanding of mechanisms underlying taste perception, evolution of plant–herbivore interactions, and speciation.
Author Summary
Most herbivorous insects specialize on one or a few host plants; understanding the processes and genetics underlying this specialization has broad implications across biology. Drosophila sechellia, a fruit fly endemic to the Seychelles, feeds exclusively on the ripe fruit of Morinda citrifolia, a tropical plant commonly known as Tahitian Noni. Although other fruit flies never approach this fruit because of its toxins, D. sechellia is resistant and is actually attracted by the same toxins. D. sechellia is a close relative of D. melanogaster, an established model species of genetics. By comparing D. melanogaster and D. sechellia, we revealed that two genes encoding odorant-binding proteins, Obp57d and Obp57e, are not only involved in the fruit fly's taste perception, but can also change the behavioral response of the flies to the toxins contained in the fruit. By knowing how an insect's food preference is determined by its genes, we can gain insight into how insect lifestyles evolve and investigate whether such changes can lead to the formation of new species. We can also begin to understand how to manipulate insects' behavior by changing their preference for particular substances.
Hybrids ofDrosophila melanogaster mutants andD. sechellia reveal genes involved in the behavioral difference that makessechellia specialized to its host plant, with implications for understanding plant-herbivore interactions and speciation
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050118
PMCID: PMC1854911  PMID: 17456006

Results 1-12 (12)