The accurate calculation of decimal fractions is still a challenge for the binary-coded computations that rely on von Neumann paradigm. Here, we report a kind of memristive abacus based on synaptic Ag-Ge-Se device, in which the memristive long-term potentiation and depression are caused by a chemically driven phase transformation. The growth and the rupture of conductive Ag2Se dendrites are confirmed via in situ transmission electron microscopy. By detecting the change in memristive synaptic weight, the quantity of input signals applied onto the device can be “counted”. This makes it possible to achieve the functions of abacus that is basically a counting frame. We demonstrate through experimental studies that this kind of memristive abacus can calculate decimal fractions in the light of the abacus algorithms. This approach opens up a new route to do decimal arithmetic in memristive devices without encoding binary-coded decimal.
An aptamer based biosensor (aptasensor) was developed and evaluated for rapid colorimetric detection of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7.
The aptasensor was assembled by modifying the truncated lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-binding aptamer on the surface of nanoscale polydiacetylene (PDA) vesicle using peptide bonding between the carboxyl group of the vesicle and the amine group of the aptamer. Molecular recognition between E. coli O157:H7 and aptamer at the interface of the vesicle lead to blue-red transition of PDA which was readily visible to the naked eyes and could be quantified by colorimetric responses (CR). Confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to confirm the specific interactions between the truncated aptamer and E. coli O157:H7. The aptasensor could detect cellular concentrations in a range of 104∼ 108 colony-forming units (CFU)/ml within 2 hours and its specificity was 100% for detection of E. coli O157:H7. Compared with the standard culture method, the correspondent rate was 98.5% for the detection of E. coli O157:H7 on 203 clinical fecal specimens with our aptasensor.
The new aptasensor represents a significant advancement in detection capabilities based on the combination of nucleic acid aptamer with PDA vesicle, and offers a specific and convenient screening method for the detection of pathogenic bacteria. This technic could also be applied in areas from clinical analysis to biological terrorism defense, especially in low-resource settings.
The invariant NKT (iNKT) cell lineage contains CD4+ and CD4- subsets. The mechanisms that control such subset differentiation and iNKT cell maturation in general have not been fully understood. RasGRP1, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for T cell receptor-induced activation of the Ras-Erk1/2 pathway, is critical for conventional αβ T cell development but dispensable for generating regulatory T cells. Its role in iNKT cells has been unknown. Here we report severe decreases of iNKT cells in RasGRP1-/- mice through cell intrinsic mechanisms. In the remaining iNKT cells in RasGRP1-/- mice, there is a selective absence of the CD4+ subset. Furthermore, RasGRP1-/- iNKT cells are defective in T cell receptor induced proliferation in vitro. These observations establish that RasGRP1 is not only important for early iNKT cell development, but also for the generation/maintenance of the CD4+ iNKT cells. Our data provides genetic evidence that the CD4+ and CD4- iNKT cells are distinct sub-lineages with differential signaling requirements for their development.
Escherichia coli topoisomerase I (TopA) cleaves and rejoins one strand of double-stranded DNA to relax the negatively supercoiled DNA. Structurally, TopA contains an N-terminal catalytic fragment and a C-terminal zinc-binding region that is required for relaxation of the negatively supercoiled DNA. Here we report that E. coli TopA is an iron and zinc binding protein. The UV–Vis absorption measurements and metal content analyses reveal that TopA purified from E. coli cells grown in the rich LB medium contains both iron and zinc. However, TopA purified from E. coli cells grown in the M9 minimal medium has negligible amounts of zinc or iron and no topoisomerase activity. Nevertheless, supplement of exogenous zinc or iron in E. coli cells grown in the M9 minimal medium produces the zinc- or iron-bound TopA, respectively. Whereas the zinc-bound TopA is fully active to relax the negatively super-coiled DNA, the iron-bound TopA has little or no enzyme activity. Furthermore, excess iron in the M9 minimal medium is able to compete with the zinc binding in TopA in E. coli cells and attenuate the topoisomerase activity, suggesting that E. coli TopA may be modulated by iron and zinc binding in vivo.
Topoisomerase I; Zinc; Iron; Metalloprotein
In addition to SARS associated coronaviruses, 4 non-SARS related human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are recognized as common respiratory pathogens. The etiology and clinical impact of HCoVs in Chinese adults with acute upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) needs to be characterized systematically by molecular detection with excellent sensitivity.
In this study, we detected 4 non-SARS related HCoV species by real-time RT-PCR in 981 nasopharyngeal swabs collected from March 2009 to February 2011. All specimens were also tested for the presence of other common respiratory viruses and newly identified viruses, human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and human bocavirus (HBoV). 157 of the 981 (16.0%) nasopharyngeal swabs were positive for HCoVs. The species detected were 229E (96 cases, 9.8%), OC43 (42 cases, 4.3%), HKU1 (16 cases, 1.6%) and NL63 (11 cases, 1.1%). HCoV-229E was circulated in 21 of the 24 months of surveillance. The detection rates for both OC43 and NL63 were showed significantly year-to-year variation between 2009/10 and 2010/11, respectively (P<0.001 and P = 0.003), and there was a higher detection frequency of HKU1 in patients aged over 60 years (P = 0.03). 48 of 157(30.57%) HCoV positive patients were co-infected. Undifferentiated human rhinoviruses and influenza (Flu) A were the most common viruses detected (more than 35%) in HCoV co-infections. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human parainfluenza virus (PIV) and HBoV were detected in very low rate (less than 1%) among adult patients with URTI.
All 4 non-SARS-associated HCoVs were more frequently detected by real-time RT-PCR assay in adults with URTI in Beijing and HCoV-229E led to the most prevalent infection. Our study also suggested that all non-SARS-associated HCoVs contribute significantly to URTI in adult patients in China.
Iron is essential for organisms. It is mainly utilized in mitochondria for biosynthesis of iron-sulfur clusters, hemes and other cofactors. Mitoferrin 1 and mitoferrin 2, two homologues proteins belonging to the mitochondrial solute carrier family, are required for iron delivery into mitochondria. Mitoferrin 1 is highly expressed in developing erythrocytes which consume a large amount of iron during hemoglobinization. Mitoferrin 2 is ubiquitously expressed, whose functions are less known. Zebrafish with mitoferrin 1 mutation show profound hypochromic anaemia and erythroid maturation arrests, and yeast with defects in MRS3/4, the counterparts of mitoferrin 1/2, has low mitochondrial iron levels and grows poorly by iron depletion. Mitoferrin 1 expression is up-regulated in yeast and mouse models of Fiedreich's ataxia disease and in human cell culture models of Parkinson disease, suggesting its involvement in the pathogenesis of diseases with mitochondrial iron accumulation. In this study we found that reduced mitoferrin levels in C. elegans by RNAi treatment causes pleiotropic phenotypes such as small body size, reduced fecundity, slow movement and increased sensitivity to paraquat. Despite these abnormities, lifespan was increased by 50% to 80% in N2 wild type strain, and in further studies using the RNAi sensitive strain eri-1, more than doubled lifespan was observed. The pathways or mechanisms responsible for the lifespan extension and other phenotypes of mitoferrin RNAi worms are worth further study, which may contribute to our understanding of aging mechanisms and the pathogenesis of iron disorder related diseases.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are small and non-coding RNAs which play critical roles in physiological and pathological processes. A number of methods have been established to detect and quantify miRNA expression. However, method for high-throughput miRNA function detection is still lacking.
We describe an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector-based microRNA (miRNA) sensor (Asensor) array for high-throughput functional miRNA profiling. Each Asensor contains a Gaussia luciferase (Gluc) and a firefly luciferase (Fluc) expression cassette to sense functional miRNA and to serve as an internal control respectively. Using this array, we acquired functional profiles of 115 miRNAs for 12 cell lines and found “functional miRNA signatures” for several specific cell lines. The activities of specific miRNAs including the let-7 family, miR-17-92 cluster, miR-221, and miR-222 in HEK 293 cells were compared with their expression levels determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR). We also demonstrate two other practical applications of the array, including a comparison of the miRNA activity between HEK293 and HEK293T cells and the ability to monitor miRNA activity changes in K562 cells treated with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA).
Our approach has potential applications in the identification of cell types, the characterization of biological and pathological processes, and the evaluation of responses to interventions.
IscA is a key member of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly machinery in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms; however, the physiological function of IscA still remains elusive. Here we report the in vivo evidence demonstrating the iron binding activity of IscA in Escherichia coli cells. Supplement of exogenous iron (1μM) in the M9 minimal medium is sufficient to maximize the iron binding in IscA expressed in E. coli cells under aerobic growth conditions. In contrast, IscU, an iron-sulfur cluster assembly scaffold protein, or CyaY, a bacterial frataxin homologue, fails to bind any iron in E. coli cells under the same experimental conditions. Interestingly, the strong iron binding activity of IscA is greatly diminished in E. coli cells under anaerobic growth conditions. Additional studies reveal that oxygen in medium promotes the iron binding in IscA and that the iron binding in IscA in turn prevents formation of biologically inaccessible ferric hydroxide under aerobic conditions. Consistent with the differential iron binding activity of IscA under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, we find that IscA and its paralog SufA are essential for the iron-sulfur cluster assembly in E. coli cells under aerobic growth conditions but not under anaerobic growth conditions. The results provide the in vivo evidence that IscA may act as an iron chaperone for the biogenesis of iron-sulfur clusters in E. coli cells under aerobic conditions.
Iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis; human IscA homologue; intracellular iron content
In this report, we investigated the frequency and spectrum of mitochondrial 12S rRNA variants in a large cohort of 1642 Han Chinese pediatric subjects with aminoglycoside-induced and nonsyndromic hearing loss. Mutational analysis of 12S rRNA gene in these subjects identified 68 (54 known and 14 novel) variants. The frequencies of known 1555A>G and 1494C>T mutations were 3.96% and 0.18%, respectively, in this cohort with nonsyndromic and aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss. Prevalence of other putative deafness-associated mutation at positions 1095 and 961 were 0.61% and 1.7% in this cohort, respectively. Furthermore, the 745A>G, 792C>T, 801A>G, 839A>G, 856A>G, 1027A>G, 1192C>T, 1192C>A, 1310C>T, 1331A>G, 1374A>G and 1452T>C variants conferred increased sensitivity to ototoxic drugs or nonsyndromic deafness as they were absent in 449 Chinese controls and localized at highly conserved nucleotides of this rRNA. However, other variants appeared to be polymorphisms. Moreover, 65 Chinese subjects carrying the 1555A>G mutation exhibited bilateral and sensorineural hearing loss. A wide range of severity, age-of-onset and audiometric configuration was observed among these subjects. In particular, the sloping and flat shaped patterns were the common audiograms in individuals carrying the 1555A>G mutation. The phenotypic variability in subjects carrying these 12S rRNA mutations indicated the involvement of nuclear modifier genes, mitochondrial haplotypes, epigenetic and environmental factors in the phenotypic manifestation of these mutations. Therefore, our data demonstrated that mitochondrial 12S rRNA is the hot spot for mutations associated with aminoglycoside ototoxicity.
hearing loss; aminoglycosides; 12S rRNA; variants; mitochondrial; Chinese
A human homologue of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly protein IscA (hIscA1) has been cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli cells. The UV-visible absorption and EPR (electron paramagnetic resonance) measurements reveal that hIscA1 purified from E. coli cells contains a mononuclear iron center and that the iron binding in hIscA1 expressed in E. coli cells can be further modulated by the iron content in the cell growth medium. Additional studies show that purified hIscA1 binds iron with an iron association constant of approx. 2.0 × 1019 M−1, and that the iron-bound hIscA1 is able to provide the iron for the iron-sulfur cluster assembly in a proposed scaffold protein IscU of E. coli in vitro. The complementation experiments indicate that hIscA1 can partially substitute for IscA in restoring the cell growth of E. coli in the M9 minimal medium under aerobic conditions. The results suggest that human IscA1, like E. coli IscA, is an iron binding protein that may act as an iron chaperone for biogenesis of iron-sulfur clusters.
Iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis; human IscA homologue; intracellular iron content
Qualitative and quantitative changes in human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have been implicated in various cancer types. A 4,977 bp deletion in the major arch of the mitochondrial genome is one of the most common mutations associated with a variety of human diseases and aging.
We conducted a comprehensive study on clinical features and mtDNA of 104 colorectal cancer patients in the Wenzhou area of China. In particular, using a quantitative real time PCR method, we analyzed the 4,977 bp deletion and mtDNA content in tumor tissues and paired non-tumor areas from these patients.
We found that the 4,977 bp deletion was more likely to be present in patients of younger age (≤65 years, p = 0.027). In patients with the 4,977 bp deletion, the deletion level decreased as the cancer stage advanced (p = 0.031). Moreover, mtDNA copy number in tumor tissues of patients with this deletion increased, both compared with that in adjacent non-tumor tissues and with in tumors of patients without the deletion. Such mtDNA content increase correlated with the levels of the 4,977 bp deletion and with cancer stage (p < 0.001).
Our study indicates that the mtDNA 4,977 bp deletion may play a role in the early stage of colorectal cancer, and it is also implicated in alteration of mtDNA content in cancer cells.
Aminoglycoside ototoxicity is one of the common health problems. Mitochondrial 12S rRNA mutations are one of the important causes of aminoglycoside ototoxicity. However, the incidences of 12S rRNA mutations associated with aminoglycoside ototoxicity are less known.
A total of 440 Chinese pediatric hearing-impaired subjects were recruited from two otology clinics in the Ningbo and Wenzhou cities of Zhejiang Province, China. These subjects underwent clinical, genetic evaluation and molecular analysis of mitochondrial 12S rRNA. Resultant mtDNA variants were evaluated by structural and phylogenetic analysis.
The study samples consisted of 227 males and 213 females. The age of all participants ranged from 1 years old to 18 years, with the median age of 9 years. Ninety-eight subjects (58 males and 40 females) had a history of exposure to aminoglycosides, accounting for 22.3% cases of hearing loss in this cohort. Molecular analysis of 12S rRNA gene identified 41 (39 known and 2 novel) variants. The incidences of the known deafness-associated 1555A > G, 1494C > T and 1095T > C mutations were 7.5%, 0.45% and 0.91% in this entire hearing-impaired subjects, respectively, and 21.4%, 2% and 2% among 98 subjects with aminoglycoside ototoxicity, respectively. The structural and phylogenetic evaluations showed that a novel 747A > G variant and known 839A > G, 1027A > G, 1310C > T and 1413T > C variants conferred increased sensitivity to aminoglycosides or nonsyndromic deafness as they were absent in 449 Chinese controls and localized at highly conserved nucleotides of this rRNA. However, other variants were polymorphisms. Of 44 subjects carrying one of definite or putative deafness-related 12S rRNA variants, only one subject carrying the 1413T > C variant harbored the 235DelC/299DelAT mutations in the GJB2 gene, while none of mutations in GJB2 gene was detected in other 43 subjects.
Mutations in mitochondrial 12S rRNA accounted for ~30% cases of aminoglycoside-induced deafness in this cohort. Our data strongly support the idea that the mitochondrial 12S rRNA is the hot spot for mutations associated with aminoglycoside ototoxicity. These data have been providing valuable information and technology to predict which individuals are at risk for ototoxicity, to improve the safety of aminoglycoside antibiotic therapy, and eventually to decrease the incidence of deafness.
Mitochondrial 12S rRNA 1555A>G mutation is one of the important causes of aminoglycoside-induced and nonsyndromic deafness. Our previous investigations showed that the A1555G mutation was a primary factor underlying the development of deafness but was insufficient to produce deafness phenotype. However, it has been proposed that mitochondrial haplotypes modulate the phenotypic manifestation of the 1555A>G mutation. Here, we performed systematic and extended mutational screening of 12S rRNA gene in a cohort of 1742 hearing-impaired Han Chinese pediatric subjects from Zhejiang Province, China. Among these, 69 subjects with aminoglycoside-induced and nonsyndromic deafness harbored the homoplasmic 1555A>G mutation. These translated to a frequency of ~3.96% for the 1555A>G mutation in this hearing impaired population. Clinical and genetic characterizations of 69 Chinese families carrying the 1555A>G mutation exhibited a wide range of penetrance and expressivity of hearing impairment. The average penetrances of deafness were 29.5% and 17.6%, respectively, when aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss was included or excluded. Furthermore, the average age-of-onset for deafness without aminoglycoside exposure ranged from 5 and 30 years old, with the average of 14.5 years. Their mitochondrial genomes exhibited distinct sets of polymorphisms belonging to ten Eastern Asian haplogroups A, B, C, D, F, G, M, N, R and Y, respectively. These indicated that the 1555A>G mutation occurred through recurrent origins and founder events. The haplogroup D accounted for 40.6% of the patient’s mtDNA samples but only 25.8% of the Chinese control mtDNA samples. Strikingly, these Chinese families carrying mitochondrial haplogroup B exhibited higher penetrance and expressivity of hearing loss. In addition, the mitochondrial haplogroup specific variants: 15927G>A of haplogroup B5b, 12338T>C of haplogroup F2, 7444G>A of haplogroup B4, 5802T>C, 10454T>C, 12224C>T and 11696G>A of D4 haplogroup, 5821G>A of haplogroup C, 14693A>G of haplogroups Y2 and F, and b of Y2 may enhance the penetrace of hearing loss in these Chinese families. Moreover, the absence of mutation in nuclear modifier gene TRMU suggested that TRMU may not be a modifier for the phenotypic expression of the 1555A>G mutation in these Chinese families. These observations suggested that mitochondrial haplotypes modulate the variable penetrance and expressivity of deafness among these Chinese families.
To study the precise role of the neuraminidase (NA), and its stalk region in particular, in the assembly, release, and entry of influenza virus, we deleted the 20-aa stalk segment from 2009 pandemic H1N1 NA (09N1) and inserted this segment, now designated 09s60, into the stalk region of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus H5N1 NA (AH N1). The biological characterization of these wild-type and mutant NAs was analyzed by pseudotyped particles (pseudoparticles) system. Compared with the wild-type AH N1, the wild-type 09N1 exhibited higher NA activity and released more pseudoparticles. Deletion/insertion of the 09s60 segment did not alter this relationship. The infectivity of pseudoparticles harboring NA in combination with the hemagglutinin from HPAI H5N1 (AH H5) was decreased by insertion of 09s60 into AH N1 and was increased by deletion of 09s60 from 09N1. When isolated from the wild-type 2009H1N1 virus, 09N1 existed in the forms (in order of abundance) dimer>>tetramer>monomer, but when isolated from pseudoparticles, 09N1 existed in the forms dimer>monomer>>>tetramer. After deletion of 09s60, 09N1 existed in the forms monomer>>>dimer. AH N1 from pseudoparticles existed in the forms monomer>>dimer, but after insertion of 09s60, it existed in the forms dimer>>monomer. Deletion/insertion of 09s60 did not alter the NA glycosylation pattern of 09N1 or AH N1. The 09N1 was more sensitive than the AH N1 to the NA inhibitor oseltamivir, suggesting that the infectivity-enhancing effect of oseltamivir correlates with robust NA activity.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups and single nucleotide polymorphisms (mtSNP) have been shown to play a role in various human conditions including aging and some neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic diseases and cancer.
To investigate whether mtDNA haplogroups contribute to the occurrence of cancer in a specific Chinese population, we have carried out a comprehensive case-control study of mtDNA from large cohorts of patients with three common cancer types, namely, colorectal cancer (n = 108), thyroid cancer (n = 100) and breast cancer (n = 104), in Wenzhou, a southern Chinese city in the Zhejiang Province.
We found that patients with mtDNA haplogroup M exhibited an increased risk of breast cancer occurrence [OR = 1.77; 95% CI (1.03-3.07); P = 0.040], and that this risk was even more pronounced in a sub-haplogroup of M, D5 [OR = 3.11; 95%CI (1.07-9.06); p = 0.030]. In spite of this, in patients with breast cancer, haplogroup M was decreased in the metastatic group. On the other hand, our results also showed that haplogroup D4a was associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer [OR = 3.00; 95%CI (1.09-8.29); p = 0.028]. However, no significant correlation has been detected between any mtDNA haplogroups and colorectal cancer occurrence.
Our investigation indicates that mitochondrial haplogroups could have a tissue-specific, population-specific and stage-specific role in modulating cancer development.
To investigate the role of mitochondrial modifiers in the development of deafness associated with 12S rRNA A1555G mutation.
Four Chinese families with nonsyndromic and aminoglycoside-induced deafness were studied by clinical and genetic evaluation, molecular and biochemical analyses of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).
These families exhibited high penetrance and expressivity of hearing impairment. Penetrances of hearing loss in WZD31, WZD32, WZD33, and WZD34 pedigrees ranged from 50 to 67% and from 39 to 50%, respectively, when aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss was included or excluded. Matrilineal relatives in these families developed hearing loss at the average of 14, 13, 16, and 15 years of age, respectively, when aminoglycoside-induced deafness was excluded. Mutational analysis of entire mtDNA in these families showed the homoplasmic A1555G mutation and distinct sets of variants belonging to haplogroup B5b1. Of these, the tRNAThr G15927A mutation locates at the fourth base in the anticodon stem (conventional position 42) of tRNAThr. A guanine (G42) at this position of tRNAThr is highly conserved from bacteria to human mitochondria. The lower levels and altered electrophoretic mobility of tRNAThr were observed in cells carrying A1555G and G15927A mutations or only G15927A mutation but not cells carrying only A1555G mutation. The abolished base pairing (28C-42G) of this tRNAThr by the G15927A mutation caused a failure in tRNA metabolism, worsening the mitochondrial dysfunctions altered by the A1555G mutation.
The G15927A mutation has a potential modifier role in increasing the penetrance and expressivity of the deafness-associated 12S rRNA A1555G mutation in those Chinese pedigrees.
aminoglycoside; Chinese; haplogroup; hearing loss; mitochondrial; modifier; mutation; ototoxicity; penetrance; ribosomal RNA; tRNA; variant
IscA/SufA paralogs are the members of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly machinery in Escherichia coli. While deletion of either IscA or SufA has only a mild effect on cell growth, deletion of both IscA and SufA results in a null-growth phenotype in minimal medium under aerobic growth conditions. Here we report that cell growth of the iscA/sufA double mutant (E. coli strain in which both iscA and sufA had been in-frame-deleted) can be partially restored by supplementing with BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) and thiamin. We further demonstrate that deletion of IscA/SufA paralogs blocks the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly in IlvD (dihydroxyacid dehydratase) of the BCAA biosynthesis pathway in E. coli cells under aerobic conditions and that addition of the iron-bound IscA/SufA efficiently promotes the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly in IlvD and restores the enzyme activity in vitro, suggesting that IscA/SufA may act as an iron donor for the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly under aerobic conditions. Additional studies reveal that IscA/SufA are also required for the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly in protein ThiC of the thiamin biosynthesis pathway, aconitase B of the citrate acid cycle, and endonuclease III of the DNA base excision repair pathway in E. coli under aerobic conditions. Nevertheless, deletion of IscA/SufA does not significantly affect the [2Fe-2S] cluster assembly in the redox transcription factor SoxR, ferredoxin, and the siderophore-iron reductase FhuF. The results suggest that the biogenesis of the [4Fe-4S] clusters and the [2Fe-2S] clusters may have distinct pathways and that IscA/SufA paralogs are essential for the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly, but are dispensable for the [2Fe-2S] cluster assembly in E. coli under aerobic conditions.
aconitase; branched-chain amino acids; dihydroxyacid dehydratase; iron-sulfur clusters; IscA/SufA paralogs; thiamin
We herein report the design of a dumbbell-shaped DNA probe that integrates target-binding, amplification and signaling within one multifunctional design. The dumbbell probe can initiate rolling circle amplification (D-RCA) in the presence of specific microRNA (miRNA) targets. This D-RCA-based miRNA strategy allows quantification of miRNA with very low quantity of RNA samples. The femtomolar sensitivity of D-RCA compares favorably with other existing technologies. More significantly, the dynamic range of D-RCA is extremely large, covering eight orders of magnitude. We also demonstrate miRNA quantification with this highly sensitive and inexpensive D-RCA strategy in clinical samples.
Preparation of heteroduplexes in large quantities with high purity is essential for the measurement of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) activity. Here we report a rapid, less labor-intensive method for the preparation of a heteroduplex plasmid that expresses the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) if the mismatch is correctly repaired. The method involves the use of a wild-type and a mutated EGFP expression plasmid, and a few steps of enzymatic digestion. When the constructed heteroduplex EGFP plasmid was transfected into MMR proficient and deficient cell lines, the number of EGFP-expressing cells was much higher in the MMR proficient cells than in the MMR deficient cells suggesting that the heteroduplex can be used for MMR activity assay in live model systems.
DNA mismatch repair; heteroduplex; EGFP; single stranded DNA
Mitochondrial alteration has been long proposed to play a major role in tumorigenesis. Recently, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been found in a variety of cancer cells. In this study, we examined the contribution of mtDNA mutation and mitochondrial dysfunction in tumorigenesis first using human cell lines carrying a frame-shift at NADH dehydrogenase (respiratory complex I) subunit 5 gene (ND5); the same homoplasmic mutation was also identified in a human colorectal cancer cell line earlier. With increasing mutant ND5 mtDNA content, respiratory function including oxygen consumption and ATP generation through oxidative phosphorylation declined progressively, while lactate production and dependence on glucose increased. Interestingly, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and apoptosis exhibited antagonistic pleiotropy associated with mitochondrial defects. Furthermore, the anchorage-dependence phenotype and tumor-forming capacity of cells carrying wild-type and mutant mtDNA were tested by growth assay in soft agar and subcutaneous implantation of the cells in nude mice. Surprisingly, the cell line carrying the heteroplasmic ND5 mtDNA mutation showed significantly enhanced tumor growth, while cells with homoplasmic form of the same mutation inhibited tumor formation. Similar results were obtained from the analysis of a series of mouse cell lines carrying a nonsense mutation at ND5 gene. Our results indicate that the mtDNA mutations might play an important role in the early stage of cancer development, possibly through alteration of ROS generation and apoptosis.
Molecular epidemiological studies have shown that gene polymorphisms of vitamin D receptor (VDR) are associated with prostate cancer risks. However, previous results from many molecular studies remain inconsistent.
Blood samples were collected from 122 prostate cancer patients and 130 age-matched control subjects in the Han population of Southern China. The differences of VDR gene polymorphism between cancer cases and controls were determined by PCR-RFLP, examiming FokI (exon 2), BsmI, Tru9I, ApaI (intron 9), and TaqI (exon 9). Associations between the VDR gene polymorphism and prostate cancer risk were calculated in an unconditional logistic regression model. Linkage disequilibrium and haplotypes were analyzed with the SHEsis software.
Of five polymorphisms, BsmI was shown to associate with prostate cancer, while FokI, Tru9I, ApaI, and TaqI did not show any significant association. After adjustment for age, the BsmI 'B' allele was associated with an almost 1/3-fold risk (OR = 0.35, 95%CI: 0.15-0.80) of the occurrence of prostate cancer, a 1/5-fold risk (OR = 0.20, 95%CI: 0.06-0.68) of poorly differentiated prostate cancer, and a 1/10-fold risk (OR = 0.10, 95%CI: 0.01-0.78) of aggressive prostate cancer compared with the 'b' allele, especially among older men (>71 years). In addition, haplotype analysis revealed that the 'F-b-U-A-T' was more frequent found in cases than in controls (3.4% vs 0.0%, P = 0.0035), while the frequency of haplotype 'F-B-U-a-T' was 0.8% in cases, significantly lower than in controls (3.9%, P = 0.019).
Our experiments provide evidences that genetic polymorphisms in the VDR gene may be potential risk factors for prostate cancer in the Han population of southern China and the susceptibility to prostate cancer is associated with ethnicity and geographic location.
We report here the clinical, genetic and molecular characterization of a large Han Chinese family with aminoglycoside induced and nonsyndromic hearing loss. The penetrance of hearing loss (affected matrilineal relatives/total matrilineal relatives) in this pedigree was 53%, when aminoglycoside-induced deafness was included. When the effect of aminoglycosides was excluded, the penetrance of hearing loss in this pedigree was 42%. These matrilineal relatives exhibited a wide range of severity of hearing loss, varying from profound to normal hearing. Furthermore, these affected matrilineal relatives shared some common features: bilateral hearing loss of high frequencies and symmetries. Sequence analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the pedigree identified the homoplasmic 12S rRNA A1555G mutation and other 35 variants belonging to Eastern Asian haplogroup D4. Of these, the V313I (G11696A) mutation in ND4 was associated with vision loss. However, the extremely low penetrance of visual loss, and the mild biochemical defect and the presence of one/167 Chinese controls indicted that the G11696A mutation is itself not sufficient to produce a clinical phenotype. Thus, the G11696A mutation may act in synergy with the primary deafness-associated 12S rRNA A1555G mutation in this Chinese family, thereby increasing the penetrance and expressivity of hearing loss in this Chinese pedigree.
We report here the clinical, genetic and molecular characterization of three Han Chinese pedigrees with maternally transmitted aminoglycoside-induced and nonsyndromic bilateral hearing loss. Clinical evaluation revealed the wide range of severity, age-at-onset and audiometric configuration of hearing impairment in matrilineal relatives in these families. The penetrances of hearing loss in these pedigrees were 28%, 20%, and 15%, with an average of 21%, when aminoglycoside-induced deafness was included. When the effect of aminoglycosides was excluded, the penetrances of hearing loss in these seven pedigrees were 21%, 13% and 8%, with an average of 14%. Sequence analysis of the complete mitochondrial genomes in these pedigrees showed the presence of the deafness-associated 12S rRNA C1494T mutation, in addition to distinct sets of mtDNA polymorphism belonging to Eastern Asian haplogroups F1a1, F1a1 and D5a2, respectively. This suggested that the C1494T mutation occurred sporadically and multiplied through evolution of the mtDNA. The absence of functionally significant mutations in tRNA and rRNAs or secondary LHON mutations in their mtDNA suggest that these mtDNA haplogroup-specific variants may not play an important role in the phenotypic expression of the C1494T mutation in those Chinese families. In addition, the lack of significant mutation in the GJB2 gene ruled out the possible involvement of GJB2 in the phenotypic expression of the C1494T mutation in those affected subjects. However, aminoglycosides and other nuclear modifier genes play a modifying role in the phenotypic manifestation of the C1494T mutation in these Chinese families.
hearing loss; 12S rRNA; mitochodnrial DNA; penetrance; mutation; Chinese; aminoglycoside ototoxicity
Comprehensive identification and classification of the transcription factors (TFs) in a given genome is an important aspect in understanding transcriptional regulatory networks of a specific organism. Cyanobacteria are an ancient group of gram-negative bacteria with strong variation in genome size ranging from about 1.6 to 9.1 Mb and little is known about their TF repertoires. Therefore, we constructed the cTFbase database to classify and analyze all the putative TFs in cyanobacterial genomes, followed by genome-wide comparative analysis.
In the current release, cTFbase contains 1288 putative TFs identified from 21 fully sequenced cyanobacterial genomes. Through its user-friendly interactive interface, users can employ various criteria to retrieve all TF sequences and their detailed annotation information, including sequence features, domain architecture and sequence similarity against the linked databases. Furthermore, cTFbase provides phylogenetic trees of individual TF family, multiple sequence alignments of the DNA-binding domains and ortholog identification from any selected genomes. Comparative analysis revealed great variability of the TF sequences in cyanobacterial genomes. The high variance on the gene number and domain organization would be related to their diverse biological functions and their adaptation to various environmental conditions.
cTFbase provides a centralized warehouse for comparative analysis of putative TFs in cyanobacterial genomes. The availability of such an extensive database would be of great interest for the community of researchers working on TFs or transcriptional regulatory networks in cyanobacteria. cTFbase can be freely accessible at and will be continuously updated when the newly sequenced cyanobacterial genomes are available.