Goals of this study were to: (1) develop distributional maps of modern rodent genera throughout the countries of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland by georeferencing museum specimens; (2) assess habitat preferences for genera by cross-referencing locality position with South African vegetation; and (3) identify mean annual precipitation and temperature range where the genera are located. Conterminous South Africa including the countries of Lesotho and Swaziland Digital databases of rodent museum specimens housed in the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, South Africa (DM), and the Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, United States (NMNH), were acquired and then sorted into a subset of specimens with associated coordinate data. The coordinate data were then used to develop distributional maps for the rodent genera present within the study area. Percent habitat occupation and descriptive statistics for six climatic variables were then determined for each genus by cross-referencing locality positions with vegetation and climatic maps. This report presents a series of maps illustrating the distribution of 35 rodent genera based on 19,471 geo-referenced specimens obtained from two major collections. Inferred habitat use by taxon is provided for both locality and specimen percent occurrence at three hierarchical habitat levels: biome, bioregion, and vegetation unit. Descriptive statistics for six climatic variables are also provided for each genus based on locality and specimen percent incidence. As rodent faunas are commonly used in paleoenvironmental reconstructions, an accurate assessment of rodent environmental tolerance ranges is necessary before confidence can be placed in an actualistic model. While the data presented here represent only a subset of the modern geographic distributions for many of the taxa examined, a wide range of environmental regimes are observed, suggesting that more research is necessary in order to accurately reconstruct an environmental signature when these taxa are found in the fossil record.
Distribution maps; environmental tolerances; GIS; rodents; South Africa; vegetation
Lewy body in the substantia nigra is a cardinal pathological feature of Parkinson's disease. Despite enormous efforts, the cause-and-effect relationship between Lewy body formation and the disorder is yet to be explicitly unveiled.
Here, we showed that radiating amyloid fibrils (RAFs) were instantly developed on the surface of synthetic lipid membranes from the β-sheet free oligomeric species of α-synuclein through a unit-assembly process. The burgeoning RAFs were successfully matured by feeding them with additional oligomers, which led to concomitant dramatic shrinkage and disintegration of the membranes by pulling off lipid molecules to the extending fibrils. Mitochondria and lysosomes were demonstrated to be disrupted by the oligomeric α-synuclein via membrane-dependent fibril formation.
The physical structure formation of amyloid fibrils, therefore, could be considered as detrimental to the cells by affecting membrane integrity of the intracellular organelles, which might be a molecular cause for the neuronal degeneration observed in Parkinson's disease.
The recent Parkinson Disease GWAS Consortium meta-analysis and replication study reports association at several previously confirmed risk loci SNCA, MAPT, GAK/DGKQ, and HLA and identified a novel risk locus at RIT2. To further explore functional consequences of these associations, we investigated modification of gene expression in prefrontal cortex brain samples of pathologically confirmed PD cases (N = 26) and controls (N = 24) by 67 associated SNPs in these 5 loci. Association between the eSNPs and expression was evaluated using a 2-degrees of freedom test of both association and difference in association between cases and controls, adjusted for relevant covariates. SNPs at each of the 5 loci were tested for cis-acting effects on all probes within 250 kb of each locus. Trans-effects of the SNPs on the 39,122 probes passing all QC on the microarray were also examined. From the analysis of cis-acting SNP effects, several SNPs in the MAPT region show significant association to multiple nearby probes, including two strongly correlated probes targeting the gene LOC644246 and the duplicated genes LRRC37A and LRRC37A2, and a third uncorrelated probe targeting the gene DCAKD. Significant cis-associations were also observed between SNPs and two probes targeting genes in the HLA region on chromosome 6. Expanding the association study to examine trans effects revealed an additional 23 SNP-probe associations reaching statistical significance (p<2.8×10−8) including SNPs from the SNCA, MAPT and RIT2 regions. These findings provide additional context for the interpretation of PD associated SNPs identified in recent GWAS as well as potential insight into the mechanisms underlying the observed SNP associations.
Two gammaherpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) (Lymphocryptovirus genus) and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) (Rhadinovirus genus) have been implicated in the etiology of AIDS-associated lymphomas. Homologs of these viruses have been identified in macaques and other non-human primates. In order to assess the association of these viruses with non-human primate disease, archived lymphoma samples were screened for the presence of macaque lymphocryptovirus (LCV) homologs of EBV, and macaque rhadinoviruses belonging to the RV1 lineage of KSHV homologs or the more distant RV2 lineage of Old World primate rhadinoviruses. Viral loads were determined by QPCR and infected cells were identified by immunolabeling for different viral proteins. The lymphomas segregated into three groups. The first group (n = 6) was associated with SIV/SHIV infections, contained high levels of LCV (1–25 genomes/cell) and expressed the B-cell antigens CD20 or BLA.36. A strong EBNA-2 signal was detected in the nuclei of the neoplastic cells in one of the LCV-high lymphomas, indicative of a type III latency stage. None of the lymphomas in this group stained for the LCV viral capsid antigen (VCA) lytic marker. The second group (n = 5) was associated with D-type simian retrovirus-2 (SRV-2) infections, contained high levels of RV2 rhadinovirus (9–790 genomes/cell) and expressed the CD3 T-cell marker. The third group (n = 3) was associated with SIV/SHIV infections, contained high levels of RV2 rhadinovirus (2–260 genomes/cell) and was negative for both CD20 and CD3. In both the CD3-positive and CD3/CD20-negative lymphomas, the neoplastic cells stained strongly for markers of RV2 lytic replication. None of the lymphomas had detectable levels of retroperitoneal fibromatosis herpesvirus (RFHV), the macaque RV1 homolog of KSHV. Our data suggest etiological roles for both lymphocryptoviruses and RV2 rhadinoviruses in the development of simian AIDS-associated lymphomas and indicate that the virus-infected neoplastic lymphoid cells are derived from different lymphocyte lineages and differentiation stages.
The incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma increased in conjunction with the epidemic of HIV disease and AIDS. These malignancies are now known to be associated with secondary infections with a gammaherpesvirus; KS, with the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and lymphoma, with both KSHV and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Similar AIDS-related malignancies have been observed in monkeys with simian AIDS and monkey gammaherpesviruses related to KSHV and EBV have been implicated in the development of disease. The study of monkey models of AIDS-related malignancies provides important approaches for understanding the role of gammaherpesviruses in AIDS-related tumorigenesis. Here we have used a combined molecular and immunological approach to identify, quantitate and localize infections of gammaherpesviruses in AIDS-associated lymphomas in macaques. We found high levels of macaque viruses related to EBV and KSHV in the tumor cells of distinct types of macaque lymphomas, suggesting that the virus-infected tumor cells belong to different lymphocyte lineages and differentiation stages.
The ROCO proteins are a family of large, multidomain proteins characterised by the presence of a Ras of complex proteins (ROC) domain followed by a COR, or C-terminal of ROC, domain. It has previously been shown that the ROC domain of the human ROCO protein Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) controls its kinase activity. Here, the ability of the ROC domain of another human ROCO protein, Death Associated Protein Kinase 1 (DAPK1), to bind GTP and control its kinase activity has been evaluated. In contrast to LRRK2, loss of GTP binding by DAPK1 does not result in loss of kinase activity, instead acting to modulate this activity. These data highlight the ROC domain of DAPK1 as a target for modifiers of this proteins function, and casts light on the role of ROC domains as intramolecular regulators in complex proteins with implications for a broad range of human diseases.
Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of many neurological disorders has been greatly enhanced by the discovery of mutations in genes linked to familial forms of these diseases. These have facilitated the generation of cell and animal models that can be used to understand the underlying molecular pathology. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the use of patient-derived cells, due to the development of induced pluripotent stem cells and their subsequent differentiation into neurons and glia. Access to patient cell lines carrying the relevant mutations is a limiting factor for many centres wishing to pursue this research. We have therefore generated an open-access collection of fibroblast lines from patients carrying mutations linked to neurological disease. These cell lines have been deposited in the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Repository at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and can be requested by any research group for use in in vitro disease modelling. There are currently 71 mutation-defined cell lines available for request from a wide range of neurological disorders and this collection will be continually expanded. This represents a significant resource that will advance the use of patient cells as disease models by the scientific community.
► Summary of the existing literature on gene expression in Parkinson's disease, concentrating on alterations in gene expression in the brain. ► Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a genome wide approach to assessing gene expression in Parkinson's. ► A preview of what lies ahead for gene expression in Parkinson's disease as technology advances.
The study of gene expression has undergone a transformation in the past decade as the benefits of the sequencing of the human genome have made themselves felt. Increasingly, genome wide approaches are being applied to the analysis of gene expression in human disease as a route to understanding the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. In this review, we will summarise current state of gene expression studies of the brain in Parkinson's disease, and examine how these techniques can be used to gain an insight into aetiology of this devastating disorder.
Parkinson's disease; Microarray; Gene expression; Neuropathology; Genome wide
The colorimetric properties of resorcinarene solutions had not been investigated since Baeyer’s initial synthesis. We recently reported that solutions containing resorcinarene macrocycles develop color upon heating or standing. In the presence of saccharides, these solutions exhibit significant color changes which are easily seen. We herein present strong evidence that the solution color is due to macrocycle ring opening and oxidation. The optical responses to saccharides are due to complexation of the sugar with the acyclic chromophores. We apply these mechanistic insights toward the challenging problem of the visual detection of neutral oligosaccharides by simple chromogens. In addition, we also report the first single-crystal X-ray crystal structure determination of a rarely observed “diamond” resorcinarene stereoisomer.
The G2019S mutation in the multidomain protein leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is one of the most frequently identified genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Clinically, LRRK2(G2019S) carriers with PD and idiopathic PD patients have a very similar disease with brainstem and cortical Lewy pathology (α-synucleinopathy) as histopathological hallmarks. Some patients have Tau pathology. Enhanced kinase function of the LRRK2(G2019S) mutant protein is a prime suspect mechanism for carriers to develop PD but observations in LRRK2 knock-out, G2019S knock-in and kinase-dead mutant mice suggest that LRRK2 steady-state abundance of the protein also plays a determining role. One critical question concerning the molecular pathogenesis in LRRK2(G2019S) PD patients is whether α-synuclein (aSN) has a contributory role. To this end we generated mice with high expression of either wildtype or G2019S mutant LRRK2 in brainstem and cortical neurons. High levels of these LRRK2 variants left endogenous aSN and Tau levels unaltered and did not exacerbate or otherwise modify α-synucleinopathy in mice that co-expressed high levels of LRRK2 and aSN in brain neurons. On the contrary, in some lines high LRRK2 levels improved motor skills in the presence and absence of aSN-transgene-induced disease. Therefore, in many neurons high LRRK2 levels are well tolerated and not sufficient to drive or exacerbate neuronal α-synucleinopathy.
Currently, there are no reported genetic predictors of motor symptom progression in Parkinson’s disease (PD). In familial PD, disease severity is associated with higher α-synuclein (SNCA) expression levels, and in postmortem studies expression varies with SNCA genetic variants. Furthermore, SNCA is a well-known risk factor for PD occurrence. We recruited Parkinson’s patients from the communities of three central California counties to investigate the influence of SNCA genetic variants on motor symptom progression in idiopathic PD. We repeatedly assessed this cohort of patients over an average of 5.1 years for motor symptom changes employing the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Of 363 population-based incident PD cases diagnosed less than 3 years from baseline assessment, 242 cases were successfully re-contacted and 233 were re-examined at least once. Of subjects lost to follow-up, 69% were due to death. Adjusting for covariates, risk of faster decline of motor function as measured by annual increase in motor UPDRS exam score was increased 4-fold in carriers of the REP1 263bp promoter variant (OR 4.03, 95%CI:1.57–10.4). Our data also suggest a contribution to increased risk by the G-allele for rs356165 (OR 1.66; 95%CI:0.96–2.88), and we observed a strong trend across categories when both genetic variants were considered (p for trend = 0.002). Our population-based study has demonstrated that SNCA variants are strong predictors of faster motor decline in idiopathic PD. SNCA may be a promising target for therapies and may help identify patients who will benefit most from early interventions. This is the first study to link SNCA to motor symptom decline in a longitudinal progression study.
A major barrier to research on Parkinson's disease is inaccessibility of diseased tissue for study. One solution is to derive induced pluripotent stem cells from patients and differentiate them into neurons affected by disease. Triplication of SNCA, encoding α-synuclein, causes a fully penetrant, aggressive form of Parkinson's disease with dementia. α-Synuclein dysfunction is the critical pathogenic event in Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy and dementia with Lewy bodies. Here we produce multiple induced pluripotent stem cell lines from an SNCA triplication patient and an unaffected first-degree relative. When these cells are differentiated into midbrain dopaminergic neurons, those from the patient produce double the amount of α-synuclein protein as neurons from the unaffected relative, precisely recapitulating the cause of Parkinson's disease in these individuals. This model represents a new experimental system to identify compounds that reduce levels of α-synuclein, and to investigate the mechanistic basis of neurodegeneration caused by α-synuclein dysfunction.
Pluripotent stem cells can be generated from the somatic cells of humans and are a useful model to study disease. Here, pluripotent stem cells are made from a patient with familial Parkinson's disease, and the resulting neurons exhibit elevated levels of α-synuclein, recapitulating the molecular features of the patient's disease.
Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) is a 2527 amino acid member of the ROCO family of proteins, possessing a complex, multidomain structure including a GTPase domain (termed ROC, for Ras of Complex proteins) and a kinase domain1. The discovery in 2004 of mutations in LRRK2 that cause Parkinson's disease (PD) resulted in LRRK2 being the focus of a huge volume of research into its normal function and how the protein goes awry in the disease state2,3. Initial investigations into the function of LRRK2 focused on its enzymatic activities4-6. Although a clear picture has yet to emerge of a consistent alteration in these due to mutations, data from a number of groups has highlighted the importance of the kinase activity of LRRK2 in cell death linked to mutations7,8. Recent publications have reported inhibitors targeting the kinase activity of LRRK2, providing a key experimental tool9-11. In light of these data, it is likely that the enzymatic properties of LRRK2 afford us an important window into the biology of this protein, although whether they are potential drug targets for Parkinson's is open to debate.
A number of different approaches have been used to assay the kinase activity of LRRK2. Initially, assays were carried out using epitope tagged protein overexpressed in mammalian cell lines and immunoprecipitated, with the assays carried out using this protein immobilised on agarose beads4,5,7. Subsequently, purified recombinant fragments of LRRK2 in solution have also been used, for example a GST tagged fragment purified from insect cells containing residues 970 to 2527 of LRRK212. Recently, Daniëls et al. reported the isolation of full length LRRK2 in solution from human embryonic kidney cells, however this protein is not widely available13. In contrast, the GST fusion truncated form of LRRK2 is commercially available (from Invitrogen, see table 1 for details), and provides a convenient tool for demonstrating an assay for LRRK2 kinase activity. Several different outputs for LRRK2 kinase activity have been reported. Autophosphorylation of LRRK2 itself, phosphorylation of Myelin Basic Protein (MBP) as a generic kinase substrate and phosphorylation of an artificial substrate - dubbed LRRKtide, based upon phosphorylation of threonine 558 in Moesin - have all been used, as have a series of putative physiological substrates including α-synuclein, Moesin and 4-EBP14-17. The status of these proteins as substrates for LRRK2 remains unclear, and as such the protocol described below will focus on using MBP as a generic substrate, noting the utility of this system to assay LRRK2 kinase activity directed against a range of potential substrates.
Molecular Biology; Issue 59; Kinase; LRRK2; Parkinson's disease
X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) is characterized by marked phenotypic variation ranging from adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN) to childhood cerebral ALD (CCALD). X-ALD is caused by mutations in the ABCD1 gene, but no genotype-phenotype correlation has been established so far and modifier gene variants are suspected to modulate phenotypes. Specific classes of lipids, enriched in very long-chain fatty acids that accumulate in plasma and tissues from X-ALD patients are suspected to be involved in the neuroinflammatory process of CCALD. CD1 proteins are lipid- antigen presenting molecules encoded by five CD1 genes in human (CD1A-E). Association studies with 23 tag SNPs covering the CD1 locus was performed in 52 patients with AMN and 87 patients with CCALD. The minor allele of rs973742 located 4-kb downstream from CD1D was significantly more frequent in AMN patients (χ2 = 7.6; P = 0.006). However, this association was no longer significant after Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. The other polymorphisms of the CD1 locus did not reveal significant association. Further analysis of other CD1D polymorphisms did not detect stronger association with X-ALD phenotypes. Although the association with rs973742 warrants further investigations, these results indicate that the genetic variants of CD1 genes do not contribute markedly to the phenotypic variance of X-ALD.
Biomarkers derived from gene expression profiling data may have a high false-positive rate and must be rigorously validated using independent clinical data sets, which are not always available. Although animal model systems could provide alternative data sets to formulate hypotheses and limit the number of signatures to be tested in clinical samples, the predictive power of such an approach is not yet proven. The present study aims to analyze the molecular signatures of liver cancer in a c-MET-transgenic mouse model and investigate its prognostic relevance to human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Tissue samples were obtained from tumor (TU), adjacent non-tumor (AN) and distant normal (DN) liver in Tet-operator regulated (TRE) human c-MET transgenic mice (n = 21) as well as from a Chinese cohort of 272 HBV- and 9 HCV-associated HCC patients. Whole genome microarray expression profiling was conducted in Affymetrix gene expression chips, and prognostic significances of gene expression signatures were evaluated across the two species. Our data revealed parallels between mouse and human liver tumors, including down-regulation of metabolic pathways and up-regulation of cell cycle processes. The mouse tumors were most similar to a subset of patient samples characterized by activation of the Wnt pathway, but distinctive in the p53 pathway signals. Of potential clinical utility, we identified a set of genes that were down regulated in both mouse tumors and human HCC having significant predictive power on overall and disease-free survival, which were highly enriched for metabolic functions. In conclusions, this study provides evidence that a disease model can serve as a possible platform for generating hypotheses to be tested in human tissues and highlights an efficient method for generating biomarker signatures before extensive clinical trials have been initiated.
Point mutations in LRRK2 cause autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease. Despite extensive efforts to determine the mechanism of cell death in patients with LRRK2 mutations, the aetiology of LRRK2 PD is not well understood. To examine possible alterations in gene expression linked to the presence of LRRK2 mutations, we carried out a case versus control analysis of global gene expression in three systems: fibroblasts isolated from LRRK2 mutation carriers and healthy, non-mutation carrying controls; brain tissue from G2019S mutation carriers and controls; and HEK293 inducible LRRK2 wild type and mutant cell lines. No significant alteration in gene expression was found in these systems following correction for multiple testing. These data suggest that any alterations in basal gene expression in fibroblasts or cell lines containing mutations in LRRK2 are likely to be quantitatively small. This work suggests that LRRK2 is unlikely to play a direct role in modulation of gene expression, although it remains possible that this protein can influence mRNA expression under pathogenic cicumstances.
Parkinson's disease (PD) represents a major challenge for health care systems around the world: it is the most common degenerative movement disorder of old age, affecting over 100,000 people in the UK alone (Schrag et al., 2000). Despite the remarkable success of treatments directed at potentiating or replacing dopamine within the brain, which can relieve symptoms for over a decade, PD remains an incurable and invariably fatal disorder. As such, efforts to understand the processes that lead to cell death in the brains of patients with PD are a priority for neurodegenerative researchers. A great deal of progress has been made in this regard by taking advantage of advances in genetics, initially by the identification of genes responsible for rare Mendelian forms of PD (outlined in Table 1), and more recently by applying genome wide association studies (GWAS) to the sporadic form of the disease (Hardy et al., 2009). Several such GWAS have now been carried out, with a meta-analysis currently under way. Using over 6000 cases and 10,000 controls, two of these studies have identified variation at a number of loci as being associated with an increased risk of disease (Satake et al., 2009; Simon-Sanchez et al., 2009). Three genes stand out as candidates from these studies – the SNCA gene, coding for α-synuclein, the LRRK2 gene, coding for leucine rich repeat kinase 2, and MAPT, coding for the microtubule-associated protein tau. Mutations at all three of these loci have been associated with Mendelian forms of disease presenting with the clinical syndrome of Parkinsonism, however only SNCA and LRRK2 have been previously associated with pathologically defined PD (Hardy et al., 2009). Point mutations in α-synuclein, along with gene multiplication events, result in autosomal dominant PD, often with a significant dementia component. In addition to this, α-synuclein is the principle component of the main pathological hallmark of idiopathic PD, the Lewy body, making it an unsurprising hit in the GWAS (Spillantini et al., 1997). Mutations in LRRK2 are the most common genetic cause of PD, and so again made this gene a likely candidate as a susceptibility locus for the sporadic form of disease (Kumari and Tan, 2009). More surprising, perhaps, was the identification of tau as a susceptibility factor for Parkinson's. In this review we will outline the role of tau in neurodegeneration and in different forms of Parkinsonism, and speculate as to what the functional basis of the association between MAPT and PD might be.
genome wide association study; Parkinson's disease; synuclein; tau
Cancer and neurodegeneration are often thought of as disease mechanisms at opposite ends of a spectrum; one due to enhanced resistance to cell death and the other due to premature cell death. There is now accumulating evidence to link these two disparate processes. An increasing number of genetic studies add weight to epidemiological evidence suggesting that sufferers of a neurodegenerative disorder have a reduced incidence for most cancers, but an increased risk for other cancers. Many of the genes associated with either cancer and/or neurodegeneration play a central role in cell cycle control, DNA repair, and kinase signalling. However, the links between these two families of diseases remain to be proven. In this review, we discuss recent and sometimes as yet incomplete genetic discoveries that highlight the overlap of molecular pathways implicated in cancer and neurodegeneration.
LRRK2 is a 250kDa multidomain protein, mutations in which cause familial Parkinson’s disease. Previously, we have demonstrated that the R1441C mutation in the ROC domain decreases GTPase activity. Here we show that the R1441C alters the folding properties of the ROC domain, lowering its thermodynamic stability. Similar to small GTPases, binding of different guanosine nucleotides alters the stability of the ROC domain, suggesting that there is an alteration in conformation dependent on GDP or GTP occupying the active site. GTP/GDP bound state also alters the self-interaction of the ROC domain, accentuating the impact of the R1441C mutation on this property. These data suggest a mechanism whereby the R1441C mutation can reduce the GTPase activity of LRRK2, and highlights the possibility of targeting the stability of the ROC domain as a therapeutic avenue in LRRK2 disease.
LRRK2; ROCO protein; GTPase; Parkinson’s disease; differential scanning fluorimetry; circular dichroism
Parkinson's disease (PD) has long been considered to be a sporadic entity, perhaps with an environmental etiology. However, recent genetic discoveries have challenged this view, as there are many families with diseases of Mendelian inheritance that clinically resemble PD. Here, we will review in detail the neuropathological data relating to familial cases of PD. We will discuss the complicated relationships between the genetically defined cases and the two key pathological events seen in PD, namely loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and the formation of protein inclusions, Lewy bodies, in the neurons that survive to the end stage of the disease course. These observations will be synthesized into an overall scheme that emphasizes the two key aspects of the neuropathology as distinct events and suggest that each gene tells us something a little different about the neuropathology of PD.
Parkinson's disease; parkinsonism; α-synuclein; LRRK2; parkin; tau; neuropathology
Mutations in Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the leading genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease (PD). LRRK2 is predicted to contain kinase and GTPase enzymatic domains, with recent evidence suggesting that the kinase activity of LRRK2 is central to the pathogenic process associated with this protein. The GTPase domain of LRRK2 plays an important role in the regulation of kinase activity. To investigate the how the GTPase domain might be related to disease, we examined the GTP binding and hydrolysis properties of wild type and a mutant LRRK2. We show that LRRK2 immunoprecipitated from cells has a detectable GTPase activity that is disrupted by a familial mutation associated with PD located within the GTPase domain, R1441C.
LRRK2; Parkinson’s disease; GTPase; kinase
To gain a better understanding of bacterial responses to complex and hostile environments generated within the neutrophil phagosome, we estimated mRNA abundance, using genomic arrays, in Escherichia coli cells ingested by normal and phagocyte oxidase-deficient human neutrophils. Genes regulated by the oxidant sensing transcription factor OxyR were among those strongly induced upon phagocytosis by normal, but not oxidase-deficient, neutrophils. Several genes related to nitrogen metabolism, especially those regulated by the NtrC and NAC proteins and transcribed via the ς54 alternative sigma factor, were suppressed by both normal and oxidase-deficient neutrophils. A ΔoxyRS mutant strain of E. coli was significantly more susceptible than the parent strain to neutrophil-mediated killing, which suggests that OxyR-regulated gene products contribute a measure of resistance to neutrophil antimicrobial systems. The hypersusceptibility of the ΔoxyRS mutant was attenuated when oxidase-deficient neutrophils were employed, suggesting that much of the protection afforded by the OxyR regulon is against oxidative antimicrobial factors. Expression profiling of phagocytosed bacteria appears to provide useful information about conditions in the phagocytic vacuole and about bacterial defenses mounted in response to this hostile environment.
A major goal in regenerative medicine is the predictable manipulation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to defined cell fates that faithfully represent their somatic counterparts. Directed differentiation of hESCs into neuronal populations has galvanized much interest into their potential application in modelling neurodegenerative disease. However, neurodegenerative diseases are age-related, and therefore establishing the maturational comparability of hESC-derived neural derivatives is critical to generating accurate in vitro model systems. We address this issue by comparing genome-wide, exon-specific expression analyses of pluripotent hESCs, multipotent neural precursor cells and a terminally differentiated enriched neuronal population to expression data from post-mortem foetal and adult human brain samples. We show that hESC-derived neuronal cultures (using a midbrain differentiation protocol as a prototypic example of lineage restriction), while successful in generating physiologically functional neurons, are closer to foetal than adult human brain in terms of molecular maturation. These findings suggest that developmental stage has a more dominant influence on the cellular transcriptome than regional identity. In addition, we demonstrate that developmentally regulated gene splicing is common, and potentially a more sensitive measure of maturational state than gene expression profiling alone. In summary, this study highlights the value of genomic indices in refining and validating optimal cell populations appropriate for modelling ageing and neurodegeneration.
dopaminergic neurons; hESC; human brain; microarray; neurodegenerative disease; splicing