Anticipatory force planning during grasping is based on visual cues about the object’s physical properties and sensorimotor memories of previous actions with grasped objects. Vision can be used to estimate object mass based on the object size to identify and recall sensorimotor memories of previously manipulated objects. It is not known whether subjects can use density cues to identify the object’s center of mass (CM) and create compensatory moments in an anticipatory fashion during initial object lifts to prevent tilt. We asked subjects (n = 8) to estimate CM location of visually symmetric objects of uniform densities (plastic or brass, symmetric CM) and non-uniform densities (mixture of plastic and brass, asymmetric CM). We then asked whether subjects can use density cues to scale fingertip forces when lifting the visually symmetric objects of uniform and non-uniform densities. Subjects were able to accurately estimate an object’s center of mass based on visual density cues. When the mass distribution was uniform, subjects could scale their fingertip forces in an anticipatory fashion based on the estimation. However, despite their ability to explicitly estimate CM location when object density was non-uniform, subjects were unable to scale their fingertip forces to create a compensatory moment and prevent tilt on initial lifts. Hefting object parts in the hand before the experiment did not affect this ability. This suggests a dichotomy between the ability to accurately identify the object’s CM location for objects with non-uniform density cues and the ability to utilize this information to correctly scale their fingertip forces. These results are discussed in the context of possible neural mechanisms underlying sensorimotor integration linking visual cues and anticipatory control of grasping.
This unit describes a method for quantifying various cellular features (e.g., volume, total and subcellular fluorescence localization) from sets of microscope images of individual cells. It includes procedures for tracking cells over time. One purposefully defocused transmission image (sometimes referred to as bright-field or BF) is acquired to segment the image and locate each cell. Fluorescent images (one for each of the color channels to be analyzed) are then acquired by conventional wide-field epifluorescence or confocal microscopy. This method uses the image processing capabilities of Cell-ID (Gordon et al., 2007, as updated here) and data analysis by the statistical programming framework R (R-Development-Team, 2008), which we have supplemented with a package of routines for analyzing Cell-ID output. Both Cell-ID and the analysis package are open-source.
image processing; fluorescence microscopy; Cell-ID; R
Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of male cancer deaths in the developed world. The current lack of highly specific detection methods and efficient therapeutic agents for advanced disease have been identified as problems requiring further research. The integrins play a vital role in the cross-talk between the cell and extracellular matrix, enhancing the growth, migration, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. Progression and metastasis of prostate adenocarcinoma is strongly associated with changes in integrin expression, notably abnormal expression and activation of the β3 integrins in tumour cells, which promotes haematogenous spread and tumour growth in bone. As such, influencing integrin cell expression and function using targeted therapeutics represents a potential treatment for bone metastasis, the most common and debilitating complication of advanced prostate cancer. In this review, we highlight the multiple ways in which RGD-binding integrins contribute to prostate cancer progression and metastasis, and identify the rationale for development of multi-integrin antagonists targeting the RGD-binding subfamily as molecularly targeted agents for its treatment.
integrin; RGD; prostate carcinoma; bone metastasis
Precision grip control is important for accurate object manipulation and requires coordination between horizontal (grip) and vertical (load) fingertip forces. Manifest Huntington’s disease (HD) subjects demonstrate excessive and highly variable grip force and delayed coordination between grip and load forces. Because the onset of these impairments is unknown, we examined precision grip control in premanifest HD (pre-HD) subjects. Fifteen pre-HD and 15 age- and sex-matched controls performed the precision grip task in a seated position. Subjects grasped and lifted an object instrumented with a force transducer that measured horizontal grip and vertical load forces. Outcomes were preload time, loading time, maximum grip force, mean static grip force, and variability for all measures. We compared outcomes across groups and correlated grip measures with the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale and predicted age of onset. Variability of maximum grip force (P < .0001) and variability of static grip force (P < .00001) were higher for pre-HD subjects. Preload time (P < .007) and variability of preload time (P < .006) were higher in pre-HD subjects. No differences were seen in loading time across groups. Variability of static grip force (r2 = 0.23) and variability of preload time (r2 = 0.59) increased with predicted onset and were correlated with tests of cognitive function. Our results indicate that pre-HD patients have poor regulation of the transition between reach and grasp and higher variability in force application and temporal coordination during the precision grip task. Force and temporal variability may be good markers of disease severity because they were correlated with predicted onset of disease.
Huntington’s disease; premanifest; precision grip; motor control
To address the need for standardization of osteoarthritis (OA) phenotypes by examining the effect of heterogeneity among symptomatic (SOA) and radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) phenotypes.
Descriptions of OA phenotypes of the 28 studies involved in the TREAT-OA consortium were collected. To investigate whether different OA definitions result in different association results, we created hip OA definitions used within the consortium in the Rotterdam Study-I and tested the association of hip OA with gender, age and BMI using one-way ANOVA. For radiographic OA, we standardized the hip, knee and hand ROA definitions and calculated prevalence's of ROA before and after standardization in 9 cohort studies. This procedure could only be performed in cohort studies and standardization of SOA definitions was not feasible at this moment.
In this consortium, all studies with symptomatic OA phenotypes (knee, hip and hand) used a different definition and/or assessment of OA status. For knee, hip and hand radiographic OA 5, 4 and 7 different definitions were used, respectively. Different hip OA definitions do lead to different association results. For example, we showed in the Rotterdam Study-I that hip OA defined as “at least definite JSN and one definite osteophyte” was not associated with gender (p=0.22), but defined as “at least one definite osteophyte” was significantly associated with gender (p=3×10−9). Therefore, a standardization process was undertaken for radiographic OA definitions. Before standardization a wide range of ROA prevalence's was observed in the 9 cohorts studied. After standardization the range in prevalence of knee and hip ROA was small. Standardization of SOA phenotypes was not possible due to the case-control design of the studies.
Phenotype definitions influence the prevalence of OA and association with clinical variables. ROA phenotypes within the TREAT-OA consortium were standardized to reduce heterogeneity and improve power in future genetics studies.
It has been theorized that sensorimotor processing deficits underlie Parkinson’s disease (PD) motor impairments including movement under proprioceptive control. However, it is possible that these sensorimotor processing deficits exclude tactile/proprioception sensorimotor integration: prior studies show improved movement accuracy in PD with endpoint tactile feedback, and good control in tactile-driven precision-grip tasks.
To determine whether tactile/proprioceptive integration in particular is affected by PD, nine subjects with PD (off-medication, UPDRS motor=19-42) performed an arm-matching task without visual feedback. In some trials one arm touched a static tactile cue that conflicted with dynamic proprioceptive feedback from biceps brachii muscle vibration. This sensory conflict paradigm has characterized tactile/proprioceptive integration in healthy subjects as specific to the context of tactile cue mobility assumptions and the intention to move the arm.
We found that the individuals with PD had poorer arm-matching acuracy than age-matched control subjects. However, PD-group accuracy improved with tactile feedback. Furthermore, sensory conflict conditions were resolved in the same context-dependent fashion by both subject groups. We conclude that the somatosensory integration mechanism for prioritizing tactile and proprioception feedback in this task are not disrupted by PD, and are not related to the observed proprioceptive deficits.
Parkinson’s disease; proprioception; touch; sensory integration
One goal of systems biology is to understand how genome-encoded parts interact to produce quantitative phenotypes. The Alpha Project is a medium-scale, interdisciplinary systems biology effort that aims to achieve this goal by understanding fundamental quantitative behaviors of a prototypic signal transduction pathway, the yeast pheromone response system from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Alpha Project distinguishes itself from many other systems biology projects by studying a tightly-bounded and well-characterized system that is easily modified by genetic means, and by focusing on deep understanding of a discrete number of important and accessible quantitative behaviors. During the project, we have developed tools to measure the appropriate data and develop models at appropriate levels of detail for studying a number of these quantitative behaviors. We also have developed transportable experimental tools and conceptual frameworks for understanding other signaling systems. In particular, we have begun to interpret system behaviors and their underlying molecular mechanisms through the lens of information transmission, a principal function of signaling systems. The Alpha Project demonstrates that interdisciplinary studies that identify key quantitative behaviors and measure important quantities, in the context of well-articulated abstractions of system function and appropriate analytical frameworks, can lead to deeper biological understanding. Our experience may provide a productive template for system biology investigations of other cellular systems.
This unit describes a method to quantify, from sets of microscope images, various cellular parameters from individual cells, and includes procedures to track cells over time. For example, the user can measure cell volume, total and subcellular localization (nuclear, plasma membrane) of fluorescence for multiple fluorescence channels. This method uses the image processing capabilities of Cell-ID (Gordon et al., 2007) and data analysis by the statistical programming framework R, both open source software packages. The first step for successful cytometry entails acquiring at least one set of images for each field of cells. Each set is composed of one purposefully defocused transmission image (sometimes referred to as brightfield, or BF) that will be used to locate each cell, and one fluorescence image for each of the color channels to be analyzed. Images may be conventional wide-field epifluorescence or confocal microscopy images. Cell-ID processes the images and outputs a tab-delimited file with information extracted from each cell, for each time point and each fluorescence channel. Finally, the user analyzes the data using R (R-Development-Team, 2008), which we have supplemented with a package tailored to analyze Cell-ID output.
image processing; fluorescence microscopy; Cell-ID; R
Haploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells use a prototypic cell signaling system to transmit information about the extracellular concentration of mating pheromone secreted by potential mating partners. The ability for cells to respond distinguishably to different pheromone concentrations depends on how much information about pheromone concentration the system can transmit. Here we show that the MAPK Fus3 mediates fast-acting negative feedback that adjusts the dose-response of downstream system response to match that of receptor-ligand binding. This “dose-response alignment”, defined by a linear relationship between receptor occupancy and downstream response, can improve the fidelity of information transmission by making downstream responses corresponding to different receptor occupancies more distinguishable and reducing amplification of stochastic noise during signal transmission. We also show that one target of the feedback is a novel signal-promoting function of the RGS protein Sst2. Our work suggests that negative feedback is a general mechanism used in signaling systems to align dose-responses and thereby increase the fidelity of information transmission.
In the present study we examined unimanual and bimanual fingertip force control during grasping in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP). Participants lifted, transported and released an object with one hand or both hands together in order to examine the effect on fingertip force control for each hand separately and to determine whether any benefit exists for the affected hand when it performed the task concurrently with the less-affected hand. Seven children with hemiplegic CP performed the task while their movement and fingertip force control were measured. In the bimanual conditions, the weight of the instrumented objects was equal or unequal. The durations of the all temporal phases for the less-affected hand were prolonged during bimanual control compared to unimanual control. We observed close synchrony of both hands when the task was performed with both hands, despite large differences in duration between both hands when they performed separately. There was a marginal benefit for two of the five force related variables for the affected hand (grip force at onset of load force, and peak grip force) when it transported the object simultaneously with the less-affected hand. Collectively, these results corroborate earlier findings of reaching studies that showed slowing down of the less-affected hand when it moved together with the affected hand. A new finding that extends these studies is that bimanual tasks may have the potential to facilitate force control of the affected hand. The implications of these findings for recent rehabilitative therapies in children with CP that make use of bimanual training are discussed.
We examined planning and execution of precision grasp in eight right-handed patients with a right pure motor or sensorimotor lacunar syndrome after a subcortical stroke, and eight age-matched controls, as they grasped and lifted an instrumented object whose weight could be varied without altering its visual appearance. Grip (normal) and load (tangential) forces at the fingertip-object interface were measured and the grip force rate (GFR) and load force rate (LFR) were derived. Planning of precision grasp was assessed by measurement of anticipatory scaling of peak GFR and peak LFR to object weight. Execution of precision grasp was assessed by measurement of the timing and efficiency of grip-load force coordination with the preload phase duration (PLD) and load phase duration (LPD), and the grip force at load force onset (GFO) and at lift-off (GFL), respectively. Subjects lifted a light and heavy object five times first with the RIGHT hand, then with the LEFT hand, and then once more with the RIGHT AFTER LEFT hand. Patients with stroke did not scale the peak LFR or peak GFR to object weight with the RIGHT hand even with repeated attempts; however, they scaled the peak LFR to object weight on the first lift with the RIGHT AFTER LEFT hand (p = 0.01). Patients also prolonged the PLD and LPD and produced excessive GFO and GFL for RIGHT hand lifts, but decreased the GFL for the heavy object (p = 0.016) with the RIGHT AFTER LEFT hand. Correlation of precision grasp variables from lifts with the RIGHT hand with clinical measures showed that anticipatory scaling of peak LFR and peak GFR did not correlate with clinical measures of hand function, whereas the PLD did (r = 0.88, p = 0.004). The results suggest that patients with right hemiparesis from a subcortical lesion of the corticospinal tract have a higher-order motor planning deficit. This planning deficit is dissociable from deficits in motor execution, is not captured by routine clinical assessment, and is correctable by transfer of information from the unaffected hemisphere. A rehabilitation strategy that involves practice with the left hand prior to practice with the right hand may improve planning of grasping behavior in patients with right hemiparesis.
hand; motor planning; internal model; grasp; interlimb transfer
The influence of alginate on the attachment of Vibrio alginolyticus and Vibrio pelagius biovar II to stainless steel was investigated. When the bacteria were in stationary phase, alginate decreased the number of attached bacteria in the case of each Vibrio sp. In contrast, when V. pelagius biovar II was grown on alginate and harvested in log phase, attachment was increased. This effect may be due to nutrient availability at the surface or to receptors on the bacterial surface which interact with alginate adsorbed to the metal.
The effect of electrolyte concentration on attachment of Vibrio alginolyticus to hydroxyapatite was determined. Bacterial affinity for attachment to the surface and surface capacity were derived from linearization of bacterial adsorption isotherms. At low concentrations (<0.1 M) the affinity of the bacteria for the surface increased with increasing ionic strength, in agreement with the D.L.V.O. theory of colloid interaction. At higher concentrations, bacterial affinity for the surface decreased with increasing concentration of cations and was not related to ionic strength changes in the medium. These results demonstrate a change in the mechanism by which salts affect bacterial attachment at salt concentrations above 0.1 M. The results are consistent with the relationship between the proportion of attached bacteria and salinity observed in previously published field studies. The results may also resolve differences between various attachment studies carried out in different ionic strength media, utilizing different bacteria, surfaces, and experimental methods.
Measurements were made of adsorption of a periphytic marine bacterium, glucose, and glutamic acid to inorganic particles in seawater and defined bacterial growth medium. Measurements of the metabolism of bacteria were made in the presence and absence of particles by microcalorimetry and radiorespirometry. It was found that hydroxyapatite adsorbs glutamic acid, but not glucose, from the experimental medium. It was also found that hydroxyapatite adsorbs essentially all of the bacteria from the medium when the bacterial concentration is approximately 6 × 105 bacteria per ml. If the bacterial concentration is approximately 6 × 107, then only a small fraction of cells become attached. It was therefore possible to select bacterial concentrations and organic nutrients so that bacterial attachment, organic nutrient adsorption, or both would occur in different experiments. In this experimental system the metabolism by attached and nonattached bacteria of adsorbing and nonadsorbing organic nutrients was measured. The results show that bacterial activity in this model system was not enhanced by the particles, regardless of whether the bacteria, the organic nutrient, or both were associated with the surface. In fact, the respiratory activity of the attached bacteria was diminished in comparison with that of free bacteria.
Microcalorimetric measurements of heat production from glucose by Vibrio alginolyticus were made to assess the viability of calorimetry as a technique for studying the metabolism of marine bacteria at organic nutrient concentrations found in marine waters. The results show that the metabolism of glucose by this bacterium can be measured by calorimetry at submicromolar concentrations. A linear correlation between glucose concentration and total heat production was observed over a concentration range of 8 mM to 0.35 μM. It is suggested that these data indicate a constant efficiency of metabolism for this bacterium over the wide range of glucose concentrations studied.
Hemiplegia is a physical impairment that can occur in childhood following head trauma, cerebral vascular accident or transient ischemic attack (stroke), brain tumor, or congenital or perinatal injury. One of the most disabling symptoms of hemiplegia is unilaterally impaired hand and arm function. Sensory and motor impairments in children with hemiplegia compromise movement efficiency. Such children often tend not to use the affected extremity, which may further exacerbate the impairments, resulting in a developmentally learned non-use of the involved upper extremity, termed ‘developmental disuse’. Recent studies suggest that children with hemiplegia benefit from intensive practice. Forced use and Constraint-lnduced Movement Therapy (CI therapy) are recent therapeutic interventions involving the restraint of the non-involved upper extremity and intensive practice with the involved upper extremity. These approaches were designed for adults with hemiplegia, and increasing evidence suggests that they are efficacious in this population. Recently, forced use and constraint-induced therapy have been applied to children with hemiplegia. In this review, we provide a brief description of forced use and CI therapy and their historical basis, provide a summary of studies of these interventions in children, and discuss a number of important theoretical considerations, as well as implications for postural control. We will show that whereas the studies to date suggest that both forced use and CI therapy appear to be promising for improving hand function in children with hemiplegia, the data are limited. Substantially more work must be performed before this approach can be advocated for general clinical use.