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1.  Examination of the Addictive and Behavioral Properties of Fatty Acid-Binding Protein Inhibitor SBFI26 
The therapeutic properties of cannabinoids have been well demonstrated but are overshadowed by such adverse effects as cognitive and motor dysfunction, as well as their potential for addiction. Recent research on the natural lipid ligands of cannabinoid receptors, also known as endocannabinoids, has shed light on the mechanisms of intracellular transport of the endocannabinoid anandamide by fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) and subsequent catabolism by fatty acid amide hydrolase. These findings facilitated the recent development of SBFI26, a pharmacological inhibitor of epidermal- and brain-specific FABP5 and FABP7, which effectively increases anandamide signaling. The goal of this study was to examine this compound for any possible rewarding and addictive properties as well as effects on locomotor activity, working/recognition memory, and propensity for sociability and preference for social novelty (SN) given its recently reported anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Male C57BL mice were split into four treatment groups and conditioned with 5.0, 20.0, 40.0 mg/kg SBFI26, or vehicle during a conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm. Following CPP, mice underwent a battery of behavioral tests [open field, novel object recognition (NOR), social interaction (SI), and SN] paired with acute SBFI26 administration. Results showed that SBFI26 did not produce CPP or conditioned place aversion regardless of dose and did not induce any differences in locomotor and exploratory activity during CPP- or SBFI26-paired open field activity. We also observed no differences between treatment groups in NOR, SI, and SN. In conclusion, as SBFI26 was shown previously by our group to have significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, here we show that it does not pose a risk of dependence or motor and cognitive impairment under the conditions tested.
PMCID: PMC4820685  PMID: 27092087
endocannabinoid; FABP; anandamide; addiction; conditioned place preference; reward; memory; social behavior
2.  MicroRNA-146a reduces IL-1 dependent inflammatory responses in the intervertebral disc 
Gene  2014;555(2):80-87.
Because miR-146a expression in articular chondrocytes is associated with osteoarthritis (OA), we assessed whether miR-146a is linked to cartilage degeneration in the spine. Monolayer cultures of nucleus pulposus (NP) cells from the intervertebral discs (IVD) of bovine tails were transfected with a miR-146a mimic. To provoke inflammatory responses and catabolic extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation, cells were co-treated with interleukin-1 (IL-1). Transfection of miR-146a decreases IL-1 induced mRNA levels of inflammatory genes and catabolic proteases in NP cells based on quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis. Similarly, miR146a suppresses IL-1 induced protein levels of matrix metalloproteinases and aggrecanases as revealed by immunoblotting. Disc segments from wild type (WT) and miR-146a knockout (KO) mice were cultured ex vivo in the presence or absence of IL-1 for 3 days. Histological and immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses of disc organ cultures revealed that IL-1 mediates changes in proteoglycan (PG) content and in-situ levels of catabolic proteins (MMP-13 and ADAMTS-5) in the nucleus pulposus of the disc. However, these IL-1 effects are more pronounced in miR-146a KO discs compared to WT discs. For example, absence of miR-146a increases the percentage of MMP-13 and ADAMTS-5 positive cells after treatment with IL-1. Thus, miR-146a appears to protect against IL-1 induced IVD degeneration and inflammation. Stimulation of endogenous miR-146a expression or exogenous delivery of miRNA-146a are viable therapeutic strategies that may decelerate disc degeneration and regain a normal homeostatic balance in extracellular matrix production and turn-over.
PMCID: PMC4495656  PMID: 25311550
Intervertebral disc degeneration; miR-146a; IL-1; MMP-13; ADAMTS-5; Nucleus pulposus
3.  Haplotype-Phased Synthetic Long Reads from Short-Read Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(1):e0147229.
Next-generation DNA sequencing has revolutionized the study of biology. However, the short read lengths of the dominant instruments complicate assembly of complex genomes and haplotype phasing of mixtures of similar sequences. Here we demonstrate a method to reconstruct the sequences of individual nucleic acid molecules up to 11.6 kilobases in length from short (150-bp) reads. We show that our method can construct 99.97%-accurate synthetic reads from bacterial, plant, and animal genomic samples, full-length mRNA sequences from human cancer cell lines, and individual HIV env gene variants from a mixture. The preparation of multiple samples can be multiplexed into a single tube, further reducing effort and cost relative to competing approaches. Our approach generates sequencing libraries in three days from less than one microgram of DNA in a single-tube format without custom equipment or specialized expertise.
PMCID: PMC4720449  PMID: 26789840
4.  Evaluation of the UCLA Department of Medicine Malawi Global Health Clinical Elective: Lessons from the First Five Years 
In 2008, the UCLA Department of Medicine established a three-week clinical elective in Malawi, Africa, for Medicine and Medicine/Pediatrics residents. We sought to determine whether the elective resulted in improved medical knowledge, alterations in career trajectory, and whether the opportunity for the elective influenced selection of UCLA for residency. A 29-question survey was distributed to all graduates of the elective from 2009–2013. Surveys were distributed to 40 individuals, with 33 responses (82.5%). Thirty-one participants (93.9%) reported increased medical knowledge and 24 participants (72.7%) reported the rotation altered their career trajectory. Among the 23 residents who came to UCLA after the elective was established, 13 (56.5%) stated it had an influential role in their selection of UCLA for residency. The Malawi elective resulted in self-reported increases in medical knowledge, alterations in career trajectory, and has played an important role in attracting individuals to UCLA for residency.
PMCID: PMC4228879  PMID: 25223939
5.  Fatty acid binding protein deletion suppresses inflammatory pain through endocannabinoid/N-acylethanolamine-dependent mechanisms 
Molecular Pain  2015;11:52.
Fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) serve as intracellular carriers that deliver endocannabinoids and N-acylethanolamines to their catabolic enzymes. Inhibition of FABPs reduces endocannabinoid transport and catabolism in cells and FABP inhibitors produce antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in mice. Potential analgesic effects in mice lacking FABPs, however, have not been tested.
Mice lacking FABP5 and FABP7, which exhibit highest affinities for endocannabinoids, possessed elevated levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide and the related N-acylethanolamines palmitoylethanolamide and oleoylethanolamide. There were no compensatory changes in the expression of other FABPs or in endocannabinoid-related proteins in the brains of FABP5/7 knockout mice. These mice exhibited reduced nociception in the carrageenan, formalin, and acetic acid tests of inflammatory and visceral pain. The antinociceptive effects in FABP5/7 knockout mice were reversed by pretreatment with cannabinoid receptor 1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha, and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 receptor antagonists in a modality specific manner. Lastly, the knockout mice did not possess motor impairments.
This study demonstrates that mice lacking FABPs possess elevated levels of N-acylethanolamines, consistent with the idea that FABPs regulate the endocannabinoid and N-acylethanolamine tone in vivo. The antinociceptive effects observed in the knockout mice support a role for FABPs in regulating nociception and suggest that these proteins should serve as targets for the development of future analgesics.
PMCID: PMC4551694  PMID: 26311517
Fatty acid binding protein; FABP; Endocannabinoid; Anandamide; Pain
6.  Macrophage activation and polarization: nomenclature and experimental guidelines 
Immunity  2014;41(1):14-20.
Description of macrophage activation is currently contentious and confusing. Like the biblical Tower of Babel, macrophage activation encompasses a panoply of descriptors used in different ways. The lack of consensus on how to define macrophage activation in experiments in vitro and in vivo impedes progress in multiple ways, including the fact that many researchers still consider there to be only the two types of activated macrophages often termed M1 and M2. Here we describe a set of standards for the field encompassing three principles: the source of macrophages, definition of the activators, and a consensus collection of markers to describe macrophage activation, with the goal of unifying experimental standards for diverse experimental scenarios. Collectively, we propose a common framework for macrophage activation nomenclature.
PMCID: PMC4123412  PMID: 25035950
7.  Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor Is Neuroprotective in Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2014;31(10):976-983.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an international health concern with a complex pathogenesis resulting in major long-term neurological, neurocognitive, and neuropsychiatric outcomes. Although neuroinflammation has been identified as an important pathophysiological process resulting from TBI, the function of specific inflammatory mediators in the aftermath of TBI remains poorly understood. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is an inflammatory cytokine that has been reported to have neuroprotective effects in various animal models of neurodegenerative disease that share pathological similarities with TBI. The importance of GM-CSF in TBI has yet to be studied, however. We examined the role of GM-CSF in TBI by comparing the effects of a lateral fluid percussion (LFP) injury or sham injury in GM-CSF gene deficient (GM-CSF-/-) versus wild-type (WT) mice. After a 3-month recovery interval, mice were assessed using neuroimaging and behavioral outcomes. All mice given a LFP injury displayed significant brain atrophy and behavioral impairments compared with those given sham-injuries; however, this was significantly worse in the GM-CSF-/- mice compared with the WT mice. GM-CSF-/- mice given LFP injury also had reduced astrogliosis compared with their WT counterparts. These novel findings indicate that the inflammatory mediator, GM-CSF, may have significant protective properties in the chronic sequelae of experimental TBI and suggest that further research investigating GM-CSF and its potential benefits in the injured brain is warranted.
PMCID: PMC4012635  PMID: 24392832
animal studies; cytokine; inflammation; models of injury; MRI; traumatic brain injury
8.  Timber! Felling the loblolly pine genome 
Genome Biology  2014;15(3):111.
Conventional short read sequences derived from haploid DNA were extended into long super-reads enabling assembly of the massive 22 Gbp loblolly pine, Pinus taeda, genome.
See related research
PMCID: PMC4053979  PMID: 25000971
9.  The interface between cholinergic pathways and the immune system and its relevance to arthritis 
The nervous and immune systems are likely to be interacting in arthritis, with the possible involvement of both neural and non-neural cholinergic transmission. Centrally acting muscarinic agonists, electrical stimulation of the vagus and treatment with nicotinic receptor agonists can all act systemically to reduce inflammation, although the responsible pathways are incompletely understood. While this ‘cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway’ is widely viewed as a significant pathophysiological mechanism controlling inflammation, the evidence supporting this view is critically reviewed and considered inconclusive; an alternative pathway via sympathetic nerves is implicated. This review also discusses how cholinergic pathways, both neural and non-neural, may impact on inflammation and specifically arthritis. Nicotinic agonists have been reported to reduce the incidence and severity of murine arthritis, albeit an observation we could not confirm, and clinical studies in rheumatoid arthritis have been proposed and/or are underway. While the therapeutic potential of nicotinic agonists and vagal stimulation is clear, we suggest that the ‘cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway’ should not be uncritically embraced as a significant factor in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC4378008  PMID: 25889979
10.  Collagen Induces Maturation of Human Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells by Signaling through Osteoclast-Associated Receptor 
Osteoclast-associated receptor (OSCAR) is widely expressed on human myeloid cells. Collagen types (Col)I, II, and III have been described as OSCAR ligands, and ColII peptides can induce costimulatory signaling in receptor activator for NF-κB–dependent osteoclastogenesis. In this study, we isolated collagen as an OSCAR-interacting protein from the membranes of murine osteoblasts. We have investigated a functional outcome of the OSCAR–collagen interaction in human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs). OSCAR engagement by ColI/II-induced activation/maturation of DCs is characterized by upregulation of cell surface markers and secretion of cytokines. These collagen-matured DCs (Col-DCs) were efficient drivers of allogeneic and autologous naive T cell proliferation. The T cells expanded by Col-DCs secreted cytokines with no clear T cell polarization pattern. Global RNA profiling revealed that multiple proinflammatory mediators, including cytokines and cytokine receptors, components of the stable immune synapse (namely CD40, CD86, CD80, and ICAM-1), as well as components of TNF and TLR signaling, are transcriptional targets of OSCAR in DCs. Our findings indicate the existence of a novel pathway by which extracellular matrix proteins locally drive maturation of DCs during inflammatory conditions, for example, within synovial tissue of rheumatoid arthritis patients, where collagens become exposed during tissue remodeling and are thus accessible for interaction with infiltrating precursors of DCs.
PMCID: PMC4367160  PMID: 25725106
11.  Chloromethane release from carbonaceous meteorite affords new insight into Mars lander findings 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7010.
Controversy continues as to whether chloromethane (CH3Cl) detected during pyrolysis of Martian soils by the Viking and Curiosity Mars landers is indicative of organic matter indigenous to Mars. Here we demonstrate CH3Cl release (up to 8 μg/g) during low temperature (150–400°C) pyrolysis of the carbonaceous chondrite Murchison with chloride or perchlorate as chlorine source and confirm unequivocally by stable isotope analysis the extraterrestrial origin of the methyl group (δ2H +800 to +1100‰, δ13C −19.2 to +10‰,). In the terrestrial environment CH3Cl released during pyrolysis of organic matter derives from the methoxyl pool. The methoxyl pool in Murchison is consistent both in magnitude (0.044%) and isotope signature (δ2H +1054 ± 626‰, δ13C +43.2 ± 38.8‰,) with that of the CH3Cl released on pyrolysis. Thus CH3Cl emissions recorded by Mars lander experiments may be attributed to methoxyl groups in undegraded organic matter in meteoritic debris reaching the Martian surface being converted to CH3Cl with perchlorate or chloride in Martian soil. However we cannot discount emissions arising additionally from organic matter of indigenous origin. The stable isotope signatures of CH3Cl detected on Mars could potentially be utilized to determine its origin by distinguishing between terrestrial contamination, meteoritic infall and indigenous Martian sources.
PMCID: PMC4230006  PMID: 25394222
12.  Construction of Reference Chromosome-Scale Pseudomolecules for Potato: Integrating the Potato Genome with Genetic and Physical Maps 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;3(11):2031-2047.
The genome of potato, a major global food crop, was recently sequenced. The work presented here details the integration of the potato reference genome (DM) with a new sequence-tagged site marker−based linkage map and other physical and genetic maps of potato and the closely related species tomato. Primary anchoring of the DM genome assembly was accomplished by the use of a diploid segregating population, which was genotyped with several types of molecular genetic markers to construct a new ~936 cM linkage map comprising 2469 marker loci. In silico anchoring approaches used genetic and physical maps from the diploid potato genotype RH89-039-16 (RH) and tomato. This combined approach has allowed 951 superscaffolds to be ordered into pseudomolecules corresponding to the 12 potato chromosomes. These pseudomolecules represent 674 Mb (~93%) of the 723 Mb genome assembly and 37,482 (~96%) of the 39,031 predicted genes. The superscaffold order and orientation within the pseudomolecules are closely collinear with independently constructed high density linkage maps. Comparisons between marker distribution and physical location reveal regions of greater and lesser recombination, as well as regions exhibiting significant segregation distortion. The work presented here has led to a greatly improved ordering of the potato reference genome superscaffolds into chromosomal “pseudomolecules”.
PMCID: PMC3815063  PMID: 24062527
Solanaceae; genome anchoring; scaffold orientation; sequence-tagged sites; pseudomolecules; potato; genetic map; physical map
13.  Comparative Genomics Reveals Insight into Virulence Strategies of Plant Pathogenic Oomycetes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75072.
The kingdom Stramenopile includes diatoms, brown algae, and oomycetes. Plant pathogenic oomycetes, including Phytophthora, Pythium and downy mildew species, cause devastating diseases on a wide range of host species and have a significant impact on agriculture. Here, we report comparative analyses on the genomes of thirteen straminipilous species, including eleven plant pathogenic oomycetes, to explore common features linked to their pathogenic lifestyle. We report the sequencing, assembly, and annotation of six Pythium genomes and comparison with other stramenopiles including photosynthetic diatoms, and other plant pathogenic oomycetes such as Phytophthora species, Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, and Pythium ultimum var. ultimum. Novel features of the oomycete genomes include an expansion of genes encoding secreted effectors and plant cell wall degrading enzymes in Phytophthora species and an over-representation of genes involved in proteolytic degradation and signal transduction in Pythium species. A complete lack of classical RxLR effectors was observed in the seven surveyed Pythium genomes along with an overall reduction of pathogenesis-related gene families in H. arabidopsidis. Comparative analyses revealed fewer genes encoding enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism in Pythium species and H. arabidopsidis as compared to Phytophthora species, suggesting variation in virulence mechanisms within plant pathogenic oomycete species. Shared features between the oomycetes and diatoms revealed common mechanisms of intracellular signaling and transportation. Our analyses demonstrate the value of comparative genome analyses for exploring the evolution of pathogenesis and survival mechanisms in the oomycetes. The comparative analyses of seven Pythium species with the closely related oomycetes, Phytophthora species and H. arabidopsidis, and distantly related diatoms provide insight into genes that underlie virulence.
PMCID: PMC3790786  PMID: 24124466
14.  Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes in Pythium and Their Role in Plant Cell Wall and Storage Polysaccharide Degradation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72572.
Carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) are involved in the metabolism of glycoconjugates, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides and, in the case of plant pathogens, in the degradation of the host cell wall and storage compounds. We performed an in silico analysis of CAZymes predicted from the genomes of seven Pythium species (Py. aphanidermatum, Py. arrhenomanes, Py. irregulare, Py. iwayamai, Py. ultimum var. ultimum, Py. ultimum var. sporangiiferum and Py. vexans) using the “CAZymes Analysis Toolkit” and “Database for Automated Carbohydrate-active Enzyme Annotation” and compared them to previously published oomycete genomes. Growth of Pythium spp. was assessed in a minimal medium containing selected carbon sources that are usually present in plants. The in silico analyses, coupled with our in vitro growth assays, suggest that most of the predicted CAZymes are involved in the metabolism of the oomycete cell wall with starch and sucrose serving as the main carbohydrate sources for growth of these plant pathogens. The genomes of Pythium spp. also encode pectinases and cellulases that facilitate degradation of the plant cell wall and are important in hyphal penetration; however, the species examined in this study lack the requisite genes for the complete saccharification of these carbohydrates for use as a carbon source. Genes encoding for xylan, xyloglucan, (galacto)(gluco)mannan and cutin degradation were absent or infrequent in Pythium spp.. Comparative analyses of predicted CAZymes in oomycetes indicated distinct evolutionary histories. Furthermore, CAZyme gene families among Pythium spp. were not uniformly distributed in the genomes, suggesting independent gene loss events, reflective of the polyphyletic relationships among some of the species.
PMCID: PMC3772060  PMID: 24069150
15.  Is Exposure to an Effective Contingency Management Intervention Associated with More Positive Provider Beliefs? 
This study empirically examined opinions of treatment providers regarding Contingency Management (CM) programs while controlling for experience with a specific efficacious CM program. In addition to empirically describing provider opinions, we examined whether the opinions of providers at the sites that implemented the CM program were more positive than those of matched providers at sites that did not implement it. Participants from 7 CM treatment sites (n = 76) and 7 matched non-participating sites (n = 69) within the same nodes of NIDA's Clinical Trials Network completed the Provider Survey of Incentives (PSI), which assesses positive and negative beliefs about incentive programs. An intent-to-treat analysis found no differences in the PSI summary scores of providers in CM program vs. matched sites, but correcting for experience with tangible incentives showed significant differences, with providers from CM sites reporting more positive opinions than those from matched sites. Some differences were found in opinions regarding costs of incentives and these generally indicated that participants from CM sites were more likely to see the costs as worthwhile. The results from the study suggest that exposing community treatment providers to incentive programs may itself be an effective strategy in prompting the dissemination of CM interventions.
PMCID: PMC3319812  PMID: 22116009
Contingency Management; Treatment Dissemination; Translational Research; Cocaine Dependence; Methamphetamine Use Disorders
16.  Soluble CD163, a Product of Monocyte/Macrophage Activation, Is Inversely Associated with Haemoglobin Levels in Placental Malaria 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64127.
In Plasmodium falciparum malaria, activation of monocytes and macrophages (monocytes/macrophages) can result in the production of various inflammatory mediators that contribute to immunopathology. Soluble CD163 (sCD163) is a specific marker of monocyte/macrophage activation typically found at increased levels during various inflammatory conditions and can be associated with poor clinical outcomes. To better understand the relationships between levels of sCD163 and clinical parameters in women with placental malaria, we measured plasma sCD163 levels in maternal peripheral and placental blood compartments at delivery and determined their correlations with birth weight and maternal haemoglobin concentrations. sCD163 levels were negatively correlated with birth weight only in the placental compartment (r = −0.145, p = 0.03) and were inversely correlated with maternal haemoglobin concentrations, both in peripheral blood (r = −0.238, p = 0.0004) and in placental blood (r = −0.259, p = 0.0001). These inverse relationships suggest a potential role for monocyte/macrophage activation in the pathogenesis of malaria in pregnancy, particularly in relation to malaria-associated anaemia.
PMCID: PMC3661483  PMID: 23717548
17.  Primary outcome indices in illicit drug dependence treatment research: systematic approach to selection and measurement of drug use end-points in clinical trials 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2011;107(4):694-708.
Clinical trials test the safety and efficacy of behavioral and pharmacological interventions in drug-dependent individuals. However, there is no consensus about the most appropriate outcome(s) to consider in determining treatment efficacy or on the most appropriate methods for assessing selected outcome(s). We summarize the discussion and recommendations of treatment and research experts, convened by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, to select appropriate primary outcomes for drug dependence treatment clinical trials, and in particular the feasibility of selecting a common outcome to be included in all or most trials.
A brief history of outcomes employed in prior drug dependence treatment research, incorporating perspectives from tobacco and alcohol research, is included. The relative merits and limitations of focusing on drug-taking behavior, as measured by self-report and qualitative or quantitative biological markers, are evaluated.
Drug-taking behavior, measured ideally by a combination of self-report and biological indicators, is seen as the most appropriate proximal primary outcome in drug dependence treatment clinical trials.
We conclude that the most appropriate outcome will vary as a function of salient variables inherent in the clinical trial, such as the type of intervention, its target, treatment goals (e.g. abstinence or reduction of use) and the perspective being taken (e.g. researcher, clinical program, patient, society). It is recommended that a decision process, based on such trial variables, be developed to guide the selection of primary and secondary outcomes as well as the methods to assess them.
PMCID: PMC3537825  PMID: 21781202
Clinical trials; drug dependence; end-points; primary outcome; self-report; toxicology; treatment research
18.  Development of Transcriptomic Resources for Interrogating the Biosynthesis of Monoterpene Indole Alkaloids in Medicinal Plant Species 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52506.
The natural diversity of plant metabolism has long been a source for human medicines. One group of plant-derived compounds, the monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs), includes well-documented therapeutic agents used in the treatment of cancer (vinblastine, vincristine, camptothecin), hypertension (reserpine, ajmalicine), malaria (quinine), and as analgesics (7-hydroxymitragynine). Our understanding of the biochemical pathways that synthesize these commercially relevant compounds is incomplete due in part to a lack of molecular, genetic, and genomic resources for the identification of the genes involved in these specialized metabolic pathways. To address these limitations, we generated large-scale transcriptome sequence and expression profiles for three species of Asterids that produce medicinally important MIAs: Camptotheca acuminata, Catharanthus roseus, and Rauvolfia serpentina. Using next generation sequencing technology, we sampled the transcriptomes of these species across a diverse set of developmental tissues, and in the case of C. roseus, in cultured cells and roots following elicitor treatment. Through an iterative assembly process, we generated robust transcriptome assemblies for all three species with a substantial number of the assembled transcripts being full or near-full length. The majority of transcripts had a related sequence in either UniRef100, the Arabidopsis thaliana predicted proteome, or the Pfam protein domain database; however, we also identified transcripts that lacked similarity with entries in either database and thereby lack a known function. Representation of known genes within the MIA biosynthetic pathway was robust. As a diverse set of tissues and treatments were surveyed, expression abundances of transcripts in the three species could be estimated to reveal transcripts associated with development and response to elicitor treatment. Together, these transcriptomes and expression abundance matrices provide a rich resource for understanding plant specialized metabolism, and promotes realization of innovative production systems for plant-derived pharmaceuticals.
PMCID: PMC3530497  PMID: 23300689
19.  Identifying and Aligning Expectations in a Mentoring Relationship 
The mentoring relationship between a scholar and their primary mentor is a core feature of research training. Anecdotal evidence suggests this relationship is adversely affected when scholar and mentor expectations are not aligned. We examined three questions: (1) What is the value in assuring that the expectations of scholars and mentors are mutually identified and aligned? (2) What types of programmatic interventions facilitate this process? (3) What types of expectations are important to identify and align? We addressed these questions through a systematic literature review, focus group interviews of mentors and scholars, a survey of Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) KL2 program directors, and review of formal programmatic mechanisms used by KL2 programs. We found broad support for the importance of identifying and aligning the expectations of scholars and mentors and evidence that mentoring contracts, agreements, and training programs facilitate this process. These tools focus on aligning expectations with respect to the scholar’s research, education, professional development and career advancement as well as support, communication, and personal conduct and interpersonal relations. Research is needed to assess test the efficacy of formal alignment activities.
PMCID: PMC3476480  PMID: 22212226
mentors; mentoring; career development; faculty development; staff development
20.  Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor is a key mediator in experimental osteoarthritis pain and disease development 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(5):R199.
Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) has been shown to be important in the development of inflammatory models of rheumatoid arthritis and there is encouraging data that its blockade may have clinical relevance in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The aims of the current study were to determine whether GM-CSF may also be important for disease and pain development in a model of osteoarthritis.
The role of GM-CSF was investigated using the collagenase-induced instability model of osteoarthritis. We studied both GM-CSF-/- mice and wild-type (C57BL/6) mice treated prophylactically or therapeutically with a monoclonal antibody to GM-CSF. Disease development (both early and late) was evaluated by histology and knee pain development was measured by assessment of weight distribution.
In the absence of GM-CSF, there was less synovitis and matrix metalloproteinase-mediated neoepitope expression at week 2 post disease induction, and less cartilage damage at week 6. GM-CSF was absolutely required for pain development. Therapeutic neutralization of GM-CSF not only abolished the pain within 3 days but also led to significantly reduced cartilage damage.
GM-CSF is key to the development of experimental osteoarthritis and its associated pain. Importantly, GM-CSF neutralization by a therapeutic monoclonal antibody-based protocol rapidly and completely abolished existing arthritic pain and suppressed the degree of arthritis development. Our results suggest that it would be worth exploring the importance of GM-CSF for pain and disease in other osteoarthritis models and perhaps clinically for this form of arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3580511  PMID: 22995428
21.  Hypoxia Enhances the Proliferative Response of Macrophages to CSF-1 and Their Pro-Survival Response to TNF 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45853.
In chronic inflammatory lesions there are increased numbers of macrophages with a possible contribution of enhanced survival/proliferation due, for example, to cytokine action; such lesions are often hypoxic. Prior studies have found that culture in low oxygen can promote monocyte/macrophage survival. We show here, using pharmacologic inhibitors, that the hypoxia-induced pro-survival response of macrophages exhibits a dependence on PI3-kinase and mTOR activities but surprisingly is suppressed by Akt and p38 MAPK activities. It was also found that in hypoxia at CSF-1 concentrations, which under normoxic conditions are suboptimal for macrophage proliferation, macrophages can proliferate more strongly with no evidence for alteration in CSF-1 receptor degradation kinetics. TNF promoted macrophage survival in normoxic conditions with an additive effect in hypoxia. The enhanced hypoxia-dependent survival and/or proliferation of macrophages in the presence of CSF-1 or TNF may contribute to their elevated numbers at a site of chronic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3446916  PMID: 23029275
22.  Development of a Large SNP Genotyping Array and Generation of High-Density Genetic Maps in Tomato 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40563.
The concurrent development of high-throughput genotyping platforms and next generation sequencing (NGS) has increased the number and density of genetic markers, the efficiency of constructing detailed linkage maps, and our ability to overlay recombination and physical maps of the genome. We developed an array for tomato with 8,784 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) mainly discovered based on NGS-derived transcriptome sequences. Of the SNPs, 7,720 (88%) passed manufacturing quality control and could be scored in tomato germplasm. The array was used to generate high-density linkage maps for three interspecific F2 populations: EXPEN 2000 (Solanum lycopersicum LA0925 x S. pennellii LA0716, 79 individuals), EXPEN 2012 (S. lycopersicum Moneymaker x S. pennellii LA0716, 160 individuals), and EXPIM 2012 (S. lycopersicum Moneymaker x S. pimpinellifolium LA0121, 183 individuals). The EXPEN 2000-SNP and EXPEN 2012 maps consisted of 3,503 and 3,687 markers representing 1,076 and 1,229 unique map positions (genetic bins), respectively. The EXPEN 2000-SNP map had an average marker bin interval of 1.6 cM, while the EXPEN 2012 map had an average bin interval of 0.9 cM. The EXPIM 2012 map was constructed with 4,491 markers (1,358 bins) and an average bin interval of 0.8 cM. All three linkage maps revealed an uneven distribution of markers across the genome. The dense EXPEN 2012 and EXPIM 2012 maps showed high levels of colinearity across all 12 chromosomes, and also revealed evidence of small inversions between LA0716 and LA0121. Physical positions of 7,666 SNPs were identified relative to the tomato genome sequence. The genetic and physical positions were mostly consistent. Exceptions were observed for chromosomes 3, 10 and 12. Comparing genetic positions relative to physical positions revealed that genomic regions with high recombination rates were consistent with the known distribution of euchromatin across the 12 chromosomes, while very low recombination rates were observed in the heterochromatic regions.
PMCID: PMC3393668  PMID: 22802968
23.  Early Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy: Are the Viruses to Blame? 
Case Reports in Medicine  2012;2012:734074.
This paper describes a case of early (7 months after transplant) cardiac allograft vasculopathy. This-43-year-old (CMV positive, EBV negative) female patient underwent an orthotopic heart transplant with a (CMV negative, EBV positive) donor heart. She had a history of herpes zoster infection and postherpetic neuralgia in the past. The patient's panel reactive antibodies had been almost undetectable on routine surveillance testing, and her surveillance endomyocardial biopsies apart from a few episodes of mild-to-moderate acute cellular rejection (treated adequately with steroids) never showed any evidence of humoral rejection. The postoperative course was complicated by multiple admissions for upper respiratory symptoms, and the patient tested positive for entero, rhino, and coronaviruses serologies. During her last admission (seven months postoperatively) the patient developed mild left ventricular dysfunction with an ejection fraction of 40%. The patient's endomyocardial biopsy done at that time revealed concentric intimal proliferation and inflammation resulting in near-total luminal occlusion in the epicardial and the intramyocardial coronary vessels, suggestive of graft vasculopathy with no evidence of rejection, and the patient had a fatal ventricular arrhythmia.
PMCID: PMC3369528  PMID: 22701124
24.  Integration of Two Diploid Potato Linkage Maps with the Potato Genome Sequence 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36347.
To facilitate genome-guided breeding in potato, we developed an 8303 Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) marker array using potato genome and transcriptome resources. To validate the Infinium 8303 Potato Array, we developed linkage maps from two diploid populations (DRH and D84) and compared these maps with the assembled potato genome sequence. Both populations used the doubled monoploid reference genotype DM1-3 516 R44 as the female parent but had different heterozygous diploid male parents (RH89-039-16 and 84SD22). Over 4,400 markers were mapped (1,960 in DRH and 2,454 in D84, 787 in common) resulting in map sizes of 965 (DRH) and 792 (D84) cM, covering 87% (DRH) and 88% (D84) of genome sequence length. Of the mapped markers, 33.5% were in candidate genes selected for the array, 4.5% were markers from existing genetic maps, and 61% were selected based on distribution across the genome. Markers with distorted segregation ratios occurred in blocks in both linkage maps, accounting for 4% (DRH) and 9% (D84) of mapped markers. Markers with distorted segregation ratios were unique to each population with blocks on chromosomes 9 and 12 in DRH and 3, 4, 6 and 8 in D84. Chromosome assignment of markers based on linkage mapping differed from sequence alignment with the Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium (PGSC) pseudomolecules for 1% of the mapped markers with some disconcordant markers attributable to paralogs. In total, 126 (DRH) and 226 (D84) mapped markers were not anchored to the pseudomolecules and provide new scaffold anchoring data to improve the potato genome assembly. The high degree of concordance between the linkage maps and the pseudomolecules demonstrates both the quality of the potato genome sequence and the functionality of the Infinium 8303 Potato Array. The broad genome coverage of the Infinium 8303 Potato Array compared to other marker sets will enable numerous downstream applications.
PMCID: PMC3338666  PMID: 22558443
25.  mRNA-Seq Analysis of the Pseudoperonospora cubensis Transcriptome During Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35796.
Pseudoperonospora cubensis, an oomycete, is the causal agent of cucurbit downy mildew, and is responsible for significant losses on cucurbit crops worldwide. While other oomycete plant pathogens have been extensively studied at the molecular level, Ps. cubensis and the molecular basis of its interaction with cucurbit hosts has not been well examined. Here, we present the first large-scale global gene expression analysis of Ps. cubensis infection of a susceptible Cucumis sativus cultivar, ‘Vlaspik’, and identification of genes with putative roles in infection, growth, and pathogenicity. Using high throughput whole transcriptome sequencing, we captured differential expression of 2383 Ps. cubensis genes in sporangia and at 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 days post-inoculation (dpi). Additionally, comparison of Ps. cubensis expression profiles with expression profiles from an infection time course of the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans on Solanum tuberosum revealed similarities in expression patterns of 1,576–6,806 orthologous genes suggesting a substantial degree of overlap in molecular events in virulence between the biotrophic Ps. cubensis and the hemi-biotrophic P. infestans. Co-expression analyses identified distinct modules of Ps. cubensis genes that were representative of early, intermediate, and late infection stages. Collectively, these expression data have advanced our understanding of key molecular and genetic events in the virulence of Ps. cubensis and thus, provides a foundation for identifying mechanism(s) by which to engineer or effect resistance in the host.
PMCID: PMC3335787  PMID: 22545137

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