As the science of the aging process moves forward, a recurring challenge is the integration of multiple types of data and information with classical aging theory while disseminating that information to the scientific community. Here we present AGING-kb, a public knowledge base with the goal of conceptualizing and presenting fundamental aspects of the study of the aging process. Aging-kb has two interconnected parts, the Aging-kb tree and the Aging Wiki. The Aging-kb tree is a simple intuitive dynamic tree hierarchy of terms describing the field of aging from the general to the specific. This enables the user to see relationships between areas of aging research in a logical comparative fashion. The second part is a specialized Aging Wiki which allows expert definition, description, supporting information, and documentation of each aging keyword term found in the Aging-kb tree. The Aging Wiki allows community participation in describing and defining concepts and terms in the Wiki format. This aging knowledge base provides a simple intuitive interface to the complexities of aging.
Autism and autism spectrum disorders are enigmatic conditions that have their origins in the interaction of genes and environmental factors. In this hypothesis, genes statistically associated with autism are emphasized to be important in inflammation and in innate immune pathways, including pathways for susceptibility to asthma. The role of acetaminophen (paracetamol) in an increased risk for asthma is described and a possible similar link to an increased risk for autism is suggested.
autism; asthma; acetaminophen; innate immunity
Molecular analysis of brain tissue is greatly complicated by having many different classes of neurons and glia interspersed throughout the brain. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) has been used to purify selected cell types from brain tissue. However, its use has been limited to brain tissue from embryos or transgenic mice with promoter-driven reporter genes. To overcome these limitations, we developed a FACS procedure for dissociating intact cell bodies from adult wild-type rat brains and sorting them using commercially available antibodies against intracellular and extracellular proteins. As an example, we isolated neurons using a NeuN antibody and confirmed their identity using microarray and real time PCR of mRNA from the sorted cells. Our FACS procedure allows rapid, high-throughput, quantitative assays of molecular alterations in identified cell types with widespread applications in neuroscience.
glia; genes; microarray; qPCR
Activity-dependent modulation of neuronal gene expression promotes neuronal survival and plasticity, and neuronal network activity is perturbed in aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here we show that cerebral cortical neurons respond to chronic suppression of excitability by downregulating the expression of genes and their encoded proteins involved in inhibitory transmission (GABAergic and somatostatin) and Ca2+ signaling; alterations in pathways involved in lipid metabolism and energy management are also features of silenced neuronal networks. A molecular fingerprint strikingly similar to that of diminished network activity occurs in the human brain during aging and in AD, and opposite changes occur in response to activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptors in cultured cortical neurons and in mice in response to an enriched environment or electroconvulsive shock. Our findings suggest that reduced inhibitory neurotransmission during aging and in AD may be the result of compensatory responses that, paradoxically, render the neurons vulnerable to Ca2+-mediated degeneration.
Alzheimer’s disease; Aging; GABA; Activity; Homeostatic disinhibition; Interneuron; Calcium; Synaptic scaling
Microglia are the resident mononuclear phagocytes of the CNS parenchyma and represent an initial line of defense against invading microorganisms. Microglia utilize Toll-like receptors (TLRs) for pathogen recognition and TLR2 specifically senses conserved motifs of Gram-positive bacteria including lipoproteins, lipoteichoic acids, and peptidoglycan (PGN) leading to cytokine/chemokine production. Interestingly, primary microglia derived from TLR2 knockout (KO) mice over-expressed numerous IL-12 family members, including IL-12p40, IL-12p70, and IL-27 in response to intact S. aureus, but not the less structurally complex TLR2 ligands Pam3CSK4 or PGN. The ability of intact bacteria to augment IL-12 family member expression was specific for Gram-positive organisms since numerous Gram-negative strains were unable to elicit exaggerated responses in TLR2 KO microglia. Inhibition of SYK or IRAK4 signaling did not impact heightened IL-12 family member production in S. aureus-treated TLR2 KO microglia, whereas PI3K, MAPK, and JNK inhibitors were all capable of restoring exaggerated cytokine expression to WT levels. Additionally, elevated IL-12 production in TLR2 KO microglia was ablated by a TLR9 antagonist, suggesting that TLR9 drives IL-12 family member production following exposure to intact bacteria that remains unchecked in the absence of TLR2 signaling. Collectively, these findings indicate crosstalk between TLR2 and TLR9 pathways to regulate IL-12 family member production by microglia. The summation of TLR signals must be tightly controlled to ensure the timely cessation and/or fine tuning of cytokine signaling to avoid non-specific bystander damage due to sustained IL-12 release.
S. aureus; TLR2; TLR9; microglia; MAPK; JNK; PI3K
The microRNA miR-519 robustly inhibits cell proliferation, in turn triggering senescence and decreasing tumor growth. However, the molecular mediators of miR-519-elicited growth inhibition are unknown. Here, we systematically investigated the influence of miR-519 on gene expression profiles leading to growth cessation in HeLa human cervical carcinoma cells. By analyzing miR-519-triggered changes in protein and mRNA expression patterns and by identifying mRNAs associated with biotinylated miR-519, we uncovered two prominent subsets of miR-519-regulated mRNAs. One subset of miR-519 target mRNAs encoded DNA maintenance proteins (including DUT1, EXO1, RPA2, and POLE4); miR-519 repressed their expression and increased DNA damage, in turn raising the levels of the cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor p21. The other subset of miR-519 target mRNAs encoded proteins that control intracellular calcium levels (notably, ATP2C1 and ORAI1); their downregulation by miR-519 aberrantly elevated levels of cytosolic [Ca2+] storage in HeLa cells, similarly increasing p21 levels in a manner dependent on the Ca2+-activated kinases CaMKII and GSK3β. The rises in levels of DNA damage, the Ca2+ concentration, and p21 levels stimulated an autophagic phenotype in HeLa and other human carcinoma cell lines. As a consequence, ATP levels increased, and the level of activity of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) declined, further contributing to the elevation in the abundance of p21. Our results indicate that miR-519 promotes DNA damage, alters Ca2+ homeostasis, and enhances energy production; together, these processes elevate the expression level of p21, promoting growth inhibition and cell survival.
Mammalian long intergenic noncoding (linc)RNAs are best known for modulating transcription. Here we report a post-transcriptional function for lincRNA-p21 as a modulator of translation. Association of the RNA-binding protein HuR with lincRNA-p21 favored the recruitment of let-7/Ago2 to lincRNA-p21, leading to lower lincRNA-p21 stability. Under reduced HuR levels, lincRNA-p21 accumulated in human cervical carcinoma HeLa cells, increasing its association with JUNB and CTNNB1 mRNAs and selectively lowering their translation. With elevated HuR, lincRNA-p21 levels declined, which in turn derepressed JunB and β-catenin translation and increased the levels of these proteins. We propose that HuR controls translation of a subset of target mRNAs by influencing lincRNA-p21 levels. Our findings uncover a role for lincRNA as a post-transcriptional inhibitor of translation.
Rat umbilical cord matrix stem cells (UCMSC) have been shown to exhibit a remarkable ability to control rat mammary adenocarcinoma (Mat B III) cell proliferation both in vivo and in vitro. To study the underlying mechanisms and genes involved in Mat B III growth attenuation, total RNA was extracted from the naïve rat UCMSC alone and those co-cultured with Mat B III in Transwell culture dishes. Gene expression profiles of naive rat UCMSC alone and those co-cultured with Mat B III cells were investigated by microarray analysis using an Illumina RatRef-12 Expression BeadChip. The comparison of gene expression profiles between untreated and co-cultured rat UCMSC identified five up-regulated candidate genes (follistatin (FST), sulfatase1 (SULF-1), glucose phosphate isomerase (GPI), HtrA serine peptidase (HTRA1), and adipocyte differentiation-related protein (ADRP)) and two down-regulated candidate genes (transforming growth factor, beta-induced, 68kDa (TGFβI) and podoplanin (PDPN)) based upon the following screening criteria: 1) expression of the candidate genes should show at least a 1.5 fold change in rat UCMSC co-cultured with Mat B III cells; 2) candidate genes encode secretory proteins; and 3) they encode cell growth-related proteins. Following confirmation of gene expression by real time-PCR, ADRP, SULF-1 and GPI were selected for further analysis. Addition of specific neutralizing antibodies against these three gene products individually in co-cultures of 1:20 rat UCMSC:Mat B III cells significantly increased cell proliferation, implying that these gene products are produced under the co-cultured condition and functionally attenuate cell growth. Immunoprecipitation followed by Western blot analysis demonstrated that these proteins are indeed secreted into the culture medium. Individual over-expression of these three genes in rat UCMSC significantly enhanced UCMSC-dependent inhibition of cell proliferation in co-culture. These results suggest that ADRP, SULF-1 and GPI act as tumor suppressor genes, and these genes might be involved in rat UCMSC-dependent growth attenuation of rat mammary tumors.
Rat umbilical cord matrix stem cells; Rat mammary tumor cells; Mat B III; Microarray; Real time PCR; Thymidine uptake; Tumor suppressor genes; ADRP; GPI; SULF-1
CAPC, also known as LRRC26, is expressed in normal prostate and salivary gland. We developed a monoclonal antibody to CAPC and used it to characterize the protein and study its function. CAPC protein was detected in normal prostate and salivary gland, in several human breast cancer cell lines and in the prostate cancer cell line LNCaP. Knock down of CAPC by siRNA in LNCaP cells enhanced anchorage-independent growth in soft agar. Conversely, over-expression of CAPC in MDA-231 breast cancer cells and the A431 epidermoid cancer cells inhibited growth in soft agar and tumorigenesis in nude mice, and suppressed metastasis of MDA-231 cells to the lung. Over-expression of CAPC down-regulated NF-κB activity and its target genes including GM-CSF (CSF2), CXCL1, IL8 and LTB1. It also suppressed genes encoding the serine protease mesotrypsin (PRSS3) and Cystatin SN (CST1). CAPC expressing tumors showed a decrease in the number of proliferating cells and a large increase in extracellular matrix. The role of CAPC in the suppression of tumor growth and metastasis may be through its alteration of the tumor microenvironment.
CAPC; tumor growth; NF-κB; cytokines
The hypothalamus is an essential relay in the neural circuitry underlying energy metabolism that needs to continually adapt to changes in the energetic environment. The neuroendocrine control of food intake and energy expenditure is associated with, and likely dependent upon, hypothalamic plasticity. Severe disturbances in energy metabolism, such as those that occur in obesity, are therefore likely to be associated with disruption of hypothalamic transcriptomic plasticity. In this paper, we investigated the effects of two well-characterized antiaging interventions, caloric restriction and voluntary wheel running, in two distinct physiological paradigms, that is, diabetic (db/db) and nondiabetic wild-type (C57/Bl/6) animals to investigate the contextual sensitivity of hypothalamic transcriptomic responses. We found that, both quantitatively and qualitatively, caloric restriction and physical exercise were associated with distinct transcriptional signatures that differed significantly between diabetic and non-diabetic mice. This suggests that challenges to metabolic homeostasis regulate distinct hypothalamic gene sets in diabetic and non-diabetic animals. A greater understanding of how genetic background contributes to hypothalamic response mechanisms could pave the way for the development of more nuanced therapeutics for the treatment of metabolic disorders that occur in diverse physiological backgrounds.
Inflammation and the genes, molecules, and biological pathways that lead to inflammatory processes influence many important and disparate biological processes and disease states that are quite often not generally considered classical inflammatory or autoimmune disorders. These include development, reproduction, aging, tumor development and tumor rejection, cardiovascular pathologies, metabolic disorders, as well as neurological and psychiatric disorders. This paper compares parallel aspects of autism and inflammatory disorders with an emphasis on asthma. These comparisons include epidemiological, morphometric, molecular, and genetic aspects of both disease types, contributing to a hypothesis of autism in the context of the immune based hygiene hypothesis. This hypothesis is meant to address the apparent rise in the prevalence of autism in the population.
autism; autoimmune; inflammation
Methamphetamine (METH) addiction is associated with several neuropsychiatric symptoms. Little is known about the effects of METH on gene expression and epigenetic modifications in the rat nucleus accumbens (NAC). Our study investigated the effects of a non-toxic METH injection (20 mg/kg) on gene expression, histone acetylation, and the expression of the histone acetyltransferase (HAT), ATF2, and of the histone deacetylases (HDACs), HDAC1 and HDAC2, in that structure. Microarray analyses done at 1, 8, 16 and 24 hrs after the METH injection identified METH-induced changes in the expression of genes previously implicated in the acute and longterm effects of psychostimulants, including immediate early genes and corticotropin-releasing factor (Crf). In contrast, the METH injection caused time-dependent decreases in the expression of other genes including Npas4 and cholecystokinin (Cck). Pathway analyses showed that genes with altered expression participated in behavioral performance, cell-to-cell signaling, and regulation of gene expression. PCR analyses confirmed the changes in the expression of c-fos, fosB, Crf, Cck, and Npas4 transcripts. To determine if the METH injection caused post-translational changes in histone markers, we used western blot analyses and identified METH-mediated decreases in histone H3 acetylated at lysine 9 (H3K9ac) and lysine 18 (H3K18ac) in nuclear sub-fractions. In contrast, the METH injection caused time-dependent increases in acetylated H4K5 and H4K8. The changes in histone acetylation were accompanied by decreased expression of HDAC1 but increased expression of HDAC2 protein levels. The histone acetyltransferase, ATF2, showed significant METH-induced increased in protein expression. These results suggest that METH-induced alterations in global gene expression seen in rat NAC might be related, in part, to METH-induced changes in histone acetylation secondary to changes in HAT and HDAC expression. The causal role that HATs and HDACs might play in METH-induced gene expression needs to be investigated further.
In mammalian cells, microRNAs regulate the expression of target mRNAs generally by reducing their stability and/or translation, and thereby control diverse cellular processes such as senescence. We recently reported the differential abundance of microRNAs in young (early-passage, proliferating) relative to senescent (late-passage, non-proliferating) WI-38 human diploid fibroblasts. Here we report that the levels of the vast majority of mRNAs were unaltered in senescent compared to young WI-38 cells, while overall mRNA translation was potently reduced in senescent cells. Downregulation of Dicer or Drosha, two major enzymes in microRNA biogenesis, lowered microRNA levels, but, unexpectedly, it also reduced global translation. While a reduction in Dicer levels markedly enhanced cellular senescence, reduction of Drosha levels did not, suggesting that the Drosha/Dicer effects on translation may be independent of senescence and further suggesting that microRNAs may directly or indirectly enhance mRNA translation in WI-38 cells. We discuss possible scenarios through which Dicer/Drosha/microRNAs could enhance translation.
microRNA; Dicer; Drosha senescence; translation; post-transcriptional gene regulation
SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzymes play a critical role in the development of T helper lymphocytes, including Th2 cells, and directly program chromatin structure at Th2 cytokine genes. Different versions of SWI/SNF complexes, including BAF and PBAF, have been described based on unique subunit composition. However, the relative role of BAF and PBAF in Th cell function and cytokine expression has not been reported.
Here we examine the role of the PBAF SWI/SNF complex in Th cell development and gene expression using mice deficient for a PBAF-specific component, BAF180. We find that T cell development in the thymus and lymphoid periphery is largely normal when the BAF180 gene is deleted late in thymic development. However, BAF180-deficient Th2 cells express high levels of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10. BAF180 binds directly to regulatory elements in the Il-10 locus but is replaced by BAF250 BAF complexes in the absence of BAF180, resulting in increased histone acetylation and CBP recruitment to the IL-10 locus.
These results demonstrate that BAF180 is a repressor of IL-10 transcription in Th2 cells and suggest that the differential recruitment of different SWI/SNF subtypes can have direct consequences on chromatin structure and gene transcription.
Resistance to current chemotherapeutic agents is a major cause of therapy failure in ovarian cancer patients, but the exact mechanisms leading to the development of drug resistance remain unclear.
To better understand mechanisms of drug resistance, and possibly identify novel targets for therapy, we generated a series of drug resistant ovarian cancer cell lines through repeated exposure to three chemotherapeutic drugs (cisplatin, doxorubicin, or paclitaxel), and identified changes in gene expression patterns using Illumina whole-genome expression microarrays. Validation of selected genes was performed by RT-PCR and immunoblotting. Pathway enrichment analysis using the KEGG, GO, and Reactome databases was performed to identify pathways that may be important in each drug resistance phenotype.
A total of 845 genes (p < 0.01) were found altered in at least one drug resistance phenotype when compared to the parental, drug sensitive cell line. Focusing on each resistance phenotype individually, we identified 460, 366, and 337 genes significantly altered in cells resistant to cisplatin, doxorubicin, and paclitaxel, respectively. Of the 845 genes found altered, only 62 genes were simultaneously altered in all three resistance phenotypes. Using pathway analysis, we found many pathways enriched for each resistance phenotype, but some dominant pathways emerged. The dominant pathways included signaling from the cell surface and cell movement for cisplatin resistance, proteasome regulation and steroid biosynthesis for doxorubicin resistance, and control of translation and oxidative stress for paclitaxel resistance.
Ovarian cancer cells develop drug resistance through different pathways depending on the drug used in the generation of chemoresistance. A better understanding of these mechanisms may lead to the development of novel strategies to circumvent the problem of drug resistance.
T helper cell differentiation and activation require specific transcriptional programs accompanied by changes in chromatin structure. However, little is known about the chromatin remodeling enzymes responsible. We performed genome-wide analysis to determine the general principles of BRG1 binding, followed by analysis of specific genes to determine whether these general rules were typical of key T cell genes. We found that binding of the remodeling protein BRG1 was programmed by both lineage and activation signals. BRG1 binding positively correlated with gene activity at protein-coding and microRNA (miRNA) genes. BRG1 binding was found at promoters and distal regions, including both novel and previously validated distal regulatory elements. Distal BRG1 binding correlated with expression, and novel distal sites in the Gata3 locus possessed enhancer-like activity, suggesting a general role for BRG1 in long-distance gene regulation. BRG1 recruitment to distal sites in Gata3 was impaired in cells lacking STAT6, a transcription factor that regulates lineage-specific genes. Together, these findings suggest that BRG1 interprets both differentiation and activation signals and plays a causal role in gene regulation, chromatin structure, and cell fate. Our findings suggest that BRG1 binding is a useful marker for identifying active cis-regulatory regions in protein-coding and miRNA genes.
CHD5 is frequently deleted in neuroblastoma and is a tumor suppressor gene. However, little is known about the role of CHD5 other than it is homologous to chromatin remodeling ATPases. We found CHD5 mRNA was restricted to the brain; by contrast, most remodeling ATPases were broadly expressed. CHD5 protein isolated from mouse brain was associated with HDAC2, p66ß, MTA3 and RbAp46 in a megadalton complex. CHD5 protein was detected in several rat brain regions and appeared to be enriched in neurons. CHD5 protein was predominantly nuclear in primary rat neurons and brain sections. Microarray analysis revealed genes that were upregulated and downregulated when CHD5 was depleted from primary neurons. CHD5 depletion altered expression of neuronal genes, transcription factors, and brain-specific subunits of the SWI/SNF remodeling enzyme. Expression of gene sets linked to aging and Alzheimer's disease were strongly altered by CHD5 depletion from primary neurons. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed CHD5 bound to these genes, suggesting the regulation was direct. Together, these results indicate that CHD5 protein is found in a NuRD-like multi-protein complex. CHD5 expression is restricted to the brain, unlike the closely related family members CHD3 and CHD4. CHD5 regulates expression of neuronal genes, cell cycle genes and remodeling genes. CHD5 is linked to regulation of genes implicated in aging and Alzheimer's disease.
Claudins are tight junction proteins that are involved in tight junction formation and function. Previous studies have shown that claudin-7 is frequently upregulated in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) along with claudin-3 and claudin-4. Here, we investigate in detail the expression patterns of claudin-7, as well as its possible functions in EOC.
A total of 95 ovarian tissue samples (7 normal ovarian tissues, 65 serous carcinomas, 11 clear cell carcinomas, 8 endometrioid carcinomas and 4 mucinous carcinomas) were studied for claudin-7 expression. In real-time RT-PCR analysis, the gene for claudin-7, CLDN7, was found to be upregulated in all the tumor tissue samples studied. Similarly, immunohistochemical analysis and western blotting showed that claudin-7 protein was significantly overexpressed in the vast majority of EOCs. Small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of claudin-7 in ovarian cancer cells led to significant changes in gene expression as measured by microarrays and validated by RT-PCR and immunoblotting. Analyses of the genes differentially expressed revealed that the genes altered in response to claudin-7 knockdown were associated with pathways implicated in various molecular and cellular functions such as cell cycle, cellular growth and proliferation, cell death, development, and cell movement. Through functional experiments in vitro, we found that both migration and invasion were altered in cells where CLDN7 had been knocked down or overexpressed. Interestingly, claudin-7 expression was associated with a net increase in invasion, but also with a decrease in migration.
Our work shows that claudin-7 is significantly upregulated in EOC and that it may be functionally involved in ovarian carcinoma invasion. CLDN7 may therefore represent potential marker for ovarian cancer detection and a target for therapy.
Hormesis occurs when a low level stress elicits adaptive beneficial responses that protect against subsequent exposure to severe stress. Recent findings suggest that mild oxidative and thermal stress can extend lifespan by hormetic mechanisms. Here we show that the botanical pesticide plumbagin, while toxic to C. elegans nematodes at high doses, extends lifespan at low doses. Because plumbagin is a naphthoquinone that can generate free radicals in vivo, we investigated whether it extends lifespan by activating an adaptive cellular stress response pathway. The C. elegans cap‘n’collar (CNC) transcription factor, SKN-1, mediates protective responses to oxidative stress. Genetic analysis showed that skn-1 activity is required for lifespan extension by low-dose plumbagin in C. elegans. Further screening of a series of plumbagin analogs identified three additional naphthoquinones that could induce SKN-1 targets in C. elegans. Naphthazarin showed skn-1dependent lifespan extension, over an extended dose range compared to plumbagin, while the other naphthoquinones, oxoline and menadione, had differing effects on C. elegans survival and failed to activate ARE reporter expression in cultured mammalian cells. Our findings reveal the potential for low doses of naturally occurring naphthoquinones to extend lifespan by engaging a specific adaptive cellular stress response pathway.
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) regulate gene expression at many post-transcriptional levels, including mRNA stability and translation. The RBP nucleolin, with four RNA-recognition motifs, has been implicated in cell proliferation, carcinogenesis and viral infection. However, the subset of nucleolin target mRNAs and the influence of nucleolin on their expression had not been studied at a transcriptome-wide level. Here, we globally identified nucleolin target transcripts, many of which encoded cell growth- and cancer-related proteins, and used them to find a signature motif on nucleolin target mRNAs. Surprisingly, this motif was very rich in G residues and was not only found in the 3′-untranslated region (UTR), but also in the coding region (CR) and 5′-UTR. Nucleolin enhanced the translation of mRNAs bearing the G-rich motif, since silencing nucleolin did not change target mRNA stability, but decreased the size of polysomes forming on target transcripts and lowered the abundance of the encoded proteins. In summary, nucleolin binds G-rich sequences in the CR and UTRs of target mRNAs, many of which encode cancer proteins, and enhances their translation.
Because the olfactory system plays a major role in food consumption, and because “food addiction” and associated morbidities have reached epidemic proportions, we tested the hypothesis that dietary energy restriction can modify adverse effects of cocaine on behavior and olfactory cellular and molecular plasticity. Mice maintained on an alternate day fasting (ADF) diet exhibited increased baseline locomotion and increased cocaine-sensitized locomotion during cocaine conditioning, despite no change in cocaine conditioned place preference, compared to mice fed ad libitum. Levels of dopamine and its metabolites in the olfactory bulb (OB) were suppressed in mice on the ADF diet compared to mice on the control diet, independent of acute or chronic cocaine treatment. The expression of several enzymes involved in dopamine metabolism including tyrosine hydroxylase, monoamine oxidases A and B (MAOA), and catechol-O-methyltransferase were significantly reduced in OBs of mice on the ADF diet. Both acute and chronic administration of cocaine suppressed the production of new OB cells, and this effect of cocaine was attenuated in mice on the ADF diet. Cocaine administration to mice on the control diet resulted in up-regulation of OB genes involved in mitochondrial energy metabolism, synaptic plasticity, cellular stress responses, and calcium- and cyclic AMP-mediated signaling, whereas multiple olfactory receptor genes were down-regulated by cocaine treatment. ADF abolished many of the effects of cocaine on OB gene expression. Our findings reveal that dietary energy intake modifies the neural substrates underlying some of the behavioral and physiological responses to repeated cocaine treatment, and also suggest novel roles for the olfactory system in addiction. The data further suggest that modification of dietary energy intake could provide a novel potential approach to addiction treatments.
addiction; caloric restriction; CREB; neurogenesis; nucleus accumbens; obesity
The hippocampus mediates the acquisition of spatial memory, but the memory trace is eventually transferred to the cortex. We have investigated transcriptional activation of pathways related to cognitive function in the cortex of the aged mouse by analyzing gene expression following water maze training.
We identified genes that were differentially responsive in aged mice with accurate spatial performance during probe trials or repeated swimming sessions, relative to home cage conditions. Effective learners exhibited significantly greater activation of several pathways, such as the mitogen-activated protein kinase and insulin receptor signaling pathways, relative to swimmers. The genes encoding activity-related cytoskeletal protein (Arc) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were upregulated in proficient learners, relative to swimmers and home cage controls, while the gene encoding Rho GTPase activating protein 32 (GRIT) was downregulated. We explored the regulation of Arc, BDNF, and GRIT expression in greater morphological detail using in situ hybridization. Recall during probe trials enhanced Arc expression across multiple cortical regions involved in the cognitive component of water maze learning, while BDNF expression was more homogeneously upregulated across cortical regions involved in the associational and sensorimotor aspects of water maze training. In contrast, levels of GRIT expression were uniformly reduced across all cortical regions examined.
These results suggest that cortical gene transcription is responsive to learning in aged mice that exhibit behavioral proficiency, and support a distributed hypothesis of memory storage across multiple cortical compartments.
Even though nicotine has been shown to modulate mRNA expression of a variety of genes, a comprehensive high-throughput study of the effects of nicotine on the tissue-specific gene expression profiles has been lacking in the literature. In this study, cDNA microarrays containing 1117 genes and ESTs were used to assess the transcriptional response to chronic nicotine treatment in rat, based on four brain regions, i.e. prefrontal cortex (PFC), nucleus accumbens (NAs), ventral tegmental area (VTA), and amygdala (AMYG). On the basis of a non-parametric resampling method, an index (called jackknifed reliability index, JRI) was proposed, and employed to determine the inherent measurement error across multiple arrays used in this study. Upon removal of the outliers, the mean correlation coefficient between duplicate measurements increased to 0.978±0.0035 from 0.941 ±0.045. Results from principal component analysis and pairwise correlations suggested that brain regions studied were highly similar in terms of their absolute expression levels, but exhibited divergent transcriptional responses to chronic nicotine administration. For example, PFC and NAs were significantly more similar to each other (r=0.7; P<10−14) than to either VTA or AMYG. Furthermore, we confirmed our microarray results for two representative genes, i.e. the weak inward rectifier K+ channel (TWIK-1), and phosphate and tensin homolog (PTEN) by using real-time quantitative RT-PCR technique. Finally, a number of genes, involved in MAPK, phosphatidylinositol, and EGFR signaling pathways, were identified and proposed as possible targets in response to nicotine administration. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Microarray; Normalization; mRNA expression; Brain; Nicotine; Pathway