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1.  Functional characterization of four metallothionein genes in Daphnia pulex exposed to environmental stressors 
We characterized the metallothionein genes (Mt1, Mt2, Mt3, and Mt4) in Daphnia pulex on both molecular and ecotoxicological level. We therefore conducted a bioinformatical analysis of the gene location and predicted protein sequence, and screened the upstream flanking region for regulatory elements. The number of these elements and their positions relative to the start codon varied strongly among the four genes and even among two gene duplicates (Mt1A and Mt1B), suggesting different roles of the four proteins in the organisms’ response to stress. We subsequently conducted a chronic 16-day exposure of D. pulex to different environmental stressors (at sublethal levels causing approximately 50% reduction in reproduction). Based on prior knowledge, we exposed them to the metals Cd, Cu, and Ni, the moulting hormone hydroxyecdysone (20E), and the oxidative stressors cyanobacteria (Microcystis aeruginosa), and paraquat (Pq). We then compared mRNA expression levels of the four Mt genes under these stress conditions with control conditions in “The Chosen One” clone (TCO), for which the full genome was sequenced and annotated. All together, the mRNA expression results under the different stress regimes indicate that different Mt genes may play different and various roles in the response of D. pulex to stress and that some (but not all) of the differences among the four genes could be related to the pattern of regulatory elements in their upstream flanking region.
PMCID: PMC3967237  PMID: 22266576
Metallothionein; mRNA expression; Daphnia; Environmental toxicology
3.  The T1799A point mutation is present in posterior uveal melanoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2008;99(10):1673-1677.
An activating mutation in exon 15 of the BRAF gene is present in a high proportion of cutaneous pigmented lesions. Until recently this mutation had however only been identified in one case of posterior uveal melanoma. Despite this apparent lack of the BRAF mutation, inappropriate downstream activation of the Ras/Raf/MAPK pathway has been described in posterior uveal melanoma. Based on the already recognised morphological and cytogenetic heterogeneity in uveal melanoma, we hypothesised that the BRAF mutation may be present in uveal melanoma but only in some of the tumour cells. In this study, we analysed 20 ciliary body and 30 choroidal melanomas using a nested PCR-based technique resulting in the amplification of a nested product only if the mutation was present. This sensitive technique can identify mutated DNA in the presence of wild-type DNA. The mutation was identified in 4 of 20 (20%) ciliary body and 11 of 30 (40%) choroidal melanomas. Further analysis of separate areas within the same choroidal melanoma demonstrated that the mutation was not present in the entire tumour. In conclusion, the T1799A BRAF mutation is present in a proportion of posterior uveal melanomas but within these tumours the distribution of the mutation is heterogeneous.
PMCID: PMC2584949  PMID: 18985043
melanoma; choroid; ciliary body; cytogenetic; heterogeneity; BRAF gene
4.  The genome of the simian and human malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi 
Nature  2008;455(7214):799-803.
Plasmodium knowlesi is an intracellular malaria parasite whose natural vertebrate host is Macaca fascicularis (the ‘kra’ monkey); however, it is now increasingly recognized as a significant cause of human malaria, particularly in southeast Asia1,2. Plasmodium knowlesi was the first malaria parasite species in which antigenic variation was demonstrated3, and it has a close phylogenetic relationship to Plasmodium vivax​4, the second most important species of human malaria parasite (reviewed in ref. 4). Despite their relatedness, there are important phenotypic differences between them, such as host blood cell preference, absence of a dormant liver stage or ‘hypnozoite’ in P. knowlesi, and length of the asexual cycle (reviewed in ref. 4). Here we present an analysis of the P. knowlesi (H strain, Pk1(A+) clone5) nuclear genome sequence. This is the first monkey malaria parasite genome to be described, and it provides an opportunity for comparison with the recently completed P. vivax genome4 and other sequenced Plasmodium genomes6-8. In contrast to other Plasmodium genomes, putative variant antigen families are dispersed throughout the genome and are associated with intrachromosomal telomere repeats. One of these families, the KIRs9, contains sequences that collectively match over one-half of the host CD99 extracellular domain, which may represent an unusual form of molecular mimicry.
PMCID: PMC2656934  PMID: 18843368
5.  Cover arrangements for consultants on leave: an analysis of job descriptions. 
There is much ambiguity about consultant leave allowances and arrangements for cover in the National Health Service. We analysed job descriptions for 47 consultant posts advertised in mid-2000. 35 defined a duty rota but only 3 mentioned specific available leave (all different). In 32 there was no mention of cover for colleagues on leave. When a consultant is absent, colleagues tend to provide cover for emergency cases but not for elective admissions, which are managed largely by junior doctors. This arrangement is particularly hazardous in surgical specialties. If elective surgery is to continue when the consultant is absent, arrangements for leave and cover need to be more clearly defined.
PMCID: PMC1297911  PMID: 11234204
6.  Role of the CS1 adhesion motif of fibronectin in T cell adhesion to synovial membrane and peripheral lymph node endothelium. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1993;52(9):672-676.
OBJECTIVES--It has previously been shown that the very late antigen-4/vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VLA-4/VCAM-1) pathway functions as a receptor/ligand interaction system mediating the recruitment of activated lymphocytes to inflamed synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This study was performed to determine whether VLA-4 also affects lymphocyte adhesion to inflamed synovium through interaction with the alternatively spliced CS1 domain of fibronectin. METHODS--The effect of the synthetic peptide CS1 on lymphocyte binding to human synovial and peripheral lymph node high endothelial venules (HEVs) was measured in an in vitro frozen section assay. RESULTS--In the presence of the CS1 peptide or antibody to fibronectin, significant inhibition of binding was observed (54 and 51% respectively). Blocking with antibody to VCAM-1 yielded inhibition of binding to 46% of the control value. Maximum inhibition of binding was obtained with a combination of antibody to VCAM-1 and CS1 (65%) and with antibody to VLA-4 alpha (68%). Blocking the classical fibronectin receptor with antibody to VLA-5 alpha gave a slightly lower inhibition at 42%. In normal peripheral lymph nodes, the synthetic peptide CS1 and antibodies to fibronectin and VLA-5 also partially inhibited T cell binding to HEVs (45, 47, and 52% respectively). CONCLUSION--These results show that fibronectin mediates lymphocyte-HEV interactions not only through its classical VLA-5 receptor, but also through its CS1 adhesion motif in inflamed synovium and peripheral lymph nodes.
PMCID: PMC1005145  PMID: 8239762
7.  Production of a Novel Extracellular Polysaccharide by Lactobacillus sake 0-1 and Characterization of the Polysaccharide 
A novel exopolysaccharide (EPS) produced by Lactobacillus sake 0-1 (CBS 532.92) has been isolated and characterized. When the strain was grown on glucose, the produced EPS contained glucose and rhamnose in a molar ratio of 3:2 and the average molecular mass distribution (M(infm)) was determined at 6 x 10(sup6) Da. At a concentration of 1%, the 0-1 EPS had better viscosifying properties than xanthan gum when measured over a range of shear rates from 0 to 300 s(sup-1), while shear-thinning properties were comparable. Rheological data and anion-exchange chromatography suggested the presence of a negatively charged group in the EPS. Physiological parameters for optimal production of EPS were determined in batch fermentation experiments. Maximum EPS production was 1.40 g (middot) liter(sup-1), which was obtained when L. sake 0-1 had been grown anaerobically at 20(deg)C and pH 5.8. When cultured at lower temperatures, the EPS production per gram of biomass increased from 600 mg at 20(deg)C to 700 mg at 10(deg)C but the growth rate in the exponential phase decreased from 0.16 to 0.03 g (middot) liter(sup-1) (middot) h(sup-1). EPS production started in the early growth phase and stopped when the culture reached the stationary phase. Growing the 0-1 strain on different energy sources such as glucose, galactose, mannose, fructose, lactose, and sucrose did not alter the composition of the EPS produced.
PMCID: PMC1388546  PMID: 16535092
8.  Food intolerance in rheumatoid arthritis. II. Clinical and histological aspects. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1992;51(3):303-306.
Six patients with rheumatoid factor positive rheumatoid arthritis who had shown a marked symptomatic improvement during four weeks of hypoallergic, artificial diet were studied in greater detail. Placebo controlled rechallenges showed intolerance for specific foodstuffs in four patients. In three of these patients biopsies of both the synovial membrane and of the proximal small intestine were carried out before and during allergen free feeding. In two patients, both with raised serum IgE concentrations and specific IgE antibodies to certain foods, a marked reduction of mast cells in the synovial membrane and proximal small intestine was demonstrated. Although the number of food intolerant patients with RA remains limited and markers of allergic activity are scanty, our observations suggest an underlying immunoallergological mechanism.
PMCID: PMC1004648  PMID: 1575572
9.  The influence of the host on the course of gastric carcinoma. 
British Journal of Cancer  1992;66(5):870-874.
Immunoglobulins (Ig) and some complement components (C) were quantified in sera from patients with gastric carcinoma before surgery and at regular intervals during a 5-year follow-up. The preoperative concentrations of C1-INH and C4 were higher (P < 0.0005 and P < 0.005) and IgG lower (P < 0.0005) in 50 patients with recurrence than in 46 5-year survivors. The prognostic significant of C1-INH was superior to that of the extent of disease (F-values 37.1 and 26.1). The preoperative immune data classified 76% of the patients correctly as to recurrence and no recurrence. Also, the preoperative C1-INH concentration had a highly significant effect on time to recurrence of cancer (P = 0.0007), adjusting for age and disease extent. After surgery the mean IgG concentrations were within normal range and without difference between the two groups. On the other hand, the concentrations of C1-INH and C4 in the individual patients in both groups remained the same from before to after surgery and throughout the observation period (P = 0.34). Apparently, the serum levels of C1-INH and C4 do not reflect the bearing of cancer. We therefore suggest that these variables represent an independent immune state that is appropriate to the host. A comparison of our variables with those of healthy individuals seems to support this idea. This immune state has a significant influence on whether a resected gastric cancer will recur, and also on how soon recurrence may be manifest.
PMCID: PMC1977976  PMID: 1419630
10.  Study of the parameters of binding of R 61837 to human rhinovirus 9 and immunobiochemical evidence of capsid-stabilizing activity of the compound. 
The binding of the antiviral compound R 61837 to human rhinovirus 9 (HRV 9) was studied quantitatively and compared with binding of R 61837 to HRV 9H, a semiresistant variant. For both strains, radiolabelled R 61387 bound to native particles only. The Kd values obtained by Scatchard analysis of saturation binding data were 37 nM for HRV 9 and 172 nM for HRV 9H, whereas the concentrations resulting in a 50% reduction of cytopathic effect were 42 nM and 840 nM, respectively. Reversibility experiments showed that 65% of the compound could be extracted with chloroform from HRV 9H but less than 5% could be extracted from HRV 9. Dissociation studies demonstrated that in the presence of excess unlabelled compound, the half-lives of the virus compound complex HRV 9 and HRV 9H were 385 and 15 min, respectively. The effect of this antirhinoviral compound on the formation of subviral particles induced by low pH or heat was also investigated. Rate zonal centrifugation experiments using [35S]methionine-labelled HRV 9 showed that binding of R 61837 protected the virus against heat (56 degrees C) and acid (pH 5.0) and that at the same concentration of R 61837 the semiresistant strain was stabilized to a lesser extent. This observation was confirmed immunochemically with nonneutralizing and neutralizing monoclonal antibodies. Both 80S and 130S subviral particles have C antigenic determinants, whereas native particles (150S) have been designated D. R 61837 prevented the switch from D to C antigenicity which can be induced by exposure of rhinoviruses to mild denaturing conditions. These findings indicate that the compound is able to prevent a conformational change of the capsid which may be a prerequisite for infection.
PMCID: PMC188450  PMID: 1318682
11.  The influence of age on the growth and spread of gastric carcinoma. 
British Journal of Cancer  1991;63(4):623-625.
A twelve year series of 375 patients with gastric carcinoma has been studied. Patients were divided into TNM Groups. Tumours were classified as intestinal-type and diffuse. The patients with T1-3NOMO diffuse tumour were ten years younger than the patients with T1-3NOMO intestinal-type tumour. The mean age increased from T1 through T2 to those with T3 tumour. The age differences between the T-stages were the same in both groups, which indicate that once started, the diffuse and the intestinal-type tumours infiltrate the gastric wall at about the same rate. Among the patients with intestinal-type tumour, those with lymph node or distant metastases were three to seven years younger than the patients without metastases. On the other hand, the patients with diffuse tumour and metastases were as many years older than the patients without metastases. Apparently, tumour spread is age dependent and different between the two types of gastric carcinoma. The ill repute of the diffuse gastric carcinoma may therefore be explained by the advanced stage of that tumour at the time of treatment as compared to the intestinal-type tumour. The diffuse tumour seems to be clinically more silent and to give symptoms at a later stage than the intestinal-type tumour.
PMCID: PMC1972341  PMID: 2021548
12.  Serum C1-esterase inhibitor, an essential and independent prognosticator of gastric carcinoma. 
British Journal of Cancer  1989;60(4):589-591.
The preoperative concentrations of IgG were lower (P less than 0.002) and the concentrations of C4 and C1-INH higher (P less than 0.01 and P less than 0.001) in 29 patients with recurrence after potentially curative resection of gastric carcinoma, than in 31 patients alive and disease-free 5 years after surgery. These differences between the two groups of patients were consistent within each of six groups of disease extent. In each of the two groups of patients, the preoperative concentrations of IgG, C4 and C1-INH had no significant variation with the extent of disease (P greater than 0.05 or greater). Of our variables, C1-INH was the most potent prognosticator and discriminated between patients with and without recurrence with 80% accuracy. Furthermore, the predictive prognostic value of C1-INH at the time of surgery was superior to the prognostic value of the extent of disease (F values 27.00 and 12.69). Apparently, the preoperative C1-INH concentration is an essential and independent prognostic parameter of gastric carcinoma. We assume that C1-INH reflects an additional prognostic feature appropriate to the tumour or the host. Our finding that the interval between surgery and death from recurrence had an inverse relation to the preoperative C1-INH concentration also supports this assumption.
PMCID: PMC2247116  PMID: 2803929

Results 1-12 (12)