Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) recognises unmethylated CpG DNA and activates a signalling cascade, leading to the production of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1, IL-6 and IL-12 via the adaptor protein MyD88. However, the specific sequence and structural requirements of the CpG DNA for the recognition of and binding to TLR9 are unknown. Moreover, the 3D structures of TLR9 and the TLR9-ODN complex have not been determined. In this study, we propose a reliable model of the interaction of the TLR9 ECD with CpG ODN using bioinformatics tools.
The three-dimensional structures of two TLR9 ECD-CpG ODN complexes were constructed using a homology modelling and docking strategy. Based on the models of these complexes, the TLR9 ECD-CpG ODN interaction patterns were calculated. The results showed that the interface between the human TLR9 and the CpG ODN molecule is geometrically complementary. The computed molecular interactions indicated that LRR11 is the main region of TLR9 that binds to CpG ODN and that five positively charged residues within LRR11 are involved in the binding of the TLR9 ECD to the CpG ODN. Observations in the close-up view of these interactions indicated that these five positively charged residues contribute differently to the binding region within the TLR9 ECD-CpG ODN complex. 337Arg and 338Lys reside in the binding sites of ODN, forming hydrogen bonds and direct contacts with the CpG ODN, whereas 347Lys, 348Arg, and 353His do not directly contact the CpG ODN. These results are in agreement with previously reported experimental data.
In this study, we present two structural models for the human and mouse TLR9 ECD in a complex with CpG ODN. Some features predicted by this model are consistent with previously reported experimental data. This complex model may lead to a better understanding of the function of TLR9 and its interaction with CpG ODN and will improve our understanding of TLR9-ligand interaction in general.
Polyploidization can precede the development of aneuploidy in cancer. Polyploidization in megakaryocytes (Mk), in contrast, is a highly controlled developmental process critical for efficient platelet production via unknown mechanisms. Using primary cells, we demonstrate that the guanine exchange factors GEF-H1 and ECT2, which are often overexpressed in cancer and are essential for RhoA activation during cytokinesis, must be downregulated for Mk polyploidization. The first (2N-to-4N) endomitotic cycle requires GEF-H1 downregulation while subsequent cycles (>4N) require ECT2 downregulation. Exogenous expression of both GEF-H1 and ECT2 prevents endomitosis, resulting in proliferation of 2N Mk. Furthermore, we have shown that the mechanism by which polyploidization is prevented in Mk lacking Mkl1, which is mutated in megakaryocytic leukemia, is via elevated GEF-H1 expression; shRNA-mediated GEF-H1 knockdown alone rescues this ploidy defect. These mechanistic insights enhance our understanding of normal versus malignant megakaryocytopoiesis, as well as aberrant mitosis in aneuploid cancers.
The use of enzyme to instruct the self-assembly of the nucleoside of adenosine in water provides a new class of molecular nanofibers/hydrogels as functional soft materials.
The general organization of neocortical connectivity in rhesus monkey is relatively well understood. However, mounting evidence points to an organizing principle that involves clustered synapses at the level of individual dendrites. Several synaptic plasticity studies have reported cooperative interaction between neighboring synapses on a given dendritic branch, which may potentially induce synapse clusters. Additionally, theoretical models have predicted that such cooperativity is advantageous, in that it greatly enhances a neuron’s computational repertoire. However, largely because of the lack of sufficient morphologic data, the existence of clustered synapses in neurons on a global scale has never been established. The majority of excitatory synapses are found within dendritic spines. In this study, we demonstrate that spine clusters do exist on pyramidal neurons by analyzing the three-dimensional locations of ~40,000 spines on 280 apical dendritic branches in layer III of the rhesus monkey prefrontal cortex. By using clustering algorithms and Monte Carlo simulations, we quantify the probability that the observed extent of clustering does not occur randomly. This provides a measure that tests for spine clustering on a global scale, whenever high-resolution morphologic data are available. Here we demonstrate that spine clusters occur significantly more frequently than expected by pure chance and that spine clustering is concentrated in apical terminal branches. These findings indicate that spine clustering is driven by systematic biological processes. We also found that mushroom-shaped and stubby spines are predominant in clusters on dendritic segments that display prolific clustering, independently supporting a causal link between spine morphology and synaptic clustering.
clustering; dendritic spines; plasticity; morphology; image analysis
Nontypable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and Haemophilus haemolyticus exhibit different pathogenicities, but to date, there remains no definitive and reliable strategy for differentiating these strains. In this study, we evaluated matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) as a potential method for differentiating NTHi and H. haemolyticus. The phylogenetic analysis of concatenated 16S rRNA and recombinase A (recA) gene sequences, outer membrane protein P6 gene sequencing and single-gene PCR were used as reference methods. The original reference database (ORD, provided with the Biotyper software) and new reference database (NRD, extended with Chinese strains) were compared for the evaluation of MALDI-TOF MS. Through a search of the ORD, 76.9% of the NTHi (40/52) and none of the H. haemolyticus (0/20) strains were identified at the species level. However, all NTHi and H. haemolyticus strains used for identification were accurately recognized at the species level when searching the NRD. From the dendrogram clustering of the main spectra projections, the Chinese and foreign H. influenzae reference strains were categorized into two distinct groups, and H. influenzae and H. haemolyticus were also separated into two categories. Compared to the existing methods, MALDI-TOF MS has the advantage of integrating high throughput, accuracy and speed. In conclusion, MALDI-TOF MS is an excellent method for differentiating NTHi and H. haemolyticus. This method can be recommended for use in appropriately equipped laboratories.
Cytosine methylation, an epigenetic modification of DNA, is a target of growing interest for developing high throughput profiling technologies. Here we introduce two new, complementary techniques for cytosine methylation profiling utilizing next generation sequencing technology: bisulfite padlock probes (BSPPs) and methyl sensitive cut counting (MSCC). In the first method, we designed a set of ~10,000 BSPPs distributed over the ENCODE pilot project regions to take advantage of existing expression and chromatin immunoprecipitation data. We observed a pattern of low promoter methylation coupled with high gene body methylation in highly expressed genes. Using the second method, MSCC, we gathered genome-scale data for 1.4 million HpaII sites and confirmed that gene body methylation in highly expressed genes is a consistent phenomenon over the entire genome. Our observations highlight the usefulness of techniques which are not inherently or intentionally biased in favor of only profiling particular subsets like CpG islands or promoter regions.
Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) regulates cell-cell adhesion and cell migration through activating the APC-stimulated guanine nucleotide-exchange factor (GEF; Asef), which is usually autoinhibited through the binding between its Src homology 3 (SH3) and Dbl homology (DH) domains. The APC-activated Asef stimulates the small GTPase Cdc42, which leads to decreased cell-cell adherence and enhanced cell migration. In colorectal cancers, truncated APC constitutively activates Asef and promotes cancer cell migration and angiogenesis. Here, we report crystal structures of the human APC/Asef complex. We find that the armadillo repeat domain of APC uses a highly conserved surface groove to recognize the APC-binding region (ABR) of Asef, conformation of which changes dramatically upon binding to APC. Key residues on APC and Asef for the complex formation were mutated and their importance was demonstrated by binding and activity assays. Structural superimposition of the APC/Asef complex with autoinhibited Asef suggests that the binding between APC and Asef might create a steric clash between Asef-DH domain and APC, which possibly leads to a conformational change in Asef that stimulates its GEF activity. Our structures thus elucidate the molecular mechanism of Asef recognition by APC, as well as provide a potential target for pharmaceutical intervention against cancers.
APC; Asef; cell adhesion and cell migration; cancer; armadillo repeat domain
A method for the separation and determination of honokiol and magnolol in Magnolia officinalis and its medicinal preparation is developed by capillary zone electrophoresis and response surface methodology. The concentration of borate, content of organic modifier, and applied voltage are selected as variables. The optimized conditions (i.e., 16 mmol/L sodium tetraborate at pH 10.0, 11% methanol, applied voltage of 25 kV and UV detection at 210 nm) are obtained and successfully applied to the analysis of honokiol and magnolol in Magnolia officinalis and Huoxiang Zhengqi Liquid. Good separation is achieved within 6 min. The limits of detection are 1.67 µg/mL for honokiol and 0.83 µg/mL for magnolol, respectively. In addition, an artificial neural network with “3-7-1” structure based on the ratio of peak resolution to the migration time of the later component (Rs/t) given by Box-Behnken design is also reported, and the predicted results are in good agreement with the values given by the mathematic software and the experimental results.
Both hyposmia and substania nigra (SN) hyperechogenicity on trascranial sonography (TCS) were risk markers for idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD), which was beneficial to the differential diagnosis of the disease. However, each of their single diagnostic value is often limited. The purpose of present study was to explore whether the combination of olfactory test and TCS of SN could enhance the differential diagnostic power in Chinese patients with PD.
Thirty-seven patients with PD and twenty-six patients with essential tremor (ET) were evaluated on 16-item odor identification test from extended version of sniffin’ sticks and TCS of SN. The frequency of hyposmia and SN hyperechogenicity in each group was compared. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of the two clinical biomarkers were analyzed.
The frequency of hyposmia in patients with PD was significantly higher than in patients with ET (62.2% VS. 3.8%, P = 0.000). The frequency of SN hyperechogenicity in patients with PD was significantly higher than in ET subjects (48.6% VS. 15.4%, P = 0.006). The combination of hyposmia and SN hyperechogenicity (if either one or both present) discriminated patients with PD from ET with a sensitivity of 78.4% and 29.7%, specificity of 80.8% and 100%, PPV of 85.3% and 100%, and NPV of 72.4% and 50.0%, respectively.
Our preliminary data suggested that the combination of hyposmia and SN hyperechogenicity could improve the diagnostic potential for discriminating Chinese patients with PD from ET.
Parkinson’s disease; Hyposmia; Transcranial sonography
Consisting of N-terminated diphenylalanine, a new type of supramolecular hydrogelators forms hydrogels within a narrow pH window (pH 5.0 to 6.0) and selectively inhibits growth of HeLa cells, which provides important and useful insights for designing molecular nanofibers as potential nanomedicines.
Pathologic studies play an important role in evaluating patients with Alport syndrome besides genotyping. Difficulties still exist in diagnosing Alport syndrome (AS), and misdiagnosis is a not-so-rare event, even in adult patient evaluated with renal biopsy.
We used nested case–control study to investigate 52 patients previously misdiagnosed and 52 patients initially diagnosed in the China Alport Syndrome Treatments and Outcomes Registry e-system.
We found mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis (MsPGN, 26.9%) and focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS, 19.2%) were the most common misdiagnosis. FSGS was the most frequent misdiagnosis in female X-linked AS (fXLAS) patients (34.8%), and MsPGN in male X-linked AS (mXLAS) patients (41.2%). Previous misdiagnosed mXLAS patients (13/17, 76.5%) and autosomal recessive AS (ARAS) patients (8/12, 66.7%) were corrected after a second renal biopsy. While misdiagnosed fXLAS patients (18/23, 78.3%) were corrected after a family member diagnosed (34.8%) or after rechecking electronic microscopy and/or collagen-IV alpha-chains immunofluresence study (COL-IF) (43.5%) during follow-up. With COL-IF as an additional criterion for AS diagnosis, we found that patients with less than 3 criteria reached have increased risk of misdiagnosis (3.29-fold for all misdiagnosed AS patients and 3.90-fold for fXLAS patients).
We emphasize timely and careful study of electronic microscopy and COL-IF in pathologic evaluation of AS patients. With renal and/or skin COL-IF as additional criterion, 3 diagnosis criteria reached are the cutoff for diagnosing AS pathologically.
Alport syndrome; Diagnosis; Immunohistology; Renal biopsy
Imparting aromatic-aromatic interaction to potassium binding epitope affords a supramolecular hydrogelator that response to K+ concentration by self-assembly into nanofibers of different widths and crosslinking pattern, which illustrates a simple approach to generate biomimic materials based on tunable, hierarchical self-assembly of small molecules.
Self-assembly of small molecules in water to form nanofibers, besides generating sophisticated biomaterials, promises a simple system inside cells for regulating cellular processes. But lack of a convenient approach for studying the self-assembly of small molecules inside cells hinders the development of such systems. Here we report a method to image enzyme-triggered self-assembly of small molecules inside live cells. After linking a fluorophore to a self-assembly motif to make a precursor, we confirmed by 31P NMR and rheology that enzyme-triggered conversion of the precursor to a hydrogelator results in the formation of a hydrogel via self-assembly. The imaging contrast conferred by the nanofibers of the hydrogelators allowed the evaluation of intracellular self-assembly; the dynamics, and the localization of the nanofibers of the hydrogelators in live cells. This approach explores supramolecular chemistry inside cells and may lead to new insights, processes, or materials at the interface of chemistry and biology.
Learning from the stabilization of protein structures, we combine aromatic-aromatic and electrostatic interactions to tailor the elasticity of supramolecular hydrogels. Specifically, calcium ions allow interfiber crosslinks among the supramolecular nanofibers of small peptides that consist of multiple carboxylic acid and aromatic groups. A small change of the concentration of calcium increases the elasticity of hydrogels over several orders of magnitude. This simple approach not only demonstrates a biomimetic design of materials, but also confirms that the combination of multiple aromatic-aromatic interactions and multiple calcium salt bridges is a feasible way to control the mechanical properties of soft nanomaterials.
Self-Assembly; Supramolecular; Hydrogels; Nanofibers; Crosslink; Calcium
Schizophrenia patients (SZ) show early visual processing deficits in many, but not all, tasks. These deficits may be associated with dysregulation of intrinsic oscillatory activity that compromises signal-to-noise in the SZ brain. This question was studied using visual steady-state stimulation and post-steady-state presentation of transient visual stimuli. SZ had higher intrinsic oscillatory activity at the steady-state stimulation frequency (12.5 Hz) and at the 6.25 Hz subharmonic, showed a significant decrease in visual steady-state magnitude over 2 sec of stimulation, and were unable to promptly terminate the steady-state response following stimulation offset. If adjustment for levels of intrinsic brain activity were made, however, it would have appeared that SZ had activity of similar magnitude as healthy subjects following steady-state stimulus termination, indicating that such adjustments could substantially alter theoretical interpretations. Visual evoked potential abnormalities (N1/P2 amplitudes) present among SZ at the initiation of steady-state stimulation were less apparent in the 750 ms immediately following steady-state stimulation offset. Higher intrinsic oscillatory brain activity may be a fundamental characteristic of SZ that merits further evaluation for understanding this disorder’s neuropathological correlates and associated symptomatology.
visual; VEP; steady-state; wavelets; baseline correction; intrinsic neural activity
Right heart failure is the cause of death of most patients with severe pulmonary arterial hypertensive (PAH) disorders, yet little is known about the cellular and molecular causes of right ventricular failure (RVF). We first showed a differential gene expression pattern between normal rat right and left ventricles, and postulated the existence of a molecular right heart failure program that distinguishes RVF from adaptive right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH), and that may differ in some respects from a left heart failure program. By means of microarrays and transcriptional sequencing strategies, we used two models of adaptive RVH to characterize a gene expression pattern reflective of growth and the maintenance of myocardial structure. Moreover, two models of RVF were associated with fibrosis, capillary rarefaction, the decreased expression of genes encoding the angiogenesis factors vascular endothelial growth factor, insulin-like growth factor 1, apelin, and angiopoeitin-1, and the increased expression of genes encoding a set of glycolytic enzymes. The treatment of established RVF with a β-adrenergic receptor blocker reversed RVF, and partly reversed the molecular RVF program. We conclude that normal right and left ventricles demonstrate clearly discernable differences in the expression of mRNA and microRNA, and that RVH and RVF are characterized by distinct patterns of gene expression that relate to cell growth, angiogenesis, and energy metabolism.
pulmonary hypertension; right heart failure; gene expression
Human exposure to nanoparticles is inevitable from natural and anthropogenic sources. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are increasingly being used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Previous studies revealed that TiO2 levels were significantly increased in tissues (e.g., lymph nodes) after mice were injected with nanosized TiO2. To identify early response lymph node proteins to TiO2 nanoparticles, groups of mice were intradermally injected with a low dose of DeGussa P25 TiO2 nanoparticles or vehicle alone. The proteomes of lymph nodes at 24 h were quantitatively analyzed using trypsin-catalyzed 16O/18O labeling in conjunction with two-dimensional liquid chromatography separation and tandem mass spectrometry (2DLC-MS/MS). A total of 33 proteins were significantly changed (over 1.3-fold, p<0.05) in the mice treated with TiO2 nanoparticles, which accounted for approximately 1% of the total proteins identified. The differentially expressed proteins mainly involve the immune response (e.g., inflammation), lipid and fatty acid metabolism, mRNA processing, and nucleosome assembly. Regulation of functionally distinct classes of proteins could be mediated by estrogen receptor (ESR1), PPARγ, and c-Myc signalings, etc. The differentially expressed proteins identified in this experiment could represent early response proteins to TiO2 nanoparticle treatment in mouse lymph nodes.
proteomics; mass spectrometry; TiO2 nanoparticle; mouse lymph node; 16O/18O labeling; LC-MS/MS
The integration of nucleobase, amino acid, and glycoside into a single molecule results in a novel class of supramolecular hydrogelators, which not only exhibit biocompatibility and biostability, but also facilitate the entry of nucleic acids into cytosol and nuclei of cells. This work illustrates a simple way to generate an unprecedented molecular architecture from the basic biological building blocks for the development of sophisticated soft nanomaterials, including supramolecular hydrogels.
Population structure can be a source of both false-positive and false-negative findings in a genome-wide association study. This article proposes an approach that helps to reduce the false-positives. It consists of homogenizing the diseased/healthy phenotype ratio across the cohort, by decreasing the statistical weight of selected individuals. After homogenization, the cohort is statistically handled as if originating from a single well-mixed population. The method was applied to homogenize a Parkinson's disease genome-wide association study cohort.
The aim of this study was to detect the expression of the pp GalNac-T10 protein in gastric carcinoma and to investigate the role of pp GalNac-T10 in the occurrence and development of gastric cancer tissues. pp GalNac-T10 protein expression was immunohistochemically analyzed in 96 gastric adenocarcinoma tissue samples, and in 88 5-cm adjacent non-tumor gastric mucosa samples, used as controls. pp GalNAc-T10 expression in gastric cancer tissues was higher compared with that in the adjacent non-tumor gastric tissue. pp GalNAc-T10 protein expression had a significant positive correlation with histological type and degree of differentiation of gastric cancer (P<0.05). Expression in diffuse type gastric cancer was notably higher compared with that in intestinal type gastric cancer. Expression in poorly differentiated tumors was markedly higher compared with that in high and mid degree differentiated tumors. pp GalNAc-T10 protein expression was not significantly positively correlated with clinical stage, depth of invasion or lymph node metastasis (P>0.05). pp GalNAc-T10 expression is a useful indicator of tumor differentiation in gastric cancer.
pp GalNAc-T10; gastric cancer; immunohistochemistry
Selective degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson disease (PD) can be modeled by the administration of the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+). Since abnormal mitochondrial dynamics are increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of PD, in this study, we investigated the effect of MPP+ on mitochondrial dynamics and assessed temporal and causal relationship with other toxic effects induced by MPP+ in neuronal cells. In SH-SY5Y cells, MPP+ causes a rapid increase in mitochondrial fragmentation followed by a second wave of increase in mitochondrial fragmentation, along with increased DLP1 expression and mitochondrial translocation. Genetic inactivation of DLP1 completely blocks MPP+-induced mitochondrial fragmentation. Notably, this approach partially rescues MPP+-induced decline in ATP levels and ATP/ADP ratio and increased [Ca2+]i and almost completely prevents increased reactive oxygen species production, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, enhanced autophagy and cell death, suggesting that mitochondria fragmentation is an upstream event that mediates MPP+-induced toxicity. On the other hand, thiol antioxidant NAC or glutamate receptor antagonist D-AP5 also partially alleviate MPP+-induced mitochondrial fragmentation, suggesting a vicious spiral of events contributes to MPP+-induced toxicity. We further validated our findings in primary rat midbrain dopaminergic neurons that 0.5 μM MPP+ induced mitochondrial fragmentation only in TH-positive dopaminergic neurons in a similar pattern to that in SH-SY5Y cells but had no effects on these mitochondrial parameters in TH-negative neurons. Overall, these findings suggest that DLP1-dependent mitochondrial fragmentation plays a crucial role in mediating MPP+-induced mitochondria abnormalities and cellular dysfunction and may represent a novel therapeutic target for PD.
MPP+; mitochondrial dynamics; Parkinson disease; DLP1/Drp1; mitochondrial fragmentation; neurotoxicity
supramolecular; nanofibers; hydrogels; biocompatible; nucleopeptides
The ubiquitin/proteasome pathway plays a vital role in plant development. But the effects of proteasome malfunction on root growth, and the mechanism underlying this involvement remains unclear. In the present study, the effects of proteasome inhibitors on Arabidopsis root growth were studied through the analysis of the root length, and meristem size and cell length in maturation zone using FM4–64, and cell-division potential using GFP fusion cyclin B, and accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins using immunofluorescence labeling, and autophagy activity using LysoTracker and MDC. The results indicated that lower concentration of proteasome inhibitors promoted root growth, whereas higher concentration of inhibitors had the opposite effects. The accumulation of cyclin B was linked to MG132-induced decline in meristem size, indicating that proteasome malfunction prevented cell division. Besides, MG132-induced accumulation of the ubiquitinated proteins was associated with the increasing fluorescence signal of LysoTracker and MDC in the elongation zone, revealing a link between the activation of autophagy and proteasome malfunction. These results suggest that weak proteasome malfunction activates moderate autophagy and promotes cell elongation, which compensates the inhibitor-induced reduction of cell division, resulting in long roots. Whereas strong proteasome malfunction induces severe autophagy and disturbs cell elongation, resulting in short roots.
Emerging evidence indicates that gene expression in higher organisms is regulated by RNA polymerase II stalling during early transcription elongation. To probe the mechanisms responsible for this regulation, we developed methods to isolate and characterize short RNAs derived from stalled RNA polymerase II in Drosophila cells. Significant levels of these short RNAs were generated from over one third of all genes, indicating that promoter-proximal stalling is a general feature of early polymerase elongation. Nucleotide composition of the initially transcribed sequence played an important role in promoting transcriptional stalling by rendering polymerase elongation complexes highly susceptible to backtracking and arrest. These results indicate that the intrinsic efficiency of early elongation can greatly affect gene expression.
Cellular senescence, which can be induced by various stimuli, is a stress response that manifests as irreversible cell cycle arrest. Recent studies have revealed that cellular senescence can serve as a critical barrier for cancer development. Induction of cellular senescence by oncogenic insults, such as Ras over-expression or by inactivation of PTEN tumor suppressor, triggers an ARF/p53-dependent tumor-suppressive effect which can significantly restrict cancer progression. Given the important role of the ARF/p53 pathway in cellular senescence and tumor suppression, drugs that stabilize p53 expression have been developed and tested in clinical trials. However, a major hurdle for p53 targeting in cancer treatment arises from the frequent deficiency or mutation of ARF or p53 in human cancers, which, in turn, profoundly compromises their tumor-suppressive ability. Recent discoveries of novel regulators involved in ARF/p53-independent cellular senescence not only reveal novel paradigms for cellular senescence but also provide alternative approaches for cancer therapy.
Skp2; p53; Cellular senescence; Cancer therapy