An incomplete understanding of bone forming cells during wound healing and ectopic calcification has led to a search for circulating cells that may fulfill this function. Previously, we showed that monoosteophils, a novel lineage of calcifying/bone-forming cells generated by treatment of monocytes with the natural peptide LL-37, are candidates. In this study, we have analyzed their gene expression profile and bone repair function.
Methods and Findings
Human monoosteophils can be distinguished from monocytes, macrophages and osteoclasts by their unique up-regulation of integrin α3 and down-regulation of CD14 and CD16. Monoosteophils express high mRNA and protein levels of SPP1 (osteopontin), GPNMB (osteoactivin), CHI3L1 (cartilage glycoprotein-39), CHIT1 (Chitinase 1), MMP-7, CCL22 and MAPK13 (p38MAPKδ). Monocytes from wild type, but not MAPK13 KO mice are also capable of monoosteophil differentiation, suggesting that MAPK13 regulates this process. When human monoosteophils were implanted in a freshly drilled hole in mid-diaphyseal femurs of NOD/SCID mice, significant bone repair required only 14 days compared to at least 24 days in control treated injuries.
Human derived monoosteophils, characterized as CD45+α3+α3β+CD34−CD14−BAP (bone alkaline phosphatase)− cells, can function in an animal model of bone injury.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain disorder affecting 2% to 5% of the general population. Both genetic and environmental factors may be involved. To ascertain in an unbiased manner which genes play a role in the disorder, we performed complete exome sequencing on a subset of FMS patients. Out of 150 nuclear families (trios) DNA from 19 probands was subjected to complete exome sequencing. Since >80,000 SNPs were found per proband, the data were further filtered, including analysis of those with stop codons, a rare frequency (<2.5%) in the 1000 Genomes database, and presence in at least 2/19 probands sequenced. Two nonsense mutations, W32X in C11orf40 and Q100X in ZNF77 among 150 FMS trios had a significantly elevated frequency of transmission to affected probands (p = 0.026 and p = 0.032, respectively) and were present in a subset of 13% and 11% of FMS patients, respectively. Among 9 patients bearing more than one of the variants we have described, 4 had onset of symptoms between the ages of 10 and 18. The subset with the C11orf40 mutation had elevated plasma levels of the inflammatory cytokines, MCP-1 and IP-10, compared with unaffected controls or FMS patients with the wild-type allele. Similarly, patients with the ZNF77 mutation have elevated levels of the inflammatory cytokine, IL-12, compared with controls or patients with the wild type allele. Our results strongly implicate an inflammatory basis for FMS, as well as specific cytokine dysregulation, in at least 35% of our FMS cohort.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable bone marrow malignancy of the B cell lineage. Utilizing multiplex Luminex technology we measured levels of 25 cytokines in the plasma of normal donors (n = 177), those with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (n = 8), and MM patients (n = 55) with either active disease, on treatment, or in remission. The cytokine levels were compared between normal donors and MM patients as well as between various phases of MM, and discriminant analysis was used to create a predictive classification model based on the differentially expressed cytokines. Evaluating age- and gender-dependence of cytokine expression, we determined that with age there is a shift toward a pro-inflammatory environment. Moreover, we observed a strong gender bias in cytokine expression. However, the profile of differentially expressed cytokines was heavily skewed toward an anti-inflammatory, pro-tumorigenic response in patients with MM. Significantly, our predictive model placed all patients in remission in the same category as those with active disease. Thus, our study demonstrates that the homeostasis of systemic cytokines is not restored when MM patients enter remission, suggesting that once an individual has cancer, the microenvironment is permanently altered and the system is primed for a relapse.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious disease of cloven-hoofed animals that inflicts severe economic losses in the livestock industry. In 2009, FMDV serotype A caused outbreaks of FMD in cattle in China. Although an inactivated virus vaccine has proven effective to control FMD, its use may lead to new disease outbreaks due to a possible incomplete inactivation of the virus during the manufacturing process. Here, we expressed the P1-2A and the 3C coding regions of a serotype A FMDV field isolate in silkworm pupae (Bombyx mori) and evaluated the immunogenicity of the expression products. Four of five cattle vaccinated with these proteins developed high titers of FMDV-specific antibody and were completely protected against virulent homologous virus challenge with 10,000 50% bovine infectious doses (BID50). Furthermore, the 50% bovine protective dose (PD50) test was performed to assess the bovine potency of the empty capsid subunit vaccine and was shown to achieve 4.33 PD50 per dose. These data provide evidence that silkworm pupae can be used to express immunogenic FMDV proteins. This strategy might be used to develop a new generation of empty capsid subunit vaccines against a variety of diseases.
The domestic silkworm, Bombyx mori, is a model insect with important economic value for silk production that also acts as a bioreactor for biomaterial production. The functional complexity of the silkworm transcriptome has not yet been fully elucidated, although genomic sequencing and other tools have been widely used in its study. We explored the transcriptome of silkworm at different developmental stages using high-throughput paired-end RNA sequencing. A total of about 3.3 gigabases (Gb) of sequence was obtained, representing about a 7-fold coverage of the B. mori genome. From the reads that were mapped to the genome sequence; 23,461 transcripts were obtained, 5,428 of them were novel. Of the 14,623 predicted protein-coding genes in the silkworm genome database, 11,884 of them were found to be expressed in the silkworm transcriptome, giving a coverage of 81.3%. A total of 13,195 new exons were detected, of which, 5,911 were found in the annotated genes in the Silkworm Genome Database (SilkDB). An analysis of alternative splicing in the transcriptome revealed that 3,247 genes had undergone alternative splicing. To help with the data analysis, a transcriptome database that integrates our transcriptome data with the silkworm genome data was constructed and is publicly available at http://18.104.22.168/gbrowse2/. To our knowledge, this is the first study to elucidate the silkworm transcriptome using high-throughput RNA sequencing technology. Our data indicate that the transcriptome of silkworm is much more complex than previously anticipated. This work provides tools and resources for the identification of new functional elements and paves the way for future functional genomics studies.
HearMNPV, a nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV), which infects the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera, comprises multiple rod-shaped nucleocapsids in virion(as detected by electron microscopy). HearMNPV shows a different host range compared with H. armigera single-nucleocapsid NPV (HearSNPV). To better understand HearMNPV, the HearMNPV genome was sequenced and analyzed.
The morphology of HearMNPV was observed by electron microscope. The qPCR was used to determine the replication kinetics of HearMNPV infectious for H. armigera in vivo. A random genomic library of HearMNPV was constructed according to the “partial filling-in” method, the sequence and organization of the HearMNPV genome was analyzed and compared with sequence data from other baculoviruses.
Real time qPCR showed that HearMNPV DNA replication included a decreasing phase, latent phase, exponential phase, and a stationary phase during infection of H. armigera. The HearMNPV genome consists of 154,196 base pairs, with a G + C content of 40.07%. 162 putative ORFs were detected in the HearMNPV genome, which represented 90.16% of the genome. The remaining 9.84% constitute four homologous regions and other non-coding regions. The gene content and gene arrangement in HearMNPV were most similar to those of Mamestra configurata NPV-B (MacoNPV-B), but was different to HearSNPV. Comparison of the genome of HearMNPV and MacoNPV-B suggested that HearMNPV has a deletion of a 5.4-kb fragment containing five ORFs. In addition, HearMNPV orf66, bro genes, and hrs are different to the corresponding parts of the MacoNPV-B genome.
HearMNPV can replicate in vivo in H. armigera and in vitro, and is a new NPV isolate distinguished from HearSNPV. HearMNPV is most closely related to MacoNPV-B, but has a distinct genomic structure, content, and organization.
Baculovirus; Helicoverpa armigera; Multinucleocapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus; Genome sequence comparison
Xylan is one of the most abundant biopolymers on Earth. Its degradation is mediated primarily by microbial xylanase in nature. To explore the diversity and distribution patterns of xylanase genes in soils, samples of five soil types with different physicochemical characters were analyzed.
Partial xylanase genes of glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 10 were recovered following direct DNA extraction from soil, PCR amplification and cloning. Combined with our previous study, a total of 1084 gene fragments were obtained, representing 366 OTUs. More than half of the OTUs were novel (identities of <65% with known xylanases) and had no close relatives based on phylogenetic analyses. Xylanase genes from all the soil environments were mainly distributed in Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Dictyoglomi and some fungi. Although identical sequences were found in several sites, habitat-specific patterns appeared to be important, and geochemical factors such as pH and oxygen content significantly influenced the compositions of xylan-degrading microbial communities.
These results provide insight into the GH 10 xylanases in various soil environments and reveal that xylan-degrading microbial communities are environment specific with diverse and abundant populations.
LL-37, derived from human cathelicidin, stimulates immune responses in neutrophils. Although FPR2 and P2X7 were proposed as LL-37 receptors, we have shown that among 21 neutrophil receptors only CXCR2 was down-regulated by LL-37. LL-37 functions similarly to CXCR2 specific chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL7 in terms of receptor down-regulation and intracellular calcium mobilization on freshly-isolated neutrophils. Neutrophils pretreated with CXCL8, a chemokine that binds both CXCR1/2, completely blocked the calcium mobilization in response to LL-37, while LL-37 also partially inhibited 125I-CXCL8 binding to neutrophils. SB225002, a selective CXCR2 antagonist, blocked LL-37-induced calcium mobilization and migration of neutrophils. LL-37 stimulates calcium mobilization in CXCR2-transfected HEK293 cells, CXCR2+ THP-1 cells and monocytes, but not in CXCR1-transfected HEK293 cells. WKYMVm peptide (ligand for FPR2) does not block LL-37-stimulated calcium flux in either THP-1 (FPR2−) or monocytes (FPR2high), further confirming the specificity of LL-37 for CXCR2 and not FPR2. Among all ligands tested (ATP, BzATP, WKYMVm, CXCL1, and LL-37), only LL-37 stimulated migration of monocytes (CXCR2+ and FPR2+) and migration was inhibited by the CXCR2 inhibitor SB225002. Moreover, CXCR2 but not CXCR1 was internalized in LL-37-treated neutrophils. Thus, our data provide evidence that LL-37 may act as a functional ligand for CXCR2 on human neutrophils.
LL-37; CXCR2; receptor; neutrophils
Bone generation and maintenance involve osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes which originate from unique precursors and rely on key growth factors for differentiation. However, an incomplete understanding of bone forming cells during wound healing has led to an unfilled clinical need such as nonunion of bone fractures. Since circulating monocytes are often recruited to sites of injury and may differentiate into various cell types including osteoclasts, we investigated the possibility that circulating monocytes in the context of tissue injury may also contribute to bone repair. In particular, we hypothesized that LL-37 (produced from hCAP-18, cathelicidin), which recruits circulating monocytes during injury, may play a role in bone repair.
Methods and Findings
Treatment of monocytes from blood with LL-37 for 6 days resulted in their differentiation to large adherent cells. Growth of LL-37-differentiated monocytes on osteologic discs reveals bone-like nodule formation by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In vivo transplantation studies in NOD/SCID mice show that LL-37-differentiated monocytes form bone-like structures similar to endochondral bone formation. Importantly, LL-37-differentiated monocytes are distinct from conventional monocyte-derived osteoclasts, macrophages, and dendritic cells and do not express markers of the mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) lineage, distinguishing them from the conventional precursors of osteoblasts. Furthermore, LL-37 differentiated monocytes express intracellular proteins of both the osteoblast and osteoclast lineage including osteocalcin (OC), osteonectin (ON), bone sialoprotein II (BSP II), osteopontin (OP), RANK, RANKL, MMP-9, tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), and cathepsin K (CK).
Blood derived monocytes treated with LL-37 can be differentiated into a novel bone forming cell that functions both in vitro and in vivo. We propose the name monoosteophil to indicate their monocyte derived lineage and their bone forming phenotype. These cells may have wide ranging implications in the clinic including repair of broken bones and treatment of osteoporosis.
Alicyclobacillus sp. A4 is thermoacidophilic and produces many glycoside hydrolases. An extremely acidic β-1,4-glucanase (CelA4) has been isolated from Alicyclobacillus sp. A4 and purified. This glucanase with a molecular mass of 48.6 kDa decreases the viscosity of barley-soybean feed under simulated gastric conditions. Therefore, it has the potential to improve the nutrient bioavailability of pig feed. For the study reported herein, the full-length gene, CelA4, of this glucanase (CelA4) was identified using the sequences of six peptides and cloned from strain A4. The gene fragment (CelA4F) encoding the mature protein was expressed in Pichia pastoris. Sequence truncation and glycosylation were found for recombinant CelA4F, both of which affected the expression efficiency. The physical properties of various forms of CelA4 as they affected enzymatic activity were characterized.
We located the full-length 2,148-bp gene for CelA4 (CelA4) in the genome of Alicyclobacillus sp. A4. CelA4 encodes a 715-residue polypeptide with a calculated molecular mass of 71.64 kDa, including an N-terminal signal peptide (residues 1-39), a catalytic domain (residues 39-497), and a C-terminal threonine-rich region (residues 498-715). Its deduced amino acid sequence and that of an Alicyclobacillus acidocaldarius endo-β-1,4-glucanase were identical at 44% of the residue positions. When the experimental molecular mass of CelA4F--a recombinant protein designed to mimic the CelA4 sequence lacking the N-terminal signal peptide that had been expressed in Pichia pastoris--was compared with its hypothetical molecular mass, it was apparent that CelA4F was truncated, possibly at residue 497. An artificially truncated gene fragment (CelA4T) without C-terminal threonine-rich region was expressed in P. pastoris, and the expression efficiency of CelA4T was substantially greater than that of CelA4F. Purified CelA4F and CelA4T had similar molecular masses (~60 kDa) and enzymatic properties (optimum pH, 3.4; optimum temperature, 60°C); they were relatively stable between pH 1.2 and 8.2 at 70°C and resistant to acidic and neutral proteases. However, their molecular masses and thermostabilities differed from those of CelA4 isolated from Alicyclobacillus sp. A4. A deglycosylated form of CelA4 (CelA4D) had properties similar to that of CelA4 except that it was thermoliable at 60°C.
Truncation during expression of CelA4F or artificial truncation of its gene--both of which produced a form of CelA4 lacking a threonine-rich region that includes a putative linker--increased the level of enzyme produced in comparison with that produced by cultivation of Alicyclobacillus sp. A4. Glycosylation increased the thermostability of CelA4. Of the four forms of CelA4 studied, CelA4T was produced in highest yield and had the most favorable physical properties; therefore, it has potential for use in the feed industry.
Human CEACAM1 is a cell-cell adhesion molecule with multiple functions including insulin clearance in the liver, vasculogenesis in endothelial cells, lumen formation in the mammary gland, and binding of certain human pathogens.
Three genomic BAC clones containing the human CEACAM1 gene were microinjected into pronuclei of fertilized FVB mouse oocytes. The embryos were implanted in the oviducts of pseudopregnant females and allowed to develop to term. DNA from newborn mice was evaluated by PCR for the presence of the human CEACAM1 gene. Feces of the PCR positive offspring screened for expression of human CEACAM1. Using this assay, one out of five PCR positive lines was positive for human CEACAM1 expression and showed stable transmission to the F1 generation with the expected transmission frequency (0.5) for heterozygotes. Liver, lung, intestine, kidney, mammary gland, and prostate were strongly positive for the dual expression of both murine and human CEACAM1 and mimic that seen in human tissue. Peripheral blood and bone marrow granulocytes stained strongly for human CEACAM1 and bound Neisseria Opa proteins similar to that in human neutrophils.
These transgenic animals may serve as a model for the binding of human pathogens to human CEACAM1.
Enhancers are DNA sequences that serve as binding sites for regulatory proteins, and stimulate transcriptional activity independent of their positions and orientations with respect to the transcriptional initiation site. Previous studies considered that baculovirus homologous regions (hrs) function as enhancers in cis. In our study, a plasmid containing homologous region 3 (hr3) enhancer from Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV) failed to enhance transcription of promoter in other plasmid in co-transfection assays, but strong stimulation occurred when cells were infected by BmNPV.
The cotransfection results of each BmNPV genomic library plasmid, hr3 plasmid and reporter plasmid showed that there were eight library plasmids stimulated the luciferase gene expression remarkably. Sequencing these plasmids revealed that each of them contained the ie-1 gene. Transfected plasmids, containing ie-1, hr3 and various origin promoter drove reporter gene showed the function was even retained. Cotransfection of hr3 functional dissected fragment and ie-1 revealed that the 30-bp imperfect palindrome destroyed fragment can't enhance reporter gene expression even though transfected with ie-1.
IE-1 was the only early factor of BmNPV that could act as a mediator for hr enhancer function in trans and the trans-function was achieved with a broad-spectrum of promoters. The 30-bp imperfect palindrome was the elementary molecular structure by which IE-1 participated in the enhancer function in trans.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a common, chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain disorder found in 2% of the general population and with a preponderance of 85% in females, has both genetic and environmental contributions. Patients and their parents have high plasma levels of the chemokines MCP-1 and eotaxin, providing evidence for both a genetic and an immunological/inflammatory origin for the syndrome (Zhang et al., 2008, Exp. Biol. Med. 233: 1171–1180).
Methods and Findings
In a search for a candidate gene affecting inflammatory pathways, among five screened in our patient samples (100 probands with FMS and their parents), we found 10 rare and one common alleles for MEFV, a gene in which various compound heterozygous mutations lead to Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF). A total of 2.63 megabases of genomic sequence of the MEFV gene were scanned by direct sequencing. The collection of rare missense mutations (all heterozygotes and tested in the aggregate) had a significant elevated frequency of transmission to affecteds (p = 0.0085, one-sided, exact binomial test). Our data provide evidence that rare missense variants of the MEFV gene are, collectively, associated with risk of FMS and are present in a subset of 15% of FMS patients. This subset had, on average, high levels of plasma IL-1β (p = 0.019) compared to FMS patients without rare variants, unaffected family members with or without rare variants, and unrelated controls of unknown genotype. IL-1β is a cytokine associated with the function of the MEFV gene and thought to be responsible for its symptoms of fever and muscle aches.
Since misregulation of IL-1β expression has been predicted for patients with mutations in the MEFV gene, we conclude that patients heterozygous for rare missense variants of this gene may be predisposed to FMS, possibly triggered by environmental factors.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious disease of livestock that causes severe economic loss in susceptible cloven-hoofed animals. Although the traditional inactivated vaccine has been proved effective, it may lead to a new outbreak of FMD because of either incomplete inactivation of FMDV or the escape of live virus from vaccine production workshop. Thus, it is urgent to develop a novel FMDV vaccine that is safer, more effective and more economical than traditional vaccines.
Methodology and Principal Findings
A recombinant silkworm baculovirus Bm-P12A3C which contained the intact P1-2A and 3C protease coding regions of FMDV Asia 1/HNK/CHA/05 was developed. Indirect immunofluorescence test and sandwich-ELISA were used to verify that Bm-P12A3C could express the target cassette. Expression products from silkworm were diluted to 30 folds and used as antigen to immunize cattle. Specific antibody was induced in all vaccinated animals. After challenge with virulent homologous virus, four of the five animals were completely protected, and clinical symptoms were alleviated and delayed in the remaining one. Furthermore, a PD50 (50% bovine protective dose) test was performed to assess the bovine potency of the subunit vaccine. The result showed the subunit vaccine could achieve 6.34 PD50 per dose.
The results suggest that this strategy might be used to develop the new subunit FMDV vaccine.
achaete-scute complexe (AS-C) has been widely studied at genetic, developmental and evolutional levels. Genes of this family encode proteins containing a highly conserved bHLH domain, which take part in the regulation of the development of central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. Many AS-C homologs have been isolated from various vertebrates and invertebrates. Also, AS-C genes are duplicated during the evolution of Diptera. Functions besides neural development controlling have also been found in Drosophila AS-C genes.
We cloned four achaete-scute homologs (ASH) from the lepidopteran model organism Bombyx mori, including three proneural genes and one neural precursor gene. Proteins encoded by them contained the characteristic bHLH domain and the three proneural ones were also found to have the C-terminal conserved motif. These genes regulated promoter activity through the Class A E-boxes in vitro. Though both Bm-ASH and Drosophila AS-C have four members, they are not in one by one corresponding relationships. Results of RT-PCR and real-time PCR showed that Bm-ASH genes were expressed in different larval tissues, and had well-regulated expressional profiles during the development of embryo and wing/wing disc.
There are four achaete-scute homologs in Bombyx mori, the second insect having four AS-C genes so far, and these genes have multiple functions in silkworm life cycle. AS-C gene duplication in insects occurs after or parallel to, but not before the taxonomic order formation during evolution.
To characterize the effects of cetyltriethylammonium bromide (CTAB) on the transcription of gp64 promoter from Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV), the plasmid pBmgp64Luc used in transient expression assay system was constructed by using the luciferase gene as a reporter under the control of BmNPV gp64 promoter. When the Bombyx mori cells (Bm-N) were transfected with the pBmgp64Luc, different treatments were undertaken. We found that the transient expression activity of luciferase could not be augmented directly by CTAB treatment alone, but could be enhanced more than 2 times by BmNPV treatment alone at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 0.5. Through co-treatment with 0.1 µg ml−1 of CTAB and BmNPV at a MOI of 0.5, the enzymatic activity increased 5.21 times. We presumed that the stimulation of transcription of BmNPV gp64 promoter by CTAB was mediated by viral factors from BmNPV. In addition, the time curves of luciferase activity in cells transfected with pBmgp64Luc and transactivated by virus were observed.
Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus; Cetyltriethylammonium bromide; gp64 promoter; Transactivition; Transfection; Transient expression
An experimental study was undertaken to quantify the effects of cetyltriethylammonium bromide (CTAB) on the replication of Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV) and the transcriptionalactivity of BmNPV ie-1 promoter. The results demonstrated that the budded virus (BV) titer rose about 3.7-fold by adding CTAB to the culture media up to 0.1 μ g ml-1 in infected Bm-N cells with a wild-type BmNPV. The transient expression level of luciferase driven by BmNPV ie-1 promoter was enhanced by more than 3-fold in the presence of 0.1 μ g ml-1 of CTAB in uninfected insect cells via a transient expression system. Contrary to the rise in BV titer, the polyhedra inside the nucleus of infected cells dropped linearly from 4.0 × 106 ml-1 down to 2.1 × 106 ml-1 with in a range of CTAB concentrations from 0 to 0.25 μ g ml-1. The same trend in expression level of β -galactosidase or phytase was given when the Bm-N cells or fifth-instar silkworm larvae infected with a recombinant BmNPV containing the β -galactosidase or phytase reporter gene driven by the polyhedrin promoter. We deduced that CTAB appeared to affect the virus bi-phasic life cycle stages and production pathways, resulting in an enhancement in BV production and a suppression of occluded virus (OV) production and expression of foreign genes controlled by the polyhedrin promoter.
BmNPV; CTAB; infection; insect cells; silkworm larvae; transfection