Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Identifying novel regulators of mitochondrial bioenergetics will broaden our understanding of regulatory checkpoints that coordinate complex metabolic pathways. We previously showed that Nur77, an orphan nuclear receptor of the NR4A family, regulates the expression of genes linked to glucose utilization. Here we demonstrate that expression of Nur77 in skeletal muscle also enhances mitochondrial function. We generated MCK-Nur77 transgenic mice that express wild-type Nur77 specifically in skeletal muscle. Nur77-overexpressing muscle had increased abundance of oxidative muscle fibers and mitochondrial DNA content. Transgenic muscle also exhibited enhanced oxidative metabolism, suggestive of increased mitochondrial activity. Metabolomic analysis confirmed that Nur77 transgenic muscle favored fatty acid oxidation over glucose oxidation, mimicking the metabolic profile of fasting. Nur77 expression also improved the intrinsic respiratory capacity of isolated mitochondria, likely due to the increased abundance of complex I of the electron transport chain. These changes in mitochondrial metabolism translated to improved muscle contractile function ex vivo and improved cold tolerance in vivo. Our studies outline a novel role for Nur77 in the regulation of oxidative metabolism and mitochondrial activity in skeletal muscle.
Nr4a; nuclear receptor; mitochondria
A peptide designed to induce apoptosis of endothelium in white adipose tissue (WAT) decreases adiposity. The goal of this work is to determine whether targeting of WAT endothelium results in impaired glucose regulation as a result of impaired WAT function. Glucose tolerance tests were performed on days 2 and 3 of treatment with vehicle (HF-V) or proapoptotic peptide (HF-PP) and mice pair-fed to HF-PP (HF-PF) in obese mice on a high-fat diet (HFD). Serum metabolic variables, including lipid profile, adipokines, individual fatty acids, and acylcarnitines, were measured. Microarray analysis was performed in epididymal fat of lean or obese mice treated with vehicle or proapoptotic peptide (PP). PP rapidly and potently improved glucose tolerance of obese mice in a weight- and food intake–independent manner. Serum insulin and triglycerides were decreased in HF-PP relative to HF-V. Levels of fatty acids and acylcarnitines were distinctive in HF-PP compared with HF-V or HF-PF. Microarray analysis in AT revealed that pathways involved in mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative phosphorylation, and branched-chain amino acid degradation were changed by exposure to HFD and were reversed by PP administration. These studies suggest a novel role of the AT vasculature in glucose homeostasis and lipid metabolism.
Clinical monitoring of cerebral blood flow (CBF) autoregulation in patients undergoing liver transplantation may provide a means for optimizing blood pressure to reduce the risk of brain injury. The purpose of this pilot project is to test the feasibility of autoregulation monitoring with transcranial Doppler (TCD) and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in patients undergoing liver transplantation and to assess changes that may occur perioperatively.
We performed a prospective observational study in 9 consecutive patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation. Patients were monitored with TCD and NIRS. A continuous Pearson’s correlation coefficient was calculated between mean arterial pressure (MAP) and CBF velocity and between MAP and NIRS data, rendering the variables mean velocity index (Mx) and cerebral oximetry index (COx), respectively. Both Mx and COx were averaged and compared during the dissection phase, anhepatic phase, first 30 mins of reperfusion, and remaining reperfusion phase. Impaired autoregulation was defined as Mx ≥ 0.4.
Autoregulation was impaired in one patient during all phases of surgery, in two patients during the anhepatic phase, and in one patient during reperfusion. Impaired autoregulation was associated with a MELD score > 15 (p=0.015) and postoperative seizures or stroke (p<0.0001). Analysis of Mx categorized in 5-mmHg bins revealed that MAP at the lower limit of autoregulation (MAP when Mx increased to ≥ 0.4) ranged between 40 and 85 mmHg. Average Mx and average COx were significantly correlated (p=0.0029). The relationship between COx and Mx remained when only patients with bilirubin > 1.2 mg/dL were evaluated (p=0.0419). There was no correlation between COx and baseline bilirubin (p=0.2562) but MELD score and COx were correlated (p=0.0458). Average COx was higher for patients with a MELD score > 15 (p=0.073) and for patients with a neurologic complication than for patients without neurologic complications (p=0.0245).
These results suggest that autoregulation is impaired in patients undergoing liver transplantation, even in the absence of acute, fulminant liver failure. Identification of patients at risk for neurologic complications after surgery may allow for prompt neuroprotective interventions, including directed pressure management.
Concentrations of acetyl–coenzyme A and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) affect histone acetylation and thereby couple cellular metabolic status and transcriptional regulation. We report that the ketone body d-β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB) is an endogenous and specific inhibitor of class I histone deacetylases (HDACs). Administration of exogenous βOHB, or fasting or calorie restriction, two conditions associated with increased βOHB abundance, all increased global histone acetylation in mouse tissues. Inhibition of HDAC by βOHB was correlated with global changes in transcription, including that of the genes encoding oxidative stress resistance factors FOXO3A and MT2. Treatment of cells with βOHB increased histone acetylation at the Foxo3a and Mt2 promoters, and both genes were activated by selective depletion of HDAC1 and HDAC2. Consistent with increased FOXO3A and MT2 activity, treatment of mice with βOHB conferred substantial protection against oxidative stress.
Constant technological advances have allowed scientists in biology to migrate from conventional single-omics to multi-omics experimental approaches, challenging bioinformatics to bridge this multi-tiered information. Ongoing research in renal biology is no exception. The results of large-scale and/or high throughput experiments, presenting a wealth of information on kidney disease are scattered across the web. To tackle this problem, we recently presented the KUPKB, a multi-omics data repository for renal diseases.
In this article, we describe KUPNetViz, a biological graph exploration tool allowing the exploration of KUPKB data through the visualization of biomolecule interactions. KUPNetViz enables the integration of multi-layered experimental data over different species, renal locations and renal diseases to protein-protein interaction networks and allows association with biological functions, biochemical pathways and other functional elements such as miRNAs. KUPNetViz focuses on the simplicity of its usage and the clarity of resulting networks by reducing and/or automating advanced functionalities present in other biological network visualization packages. In addition, it allows the extrapolation of biomolecule interactions across different species, leading to the formulations of new plausible hypotheses, adequate experiment design and to the suggestion of novel biological mechanisms. We demonstrate the value of KUPNetViz by two usage examples: the integration of calreticulin as a key player in a larger interaction network in renal graft rejection and the novel observation of the strong association of interleukin-6 with polycystic kidney disease.
The KUPNetViz is an interactive and flexible biological network visualization and exploration tool. It provides renal biologists with biological network snapshots of the complex integrated data of the KUPKB allowing the formulation of new hypotheses in a user friendly manner.
Biology-focused databases and software define bioinformatics and their use is central to computational biology. In such a complex and dynamic field, it is of interest to understand what resources are available, which are used, how much they are used, and for what they are used. While scholarly literature surveys can provide some insights, large-scale computer-based approaches to identify mentions of bioinformatics databases and software from primary literature would automate systematic cataloguing, facilitate the monitoring of usage, and provide the foundations for the recovery of computational methods for analysing biological data, with the long-term aim of identifying best/common practice in different areas of biology.
We have developed bioNerDS, a named entity recogniser for the recovery of bioinformatics databases and software from primary literature. We identify such entities with an F-measure ranging from 63% to 91% at the mention level and 63-78% at the document level, depending on corpus. Not attaining a higher F-measure is mostly due to high ambiguity in resource naming, which is compounded by the on-going introduction of new resources. To demonstrate the software, we applied bioNerDS to full-text articles from BMC Bioinformatics and Genome Biology. General mention patterns reflect the remit of these journals, highlighting BMC Bioinformatics’s emphasis on new tools and Genome Biology’s greater emphasis on data analysis. The data also illustrates some shifts in resource usage: for example, the past decade has seen R and the Gene Ontology join BLAST and GenBank as the main components in bioinformatics processing.
Conclusions We demonstrate the feasibility of automatically identifying resource names on a large-scale from the scientific literature and show that the generated data can be used for exploration of bioinformatics database and software usage. For example, our results help to investigate the rate of change in resource usage and corroborate the suspicion that a vast majority of resources are created, but rarely (if ever) used thereafter. bioNerDS is available at http://bionerds.sourceforge.net/.
Marginal deficiency of vitamin B-6 is common among segments of the population worldwide. Because pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) serves as a coenzyme in the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, organic acids, and neurotransmitters, as well as in aspects of one-carbon metabolism, vitamin B-6 deficiency could have many effects. Healthy men and women (age: 20-40 y; n = 23) were fed a 2-day controlled, nutritionally adequate diet followed by a 28-day low-vitamin B-6 diet (<0.5 mg/d) to induce marginal deficiency, as reflected by a decline of plasma PLP from 52.6±14.1 (mean ± SD) to 21.5±4.6 nmol/L (P<0.0001) and increased cystathionine from 131±65 to 199±56 nmol/L (P<0.001). Fasting plasma samples obtained before and after vitamin B6 restriction were analyzed by 1H-NMR with and without filtration and by targeted quantitative analysis by mass spectrometry (MS). Multilevel partial least squares-discriminant analysis and S-plots of NMR spectra showed that NMR is effective in classifying samples according to vitamin B-6 status and identified discriminating features. NMR spectral features of selected metabolites indicated that vitamin B-6 restriction significantly increased the ratios of glutamine/glutamate and 2-oxoglutarate/glutamate (P<0.001) and tended to increase concentrations of acetate, pyruvate, and trimethylamine-N-oxide (adjusted P<0.05). Tandem MS showed significantly greater plasma proline after vitamin B-6 restriction (adjusted P<0.05), but there were no effects on the profile of 14 other amino acids and 45 acylcarnitines. These findings demonstrate that marginal vitamin B-6 deficiency has widespread metabolic perturbations and illustrate the utility of metabolomics in evaluating complex effects of altered vitamin B-6 intake.
Glycemic control is improved more after gastric bypass surgery (GBP) than after equivalent diet-induced weight loss in patients with morbid obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. We applied metabolomic profiling to understand the mechanisms of this better metabolic response after GBP. Circulating amino acids (AAs) and acylcarnitines (ACs) were measured in plasma from fasted subjects by targeted tandem mass spectrometry before and after a matched 10-kilogram weight loss induced by GBP or diet. Total AAs and branched-chain AAs (BCAAs) decreased after GBP, but not after dietary intervention. Metabolites derived from BCAA oxidation also decreased only after GBP. Principal components (PC) analysis identified two major PCs, one composed almost exclusively of ACs (PC1) and another with BCAAs and their metabolites as major contributors (PC2). PC1 and PC2 were inversely correlated with pro-insulin concentrations, the C-peptide response to oral glucose, and the insulin sensitivity index after weight loss, whereas PC2 was uniquely correlated with levels of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). These data suggest that the enhanced decrease in circulating AAs after GBP occurs by mechanisms other than weight loss and may contribute to the better improvement in glucose homeostasis observed with the surgical intervention.
The concept of “metabolic inflexibility” was first introduced to describe the failure of insulin resistant human subjects to appropriately adjust mitochondrial fuel selection in response to nutritional cues. This phenomenon has since gained increasing recognition as a core component of the metabolic syndrome, but the underlying mechanisms have remained elusive. Here, we identify an essential role for the mitochondrial matrix enzyme, carnitine acetyltransferase (CrAT), in regulating substrate switching and glucose tolerance. By converting acetyl-CoA to its membrane permeant acetylcarnitine ester, CrAT regulates mitochondrial and intracellular carbon trafficking. Studies in muscle-specific Crat knockout mice, primary human skeletal myocytes and human subjects undergoing L-carnitine supplementation support a model wherein CrAT combats nutrient stress, promotes metabolic flexibility and enhances insulin action by permitting mitochondrial efflux of excess acetyl moieties that otherwise inhibit key regulatory enzymes such as pyruvate dehydrogenase. These findings offer therapeutically relevant insights into the molecular basis of metabolic inflexibility.
Oxidation of lipid substrates is essential for survival in fasting and other catabolic conditions, sparing glucose for the brain and other glucose-dependent tissues. Here we show Steroid Receptor Coactivator-3 (SRC-3) plays a central role in long chain fatty acid metabolism by directly regulating carnitine/acyl-carnitine translocase (CACT) gene expression. Genetic deficiency of CACT in humans is accompanied by a constellation of metabolic and toxicity phenotypes including hypoketonemia, hypoglycemia, hyperammonemia, and impaired neurologic, cardiac and skeletal muscle performance, each of which is apparent in mice lacking SRC-3 expression. Consistent with human cases of CACT deficiency, dietary rescue with short chain fatty acids drastically attenuates the clinical hallmarks of the disease in mice devoid of SRC-3. Collectively, our results position SRC-3 as a key regulator of β-oxidation. Moreover, these findings allow us to consider platform coactivators such as the SRCs as potential contributors to syndromes such as CACT deficiency, previously considered as monogenic.
Clinical models incompletely predict outcomes following coronary artery bypass grafting. Novel molecular technologies may identify biomarkers to improve risk stratification. We examined whether metabolic profiles can predict adverse events in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting.
The study population comprised 478 subjects from the CATHGEN biorepository of patients referred for cardiac catheterization who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting after enrollment. Targeted mass spectrometry-based profiling of 69 metabolites was performed in frozen, fasting plasma samples collected prior to surgery. Principal-components analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression modeling were used to assess the relation between metabolite factor levels and a composite outcome of post-coronary artery bypass grafting myocardial infarction, need for percutaneous coronary intervention, repeat coronary artery bypass grafting, or death.
Over a mean follow-up of 4.3 ± 2.4 years, 126 subjects (26.4%) suffered an adverse event. Three principal-components analysis-derived factors were significantly associated with adverse outcome in univariable analysis: short-chain dicarboxylacylcarnitines (factor 2, P=0.001); ketone-related metabolites (factor 5, P=0.02); and short-chain acylcarnitines (factor 6, P=0.004). These three factors remained independently predictive of adverse outcome after multivariable adjustment: factor 2 (adjusted hazard ratio 1.23; 95% confidence interval [1.10-1.38]; P<0.001), factor 5 (1.17 [1.01-1.37], P=0.04), and factor 6 (1.14 [1.02-1.27], P=0.03).
Metabolic profiles are independently associated with adverse outcomes following coronary artery bypass grafting. These profiles may represent novel biomarkers of risk that augment existing tools for risk stratification of coronary artery bypass grafting patients and may elucidate novel biochemical pathways that mediate risk.
Acetylation is increasingly recognized as an important metabolic regulatory post-translational protein modification, yet the metabolic consequence of mitochondrial protein hyperacetylation is unknown. We find that high-fat diet (HFD) feeding induces hepatic mitochondrial protein hyperacetylation in mice and downregulation of the major mitochondrial protein deacetylase SIRT3. Mice lacking SIRT3 (SIRT3KO) placed on a HFD show accelerated obesity, insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and steatohepatitis compared to wild-type (wt) mice. The lipogenic enzyme stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 is highly induced in SIRT3KO mice, and its deletion rescues both wt and SIRT3KO mice from HFD-induced hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance. We further identify a single nucleotide polymorphism in the human SIRT3 gene that is suggestive of a genetic association with the metabolic syndrome. This polymorphism encodes a point-mutation in the SIRT3 protein, which reduces its overall enzymatic efficiency. Our findings show loss of SIRT3 and dysregulation of mitochondrial protein acetylation contribute to the metabolic syndrome.
Representative animal models for diabetes-associated vascular complications are extremely relevant in assessing potential therapeutic drugs. While several rodent models for type 2 diabetes (T2D) are available, their relevance in recapitulating renal and cardiovascular features of diabetes in man is not entirely clear. Here we evaluate at the molecular level the similarity between Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, as a model of T2D-associated vascular complications, and human disease by urinary proteome analysis. Urine analysis of ZDF rats at early and late stages of disease compared to age- matched LEAN rats identified 180 peptides as potentially associated with diabetes complications. Overlaps with human chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) biomarkers were observed, corresponding to proteins marking kidney damage (eg albumin, alpha-1 antitrypsin) or related to disease development (collagen). Concordance in regulation of these peptides in rats versus humans was more pronounced in the CVD compared to the CKD panels. In addition, disease-associated predicted protease activities in ZDF rats showed higher similarities to the predicted activities in human CVD. Based on urinary peptidomic analysis, the ZDF rat model displays similarity to human CVD but might not be the most appropriate model to display human CKD on a molecular level.
The disruption of cholesterol homeostasis leads to an increase in cholesterol levels which results in the development of cardiovascular disease. Mitogen Inducible Gene 6 (Mig-6) is an immediate early response gene that can be induced by various mitogens, stresses, and hormones. To identify the metabolic role of Mig-6 in the liver, we conditionally ablated Mig-6 in the liver using the Albumin-Cre mouse model (Albcre/+Mig-6f/f; Mig-6d/d). Mig-6d/d mice exhibit hepatomegaly and fatty liver. Serum levels of total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol and hepatic lipid were significantly increased in the Mig-6d/d mice. The daily excretion of fecal bile acids was significantly decreased in the Mig-6d/d mice. DNA microarray analysis of mRNA isolated from the livers of these mice showed alterations in genes that regulate lipid metabolism, bile acid, and cholesterol synthesis, while the expression of genes that regulate biliary excretion of bile acid and triglyceride synthesis showed no difference in the Mig-6d/d mice compared to Mig-6f/f controls. These results indicate that Mig-6 plays an important role in cholesterol homeostasis and bile acid synthesis. Mice with liver specific conditional ablation of Mig-6 develop hepatomegaly and increased intrahepatic lipid and provide a novel model system to investigate the genetic and molecular events involved in the regulation of cholesterol homeostasis and bile acid synthesis. Defining the molecular mechanisms by which Mig-6 regulates cholesterol homeostasis will provide new insights into the development of more effective ways for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Adipocyte infiltration of the musculoskeletal system is well recognized as a hallmark of aging, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Intermuscular adipocytes might serve as a benign storage site for surplus lipid or play a role in disrupting energy homeostasis as a result of dysregulated lipolysis or secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. This investigation sought to understand the net impact of local adipocytes on skeletal myocyte metabolism.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Interactions between these two tissues were modeled using a coculture system composed of primary human adipocytes and human skeletal myotubes derived from lean or obese donors. Metabolic analysis of myocytes was performed after coculture with lipolytically silent or activated adipocytes and included transcript and metabolite profiling along with assessment of substrate selection and insulin action.
Cocultured adipocytes increased myotube mRNA expression of genes involved in oxidative metabolism, regardless of the donor and degree of lipolytic activity. Adipocytes in the basal state sequestered free fatty acids, thereby forcing neighboring myotubes to rely more heavily on glucose fuel. Under this condition, insulin action was enhanced in myotubes from lean but not obese donors. In contrast, when exposed to lipolytically active adipocytes, cocultured myotubes shifted substrate use in favor of fatty acids, which was accompanied by intracellular accumulation of triacylglycerol and even-chain acylcarnitines, decreased glucose oxidation, and modest attenuation of insulin signaling.
The effects of cocultured adipocytes on myocyte substrate selection and insulin action depended on the metabolic state of the system. These findings are relevant to understanding the metabolic consequences of intermuscular adipogenesis.
The poststimulus blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) undershoot has been attributed to two main plausible origins: delayed vascular compliance based on delayed cerebral blood volume (CBV) recovery and a sustained increased oxygen metabolism after stimulus cessation. To investigate these contributions, multimodal functional magnetic resonance imaging was employed to monitor responses of BOLD, cerebral blood flow (CBF), total CBV, and arterial CBV (CBVa) in human visual cortex after brief breath hold and visual stimulation. In visual experiments, after stimulus cessation, CBVa was restored to baseline in 7.9±3.4 seconds, and CBF and CBV in 14.8±5.0 seconds and 16.1±5.8 seconds, respectively, all significantly faster than BOLD signal recovery after undershoot (28.1±5.5 seconds). During the BOLD undershoot, postarterial CBV (CBVpa, capillaries and venules) was slightly elevated (2.4±1.8%), and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) was above baseline (10.6±7.4%). Following breath hold, however, CBF, CBV, CBVa and BOLD signals all returned to baseline in ∼20 seconds. No significant BOLD undershoot, and residual CBVpa dilation were observed, and CMRO2 did not substantially differ from baseline. These data suggest that both delayed CBVpa recovery and enduring increased oxidative metabolism impact the BOLD undershoot. Using a biophysical model, their relative contributions were estimated to be 19.7±15.9% and 78.7±18.6%, respectively.
BOLD undershoot; cerebral blood flow; cerebral blood volume; hypercapnia; MRI; oxygen metabolism
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Several animal models of obesity exist, but studies are lacking that compare traditional lard-based high fat diets (HFD) to “Cafeteria diets" (CAF) consisting of nutrient poor human junk food. Our previous work demonstrated the rapid and severe obesogenic and inflammatory consequences of CAF compared to HFD including rapid weight gain, markers of Metabolic Syndrome, multi-tissue lipid accumulation, and dramatic inflammation. To identify potential mediators of CAF-induced obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, we used metabolomic analysis to profile serum, muscle, and white adipose from rats fed CAF, HFD, or standard control diets. Principle component analysis identified elevations in clusters of fatty acids and acylcarnitines. These increases in metabolites were associated with systemic mitochondrial dysfunction that paralleled weight gain, physiologic measures of Metabolic Syndrome, and tissue inflammation in CAF-fed rats. Spearman pairwise correlations between metabolites, physiologic, and histologic findings revealed strong correlations between elevated markers of inflammation in CAF-fed animals, measured as crown like structures in adipose, and specifically the pro-inflammatory saturated fatty acids and oxidation intermediates laurate and lauroyl carnitine. Treatment of bone marrow-derived macrophages with lauroyl carnitine polarized macrophages towards the M1 pro-inflammatory phenotype through downregulation of AMPK and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Results presented herein demonstrate that compared to a traditional HFD model, the CAF diet provides a robust model for diet-induced human obesity, which models Metabolic Syndrome-related mitochondrial dysfunction in serum, muscle, and adipose, along with pro-inflammatory metabolite alterations. These data also suggest that modifying the availability or metabolism of saturated fatty acids may limit the inflammation associated with obesity leading to Metabolic Syndrome.
For more than a century, thyroid hormones (THs) have been known to exert powerful catabolic effects, leading to weight loss. Although much has been learned about the molecular mechanisms used by TH receptors (TRs) to regulate gene expression, little is known about the mechanisms by which THs increase oxidative metabolism. Here, we report that TH stimulation of fatty acid β-oxidation is coupled with induction of hepatic autophagy to deliver fatty acids to mitochondria in cell culture and in vivo. Furthermore, blockade of autophagy by autophagy-related 5 (ATG5) siRNA markedly decreased TH-mediated fatty acid β-oxidation in cell culture and in vivo. Consistent with this model, autophagy was altered in livers of mice expressing a mutant TR that causes resistance to the actions of TH as well as in mice with mutant nuclear receptor corepressor (NCoR). These results demonstrate that THs can regulate lipid homeostasis via autophagy and help to explain how THs increase oxidative metabolism.
Most major genome projects and sequence databases provide a GO annotation of their data, either automatically or through human annotators, creating a large corpus of data written in the language of GO. Texts written in natural language show a statistical power law behaviour, Zipf’s law, the exponent of which can provide useful information on the nature of the language being used. We have therefore explored the hypothesis that collections of GO annotations will show similar statistical behaviours to natural language.
Annotations from the Gene Ontology Annotation project were found to follow Zipf’s law. Surprisingly, the measured power law exponents were consistently different between annotation captured using the three GO sub-ontologies in the corpora (function, process and component). On filtering the corpora using GO evidence codes we found that the value of the measured power law exponent responded in a predictable way as a function of the evidence codes used to support the annotation.
Techniques from computational linguistics can provide new insights into the annotation process. GO annotations show similar statistical behaviours to those seen in natural language with measured exponents that provide a signal which correlates with the nature of the evidence codes used to support the annotations, suggesting that the measured exponent might provide a signal regarding the information content of the annotation.
Metabolic profiling might provide insight into the biologic underpinnings of disability in older adults.
A targeted mass spectrometry–based platform was used to identify and quantify 45 plasma acylcarnitines in 77 older men with a mean age of 79 years and average body mass index of 28.4 kg/m2. To control for type I error inherent in a test of multiple analytes, principal components analysis was employed to reduce the acylcarnitines from 45 separate metabolites, into a single “acylcarnitine factor.” We then tested for an association between this acylcarnitine factor and multiple indices of physical performance and self-reported function.
The acylcarnitine factor accounted for 40% of the total variance in 45 acylcarnitines. Of the metabolites analyzed, those that contributed most to our one-factor solution were even-numbered medium and long-chain species with side chains containing 10–18 carbons (factor loadings ≥0.70). Odd-numbered chain species, in contrast, had factor loadings 0.50 or less. Acylcarnitine factor scores were inversely related to physical performance as measured by the Short Physical Performance Battery total score, two of its three component scores (gait and chair stands Short Physical Performance Battery), and usual and maximal gait speeds (ρ = −0.324, −0.348, −0.309, −0.241, and −0.254, respectively; p < .05).
Higher acylcarnitine factor scores were associated with lower levels of objectively measured physical performance in this group of older, largely overweight men. Metabolic profiles of rodents exhibiting lipid-induced mitochondrial dysfunction show a similar phenotypic predominance of medium- and long-chain acylcarnitines.
Physical performance; Physical function; Metabolic profiling; Acylcarnitine; Aging
Ontologies such as the Gene Ontology (GO) and their use in annotations make cross species comparisons of genes possible, along with a wide range of other analytical activities. The bio-ontologies community, in particular the Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) community, have provided many other ontologies and an increasingly large volume of annotations of gene products that can be exploited in query and analysis. As many annotations with different ontologies centre upon gene products, there is a possibility to explore gene products through multiple ontological perspectives at the same time. Questions could be asked that link a gene product’s function, process, cellular location, phenotype and disease. Current tools, such as AmiGO, allow exploration of genes based on their GO annotations, but not through multiple ontological perspectives. In addition, the semantics of these ontology’s representations should be able to, through automated reasoning, afford richer query opportunities of the gene product annotations than is currently possible.
To do this multi-perspective, richer querying of gene product annotations, we have created the Logical Gene Ontology, or GOAL ontology, in OWL that combines the Gene Ontology, Human Disease Ontology and the Mammalian Phenotype Ontology, together with classes that represent the annotations with these ontologies for mouse gene products. Each mouse gene product is represented as a class, with the appropriate relationships to the GO aspects, phenotype and disease with which it has been annotated. We then use defined classes to query these protein classes through automated reasoning, and to build a complex hierarchy of gene products. We have presented this through a Web interface that allows arbitrary queries to be constructed and the results displayed.
This standard use of OWL affords a rich interaction with Gene Ontology, Human Disease Ontology and Mammalian Phenotype Ontology annotations for the mouse, to give a fine partitioning of the gene products in the GOAL ontology. OWL in combination with automated reasoning can be effectively used to query across ontologies to ask biologically rich questions. We have demonstrated that automated reasoning can be used to deliver practical on-line querying support for the ontology annotations available for the mouse.
The GOAL Web page is to be found at http://owl.cs.manchester.ac.uk/goal.
To determine if caloric restriction (CR) would cause changes in plasma metabolic intermediates in response to a mixed meal, suggestive of changes in the capacity to adapt fuel oxidation to fuel availability or metabolic flexibility, and to determine how any such changes relate to insulin sensitivity (SI).
Forty-six volunteers were randomized to a weight maintenance diet (Control), 25% CR, or 12.5% CR plus 12.5% energy deficit from structured aerobic exercise (CR+EX), or a liquid calorie diet (890 kcal/d until 15% reduction in body weight)for six months. Fasting and postprandial plasma samples were obtained at baseline, three, and six months. A targeted mass spectrometry-based platform was used to measure concentrations of individual free fatty acids (FFA), amino acids (AA), and acylcarnitines (AC). SI was measured with an intravenous glucose tolerance test.
Over three and six months, there were significantly larger differences in fasting-to-postprandial (FPP) concentrations of medium and long chain AC (byproducts of FA oxidation) in the CR relative to Control and a tendency for the same in CR+EX (CR-3 month P = 0.02; CR-6 month P = 0.002; CR+EX-3 month P = 0.09; CR+EX-6 month P = 0.08). After three months of CR, there was a trend towards a larger difference in FPP FFA concentrations (P = 0.07; CR-3 month P = 0.08). Time-varying differences in FPP concentrations of AC and AA were independently related to time-varying SI (P<0.05 for both).
Based on changes in intermediates of FA oxidation following a food challenge, CR imparted improvements in metabolic flexibility that correlated with improvements in SI.
Recent years have seen an explosion in the availability of data in the chemistry domain. With this information explosion, however, retrieving relevant results from the available information, and organising those results, become even harder problems. Computational processing is essential to filter and organise the available resources so as to better facilitate the work of scientists. Ontologies encode expert domain knowledge in a hierarchically organised machine-processable format. One such ontology for the chemical domain is ChEBI. ChEBI provides a classification of chemicals based on their structural features and a role or activity-based classification. An example of a structure-based class is 'pentacyclic compound' (compounds containing five-ring structures), while an example of a role-based class is 'analgesic', since many different chemicals can act as analgesics without sharing structural features. Structure-based classification in chemistry exploits elegant regularities and symmetries in the underlying chemical domain. As yet, there has been neither a systematic analysis of the types of structural classification in use in chemistry nor a comparison to the capabilities of available technologies.
We analyze the different categories of structural classes in chemistry, presenting a list of patterns for features found in class definitions. We compare these patterns of class definition to tools which allow for automation of hierarchy construction within cheminformatics and within logic-based ontology technology, going into detail in the latter case with respect to the expressive capabilities of the Web Ontology Language and recent extensions for modelling structured objects. Finally we discuss the relationships and interactions between cheminformatics approaches and logic-based approaches.
Systems that perform intelligent reasoning tasks on chemistry data require a diverse set of underlying computational utilities including algorithmic, statistical and logic-based tools. For the task of automatic structure-based classification of chemical entities, essential to managing the vast swathes of chemical data being brought online, systems which are capable of hybrid reasoning combining several different approaches are crucial. We provide a thorough review of the available tools and methodologies, and identify areas of open research.
Prevalent in critically ill patients, delirium remains poorly understood and difficult to treat. In a cross-sectional study conducted in 12 countries, delirium was identified in close to one third of patients and was independently associated with increased mortality. While such epidemiological accounts represent an important cornerstone for research, scientific efforts are needed to elucidate the causes of delirium and the mechanisms underlying its association with poor outcomes.
Ontologies are being developed for the life sciences to standardise the way we describe and interpret the wealth of data currently being generated. As more ontology based applications begin to emerge, tools are required that enable domain experts to contribute their knowledge to the growing pool of ontologies. There are many barriers that prevent domain experts engaging in the ontology development process and novel tools are needed to break down these barriers to engage a wider community of scientists.
We present Populous, a tool for gathering content with which to construct an ontology. Domain experts need to add content, that is often repetitive in its form, but without having to tackle the underlying ontological representation. Populous presents users with a table based form in which columns are constrained to take values from particular ontologies. Populated tables are mapped to patterns that can then be used to automatically generate the ontology's content. These forms can be exported as spreadsheets, providing an interface that is much more familiar to many biologists.
Populous's contribution is in the knowledge gathering stage of ontology development; it separates knowledge gathering from the conceptualisation and axiomatisation, as well as separating the user from the standard ontology authoring environments. Populous is by no means a replacement for standard ontology editing tools, but instead provides a useful platform for engaging a wider community of scientists in the mass production of ontology content.