By 2009, there were worrying signs from western Cambodia that parasitological responses to artesunate-containing treatment regimens for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were slower than elsewhere which suggested the emergence of artemisinin resistance. Vietnam shares a long land border with Cambodia with a large number of migrants crossing it on a daily basis. Therefore, there is an urgent need to investigate whether there is any evidence of a change in the parasitological response to the artemisinin derivatives in Vietnam.
From August 2010 to May 2011, a randomized controlled clinical trial in uncomplicated falciparum malaria was conducted to compare two doses of artesunate (AS) (2mg/kg/day versus 4 mg/kg/day for three days) followed by dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ) and a control arm of DHA-PPQ. The goal was characterization of the current efficacy of artesunate in southern Vietnam. The primary endpoint of this study was the parasite clearance half-life; secondary endpoints included the parasite reduction ratios at 24 and 48 hours and the parasite clearance time.
166 patients were recruited into the study. The median parasite clearance half-lives were 3.54 (AS 2mg/kg), 2.72 (AS 4mg/kg), and 2.98 hours (DHA-PPQ) (p=0.19). The median parasite-reduction ratio at 24 hours was 48 in the AS 2mg/kg group compared with 212 and 113 in the other two groups, respectively (p=0.02). The proportions of patients with a parasite clearance time of >72 hours for AS 2mg/kg, AS 4mg/kg and DHA-PPQ were 27%, 27%, and 22%, respectively. Early treatment failure occurred in two (4%) and late clinical failure occurred in one (2%) of the 55 patients in the AS 2mg/kg group, as compared with none in the other two study arms. The PCR-corrected adequate clinical and parasitological response (APCR) rates in the three groups were 94%, 100%, and 100% (p=0.04).
This study demonstrated faster P. falciparum parasite clearance in southern Vietnam than in western Cambodia but slower clearance in comparison with historical data from Vietnam. Further studies to determine whether this represents the emergence of artemisinin resistance in this area are needed. Currently, the therapeutic response to DHA-PPQ remains satisfactory in southern Vietnam.
Plasmodium falciparum; Artesunate; Parasite clearance half-life; Parasite reduction ratio; Parasite clearance of >72 hours
Legionella pneumophila is a Gram-negative bacterium that replicates within human alveolar macrophages by evasion of the host endocytic pathway through the formation of a replicative vacuole. Generation of this vacuole is dependent upon the secretion of over 275 effector proteins into the host cell via the Dot/Icm type IVB secretion system (T4SS). The type IV coupling protein (T4CP) subcomplex, consisting of DotL, DotM, DotN, IcmS and IcmW, was recently defined. DotL is proposed to be the T4CP of the L. pneumophila T4SS based on its homology to known T4CPs, which function as inner-membrane receptors for substrates. As a result, DotL is hypothesized to play an integral role(s) in the L. pneumophila T4SS for the engagement and translocation of substrates. To elucidate this role, a genetic approach was taken to screen for dotL mutants that were unable to survive inside host cells. One mutant, dotLY725Stop, did not interact with the type IV adaptor proteins IcmS/IcmW (IcmSW) leading to the identification of an IcmSW-binding domain on DotL. Interestingly, the dotLY725Stop mutant was competent for export of one class of secreted effectors, the IcmSW-independent substrates, but exhibited a specific defect in secretion of IcmSW-dependent substrates. This differential secretion illustrates that DotL requires a direct interaction with the type IV adaptor proteins for the secretion of a major class of substrates. Thus, by identifying a new target for IcmSW, we have discovered that the type IV adaptors perform an additional role in the export of substrates by the L. pneumophila Dot/Icm T4SS.
Many pathogens are able to survive and grow within eukaryotic host cells. One such pathogen, Legionella pneumophila, is able to replicate within macrophages, resulting in a form of pneumonia called Legionnaires' Disease. One key to L. pneumophila's capacity to cause disease is its ability to translocate several hundred proteins into the host cell. These proteins, typically referred to as “effectors”, function to alter the host cell to create a hospitable environment for the bacteria. L. pneumophila effectors are exported by a specialized export apparatus, which is encoded by the dot/icm genes. However, the mechanism of secretion for these substrates is poorly understood. It is known that a subset of these effectors requires assistance from the type IV adaptor proteins IcmS and IcmW for transport out of the bacterium. It has been shown that IcmSW binds adaptor-dependent secreted proteins in the bacterial cytoplasm prior to their export. Here we report that DotL, an inner membrane component of the Dot/Icm secretion system, also binds IcmSW and this interaction is required for the export of adaptor-dependent substrates. This defines a new role for the type IV adaptors IcmSW and furthers our understanding of how Legionella exports substrates into its host cell.
Recently, several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on bipolar disorder (BPD) suggested novel risk genes. However, only few of them were followed up and further, the specificity of these genes is even more elusive. To address these issues, we genotyped SNPs in ANK3, CACNA1C, CMTM8, DGKH, EGFR, and NPAS3, which were significantly associated with BPD in previous GWAS, in a sample of 380 BPD patients. Replicated SNPs were then followed up in patients suffering from unipolar depression (UPD; n=387) or adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (aADHD; n=535). While we could not confirm an association of ANK3, CACNA1C, and EGFR with BPD, 10 SNPs in DGKH, CMTM8, and NPAS3 were nominally associated with disease, with two DGKH markers surviving correction for multiple testing. When these were followed up in UPD and aADHD, seven DGKH SNPs were also associated with UPD, while one SNP each in NPAS3 and CMTM8 and four in DGKH were linked to aADHD. Furthermore, a DGKH haplotype consisting of rs994856/rs9525580/rs9525584 GAT was associated with all disorders tested, while the complementary AGC haplotype was protective. The corresponding haploblock spans a 27-kb region covering exons coding for amino acids 65–243, and thus might include functional variants yet to be identified. We demonstrate an association of DGKH with BPD, UPD, and aADHD by applying a two-stage design. These disorders share the feature of mood instability, so that this phenotype might be associated with genetic variation in DGKH.
association; bipolar disorder; depression; adult ADHD; NPAS3; CMTM8; depression; unipolar/bipolar; neurogenetics; signal transduction; biological psychiatry; association; adult ADHD; NPAS3; CMTM8; EGFR
Wildtype p53-Induced Phosphatase 1 (WIP1) is a serine/threonine phosphatase that dephosphorylates proteins in the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-initiated DNA damage response pathway. WIP1 may play a homeostatic role in ATM signaling by returning the cell to a normal pre-stress state following completion of DNA repair. To better understand the effects of WIP1 on ATM signaling, we crossed Atm-deficient mice to Wip1-deficient mice and characterized phenotypes of the double knockout progeny. We hypothesized that the absence of Wip1 might rescue Atm deficiency phenotypes. Atm null mice, like ATM-deficient humans with the inherited syndrome ataxia telangiectasia, exhibit radiation sensitivity, fertility defects, and are T-cell lymphoma prone. Most double knockout mice were largely protected from lymphoma development and had a greatly extended lifespan compared to Atm null mice. Double knockout mice had increased p53 and H2AX phosphorylation and p21 expression compared to their Atm null counterparts, indicating enhanced p53 and DNA damage responses. Additionally, double knockout splenocytes displayed reduced chromosomal instability compared to Atm null mice. Finally, doubly null mice were partially rescued from infertility defects observed in Atm null mice. These results indicate that inhibition of WIP1 may represent a useful strategy for cancer treatment in general and A-T patients in particular.
WIP1; PPM1D; ATM; ataxia telangiectasia; p53; thymic lymphoma
Despite numerous preventive strategies on bacterial adhesion, pathogenic biofilm formation remained the major cause of medical device-related infections. Bacterial interference is a promising strategy that uses pre-established biofilms of benign bacteria to serve as live, protective coating against pathogen colonization. However, the application of this strategy to silicone urinary catheters was hampered by low adherence of benign bacteria onto silicone materials. In this work, we present a general method for biofunctionalization of silicone (PDMS) as one of the most widely used materials for biomedical devices. We used mild CO2 plasma to activate PDMS surface followed by simple attachment of generation 5 (G5) poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers to generate an amino-terminated surface that were maintained even after storage in PBS buffer for 36 days. We then covalently attach a carboxy-terminated mannose derivative to the modified PDMS to promote the adherence of benign Escherichia coli 83972 expressing mannose-binding type 1 fimbriae. We demonstrated that dense, stable biofilms of E. coli 83972 could be established within 48 h on the mannose-coated PDMS. Significantly, this benign biofilm reduced the adherence of the uropathogenic Enterococcus faecalis by 104-fold after 72 hours, while the benign bacteria on the unmodified substrate by only 5.5-fold.
Genetic variants that modify brain gene expression may also influence risk for human diseases. We measured expression levels of 24,526 transcripts in brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD, cerebellar n = 197, temporal cortex n = 202) and with other brain pathologies (non–AD, cerebellar n = 177, temporal cortex n = 197). We conducted an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) using 213,528 cisSNPs within ±100 kb of the tested transcripts. We identified 2,980 cerebellar cisSNP/transcript level associations (2,596 unique cisSNPs) significant in both ADs and non–ADs (q<0.05, p = 7.70×10−5–1.67×10−82). Of these, 2,089 were also significant in the temporal cortex (p = 1.85×10−5–1.70×10−141). The top cerebellar cisSNPs had 2.4-fold enrichment for human disease-associated variants (p<10−6). We identified novel cisSNP/transcript associations for human disease-associated variants, including progressive supranuclear palsy SLCO1A2/rs11568563, Parkinson's disease (PD) MMRN1/rs6532197, Paget's disease OPTN/rs1561570; and we confirmed others, including PD MAPT/rs242557, systemic lupus erythematosus and ulcerative colitis IRF5/rs4728142, and type 1 diabetes mellitus RPS26/rs1701704. In our eGWAS, there was 2.9–3.3 fold enrichment (p<10−6) of significant cisSNPs with suggestive AD–risk association (p<10−3) in the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium GWAS. These results demonstrate the significant contributions of genetic factors to human brain gene expression, which are reliably detected across different brain regions and pathologies. The significant enrichment of brain cisSNPs among disease-associated variants advocates gene expression changes as a mechanism for many central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. Combined assessment of expression and disease GWAS may provide complementary information in discovery of human disease variants with functional implications. Our findings have implications for the design and interpretation of eGWAS in general and the use of brain expression quantitative trait loci in the study of human disease genetics.
Genetic variants that regulate gene expression levels can also influence human disease risk. Discovery of genomic loci that alter brain gene expression levels (brain expression quantitative trait loci = eQTLs) can be instrumental in the identification of genetic risk underlying both central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. To systematically assess the role of brain eQTLs in human disease and to evaluate the influence of brain region and pathology in eQTL mapping, we performed an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) in 773 brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of ∼200 autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and ∼200 with other brain pathologies (non–AD). We identified ∼3,000 significant associations between cisSNPs near ∼700 genes and their cerebellar transcript levels, which replicate in ADs and non–ADs. More than 2,000 of these associations were reproducible in the temporal cortex. The top cisSNPs are enriched for both CNS and non–CNS disease-associated variants. We identified novel and confirmed previous cisSNP/transcript associations for many disease loci, suggesting gene expression regulation as their mechanism of action. These findings demonstrate the reproducibility of the eQTL approach across different brain regions and pathologies, and advocate the combined use of gene expression and disease GWAS for identification and functional characterization of human disease-associated variants.
Glutathione S-transferase omega-1 and 2 genes (GSTO1, GSTO2), residing within an Alzheimer and Parkinson disease (AD and PD) linkage region, have diverse functions including mitigation of oxidative stress and may underlie the pathophysiology of both diseases. GSTO polymorphisms were previously reported to associate with risk and age-at-onset of these diseases, although inconsistent follow-up study designs make interpretation of results difficult. We assessed two previously reported SNPs, GSTO1 rs4925 and GSTO2 rs156697, in AD (3,493 ADs vs. 4,617 controls) and PD (678 PDs vs. 712 controls) for association with disease risk (case-controls), age-at-diagnosis (cases) and brain gene expression levels (autopsied subjects).
We found that rs156697 minor allele associates with significantly increased risk (odds ratio = 1.14, p = 0.038) in the older ADs with age-at-diagnosis > 80 years. The minor allele of GSTO1 rs4925 associates with decreased risk in familial PD (odds ratio = 0.78, p = 0.034). There was no other association with disease risk or age-at-diagnosis. The minor alleles of both GSTO SNPs associate with lower brain levels of GSTO2 (p = 4.7 × 10-11-1.9 × 10-27), but not GSTO1. Pathway analysis of significant genes in our brain expression GWAS, identified significant enrichment for glutathione metabolism genes (p = 0.003).
These results suggest that GSTO locus variants may lower brain GSTO2 levels and consequently confer AD risk in older age. Other glutathione metabolism genes should be assessed for their effects on AD and other chronic, neurologic diseases.
GSTO genes; Disease risk; Gene expression; Association
Background & Aims
5-FU-based adjuvant chemotherapy does not increase survival times of patients with colorectal tumors with microsatellite instability. We determined the response of patients with colorectal tumors with the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) to 5-FU-based therapy.
We analyzed a population-based cohort of 302 patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) for a median follow-up time of 50.7 months. CIMP status was determined by analysis of the CACNAG1, SOCS1, RUNX3, NEUROG1, and MLH1 promoters; tumors were considered to be CIMP-positive (CIMP+) if at least 3 promoters were methylated.
Tumors from 29.5% (89/302) of patients were CIMP+; this did not influence disease-free survival (log rank=.26). Of tumors of TNM stages II–III (n=196), 32.7% were CIMP+. Among patients with CRC stages II–III who did not receive adjuvant 5-FU chemotherapy, those with CIMP+ tumors had longest times of disease-free survival (log rank=.04); patients with CIMP+ tumors who received chemotherapy had shorter times of disease-free survival (log rank=0.02). In patients with CIMP-negative tumors, adjuvant 5-FU chemotherapy significantly increased time of disease-free survival (log-rank=.00001). However, in patients with CIMP+ tumors, adjuvant 5-FU chemotherapy did not affect time of disease-free survival (log rank=.7). Multivariate analysis showed a significant, independent interaction between 5-FU treatment and CIMP status (hazard ratio [HR]=0.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], .5–.8). Among patients with CIMP+ tumors, adjuvant chemotherapy was not an independent predictor of outcome (HR=0.8; 95% CI, 0.3–2.0). In patients who did not receive adjuvant 5-FU chemotherapy, CIMP status was the only independent predictor of survival (HR=2.0; 95% CI, 1.1–3.8)
Patients with CIMP+ colorectal tumors do not benefit from 5-FU–based adjuvant chemotherapy.
Colon cancer; 5-FU adjuvant chemotherapy; DNA methylation; response to cancer therapy
KIBRA SNP rs17070145 was identified in a GWAS of memory performance, with some but not all follow-up studies confirming association of its T allele with enhanced memory. This allele was associated with reduced Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in one study, which also found overexpression of KIBRA in memory-related brain regions of ADs. We genotyped rs17070145 and 14 additional SNPs in 2571 LOADs vs. 2842 controls, including African-Americans. We found significantly reduced risk for rs17070145 T allele in the older African-American subjects (p=0.007) and a suggestive effect in the older Caucasian series. Meta-analysis of this allele in >8000 subjects from our and published series showed a suggestive protective effect (p=0.07). Analysis of episodic memory in control subjects did not identify associations with rs17070145, though other SNPs showed significant associations in one series. KIBRA showed evidence of overexpression in the AD temporal cortex (p=0.06) but not cerebellum. These results suggest a modest role for KIBRA as a cognition and AD risk gene, and also highlight the multifactorial complexity of its genetic associations.
Alzheimer's disease; Association studies in genetics; Case control studies
Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is an age-dependent progressive neurodegenerative disorder. β-amyloid, a metabolic product of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), plays an important role in the pathogenesis of AD. The Thy1-hAPPLond/Swe+ (line 41) transgenic mouse overexpresses human APP751 and contains the London (V717I) and Swedish (K670M/N671L) mutations. Here, we used a battery of behavioral tests to evaluate general activity, cognition, and social behavior in six-month-old male Thy1-hAPPLond/Swe+ mice. We found hyperactivity in a novel environment as well as significant deficits in spontaneous alternation behavior. In fear conditioning (FC), Thy1-hAPPLond/Swe+ mice did not display deficits in acquisition or in memory retrieval in novel context of tone-cued FC, but they showed significant memory retrieval impairment during contextual testing in an identical environment. Surprisingly, in a standard hidden platform water maze, no significant deficit was detected in mutant mice. However, a delayed-matching-to-place paradigm revealed a significant deficit in Thy1-hAPPLond/Swe+ mice. Lastly, in the social novelty session of a three-chamber test, Thy1-hAPPLond/Swe+ mice exhibited a significantly decreased interest in a novel versus a familiar stranger compared to control mice. This could possibly be explained by decreased social memory or discrimination and may parallel disturbances in social functioning in human AD patients. In conclusion, the Thy1-hAPPLond/Swe+ mouse model of AD displayed a behavioral phenotype that resembles, in part, the cognitive and psychiatric symptoms experienced in AD patients.
Alzheimer's disease; amyloid precursor protein; behavior; learning and memory; neurodegenerative disorder; social interaction
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a causative agent of hepatitis E. Recently, a novel hepatitis E-like virus was isolated from Norway rats in Germany. However, the antigenicity, pathogenicity and epidemiology of this virus are unclear because of the lack of a cell-culture system in which to grow it. In this study, an N-terminally truncated ORF2 protein was expressed in insect Tn5 cells using a recombinant baculovirus expression system and a large amount of 53 kDa protein was expressed and efficiently released into the supernatant. Electron microscopic analyses of the purified 53 kDa protein revealed that the protein self-assembled into two types of empty HEV-like particles (rat HEVLPs). The smaller rat HEVLPs were estimated to be 24 nm in diameter, which is similar to the size of genotype G1, G3 and G4 HEVLPs. The larger rat HEVLPs were estimated to measure 35 nm in diameter, which is similar to the size of native rat HEV particles. An ELISA to detect antibodies was established using rat HEVLPs as the antigens, which demonstrated that rat HEVLPs were cross-reactive with G1, G3 and G4 HEVs. Detection of IgG and IgM antibodies was performed by examination of 139 serum samples from wild rats trapped in Vietnam, and it was found that 20.9 % (29/139) and 3.6 % (5/139) of the samples were positive for IgG and IgM, respectively. In addition, rat HEV RNA was detected in one rat serum sample that was positive for IgM. These results indicated that rat HEV is widespread and is transmitted among wild rats.
The inward rectifier family of potassium (Kir) channels is comprised of at least 16 family members exhibiting broad and often overlapping cellular, tissue, or organ distributions. The discovery of disease-causing mutations in humans and experiments on knockout mice has underscored the importance of Kir channels in physiology and in some cases raised questions about their potential as drug targets. However, the paucity of potent and selective small-molecule modulators targeting specific family members has with few exceptions mired efforts to understand their physiology and assess their therapeutic potential. A growing body of evidence suggests that G protein-coupled inward rectifier K (GIRK) channels of the Kir3.X subfamily may represent novel targets for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. In an effort to expand the molecular pharmacology of GIRK, we performed a thallium (Tl+) flux-based high-throughput screen of a Kir1.1 inhibitor library for modulators of GIRK. One compound, termed VU573, exhibited 10-fold selectivity for GIRK over Kir1.1 (IC50 = 1.9 and 19 μM, respectively) and was therefore selected for further study. In electrophysiological experiments performed on Xenopus laevis oocytes and mammalian cells, VU573 inhibited Kir3.1/3.2 (neuronal GIRK) and Kir3.1/3.4 (cardiac GIRK) channels with equal potency and preferentially inhibited GIRK, Kir2.3, and Kir7.1 over Kir1.1 and Kir2.1.Tl+ flux assays were established for Kir2.3 and the M125R pore mutant of Kir7.1 to support medicinal chemistry efforts to develop more potent and selective analogs for these channels. The structure–activity relationships of VU573 revealed few analogs with improved potency, however two compounds retained most of their activity toward GIRK and Kir2.3 and lost activity toward Kir7.1. We anticipate that the VU573 series will be useful for exploring the physiology and structure–function relationships of these Kir channels.
GIRK; pharmacology; screening; thallium flux; fluorescence; electrophysiology; high throughput
Though the presence of microsatellite instability (MSI) in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) may have implications for prognosis, therapy, and family counseling, MSI prevalence is not well described among individuals of Hispanic origin in the United States (US) with CRC.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study employing a hospital-based tumor registry to identify individuals of Hispanic origin diagnosed with CRC. Clinical data and tumor samples were retrieved. Molecular analyses included testing for MSI using a panel of 5 mononucleotide markers (BAT25, BAT26, NR21, NR24 and NR27) in a pentaplex polymerase chain reaction assay, as well as immunohistochemistry for the MMR proteins MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMHS2 on representative tissue.
111 individuals of Hispanic origin with CRC were identified. 41.1% were women, median age was 57 years (IQR:47.1–63.5). 11 (9.8%, 95%CI:4.2–15.6) had MSI CRC, while 14 (14.6%, 95%CI:7.3–21.8) had CRC with≥1 MMR protein abnormality. 10 of 11 individuals with MSI had clinical or molecular characteristics suspicious for Lynch syndrome such as abnormal expression of MSH2 and/or MSH6 (n=7) or age<50 at diagnosis (n=7).
The prevalence of MSI CRC among Hispanic individuals may be similar to other races and ethnicities, but clinical-pathological characteristics, including age at diagnosis and pattern of abnormal MMR protein expression, suggests that sporadic MSI CRC may be less common in individuals of Hispanic origin, and that much MSI observed in this situation may be attributable to Lynch syndrome. Further exploration of the causes of disparate presentations of CRC by ethnicity and race is warranted.
colorectal neoplasms; Hispanic Americans; genomic instability; microsatellite instability; DNA mismatch repair
Although twin and family studies have shown Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to be highly heritable, genetic variants influencing the trait at a genome-wide significant level have yet to be identified. As prior genome-wide association scans (GWAS) have not yielded significant results, we conducted a meta-analysis of existing studies to boost statistical power.
We used data from four projects: a) the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), b) phase I of the International Multicenter ADHD Genetics project (IMAGE), c) phase II of IMAGE (IMAGE II), and d) the Pfizer funded study from the University of California, Los Angeles, Washington University and the Massachusetts General Hospital (PUWMa). The final sample size consisted of 2,064 trios, 896 cases and 2,455 controls. For each study, we imputed HapMap SNPs, computed association test statistics and transformed them to Z-scores, and then combined weighted Z-scores in a meta-analysis.
No genome-wide significant associations were found, although an analysis of candidate genes suggests they may be involved in the disorder.
Given that ADHD is a highly heritable disorder, our negative results suggest that the effects of common ADHD risk variants must, individually, be very small or that other types of variants, e.g. rare ones, account for much of the disorder’s heritability.
ADHD; meta-analysis; association; GWAS; genetics
Although twin and family studies have shown attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to be highly heritable, genetic variants influencing the trait at a genome-wide significant level have yet to be identified. Thus, additional genomewide association studies (GWAS) are needed.
We used case-control analyses of 896 cases with DSM-IV ADHD genotyped using the Affymetrix 5.0 array and 2,455 repository controls screened for psychotic and bipolar symptoms genotyped using Affymetrix 6.0 arrays. A consensus SNP set was imputed using BEAGLE 3.0, resulting in an analysis dataset of 1,033,244 SNPs. The data were analyzed using a generalized linear model.
No genome-wide significant associations were found. The most significant results implicated the following genes: PRKG1, FLNC, TCERG1L, PPM1H, NXPH1, PPM1H, CDH13, HK1 and HKDC1.
The current analyses are a useful addition to the present literature and will make a valuable contribution to future meta-analyses. The candidate gene findings are consistent with a prior meta-analysis in suggesting that the effects of ADHD risk variants must, individually, be very small and/or include multiple rare alleles.
ADHD; genetics; genome-wide association; imputation
Androgens can protect neurones from injury, but androgen neuroprotection is not well characterised in terms of either specificity or mechanism. Here, we compared the ability of androgens to protect neurones against a panel of insults, empirically determined to induce cell death by apoptotic or non-apoptotic mechanisms. Three criteria defining, but not inclusive of apoptosis are: protection by caspase inhibition, protection by protein synthesis inhibition, and presence of pyknotic nuclei. According to these criteria, β-amyloid, staurosporine, and Apoptosis Activator II induced cell death involving apoptosis, while hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), iron, calcium ionophore, and 3-nitropropionic acid induced cell death featuring non-apoptotic characteristics. Pretreatment of hippocampal neurones with testosterone or dihydrotestosterone attenuated cell death induced by β-amyloid, staurosporine, and Apoptosis Activator II, but none of the other insults. The anti-oxidant Trolox did not reduce cell death induced by β-amyloid, staurosporine, and Apoptosis Activator II, but did protect against H2O2 and iron. Similarly, a supra-physiological concentration of oestrogen reduced cell death induced by H2O2 and iron, an effect not observed with androgens. We also show that activation of oestrogen pathways was not necessary for androgen neuroprotection. These data suggest that androgens directly activate a neuroprotective mechanism specific to inhibition of cell death involving apoptosis. Determining the specificity of androgen neuroprotection may enable the development of androgen compounds for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
Androgens; apoptosis; dihydrotestosterone; neuroprotection; oestrogen; testosterone
We previously demonstrated that repeated exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) increases locomotor activity via stimulation of dopaminergic D1 receptor (J. Pharmacol. Sci., 2007;105:367-371). Since it has been demonstrated that activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factors, especially 35-kDa fos-related antigen (FRA), play a key role in the neuronal and behavioral adaptation in response to various stimuli, we examined whether repeated ELF-MF exposure induces FRA-immunoreactivity (FRA-IR) in the striatum and nucleus accumbens (striatal complex) of the mice. Repeated exposure to ELF-MF (0.3 or 2.4 mT, 1 h/day, for consecutive fourteen days) significantly induced hyperlocomotor activity and FRA-IR in the striatal complex in a field intensity-dependent manner. ELF-MF-induced FRA-IR lasted for at least 1 year, while locomotor activity returned near control level 3 months after the final exposure to ELF-MF. Pretreatment with SCH23390, a dopaminergic D1 receptor antagonist, but not with sulpiride, a dopaminergic D2 receptor antagonist, significantly attenuated hyperlocomotor activity and FRA-IR induced by ELF-MF. Our results suggest that repeated exposure to ELF-MF leads to prolonged locomotor stimulation and long-term expression of FRA in the striatal complex of the mice via stimulation of dopaminergic D1 receptor.
extremely low frequency magnetic fields; Fos-related antigen; locomotor activity; dopaminergic D1 receptor; striatal complex
Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is the only mechanism in humans to repair UV-induced DNA lesions such as pyrimidine (6–4) pyrimidone photoproducts and cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD). In response to UV damage, the ataxia telangiectasia mutated and Rad3-related (ATR) kinase phosphorylates and activates several downstream effector proteins, such as p53 and XPA, to arrest cell cycle progression, stimulate DNA repair, or initiate apoptosis. However, following the completion of DNA repair, there must be active mechanisms that restore the cell to a prestressed homeostatic state. An important part of this recovery must include a process to reduce p53 and NER activity as well as to remove repair protein complexes from the DNA damage sites. Since activation of the damage response occurs in part through phosphorylation, phosphatases are obvious candidates as homeostatic regulators of the DNA damage and repair responses. Therefore, we investigated whether the serine/threonine wild-type p53-induced phosphatase 1 (WIP1/PPM1D) might regulate NER. WIP1 overexpression inhibits the kinetics of NER and CPD repair, whereas WIP1 depletion enhances NER kinetics and CPD repair. This NER suppression is dependent on WIP1 phosphatase activity, as phosphatase-dead WIP1 mutants failed to inhibit NER. Moreover, WIP1 suppresses the kinetics of UV-induced damage repair largely through effects on NER, as XPD-deficient cells are not further suppressed in repairing UV damage by overexpressed WIP1. Wip1 null mice quickly repair their CPD and undergo less UV-induced apoptosis than their wild-type counterparts. In vitro phosphatase assays identify XPA and XPC as two potential WIP1 targets in the NER pathway. Thus WIP1 may suppress NER kinetics by dephosphorylating and inactivating XPA and XPC and other NER proteins and regulators after UV-induced DNA damage is repaired.
CPD; nucleotide excision repair; phosphatase; phosphorylation; PPM1D; WIP1
The conformations of model transmembrane peptides are studied to understand the structural and dynamical aspects of tetrameric bundles using a series of coarse grain (CG) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations since membrane proteins play a crucial role in cell function. In this work, two different amphipathic models have been constructed using similar hydrophobic/hydrophilic characteristics with two structurally distinct morphologies to evaluate the effect of roughness and hydrophilic topology on the structure of tetrameric bundles, one class that forms an ion-channel and one class that does not. Free energy calculations of typical amphipathic peptide topologies show that using a relatively smooth surface morphology allows for a stable conformation of the tetramer bundle in a diamond formation. However, the model with side chains attached to the core in order to roughen the surface has a stable square tetramer bundle which is consistent with experimental data and all-atom (AA) MD simulations. Comparisons of the CG simulations with AA MD simulations are in reasonable agreement with the formation of tetrameric homo-oligomers, partitioning within the lipid bilayer and tilt angle with respect to the bilayer normal. We concluded that a square or diamond shape tetrameric homo-oligomers could be stabilized by rational design of the peptide morphology and topology of the surface, thus allowing us to tune the permeability of the bundle or channel.
Ion-Channel; LS2 peptide; All-Atom; Tetramer bundle; WALP peptide; DMPC bilayer
Background & Aims
Approximately half of the families that fulfill Amsterdam criteria for Lynch syndrome or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) do not have evidence of the germline mismatch repair (MMR) gene mutations that define this syndrome and result in microsatellite instability. The carcinogenic pathways and the best diagnostic approaches to detect microsatellite stable (MSS) HNPCC tumors are unclear. We investigated the contribution of epigenetic alterations to development of MSS HNPCC tumors.
Colorectal cancers were divided in four groups: 1. Microsatellite stable, Amsterdam positive (MSS HNPCC) (N=22); 2. Lynch syndrome cancers (identified mismatch repair mutations) (N=21); 3. Sporadic MSS (N=92); 4. Sporadic MSI (N=46). Methylation status was evaluated for CACNAG1, SOCS1, RUNX3, NEUROG1, MLH1, and LINE-1. KRAS and BRAF mutations status was analyzed.
MSS HNPCC tumors displayed a significantly lower degree of LINE-1 methylation, marker for global methylation, than any other group. Whereas most MSS HNPCC tumors had some degree of CpG island methylation, none presented a high index of methylation. MSS HNPCC tumors had KRAS mutations exclusively in codon 12, but none harbored V600E BRAF mutations.
Tumors from Amsterdam-positive patients without mismatch repair deficiency (MSS HNPCC) have certain molecular features, including global hypomethylation that distinguish them from all other colorectal cancers. These characteristics could have an important impact on tumor behavior or treatment response. Studies are underway to further assess the cause and effects of these features.
Colorectal cancer; Microsatellite stable Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer; Non-Lynch HNPCC; DNA Methylation; hypomethylation
Seed metabolism is dynamically adjusted to oxygen availability. Processes underlying this auto-regulatory mechanism control the metabolic efficiency under changing environmental conditions/stress and thus, are of relevance for biotechnology. Non-symbiotic hemoglobins have been shown to be involved in scavenging of nitric oxide (NO) molecules, which play a key role in oxygen sensing/balancing in plants and animals. Steady state levels of NO are suggested to act as an integrator of energy and carbon metabolism and subsequently, influence energy-demanding growth processes in plants.
We aimed to manipulate oxygen stress perception in Arabidopsis seeds by overexpression of the non-symbiotic hemoglobin AtHb1 under the control of the seed-specific LeB4 promoter. Seeds of transgenic AtHb1 plants did not accumulate NO under transient hypoxic stress treatment, showed higher respiratory activity and energy status compared to the wild type. Global transcript profiling of seeds/siliques from wild type and transgenic plants under transient hypoxic and standard conditions using Affymetrix ATH1 chips revealed a rearrangement of transcriptional networks by AtHb1 overexpression under non-stress conditions, which included the induction of transcripts related to ABA synthesis and signaling, receptor-like kinase- and MAP kinase-mediated signaling pathways, WRKY transcription factors and ROS metabolism. Overexpression of AtHb1 shifted seed metabolism to an energy-saving mode with the most prominent alterations occurring in cell wall metabolism. In combination with metabolite and physiological measurements, these data demonstrate that AtHb1 overexpression improves oxidative stress tolerance compared to the wild type where a strong transcriptional and metabolic reconfiguration was observed in the hypoxic response.
AtHb1 overexpression mediates a pre-adaptation to hypoxic stress. Under transient stress conditions transgenic seeds were able to keep low levels of endogenous NO and to maintain a high energy status, in contrast to wild type. Higher weight of mature transgenic seeds demonstrated the beneficial effects of seed-specific overexpression of AtHb1.
The primary bactericidal domain of CAP37, a cationic antimicrobial protein with potent activity against Gram-negative organisms was previously shown to reside between amino acids 20 through 44 (NQGRHFCGGALIHARFVMTAASCFQ) of the native protein. In this study, we explored the efficacy of four synthetic CAP37 peptide analogs, based on this sequence, against various Candida species including fluconazole-sensitive and -resistant isolates of C. albicans. Three of the peptides demonstrated strong antifungal activity for C. albicans, including fluconazole-resistant isolates of C. albicans and were active against C. guilliermondii, C. tropicalis, C. pseudotropicalis, C. parapsilosis, and C. dubliniensis. The peptides were ineffective against C. glabrata, C. krusei, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. For C. albicans isolates, the peptides had relatively greater activity against blastoconidia than hyphal forms, although strong antifungal activity was observed with pseudohyphal forms of the various Candida species tested. Kinetic studies demonstrated fungicidal rather than fungistatic activity. These findings indicate that synthetic peptides based on the antimicrobial domain of CAP37 also have activity against eukaryotic organisms suggesting a broader range of activity than originally demonstrated and show for the first time their potent fungicidal activity.
CAP37; antibiotic peptides; in vitro fungicidal activity; Candida albicans; innate immunity
Although androgens induce numerous actions in brain, relatively little is known about which cell signaling pathways androgens activate in neurons. Recent work in our laboratory showed that the androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) activate androgen receptor (AR)-dependent mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK) signaling. Since the transcription factor cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) is a downstream effector of MAPK/ERK and androgens activate and CREB in non-neuronal cells, we investigated whether androgens activate CREB signaling in neurons. First, we observed that DHT rapidly activates CREB in cultured hippocampal neurons, as evidenced by CREB phosphorylation. Further, we observed that DHT-induced CREB phosphorylation is AR-dependent, as it occurs in PC12 cells stably transfected with AR but in neither wild-type nor empty vector-transfected cells. Next, we sought to identify the signal transduction pathways upstream of CREB phosphorylation using pharmacological inhibitors. DHT-induced CREB phosphorylation in neurons was found to be dependent upon protein kinase C (PKC) signaling but independent of MAPK/ERK, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, protein kinase A, and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV. These results demonstrate that DHT induces PKC-dependent CREB signaling, which may contribute to androgen-mediated neural functions.
Androgen receptor; dihydrotestosterone; protein kinase C; signal transduction; testosterone
To investigate herpes simplex virus type–2 (HSV-2) seropositivity and associated risk factors in Vietnamese women.
Cross-sectional study with personal interviews and gynecological examinations among population-based samples of ever married women, aged 15–69 years, living in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Hanoi in 1997. Type-specific IgG antibodies against HSV-2 were detected using HerpeSelect ELISA (Focus Diagnostics). Adjusted prevalence ratios were estimated with log-binomial regression.
HSV-2 seroprevalence was higher in 1,106 women from HCMC (30.8%, 95% CI: 28.1–33.4, age-standardized to 2000 world standard population) than in 1,170 women from Hanoi (8.8%, 95% CI: 7.1–10.5). In HCMC, HSV-2 seroprevalence was higher for women who were not married, HPV DNA positive, current hormonal contraceptive users, or had a history of multiple sexual partners or spontaneous abortion. HCMC seroprevalence was inversely associated with educational attainment, age at first intercourse, and age at first pregnancy. In the multivariable model for HCMC, a trend of increasing HSV-2 seroprevalence with age was observed, and prevalence ratios were nearly identical to age-adjusted prevalence ratios for marital status, age at first pregnancy, and HPV DNA positivity.
HSV-2 was notably less prevalent in Hanoi than HCMC, where it was associated with traditional HSV-2 risk factors. These results are likely explained by socio-cultural, historical, economic, and demographic factors related to urban-rural and regional differences. Future population-based studies should include men and never-married women as a next step toward obtaining a more nearly complete picture of HSV-2 epidemiology in Vietnam.
herpes simplex virus 2; risk factor; Vietnam; epidemiology; human papillomavirus
Oligomeric forms of amyloid-β(1–42) (Aβ) are thought to play a causal role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) has been implicated in Aβ-induced neurodegeneration. To further define the functions of p75NTR in AD, we examined the interaction of oligomeric Aβ with p75NTR, and the effects of that interaction on neurite integrity in neuron cultures and in a chronic AD mouse model. Atomic force microscopy was used to ascertain the aggregated state of Aβ, and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) analysis revealed that Aβ oligomers interact with the extracellular domain of p75NTR. In vitro studies of Aβ-induced death in neuron cultures isolated from wildtype and p75NTR −/− mice, in which the p75NTR extracellular domain is deleted, showed reduced sensitivity of mutant cells to Aβ-induced cell death. Interestingly, Aβ-induced neuritic dystrophy and activation of c-Jun, a known mediator of Aβ-induced deleterious signaling, were completely prevented in p75NTR −/− neuron cultures. Thy1-hAPPLond/Swe X p75NTR−/− mice exhibited significantly diminished hippocampal neuritic dystrophy and complete reversal of basal forebrain cholinergic neurite degeneration relative to those expressing wild type p75NTR. Aβ levels were not affected, suggesting that removal of p75NTR extracellular domain reduced the ability of excess Aβ to promote neuritic degeneration. These findings indicate that while p75NTR likely does not mediate all Aβ effects, it does play a significant role in enabling Aβ-induced neurodegeneration in vitro and in vivo, establishing p75NTR as an important therapeutic target for AD.
p75NTR; amyloid-β; Alzheimer’s disease; neuritic dystrophy; neurodegeneration; basal forebrain cholinergic neurons