Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (134)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
more »
1.  Lactation Intensity and Fasting Plasma Lipids, Lipoproteins, Non-esterified Free Fatty Acids, Leptin and Adiponectin in Postpartum Women with Recent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: The SWIFT cohort 
Lactation may influence future progression to type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). However, biomarkers associated with progression to glucose intolerance have not been examined in relation to lactation intensity among postpartum women with previous GDM. This study investigates whether higher lactation intensity is related to more favorable blood lipids, lipoproteins and adipokines after GDM pregnancy independent of obesity, socio-demographics and insulin resistance.
The Study of Women, Infant Feeding, and Type 2 Diabetes (SWIFT) is a prospective cohort study that recruited 1,035 women diagnosed with GDM by the 3-hour 100 g oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) after delivery of a live birth in 2008–2011. Research staff conducted 2-hour 75 gram OGTTs, and assessed lactation intensity, anthropometry, lifestyle behaviors and socio-demographics at 6–9 weeks postpartum (baseline). We assayed fasting plasma lipids, lipoproteins, non-esterified free fatty acids, leptin and adiponectin from stored samples obtained at 6–9 weeks postpartum for in 1,007 of the SWIFT participants who were free of diabetes at baseline. Mean biomarker concentrations were compared among lactation intensity groups using multivariable linear regression models.
Increasing lactation intensity showed graded monotonic associations with fully adjusted mean biomarkers: 5–8% higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol), 20–28% lower fasting triglycerides, 15–21% lower leptin (all trend P-values<0.01), and with 6% lower adiponectin, but only after adjustment for insulin resistance (trend P-value=0.04).
Higher lactation intensity was associated with more favorable biomarkers for type 2 diabetes, except for lower plasma adiponectin, after GDM delivery. Long-term follow-up studies are needed to assess whether these effects of lactation persist to predict progression to glucose intolerance.
PMCID: PMC4076292  PMID: 24931281
Adipokines; Insulin Resistance; Diabetes Mellitus; Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM); Breastfeeding; Postpartum; Metabolism
2.  Do lamin B1 and lamin B2 have redundant functions? 
Nucleus  2014;5(4):287-292.
Lamins B1 and B2 have a high degree of sequence similarity and are widely expressed from the earliest stages of development. Studies of Lmnb1 and Lmnb2 knockout mice revealed that both of the B-type lamins are crucial for neuronal migration in the developing brain. These observations naturally posed the question of whether the two B-type lamins might play redundant functions in the development of the brain. To explore that issue, Lee and coworkers generated “reciprocal knock-in mice” (knock-in mice that produce lamin B1 from the Lmnb2 locus and knock-in mice that produce lamin B2 from the Lmnb1 locus). Both lines of knock-in mice manifested neurodevelopmental abnormalities similar to those in conventional knockout mice, indicating that lamins B1 and B2 have unique functions and that increased production of one B-type lamin cannot compensate for the loss of the other.
PMCID: PMC4152341  PMID: 25482116
lamin B1; lamin B2; nuclear envelope; nuclear lamina
3.  Equivalent binding of wild-type lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and S447X-LPL to GPIHBP1, the endothelial cell LPL transporter 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2014;1841(7):963-969.
The S447X polymorphism in lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which shortens LPL by two amino acids, is associated with low plasma triglyceride levels and reduced risk for coronary heart disease. S447X carriers have higher LPL levels in the pre- and post-heparin plasma, raising the possibility that the S447X polymorphism leads to higher LPL levels within capillaries. One potential explanation for increased amounts of LPL in capillaries would be more avid binding of S447X-LPL to GPIHBP1 (the protein that binds LPL dimers and shuttles them to the capillary lumen). This explanation seems plausible because sequences within the carboxyl terminus of LPL are known to mediate LPL binding to GPIHBP1. To assess the impact of the S447X polymorphism on LPL binding to GPIHBP1, we compared the ability of internally tagged versions of wild-type LPL (WT-LPL) and S447X-LPL to bind to GPIHBP1 in both cell-based and cell-free binding assays. In the cell-based assay, we compared the binding of WT-LPL and S447X-LPL to GPIHBP1 on the surface of cultured cells. This assay revealed no differences in the binding of WT-LPL and S447X-LPL to GPIHBP1. In the cell-free assay, we compared the binding of internally tagged WT-LPL and S447X-LPL to soluble GPIHBP1 immobilized on agarose beads. Again, no differences in the binding of WT-LPL and S447X-LPL to GPIHBP1 were observed. We conclude that increased binding of S447X-LPL to GPIHBP1 is unlikely to be the explanation for more efficient lipolysis and lower plasma triglyceride levels in S447X carriers.
PMCID: PMC4212522  PMID: 24704550
4.  A new monoclonal antibody, 4-1a, that binds to the amino terminus of human lipoprotein lipase 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2014;1841(7):970-976.
Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) has been highly conserved through vertebrate evolution, making it challenging to generate useful antibodies. Some polyclonal antibodies against LPL have turned out to be nonspecific, and the available monoclonal antibodies (Mab) against LPL, all of which bind to LPL’s carboxyl terminus, have drawbacks for some purposes. We report a new LPL-specific monoclonal antibody, Mab 4-1a, which binds to the amino terminus of LPL (residues 5–25). Mab 4-1a binds human and bovine LPL avidly; it does not inhibit LPL catalytic activity nor does it interfere with the binding of LPL to heparin. Mab 4-1a does not bind to human hepatic lipase. Mab 4-1a binds to GPIHBP1-bound LPL and does not interfere with the ability of the LPL–GPIHBP1 complex to bind triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. Mab 4-1a will be a useful reagent for both biochemists and clinical laboratories.
PMCID: PMC4222086  PMID: 24681165
5.  An Absence of Nuclear Lamins in Keratinocytes Leads to Ichthyosis, Defective Epidermal Barrier Function, and Intrusion of Nuclear Membranes and Endoplasmic Reticulum into the Nuclear Chromatin 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(24):4534-4544.
B-type lamins (lamins B1 and B2) have been considered to be essential for many crucial functions in the cell nucleus (e.g., DNA replication and mitotic spindle formation). However, this view has been challenged by the observation that an absence of both B-type lamins in keratinocytes had no effect on cell proliferation or the development of skin and hair. The latter findings raised the possibility that the functions of B-type lamins are subserved by lamins A and C. To explore that idea, we created mice lacking all nuclear lamins in keratinocytes. Those mice developed ichthyosis and a skin barrier defect, which led to death from dehydration within a few days after birth. Microscopy of nuclear-lamin-deficient skin revealed hyperkeratosis and a disordered stratum corneum with an accumulation of neutral lipid droplets; however, BrdU incorporation into keratinocytes was normal. Skin grafting experiments confirmed the stratum corneum abnormalities and normal BrdU uptake. Interestingly, the absence of nuclear lamins in keratinocytes resulted in an interspersion of nuclear/endoplasmic reticulum membranes with the chromatin. Thus, a key function of the nuclear lamina is to serve as a “fence” and prevent the incursion of cytoplasmic organelles into the nuclear chromatin.
PMCID: PMC4248738  PMID: 25312645
6.  The GPIHBP1–LPL complex is responsible for the margination of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins in capillaries 
Cell metabolism  2014;19(5):849-860.
Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRLs) undergo lipolysis by lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme that is transported to the capillary lumen by an endothelial cell protein, GPIHBP1. For LPL-mediated lipolysis to occur, TRLs must bind to the lumen of capillaries. This process is often assumed to involve heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs), but we suspected that TRL margination might instead require GPIHBP1. Indeed, TRLs marginate along the heart capillaries of wild-type but not Gpihbp1−/− mice, as judged by fluorescence microscopy, quantitative assays with infrared-dye–labeled lipoproteins, and EM tomography. Both cell culture and in vivo studies showed that TRL margination depends on LPL bound to GPIHBP1. Of note, the expression of LPL by endothelial cells in Gpihbp1−/− mice did not restore defective TRL margination, implying that the binding of LPL to HSPGs is ineffective in promoting TRL margination. Our studies show that GPIHBP1-bound LPL is the main determinant of TRL margination.
PMCID: PMC4143151  PMID: 24726386
7.  Potential effects of warmer worms and vectors on onchocerciasis transmission in West Africa 
Development times of eggs, larvae and pupae of vectors of onchocerciasis (Simulium spp.) and of Onchocerca volvulus larvae within the adult females of the vectors decrease with increasing temperature. At and above 25°C, the parasite could reach its infective stage in less than 7 days when vectors could transmit after only two gonotrophic cycles. After incorporating exponential functions for vector development into a novel blackfly population model, it was predicted that fly numbers in Liberia and Ghana would peak at air temperatures of 29°C and 34°C, about 3°C and 7°C above current monthly averages, respectively; parous rates of forest flies (Liberia) would peak at 29°C and of savannah flies (Ghana) at 30°C. Small temperature increases (less than 2°C) might lead to changes in geographical distributions of different vector taxa. When the new model was linked to an existing framework for the population dynamics of onchocerciasis in humans and vectors, transmission rates and worm loads were projected to increase with temperature to at least 33°C. By contrast, analyses of field data on forest flies in Liberia and savannah flies in Ghana, in relation to regional climate change predictions, suggested, on the basis of simple regressions, that 13–41% decreases in fly numbers would be expected between the present and before 2040. Further research is needed to reconcile these conflicting conclusions.
PMCID: PMC4342963  PMID: 25688018
Simulium damnosum complex; Onchocerca volvulus; temperature; rainfall; river discharges; mathematical models
8.  Effects of a food-based intervention on markers of micronutrient status among Indian women of low socio-economic status 
The British Journal of Nutrition  2015;113(5):813-821.
Intakes of micronutrient-rich foods are low among Indian women of reproductive age. We investigated whether consumption of a food-based micronutrient-rich snack increased markers of blood micronutrient concentrations when compared with a control snack. Non-pregnant women (n 222) aged 14–35 years living in a Mumbai slum were randomised to receive a treatment snack (containing green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and whole milk powder), or a control snack containing foods of low micronutrient content such as wheat flour, potato and tapioca. The snacks were consumed under observation 6 d per week for 12 weeks, compliance was recorded, and blood was collected at 0 and 12 weeks. Food-frequency data were collected at both time points. Compliance (defined as the proportion of women who consumed ≥ 3 snacks/week) was >85 % in both groups. We assessed the effects of group allocation on 12-week nutrient concentrations using ANCOVA models with respective 0-week concentrations, BMI, compliance, standard of living, fruit and green leafy vegetable consumption and use of synthetic nutrients as covariates. The treatment snack significantly increased β-carotene concentrations (treatment effect: 47·1 nmol/l, 95 % CI 6·5, 87·7). There was no effect of group allocation on concentrations of ferritin, retinol, ascorbate, folate or vitamin B12. The present study shows that locally sourced foods can be made into acceptable snacks that may increase serum β-carotene concentrations among women of reproductive age. However, no increase in circulating concentrations of the other nutrients measured was observed.
PMCID: PMC4379919  PMID: 25677713
Food-based interventions; India; Micronutrient status
9.  Lpcat3-dependent production of arachidonoyl phospholipids is a key determinant of triglyceride secretion 
eLife  null;4:e06557.
The role of specific phospholipids (PLs) in lipid transport has been difficult to assess due to an inability to selectively manipulate membrane composition in vivo. Here we show that the phospholipid remodeling enzyme lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 3 (Lpcat3) is a critical determinant of triglyceride (TG) secretion due to its unique ability to catalyze the incorporation of arachidonate into membranes. Mice lacking Lpcat3 in the intestine fail to thrive during weaning and exhibit enterocyte lipid accumulation and reduced plasma TGs. Mice lacking Lpcat3 in the liver show reduced plasma TGs, hepatosteatosis, and secrete lipid-poor very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) lacking arachidonoyl PLs. Mechanistic studies indicate that Lpcat3 activity impacts membrane lipid mobility in living cells, suggesting a biophysical basis for the requirement of arachidonoyl PLs in lipidating lipoprotein particles. These data identify Lpcat3 as a key factor in lipoprotein production and illustrate how manipulation of membrane composition can be used as a regulatory mechanism to control metabolic pathways.
eLife digest
Living cells are surrounded by a membrane that forms a barrier between the cell and its external environment. This membrane is largely made up of a variety of molecules known as lipids. The particular lipid molecules found in a cell membrane strongly influence its mobility, flexibility and other physical properties.
The liver and intestine can package lipids gained from the diet into molecules called lipoproteins, which are released into the bloodstream for use by the body. An enzyme known as Lpcat3 is found in high levels in the liver and intestine and it appears to be involved in the production of lipoproteins. Altering the amount of Lpcat3 in cells can change the types of lipids found in the cell membranes, connected to the production of lipoproteins.
Rong et al. studied newborn mice that were missing the Lpcat3 protein in either the liver or intestine. Mice lacking Lpcat3 in the intestine had higher levels of lipids inside their intestine cells and grew more slowly than normal mice. Mice lacking Lpcat3 in the liver also accumulated lipids in their cells and their bloodstream had lower levels of lipids that contain a molecule called arachidonic acid than normal mice. Further experiments showed that the loss of Lpcat3 reduces the ability of lipids to move within the cell membrane.
The experiments show that Lpcat3 plays a key role in attaching arachidonic acid to membrane lipids to promote the release of lipoproteins into the bloodstream. Rong et al.'s findings reveal that changing the type of lipids in the cell membrane plays an important role in regulating the levels of lipids in the blood.
PMCID: PMC4400582  PMID: 25806685
phospholipid; lipoprotein; nuclear receptor; mouse
10.  Association between Free Testosterone Levels and Anal Human Papillomavirus Types 16/18 Infections in a Cohort of Men Who Have Sex with Men 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119447.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18 cause invasive cervical cancer and most invasive anal cancers (IACs). Overall, IAC rates are highest among men who have sex with men (MSM), especially MSM with HIV infection. Testosterone is prescribed for men showing hypogonadism and HIV-related wasting. While there are direct and indirect physiological effects of testosterone in males, its role in anal HPV16/18 infections in men is unknown.
Free testosterone (FT) was measured in serum from 340 Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) participants who were tested for anal HPV16/18-DNA approximately 36 months later. The effect of log10-transformed current FT level on anal HPV16/18 prevalence was modeled using Poisson regression with robust error variance. Multivariate models controlled for other HPV types, cumulative years of exogenous testosterone use, race, age, lifetime number of receptive anal intercourse partnerships, body mass index, tobacco smoking, HIV-infection and CD4+ T-cell counts among HIV-infected, and blood draw timing.
Participants were, on average, 60 (+5.4) years of age, White (86%), and HIV-uninfected (56%); Twenty-four percent tested positive for anal HPV16 and/or 18-DNA (HPV16 prevalence=17.1%, HPV18=9.1%). In adjusted analysis, each half-log10 increase of FT was associated with a 1.9-fold (95% Confidence Interval: 1.11, 3.24) higher HPV16/18 prevalence. Additionally, other Group 1 high-risk HPVs were associated with a 1.56-fold (1.03, 2.37) higher HPV16/18 prevalence. Traditional risk factors for HPV16/18 infection (age, tobacco smoking; lifetime number of sexual partners, including the number of receptive anal intercourse partnerships within 24 months preceding HPV testing) were poorly correlated with one another and not statistically significantly associated with higher prevalence of HPV16/18 infection in unadjusted and adjusted analyses.
Higher free testosterone was associated with increased HPV16/18 prevalence measured approximately three years later, independent of sexual behavior and other potential confounders. The mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear and warrant further study.
PMCID: PMC4368778  PMID: 25794147
11.  Nuclear Envelope Protein Lem2 is Required for Mouse Development and Regulates MAP and AKT Kinases 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0116196.
The nuclear lamina, along with associated nuclear membrane proteins, is a nexus for regulating signaling in the nucleus. Numerous human diseases arise from mutations in lamina proteins, and experimental models for these disorders have revealed aberrant regulation of various signaling pathways. Previously, we reported that the inner nuclear membrane protein Lem2, which is expressed at high levels in muscle, promotes the differentiation of cultured myoblasts by attenuating ERK signaling. Here, we have analyzed mice harboring a disrupted allele for the Lem2 gene (Lemd2). No gross phenotypic defects were seen in heterozygotes, although muscle regeneration induced by cardiotoxin was delayed. By contrast, homozygous Lemd2 knockout mice died by E11.5. Although many normal morphogenetic hallmarks were observed in E10.5 knockout embryos, most tissues were substantially reduced in size. This was accompanied by activation of multiple MAP kinases (ERK1/2, JNK, p38) and AKT. Knockdown of Lem2 expression in C2C12 myoblasts also led to activation of MAP kinases and AKT. These findings indicate that Lemd2 plays an essential role in mouse embryonic development and that it is involved in regulating several signaling pathways. Since increased MAP kinase and AKT/mTORC signaling is found in other animal models for diseases linked to nuclear lamina proteins, LEMD2 should be considered to be another candidate gene for human disease.
PMCID: PMC4366207  PMID: 25790465
12.  New Lmna knock-in mice provide a molecular mechanism for the ‘segmental aging’ in Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome† 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(6):1506-1515.
Lamins A and C (products of the LMNA gene) are found in roughly equal amounts in peripheral tissues, but the brain produces mainly lamin C and little lamin A. In HeLa cells and fibroblasts, the expression of prelamin A (the precursor to lamin A) can be reduced by miR-9, but the relevance of those cell culture studies to lamin A regulation in the brain was unclear. To address this issue, we created two new Lmna knock-in alleles, one (LmnaPLAO-5NT) with a 5-bp mutation in a predicted miR-9 binding site in prelamin A's 3′ UTR, and a second (LmnaPLAO-UTR) in which prelamin A's 3′ UTR was replaced with lamin C's 3′ UTR. Neither allele had significant effects on lamin A levels in peripheral tissues; however, both substantially increased prelamin A transcript levels and lamin A protein levels in the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. The increase in lamin A expression in the brain was more pronounced with the LmnaPLAO-UTR allele than with the LmnaPLAO-5NT allele. With both alleles, the increased expression of prelamin A transcripts and lamin A protein was greater in the cerebral cortex than in the cerebellum. Our studies demonstrate the in vivo importance of prelamin A's 3′ UTR and its miR-9 binding site in regulating lamin A expression in the brain. The reduced expression of prelamin A in the brain likely explains why children with Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (a progeroid syndrome caused by a mutant form of prelamin A) are spared from neurodegenerative disease.
PMCID: PMC3929089  PMID: 24203701
13.  Sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase downregulation promotes colon carcinogenesis through STAT3-activated microRNAs 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(12):5368-5384.
Growing evidence supports a link between inflammation and cancer; however, mediators of the transition between inflammation and carcinogenesis remain incompletely understood. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) lyase (SPL) irreversibly degrades the bioactive sphingolipid S1P and is highly expressed in enterocytes but downregulated in colon cancer. Here, we investigated the role of SPL in colitis-associated cancer (CAC). We generated mice with intestinal epithelium-specific Sgpl1 deletion and chemically induced colitis and tumor formation in these animals. Compared with control animals, mice lacking intestinal SPL exhibited greater disease activity, colon shortening, cytokine levels, S1P accumulation, tumors, STAT3 activation, STAT3-activated microRNAs (miRNAs), and suppression of miR-targeted anti-oncogene products. This phenotype was attenuated by STAT3 inhibition. In fibroblasts, silencing SPL promoted tumorigenic transformation through a pathway involving extracellular transport of S1P through S1P transporter spinster homolog 2 (SPNS2), S1P receptor activation, JAK2/STAT3-dependent miR-181b-1 induction, and silencing of miR-181b-1 target cylindromatosis (CYLD). Colon biopsies from patients with inflammatory bowel disease revealed enhanced S1P and STAT3 signaling. In mice with chemical-induced CAC, oral administration of plant-type sphingolipids called sphingadienes increased colonic SPL levels and reduced S1P levels, STAT3 signaling, cytokine levels, and tumorigenesis, indicating that SPL prevents transformation and carcinogenesis. Together, our results suggest that dietary sphingolipids can augment or prevent colon cancer, depending upon whether they are metabolized to S1P or promote S1P metabolism through the actions of SPL.
PMCID: PMC4348973  PMID: 25347472
14.  Metabolomics – A novel window into inflammatory disease 
Swiss medical weekly  2013;143:w13743.
Inflammation is an important component of normal responses to infection and injury. However, chronic activation of the immune system, perhaps due to aberrant responses to normal stimuli, can lead to the establishment of a chronic inflammatory state. Such inflammatory conditions are often debilitating, and are associated with a number of important co-morbidities including cardiovascular disease. Resting non-proliferative tissues have distinctive metabolic activities and requirements, which differ considerably from those in infiltrating immune cells, which are undergoing proliferation and differentiation. Immune responses in tissues may therefore be modulated by the relative abundance of substrates in the inflamed site. In turn immune cell activity can feed back and affect metabolic behaviour of the tissues, as most clearly demonstrated in cachexia - the loss of cellular mass driven by tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) a key mediator of the inflammatory response. Here we discuss the potential for metabolomic analysis to clarify the interactions between inflammation and metabolic changes underlying many diseases. We suggest that an increased understanding of the interaction between inflammation and cellular metabolism, energy substrate use, tissue breakdown markers, the microbiome and drug metabolites, may provide novel insight into the regulation of inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC4337982  PMID: 23348753
15.  Nuclear Lamins and Neurobiology 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(15):2776-2785.
Much of the work on nuclear lamins during the past 15 years has focused on mutations in LMNA (the gene for prelamin A and lamin C) that cause particular muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy, partial lipodystrophy, and progeroid syndromes. These disorders, often called “laminopathies,” mainly affect mesenchymal tissues (e.g., striated muscle, bone, and fibrous tissue). Recently, however, a series of papers have identified important roles for nuclear lamins in the central nervous system. Studies of knockout mice uncovered a key role for B-type lamins (lamins B1 and B2) in neuronal migration in the developing brain. Also, duplications of LMNB1 (the gene for lamin B1) have been shown to cause autosome-dominant leukodystrophy. Finally, recent studies have uncovered a peculiar pattern of nuclear lamin expression in the brain. Lamin C transcripts are present at high levels in the brain, but prelamin A expression levels are very low—due to regulation of prelamin A transcripts by microRNA 9. This form of prelamin A regulation likely explains why “prelamin A diseases” such as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome spare the central nervous system. In this review, we summarize recent progress in elucidating links between nuclear lamins and neurobiology.
PMCID: PMC4135577  PMID: 24842906
16.  Development of synthetic nuclear melt glass for forensic analysis 
A method for producing synthetic debris similar to the melt glass produced by nuclear surface testing is demonstrated. Melt glass from the first nuclear weapon test (commonly referred to as trinitite) is used as the benchmark for this study. These surrogates can be used to simulate a variety of scenarios and will serve as a tool for developing and validating forensic analysis methods.
PMCID: PMC4514012
Debris; Nuclear weapons; Nuclear forensics; Trinitite; Melt glass; Morphology
17.  Feedback regulation of cholesterol uptake by the LXR-IDOL-LDLR axis 
Inducible Degrader Of the Low-density lipoprotein receptor (IDOL) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that mediates the ubiquitination and degradation of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR). IDOL expression is controlled at the transcriptional level by the cholesterol-sensing nuclear receptor LXR. In response to rising cellular sterol levels, activated LXR induces IDOL production, thereby limiting further uptake of exogenous cholesterol through the LDLR pathway. The LXR–IDOL–LDLR mechanism for feedback inhibition of cholesterol uptake is independent of and complementary to the SREBP pathway. Since the initial description of the LXR–IDOL pathway, biochemical studies have helped to define the structural basis for both IDOL target recognition and LDLR ubiquitin transfer. Recent work has also suggested links between IDOL and human lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4280256  PMID: 22936343
18.  Pathomx: an interactive workflow-based tool for the analysis of metabolomic data 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(1):396.
Metabolomics is a systems approach to the analysis of cellular processes through small-molecule metabolite profiling. Standardisation of sample handling and acquisition approaches has contributed to reproducibility. However, the development of robust methods for the analysis of metabolomic data is a work-in-progress. The tools that do exist are often not well integrated, requiring manual data handling and custom scripting on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, existing tools often require experience with programming environments such as MATLAB® or R to use, limiting accessibility. Here we present Pathomx, a workflow-based tool for the processing, analysis and visualisation of metabolomic and associated data in an intuitive and extensible environment.
The core application provides a workflow editor, IPython kernel and a HumanCyc™-derived database of metabolites, proteins and genes. Toolkits provide reusable tools that may be linked together to create complex workflows. Pathomx is released with a base set of plugins for the import, processing and visualisation of data. The IPython backend provides integration with existing platforms including MATLAB® and R, allowing data to be seamlessly transferred. Pathomx is supplied with a series of demonstration workflows and datasets. To demonstrate the use of the software we here present an analysis of 1D and 2D 1H NMR metabolomic data from a model system of mammalian cell growth under hypoxic conditions.
Pathomx is a useful addition to the analysis toolbox. The intuitive interface lowers the barrier to entry for non-experts, while scriptable tools and integration with existing tools supports complex analysis. We welcome contributions from the community.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12859-014-0396-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4271363  PMID: 25490956
Metabolomics; Omics; nmr; Analysis; Visualisation; Workflow; Automation; Python
19.  Palmoplantar keratoderma along with neuromuscular and metabolic phenotypes in Slurp1-deficient mice 
Mutations in SLURP1 cause mal de Meleda, a rare palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK). SLURP1 is a secreted protein that is expressed highly in keratinocytes but has also been identified elsewhere (e.g., spinal cord neurons). Here, we examined Slurp1-deficient mice (Slurp1−/−) created by replacing exon 2 with β-gal and neo cassettes. Slurp1−/− mice developed severe PPK characterized by increased keratinocyte proliferation, an accumulation of lipid droplets in the stratum corneum, and a water barrier defect. In addition, Slurp1−/− mice exhibited reduced adiposity, protection from obesity on a high-fat diet, low plasma lipid levels, and a neuromuscular abnormality (hind limb clasping). Initially, it was unclear whether the metabolic and neuromuscular phenotypes were due to Slurp1 deficiency because we found that the targeted Slurp1 mutation reduced the expression of several neighboring genes (e.g., Slurp2, Lypd2). We therefore created a new line of knockout mice (Slurp1X−/− mice) with a simple nonsense mutation in exon 2. The Slurp1X mutation did not reduce the expression of adjacent genes, but Slurp1X−/− mice exhibited all of the phenotypes observed in the original line of knockout mice. Thus, Slurp1 deficiency in mice elicits metabolic and neuromuscular abnormalities in addition to PPK.
PMCID: PMC4214150  PMID: 24499735
21.  Dimensionality of Social Networks Using Motifs and Eigenvalues 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106052.
We consider the dimensionality of social networks, and develop experiments aimed at predicting that dimension. We find that a social network model with nodes and links sampled from an m-dimensional metric space with power-law distributed influence regions best fits samples from real-world networks when m scales logarithmically with the number of nodes of the network. This supports a logarithmic dimension hypothesis, and we provide evidence with two different social networks, Facebook and LinkedIn. Further, we employ two different methods for confirming the hypothesis: the first uses the distribution of motif counts, and the second exploits the eigenvalue distribution.
PMCID: PMC4154874  PMID: 25188391
22.  Reciprocal knock-in mice to investigate the functional redundancy of lamin B1 and lamin B2 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(10):1666-1675.
To assess the redundancy of lamins B1 and B2, knock-in lines were created that produce lamin B2 from the Lmnb1 locus and lamin B1 from the Lmnb2 locus. Both lines developed severe neurodevelopmental abnormalities, indicating that the abnormalities elicited by the loss of one B-type lamin cannot be prevented by increased synthesis of the other.
Lamins B1 and B2 (B-type lamins) have very similar sequences and are expressed ubiquitously. In addition, both Lmnb1- and Lmnb2-deficient mice die soon after birth with neuronal layering abnormalities in the cerebral cortex, a consequence of defective neuronal migration. The similarities in amino acid sequences, expression patterns, and knockout phenotypes raise the question of whether the two proteins have redundant functions. To investigate this topic, we generated “reciprocal knock-in mice”—mice that make lamin B2 from the Lmnb1 locus (Lmnb1B2/B2) and mice that make lamin B1 from the Lmnb2 locus (Lmnb2B1/B1). Lmnb1B2/B2 mice produced increased amounts of lamin B2 but no lamin B1; they died soon after birth with neuronal layering abnormalities in the cerebral cortex. However, the defects in Lmnb1B2/B2 mice were less severe than those in Lmnb1-knockout mice, indicating that increased amounts of lamin B2 partially ameliorate the abnormalities associated with lamin B1 deficiency. Similarly, increased amounts of lamin B1 in Lmnb2B1/B1 mice did not prevent the neurodevelopmental defects elicited by lamin B2 deficiency. We conclude that lamins B1 and B2 have unique roles in the developing brain and that increased production of one B-type lamin does not fully complement loss of the other.
PMCID: PMC4019497  PMID: 24672053
23.  Incident Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Men Who Have Sex With Men: A Prospective Cohort Analysis, 1984–2011 
In the United States, incident hepatitis C among men who have sex with men has been ongoing since at least 1984. Risk factors included unprotected receptive anal intercourse with multiple partners, HIV infection, and lower CD4 T-cell count among HIV-infected men.
Background Prospective characterization of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission in both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected and –uninfected men who have sex with men (MSM) over the entire HIV epidemic has not been comprehensively conducted.
Methods To determine the trends in and risk factors associated with incident HCV in MSM since 1984, 5310 HCV antibody (anti-HCV)–negative MSM in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study were prospectively followed during 1984–2011 for anti-HCV seroconversion.
Results During 55 343 person-years (PYs) of follow-up, there were 115 incident HCV infections (incidence rate, 2.08/1000 PYs) scattered throughout the study period. In a multivariable analysis with time-varying covariates, older age (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.40/10 years, P < .001), enrollment in the later (2001–2003) recruitment period (IRR, 3.80, P = .001), HIV infection (IRR, 5.98, P < .001), drinking >13 alcoholic drinks per week (IRR, 1.68, P < .001), hepatitis B surface antigen positivity (IRR, 1.68, P < .001), syphilis (IRR, 2.95, P < .001), and unprotected receptive anal intercourse with >1 male partner (IRR, 3.37, P < .001) were independently associated with incident HCV. Among HIV-infected subjects, every 100 cell/mm3 increase in CD4 count was associated with a 7% (P = .002) decrease in the HCV incidence rate up to a CD4 count of 500 cells/mm3, whereas there was no association with highly active antiretroviral therapy.
Conclusions The spread of HCV among both HIV-infected and -uninfected MSM in the United States has been ongoing since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. In HIV-infected men with <500 CD4+ T cells, the HCV incidence rate was inversely proportional to CD4 T-cell count.
PMCID: PMC3669529  PMID: 23532480
incident HCV; sexual transmission; MSM
24.  Lipins, Lipinopathies, and the Modulation of Cellular Lipid Storage and Signaling 
Progress in lipid research  2013;52(3):10.1016/j.plipres.2013.04.001.
Members of the lipin protein family are phosphatidate phosphatase (PAP) enzymes, which catalyze the dephosphorylation of phosphatidic acid to diacylglycerol, the penultimate step in TAG synthesis. Lipins are unique among the glycerolipid biosynthetic enzymes in that they also promote fatty acid oxidation through their activity as co-regulators of gene expression by DNA-bound transcription factors. Lipin function has been evolutionarily conserved from a single ortholog in yeast to the mammalian family of three lipin proteins—lipin-1, lipin-2, and lipin-3. In mice and humans, the levels of lipin activity are a determinant of TAG storage in diverse cell types, and humans with deficiency in lipin-1 or lipin-2 have severe metabolic diseases. Recent work has highlighted the complex physiological interactions between members of the lipin protein family, which exhibit both overlapping and unique functions in specific tissues. The analysis of “lipinopathies” in mouse models and in humans has revealed an important role for lipin activity in the regulation of lipid intermediates (phosphatidate and diacylglycerol), which influence fundamental cellular processes including adipocyte and nerve cell differentiation, adipocyte lipolysis, and hepatic insulin signaling. The elucidation of lipin molecular and physiological functions could lead to novel approaches to modulate cellular lipid storage and metabolic disease.
PMCID: PMC3830937  PMID: 23603613

Results 1-25 (134)