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2.  Provisioning offspring and others: risk–energy trade-offs and gender differences in hunter–gatherer foraging strategies 
Offspring provisioning is commonly referenced as the most important influence on men's and women's foraging decisions. However, the provisioning of other adults may be equally important in determining gender differences in resource choice, particularly when the goals of provisioning offspring versus others cannot be met with the acquisition of the same resources. Here, we examine how resources vary in their expected daily energetic returns and in the variance or risk around those returns. We predict that when available resources impose no trade-off between risk and energy, the targets of men's and women's foraging will converge on high-energy, low-risk resources that allow for the simultaneous provisioning of offspring and others. However, when minimizing risk and maximizing energy trade-off with one another, we expect men's foraging to focus on provisioning others through the unreliable acquisition of large harvests, while women focus on reliably acquiring smaller harvests to feed offspring. We test these predictions with foraging data from three populations (Aché, Martu and Meriam). The results uphold the predictions, suggesting that men's and women's foraging interests converge when high-energy resources can be reliably acquired, but diverge when higher-energy resources are associated with higher levels of risk. Social factors, particularly the availability of alloparental support, may also play a major role.
PMCID: PMC3125624  PMID: 21227967
gender division of labour; central place provisioning; risk; variance; human behavioural ecology; hunter–gatherers
3.  The major human and mouse granzymes are structurally and functionally divergent 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;175(4):619-630.
Approximately 2% of mammalian genes encode proteases. Comparative genomics reveals that those involved in immunity and reproduction show the most interspecies diversity and evidence of positive selection during evolution. This is particularly true of granzymes, the cytotoxic proteases of natural killer cells and CD8+ T cells. There are 5 granzyme genes in humans and 10 in mice, and it is suggested that granzymes evolve to meet species-specific immune challenge through gene duplication and more subtle alterations to substrate specificity. We show that mouse and human granzyme B have distinct structural and functional characteristics. Specifically, mouse granzyme B is 30 times less cytotoxic than human granzyme B and does not require Bid for killing but regains cytotoxicity on engineering of its active site cleft. We also show that mouse granzyme A is considerably more cytotoxic than human granzyme A. These results demonstrate that even “orthologous” granzymes have species-specific functions, having evolved in distinct environments that pose different challenges.
PMCID: PMC2064598  PMID: 17116752
4.  Cationic Sites on Granzyme B Contribute to Cytotoxicity by Promoting Its Uptake into Target Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(17):7854-7867.
Granzyme B (GrB) is a key effector of cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated cell death. It is delivered to target cells bound to the proteoglycan serglycin, but how it crosses the plasma membrane and accesses substrates in the cytoplasm is poorly understood. Here we identify two cationic sequences on GrB that facilitate its binding and uptake. Mutation of cationic sequence 1 (cs1) prevents accumulation of GrB in a distinctive intracellular compartment and reduces cytotoxicity 20-fold. Mutation of cs2 reduces accumulation in this intracellular compartment and cytotoxicity two- to threefold. We also show that GrB-mediated cytotoxicity is abrogated by heparin and that target cells deficient in cell surface sulfate or glycosaminoglycans resist GrB. However, heparin does not completely prevent GrB internalization and chondroitin 4-sulfate does not inhibit cytotoxicity, suggesting that glycosaminoglycans are not essential GrB receptors. We propose that GrB enters cells by nonselective adsorptive pinocytosis, exchanging from chondroitin sulfate on serglycin to anionic components of the cell surface. In this electrostatic “exchange-adsorption” model, cs1 and cs2 participate in binding of GrB to the cell surface, thereby promoting its uptake and eventual release into the cytoplasm.
PMCID: PMC1190293  PMID: 16107729
5.  Targeted Disruption of SPI3/Serpinb6 Does Not Result in Developmental or Growth Defects, Leukocyte Dysfunction, or Susceptibility to Stroke 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(9):4075-4082.
Protease inhibitor 6 (PI-6/SERPINB6) is a widely expressed nucleocytoplasmic serpin. It inhibits granulocyte cathepsin G and neuronal neuropsin, and it is thought to protect cells from death caused by ectopic release or internalization of protease during stress such as infection or cerebral ischemia. To probe the biological functions of PI-6, we generated mice lacking its ortholog (SPI3/Serpinb6). SPI3-deficient mice developed normally and were fertile, and no abnormal pathology or increased sensitivity to cerebral ischemia was observed. There were no perturbations in leukocyte development or numbers, and recruitment of leukocytes to the peritoneal cavity was normal. SPI3-deficient mice were equally susceptible as wild-type mice to systemic Candida albicans infection, although there was a slight decrease in the ability of neutrophils from SPI3-deficient mice to kill C. albicans in vitro. Increased levels of a related inhibitor Serpinb1 (monocyte/neutrophil elastase inhibitor) in the tissues of targeted mice suggests that compensation by other serpins reduces the impact of SPI3 deficiency in these animals and may explain the lack of a more obvious phenotype.
PMCID: PMC387772  PMID: 15082799
6.  Nucleocytoplasmic Distribution of the Ovalbumin Serpin PI-9 Requires a Nonconventional Nuclear Import Pathway and the Export Factor Crm1 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(16):5396-5407.
Proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9) is a human serpin present in the cytoplasm of cytotoxic lymphocytes and epithelial cells. It inhibits the cytotoxic lymphocyte granule proteinase granzyme B (graB) and is thought to protect cytotoxic lymphocytes and bystander cells from graB-mediated apoptosis. Following uptake into cells, graB promotes DNA degradation, rapidly translocating to the nucleus, where it binds a nuclear component. PI-9 should therefore be found in cytotoxic lymphocyte and bystander cell nuclei to ensure complete protection against graB. Here we demonstrate by microscopy and subcellular fractionation experiments that PI-9 is present in the nuclei of human cytotoxic cells, endothelial cells, and epithelial cells. We also show that the related serpins, PI-6, monocyte neutrophil elastase inhibitor (MNEI), PI-8, plasminogen activator inhibitor 2 (PAI-2), and the viral serpin CrmA exhibit similar nucleocytoplasmic distributions. Because these serpins lack classical nuclear localization signals and are small enough to diffuse through nuclear pores, we investigated whether import occurs actively or passively. Large (∼70 kDa) chimeric proteins comprising PI-9, PI-6, PI-8, MNEI, or PAI-2 fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) show similar nucleocytoplasmic distributions to the parent proteins, indicating that nuclear import is active. By contrast, CrmA-GFP is excluded from nuclei, indicating that CrmA is not actively imported. In vitro nuclear transport assays show that PI-9 accumulates at a rate above that of passive diffusion, that it requires cytosolic factors but not ATP, and that it does not bind an intranuclear component. Furthermore, PI-9 is exported from nuclei via a leptomycin B-sensitive pathway, implying involvement of the export factor Crm1p. We conclude that the nucleocytoplasmic distribution of PI-9 and related serpins involves a nonconventional nuclear import pathway and Crm1p.
PMCID: PMC87262  PMID: 11463822
7.  Selective Regulation of Apoptosis: the Cytotoxic Lymphocyte Serpin Proteinase Inhibitor 9 Protects against Granzyme B-Mediated Apoptosis without Perturbing the Fas Cell Death Pathway 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(11):6387-6398.
Cytotoxic lymphocytes (CLs) induce caspase activation and apoptosis of target cells either through Fas activation or through release of granule cytotoxins, particularly granzyme B. CLs themselves resist granule-mediated apoptosis but are eventually cleared via Fas-mediated apoptosis. Here we show that the CL cytoplasmic serpin proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9) can protect transfected cells against apoptosis induced by either purified granzyme B and perforin or intact CLs. A PI-9 P1 mutant (Glu to Asp) is a 100-fold-less-efficient granzyme B inhibitor that no longer protects against granzyme B-mediated apoptosis. PI-9 is highly specific for granzyme B because it does not inhibit eight of the nine caspases tested or protect transfected cells against Fas-mediated apoptosis. In contrast, the P1(Asp) mutant is an effective caspase inhibitor that protects against Fas-mediated apoptosis. We propose that PI-9 shields CLs specifically against misdirected granzyme B to prevent autolysis or fratricide, but it does not interfere with homeostatic deletion via Fas-mediated apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC109224  PMID: 9774654
8.  Morphology, Oviposition, and Embryogenesis in an Australian Population of Acrobeloides nanus 
Journal of Nematology  1993;25(4):607-615.
A population of Acrobeloides nanus in Australia is described and illustrated, based on light and scanning electron microscopy. Embryogenesis from egg laying to hatching is followed over a wide range of temperatures. At 15 C, hatching occurs in about 125 hours and at 35 and 37.5 C after about 40 hours. At 40 C, egg development ceases early in cleavage. The capacity of A. nanus to develop over such a range of temperatures, and its anhydrobiotic capabilities, are discussed in relation to its survival and wide distribution in Australia.
PMCID: PMC2619437  PMID: 19279817
Acrobeloides nanus; Cephalobidae; description; egg laying; embryogenesis; hatching; light microscopy; morphology; nematode; oviposition; scanning electron microscopy
9.  Maspin is not required for embryonic development or tumour suppression 
Nature Communications  2014;5:3164.
Maspin (SERPINB5) is accepted as an important tumour suppressor lost in many cancers. Consistent with a critical role in development or differentiation maspin knockout mice die during early embryogenesis, yet clinical data conflict on the prognostic utility of maspin expression. Here to reconcile these findings we made conditional knockout mice. Surprisingly, maspin knockout embryos develop into overtly normal animals. Contrary to original reports, maspin re-expression does not inhibit tumour growth or metastasis in vivo, or influence cell migration, invasion or survival in vitro. Bioinformatic analyses reveal that maspin is not commonly under-expressed in cancer, and that perturbation of genes near maspin may in fact explain poor survival in certain patient cohorts with low maspin expression.
A role for the serpin maspin has been described in both development and cancer. In this study, the authors demonstrate that maspin knockout mice develop normally and that maspin does not function as a tumour suppressor, suggesting that another gene at the maspin locus may be responsible for this activity.
PMCID: PMC3905777  PMID: 24445777
10.  Severity of the TGN1412 trial disaster cytokine storm correlated with IL-2 release 
To determine if cytokine release with a solid phase assay is predictive of adverse responses for a range of therapeutic mAbs.
Cytokine ELISAs and a multi-array system were used to compare responses generated by different therapeutic mAbs using a solid phase assay. Flow cytometry was employed to determine the cellular source of those cytokines.
Only TGN1412 and muromonab-CD3 stimulated CD4+ T-cell mediated cytokine release characterized by significant (all P < 0.0001) IFNγ, TNFα, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IL-17 and IL-22 release, comparable with T-cell mitogen. Significantly greater (P < 0.0001) IL-2 release with TGN1412 (2894–6051 pg ml−1) compared with muromonab-CD3 (62–262 pg ml−1) differentiated otherwise comparable cytokine responses. Likewise, TGN1412 stimulated significantly more (P = 0.0001) IL-2 producing CD4+ T-cells than muromonab-CD3 and induced Th1, Th2, Th17 and Th22 subsets that co-release this cytokine. Significant TNFα release was observed with bevacizumab (P = 0.0001), trastuzumab (P = 0.0031) and alemtuzumab (P = 0.0177), but no significant IL-2 release. TGN1412 and muromonab-CD3 caused pro-inflammatory cytokine release despite significantly (both P < 0.0001) increasing numbers of T-cells with a regulatory phenotype.
The severity of the adverse response to TGN1412 compared with muromonab-CD3 and other therapeutic mAbs correlates with the level of IL-2 release.
PMCID: PMC3731604  PMID: 23701319
cytokine release assays; preclinical safety testing; TGN1412; therapeutic monoclonal antibodies
11.  C9ORF72 repeat expansions in cases with previously identified pathogenic mutations 
Neurology  2013;81(15):1332-1341.
To identify potential genetic modifiers contributing to the phenotypic variability that is detected in patients with repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72), we investigated the frequency of these expansions in a cohort of 334 subjects previously found to carry mutations in genes known to be associated with a spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases.
A 2-step protocol, with a fluorescent PCR and a repeat-primed PCR, was used to determine the presence of hexanucleotide expansions in C9ORF72. For one double mutant, we performed Southern blots to assess expansion sizes, and immunohistochemistry to characterize neuropathology.
We detected C9ORF72 repeat expansions in 4 of 334 subjects (1.2% [or 1.8% of 217 families]). All these subjects had behavioral phenotypes and also harbored well-known pathogenic mutations in either progranulin (GRN: p.C466LfsX46, p.R493X, p.C31LfsX35) or microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT: p.P301L). Southern blotting of one double mutant with a p.C466LfsX46 GRN mutation demonstrated a long repeat expansion in brain (>3,000 repeats), and immunohistochemistry showed mixed neuropathology with characteristics of both C9ORF72 expansions and GRN mutations.
Our findings indicate that co-occurrence of 2 evidently pathogenic mutations could contribute to the pleiotropy that is detected in patients with C9ORF72 repeat expansions. These findings suggest that patients with known mutations should not be excluded from further studies, and that genetic counselors should be aware of this phenomenon when advising patients and their family members.
PMCID: PMC3806926  PMID: 24027057
12.  Minimum Recommended Physical Activity, and Perceived Barriers and Benefits of Exercise in Methadone Maintained Persons 
Methadone-maintained persons are at increased risk for many physical and mental health disorders compared to the general population. Increased physical activity could offset these risks. We assessed physical activity level, and perceived benefits and barriers to exercise in a group of 305 methadone-maintained smokers. Mean participant age was 39.9 years of age, 50.2% were male, 79.7% were non-Hispanic White, and mean body mass index was 29.8. Nearly 45% endorsed fair or poor physical health. Although participants perceived many benefits of exercise and few barriers, only 38% of participants met weekly recommendations for physical activity, and nearly 25% reported no physical activity. Those who met recommended guidelines were significantly more likely to endorse relapse prevention as a benefit of exercise. Motivating MMT patients to increase physical activity could have important physical, mental health, and drug treatment benefits.
PMCID: PMC3577996  PMID: 23199641
Methadone; exercise; barriers; benefits; relapse prevention
Shock (Augusta, Ga.)  2013;39(4):373-379.
IL-6 is an inflammatory cytokine known to be elevated in chronic diseases and following insults such as trauma and infection. While necessary for the development of B cells and Th17 cells, IL-6, at elevated levels, can also cause tissue damage and lead to a rise in inflammation. Previous work in our laboratory has shown that IL-6 is increased both systemically as well as in multiple organ systems including the ileum following ethanol exposure and burn injury. As this combined insult causes elevated intestinal morphological damage, tight junction protein localization alterations, and phospho myosin light chain (pMLC) levels, we sought to determine the role of IL-6 in these intestinal responses using a model of binge ethanol exposure and burn injury. IL-6 antibody treatment after the combined insult reduced morphological changes in the ileum, bacterial translocation, and pMLC levels relative to either injury alone. ZO-1 and occludin localization was also re-established in wild type mice given IL-6 antibody after ethanol and burn. IL-6 knockout mice given ethanol and burn injury also had reduced intestinal damage; however, no changes in bacterial translocation or tight junction protein localization were observed as compared to similarly treated wild type mice. These data suggest that IL-6 may have a role in intestinal tissue damage observed following the combined insult of binge ethanol exposure and burn injury although complete loss of IL-6 does not appear to be beneficial in this model. Modulation of IL-6 may present a new option for preventing intestinal damage and associated inflammation following a combined insult of ethanol exposure and burn injury.
PMCID: PMC3602394  PMID: 23376955
binge ethanol; burn injury; IL-6; intestine; tight junction
14.  Targeted Disruption of the EZH2/EED Complex Inhibits EZH2-dependent Cancer 
Nature chemical biology  2013;9(10):643-650.
Enhancer of zeste homolog2 (EZH2) is the histone lysine N-methyltransferase component of the Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), which in conjunction with embryonic ectoderm development (EED) and suppressor of zeste 12 homolog (SUZ12), regulates cell lineage determination and homeostasis. Enzymatic hyperactivity has been linked to aberrant repression of tumor suppressor genes in diverse cancers. Here, we report the development of stabilized alpha-helix of EZH2 (SAH-EZH2) peptides that selectively inhibit H3 Lys27 trimethylation by dose-responsively disrupting the EZH2/EED complex and reducing EZH2 protein levels, a mechanism distinct from that reported for small molecule EZH2 inhibitors targeting the enzyme catalytic domain. MLL-AF9 leukemia cells, which are dependent on PRC2, undergo growth arrest and monocyte/macrophage differentiation upon treatment with SAH-EZH2, consistent with observed changes in expression of PRC2-regulated, lineage-specific marker genes. Thus, by dissociating the EZH2/EED complex, we pharmacologically modulate an epigenetic “writer” and suppress PRC2-dependent cancer cell growth.
PMCID: PMC3778130  PMID: 23974116
15.  Foraging Responses of Black-Legged Kittiwakes to Prolonged Food-Shortages around Colonies on the Bering Sea Shelf 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92520.
We hypothesized that changes in southeastern Bering Sea foraging conditions for black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) have caused shifts in habitat use with direct implications for population trends. To test this, we compared at-sea distribution, breeding performance, and nutritional stress of kittiwakes in three years (2008–2010) at two sites in the Pribilof Islands, where the population has either declined (St. Paul) or remained stable (St. George). Foraging conditions were assessed from changes in (1) bird diets, (2) the biomass and distribution of juvenile pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) in 2008 and 2009, and (3) eddy kinetic energy (EKE; considered to be a proxy for oceanic prey availability). In years when biomass of juvenile pollock was low and patchily distributed in shelf regions, kittiwake diets included little or no neritic prey and a much higher occurrence of oceanic prey (e.g. myctophids). Birds from both islands foraged on the nearby shelves, or made substantially longer-distance trips overnight to the basin. Here, feeding was more nocturnal and crepuscular than on the shelf, and often occurred near anticyclonic, or inside cyclonic eddies. As expected from colony location, birds from St. Paul used neritic waters more frequently, whereas birds from St. George typically foraged in oceanic waters. Despite these distinctive foraging patterns, there were no significant differences between colonies in chick feeding rates or fledging success. High EKE in 2010 coincided with a 63% increase in use of the basin by birds from St. Paul compared with 2008 when EKE was low. Nonetheless, adult nutritional stress, which was relatively high across years at both colonies, peaked in birds from St. Paul in 2010. Diminishing food resources in nearby shelf habitats may have contributed to kittiwake population declines at St Paul, possibly driven by increased adult mortality or breeding desertion due to high foraging effort and nutritional stress.
PMCID: PMC3966792  PMID: 24671108
16.  Development of a Novel, Single-Cycle Replicable Rift Valley Fever Vaccine 
Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) (genus Phlebovirus, family Bunyaviridae) is an arbovirus that causes severe disease in humans and livestock in sub-Saharan African countries. Although the MP-12 strain of RVFV is a live attenuated vaccine candidate, neuroinvasiveness and neurovirulence of MP-12 in mice may be a concern when vaccinating certain individuals, especially those that are immunocompromised. We have developed a novel, single-cycle replicable MP-12 (scMP-12), which carries an L RNA, M RNA mutant encoding a mutant envelope protein lacking an endoplasmic reticulum retrieval signal and defective for membrane fusion function, and S RNA encoding N protein and green fluorescent protein. The scMP-12 underwent efficient amplification, then formed plaques and retained the introduced mutation after serial passages in a cell line stably expressing viral envelope proteins. However, inoculation of the scMP-12 into naïve cells resulted in a single round of viral replication, and production of low levels of noninfectious virus-like particles. Intracranial inoculation of scMP-12 into suckling mice did not cause clinical signs or death, a finding which demonstrated that the scMP-12 lacked neurovirulence. Mice immunized with a single dose of scMP-12 produced neutralizing antibodies, whose titers were higher than in mice immunized with replicon particles carrying L RNA and S RNA encoding N protein and green fluorescent protein. Moreover, 90% of the scMP-12-immunized mice were protected from wild-type RVFV challenge by efficiently suppressing viremia and replication of the challenge virus in the liver and the spleen. These data demonstrated that scMP-12 is a safe and immunogenic RVFV vaccine candidate.
Author Summary
Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic pathogen, which causes febrile illness, encephalitis and fatal hemorrhagic fever in humans and severe hepatic disease with high mortality and spontaneous abortion rates in ruminants. RVFV is endemic to the African continent. Because many different mosquito species support RVFV replication, the virus has the potential to spread to other areas of the world, such as North and South America, Asia, and Europe and could cause serious public health problems and economic losses. Consistent with this concern, RVFV has caused epidemic disease in the Arabian Peninsula. Currently, there is no approved vaccine suitable for mass vaccination programs of humans. Although the MP-12 strain of RVFV is a live attenuated vaccine candidate, its neuroinvasiveness and neurovirulence in mice are areas of concern, especially when considering the immunization of children and the immunocompromised. In this study, we present a novel MP-12-based, single-cycle replicable RVF vaccine candidate. This vaccine candidate was not neurovirulent in mice and was effective in protecting immunized mice from wild-type RVFV challenge, indicating its potential to be developed as a safe vaccine for use in both humans and livestock.
PMCID: PMC3961198  PMID: 24651859
17.  Lassa Fever in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone 
Lassa fever (LF), an often-fatal hemorrhagic disease caused by Lassa virus (LASV), is a major public health threat in West Africa. When the violent civil conflict in Sierra Leone (1991 to 2002) ended, an international consortium assisted in restoration of the LF program at Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) in an area with the world's highest incidence of the disease.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Clinical and laboratory records of patients presenting to the KGH Lassa Ward in the post-conflict period were organized electronically. Recombinant antigen-based LF immunoassays were used to assess LASV antigenemia and LASV-specific antibodies in patients who met criteria for suspected LF. KGH has been reestablished as a center for LF treatment and research, with over 500 suspected cases now presenting yearly. Higher case fatality rates (CFRs) in LF patients were observed compared to studies conducted prior to the civil conflict. Different criteria for defining LF stages and differences in sensitivity of assays likely account for these differences. The highest incidence of LF in Sierra Leone was observed during the dry season. LF cases were observed in ten of Sierra Leone's thirteen districts, with numerous cases from outside the traditional endemic zone. Deaths in patients presenting with LASV antigenemia were skewed towards individuals less than 29 years of age. Women self-reporting as pregnant were significantly overrepresented among LASV antigenemic patients. The CFR of ribavirin-treated patients presenting early in acute infection was lower than in untreated subjects.
Lassa fever remains a major public health threat in Sierra Leone. Outreach activities should expand because LF may be more widespread in Sierra Leone than previously recognized. Enhanced case finding to ensure rapid diagnosis and treatment is imperative to reduce mortality. Even with ribavirin treatment, there was a high rate of fatalities underscoring the need to develop more effective and/or supplemental treatments for LF.
Author Summary
Lassa fever (LF) is a major public health threat in West Africa. After the violent civil conflict in Sierra Leone (1991 to 2002) ended, the LF research program at Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) was reestablished. Higher CFRs in LF patients were observed compared to studies conducted prior to the civil conflict. The criteria used for defining the stages of LF and differences in sensitivity of the assays used likely account for these differences. LF may be more widespread in Sierra Leone than recognized previously. Peak presentation of LF cases occurs in the dry season, which is consistent with previous studies. Our studies also confirmed reports conducted prior to the civil conflict that indicate that infants, children, young adults, and pregnant women are disproportionately impacted by LF. High fatality rates were observed among both ribavirin treated and untreated patients, which underscores then need for better LF treatments.
PMCID: PMC3961205  PMID: 24651047
18.  The Relationship between Urban Sprawl and Coronary Heart Disease in Women 
Health & place  2012;20:51-61.
Studies have reported relationships between urban sprawl, physical activity, and obesity, but—to date—no studies have considered the relationship between sprawl and coronary heart disease (CHD) endpoints. In this analysis, we use longitudinal data on post-menopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Clinical Trial to analyze the relationship between metropolitan statistical area (MSA)-level urban compactness (the opposite of sprawl) and CHD endpoints including death, any CHD event, and myocardial infarction. Models control for individual and neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics. Women who lived in more compact communities at baseline had a lower probability of experiencing a CHD event and CHD death or MI during the study follow-up period. One component of compactness, high residential density, had a particularly noteworthy effect on outcomes. Finally, exploratory analyses showed evidence that the effects of compactness were moderated by race and region.
PMCID: PMC3594054  PMID: 23376728
Urban Sprawl; Coronary Heart Disease; Neighborhoods; Women’s Health
19.  Qualitative Characterization of the Rat Liver Mitochondrial Lipidome using LC-MS Profiling and High Energy Collisional Dissociation (HCD) All Ion Fragmentation 
Lipids play multiple roles essential for proper mitochondrial function, from their involvement in membrane structure and fluidity, cellular energy storage, and signaling. Lipids are also major targets for reactive species, and their peroxidation byproducts themselves mediate further damage. Thousands of lipid species, from multiple classes and categories, are involved in these processes, suggesting lipid quantitative and structural analysis can help provide a better understanding of mitochondrial physiological status. Due to the diversity of lipids that contribute to and reflect mitochondrial function, analytical methods should ideally cover a wide range of lipid classes, and yield both quantitative and structural information. We developed a high resolution LC-MS method that is able to monitor the major lipid classes found in biospecimens (ie. biofluids, cells and tissues) with relative quantitation in an efficient, sensitive, and robust manner while also characterizing individual lipid side-chains, by all ion HCD fragmentation and chromatographic alignment. This method was used to profile the liver mitochondrial lipids from 192 rats undergoing a dietary macronutrient study in which changes in mitochondria function are related to changes in the major fat and glycemic index component of each diet. A total of 381 unique lipids, spanning 5 of the major LIPID MAPS defined categories, including fatty acyls, glycerophospholipids, glycerolipids, sphingolipids and prenols, were identified in mitochondria using the non-targeted LC-MS analysis in both positive and negative mode. The intention of this report is to show the breadth of this non-targeted LC-MS profiling method with regards to its ability to profile, identify and characterize the mitochondrial lipidome and the details of this will be discussed.
PMCID: PMC3640281  PMID: 23646040
mitochondria; liquid chromatography; mass spectrometry; lipidomics; dietary macronutrients
20.  Genome scan in familial late-onset Alzheimer’s disease: a locus on chromosome 6 contributes to age at onset 
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a common, genetically complex, fatal neurodegenerative disorder of late life. Although several genes are known to play a role in early-onset AD, identification of the genetic basis of late onset AD (LOAD) has been challenging, with only the APOE gene known to have a high contribution to both AD risk and age-at-onset. Here we present the first genome-scan analysis of the complete, well-characterized University of Washington LOAD sample of 119 pedigrees, using age-at-onset as the trait of interest. The analysis approach used allows for a multilocus trait model while at the same time accommodating age censoring, effects of APOE as a known genetic covariate, and full pedigree and marker information. The results provide strong evidence for linkage of loci contributing to age-at-onset to genomic regions on chromosome 6q16.3, and to 19q13.42 in the region of the APOE locus. There was evidence for interaction between APOE and the locus on chromosome 6q and suggestive evidence for linkage to chromosomes 11p13, 15q12-14, and 19p13.12. These results provide the first independent confirmation of an AD age-at-onset locus on chromosome 6 and suggest that further efforts towards identifying the underlying causal locus or loci are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3654841  PMID: 23355194
linkage analysis; MCMC; oligogenic; dementia; age-censored
21.  Sensorimotor Training Induced Neural Reorganization After Stroke: A Case Series 
Background and Purpose
Impaired hand function decreases quality of life after stroke. The purpose of this study was to pilot a novel two-week upper extremity sensorimotor training program. This case series describes the training program and highlights outcome measures used for documenting behavioral change and neural reorganization.
Case Description
Sensorimotor evaluation identified behavioral changes, activity induced neural reorganization was examined using sensory fMRI, diffusion tensor tractography, and brain volume measurement. Participant 1 was a 75-year-old right-handed man one year post right hemisphere stroke with severe sensory impairment across domains in his left hand, he reported limited left hand/arm use. Participant 2 was a 63-year-old right-handed woman who had experienced a left hemisphere stroke 9 months earlier resulting in mild sensory impairment across domains in her right hand, as well as mild motor deficit.
Participants trained 4 hours per day, 5 days per week for two weeks. Training tasks required sensory discrimination of temperature, weights, textures, shapes and objects in the context of active exploration with the involved hand. Random multi-modal feedback was used.
Both participants had improved scores on the Wolf Motor Function Test after training. Participant 1 had no measureable change in sensory function, while Participant 2 improved in touch perception, proprioception and haptic performance. Sensory fMRI suggested neural reorganization in both participants; Participant 1 had a small increase in brain volume, while superior thalamic radiation white matter connectivity was unchanged in either participant.
Participating in sensorimotor training focused on sensory discrimination during manual manipulation was feasible for both participants. Future research to determine efficacy and identify optimal measures of sensory function and neural reorganization is recommended. Video Abstract available (see Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1) for more insights from the authors.
PMCID: PMC3726277  PMID: 23399924
22.  NK cell intrinsic regulation of MIP-1α by granzyme M 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(3):e1115-.
Granzymes are generally recognized for their capacity to induce various pathways of perforin-dependent target cell death. Within this serine protease family, Granzyme M (GrzM) is unique owing to its preferential expression in innate effectors such as natural killer (NK) cells. During Listeria monocytogenes infection, we observed markedly reduced secretion of macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha (MIP-1α) in livers of GrzM-deficient mice, which resulted in significantly impaired NK cell recruitment. Direct stimulation with IL-12 and IL-15 demonstrated that GrzM was required for maximal secretion of active MIP-1α. This effect was not due to reduced protein induction but resulted from heightened intracellular accumulation of MIP-1α, with reduced release. These results demonstrate that GrzM is a critical mediator of innate immunity that can regulate chemotactic networks and has an important role in the initiation of immune responses and pathogen control.
PMCID: PMC3973215  PMID: 24625974
NK cells; Granzyme M; MIP-1α; Listeria monocytogenes infection
23.  DNMT1 mutation hot spot causes varied phenotypes of HSAN1 with dementia and hearing loss 
Neurology  2013;80(9):824-828.
Mutations in DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) have been identified in 2 autosomal dominant syndromes: 1) hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy with dementia and hearing loss (HSAN1E); and 2) cerebellar ataxia, deafness, and narcolepsy. Both syndromes have mutations in targeting sequence (TS) domain (exons 20–21), which is important in mediating DNA substrate binding to the DNMT1 catalytic domain. Frontal lobe hypometabolism has been documented in an HSAN1E family, but memory loss has been the primary cognitive complaint. The chromosomal location of the DNMT1 gene at 19p13.2 has been linked to familial late-onset Alzheimer disease.
We sequenced 41 exons of DNMT1 and their flanking regions in 1) 2 kindreds with HSAN1E; 2) 48 patients with HSAN1 alone without dementia and hearing loss; and 3) 5 probands of familial frontotemporal dementia (FTD) kindreds. We also sequenced exon 20 and 21 in 364 autopsy-confirmed late-onset Alzheimer disease cases.
Mutations in DNMT1 were specific to 2 HSAN1E kindreds with dementia and hearing loss (no narcolepsy). One family carried previously identified mutation Tyr495Cys; the other carried a novel Tyr495His, both in the TS domain. The symptoms of these patients include prominent personality, psychiatric manifestations, and seizures in one and the onset time is later than the previously reported cases.
Clinicians should consider DNMT1 mutations in patients presenting with FTD or primary memory decline who also have sensory neuropathy and hearing loss. Amino acid Tyr495 is a hot spot for HSAN1E, distinct from exon 21 mutations associated with narcolepsy.
PMCID: PMC3598458  PMID: 23365052
24.  Systemic Delivery of MeCP2 Rescues Behavioral and Cellular Deficits in Female Mouse Models of Rett Syndrome 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(34):13612-13620.
De novo mutations in the X-linked gene encoding the transcription factor methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) are the most frequent cause of the neurological disorder Rett syndrome (RTT). Hemizygous males usually die of neonatal encephalopathy. Heterozygous females survive into adulthood but exhibit severe symptoms including microcephaly, loss of purposeful hand motions and speech, and motor abnormalities, which appear after a period of apparently normal development. Most studies have focused on male mouse models because of the shorter latency to and severity in symptoms, yet how well these mice mimic the disease in affected females is not clear. Very few therapeutic treatments have been proposed for females, the more gender-appropriate model. Here, we show that self-complementary AAV9, bearing MeCP2 cDNA under control of a fragment of its own promoter (scAAV9/MeCP2), is capable of significantly stabilizing or reversing symptoms when administered systemically into female RTT mice. To our knowledge, this is the first potential gene therapy for females afflicted with RTT.
PMCID: PMC3755711  PMID: 23966684
25.  Method Development for Fecal Lipidomics Profiling 
Analytical chemistry  2012;85(2):1114-1123.
Robust methodologies for the analysis of fecal material will facilitate the understanding of gut (patho)physiology, its role(s) in health and disease and help improve care for individual patients, especially high-risk populations such as premature infants. Because lipidomics offers a biologically and analytically attractive approach, we developed a simple, sensitive, and quantitatively precise method for profiling intact lipids in fecal material. The method utilizes two separate, complementary extraction chemistries, dichloromethane (DCM) and a methyl tert-butyl ether/hexafluoroisopropanol (MTBE) mixture, alone or with high pressure cycling. Extracts were assessed by liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry-based profiling with all ion higher energy collisional dissociation fragmentation in both positive and negative ionization modes. This approach provides both class-specific and lipid-specific fragments, enhancing lipid characterization. Solvents preferentially extracted lipids based on hydrophobicity. More polar species preferred MTBE; more hydrophobic compounds preferred DCM. Pressure cycling differentially increased the yield of some lipids. The platform enabled analysis of >500 intact lipophillic species with over 300 lipids spanning 6 LIPID MAPS categories identified in the fecal matter from premature infants. No previous report exists that provides these data; thus, this study represents a new paradigm for assessing nutritional health, inflammation, and infectious disease in vulnerable populations.
PMCID: PMC3928122  PMID: 23210743
fecal analysis; lipidomics; mass spectrometry; liquid chromatography; high pressure cycling; LC-MS; premature infant; neonate

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