Wiebers, Joyce L. (Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.), and Harold R. Garner. Use of S-methylcysteine and cystathionine by methionineless Neurospora mutants. J. Bacteriol. 88:1798–1804. 1964.—Radioactive methionine was found in hydrolysates of various strains of Neurospora crassa when either S-methylcysteine (SMC)-C14H3 or SMC-S35 is the sole addition to minimal medium. Isotope product-precursor specific activity ratios are very similar for the two sources of label. Wild-type and methionineless mutants use sulfur from SMC in the biosynthesis of methionine, but not of cysteine, when grown in regular medium. With a medium nearly free from sulfate, SMC served as a source of sulfur for both cysteine and methionine. Suppressed methionineless mutants incorporated sulfur from SMC into cellular cysteine even in the presence of normal amounts of sulfate. SMC as a possible metabolic precursor of methionine was compared to cystathionine in an experiment with wild-type Neurospora. The four sources of label used were: SMC-C14H3, SMC-S35, cystathionine-U-C14, and cystathionine-S35. In each flask, the organism was offered one of the labeled compounds plus an equivalent amount of the other compound without label. The amount of each compound was sufficient for either to supply its contribution to all of the cellular methionine, if it were successful in competing with endogenous sources. To avoid adaptive breakdown of substrates, the compounds were added continuously at a rate consistent with the amount of growth present. The ratio of specific activity of cellular methionine to precursor was determined for each labeled compound. The results show that SMC sulfur and methyl carbon are used equally well. Cystathionine carbon and sulfur appear to be equally utilized also. A preference for cystathionine is indicated.
We have developed a hyperspectral microscopic imaging (HMI) platform that can precisely identify and quantify 10 molecular markers in individual cancer cells in a single pass. Exploitation of an improved separation of circulating tumor cells and the application of HMI has provided an opportunity to identify molecular changes in these cells, the recognition of co-expression of these markers, and poses an important opportunity for non-invasive diagnosis, and the use of targeted therapy. We have balanced the intensity of 10 fluorochromes bound to 10 different antibodies, each specific to a particular tumor marker, so that the intensity of each fluorochrome can be discerned from overlapping emissions. Using 2 touch preps from each primary breast cancer, the average molecular marker-intensities of 25 tumor cells gave a representative molecular signature for the tumor despite some cellular heterogeneity. The intensities determined by the HMI correlate well with the conventional 0-3+ analysis by experts in cellular pathology. Since additional multiplexes can be developed using the same fluorochromes but different antibodies, this analysis allows quantification of a large number of molecular markers on individual tumor cells. HMI can be completely automated and, eventually, could allow standardization of protein biomarkers and improve reproducibility among clinical pathology laboratories.
Brucella spp. infect hosts primarily by adhering and penetrating mucosal surfaces; however the initial molecular phenomena of this host:pathogen interaction remain poorly understood. Using cDNA microarray analysis, we characterized the transcriptional profile of the intracellular pathogen Brucella melitensis at 4 h (adaptational period) and 12 h (replicative phase) following HeLa cells infection. The intracellular pathogen transcriptome was determined using initially enriched and then amplified B. melitensis RNA from total RNA of B. melitensis-infected HeLa cells. Analysis of microarray results identified 161 and 115 pathogen genes differentially expressed at 4 and 12 h p.i., respectively. In concordance with phenotypic studies, most of the genes expressed were involved in pathogen growth and metabolism, and were down-regulated at the earliest time point (78%), but up-regulated at 12 h p.i. (75%). Further characterization of specific genes identified in this study will elucidate biological processes and pathways to help understand how both host and Brucella interact during the early infectious process to the eventual benefit of the pathogen and to the detriment of the naïve host.
Brucella melitensis; Gene expression; Microarray; Bacterial pathogenesis
We have developed a method for the parallel analysis of multiple CpG sites in genomic DNA for their state of methylation. Hypermethylation of CpG islands within the promoters and 5′ exons of genes has been found to be a mechanism of transcriptional inactivation associated with a variety of tumors. The method that we developed relies on the differential reactivity of methylated and unmethylated cytosines with sodium bisulfite, which exclusively converts unmethylated cytosines to deoxyuracils. The resulting sequence changes are determined with single-nucleotide resolution by hybridization to an oligonucleotide array. Cohybridization with a reference sample containing a different label provides an internal standard for assessment of methylation state. This method provides advantages in parallelism over existing methods of methylation analysis. We have demonstrated this technique with a region from the promoter of the tumor suppressor gene p16, which is hypermethylated in many cancers.
Hypermethylation; CpG island; Oligonucleotide array; Sodium bisulfite; Tumor suppressor
Brucella suis is the causative agent of swine brucellosis and is known to be able to infect several different hosts, including cattle, dogs, and horses, without causing disease symptoms. Here we report the complete genome sequence of Brucella suis VBI22, which was isolated from raw milk from an infected cow.
Using a custom CGH-like oligonucleotide array to measure the global microsatellite content in the genomes of 72 cancer, cancer-free, and high risk patient and cell line samples (56 germline DNA and 16 in tumor or tumor cell line DNA) we found a unique, reproducible, and statistically significant pattern of 18 motif-specific microsatellite families (out of 962 possible 1-6 mer repeats) in breast cancer patient germline and tumor DNA, but not in germline DNA of cancer-free volunteer controls or in breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations. These high-similarity A/T rich repetitive motifs were also more pronounced in the germlines and tumors of colon cancer tumor patients (3/6 samples) and microsatellite unstable colon cancer cell lines; however, germline DNA of sporadic breast cancer patients exhibited the largest global content shift for those motifs with extreme AT/GC ratios. These results indicate that global microsatellite variability is complex, suggest the existence of a previously unknown genomic destabilization mechanism in breast cancer patients' germline DNA, and warrant further testing of such microsatellite variability as a predictor of future breast cancer development.
Brucella suis is a causative agent of porcine brucellosis. We report the resequencing of the original sample upon which the published sequence of Brucella suis 1330 is based and describe the differences between the published assembly and our assembly at 12 loci.
Aortic valve calcification is the most common form of valvular heart disease, but the mechanisms of calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) are unknown. NOTCH1 mutations are associated with aortic valve malformations and adult-onset calcification in families with inherited disease. The Notch signaling pathway is critical for multiple cell differentiation processes, but its role in the development of CAVD is not well understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular changes that occur with inhibition of Notch signaling in the aortic valve. Notch signaling pathway members are expressed in adult aortic valve cusps, and examination of diseased human aortic valves revealed decreased expression of NOTCH1 in areas of calcium deposition. To identify downstream mediators of Notch1, we examined gene expression changes that occur with chemical inhibition of Notch signaling in rat aortic valve interstitial cells (AVICs). We found significant downregulation of Sox9 along with several cartilage-specific genes that were direct targets of the transcription factor, Sox9. Loss of Sox9 expression has been published to be associated with aortic valve calcification. Utilizing an in vitro porcine aortic valve calcification model system, inhibition of Notch activity resulted in accelerated calcification while stimulation of Notch signaling attenuated the calcific process. Finally, the addition of Sox9 was able to prevent the calcification of porcine AVICs that occurs with Notch inhibition. In conclusion, loss of Notch signaling contributes to aortic valve calcification via a Sox9-dependent mechanism.
Brucellosis is a worldwide anthropozoonotic disease caused by an in vivo intracellular pathogen belonging to genus Brucella. The characterization of brucelae transcriptome's during host-pathogen interaction has been limited due to the difficulty of obtaining an adequate quantity of good quality eukaryotic RNA-free pathogen RNA for downstream applications.
Here, we describe a combined protocol to prepare RNA from intracellular B. melitensis in a quantity and quality suitable for pathogen gene expression analysis. Initially, B. melitensis total RNA was enriched from a host:pathogen mixed RNA sample by reducing the eukaryotic RNA..Then, to increase the Brucella RNA concentration and simultaneously minimize the contaminated host RNA in the mixed sample, a specific primer set designed to anneal to all B. melitensis ORF allows the selective linear amplification of sense-strand prokaryotic transcripts in a previously enriched RNA sample.
The novelty of the method we present here allows analysis of the gene expression profile of B. melitensis when limited amounts of pathogen RNA are present, and is potentially applicable to both in vivo and in vitro models of infection, even at early infection time points.
β-adrenergic signaling is involved in the development of cardiac hypertrophy (CH), justifying the use of β-blockers as a therapy to minimize and postpone the consequences of this disease. Evidence suggests that adenylate cyclase, a downstream effector of the β-adrenergic pathway, might be a therapeutic target. We examined the effects of the anti-epileptic drug carbamazepine (CBZ), an inhibitor of adenylate cyclase. In a murine cardiac hypertrophy model, carbamazepine significantly attenuates isoproteronol (ISO)-induced cardiac hypertrophy. Carbamazepine also has an effect in transverse aortic banding induced cardiac hypertrophy (TAB) (P=0.07). When carbamazepine was given in combination with the antibiotic doxycycline (DOX), which inhibits matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), therapeutic outcome measured by heart weight-to-body weight and heart weight-to-tibia length ratios was improved compared to either drug alone. Additionally, the combination therapy resulted in an increase in the survival rate over a 56-day period compared to that of untreated mice with cardiac hypertrophy or either drug used alone. Moreover, in support of a role for carbamaze -pine as a β-adrenergic antagonist via cAMP inhibition, a lower heart rate and a lower level of the activated phosphorylated form of the cAMP Response Element-Binding (CREB) were observed in heart extracts from mice treated with carbamazepine. Gene expression analysis identified 19 genes whose expression is significantly altered in treated animals and might be responsible for the added benefit provided by the combination therapy. These results suggest that carbamazepine acts as a β-adrenergic antagonist. Carbamazepine and doxycycline are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as drugs that might complement medications for cardiac hypertrophy or serve as an alternative therapy to traditional β-blockers. Furthermore, these agents reproducibly impact the expression of genes that may serve as additional therapeutic targets in the management of cardiac hypertrophy.
cardiac hypertrophy; gene expression; drug repurposing; FDA approved.
Quorum sensing is a communication system that regulates gene expression in response to population density and often regulates virulence determinants. Deletion of the luxR homologue vjbR highly attenuates intracellular survival of Brucella melitensis and has been interpreted to be an indication of a role for QS in Brucella infection. Confirmation for such a role was suggested, but not confirmed, by the demonstrated in vitro synthesis of an auto-inducer (AI) by Brucella cultures. In an effort to further delineate the role of VjbR to virulence and survival, gene expression under the control of VjbR and AI was characterized using microarray analysis.
Analyses of wildtype B. melitensis and isogenic ΔvjbR transciptomes, grown in the presence and absence of exogenous N-dodecanoyl homoserine lactone (C12-HSL), revealed a temporal pattern of gene regulation with variances detected at exponential and stationary growth phases. Comparison of VjbR and C12-HSL transcriptomes indicated the shared regulation of 127 genes with all but 3 genes inversely regulated, suggesting that C12-HSL functions via VjbR in this case to reverse gene expression at these loci. Additional analysis using a ΔvjbR mutant revealed that AHL also altered gene expression in the absence of VjbR, up-regulating expression of 48 genes and a luxR homologue blxR 93-fold at stationary growth phase. Gene expression alterations include previously un-described adhesins, proteases, antibiotic and toxin resistance genes, stress survival aids, transporters, membrane biogenesis genes, amino acid metabolism and transport, transcriptional regulators, energy production genes, and the previously reported fliF and virB operons.
VjbR and C12-HSL regulate expression of a large and diverse number of genes. Many genes identified as virulence factors in other bacterial pathogens were found to be differently expressed, suggesting an important contribution to intracellular survival of Brucella. From these data, we conclude that VjbR and C12-HSL contribute to virulence and survival by regulating expression of virulence mechanisms and thus controlling the ability of the bacteria to survive within the host cell. A likely scenario occurs via QS, however, operation of such a mechanism remains to be demonstrated.
Braun/murein lipoprotein (Lpp) is involved in inflammatory responses and septic shock. We previously characterized a Δlpp mutant of Yersinia pestis CO92 and found that this mutant was defective in surviving in macrophages and was attenuated in a mouse inhalation model of plague when compared to the highly virulent wild-type (WT) bacterium. We performed global transcriptional profiling of WT Y. pestis and its Δlpp mutant using microarrays. The organisms were cultured at 26 and 37 degrees Celsius to simulate the flea vector and mammalian host environments, respectively. Our data revealed vastly different effects of lpp mutation on the transcriptomes of Y. pestis grown at 37 versus 26°C. While the absence of Lpp resulted mainly in the downregulation of metabolic genes at 26°C, the Y. pestis Δlpp mutant cultured at 37°C exhibited profound alterations in stress response and virulence genes, compared to WT bacteria. We investigated one of the stress-related genes (htrA) downregulated in the Δlpp mutant relative to WT Y. pestis. Indeed, complementation of the Δlpp mutant with the htrA gene restored intracellular survival of the Y. pestis Δlpp mutant. Our results support a role for Lpp in Y. pestis adaptation to the host environment, possibly via transcriptional activation of htrA.
Motivation: Document similarity metrics such as PubMed's ‘Find related articles’ feature, which have been primarily used to identify studies with similar topics, can now also be used to detect duplicated or potentially plagiarized papers within literature reference databases. However, the CPU-intensive nature of document comparison has limited MEDLINE text similarity studies to the comparison of abstracts, which constitute only a small fraction of a publication's total text. Extending searches to include text archived by online search engines would drastically increase comparison ability. For large-scale studies, submitting short phrases encased in direct quotes to search engines for exact matches would be optimal for both individual queries and programmatic interfaces. We have derived a method of analyzing statistically improbable phrases (SIPs) for assistance in identifying duplicate content.
Results: When applied to MEDLINE citations, this method substantially improves upon previous algorithms in the detection of duplication citations, yielding a precision and recall of 78.9% (versus 50.3% for eTBLAST) and 99.6% (versus 99.8% for eTBLAST), respectively.
Availability: Similar citations identified by this work are freely accessible in the Déjà vu database, under the SIP discovery method category at http://dejavu.vbi.vt.edu/dejavu/
We employed Murine GeneChips to delineate the global transcriptional profiles of the livers, lungs, and spleens in a mouse pneumonic plague infection model with wild-type (WT) Y. pestis CO92 and its Braun lipoprotein (Δlpp) mutant with reduced virulence. These organs showed differential transcriptional responses to infection with WT Y. pestis, but the overall host functional processes affected were similar across all three tissues. Gene expression alterations were found in inflammation, cytokine signaling, and apoptotic cell death-associated genes. Comparison of WT and Δlpp mutant-infected mice indicated significant overlap in lipopolysaccharide- (LPS-) associated gene expression, but the absence of Lpp perturbed host cell signaling at critical regulatory junctions resulting in altered immune response and possibly host cell apoptosis. We generated a putative signaling pathway including major inflammatory components that could account for the synergistic action of LPS and Lpp and provided the mechanistic basis of attenuation caused by deletion of the lpp gene from Y. pestis in a mouse model of pneumonic plague.
Human lung epithelial cells are likely among the first targets to encounter invading severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Not only can these cells support the growth of SARS-CoV infection, but they are also capable of secreting inflammatory cytokines to initiate and, eventually, aggravate host innate inflammatory responses, causing detrimental immune-mediated pathology within the lungs. Thus, a comprehensive evaluation of the complex epithelial signaling to SARS-CoV is crucial for paving the way to better understand SARS pathogenesis. Based on microarray-based functional genomics, we report here the global gene response of 2B4 cells, a cloned bronchial epithelial cell line derived from Calu-3 cells. Specifically, we found a temporal and spatial activation of nuclear factor (NF)κB, activator protein (AP)-1, and interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-3/7 in infected 2B4 cells at 12-, 24-, and 48-hrs post infection (p.i.), resulting in the activation of many antiviral genes, including interferon (IFN)-β, -λs, inflammatory mediators, and many IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). We also showed, for the first time, that IFN-β and IFN-λs were capable of exerting previously unrecognized, non-redundant, and complementary abilities to limit SARS-CoV replication, even though their expression could not be detected in infected 2B4 bronchial epithelial cells until 48 hrs p.i. Collectively, our results highlight the mechanics of the sequential events of antiviral signaling pathway/s triggered by SARS-CoV in bronchial epithelial cells and identify novel cellular targets for future studies, aiming at advancing strategies against SARS.
Phospholipase A2 (PLA2)-activating protein (PLAA) is a novel signaling molecule that regulates the production of prostaglandins (PGE2) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. To characterize the function of native PLAA in situ, we generated HeLa (Tet-off) cells overexpressing plaa (plaahigh) and control (plaalow) cells, with the plaa gene in opposite orientation in the latter construct. The plaahigh cells produced significantly more PGE2 and interleukin (IL)-6 compared to plaalow cells in response to TNF-α. There was increased activation and/or expression of cytosolic PLA2, cyclooxgenase-2, and NF-κB after induction of plaahigh cells with TNF-α compared to the respective plaalow cells. Microarray analysis of plaahigh cells followed by functional assays revealed increased production of proinflammatory cytokine IL-32 and a decrease in the production of annexin A4 and clusterin compared to plaalow cells. We demonstrated the role of annexin A4 as an inhibitor of PLA2 and showed that addition of exogeneous clusterin limited the production of PGE2 from plaahigh cells. To understand regulation of plaa gene expression, we used a luciferase reporter system in HeLa cells and identified one stimulatory element, with Sp1 binding sites, and one inhibitory element, in exon 1 of the plaa gene. By using decoy DNA oligonucleotides to Sp1 and competitive binding assays, we showed that Sp1 maintains basal expression of the plaa gene and binds to the above-mentioned stimulatory element. We demonstrated for the first time that the induction of native PLAA by TNF-α can perpetuate inflammation by enhancing activation of PLA2 and NF-κB.
Phospholipase A2-activating protein; PGE2; NF-κB; annexin A4; IL-32; clusterin
Mass spectrometry-based biomarker discovery has long been hampered by the difficulty in reconciling lists of discriminatory peaks identified by different laboratories for the same diseases studied. We describe a multi-statistical analysis procedure that combines several independent computational methods. This approach capitalizes on the strengths of each to analyze the same high-resolution mass spectral data set to discover consensus differential mass peaks that should be robust biomarkers for distinguishing between disease states.
The proposed methodology was applied to a pilot narcolepsy study using logistic regression, hierarchical clustering, t-test, and CART. Consensus, differential mass peaks with high predictive power were identified across three of the four statistical platforms. Based on the diagnostic accuracy measures investigated, the performance of the consensus-peak model was a compromise between logistic regression and CART, which produced better models than hierarchical clustering and t-test. However, consensus peaks confer a higher level of confidence in their ability to distinguish between disease states since they do not represent peaks that are a result of biases to a particular statistical algorithm. Instead, they were selected as differential across differing data distribution assumptions, demonstrating their true discriminatory potential.
The methodology described here is applicable to any high-resolution MALDI mass spectrometry-derived data set with minimal mass drift which is essential for peak-to-peak comparison studies. Four statistical approaches with differing data distribution assumptions were applied to the same raw data set to obtain consensus peaks that were found to be statistically differential between the two groups compared. These consensus peaks demonstrated high diagnostic accuracy when used to form a predictive model as evaluated by receiver operating characteristics curve analysis. They should demonstrate a higher discriminatory ability as they are not biased to a particular algorithm. Thus, they are prime candidates for downstream identification and validation efforts.
Brucella spp. are the etiological agents of brucellosis, a zoonotic infectious disease that causes abortion in animals and chronic debilitating illness in humans. Natural Brucella infections occur primarily through an incompletely defined mechanism of adhesion to and penetration of mucosal epithelium. In this study, we characterized changes in genome-wide transcript abundance of the most and the least invasive growth phases of B. melitensis cultures to HeLa cells, as a preliminary approach for identifying candidate pathogen genes involved in invasion of epithelial cells.
B. melitensis at the late logarithmic phase of growth are more invasive to HeLa cells than mid-logarithmic or stationary growth phases. Microarray analysis of B. melitensis gene expression identified 414 up- and 40 down-regulated genes in late-log growth phase (the most invasive culture) compared to the stationary growth phase (the least invasive culture). As expected, the majority of up-regulated genes in late-log phase cultures were those associated with growth, including DNA replication, transcription, translation, intermediate metabolism, energy production and conversion, membrane transport, and biogenesis of the cell envelope and outer membrane; while the down-regulated genes were distributed among several functional categories.
This Brucella global expression profile study provides novel information on growth phase-specific gene expression. Further characterization of some genes found differentially expressed in the most invasive culture will likely bring new insights into the initial molecular interactions between Brucella and its host.
Bacillus anthracis is the gram positive, spore-forming etiological agent of anthrax, an affliction studied because of its importance as a potential bioweapon. Although in vitro transcriptional responses of macrophages to either spore or anthrax toxins have been previously reported, little is known regarding the impact of infection on gene expression in host tissues. We infected Swiss-Webster mice intranasally with 5 LD50 of B. anthracis virulent Ames spores and observed the global transcriptional profiles of various tissues over a 48 hr time period. RNA was extracted from spleen, lung, and heart tissues of infected and control mice and examined by Affymetrix GeneChip analysis. Approximately 580 host genes were significantly over or under expressed among the lung, spleen, and heart tissues at 8 hr and 48 hr time points. Expression of genes encoding for surfactant and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) presentation was diminished during the early phase of infection in lungs. By 48 hr, a significant number of genes were modulated in the heart, including up-regulation of calcium-binding related gene expression, and down-regulation of multiple genes related to cell adhesion, formation of the extracellular matrix, and the cell cytoskeleton. Interestingly, the spleen 8 hr post-infection showed striking increases in the expression of genes that encode hydrolytic enzymes, and these levels remained elevated throughout infection. Further, genes involving antigen presentation and interferon responses were down-regulated in the spleen at 8 hr. In late stages of infection, splenic genes related to the inflammatory response were up-regulated. This study is the first to describe the in vivo global transcriptional response of multiple organs during inhalational anthrax. Although numerous genes related to the host immunological response and certain protection mechanisms were up-regulated in these organs, a vast list of genes important for fully developing and maintaining this response were decreased. Additionally, the lung, spleen, and heart showed differential responses to the infection, further validating the demand for a better understanding of anthrax pathogenesis in order to design therapies against novel targets.
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; Affymetrix microarrays; murine model of infection
In the scientific research community, plagiarism and covert multiple publications of the same data are considered unacceptable because they undermine the public confidence in the scientific integrity. Yet, little has been done to help authors and editors to identify highly similar citations, which sometimes may represent cases of unethical duplication. For this reason, we have made available Déjà vu, a publicly available database of highly similar Medline citations identified by the text similarity search engine eTBLAST. Following manual verification, highly similar citation pairs are classified into various categories ranging from duplicates with different authors to sanctioned duplicates. Déjà vu records also contain user-provided commentary and supporting information to substantiate each document's categorization. Déjà vu and eTBLAST are available to authors, editors, reviewers, ethicists and sociologists to study, intercept, annotate and deter questionable publication practices. These tools are part of a sustained effort to enhance the quality of Medline as ‘the’ biomedical corpus. The Déjà vu database is freely accessible at http://spore.swmed.edu/dejavu. The tool eTBLAST is also freely available at http://etblast.org.
Data, data everywhere. The diversity and magnitude of the data generated in the Life Sciences defies automated articulation among complementary efforts. The additional need in this field for managing property and access permissions compounds the difficulty very significantly. This is particularly the case when the integration involves multiple domains and disciplines, even more so when it includes clinical and high throughput molecular data.
The emergence of Semantic Web technologies brings the promise of meaningful interoperation between data and analysis resources. In this report we identify a core model for biomedical Knowledge Engineering applications and demonstrate how this new technology can be used to weave a management model where multiple intertwined data structures can be hosted and managed by multiple authorities in a distributed management infrastructure. Specifically, the demonstration is performed by linking data sources associated with the Lung Cancer SPORE awarded to The University of Texas MDAnderson Cancer Center at Houston and the Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. A software prototype, available with open source at www.s3db.org, was developed and its proposed design has been made publicly available as an open source instrument for shared, distributed data management.
The Semantic Web technologies have the potential to addresses the need for distributed and evolvable representations that are critical for systems Biology and translational biomedical research. As this technology is incorporated into application development we can expect that both general purpose productivity software and domain specific software installed on our personal computers will become increasingly integrated with the relevant remote resources. In this scenario, the acquisition of a new dataset should automatically trigger the delegation of its analysis.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) are the most abundant form of genomic variation and can cause phenotypic differences between individuals, including diseases. Bases are subject to various levels of selection pressure, reflected in their inter-species conservation.
We propose a method that is not dependant on transcription information to score each coding base in the human genome reflecting the disease probability associated with its mutation. Twelve factors likely to be associated with disease alleles were chosen as the input for a support vector machine prediction algorithm. The analysis yielded 83% sensitivity and 84% specificity in segregating disease like alleles as found in the Human Gene Mutation Database from non-disease like alleles as found in the Database of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms. This algorithm was subsequently applied to each base within all known human genes, exhaustively confirming that interspecies conservation is the strongest factor for disease association. For each gene, the length normalized average disease potential score was calculated. Out of the 30 genes with the highest scores, 21 are directly associated with a disease. In contrast, out of the 30 genes with the lowest scores, only one is associated with a disease as found in published literature. The results strongly suggest that the highest scoring genes are enriched for those that might contribute to disease, if mutated.
This method provides valuable information to researchers to identify sensitive positions in genes that have a high disease probability, enabling them to optimize experimental designs and interpret data emerging from genetic and epidemiological studies.
Studies of genetic associations with common diseases, such as between cytokine gene polymorphisms and severe bacterial sepsis, have reached conflicting conclusions. Failure to follow methodologic standards may have contributed to discordant findings. The −308 G→A transition in the tumor necrosis factor-− promoter has been genotyped by a variety of methods. Based on our observation of genotyping inaccuracies, we sought to determine whether published studies followed a series of acceptable methodologic standards and whether failure to follow the standard of genotyping reproducibility could lead to erroneous conclusions about gene-disease associations.
Systematic review and reanalysis of banked genetic material. We applied a published series of seven methodologic standards to five reports of the association between this variant and bacterial sepsis. We then studied the accuracy of restriction fragment length polymorphism for the −308 site using DNA from a cohort of injury victims.
Surgery research laboratory.
Measurements and Main Results
We observed that methodologic quality was not uniform and that reproducibility of genotyping was infrequently met. In our subjects, we found that 4 of 46 heterozygotes analyzed by restriction fragment length polymorphism were actually GG-homozygotes (9% misclassified) according to alternative genotyping methods.
Failure to confirm genotype may have led to conclusions that this polymorphism is not associated with sepsis or outcome. Our observations have implications for the conduct and evaluation of studies of complex genetic disease.
bacterial sepsis; genotyping; tumor necrosis factor-α
RNA interference has revolutionized our ability to study the effects of altering the expression of single genes in mammalian (and other) cells through targeted knockdown of gene expression. In this report we describe a web-based computational tool, siRNA Information Resource (sIR), which consists of a new open source database that contains validation information about published siRNA sequences and also provides a user-friendly interface to design and analyze siRNA sequences against a chosen target sequence.
The siRNA design tool described in this paper employs empirically determined rules derived from a meta-analysis of the published data; it uses a weighted scoring system that determines the optimal sequence within a target mRNA and thus aids in the rational selection of siRNA sequences. This scoring system shows a non-linear correlation with the knockdown efficiency of siRNAs. sIR provides a fast, customized BLAST output for all selected siRNA sequences against a variety of databases so that the user can verify the uniqueness of the design. We have pre-designed siRNAs for all the known human genes (24,502) in the Refseq database. These siRNAs were pre-BLASTed against the human Unigene database to estimate the target specificity and all results are available online.
Although most of the rules for this scoring system were influenced by previously published rules, the weighted scoring system provides better flexibility in designing an appropriate siRNA when compared to the un-weighted scoring system. sIR is not only a comprehensive tool used to design siRNA sequences and lookup pre-designed siRNAs, but it is also a platform where researchers can share information on siRNA design and use.
Authors, editors and reviewers alike use the biomedical literature to identify appropriate journals in which to publish, potential reviewers for papers or grants, and collaborators (or competitors) with similar interests. Traditionally, this process has either relied upon personal expertise and knowledge or upon a somewhat unsystematic and laborious process of manually searching through the literature for trends. To help with these tasks, we report three utilities that parse and summarize the results of an abstract similarity search to find appropriate journals for publication, authors with expertise in a given field, and documents similar to a submitted query. The utilities are based upon a program, eTBLAST, designed to identify similar documents within literature databases such as (but not limited to) MEDLINE. These services are freely accessible through the Internet at http://invention.swmed.edu/etblast/etblast.shtml, where users can upload a file or paste text such as an abstract into the browser interface.