The human X chromosome has a unique biology that was shaped by its evolution as the sex chromosome shared by males and females. We have determined 99.3% of the euchromatic sequence of the X chromosome. Our analysis illustrates the autosomal origin of the mammalian sex chromosomes, the stepwise process that led to the progressive loss of recombination between X and Y, and the extent of subsequent degradation of the Y chromosome. LINE1 repeat elements cover one-third of the X chromosome, with a distribution that is consistent with their proposed role as way stations in the process of X-chromosome inactivation. We found 1,098 genes in the sequence, of which 99 encode proteins expressed in testis and in various tumour types. A disproportionately high number of mendelian diseases are documented for the X chromosome. Of this number, 168 have been explained by mutations in 113 X-linked genes, which in many cases were characterized with the aid of the DNA sequence.
The mevalonate pathway is used by cells to produce sterol and nonsterol metabolites and is subject to tight metabolic regulation. We recently reported that squalene monooxygenase (SM), an enzyme controlling a rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis, is subject to cholesterol-dependent proteasomal degradation. However, the E3-ubiquitin (E3) ligase mediating this effect was not established. Using a candidate approach, we identify the E3 ligase membrane-associated RING finger 6 (MARCH6, also known as TEB4) as the ligase controlling degradation of SM. We find that MARCH6 and SM physically interact, and consistent with MARCH6 acting as an E3 ligase, its overexpression reduces SM abundance in a RING-dependent manner. Reciprocally, knockdown of MARCH6 increases the level of SM protein and prevents its cholesterol-regulated degradation. Additionally, this increases cell-associated SM activity but is unexpectedly accompanied by increased flux upstream of SM. Prompted by this observation, we found that knockdown of MARCH6 also controls the level of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) in hepatocytes and model cell lines. In conclusion, MARCH6 controls abundance of both SM and HMGCR, establishing it as a major regulator of flux through the cholesterol synthesis pathway.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is pandemic, but its contemporary global transmission network has not been characterized. A better understanding of the properties and dynamics of this network is essential for surveillance, prevention, and eventual eradication of HIV. Here, we apply a simple and computationally efficient network-based approach to all publicly available HIV polymerase sequences in the global database, revealing a contemporary picture of the spread of HIV-1 within and between countries. This approach automatically recovered well-characterized transmission clusters and extended other clusters thought to be contained within a single country across international borders. In addition, previously undescribed transmission clusters were discovered. Together, these clusters represent all known modes of HIV transmission. The extent of international linkage revealed by our comprehensive approach demonstrates the need to consider the global diversity of HIV, even when describing local epidemics. Finally, the speed of this method allows for near-real-time surveillance of the pandemic's progression.
human immunodeficiency virus; transmission network; molecular epidemiology
In recent years, genotype I (GI) of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has displaced genotype III (GIII) as the dominant virus genotype throughout Asia. In this study, the largest collection of GIII and GI envelope gene-derived viral sequences assembled to date was used to reconstruct the spatiotemporal chronology of genotype displacement throughout Asia and to determine the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics underlying this significant event. GI consists of two clades, GI-a and GI-b, with the latter being associated with displacement of GIII as the dominant JEV genotype throughout Asia in the 1990s. Phylogeographic analysis indicated that GI-a diverged in Thailand or Cambodia and has remained confined to tropical Asia, whereas GI-b diverged in Vietnam and then dispersed northwards to China, where it was subsequently dispersed to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Molecular adaptation was detected by more than one method at one site (residue 15), and coevolution was detected at two pairs of sites (residues 89 to 360 and 129 to 141) within the GI E gene protein alignment. Viral multiplication and temperature sensitivity analyses in avian and mosquito cells revealed that the GI-b isolate JE-91 had significantly higher infectivity titers in mosquito cells from 24 to 48 h postinfection than did the GI-a and GIII isolates. If the JE-91 isolate is indeed representative of GI-b, an increased multiplicative ability of GI-b viruses compared to that of GIII viruses early in mosquito infection may have resulted in a shortened extrinsic incubation period that led to an increased number of GI enzootic transmission cycles and the subsequent displacement of GIII.
IMPORTANCE Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, represents the most significant etiology of childhood viral neurological infection in Asia. Despite the existence of effective vaccines, JEV is responsible for an estimated 68,000 human cases and a reported 10,000 to 15,000 deaths annually. Phylogenetic studies divided JEV into five geographically and epidemiologically distinct genotypes (GI to GV). GIII has been the source of numerous JEV epidemics throughout history and was the most frequently isolated genotype throughout most of Asia from 1935 until the 1990s. In recent years, GI has displaced GIII as the most frequently isolated virus genotype. To date, the mechanism of this genotype replacement has remained unknown. In this study, we have identified genetic determinants underlying the genotype displacement as it unfolded across Asia. JEV provides a paradigm for other flaviviruses, including West Nile, yellow fever, and dengue viruses, and the critical role of the selective advantages in the mosquito vector.
Highly pathogenic (HP) avian influenza virus (AIV) H7N3 outbreaks occurred 3 times in the Americas in the past 10 years and caused severe economic loss in the affected regions. In June/July 2012, new HP H7N3 outbreaks occurred at commercial farms in Jalisco, Mexico. Outbreaks continued to be identified in neighbouring states in Mexico till August 2013. To explore the origin of this outbreak, time resolved phylogenetic trees were generated from the eight segments of full-length AIV sequences in North America using BEAST. Location, subtype, avian host species and pathogenicity were modelled as discrete traits upon the trees using continuous time Markov chains. A further joint analysis among segments was performed using a hierarchical phylogenetic model (HPM) which allowed trait rates (location, subtype, host species) to be jointly inferred across different segments. The complete spatial diffusion process was visualised through virtual globe software. Our result indicated the Mexico HP H7N3 originated from the large North America low pathogenicity AIV pool through complicated reassortment events. Different segments were contributed by wild waterfowl from different N. American flyways. Five of the eight segments (HA, NA, NP, M, NS) were introduced from wild birds migrating along the central North American flyway, and PB2, PB1 and PA were introduced via the western North American flyway. These results highlight a potential role for Mexico as a hotspot of virus reassortment as it is where wild birds from different migration routes mix during the winter.
Disease progression in HIV-infected individuals varies greatly, and while the environmental and host factors influencing this variation have been widely investigated, the viral contribution to variation in set-point viral load, a predictor of disease progression, is less clear. Previous studies, using transmission-pairs and analysis of phylogenetic signal in small numbers of individuals, have produced a wide range of viral genetic effect estimates. Here we present a novel application of a population-scale method based in quantitative genetics to estimate the viral genetic effect on set-point viral load in the UK subtype B HIV-1 epidemic, based on a very large data set. Analyzing the initial viral load and associated pol sequence, both taken before anti-retroviral therapy, of 8,483 patients, we estimate the proportion of variance in viral load explained by viral genetic effects to be 5.7% (CI 2.8–8.6%). We also estimated the change in viral load over time due to selection on the virus and environmental effects to be a decline of 0.05 log10 copies/mL/year, in contrast to recent studies which suggested a reported small increase in viral load over the last 20 years might be due to evolutionary changes in the virus. Our results suggest that in the UK epidemic, subtype B has a small but significant viral genetic effect on viral load. By allowing the analysis of large sample sizes, we expect our approach to be applicable to the estimation of the genetic contribution to traits in many organisms.
HIV viral load, the amount of virus in the blood, is an important predictor of rate of CD4+ cell decline, time to AIDS and onwards transmission. Plasma viral load is influenced by many environmental and host factors, but the contribution of the viral genome is not yet clear. We have adapted a method from quantitative genetics which considers the viral phylogeny as a pedigree, permitting analysis of large cohort-derived datasets for the first time. We found the viral genome contributes significantly to the level of the set point viral load, but only determines about 6% of the variation in this property in this population. Our study also suggests that the change over time in mean plasma viral load described in some recent studies has not been due to a change in the component of viral load that is contributed by viral genotype.
Cholesterol synthesis occurs in the ER (endoplasmic reticulum), where most of the cholesterogenic machinery resides. As membrane-bound proteins, their topology is difficult to determine, and thus their structures are largely unknown. To help resolve this, we focused on the final enzyme in cholesterol synthesis, DHCR24 (3β-hydroxysterol Δ24-reductase). Prediction programmes and previous studies have shown conflicting results regarding which regions of DHCR24 are associated with the membrane, although there was general agreement that this was limited to only the N-terminal portion. Here, we present biochemical evidence that in fact the majority of the enzyme is associated with the ER membrane. This has important consequences for the many functions attributed to DHCR24. In particular, those that suggest DHCR24 alters its localization within the cell should be reassessed in light of this new information. Moreover, we propose that the expanding database of post-translational modifications will be a valuable resource for mapping the topology of membrane-associated proteins, such as DHCR24, that is, flagging cytosolic residues accessible to modifying enzymes such as kinases and ubiquitin ligases.
We present new findings indicating that the final enzyme in cholesterol synthesis is strongly associated with the endoplasmic reticulum membrane throughout its length, contrary to previous studies that indicated only the beginning of the enzyme was associated with the membrane.
cholesterol; DHCR24; ER; membrane; peduncle; topology; CHO, Chinese-hamster ovary; DAPI, 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; DHCR24, 3β-hydroxysterol Δ24-reductase; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; FAD, flavin adenine dinucleotide; GRAVY, grand average of hydropathicity; HMM, hidden Markov model; MSA, multiple sequence alignment; PTM, post-translational modification; SA, signal anchor; SP, signal peptide; TM, transmembrane; TMD, transmembrane domain
West Central Africa has been implicated as the epicenter of the HIV-1 epidemic, and almost all group M subtypes can be found there. Previous analysis of early HIV-1 group M sequences from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, revealed that isolates from a number of individuals fall in different positions in phylogenetic trees constructed from sequences from opposite ends of the genome as a result of recombination between viruses of different subtypes. Here, we use discrete ancestral trait mapping to develop a procedure for quantifying HIV-1 group M intersubtype recombination across phylogenies, using individuals' gag (p17) and env (gp41) subtypes. The method was applied to previously described HIV-1 group M sequences from samples obtained in Kinshasa early in the global radiation of HIV. Nine different p17 and gp41 intersubtype recombinant combinations were present in the data set. The mean number of excess ancestral subtype transitions (NEST) required to map individuals' p17 subtypes onto the gp14 phylogeny samples, compared to the number required to map them onto the p17 phylogenies, and vice versa, indicated that excess subtype transitions occurred at a rate of approximately 7 × 10−3 to 8 × 10−3 per lineage per year as a result of intersubtype recombination. Our results imply that intersubtype recombination may have occurred in approximately 20% of lineages evolving over a period of 30 years and confirm intersubtype recombination as a substantial force in generating HIV-1 group M diversity.
The segmented RNA genome of avian Influenza viruses (AIV) allows genetic reassortment between co-infecting viruses, providing an evolutionary pathway to generate genetic innovation. The genetic diversity (16 haemagglutinin and 9 neuraminidase subtypes) of AIV indicates an extensive reservoir of influenza viruses exists in bird populations, but how frequently subtypes reassort with each other is still unknown. Here we quantify the reassortment patterns among subtypes in the Eurasian avian viral pool by reconstructing the ancestral states of the subtypes as discrete states on time-scaled phylogenies with respect to the internal protein coding segments. We further analyzed how host species, the inferred evolutionary rates and the dN/dS ratio varied among segments and between discrete subtypes, and whether these factors may be associated with inter-subtype reassortment rate.
The general patterns of reassortment are similar among five internal segments with the exception of segment 8, encoding the Non-Structural genes, which has a more divergent phylogeny. However, significant variation in rates between subtypes was observed. In particular, hemagglutinin-encoding segments of subtypes H5 to H9 reassort at a lower rate compared to those of H1 to H4, and Neuraminidase-encoding segments of subtypes N1 and N2 reassort less frequently than N3 to N9. Both host species and dN/dS ratio were significantly associated with reassortment rate, while evolutionary rate was not associated. The dN/dS ratio was negatively correlated with reassortment rate, as was the number of negatively selected sites for all segments.
These results indicate that overall selective constraint and host species are both associated with reassortment rate. These results together identify the wild bird population as the major source of new reassortants, rather than domestic poultry. The lower reassortment rates observed for H5N1 and H9N2 may be explained by the large proportion of strains derived from domestic poultry populations. In contrast, the higher rates observed in the H1N1, H3N8 and H4N6 subtypes could be due to their primary origin as infections of wild birds with multiple low pathogenicity strains in the large avian reservoir.
An increase in non-B HIV-1 infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United Kingdom (UK) has created opportunities for novel recombinants to arise and become established. We used molecular mapping to characterize the importance of such recombinants to the UK HIV epidemic, in order to gain insights into transmission dynamics that can inform control strategies.
Methods and Results
A total of 55,556 pol (reverse transcriptase and protease) sequences in the UK HIV Drug Resistance Database were analyzed using Subtype Classification Using Evolutionary Algorithms (SCUEAL). Overall 72 patients shared the same A1/D recombination breakpoint in pol, comprising predominantly MSM but also heterosexuals and injecting drug users (IDUs). In six MSM, full-length single genome amplification of plasma HIV-1 RNA was performed in order to characterize the A1/D recombinant. Subtypes and recombination breakpoints were identified using sliding window and jumping profile hidden markov model approaches. Global maximum likelihood trees of gag, pol and env genes were drawn using FastTree version 2.1. Five of the six strains showed the same novel A1/D recombinant (8 breakpoints), which has been classified as CRF50_A1D. The sixth strain showed a complex CRF50_A1D/B/U structure. Divergence dates and phylogeographic inferences were determined using Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis using Sampling Trees (BEAST). This estimated that CRF50_A1D emerged in the UK around 1992 in MSM, with subsequent transmissions to heterosexuals and IDUs. Analysis of CRF50_A1D/B/U demonstrated that around the year 2000 CRF50_A1D underwent recombination with a subtype B strain.
We report the identification of CRF50_A1D, a novel circulating recombinant that emerged in UK MSM around 1992, with subsequent onward transmission to heterosexuals and IDUs, and more recent recombination with subtype B. These findings highlight the changing dynamics of HIV transmission in the UK and the converging of the two previously distinct MSM and heterosexual epidemics.
The precise assembly of specific DNA sequences is a critical technique in molecular biology. Traditional cloning techniques use restriction enzymes and ligation of DNA in vitro, which can be hampered by a lack of appropriate restriction-sites and inefficient enzymatic steps. A number of ligation-independent cloning techniques have been developed, including polymerase incomplete primer extension (PIPE) cloning, sequence and ligation-independent cloning (SLIC), and overlap extension cloning (OEC). These strategies rely on the generation of complementary overhangs by DNA polymerase, without requiring specific restriction sites or ligation, and achieve high efficiencies in a fraction of the time at low cost. Here, we outline and optimise these techniques and identify important factors to guide cloning project design, including avoiding PCR artefacts such as primer-dimers and vector plasmid background. Experiments made use of a common reporter vector and a set of modular primers to clone DNA fragments of increasing size. Overall, PIPE achieved cloning efficiencies of ∼95% with few manipulations, whereas SLIC provided a much higher number of transformants, but required additional steps. Our data suggest that for small inserts (<1.5 kb), OEC is a good option, requiring only two new primers, but performs poorly for larger inserts. These ligation-independent cloning approaches constitute an essential part of the researcher's molecular-tool kit.
Glenohumeral dislocation results in permanent deformation (nonrecoverable strain) of the glenohumeral capsule which leads to increased range of motion and recurrent instability. Minimal research has examined the effects of injury on the biomechanical properties of the capsule which may contribute to poor patient outcome following repair procedures. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of simulated injury on the stiffness and material properties of the AB-IGHL during tensile deformation. Using a combined experimental and computational methodology, the stiffness and material properties of six AB-IGHL samples during tensile elongation were determined before and after simulated injury. The AB-IGHL was subjected to 12.7±3.2% maximum principal strain which resulted in 2.5±0.9% nonrecoverable strain. The linear region stiffness and modulus of stress-stretch curves between the normal (52.4±30.0 N/mm, 39.1±26.6 MPa) and injured (64.7±21.3N/mm, 73.5±53.8MPa) AB-IGHL increased significantly (p=0.03, p=0.04). These increases suggest that changes in the tissue microstructure exist following simulated injury. The injured tissue could contain more aligned collagen fibers and may not be able to support a normal range of joint motion. Collagen fiber kinematics during simulated injury will be examined in the future.
Shoulder; Glenohumeral Joint; Finite Element Analysis; Mechanical Properties; Soft Tissue Injury
The spread of influenza has usually been described by a ‘density’ model, where the largest centres of population drive the epidemic within a country. An alternative model emphasizing the role of air travel has recently been developed. We have examined the relative importance of the two in the context of the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic in Scotland. We obtained genome sequences of 70 strains representative of the geographical and temporal distribution of H1N1 influenza during the summer and winter phases of the pandemic in 2009. We analysed these strains, together with another 128 from the rest of the UK and 292 globally distributed strains, using maximum-likelihood phylogenetic and Bayesian phylogeographical methods. This revealed strikingly different epidemic patterns within Scotland in the early and late parts of 2009. The summer epidemic in Scotland was characterized by multiple independent introductions from both international and other UK sources, followed by major local expansion of a single clade that probably originated in Birmingham. The winter phase, in contrast, was more diverse genetically, with several clades of similar size in different locations, some of which had no particularly close phylogenetic affinity to strains sampled from either Scotland or England. Overall there was evidence to support both models, with significant links demonstrated between North American sequences and those from England, and between England and East Asia, indicating that major air-travel routes played an important role in the pattern of spread of the pandemic, both within the UK and globally.
As sequence data sets used for the investigation of pathogen transmission patterns increase in size, automated tools and standardized methods for cluster analysis have become necessary. We have developed an automated Cluster Picker which identifies monophyletic clades meeting user-input criteria for bootstrap support and maximum genetic distance within large phylogenetic trees. A second tool, the Cluster Matcher, automates the process of linking genetic data to epidemiological or clinical data, and matches clusters between runs of the Cluster Picker.
We explore the effect of different bootstrap and genetic distance thresholds on clusters identified in a data set of publicly available HIV sequences, and compare these results to those of a previously published tool for cluster identification. To demonstrate their utility, we then use the Cluster Picker and Cluster Matcher together to investigate how clusters in the data set changed over time. We find that clusters containing sequences from more than one UK location at the first time point (multiple origin) were significantly more likely to grow than those representing only a single location.
The Cluster Picker and Cluster Matcher can rapidly process phylogenetic trees containing tens of thousands of sequences. Together these tools will facilitate comparisons of pathogen transmission dynamics between studies and countries.
Phylogenetics; Cluster; Sequence analysis; Virus; HIV; Epidemiology
Viruses commonly use host cell survival mechanisms to their own advantage. We show that Akt, an important signaling kinase involved in cell survival, phosphorylates the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) from norovirus, the major cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide. The Akt phosphorylation of RdRp appears to be a feature unique to the more prevalent norovirus genotypes such as GII.4 and GII.b. This phosphorylation event occurs at a residue (Thr33) located at the interface where the RdRp finger and thumb domains interact and decreases de novo activity of the polymerase. This finding provides fresh insights into virus-host cell interactions.
Reassortment between the RNA segments encoding haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA), the major antigenic influenza proteins, produces viruses with novel HA and NA subtype combinations and has preceded the emergence of pandemic strains. It has been suggested that productive viral infection requires a balance in the level of functional activity of HA and NA, arising from their closely interacting roles in the viral life cycle, and that this functional balance could be mediated by genetic changes in the HA and NA. Here, we investigate how the selective pressure varies for H7 avian influenza HA on different NA subtype backgrounds.
By extending Bayesian stochastic mutational mapping methods to calculate the ratio of the rate of non-synonymous change to the rate of synonymous change (dN/dS), we found the average dN/dS across the avian influenza H7 HA1 region to be significantly greater on an N2 NA subtype background than on an N1, N3 or N7 background. Observed differences in evolutionary rates of H7 HA on different NA subtype backgrounds could not be attributed to underlying differences between avian host species or virus pathogenicity. Examination of dN/dS values for each subtype on a site-by-site basis indicated that the elevated dN/dS on the N2 NA background was a result of increased selection, rather than a relaxation of selective constraint.
Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that reassortment exposes influenza HA to significant changes in selective pressure through genetic interactions with NA. Such epistatic effects might be explicitly accounted for in future models of influenza evolution.
Influenza; Evolution; Reassortment; Selection; Subtype
Background. Many studies of sexual behavior have shown that individuals vary greatly in their number of sexual partners over time, but it has proved difficult to obtain parameter estimates relating to the dynamics of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission except in small-scale contact tracing studies. Recent developments in molecular phylodynamics have provided new routes to obtain these parameter estimates, and current clinical practice provides suitable data for entire infected populations.
Methods. A phylodynamic analysis was performed on partial pol gene sequences obtained for routine clinical care from 14 560 individuals, representing approximately 60% of the HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) under care in the United Kingdom.
Results. Among individuals linked to others in the data set, 29% are linked to only 1 individual, 41% are linked to 2–10 individuals, and 29% are linked to ≥10 individuals. The right-skewed degree distribution can be approximated by a power law, but the data are best fitted by a Waring distribution for all time depths. For time depths of 5–7 years, the distribution parameter ρ lies within the range that indicates infinite variance.
Conclusions. The transmission network among UK MSM is characterized by preferential association such that a randomly distributed intervention would not be expected to stop the epidemic.
The circulation of vector-borne zoonotic viruses is largely determined by the overlap in the geographical distributions of virus-competent vectors and reservoir hosts. What is less clear are the factors influencing the distribution of virus-specific lineages. Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the most important etiologic agent of epidemic encephalitis worldwide, and is primarily maintained between vertebrate reservoir hosts (avian and swine) and culicine mosquitoes. There are five genotypes of JEV: GI-V. In recent years, GI has displaced GIII as the dominant JEV genotype and GV has re-emerged after almost 60 years of undetected virus circulation. JEV is found throughout most of Asia, extending from maritime Siberia in the north to Australia in the south, and as far as Pakistan to the west and Saipan to the east. Transmission of JEV in temperate zones is epidemic with the majority of cases occurring in summer months, while transmission in tropical zones is endemic and occurs year-round at lower rates. To test the hypothesis that viruses circulating in these two geographical zones are genetically distinct, we applied Bayesian phylogeographic, categorical data analysis and phylogeny-trait association test techniques to the largest JEV dataset compiled to date, representing the envelope (E) gene of 487 isolates collected from 12 countries over 75 years. We demonstrated that GIII and the recently emerged GI-b are temperate genotypes likely maintained year-round in northern latitudes, while GI-a and GII are tropical genotypes likely maintained primarily through mosquito-avian and mosquito-swine transmission cycles. This study represents a new paradigm directly linking viral molecular evolution and climate.
Although Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a major cause of death and disability throughout tropical and temperate Asia, little is known about the evolution, geographical distribution and epidemiology of the five JEV genotypes (genetically distinct groups). To address this gap in our knowledge, we performed a genetic-based geographical analysis using the largest JEV sequence dataset assembled to date, including 487 viral sequences sampled from 12 countries over 75 years. We showed that both the newly and previously dominant genotypes of JEV are associated with temperate climates and are maintained throughout the cold winter months in northern Asia, likely by hibernating mosquitoes (survive throughout the winter), vertical transmission in mosquitoes (female to offspring), cold-blooded vertebrates and/or bats.
The directional migration of neutrophils towards inflammatory mediators, such as chemokines and cannabinoids, occurs via the activation of seven transmembrane G protein coupled receptors (7TM/GPCRs) and is a highly organized process. A crucial role for controlling neutrophil migration has been ascribed to the cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CB2R), but additional modulatory sites distinct from CB2R have recently been suggested to impact CB2R-mediated effector functions in neutrophils. Here, we provide evidence that the recently de-orphanized 7TM/GPCR GPR55 potently modulates CB2R-mediated responses. We show that GPR55 is expressed in human blood neutrophils and its activation augments the migratory response towards the CB2R agonist 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), while inhibiting neutrophil degranulation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Using HEK293 and HL60 cell lines, along with primary neutrophils, we show that GPR55 and CB2R interfere with each other's signaling pathways at the level of small GTPases, such as Rac2 and Cdc42. This ultimately leads to cellular polarization and efficient migration as well as abrogation of degranulation and ROS formation in neutrophils. Therefore, GPR55 limits the tissue-injuring inflammatory responses mediated by CB2R, while it synergizes with CB2R in recruiting neutrophils to sites of inflammation.
GPR55; CB2R; chemotaxis; ROS production; Rac2; Cdc42
Akt is a critical regulator of cell growth, proliferation, and survival that is activated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). We investigated the effect of PI3K inhibition on activation of sterol regulatory element binding protein-2 (SREBP-2), a master regulator of cholesterol homeostasis. SREBP-2 processing increased in response to various cholesterol depletion approaches (including statin treatment) and this increase was blunted by treatment with a potent and specific inhibitor of PI3K, LY294002, or when a plasmid encoding a dominant-negative form of Akt (DN-Akt) was expressed. LY294002 also suppressed SREBP-2 processing induced by insulin-like growth factor-1. Furthermore, LY294002 treatment down-regulated SREBP-2 or -1c gene targets and decreased cholesterol and fatty acid synthesis. Fluorescence microscopy studies indicated that LY294002 disrupts transport of the SREBP escort protein, SCAP, from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi. This disruption was also shown by immunofluorescence staining when DN-Akt was expressed. Taken together, our studies indicate that the PI3K/Akt pathway is involved in SREBP-2 transport to the Golgi, contributing to the control of SREBP-2 activation. Our results provide a crucial mechanistic link between the SREBP and PI3K/Akt pathways that may be reconciled teleologically because synthesis of new membrane is an absolute requirement for cell growth and proliferation.
The HIV epidemic in higher-income nations is driven by receptive anal intercourse, injection drug use through needle/syringe sharing, and, less efficiently, vaginal intercourse. Alcohol and noninjecting drug use increase sexual HIV vulnerability. Appropriate diagnostic screening has nearly eliminated blood/blood product-related transmissions and, with antiretroviral therapy, has reduced mother-to-child transmission radically. Affected subgroups have changed over time (e.g., increasing numbers of Black and minority ethnic men who have sex with men). Molecular phylogenetic approaches have established historical links between HIV strains from central Africa to those in the United States and thence to Europe. However, Europe did not just receive virus from the United States, as it was also imported from Africa directly. Initial introductions led to epidemics in different risk groups in Western Europe distinguished by viral clades/sequences, and likewise, more recent explosive epidemics linked to injection drug use in Eastern Europe are associated with specific strains. Recent developments in phylodynamic approaches have made it possible to obtain estimates of sequence evolution rates and network parameters for epidemics.
Molecular phylogenetic approaches have traced the evolutionary history of HIV strains, showing that HIV spread from central Africa to the United States and then to Europe, as well as directly from Africa to Europe.
The directional migration of neutrophils towards inflammatory mediators, such as chemokines and cannabinoids, occurs via the activation of seven transmembrane spanning/G protein coupled receptors (7TM/GPCRs) and is a highly organized process. A crucial role for controlling neutrophil migration has been ascribed to the cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CB2R), but additional modulatory sites distinct from CB2R have recently been suggested to impact CB2R-mediated effector functions in neutrophils. Here, we provide evidence that the recently de-orphanized 7TM/GPCR GPR55 potently modulates CB2R-mediated responses. We show that GPR55 is expressed in human blood neutrophils and its activation augments the migratory response towards the CB2R agonist 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), whilst inhibiting the degranulation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Using HEK293 and HL60 cell lines, along with primary neutrophils, we show that the GPR55 and the cannabinoid 2 receptor (CB2R) interfere with each other’s signaling pathways at the level of small GTPases, such as Rac2 and Cdc42. This ultimately leads to cellular polarization and efficient migration but abrogation of degranulation and ROS formation in neutrophils. Therefore, GPR55 limits the tissue-injuring inflammatory responses mediated by CB2R, while it synergizes with CB2R in recruiting neutrophils to sites of inflammation.
GPR55; CB2R; Chemotaxis; ROS production; Rac2; Cdc42
Lipid droplets (LDs) are important cellular organelles that govern the storage and turnover of lipids. Little is known about how the size of LDs is controlled, although LDs of diverse sizes have been observed in different tissues and under different (patho)physiological conditions. Recent studies have indicated that the size of LDs may influence adipogenesis, the rate of lipolysis and the oxidation of fatty acids. Here, a genome-wide screen identifies ten yeast mutants producing “supersized” LDs that are up to 50 times the volume of those in wild-type cells. The mutated genes include: FLD1, which encodes a homologue of mammalian seipin; five genes (CDS1, INO2, INO4, CHO2, and OPI3) that are known to regulate phospholipid metabolism; two genes (CKB1 and CKB2) encoding subunits of the casein kinase 2; and two genes (MRPS35 and RTC2) of unknown function. Biochemical and genetic analyses reveal that a common feature of these mutants is an increase in the level of cellular phosphatidic acid (PA). Results from in vivo and in vitro analyses indicate that PA may facilitate the coalescence of contacting LDs, resulting in the formation of “supersized” LDs. In summary, our results provide important insights into how the size of LDs is determined and identify novel gene products that regulate phospholipid metabolism.
Lipid droplets (LD) are primary lipid storage structures that also function in membrane and lipid trafficking, protein turnover, and the reproduction of deadly viruses. Increased LD accumulation in liver, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue is a hallmark of the metabolic syndrome. Enlarged LDs are often found in these tissues under disease conditions. However, little is known about how the size of LDs is controlled in eukaryotic cells. In this study, we use genetic and biochemical methods to identify important gene products that regulate the size of the LDs. Notably, a common feature among these mutants with “supersized” LDs is an increased level of phosphatidic acid (PA). We also show that a small amount of PA can increase the size of artificial LDs in vitro. Overall, our study identifies important lipids and proteins in determining LD size. These results provide valuable insights into how human cells/tissues handle abnormal influx of lipids in today's obesogenic environment.
ORP5 works together with Niemann Pick C-1 to facilitate exit of cholesterol from endosomes and lysosomes.
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) and its related proteins (ORPs) constitute a large and evolutionarily conserved family of lipid-binding proteins that target organelle membranes to mediate sterol signaling and/or transport. Here we characterize ORP5, a tail-anchored ORP protein that localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum. Knocking down ORP5 causes cholesterol accumulation in late endosomes and lysosomes, which is reminiscent of the cholesterol trafficking defect in Niemann Pick C (NPC) fibroblasts. Cholesterol appears to accumulate in the limiting membranes of endosomal compartments in ORP5-depleted cells, whereas depletion of NPC1 or both ORP5 and NPC1 results in luminal accumulation of cholesterol. Moreover, trans-Golgi resident proteins mislocalize to endosomal compartments upon ORP5 depletion, which depends on a functional NPC1. Our results establish the first link between NPC1 and a cytoplasmic sterol carrier, and suggest that ORP5 may cooperate with NPC1 to mediate the exit of cholesterol from endosomes/lysosomes.