Domain swapping creates protein oligomers by exchange of structural units between identical monomers. At present, no unifying molecular mechanism of domain swapping has emerged. Here we used the protein Cyanovirin-N and 19F-NMR to investigate the process of domain swapping. CV-N is an HIV inactivating protein that can exist as a monomer or a domain-swapped dimer. We measured thermodynamic and kinetic parameters of the conversion process and determined the size of the energy barrier between the two species. The barrier is very large and of similar magnitude to that for equilibrium unfolding of the protein. Therefore, for CV-N, overall unfolding of the polypeptide is required for domain swapping.
There is growing interest in discovery of novel bioactive natural products from Burkholderia thailandensis. Here we report a significantly improved genome sequence and reannotation of Burkholderia thailandensis MSMB43, which will facilitate the discovery of new natural products through genome mining and studies of the metabolic versatility of this bacterium.
Percutaneous ablation using thermal or chemical methods has been widely used in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Nowadays, contrast-enhanced imaging modalities such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) are widely used to evaluate local treatment response after ablation therapies. CEUS is gaining increasing attention due to its characteristics including real-time scanning, easy performance, lack of radiation, wide availability, and lack of allergy reactions. Several studies have documented that CEUS is comparable to CT or MRI in evaluating local treatment efficacy within 1 mo of treatment. However, little information is available regarding the role of CEUS in the follow-up assessment after first successful ablation treatment. Zheng et al found that in comparison with contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT), the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and overall accuracy of CEUS in detecting local tumor progression (LTP) were 67.5%, 97.4%, 81.8%, 94.4% and 92.3%, respectively, and were 77.7%, 92.0%, 92.4%, 76.7% and 84.0%, respectively for the detection of new intrahepatic recurrence. They concluded that the sensitivity of CEUS in detecting LTP and new intrahepatic recurrence after ablation is relatively low in comparison with CECT, and CEUS cannot replace CECT in the follow-up assessment after percutaneous ablation for HCC. These results are meaningful and instructive, and indicated that in the follow-up period, the use of CEUS alone is not sufficient. In this commentary, we discuss the discordance between CT and CEUS, as well as the underlying mechanisms involved. We propose the combined use of CT and CEUS which will reduce false positive and negative results in both modalities. We also discuss future issues, such as an evidence-based ideal imaging follow-up scheme, and a cost-effectiveness analysis of this imaging follow-up scheme.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Radiofrequency ablation; Ethanol ablation; Contrast-enhanced ultrasound; Follow-up; Treatment response; Computed tomography
AIM: To assess the usefulness of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) during follow-up after percutaneous ablation therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: A total of 141 patients with HCCs who received percutaneous ablation therapy were assessed by paired follow-up CEUS and contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT). The follow-up scheme was designed prospectively and the intervals between CEUS and CECT examinations were less than 14 d. Both images of follow-up CEUS and CECT were reviewed by radiologists. The ablated lesions were evaluated and classified as local tumor progression (LTP) and LTP-free. LTP was defined as regrowth of tumor inside or adjacent to the successfully treated nodule. The detected new intrahepatic recurrences were also evaluated and defined as presence of intrahepatic new foci. On CEUS and CECT, LTP and new intrahepatic recurrence both were displayed as typical enhancement pattern of HCC (i.e., hyper-enhancing during the arterial phase and washout in the late phase). With CECT as the reference standard, the ability of CEUS in detecting LTP or new intrahepatic recurrence during follow-up was evaluated.
RESULTS: During a follow-up period of 1-31 mo (median, 4 mo), 169 paired CEUS and CECT examinations were carried out for the 141 patients. For a total of 221 ablated lesions, 266 comparisons between CEUS and CECT findings were performed. Thirty-three LTPs were detected on CEUS whereas 40 LTPs were detected on CECT, there was significant difference (P < 0.001). In comparison with CECT, the numbers of false positive and false negative LTPs detected on CEUS were 6 and 13, respectively; the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV) and overall accuracy of CEUS in detecting LTPs were 67.5%, 97.4%, 81.8%, 94.4% and 92.3%, respectively. Meanwhile, 131 new intrahepatic recurrent foci were detected on CEUS whereas 183 were detected on CECT, there was also significant difference (P < 0.05). In comparison with CECT, the numbers of false positive and false negative intrahepatic recurrences detected on CEUS were 13 and 65, respectively; the sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV and overall accuracy of CEUS in detecting new intrahepatic recurrent foci were 77.7%, 92.0%, 92.4%, 76.7% and 84.0%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The sensitivity of CEUS in detecting LTP and new intrahepatic recurrence after percutaneous ablation therapy is relatively low in comparison with CECT.
Contrast-enhanced ultrasound; Contrast-enhanced computed tomography; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Radiofrequency ablation; Microwave ablation
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β/Smad signaling plays an important role in colon cancer development, progression and metastasis. In this study we demonstrated that the microRNA-130a/301a/454 family is up-regulated in colon cancer tissues compared to paired adjacent normal mucosa, which share the same 3′-untranslational region (3′-UTR) binding seed sequence and are predicated to target Smad4. In colorectal cancer HCT116 and SW480 cells, overexpression of miRNA-130a/301a/454 mimics enhances cell proliferation and migration, while inhibitors of these miRNAs affect cell survival. The biological function of miRNA-130a/301a/454 on colon cancer cells is likely mediated by suppression of Smad4, and the up-regulation of the miRNAs is correlated with Smad4 down-regulation in human colon cancers. Collectively, these results suggest that miRNA-130a/301a/454 are novel oncogenic miRNAs contributing to colon tumorigenesis by regulating TGF-β/Smad signaling, which may have potential application in cancer therapy.
Thymus transplantation, in conjunction with bone marrow transplantation (BMT), has been attracting attention for the treatment of various diseases. Recently, donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) has been used as a helpful tool for establishing donor chimerism and preventing a relapse of leukemia/lymphoma. However, the effects of DLI on transplanted and recipient thymuses have not been explored. We therefore performed DLI in the intrabone marrow–BMT + thymus transplantation setting. We have found that DLI leads to derangements in both recipient thymuses and transplanted thymuses; by 2 wk after BMT, we saw a decrease in total cell number, a lower percentage of CD4+CD8+ cells, and the obliteration of the thymic corticomedullary junction. Four weeks later, the thymic impairment became more serious. However, when we depleted the CD4+ T cells (CD4−-DLI), the recipient thymic recovery and transplanted thymic development were significantly restored by the treatment. In addition, there were much greater levels of TNF-α and Fas ligand, and a lower percentage of regulatory T cells in the DLI group than in the CD4−-DLI group. These findings indicate that inflammation induced by DLI, especially by CD4+ T cells, plays a crucial role in the thymic impairment.
In this study, we evaluate the effect of HO-1 upregulation on blood pressure and cardiac function in the new model of infarct spontaneous hypertensive rats (ISHR). Male spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHR) at 13 weeks (n = 40) and age-matched male Wistar (WT) rats (n = 20) were divided into six groups: WT (sham + normal saline (NS)), WT (sham + Co(III) Protoporphyrin IX Chloride (CoPP)), SHR (myocardial infarction (MI) + NS), SHR (MI + CoPP), SHR (MI + CoPP + Tin Mesoporphyrin IX Dichloride (SnMP)), SHR (sham + NS); CoPP 4.5 mg/kg, SnMP 15 mg/kg, for six weeks, one/week, i.p., n = 10/group. At the sixth week, echocardiography (UCG) and hemodynamics were performed. Then, blood samples and heart tissue were collected. Copp treatment in the SHR (MI + CoPP) group lowered blood pressure, decreased infarcted area, restored cardiac function (left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), left ventricular fraction shortening (LVFS), +dp/dtmax, (−dp/dtmax)/left ventricular systolic pressure (LVSP)), inhibited cardiac hypertrophy and ventricular enlargement (downregulating left ventricular end-systolic diameter (LVEDD), left ventricular end-systolic diameter (LVESD) and heart weight/body weight (HW/BW)), lowered serum CRP, IL-6 and Glu levels and increased serum TB, NO and PGI2 levels. Western blot and immunohistochemistry showed that HO-1 expression was elevated in the SHR (MI + CoPP) group, while co-administration with SnMP suppressed the benefit functions mentioned above. In conclusion, HO-1 upregulation can lower blood pressure and improve post-infarct cardiac function in the ISHR model. These functions may be involved in the inhibition of inflammation and the ventricular remodeling process and in the amelioration of glucose metabolism and endothelial dysfunction.
hypertension; myocardial infarction; heme oxygenase; bilirubin
The chemical similarity of cellulose and chitin supports the idea that their corresponding hydrolytic enzymes would bind β-1,4-linked glucose residues in a similar manner. A structural and mutational analysis was performed for the plant cellulolytic enzyme BGlu1 from Oryza sativa and the insect chitinolytic enzyme OfHex1 from Ostrinia furnacalis. Although BGlu1 shows little amino-acid sequence or topological similarity with OfHex1, three residues (Trp490, Glu328, Val327 in OfHex1, and Trp358, Tyr131 and Ile179 in BGlu1) were identified as being conserved in the +1 sugar binding site. OfHex1 Glu328 together with Trp490 was confirmed to be necessary for substrate binding. The mutant E328A exhibited a 8-fold increment in Km for (GlcNAc)2 and a 42-fold increment in Ki for TMG-chitotriomycin. A crystal structure of E328A in complex with TMG-chitotriomycin was resolved at 2.5 Å, revealing the obvious conformational changes of the catalytic residues (Glu368 and Asp367) and the absence of the hydrogen bond between E328A and the C3-OH of the +1 sugar. V327G exhibited the same activity as the wild-type, but acquired the ability to efficiently hydrolyse β-1,2-linked GlcNAc in contrast to the wild-type. Thus, Glu328 and Val327 were identified as important for substrate-binding and as glycosidic-bond determinants. A structure-based sequence alignment confirmed the spatial conservation of these three residues in most plant cellulolytic, insect and bacterial chitinolytic enzymes.
Accumulating evidence shows that the novel anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-35 can efficiently suppress effector T cell activity and alter the progression of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The two subunits of IL-35, EBI3 and p35, are strongly expressed in human advanced plaque, suggesting a potential role of IL-35 in atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease (CAD). However, the plasma levels of IL-35 in patients with CAD have yet to be investigated.
Plasma IL-35, IL-10, TGF-β1, IL-12 and IL-27 levels were measured using an ELISA in 43 stable angina pectoris (SAP) patients, 62 unstable angina pectoris (UAP) patients, 56 acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients and 47 chest pain syndrome patients as a control group.
The results showed that plasma IL-35 levels were significantly decreased in the SAP group (90.74±34.22 pg/ml), the UAP group (72.20±26.63 pg/ml), and the AMI group (50.21±24.69 pg/ml) compared with chest pain syndrome group (115.06±32.27 pg/ml). Similar results were also demonstrated with IL-10 and TGF-β1. Plasma IL-12 and IL-27 levels were significantly increased in the UAP group (349.72±85.22 pg/ml, 101.75±51.42 pg/ml, respectively) and the AMI group (318.05±86.82 pg/ml, 148.88±68.45 pg/ml, respectively) compared with chest pain syndrome group (138.68±34.37 pg/ml, 63.60±22.75 pg/ml, respectively) and the SAP group (153.84±53.86 pg/ml, 70.84±38.77 pg/ml, respectively). Furthermore, lower IL-35 levels were moderately positively correlated with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in CAD patients (R = 0.416, P<0.01), whereas higher IL-27 levels were weakly negatively correlated with LVEF in CAD patients(R = −0.205, P<0.01).
The results of the present study show that circulating IL-35 is a potentially novel biomarker for coronary artery disease. Regulating the expression of IL-35 also provides a new possible target for the treatment of atherosclerosis and CAD.
Telomeres are essential for the maintenance of genomic stability, and telomere dysfunction leads to cellular senescence, carcinogenesis, aging, and age-related diseases in humans. Pigs have become increasingly important large animal models for preclinical tests and study of human diseases, and also may provide xeno-transplantation sources. Thus far, Southern blot analysis has been used to estimate average telomere lengths in pigs. Telomere quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (Q-FISH), however, can reveal status of individual telomeres in fewer cells, in addition to quantifying relative telomere lengths, and has been commonly used for study of telomere function of mouse and human cells. We attempted to investigate telomere characteristics of porcine cells using telomere Q-FISH method.
The average telomere lengths in porcine cells measured by Q-FISH correlated with those of quantitative real-time PCR method (qPCR) or telomere restriction fragments (TRFs) by Southern blot analysis. Unexpectedly, we found that porcine cells exhibited high incidence of telomere doublets revealed by Q-FISH method, coincided with increased frequency of cellular senescence. Also, telomeres shortened during subculture of various porcine primary cell types. Interestingly, the high frequency of porcine telomere doublets and telomere loss was associated with telomere dysfunction-induced foci (TIFs). The incidence of TIFs, telomere doublets and telomere loss increased with telomere shortening and cellular senescence during subculture.
Q-FISH method using telomere PNA probe is particularly useful for characterization of porcine telomeres. Porcine cells exhibit high frequency of telomere instability and are susceptible to telomere damage and replicative senescence.
Telomere; Q-FISH; qPCR; Telomere doublets; Telomere dysfunction; Senescence
Insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) is a paternally expressed imprinted gene regulating fetal growth, playing an integral role in the development of many tissues including the brain. The parent-of-origin specific expression of Igf2 is largely controlled by allele-specific DNA methylation at CTCF-binding sites in the imprinting control region (ICR), located immediately upstream of the neighboring H19 gene. Previously we reported evidence of a negative correlation between DNA methylation in this region and cerebellum weight in humans.
We quantified cerebellar DNA methylation across all four CTCF binding sites spanning the murine Igf2/H19 ICR in an outbred population of Heterogeneous Stock (HS) mice (n = 48). We observe that DNA methylation at the second and third CTCF binding sites in the Igf2/H19 ICR shows a negative relationship with cerebellar mass, reflecting the association observed in human post-mortem cerebellum tissue.
Given the important role of the cerebellum in motor control and cognition, and the link between structural cerebellar abnormalities and neuropsychiatric phenotypes, the identification of epigenetic factors associated with cerebellum growth and development may provide important insights about the etiology of psychiatric disorders.
Igf2; H19; Epigenetics; DNA methylation; Cerebellum; Brain; Mouse; Genotype; Genomic imprinting
Infantile spasms (ISS) are an epilepsy disorder frequently associated with severe developmental outcome and have diverse genetic etiologies. We ascertained 11 subjects with ISS and novel copy number variants (CNVs) and combined these with a new cohort with deletion 1p36 and ISS, and additional published patients with ISS and other chromosomal abnormalities. Using bioinformatics tools, we analyzed the gene content of these CNVs for enrichment in pathways of pathogenesis. Several important findings emerged. First, the gene content was enriched for the gene regulatory network involved in ventral forebrain development. Second, genes in pathways of synaptic function were overrepresented, significantly those involved in synaptic vesicle transport. Evidence also suggested roles for GABAergic synapses and the postsynaptic density. Third, we confirm the association of ISS with duplication of 14q12 and maternally inherited duplication of 15q11q13, and report the association with duplication of 21q21. We also present a patient with ISS and deletion 7q11.3 not involving MAGI2. Finally, we provide evidence that ISS in deletion 1p36 may be associated with deletion of KLHL17 and expand the epilepsy phenotype in that syndrome to include early infantile epileptic encephalopathy. Several of the identified pathways share functional links, and abnormalities of forebrain synaptic growth and function may form a common biologic mechanism underlying both ISS and autism. This study demonstrates a novel approach to the study of gene content in subjects with ISS and copy number variation, and contributes further evidence to support specific pathways of pathogenesis.
infantile spasms; autism; bioinformatics; copy number variation; deletion 1p36 syndrome
Infantile spasms are an age-dependent epilepsy that are highly associated with cognitive impairment, autism, and movement disorders. Previous classification systems have focused on a distinction between symptomatic and cryptogenic etiologies, and have not kept pace with the recent discoveries of mutations in genes in key pathways of central nervous system development in patients with infantile spasms. Children with certain genetic syndromes are much more likely to have infantile spasms, and we review the literature to propose a genetic classification of these disorders. Children with these genetic associations with infantile spasms also have phenotypes beyond epilepsy that may be explained by recent advances in the understanding of underlying biological mechanisms. We therefore also propose a biologic classification of the genes highly associated with infantile spasms, and articulate models for infantile spasms pathogenesis based on that data. The two best described pathways of pathogenesis are abnormalities in the gene regulatory network of GABAergic forebrain development, and abnormalities in molecules expressed at the synapse. We intend for these genetic and biologic classifications to be flexible, and hope that they will encourage much needed progress in syndrome recognition, clinical genetic testing, and ultimately the development of new therapies that target specific pathways of pathogenesis.
Infantile spasms; developmental epilepsy; autism; movement disorders; gene regulatory networks
Some evidence suggests that acceptance-based approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may be well-suited to geriatric generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The primary goal of this project was to determine whether ACT was feasible for this population. Seven older primary-care patients with GAD received 12 individual sessions of ACT; another 9 were treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy. No patients dropped out of ACT, and worry and depression improved. Findings suggest that ACT may warrant a large-scale investigation with anxious older adults.
Virtual touch tissue quantification (VTQ) of acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) is a new quantitative technique to measure tissue stiffness. The study was aimed to assess the usefulness of VTQ in the diagnosis of thyroid nodules.
173 pathologically proven thyroid nodules in 142 patients were included and all were examined by conventional ultrasound (US), conventional elasticity imaging (EI) and VTQ of ARFI. The tissue stiffness for VTQ was expressed as shear wave velocity (SWV) (m/s). Receiver-operating characteristic curve (ROC) analyses were performed to assess the diagnostic performance. Intra- and inter-observer reproducibility of VTQ measurement was assessed.
The SWVs of benign and malignant thyroid nodules were 2.34±1.17 m/s (range: 0.61–9.00 m/s) and 4.82±2.53 m/s (range: 2.32–9.00 m/s) respectively (P<0.001). The mean SWV ratios between each nodule and the adjacent thyroid tissue were 1.19±0.67 (range: 0.31–6.87) for benign and 2.50±1.54 (range: 0.85–6.69) for malignant nodules (P<0.001). ROC analyses indicated that the area under the curve was 0.861 (95% CI : 0.804, 0.918) (P<0.001) for SWV and 0.831(95% CI : 0.761, 0.900)(P<0.001) for the SWV ratio. The cutoff points for the differential diagnosis were 2.87 m/s for SWV and 1.59 for SWV ratio. The sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for EI were 65.9%, 66.7%, 66.5%, 40.3%, and 85.1%, respectively, and were 63.6%–75%, 82.2%–88.4%, 80.3%–82.1%, 58.9%–65.1%, and 87.7%–90.5%, respectively, for VTQ. The diagnostic value of VTQ is the highest for nodules >20 mm and lowest for those ≤10 mm. The correlation coefficients were 0.904 for intraobserver measurement and 0.864 for interobserver measurement.
VTQ of ARFI provides quantitative and reproducible information about the tissue stiffness, which is useful for the differentiation between benign and malignant thyroid nodules. The diagnostic performance of VTQ is higher than that of conventional EI.
Using vital records and census data representing 165,136 singleton births from 2003–2006, geospatial filtering and density estimates enabled the calculation of preterm birth rates at each geographical point within three urban Ohio counties. Adjusted attributable risk calculations were used to identify risk factors associated with regions of high and low rates of preterm birth. Among the three counties, affected populations varied in size as well as in demographic composition. Variation in the risk factors from one region to another suggests that a single one size fits all intervention strategy would be unlikely to efficiently or effectively impact the complex preterm birth problem. Although more useful in areas with a heterogeneous distribution of preterm birth, application of the presented approach supports the development of efficient community-level health intervention strategies by identifying communities with the highest potential impact and allowing for the prioritization of efforts on specific risk factors within those communities.
The effector functions of CD8+ T cells are influenced by tissue inflammatory microenvironments. IL-33, a member of the IL-1 family, acts as a danger signal after its release during cell necrosis. The IL-33/ST2 axis has been implicated in various Th2 responses. Its role in CD8+ T cell-mediated immune response is, however, not known. Here we find that type 1 cytotoxic T (Tc1) cells cultured in vitro unexpectedly express high levels of the IL-33 receptor ST2. Interestingly, the expression of ST2 in Tc1 cells is dependent on T-bet, a master Th1/Tc1 transcription factor. In addition, IL-33 enhances TCR-triggered IFN-γ production. IL-33 together with IL-12 can stimulate IFN-γ production in Tc1 cells. Moreover, IL-33 synergizes with IL-12 to promote CD8+ T cell effector function. The synergistic effect of IL-33 and IL-12 is partly mediated by Gadd45b. Together, these in vitro data establish a novel role of IL-33 in promoting effector type 1 adaptive immune responses.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) research is hampered by the use of arbitrary representative isolates in cell culture and immunology. The most replicative isolate in vitro is a subtype 2a virus (JFH-1); however, genotype 1 is more prevalent worldwide and represents about 70% of infections in the United States, and genotypes differ from one another by 31% to 33% at the nucleotide level. For phylogenetic and immunologic analyses, viruses H77 and HCV-1 (both subtype 1a) are commonly used based on their historic importance. In an effort to rationally design a representative subtype 1a virus (Bole1a), we used Bayesian phylogenetics, ancestral sequence reconstruction, and covariance analysis on a curated set of 390 full-length human HCV 1a sequences from GenBank. By design, Bole1a contains variations present in widely circulating strains and matches more epitope-sized peptides in a full-genome comparison to subtype 1a isolates than any other sequence studied. Parallel analyses confirm that selected epitopes from the Bole1a genome were able to elicit a robust T cell response. In a proof of concept for infectivity, the envelope genes (E1 and E2) of Bole1a were expressed in an HIV pseudoparticle system containing HCV envelope genes and HIV nonenvelope genes with luciferase expression. The resulting Bole1a pseudoparticle robustly infected Hep3B cells. In this study, we demonstrate that a rationally designed, fully synthetic HCV genome contains representative epitopes and envelope genes that assemble properly and mediate entry into target cells.
To assess the usefulness of contrast–enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in differentiating malignant from benign gallbladder (GB) diseases.
This study had institutional review board approval. 192 patients with GB diseases from 9 university hospitals were studied. After intravenous bonus injection of a phospholipid-stabilized shell microbubble contrast agent, lesions were scanned with low acoustic power CEUS. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify diagnostic clues from 17 independent variables that enabled differentiation between malignant and benign GB diseases. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed.
Among the 17 independent variables, multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the following 4 independent variables were associated with the benign nature of the GB diseases, including the patient age, intralesional blood vessel depicted on CEUS, contrast washout time, and wall intactness depicted on CEUS (all P<0.05). ROC analysis showed that the patient age, intralesional vessels on CEUS, and the intactness of the GB wall depicted on CEUS yielded an area under the ROC curve (Az) greater than 0.8 in each and Az for the combination of the 4 significant independent variables was 0.915 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.857–0.974]. The corresponding Az, sensitivity, and specificity for the age were 0.805 (95% CI: 0.746–0.863), 92.2%%, and 59.6%; for the intralesional vessels on CEUS were 0.813 (95% CI: 0.751–0.875), 59.8%, and 98.0%; and for the GB wall intactness were 0.857 (95% CI: 0.786–0.928), 78.4%, and 92.9%. The cut-off values for benign GB diseases were patient age <53.5 yrs, dotted intralesional vessels on CEUS and intact GB wall on CEUS.
CEUS is valuable in differentiating malignant from benign GB diseases. Branched or linear intralesional vessels and destruction of GB wall on CEUS are the CEUS features highly suggestive of GB malignancy and the patient age >53.5 yrs is also a clue for GB malignancy.
While prions play a central role in the pathogenesis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, the biology of these proteins and the pathophysiology of these diseases remain largely unknown. Since no case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has ever been reported in buffalo despite their phylogenetic proximity to cattle, genetic differences may be driving the different susceptibilities of these two species to BSE. We thus hypothesized that differences in expression of the most recently identified member of the prion family or Shadoo (SPRN) gene may relate to these species-specific differences.
We first analyzed and compared the polymorphisms of the SPRN gene (∼4.4 kb), including the putative promoter, coding and 3′ regions, and further verified the entire ORF and putative promoter. This yielded a total of 117 fixed differences, remarkably: 1) a 12-bp insertion/deletion polymorphism in the hydrophobic domain of the cattle but not buffalo gene, introducing a four amino acid expansion/contraction in a series of 5 tandem Ala/Gly-containing repeats; 2) two fixed missense mutations (102Ser→Gly and 119Thr→Ala), and three missense mutations (92Pro>Thr/Met, 122Thr>Ile and 139Arg>Trp) in the coding region presenting different (P<0.05) genotypic and allelic frequency distributions between cattle and buffalo; and, 3) functional luciferase-reporter experiments for the predicted promoter region, consistent with a significantly higher activity in buffalo than cattle. Supporting these findings, immunoblotting revealed higher relative expression levels of Sho protein in cerebrum from buffalo than from cattle. In addition, for cattle, highest Sho expression was detected in obex, as compared to cerebrum or cerebellum.
Our findings support Sho as a non-PrP specific marker for prion infections, with obex as the best tissue source for the detection of Sho in TSE rapid tests. Moreover, these discoveries may prove advantageous for further understanding the biology of prion diseases.
Bacterial infection is a key factor in airway inflammation. The present study describes the time-dependent changes in the leukocyte counts and cytokine levels of the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) following subacute airway inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a major component of the outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria. LPS (200 μg/rat) or saline was intratracheally administered to rats which were sacrificed 2, 4 or 7 days after LPS treatment. Airway inflammation was evaluated using hematoxylin and eosin staining, cell counts and proinflammatory cytokine levels in the BALF. Rat airways obtained from the LPS group exhibited marked airway wall thickening and infiltration of inflammatory cells compared with the control group, as well as elevated cell counts (neutrophils, macrophages, lymphocytes) and proinflammatory cytokine levels [(tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC)-1)] in the BALF, which peaked on day 2 and subsequently decreased until the experimental endpoint. Notably, IL-1β levels induced by LPS changed in a similar manner to macrophage cell counts, but not neutrophil and lymphocyte counts. Moreover, TNF-α and CINC-1 levels did not decrease as rapidly as neutrophil counts after peaking. These findings suggest that macrophages may play a significant role in maintaining subacute inflammatory responses induced by LPS in rat airways.
subacute airway inflammation; lipopolysaccharide; macrophages
miRNAs are short single-stranded non-coding RNAs involved in post-transcriptional gene regulation that play a major role in normal biological functions and diseases. Little is currently known about how expression of miRNAs is regulated. We surveyed variation in miRNA abundance in the hippocampus of mouse inbred strains, allowing us to take a genetic approach to the study of miRNA regulation, which is novel for miRNAs. The BXD recombinant inbred panel is a very well characterized genetic reference panel which allows quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of miRNA abundance and detection of correlates in a large store of brain and behavioural phenotypes.
We found five suggestive trans QTLs for the regulation of miRNAs investigated. Further analysis of these QTLs revealed two genes, Tnik and Phf17, under the miR-212 regulatory QTLs, whose expression levels were significantly correlated with miR-212 expression. We found that miR-212 expression is correlated with cocaine-related behaviour, consistent with a reported role for this miRNA in the control of cocaine consumption. miR-31 is correlated with anxiety and alcohol related behaviours. KEGG pathway analysis of each miRNA’s expression correlates revealed enrichment of pathways including MAP kinase, cancer, long-term potentiation, axonal guidance and WNT signalling.
The BXD reference panel allowed us to establish genetic regulation and characterize biological function of specific miRNAs. QTL analysis enabled detection of genetic loci that regulate the expression of these miRNAs. eQTLs that regulate miRNA abundance are a new mechanism by which genetic variation influences brain and behaviour. Analysis of one of these QTLs revealed a gene, Tnik, which may regulate the expression of a miRNA, a molecular pathway and a behavioural phenotype. Evidence of genetic covariation of miR-212 abundance and cocaine related behaviours is strongly supported by previous functional studies, demonstrating the value of this approach for discovery of new functional roles and downstream processes regulated by miRNA.
Background: The PDZ protease Deg2 is involved in chloroplast protein quality control through a yet unknown molecular mechanism.
Results: A novel PDZ domain with an internal ligand mediates hexamer formation and locks Deg2 into the resting state.
Conclusion: Formation of the resting hexamer may be a common strategy in a Deg protease subfamily.
Significance: We provide structural insights into the PDZ domain-mediated regulation of Deg proteases.
Eukaryotic organelles have developed elaborate protein quality control systems to ensure their normal activity, among which Deg/HtrA proteases play an essential role. Plant Deg2 protease is a homologue of prokaryotic DegQ/DegP proteases and is located in the chloroplast stroma, where its proteolytic activity is required to maintain the efficiency of photosynthetic machinery during stress. Here, we demonstrate that Deg2 exhibits dual protease-chaperone activities, and we present the hexameric structure of Deg2 complexed with co-purified peptides. The structure shows that Deg2 contains a unique second PDZ domain (PDZ2) following a conventional PDZ domain (PDZ1), with PDZ2 orchestrating the cage assembly of Deg2. We discovered a conserved internal ligand for PDZ2 that mediates hexamer formation and thus locks the protease in the resting state. These findings provide insight into the diverse modes of PDZ domain-mediated regulation of Deg proteases.
Chaperone Chaperonin; Protease; Protein Structure; Structural Biology; X-ray Crystallography; Deg/HtrA Protease; PDZ Domain; Oligomerization; Protease-Chaperone; Protein Quality Control
Lamin A is an inner nuclear membrane protein that maintains nuclear structure integrity, is involved in transcription, DNA damage response and genomic stability, and also links to cell differentiation, senescence, premature aging and associated diseases. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have been successfully generated from various types of cells and used to model human diseases. It remains unclear whether levels of lamin A influence reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotent states during iPS induction. Consistently, lamin A is expressed more in differentiated than in relatively undifferentiated somatic cells, and increases in expression levels with age. Somatic cells with various expression levels of lamin A differ in their dynamics and efficiency during iPS cell induction. Cells with higher levels of lamin A show slower reprogramming and decreased efficiency to iPS cells. Furthermore, depletion of lamin A by transient shRNA accelerates iPS cell induction from fibroblasts. Reduced levels of lamin A are associated with increased expression of pluripotent genes Oct4 and Nanog, and telomerase genes Tert and Terc. On the contrary, overexpression of lamin A retards somatic cell reprogramming to iPS-like colony formation. Our data suggest that levels of lamin A influence reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotent stem cells and that artificial silencing of lamin A facilitates iPS cell induction. These findings may have implications in enhancing rejuvenation of senescent or older cells by iPS technology and manipulating lamin A levels.
Lamin A; Reprogramming; Pluripotency; iPS; ES; Differentiation
This study was designed to evaluate the left ventricular systolic synchronization in patients implanted with dual-chamber DDD mode cardiac pacemakers by real-time three-dimensional echocardiography (RT3DE). Twenty patients implanted with DDD mode cardiac pacemakers for 12 months and 20 healthy subjects underwent RT3DE. This method provided left ventricular end-diastolic volume (LEDV), left ventricular end-systolic volume (LESV), stroke volume (SV), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), the mean value of the time to minimal systolic volume of the 16 left ventricular segments (Tmean), the standard deviation of Tmean (T-SD), the maximal difference of the time to minimal systolic volume of the 16 left ventricular segments (Tmax) and time-volume curves of the 16 left ventricular segments. Results showed that compared with the healthy group, LESV was significantly increased (P<0.05), SV and LVEF were significantly decreased (P<0.05) and T-SD and Tmax were significantly prolonged (P<0.05) in patients implanted with DDD mode cardiac pacemakers. The time to minimal systolic volume of the 16 left ventricular segments time-volume curves differed in patients implanted with DDD mode cardiac pacemakers. Asynchronization of the left ventricular systolic performance in patients implanted with DDD mode cardiac pacemakers was observed. The results showed that RT3DE is a quantitative method used to evaluate left ventricular systolic synchronization.
echocardiography; real-time three-dimensional; pacing; asynchrony; left ventricular