The metazoan Sec61 translocon transports polypeptides into and across the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum via two major routes, a well-established co-translational pathway and a post-translational alternative. We have used two model substrates to explore the elements of a secretory protein precursor that preferentially direct it towards a co- or post-translational pathway for ER translocation. Having first determined the capacity of precursors to enter ER derived microsomes post-translationally, we then exploited semi-permeabilized mammalian cells specifically depleted of key membrane components using siRNA to address their contribution to the membrane translocation process. These studies suggest precursor chain length is a key factor in the post-translational translocation at the mammalian ER, and identify Sec62 and Sec63 as important components acting on this route. This role for Sec62 and Sec63 is independent of the signal sequence that delivers the precursor to the ER. However, the signal sequence can influence the subsequent membrane translocation process, conferring sensitivity to a small molecule inhibitor and dictating reliance on the molecular chaperone BiP. Our data support a model where secretory protein precursors that fail to engage the signal recognition particle, for example because they are short, are delivered to the ER membrane via a distinct route that is dependent upon both Sec62 and Sec63. Although this requirement for Sec62 and Sec63 is unaffected by the specific signal sequence that delivers a precursor to the ER, this region can influence subsequent events, including both Sec61 mediated transport and the importance of BiP for membrane translocation. Taken together, our data suggest that an ER signal sequence can regulate specific aspects of Sec61 mediated membrane translocation at a stage following Sec62/Sec63 dependent ER delivery.
DNA methylation is implicated in mammalian brain development and plasticity underlying learning and memory. We report the genome-wide composition, patterning, cell specificity, and dynamics of DNA methylation at single-base resolution in human and mouse frontal cortex throughout their lifespan. Widespread methylome reconfiguration occurs during fetal to young adult development, coincident with synaptogenesis. During this period, highly conserved non-CG methylation (mCH) accumulates in neurons, but not glia, to become the dominant form of methylation in the human neuronal genome. Moreover, we found an mCH signature that identifies genes escaping X-chromosome inactivation. Last, whole-genome single-base resolution 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC) maps revealed that hmC marks fetal brain cell genomes at putative regulatory regions that are CG-demethylated and activated in the adult brain and that CG demethylation at these hmC-poised loci depends on Tet2 activity.
Society's techno-social systems are becoming ever faster and more computer-orientated. However, far from simply generating faster versions of existing behaviour, we show that this speed-up can generate a new behavioural regime as humans lose the ability to intervene in real time. Analyzing millisecond-scale data for the world's largest and most powerful techno-social system, the global financial market, we uncover an abrupt transition to a new all-machine phase characterized by large numbers of subsecond extreme events. The proliferation of these subsecond events shows an intriguing correlation with the onset of the system-wide financial collapse in 2008. Our findings are consistent with an emerging ecology of competitive machines featuring ‘crowds' of predatory algorithms, and highlight the need for a new scientific theory of subsecond financial phenomena.
To determine the most critical symptoms in a national myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) population and to identify the modifying factors that have the greatest effect on the severity of these symptoms.
We performed a cross-sectional study of 278 adult patients with DM1 from the national registry of patients with DM1 between April and August 2010. We assessed the prevalence and relative significance of 221 critical DM1 symptoms and 14 disease themes. These symptoms and themes were chosen for evaluation based on prior interviews with patients with DM1. Responses were categorized by age, CTG repeat length, gender, and duration of symptoms.
Participants with DM1 provided symptom rating survey responses to address the relative frequency and importance of each DM1 symptom. The symptomatic themes with the highest prevalence in DM1 were problems with hands or arms (93.5%), fatigue (90.8%), myotonia (90.3%), and impaired sleep or daytime sleepiness (87.9%). Participants identified fatigue and limitations in mobility as the symptomatic themes that have the greatest effect on their lives. We found an association between age and the average prevalence of all themes (p < 0.01) and between CTG repeat length and the average effect of all symptomatic themes on participant lives (p < 0.01).
There are a wide range of symptoms that significantly affect the lives of patients with DM1. These symptoms, some previously underrecognized, have varying levels of importance in the DM1 population and are nonlinearly dependent on patient age and CTG repeat length.
Louping ill virus (LIV) is a zoonotic virus causing fatal encephalitis in young sheep and grouse. We have recovered the complete genome sequence from a spinal cord sample prepared from a lamb that was naturally infected with LIV. This is only the second LIV genome sequence reported and the first prepared from a clinical sample.
ANGUSTIFOLIA (AN), one of the CtBP family proteins, plays a major role in microtubule-dependent cell morphogenesis. Microarray analysis of mammalian AN homologs suggests that AN might function as a transcriptional activator and regulator of a wide range of genes. Genetic characterization of AN mutants suggests that AN might be involved in multiple biological processes beyond cell morphology regulation.
Using a reverse genetic approach, we provide in this paper the genetic, biochemical, and physiological evidence for ANGUSTIFOLIA’s role in other new biological functions such as abiotic and biotic stress response in higher plants. The T-DNA knockout an-t1 mutant exhibits not only all the phenotypes of previously described angustifolia null mutants, but also copes better than wild type under dehydration and pathogen attack. The stress tolerance is accompanied by a steady-state modulation of cellular H2O2 content, malondialdehyde (MDA) derived from cellular lipid peroxidation, and over-expression of stress responsive genes. Our results indicate that ANGUSTIFOLIA functions beyond cell morphology control through direct or indirect functional protein interaction networks mediating other biological processes such as drought and pathogen attacks.
Our results indicate that the ANGUSTIFOLIA gene participates in several biochemical pathways controlling cell morphogenesis, abiotic, and biotic stress responses in higher plants. Our results suggest that the in vivo function of plant ANGUSTIFOLIA has been overlooked and it needs to be further studied beyond microtubule-dependent cell morphogenesis.
Angustifolia; Cell morphogenesis; Arabidopsis thaliana; Abiotic stress; Biotic stress; T-DNA knockout mutant
Variation in human skin and eye color is substantial and especially apparent in admixed populations, yet the underlying genetic architecture is poorly understood because most genome-wide studies are based on individuals of European ancestry. We study pigmentary variation in 699 individuals from Cape Verde, where extensive West African/European admixture has given rise to a broad range in trait values and genomic ancestry proportions. We develop and apply a new approach for measuring eye color, and identify two major loci (HERC2[OCA2] P = 2.3×10−62, SLC24A5 P = 9.6×10−9) that account for both blue versus brown eye color and varying intensities of brown eye color. We identify four major loci (SLC24A5 P = 5.4×10−27, TYR P = 1.1×10−9, APBA2[OCA2] P = 1.5×10−8, SLC45A2 P = 6×10−9) for skin color that together account for 35% of the total variance, but the genetic component with the largest effect (∼44%) is average genomic ancestry. Our results suggest that adjacent cis-acting regulatory loci for OCA2 explain the relationship between skin and eye color, and point to an underlying genetic architecture in which several genes of moderate effect act together with many genes of small effect to explain ∼70% of the estimated heritability.
Differences in skin and eye color are some of the most obvious traits that underlie human diversity, yet most of our knowledge regarding the genetic basis for these traits is based on the limited range of variation represented by individuals of European ancestry. We have studied a unique population in Cape Verde, an archipelago located off the West African coast, in which extensive mixing between individuals of Portuguese and West African ancestry has given rise to a broad range of phenotypes and ancestral genome proportions. Our results help to explain how genes work together to control the full range of pigmentary phenotypic diversity, provide new insight into the evolution of these traits, and provide a model for understanding other types of quantitative variation in admixed populations.
Malignant brain tumour (MBT) domain proteins are transcriptional repressors that function within Polycomb complexes. Some MBT genes are tumour suppressors, but how they prevent tumourigenesis is unknown. The Caenorhabditis elegans MBT protein LIN-61 is a member of the synMuvB chromatin-remodelling proteins that control vulval development. Here we report a new role for LIN-61: it protects the genome by promoting homologous recombination (HR) for the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). lin-61 mutants manifest numerous problems associated with defective HR in germ and somatic cells but remain proficient in meiotic recombination. They are hypersensitive to ionizing radiation and interstrand crosslinks but not UV light. Using a novel reporter system that monitors repair of a defined DSB in C. elegans somatic cells, we show that LIN-61 contributes to HR. The involvement of this MBT protein in HR raises the possibility that MBT–deficient tumours may also have defective DSB repair.
The genome is continually under threat from exogenous sources of DNA damage, as well as from sources that originate within the cell. DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are arguably the most problematic type of damage as they can cause dangerous chromosome rearrangements, which can lead to cancer, as well as mutation at the break site and/or cell death. A complex network of molecular pathways, collectively referred to as the DNA damage response (DDR), have evolved to protect the cell from these threats. We have discovered a new DDR factor, LIN-61, that promotes the repair of DSBs. This is a novel and unexpected role for LIN-61, which was previously known to act as a regulator of gene transcription during development.
Successful completion of meiosis requires the induction and faithful repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). DSBs can be repaired via homologous recombination (HR) or non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), yet only repair via HR can generate the interhomolog crossovers (COs) needed for meiotic chromosome segregation. Here we identify COM-1, the homolog of CtIP/Sae2/Ctp1, as a crucial regulator of DSB repair pathway choice during Caenorhabditis elegans gametogenesis. COM-1–deficient germ cells repair meiotic DSBs via the error-prone pathway NHEJ, resulting in a lack of COs, extensive chromosomal aggregation, and near-complete embryonic lethality. In contrast to its yeast counterparts, COM-1 is not required for Spo11 removal and initiation of meiotic DSB repair, but instead promotes meiotic recombination by counteracting the NHEJ complex Ku. In fact, animals defective for both COM-1 and Ku are viable and proficient in CO formation. Further genetic dissection revealed that COM-1 acts parallel to the nuclease EXO-1 to promote interhomolog HR at early pachytene stage of meiotic prophase and thereby safeguards timely CO formation. Both of these nucleases, however, are dispensable for RAD-51 recruitment at late pachytene stage, when homolog-independent repair pathways predominate, suggesting further redundancy and/or temporal regulation of DNA end resection during meiotic prophase. Collectively, our results uncover the potentially lethal properties of NHEJ during meiosis and identify a critical role for COM-1 in NHEJ inhibition and CO assurance in germ cells.
Sexually reproducing animals create germ cells via meiosis, a cell division program that requires the induction and faithful repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Meiotic DSBs are typically repaired via homologous recombination (HR), an error-free repair pathway that generates transient links between homologous chromosomes, named crossovers (COs), which are needed for proper chromosome segregation. To date, it is unclear how germ cells channel these programmed DSBs into HR and not into error-prone DSB repair pathways such as non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). We used the genetically tractable animal model Caenorhabditis elegans to study the mechanisms underlying the strong HR bias in germ cells. Here, we identify COM-1, the worm homolog of CtIP, as a crucial regulator of meiotic DSB repair pathway choice: COM-1 effectively blocks the action of the NHEJ complex Ku, thereby assuring correct repair via HR. In addition, we show that unscheduled NHEJ activity during meiosis leads to a lack of COs, extensive chromosomal aggregation, and near-complete embryonic lethality. Further genetic dissection also revealed a redundant and stage-specific role for COM-1 in meiotic HR. Our work thus establishes COM-1/CtIP as a caretaker of germline genome stability and unveils meiotic NHEJ as a potent source of chromosomal aberrations in newborns.
Height is a complex trait under strong genetic influence. To date, numerous genetic loci have been associated with height in individuals of European ancestry. However, few large-scale discovery genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of height in minority populations have been conducted and thus information about population-specific height regulation is limited. We conducted a GWA analysis of height in 8149 African-American (AA) women from the Women's Health Initiative. Genetic variants with P< 5 × 10−5 (n = 169) were followed up in a replication data set (n = 20 809) and meta-analyzed in a total of 28 958 AAs and African-descent individuals. Twelve single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) representing 7 independent loci were significantly associated with height at P < 5 × 10−8. We identified novel SNPs in 17q23 (TMEM100/PCTP) and Xp22.3 (ARSE) reflecting population-specific regulation of height in AAs and replicated five loci previously reported in European-descent populations [4p15/LCORL, 11q13/SERPINH1, 12q14/HMGA2, 17q23/MAP3K3 (mitogen-activated protein kinase3) and 18q21/DYM]. In addition, we performed an admixture mapping analysis of height which is both complementary and supportive to the GWA analysis and suggests potential associations between ancestry and height on chromosomes 4 (4q21), 15 (15q26) and 17 (17q23). Our findings provide insight into the genetic architecture of height and support the investigation of non-European-descent populations for identifying genetic factors associated with complex traits. Specifically, we identify new loci that may reflect population-specific regulation of height and report several known height loci that are important in determining height in African-descent populations.
Vertebrate pheromones are known to prime the endocrine system, especially the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. However, no known pheromone molecule has been shown to modulate directly the synthesis or release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), the main regulator of the HPG axis. We selected sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) as a model system to determine whether a single pheromone component alters the output of GnRH.
Sea lamprey male sex pheromones contain a main component, 7α, 12α, 24-trihydroxy-5α-cholan-3-one 24-sulfate (3 keto-petromyzonol sulfate or 3kPZS), which has been shown to modulate behaviors of mature females. Through a series of experiments, we tested the hypothesis that 3kPZS modulates both synthesis and release of GnRH, and subsequently, HPG output in immature sea lamprey.
The results showed that natural male pheromone mixtures induced differential steroid responses but facilitated sexual maturation in both sexes of immature animals (χ2 = 5.042, dF = 1, p < 0.05). Exposure to 3kPZS increased plasma 15α-hydroxyprogesterone (15α-P) concentrations (one-way ANOVA, p < 0.05) and brain gene expressions (genes examined: three lamprey (l) GnRH-I transcripts, lGnRH-III, Jun and Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK); one-way ANOVA, p < 0.05), but did not alter the number of GnRH neurons in the hypothalamus in immature animals. In addition, 3kPZS treatments increased lGnRH peptide concentrations in the forebrain and modulated their levels in plasma. Overall, 3kPZS modulation of HPG axis is more pronounced in immature males than in females.
We conclude that a single male pheromone component primes the HPG axis in immature sea lamprey in a sexually dimorphic manner.
Pheromone; Priming; HPG axis; GnRH; Steroid; Sexual dimorphism
To compare the short term financial costs of treating a patient in myasthenia gravis crisis (MGC) with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) versus plasma exchange (PLEX).
An itemized comparative cost-minimization analysis of IVIG vs. plasma exchange for MGC was performed. Calculations were based on each therapy’s implementation cost, associated hospitalization times, and predicted cost to treat known complications. A cost superiority determination was proposed based on the total cost profile of each therapy.
The difference in total cost favored IVIG over PLEX with an average savings of $22,326 per patient. Sensitivity analysis demonstrated that overall costs are highly dependent on IVIG dosing, hospital lengths of stay, and the number of plasma exchange days required.
The use of IVIG for MGC may be a short term cost minimizing therapy compared to PLEX. Additional prospective studies are required to evaluate the extended cost profile and efficacy of these therapies.
Myotonic dystrophy type-2 (DM2) is a recently discovered adult muscular dystrophy. Similar to DM1, this disease causes progressive debilitating weakness, clinical myotonia, and early cataracts, and is thought to cause widespread physiologic dysfunction of multiple organ systems.
To analyze and compile the laboratory abnormalities of patients with DM2.
Baseline DM2 laboratory data were compiled representing 68 different types of laboratory tests and 1442 total studies.
University Medical Center.
Eighty-three adults with genetically confirmed or clinically probable DM2 were identified. Of these patients, 49 had documented baseline laboratory screening.
Main Outcome Measures
The individual frequencies of abnormal values in the population with DM2 studied.
Of the 1442 studies, results for 359 (24.9%) were outside of their standard reference ranges. Of the 68 types of laboratory tests studied, 43 had values from fifteen or more different patients with DM2. The relative frequency of an abnormally elevated laboratory value was greater than 50% in several tests, including the levels of creatine kinase, total cholesterol, lactate dehydrogenase, and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). In addition, serum levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG) were low in 75% of all DM2 patients tested and absolute lymphocyte counts were low in 54% of all DM2 patients tested.
There is a high frequency of laboratory abnormalities in patients with DM2. These abnormalities provide insight into the widespread pathologic manifestations of DM2 and may form a basis for clinical monitoring and disease screening.
Whilst the co-translational translocation of nascent proteins across the mammalian endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is well defined, the capacity of this organelle for post-translational translocation is poorly delineated. Here we identify two human secretory protein precursors, apelin and statherin, as bona fide substrates for post-translational translocation across the ER membrane. Further studies, in combination with Hyalophora cecropia preprocecropin A (ppcecA), show that all three proteins bind to TRC40 and can utilise this component for their delivery to the ER membrane in a well-established in vitro system. However, ppcecA is not an obligate TRC40 substrate, and it can also be delivered to the ER by an alternative TRC40-independent pathway. Upon arrival at the ER membrane, these short secretory proteins appear to be ubiquitously transported across the ER membrane through the Sec61 translocon, apparently irrespective of their delivery route. We speculate that the post-translational translocation of secretory proteins in higher eukaryotes is more prevalent than previously acknowledged.
Asna 1; Endoplasmic reticulum; Post-translational translocation; Tail-anchored protein; WRB protein; Eeyarestatin I
There is an urgent need to develop new drugs against parasitic nematodes, which are a significant burden on human health and agriculture. Information about the function of essential nematode-specific genes provides insight to key nematode-specific processes that could be targeted with drugs. We have characterized the function of a novel, nematode-specific Caenorhabditis elegans protein, VHA-19, and show that VHA-19 is essential in the germline and, specifically, the oocytes, for the completion of embryogenesis. VHA-19 is also involved in trafficking the oocyte receptor RME-2 to the oocyte plasma membrane and is essential for osmoregulation in the embryo, probably because VHA-19 is required for proper eggshell formation via exocytosis of cortical granules or other essential components of the eggshell. VHA-19 may also have a role in cytokinesis, either directly or as an indirect effect of its role in osmoregulation. Critically, VHA-19 is expressed in the excretory cell in both larvae and adults, suggesting that it may have a role in osmoregulation in C. elegans more generally, probably in trafficking or secretion pathways. This is the first time a role for VHA-19 has been described.
Oocyte loss has a significant impact on fertility and somatic health. Yet, we know little about factors that impact this process. We sought to identify genetic variants associated with ovarian reserve (oocyte number as measured by antral follicle count, AFC). Based on recently published genome-wide scans that identified loci associated with age of menopause, we also sought to test our hypothesis that follicle number and menopausal age share underlying genetic associations. We analyzed menopause-related variants for association with follicle number in an independent population of approximately 450 reproductive-aged women of European and African ancestry; these women were assessed for AFC, anthropometric, clinical, and lifestyle factors. One SNP strongly associated with later menopausal age in Caucasian women (+1.07 ± 0.11 years) in previous work was also associated with higher follicle counts in Caucasians (+2.79 ± 1.67 follicles) in our study. This variant is within the Minichromosome Maintenance Complex Component 8 (MCM8) gene, which we found was expressed within oocytes in follicles of the human ovary. In genome-wide scans of AFC, we also identified one marginally genome-wide and several nominally significant SNPs within several other genes associated with follicle number in both ethnic groups. Further, there were overlapping variants associated with multiple ovarian reserve markers (AFC, serum hormone levels, menopausal age). This study provides the first evidence for direct genetic associations underlying both follicle number and menopause and identifies novel candidate genes. Genetic variants associated with ovarian reserve may facilitate discovery of genetic markers to predict reproductive health and lifespan in women.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-012-1184-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Metastatic papillary renal cell carcinoma (RCC) to the heart has never been reported. We report the case of a 73-year-old patient with papillary RCC metastatic to the left and right ventricles, found during a triple vessel coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
For most of the world, human genome structure at a population level is shaped by interplay between ancient geographic isolation and more recent demographic shifts, factors that are captured by the concepts of biogeographic ancestry and admixture, respectively. The ancestry of non-admixed individuals can often be traced to a specific population in a precise region, but current approaches for studying admixed individuals generally yield coarse information in which genome ancestry proportions are identified according to continent of origin. Here we introduce a new analytic strategy for this problem that allows fine-grained characterization of admixed individuals with respect to both geographic and genomic coordinates. Ancestry segments from different continents, identified with a probabilistic model, are used to construct and study “virtual genomes” of admixed individuals. We apply this approach to a cohort of 492 parent–offspring trios from Mexico City. The relative contributions from the three continental-level ancestral populations—Africa, Europe, and America—vary substantially between individuals, and the distribution of haplotype block length suggests an admixing time of 10–15 generations. The European and Indigenous American virtual genomes of each Mexican individual can be traced to precise regions within each continent, and they reveal a gradient of Amerindian ancestry between indigenous people of southwestern Mexico and Mayans of the Yucatan Peninsula. This contrasts sharply with the African roots of African Americans, which have been characterized by a uniform mixing of multiple West African populations. We also use the virtual European and Indigenous American genomes to search for the signatures of selection in the ancestral populations, and we identify previously known targets of selection in other populations, as well as new candidate loci. The ability to infer precise ancestral components of admixed genomes will facilitate studies of disease-related phenotypes and will allow new insight into the adaptive and demographic history of indigenous people.
Admixed individuals, such as African Americans and Latinos, arise from mating between individuals from different continents. Detailed knowledge about the ancestral origin of an admixed population not only provides insight regarding the history of the population itself, but also affords opportunities to study the evolutionary biology of the ancestral populations. Applying novel statistical methods, we analyzed the high-density genotype data of nearly 1,500 Mexican individuals from Mexico City, who are admixed among Indigenous Americans, Europeans, and Africans. The relative contributions from the three continental-level ancestral populations vary substantially between individuals. The European ancestors of these Mexican individuals genetically resemble Southern Europeans, such as the Spaniard and the Portuguese. The Indigenous American ancestry of the Mexicans in our study is largely attributed to the indigenous groups residing in the southwestern region of Mexico, although some individuals have inherited varying degrees of ancestry from the Mayans of the Yucatan Peninsula and other indigenous American populations. A search for signatures of selection, focusing on the parts of the genomes derived from an ancestral population (e.g. Indigenous American), identifies regions in which a genetic variant may have been favored by natural selection in that ancestral population.
Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) have been responsible for some of the most explosive epidemics of emerging infectious diseases over the past decade. Their impact on both human and livestock populations has been dramatic. The early detection either through surveillance or diagnosis of virus will be a critical feature in responding and resolving the emergence of such epidemics in the future. Although some of the most important emerging arboviruses are human pathogens, this paper aims to highlight those diseases that primarily affect livestock, although many are zoonotic and some occasionally cause human mortality. This paper also highlights the molecular detection methods specific to each virus and identifies those emerging diseases for which a rapid detection methods are not yet developed.
Current genome-wide association studies (GWAS) often involve populations that have experienced recent genetic admixture. Genotype data generated from these studies can be used to test for association directly, as in a non-admixed population. As an alternative, these data can be used to infer chromosomal ancestry, and thus allow for admixture mapping. We quantify the contribution of allele-based and ancestry-based association testing under a family-design, and demonstrate that the two tests can provide non-redundant information. We propose a joint testing procedure, which efficiently integrates the two sources information. The efficiencies of the allele, ancestry and combined tests are compared in the context of a GWAS. We discuss the impact of population history and provide guidelines for future design and analysis of GWAS in admixed populations.
Dengue viruses (DENV) cause countless human deaths each year, whilst West Nile virus (WNV) has re-emerged as an important human pathogen. There are currently no WNV or DENV vaccines licensed for human use, yet vaccines exist against other flaviviruses. To investigate flavivirus cross-reactivity, sera from a human cohort with a history of vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and yellow fever virus (YFV) were tested for antibodies by plaque reduction neutralization test. Neutralization of louping ill virus (LIV) occurred, but no significant neutralization of Murray Valley encephalitis virus was observed. Sera from some individuals vaccinated against TBEV and JEV neutralized WNV, which was enhanced by YFV vaccination in some recipients. Similarly, some individuals neutralized DENV-2, but this was not significantly influenced by YFV vaccination. Antigenic cartography techniques were used to generate a geometric illustration of the neutralization titres of selected sera against WNV, TBEV, JEV, LIV, YFV and DENV-2. This demonstrated the individual variation in antibody responses. Most sera had detectable titres against LIV and some had titres against WNV and DENV-2. Generally, LIV titres were similar to titres against TBEV, confirming the close antigenic relationship between TBEV and LIV. JEV was also antigenically closer to TBEV than WNV, using these sera. The use of sera from individuals vaccinated against multiple pathogens is unique relative to previous applications of antigenic cartography techniques. It is evident from these data that notable differences exist between amino acid sequence identity and mapped antigenic relationships within the family Flaviviridae.
The ovarian reserve (number and quality of oocytes) is correlated with reproductive potential as well as somatic health, and is likely to have multiple genetic and environmental determinants. Several reproductive hormones are closely linked with the oocyte pool and thus can serve as surrogate markers of ovarian reserve. However, we know little about the underlying genes or genetic variants.
We analyzed genetic variants across the genome associated with two hormonal markers of ovarian reserve, FSH and anti-Mullerian hormone, in a reproductively normal population of Caucasian (n = 232) and African American (n = 200) women, aged 25–45 years. We also examined the effects of environmental or lifestyle factors on ovarian reserve phenotypes.
We identified one variant approaching genome-wide significance (rs6543833; P= 8.07 × 10−8) and several nominal variants nearby and within the myeloid-associated differentiation marker-like (MYADML) gene, that were associated with FSH levels in African American women; these were validated in Caucasian women. We also discovered effects of smoking and oral contraceptive use on ovarian reserve phenotypes, with alterations in several reproductive hormones.
This work is the largest study on ovarian reserve in women of reproductive age and is the only genome-wide study on ovarian reserve markers. The genes containing or near the identified variants have no known roles in ovarian biology and represent interesting candidate genes for future investigations. The discovery of genetic markers may lead to better long-range predictions of declining ovarian function, with implications for reproductive and somatic health.
FSH / anti-Mullerian hormone; antral follicle count; single nucleotide polymorphism
Many types of organic phosphorus (P) molecules exist in environmental samples1. Traditional P measurements do not detect these organic P compounds since they do not react with colorimetric reagents2,3. Enzymatic hydrolysis (EH) is an emerging method for accurately characterizing organic P forms in environmental samples4,5. This method is only trumped in accuracy by Phosphorus-31 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (31P-NMR) -a method that is expensive and requires specialized technical training6. We have adapted an enzymatic hydrolysis method capable of measuring three classes of phosphorus (monoester P, diester P and inorganic P) to a microplate reader system7. This method provides researchers with a fast, accurate, affordable and user-friendly means to measure P species in soils, sediments, manures and, if concentrated, aquatic samples. This is the only high-throughput method for measuring the forms and enzyme-lability of organic P that can be performed in a standard laboratory. The resulting data provides insight to scientists studying system nutrient content and eutrophication potential.
Rabies virus (RABV) is enzootic throughout Africa, with the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) being the principal vector. Dog rabies is estimated to cause 24,000 human deaths per year in Africa, however, this estimate is still considered to be conservative. Two sub-Saharan African RABV lineages have been detected in West Africa. Lineage 2 is present throughout West Africa, whereas Africa 1a dominates in northern and eastern Africa, but has been detected in Nigeria and Gabon, and Africa 1b was previously absent from West Africa. We confirmed the presence of RABV in a cohort of 76 brain samples obtained from rabid animals in Ghana collected over an eighteen-month period (2007–2009). Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences obtained confirmed all viruses to be RABV, belonging to lineages previously detected in sub-Saharan Africa. However, unlike earlier reported studies that suggested a single lineage (Africa 2) circulates in West Africa, we identified viruses belonging to the Africa 2 lineage and both Africa 1 (a and b) sub-lineages. Phylogeographic Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo analysis of a 405 bp fragment of the RABV nucleoprotein gene from the 76 new sequences derived from Ghanaian animals suggest that within the Africa 2 lineage three clades co-circulate with their origins in other West African countries. Africa 1a is probably a western extension of a clade circulating in central Africa and the Africa 1b virus a probable recent introduction from eastern Africa. We also developed and tested a novel reverse-transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay for the detection of RABV in African laboratories. This RT-LAMP was shown to detect both Africa 1 and 2 viruses, including its adaptation to a lateral flow device format for product visualization. These data suggest that RABV epidemiology is more complex than previously thought in West Africa and that there have been repeated introductions of RABV into Ghana. This analysis highlights the potential problems of individual developing nations implementing rabies control programmes in the absence of a regional programme.
Rabies virus (RABV) is widespread throughout Africa, with the domestic dog being the principal vector. Dog rabies is estimated to cause 24,000 human deaths per year in Africa, however, this estimate is still considered to be conservative. Two sub-Saharan African RABV lineages (Africa 1 and 2) are thought to circulate in western and central Africa. We confirmed the presence of RABV in a cohort of 76 brain samples obtained from rabid animals in Ghana collected from 2007 to 2009. In addition we developed and tested a novel molecular diagnostic assay for the detection of RABV, which offers an alternative RABV diagnostic tool for African laboratories. Our analysis of the genetic sequences obtained confirmed all viruses to be RABV, however, unlike previous studies we detected two sub-Saharan African RABV viruses (Africa 1 and 2) in this cohort, which included a single virus previously undetected in West Africa. We suggest that there has been repeated introduction of new RABVs into Ghana over a prolonged period from other West African countries and more recently from eastern Africa. These observations further highlight the problems of individual developing nations implementing rabies control programmes at a local, rather than regional level.