Based on the potential involvement of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signalling in the pathogenesis of neonatal lupus (NL), it was hypothesised that fetal exposure to hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a TLR inhibitor, might reduce the risk of anti-SSA/Ro/SSB/La antibody-associated cardiac manifestations of NL (cardiac-NL).
Cardiac-NL children (N=50) and controls (N=151) were drawn from the following overlapping pregnancy studies: Research Registry for NL; PR Interval and Dexamethasone Evaluation in Cardiac-NL; and Predictors of Pregnancy Outcomes: Biomarkers in Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Pregnancies met the following inclusion criteria: documentation of maternal anti-SSA/Ro/SSB/La antibodies at pregnancy, confirmation of medication use and child’s outcome, a diagnosis of SLE before pregnancy and birth by 31 December 2007.
Seven (14%) of the cardiac-NL children were exposed to HCQ compared with 56 (37%) of the controls (p=0.002; OR 0.28; 95% CI 0.12 to 0.63). Cases and controls were similar with respect to demographic and antibody status. Multivariable analysis adjusting for birth year, maternal race/ethnicity, antibody status, non-fluorinated steroid use and prior cardiac-NL risk yielded an OR associated with HCQ use of 0.46 (95% CI 0.18 to 1.18; p=0.10).
This case–control study suggests that, in mothers with SLE with anti-SSA/Ro/SSB/La antibodies, exposure to HCQ during pregnancy may decrease the risk of fetal development of cardiac-NL. Prospective studies are needed for confirmation.
Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is considered to be a major force driving the evolutionary history of prokaryotes. HGT is widespread in prokaryotes, contributing to the genomic repertoire of prokaryotic organisms, and is particularly apparent in Rickettsiales genomes. Gene gains from both distantly and closely related organisms play crucial roles in the evolution of bacterial genomes. In this work, we focus on genes transferred from distantly related species into Rickettsiales species.
We developed an automated approach for the detection of HGT from other organisms (excluding alphaproteobacteria) into Rickettsiales genomes. Our systematic approach consisted of several specialized features including the application of a parsimony method for inferring phyletic patterns followed by blast filter, automated phylogenetic reconstruction and the application of patterns for HGT detection. We identified 42 instances of HGT in 31 complete Rickettsiales genomes, of which 38 were previously unidentified instances of HGT from Anaplasma, Wolbachia, Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique and Rickettsia genomes. Additionally, putative cases with no phylogenetic support were assigned gene ontology terms. Overall, these transfers could be characterized as “rhizome-like”.
Our analysis provides a comprehensive, systematic approach for the automated detection of HGTs from several complete proteome sequences that can be applied to detect instances of HGT within other genomes of interest.
Horizontal gene transfer; Rickettsiales; Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique; Sympatry
The role of circadian proteins in regulating whole body metabolism and bone turnover has been studied in detail and has led to the discovery of an elemental system for timekeeping involving the core genes Clock, Bmal1, Per, and Cry. Nocturnin, a peripheral circadian-regulated gene has been shown to play a very important role in regulating adipogenesis by deadenylation of key mRNAs and intra-cytoplasmic transport of PPARγ. The role that it plays in osteogenesis has previously not been studied in detail. In this report we examined in vitro and in vivo osteogenesis in the presence and absence of Nocturnin and show that loss of Nocturnin enhances bone formation and can rescue Rosiglitazone induced bone loss in mice. The circadian rhythm of Nocturnin is likely to be an essential element of marrow stromal cell fate.
Nocturnin; rosiglitazone; PPARγ
The vitamin D receptor (VDR) is crucial for virtually all of vitamin D’s actions and is thought to be ubiquitously expressed. We hypothesized that disruption of one allele of the VDR gene would impact bone development and would have metabolic consequences. Body composition and bone mass (BMD) in VDR heterozygous (VDR HET) mice were compared to those obtained in male and female VDR KO and WT mice at 8 weeks of age. Male mice were also evaluated at 16 weeks, and bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation was evaluated in VDR female mice. Additionally, female VDR HET and WT mice received intermittent PTH treatment or vehicle (VH) for 4 weeks. BMD was determined at baseline and after treatment. MRI was done in vivo at the end of treatment; μCT and bone histomorphometry were performed after killing the animals. VDR HET male mice had normal skeletal development until 16 weeks of age but showed significantly less gain in fat mass than WT mice. In contrast, female VDR HET mice showed decreased total-body BMD at age 8 weeks but ad a normal skeletal response to PTH. MSC differentiation was also impaired in VDR HET female mice. Thus, female VDR HET mice show early impairment in bone acquisition, while male VDR HET mice exhibit a lean phenotype. Our results indicate that the VDR HET mouse is a useful model for studying the metabolic and skeletal impact of decreased vitamin D sensitivity.
Vitamin D; Parathyroid hormone; Body composition
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is debilitating and carries a high colon cancer risk. Apoptosis of inflammatory cells is a key mechanism regulating UC. We have recently shown that American ginseng (AG), and to a greater extent, a Hexane fraction of AG (HAG) can cause apoptosis and suppress mouse colitis through a p53-mediated mechanism. Here, we tested the hypothesis that HAG suppresses colitis through a p53 mechanism. We found only a limited impact of p53 in the ability of HAG to induce inflammatory cell apoptosis and suppress mouse colitis in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we asked whether HAG could cause cell cycle arrest of HCT116 colon cancer cells in vitro. Interestingly, HAG caused a G1 arrest of such cells independent of p53 status. Findings are significant because HAG suppresses colitis and associated colon cancer, and mutation in p53 is observed in most colitis-driven colon cancers. Therefore, HAG might be very effective in targeting the inflammatory cells and cancer cells since it induces apoptosis of inflammatory cells and cell cycle arrest in both p53−/− and WT p53 colon cancer cells.
Increased oxidative stress and inflammation are highly prevalent in chronic kidney disease (CKD), yet few studies have investigated whether oral antioxidant therapy can alter markers of inflammation or oxidative stress in CKD. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a combination of mixed tocopherols and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) would alter biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation in subjects with Stage 3–4 CKD.
This was a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial. 62 subjects were enrolled, and were randomly assigned to receive the combination of mixed tocopherols 666 IU/day plus ALA 600mg/day or their matching placebos for a total of 8 weeks. Plasma F2-isoprostane and protein thiol concentration were measured as biomarkers of oxidative stress, and C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) concentration as biomarkers of systemic inflammation.
There were no significant differences in demographics, diabetic status, or estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) between study treatment and placebo groups at baseline. 58 of 62 randomized subjects (93%) completed the study protocol. After two months of treatment, there were no significant changes in F2-isoprostanes, protein thiols, CRP and IL-6 concentrations with mixed tocopherols and ALA treatment compared to matching placebos, whether analyzed as intention to treat or as treated. Diabetic status and baseline body mass index did not influence the results.
Combination oral mixed tocopherols and ALA treatment for 2 months does not influence biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation in Stage 3–4 CKD patients.
The evolution of the Alphaproteobacteria and origin of the mitochondria are topics of considerable debate. Most studies have placed the mitochondria ancestor within the Rickettsiales order. Ten years ago, the bacterium Odyssella thessalonicensis was isolated from Acanthamoeba spp., and the 16S rDNA phylogeny placed it within the Rickettsiales. Recently, the whole genome of O. thessalonicensis has been sequenced, and 16S rDNA phylogeny and more robust and accurate phylogenomic analyses have been performed with 65 highly conserved proteins.
The results suggested that the O. thessalonicensis emerged between the Rickettsiales and other Alphaproteobacteria. The mitochondrial proteins of the Reclinomonas americana have been used to locate the phylogenetic position of the mitochondrion ancestor within the Alphaproteobacteria tree. Using the K tree score method, nine mitochondrion-encoded proteins, whose phylogenies were congruent with the Alphaproteobacteria phylogenomic tree, have been selected and concatenated for Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood phylogenies. The Reclinomonas americana mitochondrion is a sister taxon to the free-living bacteria Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique, and together, they form a clade that is deeply rooted in the Rickettsiales clade.
The Reclinomonas americana mitochondrion phylogenomic study confirmed that mitochondria emerged deeply in the Rickettsiales clade and that they are closely related to Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique.
We describe a new class of subunit-selective antagonists of N-methyl D-Aspartate (NMDA)-selective ionotropic glutamate receptors that contain the (E)-3-phenyl-2-styrylquinazolin-4(3H)-one backbone. The inhibition of recombinant NMDA receptor function induced by these quinazolin-4-one derivatives is non-competitive and voltage-independent, suggesting that this family of compounds does not exert action on the agonist binding site of the receptor or block the channel pore. The compounds described here resemble CP-465,022 ((S)-3-(2-chlorophenyl)-2-[2-(6-diethylaminomethyl-pyridin-2-yl)-vinyl]-6-fluoro-3H-quinazolin-4-one), a non-competitive antagonist of AMPA-selective glutamate receptors. However, modification of ring substituents resulted in analogues with greater than 100-fold selectivity for recombinant NMDA receptors over AMPA and kainate receptors. Furthermore, within this series of compounds, analogues were identified with 50-fold selectivity for recombinant NR2C/D-containing receptors over NR2A/B containing receptors. These compounds represent a new class of non-competitive subunit-selective NMDA receptor antagonists.
Enantiomeric propanolamines have been identified as a new class of NR2B-selective NMDA receptor antagonists. The most effective agents are biaryl structures, synthesized in six steps with overall yields ranging from 11–64%. The compounds are potent and selective inhibitors of NR2B-containing recombinant NMDA receptors with IC50 values between 30–100 nM. Potency is strongly controlled by substitution on both rings and the centrally located amine nitrogen. SAR analysis suggests that well-balanced polarity and chain-length factors provide the greatest inhibitory potency. Structural comparisons based on 3D shape analysis and electrostatic complementarity support this conclusion. The antagonists are neuroprotective in both in vitro and in vivo models of ischemic cell death. In addition, some compounds exhibit anticonvulsant properties. Unlike earlier generation NMDA receptor antagonists and some NR2B-selective antagonists, the present series of propanolamines does not cause increased locomotion in rodents. Thus, the NR2B-selective antagonists exhibit a range of therapeutically interesting properties.
NMDA receptors are tetrameric complexes of NR1 and NR2A-D subunits that mediate excitatory synaptic transmission and play a role in neurological disorders. We have identified a novel subunit-selective potentiator of NMDA receptors containing the NR2C or NR2D subunit, which could allow selective modification of circuit function in regions expressing NR2C/D subunits. The substituted tetrahydroisoquinoline CIQ enhances receptor responses two-fold with an EC50 of 3 μM by increasing channel opening frequency without altering mean open time or EC50 values for glutamate or glycine. The actions of CIQ depend on a single residue in the M1 region (NR2D Thr592) and the linker between the amino terminal domain and agonist binding domain. CIQ potentiates native NR2D-containing NMDA receptor currents from subthalamic neurons. Our identification of a subunit-selective NMDA receptor modulator reveals a new class of pharmacological tools with which to probe the role of NR2C- and NR2D-containing NMDA receptors in brain function and disease.
rhTRAIL is a therapeutic agent, derived from the TRAIL cytokine, which induces apoptosis in cancer cells by activating the membrane death receptors 4 and 5 (DR4 and DR5). Here, we investigated each receptor's contribution to rhTRAIL sensitivity and rhTRAIL resistance. We assessed whether agonistic DR4 or DR5 antibodies could be used to circumvent rhTRAIL resistance, alone or in combination with various chemotherapies.
Our study was performed in an isogenic model comprised of the SW948 human colon carcinoma cell line and its rhTRAIL resistant sub-line SW948-TR. Effects of rhTRAIL and agonistic DR4/DR5 antibodies on cell viability were measured using MTT assays and identification of morphological changes characteristic of apoptosis, after acridine orange staining. Sensitivity to the different death receptor ligands was stimulated using pretreatment with the cytokine IFN-gamma and the proteasome inhibitor MG-132. To investigate the mechanisms underlying the changes in rhTRAIL sensitivity, alterations in expression levels of targets of interest were measured by Western blot analysis. Co-immunoprecipitation was used to determine the composition of the death-inducing signalling complex at the cell membrane.
SW948 cells were sensitive to all three of the DR-targeting agents tested, although the agonistic DR5 antibody induced only weak caspase 8 cleavage and limited apoptosis. Surprisingly, agonistic DR4 and DR5 antibodies induced equivalent DISC formation and caspase 8 cleavage at the level of their individual receptors, suggesting impairment of further caspase 8 processing upon DR5 stimulation. SW948-TR cells were cross-resistant to all DR-targeting agents as a result of decreased caspase 8 expression levels. Caspase 8 protein expression was restored by MG-132 and IFN-gamma pretreatment, which also re-established sensitivity to rhTRAIL and agonistic DR4 antibody in SW948-TR. Surprisingly, MG-132 but not IFN-gamma could also increase DR5-mediated apoptosis in SW948-TR.
These results highlight a critical difference between DR4- and DR5-mediated apoptotic signaling modulation, with possible implications for future combinatorial regimens.
Dengue is a pantropic public health problem. In children, dengue shock syndrome (DSS) is the most common life-threatening complication. The ability to predict which patients may develop DSS may improve triage and treatment. To this end, we conducted a nested case-control comparison of the early host transcriptional features in 24 DSS patients and 56 sex-, age-, and virus serotype-matched uncomplicated (UC) dengue patients. In the first instance, we defined the “early dengue” profile. The transcriptional signature in acute rather than convalescent samples (≤72 h post-illness onset) was defined by an overabundance of interferon-inducible transcripts (31% of the 551 overabundant transcripts) and canonical gene ontology terms that included the following: response to virus, immune response, innate immune response, and inflammatory response. Pathway and network analyses identified STAT1, STAT2, STAT3, IRF7, IRF9, IRF1, CEBPB, and SP1 as key transcriptional factors mediating the early response. Strikingly, the only difference in the transcriptional signatures of early DSS and UC dengue cases was the greater abundance of several neutrophil-associated transcripts in patients who progressed to DSS, a finding supported by higher plasma concentrations of several canonical proteins associated with neutrophil degranulation (bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein [BPI], elastase 2 [ELA2], and defensin 1 alpha [DEF1A]). Elevated levels of neutrophil-associated transcripts were independent of the neutrophil count and also of the genotype of the infecting virus, as genome-length sequences of dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV-1) (n = 15) and DENV-2 (n = 3) sampled from DSS patients were phylogenetically indistinguishable from those sampled from uncomplicated dengue patients (32 DENV-1 and 9 DENV-2 sequences). Collectively, these data suggest a hitherto unrecognized association between neutrophil activation, pathogenesis, and the development of DSS and point to future strategies for guiding prognosis.
We have studied relative efficacies of NR1 agonists glycine and D-cycloserine (DCS), and found efficacy to be dependent on the NR2 subunit. DCS shows partial agonism at NR1/NR2B but has higher relative efficacy than glycine at NR1/NR2C receptor. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the NR1/NR2B and NR1/NR2C agonist binding domain dimer suggest only subtle differences in the interactions of DCS with NR1 binding site residues relative to glycine. The most pronounced differences were observed in the NR1/NR2C simulation between the orientation of helix F and G of the NR1 subunit. Interestingly, Helix F was previously proposed to influence receptor gating and to adopt an orientation depending on agonist efficacy. MD simulations and site-directed mutagenesis further suggest a role for residues at the agonist binding domain dimer interface in regulating DCS efficacy. To relate the structural rearrangements to receptor gating, we recorded single-channel currents from outside-out patches containing a single active NR1/NR2C receptor. DCS increased the mean open time and open probability of NR1/NR2C receptors in comparison to glycine. Maximum likelihood fitting of a gating model for NR1/NR2C receptor activation to the single channel data suggests that DCS specifically accelerates the rate constant governing a fast gating step and reduces the closing rate. These changes appear to reflect a decreased activation energy for a pregating step and increased stability of the open states. We suggest that the higher efficacy of DCS at NR1/NR2C receptors involves structural rearrangements at the dimer interface and an effect on NR1/NR2C receptor pre-gating conformational changes.
D-cycloserine; glutamate; glycine; NR2C; NMDA gating
The synthesis and structure–activity relationship analysis of a novel class of amide-based biaryl NR2B-selective NMDA receptor antagonists are presented. Some of the studied compounds are potent, selective, non-competitive, and voltage-independent antagonists of NR2B-containing NMDA receptors. Like the founding member of this class of antagonists (ifenprodil), several interesting compounds of the series bind to the amino terminal domain of the NR2B subunit to inhibit function. Analogue potency is modu-lated by linker length, flexibility, and hydrogen bonding opportunities. However, unlike previously described classes of NR2B-selective NMDA antagonists that exhibit off-target activity at a variety of monoamine receptors, the compounds described herein show much diminished effects against the hERG channel and α1-adrenergic receptors. Selections of the compounds discussed have acceptable half-lives in vivo and are predicted to permeate the blood–brain barrier. These data together suggest that masking charged atoms on the linker region of NR2B-selective antagonists can decrease undesirable side effects while still maintaining on-target potency.
NMDA; GluN2B; NR2B-selective antagonists; Neuroprotection
We evaluated a novel truncated hygromycin A analog in which the furanose ring was replaced with a 2-fluoro-2-cyclopropylethyl substituent for its activity against multidrug resistant gram-positive bacteria and compared its activity to the activities of linezolid, quinupristin-dalfopristin, and vancomycin. CE-156811 demonstrated robust in vitro activity against gram-positive bacteria that was comparable to that of linezolid.
Although caveolae are well-characterized subdomains of glycolipid rafts, their distinctive morphology and association with caveolins has led to their internalization being considered different from that of rafts. In this review, we propose that caveolae and rafts are internalized via a common pathway, caveolae/raft-dependent endocytosis, defined by its clathrin independence, dynamin dependence, and sensitivity to cholesterol depletion. The regulatory role of caveolin-1 and ligand sorting in this complex endocytic pathway are specifically addressed.
endocytosis; caveolae; glycolipid rafts; caveolin; dynamin
HGK (hepatocyte progenitor kinase-like/germinal center kinase-like kinase) is a member of the human STE20/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase family of serine/threonine kinases and is the ortholog of mouse NIK (Nck-interacting kinase). We have cloned a novel splice variant of HGK from a human tumor line and have further identified a complex family of HGK splice variants. We showed HGK to be highly expressed in most tumor cell lines relative to normal tissue. An active role for this kinase in transformation was suggested by an inhibition of H-RasV12-induced focus formation by expression of inactive, dominant-negative mutants of HGK in both fibroblast and epithelial cell lines. Expression of an inactive mutant of HGK also inhibited the anchorage-independent growth of cells yet had no effect on proliferation in monolayer culture. Expression of HGK mutants modulated integrin receptor expression and had a striking effect on hepatocyte growth factor-stimulated epithelial cell invasion. Together, these results suggest an important role for HGK in cell transformation and invasiveness.
Autocrine motility factor receptor (AMF-R) is a cell surface
receptor that is also localized to a smooth subdomain of the
endoplasmic reticulum, the AMF-R tubule. By postembedding
immunoelectron microscopy, AMF-R concentrates within smooth
plasmalemmal vesicles or caveolae in both NIH-3T3 fibroblasts and HeLa
cells. By confocal microscopy, cell surface AMF-R labeled by the
addition of anti-AMF-R antibody to viable cells at 4°C exhibits
partial colocalization with caveolin, confirming the localization of
cell surface AMF-R to caveolae. Labeling of cell surface AMF-R by
either anti-AMF-R antibody or biotinylated AMF (bAMF) exhibits
extensive colocalization and after a pulse of 1–2 h at 37°C, bAMF
accumulates in densely labeled perinuclear structures as well as
fainter tubular structures that colocalize with AMF-R tubules. After a
subsequent 2- to 4-h chase, bAMF is localized predominantly to AMF-R
tubules. Cytoplasmic acidification, blocking clathrin-mediated
endocytosis, results in the essentially exclusive distribution of
internalized bAMF to AMF-R tubules. By confocal microscopy, the tubular
structures labeled by internalized bAMF show complete colocalization
with AMF-R tubules. bAMF internalized in the presence of a 10-fold
excess of unlabeled AMF labels perinuclear punctate structures, which
are therefore the product of fluid phase endocytosis, but does not
label AMF-R tubules, demonstrating that bAMF targeting to AMF-R tubules
occurs via a receptor-mediated pathway. By electron microscopy, bAMF
internalized for 10 min is located to cell surface caveolae and after
30 min is present within smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum
tubules. AMF-R is therefore internalized via a receptor-mediated
clathrin-independent pathway to smooth ER. The steady state
localization of AMF-R to caveolae implicates these cell surface
invaginations in AMF-R endocytosis.