Gerontology focuses on deterioration with increasing age, but in most populations most variables, including survival probability, improve at early ages (ontogenescence) before deteriorating at advanced ages (senescence). The extent to which gerontology needs to consider this U-shaped pattern of risk over age depends upon the mechanistic, demographic and evolutionary links and interactions between ontogenescence and senescence. In reading the literature on both senescence and ontogenescence, and in interacting with other biogerontologists, we have encountered a set of what we view as inaccurate or oversimplified claims about ontogenescence, its relationship to senescence and its importance to gerontology. Here, after briefly introducing ontogenescence, we address four of these claims. We demonstrate the counterfactual nature of Claim 1. Ontogenescence is an environmental effect largely absent in protected environments. We then briefly review the literature which leads to Claim 2. Senescence and ontogenescence are parts of the same phenomenon, and describe why we reject this view. We then explain why the rejection of Claim 2 does not necessarily support Claim 3, the idea that senescence and ontogenescence are easily separable. Finally, we examine Claim 4. Gerontologists don’t need to think about ontogenescence, and give some examples of why we consider this misguided.
evolutionary demography; life-history; mortality patterns; ontogenescence; senescence
Obesity is a rising worldwide public health problem. Difficulties to precisely measure various obesity traits and the genetic heterogeneity in human have been major impediments to completely disentangle genetic factors causing obesity. The pig is a relevant model for studying human obesity and obesity-related (OOR) traits. Using founder breeds divergent with respect to obesity traits we have created an F2 pig resource population (454 pigs), which has been intensively phenotyped for 36 OOR traits. The main rationale for our study is to characterize the genetic architecture of OOR traits in the F2 pig design, by estimating heritabilities, genetic, and phenotypic correlations using mixed- and multi-trait BLUP animal models. Our analyses revealed high coefficients of variation (15–42%) and moderate to high heritabilities (0.22–0.81) in fatness traits, showing large phenotypic and genetic variation in the F2 population, respectively. This fulfills the purpose of creating a resource population divergent for OOR traits. Strong genetic correlations were found between weight and lean mass at dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scanning (0.56–0.97). Weight and conformation also showed strong genetic correlations with slaughter traits (e.g., rg between abdominal circumference and leaf fat at slaughtering: 0.66). Genetic correlations between fat-related traits and the glucose level vary between 0.35 and 0.74 and show a strong correlation between adipose tissue and impaired glucose metabolism. Our power calculations showed a minimum of 80% power for QTL detection for all phenotypes. We revealed genetic correlations at population level, for the first time, for several difficult to measure and novel OOR traits and diseases. The results underpin the potential of the established F2 pig resource population for further genomic, systems genetics, and functional investigations to unravel the genetic background of OOR traits.
animal model; F2 design; obesity; diabetes; heritabilities; genetic correlations; genetic predictions
Gender plays a pivotal role in the human genetic identity and is also manifested in many genetic disorders particularly mental retardation. In this study its effect on copy number variation (CNV), known to cause genetic disorders was explored. As the olfactory receptor (OR) repertoire comprises the largest human gene family, it was selected for this study, which was carried out within and between three populations, derived from 150 individuals from the 1000 Genome Project. Analysis of 3872 CNVs detected among 791 OR loci, in which 307 loci showed CNV, revealed the following novel findings: Sex bias in CNV was significantly more prevalent in uncommon than common CNV variants of OR pseudogenes, in which the male genome showed more CNVs; and in one-copy number loss compared to complete deletion of OR pseudogenes; both findings implying a more recent evolutionary role for gender. Sex bias in copy number gain was also detected. Another novel finding was that the observed sex bias was largely dependent on ethnicity and was in general absent in East Asians. Using a CNV public database for sick children (International Standard Cytogenomic Array Consortium) the application of these findings for improving clinical molecular diagnostics is discussed by showing an example of sex bias in CNV among kids with autism. Additional clinical relevance is discussed, as the most polymorphic CNV-enriched OR cluster in the human genome, located on chr 15q11.2, is found near the Prader–Willi syndrome/Angelman syndrome bi-directionally imprinted region associated with two well-known mental retardation syndromes. As olfaction represents the primitive cognition in most mammals, arguably in competition with the development of a larger brain, the extensive retention of OR pseudogenes in females of this study, might point to a parent-of-origin indirect regulatory role for OR pseudogenes in the embryonic development of human brain. Thus any perturbation in the temporal regulation of olfactory system could lead to developmental delay disorders including mental retardation.
copy number variation; sex bias; olfactory receptor genes; pseudogenes; ethnicity; mental retardation; Prader–Willi/Angelman syndromes; the 1000 Genome Project
Conditions challenging replication fork progression, collectively referred to as replication stress, represent a major source of genomic instability and are associated to cancer onset. The replication checkpoint, a specialized branch of the DNA damage checkpoint, monitors fork problems, and triggers a cellular response aimed at preserving genome integrity. Here, we review the mechanisms by which the replication checkpoint monitors and responds to replication stress, focusing on the checkpoint-mediated pathways contributing to protect replication fork integrity. We discuss how cells achieve checkpoint signaling inactivation once replication stress is overcome and how a failure to timely revert checkpoint-mediated changes in cellular physiology might impact on replication dynamics and genome integrity. We also highlight the checkpoint function as an anti-cancer barrier preventing cells malignant transformation following oncogene-induced replication stress.
replication forks; DNA damage checkpoint; genomic instability; Mec1/ATR; oncogene stress
Background: Network construction and analysis algorithms provide scientists with the ability to sift through high-throughput biological outputs, such as transcription microarrays, for small groups of genes (modules) that are relevant for further research. Most of these algorithms ignore the important role of non-linear interactions in the data, and the ability for genes to operate in multiple functional groups at once, despite clear evidence for both of these phenomena in observed biological systems.
Results: We have created a novel co-expression network analysis algorithm that incorporates both of these principles by combining the information-theoretic association measure of the maximal information coefficient (MIC) with an Interaction Component Model. We evaluate the performance of this approach on two datasets collected from a large panel of mice, one from macrophages and the other from liver by comparing the two measures based on a measure of module entropy, Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment, and scale-free topology (SFT) fit. Our algorithm outperforms a widely used co-expression analysis method, weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA), in the macrophage data, while returning comparable results in the liver dataset when using these criteria. We demonstrate that the macrophage data has more non-linear interactions than the liver dataset, which may explain the increased performance of our method, termed Maximal Information Component Analysis (MICA) in that case.
Conclusions: In making our network algorithm more accurately reflect known biological principles, we are able to generate modules with improved relevance, particularly in networks with confounding factors such as gene by environment interactions.
gene expression; ICMg; scale-free topology; MINE; GxE interactions
The human ATP-binding cassette family C member 6 (ABCC6) gene encodes an ABC transporter protein expressed primarily in the liver and to a lesser extent in the kidneys and the intestines. We review here the mechanisms of this restricted tissue-specific expression and the role of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α which is responsible for the expression pattern. Detailed analyses uncovered further regulators of the expression of the gene pointing to an intronic primate-specific regulator region, an activator of the expression of the gene by binding CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta, which interacts with other proteins acting in the proximal promoter. This regulatory network is affected by various environmental stimuli including oxidative stress and the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2 pathway. We also review here the structural and functional consequences of disease-causing missense mutations of ABCC6. A significant clustering of the missense disease-causing mutations was found at the domain–domain interfaces. This clustering means that the domain contacts are much less permissive to amino acid replacements than the rest of the protein. We summarize the experimental methods resulting in the identification of mutants with preserved transport activity but failure in intracellular targeting. These mutants are candidates for functional rescue by chemical chaperons. The results of such research can provide the basis of future allele-specific therapy of ABCC6-mediated disorders like pseudoxanthoma elasticum or the generalized arterial calcification in infancy.
ABCC6; HNF4α; 4-phenyl-butyrate; C/EBPβ; calcification; pseudoxanthoma elasticum; generalized arterial calcification in infancy
Background: Non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) within the coding regions of genes causing amino acid substitutions (AASs) may have a large impact on protein function. The possibilities to identify nsSNPs across genomes have increased notably with the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies. Thus, there is a strong need for efficient bioinformatics tools to predict the functional effect of AASs. Such tools can be used to identify the most promising candidate mutations for further experimental validation.
Results: Here we present prediction of AAS effects (PASE), a novel method that predicts the effect of an AASs based on physicochemical property changes. Evaluation of PASE, using a few AASs of known phenotypic effects and 3338 human AASs, for which functional effects have previously been scored with the widely used SIFT and PolyPhen tools, show that PASE is a useful method for functional prediction of AASs. We also show that the predictions can be further improved by combining PASE with information about evolutionary conservation.
Conclusion: PASE is a novel algorithm for predicting functional effects of AASs, which can be used for pinpointing the most interesting candidate mutations. PASE predictions are based on changes in seven physicochemical properties and can improve predictions from many other available tools, which are based on evolutionary conservation. Using available experimental data and predictions from the already existing tools, we demonstrate that PASE is a useful method for predicting functional effects of AASs, even when a limited number of query sequence homologs/orthologs are available.
PASE; amino acid substitution; physicochemical properties; functional prediction; mutation effect
Theories of lifespan evolution are a source of confusion amongst aging researchers. After a century of aging research the dispute over whether the aging process is active or passive persists and a comprehensive and universally accepted theoretical model remains elusive. Evolutionary aging theories primarily dispute whether the aging process is exclusively adapted to favor the kin or exclusively non-adapted to favor the individual. Interestingly, contradictory data and theories supporting both exclusively programmed and exclusively non-programmed theories continue to grow. However, this is a false dichotomy; natural selection favors traits resulting in efficient reproduction whether they benefit the individual or the kin. Thus, to understand the evolution of aging, first we must understand the environment-dependent balance between the advantages and disadvantages of extended lifespan in the process of spreading genes. As described by distinct theories, different niches and environmental conditions confer on extended lifespan a range of fitness values varying from highly beneficial to highly detrimental. Here, we considered the range of fitness values for extended lifespan and develop a fitness-based framework for categorizing existing theories. We show that all theories can be classified into four basic types: secondary (beneficial), maladaptive (neutral), assisted death (detrimental), and senemorphic aging (varying between beneficial to detrimental). We anticipate that this classification system will assist with understanding and interpreting aging/death by providing a way of considering theories as members of one of these classes rather than consideration of their individual details.
senemorphism; caloric restriction; longevity; altruism; senescence; evolution
Soft connective tissue calcification is not a passive process, but the consequence of metabolic changes of local mesenchymal cells that, depending on both genetic and environmental factors, alter the balance between pro- and anti-calcifying pathways. While the role of smooth muscle cells and pericytes in ectopic calcifications has been widely investigated, the involvement of fibroblasts is still elusive. Fibroblasts isolated from the dermis of pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) patients and of patients exhibiting PXE-like clinical and histopathological findings offer an attractive model to investigate the mechanisms leading to the precipitation of mineral deposits within elastic fibers and to explore the influence of the genetic background and of the extracellular environment on fibroblast-associated calcifications, thus improving the knowledge on the role of mesenchymal cells on pathologic mineralization.
fibroblasts; PXE; PXE-like disorders; elastin; extracellular matrix; ectopic calcification; mesenchymal stromal cells
Cytochrome P450 2B6 (CYP2B6) belongs to the minor drug metabolizing P450s in human liver. Expression is highly variable both between individuals and within individuals, owing to non-genetic factors, genetic polymorphisms, inducibility, and irreversible inhibition by many compounds. Drugs metabolized mainly by CYP2B6 include artemisinin, bupropion, cyclophosphamide, efavirenz, ketamine, and methadone. CYP2B6 is one of the most polymorphic CYP genes in humans and variants have been shown to affect transcriptional regulation, splicing, mRNA and protein expression, and catalytic activity. Some variants appear to affect several functional levels simultaneously, thus, combined in haplotypes, leading to complex interactions between substrate-dependent and -independent mechanisms. The most common functionally deficient allele is CYP2B6*6 [Q172H, K262R], which occurs at frequencies of 15 to over 60% in different populations. The allele leads to lower expression in liver due to erroneous splicing. Recent investigations suggest that the amino acid changes contribute complex substrate-dependent effects at the activity level, although data from recombinant systems used by different researchers are not well in agreement with each other. Another important variant, CYP2B6*18 [I328T], occurs predominantly in Africans (4–12%) and does not express functional protein. A large number of uncharacterized variants are currently emerging from different ethnicities in the course of the 1000 Genomes Project. The CYP2B6 polymorphism is clinically relevant for HIV-infected patients treated with the reverse transcriptase inhibitor efavirenz, but it is increasingly being recognized for other drug substrates. This review summarizes recent advances on the functional and clinical significance of CYP2B6 and its genetic polymorphism, with particular emphasis on the comparison of kinetic data obtained with different substrates for variants expressed in different recombinant expression systems.
bupropion; cyclophosphamide; cytochrome P450; drug metabolism; drug–drug interaction; efavirenz; pharmacogenetics; pharmacogenomics
Recent advances in sample preparation and analysis for next generation sequencing have made it possible to profile and discover new miRNAs in a high throughput manner. In the case of neurological disease and injury, these types of experiments have been more limited. Possibly because tissues such as the brain and spinal cord are inaccessible for direct sampling in living patients, and indirect sampling of blood and cerebrospinal fluid are affected by low amounts of RNA. We used a mouse model to examine changes in miRNA expression in response to acute nerve crush. We assayed miRNA from both muscle tissue and blood plasma. We examined how the depth of coverage (the number of mapped reads) changed the number of detectable miRNAs in each sample type. We also found that samples with very low starting amounts of RNA (mouse plasma) made high depth of mature miRNA coverage more difficult to obtain. Each tissue must be assessed independently for the depth of coverage required to adequately power detection of differential expression, weighed against the cost of sequencing that sample to the adequate depth. We explored the changes in total mapped reads and differential expression results generated by three different software packages: miRDeep2, miRNAKey, and miRExpress and two different analysis packages, DESeq and EdgeR. We also examine the accuracy of using miRDeep2 to predict novel miRNAs and subsequently detect them in the samples using qRT-PCR.
miRNA; small RNA; nerve injury; analysis; next generation sequencing; plasma; muscle
Maintenance of genetic stability is crucial for all organisms in order to avoid the onset of deleterious diseases such as cancer. One of the many proveniences of DNA base damage in mammalian cells is oxidative stress, arising from a variety of endogenous and exogenous sources, generating highly mutagenic oxidative DNA lesions. One of the best characterized oxidative DNA lesion is 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine (8-oxo-G), which can give rise to base substitution mutations (also known as point mutations). This mutagenicity is due to the miscoding potential of 8-oxo-G that instructs most DNA polymerases (pols) to preferentially insert an Adenine (A) opposite 8-oxo-G instead of the appropriate Cytosine (C). If left unrepaired, such A:8-oxo-G mispairs can give rise to CG→AT transversion mutations. A:8-oxo-G mispairs are proficiently recognized by the MutY glycosylase homologue (MUTYH). MUTYH can remove the mispaired A from an A:8-oxo-G, giving way to the canonical base-excision repair (BER) that ultimately restores undamaged Guanine (G). The importance of this MUTYH-initiated pathway is illustrated by the fact that biallelic mutations in the MUTYH gene are associated with a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome termed MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP). In this review, we will focus on MUTYH, from its discovery to the most recent data regarding its cellular roles and interaction partners. We discuss the involvement of the MUTYH protein in the A:8-oxo-G BER pathway acting together with pol λ, the pol that can faithfully incorporate C opposite 8-oxo-G and thus bypass this lesion in a correct manner. We also outline the current knowledge about the regulation of MUTYH itself and the A:8-oxo-G repair pathway by posttranslational modifications (PTM). Finally, to achieve a clearer overview of the literature, we will briefly touch on the rather confusing MUTYH nomenclature. In short, MUTYH is a unique DNA glycosylase that catalyzes the excision of an undamaged base from DNA.
MUTYH; MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP); MYH; mutY; DNA polymerase beta and lambda; base-excision repair (BER); DNA glycosylases; 8-oxo-guanine
Rapid growth of the human population has caused the accumulation of rare genetic variants that may play a role in the origin of genetic diseases. However, it is challenging to identify those rare variants responsible for specific diseases without genetic data from an extraordinarily large population sample. Here we focused on the accumulated data from the human mitochondrial (mt) genome sequences because this data provided 7,098 whole genomes for analysis. In this dataset we identified 6,110 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and their frequency and determined that the best-fit demographic model for the 7,098 genomes included severe population bottlenecks and exponential expansions of the non-African population. Using this model, we simulated the evolution of mt genomes in order to ascertain the behavior of deleterious mutations. We found that such deleterious mutations barely survived during population expansion. We derived the threshold frequency of a deleterious mutation in separate African, Asian, and European populations and used it to identify pathogenic mutations in our dataset. Although threshold frequency was very low, the proportion of variants showing a lower frequency than that threshold was 82, 83, and 91% of the total variants for the African, Asian, and European populations, respectively. Within these variants, only 18 known pathogenic mutations were detected in the 7,098 genomes. This result showed the difficulty of detecting a pathogenic mutation within an abundance of rare variants in the human population, even with a large number of genomes available for study.
mitochondrial disease alleles; human population history; disease allele frequency; human population expansion; mitochondrial variants
The nature and cause of the division of organisms in superkingdoms is not fully understood. Assuming that environment shapes physiology, here we construct a novel theoretical framework that helps identify general patterns of organism persistence. This framework is based on Jacob von Uexküll’s organism-centric view of the environment and James G. Miller’s view of organisms as matter-energy-information processing molecular machines. Three concepts describe an organism’s environmental niche: scope, umwelt, and gap. Scope denotes the entirety of environmental events and conditions to which the organism is exposed during its lifetime. Umwelt encompasses an organism’s perception of these events. The gap is the organism’s blind spot, the scope that is not covered by umwelt. These concepts bring organisms of different complexity to a common ecological denominator. Ecological and physiological data suggest organisms persist using three strategies: flexibility, robustness, and economy. All organisms use umwelt information to flexibly adapt to environmental change. They implement robustness against environmental perturbations within the gap generally through redundancy and reliability of internal constituents. Both flexibility and robustness improve survival. However, they also incur metabolic matter-energy processing costs, which otherwise could have been used for growth and reproduction. Lineages evolve unique tradeoff solutions among strategies in the space of what we call “a persistence triangle.” Protein domain architecture and other evidence support the preferential use of flexibility and robustness properties. Archaea and Bacteria gravitate toward the triangle’s economy vertex, with Archaea biased toward robustness. Eukarya trade economy for survivability. Protista occupy a saddle manifold separating akaryotes from multicellular organisms. Plants and the more flexible Fungi share an economic stratum, and Metazoa are locked in a positive feedback loop toward flexibility.
economy; flexibility; gap; proteome evolution; redundancy; robustness; scope; umwelt
CYP3A4 is the most important drug metabolizing enzyme in adult humans because of its prominent expression in liver and gut and because of its broad substrate specificity, which includes drugs from most therapeutic categories and many endogenous substances. Expression and function of CYP3A4 vary extensively both intra- and interindividually thus contributing to unpredictable drug response and toxicity. A multitude of environmental, genetic, and physiological factors are known to influence CYP3A4 expression and activity. Among the best predictable sources of variation are drug–drug interactions, which are either caused by pregnane X-receptor (PXR), constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) mediated gene induction, or by inhibition through coadministered drugs or other chemicals, including also plant and food ingredients. Among physiological and pathophysiological factors are hormonal status, age, and gender, the latter of which was shown to result in higher levels in females compared to males, as well as inflammatory processes that downregulate CYP3A4 transcription. Despite the influence of these non-genetic factors, the genetic influence on CYP3A4 activity was estimated in previous twin studies and using information on repeated drug administration to account for 66% up to 88% of the interindividual variation. Although many single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the CYP3A locus have been identified, genetic association studies have so far failed to explain a major part of the phenotypic variability. The term “missing heritability” has been used to denominate the gap between expected and known genetic contribution, e.g., for complex diseases, and is also used here in analogy. In this review we summarize CYP3A4 pharmacogenetics/genomics from the early inheritance estimations up to the most recent genetic and clinical studies, including new findings about SNPs in CYP3A4 (*22) and other genes (P450 oxidoreductase (POR), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARA)) with possible contribution to CYP3A4 variable expression.
cytochrome P450; CYP3A4; pharmacogenomics; pharmacogenetics; drug metabolism; heritability
DNA damage contributes to cancer development and aging. Congenital syndromes that affect DNA repair processes are characterized by cancer susceptibility, developmental defects, and accelerated aging (Schumacher et al., 2008). DNA damage interferes with DNA metabolism by blocking replication and transcription. DNA polymerase blockage leads to replication arrest and can gives rise to genome instability. Transcription, on the other hand, is an essential process for utilizing the information encoded in the genome. DNA damage that interferes with transcription can lead to apoptosis and cellular senescence. Both processes are powerful tumor suppressors (Bartek and Lukas, 2007). Cellular response mechanisms to stalled RNA polymerase II complexes have only recently started to be uncovered. Transcription-coupled DNA damage responses might thus play important roles for the adjustments to DNA damage accumulation in the aging organism (Garinis et al., 2009). Here we review human disorders that are caused by defects in genome stability to explore the role of DNA damage in aging and disease. We discuss how the nucleotide excision repair system functions at the interface of transcription and repair and conclude with concepts how therapeutic targeting of transcription might be utilized in the treatment of cancer.
DNA repair; progeria; transcription; genetic; DNA damage; cancer
The principal goal of this methodological paper is to suggest to a general audience in the genetics community that the consideration of recent developments of self regulating branching processes may lead to the possibility of including this class of stochastic processes as part of working paradigm of evolutionary and population genetics. This class of branching processes is self regulating in the sense that an evolving population will grow only to a total population size that can be sustained by the environment. From the mathematical point of view the class processes under consideration belongs to a subfield of probability and statistics sometimes referred to as computational applied probability and stochastic processes. Computer intensive methods based on Monte Carlo simulation procedures have been used to empirically work out the predictions of a formulation by assigning numerical values to some point in the parameter space and computing replications of realizations of the process over thousands of generations of evolution. Statistical methods are then used on such samples of simulated data to produce informative summarizations of the data that provide insights into the evolutionary implications of computer experiments. Briefly, it is also possible to embed deterministic non-linear difference equations in the stochastic process by using a statistical procedure to estimate the sample functions of the process, which has interesting methodological implications as to whether stochastic or deterministic formulations may be applied separately or in combination in the study of evolution. It is recognized that the literature on population genetics contains a substantial number of papers in which Monte Carlo simulation methods have been used. But, this extensive literature is beyond the scope of this paper, which is focused on potential applications of self regulating branching processes in evolutionary and population genetics.
simulating evolution; mutations; density dependence; Monte Carlo methods; statistical summarizations; branching processes; embedded deterministic model
The CYP3A4 enzyme is the most abundant human cytochrome P450 (CYP) and is regarded as the most important enzyme involved in drug metabolism. Inter-individual and inter-population variability in gene expression and enzyme activity are thought to be influenced, in part, by genetic variation. Although Southern African individuals have been shown to exhibit the highest levels of genetic diversity, they have been under-represented in pharmacogenetic research to date. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify genetic variation within CYP3A4 in three South African population groups comprising of 29 Khoisan, 65 Xhosa and 65 Mixed Ancestry (MA) individuals. To identify known and novel CYP3A4 variants, 15 individuals were randomly selected from each of the population groups for bi-directional Sanger sequencing of ~600 bp of the 5′-upstream region and all thirteen exons including flanking intronic regions. Genetic variants detected were genotyped in the rest of the cohort. In total, 24 SNPs were detected, including CYP3A4*12, CYP3A4*15, and the reportedly functional CYP3A4*1B promoter polymorphism, as well as two novel non-synonymous variants. These putatively functional variants, p.R162W and p.Q200H, were present in two of the three populations and all three populations, respectively, and in silico analysis predicted that the former would damage the protein product. Furthermore, the three populations were shown to exhibit distinct genetic profiles. These results confirm that South African populations show unique patterns of variation in the genes encoding xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes. This research suggests that population-specific genetic profiles for CYP3A4 and other drug metabolizing genes would be essential to make full use of pharmacogenetics in Southern Africa. Further investigation is needed to determine if the identified genetic variants influence CYP3A4 metabolism phenotype in these populations.
CYP3A4; pharmacogenetics; South African populations; Xhosa; mixed ancestry; Khoisan
Vascular calcification is a complex and dynamic process occurring in various physiological conditions such as aging and exercise or in acquired metabolic disorders like diabetes or chronic renal insufficiency. Arterial calcifications are also observed in several genetic diseases revealing the important role of unbalanced or defective anti- or pro-calcifying factors. Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is an inherited disease (OMIM 264800) characterized by elastic fiber fragmentation and calcification in various soft conjunctive tissues including the skin, eyes, and arterial media. The PXE disease results from mutations in the ABCC6 gene, encoding an ATP-binding cassette transporter primarily expressed in the liver, kidneys suggesting that it is a prototypic metabolic soft-tissue calcifying disease of genetic origin. The clinical expression of the PXE arterial disease is characterized by an increased risk for coronary (myocardial infarction), cerebral (aneurysm and stroke), and lower limb peripheral artery disease. However, the structural and functional changes in the arterial wall induced by PXE are still unexplained. The use of a recombinant mouse model inactivated for the Abcc6 gene is an important tool for the understanding of the PXE pathophysiology although the vascular impact in this model remains limited to date. Overlapping of the PXE phenotype with other inherited calcifying diseases could bring important informations to our comprehension of the PXE disease.
pseudoxanthoma elasticum; calcium; vessels; cardiovascular diseases; elasticity; ankle-brachial index
Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) is a ubiquitous, potent, and complete carcinogen resulting from incomplete organic combustion. BaP can form DNA adducts but other mechanisms may play a role in toxicity. We used a functional toxicology approach in S. cerevisiae to assess the genetic requirements for cellular resistance to BaP. In addition, we examined translational activities of key genes involved in various stress response pathways. We identified multiple genes and processes involved in modulating BaP toxicity in yeast which support DNA damage as a primary mechanism of toxicity, but also identify other potential toxicity pathways. Gene ontology enrichment analysis indicated that DNA damage and repair as well as redox homeostasis and oxidative stress are key processes in cellular response to BaP suggesting a similar mode of action of BaP in yeast and mammals. Interestingly, toxicant export is also implicated as a potential novel modulator of cellular susceptibility. In particular, we identified several transporters with human orthologs (solute carrier family 22) which may play a role in mammalian systems.
benzo[a]pyrene; toxicity; yeast; stress; resistance; sensitivity; S-9; ontology
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a tragic, progressive, age-related neurological dysfunction, representing one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorders in industrialized societies. Globally, 5 million new cases of AD are diagnosed annually, with one new AD case being reported every 7 s. Most recently there has been a surge in the study of the regulatory mechanisms of the AD process, and the particular significance of small non-coding ∼22 ribonucleotide RNAs called micro RNAs (miRNAs). Abundant data have profiled miRNA patterns in healthy, aging brain, in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and in the moderate- and late-stages of AD. The major mode of action of miRNA is to interact, via base-pair complementarity, with ribonucleotides located within the 3′ untranslated region (3′-UTR) of multiple target messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and in doing so decrease the capability of that specific mRNA to be expressed. Many miRNAs are highly cell- and tissue-specific. The human brain appears to use only a highly specific fraction of all known human miRNAs, whose speciation and complexity are defined as a discrete subset of all known small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) in the brain. In general, in contrast to normally, aging human brain, in AD a family of pathogenically up-regulated miRNAs appear to be down-regulating the expression certain brain-essential mRNA targets, including key regulatory genes involved interactively in neuroinflammation, synaptogenesis, neurotrophic functions, and amyloidogenesis. These up-regulated, NF-kB-sensitive miRNAs, involved in the innate immune and inflammatory response and synaptic, neurotrophic, and amyloidogenic functions include miRNA-9, miRNA-125b, miRNA-146a, and miRNA-155. Other miRNAs of the miRNA-15/107 family, miRNA-153 and miRNA-190, and others, will be discussed. Overall, this manuscript will review the known contribution of miRNAs to aging brain function and the role they appear to play in the incidence and progression of AD.
aging; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloidogenesis; inflammation; miRNA; neurotrophism; presenilin; synaptogenesis