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1.  The albino mutation of tyrosinase alters ocular angiogenic responsiveness 
Angiogenesis  2013;16(3):639-646.
We have observed substantial differences in angiogenic responsiveness in mice and have mapped the genetic loci responsible for these differences. We have found that the albino mutation is one of the loci responsible for such differences. Using B6.A consomic strains, we determined that chromosome 7 bears a locus that inhibits VEGF-induced corneal neovascularization. F2 crosses between B6.A consomic mice and C57BL/6J parents along with AXB and BXA recombinant inbred strains demonstrated highest linkage near the tyrosinase gene. This region was named AngVq4. Congenic animals confirmed this locus, but could not demonstrate that the classical tyrosinase albino (c) mutation was causative because of the existence of additional linked loci in the congenic region. However, in 1970, a second tyrosinase albino mutation (c-2J) arose in the C57BL/6J background at Jackson Labs. Testing this strain (C57BL/6J) demonstrated that the albino mutation is sufficient to completely explain the alteration in angiogenic response that we observed in congenic animals. Thus, we conclude that the classical tyrosinase mutation is responsible for AngVq4. In contrast to the cornea, where pigmented animals exhibit increased angiogenic responsiveness, iris neovascularization was inhibited in pigmented animals. These results may partially explain increased aggressiveness in amelanotic melanoma, as well as ethnic differences in diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
PMCID: PMC3683361  PMID: 23423728
2.  Identification of small molecules that inhibit the interaction of TEM8 with anthrax protective antigen using a FRET assay 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2013;18(6):10.1177/1087057113478655.
Tumor marker endothelial 8 (TEM8) is a receptor for the Protective Antigen (PA) component of anthrax toxin. TEM8 is upregulated on endothelial cells lining the blood vessels within tumors, compared to normal blood vessels. A number of studies have demonstrated a pivotal role for TEM8 in developmental and tumor angiogenesis. We have also shown that targeting the anthrax receptors with a mutated form of PA inhibits angiogenesis and tumor formation in vivo.
Here we describe the development and testing of a high-throughput fluorescence resonance energy transfer assay to identify molecules that strongly inhibit the interaction of PA and TEM8. The assay we describe is sensitive and robust, with a Z-prime value of 0.8. A preliminary screen of 2310 known bioactive library compounds identified ebselen and thimerosal as inhibitors of the TEM8-PA interaction. These molecules each contain a cysteine-reactive transition metal, and complimentary studies indicate that their inhibition of interaction is due to modification of a cysteine residue in the TEM8 extracellular domain. This is the first demonstration of a high-throughput screening assay that identifies inhibitors of TEM8, with potential application for anti-anthrax and anti-angiogenic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3859190  PMID: 23479355
High-throughput screening; FRET; anthrax; angiogenesis; Tumor endothelial marker 8
A number of different balance assessment techniques are currently available and widely used. These include both subjective and objective assessments. The ability to provide quantitative measures of balance and posture is the benefit of objective tools, however these instruments are not generally utilized outside of research laboratory settings due to cost, complexity of operation, size, duration of assessment, and general practicality. The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the value and validity of using software developed to access the iPod and iPhone accelerometers output and translate that to the measurement of human balance.
Thirty healthy college‐aged individuals (13 male, 17 female; age = 26.1 ± 8.5 years) volunteered. Participants performed a static Athlete's Single Leg Test protocol for 10 sec, on a Biodex Balance System SD while concurrently utilizing a mobile device with balance software. Anterior/posterior stability was recorded using both devices, described as the displacement in degrees from level, and was termed the “balance score.”
There were no significant differences between the two reported balance scores (p = 0.818. Mean balance score on the balance platform was 1.41 ± 0.90, as compared to 1.38 ± 0.72 using the mobile device.
There is a need for a valid, convenient, and cost‐effective tool to objectively measure balance. Results of this study are promising, as balance score derived from the Smartphone accelerometers were consistent with balance scores obtained from a previously validated balance system. However, further investigation is necessary as this version of the mobile software only assessed balance in the anterior/posterior direction. Additionally, further testing is necessary on a healthy populations and as well as those with impairment of the motor control system.
Level of Evidence:
Level 2b (Observational study of validity)1
PMCID: PMC4004118  PMID: 24790774
Accelerometer; Single Leg Balance Test; Smartphone Application; Stability assessment
4.  1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-β-D-glucopyranose (PGG) Inhibits Angiogenesis via Inhibition of CMG2 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(5):1940-1945.
CMG2 is a transmembrane extracellular matrix binding protein that is also an anthrax toxin receptor. We have shown that high affinity CMG2 binders can inhibit angiogenesis and tumor growth. We recently described a high throughput FRET assay to identify CMG2 inhibitors. We now report the serendipitous discovery that PGG (1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-β-D-glucopyranose) is a CMG2 inhibitor with anti-angiogenic activity. PGG is a gallotannin produced by a variety of medicinal plants that exhibits a wide variety of anti-tumor and other activities. We find that PGG inhibits CMG2 with a submicromolar IC50 and it also inhibits the migration of human dermal microvascular endothelial cells at similar concentrations in vitro. Finally, oral or intraperitoneal administration of PGG inhibits angiogenesis in the mouse corneal micropocket assay in vivo. Together, these results suggest that a portion of the in vivo anti-tumor activity of PGG may be the result of antiangiogenic activity mediated by inhibition of CMG2.
PMCID: PMC3600088  PMID: 23394144
pentagalloyl glucose; 5GG; angiogenesis; corneal neovascularization; cancer; polyphenol
5.  Repertoire of novel sequence signatures for the detection of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus by quantitative real-time PCR 
BMC Microbiology  2014;14:39.
Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening is a devastating disease of citrus. The gram-negative bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las) belonging to the α-proteobacteria is responsible for HLB in North America as well as in Asia. Currently, there is no cure for this disease. Early detection and quarantine of Las-infected trees are important management strategies used to prevent HLB from invading HLB-free citrus producing regions. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) based molecular diagnostic assays have been routinely used in the detection and diagnosis of Las. The oligonucleotide primer pairs based on conserved genes or regions, which include 16S rDNA and the β-operon, have been widely employed in the detection of Las by qRT-PCR. The availability of whole genome sequence of Las now allows the design of primers beyond the conserved regions for the detection of Las explicitly.
We took a complimentary approach by systematically screening the genes in a genome-wide fashion, to identify the unique signatures that are only present in Las by an exhaustive sequence based similarity search against the nucleotide sequence database. Our search resulted in 34 probable unique signatures. Furthermore, by designing the primer pair specific to the identified signatures, we showed that most of our primer sets are able to detect Las from the infected plant and psyllid materials collected from the USA and China by qRT-PCR. Overall, 18 primer pairs of the 34 are found to be highly specific to Las with no cross reactivity to the closely related species Ca. L. americanus (Lam) and Ca. L. africanus (Laf).
We have designed qRT-PCR primers based on Las specific genes. Among them, 18 are suitable for the detection of Las from Las-infected plant and psyllid samples. The repertoire of primers that we have developed and characterized in this study enhanced the qRT-PCR based molecular diagnosis of HLB.
PMCID: PMC4015361  PMID: 24533511
Detection system; Diagnostic; Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus; Greening; Huanglongbing; Bacteria; Psyllid; Citrus
6.  Melanocyte-secreted fibromodulin promotes an angiogenic microenvironment 
Studies have established that pigmentation can provide strong, protective effects against certain human diseases. For example, angiogenesis-dependent diseases such as wet age-related macular degeneration and infantile hemangioma are more common in light-skinned individuals of mixed European descent than in African-Americans. Here we found that melanocytes from light-skinned humans and albino mice secrete high levels of fibromodulin (FMOD), which we determined to be a potent angiogenic factor. FMOD treatment stimulated angiogenesis in numerous in vivo systems, including laser-induced choroidal neovascularization, growth factor–induced corneal neovascularization, wound healing, and Matrigel plug assays. Additionally, FMOD enhanced vascular sprouting during normal retinal development. Deletion of Fmod in albino mice resulted in a marked reduction in the amount of neovascularization induced by retinal vein occlusion, corneal growth factor pellets, and Matrigel plugs. Our data implicate the melanocyte-secreted factor FMOD as a key regulator of angiogenesis and suggest an underlying mechanism for epidemiological differences between light-skinned individuals of mixed European descent and African-Americans. Furthermore, inhibition of FMOD in humans has potential as a therapeutic strategy for treating angiogenesis-dependent diseases.
PMCID: PMC3871226  PMID: 24355922
7.  Benzoyl Peroxide Formulated Polycarbophil/Carbopol 934P Hydrogel with Selective Antimicrobial Activity, Potentially Beneficial for Treatment and Prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis 
The human vagina is colonized by a variety of indigenous microflora; in healthy individuals the predominant bacterial genus is Lactobacillus while those with bacterial vaginosis (BV) carry a variety of anaerobic representatives of the phylum Actinobacteria. In this study, we evaluated the antimicrobial activity of benzoyl peroxide (BPO) encapsulated in a hydrogel against Gardnerella vaginalis, one of the causative agents of BV, as well as indicating its safety for healthy human lactobacilli. Herein, it is shown that in well diffusion assays G. vaginalis is inhibited at 0.01% hydrogel-encapsulated BPO and that the tested Lactobacillus spp. can tolerate concentrations of BPO up to 2.5%. In direct contact assays (cells grown in a liquid culture containing hydrogel with 1% BPO or BPO particles), we demonstrated that hydrogels loaded with 1% BPO caused 6-log reduction of G. vaginalis. Conversely, three of the tested Lactobacillus spp. were not inhibited while L. acidophilus growth was slightly delayed. The rheological properties of the hydrogel formulation were probed using oscillation frequency sweep, oscillation shear stress sweep, and shear rate sweep. This shows the gel to be suitable for vaginal application and that the encapsulation of BPO did not alter rheological properties.
PMCID: PMC3870611  PMID: 24382940
8.  Impact of the S.W.E.A.T.™ Water-Exercise Method on Activities of Daily Living for Older Women 
Older women may have chronic or age-related conditions that increase the risk of falls or that limit their ability to remain active. It is unclear if a water-based exercise program provides a safe and effective alternative to land-based exercise. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a water-based exercise program method on land-based functional activities of daily living (ADL) for women 60 years and older. This study used a quasi- experimental, nonequivalent control group design. Sixty-six women (60-89 yr of age) self- selected to a water exercise (WEX) group (n = 48) or control (C) group (n = 18). The training consisted of a 16-week (45 min·day-1, 3 d·wk-1) supervised WEX program that included 10 min of warm-up and warm down/stretching and 35 min training using the S.W.E.A.T.™ method in shallow water 1.0-1.2 m, with water temperature approximately 28-29°C. Participants were required to attendat least 94% of the sessions. Assessments for participants included ADL functional field tests. In comparison to the C group, WEX participantsimproved (p < 0.05) flexibility (8%), sit- to-stand (31%), walking speed (16%) and stride length (10%), agility (20%), stair climb (22%), arm curl (39%), and static (42-48%) balance, but not dynamic balance. Results indicate that the S.W.E.A.T.™ method applied to this water exercise program provides a well-rounded, safe, and effective exercise program where older women can improve functional ADL and static balance.
Key PointsOlder women with a variety of health conditions participated in 16 weeks of exercise (92% adherence) with no injuries.The S.W.E.A.T.™ method applied to this water-based program was found to significantly improve several aspects of physical function, including postural balance.This shallow water program provided a well-rounded, safe and effective activity for women to improve functional ADL on land.
PMCID: PMC3873661  PMID: 24421730
Functional ADL; water/aquatic exercise; older women
9.  Phenolic Compounds as Antiangiogenic CMG2 Inhibitors from Costa Rican Endophytic Fungi 
Targeting and inhibiting CMG2 (Capillary Morphogenesis Gene protein 2) represents a new strategy for therapeutic agents for cancer and retinal diseases due to CMG2’s role in blood vessel growth (angiogenesis). A high throughput FRET (Förster Resonance Energy Transfer) assay was developed for the identification of CMG2 inhibitors as anti-angiogenetic agents. Bioassay-guided separation led to the isolation and identification of two new compounds (1 and 2) from CR252M, an endophytic fungus Coccomyces proteae collected from a Costa Rican rainforest, and one known compound (3) from CR1207B (Aurapex penicillata). Secondary in vitro assays indicated anti-angiogenic activity. Compound 3 inhibited the endothelial cell migration at 52 µM, but did not show any endothelial cell antiproliferative effect at 156 µM. The structure of the two new compounds, A (1) and B (2), were elucidated on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analysis, including 1D and 2D NMR experiments.
PMCID: PMC3563091  PMID: 22910038
Fungus; Coccomyces proteae; Aurapex penicillata; CMG2; Phenolic
10.  Effects of Nordic Walking Compared to Conventional Walking and Band-Based Resistance Exercise on Fitness in Older Adults 
The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of Nordic walking with conventional walking and band-based resistance exercise on functional fitness, static balance and dynamic balance in older adults. Volunteers (n = 65) were divided into four groups: Nordic walking (NW), conventional walking (CW), resistance (RES), and control. Each group performed activity 50-70 min·day−1 (warm-up 10-15 min, main exercise 30-40, and cool down 10-15 min), 3 days·week−1 (NW and CW) or 2 day·week−1 (RES) for 12 wks. Upper-body strength improved (p < 0. 05) in the RES (22.3%) and the NW (11.6%) groups compared to the CW and control groups. Cardio- respiratory fitness improved more in the NW (10.9%) and CW (10.6%) groups compared to the RES and control groups. Upper- and lower-body flexibility also improved in all exercise groups compared to the control group. There were no improvements in balance measures in any group. While all modes of exercise improved various components of fitness, Nordic walking provided the best well-rounded benefits by improving upper-body strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. Therefore, Nordic walking is recommended as an effective and efficient mode of concurrent exercise to improve overall functional fitness in older adults.
Key PointsNordic walking, conventional walking, and resistance training are beneficial for older adults.Nordic walking and conventional walking both improve cardio-respiratory fitness while resistance training does not.Nordic walking provides additional benefits in upper-body muscular strength compared to conventional walking.Nordic walking is an effective and efficient mode of exercise to improve overall fitness in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3772584  PMID: 24149147
Walking; resistance exercise; concurrent exercise; aging; functional fitness
As the older adult population increases in size, the number of older adults participating in sport activities will also likely increase proportionally with a concomitant increase in musculoskeletal injuries. Age-associated functional declines in muscle strength and the sensory systems, in addition to several other issues, contribute to reductions in balance that may increase fall risk There are a variety of ways to evaluate balance and fall-risk, and each older adult should be regularly screened in order to evaluate any changes in the ability to maintain postural stability. Balance training is a useful intervention in rehabilitation of postural stability impairments as well as in training programs for performance enhancement. One scientifically-based approach is Sensorimotor Training (SMT) which can be characterized as a progressive balance training program using labile surfaces to provide adequate and safe challenges to the older athlete's balance. SMT addresses both static and dynamic components of balance as well as the multitude of systems that control balance in order to train effective strategies and elicit automatic postural responses in order to enhance postural stability. The authors believe that SMT should become part of the regular training regimen for the aging athlete. For the sport and orthopedic healthcare professional, an understanding of the physiologic changes that occur with age, the means by which balance can be assessed, and how SMT programs can be developed and implemented is crucial in addressing the growing number of older athletes that they will see.
Level of Evidence:
PMCID: PMC3812830  PMID: 24175135
Aging; balance assessment; balance training; postural stability
12.  Further studies are necessary in order to conclude a causal association between the consumption of monosodium L-glutamate (MSG) and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the rural Thai population 
Please see related articles and author responses:
The article entitled “Monosodium glutamate (MSG) intake is associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a rural Thai population”, concluded that higher amounts of individual’s MSG consumption are associated with the risk of having the metabolic syndrome and being overweight independent of other major determinants. However, this epidemiological study is the only study indicating such a relationship between MSG intake and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and there is no direct supporting evidence for a causal relationship between MSG intake and prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This study does not indicate that MSG causes metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, there are several questionable points concerning study methods. Further carefully designed studies taking into account all glutamate sources are necessary to demonstrate the relationship between overweight, metabolic syndrome, MSG intake and umami sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3599553  PMID: 23347668
Monosodium glutamate; Intake; Overweight; Metabolic syndrome
Determine the reliability of two different modified (MOD1 and MOD2) testing methods compared to a standard method (ST) for testing trunk flexion and extension endurance.
Twenty‐eight healthy individuals (age 26.4 ± 3.2 years, height 1.75 ± m, weight 71.8 ± 10.3 kg, body mass index 23.6 ± 3.4 m/kg2).
Trunk endurance time was measured in seconds for flexion and extension under the three different stabilization conditions. The MOD1 testing procedure utilized a female clinician (70.3 kg) and MOD2 utilized a male clinician (90.7 kg) to provide stabilization as opposed to the ST method of belt stabilization.
No significant differences occurred between flexion and extension times. Intraclass correlations (ICCs3,1) for the different testing conditions ranged from .79 to .95 (p <.000) and are found in Table 3. Concurrent validity using the ST flexion times as the gold standard coefficients were .95 for MOD1 and .90 for MOD2. For ST extension, coefficients were .91 and .80, for MOD1 and MOD2 respectively (p <.01).
These methods proved to be a reliable substitute for previously accepted ST testing methods in normal college‐aged individuals. These modified testing procedures can be implemented in athletic training rooms and weight rooms lacking appropriate tables for the ST testing.
Level of Evidence:
PMCID: PMC3474305  PMID: 23091786
Core; stabilization; trunk endurance
14.  The ADP receptor P2RY12 regulates osteoclast function and pathologic bone remodeling 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(10):3579-3592.
The adenosine diphosphate (ADP) receptor P2RY12 (purinergic receptor P2Y, G protein coupled, 12) plays a critical role in platelet aggregation, and P2RY12 inhibitors are used clinically to prevent cardiac and cerebral thrombotic events. Extracellular ADP has also been shown to increase osteoclast (OC) activity, but the role of P2RY12 in OC biology is unknown. Here, we examined the role of mouse P2RY12 in OC function. Mice lacking P2ry12 had decreased OC activity and were partially protected from age-associated bone loss. P2ry12–/– OCs exhibited intact differentiation markers, but diminished resorptive function. Extracellular ADP enhanced OC adhesion and resorptive activity of WT, but not P2ry12–/–, OCs. In platelets, ADP stimulation of P2RY12 resulted in GTPase Ras-related protein (RAP1) activation and subsequent αIIbβ3 integrin activation. Likewise, we found that ADP stimulation induced RAP1 activation in WT and integrin β3 gene knockout (Itgb3–/–) OCs, but its effects were substantially blunted in P2ry12–/– OCs. In vivo, P2ry12–/– mice were partially protected from pathologic bone loss associated with serum transfer arthritis, tumor growth in bone, and ovariectomy-induced osteoporosis: all conditions associated with increased extracellular ADP. Finally, mice treated with the clinical inhibitor of P2RY12, clopidogrel, were protected from pathologic osteolysis. These results demonstrate that P2RY12 is the primary ADP receptor in OCs and suggest that P2RY12 inhibition is a potential therapeutic target for pathologic bone loss.
PMCID: PMC3461896  PMID: 22996695
15.  A FRET-Based High Throughput Screening Assay to Identify Inhibitors of Anthrax Protective Antigen Binding to Capillary Morphogenesis Gene 2 Protein 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39911.
Anti-angiogenic therapies are effective for the treatment of cancer, a variety of ocular diseases, and have potential benefits in cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and psoriasis. We have previously shown that anthrax protective antigen (PA), a non-pathogenic component of anthrax toxin, is an inhibitor of angiogenesis, apparently as a result of interaction with the cell surface receptors capillary morphogenesis gene 2 (CMG2) protein and tumor endothelial marker 8 (TEM8). Hence, molecules that bind the anthrax toxin receptors may be effective to slow or halt pathological vascular growth. Here we describe development and testing of an effective homogeneous steady-state fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) high throughput screening assay designed to identify molecules that inhibit binding of PA to CMG2. Molecules identified in the screen can serve as potential lead compounds for the development of anti-angiogenic and anti-anthrax therapies. The assay to screen for inhibitors of this protein–protein interaction is sensitive and robust, with observed Z' values as high as 0.92. Preliminary screens conducted with a library of known bioactive compounds identified tannic acid and cisplatin as inhibitors of the PA-CMG2 interaction. We have confirmed that tannic acid both binds CMG2 and has anti-endothelial properties. In contrast, cisplatin appears to inhibit PA-CMG2 interaction by binding both PA and CMG2, and observed cisplatin anti-angiogenic effects are not mediated by interaction with CMG2. This work represents the first reported high throughput screening assay targeting CMG2 to identify possible inhibitors of both angiogenesis and anthrax intoxication.
PMCID: PMC3386954  PMID: 22768167
16.  Effects of Aquatic and Dry Land Resistance Training Devices on Body Composition and Physical Capacity in Postmenopausal Women 
Journal of Human Kinetics  2012;32:185-195.
To determine the effects of a supervised strength training program on body composition and physical capacity of older women using three different devices: weight machines, elastic bands, and aquatic devices that increase drag forces (ADIDF). Four groups were formed: control group, weight machine group (WMG), elastic band group (EBG) and a group that used ADIDF (ADIDFG). Body composition and physical capacity were assessed before and after the intervention period. The ADIDFG showed improvements in fat mass (FM), fat-free mass of the left arm (FFM-LA) and right arm (FFM-RA), knee push-up test (KPT), squat test (ST) and crunch test (CT) (p <0.05). Individuals in the EBG and WMG also improved their FM, fat free mass (FFM), FFM-LA, FFM-RA, KPU, ST and CT. ADIDF training improves body composition and physical capacity of postmenopausal women as does performing land-based training programs.
PMCID: PMC3590866  PMID: 23487349
aquatic training; weight machines; elastic bands; fitness
17.  The Classical Pink-Eyed Dilution Mutation Affects Angiogenic Responsiveness 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e35237.
Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels are formed from existing vessels. Mammalian populations, including humans and mice, harbor genetic variations that alter angiogenesis. Angiogenesis-regulating gene variants can result in increased susceptibility to multiple angiogenesis-dependent diseases in humans. Our efforts to dissect the complexity of the genetic diversity that regulates angiogenesis have used laboratory animals due to the availability of genome sequence for many species and the ability to perform high volume controlled breeding. Using the murine corneal micropocket assay, we have observed more than ten-fold difference in angiogenic responsiveness among various mouse strains. This degree of difference is observed with either bFGF or VEGF induced corneal neovascularization. Ongoing mapping studies have identified multiple loci that affect angiogenic responsiveness in several mouse models. In this study, we used F2 intercrosses between C57BL/6J and the 129 substrains 129P1/ReJ and 129P3/J, as well as the SJL/J strain, where we have identified new QTLs that affect angiogenic responsiveness. In the case of AngFq5, on chromosome 7, congenic animals were used to confirm the existence of this locus and subcongenic animals, combined with a haplotype-based mapping approach that identified the pink-eyed dilution mutation as a candidate polymorphism to explain AngFq5. The ability of mutations in the pink-eyed dilution gene to affect angiogenic response was demonstrated using the p-J allele at the same locus. Using this allele, we demonstrate that pink-eyed dilution mutations in Oca2 can affect both bFGF and VEGF-induced corneal angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3352893  PMID: 22615734
18.  Synthesis and characterization of novel fluorescent nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate imaging probes for bone active drugs 
Progress in the synthesis of novel fluorescent conjugates of N-heterocyclic bisphosphonate drugs and related analogues, together with some recent applications of these compounds as imaging probes, are briefly discussed.
PMCID: PMC3166220  PMID: 21894242
Fluorescent; bisphosphonate; imaging; conjugates
19.  A Class III Semaphorin (Sema3e) Inhibits Mouse Osteoblast Migration and Decreases Osteoclast Formation In Vitro 
Calcified Tissue International  2012;90(2):151-162.
Originally identified as axonal guidance cues, semaphorins are expressed throughout many different tissues and regulate numerous non-neuronal processes. We demonstrate that most class III semaphorins are expressed in mouse osteoblasts and are differentially regulated by cell growth and differentiation: Sema3d expression is increased and Sema3e expression decreased during proliferation in culture, while expression of Sema3a is unaffected by cell density but increases in cultures of mineralizing osteoblasts. Expression of Sema3a, -3e, and -3d is also differentially regulated by osteogenic stimuli; inhibition of GSK3β decreased expression of Sema3a and -3e, while 1,25-(OH)2D3 increased expression of Sema3e. Parathyroid hormone had no effect on expression of Sema3a, -3b, or -3d. Osteoblasts, macrophages, and osteoclasts express the Sema3e receptor PlexinD1, suggesting an autocrine and paracrine role for Sema3e. No effects of recombinant Sema3e on osteoblast proliferation, differentiation, or mineralization were observed; but Sema3e did inhibit the migration of osteoblasts in a wound-healing assay. The formation of multinucleated, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase–positive osteoclasts was decreased by 81% in cultures of mouse bone marrow macrophages incubated with 200 ng/mL Sema3e. Correspondingly, decreased expression of osteoclast markers (Itgb3, Acp5, Cd51, Nfatc1, CalcR, and Ctsk) was observed by qPCR in macrophage cultures differentiated in the presence of Sema3e. Our results demonstrate that class III semaphorins are expressed by osteoblasts and differentially regulated by differentiation, mineralization, and osteogenic stimuli. Sema3e is a novel inhibitor of osteoclast formation in vitro and may play a role in maintaining local bone homeostasis, potentially acting as a coupling factor between osteoclasts and osteoblasts.
PMCID: PMC3271215  PMID: 22227882
Macrophage; Plexin; Mineralization; Vitamin D3; Migration
20.  Falling Less in Kansas: Development of a Fall Risk Reduction Toolkit 
Journal of Aging Research  2011;2011:532079.
Falls are a serious health risk for older adults. But for those living in rural and frontier areas of the USA, the risks are higher because of limited access to health care providers and resources. This study employed a community-based participatory research approach to develop a fall prevention toolkit to be used by residents of rural and frontier areas without the assistance of health care providers. Qualitative data were gathered from both key informant interviews and focus groups with a broad range of participants. Data analysis revealed that to be effective and accepted, the toolkit should be not only evidence based but also practical, low-cost, self-explanatory, and usable without the assistance of a health care provider. Materials must be engaging, visually interesting, empowering, sensitive to reading level, and appropriate for low-vision users. These findings should be useful to other researchers developing education and awareness materials for older adults in rural areas.
PMCID: PMC3176431  PMID: 21941655
21.  Quantitative Proteomics Identify Novel miR-155 Target Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22146.
MicroRNAs are 22 nucleotides long non-coding RNAs and exert their function either by transcriptional or translational inhibition. Although many microRNA profiles in different tissues and disease states have already been discovered, only little is known about their target proteins. The microRNA miR-155 is deregulated in many diseases, including cancer, where it might function as an oncoMir.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We employed a proteomics technique called “stable isotope labelling by amino acids in cell culture” (SILAC) allowing relative quantification to reliably identify target proteins of miR-155. Using SILAC, we identified 46 putative miR-155 target proteins, some of which were previously reported. With luciferase reporter assays, CKAP5 was confirmed as a new target of miR-155. Functional annotation of miR-155 target proteins pointed to a role in cell cycle regulation.
To the best of our knowledge we have investigated for the first time miR-155 target proteins in the HEK293T cell line in large scale. In addition, by comparing our results to previously identified miR-155 target proteins in other cell lines, we provided further evidence for the cell line specificity of microRNAs.
PMCID: PMC3143118  PMID: 21799781
22.  The regulation of osteoclast function and bone resorption by small GTPases 
Small GTPases  2011;2(3):117-130.
Osteoclasts are multinucleated cells that are responsible for resorption of bone, and increased activity of these cells is associated with several common bone diseases, including postmenopausal osteoporosis. Upon adhesion to bone, osteoclasts become polarized and reorganise their cytoskeleton and membrane to form unique domains including the sealing zone (SZ), which is a dense ring of F-actin-rich podosomes delimiting the ruffled border (RB), where protons and proteases are secreted to demineralise and degrade the bone matrix, respectively. These processes are dependent on the activity of small GTPases. Rho GTPases are well known to control the organization of F-actin and adhesion structures of different cell types, affecting subsequently their migration. In osteoclasts, RhoA, Rac, Cdc42, RhoU and also Arf6 regulate podosome assembly and their organization into the SZ. By contrast, the formation of the RB involves vesicular trafficking pathways that are regulated by the Rab family of GTPases, in particular lysosomal Rab7. Finally, osteoclast survival is dependent on the activity of Ras GTPases. The correct function of almost all these GTPases is absolutely dependent on post-translational prenylation, which enables them to localize to specific target membranes. Bisphosphonate drugs, which are widely used in the treatment of bone diseases such as osteoporosis, act by preventing the prenylation of small GTPases, resulting in the loss of the SZ and RB and therefore inhibition of osteoclast activity, as well as inducing osteoclast apoptosis. In this review we summarize current understanding of the role of specific prenylated small GTPases in osteoclast polarization, function and survival.
PMCID: PMC3136942  PMID: 21776413
osteoclast; bone; Rab; Rho; Rac; Ras; Arf; bisphosphonate; prenylation
23.  Impaired prenylation of Rab GTPases in the gunmetal mouse causes defects in bone cell function 
Small GTPases  2011;2(3):131-142.
Vesicular trafficking is crucial for bone resorption by osteoclasts, in particular for formation of the ruffled border membrane and for removal of the resultant bone degradation products by transcytosis. These processes are regulated by Rab family GTPases, whose activity is dependent on post-translational prenylation by Rab geranylgeranyl transferase (RGGT). Specific pharmacological inhibition of RGGT inhibits bone resorption in vitro and in vivo, illustrating the importance of Rab prenylation for osteoclast function. The gunmetal (gm/gm) mouse bears a mutation in the catalytic subunit of RGGT, causing a loss of 75% of the activity of this enzyme and hence hypoprenylation of several Rabs in melanocytes, platelets and cytotoxic T cells. We have now found that prenylation of several Rab proteins is also defective in gm/gm osteoclasts. Moreover, while osteoclast formation and cytoskeletal polarization occurs normally, gm/gm osteoclasts exhibit a substantial reduction in resorptive activity in vitro compared with osteoclasts from +/gm mice, which do not have a prenylation defect. Surprisingly, rather than the osteosclerosis that would be expected to result from defective osteoclast function in vivo, gm/gm mice exhibited a slightly lower bone mass than +/gm mice, indicating that defects in other cell types, such as osteoblasts, in which hypoprenylation of Rabs was also detected, may contribute to the phenotype. However, gm/gm mice were partially protected from ovariectomy-induced bone loss, suggesting that levels of Rab prenylation in gm/gm osteoclasts may be sufficient to maintain normal physiological levels of activity, but not pathological levels of bone resorption in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3136943  PMID: 21776414
osteoclast; bone resorption; bone; Rab; small GTPase; prenylation; gunmetal
24.  Targeting the anthrax receptors, TEM-8 and CMG-2, for anti-angiogenic therapy 
The anthrax toxin receptors tumor endothelial marker-8 (TEM-8) and capillary morphogenesis gene-2 (CMG-2) are responsible for allowing entry of anthrax toxin into host cells. However, these receptors were first discovered due to their enhanced expression on endothelial cells undergoing blood vessel growth or angiogenesis in in vitro or in vivo model systems. Targeting and inhibiting angiogenesis is an important strategy for current anti-cancer therapies and treatment of retinal diseases. Structures, tissue expression, and interactions of the TEM-8 and CMG-2 proteins have been documented, and functional roles for these receptors in angiogenesis have recently emerged. TEM-8 appears to regulate endothelial cell migration and tubule formation whereas a role for CMG-2 in endothelial proliferation has been documented. TEM-8 and CMG-2 bind differentially to extracellular matrix proteins including collagen I, collagen IV and laminin and these properties may be responsible for their apparent roles in regulating endothelial cell behavior during angiogenesis. TEM-8-binding moieties have also been suggested to be useful in selectively targeting anti-angiogenic and anti-tumorigenic therapies to tumor endothelium. Additionally, studies of modified forms of lethal toxin (LeTx) have demonstrated that targeted inhibition of MAPKs within tumor vessels may represent an efficacious anti-angiogenic strategy.
PMCID: PMC3066103  PMID: 21196249
Endothelial; angiogenesis; anthrax; intracellular signaling; extracellular matrix
25.  Fluorescent Risedronate Analogues Reveal Bisphosphonate Uptake by Bone Marrow Monocytes and Localization Around Osteocytes In Vivo 
Bisphosphonates are effective antiresorptive agents owing to their bone-targeting property and ability to inhibit osteoclasts. It remains unclear, however, whether any non-osteoclast cells are directly affected by these drugs in vivo. Two fluorescent risedronate analogues, carboxyfluorescein-labeled risedronate (FAM-RIS) and Alexa Fluor 647–labeled risedronate (AF647-RIS), were used to address this question. Twenty-four hours after injection into 3-month-old mice, fluorescent risedronate analogues were bound to bone surfaces. More detailed analysis revealed labeling of vascular channel walls within cortical bone. Furthermore, fluorescent risedronate analogues were present in osteocytic lacunae in close proximity to vascular channels and localized to the lacunae of newly embedded osteocytes close to the bone surface. Following injection into newborn rabbits, intracellular uptake of fluorescently labeled risedronate was detected in osteoclasts, and the active analogue FAM-RIS caused accumulation of unprenylated Rap1A in these cells. In addition, CD14high bone marrow monocytes showed relatively high levels of uptake of fluorescently labeled risedronate, which correlated with selective accumulation of unprenylated Rap1A in CD14+ cells, as well as osteoclasts, following treatment with risedronate in vivo. Similar results were obtained when either rabbit or human bone marrow cells were treated with fluorescent risedronate analogues in vitro. These findings suggest that the capacity of different cell types to endocytose bisphosphonate is a major determinant for the degree of cellular drug uptake in vitro as well as in vivo. In conclusion, this study shows that in addition to bone-resorbing osteoclasts, bisphosphonates may exert direct effects on bone marrow monocytes in vivo. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
PMCID: PMC3153397  PMID: 20422624
bisphosphonates; fluorescent conjugates; cellular uptake; osteocytes; monocytes

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