Cobalt is a transition group metal present in trace amounts in the human diet, but in larger doses it can be acutely toxic or cause adverse health effects in chronic exposures. Its use in many industrial processes and alloys worldwide presents opportunities for occupational exposures, including military personnel. While the toxic effects of cobalt have been widely studied, the exact mechanisms of toxicity remain unclear. In order to further elucidate these mechanisms and identify potential biomarkers of exposure or effect, we exposed two rat liver-derived cell lines, H4-II-E-C3 and MH1C1, to two concentrations of cobalt chloride. We examined changes in gene expression using DNA microarrays in both cell lines and examined changes in cytoplasmic protein abundance in MH1C1 cells using mass spectrometry. We chose to closely examine differentially expressed genes and proteins changing in abundance in both cell lines in order to remove cell line specific effects. We identified enriched pathways, networks, and biological functions using commercial bioinformatic tools and manual annotation. Many of the genes, proteins, and pathways modulated by exposure to cobalt appear to be due to an induction of a hypoxic-like response and oxidative stress. Genes that may be differentially expressed due to a hypoxic-like response are involved in Hif-1α signaling, glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, and other energy metabolism related processes. Gene expression changes linked to oxidative stress are also known to be involved in the NRF2-mediated response, protein degradation, and glutathione production. Using microarray and mass spectrometry analysis, we were able to identify modulated genes and proteins, further elucidate the mechanisms of toxicity of cobalt, and identify biomarkers of exposure and effect in vitro, thus providing targets for focused in vivo studies.
The induction of an interferon-induced antiviral state is a powerful cellular response against viral infection that limits viral spread. Here, we show that a preexisting antiviral state inhibits the replication of influenza A viruses in human A549 cells by preventing transport of the viral genome to the nucleus and that the interferon-induced MxA protein is necessary but not sufficient for this process. This represents a previously unreported antiviral function of MxA against influenza A virus infection.
Tissue inflammation is characterised by increased trafficking of antigen-loaded dendritic cells (DCs) from the periphery via afferent lymphatics to draining lymph nodes, with a resulting stimulation of ongoing immune responses. Transmigration across lymphatic endothelium constitutes the first step in this process and is known to involve the chemokine CCL21 and its receptor CCR7. However, the precise details of DC transit remain obscure and it is likely that additional chemokine-receptor pairs have roles in lymphatic vessel entry. Here, we report that the transmembrane chemokine CX3CL1 (fractalkine) is induced in inflamed lymphatic endothelium, both in vitro in TNF-α-treated human dermal lymphatic endothelial cells (HDLECs) and in vivo in a mouse model of skin hypersensitivity. However, unlike blood endothelial cells, which express predominantly transmembrane CX3CL1 as a leukocyte adhesion molecule, HDLECs shed virtually all CX3CL1 at their basolateral surface through matrix metalloproteinases. We show for the first time that both recombinant soluble CX3CL1 and endogenous secreted CX3CL1 promote basolateral-to-luminal migration of DCs across HDLEC monolayers in vitro. Furthermore, we show in vivo that neutralising antibodies against CX3CL1 dramatically reduce allergen-induced trafficking of cutaneous DCs to draining lymph nodes as assessed by FITC skin painting in mice. Finally, we show that deletion of the CX3CL1 receptor in Cx3cr1−/− DCs results in markedly delayed lymphatic trafficking in vivo and impaired translymphatic migration in vitro, thus establishing a previously unrecognised role for this atypical chemokine in regulating DC trafficking through the lymphatics.
Lymphatic; Chemokine; DC trafficking; Inflammation; Endothelial cell
The food dye FD&C Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue FCF [BB FCF]) is structurally similar to the purinergic receptor antagonist Brilliant Blue G (BBG), which is a well-known inhibitor of the ionotropic P2X7 receptor (P2X7R). The P2X7R functionally interacts with the membrane channel protein pannexin 1 (Panx1) in inflammasome signaling. Intriguingly, ligands to the P2X7R, regardless of whether they are acting as agonists or antagonists at the receptor, inhibit Panx1 channels. Thus, because both P2X7R and Panx1 are inhibited by BBG, the diagnostic value of the drug is limited. Here, we show that the food dye BB FCF is a selective inhibitor of Panx1 channels, with an IC50 of 0.27 µM. No significant effect was observed with concentrations as high as 100 µM of BB FCF on P2X7R. Differing by just one hydroxyl group from BB FCF, the food dye FD&C Green No. 3 exhibited similar selective inhibition of Panx1 channels. A reverse selectivity was observed for the P2X7R antagonist, oxidized ATP, which in contrast to other P2X7R antagonists had no significant inhibitory effect on Panx1 channels.
Based on its selective action, BB FCF can be added to the repertoire of drugs to study the physiology of Panx1 channels. Furthermore, because Panx1 channels appear to be involved directly or indirectly through P2X7Rs in several disorders, BB FCF and derivatives of this “safe” food dye should be given serious consideration for pharmacological intervention of conditions such as acute Crohn’s disease, stroke, and injuries to the central nervous system.
Norepinephrine (NE) can modulate multiple cellular functions important for cancer progression; however, how this single extracellular signal regulates such a broad array of cellular processes is unknown. Here, we identify Src as a key regulator of phosphoproteomic signaling networks activated in response to beta-adrenergic signaling in cancer cells. These results also identify a new mechanism of Src phosphorylation that mediates beta-adrenergic/PKA regulation of downstream networks, thereby enhancing tumor cell migration, invasion and growth. In human ovarian cancer samples, high tumoral NE levels were correlated with high pSrcY419 levels. Moreover, among cancer patients, the use of beta blockers was significantly associated with reduced cancer-related mortality. Collectively, these data provide a pivotal molecular target for disrupting neural signaling in the tumor microenvironment.
Trehalose is a non-reducing disaccharide that is used as an osmolyte, transport sugar, carbon reserve and stress protectant in a wide range of organisms. In plants, trehalose 6-phosphate (Tre6P), the intermediate of trehalose biosynthesis, is thought to be a signal of sucrose status. Trehalose itself may play a role in pathogenic and symbiotic plant-microbe interactions, in responses to abiotic stress and in developmental signalling, but its precise functions are unknown. A major obstacle to investigating its function is the technical difficulty of measuring the very low levels of trehalose usually found in plant tissues, as most of the established trehalose assays lack sufficient specificity and/or sensitivity.
A kinetic assay for trehalose was established using recombinant Escherichia coli cytoplasmic trehalase (treF), which was shown to be highly specific for trehalose. Hydrolysis of trehalose to glucose is monitored fluorometrically and the trehalose content of the tissue extract is determined from an internal calibration curve. The assay is linear for 0.2-40 pmol trehalose, and recoveries of trehalose were ≥88%. A. thaliana Col-0 rosettes contain about 20–30 nmol g-1FW of trehalose, increasing to about 50–60 nmol g-1FW in plants grown at 8°C. Trehalose is not correlated with sucrose content, whereas a strong correlation between Tre6P and sucrose was confirmed. The trehalose contents of ear inflorescence primordia from the maize ramosa3 mutant and wild type plants were 6.6±2.6 nmol g-1FW and 19.0±12.7 nmol g-1FW, respectively. The trehalose:Tre6P ratios in the ramosa3 and wild-type primordia were 2.43±0.85 and 6.16±3.45, respectively.
The fluorometric assay is highly specific for trehalose and sensitive enough to measure the trehalose content of very small amounts of plant tissue. Chilling induced a 2-fold accumulation of trehalose in A. thaliana rosettes, but the levels were too low to make a substantial quantitative contribution to osmoregulation. Trehalose is unlikely to function as a signal of sucrose status. The abnormal inflorescence branching phenotype of the maize ramosa3 mutant might be linked to a decrease in trehalose levels in the inflorescence primordia or a downward shift in the trehalose:Tre6P ratio.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Ramosa3; Trehalase; Trehalose; Zea mays
Influenza viruses exhibit striking variations in particle morphology between strains. Clinical isolates of influenza A virus have been shown to produce long filamentous particles while laboratory-adapted strains are predominantly spherical. However, the role of the filamentous phenotype in the influenza virus infectious cycle remains undetermined. We used cryo-electron tomography to conduct the first three-dimensional study of filamentous virus ultrastructure in particles budding from infected cells. Filaments were often longer than 10 microns and sometimes had bulbous heads at their leading ends, some of which contained tubules we attribute to M1 while none had recognisable ribonucleoprotein (RNP) and hence genome segments. Long filaments that did not have bulbs were infrequently seen to bear an ordered complement of RNPs at their distal ends. Imaging of purified virus also revealed diverse filament morphologies; short rods (bacilliform virions) and longer filaments. Bacilliform virions contained an ordered complement of RNPs while longer filamentous particles were narrower and mostly appeared to lack this feature, but often contained fibrillar material along their entire length. The important ultrastructural differences between these diverse classes of particles raise the possibility of distinct morphogenetic pathways and functions during the infectious process.
Influenza viruses that have been cultivated in the laboratory usually produce particles that are spherical. However, viruses isolated from patients frequently produce long filamentous particles, as well as smaller elliptical particles that we term “bacilliform virions”. Long filaments may be important for cell-to-cell transmission or facilitate release of the smaller particles by disrupting the mucous layer of the respiratory tract. We have used three-dimensional electron microscopy to investigate the structure of influenza virus filaments ‘budding’ from cells. We found that many of the long filaments had a large bulbous head at the end furthest from the cell. Many of these bulbs were empty while some contained tubules that we believe are made of a scaffold-protein M1 that usually lines the inner surface of the viral membrane. Bacilliform virions contain genomes comprised of eight segments of RNA; these are each wrapped up in protein and packaged in an ordered manner. None of the bulb-headed filaments and very few narrower ones had this feature. We hypothesise that the diverse viral structures we have seen suggest distinct assembly pathways and moreover functions. Long filamentous structures that do not appear to contain genomes may combat the immune response or help the smaller virus particles spread.
The principal toxicity of acute organophosphate (OP) pesticide poisoning is the disruption of neurotransmission through inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). However, other mechanisms leading to persistent effects and neurodegeneration remain controversial and difficult to detect. Because Caenorhabditis elegans is relatively resistant to OP lethality—particularly through the inhibition of AChE—studies in this nematode provide an opportunity to observe alterations in global gene expression following OP exposure that cannot be readily observed in less resistant organisms.
We exposed cultures of worms in axenic, defined medium to dichlorvos under three exposure protocols. In the first, worms were exposed continuously throughout the experiment. In the second and third, the worms were exposed for either 2 or 8 h, the dichlorvos was washed out of the culture, and the worms were allowed to recover. We then analyzed gene expression using whole genome microarrays from RNA obtained from worms sampled at multiple time points throughout the exposure. The worms showed a time-dependent increase in the expression of genes involved in stress responses. Early in the exposure, the predominant effect was on metabolic processes, while at later times, an immune-like response and cellular repair mechanisms dominated the expression pattern. Following removal of dichlorvos, the gene expression in the worms appeared to relatively rapidly return to steady-state levels.
The changes in gene expression observed in the worms following exposure to dichlorvos point towards two potential mechanisms of toxicity: inhibition of AChE and mitochondrial disruption.
Caenorhabditis elegans; Organophosphate pesticide intoxication; Gene expression; Dichlorvos; Acetylcholinesterase inhibition; Mitochondrial disruption; Dichlorvos-induced developmental delay
Previous studies based on fetal magnetocardiographic (fMCG) recordings used simplified volume conductor models to estimate the fetal cardiac vector as an unequivocal measure of the cardiac source strength. However, the effect of simplified volume conductor modeling on the accuracy of the fMCG inverse solution remains largely unknown. Aiming to determine the sensitivity of the source estimators to the details of the volume conductor model, we performed simulations using fetal-maternal anatomical information from ultrasound images obtained in 20 pregnant women in various stages of pregnancy. The magnetic field produced by a cardiac source model was computed using the boundary element method for a piecewise homogeneous volume conductor with three nested compartments (fetal body, amniotic fluid and maternal abdomen) of different electrical conductivities. For late gestation, we also considered the case of a fourth highly insulating layer of vernix caseosa covering the fetus. The errors introduced for simplified volume conductors were assessed by comparing the reconstruction results obtained with realistic versus spherically symmetric models. Our study demonstrates a significant effect of simplified volume conductor modeling, resulting mainly in an underestimation of the cardiac vector magnitude and low goodness-of-fit. These findings are confirmed by the analysis of real fMCG data recorded in mid-gestation.
fetal magnetocardiography; cardiac vector; boundary element method; volume conductor
Gene targeting in embryonic stem cells has become the principal technology for manipulation of the mouse genome, offering unrivalled accuracy in allele design and access to conditional mutagenesis. To bring these advantages to the wider research community, large-scale mouse knockout programmes are producing a permanent resource of targeted mutations in all protein-coding genes. Here we report the establishment of a high-throughput gene-targeting pipeline for the generation of reporter-tagged, conditional alleles. Computational allele design, 96-well modular vector construction and high-efficiency gene-targeting strategies have been combined to mutate genes on an unprecedented scale. So far, more than 12,000 vectors and 9,000 conditional targeted alleles have been produced in highly germline-competent C57BL/6N embryonic stem cells. High-throughput genome engineering highlighted by this study is broadly applicable to rat and human stem cells and provides a foundation for future genome-wide efforts aimed at deciphering the function of all genes encoded by the mammalian genome.
Although many studies provide strong evidence supporting the development of HCV virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccines, the fact that heterologous viral vectors and/or multiple dosing regimes are required to induce protective immunity indicates that it is necessary to improve their immunogenicity. In this study, we have evaluated the use of an anionic self-adjuvanting lipopeptide containing the TLR2 agonist Pam2Cys (E8Pam2Cys) to enhance the immunogenicity of VLPs containing the HCV structural proteins (core, E1 and E2) of genotype 1a. While co-formulation of this lipopeptide with VLPs only resulted in marginal improvements in dendritic cell (DC) uptake, its ability to concomitantly induce DC maturation at very small doses is a feature not observed using VLPs alone or in the presence of an aluminium hydroxide-based adjuvant (Alum). Dramatically improved VLP and E2-specific antibody responses were observed in VLP+E8Pam2Cys vaccinated mice where up to 3 doses of non-adjuvanted or traditionally alum-adjuvanted VLPs was required to match the antibody titres obtained with a single dose of VLPs formulated with this lipopeptide. This result also correlated with significantly higher numbers of specific antibody secreting cells that was detected in the spleens of VLP+E8Pam2Cys vaccinated mice and greater ability of sera from these mice to neutralise the binding and uptake of VLPs by Huh7 cells. Moreover, vaccination of HLA-A2 transgenic mice with this formulation also induced better VLP-specific IFN-γ-mediated responses compared to non-adjuvanted VLPs but comparable levels to that achieved when coadministered with complete freund’s adjuvant. These results suggest overall that the immunogenicity of HCV VLPs can be significantly improved by the addition of this novel adjuvant by targeting their delivery to DCs and could therefore constitute a viable vaccine strategy for the treatment of HCV.
It was Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, who first emphasized the patient as the most important determinant of therapeutic efficacy. Although the principle of adjusting treatment to specific patient characteristics has since been the strategy of physicians, this is undermined by a population-biased approach to drug development. Therefore, it is generally true to say that our current evidential approach to cancer treatment is driven more by drug-regulation requirements and market considerations than the specific needs of an individual patient. But, with cancer drug costs now spiraling out of control and the modest efficacy typically seen in patients, the community is again turning to Hippocrates’ ancient paradigm—this time with emphasis on molecular considerations. Rapidly evolving technologies are empowering us to describe the molecular ‘nature’ of a patient and/or tumor and with this has come the beginning of truly personalized medicine, with maximized efficacy, cost effectiveness and hopefully improved survival for the patient.
In an effort to evaluate factors associated with the development of antiretroviral (ARV) resistance, we assessed the prevalence of toxicity-related regimen changes and modeled its association to the subsequent development of ARV resistance in a cohort of treatment-naive individuals initiating ARV therapy (ART). A retrospective analysis of patients initiating ART was conducted at the UAB 1917 Clinic from 1 January 2000 to 30 September 2007. Cox proportional hazards models were fit to identify factors associated with the development of resistance to ≥1 ARV drug class. Among 462 eligible participants, 14% (n=64) developed ARV resistance. Individuals with ≥1 toxicity-related regimen change (HR=3.94, 95% CI=1.09–14.21), initiating ART containing ddI or d4T (4.12, 1.19–14.26), and from a minority race (2.91, 1.16–7.28) had increased risk of developing resistance. Achieving virologic suppression within 12 months of ART initiation (0.10, 0.05–0.20) and higher pretreatment CD4 count (0.85 per 50 cells/mm3, 0.75–0.96) were associated with decreased hazards of resistance. Changes in ART due to drug intolerance were associated with the subsequent development of ARV resistance. Understanding the role of ARV drug selection and other factors associated with the emergence of ARV resistance will help inform interventions to improve patient care and ensure long-term treatment success.
We have previously reported a world-first phase I clinical trial to treat HCV patients using monocyte-derived dendritic cells (Mo-DC) loaded with HCV-specific lipopeptides. While the brief treatment proved to be safe, it failed to reduce the viral load and induced only transient cell-mediated immune responses, measured by IFNγ ELIspot. Here we reanalysed the PBMC samples from this trial to further elucidate the immunological events associated with the Mo-DC therapy. We found that HCV-specific single- and multi-cytokine secreting T cells were induced by the Mo-DC immunotherapy in some patients, although at irregular intervals and not consistently directed to the same HCV antigen. Despite the vaccination, the responses were generally poor in quality and comprised of primarily single-cytokine secreting cells. The frequency of FOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) fluctuated following DC infusion and eventually dropped to below baseline by week 12, an interesting trend suggesting that the vaccination may have resulted in a more subtle outcome than was initially apparent. Our data suggested that Mo-DC therapy induced complex immune responses in vivo that may or may not lead to clinical benefit.
Many newly diagnosed patients present to outpatient care with advanced HIV infection. More timely HIV diagnosis and initiation of care has the potential to improve individual health outcomes and has public health implications.
To assess temporal trends in late presentation for outpatient HIV medial care as measured by CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 and the implications on short-term (1-year) mortality.
We conducted a cohort study nested in a prospective HIV clinical cohort including patients establishing initial outpatient HIV treatment between 2000–2010. Time series regression analysis evaluated temporal trends in late presentation for care measured by the proportion of patients with a CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 or an opportunistic infection at enrollment, and also evaluated trends in short-term mortality.
Patients establishing initial outpatient HIV treatment between 2000–2010 at an academic HIV clinic.
The proportion of patients with a CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 or an opportunistic infection at initial presentation and short-term (1-year) mortality following clinic enrollment.
Among 1121 patients, 41% had an initial CD4 count <200 cells/mm3, 25% had an opportunistic infection and 2.4% died within 1-year of their initial visit. Time series regression analysis demonstrated significant reductions in late presentation for HIV care and decreases in short-term mortality with temporal improvement preceding updated CDC HIV testing recommendations.
We observed a significant decline in the number of patients presenting for outpatient HIV care with advanced disease, particularly in 2006–2010. A significant trend in improved short-term survival among patients establishing HIV care was also observed, likely related to more timely presentation for outpatient care in more recent years.
HIV; HIV testing; mortality; disparity; health policy
Plant height is an important agronomic trait that affects yield and tolerance to certain abiotic stresses. Understanding the genetic control of plant height is important for elucidating the regulation of maize development and has practical implications for trait improvement in plant breeding.
In this study, two independent, semi-dwarf maize EMS mutants, referred to as dwarf & irregular leaf (dil1), were isolated and confirmed to be allelic. In comparison to wild type plants, the mutant plants have shorter internodes, shorter, wider and wrinkled leaves, as well as smaller leaf angles. Cytological analysis indicated that the leaf epidermal cells and internode parenchyma cells are irregular in shape and are arranged in a more random fashion, and the mutants have disrupted leaf epidermal patterning. In addition, parenchyma cells in the dil1 mutants are significantly smaller than those in wild-type plants. The dil1 mutation was mapped on the long arm of chromosome 6 and a candidate gene, annotated as an AP2 transcription factor-like, was identified through positional cloning. Point mutations near exon-intron junctions were identified in both dil1 alleles, resulting in mis-spliced variants.
An AP2 transcription factor-like gene involved in stalk and leaf development in maize has been identified. Mutations near exon-intron junctions of the AP2 gene give mis-spliced transcript variants, which result in shorter internodes and wrinkled leaves.
Terns (Charadriiformes: Sterninae) are a lineage of cosmopolitan shorebirds with a disputed evolutionary history that comprises several species of conservation concern. As a non-model system in genetics, previous study has left most of the nuclear genome unexplored, and population-level studies are limited to only 15% of the world's species of terns and noddies. Screening of polymorphic nuclear sequence markers is needed to enhance genetic resolution because of supposed low mitochondrial mutation rate, documentation of nuclear insertion of hypervariable mitochondrial regions, and limited success of microsatellite enrichment in terns. Here, we investigated the phylogenetic and population genetic utility for terns and relatives of a variety of nuclear markers previously developed for other birds and spanning the nuclear genome. Markers displaying a variety of mutation rates from both the nuclear and mitochondrial genome were tested and prioritized according to optimal cross-species amplification and extent of genetic polymorphism between (1) the main tern clades and (2) individual Royal Terns (Thalasseus maxima) breeding on the US East Coast.
Results from this genome skimming effort yielded four new nuclear sequence-based markers for tern phylogenetics and 11 intra-specific polymorphic markers. Further, comparison between the two genomes indicated a phylogenetic conflict at the base of terns, involving the inclusion (mitochondrial) or exclusion (nuclear) of the Angel Tern (Gygis alba). Although limited mitochondrial variation was confirmed, both nuclear markers and a short tandem repeat in the mitochondrial control region indicated the presence of considerable genetic variation in Royal Terns at a regional scale.
These data document the value of intronic markers to the study of terns and allies. We expect that these and additional markers attained through next-generation sequencing methods will accurately map the genetic origin and species history of this group of birds.
Influenza virus infection accounts for significant morbidity and mortality world-wide. Interactions of the virus with host cells, particularly those of the macrophage lineage, are thought to contribute to various pathological changes associated with poor patient outcome. Development of new strategies to treat disease therefore requires a detailed understanding of the impact of virus infection upon cellular responses. Here we report that human blood-derived monocytes could be readily infected with the H3N2 influenza virus A/Udorn/72 (Udorn), irrespective of their phenotype (CD14++/CD16−, CD14++/CD16+ or CD14dimCD16++), as determined by multi-colour flow cytometry for viral haemagglutinin (HA) expression and cell surface markers 8–16 hours post infection. Monocytes are relatively resistant to influenza-induced cell death early in infection, as approximately 20% of cells showed influenza-induced caspase-dependent apoptosis. Infection of monocytes with Udorn also induced the release of IL-6, IL-8, TNFα and IP-10, suggesting that NS1 protein of Udorn does not (effectively) inhibit this host defence response in human monocytes. Comparative analysis of human monocyte-derived macrophages (Mph) demonstrated greater susceptibility to human influenza virus than monocytes, with the majority of both pro-inflammatory Mph1 and anti-inflammatory/regulatory Mph2 cells expressing viral HA after infection with Udorn. Influenza infection of macrophages also induced cytokine and chemokine production. However, both Mph1 and Mph2 phenotypes released comparable amounts of TNFα, IL-12p40 and IP-10 after infection with H3N2, in marked contrast to differential responses to LPS-stimulation. In addition, we found that influenza virus infection augmented the capacity of poorly phagocytic Mph1 cells to phagocytose apoptotic cells by a mechanism that was independent of either IL-10 or the Mer receptor tyrosine kinase/Protein S pathway. In summary, our data reveal that influenza virus infection of human macrophages causes functional alterations that may impact on the process of resolution of inflammation, with implications for viral clearance and lung pathology.
To assess the significance of CA-125 regression as a prognostic indicator and predictor of optimal cytoreduction at interval debulking surgery (IDS) in women with ovarian or primary peritoneal carcinoma receiving neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.
63 women treated between 2004 and 2007 with neoadjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy followed by IDS were studied retrospectively. Preoperative CA-125 values were used to calculate a regression coefficient (CA-125r) using exponential regression analysis. Outcome endpoints were overall survival (OS), time to CA-125 progression by Rustin criteria (TTC) and time to second-line treatment (TTS).
Women with a CA-125 half-life greater than 18 days had a significantly worse OS compared to those with a half-life less than 12 days on univariate testing [HR 3.34, 95% CI: 1.25-8.94, p=0.017]. On multivariable analysis, CA-125r was an independent predictor of OS [HR 1.18 (per 0.01 increase in CA-125r), 95% CI: 1.01-1.40, p=0.043]. CA-125r was independently predictive of TTC and TTS [HR 1.17, p≈0.03 for each]. CA-125r was also predictive of achieving optimal cytoreduction at IDS (AUC 0.756, p<0.001).
CA-125 regression rate during pre-operative neo-adjuvant chemotherapy is of independent prognostic value. CA-125 regression rate strongly predicts for optimal cytoreduction.
CA-125 regression; ovarian cancer; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; interval debulking surgery
Flavonoids are specialized compounds widely distributed and with diverse functions throughout the plant kingdom and with several benefits for human health. In particular, flavonols, synthesized by flavonol synthase (FLS), protect plants against UV-B radiation and are essential for male fertility in maize and other plants. We have recently characterized a UV-B inducible ZmFLS1, corresponding to the first to be described in monocot plants. Interestingly, the new assembly of the B73 maize genome revealed the presence of a second putative FLS gene (ZmFLS2), with very high identity with ZmFLS1. ZmFLSs expression was analyzed in different maize tissues, and by combining electrophoretic mobility shift assays and transient expression experiments, we show that both genes are direct targets of anthocyanin (C1/PL1 + R/B) and 3-deoxy flavonoid (P1) transcriptional regulators. ZmFLS expression analyses show higher levels of both transcripts in high altitude landraces than inbred lines, and both genes are regulated by UV-B radiation in all lines analyzed. Moreover, the high sequence conservation of the ZmFLS promoters between maize lines suggests that the differences observed in ZmFLS expression are due to allelic variations in the transcription factors that regulate their activities. Finally, we generated pFLS1::FLS1-RFP transgenic plants and analyzed ZmFLS1 expression in different maize tissues; we found that this enzyme is localized in the ER and the perinuclear region.
UV-B; duplication; grasses; natural variation; maize
Many heavy metals, including nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd), and chromium (Cr) are toxic industrial chemicals with an exposure risk in both occupational and environmental settings that may cause harmful outcomes. While these substances are known to produce adverse health effects leading to disease or health problems, the detailed mechanisms remain unclear. To elucidate the processes involved in the toxicity of nickel, cadmium, and chromium at the molecular level and to perform a comparative analysis, H4-II-E-C3 rat liver-derived cell lines were treated with soluble salts of each metal using concentrations derived from viability assays, and gene expression patterns were determined with DNA microarrays. We identified both common and unique biological responses to exposure to the three metals. Nickel, cadmium, chromium all induced oxidative stress with both similar and unique genes and pathways responding to this stress. Although all three metals are known to be genotoxic, evidence for DNA damage in our study only exists in response to chromium. Nickel induced a hypoxic response as well as inducing genes involved in chromatin structure, perhaps by replacing iron in key proteins. Cadmium distinctly perturbed genes related to endoplasmic reticulum stress and invoked the unfolded protein response leading to apoptosis. With these studies, we have completed the first gene expression comparative analysis of nickel, cadmium, and chromium in H4-II-E-C3 cells.
Background & Aims
HCV patients who fail conventional interferon-based therapy have limited treatment options. Dendritic cells are central to the priming and development of antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell immunity, necessary to elicit effective viral clearance. The aim of the study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of vaccination with autologous dendritic cells loaded with HCV-specific cytotoxic T cell epitopes.
We examined the potential of autologous monocyte derived dendritic cells (MoDC), presenting HCV-specific HLA A2.1-restricted cytotoxic T cell epitopes, to influence the course of infection in six patients who failed conventional therapy. Dendritic cells were loaded and activated ex vivo with lipopeptides. In this phase 1 dose escalation study, all patients received a standard dose of cells by the intradermal route while sequential patients received an increased dose by the intravenous route.
No patient showed a severe adverse reaction although all experienced transient minor side effects. HCV-specific CD8+ T cell responses were enumerated in PBMC by ELIspot for interferon-γ. Patients generated de novo responses, not only to peptides presented by the cellular vaccine but also to additional viral epitopes not represented in the lipopeptides, suggestive of epitope spreading. Despite this, no increases in ALT levels were observed. However, the responses were not sustained and failed to influence the viral load, the anti-HCV core antibody response and the level of circulating cytokines.
Immunotherapy using autologous MoDC pulsed with lipopeptides was safe, but was unable to generate sustained responses or alter the outcome of the infection. Alternative dosing regimens or vaccination routes may need to be considered to achieve therapeutic benefit.
Cell therapy; ELIspot; interferon-γ; epitope; therapeutic
Merozoite surface protein 2 (MSP2) from the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is expressed as a GPI-anchored protein on the merozoite surface. MSP2 is assumed to have a role in erythrocyte invasion and is a leading vaccine candidate. Recombinant MSP2 forms amyloid-like fibrils upon storage, as do peptides corresponding to sequences in the conserved N-terminal region, which constitutes the structural core of fibrils formed by full-length MSP2. We have investigated the roles of individual residues in fibril formation and local ordered structure in two peptides, a recombinant 25-residue peptide corresponding to the entire N-terminal domain of mature MSP2 and an 8-residue peptide from the central region of this domain (residues 8–15). Both peptides formed fibrils that were similar to amyloid-like fibrils formed by full-length MSP2. Phe11 and Ile12 have important roles both in stabilising local structure in these peptides and promoting fibril formation; the F11A and I12A mutants of MSP28–15 were essentially unstructured in solution and fibril formation at pH 7.4 and 4.7 was markedly retarded. The T10A mutant showed intermediate behaviour, having a less well-defined structure than wild-type and slower fibril formation at pH 7.4. The mutation of Phe11 and Ile12 in MSP21–25 significantly retarded but did not abolish fibril formation, indicating that these residues also play a key role in fibril formation by the entire N-terminal conserved region. These mutations had little effect on the aggregation of full-length MSP2, however, suggesting that regions outside the conserved N-terminus have unanticipated importance for fibril formation in the full-length protein.
malaria; fibril; amyloid; nuclear magnetic resonance; structure
The annual incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (CA) in the United States is approximately 6 per 10,000 population and survival remains low. Relatively little is known about the performance characteristics of a two-tiered EMS system split between fire-based basic life support dispersed from fixed locations and hospital-based advanced life support dispersed from non-fixed locations. The objectives of this study were to, therefore, describe the incidence of CA in Denver, Colorado and to define the prevalence of survival with good neurological function in the context of this EMS system.
Setting: A two-tiered hospital-based EMS system for the County of Denver, and 10 receiving hospitals. Population: Consecutive adult patients who experienced non-traumatic out-of-hospital CA from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2004. Design: Retrospective cohort study using standardized abstraction methodology. Data Collection: Demographic and prehospital arrest characteristics and treatment data, and survival data using the Utstein template. Outcome: Good neurologic survival defined by a Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) Score of 1 or 2.
During the study period, 1,985 arrests occurred. Of these, 715 (36%) had attempted resuscitation by paramedics and constitute our study sample. The median age was 65 (IQR: 52–78) years, 69% were male, 41% had witnessed arrest, 25% had bystander CPR performed, and 30% had VF or pulseless VT as their initial rhythm. Of the 715 patients, 545 (76%) were transported to a hospital, 223 (31%) had return of spontaneous circulation, 175 (25%) survived to hospital admission, 58 (8%) survived to hospital discharge, and 42 (6%, 95% CI: 4%–8%) had a good neurologic outcome.
Out-of-hospital CA survival in Denver, Colorado is similar to other United States communities.
cardiac arrest; epidemiology; incidence; survival; neurologic survival; emergency medical services; prehospital