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1.  Increased Proliferative Cells in the Medullary Thick Ascending Limb of the Loop of Henle in the Dahl Salt-Sensitive Rat 
Hypertension  2012;61(1):208-215.
Studies of transcriptome profiles have provided new insights into mechanisms underlying the development of hypertension. Cell type heterogeneity in tissue samples, however, has been a significant hindrance in these studies. We performed a transcriptome analysis in medullary thick ascending limbs of the loop of Henle isolated from Dahl salt-sensitive rats. Genes differentially expressed between Dahl salt-sensitive rats and salt-insensitive consomic SS.13BN rats on either 0.4% or 7 days of 8% NaCl diet (n=4) were highly enriched for genes located on chromosome 13, the chromosome substituted in the SS.13BN rat. A pathway involving cell proliferation and cell cycle regulation was identified as one of the most highly ranked pathways based on differentially expressed genes and by a Bayesian model analysis. Immunofluorescent analysis indicated that just one week of a high salt diet resulted in a several fold increase in proliferative medullary thick ascending limb cells in both rat strains and that Dahl salt-sensitive rats exhibited significantly greater proportion of medullary thick ascending limb cells in a proliferative state than in SS.13BN rats (15.0% ± 1.4% vs. 10.1% ± 0.6%, n=7–9, P<0.05). The total number of cells per medullary thick ascending limb section analyzed was not different between the two strains. The study revealed alterations in regulatory pathways in Dahl salt-sensitive rats in tissues highly enriched for a single cell type, leading to the unexpected finding of a greater increase in the number of proliferative medullary thick ascending limb cells in Dahl salt-sensitive rats on a high-salt diet.
PMCID: PMC3760736  PMID: 23184381
Kidney; gene expression; physiological genomics; cell cycle; salt intake
2.  Microbiota and Metabolite Profiling Reveal Specific Alterations in Bacterial Community Structure and Environment in the Cystic Fibrosis Airway during Exacerbation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82432.
Chronic polymicrobial infections of the lung are the foremost cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The composition of the microbial flora of the airway alters considerably during infection, particularly during patient exacerbation. An understanding of which organisms are growing, their environment and their behaviour in the airway is of importance for designing antibiotic treatment regimes and for patient prognosis. To this end, we have analysed sputum samples taken from separate cohorts of CF and non-CF subjects for metabolites and in parallel, and we have examined both isolated DNA and RNA for the presence of 16S rRNA genes and transcripts by high-throughput sequencing of amplicon or cDNA libraries. This analysis revealed that although the population size of all dominant orders of bacteria as measured by DNA- and RNA- based methods are similar, greater discrepancies are seen with less prevalent organisms, some of which we associated with CF for the first time. Additionally, we identified a strong relationship between the abundance of specific anaerobes and fluctuations in several metabolites including lactate and putrescine during patient exacerbation. This study has hence identified organisms whose occurrence within the CF microbiome has been hitherto unreported and has revealed potential metabolic biomarkers for exacerbation.
PMCID: PMC3866110  PMID: 24358183
3.  Genomic Survey of Pathogenicity Determinants and VNTR Markers in the Cassava Bacterial Pathogen Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. Manihotis Strain CIO151 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79704.
Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. manihotis (Xam) is the causal agent of bacterial blight of cassava, which is among the main components of human diet in Africa and South America. Current information about the molecular pathogenicity factors involved in the infection process of this organism is limited. Previous studies in other bacteria in this genus suggest that advanced draft genome sequences are valuable resources for molecular studies on their interaction with plants and could provide valuable tools for diagnostics and detection. Here we have generated the first manually annotated high-quality draft genome sequence of Xam strain CIO151. Its genomic structure is similar to that of other xanthomonads, especially Xanthomonas euvesicatoria and Xanthomonas citri pv. citri species. Several putative pathogenicity factors were identified, including type III effectors, cell wall-degrading enzymes and clusters encoding protein secretion systems. Specific characteristics in this genome include changes in the xanthomonadin cluster that could explain the lack of typical yellow color in all strains of this pathovar and the presence of 50 regions in the genome with atypical nucleotide composition. The genome sequence was used to predict and evaluate 22 variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) loci that were subsequently demonstrated as polymorphic in representative Xam strains. Our results demonstrate that Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. manihotis strain CIO151 possesses ten clusters of pathogenicity factors conserved within the genus Xanthomonas. We report 126 genes that are potentially unique to Xam, as well as potential horizontal transfer events in the history of the genome. The relation of these regions with virulence and pathogenicity could explain several aspects of the biology of this pathogen, including its ability to colonize both vascular and non-vascular tissues of cassava plants. A set of 16 robust, polymorphic VNTR loci will be useful to develop a multi-locus VNTR analysis scheme for epidemiological surveillance of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3838355  PMID: 24278159
4.  Comparative Transcriptomic Analysis of the Burkholderia cepacia Tyrosine Kinase bceF Mutant Reveals a Role in Tolerance to Stress, Biofilm Formation, and Virulence 
The bacterial tyrosine-kinase (BY-kinase) family comprises the major group of bacterial enzymes endowed with tyrosine kinase activity. We previously showed that the BceF protein from Burkholderia cepacia IST408 belongs to this BY-kinase family and is involved in the biosynthesis of the exopolysaccharide cepacian. However, little is known about the extent of regulation of this protein kinase activity. In order to examine this regulation, we performed a comparative transcriptome profile between the bceF mutant and wild-type B. cepacia IST408. The analyses led to identification of 630 genes whose expression was significantly changed. Genes with decreased expression in the bceF mutant were related to stress response, motility, cell adhesion, and carbon and energy metabolism. Genes with increased expression were related to intracellular signaling and lipid metabolism. Mutation of bceF led to reduced survival under heat shock and UV light exposure, reduced swimming motility, and alteration in biofilm architecture when grown in vitro. Consistent with some of these phenotypes, the bceF mutant demonstrated elevated levels of cyclic-di-GMP. Furthermore, BceF contributed to the virulence of B. cepacia for larvae of the Greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. Taken together, BceF appears to play a considerable role in many cellular processes, including biofilm formation and virulence. As homologues of BceF occur in a number of pathogenic and plant-associated Burkholderia strains, the modulation of bacterial behavior through tyrosine kinase activity is most likely a widely occurring phenomenon.
PMCID: PMC3623129  PMID: 23435894
5.  Influence of apolipoprotein A-V on hepatocyte lipid droplet formation 
Apolipoprotein A-V (apoA-V) is postulated to modulate intra-hepatic triglyceride (TG) trafficking. Stably transfected McA-RH7777 hepatocarcinoma cells expressing human apoA-V displayed enhanced neutral lipid staining while conditioned media from these cells had 40 ± 8 % less TG than cells transfected with a control vector. To obtain homogeneous cell lines expressing different amounts of apoA-V, a strategy of clonal selection was pursued. Immunoblot analysis of two distinct apoA-V stable cell lines yielded one that expresses low amounts of apoA-V and another that expresses higher amounts. Confocal fluorescence microscopy of control cells and cells expressing low levels of apoA-V had similar numbers of lipid droplets while cells expressing higher amounts of apoA-V had twice as many lipid droplets, on average. Thus, apoA-V expression promotes lipid droplet accumulation in these cells.
PMCID: PMC3492953  PMID: 23000161
triacylglycerol; lipid droplet; apolipoprotein A-V; flow cytometry; confocal fluorescence microscopy
6.  A cyclic GMP-dependent signalling pathway regulates bacterial phytopathogenesis 
The EMBO Journal  2013;32(18):2430-2438.
Cyclic guanosine 3′,5′-monophosphate (cyclic GMP) is a second messenger whose role in bacterial signalling is poorly understood. A genetic screen in the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris (Xcc) identified that XC_0250, which encodes a protein with a class III nucleotidyl cyclase domain, is required for cyclic GMP synthesis. Purified XC_0250 was active in cyclic GMP synthesis in vitro. The linked gene XC_0249 encodes a protein with a cyclic mononucleotide-binding (cNMP) domain and a GGDEF diguanylate cyclase domain. The activity of XC_0249 in cyclic di-GMP synthesis was enhanced by addition of cyclic GMP. The isolated cNMP domain of XC_0249 bound cyclic GMP and a structure–function analysis, directed by determination of the crystal structure of the holo-complex, demonstrated the site of cyclic GMP binding that modulates cyclic di-GMP synthesis. Mutation of either XC_0250 or XC_0249 led to a reduced virulence to plants and reduced biofilm formation in vitro. These findings describe a regulatory pathway in which cyclic GMP regulates virulence and biofilm formation through interaction with a novel effector that directly links cyclic GMP and cyclic di-GMP signalling.
A cyclic GMP-dependent signalling pathway regulates bacterial phytopathogenesis
In the plant pathogen X. campestris, the second messenger cGMP controls bacterial virulence and biofilm formation through direct regulation of XC_0249, a novel diguanylate cyclase that synthesises the signalling molecule cyclic di-GMP.
PMCID: PMC3770947  PMID: 23881098
biofilm; cyclic di-GMP; signal transduction; virulence; Xanthomonas campestris
7.  Tweaking the cholesterol efflux capacity of reconstituted HDL 
Mechanisms to increase plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or to promote egress of cholesterol from cholesterol-loaded cells (e.g., foam cells from atherosclerotic lesions) remain an important target to regress heart disease. Reconstituted HDL (rHDL) serves as a valuable vehicle to promote cellular cholesterol efflux in vitro and in vivo. rHDL were prepared with wild type apolipoprotein (apo) A-I and the rare variant, apoA-I Milano (M), and each apolipoprotein was reconstituted with phosphatidylcholine (PC) or sphingomyelin (SM). The four distinct rHDL generated were incubated with CHO cells, J774 macrophages, and BHK cells in cellular cholesterol efflux assays. In each cell type, apoA-I(M) SM-rHDL promoted the greatest cholesterol efflux. In BHK cells, the cholesterol efflux capacities of all four distinct rHDL were greatly enhanced by increased expression of ABCG1. Efflux to PC-containing rHDL was stimulated by transfection of a nonfunctional ABCA1 mutant (W590S), suggesting that binding to ABCA1 represents a competing interaction. This interpretation was confirmed by binding experiments. The data show that cholesterol efflux activity is dependent upon the apoA-I protein employed, as well as the phospholipid constituent of the rHDL. Future studies designed to optimize the efflux capacity of therapeutic rHDL may improve the value of this emerging intervention strategy.
PMCID: PMC3697153  PMID: 22607224
apolipoprotein; ABCA1; ABCG1; reverse cholesterol transport; macrophage
8.  Cyclic di-GMP signalling and the regulation of bacterial virulence 
Microbiology  2013;159(Pt 7):1286-1297.
Signal transduction pathways involving the second messenger cyclic di-GMP [bis-(3′-5′)-cyclic di-guanosine monophosphate] occur widely in bacteria where they act to link perception of environmental or intracellular cues and signals to specific alterations in cellular function. Such alterations can contribute to bacterial lifestyle transitions including biofilm formation and virulence. The cellular levels of the nucleotide are controlled through the opposing activities of diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) and phosphodiesterases (PDEs). The GGDEF domain of DGCs catalyses the synthesis of cyclic di-GMP from GTP, whereas EAL or HD-GYP domains in different classes of PDE catalyse cyclic di-GMP degradation to pGpG and GMP. We are now beginning to understand how alterations in cyclic di-GMP exert a regulatory action through binding to diverse receptors or effectors that include a small ‘adaptor’ protein domain called PilZ, transcription factors and riboswitches. The regulatory action of enzymically active cyclic di-GMP signalling proteins is, however, not restricted to an influence on the level of nucleotide. Here, I will discuss our recent findings that highlight the role that protein–protein interactions involving these signalling proteins have in regulating functions that contribute to bacterial virulence.
PMCID: PMC3749722  PMID: 23704785
9.  Expressed protein ligation-mediated template protein extension 
Expressed protein ligation (EPL) was performed to investigate sequence requirements for a variant human apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) to adopt a folded structure. A C-terminal truncated apoA-I, corresponding to residues 1–172, was expressed and isolated from E. coli. Compared to full length apoA-I (243 amino acids), apoA-I(1-172) displayed less α-helix secondary structure and lower stability in solution. To determine if extension of this polypeptide would confer secondary structure content and/or stability, 20 residues were added to the C-terminus of apoA-I(1-172) by EPL, creating apoA-IMilano(1-192). The EPL product displayed biophysical properties similar to full-length apoA-IMilano. The results provide a general protein engineering strategy to modify the length of a recombinant template polypeptide using synthetic peptides as well as a convenient, cost effective way to investigate the structure / function relations in apolipoprotein fragments or domains of different size.
PMCID: PMC3361518  PMID: 22487214
Expressed protein ligation; apolipoprotein A-I; Milano; Protein stability; Intein
10.  Insights on GRACE (Gender, Race, And Clinical Experience) from the Patient's Perspective: GRACE Participant Survey 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2013;27(6):352-362.
The Gender, Race And Clinical Experience (GRACE) study was conducted between October 2006 and December 2008 to evaluate sex- and race-based differences in outcomes after treatment with a darunavir/ritonavir-based antiretroviral regimen. Between June 2010 and June 2011, former participants of the GRACE trial at participating sites were asked to complete a 40-item questionnaire as part of the GRACE Participant Survey study, with a primary objective of assessing patients' characteristics, experiences, and opinions about participation in GRACE. Of 243 potential survey respondents, 151 (62%) completed the survey. Respondents were representative of the overall GRACE population and were predominantly female (64%); fewer were black, and more reported recreational drug use compared with nonrespondents (55% vs. 62% and 17% vs. 10%, respectively). Access to treatment (41%) and too many blood draws (26%) were reported as the best and worst part of GRACE, respectively. Support from study site staff was reported as the most important factor in completing the study (47%). Factors associated with nonadherence, study discontinuation, and poor virologic response in univariate analyses were being the primary caregiver for children, unemployment, and transportation difficulties, respectively. Patients with these characteristics may be at risk of poor study outcomes and may benefit from additional adherence and retention strategies in future studies and routine clinical care.
PMCID: PMC3696933  PMID: 23701200
11.  Gene Transfer of Apolipoprotein A-V Improves the Hypertriglyceridemic Phenotype of apoa5 (−/−) Mice 
Apolipoprotein (apo) A-V is a low abundance protein with a profound influence on plasma triacylglycerol levels. In human populations, single nucleotide polymorphisms and mutations in APOA5 positively correlate with hypertriglyceridemia. As an approach to preventing the deleterious effects of chronic hypertriglyceridemia, apoA-V gene therapy has been pursued.
Methods and Results
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) 2/8 harboring the coding sequence for human apoA-V or a control AAV2/8 was transduced into hypertriglyceridemic apoa5 (−/−) mice. After injection of 1×1012 viral genome AAV2/8-apoA-V, maximal plasma levels of apoA-V protein were achieved at 3 to 4 weeks, after which the concentration slowly declined. Complementing the appearance of apoA-V was a decrease (50±6%) in plasma triacylglycerol content compared with apoa5 (−/−) mice treated with AAV2/8-β-galactosidase. After 8 weeks the mice were euthanized and plasma lipoproteins separated. AAV2/8-apoA-V–transduced mice displayed a dramatic reduction in very low–density lipoprotein triacylglycerol content. Vector generated apoA-V in plasma associated with both very low–density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein fractions.
Taken together, the data show that gene transfer of apoA-V improves the severe hypertriglyceridemia phenotype of apoa5 (−/−) mice. Given the prevalence of hypertriglyceridemia, apoA-V gene therapy offers a potential strategy for maintenance of plasma triacylglycerol homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3658105  PMID: 23329134
apolipoprotein A-V; gene therapy; lipoprotein; triacylglycerol
12.  Apolipoprotein A-V dependent modulation of plasma triacylglycerol: A puzzlement☆,☆☆ 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2011;1821(5):795-799.
The discovery of apolipoprotein A-V (apoA-V) in 2001 has raised a number of intriguing questions about role in lipid transport and triglyceride (TG) homeostasis. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have consistently identified APOA5 as a contributor to plasma TG levels. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) with-in the APOA5 gene locus have been shown to correlate with elevated plasma TG. Furthermore, transgenic and knockout mouse models support the view that apoA-V plays a critical role in maintenance of plasma TG levels. The present review describes recent concepts pertaining to apoA-V SNP analysis and their association with elevated plasma TG. The interaction of apoA-V with glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored high-density lipoprotein binding protein 1 (GPIHBP1) is discussed relative to its postulated role in TG-rich lipoprotein catabolism. The potential role of intracellular apoA-V in regulation of TG homeostasis, as a function of its ability to associate with cytosolic lipid droplets, is reviewed. While some answers are emerging, numerous mysteries remain with regard to this low abundance, yet potent, modulator of TG homeostasis. Given the strong correlation between elevated plasma TG and heart disease, there is great scientific and public interest in deciphering the numerous biological riddles presented by apoA-V. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Triglyceride Metabolism and Disease.
PMCID: PMC3319174  PMID: 22209939
Apolipoprotein A-V; Triglyceride; Lipid droplet; Genome wide association study; Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored high-density lipoprotein binding protein 1; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
13.  Bacterial cis-2-unsaturated fatty acids found in the cystic fibrosis airway modulate virulence and persistence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
The ISME Journal  2011;6(5):939-950.
There is an increasing appreciation of the polymicrobial nature of many bacterial infections such as those associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) and of the potentially important role for interspecies interactions in influencing both bacterial virulence and response to therapy. Patients with CF are often co-infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other pathogens including Burkholderia cenocepacia and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. These latter bacteria produce signal molecules of the diffusible signal factor (DSF) family, which are cis-2-unsaturated fatty acids. We have previously shown by in vitro studies that DSF from S. maltophilia leads to altered biofilm formation and increased resistance to antibiotics by P. aeruginosa; these responses of P. aeruginosa require the sensor kinase PA1396. Here we show that DSF signals are present in sputum taken from patients with CF. Presence of these DSF signals was correlated with patient colonization by S. maltophilia and/or B. cenocepacia. Analysis of 50 clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa showed that each responded to the presence of synthetic DSF by increased antibiotic resistance and these strains demonstrated little sequence variation in the PA1396 gene. In animal experiments using CF transmembrane conductance regulator knockout mice, the presence of DSF promoted P. aeruginosa persistence. Furthermore, antibiotic resistance of P. aeruginosa biofilms grown on human airway epithelial cells was enhanced in the presence of DSF. Taken together, these data provide substantial evidence that interspecies DSF-mediated bacterial interactions occur in the CF lung and may influence the efficacy of antibiotic treatment, particularly for chronic infections involving persistence of bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3329111  PMID: 22134647
interspecies signaling; diffusible signal factor; biofilm formation; virulence; cystic fibrosis; next-generation sequencing
14.  The exopolysaccharide gene cluster Bcam1330–Bcam1341 is involved in Burkholderia cenocepacia biofilm formation, and its expression is regulated by c-di-GMP and Bcam1349 
MicrobiologyOpen  2012;2(1):105-122.
In Burkholderia cenocepacia, the second messenger cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) has previously been shown to positively regulate biofilm formation and the expression of cellulose and type-I fimbriae genes through binding to the transcriptional regulator Bcam1349. Here, we provide evidence that cellulose and type-I fimbriae are not involved in B. cenocepacia biofilm formation in flow chambers, and we identify a novel Bcam1349/c-di-GMP-regulated exopolysaccharide gene cluster which is essential for B. cenocepacia biofilm formation. Overproduction of Bcam1349 in trans promotes wrinkly colony morphology, pellicle, and biofilm formation in B. cenocepacia. A screen for transposon mutants unable to respond to the overproduction of Bcam1349 led to the identification of a 12-gene cluster, Bcam1330–Bcam1341, the products of which appear to be involved in the production of a putative biofilm matrix exopolysaccharide and to be essential for flow-chamber biofilm formation. We demonstrate that Bcam1349 binds to the promoter region of genes in the Bcam1330–Bcam1341 cluster and that this binding is enhanced by the presence of c-di-GMP. Furthermore, we demonstrate that overproduction of both c-di-GMP and Bcam1349 leads to increased transcription of these genes, indicating that c-di-GMP and Bcam1349 functions together in regulating exopolysaccharide production from the Bcam1330–Bcam1341 gene cluster. Our results suggest that the product encoded by the Bcam1330–Bcam1341 gene cluster is a major exopolysaccharide that provides structural stability to the biofilms formed by B. cenocepacia, and that its production is regulated by c-di-GMP through binding to and promotion of the activity of the transcriptional regulator Bcam1349.
PMCID: PMC3584217  PMID: 23281338
Biofilm; Burkholderia cenocepacia; c-di-GMP; exopolysaccharide
15.  RsmA Regulates Biofilm Formation in Xanthomonas campestris through a Regulatory Network Involving Cyclic di-GMP and the Clp Transcription Factor 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52646.
Biofilm formation and dispersal in the black rot pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pathovar campestris (Xcc) is influenced by a number of factors. The extracellular mannanase ManA has been implicated in biofilm dispersal whereas biofilm formation requires a putative glycosyl transferase encoded by the xag gene cluster. Previously we demonstrated that the post-transcriptional regulator RsmA exerts a negative regulatory influence on biofilm formation in Xcc. Here we address the mechanisms by which RsmA exerts this action. We show that RsmA binds to the transcripts of three genes encoding GGDEF domain diguanylate cyclases to influence their expression. Accordingly, mutation of rsmA leads to an increase in cellular levels of cyclic di-GMP. This effect is associated with a down-regulation of transcription of manA, but an upregulation of xag gene transcription. Mutation of clp, which encodes a cyclic di-GMP-responsive transcriptional regulator of the CRP-FNR family, has similar divergent effects on the expression of manA and xag. Nevertheless Clp binding to manA and xag promoters is inhibited by cyclic di-GMP. The data support the contention that, in common with other CRP-FNR family members, Clp can act as both an activator and repressor of transcription of different genes to influence biofilm formation as a response to cyclic di-GMP.
PMCID: PMC3528676  PMID: 23285129
16.  Modelling Co-Infection of the Cystic Fibrosis Lung by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cenocepacia Reveals Influences on Biofilm Formation and Host Response 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52330.
The Gram-negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cenocepacia are opportunistic human pathogens that are responsible for severe nosocomial infections in immunocompromised patients and those suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF). These two bacteria have been shown to form biofilms in the airways of CF patients that make such infections more difficult to treat. Only recently have scientists begun to appreciate the complicated interplay between microorganisms during polymicrobial infection of the CF airway and the implications they may have for disease prognosis and response to therapy.
To gain insight into the possible role that interaction between strains of P. aeruginosa and B. cenocepacia may play during infection, we characterised co-inoculations of in vivo and in vitro infection models. Co-inoculations were examined in an in vitro biofilm model and in a murine model of chronic infection. Assessment of biofilm formation showed that B. cenocepacia positively influenced P. aeruginosa biofilm development by increasing biomass. Interestingly, co-infection experiments in the mouse model revealed that P. aeruginosa did not change its ability to establish chronic infection in the presence of B. cenocepacia but co-infection did appear to increase host inflammatory response.
Taken together, these results indicate that the co-infection of P. aeruginosa and B. cenocepacia leads to increased biofilm formation and increased host inflammatory response in the mouse model of chronic infection. These observations suggest that alteration of bacterial behavior due to interspecies interactions may be important for disease progression and persistent infection.
PMCID: PMC3528780  PMID: 23284990
17.  Metabolic Effects of Darunavir/Ritonavir Versus Atazanavir/Ritonavir in Treatment-Naive, HIV Type 1-Infected Subjects over 48 Weeks 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(10):1184-1195.
We assessed metabolic changes for darunavir/ritonavir (DRV/r) once daily (qd) versus atazanavir/ritonavir (ATV/r) qd with fixed-dose tenofovir/emtricitabine. This was a phase 4, multicenter, open-label, randomized exploratory study. Treatment-naive, HIV-1-infected adults received DRV/r 800/100 mg qd or ATV/r 300/100 mg qd, both with emtricitabine/tenofovir 200/300 mg qd. Primary end point: change in triglyceride levels from baseline to week 12. Secondary end points: week 12 and week 48 changes in lipid parameters, insulin sensitivity, inflammatory/coagulation/bacterial translocation biomarkers, viral load, CD4+ cell count, and week 48 changes in adipose tissue distribution and subjects' perceptions of body changes. In the DRV/r arm, 32/34 and 29/34 subjects completed weeks 12 and 48, respectively; in the ATV/r arm, 30/31 and 25/31 subjects completed weeks 12 and 48, respectively. Small changes in lipid parameters from baseline to weeks 12 and 48 were observed in both arms. Differences were noted between arms in mean changes in total cholesterol (DRV/r, 20.3 mg/dl; ATV/r, 4.6 mg/dl) and apolipoprotein A1 (DRV/r, 10.7 mg/dl; ATV/r, –0.7 mg/dl) at week 12. At week 48, no clinically relevant differences between arms were noted for changes in any lipid parameter, fasting glucose, or insulin sensitivity. Biomarkers generally decreased and efficacy parameters improved in both arms over 48 weeks. Changes in adipose tissue were small and comparable between arms. Subjects' perceptions of body changes generally improved in both study arms. This first pilot comparison in HIV-1-infected subjects suggests that DRV/r has a metabolic profile similar to ATV/r over 48 weeks of treatment. Further randomized studies are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3448095  PMID: 22352336
18.  An Orphan Chemotaxis Sensor Regulates Virulence and Antibiotic Tolerance in the Human Pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42205.
The synthesis of virulence factors by pathogenic bacteria is highly regulated and occurs in response to diverse environmental cues. An array of two component systems (TCSs) serves to link perception of different cues to specific changes in gene expression and/or bacterial behaviour. Those TCSs that regulate functions associated with virulence represent attractive targets for interference in anti-infective strategies for disease control. We have previously identified PA2572 as a putative response regulator required for full virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the opportunistic human pathogen, to Galleria mellonella (Wax moth) larvae. Here we have investigated the involvement of candidate sensors for signal transduction involving PA2572. Mutation of PA2573, encoding a probable methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein, gave rise to alterations in motility, virulence, and antibiotic resistance, functions which are also controlled by PA2572. Comparative transcriptome profiling of mutants revealed that PA2572 and PA2573 regulate expression of a common set of 49 genes that are involved in a range of biological functions including virulence and antibiotic resistance. Bacterial two-hybrid analysis indicated a REC-dependent interaction between PA2572 and PA2573 proteins. Finally expression of PA2572 in the PA2573 mutant background restored virulence to G. mellonella towards wild-type levels. The findings indicate a role for the orphan chemotaxis sensor PA2573 in the regulation of virulence and antibiotic tolerance in P. aeruginosa and indicate that these effects are exerted in part through signal transduction involving PA2572.
PMCID: PMC3411652  PMID: 22870303
19.  Hemorrhage and risk of further hemorrhagic strokes following cerebral revascularization in Moyamoya disease: A review of the literature 
We sought to review the current literature with regards to future risks of hemorrhage following cerebral revascularization in Moyamoya disease (MMD).
We performed a comprehensive literature review using PubMed to inspect the available data on the risk of hemorrhage after revascularization in MMD.
In this review, we identify the risk factors associated with hemorrhage in MMD both before and after cerebral revascularization. We included proposed pathophysiology of the hemorrhagic risk, role of the type of bypass performed, treatment options, and future needs for investigation.
The published cases and series of MMD treatment do show a risk of hemorrhage after treatment with either direct or indirect bypass both in the immediate as well as long-term future. While there are no discernible patterns in the rate of these hemorrhages, there is Class III evidence for the predictive effect of multiple microbleeds on preoperative imaging. Also, whereas revascularization, both direct and indirect, has been shown to reduce ischemic complications from MMD, there is not an association with the risk of hemorrhage after the procedure. Further studies need to be performed to help evaluate what the risk factors are and how to counsel patients as to the long-term outlook of this disease process.
PMCID: PMC3424679  PMID: 22937473
Angioarchitecture; cerebral hemorrhage; cerebral perfusion; moyamoya
20.  Effects of Darunavir/Ritonavir-Based Therapy on Metabolic and Anthropometric Parameters in Women and Men Over 48 Weeks 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2011;25(6):333-340.
Gender-based differences in lipids have been noted in antiretroviral clinical trials. We present the metabolic and anthropometric data from the GRACE (Gender, Race And Clinical Experience) study by gender. Treatment-experienced adults received darunavir/ritonavir (DRV/r) 600/100 mg twice daily, plus a background regimen, over 48 weeks. Fasting blood samples were obtained for lipid, glucose, and insulin measurements at baseline and at weeks 24 and 48/early discontinuation. Anthropometric measurements were taken at baseline and at weeks 12, 24, and 48/discontinuation. The Assessment of Body Change and Distress questionnaire was administered at baseline and regular intervals. Descriptive statistics as well as comparisons using a Wilcoxon rank-sum test are reported. Four hundred twenty-nine patients (women, n=287; men, n=142) enrolled in GRACE; 94 women (32.8%) and 33 men (23.2%) discontinued the trial. Median changes in triglycerides from baseline to week 48 were higher in men (25 mg/dL versus 8 mg/dL; p=0.006); the mean change in triglycerides was higher in men than in women in all racial subgroups. Other lipid and glucose level changes were similar between genders. Anthropometric parameters increased for both genders, with larger increases in women. Patients' perceptions of body changes concurred with physical measurements. The proportion of women who were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their bodies increased from 45.2% to 57.8% from baseline to week 48 (p=0.005), while the proportion of men who were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their bodies increased from 56.3% to 61.5% from baseline to week 48 (p=0.317). DRV/r-based therapy was associated with small to moderate changes in metabolic parameters, and few between-gender differences were observed. Levels of self-reported, body-related distress improved for women and men over 48 weeks.
PMCID: PMC3143406  PMID: 21612545
21.  Comparison of Corticotropin-Releasing Factor, Dexamethasone and Temozolomide: Treatment Efficacy and Toxicity in U87 and C6 Intracranial Gliomas 
Treatment of cerebral tumors and peritumoral brain edema remains a clinical challenge and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Dexamethasone (DEX) is an effective drug to treat brain edema, but is associated with well-described side effects. Corticorelin acetate (Xerecept) or human corticotrophin releasing factor (hCRF) is a comparatively new drug and was evaluated in two orthotopic glioma models (U87 and C6), by a direct comparison with dexamethasone and temozolomide.
In vitro mono- and combination-treatments showed a variable response in 6 different glioma cell lines. In vivo studies showed a dose-dependent effect of hCRF (0.03 and 0.1 mg/kg/q12h) on survival of U87 intracranial xenograft-bearing animals [median survival: control 41 days (95% CI 25–61 d); “low-hCRF” 74.5 d (95% CI 41–88 d); “high-hCRF” >130 d (95% CI not reached)]. Dexamethasone treatment had no effect on survival, but significant toxicity was observed. A survival benefit was observed with TMZ and TMZ + hCRF - treated animals, but with significant TMZ toxicity. C6-bearing animals showed no survival benefit, but similar treatment toxicities. The difference in hCRF-treatment response between U87- and C6-intracranial gliomas can be explained by a difference in receptor expression. RT-PCR identified CRF2r mRNA in U87-xenografts; no CRF-receptors were identified in C6-xenografts.
HCRF was more effective than either dexamethasone or temozolomide in the treatment of U87 xenografts, with long-term survivors and only mild toxicity. HCRF therapeutic efficacy appears to be dependent on tumor hCRF-receptor expression. These results support further clinical assessment hCRF therapeutic efficacy and levels of CRFr expression in different human gliomas.
PMCID: PMC3131845  PMID: 21385926
glioma; corticotropin-releasing factor; dexamethasone
22.  NSAIDs acutely inhibit TRPC channels in freshly isolated rat glomeruli 
Using a novel approach for analysis of TRPC channel activity, we report here that NSAIDs are involved into regulation of TRPC channels in the podocytes of the freshly isolated decapsulated glomeruli. Fluorescence and electron microscopy techniques confirmed the integrity of podocytes in the glomeruli. Western blotting showed that TRPC1,3 and 6 are highly expressed in the glomeruli. Single-channel patch clamp analysis revealed cation currents with distinct TRPC properties. This is the first report describing single TRPC-like currents in glomerular podocytes. Furthermore, our data provide a novel mechanism of NSAIDs regulation of TRPC channels, which might be implicated in maintaining the glomerular filtration barrier.
PMCID: PMC3093766  PMID: 21473850
TRPC6; podocyte; FSGS; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
23.  The Ax21 Protein Is a Cell-Cell Signal That Regulates Virulence in the Nosocomial Pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(22):6375-6378.
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia encodes proteins related to the Rax proteins of Xanthomonas oryzae, which are required for the synthesis and secretion of the Ax21 protein. Here we show that Ax21 acts as a cell-cell signal to regulate a diverse range of functions, including virulence, in this nosocomial pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3209228  PMID: 21908663
24.  Curcumin nanodisk-induced apoptosis in mantle cell lymphoma 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2011;52(8):1537-1543.
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a pre-germinal center neoplasm characterized by cyclin D1 overexpression resulting from t(11;14)(q13;q32). Since MCL is incurable with standard lymphoma therapies, new treatment approaches are needed that target specific biologic pathways. In the present study, we investigated a novel drug delivery nanovehicle enriched with the bioactive polyphenol, curcumin (curcumin nanodisks; curcumin-ND). Cells treated with curcumin-ND showed a dose-dependent increase in apoptosis. This was accompanied by enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, inhibited curcumin-ND induced apoptosis, suggesting that ROS generation plays a role in curcumin action on MCL cells. Curcumin-ND decreased cyclin D1, pAkt, pIκBα, and Bcl2 protein. In addition, enhanced FoxO3a and p27 expression as well as caspase-9, -3, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage were observed. Curcumin-ND treatment led to enhanced G1 arrest in two cultured cell models of MCL.
PMCID: PMC3321639  PMID: 21699455
Nanodisks; mantle cell lymphoma; curcumin; cell cycle; apoptosis
25.  Two New Complete Genome Sequences Offer Insight into Host and Tissue Specificity of Plant Pathogenic Xanthomonas spp.▿† 
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(19):5450-5464.
Xanthomonas is a large genus of bacteria that collectively cause disease on more than 300 plant species. The broad host range of the genus contrasts with stringent host and tissue specificity for individual species and pathovars. Whole-genome sequences of Xanthomonas campestris pv. raphani strain 756C and X. oryzae pv. oryzicola strain BLS256, pathogens that infect the mesophyll tissue of the leading models for plant biology, Arabidopsis thaliana and rice, respectively, were determined and provided insight into the genetic determinants of host and tissue specificity. Comparisons were made with genomes of closely related strains that infect the vascular tissue of the same hosts and across a larger collection of complete Xanthomonas genomes. The results suggest a model in which complex sets of adaptations at the level of gene content account for host specificity and subtler adaptations at the level of amino acid or noncoding regulatory nucleotide sequence determine tissue specificity.
PMCID: PMC3187462  PMID: 21784931

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