Large-conductance, voltage- and Ca2+-activated K+ (BK) channels display near linear current–voltage (I-V) plots for voltages between −100 and +100 mV, with an increasing sublinearity for more positive potentials. As is the case for many types of channels, BK channels are blocked at positive potentials by intracellular Ca2+ and Mg2+. This fast block progressively reduces single-channel conductance with increasing voltage, giving rise to a negative slope in the I-V plots beyond about +120 mV, depending on the concentration of the blockers. In contrast to these observations of pronounced differences in the magnitudes and shapes of I-V plots in the absence and presence of intracellular blockers, Schroeder and Hansen (2007. J. Gen. Physiol.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1085/jgp.200709802) have reported identical I-V plots in the absence and presence of blockers for BK channels, with both plots having reduced conductance and negative slopes, as expected for blockers. Schroeder and Hansen included both Ca2+ and Mg2+ in the intracellular solution rather than a single blocker, and they also studied BK channels expressed from α plus β1 subunits, whereas most previous studies used only α subunits. Although it seems unlikely that these experimental differences would account for the differences in findings between previous studies and those of Schroeder and Hansen, we repeated the experiments using BK channels comprised of α plus β1 subunits with joint application of 2.5 mM Ca2+ plus 2.5 mM Mg2+, as Schroeder and Hansen did. In contrast to the findings of Schroeder and Hansen of identical I-V plots, we found marked differences in the single-channel I-V plots in the absence and presence of blockers. Consistent with previous studies, we found near linear I-V plots in the absence of blockers and greatly reduced currents and negative slopes in the presence of blockers. Hence, studies of conductance mechanisms for BK channels should exclude intracellular Ca2+/Mg2+, as they can reduce conductance and induce negative slopes.
Prolonged postoperative analgesia cannot be achieved by a single injection of local anesthetic solution. The objective of this study was to optimize the formulation of a ropivacaine hydrochloride (Ropi-HCl) loaded in situ forming implant (ISI) by addition of different co-solvents, and evaluate the in vitro release of Ropi-HCl, and the analgesic effect and toxicity of the optimized formulation in rats.
Material and methods
Triacetin (TA), benzyl benzoate (BB) and polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400) were used as additives and added to the solvent of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). Drug release to the surface and inner structural properties of the formed implant were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The analgesic effect was determined by injection near the rat sciatic nerve.
The solvent system added with TA or BB significantly decreased the burst release, whereas PEG 400 increased the Ropi-HCl burst release from the formulation. Over 70% of the incorporated Ropi-HCl was released from all formulations in 14 days in the in vitro assay. The SEM showed that the surface of NMP-BB formulation was less porous and more homogeneous, compared with the other formulations. Compared with Ropi-HCl injection, the optimized formulation (NMP-BB) significantly prolonged the analgesic effect in 48 h (p < 0.05), with a mild degree of motor block from 3 h to 12 h. Histological evaluation of the injection site revealed only mild inflammatory infiltration without obvious pathological nerve alterations.
The biodegradable Ropi-HCl-loaded ISI system with NMP-BB may prove to be an attractive and safe alternative for the delivery of parenteral local anesthetics to prolong pain relief.
in situ forming implant; local anesthesia; ropivacaine
Previous studies demonstrated that primo vessels (PVs) were distributed in different parts of the body in mammals, and PVs were also involved in some processes of pathology such as cancer. Whether PVs are intrinsic structures in mammals or not is still ignored. In this study, a peritonitis model rat was induced by i.p. administration of E. coli in rats. PVs were observed in all infected rats, but it appeared less in untreated rats, taking 10.53% (4/38). In addition, we examined cell types in celiac PVs by fluorescent staining with 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) and Alexa Fluor 488 phalloidin, as well as immunofluorescent staining with CD11b and intercellular adhesion molecule-1(ICAM-1), and found the following. (1) The rod-shaped nuclei aligned longitudinally along PVs. (2) DAPI-, phalloidin-, CD11b-, and ICAM-1-positive labeling coexisted in PVs, suggesting that fibroblasts and leucocytes might be two kinds of cell types in PVs for both infected and control rats. (3) The difference was that numerous cells in PVs of the infected rats contained DAPI-labeled multilobal nucleus and were expressed with CD11b- and ICAM-1-positive labeling on the cytoplasm and membrane, showing the typical characteristics of neutrophil. (4) The cells in PVs from the untreated rats are those of loose connective tissue. Therefore, it is reasonably considered that PVs from infected rats might be the pathological products which might be involved in inflammation.
There are only few scientific publications dealing with the basic investigation of the effects of only one or two acupoints or comparing one single point with another single point, using different stimulation methods in the same persons. The aim of this needle-controlled, randomized crossover study was to investigate the neurovegetative parameters heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) using two different acupoints, Baihui (GV20) and Neiguan (PC6), in separate sessions. We investigated 11 healthy volunteers (3 m, 8 f) with a mean age ± SD of 22.9 ± 2.8 years. The two acupoints were stimulated for 10 minutes each with manual needle acupuncture, red laser acupuncture (658 nm), and violet laser acupuncture (405 nm), in randomized order. Needle and red laser stimulation of the Baihui acupoint decreased HR significantly. Only violet laser stimulation at the Neiguan acupoint induced a significant increase of total HRV. Further studies using other neurovegetative parameters and more volunteers are necessary to confirm the preliminary results.
The objective of this computational study was to compare the biomechanical effects of different implant densities in terms of curve reduction and the force levels at the implant–vertebra interface and on the intervertebral elements.
Eight cases were randomly picked among patients who have undergone a posterior spinal instrumentation for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). For each case, two computer simulations were performed, one with the actual surgery implant pattern and another with the same fusion levels but an alternative implant pattern proposed by an experienced surgeon. The two implant patterns for each case were respectively put into higher and lower implant density group. The spinal correction and the force levels at bone–implant interface and on the intervertebral elements were analyzed and compared between the two groups.
There were on average 13% more pedicle screws and 30% more bilaterally placed pedicle screws in the higher versus lower density group. The difference in the density of screws (92% vs. 79%) did not lead to significant difference in terms of the resulting main thoracic (MT) Cobb angle, and the MT apical axial vertebral rotation. The average and maximum implant-vertebra force levels were about 50 and 65%, respectively higher in the higher versus lower density group, but without consistent distribution patterns. The average intervertebral forces did not significantly differ between the two groups.
With the same fusion levels, lower density screws allowed achieving similar deformity correction and it was more likely to have lower screw–vertebra loads.
Biomechanical modeling; Scoliosis; Spine instrumentation; Implant density; Pedicle screw
Salmonella enterica subsp. houtenae serovar 16:z4, z32:-- str. RKS3027 was isolated from a human in Illinois, USA. S. enterica subsp. houtenae is a facultative aerobic rod-shaped Gram-negative bacterium. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the draft genome sequence and annotation. The 4,404,136 bp long genome (97 contigs) contains 4,335 protein-coding gene and 28 RNA genes.
Salmonella enterica; subspecies; houtenae; genome
Sphingomonas sp. strain ATCC 31555 can produce an anionic heteropolysaccharide, welan gum, which shows excellent stability and viscosity retention even at high temperatures. Here we present a 4.0-Mb assembly of its genome sequence. We have annotated 10 coding sequences (CDSs) responsible for the welan gum biosynthesis and 55 CDSs related to monosaccharide metabolism.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa DQ8, which was isolated from the crude oil polluted soil in the Daqing oilfield of China, can efficiently degrade diesel, crude oil, n-alkanes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Here, we present a 6.8-Mb assembly of its genome sequence. We have annotated 23 coding sequences (CDSs) responsible for catabolism of n-alkanes and PAHs.
Bacillus sp. strain 916, isolated from the soil, showed strong activity against Rhizoctonia solani. Here, we present the high-quality draft genome sequence of Bacillus sp. strain 916. Its 3.9-Mb genome reveals a number of genes whose products are possibly involved in promotion of plant growth or antibiosis.
A eukaryotic expression plasmid encoding glycoprotein C (gC) of Anatid herpesvirus 1 (AnHV-1) (pcDNA3.1-gC) was constructed and validated. The tissue distribution of chitosan/DNA complexes, liposome/DNA complexes and pcDNA3.1-gC alone were evaluated using a quantitative real-time PCR based TaqMan™ probe following intramuscular administration in ducklings.
Compared with pcDNA3.1-gC alone, liposomes universally increased the plasmid DNA copy number at the injection sites, liver, spleen, heart, brain, bursa of Fabricius, and especially in the enteron (esophagus, duodenum, rectum, and cecum). Chitosan also universally increased the plasmid DNA copy number at the injection sites, liver, spleen, heart, brain and esophagus. Compared with lipoplex-gC, higher chitosan-gC plasmid DNA copy numbers were detected at the injection sites, liver, spleen, heart, brain and esophagus. In contrast, compared with lipoplex-gC, lower copy numbers of chitosan-gC plasmid DNA were detected in the duodenum, rectum and cecum.
The results of this study demonstrated that chitosan and liposomes mediated rapid and extensive plasmid distribution in duck tissues, with low levels maintained from 1 d after DNA vaccination.
DNA vaccine; Tissue distribution; Deliver carrier; Chitosan; Liposome; Anatid herpesvirus 1; Glycoprotein C
This is the first study to investigate intravenous (i.v.) laser blood irradiation, interstitial (i.st.) laser acupuncture, and electroacupuncture (EA) in combination with heart rate variability (HRV) and electrocorticogram. We investigated 10 male anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats under the three conditions mentioned previously in Beijing, China, and data analysis was performed in Graz, Europe. For i.v. laser stimulation in the femoral vein and i.st. laser acupuncture at Neiguan (PC6), we used a European system (Modulas needle, Schwa-Medico, Germany; 658 nm, 50 mW, continuous wave mode), and for EA at Neiguan, a Chinese system (Hanshi-100A; Nanjing Jisheng Medical Technology Company, China; 15 Hz, 1 mA). HR, HRV, and electrocorticogram were recorded using a biophysical amplifier AVB-10 (Nihon-Kohden, Japan). HR changed significantly during i.st. laser acupuncture stimulation of Neiguan in anesthetized rats. Total HRV increased insignificantly during i.v. and i.st. laser stimulation. The LF/HF ratio showed significant changes only during i.v. laser blood irradiation. Integrated cortical EEG (electrocorticogram) decreased insignificantly during EA and i.v. laser blood irradiation. Further studies concerning dosage-dependent alterations are in progress.
Binning 16S rRNA sequences into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) is an initial crucial step in analyzing large sequence datasets generated to determine microbial community compositions in various environments including that of the human gut. Various methods have been developed, but most suffer from either inaccuracies or from being unable to handle millions of sequences generated in current studies. Furthermore, existing binning methods usually require a priori decisions regarding binning parameters such as a distance level for defining an OTU.
We present a novel modularity-based approach (M-pick) to address the aforementioned problems. The new method utilizes ideas from community detection in graphs, where sequences are viewed as vertices on a weighted graph, each pair of sequences is connected by an imaginary edge, and the similarity of a pair of sequences represents the weight of the edge. M-pick first generates a graph based on pairwise sequence distances and then applies a modularity-based community detection technique on the graph to generate OTUs to capture the community structures in sequence data. To compare the performance of M-pick with that of existing methods, specifically CROP and ESPRIT-Tree, sequence data from different hypervariable regions of 16S rRNA were used and binning results were compared.
A new modularity-based clustering method for OTU picking of 16S rRNA sequences is developed in this study. The algorithm does not require a predetermined cut-off level, and our simulation studies suggest that it is superior to existing methods that require specified distance levels to define OTUs. The source code is available at http://plaza.ufl.edu/xywang/Mpick.htm.
Functional genomics requires vector construction for protein expression and functional characterization of target genes; therefore, a simple, flexible and low-cost molecular manipulation strategy will be highly advantageous for genomics approaches. Here, we describe a Ω-PCR strategy that enables multiple types of sequence modification, including precise insertion, deletion and substitution, in any position of a circular plasmid. Ω-PCR is based on an overlap extension site-directed mutagenesis technique, and is named for its characteristic Ω-shaped secondary structure during PCR. Ω-PCR can be performed either in two steps, or in one tube in combination with exonuclease I treatment. These strategies have wide applications for protein engineering, gene function analysis and in vitro gene splicing.
Gene cloning; In vitro gene splicing; Molecular manipulation; Ω-PCR
Late onset sepsis (LOS) is a major contributor to neonatal morbidity and mortality, especially in premature infants. Distortions in the establishment of normal gut microbiota, commensal microbes that colonize the digestive tract, might increase the risk of LOS via disruption of the mucosal barrier with resultant translocation of luminal contents. Correlation of distortions of the intestinal microbiota with LOS is a necessary first step to design novel microbiota-based screening approaches that might lead to early interventions to prevent LOS in high risk infants. Using a case/control design nested in a cohort study of preterm infants, we analyzed stool samples that had been prospectively collected from ten preterm infants with LOS and from 18 matched controls. A 16S rRNA based approach was utilized to compare microbiota diversity and identify specific bacterial signatures that differed in their prevalence between cases and controls. Overall α-diversity (Chao1) was lower in cases two weeks before (p<0.05) but not one week before or at the time of diagnosis of LOS. Overall microbiota structure (Unifrac) appeared distinct in cases 2 weeks and 1 week before but not at diagnosis (p<0.05). Although we detected few operational taxonomic units (OTUs) unique or enriched in cases, we found many OTUs common in controls that were lacking in cases (p<0.01). Bifidobacteria counts were lower in cases at all time points. Our results support the hypothesis that a distortion in normal microbiota composition, and not an enrichment of potential pathogens, is associated with LOS in preterm infants.
Recent advances in massively parallel sequencing technology have created new opportunities to probe the hidden world of microbes. Taxonomy-independent clustering of the 16S rRNA gene is usually the first step in analyzing microbial communities. Dozens of algorithms have been developed in the last decade, but a comprehensive benchmark study is lacking. Here, we survey algorithms currently used by microbiologists, and compare seven representative methods in a large-scale benchmark study that addresses several issues of concern. A new experimental protocol was developed that allows different algorithms to be compared using the same platform, and several criteria were introduced to facilitate a quantitative evaluation of the clustering performance of each algorithm. We found that existing methods vary widely in their outputs, and that inappropriate use of distance levels for taxonomic assignments likely resulted in substantial overestimates of biodiversity in many studies. The benchmark study identified our recently developed ESPRIT-Tree, a fast implementation of the average linkage-based hierarchical clustering algorithm, as one of the best algorithms available in terms of computational efficiency and clustering accuracy.
pyrosequencing; 16S rRNA; taxonomy-independent analysis; massive data; clustering; microbial diversity estimation; human microbiome
Auricular acupuncture has been utilized in the treatment of diseases for thousands of years. Dr. Paul Nogier firstly originated the concept of an inverted fetus map on the external ear. In the present study, the relationship between the auricular acupuncture and the vagal regulation has been reviewed. It has been shown that auricular acupuncture plays a role in vagal activity of autonomic functions of cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems. Mechanism studies suggested that afferent projections from especially the auricular branch of the vagus nerve (ABVN) to the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) form the anatomical basis for the vagal regulation of auricular acupuncture. Therefore, we proposed the “auriculovagal afferent pathway” (AVAP): both the autonomic and the central nervous system could be modified by auricular vagal stimulation via projections from the ABVN to the NTS. Auricular acupuncture is also proposed to prevent neurodegenerative diseases via vagal regulation. There is a controversy on the specificity and the efficacy of auricular acupoints for treating diseases. More clinical RCT trials on auricular acupuncture and experimental studies on the mechanism of auricular acupuncture should be further investigated.
A large variability in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) correction objectives and instrumentation strategies was documented. The hypothesis was that different correction objectives will lead to different instrumentation strategies. The objective of this study was to develop a numerical model to optimize the instrumentation configurations under given correction objectives.
Eleven surgeons from the Spinal Deformity Study Group independently provided their respective correction objectives for the same patient. For each surgeon, 702 surgical configurations were simulated to search for the most favourable one for his particular objectives. The influence of correction objectives on the resulting surgical strategies was then evaluated.
Fusion levels (mean 11.2, SD 2.1), rod shapes, and implant patterns were significantly influenced by correction objectives (p < 0.05). Different surgeon-specified correction objectives produced different instrumentation strategies for the same patient.
Instrumentation configurations can be optimized with respect to a given set of correction objectives.
Scoliosis; Instrumentation; Simulation; Modeling; Optimization; 3-D correction
The Chinese virulent (CHv) strain of duck enteritis virus (DEV) has a genome of approximately 162,175 nucleotides with a GC content of 44.89%. Here we report the complete genomic sequence and annotation of DEV CHv, which offer an effective platform for providing authentic research experiences to novice scientists. In addition, knowledge of this virus will extend our general knowledge of DEV and will be useful for further studies of the mechanisms of virus replication and pathogenesis.
Chitosan shows particularly high biocompatibility and fairly low cytotoxicity. However, chitosan is insoluble at physiological pH. Moreover, it lacks charge, so shows poor transfection. In order to develop a new type of gene vector with high transfection efficiency and low cytotoxicity, amphiphilic chitosan was synthesized and linked with low-molecular weight polyethylenimine (PEI).
We first synthesized amphiphilic chitosan – N-octyl-N-quatenary chitosan (OTMCS), then prepared degradable PEI derivates by cross-linking low-molecular weight PEI with amphiphilic chitosan to produce a new polymeric gene vector (OTMCS–PEI). The new gene vector was characterized by various physicochemical methods. We also determined its cytotoxicity and gene transfecton efficiency in vitro and in vivo.
The vector showed controlled degradation. It was very stable and showed excellent buffering capacity. The particle sizes of the OTMCS–PEI/DNA complexes were around 150–200 nm with proper zeta potentials from 10 mV to 30 mV. The polymer could protect plasmid DNA from being digested by DNase I at a concentration of 2.25 U DNase I/μg DNA. Furthermore, they were resistant to dissociation induced by 50% fetal bovine serum and 1100 μg/mL sodium heparin. OTMCS–PEI revealed lower cytotoxicity, even at higher doses. Compared with PEI 25 KDa, the OTMCS–PEI/DNA complexes also showed higher transfection efficiency in vitro and in vivo.
OTMCS–PEI was a potential candidate as a safe and efficient gene vector for gene therapy.
nonviral gene vector; polyethylenimine; transfection efficiency; cytotoxicity
Previous studies showed primo vessels (PVs), which were referred to as Bonhan ducts (BHDs) and a part of circulatory system by Kim, located in different places of the body. The BHDs system was once considered as the anatomical basis of classical acupuncture meridian but not clearly identified by other investigators. In the present study, we tried to address the relationship between PVs and meridians through detecting the modulation of gastric motility by stimulating the PVs on the surface of stomach or intestine, as well as acupoints Zusanli (ST36) and Zhongwan (CV12). The results showed electric stimulation of the PVs had no effect on the gastric motility. While stimulating CV12 inhibited gastric motility significantly in PVs-intact and PVs-cut rats, there is no significant difference between the inhibition rate of the PVS-intact and the PVS-cut rats. Stimulating at ST36 increased gastric motility significantly in both the PVs-intact and the PVs-cut rats, yet there was no significant difference between the facilitation rate of the both groups. Taken together, the PVs on the surface of stomach or intestine did not mediate the regulation of gastric motility induced by stimulating at the acupoints ST36 or CV12.
The goal of personalized medicine is to provide patients optimal drug screening and treatment based on individual genomic or proteomic profiles. Reverse-Phase Protein Array (RPPA) technology offers proteomic information of cancer patients which may be directly related to drug sensitivity. For cancer patients with different drug sensitivity, the proteomic profiling reveals important pathophysiologic information which can be used to predict chemotherapy responses.
The goal of this paper is to present a framework for personalized medicine using both RPPA and drug sensitivity (drug resistance or intolerance). In the proposed personalized medicine system, the prediction of drug sensitivity is obtained by a proposed augmented naive Bayesian classifier (ANBC) whose edges between attributes are augmented in the network structure of naive Bayesian classifier. For discriminative structure learning of ANBC, local classification rate (LCR) is used to score augmented edges, and greedy search algorithm is used to find the discriminative structure that maximizes classification rate (CR). Once a classifier is trained by RPPA and drug sensitivity using cancer patient samples, the classifier is able to predict the drug sensitivity given RPPA information from a patient.
In this paper we proposed a framework for personalized medicine where a patient is profiled by RPPA and drug sensitivity is predicted by ANBC and LCR. Experimental results with lung cancer data demonstrate that RPPA can be used to profile patients for drug sensitivity prediction by Bayesian network classifier, and the proposed ANBC for personalized cancer medicine achieves better prediction accuracy than naive Bayes classifier in small sample size data on average and outperforms other the state-of-the-art classifier methods in terms of classification accuracy.
Food allergy (FA) is relatively a common disease in infants, but effective drug therapies are not yet available. Notably, mucosal mast cells, but not connective-tissue mast cells, play important roles in food allergic reactions via the release of inflammatory mediators. Therefore, we screened medicinal herb extracts for in vitro and in vivo antiallergic activity through inhibiting mucosal mast cell activation. As a result, both antigen-induced and calcium ionophore-induced degranulation was significantly inhibited by Zanthoxyli Fructus water extract (ZF) in mucosal-type murine bone marrow-derived mast cells (mBMMCs). ZF suppressed the antigen-induced [Ca2+]i
elevation and the antigen-enhanced mRNA expression of TNF-α, IL-4, and IL-13. The transcriptome and real-time PCR analyses revealed that ZF greatly decreased the antigen-enhanced expression level of sphingosine kinase 1 (Sphk1), which plays a key role in the FcεRI-mediated immune responses in mast cells. Furthermore, ZF inhibited allergic symptoms in an ovalbumin-caused murine FA model and decreased the number of infiltrating mucosal mast cells and the enhanced mRNA expression levels of IL-4 and Sphk1 in the FA mice colons. These results indicate that ZF suppresses mucosal mast cell activities mainly through Sphk1-dependent mechanism, and ZF is utilized for the development of a novel, potent anti-FA agent.
Pseudomonas putida Idaho is an organic-solvent-tolerant strain which can degrade and adapt to high concentrations of organic solvents. Here, we announce its first draft genome sequence (6,363,067 bp). We annotated 192 coding sequences (CDSs) responsible for aromatic compound metabolism, 40 CDSs encoding phospholipid synthesis, and 212 CDSs related to stress response.
The commercial gelling agent gellan gum is a heteropolysaccharide produced by Sphingomonas elodea ATCC 31461. However, the genes involved in the biosynthesis, regulation, and modification of gellan gum have not been fully characterized. Here we describe the draft genome sequence of stain ATCC 31461 and major findings from its annotation.