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1.  Vitamin D2-Enriched Button Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) Improves Memory in Both Wild Type and APPswe/PS1dE9 Transgenic Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76362.
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread, affecting over 30% of adult Australians, and increasing up to 80% for at-risk groups including the elderly (age>65). The role for Vitamin D in development of the central nervous system is supported by the association between Vitamin D deficiency and incidence of neurological and psychiatric disorders including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A reported positive relationship between Vitamin D status and cognitive performance suggests that restoring Vitamin D status might provide a cognitive benefit to those with Vitamin D deficiency. Mushrooms are a rich source of ergosterol, which can be converted to Vitamin D2 by treatment with UV light, presenting a new and convenient dietary source of Vitamin D2. We hypothesised that Vitamin D2-enriched mushrooms (VDM) could prevent the cognitive and pathological abnormalities associated with dementia. Two month old wild type (B6C3) and AD transgenic (APPSwe/PS1dE9) mice were fed a diet either deficient in Vitamin D2 or a diet which was supplemented with VDM, containing 1±0.2 µg/kg (∼54 IU/kg) vitamin D2, for 7 months. Effects of the dietary intervention on memory were assessed pre- and post-feeding. Brain sections were evaluated for amyloid β (Aβ) plaque loads and inflammation biomarkers using immuno-histochemical methods. Plasma vitamin D metabolites, Aβ40, Aβ42, calcium, protein and cholesterol were measured using biochemical assays. Compared with mice on the control diet, VDM-fed wild type and AD transgenic mice displayed improved learning and memory, had significantly reduced amyloid plaque load and glial fibrillary acidic protein, and elevated interleukin-10 in the brain. The results suggest that VDM might provide a dietary source of Vitamin D2 and other bioactives for preventing memory-impairment in dementia. This study supports the need for a randomised clinical trial to determine whether or not VDM consumption can benefit cognitive performance in the wider population.
PMCID: PMC3799746  PMID: 24204618
2.  On the need for an international effort to capture, share and use crystallization screening data 
Development of an ontology for the description of crystallization experiments and results is proposed.
When crystallization screening is conducted many outcomes are observed but typically the only trial recorded in the literature is the condition that yielded the crystal(s) used for subsequent diffraction studies. The initial hit that was optimized and the results of all the other trials are lost. These missing results contain information that would be useful for an improved general understanding of crystallization. This paper provides a report of a crystallization data exchange (XDX) workshop organized by several international large-scale crystallization screening laboratories to discuss how this information may be captured and utilized. A group that administers a significant fraction of the world’s crystallization screening results was convened, together with chemical and structural data informaticians and computational scientists who specialize in creating and analysing large disparate data sets. The development of a crystallization ontology for the crystallization community was proposed. This paper (by the attendees of the workshop) provides the thoughts and rationale leading to this conclusion. This is brought to the attention of the wider audience of crystallographers so that they are aware of these early efforts and can contribute to the process going forward.
PMCID: PMC3310524  PMID: 22442216
crystallization screening data; crystallization ontology
3.  Gab2 regulates cytoskeletal organization and migration of mammary epithelial cells by modulating RhoA activation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(1):105-116.
The oncogenic signal transducer Gab2 mediates altered cytoskeletal organization and enhanced cell migration of mammary epithelial cells via down-regulation of RhoA activity. This sheds new light on the role of Gab2 in cancer cell metastasis.
The docking protein Gab2 is overexpressed in several human malignancies, including breast cancer, and is associated with increased metastatic potential. Here we report that Gab2 overexpression in MCF-10A mammary epithelial cells led to delayed cell spreading, a decrease in stress fibers and mature focal adhesions, and enhanced cell migration. Expression of a Gab2 mutant uncoupled from 14-3-3-mediated negative feedback (Gab22×A) led to a more mesenchymal morphology and acquisition of invasive potential. Expression of either Gab2 or Gab22×A led to decreased activation of RhoA, but only the latter increased levels of Rac-GTP. Expression of constitutively active RhoA in MCF-10A/Gab2 cells restored stress fibers and focal adhesions, indicating that Gab2 signals upstream of RhoA to suppress these structures. Mutation of the two Shp2-binding sites to phenylalanine (Gab2ΔShp2) markedly reduced the effects of Gab2 on cellular phenotype and RhoA activation. Expression of Gab2 or Gab22×A, but not Gab2ΔShp2, promoted Vav2 phosphorylation and plasma membrane recruitment of p190A RhoGAP. Knockdown of p190A RhoGAP reversed Gab2-mediated effects on stress fibers and focal adhesions. The identification of a novel pathway downstream of Gab2 involving negative regulation of RhoA by p190A RhoGAP sheds new light on the role of Gab2 in cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC3016968  PMID: 21118992
4.  Identification of a Distal GLUT4 Trafficking Event Controlled by Actin Polymerization 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(17):3918-3929.
The insulin-stimulated trafficking of GLUT4 to the plasma membrane in muscle and fat tissue constitutes a central process in blood glucose homeostasis. The tethering, docking, and fusion of GLUT4 vesicles with the plasma membrane (PM) represent the most distal steps in this pathway and have been recently shown to be key targets of insulin action. However, it remains unclear how insulin influences these processes to promote the insertion of the glucose transporter into the PM. In this study we have identified a previously uncharacterized role for cortical actin in the distal trafficking of GLUT4. Using high-frequency total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFM) imaging, we show that insulin increases actin polymerization near the PM and that disruption of this process inhibited GLUT4 exocytosis. Using TIRFM in combination with probes that could distinguish between vesicle transport and fusion, we found that defective actin remodeling was accompanied by normal insulin-regulated accumulation of GLUT4 vesicles close to the PM, but the final exocytotic fusion step was impaired. These data clearly resolve multiple steps of the final stages of GLUT4 trafficking, demonstrating a crucial role for actin in the final stage of this process.
PMCID: PMC2735490  PMID: 19605560
5.  Tracking Retrograde Flow in Keratocytes: News from the FrontV⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(3):1223-1231.
Actin assembly at the leading edge of the cell is believed to drive protrusion, whereas membrane resistance and contractile forces result in retrograde flow of the assembled actin network away from the edge. Thus, cell motion and shape changes are expected to depend on the balance of actin assembly and retrograde flow. This idea, however, has been undermined by the reported absence of flow in one of the most spectacular models of cell locomotion, fish epidermal keratocytes. Here, we use enhanced phase contrast and fluorescent speckle microscopy and particle tracking to analyze the motion of the actin network in keratocyte lamellipodia. We have detected retrograde flow throughout the lamellipodium at velocities of 1–3 μm/min and analyzed its organization and relation to the cell motion during both unobstructed, persistent migration and events of cell collision. Freely moving cells exhibited a graded flow velocity increasing toward the sides of the lamellipodium. In colliding cells, the velocity decreased markedly at the site of collision, with striking alteration of flow in other lamellipodium regions. Our findings support the universality of the flow phenomenon and indicate that the maintenance of keratocyte shape during locomotion depends on the regulation of both retrograde flow and actin polymerization.
PMCID: PMC551487  PMID: 15635099

Results 1-5 (5)