Development of DNA aptamer screens that are both simple and informative can increase the success rate of DNA aptamer selection and induce greater adoption. High eIF4e levels contribute to malignancies, thus eIF4e presents itself as a valuable target for DNA aptamer-based inhibition screen. Here, we demonstrate a method for the rapid selection of looped DNA aptamers against eIF4e by combining negative selection and purification in a single step, followed by characterization with high throughput sequencing. The resulting aptamers show functional binding to eIF4e and inhibit translation initiation in biochemical assays. When transfected into cells, eIF4e aptamers cause a dramatic loss of cell proliferation in tumor cells as seen with eIF4e knockdown with antisense oligonucleotides, shRNAs, and siRNAs, hinting at therapeutic possibilities. With the large data set provided by high throughput sequencing, we demonstrate that selection happens in waves and that sequencing data can be used to infer aptamer structure. Lastly, we show that ligation of looped aptamers can enhance their functional effects. These results demonstrate a rapid protocol to screen and optimize aptamers against macromolecules of interest.
Aptamer; eIF4e; SELEX; proliferation
The objective of the Aliskiren Trial on Acute Heart Failure Outcomes (ASTRONAUT) was to determine whether aliskiren, a direct renin inhibitor, would improve post-discharge outcomes in patients with hospitalization for heart failure (HHF) with reduced ejection fraction. Pre-specified subgroup analyses suggested potential heterogeneity in post-discharge outcomes with aliskiren in patients with and without baseline diabetes mellitus (DM).
Methods and results
ASTRONAUT included 953 patients without DM (aliskiren 489; placebo 464) and 662 patients with DM (aliskiren 319; placebo 343) (as reported by study investigators). Study endpoints included the first occurrence of cardiovascular death or HHF within 6 and 12 months, all-cause death within 6 and 12 months, and change from baseline in N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) at 1, 6, and 12 months. Data regarding risk of hyperkalaemia, renal impairment, and hypotension, and changes in additional serum biomarkers were collected. The effect of aliskiren on cardiovascular death or HHF within 6 months (primary endpoint) did not significantly differ by baseline DM status (P = 0.08 for interaction), but reached statistical significance at 12 months (non-DM: HR: 0.80, 95% CI: 0.64–0.99; DM: HR: 1.16, 95% CI: 0.91–1.47; P = 0.03 for interaction). Risk of 12-month all-cause death with aliskiren significantly differed by the presence of baseline DM (non-DM: HR: 0.69, 95% CI: 0.50–0.94; DM: HR: 1.64, 95% CI: 1.15–2.33; P < 0.01 for interaction). Among non-diabetics, aliskiren significantly reduced NT-proBNP through 6 months and plasma troponin I and aldosterone through 12 months, as compared to placebo. Among diabetic patients, aliskiren reduced plasma troponin I and aldosterone relative to placebo through 1 month only. There was a trend towards differing risk of post-baseline potassium ≥6 mmol/L with aliskiren by underlying DM status (non-DM: HR: 1.17, 95% CI: 0.71–1.93; DM: HR: 2.39, 95% CI: 1.30–4.42; P = 0.07 for interaction).
This pre-specified subgroup analysis from the ASTRONAUT trial generates the hypothesis that the addition of aliskiren to standard HHF therapy in non-diabetic patients is generally well-tolerated and improves post-discharge outcomes and biomarker profiles. In contrast, diabetic patients receiving aliskiren appear to have worse post-discharge outcomes. Future prospective investigations are needed to confirm potential benefits of renin inhibition in a large cohort of HHF patients without DM.
Aliskiren; Diabetes; Outcomes; Post-discharge
Development of an effective therapy to slow the inexorable progression of Parkinson disease requires a reliable, objective measurement of disease severity. In the present study, we compare pre-synaptic PET tracer uptake in the substantia nigra (SN) to cell loss and motor impairment in MPTP non-human primates.
Pre-synaptic PET tracers, 6-[18F]-fluorodopa (FD), [11C]-2β-methoxy-3β-4-fluorophenyltropane (CFT), and [11C]-dihydrotetrabenazine (DTBZ) were used to measure specific uptake in the SN and striatum before and after a variable dose of MPTP in non-human primates. These in vivo PET-based measures were compared with motor impairment, as well as post-mortem tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cell counts and striatal dopamine concentration.
We found the specific uptake of CFT and DTBZ in the SN each had a strong, significant correlation with dopaminergic cell counts in the SN (R2 = 0.77, 0.53 respectively, p < .001) but FD did not. Additionally, CFT and DTBZ specific uptake in the SN each had a linear relationship with motor impairment (rs = −0.77, −0.71 respectively, p < .001) but FD did not.
Our findings demonstrate that PET measured binding potentials for CFT and DTBZ for a midbrain volume of interest targeted at the SN provide faithful correlates of nigral neuronal counts across a full range of lesion severity. Since these measures correlate with both nigral cell counts and parkinsonian ratings, we suggest that these SN PET measures are relevant biomarkers of nigrostriatal function.
eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase) contains a MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase)-binding site associated with a major eNOS control element. Purified ERK (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase) phosphorylates eNOS with a stoichiometry of 2–3 phosphates per eNOS monomer. Phosphorylation decreases NO synthesis and cytochrome c reductase activity. Three sites of phosphorylation were detected by MS. All sites matched the SP and TP MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) phosphorylation motif. Ser602 lies at the N-terminal edge of the 42-residue eNOS AI (autoinhibitory) element. The pentabasic MAPK-binding site lies at the opposite end of the AI, and other critical regulatory features are between them. Thr46 and Ser58 are located in a flexible region associated with the N terminus of the oxygenase domain. In contrast with PKC (protein kinase C), phosphorylation by ERK did not significantly interfere with CaM (calmodulin) binding as analysed by optical biosensing. Instead, ERK phosphorylation favours a state in which FMN and FAD are in close association and prevents conformational changes that expose reduced FMN to acceptors. The close associations between control sites in a few regions of the molecule suggest that control of signal generation is modulated by multiple inputs interacting directly on the surface of eNOS via overlapping binding domains and tightly grouped targets.
eNOS; ERK; fluorescence lifetime; MAPK; nitric oxide synthase; phosphorylation; AI, autoinhibitory; Akt, PKB (protein kinase B); BAEC, bovine aortic endothelial cell; BH4, tetrahydrobiopterin; BLI, biolayer interferometry; CaM, calmodulin; eNOS, endothelial nitric oxide synthase; ERK, extracellular-signal-regulated kinase; iNOS, inducible nitric oxide synthase; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; nNOS, neuronal nitric oxide synthase; NOS, nitric oxide synthase; PKA, protein kinase A; PKC, protein kinase C; SPR, surface plasmon resonance
The Behavioral Approach System (BAS) hypersensitivity theory of bipolar disorder (BD; Alloy & Abramson, 2010; Depue & Iacono, 1989) suggests that hyperreactivity in the BAS results in the extreme fluctuations of mood characteristic of BD. In addition to risk conferred by BAS hypersensitivity, cognitive and personality variables may play a role in determining risk. We evaluated relationships among BAS sensitivity, risk taking, and an electrophysiological correlate of approach motivation, relative left-frontal electroencephalography (EEG) asymmetry. BAS sensitivity moderated the relationship between risk taking and EEG asymmetry. More specifically, individuals who were high in BAS sensitivity showed left-frontal EEG asymmetry regardless of their level of risk-taking behavior. However, among individuals who were moderate in BAS sensitivity, risk taking was positively associated with asymmetry. These findings suggest that cognitive and personality correlates of bipolar risk may evidence unique contributions to a neural measure of trait-approach motivation. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.
behavioral approach system; risk taking; left-frontal EEG asymmetry; bipolar disorder
As key negative regulator of the p53 tumour suppressor, Mdm2 is an attractive therapeutic target. Small molecules such as Nutlin have been developed to antagonise Mdm2, resulting in p53-dependent death of tumour cells. We have recently described a mutation in Mdm2 (M62A), which precludes binding of Nutlin, but not p53. This Nutlin-resistant variant is not, however, refractory to binding and inhibition by stapled peptide antagonists targeting the same region of Mdm2. A detailed understanding of how stapled peptides are recalcitrant to Mdm2 mutations conferring Nutlin-resistance will aid in the further development of potent Mdm2 antagonists. Here, we report the 2.00 Å crystal structure of a stapled peptide antagonist bound to Nutlin resistant Mdm2. The stapled peptide relies on an extended network of interactions along the hydrophobic binding cleft of Mdm2 for high affinity binding. Additionally, as seen in other stapled peptide structures, the hydrocarbon staple itself contributes to binding through favourable interactions with Mdm2. The structure highlights the intrinsic plasticity present in both Mdm2 and the hydrocarbon staple moiety, and can be used to guide future iterations of both small molecules and stapled peptides for improved antagonists of Mdm2.
Recruitment and activation of the late endosomal Rab Ypt7 require the GEF Mon1-Ccz1. Association of Mon1 with vacuoles depends on the lipid PI3P, and Mon1 is phosphorylated by the casein kinase Yck3. Phospho-Mon1 is subsequently released from vacuoles as part of a putative recycling mechanism.
Maturation of organelles in the endolysosomal pathway requires exchange of the early endosomal GTPase Rab5/Vps21 for the late endosomal Rab7/Ypt7. The Rab exchange depends on the guanine nucleotide exchange factor activity of the Mon1-Ccz1 heterodimer for Ypt7. Here we investigate vacuole binding and recycling of Mon1-Ccz1. We find that Mon1-Ccz1 is absent on vacuoles lacking the phosphatidic acid phosphatase Pah1, which also lack Ypt7, the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase Vps34, and the lipid phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P). Interaction of Mon1-Ccz1 with wild-type vacuoles requires PI3P, as shown in competition experiments. We also find that Mon1 is released from vacuoles during the fusion reaction and its release requires its phosphorylation by the type 1 casein kinase Yck3. In contrast, Mon1 is retained on vacuoles lacking Yck3 or when Mon1 phosphorylation sites are mutated. Phosphorylation and release of Mon1 is restored with addition of recombinant Yck3. Together the results show that Mon1 is recruited to endosomes and vacuoles by PI3P and, likely after activating Ypt7, is phosphorylated and released from vacuoles for recycling.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are multipotential cells with utility in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. However, the immunological properties and immunogenicity of allogeneic MSC remain poorly defined. Recent studies investigating their immunogenicity remain inconclusive and this has hampered their clinical application. This study investigated the (1) immunogenicity and (2) immunomodulatory properties of bone marrow-derived MSC using an allogeneic mouse model involving Balb/c (responder) and C3H (stimulator) mice. Dermal fibroblasts (DF) were used as controls for cells of mesenchymal origin. Adaptations of the lymphocyte transformation assay (LTA) and mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) were used to investigate the immunogenicity and immunomodulatory properties of allogeneic undifferentiated and chondrogenic-differentiated MSC and DF. Both MSC and DF displayed a similar phenotypic profile with the exception of lower expression of CD44 and CD105 in DF. Tri-lineage differentiation of MSC and DF into adipocytes, chondrocytes and osteocytes confirmed their multipotency. In LTA, both undifferentiated and chondrogenic-differentiated allogeneic MSC stimulated lymphocyte proliferation. Allogeneic DF were non-stimulatory but chondrogenic-differentiated DF triggered responder lymphocyte proliferation. In one-way MLR, both allogeneic MSC and DF significantly suppressed Balb/c lymphocyte proliferation. The current challenges in distinguishing between MSC and fibroblasts were apparent throughout the work. These findings support the notion that although MSC possess immunosuppressive properties, they may not be immunoprivileged. Thus, clinical application of allogeneic MSC should be taken with due consideration of their potential immunogenicity.
Mesenchymal stem cells; dermal fibroblasts; immunogenicity; immunosuppression; mixed lymphocyte reaction; lymphocyte transformation assay
Statins are widely prescribed for lowering plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) concentrations and cardiovascular disease risk1, but there is considerable interindividual variation in treatment response2,3 and increasing concern regarding the potential for adverse effects, including myopathy4 and type 2 diabetes5. Despite evidence for substantial genetic influence on LDL concentrations6, pharmacogenomic trials have failed to identify genetic variations with large effects on either statin efficacy7-9 or toxicity10, and have yielded little information regarding mechanisms that modulate statin response. Here we identify a downstream target of statin treatment by screening for the effects of in vitro statin exposure on genetic associations with gene expression levels in lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from 480 participants of a clinical trial of simvastatin treatment7. This analysis identified six expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) that interacted with simvastatin exposure including rs9806699, a cis-eQTL for the gene GATM that encodes glycine amidinotransferase, a rate-limiting enzyme in creatine synthesis. We found this locus to be associated with incidence of statin-induced myotoxicity in two separate populations (meta-analysis odds ratio = 0.60, 95% confidence interval = 0.45-0.81, P=6.0×10-4). Furthermore, we found that GATM knockdown in hepatocyte-derived cell lines attenuated transcriptional response to sterol depletion, demonstrating that GATM may act as a functional link between statin-mediated cholesterol lowering and susceptibility to statin-induced myopathy.
Ancient mariners knew that dust whipped up from deserts by strong winds travelled long distances, including over oceans. Satellite remote sensing revealed major dust sources across the Sahara. Indeed, the Bodélé Depression in the Republic of Chad has been called the dustiest place on earth. We analysed desert sand from various locations in Chad and dust that had blown to the Cape Verde Islands. High throughput sequencing techniques combined with classical microbiological methods showed that the samples contained a large variety of microbes well adapted to the harsh desert conditions. The most abundant bacterial groupings in four different phyla included: (a) Firmicutes—Bacillaceae, (b) Actinobacteria—Geodermatophilaceae, Nocardiodaceae and Solirubrobacteraceae, (c) Proteobacteria—Oxalobacteraceae, Rhizobiales and Sphingomonadaceae, and (d) Bacteroidetes—Cytophagaceae. Ascomycota was the overwhelmingly dominant fungal group followed by Basidiomycota and traces of Chytridiomycota, Microsporidia and Glomeromycota. Two freshwater algae (Trebouxiophyceae) were isolated. Most predominant taxa are widely distributed land inhabitants that are common in soil and on the surfaces of plants. Examples include Bradyrhizobium spp. that nodulate and fix nitrogen in Acacia species, the predominant trees of the Sahara as well as Herbaspirillum (Oxalobacteraceae), a group of chemoorganotrophic free-living soil inhabitants that fix nitrogen in association with Gramineae roots. Few pathogenic strains were found, suggesting that African dust is not a large threat to public health.
aeolian; high throughput sequencing; Bodélé Depression; Republic of Chad; wind erosion
Full-genome sequencing showed that a recently emerged and hypervirulent clone of group A Streptococcus type emm59 active in Canada and parts of the United States has now caused severe invasive infections in rural northeastern Wyoming. Phylogenetic analysis of genome data indicated that the strain was likely introduced from Montana.
group A Streptococcus; GAS; bacteria; emm59; streptococci; invasive disease; virulence; genome sequencing; epidemiology; necrotizing fasciitis; Montana; Wyoming; United States
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays a pivotal role in promoting energy expenditure by the virtue of uncoupling protein-1 (UCP-1) that differentiates BAT from its energy storing white adipose tissue (WAT) counterpart. The clinical implication of “classical” BAT (originates from Myf5 positive myoblastic lineage) or the “beige” fat (originates through trans-differentiation of WAT) activation in improving metabolic parameters is now becoming apparent. However, the inducers and endogenous molecular determinants that govern the lineage commitment and differentiation of classical BAT remain obscure. We report here that in the absence of any forced gene expression, stimulation with bone morphogenetic protein 6 (BMP6) induces brown fat differentiation from skeletal muscle precursor cells of murine and human origins. Through a comprehensive transcriptional profiling approach, we have discovered that two days of BMP6 stimulation in C2C12 myoblast cells is sufficient to induce genes characteristic of brown preadipocytes. This developmental switch is modulated in part by newly identified regulators, Optineurin (Optn) and Cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox2). Furthermore, pathway analyses using the Causal Reasoning Engine (CRE) identified additional potential causal drivers of this BMP6 induced commitment switch. Subsequent analyses to decipher key pathway that facilitates terminal differentiation of these BMP6 primed cells identified a key role for Insulin Like Growth Factor-1 Receptor (IGF-1R). Collectively these data highlight a therapeutically innovative role for BMP6 by providing a means to enhance the amount of myogenic lineage derived brown fat.
Bipolar disorder is a common, heritable mental illness characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. Despite considerable effort to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of bipolar disorder, causative genetic risk factors remain elusive. We conducted a comprehensive genomic analysis of bipolar disorder in a large Old Order Amish pedigree. Microsatellite genotypes and high-density SNP-array genotypes of 388 family members were combined with whole genome sequence data for 50 of these subjects, comprising 18 parent-child trios. This study design permitted evaluation of candidate variants within the context of haplotype structure by resolving the phase in sequenced parent-child trios and by imputation of variants into multiple unsequenced siblings. Non-parametric and parametric linkage analysis of the entire pedigree as well as on smaller clusters of families identified several nominally significant linkage peaks, each of which included dozens of predicted deleterious variants. Close inspection of exonic and regulatory variants in genes under the linkage peaks using family-based association tests revealed additional credible candidate genes for functional studies and further replication in population-based cohorts. However, despite the in-depth genomic characterization of this unique, large and multigenerational pedigree from a genetic isolate, there was no convergence of evidence implicating a particular set of risk loci or common pathways. The striking haplotype and locus heterogeneity we observed has profound implications for the design of studies of bipolar and other related disorders.
Bipolar disorder is a common, heritable mental illness characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. Despite considerable efforts genetic studies have yet to reveal the precise genetic underpinnings of the disorder. In this study we have analyzed a large extended pedigree of Old Order Amish that segregates bipolar disorder. Our study design integrates both dense genotype and whole-genome sequence data. In a combined linkage and association analysis we identify five chromosomal regions with nominally significant or suggestive evidence for linkage, several of which constitute replication of earlier linkage findings for bipolar disorder in non-Amish families. Association analysis of genetic variants in each of the linkage regions yielded a number of plausible candidate genes for bipolar disorder. The striking genetic heterogeneity we observed in this genetic isolate has profound implications for the study of bipolar disorder in the general population.
Molecular imaging and clinical endpoints are frequently discordant in Parkinson disease (PD) clinical trials raising questions about validity of these imaging measures to reflect disease severity.
We compared striatal uptake for 3 PET tracers with in vitro measures of nigral cell counts and striatal dopamine in MPTP treated monkeys.
Sixteen macaques had MRI and baseline PETs using 6-[18F]fluorodopa (FD), [11C] dihydrotetrabenazine (DTBZ) and [11C] 2beta-carbomethoxy-3beta-4-fluorophenyltropane (CFT). MPTP (0 to 0.31 mg/kg) infused unilaterally via the internal carotid artery produced stable hemiparkinsonism by three weeks. After eight weeks, PETs were repeated and animals euthanized for striatal dopamine measurements and unbiased counts of tyrosine hydroxylase stained nigral cells.
Striatal uptake for each radiotracer (FD, DTBZ, CFT) correlated with stereologic nigral cell counts only for nigral loss < 50% (r2= 0.84; r2= 0.86; r2= 0.87, p<0.001 respectively; n=10). In contrast, striatal uptake correlated with striatal dopamine over the full range of dopamine depletion (r2= 0.95; r2= 0.94; r2= 0.94, p<0.001; n=16). Interestingly, indices of striatal uptake of FD, DTBZ and CFT correlated strongly with each other (r2=0.98, p<0.001).
Tracer uptake correlated with nigral neurons only when nigral loss < 50%. This along with previous work demonstrating that nigral cell counts correlate strongly with parkinsonism ratings may explain discordant results between neuroimaging and clinical endpoints. Furthermore, strong correlations among striatal uptake for these tracers support lack of differential regulation of decarboxylase activity (FD), vesicular monoamine transporter type 2 (DTBZ), and dopamine transporter (CFT) within 2 months after nigrostriatal injury.
Metastatic Ewing sarcoma (EWS) is often resistant to current multimodal chemotherapeutic regimens. Oncolytic virus therapy (OV) is a novel therapeutic platform whereby viruses can selectively infect as well as replicate in and kill tumor cells, while sparing normal tissues. The purpose of this study is to investigate the efficacy of the biotherapeutic oncolytic agent, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSVΔM51), to kill EWS cells that are resistant to conventional therapy. Our hypothesis is that systemic delivery of VSVΔM51 can demonstrate tumor-specific killing of resistant EWS cells, as well as a significant decrease of tumor burden in EWS bearing mice. Methods. A biopsy sample was obtained from a patient with metastatic EWS and was used to establish a novel EWS cell line. In vitro assays evaluated the oncolytic effect of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSVΔM51) on this cell line. EWS xenograft mice model bearing either lung or subcutaneous tumors was established to evaluate the antitumor specific oncolytic effect of VSVΔM51 after local and systemic delivery. Results. The established EWS cell line shared similar molecular and genetic traits to the patient's original tumor specimen. VSVΔM51 effectively infected and killed EWS cells in vitro. In vivo, VSVΔM51 selectively infected and killed EWS and led to significant delay in tumor growth. Conclusion. This study has been designed to implement a translational link between the bedside and the bench, where a specific challenging clinical scenario guided this basic science research. This research demonstrated that a sarcoma, which is resistant to current conventional standard therapies, is still susceptible to an alternative therapeutic platform, such as OV. Adding OV to the armamentarium of sarcoma treatment can enhance the future therapeutic approach towards these cancer patients.
The microtubule-associated protein tau is a principal component of neurofibrillary tangles, and has been identified as a key molecule in Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. However, it is unknown how a protein that is primarily located in axons is involved in a disease that is believed to have a synaptic origin. To investigate a possible synaptic function of tau, we studied synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and found a selective deficit in long-term depression (LTD) in tau knockout mice in vivo and in vitro, an effect that was replicated by RNAi knockdown of tau in vitro. We found that the induction of LTD is associated with the glycogen synthase kinase-3-mediated phosphorylation of tau. These observations demonstrate that tau has a critical physiological function in LTD.
Alzheimer's disease; hippocampus; synaptic plasticity; long-term depression; tau
Vibrio vulnificus is a ubiquitous marine bacterium that is responsible for infections and some seafood-related illnesses and deaths in the United States, mainly in individuals with compromised health status in the Gulf of Mexico region. Most phylogenetic studies focus on V. vulnificus strains isolated in the southern United States, but almost no genetic data are available on northeastern bacterial isolates of clinical or environmental origin. Our goal in this study was to examine the genetic diversity of environmental strains isolated from commercially-produced oysters and in clinical strains of known pathogenicity in northeastern United States. We conducted analyses of a total of eighty-three strains of V. vulnificus, including 18 clinical strains known to be pathogenic. A polyphasic, molecular-typing approach was carried out, based upon established biotypes, vcg, CPS, 16S rRNA types and three other genes possibly associated with virulence (arylsulfatase A, mtlABC, and nanA). An established Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) method was also performed. Phylogenetic analyses of these markers and MLST results produced similar patterns of clustering of strains into two main lineages (we categorized as ‘LI’ and ‘LII’), with clinical and environmental strains clustering together in both lineages. Lineage LII was comprised primarily but not entirely of clinical bacterial isolates. Putative virulence markers were present in both clinical and environmental strains. These results suggest that some northeastern environmental strains of V. vulnificus are phylogenetically close to clinical strains and probably are capable of virulence. Further studies are necessary to assess the risk of human illness from consuming raw oysters harvested in the northeastern US.
The premature infant gut has low individual but high inter-individual microbial diversity compared with adults. Based on prior 16S rRNA gene surveys, many species from this environment are expected to be similar to those previously detected in the human microbiota. However, the level of genomic novelty and metabolic variation of strains found in the infant gut remains relatively unexplored.
To study the stability and function of early microbial colonizers of the premature infant gut, nine stool samples were taken during the third week of life of a premature male infant delivered via Caesarean section. Metagenomic sequences were assembled and binned into near-complete and partial genomes, enabling strain-level genomic analysis of the microbial community.
We reconstructed eleven near-complete and six partial bacterial genomes representative of the key members of the microbial community. Twelve of these genomes share >90% putative ortholog amino acid identity with reference genomes. Manual curation of the assembly of one particularly novel genome resulted in the first essentially complete genome sequence (in three pieces, the order of which could not be determined due to a repeat) for Varibaculum cambriense (strain Dora), a medically relevant species that has been implicated in abscess formation.
During the period studied, the microbial community undergoes a compositional shift, in which obligate anaerobes (fermenters) overtake Escherichia coli as the most abundant species. Other species remain stable, probably due to their ability to either respire anaerobically or grow by fermentation, and their capacity to tolerate fluctuating levels of oxygen. Metabolic predictions for V. cambriense suggest that, like other members of the microbial community, this organism is able to process various sugar substrates and make use of multiple different electron acceptors during anaerobic respiration. Genome comparisons within the family Actinomycetaceae reveal important differences related to respiratory metabolism and motility.
Genome-based analysis provided direct insight into strain-specific potential for anaerobic respiration and yielded the first genome for the genus Varibaculum. Importantly, comparison of these de novo assembled genomes with closely related isolate genomes supported the accuracy of the metagenomic methodology. Over a one-week period, the early gut microbial community transitioned to a community with a higher representation of obligate anaerobes, emphasizing both taxonomic and metabolic instability during colonization.
Binning; Community genomics; Genome reconstruction; Human gut; Metagenomics; Microbial dynamics; Premature infant; Varibaculum cambriense; Time series binning
The autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are a genetically heterogeneous group of disorders exhibiting cerebellar atrophy and Purkinje cell degeneration whose subtypes arise from 31 distinct genetic loci. Our group previously published the locus for SCA26 on chromosome 19p13.3. In this study, we performed targeted deep sequencing of the critical interval in order to identify candidate causative variants in individuals from the SCA26 family. We identified a single variant that co-segregates with the disease phenotype that produces a single amino acid substitution in eukaryotic elongation factor 2. This substitution, P596H, sits in a domain critical for maintaining reading frame during translation. The yeast equivalent, P580H EF2, demonstrated impaired translocation, detected as an increased rate of −1 programmed ribosomal frameshift read-through in a dual-luciferase assay for observing translational recoding. This substitution also results in a greater susceptibility to proteostatic disruption, as evidenced by a more robust activation of a reporter gene driven by unfolded protein response activation upon challenge with dithiothreitol or heat shock in our yeast model system. Our results present a compelling candidate mutation and mechanism for the pathogenesis of SCA26 and further support the role of proteostatic disruption in neurodegenerative diseases.
Pharmacological modulation of p53 activity is an attractive therapeutic strategy in cancers with wild-type p53. Presently in clinical trials, the small molecule Nutlin-3A competitively binds to HDM2, a key negative regulator of p53 and blocks its activity. We have described resistance mutations in HDM2 that selectively reduce affinity for Nutlin but not p53. In the present communication, we show that stapled peptides targeting the same region of HDM2 as Nutlin are refractory to these mutations, and display reduced discrimination between the wild-type and mutant HDM2s with regards to functional abrogation of interaction with p53. The larger interaction footprint afforded by stapled peptides suggests that this class of ligands may prove comparatively more resilient to acquired resistance in a clinical setting.
Superior-level facet joint violation by pedicle screws may result in increased stress to the level above the instrumentation and may contribute to adjacent segment disease (ASD). Previous studies have evaluated facet joint violations in open or percutaneous screw cases, but there are no reports describing a direct institutional comparison.
To compare the incidence of superior-level facet violation for open versus percutaneous pedicle screws, and evaluate patient and surgical factors that impact this outcome.
We reviewed 279 consecutive patients who underwent an index instrumented lumbar fusion from 2007 to 2011 for degenerative spine disease with stenosis with or without spondylolisthesis. We used a CT grading system which represents progressively increasing grades of facet joint violation. Patient and surgical factors were evaluated to determine their impact on facet violation.
Our cohort consisted of 126 open and 153 percutaneous cases. Percutaneous procedures had a higher overall violation grade (p=0.018) and greater incidence of high-grade violations (p=0.0059) compared to open procedures. Bivariate analysis showed significantly greater violations in percutaneous cases for age<65, obesity, pedicle screws at L4, and 1- and 2-level surgeries. Multivariate analysis showed the percutaneous approach and depth of the spine to be independent risk factors for high-grade violations.
This study demonstrates greater facet violations for percutaneously placed pedicle screws compared to open.
facet joint violation; open; percutaneous; adjacent segment disease; depth of spine
Endoscopy is widely used to detect and remove premalignant lesions with the goal of preventing gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. Because current endoscopes do not provide cellular resolution, all suspicious lesions are biopsied and subjected to histological evaluation. Technologies that facilitate directed biopsies should decrease both procedure-related morbidity and cost. Here we explore the use of multiphoton microscopy (MPM), an optical biopsy tool that relies on intrinsic tissue emissions, to evaluate pathology in both experimental and human GI specimens, using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections from these tissues for comparison. After evaluating the entire normal mouse GI tract, MPM was used to investigate disease progression in mouse models of colitis and colorectal carcinogenesis. MPM provided sufficient histological detail to identify all relevant substructures in ex vivo normal GI tissue, visualize both acute and resolving stages of colitis, and show the progression of colorectal carcinogenesis. Next, ex vivo specimens from human subjects with celiac sprue, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal neoplasia were imaged by MPM. Finally, colonic mucosa in live anesthetized rats was imaged in vivo using a flexible endoscope prototype. In both animal models and human specimens, MPM images demonstrated a striking similarity to the results of H&E staining, as demonstrated by the 100% concordance achieved by the study pathologists’ diagnoses. In summary, MPM is a promising technique that accurately visualizes histology in fresh, unstained tissues. Our findings support the continued development of MPM as a technology to enhance the early detection of GI pathologies including premalignant lesions.
The lack of clear understanding of the pathophysiology of chronic pain could explain why we currently have only a few effective treatments. Understanding how pain relief is realised during placebo analgesia could help develop improved treatments for chronic pain. Here, we tested whether experimental placebo analgesia was associated with altered resting-state cortical activity in the alpha frequency band of the electroencephalogram (EEG). Alpha oscillations have been shown to be influenced by top-down processes, which are thought to underpin the placebo response.
Seventy-three healthy volunteers, split into placebo or control groups, took part in a well-established experimental placebo procedure involving treatment with a sham analgesic cream. We recorded ongoing (resting) EEG activity before, during, and after the sham treatment.
We show that resting alpha activity is modified by placebo analgesia. Post-treatment, alpha activity increased significantly in the placebo group only (p < 0.001). Source analysis suggested that this alpha activity might have been generated in medial components of the pain network, including dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and left insula.
These changes are consistent with a cognitive state of pain expectancy, a key driver of the placebo analgesic response. The manipulation of alpha activity may therefore present an exciting avenue for the development of treatments that directly alter endogenous processes to better control pain.
Cells isolated from intervertebral disc (IVD) tissues of human surgical samples are one of potential sources for the IVD cellular therapy. The purpose of this study was to develop a new non-enzymatic method, “tissue incubation”, for isolating human IVD cells. The IVD tissues of annulus fibrosus (AF) and nucleus pulposus (NP) were incubated separately in tissue culture flasks with culture medium. After 7–10 days incubation, cells were able to migrate out of IVD tissues and proliferate in vitro. After 3–4 weeks culture, expanded cells were harvested by trypsinization, and the remaining tissues were transferred to a new flask for another round of incubation. The molecular phenotype of IVD cells from juvenile and adult human samples was evaluated by both flow cytometry analysis and immunocytochemical staining for the expression of protein markers of NP cells (CD24, CD54, CD239, integrin α6 and laminin α5). Flow cytometry confirmed that both AF and NP cells of all ages positively expressed CD54 and integrin α6, with higher expression levels in NP cells than in AF cells for the juvenile group sample. However, CD24 expression was only found in juvenile NP cells, and not in AF or older disc cells. Similar expression patterns for NP markers were also confirmed by immunocytochemistry. In summary, this new non-enzymatic tissue incubation method for cell isolation preserves molecular phenotypic markers of NP cells and may provide a valuable cell source for the study of NP regeneration strategies.
Nucleus pulposus; Tissue culture; Phenotype; Intervertebral disc; Integrin
Chromatin is the template for replication and transcription in the eukaryotic nucleus, which needs to be defined in composition and structure before these processes can be fully understood. We report an isolation protocol for the targeted purification of specific genomic regions in their native chromatin context from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Subdomains of the multicopy ribosomal DNA locus containing transcription units of RNA polymerases I, II or III or an autonomous replication sequence were independently purified in sufficient amounts and purity to analyze protein composition and histone modifications by mass spectrometry. We present and discuss the proteomic data sets obtained for chromatin in different functional states. The native chromatin was further amenable to electron microscopy analysis yielding information about nucleosome occupancy and positioning at the single-molecule level. We also provide evidence that chromatin from virtually every single copy genomic locus of interest can be purified and analyzed by this technique.