While a number of the consequences of mast cell degranulation within tissues have been documented including tissue-specific changes such as bronchospasm and the subsequent cellular infiltrate, there is little known about the immediate effects of mast cell degranulation on the associated vasculature, critical to understanding the evolution of mast cell dependent inflammation.
To characterize the microcirculatory events that follow mast cell degranulation.
Perturbations in dermal blood flow, temperature and skin color were analyzed using laser-speckle contrast imaging, infrared and polarized-light colorimetry following cold-hand immersion (CHI) challenge in patients with cold-induced urticaria compared to the response in healthy controls. Evidence for mast cell degranulation was established by documentation of serum histamine levels and the localized release of tryptase in post-challenge urticarial biopsies. Laser-speckle contrast imaging quantified the attenuated response to cold challenge in patients on cetirizine. We found that the histamine-associated vascular response accompanying mast cell degranulation is rapid and extensive. At the tissue level, it is characterized by a uniform pattern of increased blood flow, thermal warming, vasodilation, and recruitment of collateral circulation. These vascular responses are modified by the administration of an antihistamine.
Monitoring the hemodynamic responses within tissues that are associated with mast cell degranulation provides additional insight into the evolution of the acute inflammatory response and offers a unique approach to assess the effectiveness of treatment intervention.
In a forward genetic screen in Drosophila, we have isolated insomniac, a mutant that severely reduces the duration and consolidation of sleep. Anatomically-restricted genetic manipulations indicate that insomniac functions within neurons to regulate sleep. insomniac expression does not oscillate in a circadian manner, and conversely, the circadian clock is intact in insomniac mutants, suggesting that insomniac regulates sleep by pathways distinct from the circadian clock. The protein encoded by insomniac is a member of the BTB/POZ superfamily, which includes many proteins that function as adaptors for the Cullin-3 (Cul3) ubiquitin ligase complex. We show that Insomniac can physically associate with Cul3, and that reduction of Cul3 activity in neurons recapitulates the insomniac phenotype. The extensive evolutionary conservation of insomniac and Cul3 suggests that protein degradation pathways may have a general role in governing the sleep and wakefulness of animals.
A first-person shooter video game was adapted for the study of choice between smaller sooner and larger later outcomes. Participants chose when to fire a weapon that increased in damage potential over a 10 s interval, an escalating interest situation. Across two experiments, participants demonstrated sensitivity to the nature of the mathematical function that defined the relationship between waiting and damage potential. In Experiment 1, people tended to wait longer when doing so allowed them to eliminate targets more quickly. In Experiment 2, people tended to wait longer to increase the probability of a constant magnitude outcome than to increase the magnitude of a 100% certain outcome that was matched for the same expected value (i.e., probability times magnitude). The two experiments demonstrated sensitivity to the way in which an outcome improves when the outcome is continuously available. The results also demonstrate that this new video game task is useful for generating sensitivity to delay to reinforcement over time scales that are typically used in nonhuman animal studies.
Impulsivity; Delay discounting; Video game; Probability; Magnitude
Dantrolene is the only specific treatment for malignant hyperthermia (MH), a genetic disorder in which life-threatening temperature increase has been induced by inhaled anesthetics and succinylcholine. Because MH presents with nonspecific signs and delay of treatment can be fatal, dantrolene may be given as soon as MH is suspected. We report the complications associated with dantrolene administration as documented in AMRA (adverse metabolic/musculoskeletal reaction to anesthesia) reports submitted to the North American Malignant Hyperthermia Registry.
AMRA reports were analyzed for differences between subjects with and without complications attributed to dantrolene. Documentation of dantrolene dose and subject weight were inclusion criteria. Because some reported complications were likely due to factors other than dantrolene, a reduced set of cases was also defined. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests were used. Logistic regression was applied to describe factors associated with increased risk of complications.
In the full dataset of 368 subjects, the most frequent complications associated with dantrolene were muscle weakness (21.7%), phlebitis (9%), gastrointestinal upset (4.1%) and respiratory failure (3.8%). Logistic regression described a 29% increase in risk of any complication when the total dantrolene dose was doubled, a 144% increase in risk when fluid administration was part of treatment, an 83% decrease in risk in the presence of neurosurgery and a 74% decrease in risk in the presence of oral surgery.
In the dataset reduced by removal ofsome serious complications that were judged likely to have been due to preexisting disease or the MH event, there were 349 subjects. The most frequent complications associated with dantrolene were muscle weakness (14.6%), phlebitis (9.2%) and gastrointestinal upset (4.3%). In this reduced dataset, logistic regression described a 25% increase in risk of any complication when the total dantrolene dose was doubled, a 572% increase in risk in the presence of obstetric or gynecologic surgery, a 56% decrease in risk if furosemide was given and no relationship with fluid administration or other types of surgery.
Complications after dantrolene are common, but rarely life threatening. Unidentified factors in the surgical environment are associated with changes in the risk of complications. Fluid management, as part of the treatment of MH, has an important association with the risk of complications after dantrolene administration and should be monitored closely.
Period (PER) is the major transcription inhibitor in metazoan circadian clocks and lies at the center of several feedback loops that regulate gene expression. Dimerization of Drosophila PER influences nuclear translocation, repressor activity and behavioral rhythms. The structure of a central, 346-residue PER fragment reveals two associated Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domains followed by a protruding α-helical extension (αF). A closed, pseudo-symmetric dimer forms from a cross handshake interaction of the N-terminal PAS domain with αF of the opposing subunit. Strikingly, a shift of αF against the PAS β-sheet generates two alternative subunit interfaces in the dimer. Together with a previously reported PER structure in which αF extends, these data indicate that αF unlatches to switch association of PER with itself to its partner Timeless. The variable positions of the αF helix provide snapshots of a helix dissociation mechanism that has relevance to other PAS protein systems. Conservation of PER interaction residues among a family of PAS-AB containing transcription factors suggests that contacts mediating closed PAS-AB dimers serve a general function.
Circadian; helix dissociation; PER; PAS dimer; transcriptional regulation
Purpose. Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) is a complication of retinal detachment characterized by redetachment of the retina as a result of membrane formation and contraction. A variety of retinal cells, including retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) and Müller glia, and growth factors may be responsible. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα) is found in large quantities in PVR membranes, and is intrinsic to the development of PVR in rabbit models. This study explores the expression of PDGFR in cocultures of RPE and Müller cells over time to examine how these two cell types may collaborate in the development of PVR. We also examine how changes in PDGFRα expression alter Müller cell pathogenicity. Methods. Human MIO-M1 Müller progenitor (MPC) and ARPE19 cells were studied in a transmembrane coculture system. Immunocytochemistry and Western blot were used to look at PDGFRα, PDGFRβ, and GFAP expression. A transfected MPC line cell line expressing the PDGFRα (MIO-M1α) was generated, and tested in a rabbit model for its ability to induce PVR. Results. The expression of PDGFRα and PDGFRβ was upregulated in MIO-M1 MPCs cocultured with ARPE19 cells; GFAP was slightly decreased. Increased expression of PDGFRα in the MIO-M1 cell line resulted in increased pathogenicity and enhanced ability to induce PVR in a rabbit model. Conclusions. Müller and RPE cell interaction can lead to upregulation of PDGFRα and increased Müller cell pathogenicity. Müller cells may play a more active role than previously thought in the development of PVR membranes, particularly when stimulated by an RPE-cell-rich environment. Additional studies of human samples and in animal models are warranted.
The ability to objectively measure lung function in children is critical in the assessment and treatment of asthma in this age group. We thus determined the effectiveness of impulse oscillometry (IOS) as a non-invasive technique to assess lung function in children and in comparison to spirometry for sensitivity and specificity, testing variability, and the order effect of sequential testing of IOS and spirometry.
One hundred seventeen children sequentially evaluated in a pediatric clinic and under medical care for disease, were asked to perform IOS and spirometry. The utility of IOS and spirometry in differentiating children that had asthma versus those children who did not was then analyzed.
In the primary analysis (n = 117), bronchodilator response using IOS distinguished asthmatics from non-asthmatics, P = 0.0008 for R10. Receiver–operator characteristic curve (ROC) analysis of R10 bronchodilator response at the best cut-off (–8.6% change) correctly identified 77% of patients with asthma and excluded 76% of non-asthmatics. Amongst those children able to perform spirometry (asthmatics, n = 66; non-asthmatics, n = 16), FEV1 did not reveal a difference between these two groups, while area of reactance (AX) did distinguish these groups (P = 0.0092). Sequential testing of IOS and then spirometry (n = 47) showed a significant decrement in lung function as determined by IOS following performance of spirometry (P = 0.0309).
In the diagnosis and management of children with lung disease, IOS is a non-invasive approach that easily and objectively measures lung impedance and should be considered as both an adjunct, and in some situations, an alternative to standard spirometry.
pediatric asthma; lung function; bronchodilator response; spirometry; impulse oscillometry
The Cryptochrome/Photolyase (CRY/PL) family of photoreceptors mediates adaptive responses to UV and blue light exposure in all kingdoms of life 1; 2; 3; 4; 5. Whereas PLs function predominantly in DNA repair of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs)and 6-4 photolesions caused by UV radiation, CRYs transduce signals important for growth, development, magnetosensitivity and circadian clocks1; 2; 3; 4; 5. Despite these diverse functions, PLs/CRYs preserve a common structural fold, a dependence on flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and an internal photoactivation mechanism3; 6. However, members of the CRY/PL family differ in the substrates recognized (protein or DNA), photochemical reactions catalyzed and involvement of an antenna cofactor. It is largely unknown how the animal CRYs that regulate circadian rhythms act on their substrates. CRYs contain a variable C-terminal tail that appends the conserved PL homology domain (PHD) and is important for function 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12. Herein, we report a 2.3 Å resolution crystal structure of Drosophila CRY with an intact C-terminus. The C-terminal helix docks in the analogous groove that binds DNA substrates in PLs. Conserved Trp536 juts into the CRY catalytic center to mimic PL recognition of DNA photolesions. The FAD anionic semiquinone found in the crystals assumes a conformation to facilitate restructuring of the tail helix. These results help reconcile the diverse functions of the CRY/PL family by demonstrating how conserved protein architecture, and photochemistry can be elaborated into a range of light-driven functions.
The phosphorylated Spo0A transcription factor controls the initiation of endospore formation in Clostridium acetobutylicum, but genes encoding key phosphorelay components, Spo0F and Spo0B, are missing in the genome. We hypothesized that the five orphan histidine kinases of C. acetobutylicum interact directly with Spo0A to control its phosphorylation state. Sequential targeted gene disruption and gene expression profiling provided evidence for two pathways for Spo0A activation, one dependent on a histidine kinase encoded by cac0323, the other on both histidine kinases encoded by cac0903 and cac3319. Purified Cac0903 and Cac3319 kinases autophosphorylated and transferred phosphoryl groups to Spo0A in vitro, confirming their role in Spo0A activation in vivo. A cac0437 mutant hyper-sporulated, suggesting that Cac0437 is a modulator that prevents sporulation and maintains cellular Spo0A~P homeostasis during growth. Accordingly, Cac0437 has apparently lost the ability to autophosphorylate in vitro; instead it catalyses the ATP-dependent dephosphorylation of Spo0A~P releasing inorganic phosphate. Direct phosphorylation of Spo0A by histidine kinases and dephosphorylation by kinase-like proteins may be a common feature of the clostridia that may represent the ancestral state before the great oxygen event some 2.4 billion years ago, after which additional phosphorelay proteins were recruited in the evolutionary lineage that led to the bacilli.
sporulation; clostridia; autophosphorylation; phosphotransfer; phosphorelay
The diversity of highly active bacterial communities in cryoconite holes on three Arctic glaciers in Svalbard was investigated using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of the 16S rRNA locus. Construction and sequencing of clone libraries allowed several members of these communities to be identified, with Proteobacteria being the dominant one, followed by Cyanobacteria and Bacteroidetes. T-RFLP data revealed significantly different communities in holes on the (cold) valley glacier Austre Brøggerbreen relative to two adjacent (polythermal) valley glaciers, Midtre Lovénbreen and Vestre Brøggerbreen. These population compositions correlate with differences in organic matter content, temperature and the metabolic activity of microbial communities concerned. No within-glacier spatial patterns were observed in the communities identified over the 2-year period and with the 1 km-spaced sampling. We infer that surface hydrology is an important factor in the development of cryoconite bacterial communities.
svalbard; bacterial diversity; biogeography; T-RFLP; evenness; spatial scaling
Regulated nuclear entry of the Period (PER) and Timeless (TIM) proteins, two components of the Drosophila circadian clock, is essential for the generation and maintenance of circadian behavior. PER and TIM shift from the cytoplasm to the nucleus daily, and the length of time that PER and TIM reside in the cytoplasm is an important determinant of the period length of the circadian rhythm. Here we identify a TIM nuclear localization signal (NLS) that is required for appropriately timed nuclear accumulation of both TIM and PER. Transgenic flies with a mutated TIM NLS produced circadian rhythms with a period of ∼30 hr. In pacemaker cells of the brain, PER and TIM proteins rise to abnormally high levels in the cytoplasm of timΔNLS mutants, but show substantially reduced nuclear accumulation. In cultured S2 cells, the mutant TIMΔNLS protein significantly delays nuclear accumulation of both TIM and wild-type PER proteins. These studies confirm that TIM is required for the nuclear localization of PER and point to a key role for the TIM NLS in the regulated nuclear accumulation of both proteins.
To investigate the feasibility of transplanting human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) to the retina of nonimmunosuppressed pigs, cultured hNPCs were injected into the subretinal space of 5 adult pigs after laser burns were applied to promote donor cell integration. Postoperatively, the retinal vessels appeared normal without signs of exudation, bleeding, or subretinal elevation. Eyes were harvested at 10–28 days. H&E consistently showed mild retinal vasculitis, depigmentation of the RPE, and marked mononuclear cell infiltrate in the choroid adjacent to the site of transplantation. Human-specific antibodies revealed donor cells in the subretinal space at 10–13 days and smaller numbers within the retina on days 12 and 13, with evidence suggesting a limited degree of morphological integration; however, no cells remained at 4 weeks. The strong mononuclear cell reaction and loss of donor cells indicate that modulation of host immunity is likely necessary for prolonged xenograft survival in this model.
This study was designed to determine whether adult mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), could be used to produce retinal precursors and subsequently photoreceptor cells for retinal transplantation to restore retinal function in degenerative hosts. iPSCs were generated using adult dsRed mouse dermal fibroblasts via retroviral induction of the transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, KLF4 and c-Myc. As with normal mouse ES cells, adult dsRed iPSCs expressed the pluripotency genes SSEA1, Oct4, Sox2, KLF4, c-Myc and Nanog. Following transplantation into the eye of immune-compromised retinal degenerative mice these cells proceeded to form teratomas containing tissue comprising all three germ layers. At 33 days post-differentiation a large proportion of the cells expressed the retinal progenitor cell marker Pax6 and went on to express the photoreceptor markers, CRX, recoverin, and rhodopsin. When tested using calcium imaging these cells were shown to exhibit characteristics of normal retinal physiology, responding to delivery of neurotransmitters. Following subretinal transplantation into degenerative hosts differentiated iPSCs took up residence in the retinal outer nuclear layer and gave rise to increased electro retinal function as determined by ERG and functional anatomy. As such, adult fibroblast-derived iPSCs provide a viable source for the production of retinal precursors to be used for transplantation and treatment of retinal degenerative disease.
Children with food allergies often have concurrent asthma.
The authors aimed to determine the prevalence of asthma in children with food allergies and the association of specific food allergies with asthma.
Parental questionnaire data regarding food allergy, corroborated by allergic sensitization were completed for a cohort of 799 children with food allergies. Multivariate regression analysis tested the association between food allergy and reported asthma.
In this cohort, the prevalence of asthma was 45.6%. After adjusting for each food allergy, environmental allergies, and family history of asthma, children with egg allergy (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3–3.2; P < .01) or tree nut allergy (OR = 2.0; 95% CI = 1.1–3.6; P = .02) had significantly greater odds of report of asthma.
There is a high prevalence of asthma in the food-allergic pediatric population. Egg and tree nut allergy are significantly associated with asthma, independent of other risk factors.
asthma; food allergy; food hypersensitivity; nut allergy; nut hypersensitivity; egg allergy; egg hypersensitivity; pediatrics; allergy; asthma epidemiology
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) encompass inflammatory disorders affecting the gastrointestinal tract, primarily Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). The risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC) increases in patients with IBD. The CCND1 protein is the regulatory subunit of an enzyme that inactivates the retinoblastoma protein, a tumor suppressor protein, and promotes progression through G1-S phase of the cell cycle. CCND1 870G-A gene polymorphism influences susceptibility to colorectal cancer. The mutant allele of CCND1 in IBD-associated neoplasia leads to greater frequency of alternate splicing during transcription resulting in a more stable CCND1 protein. This creates a higher concentration of CCND1, facilitating easier passage through the G1/S checkpoint, abnormal cell cycle progression and possibly carcinogenesis.
We conducted a case-control study involving 396 individuals with IBD. IBD subgroups included CD, UC, and indeterminate colitis (IC). We studied patients with sporadic colorectal cancer (n=75) and patients without gastrointestinal disease as a control group (n=93). We extracted DNA from blood and performed polymerase chain reaction followed by high-performance liquid chromatography to screen for mutations. We confirmed the polymorphism at nucleotide A870G in exon 4. For statistical analysis, we used exact analyses of two-way contingency tables. Power calculations were done and correction for multiple testing was performed by computing the false discovery rate (FDR).
Results and discussion
Our study had a power of 75% at a 0.05 significance level. A870G SNP allele frequency in the IBD group was 44.8%, compared to 51.6% in the control population. Only the IC group showed a significant association with CCND1 splice site after correction for multiple testing (FDR=0.042). There were no differences between the other IBD groups and controls.
We found an association between CCND1 A870G SNP and IC group only (p=0.014, FDR=0.042). However, our data do not show an association between CCND1 A870G SNP and CD-associated or UC-associated neoplasia.
Cyclin-D1; inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn disease; ulcerative colitis
The aim of this study is to investigate the synergistic effect of chondroitinase ABC and growth factors in the integration of murine retinal progenitor cells (mRPCs) transplanted into Rho−/− mice.
mRPCs from P1 green fluorescent protein-transgenic mice were isolated and expanded for transplantation. All mRPCs of 20 passages or less were transplanted into the subretinal space of B6 mice together with chondroitinase ABC, and into Rho−/− mice combined with chondroitinase ABC, N-[N-(3, 5-Difluorophenacetyl)-L-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester (DAPT), and insulin growth factor (IGF)-1. Cell counts were used to examine the migration and survival rate of mRPCs in B6 mice. Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate the differentiation and integration of mRPCs in B6 and Rho−/− mice.
Our results show that substantial numbers of mRPCs migrated and survived in the retina when transplanted with chondroitinase ABC into B6 and Rho−/− mice. Chondroitinase ABC disrupted the glial scar around the mRPCs in the subretinal space. Only a few mRPCs expressed recoverin in B6 mice. More mRPCs expressed rhodopsin, recoverin, and synaptophysin after transplantation into Rho−/− mice when combined with chondroitinase ABC and growth factors.
The synergistic effect of chondroitinase ABC and growth factors facilitates the anatomic integration of mRPCs transplanted into Rho−/− mice.
We present the application of remote focusing to multiphoton laser scanning microscopy and
utilize this technology to demonstrate simultaneous, programmable multi-layer imaging. Remote
focusing is used to independently control the axial location of multiple focal planes that can
be simultaneously imaged with single element detection. This facilitates volumetric multiphoton
imaging in scattering specimens and can be practically scaled to a large number of focal
planes. Further, it is demonstrated that the remote focusing control can be synchronized with
the lateral scan directions, enabling imaging in orthogonal scan planes.
(030.5260) Photon counting; (170.0180) Microscopy; (180.5810) Scanning microscopy; (180.4315) Nonlinear microscopy; (180.6900) Three-dimensional microscopy
Sesame and coconut are emerging food allergens in the US. We sought to examine whether children allergic to peanuts and tree nuts are at increased risk of having an allergy to sesame or coconut. We performed a retrospective chart review of children who underwent skin prick testing (SPT) to sesame and coconut and identified 191 children who underwent SPT to sesame and 40 to coconut. Sensitization to sesame was more likely in children with positive SPT to peanuts (odds ratio [OR] = 6.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] [2.7–16.8], P<0.001) and tree nuts (OR = 10.5, 95% CI [4.0–27.7], P<0.001). Children with histories of both peanut and tree nut reaction were more likely to have a history of sesame reaction (OR = 10.2, 95% CI [2.7–38.7], P<0.001). Children with sensitization or allergy to peanuts or tree nuts were not more likely to be sensitized or allergic to coconut. In conclusion, children with peanut or tree nut sensitization were more likely to be sensitized to sesame but not coconut. Children with clinical histories of both peanut and tree nut allergy were more likely to be allergic to sesame.
sesame; coconut; peanut; tree nut; skin prick test; food allergy
We review the main components of autonomous scientific discovery, and how they lead to the concept of a Robot Scientist. This is a system which uses techniques from artificial intelligence to automate all aspects of the scientific discovery process: it generates hypotheses from a computer model of the domain, designs experiments to test these hypotheses, runs the physical experiments using robotic systems, analyses and interprets the resulting data, and repeats the cycle. We describe our two prototype Robot Scientists: Adam and Eve. Adam has recently proven the potential of such systems by identifying twelve genes responsible for catalysing specific reactions in the metabolic pathways of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This work has been formally recorded in great detail using logic. We argue that the reporting of science needs to become fully formalised and that Robot Scientists can help achieve this. This will make scientific information more reproducible and reusable, and promote the integration of computers in scientific reasoning. We believe the greater automation of both the physical and intellectual aspects of scientific investigations to be essential to the future of science. Greater automation improves the accuracy and reliability of experiments, increases the pace of discovery and, in common with conventional laboratory automation, removes tedious and repetitive tasks from the human scientist.
The migration and integration of grafted cells into diseased host tissue remains a critical challenge, particularly in the field of retinal progenitor cell (RPC) transplantation. It seems that natural physical barriers at the outer retina can impede the migration of grafted RPCs into the host retina. The purpose of this study was to investigate the integration and differentiation of murine RPCs transplanted into the subretinal space of mice with laser-induced damage to the outer retina.
RPCs were harvested from the neural retinas of postnatal day 1 enhanced green fluorescent protein (GFP) mice. Retinal photocoagulation was performed using a diode laser. Two µl containing ~6×105 expanded RPCs in suspension were injected into the subretinal space of the recipient animals following laser treatment. Cell morphometry was performed to assess the integration of donor cells. Immunohistochemistry and western blot were performed on recipient retinas.
Three weeks after transplantation, 1,158±320 cells per eye had migrated into the recipient outer nuclear layer (ONL). Most of these cells resided in the ONL around the retinal laser lesion. A subpopulation of these cells developed morphological features reminiscent of mature photoreceptors, expressed photoreceptor specific proteins including synaptic protein, and appeared to form synaptic connections with bipolar neurons. Retinal photocoagulation resulted in a significantly increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, and cluster differentiation 44 (CD44s), and a decreased expression of neurocan.
Transplanted RPCs migrate and integrate into the laser-injured ONL where they differentiate into photoreceptors with morphological features reminiscent of mature photoreceptors, express synaptic protein, and appear to form synaptic connections with retinal bipolar neurons. Following retinal photocoagulation, the enhanced level of integration of grafted RPCs is partially associated with increased expression of MMP-2 and, to a lesser extent, MMP-9, together with decreased levels of inhibitory molecules.
Micrococcus luteus (NCTC2665, “Fleming strain”) has one of the smallest genomes of free-living actinobacteria sequenced to date, comprising a single circular chromosome of 2,501,097 bp (G+C content, 73%) predicted to encode 2,403 proteins. The genome shows extensive synteny with that of the closely related organism, Kocuria rhizophila, from which it was taxonomically separated relatively recently. Despite its small size, the genome harbors 73 insertion sequence (IS) elements, almost all of which are closely related to elements found in other actinobacteria. An IS element is inserted into the rrs gene of one of only two rrn operons found in M. luteus. The genome encodes only four sigma factors and 14 response regulators, a finding indicative of adaptation to a rather strict ecological niche (mammalian skin). The high sensitivity of M. luteus to β-lactam antibiotics may result from the presence of a reduced set of penicillin-binding proteins and the absence of a wblC gene, which plays an important role in the antibiotic resistance in other actinobacteria. Consistent with the restricted range of compounds it can use as a sole source of carbon for energy and growth, M. luteus has a minimal complement of genes concerned with carbohydrate transport and metabolism and its inability to utilize glucose as a sole carbon source may be due to the apparent absence of a gene encoding glucokinase. Uniquely among characterized bacteria, M. luteus appears to be able to metabolize glycogen only via trehalose and to make trehalose only via glycogen. It has very few genes associated with secondary metabolism. In contrast to most other actinobacteria, M. luteus encodes only one resuscitation-promoting factor (Rpf) required for emergence from dormancy, and its complement of other dormancy-related proteins is also much reduced. M. luteus is capable of long-chain alkene biosynthesis, which is of interest for advanced biofuel production; a three-gene cluster essential for this metabolism has been identified in the genome.
Work in rodents has demonstrated that progenitor transplantation can achieve limited photoreceptor replacement in the mammalian retina; however, replication of these findings on a clinically relevant scale requires a large animal model. To evaluate the ability of porcine retinal progenitor cells to survival as allografts and integrate into the host retinal architecture, we isolated donor cells from fetal green fluorescent protein (GFP)-transgenic pigs. Cultures were propagated from the brain, retina, and corneo-scleral limbus. GFP expression rapidly increased with time in culture, although lower in conjunction with photoreceptor markers and glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP), thus suggesting downregulation of GFP during differentiation. Following transplantation, GFP expression allowed histological visualization of integrated cells and extension of fine processes to adjacent plexiform layers. GFP expression in subretinal grafts was high in cells expressing vimentin and lower in cells expressing photoreceptor markers, again consistent with possible downregulation during differentiation. Cells survived transplantation to the injured retina of allorecipients at all time points examined (up to 10 weeks) in the absence of exogenous immune suppression without indications of rejection. These findings demonstrate the feasibility of allogeneic progenitor transplantation in a large mammal and the utility of the pig in ocular regeneration studies.
The use of tunneling signals to sequence DNA is presently hampered by the small tunnel conductance of a junction spanning an entire DNA molecule. The design of a readout system that uses a shorter tunneling path requires knowledge of the absolute conductance across base-pairs. We have exploited the stochastic switching of hydrogen-bonded DNA base-nucleoside pairs trapped in a tunnel junction to determine the conductance of individual molecular pairs. This conductance is found to be sensitive to the geometry of the junction, but a subset of the data appears to come from unstrained molecular pairs. The conductances determined from these pairs are within a factor two of the predictions of density functional calculations. The experimental data reproduces the counterintuitive theoretical prediction that guanine-deoxycytidine pairs (3 H-bonds) have a smaller conductance than adenine-thymine pairs (2 H-bonds). A bimodal distribution of switching lifetimes shows that both H-bonds and molecule-metal contacts break.
Retinal neurogenesis ceases by the early postnatal period, although retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) persist throughout life. In this study, we show that in the mammalian eye, the function of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) extends beyond regulation of the innate immune response; it restricts RPC proliferation. In TLR4-deficient mice, enhanced proliferation of cells reminiscent of RPCs is evident during the early postnatal period. In vitro experiments demonstrate that TLR4 acts as an intrinsic regulator of RPC fate decision. Increased TLR4 expression in the eye correlates with the postnatal cessation of cell proliferation. However, deficient TLR4 expression is not sufficient to extend the proliferative period but rather contributes to resumption of proliferation in combination with growth factors. Proliferation in vivo is inhibited by both MyD88-dependent and -independent pathways, similar to the mechanisms activated by TLR4 in immune cells. Thus, our study attributes a novel role to TLR4 as a negative regulator of RPC proliferation.