Physical performance is a major determinant of health in older adults, and is related to lifestyle factors. Dietary fiber has multiple health benefits. It remains unclear whether fiber intake is independently linked to superior physical performance. We aimed to assess the association between dietary fiber and physical performance in older adults.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted with community-dwelling adults aged 55 years and older (n=2680) from the ongoing Healthy Aging Longitudinal Study (HALST) in Taiwan 2008-2010. Daily dietary fiber intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Physical performance was determined objectively by measuring gait speed, 6-minute walk distance, timed “up and go” (TUG), summary performance score, hand grip strength.
Adjusting for all potential confounders, participants with higher fiber intake had significantly faster gait speed, longer 6-minute walk distance, faster TUG, higher summary performance score, and higher hand grip strength (all P <.05). Comparing with the highest quartile of fiber intake, the lowest quartile of fiber intake was significantly associated with the lowest sex-specific quartile of gait speed (adjusted OR, 2.18 in men [95% CI, 1.33-3.55] and 3.65 in women [95% CI, 2.20-6.05]), 6-minute walk distance (OR, 2.40 in men [95% CI, 1.38-4.17] and 4.32 in women [95% CI, 2.37-7.89]), TUG (OR, 2.42 in men [95% CI, 1.43-4.12] and 3.27 in women [95% CI, 1.94-5.52]), summary performance score (OR, 2.12 in men [95% CI, 1.19-3.78] and 5.47 in women [95% CI, 3.20-9.35]), and hand grip strength (OR, 2.64 in men [95% CI, 1.61-4.32] and 4.43 in women [95% CI, 2.62-7.50]).
Dietary fiber intake was independently associated with better physical performance.
Candidate gene and genome-wide association studies have identified ∼60 susceptibility loci for type 2 diabetes. A majority of these loci have been discovered and tested only in European populations. The aim of this study was to assess the presence and extent of trans-ethnic effects of these loci in an East Asian population.
A total of 9,335 unrelated Chinese Han individuals, including 4,535 with type 2 diabetes and 4,800 non-diabetic ethnically matched controls, were genotyped using the Illumina 200K Metabochip. We tested 50 established loci for type 2 diabetes and related traits (fasting glucose, fasting insulin, 2 h glucose). Disease association with the additive model of inheritance was analysed with logistic regression.
We found that 14 loci significantly transferred to the Chinese population, with two loci (p = 5.7 × 10−12 for KCNQ1; p = 5.0 × 10−8 for CDKN2A/B-CDKN2BAS) reaching independent genome-wide statistical significance. Five of these 14 loci had similar lead single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as were found in the European studies while the other nine were different. Further stepwise conditional analysis identified a total of seven secondary signals and an independent novel locus at the 3′ end of CDKAL1.
These results suggest that many loci associated with type 2 diabetes are commonly shared between European and Chinese populations. Identification of population-specific SNPs may increase our understanding of the genetic architecture underlying type 2 diabetes in different ethnic populations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-013-3047-1) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
Ethnic difference; Genetic association; Type 2 diabetes
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of mortality in both developed and developing countries worldwide. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have now identified 46 independent susceptibility loci for CHD, however, the biological and disease-relevant mechanisms for these associations remain elusive. The large-scale meta-analysis of GWAS recently identified in Caucasians a CHD-associated locus at chromosome 6q23.2, a region containing the transcription factor TCF21 gene. TCF21 (Capsulin/Pod1/Epicardin) is a member of the basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor family, and regulates cell fate decisions and differentiation in the developing coronary vasculature. Herein, we characterize a cis-regulatory mechanism by which the lead polymorphism rs12190287 disrupts an atypical activator protein 1 (AP-1) element, as demonstrated by allele-specific transcriptional regulation, transcription factor binding, and chromatin organization, leading to altered TCF21 expression. Further, this element is shown to mediate signaling through platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFR-β) and Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) pathways. A second disease allele identified in East Asians also appears to disrupt an AP-1-like element. Thus, both disease-related growth factor and embryonic signaling pathways may regulate CHD risk through two independent alleles at TCF21.
As much as half of the risk of developing coronary heart disease is genetically predetermined. Genome-wide association studies in human populations have now uncovered multiple sites of common genetic variation associated with heart disease. However, the biological mechanisms responsible for linking the disease associations with changes in gene expression are still underexplored. One of these variants occurs within the vascular developmental factor, TCF21, leading to dysregulated gene expression. Using various in silico and molecular approaches, we identify an intricate allele-specific regulatory mechanism underlying altered expression of TCF21. Notably, we observe that two apparently independent risk alleles identified in distinct populations function through a similar regulatory mechanism. Together these data suggest that conserved upstream pathways may organize the complex genetic etiology of coronary heart disease and potentially lead to new treatment opportunities.
Rotavirus G3P strains have been reported from a variety of species including humans, cats, dogs, monkeys, goats, and cows. Here, we report the characterization of the first human G3P rotavirus from East Asia identified in a 2-year-old child who was treated in a hospital's emergency ward in Taiwan in February 2005. Sequence and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated a close genetic relationship between the VP4, VP6, VP7, and NSP4 genes of Taiwanese G3P strain 04-94s51 and an Italian canine strain isolated a decade ago, suggesting a canine origin for the Taiwanese strain. In contrast, the Taiwanese strain was only moderately related to well-characterized canine-origin human G3P strains Ro1845 and HCR3, suggesting a distinct origin for the rotavirus strain from Taiwan.
Gastroenteritis–Rotavirus A; Zoonosis
Few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) report interventions targeting improvement of frailty status as an outcome.
This RCT enrolled 117 older adults (65-79 years of age) in Toufen, Taiwan who scored 3-6 on The Chinese Canadian Study of Health and Aging Clinical Frailty Scale Telephone Version and then score ≥1 on the Cardiovascular Health Study Phenotypic Classification of Frailty (CHS_PCF). With a two by two factorial design, subjects were randomly assigned to interventions (Exercise and nutrition, EN, n = 55 or problem solving therapy, PST, n = 57) or controls (non-EN, n = 62 or non-PST, n = 60). Educational booklets were provided to all. EN group subjects received nutrition consultation and a thrice-weekly exercise-training program while PST group subjects received 6 sessions in 3 month. Subjects were followed at 3, 6, and 12 months. Primary outcome was improvement of the CHS_PCF by at least one category (from pre-frail to robust, or from frail to pre-frail or robust) from baseline assessments. One hundred and one completed final assessments. Intention-to-treat analysis with the generalized estimating equation model was applied with adjustment for time and treatment-by-time interactions.
Mean age was 71.4 ± 3.7 years, with 59% females. Baseline characteristic were generally comparable between groups. EN group subjects had a higher improvement rate on the primary outcome than non-EN group subjects (45% vs 27%, adjusted p = 0.008) at 3 months, but not 6 or 12 months. They also had more increase of serum 25(OH) vitamin D level (4.9 ± 7.7 vs 1.2 ± 5.4, p = 0.006) and lower percentage of osteopenia (74% vs 89% p = 0.042) at 12 months. PST group subjects had better improvement (2.7 ± 6.1 vs 0.2 ± 6.7, p = 0.035, 6-month) and less deterioration (−3.5 ± 9.7 vs −7.1 ± 8.7, p = 0.036, 12-month) of dominant leg extension power than non-PST subjects. Some secondary outcomes were also improved in control groups (non-EN or non-PST). No adverse effects were reported.
The three-month EN intervention resulted in short-term (3-month) frailty status improvement and long-term effect on bone mineral density and serum vitamin D (12-month) among Taiwanese community-dwelling elders. The effect of PST was less pronounce.
Frailty; Aged; Intervention; Effectiveness; Community
Genetic variants near/within the ALDH2 gene encoding the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 have been associated with blood pressure and hypertension in several case–control association studies in East Asian populations.
Three common tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNP) in the ALDH2 gene were genotyped in 1,134 subjects of Chinese origin from the Stanford Asia-Pacific Program for Hypertension and Insulin Resistance (SAPPHIRe) family cohort. We examined whether the ALDH2 SNP genotypes predicted the development of hypertension in the prospective SAPPHIRe cohort.
Over an average follow-up period of 5.7 years, carriers homozygous for the rs2238152 T allele in the ALDH2 gene were more likely to progress to hypertension than were non-carriers (hazard ratio [HR], 2.88, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-7.84, P = 0.03), corresponding to a population attributable risk of ~7.1%. The risk associated with the rs2238152 T allele were strongest in heavy/moderate alcohol drinkers and was reduced in non-drinkers, indicating an interaction between ALDH2 genetic variants and alcohol intake on the risk of hypertension (P for interaction = 0.04). The risk allele was associated with significantly lower ALDH2 gene expression levels in human adipose tissue.
ALDH2 genetic variants were associated with progression to hypertension in a prospective Chinese cohort. The association was modified by alcohol consumption.
ALDH2; Hypertension; SNP; Chinese
Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) has emerged as an important pathogen causing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in Taiwan. The present study is aimed to investigate the epidemiology of HAIs caused by CRAB and the association of CRAB infection and hospital usage of different antimicrobials.
Two nationwide databases in the period 2003 to 2008, the Taiwan Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System and National Health Insurance claim data, were used for analysis. A total of 13,811 healthcare-associated A. baumannii infections and antimicrobial usage data from 121 hospitals were analyzed.
There was a significant increase in the proportion of number of HAIs caused by CRAB over that by all A. baumannii (CRABpAB), from 14% in 2003 to 46% in 2008 (P<0.0001). The greatest increase was in central Taiwan, from 4% in 2003 to 62% in 2008 (P<0.0001). Use of anti-pseudomonal carbapenems, but not other classes of antibiotics, was significantly correlated with the increase of CRABpAB (r = 0.86, P<0.0001).
We suggested that dedicated use of anti-pseudomonal carbapenems would be an important intervention to control the increase of CRABpAB.
Changes in transcriptional orientation (“CTOs”) occur frequently in prokaryotic genomes. Such changes usually result from genomic inversions, which may cause a conflict between the directions of replication and transcription and an increase in mutation rate. However, CTOs do not always lead to the replication-transcription confrontation. Furthermore, CTOs may cause deleterious disruptions of operon structure and/or gene regulations. The currently existing CTOs may indicate relaxation of selection pressure. Therefore, it is of interest to investigate whether CTOs have an independent effect on the evolutionary rates of the affected genes, and whether these genes are subject to any type of selection pressure in prokaryotes.
Three closely related enterbacteria, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, were selected for comparisons of synonymous (dS) and nonsynonymous (dN) substitution rate between the genes that have experienced changes in transcriptional orientation (changed-orientation genes, “COGs”) and those that do not (same-orientation genes, “SOGs”). The dN/dS ratio was also derived to evaluate the selection pressure on the analyzed genes. Confounding factors in the estimation of evolutionary rates, such as gene essentiality, gene expression level, replication-transcription confrontation, and decreased dS at gene terminals were controlled in the COG-SOG comparisons.
We demonstrate that COGs have significantly higher dN and dS than SOGs when a series of confounding factors are controlled. However, the dN/dS ratios are similar between the two gene groups, suggesting that the increase in dS can sufficiently explain the increase in dN in COGs. Therefore, the increases in evolutionary rates in COGs may be mainly mutation-driven.
Here we show that CTOs can increase the evolutionary rates of the affected genes. This effect is independent of the replication-transcription confrontation, which is suggested to be the major cause of inversion-associated evolutionary rate increases. The real cause of such evolutionary rate increases remains unclear but is worth further explorations.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a Gram-negative bacterium of the family Enterobacteriaceae that possesses diverse metabolic capabilities: many strains are leading causes of hospital-acquired infections that are often refractory to multiple antibiotics, yet other strains are metabolically engineered and used for production of commercially valuable chemicals. To study its metabolism, we constructed a genome-scale metabolic model (iYL1228) for strain MGH 78578, experimentally determined its biomass composition, experimentally determined its ability to grow on a broad range of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur sources, and assessed the ability of the model to accurately simulate growth versus no growth on these substrates. The model contains 1,228 genes encoding 1,188 enzymes that catalyze 1,970 reactions and accurately simulates growth on 84% of the substrates tested. Furthermore, quantitative comparison of growth rates between the model and experimental data for nine of the substrates also showed good agreement. The genome-scale metabolic reconstruction for K. pneumoniae presented here thus provides an experimentally validated in silico platform for further studies of this important industrial and biomedical organism.
Metabolic reconstructions (MRs) are common denominators in systems biology and represent biochemical, genetic, and genomic (BiGG) knowledge-bases for target organisms by capturing currently available information in a consistent, structured manner. Salmonella enterica subspecies I serovar Typhimurium is a human pathogen, causes various diseases and its increasing antibiotic resistance poses a public health problem.
Here, we describe a community-driven effort, in which more than 20 experts in S. Typhimurium biology and systems biology collaborated to reconcile and expand the S. Typhimurium BiGG knowledge-base. The consensus MR was obtained starting from two independently developed MRs for S. Typhimurium. Key results of this reconstruction jamboree include i) development and implementation of a community-based workflow for MR annotation and reconciliation; ii) incorporation of thermodynamic information; and iii) use of the consensus MR to identify potential multi-target drug therapy approaches.
Taken together, with the growing number of parallel MRs a structured, community-driven approach will be necessary to maximize quality while increasing adoption of MRs in experimental design and interpretation.
Nucleic acid hybridization is an extensively adopted principle in biomedical research, in which the performance of any hybridization-based method depends on the specificity of probes to their targets. To determine the optimal probe(s) for detecting target(s) from a sample cocktail, we developed a novel algorithm, which has been implemented into a web platform for probe designing. This probe design workflow is now upgraded to satisfy experiments that require a probe designing tool to take the increasing volume of sequence datasets.
Algorithms and probe parameters applied in UPS 2.0 include GC content, the secondary structure, melting temperature (Tm), the stability of the probe-target duplex estimated by the thermodynamic model, sequence complexity, similarity of probes to non-target sequences, and other empirical parameters used in the laboratory. Several probe background options,Unique probe within a group,Unique probe in a specific Unigene set,Unique probe based onthe pangenomic level, and Unique Probe in the user-defined genome/transcriptome, are available to meet the scenarios that the experiments will be conducted. Parameters, such as salt concentration and the lower-bound Tm of probes, are available for users to optimize their probe design query. Output files are available for download on the result page. Probes designed by the UPS algorithm are suitable for generating microarrays, and the performance of UPS-designed probes has been validated by experiments.
The UPS 2.0 evaluates probe-to-target hybridization under a user-defined condition to ensure high-performance hybridization with minimal chance of non-specific binding at the pangenomic and genomic levels. The UPS algorithm mimics the target/non-target mixture in an experiment and is very useful in developing diagnostic kits and microarrays. The UPS 2.0 website has had more than 1,300 visits and 360,000 sequences performed the probe designing task in the last 30 months. It is freely accessible at http://array.iis.sinica.edu.tw/ups/.
Screen cast: http://array.iis.sinica.edu.tw/ups/demo/demo.htm
Genome-wide association studies of lung cancer reported in populations of European background have identified three regions on chromosomes 5p15.33, 6p21.33, and 15q25 that have achieved genome-wide significance with p-values of 10−7 or lower. These studies have been performed primarily in cigarette smokers, raising the possibility that the observed associations could be related to tobacco use, lung carcinogenesis, or both. Since most women in Asia do not smoke, we conducted a genome-wide association study of lung adenocarcinoma in never-smoking females (584 cases, 585 controls) among Han Chinese in Taiwan and found that the most significant association was for rs2736100 on chromosome 5p15.33 (p = 1.30×10−11). This finding was independently replicated in seven studies from East Asia totaling 1,164 lung adenocarcinomas and 1,736 controls (p = 5.38×10−11). A pooled analysis achieved genome-wide significance for rs2736100. This SNP marker localizes to the CLPTM1L-TERT locus on chromosome 5p15.33 (p = 2.60×10−20, allelic risk = 1.54, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.41–1.68). Risks for heterozygote and homozygote carriers of the minor allele were 1.62 (95% CI; 1.40–1.87), and 2.35 (95% CI: 1.95–2.83), respectively. In summary, our results show that genetic variation in the CLPTM1L-TERT locus of chromosome 5p15.33 is directly associated with the risk of lung cancer, most notably adenocarcinoma.
Worldwide, approximately 15% of lung cancer cases occur among nonsmokers. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of lung cancer conducted in populations of European background have identified three regions on chromosomes 5, 6, and 15 that harbor genetic variants that confer risk for lung cancer. Prior studies were conducted primarily in cigarette smokers, raising the possibility that the associations could be related to tobacco use, lung carcinogenesis, or both. A GWAS of lung cancer among never-smokers is an optimal setting to discover effects that are independent of smoking. Since most women in Asia do not smoke, we conducted a GWAS of lung adenocarcinoma among never-smoking females (584 cases, 585 controls) in Taiwan, and observed a region on chromosome 5 significantly associated with risk for lung cancer in never-smoking women. The finding was independently replicated in seven studies from East Asia totaling 1,164 lung adenocarcinomas and 1,736 controls. To our knowledge, this study is the first reported GWAS of lung cancer in East Asian women, and together with the replication studies represents the largest genetic association study in this population. The findings provide insight into the genetic contribution of common variants to lung carcinogenesis.
The metabolic syndrome (MetS) concept is widely used in public health and clinical settings without an agreed pathophysiology. We have re-examined the MetS in terms of body fuels, so as to provide a coherent cross-cultural pathogenesis.
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2001-2) with n = 2254 and Taiwanese National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) sub-set for hypertension, hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia assessment (TwSHHH 2002), n = 5786, were used to compare different ethnicities according to NCEP-ATPIII (NCEP-tw) criteria for METS. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) using principal components (PC) was employed to differentiate and unify MetS components across four ethnicities, gender, age-strata, and urban-rural settings.
The first two factors from the PC analysis (PCA) accounted for from 55.2% (non-Hispanic white) to 63.7% (Taiwanese) of the variance. Rotated factor loadings showed that the six MetS components provided three clusters: the impaired energy regulation (IER) components (waist circumference, WC, fasting triglycerides, TG, and fasting plasma glucose, FPG), systolic and diastolic blood pressures (BPs), and HDL-cholesterol, where the IER components accounted for 25-26% of total variance of MetS components. For the three US ethnic subgroups, factor 1 was mainly determined by IER and HDL-cholesterol, and factor 2 was related to the BP components. For Taiwanese, IER was determinant for both factors, and BPs and HDL-cholesterol were related to factors 1 and 2 respectively.
There is a MetS core which unifies populations. It comprises WC, TG and FPG as a core, IER, which may be expressed and modulated in various second order ways.
Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1β (PTP-1β) is involved in the regulation of several important physiological pathways. It regulates both insulin and leptin signaling, and interacts with the epidermal- and platelet-derived growth factor receptors. The gene is located on human chromosome 20q13, and several rare single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been shown to be associated with insulin resistance and diabetes in different populations. As part of our ongoing investigations into the genetic basis of hypertension, we examined common sequence variants in the gene for association with hypertension, obesity and altered lipid profile in two populations of Japanese and Chinese descent. We re-sequenced all exons, selected intronic sequences and the promoter region in 24 individuals from our cohort. Fourteen SNPs were discovered, and six of these spanning 78 kb were genotyped in 1553 individuals from 672 families. All six SNPs were in linkage disequilibrium, and we found strong association of common risk haplotypes with hypertension in Chinese and Japanese (P < 0.0001). In addition, individual SNPs showed association to total plasma cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and VLDL-cholesterol levels, as well as obesity measures (body mass index). This analysis supports that PTP-1β affects plasma lipid levels, and may lead to obesity and hypertension in Japanese and Chinese. Given similar associations found in other populations to insulin resistance and diabetes, this gene may play a crucial role in the development of the characteristic metabolic changes seen in patients with the metabolic syndrome.
Subjects with the metabolic syndrome are accompanied by insulin resistance (IR). However, it is not clear how well the newly-defined metabolic syndrome identifying IR specifically in hypertensive subjects.
The purpose of the study is to evaluate the performance of the metabolic syndrome, defined by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) definitions, in identifying IR in hypertension.
The analysis is a cross-sectional study. Totally, 228 hypertensive patients and 92 non-diabetic normotensive controls who received insulin suppressive tests to directly evaluate their insulin sensitivity were included from the Stanford Asia and Pacific Program for Hypertension and IR. McNemar’s tests were used to compare sensitivity and specificity of the AHA-defined with the IDF-defined metabolic syndrome in diagnosis of IR.
The sensitivity of the metabolic syndrome for IR in hypertension was 89.7 % and the specificity 45.9 % by the AHA definition. Using the IDF definition, the sensitivity was 77.6 %, and the specificity increased to 63.5 %. The diagnostic power of individual components of the syndrome was also modest. The predictive discrimination of wider waist circumference was similar to that of the AHA-defined metabolic syndrome.
Use of the metabolic syndrome by the AHA definition provided good sensitivity but low specificity to diagnose IR in hypertension. The IDF definition improved in false positive rate, but it was still not specific enough to identify IR in hypertension.
hypertension; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; steady-state plasma glucose
The WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network has routinely performed genetic and antigenic analyses of human influenza viruses to monitor influenza activity. Although these analyses provide supporting data for the selection of vaccine strains, it seems desirable to have user-friendly tools to visualize the antigenic evolution of influenza viruses for the purpose of surveillance. To meet this need, we have developed a web server, ATIVS (Analytical Tool for Influenza Virus Surveillance), for analyzing serological data of all influenza viruses and hemagglutinin sequence data of human influenza A/H3N2 viruses so as to generate antigenic maps for influenza surveillance and vaccine strain selection. Functionalities are described and examples are provided to illustrate its usefulness and performance. The ATIVS web server is available at http://influenza.nhri.org.tw/ATIVS/.
Nucleic acid hybridization, a fundamental technique in molecular biology, can be modified into very effective and sensitive methods for detecting particular targets mixed with millions of non-target sequences. Therefore, avoiding cross-hybridization is the most crucial issue for developing diagnostic methods based on hybridization.
To develop a probe with a high discriminating power, this study constructed a web service, the Unique Probe Selector (UPS), for customized probe design. The UPS service integrates a probe design mechanism and a scoring system for evaluating the performance of probe annealing and the uniqueness of a probe in a user-defined genetic background. Starting from an intuitive web interface, the UPS accepts a query with single or multiple sequences in fasta format. The best probe(s) for each sequence can be downloaded from result pages in a fasta or .csv format with a summary of probe characteristics. The option "Unique probe within group" selects the most unique probe for each target sequence with low probability to hybridize to the other sequences in the same submitted query. The option "Unique probe in the specific organism" devises probes for each submitted sequence to identify its target among selected genetic backgrounds based on Unigene.
The UPS evaluates probe-to-target hybridization under a user-defined condition in silico to ensure high-performance hybridization and minimizes the possibility of non-specific reactions. UPS has been applied to design human arrays for gene expression studies and to develop several small arrays of gene families that were inferred as molecular signatures of cancer typing/staging or pathogen signatures. Notably, UPS is freely accessible at .
With international concern over emerging infectious diseases (EID) and bioterrorist attacks, public health is being required to have early outbreak detection systems. A disease surveillance team was organized to establish a hospital emergency department-based syndromic surveillance system (ED-SSS) capable of automatically transmitting patient data electronically from the hospitals responsible for emergency care throughout the country to the Centers for Disease Control in Taiwan (Taiwan-CDC) starting March, 2004. This report describes the challenges and steps involved in developing ED-SSS and the timely information it provides to improve in public health decision-making.
Between June 2003 and March 2004, after comparing various surveillance systems used around the world and consulting with ED physicians, pediatricians and internal medicine physicians involved in infectious disease control, the Syndromic Surveillance Research Team in Taiwan worked with the Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance (RODS) Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh to create Taiwan's ED-SSS. The system was evaluated by analyzing daily electronic ED data received in real-time from the 189 hospitals participating in this system between April 1, 2004 and March 31, 2005.
Taiwan's ED-SSS identified winter and summer spikes in two syndrome groups: influenza-like illnesses and respiratory syndrome illnesses, while total numbers of ED visits were significantly higher on weekends, national holidays and the days of Chinese lunar new year than weekdays (p < 0.001). It also identified increases in the upper, lower, and total gastrointestinal (GI) syndrome groups starting in November 2004 and two clear spikes in enterovirus-like infections coinciding with the two school semesters. Using ED-SSS for surveillance of influenza-like illnesses and enteroviruses-related infections has improved Taiwan's pandemic flu preparedness and disease control capabilities.
Taiwan's ED-SSS represents the first nationwide real-time syndromic surveillance system ever established in Asia. The experiences reported herein can encourage other countries to develop their own surveillance systems. The system can be adapted to other cultural and language environments for better global surveillance of infectious diseases and international collaboration.
Baculoviruses, a family of large, rod-shaped viruses that mainly infect lepidopteran insects, have been widely used to transduce various cells for exogenous gene expression. Nonetheless, how a virus controls its transcription program in cells is poorly understood. With a custom-made baculovirus DNA microarray, we investigated the recombinant Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrosis virus (AcMNPV) gene expression program in lepidopteran Sf21 cells over the time course of infection. Our analysis of transcription kinetics in the cells uncovered sequential viral gene expression patterns possibly regulated by different mechanisms during different phases of infection. To gain further insight into the regulatory network, we investigated the transcription program of a mutant virus deficient in an early transactivator (pe38) and uncovered several pe38-dependent and pe38-independent genes. This study of baculovirus dynamic transcription programs in different virus genetic backgrounds provides new molecular insights into how gene expression in viruses is regulated.
Proteins control and mediate many biological activities of cells by interacting with other protein partners. This work presents a statistical model to predict protein interaction networks of Drosophila melanogaster based on insight into domain interactions.
Three high-throughput yeast two-hybrid experiments and the collection in FlyBase were used as our starting datasets. The co-occurrences of domains in these interactive events are converted into a probability score of domain-domain interaction. These scores are used to infer putative interaction among all available open reading frames (ORFs) of fruit fly. Additionally, the likelihood function is used to estimate all potential protein-protein interactions.
All parameters are successfully iterated and MLE is obtained for each pair of domains. Additionally, the maximized likelihood reaches its converged criteria and maintains the probability stable. The hybrid model achieves a high specificity with a loss of sensitivity, suggesting that the model may possess major features of protein-protein interactions. Several putative interactions predicted by the proposed hybrid model are supported by literatures, while experimental data with a low probability score indicate an uncertain reliability and require further proof of interaction.
Fly-DPI is the online database used to present this work. It is an integrated proteomics tool with comprehensive protein annotation information from major databases as well as an effective means of predicting protein-protein interactions. As a novel search strategy, the ping-pong search is a naïve path map between two chosen proteins based on pre-computed shortest paths. Adopting effective filtering strategies will facilitate researchers in depicting the bird's eye view of the network of interest. Fly-DPI can be accessed at .
This work provides two reference systems, statistical and biological, to evaluate the reliability of protein interaction. First, the hybrid model statistically estimates both experimental and predicted protein interaction relationships. Second, the biological information for filtering and annotation itself is a strong indicator for the reliability of protein-protein interaction. The space-temporal or stage-specific expression patterns of genes are also critical for identifying proteins involved in a particular situation.
Cluster A enteroviruses, including enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CA16), are known to cause hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD). Despite the close genetic relationship between these two viruses, EV71 is generally known to be a more perpetuating pathogen involved in severe clinical manifestations and deaths. While the serotyping of enteroviruses is mostly done by conventional immunological methods, many clinical isolates remain unclassifiable due to the limited number of antibodies against enterovirus surface proteins. Array-based assays are able to detect several serotypes with high accuracy. We combined an enterovirus microarray with multiplex reverse transcription-PCR to try to develop a method of sensitively and accurately detecting and differentiating EV71 and CA16. In an effort to design serotype-specific probes for detection of the virus, we first did an elaborate bioinformatic analysis of the sequence database derived from different enterovirus serotypes. We then constructed a microarray using 60-mer degenerate oligonucleotide probes covalently bound to array slides. Using this enterovirus microarray to study 144 clinical specimens from patients infected with HFMD or suspected to have HFMD, we found that it had a diagnostic accuracy of 92.0% for EV71 and 95.8% for CA16. Diagnostic accuracy for other enteroviruses (non-EV71 or -CA16) was 92.0%. All specimens were analyzed in parallel by real-time PCR and subsequently confirmed by neutralization tests. This highly sensitive array-based assay may become a useful alternative in clinical diagnostics of EV71 and CA16.
The Family Blood Pressure Program is an ongoing, NHLBI-sponsored, multi-center program to study the genetic determinants of high blood pressure. The goal of this particular study was to study patterns of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in four ethnic groups: African Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics, and Asians.
A major part of participants in three networks GENOA, HyperGEN and SAPPHIRe were recruited mainly through hypertensive probands. MetS was defined as a categorical trait following the National Cholesterol Education Program definition (c-MetS). MetS was also characterized quantitatively through multivariate factor analyses (FA) of 10 risk variables (q-MetS). Logistic regression and frequency tables were used for studying associations among traits.
Using the NCEP definition, the Hispanic sample, which by design was enriched for type 2 diabetes (T2D), had a very high prevalence of MetS (73%). In contrast, its prevalence in Chinese was the lowest (17%). In African Americans and Hispanics, c-MetS was more prevalent in women than in men. Association of c-MetS with type 2 diabetes (T2D) was prominent in the Hispanics and African Americans, less pronounced in the Whites and Japanese, (although still significant), and weakest in the Chinese sample.
Using FA without rotation, we found that the main factor loaded obesity (OBS) and blood pressure (BP) in African Americans; OBS and insulin (INS) in Hispanics, in Japanese, and in Whites; and OBS alone in Chinese. In Hispanics, Whites, and Japanese, BP loaded as a separate factor. Lipids in combination with INS also loaded in a separate factor. Using FA with Varimax rotation, 4 independent factors were identified: "Obesity-INS," "Blood pressure," "Lipids-INS," and "Central obesity." They explained about 60% of the variance present in the original risk variables.
MetS ethnic differences were identified. Ascertaining for hypertension or T2D increased the MetS prevalence in networks compared with the one in the US general population. Obesity was the most prominent risk factor contributing to both c-MetS and q-MetS. INS contributed in two important factors (obesity and lipids). The information imbedded into c-MetS trait /q-MetS factors scores can contribute in future research of the MetS, especially its utilization in the genetic analysis.
POWER, the PhylOgenetic WEb Repeater, is a web-based service designed to perform user-friendly pipeline phylogenetic analysis. POWER uses an open-source LAMP structure and infers genetic distances and phylogenetic relationships using well-established algorithms (ClustalW and PHYLIP). POWER incorporates a novel tree builder based on the GD library to generate a high-quality tree topology according to the calculated result. POWER accepts either raw sequences in FASTA format or user-uploaded alignment output files. Through a user-friendly web interface, users can sketch a tree effortlessly in multiple steps. After a tree has been generated, users can freely set and modify parameters, select tree building algorithms, refine sequence alignments or edit the tree topology. All the information related to input sequences and the processing history is logged and downloadable for the user's reference. Furthermore, iterative tree construction can be performed by adding sequences to, or removing them from, a previously submitted job. POWER is accessible at .
A laboratory-based surveillance network of 11 clinical virological laboratories for influenza viruses was established in Taiwan under the coordination of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Taiwan. From October 2000 to March 2004, 3,244 influenza viruses were isolated, including 1,969 influenza A and 1,275 influenza B viruses. The influenza infections usually occurred frequently in winter in the northern hemisphere. However, the influenza seasonality in Taiwan was not clear during the four seasons under investigation. For example, the influenza A viruses peaked during the winters of 2001, 2002, and 2003. However, some isolated peaks were also found in the summer and fall (June to November) of 2001 and 2002. An unusual peak of influenza B also occurred in the summer of 2002 (June to August). Phylogenetic analysis shows that influenza A isolates from the same year were often grouped together. However, influenza B isolates from the year 2002 clustered into different groups, and the data indicate that both B/Victoria/2/87-like and B/Yamagata/16/88-like lineages of influenza B viruses were cocirculating. Sequence comparison of epidemic strains versus vaccine strains shows that many vaccine-like Taiwanese strains were circulating at least 2 years before the vaccine strains were introduced. No clear seasonality of influenza reports in Taiwan occurred in contrast to other more continental regions.