Nicotiana alata pollen tubes are a widely used model for studies of polarized tip growth and cell wall synthesis in plants. To better understand these processes, RNA-Seq and de novo assembly methods were used to produce a transcriptome of N. alata pollen grains. Notable in the reconstructed transcriptome were sequences encoding proteins that are involved in the synthesis and remodelling of xyloglucan, a cell wall polysaccharide previously not thought to be deposited in Nicotiana pollen tube walls. Expression of several xyloglucan-related genes in actively growing pollen tubes was confirmed and xyloglucan epitopes were detected in the wall with carbohydrate-specific antibodies: the major xyloglucan oligosaccharides found in N. alata pollen grains and tubes were fucosylated, an unusual structure for the Solanaceae, the family to which Nicotiana belongs. Finally, carbohydrate linkages consistent with xyloglucan were identified chemically in the walls of N. alata pollen grains and pollen tubes grown in culture. The presence of a fucosylated xyloglucan in Nicotiana pollen tube walls was thus confirmed. The consequences of this discovery to models of pollen tube growth dynamics and more generally to polarised tip-growing cells in plants are discussed.
A large body of literature now exists to substantiate the long-held idea that musicians' brains differ structurally and functionally from non-musicians' brains. These differences include changes in volume, morphology, density, connectivity, and function across many regions of the brain. In addition to the extensive literature that investigates these differences cross-sectionally by comparing musicians and non-musicians, longitudinal studies have demonstrated the causal influence of music training on the brain across the lifespan. However, there is a large degree of inconsistency in the findings, with discordance between studies, laboratories, and techniques. A review of this literature highlights a number of variables that appear to moderate the relationship between music training and brain structure and function. These include age at commencement of training, sex, absolute pitch (AP), type of training, and instrument of training. These moderating variables may account for previously unexplained discrepancies in the existing literature, and we propose that future studies carefully consider research designs and methodologies that control for these variables.
music training; neuroplasticity; imaging; training age; sex; absolute pitch; training type
The perspectives of patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on genetic research have not yet been investigated in the genetics research literature. To provide a basis for research on attitudes toward genetic research in PTSD, we surveyed the U.S. Military Afghanistan/Iraq-era veterans with PTSD and their social support companions to investigate the attitudes and knowledge about genetics and genetic testing. One hundred forty-six veterans (76 with PTSD and 70 without PTSD) participated in this study. Each veteran participant had a corresponding companion (primarily spouses, but also relatives and friends) who they identified as a primary member of their social support network. Participants and companions completed self-report measures on knowledge of genetics and attitudes toward genetic testing for PTSD. Results indicated that, relative to veterans without PTSD, veterans with PTSD had similar levels of genetic knowledge, but less-favorable attitudes toward genetic testing. Differences persisted after controlling for age and genetics knowledge. No differences between companions of those with and without PTSD were observed. Results suggest that the perspective of those with PTSD regarding genetic testing is in need of further investigation, especially if potentially beneficial genetic testing for PTSD is to be utilized in the target population.
Chronic itch is a debilitating condition that affects one in 10 people. Little is known about the molecules that mediate chronic itch in primary sensory neurons and skin. We demonstrate that the ion channel TRPA1 is required for chronic itch. Using a mouse model of chronic itch, we show that scratching evoked by impaired skin barrier is abolished in TRPA1-deficient animals. This model recapitulates many of the pathophysiological hallmarks of chronic itch that are observed in prevalent human diseases such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, including robust scratching, extensive epidermal hyperplasia, and dramatic changes in gene expression in sensory neurons and skin. Remarkably, TRPA1 is required for both transduction of chronic itch signals to the CNS and for the dramatic skin changes triggered by dry-skin-evoked itch and scratching. These data suggest that TRPA1 regulates both itch transduction and pathophysiological changes in the skin that promote chronic itch.
Ischaemia-related diseases such as peripheral artery disease and coronary heart disease constitute a major issue in medicine as they affect millions of individuals each year and represent a considerable economic burden to healthcare systems. If the underlying ischaemia is not sufficiently resolved it can lead to tissue damage, with subsequent cell death. Treating such diseases remains difficult and several strategies have been used to stimulate the growth of blood vessels and promote regeneration of ischaemic tissues, such as the use of recombinant proteins and gene therapy. Although these approaches remain promising, they have limitations and results from clinical trials using these methods have had limited success. Recently, there has been growing interest in the therapeutic potential of using a cell-based approach to treat vasodegenerative disorders. In vascular medicine, various stem cells and adult progenitors have been highlighted as having a vasoreparative role in ischaemic tissues. This review will examine the clinical potential of several stem and progenitor cells that may be utilised to regenerate defunct or damaged vasculature and restore blood flow to the ischaemic tissue. In particular, we focus on the therapeutic potential of endothelial progenitor cells as an exciting new option for the treatment of ischaemic diseases.
Epileptogenesis following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is likely due to a combination of increased excitability, disinhibition, and increased excitatory connectivity via aberrant axon sprouting. Targeting these pathways could be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of posttraumatic epilepsy. Here, we tested this possibility using the novel anticonvulsant (R)-N-benzyl 2-acetamido-3-methoxypropionamide ((R)-lacosamide (LCM) which acts on both voltage-gated sodium channels and collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2), an axonal growth/guidance protein. LCM inhibited CRMP2-mediated neurite outgrowth, an effect phenocopied by CRMP2 knockdown. Mutation of LCM binding sites in CRMP2 reduced the neurite inhibitory effect of LCM by ~8-fold. LCM also reduced CRMP2-mediated tubulin polymerization. Thus, LCM selectively impairs CRMP2-mediated microtubule polymerization which underlies its neurite outgrowth and branching. To determine whether LCM inhibits axon sprouting in vivo, LCM was injected into rats subjected to partial cortical isolation, an animal model of posttraumatic epileptogenesis that exhibits axon sprouting in cortical pyramidal neurons. Two weeks following injury, excitatory synaptic connectivity of cortical layer V pyramidal neurons was mapped using patch clamp recordings and laser scanning photostimulation of caged glutamate. In comparison to injured control animals, there was a significant decrease in the map size of excitatory synaptic connectivity in LCM-treated rats, suggesting that LCM treatment prevented enhanced excitatory synaptic connectivity due to posttraumatic axon sprouting. These findings suggest, for the first time, that LCM’s mode of action involves interactions with CRMP2 to inhibit posttraumatic axon sprouting.
Epileptogenesis; Posttraumatic sprouting; CRMP2; Neurite outgrowth; Sholl analysis; Tubulin polymerization; Lacosamide
Plant cell culture systems were initially explored for use in commercial synthesis of several high value secondary metabolites, allowing for sustainable production that was not limited by the low yields associated with natural harvest or the high cost associated with complex chemical synthesis. Although there have been some commercial successes, most notably paclitaxel production from Taxus sp., process limitations exist with regards to low product yields and inherent production variability. A variety of strategies are being developed to overcome these limitations including elicitation strategies, in situ product removal and metabolic engineering with single genes and transcription factors. Recently, the plant cell culture production platform has been extended to pharmaceutically active heterologous proteins. Plant systems are beneficial because they are able to produce complex proteins that are properly glycosylated, folded and assembled without the risk of contamination by toxins that are associated with mammalian or microbial production systems. Additionally, plant cell culture isolates transgenic material from the environment, allows for more controllable conditions over field grown crops and promotes secretion of proteins to the medium, reducing downstream purification costs. Despite these benefits, the increase in cost of heterologous protein synthesis in plant cell culture as opposed to field grown crops is significant and therefore processes must be optimized with regards to maximizing secretion and enhancing protein stability in the cell culture media. This review discusses recent advancements in plant cell culture processing technology, focusing on progress towards overcoming the problems associated with commercialization of these production systems and highlighting recent commercial successes.
Plant cell culture; Secondary metabolites; Recombinant proteins; Bioreactors; Metabolic engineering; Commercialization
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified hundreds of genomic regions associated with common human disease and quantitative traits. A major research avenue for mature genotype-phenotype associations is the identification of the true risk or functional variant for downstream molecular studies or personalized medicine applications. As part of the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study, we as Epidemiologic Architecture for Genes Linked to Environment (EAGLE) are fine-mapping GWAS-identified genomic regions for common diseases and quantitative traits. We are currently genotyping the Metabochip, a custom content BeadChip designed for fine-mapping metabolic diseases and traits, in~15,000 DNA samples from patients of African, Hispanic, and Asian ancestry linked to deidentified electronic medical records from the Vanderbilt University biorepository (BioVU). As an initial study of quality control, we report here the genotyping data for 360 samples of European, African, Asian, and Mexican descent from the International HapMap Project. In addition to quality control metrics, we report the overall allele frequency distribution, overall population differentiation (as measured by FST), and linkage disequilibrium patterns for a select GWAS-identified region associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels to illustrate the utility of the Metabochip for fine-mapping studies in the diverse populations expected in EAGLE, the PAGE study, and other efforts underway designed to characterize the complex genetic architecture underlying common human disease and quantitative traits.
Genetic association studies have rapidly become a major tool for identifying the genetic basis of common human diseases. The advent of cost-effective genotyping coupled with large collections of samples linked to clinical outcomes and quantitative traits now make it possible to systematically characterize genotype-phenotype relationships in diverse populations and extensive datasets. To capitalize on these advancements, the Epidemiologic Architecture for Genes Linked to Environment (EAGLE) project, as part of the collaborative Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study, accesses two collections: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and BioVU, Vanderbilt University’s biorepository linked to de-identified electronic medical records. We describe herein the workflows for accessing and using the epidemiologic (NHANES) and clinical (BioVU) collections, where each workflow has been customized to reflect the content and data access limitations of each respective source. We also describe the process by which these data are generated, standardized, and shared for meta-analysis among the PAGE study sites. As a specific example of the use of BioVU, we describe the data mining efforts to define cases and controls for genetic association studies of common cancers in PAGE. Collectively, the efforts described here are a generalized outline for many of the successful approaches that can be used in the era of high-throughput genotype-phenotype associations for moving biomedical discovery forward to new frontiers of data generation and analysis.
CRMP2, also known as DPYSL2/DRP2, Unc-33, Ulip or TUC2, is a cytosolic phosphoprotein that mediates axon/dendrite specification and axonal growth. Mapping the CRMP2 interactome has revealed previously unappreciated functions subserved by this protein. Together with its canonical roles in neurite growth and retraction and kinesin-dependent axonal transport, it is now known that CRMP2 interacts with numerous binding partners to affect microtubule dynamics; protein endocytosis and vesicular cycling, synaptic assembly, calcium channel regulation and neurotransmitter release. CRMP2 signaling is regulated by post-translational modifications, including glycosylation, oxidation, proteolysis and phosphorylation; the latter being a fulcrum of CRMP2 functions. Here, the putative roles of CRMP2 in a panoply of neurodegenerative, sensory and motor neuron, and central disorders are discussed and evidence is presented for therapeutic strategies targeting CRMP2 functions.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; axon elongation; CRMP2; CRMP2/CLN6/KLC4 signaling complex; CRMP2 hyperphosphorylation; excitotoxicity; multiple sclerosis; neuropathic pain; oxidative damage
Interaction of the urokinase receptor (uPAR) with its binding partners including the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) at the cell surface triggers a series of proteolytic and signaling events that promote invasion and metastasis. Here, we report the discovery of a small molecule (IPR-456) and its derivatives that inhibit the tight uPAR·uPA protein-protein interaction. IPR-456 was discovered by virtual screening against multiple conformations of uPAR sampled from explicit-solvent molecular dynamics simulations. Biochemical characterization reveal that the compound binds to uPAR with sub-micromolar affinity (Kd = 310 nM) and inhibits the tight protein-protein interaction with an IC50 of 10 μM. Free energy calculations based on explicit-solvent molecular dynamics simulations suggested the importance of a carboxylate moiety on IPR-456, which was confirmed by the activity of several derivatives including IPR-803. Immunofluorescence imaging showed that IPR-456 inhibited uPA binding to uPAR of breast MDA-MB-231 tumor cells with an IC50 of 8 μM. The compounds blocked MDA-MB-231 cell invasion, but IPR-456 showed little effect on MDA-MB-231 migration, and no effect on adhesion, suggesting that uPAR mediates these processes through its other binding partners.
Virtual screening; small molecule; protein-protein interaction; inhibitor; urokinase receptor; invasion; migration; metastasis; MDA-MB-231; cancer; breast cancer; urokinase-type plasminogen activator; uPAR; uPA; docking; scoring; flexible docking
The interlaboratory reproducibility of cytokine measurements from cervicovaginal samples by Luminex has not been reported. Using cervicovaginal lavage specimens collected on three study days from 12 women participating in a Phase I microbicide study, we measured a panel of eight cytokines in three independent laboratories. Four (IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-17 and TNF) were below the limit of detection in the majority (85%) of samples in either two or all three laboratories, an observation that may guide analyte selection for future studies. Good interlaboratory agreement (intraclass correlation coefficient, r > 0.7) in absolute levels was observed for IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8, while poor agreement was seen for IFN-α2 (r = 0.47). When considering within-subject change from baseline (pre-product, at study-day 0) to either post-product visit (study-days 7 and 14), IL-1β and IL-6 exhibited good interlaboratory agreement (r > 0.7), while IFN-α2 and IL-8 did not. Future studies addressing the clinical utility of specific biomarkers of inflammation for microbicide trials should consider reproducibility in the context of defining biologically meaningful thresholds of change for candidate biomarkers, ensuring that such change can be reliably distinguished from background variability.
cytokine measurement; reproducibility; multiplex methods; cervicovaginal secretions; female reproductive tract; microbicide studies
The N-type voltage-gated calcium channel (Cav2.2) has gained immense prominence in the treatment of chronic pain. While decreased channel function is ultimately anti-nociceptive, directly targeting the channel can lead to multiple adverse side effects. Targeting modulators of channel activity may facilitate improved analgesic properties associated with channel block and a broader therapeutic window. A novel interaction between Cav2.2 and collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP-2) positively regulates channel function by increasing surface trafficking. We recently identified a CRMP-2 peptide (TAT-CBD3), which effectively blocks this interaction, reduces or completely reverses pain behavior in a number of inflammatory and neuropathic models. Importantly, TAT-CBD3 did not produce many of the typical side effects often observed with Cav2.2 inhibitors. Notably chronic pain mechanisms offer unique challenges as they often encompass a mix of both neuropathic and inflammatory elements, whereby inflammation likely causes damage to the neuron leading to neuropathic pain, and neuronal injury may produce inflammatory reactions. To this end, we sought to further disseminate the ability of TAT-CBD3 to alter behavioral outcomes in two additional rodent pain models. While we observed that TAT-CBD3 reversed mechanical hypersensitivity associated with a model of chronic inflammatory pain due to lysophosphatidylcholine-induced sciatic nerve focal demyelination (LPC), injury to the tibial nerve (TNI) failed to respond to drug treatment. Moreover, a single amino acid mutation within the CBD3 sequence demonstrated amplified Cav2.2 binding and dramatically increased efficacy in an animal model of migraine. Taken together, TAT-CBD3 potentially represents a novel class of therapeutics targeting channel regulation as opposed to the channel itself.
N-type voltage-gated calcium channel/Cav2.2; CRMP-2; peptide; chronic pain; migraine; pain therapeutics
Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) caused by serogroup B is the last major serogroup in Canada to become vaccine-preventable. The anticipated availability of vaccines targeting this serogroup prompted an assessment of the epidemiology of serogroup B disease in Ontario, Canada.
We retrieved information on confirmed IMD cases reported to Ontario’s reportable disease database between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010 and probabilistically-linked these cases to Public Health Ontario Laboratory records. Rates were calculated with denominator data obtained from Statistics Canada. We calculated a crude number needed to vaccinate using the inverse of the infant (<1 year) age-specific incidence multiplied by expected vaccine efficacies between 70% and 80%, and assuming only direct protection (no herd effects).
A total of 259 serogroup B IMD cases were identified in Ontario over the 11-year period. Serogroup B was the most common cause of IMD. Incidence ranged from 0.11 to 0.27/100,000/year, and fluctuated over time. Cases ranged in age from 13 days to 101 years; 21.4% occurred in infants, of which 72.7% were <6 months. Infants had the highest incidence (3.70/100,000). Case-fatality ratio was 10.7% overall. If we assume that all infant cases would be preventable by vaccination, we would need to vaccinate between 33,784 and 38,610 infants to prevent one case of disease.
Although rare, the proportion of IMD caused by serogroup B has increased and currently causes most IMD in Ontario, with infants having the highest risk of disease. Although serogroup B meningococcal vaccines are highly anticipated, our findings suggest that decisions regarding publicly funding serogroup B meningococcal vaccines will be difficult and may not be based on disease burden alone.
Invasive meningococcal disease; Neisseria meningitidis; Serogroup B; Epidemiology; Surveillance; Ontario; Canada
We recently reported that merging key structural pharmacophores of the anticonvulsant drugs lacosamide (a functionalized amino acid) with safinamide (an α-aminoamide) resulted in novel compounds with anticonvulsant activities superior to that of either drug alone. Here, we examined the effects of six such chimeric compounds on Na+-channel function in central nervous system catecholaminergic (CAD) cells. Using whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology, we demonstrated that these compounds affected Na+ channel fast and slow inactivation processes. Detailed electrophysiological characterization of two of these chimeric compounds that contained either an oxymethylene ((R)-7) or a chemical bond ((R)-11) between the two aromatic rings showed comparable effects on slow inactivation, use-dependence of block, development of slow inactivation, and recovery of Na+ channels from inactivation. Both compounds were equally effective at inducing slow inactivation; (R)-7 shifted the fast inactivation curve in the hyperpolarizing direction greater than (R)-11, suggesting that in the presence of (R)-7, a larger fraction of the channels are in an inactivated state. None of the chimeric compounds affected veratridine- or KCl-induced glutamate release in neonatal cortical neurons. There was modest inhibition of KCl-induced calcium influx in cortical neurons. Finally, a single intraperitoneal administration of (R)-7, but not (R)-11, completely reversed mechanical hypersensitivity in a tibial-nerve injury model of neuropathic pain. The strong effects of (R)-7 on slow and fast inactivation of Na+ channels may contribute to its efficacy and provide a promising novel therapy for neuropathic pain, in addition to its antiepileptic potential.
Lacosamide; Safinamide; sodium channel; slow/fast inactivation; state-dependent; neuropathic pain
We recently reported that merging key structural pharmacophores of the anticonvulsant drugs lacosamide (a functionalized amino acid) with safinamide (an α-aminoamide) resulted in novel compounds with anticonvulsant activities superior to that of either drug alone. Here, we examined the effects of six such chimeric compounds on Na+-channel function in central nervous system catecholaminergic (CAD) cells. Using whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology, we demonstrated that these compounds affected Na+ channel fast and slow inactivation processes. Detailed electrophysiological characterization of two of these chimeric compounds that contained either an oxymethylene ((R)-7) or a chemical bond ((R)-11) between the two aromatic rings showed comparable effects on slow inactivation, use-dependence of block, development of slow inactivation, and recovery of Na+ channels from inactivation. Both compounds were equally effective at inducing slow inactivation; (R)-7 shifted the fast inactivation curve in the hyperpolarizing direction greater than (R)-11, suggesting that in the presence of (R)-7 a larger fraction of the channels are in an inactivated state. None of the chimeric compounds affected veratridine- or KCl-induced glutamate release in neonatal cortical neurons. There was modest inhibition of KCl-induced calcium influx in cortical neurons. Finally, a single intraperitoneal administration of (R)-7, but not (R)-11, completely reversed mechanical hypersensitivity in a tibial-nerve injury model of neuropathic pain. The strong effects of (R)-7 on slow and fast inactivation of Na+ channels may contribute to its efficacy and provide a promising novel therapy for neuropathic pain, in addition to its antiepileptic potential.
Lacosamide; safinamide; sodium channel; slow/fast inactivation; state-dependent; neuropathic pain
Subitizing involves recognition mechanisms that allow effortless enumeration of up to four visual objects, however despite ample resolution experimental data suggest that only one pitch can be reliably enumerated. This may be due to the grouping of tones according to harmonic relationships by recognition mechanisms prior to fine pitch processing. Poorer frequency resolution of auditory information available to recognition mechanisms may lead to unrelated tones being grouped, resulting in underestimation of pitch number.
Methods, Results and Conclusion
We tested whether pitch enumeration is better for chords of full harmonic complex tones, where grouping errors are less likely, than for complexes with fewer and less accurately tuned harmonics. Chords of low familiarity were used to mitigate the possibility that participants would recognize the chord itself and simply recall the number of pitches. We found that accuracy of pitch enumeration was less than the visual system overall, and underestimation of pitch number increased for stimuli containing fewer harmonics. We conclude that harmonically related tones are first grouped at the poorer frequency resolution of the auditory nerve, leading to poor enumeration of more than one pitch.
The purpose of this clinical demonstration project was to increase the reach of effective treatments, such as pharmacotherapy and telephone or web based support, by offering these treatments in a low-cost and convenient manner to a population of veterans.
Six hundred nine veteran smokers who had served in the military since September 11, 2001 were contacted by invitational letters. Veterans indicating interest in further contacts received telephone calls using standardized scripts that offered referral to the National Cancer Institute’s Smoking QuitLine, web-based counseling, and local Veteran Affairs pharmacologic treatment for smoking cessation.
Seven percent of survey recipients participated in the clinical program. At two months follow-up, 23% of participants providing follow-up information reported maintaining smoking abstinence. This clinical demonstration project was associated with a reach of 8.6% (number of smokers who accessed the intervention/the number of targeted smokers), an efficacy of 26% i.e., number of abstinent smokers at 8 weeks/number who accessed the intervention), and an impact of 2.2% (number of abstinent smokers at 8 weeks/number of targeted smokers).
Results suggested that this project enhanced access to care and promoted short-term smoking cessation in veterans who have served since September 11. 2001.
smoking; tobacco; military veterans; public health; telemedicine
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have great clinical value because they can be used as diagnostic biomarkers and as a cellular therapy for promoting vascular repair of ischaemic tissues. However, EPCs also have an additional research value in vascular disease modelling to interrogate human disease mechanisms. The term EPC is used to describe a diverse variety of cells, and we have identified a specific EPC subtype called outgrowth endothelial cell (OEC) as the best candidate for vascular disease modelling because of its high-proliferative potential and unambiguous endothelial commitment. OECs are isolated from human blood and can be exposed to pathologic conditions (forward approach) or be isolated from patients (reverse approach) in order to study vascular human disease. The use of OECs for modelling vascular disease will contribute greatly to improving our understanding of endothelial pathogenesis, which will potentially lead to the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies for vascular diseases.
Objective. To compare empathy scores between health professions students (pharmacy and nursing) and non-health professions (law) students and between first- and third-year students.
Methods. The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy-Student Version was completed by 282 students.
Results. Nursing and pharmacy students had significantly more empathy than did law students. Third-year pharmacy students scored higher on empathy than did first-year pharmacy students, whereas the converse was true for nurses. There was no significant difference in empathy between first- and third-year law students. Across the study years, empathy increased among pharmacy students, decreased among nurses, and remained the same among law students. Women scored higher on empathy than did males.
Conclusions. Empathy scores among university students vary depending on discipline and year of study.
empathy; pharmacy students; nursing students; law students
At present there is considerable variability in the psychiatric evaluation and follow-up of patients in epilepsy surgery programs globally. There is a large body of research now demonstrating heightened risk for psychological disturbance in surgically remedial patients before and after surgery. This evidence provides a compelling case for the routine provision of psychiatric and psychological treatment to optimize the benefits of epilepsy surgery and patient outcomes. In a comprehensive model of care, presurgical psychiatric and psychosocial evaluation plays an integral role in shaping the team's understanding of surgical candidacy and the patient's capacity for informed consent. After surgery, efficacious treatment of psychiatric comorbidity increases the likelihood of seizure freedom as well as optimizes psychosocial functioning and quality of life. By contrast, failure to treat can allow psychiatric comorbidity to persist or psychological difficulties to develop as the patient adjusts to life after surgery.
Gene expression was investigated in the major brain subdivisions (telencephalon, diencephalon, midbrain and hindbrain) in a representative reptile, Alligator mississipiensis, during the later stages of embryonic development. The following genes were examined: voltage-gated sodium channel isoforms: NaV1.1 and NaV1.2; synaptic vesicle 2a (SV2a); synaptophysin; and calbindin 2. With the exception of synaptophysin, which was only expressed in the telencephalon, all genes were expressed in all brain regions sampled at the time periods examined. For NaV1.1, gene expression varied according to brain area sampled. When compared with NaV1.1, the pattern of NaV1.2 gene expression differed appreciably. The gene expression of SV2a was the most robust of any of the genes examined. Of the other genes examined, although differences were noted, no statistically significant changes were found either between brain part or time interval. Although limited, the present analysis is the first quantitative mRNA gene expression study in any reptile during development. Together with future experiments of a similar nature, the present gene expression results should determine which genes are expressed in major brain areas at which times during development in Alligator. When compared with other amniotes, these results will prove useful for determining how gene expression during development influences adult brain structure.
Alligator; Calbindin 2; qPCR; Synaptic vesicle protein 2; Synaptophysin; Voltage-gated sodium channel
The novel antiepileptic drug, (R)-N-benzyl 2-acetamido-3-methoxypropionamide ((R)-lacosamide, Vimpat® ((R)-1)), was recently approved in the US and Europe for adjuvant treatment of partial-onset seizures in adults. (R)-1 preferentially enhances slow inactivation of voltage-gated Na+ currents, a pharmacological process relevant in the hyperexcitable neuron. We have advanced a strategy to identify lacosamide binding partners by attaching affinity bait (AB) and chemical reporter (CR) groups to (R)-1 to aid receptor detection and isolation. We showed that select lacosamide AB and AB&CR derivatives exhibited excellent activities similar to (R)-1 in the maximal electroshock seizure model in rodents. Here, we examined the effect of these lacosamide AB and AB&CR derivatives and compared them with (R)-1 on Na+ channel function in CNS catecholaminergic (CAD) cells. Using whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology, we demonstrated that the test compounds do not affect the Na+ channel fast inactivation process, that they were far better modulators of slow inactivation than (R)-1, and that modulation of the slow inactivation process was stereospecific. The lacosamide AB agents that contained either an electrophilic isothiocyanate ((R)-5) or a photolabile azide ((R)-8) unit upon AB activation gave modest levels of permanent Na+ channel slow inactivation, providing initial evidence that these compounds may have covalently reacted with their cognate receptor(s). Our findings support the further use of these agents to delineate the (R)-1–mediated Na+ channel slow inactivation process.