Craniosynostosis is the premature fusion of the cranial vault sutures. We have previously described a colony of rabbits with a heritable pattern of nonsyndromic, coronal suture synostosis; however, the underlying genetic defect remains unknown. We now report a molecular analysis to determine if four genes implicated in human craniosynostosis, TWIST1 and fibroblast growth factor receptors 1–3 (FGFR1–3), could be the loci of the causative mutation in this unique rabbit model. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified within the Twist1, FGFR1, and FGFR2 genes, and the allelic patterns of these silent mutations were examined in 22 craniosynostotic rabbits. SNP analysis of the Twist1, FGFR1, and FGFR2 genes indicated that none were the locus of origin of the craniosynostotic phenotype. In addition, no structural mutations were identified by direct sequence analysis of Twist1 and FGFR3 cDNAs. These data indicate that the causative locus for heritable craniosynostosis in this rabbit model is not within the Twist1, FGFR1, and FGFR2 genes. Although a locus in intronic or flanking sequences of FGFR3 remains possible, no direct structural mutation was identified for FGFR3.
In the United States the incidence of craniosynostosis (premature fusion of the sutures of the cranial vault) is 1 in 2,000-3,000 live births. The condition can cause increased intracranial pressure, severely altered head shape, and mental retardation. We have previously described a colony of rabbits with heritable coronal suture synostosis. This model has been instrumental in describing the post-surgical craniofacial growth associated with craniosynostosis. The molecular analysis of this model has been limited by the lack of molecular tools for use in rabbits. In order to understand the pathogenesis of craniosynostosis, we compared gene expression in perisutural tissues between wild-type (WT) and craniosynostotic (CS) rabbits using polymerase chain reaction-suppression subtractive hybridization (PCR SSH).
PCR SSH was performed on RNA derived from pooled samples of calvariae from 10-day old WT (n=3) and CS (n=3) rabbits to obtain cDNA clones that are either enriched in WT tissues (underexpressed in CS tissue) or enriched in CS tissues (overexpressed in CS compared to WT).
Differential expression was identified for approximately 140 recovered cDNA clones upregulated in CS tissues and 130 recovered clones for WT tissues. Of these, four genes were confirmed by quantitative reverse-transcriptase (RT)-PCR as being overexpressed in CS sutural tissue: β-globin, osteopontin (SPP1), SPARC, and cathepsin K (CTSK). Two genes were confirmed to be underexpressed in the CS samples: COL3A1 and RNF12.
The differential expression of these gene products in our naturally occurring CS model appears to be the result of differences in the normal bone formation/resorption pathway.
craniosynostosis; rabbit; gene expression; molecular tools; osteogenesis; differential expression
Dupuytren's contracture (DC) is a fibroproliferative disorder characterized by the progressive development of a scar-like collagen-rich cord that affects the palmar fascia of the hand and leads to digital flexion contractures. DC is most commonly treated by surgical resection of the diseased tissue, but has a high reported recurrence rate ranging from 27% to 80%. We sought to determine if the transcriptomic profiles of fibroblasts derived from DC-affected palmar fascia, adjacent phenotypically normal palmar fascia, and non-DC palmar fascial tissues might provide mechanistic clues to understanding the puzzle of disease predisposition and recurrence in DC.
To achieve this, total RNA was obtained from fibroblasts derived from primary DC-affected palmar fascia, patient-matched unaffected palmar fascia, and palmar fascia from non-DC patients undergoing carpal tunnel release (6 patients in each group). These cells were grown on a type-1 collagen substrate (to better mimic their in vivo environments). Microarray analyses were subsequently performed using Illumina BeadChip arrays to compare the transcriptomic profiles of these three cell populations. Data were analyzed using Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM v3.02), hierarchical clustering, concordance mapping and Venn diagram.
We found that the transcriptomic profiles of DC-disease fibroblasts and fibroblasts from unaffected fascia of DC patients exhibited a much greater overlap than fibroblasts derived from the palmar fascia of patients undergoing carpal tunnel release. Quantitative real time RT-PCR confirmed the differential expression of select genes validating the microarray data analyses. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that predisposition and recurrence in DC may stem, at least in part, from intrinsic similarities in the basal gene expression of diseased and phenotypically unaffected palmar fascia fibroblasts. These data also demonstrate that a collagen-rich environment differentially alters gene expression in these cells. In addition, Ingenuity pathway analysis of the specific biological pathways that differentiate DC-derived cells from carpal tunnel-derived cells has identified the potential involvement of microRNAs in this fibroproliferative disorder.
These data show that the transcriptomic profiles of DC-disease fibroblasts and fibroblasts from unaffected palmar fascia in DC patients are highly similar, and differ significantly from the transcriptomic profiles of fibroblasts from the palmar fascia of patients undergoing carpal tunnel release.
Mucosal wound healing in adults has been reported to feature diminished scar formation compared to healing skin wounds. We sought to determine if the expression pattern of chaperonin containing T-complex polypeptide (CCT) subunits in mucosal wounds and fibroblasts is different from that observed in skin wounds and fibroblasts. We found that CCT-beta is the only subunit message to be reduced in wounded mucosa versus unwounded control, and this reduction was confirmed at the protein level. In contrast, mRNA levels of CCT-zeta, -delta, -eta, and -epsilon were significantly increased in mucosal wounds. The increase in CCT-eta was also confirmed at the protein level. Expression levels of CCT-alpha, -beta, -delta; -epsilon, and -theta mRNAs were significantly increased in adult mucosal fibroblasts in culture compared to skin-derived fibroblasts. Western blot analyses confirmed a modest increase in CCT-beta in adult mucosal fibroblasts relative to skin fibroblasts, but CCT-eta protein was unaffected. These differences may contribute to the reported difference in healing outcomes between these two tissue types.
Chaperonin containing T-complex polypeptide; CCT; Oral mucosal wounds; qRT-PCR; Fibroblasts
External ventricular drains (EVD) are associated with a high infection rate. Early detection of infection is frequently problematic due to a lack of clinical signs and the time period required for culturing. Bacterial biofilms have been suggested to play an important role in the infection of EVD, but direct evidence is as yet lacking. We report the case of a 17- year-old male with Dandy-Walker malformation who presented with headache, nausea and drowsiness; a CT scan revealed enlarged ventricles. The patient had a history of ventriculoperitoneal shunt revision 3 weeks prior to admission. The shunt was removed on suspicion of infection and an EVD placed. Daily surveillance cultures through the EVD were negative and the EVD was replaced on day 5. Examination of the initial EVD by confocal microscopy demonstrated clear intraluminal biofilm formation; molecular analysis by PCR identified Staphylococcus aureus resident on the catheter. To our knowledge, this is the first direct demonstration of an intraluminal biofilm compromising an EVD. Despite the presence of biofilm on this catheter, the patient demonstrated no clinical signs of infection, and the routine surveillance culture was negative. Undetected biofilm may pose a latent risk on EVD and other neurosurgical catheters.
Biofilm; Confocal microscopy; External ventricular drain; Staphylococcus; Ventriculoperitoneal shunt
Adult mammalian tissues heal injury to the skin with formation of scar; this process quickly seals an injured area, however, excessive scar formation can become a source of persistent pathology, interfering with multiple vital functions. In contrast, mammalian fetal tissue can heal without scar formation. We previously sought to model scarless healing in a rabbit fetal skin wound and identified gene products differentially expressed during fetal wound healing through PCR suppression subtractive hybridization (PCR SSH). One of these transcripts, previously identified simply as clone 11, showed putative increased expression in wounded fetal skin. This study establishes its identity as Ero1L-alpha and confirms its elevated expression in healing fetal wounds.
After obtaining further sequence by 5' rapid amplification of cloned ends (RACE) we find that clone 11 is Ero1L-alpha. We determined that clone 11, a differentially expressed transcript in fetal wound healing, comprises the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of an approximately 4 kb transcript in rabbit tissues that corresponds to Ero1L-alpha. We showed that Ero1L-alpha is expressed predominantly as two transcripts in rabbit skin, namely a 1.6 kb transcript and the 4.0 kb transcript recovered in our PCR SSH screen via its 3' UTR sequence. However, a third transcript of 2.9 kb was also detected in Northern blots and was subsequently cloned and confirmed by 3' RACE. Knockdown of the clone 11 sequence in rabbit adult fibroblasts via siRNA resulted in significantly decreased Ero1L-alpha message expression. Increased expression of clone 11 (Ero1L-alpha) in a variety of cell types during the wound healing response was also confirmed by in situ hybridization.
Ero1L-alpha is one of the previously unknown clones identified in a PCR SSH screen for genes differentially expressed in fetal wounded tissue. In situ hybridization confirms that Ero1L-alpha shows increased expression in multiple cell types after wounding of the fetal integument.
Myofibroblasts, a derived subset of fibroblasts especially important in scar formation and wound contraction, have been found at elevated levels in affected Dupuytren's tissues. Transformation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts is characterized by expression of alpha- smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and increased production of extracellular matrix (ECM) components, both events of relevance to connective tissue remodeling. We propose that increasing the activation of the cyclic AMP (cAMP)/protein kinase A signaling pathway will inhibit transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1)-induced ECM synthesis and myofibroblast formation and may provide a means to blunt fibrosis.
Fibroblasts derived from areas of Dupuytren's contracture cord (DC), from adjacent and phenotypically normal palmar fascia (PF), and from palmar fascia from patients undergoing carpal tunnel release (CTR; CT) were treated with TGF-β1 (2 ng/ml) and/or forskolin (10 μM) (a known stimulator of cAMP). Total RNA and protein extracted was subjected to real time RT-PCR and Western blot analysis.
The basal mRNA expression levels of fibronectin- extra domain A (FN1-EDA), type I (COL1A2) and type III collagen (COL3A1), and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) were all significantly increased in DC- and in PF-derived cells compared to CT-derived fibroblasts. The TGF-β1 stimulation of α-SMA, CTGF, COL1A2 and COL3A1 was greatly inhibited by concomitant treatment with forskolin, especially in DC-derived cells. In contrast, TGF-β1 stimulation of FN1-EDA showed similar levels of reduction with the addition of forskolin in all three cell types.
In sum, increasing cAMP levels show potential to inhibit the formation of myofibroblasts and accumulation of ECM components. Molecular agents that increase cAMP may therefore prove useful in mitigating DC progression or recurrence.
We have previously identified the CCT subunit eta as specifically reduced in healing fetal skin wounds by differential display, and observed that this reduction is not seen with any other CCT subunit. We now report the cloning and characterization of the cDNAs for rabbit CCT-eta and its closest evolutionary homolog, CCT-beta. Quantitative examination of CCT-eta and –beta message expression in healing fetal and adult wounds at 12 h post-injury confirms that CCT-eta mRNA is decreased in fetal wound tissues, but actually elevated in adult wound tissues. CCT-beta mRNA, in contrast, remains unchanged in both fetal and adult wound tissues. CCT-eta mRNA remains persistently elevated in healing adult wounds for 28 days following injury, whereas CCT-beta mRNA remains invariant throughout. CCT-eta protein is similarly increased, whereas CCT-beta protein remains unchanged. -smooth muscle actin (-SMA), a recognized substrate of CCT known to be important in integumentary wound healing, was also measured over the course of wound healing, and both mRNA and protein levels were elevated throughout the 28 days.
CCT; CCT-eta; Chaperonin; Wound healing; Alpha smooth muscle actin
Staphylococcus aureus is associated with a spectrum of symbiotic relationships with its human host from carriage to sepsis and is frequently associated with nosocomial and community-acquired infections, thus the differential gene content among strains is of interest.
We sequenced three clinical strains and combined these data with 13 publically available human isolates and one bovine strain for comparative genomic analyses. All genomes were annotated using RAST, and then their gene similarities and differences were delineated. Gene clustering yielded 3,155 orthologous gene clusters, of which 2,266 were core, 755 were distributed, and 134 were unique. Individual genomes contained between 2,524 and 2,648 genes. Gene-content comparisons among all possible S. aureus strain pairs (n = 136) revealed a mean difference of 296 genes and a maximum difference of 476 genes. We developed a revised version of our finite supragenome model to estimate the size of the S. aureus supragenome (3,221 genes, with 2,245 core genes), and compared it with those of Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae. There was excellent agreement between RAST's annotations and our CDS clustering procedure providing for high fidelity metabolomic subsystem analyses to extend our comparative genomic characterization of these strains.
Using a multi-species comparative supragenomic analysis enabled by an improved version of our finite supragenome model we provide data and an interpretation explaining the relatively larger core genome of S. aureus compared to other opportunistic nasopharyngeal pathogens. In addition, we provide independent validation for the efficiency and effectiveness of our orthologous gene clustering algorithm.
The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the discrete biology differentiating fetal wound repair from its adult counterpart. Integumentary wound healing in mammalian fetuses is essentially different from wound healing in adult skin. Adult (postnatal) skin wound healing is a complex and well-orchestrated process spurred by attendant inflammation that leads to wound closure with scar formation. In contrast, fetal wound repair occurs with minimal inflammation, faster re-epithelialization, and without the accumulation of scar. Although research into scarless healing began decades ago, the critical molecular mechanisms driving the process of regenerative fetal healing remain uncertain. Understanding the molecular and cellular events during regenerative healing may provide clues that one day enable us to modulate adult wound healing and consequently reduce scarring.
Detection of bacterial nucleic acids in synovial fluid following total joint arthroplasty with suspected infection can be difficult; among other technical challenges, inhibitors in the specimens require extensive sample preparation and can diminish assay sensitivity even using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods. To address this problem a simple protocol for prior use of multiple displacement amplification (MDA) as an adjunct to PCR was established and tested on both purified S. aureus DNA as well as on clinical samples known to contain S. aureus nucleic acids.
A single round of MDA on purified nucleic acids resulted in a > 300 thousand-fold increase in template DNA on subsequent quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis. MDA use on clinical samples resulted in at least a 100-fold increase in sensitivity on subsequent qPCR and required no sample preparation other than a simple alkali/heat lysis step. Mixed samples of S. aureus DNA with a 103 - 104-fold excess of human genomic DNA still allowed for MDA amplification of the minor bacterial component to the threshold of detectability.
MDA is a promising technique that may serve to significantly enhance the sensitivity of molecular assays in cases of suspected joint infection while simultaneously reducing the specimen handling required.
Surgical site infection (SSI) is a common surgical complication; culture-negative SSI presents a particular problem in management.
Examination of explanted foreign bodies (sutures) using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) after surgical exploration of a chronic culture-negative SSI.
Confocal microscopy (CM) demonstrated bacilli and cocci attached to the surface of the explanted sutures in a mixed biofilm. Florescent in situ hybridization confirmed that Staphylococci were components of the mixed biofilm. Removal of the foreign bodies (sutures) resolved the chronic infection.
Chronic SSI can arise from underlying bacterial biofilms, which can invest implanted foreign bodies and associated soft tissue surfaces.
Integumentary wounds in mammalian fetuses heal without scar; this scarless wound healing is intrinsic to fetal tissues and is notable for absence of the contraction seen in postnatal (adult) wounds. The precise molecular signals determining the scarless phenotype remain unclear. We have previously reported that the eta subunit of the chaperonin containing T-complex polypeptide (CCT-eta) is specifically reduced in healing fetal wounds in a rabbit model. In this study, we examine the role of CCT-eta in fibroblast motility and contractility, properties essential to wound healing and scar formation. We demonstrate that CCT-eta (but not CCT-beta) is underexpressed in fetal fibroblasts compared to adult fibroblasts. An in vitro wound healing assay demonstrated that adult fibroblasts showed increased cell migration in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) stimulation, whereas fetal fibroblasts were unresponsive. Downregulation of CCT-eta in adult fibroblasts with short inhibitory RNA (siRNA) reduced cellular motility, both basal and growth factor-induced; in contrast, siRNA against CCT-beta had no such effect. Adult fibroblasts were more inherently contractile than fetal fibroblasts by cellular traction force microscopy; this contractility was increased by treatment with EGF and PDGF. CCT-eta siRNA inhibited the PDGF-induction of adult fibroblast contractility, whereas CCT-beta siRNA had no such effect. In each of these instances, the effect of downregulating CCT-eta was to modulate the behavior of adult fibroblasts so as to more closely approximate the characteristics of fetal fibroblasts. We next examined the effect of CCT-eta modulation on alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression, a gene product well known to play a critical role in adult wound healing. Fetal fibroblasts were found to constitutively express less α-SMA than adult cells. Reduction of CCT-eta with siRNA had minimal effect on cellular beta-actin but markedly decreased α-SMA; in contrast, reduction of CCT-beta had minimal effect on either actin isoform. Direct inhibition of α-SMA with siRNA reduced both basal and growth factor-induced fibroblast motility. These results indicate that CCT-eta is a specific regulator of fibroblast motility and contractility and may be a key determinant of the scarless wound healing phenotype by means of its specific regulation of α-SMA expression.
Integumentary wound healing in early fetal life is regenerative and proceeds without scar formation. Expressomic analysis of this phenomenon by differential display has previously determined that the eta subunit of the cytosolic chaperonin containing T-complex polypeptide (CCT) is downregulated in the healing fetal wound milieu. We now report that no other CCT subunit shares this distinct pattern of gene regulation as determined by limiting dilution reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR); all seven of the remaining CCT subunits demonstrate no change in messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in healing fetal wounds compared to unwounded control tissue. The alpha subunit, however, did evidence reduced message levels in healing adult wound tissue. We herein report on the cloning and sequence of the complementary DNA (cDNA) for rabbit CCT-alpha and confirm its wound specific decrease in adult tissues through quantitative real-time RT-PCR assay. We also confirm that quantitative evaluation of CCT-alpha and CCT-zeta mRNA expression shows no change in healing fetal wounds.
CCT; Chaperonin; Real-time PCR; Scarless wound healing
Dupuytren's contracture (DC) is the most common inherited connective tissue disease of humans and is hypothesized to be associated with aberrant wound healing of the palmar fascia. Fibroblasts and myofibroblasts are believed to play an important role in the genesis of DC and the fibroproliferation and contraction that are hallmarks of this disease. This study compares the gene expression profiles of fibroblasts isolated from DC patients and controls in an attempt to identify key genes whose regulation might be significantly altered in fibroblasts found within the palmar fascia of Dupuytren's patients. Total RNA isolated from diseased palmar fascia (DC) and normal palmar fascia (obtained during carpal tunnel release; 6 samples per group) was subjected to quantitative analyses using two different microarray platforms (GE Code Link™ and Illumina™) to identify and validate differentially expressed genes. The data obtained was analyzed using The Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM) software through which we identified 69 and 40 differentially regulated gene transcripts using the CodeLink™ and Illumina™ platforms, respectively. The CodeLink™ platform identified 18 upregulated and 51 downregulated genes. Using the Illumina™ platform, 40 genes were identified as downregulated, eleven of which were identified by both platforms. Quantitative RT-PCR confirmed the downregulation of three high-interest candidate genes which are all components of the extracellular matrix: proteoglycan 4 (PRG4), fibulin-1 (FBLN-1) transcript variant D, and type XV collagen alpha 1 chain. Overall, our study has identified a variety of candidate genes that may be involved in the pathophysiology of Dupuytren's contracture and may ultimately serve as attractive molecular targets for alternative therapies.
Artificial joints are subject to chronic infections associated with bacterial biofilms, which only can be eradicated by the traumatic removal of the implant followed by sustained intravenous antibiotic therapy. We have adopted an engineering approach to develop electrical–current-based approaches to bacterial eradication and microelectromechanical systems that could be embedded within the implanted joint to detect the presence of bacteria and to provide in situ treatment of the infection before a biofilm can form. In the former case we will examine the combined bactericidal effects of direct and indirect electrical fields in combination with antibiotic therapy. In the latter case, bacterial detection will occur by developing a microelectromechanical–systems-based biosensor that can “eavesdrop” on bacterial quorum–sensing-based communication systems. Treatment will be effected by the release of a cocktail of pharmaceutical reagents contained within integral reservoirs associated with the implant, including a molecular jamming signal that competitively binds to the bacteria’s quorum sensing receptors (which will “blind” the bacteria, preventing the production of toxins) and multiple high dose antibiotics to eradicate the planktonic bacteria. This approach is designed to take advantage of the relatively high susceptibility to antibiotics that planktonic bacteria display compared with biofilm envirovars. Here we report the development of a generic microelectromechanical systems biosensor that measures changes in internal viscosity in a base fluid triggered by a change in the external environment.