Implantation of embryonic stem cells (ESC)-derived insulin-producing cells has been extensively investigated for treatment of diabetes in animal models. However, the in vivo behavior and migration of transplanted cells in diabetic models remains unclear. Here we investigated the location and migration of insulin-producing cells labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) using a dynamic MRI tracking method. SPIO labeled cells showed hypointense signal under the kidney subcapsules of diabetic mice on MRI, and faded gradually over the visiting time. However, new hypointense signal appeared in the spleen 1 week after transplantation, and became obvious with the time prolongation. Further histological examination proved the immigrated cells were insulin and C-peptide positive cells which were evenly distributed throughout the spleen. These intra-spleen insulin-producing cells maintained their protective effects against hyperglycemia in vivo, and these effects were reversed upon spleen removal. Transplantation of insulin-producing cells through spleen acquired an earlier blood glucose control as compared with that through kidney subcapsules. In summary, our data demonstrate that insulin-producing cells transplanted through kidney subcapsules were not located in situ but migrated into spleen, and rescues hyperglycemia in diabetic models. MRI may provide a novel tracking method for preclinical cell transplantation therapy of diabetes continuously and non-invasively.
A brand name can be considered a mental category. Similarity-based categorization theory has been used to explain how consumers judge a new product as a member of a known brand, a process called brand extension evaluation. This study was an event-related potential study conducted in two experiments. The study found a two-stage categorization process reflected by the P2 and N400 components in brand extension evaluation. In experiment 1, a prime–probe paradigm was presented in a pair consisting of a brand name and a product name in three conditions, i.e., in-category extension, similar-category extension, and out-of-category extension. Although the task was unrelated to brand extension evaluation, P2 distinguished out-of-category extensions from similar-category and in-category ones, and N400 distinguished similar-category extensions from in-category ones. In experiment 2, a prime–probe paradigm with a related task was used, in which product names included subcategory and major-category product names. The N400 elicited by subcategory products was more significantly negative than that elicited by major-category products, with no salient difference in P2. We speculated that P2 could reflect the early low-level and similarity-based processing in the first stage, whereas N400 could reflect the late analytic and category-based processing in the second stage.
Early diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is an attractive strategy to increase survival rate of patient. An integrated separation approach of reversed phase liquid chromatography and hydrophilic interaction chromatography combining with time of flight mass spectrometer has been firstly developed for performing global saliva metabonomics analysis for early diagnosis of OSCC. This approach was designed to overcome the limitations of a single chromatographic method due to different polarity of endogenous metabolites. As a result, 14 potential salivary metabolites were identified. Eight biomarkers up-regulated in OSCC patients are compared with control and six down-regulated groups. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was exploited to evaluate the diagnostic power of the candidate biomarkers, and related metabolic pathways have also been studied. Five salivary biomarkers (propionylcholine, N-Acetyl-L-phenylalanine, sphinganine, phytosphingosine, and S-carboxymethyl-L-cysteine) in combination yielded satisfactory accuracy (AUC = 0.997), sensitivity (100%), and specificity (96.7%) in distinguishing early stage of OSCC from the control. In this study, a comprehensive saliva metabonomics analysis for identifying potential biomarkers to early diagnose OSCC is successfully demonstrated, which has the advantages of non-invasive, simple, reliable, and low-cost. These novel metabolic biomarkers have obvious clinical utility that will help to diagnose OSCC at its early stage.
Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain EBL11 is a bacterium that can promote plant growth by inhibiting the growth of fungi on plant surfaces and providing nutrients as a nonchemical biofertilizer. The estimated genome of this strain is 4.05 Mb in size and harbors 3,683 coding genes (CDSs).
Yep-phi is a T7-related bacteriophage specific to Yersinia pestis, and it is routinely used in the identification of Y. pestis in China. Yep-phi infects Y. pestis grown at both 20°C and 37°C. It is inactive in other Yersinia species irrespective of the growth temperature. Based on phage adsorption, phage plaque formation, affinity chromatography, and Western blot assays, the outer membrane proteins of Y. pestis Ail and OmpF were identified to be involved, in addition to the rough lipopolysaccharide, in the adsorption of Yep-phi. The phage tail fiber protein specifically interacts with Ail and OmpF proteins, and residues 518N, 519N, and 523S of the phage tail fiber protein are essential for the interaction with OmpF, whereas residues 518N, 519N, 522C, and 523S are essential for the interaction with Ail. This is the first report to demonstrate that membrane-bound proteins are involved in the adsorption of a T7-related bacteriophage. The observations highlight the importance of the tail fiber protein in the evolution and function of various complex phage systems and provide insights into phage-bacterium interactions.
The RNA chaperone Hfq in bacteria stabilizes sRNAs by protecting them from the attack of ribonucleases. Upon release from Hfq, sRNAs are preferably degraded by PNPase. PNPase usually forms multienzyme ribonucleolytic complexes with endoribonuclease E and/or RNA helicase RhlB to facilitate the degradation of the structured RNA. However, whether PNPase activity on Hfq-free sRNAs is associated with the assembly of RNase E or RhlB has yet to be determined. Here we examined the roles of the main endoribonucleases, exoribonucleases, and ancillary RNA-modifying enzymes in the degradation of Y. pestis RyhB in the absence of Hfq. Expectedly, the transcript levels of both RyhB1 and RyhB2 increase only after inactivating PNPase, which confirms the importance of PNPase in sRNA degradation. By contrast, the signal of RyhB becomes barely perceptible after inactivating of RNase III, which may be explained by the increase in PNPase levels resulting from the exemption of pnp mRNA from RNase III processing. No significant changes are observed in RyhB stability after deletion of either the PNPase-binding domain of RNase E or rhlB. Therefore, PNPase acts as a major enzyme of RyhB degradation independent of PNPase-containing RNase E and RhlB assembly in the absence of Hfq.
The neuropsychological tests in patients with internal carotid artery (ICA) demonstrated cognitive deficits associated with frontal lobe dysfunction, but the pathophysiological mechanism of memory impairment is not fully understood. This study evaluated relationship between degree of ICA stenosis and frontal activations induced by working memory (WM) task using fMRI. The fMRI data of 21 patients with unilateral ICA stenosis (left/right, 11/10) and 21 controls were analyzed. In comparison with controls, ICA patients demonstrated significant activations in middle frontal gyrus (MFG) bilaterally, particularly in left MFG. In right ICA stenosis, there was slightly less MFG activation than that of controls. Importantly, lower MFG activity was associated with higher stenosis of ipsilateral ICA. For left ICA stenosis, weaker activation in left MFG was negatively correlated with degree of stenosis. Similarly, for right ICA stenosis, there was a significant negative correlation between right ICA stenosis and weaker activation of right MFG. Cognitive impairments in ICA stenosis were associated with frontal lobe dysfunctions. Left ICA stenosis had worse WM impairments than right ICA stenosis, which was affected by the degree of stenosis.
The ability of the 10–23 DNAzyme to specifically cleave RNA with high efficiency has fuelled expectation that this agent may have useful applications for targeted therapy. Here, we, for the first time, investigated the antitumor and radiosensitizing effects of a DNAzyme (DZ1) targeted to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-LMP1 mRNA of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in patients. Preclinical studies indicated that the DNAzyme was safe and well tolerated. A randomized and double-blind clinical study was conducted in 40 NPC patients who received DZ1 or saline intratumorally, in conjunction with radiation therapy. Tumor regression, patient survival, EBV DNA copy number and tumor microvascular permeability were assessed in a 3-month follow-up. The mean tumor regression rate at week 12 was significantly higher in DZ1 treated group than in the saline control group. Molecular imaging analysis showed that DZ1 impacted on tumor microvascular permeability as evidenced by a faster decline of the Ktrans in DZ1-treated patients. The percentage of the samples with undetectable level of EBV DNA copy in the DZ1 group was significantly higher than that in the control group. No adverse events that could be attributed to the DZ1 injection were observed in patients.
CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid cells have gained much attention due to their roles in tumor immunity suppression as well as promotion of angiogenesis, invasion, and metastases. However, the mechanisms by which CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid cells recruit to the tumor site have not been well clarified. In the present study, we showed that hypoxia could stimulate the migration of CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid cells through increased production of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) by head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α)- and HIF-2α-dependent MIF regulated chemotaxis, differentiation, and pro-angiogenic function of CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid cells through binding to CD74/CXCR2, and CD74/CXCR4 complexes, and then activating p38/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositide 3-kinases (PI3K)/AKT signaling pathways. Knockdown (KD) of HIF-1α and HIF-2α in HNSCC cells decreased MIF level but failed to inhibit the CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid cell migration, because HIF-1α/2α KD enhanced nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) activity that increased IL-6 secretion. Simultaneously blocking NF-κB and HIF-1α/HIF-2α had better inhibitory effect on CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid cell recruitment in the hypoxic zone than individually silencing HIF-1α/2α or NF-κB. In conclusion, the interaction between HIF-α/MIF and NF-κB/IL-6 axes plays an important role in the hypoxia-induced accumulation of CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid cells and tumor growth in HNSCC.
Small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) facilitate host-microbe interactions. They have a central function in the post-transcriptional regulation during pathogenic lifestyles. Hfq, an RNA-binding protein that many sRNAs act in conjunction with, is required for Y. pestis pathogenesis. However, information on how Yersinia pestis modulates the expression of sRNAs during infection is largely unknown.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We used RNA-seq technology to identify the sRNA candidates expressed from Y. pestis grown in
vitro and in the infected lungs of mice. A total of 104 sRNAs were found, including 26 previously annotated sRNAs, by searching against the Rfam database with 78 novel sRNA candidates. Approximately 89% (93/104) of these sRNAs from Y. pestis are shared with its ancestor Y. pseudotuberculosis. Ninety-seven percent of these sRNAs (101/104) are shared among more than 80 sequenced genomes of 135 Y. pestis strains. These 78 novel sRNAs include 62 intergenic and 16 antisense sRNAs. Fourteen sRNAs were selected for verification by independent Northern blot analysis. Results showed that nine selected sRNA transcripts were Hfq-dependent. Interestingly, three novel sRNAs were identified as new members of the transcription factor CRP regulon. Semi-quantitative analysis revealed that Y. pestis from the infected lungs induced the expressions of six sRNAs including RyhB1, RyhB2, CyaR/RyeE, 6S RNA, RybB and sR039 and repressed the expressions of four sRNAs, including CsrB, CsrC, 4.5S RNA and sR027.
Conclusions and Significance
This study is the first attempt to subject RNA from Y. pestis-infected samples to direct high-throughput sequencing. Many novel sRNAs were identified and the expression patterns of relevant sRNAs in Y. pestis during in
vitro growth and in
vivo infection were revealed. The annotated sRNAs accounted for the most abundant sRNAs either expressed in bacteria grown in
vitro or differentially expressed in the infected lungs. These findings suggested these sRNAs may have important functions in Y. pestis physiology or pathogenesis.
Yersinia pestis is one of the most dangerous bacterial pathogens. PhoP and cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP) are global regulators of Y. pestis, and they control two distinct regulons that contain multiple virulence-related genes. The PhoP regulator and its cognate sensor PhoQ constitute a two-component regulatory system. The regulatory activity of CRP is triggered only by binding to its cofactor cAMP, which is synthesized from ATP by adenylyl cyclase (encoded by cyaA). However, the association between the two regulatory systems PhoP/PhoQ and CRP-cAMP is still not understood for Y. pestis. In the present work, the four consecutive genes YPO1635, phoP, phoQ, and YPO1632 were found to constitute an operon, YPO1635-phoPQ-YPO1632, transcribed as a single primary RNA, whereas the last three genes comprised another operon, phoPQ-YPO1632, transcribed with two adjacent transcriptional starts. Through direct PhoP-target promoter association, the transcription of these two operons was stimulated and repressed by PhoP, respectively; thus, both positive autoregulation and negative autoregulation of PhoP/PhoQ were detected. In addition, PhoP acted as a direct transcriptional activator of crp and cyaA. The translational/transcriptional start sites, promoter −10 and −35 elements, PhoP sites, and PhoP box-like sequences were determined for these PhoP-dependent genes, providing a map of the PhoP-target promoter interaction. The CRP and PhoP regulons have evolved to merge into a single regulatory cascade in Y. pestis because of the direct regulatory association between PhoP/PhoQ and CRP-cAMP.
To evaluate the roles of dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) and optimum tracer kinetic parameters in the noninvasive grading of the glial brain tumors with histopathological grades (I–IV).
Materials and Methods
Twenty eight patients with histopathologically graded gliomas were imaged. Images with five flip angles were acquired before injection of gadolinium-DTPA and were processed to calculate the T1 value of each regions of interest (ROI). All the DCE-MRI data acquired during the injection were processed based on the MRI signal and pharmacokinetic models to establish concentration-time curves in the ROIs drawn within the tumors, counterlateral normal areas, and area of the individual artery input functions (iAIF) of each patient. A nonlinear least square fitting method was used to obtain tracer kinetic parameters. Kruskal-Wallis H-test and Mann-Whitney U-test were applied to these parameters in different histopathological grade groups for statistical differences (P<0.05).
Volume transfer coefficient (Ktrans) and extravascular extracellular space volume fraction (Ve) calculated by using iAIFs can be used not only to distinguish the low (i.e., I and II) from the high (i.e., III and IV) grade gliomas (P(Ktrans) <0.001 and PVe<0.001), but also grade II from III (P(Ktrans) =0.016 and PVe=0.033).
Ktrans is the most sensitive and specific parameter in the noninvasive grading, distinguishing the high (III and IV) from the low (I and II) grade and high grade III from low grade II gliomas.
MR perfusion imaging; gliomas; microvascular permeability; pharmacokinetics; grades of glioma
In multiple sclerosis, gray matter atrophy is extensive, and cognitive deficits and mood disorders are frequently encountered. It has been conjectured that focal atrophy is associated with emotional decline. However, conventional MRI has revealed that the pathological characteristics cannot fully account for the mood disorders. Moreover, there is no correlation between cognitive disorders and MRI results in clinically isolated syndromes or in cases of definite multiple sclerosis. In this case-control study, voxel-based morphometric analysis was performed on 11 subjects with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and the results show that these patients exhibit gray matter atrophy. Moreover, the gray matter atrophy in the superior and middle gyri of the right frontal lobe in patients with multiple sclerosis was correlated with scores from the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. The scores obtained with the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status were associated with gray matter atrophy in the middle gyrus of the left frontal lobe, the superior and middle gyrus of the right frontal lobe, the middle gyrus of the left cingulate, the superior and middle gyri of the left frontal lobe, and the triangular area of the left frontal lobe. However, there was no statistical significance. These findings suggest that the cingulate and frontal cortices of the nant hemisphere are the most severely atrophic regions of the brain, and this atrophy is correlated with cognitive decline and emotional abnormalities.
neural regeneration; neurodegeneration; MRI; relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis; gray matter atrophy; cognitive; mood; voxel-based morphometry; neuroregeneration
Myopericytoma (MPC) is a rare kind of benign neoplasm, showing derivation from perivascular myoid cells. About 115 cases have been reported in the English literature; however, most of the literature focuses on the description and classification of pathology. The case presented here is that of a 42-year-old woman with a surgical management experience of multicentric MPC in the maxillofacial region. Although small MPC can be completely and easily excised, large MPC, especially in certain anatomic sites, necessitates careful preoperative preparation.
Complication; Management; Myopericytoma
Intra-arterial infusion chemotherapy for locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) has been previously performed. However, the main complications of this type of chemotherapy remain to be clarified. In the present study, catheterization chemotherapy was carried out for 53 LABC cases (stage IIIa–IIIc) between May, 2006 and March, 2007. For IIIB and IIIC patients, the catheters were guided to the opening of the subclavian artery. For stage IIIa patients, the catheters were placed into the thoracic artery through a subcutaneous femoral artery puncture. One to four cycles of chemotherapy (mean, 1.6 cycles) were administered for the patients using taxotere, epidoxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil and/or cyclophosphamide. The interval time between the two cycles was 21 days. Seven cases were identified as complete response (CR, 13.2%), 41 cases were partial response (PR, 77.4%) with a rate of effectiveness of (CR + PR, 90.6%), 5 cases were stable disease (SD, 9.40%) and no case was progressive. Pain of the ipsilateral upper extremity was present in 7 cases. Two cases exhibited ipsilateral upper extremity atrophy following drug administration from the opening of the subclavian artery. One case experienced neck pain and headache, while in one case necrosis of local skin was evident. Hematological toxicity over grade 3 was observed in 6 cases (11.30%). Systemic toxicity was mild and did not affect the quality of life of the patients. Overall survival was identified as 18/51 (35.3%), and free-disease survival as 10/51 (19.6%). In conclusion, intra-arterial infusion chemotherapy is an effective local control treatment for LABC. The main complications are pain of the ipsilateral upper extremity and neck as well as headache. Severe complications are ipsilateral upper extremity atrophy and necrosis of local skin. During the treatment, controlling the pressure of the tourniquet and velocity of drug administration are crucial for reducing local complications.
locally advanced breast cancer; efficacy and complication; intra-arterial chemotherapy; subclavian artery; thoracic artery
Artificially passive immunization has been demonstrated to be effective against Yersinia pestis infection in animals. However, maternal antibodies' protective efficacy against plague has not yet been demonstrated. Here, we evaluated the kinetics, protective efficacy, and transmission modes of maternal antibodies, using mice immunized with plague subunit vaccine SV1 (20 μg of F1 and 10 μg of rV270). The results showed that the rV270- and F1-specific antibodies could be detected in the sera of newborn mice (NM) until 10 and 14 weeks of age, respectively. There was no antibody titer difference between the parturient mice immunized with SV1 (PM-S) and the caesarean-section newborns (CSN) from the PM-S or between the lactating mice immunized by SV1 (LM-S) and the cross-fostered mice (CFM) during 3 weeks of lactation. The NM had a 72% protection against 4,800 CFU Y. pestis strain 141 challenge at 6 weeks of age, whereas at 14 weeks of age, NM all succumbed to 5,700 CFU of Y. pestis challenge. After 7 weeks of age, CFM had an 84% protection against 5,000 CFU of Y. pestis challenge. These results indicated that maternal antibodies induced by the plague subunit vaccine in mother mice can be transferred to NM by both placenta and lactation. Passive antibodies from the immunized mothers could persist for 3 months and provide early protection for NM. The degree of early protection is dependent on levels of the passively acquired antibody. The results indicate that passive immunization should be an effective countermeasure against plague during its epidemics.
With the development of nanotechnology, special attention has been given to the nanomaterial application in tumor treatment. Here, a modified desolvation-cross-linking method was successfully applied to fabricate gemcitabine-loaded albumin nanospheres (GEM-ANPs), with 110 and 406 nm of mean diameter, respectively. The aim of this study was to assess the drug distribution, side effects, and antitumor activity of GEM-ANPs in vivo. The metabolic viability and flow cytometry analysis revealed that both GEM-ANPs, especially 406-nm GEM-ANPs, could effectively inhibit the metabolism and proliferation and promote the apoptosis of human pancreatic carcinoma (PANC-1) in vitro. Intravenous injection of 406-nm GEM-ANPs exhibited a significant increase of gemcitabine in the pancreas, liver, and spleen of Sprague–Dawley rats (p < 0.05). Moreover, no signs of toxic side effects analyzed by blood parameter changes were observed after 3 weeks of administration although a high dose (200 mg/kg) of GEM-ANPs were used. Additionally, in PANC-1-induced tumor mice, intravenous injection of 406-nm GEM-ANPs also could effectively reduce the tumor volume by comparison with free gemcitabine. With these findings, albumin nanosphere-loading approach might be efficacious to improve the antitumor activity of gemcitabine, and the efficacy is associated with the size of GEM-ANPs.
Gemcitabine; Albumin; Nanospheres; Antitumor
Cerebral sparganosis in children is an extremely rare disease of central nervous system, and caused by a tapeworm larva from the genus of Spirometra. In this study, we discussed and summarized epidemiological, clinical and MR imaging characteristics of eighteen children with cerebral sparganosis for a better diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Eighteen children with cerebral sparganosis verified by pathology, serological tests and MR presentations were retrospectively investigated, and the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of the disease were studied.
Twenty-seven lesions were found in the eighteen children. Twelve lesions in twelve patients were solitary while the lesions in the rest six patients were multiple and asymmetrical. The positions of the lesions were: seven in frontal, eleven in parietal, four in temporal and two in occipital lobes, one in basal ganglia, one in cerebella hemisphere and one in pons. The lesions were presented as slight hypointensity on T1-weighted images but moderate hyperintensity on T2-weighted images with perilesional brain parenchyma edema. Enhanced MR scans by using Gadopentetic Acid Dimeglumine Salt were performed in the patients, and the images demonstrated abnormal enhancements with the patterns of a peripheral ring, or a tortuous beaded, or a serpiginous tubular shape. Follow-up MR scans were preformed for eight patients, and three out of the eight cases exposed migrations and changes in shapes of the lesion areas.
The MR presentations in our study in general were similar to those in previous studies. However serpiginous tubular and comma-shaped enhancements of lesions have not been previously reported. The enhanced MR imaging and follow-up MR scans with the positive results from serological tests are the most important methods for the clinical diagnosis of cerebral sparganosis in children.
During the process of HIV-1 fusion with the target cell, the N-terminal heptad repeat (NHR) of gp41 interacts with the C-terminal heptad repeat (CHR) to form fusogenic six-helix bundle (6-HB) core. We previously identified a crucial residue for 6-HB formation and virus entry - Lys63 (K63) in the C-terminal region of NHR (aa 54–70), which forms a hydrophobic cavity. It can form an important salt bridge with Asp121 (D121) in gp41 CHR. Here, we found another important conserved residue for virus fusion and entry, Arg46 (R46), in the N-terminal region of NHR (aa 35–53), which forms a hydrogen bond with a polar residue, Asn43 (N43), in NHR, as a part of the hydrogen-bond network. R46 can also form a salt bridge with a negatively charged residue, Glu137 (E137), in gp41 CHR. Substitution of R46 with the hydrophobic residue Ala (R46A) or the negatively charged residue Glu (R46E) resulted in disruption of the hydrogen bond network, breakage of the salt bridge and reduction of 6-HB’s stability, leading to impairment of viral fusion and decreased inhibition of N36, an NHR peptide. Similarly, CHR peptide C34 with substitution of E137 for Ala (E137A) or Arg (E137R) also exhibited reduced inhibitory activity against HIV-1 infection and HIV-1-mediated cell-to-cell fusion. These results suggest that the positively charged residue R46 and its hydrogen bond network, together with the salt bridge between R46 and E137, are important for viral fusion and entry and may therefore serve as a target for designing novel HIV fusion/entry inhibitors.
Plague is one of the most dangerous diseases and is caused by Yersinia pestis. Effective vaccine development requires understanding of immune protective mechanisms against the bacterium in humans. In this study, the humoral and memory cellular immune responses in plague patients (n = 65) recovered from Y. pestis infection during the past 16 years were investigated using a protein microarray and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISpot). The seroprevalence to the F1 antigen in all recovered patients is 78.5%. In patients infected more than a decade ago, the antibody-positive rate still remains 69.5%. There is no difference in the antibody presence between gender, age, and infected years, but it seems to be associated with the F1 antibody titers during infection (r = 0.821; P < 0.05). Except F1 antibody, the antibodies against LcrV and YopD were detected in most of the patients, suggesting they could be the potential diagnostic markers for detecting the infection of F1-negative strains. Regarding cellular immunity, the cell number producing gamma interferon (IFN-γ), stimulated by F1 and LcrV, respectively, in vitro to the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 7 plague patients and 4 negative controls, showed no significant difference, indicating F1 and LcrV are not dominant T cell antigens against plague for a longer time in humans. Our findings have direct implications for the future design and development of effective vaccines against Y. pestis infection and the development of new target-based diagnostics.
Intrinsic functional connectivity detected by functional MRI (fMRI) provides a useful but indirect approach to study the organization of human brain systems. An unresolved question is whether functional connectivity measured by resting state fMRI reflects anatomical connections. In this study we used the well-characterized anatomy of cerebrocerebellar circuits to directly test whether intrinsic functional connectivity is associated with an anatomic pathway. Eleven first episode stoke patients were scanned five times during a period of six months and eleven healthy control subjects were scanned three times within one month. In patients with right pontine stokes, the functional connectivity between the right motor cortex and the left cerebellum was selectively reduced. This connectivity pattern was reversed in patients with left pontine strokes. While factors beyond anatomical connectivity contribute to fMRI measures of functional correlation, these results provide direct evidence that functional connectivity depends upon intact connections within a specific polysynaptic pathway.
Extraction of genome sequences from metagenomic data is crucial for reconstructing the metabolism of microbial communities that cannot be mimicked in the laboratory. A complete Methanococcus maripaludis genome was generated from metagenomic data derived from a thermophilic subsurface oil reservoir. M. maripaludis is a hydrogenotrophic methanogenic species that is common in mesophilic saline environments. Comparison of the genome from the thermophilic, subsurface environment with the genome of the type species will provide insight into the adaptation of a methanogenic genome to an oil reservoir environment.
The serum levels of interleukin-2 (IL-2), gamma interferon (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), IL-4, IL-6, and IL-10 of pneumonic plague patients were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. IL-6 was the only elevated cytokine in the patients, and its level increased with a clear time course, indicating that IL-6 might be a prognostic marker for predicting the progression of plague.
In speech perception, a functional hierarchy has been proposed by recent functional neuroimaging studies: Core auditory areas on the dorsal plane of superior temporal gyrus (STG) are sensitive to basic acoustic characteristics, whereas downstream regions, specifically the left superior temporal sulcus (STS) and middle temporal gyrus (MTG) ventral to Heschl's gyrus (HG) are responsive to abstract phonological features. What is unclear so far is the relationship between the dorsal and ventral processes, especially with regard to whether low-level acoustic processing is modulated by high-level phonological processing. To address the issue, we assessed sensitivity of core auditory and downstream regions to acoustic and phonological variations by using within- and across-category lexical tonal continua with equal physical intervals. We found that relative to within-category variation, across-category variation elicited stronger activation in the left middle MTG (mMTG), apparently reflecting the abstract phonological representations. At the same time, activation in the core auditory region decreased, resulting from the top-down influences of phonological processing. These results support a hierarchical organization of the ventral acoustic-phonological processing stream, which originates in the right HG/STG and projects to the left mMTG. Furthermore, our study provides direct evidence that low-level acoustic analysis is modulated by high-level phonological representations, revealing the cortical dynamics of acoustic and phonological processing in speech perception. Our findings confirm the existence of reciprocal progression projections in the auditory pathways and the roles of both feed-forward and feedback mechanisms in speech perception.
In our previous study, complete protection was observed in Chinese-origin rhesus macaques immunized with SV1 (20 µg F1 and 10 µg rV270) and SV2 (200 µg F1 and 100 µg rV270) subunit vaccines and with EV76 live attenuated vaccine against subcutaneous challenge with 6×106 CFU of Y. pestis. In the present study, we investigated whether the vaccines can effectively protect immunized animals from any pathologic changes using histological and immunohistochemical techniques. In addition, the glomerular basement membranes (GBMs) of the immunized animals and control animals were checked by electron microscopy. The results show no signs of histopathological lesions in the lungs, livers, kidneys, lymph nodes, spleens and hearts of the immunized animals at Day 14 after the challenge, whereas pathological alterations were seen in the corresponding tissues of the control animals. Giemsa staining, ultrastructural examination, and immunohistochemical staining revealed bacteria in some of the organs of the control animals, whereas no bacterium was observed among the immunized animals. Ultrastructural observation revealed that no glomerular immune deposits on the GBM. These observations suggest that the vaccines can effectively protect animals from any pathologic changes and eliminate Y. pestis from the immunized animals. The control animals died from multi-organ lesions specifically caused by the Y. pestis infection. We also found that subcutaneous infection of animals with Y. pestis results in bubonic plague, followed by pneumonic and septicemic plagues. The histopathologic features of plague in rhesus macaques closely resemble those of rodent and human plagues. Thus, Chinese-origin rhesus macaques serve as useful models in studying Y. pestis pathogenesis, host response and the efficacy of new medical countermeasures against plague.