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1.  Mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channel activity and hypoxic preconditioning are independent of an inwardly rectifying potassium channel subunit in C. elegans 
Febs Letters  2012;586(4):428-434.
Hypoxic preconditioning (HP) is an evolutionarily-conserved mechanism that protects an organism against stress. The mitochondrial ATP-sensitive K+ channel (mKATP) plays an essential role in the protective signaling, but remains molecularly undefined. Several lines of evidence suggest that mKATP may arise from an inward rectifying K+ channel (Kir). The genetic model organism C. elegans exhibits HP and displays mKATP activity. Here, we investigate the tissue expression profile of the three C. elegans Kir genes and demonstrate that mutant strains where the irk genes have been deleted either individually or in combination can be protected by HP and exhibit robust mKATP channel activity in purified mitochondria. These data suggest that the mKATP in C. elegans does not arise from a Kir derived channel.
PMCID: PMC3288502  PMID: 22281198
Ischemia; reperfusion; preconditioning; C. elegans; mKATP; Kir; irk
2.  Daily energy balance in growth hormone receptor/binding protein (GHR−/−) gene-disrupted mice is achieved through an increase in dark-phase energy efficiency 
The goal of this study was to examine factors that contribute to energy balance in female GHR −/− mice. We measured energy intake, energy expenditure (EE), fuel utilization, body mass (Mb) changes and physical activity in 17 month-old female GHR −/− mice and their age-matched wild type littermates. The GHR −/− mice were smaller, consumed more food per unit Mb, had greater EE per unit Mb and had an increase in 24-h EE/Mb that was similar to the increase in their surface-area-to-volume ratio. Locomotor activity (LMA) was reduced in the GHR −/− mice, but the energetic cost associated with their LMA was greater than in wild type controls. Furthermore, Mb and LMA were independent explanatory covariates of most of the variance in EE, and when adjusted for Mb and LMA, the GHR −/− mice had higher EE during both the light and dark phases of the daily cycle. Respiratory quotient was lower in GHR −/− mice during the light phase, which indicated a greater utilization of lipid relative to carbohydrate in these mice. Additionally, GHR −/− mice had higher ratios of caloric intake to EE at several intervals during the dark phase, and this effect was greater and more sustained in the final three hours of the dark phase. Therefore, we conclude that GHR −/− mice are able to overcome the substantial energetic challenges of dwarfism through several mechanisms that promote stable Mb. Relative to wild type mice, the GHR −/− mice consumed more calories per unit Mb, which offset the disproportionate increase in their daily energy expenditure. While GHR −/− mice oxidized a greater proportion of lipid during the light phase in order to meet their energy requirements, they achieved greater energy efficiency and storage during the dark phase through a combination of higher energy consumption and lower LMA.
PMCID: PMC2814926  PMID: 19747867
3.  Characterization of the insulin sensitivity of ghrelin receptor KO mice using glycemic clamps 
BMC Physiology  2011;11:1.
We and others have demonstrated previously that ghrelin receptor (GhrR) knock out (KO) mice fed a high fat diet (HFD) have increased insulin sensitivity and metabolic flexibility relative to WT littermates. A striking feature of the HFD-fed GhrR KO mouse is the dramatic decrease in hepatic steatosis. To characterize further the underlying mechanisms of glucose homeostasis in GhrR KO mice, we conducted both hyperglycemic (HG) and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic (HI-E) clamps. Additionally, we investigated tissue glucose uptake and specifically examined liver insulin sensitivity.
Consistent with glucose tolerance-test data, in HG clamp experiments, GhrR KO mice showed a reduction in glucose-stimulated insulin release relative to WT littermates. Nevertheless, a robust 1st phase insulin secretion was still achieved, indicating that a healthy β-cell response is maintained. Additionally, GhrR KO mice demonstrated both a significantly increased glucose infusion rate and significantly reduced insulin requirement for maintenance of the HG clamp, consistent with their relative insulin sensitivity. In HI-E clamps, both LFD-fed and HFD-fed GhrR KO mice showed higher peripheral insulin sensitivity relative to WT littermates as indicated by a significant increase in insulin-stimulated glucose disposal (Rd), and decreased hepatic glucose production (HGP). HFD-fed GhrR KO mice showed a marked increase in peripheral tissue glucose uptake in a variety of tissues, including skeletal muscle, brown adipose tissue and white adipose tissue. GhrR KO mice fed a HFD also showed a modest, but significant decrease in conversion of pyruvate to glucose, as would be anticipated if these mice displayed increased liver insulin sensitivity. Additionally, the levels of UCP2 and UCP1 were reduced in the liver and BAT, respectively, in GhrR KO mice relative to WT mice.
These results indicate that improved glucose homeostasis of GhrR KO mice is characterized by robust improvements of glucose disposal in both normal and metabolically challenged states, relative to WT controls. GhrR KO mice have an intact 1st phase insulin response but require significantly less insulin for glucose disposal. Our experiments reveal that the insulin sensitivity of GhrR KO mice is due to both BW independent and dependent factors. We also provide several lines of evidence that a key feature of the GhrR KO mouse is maintenance of hepatic insulin sensitivity during metabolic challenge.
PMCID: PMC3024223  PMID: 21211044
4.  Inhibition of SIRT1 Catalytic Activity Increases p53 Acetylation but Does Not Alter Cell Survival following DNA Damage 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(1):28-38.
Human SIRT1 is an enzyme that deacetylates the p53 tumor suppressor protein and has been suggested to modulate p53-dependent functions including DNA damage-induced cell death. In this report, we used EX-527, a novel, potent, and specific small-molecule inhibitor of SIRT1 catalytic activity to examine the role of SIRT1 in p53 acetylation and cell survival after DNA damage. Treatment with EX-527 dramatically increased acetylation at lysine 382 of p53 after different types of DNA damage in primary human mammary epithelial cells and several cell lines. Significantly, inhibition of SIRT1 catalytic activity by EX-527 had no effect on cell growth, viability, or p53-controlled gene expression in cells treated with etoposide. Acetyl-p53 was also increased by the histone deacetylase (HDAC) class I/II inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). EX-527 and TSA acted synergistically to increase acetyl-p53 levels, confirming that p53 acetylation is regulated by both SIRT1 and HDACs. While TSA alone reduced cell survival after DNA damage, the combination of EX-527 and TSA had no further effect on cell viability and growth. These results show that, although SIRT1 deacetylates p53, this does not play a role in cell survival following DNA damage in certain cell lines and primary human mammary epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC1317617  PMID: 16354677
5.  Coconut Atrium: Transmural Calcification of the Entire Left Atrium 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2000;27(1):49-51.
Massive calcification of the left atrium usually spares the interatrial septum, which provides a cleavage plane for surgical access to the mitral valve. Endoatriectomy with mitral valve replacement is the currently accepted corrective procedure because it affords maximum exposure while decreasing the risk of embolization and intraoperative hemorrhage. We describe a case in which the entire left atrium, including the septum, was thickly calcified and resembled a coconut shell. This condition prevented surgical correction of severe mitral stenosis. To our knowledge, this is the most severe case of left atrial calcification yet reported in the literature. Although it is not possible to establish preoperatively that the atrium is completely calcified and impossible to incise, when predisposing factors and evidence of complete transmural calcification are present, the surgeon should be aware of this possibility and should weigh carefully the decision to operate.
PMCID: PMC101019  PMID: 10830629
Calcinosis/complications; calcinosis/surgery; heart atrium/surgery; heart valve prosthesis; mitral valve stenosis/surgery; rheumatic heart disease/complications

Results 1-5 (5)