The periostracum is a layered structure that is formed as a mollusk shell grows. The shell is covered by the periostracum, which consists of organic matrices that prevent decalcification of the shell. In the present study, we discovered the presence of chitin in the periostracum and identified a novel matrix protein, Pinctada fucata periostracum protein named PPP-10. It was purified from the sodium dodecyl sulfate/dithiothreitol-soluble fraction of the periostracum of the Japanese pearl oyster, P. fucata. The deduced amino acid sequence was determined by a combination of amino acid sequence analysis and cDNA cloning. The open reading frame encoded a precursor protein of 112 amino acid residues including a 21-residue signal peptide. The 91 residues following the signal peptide contained abundant Cys and Tyr residues. PPP-10 was expressed on the outer side of the outer fold in the mantle, indicating that PPP-10 was present in the second or third layer of the periostracum. We also determined that the recombinant PPP-10 had chitin-binding activity and could incorporate chitin into the scaffolds of the periostracum. These results shed light on the early steps in mollusk shell formation.
•The periostracum is a layered structure that is formed as a mollusk shell grows.•The organic framework of the periostracum probably contains chitin.•The protein PPP-10 was identified from the periostracum of Pinctada fucata.•PPP-10 is a chitin-binding protein that is expressed at the mantle edge.
Biomineralization; Chitin; Matrix protein; Periostracum; Pinctada fucata; DOPA, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine; DTT, dithiothreitol; HPLC, high performance liquid chromatography; PPP, Pinctada fucata periostracum protein; SDS, sodium dodecyl sulfate
Our genome-wide association study of schizophrenia found association signals at the Kalirin gene (KALRN) and EPH receptor B1 gene (EPHB1) in a Japanese population. The importance of these synaptogenic pathway genes in schizophrenia is gaining independent supports. Although there has been growing interest in rare (<1%) missense mutations as potential contributors to the unexplained heritability of schizophrenia, there are no population-based studies targeting rare (<1%) coding mutations with a larger effect size (eg, OR >1.5) in KALRN or EPHB1.
Methods and Results:
The present study design consisted of 3 phases. At the discovery phase, we conducted resequencing analyses for all exon regions of KALRN and EPHB1 using a DNA microarray–based method. Seventeen rare (<1%) missense mutations were discovered in the first sample set (320 schizophrenic patients). After the prioritization phase based on frequencies in the second sample set (729 cases and 562 controls), we performed association analyses for each selected mutation using the third sample set (1511 cases and 1517 controls), along with a combined association analysis across all selected mutations. In KALRN, we detected a significant association between schizophrenia and P2255T (OR = 2.09, corrected P = .048, 1 tailed); this was supported in the combined association analysis (OR = 2.07, corrected P = .006, 1 tailed). We found no evidence of association of EPHB1 with schizophrenia. In silico analysis indicated the functional relevance of these rare missense mutations.
We provide evidence that multiple rare (<1%) missense mutations in KALRN may be genetic risk factors for schizophrenia.
synaptogenic pathway; rare missense mutations; GWAS; Japanese population
Patients with schizophrenia elicit cognitive decline from the early phase of the illness. Mismatch negativity (MMN) has been shown to be associated with cognitive function. We investigated the current source density of duration mismatch negativity (dMMN), by using low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA), and neuropsychological performance in subjects with early schizophrenia.
Data were obtained from 20 patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia or schizophreniform disorder, and 20 healthy control (HC) subjects. An auditory odd-ball paradigm was used to measure dMMN. Neuropsychological performance was evaluated by the brief assessment of cognition in schizophrenia Japanese version (BACS-J).
Patients showed smaller dMMN amplitudes than those in the HC subjects. LORETA current density for dMMN was significantly lower in patients compared to HC subjects, especially in the temporal lobes. dMMN current density in the frontal lobe was positively correlated with working memory performance in patients.
This is the first study to identify brain regions showing smaller dMMN current density in early schizophrenia. Further, poor working memory was associated with decreased dMMN current density in patients. These results are likely to help understand the neural basis for cognitive impairment of schizophrenia.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often described as a disorder of aberrant neural connectivity and/or aberrant hemispheric lateralization. Although it is important to study the pathophysiology of the developing ASD cortex, the physiological connectivity of the brain in young children with ASD under conscious conditions has not yet been described. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a noninvasive brain imaging technique that is practical for use in young children. MEG produces a reference-free signal and is, therefore, an ideal tool for computing the coherence between two distant cortical rhythms. Using a custom child-sized MEG, we recently reported that 5- to 7-year-old children with ASD (n = 26) have inherently different neural pathways than typically developing (TD) children that contribute to their relatively preserved performance of visual tasks. In this study, we performed non-invasive measurements of the brain activity of 70 young children (3–7 years old, of which 18 were aged 3-4 years), a sample consisting of 35 ASD children and 35 TD children. Physiological connectivity and the laterality of physiological connectivity were assessed using intrahemispheric coherence for 9 frequency bands. As a result, significant rightward connectivity between the parietotemporal areas, via gamma band oscillations, was found in the ASD group. As we obtained the non-invasive measurements using a custom child-sized MEG, this is the first study to demonstrate a rightward-lateralized neurophysiological network in conscious young children (including children aged 3–4 years) with ASD.
•A custom child-sized magnetoencephalography system was used for young children.•Rightward intrahemispheric connectivity was observed in autism spectrum disorder.•Rightward connectivity via gamma band was observed in autism spectrum disorder.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD); Connectivity; Laterality index; Magnetoencephalography (MEG); Young children
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to use a voxel-based magnetic resonance imaging method to investigate the neuroanatomical characteristics in subjects at high risk of developing psychosis compared with those of healthy controls and first-episode schizophrenia patients.
Methods: This study included 14 subjects with at-risk mental state (ARMS), 34 patients with first-episode schizophrenia, and 51 healthy controls. We used voxel-based morphometry with the Diffeomorphic Anatomical Registration through Exponentiated Lie Algebra tools to investigate the whole-brain difference in gray matter volume among the three groups.
Results: Compared with the healthy controls, the schizophrenia patients showed significant gray matter reduction in the left anterior cingulate gyrus. There was no significant difference in the gray matter volume between the ARMS and other groups.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that alteration of the anterior cingulate gyrus may be associated with development of frank psychosis. Further studies with a larger ARMS subjects would be required to examine the potential role of neuroimaging methods in the prediction of future transition into psychosis.
schizophrenia; psychosis; high risk; MRI; cingulate gyrus
Socio-communicative impairments are salient features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from a young age. The anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC), or Brodmann area 10, is a key processing area for social function, and atypical development of this area is thought to play a role in the social deficits in ASD. It is important to understand these brain functions in developing children with ASD. However, these brain functions have not yet been well described under conscious conditions in young children with ASD. In the present study, we focused on the brain hemodynamic functional connectivity between the right and the left aPFC in children with ASD and typically developing (TD) children and investigated whether there was a correlation between this connectivity and social ability. Brain hemodynamic fluctuations were measured non-invasively by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in 3- to 7-year-old children with ASD (n = 15) and gender- and age-matched TD children (n = 15). The functional connectivity between the right and the left aPFC was assessed by measuring the coherence for low-frequency spontaneous fluctuations (0.01 – 0.10 Hz) during a narrated picture-card show. Coherence analysis demonstrated that children with ASD had a significantly higher inter-hemispheric connectivity with 0.02-Hz fluctuations, whereas a power analysis did not demonstrate significant differences between the two groups in terms of low frequency fluctuations (0.01 – 0.10 Hz). This aberrant higher connectivity in children with ASD was positively correlated with the severity of social deficit, as scored with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. This is the first study to demonstrate aberrant brain functional connectivity between the right and the left aPFC under conscious conditions in young children with ASD.
A subset of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) performs more proficiently on certain visual tasks than may be predicted by their general cognitive performances. However, in younger children with ASD (aged 5 to 7), preserved ability in these tasks and the neurophysiological correlates of their ability are not well documented. In the present study, we used a custom child-sized magnetoencephalography system and demonstrated that preserved ability in the visual reasoning task was associated with rightward lateralisation of the neurophysiological connectivity between the parietal and temporal regions in children with ASD. In addition, we demonstrated that higher reading/decoding ability was also associated with the same lateralisation in children with ASD. These neurophysiological correlates of visual tasks are considerably different from those that are observed in typically developing children. These findings indicate that children with ASD have inherently different neural pathways that contribute to their relatively preserved ability in visual tasks.
A shorter duration of untreated psychosis has been associated with better prognosis in schizophrenia. In this study, we measured the duration mismatch negativity (dMMN), an event-related potential, and cognitive performance in subjects with at-risk mental state (ARMS), patients with first-episode or chronic schizophrenia, and healthy volunteers. The main interest was to determine if these neurocognitive measures predict progression to overt schizophrenia in ARMS subjects.
Seventeen ARMS subjects, meeting the criteria of the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental State, 31 schizophrenia patients (20 first-episode and 11 chronic) and healthy controls (N = 20) participated in the study. dMMN was measured by an auditory odd-ball paradigm at baseline. Neuropsychological performance was evaluated by the Japanese version of the Brief assessment of cognitive function of schizophrenia (BACS-J). The first-episode schizophrenia group showed significantly smaller amplitudes at frontal electrodes than did control subjects whereas chronic patients elicited smaller amplitudes at frontal and central electrodes, consistent with previous reports. During the follow-up period, 4 out of the 17 ARMS subjects transitioned to schizophrenia (converters) while 13 did not (non-converters). Specifically, dMMN amplitudes of non-converters did not differ from those of healthy controls, while converters showed significantly smaller dMMN amplitudes at some electrodes compared to control subjects. Converters performed significantly worse on tests of working memory, verbal fluency, and attention/information processing than did non-converters. There was a significant positive correlation between dMMN amplitudes at the frontal electrodes and verbal fluency, as measured by the BACS, in the AMRS subjects as a whole.
ARMS subjects who later developed schizophrenia elicited smaller dMMN amplitudes to begin with, compared to non-converters. Notably, we have provided the first evidence for the ability of verbal fluency to predict dMMN amplitudes in ARMS subjects. These findings are expected to add to the efforts for early diagnosis and intervention of schizophrenia.
Knowledge of amygdalar and hippocampal development as they pertain to sex differences and laterality would help to understand not only brain development but also the relationship between brain volume and brain functions. However, few studies investigated development of these two regions, especially during infancy. The purpose of this study was to examine typical volumetric trajectories of amygdala and hippocampus from infancy to early adulthood by predicting sexual dimorphism and laterality. We performed a cross-sectional morphometric MRI study of amygdalar and hippocampal growth from 1 month to 25 years old, using 109 healthy individuals. The findings indicated significant non-linear age-related volume changes, especially during the first few years of life, in both the amygdala and hippocampus regardless of sex. The peak ages of amygdalar and hippocampal volumes came at the timing of preadolescence (9–11 years old). The female amygdala reached its peak age about one year and a half earlier than the male amygdala did. In addition, its rate of growth change decreased earlier in the females. Furthermore, both females and males displayed rightward laterality in the hippocampus, but only the males in the amygdala. The robust growth of the amygdala and hippocampus during infancy highlight the importance of this period for neural and functional development. The sex differences and laterality during development of these two regions suggest that sex-related factors such as sex hormones and functional laterality might affect brain development.
In 2009, a novel influenza A/H1N1 virus (H1N1pdm) quickly spread worldwide and co-circulated with then-existing seasonal H1N1 virus (sH1N1). Distinguishing between these 2 viruses was necessary to better characterize the epidemiological properties of the emergent virus, including transmission patterns, pathogenesis, and anti-influenza drug resistance. This situation prompted us to develop a point-of-care virus differentiation system before entering the 2009–2010 influenza season. Aiming to establish H1N1pdm-specific detection tools rapidly, we employed phage display libraries to select H1N1pdm-specific single-chain variable fragments (scFvs).
Human single-fold scFv libraries (Tomlinson I + J) underwent selection for the ability to bind H1N1pdm virus particles. Three rounds of panning brought 1152 phage-bound scFvs, of which 58 clones reacted with H1N1pdm specifically or preferentially over sH1N1 in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). After conversion of the scFvs to soluble form, 7 clones demonstrating high/stable expression were finally obtained. However, all the soluble scFvs except No. 29 were found to have lost their specificity/preference for H1N1pdm in ELISA. The specificity/preference of No. 29 was also confirmed by immunofluorescence assay and immunoprecipitation, and the viral nucleoprotein was identified by ELISA as its target protein. The change in specificity associated with scFv conversion from phage-bound to soluble form could be due to loss of phage scaffold pIII protein, which likely provides structural support for the scFv antigen-binding site. It is also possible that the similar antigenic properties of H1N1pdm and sH1N1 led to the observed alterations in scFv specificity.
Using a phage display library, we obtained 7 soluble scFv clones reactive against H1N1pdm; however, only 1 showed specificity/preference toward H1N1pdm. Our results confirmed that using phage display libraries was highly advantageous for the rapid development of molecules to detect target antigens. However, our results also indicated that this strategy might not have been effective for selecting H1N1pdm-specific antibodies during the 2009 pandemic, where the co-circulating sH1N1 virus shared similar antigenic properties. This suggests that it might be advisable to use a synthetic scFv phage display library by strategically considering the characteristics of target antigens and the potential situations.
Influenza; Pandemic; Diagnosis; Single-chain variable fragment (scFv); Altered specificity
Schizophrenia is a complex psychiatric disorder characterized by positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive impairment. MAGI2, a relatively large gene (∼1.5 Mbps) that maps to chromosome 7q21, is involved in recruitment of neurotransmitter receptors such as AMPA- and NMDA-type glutamate receptors. A genetic association study designed to evaluate the association between MAGI2 and cognitive performance or schizophrenia has not been conducted. In this case-control study, we examined the relationship of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variations in MAGI2 and risk for schizophrenia in a large Japanese sample and explored the potential relationships between variations in MAGI2 and aspects of human cognitive function related to glutamate activity. Based on the result of first schizophrenia genome-wide association study in a Japanese population (JGWAS), we selected four independent SNPs and performed an association study using a large independent Japanese sample set (cases 1624, controls 1621). Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) was used to evaluate executive function in 114 cases and 91 controls. We found suggestive evidence for genetic association of common SNPs within MAGI2 locus and schizophrenia in Japanese population. Furthermore in terms of association between MAGI2 and cognitive performance, we observed that genotype effect of rs2190665 on WCST score was significant (p = 0.034) and rs4729938 trended toward significance (p = 0.08). In conclusion, although we could not detect strong genetic evidence for association of common variants in MAGI2 and increased schizophrenia risk in a Japanese population, these SNPs may increase risk of cognitive impairment in schizophrenic patients.
Although structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have repeatedly demonstrated regional brain structural abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia, relatively few MRI-based studies have attempted to distinguish between patients with first-episode schizophrenia and healthy controls.
Three-dimensional MR images were acquired from 52 (29 males, 23 females) first-episode schizophrenia patients and 40 (22 males, 18 females) healthy subjects. Multiple brain measures (regional brain volume and cortical thickness) were calculated by a fully automated procedure and were used for group comparison and classification by linear discriminant function analysis.
Schizophrenia patients showed gray matter volume reductions and cortical thinning in various brain regions predominantly in prefrontal and temporal cortices compared with controls. The classifiers obtained from 66 subjects of the first group successfully assigned 26 subjects of the second group with accuracy above 80%.
Our results showed that combinations of automated brain measures successfully differentiated first-episode schizophrenia patients from healthy controls. Such neuroimaging approaches may provide objective biological information adjunct to clinical diagnosis of early schizophrenia.