Large cross-sectional household surveys are common for measuring indicators of neglected tropical disease control programs. As an alternative to standard paper-based data collection, we utilized novel paperless technology to collect data electronically from over 12,000 households in Ethiopia.
We conducted a needs assessment to design an Android-based electronic data collection and management system. We then evaluated the system by reporting results of a pilot trial and from comparisons of two, large-scale surveys; one with traditional paper questionnaires and the other with tablet computers, including accuracy, person-time days, and costs incurred.
The electronic data collection system met core functions in household surveys and overcame constraints identified in the needs assessment. Pilot data recorders took 264 (standard deviation (SD) 152 sec) and 260 sec (SD 122 sec) per person registered to complete household surveys using paper and tablets, respectively (P = 0.77). Data recorders felt a lack of connection with the interviewee during the first days using electronic devices, but preferred to collect data electronically in future surveys. Electronic data collection saved time by giving results immediately, obviating the need for double data entry and cross-correcting. The proportion of identified data entry errors in disease classification did not differ between the two data collection methods. Geographic coordinates collected using the tablets were more accurate than coordinates transcribed on a paper form. Costs of the equipment required for electronic data collection was approximately the same cost incurred for data entry of questionnaires, whereas repeated use of the electronic equipment may increase cost savings.
Conducting a needs assessment and pilot testing allowed the design to specifically match the functionality required for surveys. Electronic data collection using an Android-based technology was suitable for a large-scale health survey, saved time, provided more accurate geo-coordinates, and was preferred by recorders over standard paper-based questionnaires.
Archaeal and eukaryotic cytosols contain group II chaperonins, which have a double-barrel structure and fold proteins inside a cavity in an ATP-dependent manner. The most complex of the chaperonins, the eukaryotic TCP-1 ring complex (TRiC), has eight different subunits, chaperone containing TCP-1 (CCT1–8), that are arranged so that there is one of each subunit per ring. Aspects of the structure and function of the bovine and yeast TRiC have been characterized, but studies of human TRiC have been limited. We have isolated and purified endogenous human TRiC from HeLa suspension cells. This purified human TRiC contained all eight CCT subunits organized into double-barrel rings, consistent with what has been found for bovine and yeast TRiC. The purified human TRiC is active as demonstrated by the luciferase refolding assay. As a more stringent test, the ability of human TRiC to suppress the aggregation of human γD-crystallin was examined. In addition to suppressing off-pathway aggregation, TRiC was able to assist the refolding of the crystallin molecules, an activity not found with the lens chaperone, α-crystallin. Additionally, we show that human TRiC from HeLa cell lysate is associated with the heat shock protein 70 and heat shock protein 90 chaperones. Purification of human endogenous TRiC from HeLa cells will enable further characterization of this key chaperonin, required for the reproduction of all human cells.
TRiC; CCT; Chaperonin; Crystallin; Protein folding
An average of six annual rounds of ivermectin and albendazole were distributed in Plateau and Nasarawa States, Nigeria, to eliminate lymphatic filariasis. From 2007 to 2008, population-based surveys were implemented in all 30 local government areas (LGAs) of the two states to determine the prevalence of Wuchereria bancrofti antigenemia to assess which LGA mass drug administration (MDA) could be halted. In total, 36,681 persons from 7,819 households were examined for filarial antigen as determined by immunochromatographic card tests. Overall antigen prevalence was 3.05% (exact upper 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.41%) with an upper 95% CI range by LGA of 0.50–19.3%. Among 3,233 children 6–7 years of age, overall antigen prevalence was 1.71% (exact upper 95% CI = 2.19%), too high to recommend generally halting MDA in the two-state area. However, based on criteria of < 2% antigenemia among persons > 2 years of age, stopping MDA was recommended for 10 LGAs.
Cataract affects 1 in 6 Americans over the age of 40, and is considered a global health problem. Cataract is caused by the aggregation of unfolded or damaged proteins in the lens, which accumulate as an individual ages. Currently, surgery is the only available treatment for cataract, however, small molecules have been suggested as potential preventative therapies. In this work, we study the effect of sodium citrate on the stability of Human γD Crystallin (HγD-Crys), a structural protein of the eye lens, and two cataract-related mutants, L5S HγD-Crys and I90F HγD-Crys. In equilibrium unfolding-refolding studies, the presence of 250 mM sodium citrate increased the transition midpoint of the N-td of WT HγD-Crys and L5S HγD-Crys by 0.3 M GuHCl, the C-td by 0.6M GuHCl, and the single transition of I90F HγD-Crys by 0.4M GuHCl. In kinetic unfolding reactions, sodium citrate demonstrates a measurable stabilization effect only for the mutant I90F HγD-Crys. In the presence of citrate, a kinetic unfolding intermediate of I90F HγD-Crys can be observed, which was not observed in the absence of citrate. Rate of aggregation was measured using solution turbidity, and sodium citrate demonstrates negligible effect on rate of aggregation of WT HγD-Crys, but considerably slows the rate of aggregation of both L5S HγD-Crys and I90F HγD-Crys. The presence of sodium citrate dramatically slows refolding of WT HγD-Crys and I90F HγD-Crys, but has a significantly smaller effect on the refolding of L5S HγD-Crys. The differential stabilizing effect of sodium citrate suggests that the ion is binding to a partially unfolded conformation of the C-td, but a solution-based Hofmeister effect cannot be eliminated as a possible explanation for the effects observed. These results suggest that sodium citrate may be a potential preventative agent for cataract.
crystallin; protein folding; aggregation; citrate; stability
Systematic cognitive training produces long-term improvement in cognitive function and less difficulty in performing activities of daily living. We examined whether cognitive training was associated with reduced rate of incident dementia. Participants were from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study (n=2,802). Incident dementia was defined using a combination of interview- and performance-based methods. Survival analysis was used to determine if ACTIVE treatment affected the rate of incident dementia during 5 years of follow-up. A total of 189 participants met criteria for incident dementia. Baseline factors predictive of incident dementia were older age, male gender, African American race, fewer years of education, relationship other than married, no alcohol use, worse MMSE< worse SF-36 physical functioning, higher depressive symptomatology, diabetes, and stroke (all p<.05). A multivariable model with significant predictors of incident dementia and training group revealed that cognitive training was not associated with a lower rate of incident dementia. Cognitive training did not affect rates of incident dementia after 5 years of follow-up. Longer follow-up or enhanced training may be needed to fully explore the preventive capacity of cognitive training in forestalling onset of dementia.
Cognitive training; Intervention; Aging; Dementia; Prevention; Cognition
Surgery to correct trachomatous trichiasis (TT) is recommended to prevent blindness caused by trachoma. This study evaluated the outcomes of community-based trichiasis surgery with absorbable sutures, conductd in Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia.
A simple random sample of 431 patients was selected from surgical campaign records of which 363 (84.2%) were traced and enrolled into the study. Participants were interviewed and examined for trichiasis recurrence, complications of TT surgery and corneal opacity. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to explore the associations between trichiasis recurrence, corneal opacity and explanatory variables at the eye level.
The prevalence of trichiasis recurrence was 9.4% (95% Confidence Interval [CI] 6.6–12.8) and corneal opacity was found in 14.3% (95% CI 10.9–18.3) of the study participants. The proportion of participants with complications of TT surgery was: granuloma 0.6% (95% CI 0.1–2.0); lid closure defects 5.5% (95% CI 3.4–8.4) and lid notching 16.8% (95% CI 13.1–21.1). No factors were identified for trichiasis recurrence. Corneal opacity was associated with increased age (Ptrend=0.001), more than 12 months post surgery (OR=2.7; 95%CI 1.3–5.6), trichiasis surgery complications (OR=2.9; 95%CI 1.4–5.9) and trichiasis recurrence (OR=2.5; 95%CI 1.0–6.3).
Prevalence of recurrent trichiasis and granuloma were lower than expected but higher for lid closure defects and lid notching. The majority of the participants reported satisfaction with the trichiasis surgery they had undergone. The findings suggest that recurrence of trichiasis impacts on the patients' risk of developing corneal opacity but longitudinal studies are required to confirm this.
Corneal opacity; Trichiasis; Trichiasis recurrence; Ethiopia
The SAFE strategy aims to reduce transmission of Chlamydia trachomatis through antibiotics, improved hygiene, and sanitation. We integrated assessment of intestinal parasites into large-scale trachoma impact surveys to determine whether documented environmental improvements promoted by a trachoma program had collateral impact on intestinal parasites.
We surveyed 99 communities for both trachoma and intestinal parasites (soil-transmitted helminths, Schistosoma mansoni, and intestinal protozoa) in South Gondar, Ethiopia. One child aged 2–15 years per household was randomly selected to provide a stool sample of which about 1 g was fixed in sodium acetate-acetic acid-formalin, concentrated with ether, and examined under a microscope by experienced laboratory technicians.
A total of 2,338 stool specimens were provided, processed, and linked to survey data from 2,657 randomly selected children (88% response). The zonal-level prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm, and Trichuris trichiura was 9.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) 7.2–12.7%), 9.7% (5.9–13.4%), and 2.6% (1.6–3.7%), respectively. The prevalence of S. mansoni was 2.9% (95% CI 0.2–5.5%) but infection was highly focal (range by community from 0–52.4%). The prevalence of any of these helminth infections was 24.2% (95% CI 17.6–30.9%) compared to 48.5% as found in a previous study in 1995 using the Kato-Katz technique. The pathogenic intestinal protozoa Giardia intestinalis and Entamoeba histolytica/E. dispar were found in 23.0% (95% CI 20.3–25.6%) and 11.1% (95% CI 8.9–13.2%) of the surveyed children, respectively. We found statistically significant increases in household latrine ownership, use of an improved water source, access to water, and face washing behavior over the past 7 years.
Improvements in hygiene and sanitation promoted both by the SAFE strategy for trachoma and health extension program combined with preventive chemotherapy during enhanced outreach services are plausible explanations for the changing patterns of intestinal parasite prevalence. The extent of intestinal protozoa infections suggests poor water quality or unsanitary water collection and storage practices and warrants targeted intervention.
Part of the SAFE strategy (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement) to eliminate blinding trachoma involves improving access to, and use of, water and sanitation. We combined the assessment of parasitic worm and intestinal protozoa infections with surveys of trachoma in an area of Ethiopia where the SAFE strategy, together with enhanced outreach services and the health extension program, had been implemented for more than 5 years. We compared our findings with results from a survey conducted in the mid-1990s. We documented significant increases in household access and use of latrines and clean water: the F and E components of the SAFE strategy as promoted by the health extension program. We found considerably lower levels of parasitic worm infections than those reported previously. Moreover, we documented, for the first time in this zone, pathogenic intestinal protozoa infections, which indicate poor water quality and unhygienic water collection and storage practices in the communities surveyed. A plausible hypothesis for the decline in parasitic worm infections might be the combined impact of ongoing simultaneous health programs: SAFE strategy for trachoma control alongside the health extension program and regular deworming of preschool-aged children.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used routinely to control pain and inflammation after surgery in dogs. Robenacoxib is a new NSAID with high selectivity for the cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 isoform of COX. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of robenacoxib for the management of peri-operative pain and inflammation associated with soft tissue surgery in dogs. The study was a prospective, randomized, blinded, positive-controlled, non-inferiority, multi-center clinical trial. A total of 174 dogs undergoing major soft tissue surgery were included and randomly allocated in a 2:1 ratio to receive either robenacoxib (n = 118) or the positive control, meloxicam (n = 56). Each dog received an initial dose subcutaneously prior to surgery (robenacoxib 2 mg/kg, meloxicam 0.2 mg/kg), followed by daily oral doses (robenacoxib 1–2 mg/kg, meloxicam 0.1 mg/kg) for 12 days (range 10–14) after surgery. Pain and inflammation were assessed subjectively using the Glasgow Composite Pain Scale (GCPS) by clinicians as the primary end point and additional evaluations by the clinicians and animal owners as secondary endpoints.
Both treatments provided similar pain control, with no significant differences between groups for any efficacy variable using non-parametric analyses (Mann–Whitney U test). In no dog was analgesic rescue therapy administered. Non-inferior efficacy of robenacoxib compared to meloxicam was demonstrated statistically for the primary and all secondary endpoints using parametric analysis of variance, although the data were not normally distributed even after log transformation. For the primary endpoint (reciprocal of the modified GCPS score), the relative efficacy of robenacoxib/meloxicam was 1.12 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.97-1.29.
Both treatments were well tolerated and did not affect buccal mucosal bleeding time.
A treatment regimen of robenacoxib by subcutaneous injection followed by oral tablets had good tolerability and non-inferior efficacy compared to meloxicam for the management of peri-operative pain and inflammation associated with soft tissue surgery in dogs.
Analgesia; Dog; Meloxicam; Peri-operative; Robenacoxib; Soft tissue surgery
The transparency of the eye lens depends on maintaining the native tertiary structures and solubility of the lens crystallin proteins over a lifetime. Cataract, the leading cause of blindness worldwide, is caused by protein aggregation within the protected lens environment. With age, covalent protein damage accumulates through pathways thought to include UV radiation, oxidation, deamidation, and truncations. Experiments suggest that the resulting protein destabilization leads to partially unfolded, aggregation-prone intermediates and the formation of insoluble, light-scattering protein aggregates. These aggregates either include or overwhelm the protein chaperone content of the lens. Here we review the causes of cataracts and non-surgical methods being investigated to inhibit or delay cataract development, including natural product-based therapies, modulators of oxidation, and protein aggregation inhibitors.
Better tools for assessing cognitive impairment in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are required to enable diagnosis of the disease before substantial neurodegeneration has taken place and to allow detection of subtle changes in the early stages of progression of the disease. The National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association convened a meeting to discuss state of the art methods for cognitive assessment, including computerized batteries, as well as new approaches in the pipeline. Speakers described research using novel tests of object recognition, spatial navigation, attentional control, semantic memory, semantic interference, prospective memory, false memory and executive function as among the tools that could provide earlier identification of individuals with AD. In addition to early detection, there is a need for assessments that reflect real-world situations in order to better assess functional disability. It is especially important to develop assessment tools that are useful in ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse populations as well as in individuals with neurodegenerative disease other than AD.
Age-onset cataracts are believed to be expedited by the accumulation of UV-damaged human γD-crystallins in the eye lens. Here we show with molecular dynamics simulations that the stability of γD-crystallin is greatly reduced by the conversion of tryptophan to kynurenine due to UV-radiation, consistent with previous experimental evidences. Furthermore, our atomic-detailed results reveal that kynurenine attracts more waters and other polar sidechains due to its additional amino and carbonyl groups on the damaged tryptophan sidechain, thus breaching the integrity of nearby dry center regions formed by the two Greek key motifs in each domain. The damaged tryptophan residues cause large fluctuations in the Tyr-Trp-Tyr sandwich-like hydrophobic clusters, which in turn break crucial hydrogen-bonds bridging two β-strands in the Greek key motifs at the “tyrosine corner”. Our findings may provide new insights for understanding of the molecular mechanism of the initial stages of UV-induced cataractogenesis.
Pancreatic cancer is an exceedingly lethal disease with a five-year survival that ranks among the lowest of gastrointestinal malignancies. Part of its lethality is attributable to a generally poor response to existing chemotherapeutic regimens. New therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. We aimed to elucidate the anti-neoplastic mechanisms of apigenin-an abundant, naturally-occurring plant flavonoid-with a particular focus on p53 function. Pancreatic cancer cells (BxPC-3, MiaPaCa-2) experienced dose and time-dependent growth inhibition and increased apoptosis with apigenin treatment. p53 post-translational modification, nuclear translocation, DNA binding, and upregulation of p21 and PUMA were all enhanced by apigenin treatment despite mutated p53 in both cell lines. Transcription-dependent p53 activity was reversed by pifithrin-α, a specific DNA binding inhibitor of p53, but not growth inhibition or apoptosis suggesting transcription-independent p53 activity. This was supported by immunoprecipitation assays which demonstrated disassociation of p53/BclXL and PUMA/BclXL and formation of complexes with Bak followed by Cytochrome c release. Treated animals grew smaller tumors with increased cellular apoptosis than those fed control diet. These results suggest that despite deactivating mutation, p53 retains some of its function which is augmented following treatment with apigenin. Cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction may be mediated by transcription-independent p53 function via interactions with BclXL and PUMA. Further study of flavonoids as chemotherapeutics is warranted
Mass drug administration (MDA) with antibiotics is a key component of the SAFE strategy for trachoma control. Guidelines recommend that where MDA is warranted the whole population be targeted with 80% considered the minimum acceptable coverage. In other countries, MDA is usually conducted by salaried Ministry of Health personnel (MOH). In Plateau State, Nigeria, the existing network of volunteer Community Directed Distributors (CDD) was used for the first trachoma MDA. We conducted a population-based cluster random survey (CRS) of MDA participation to determine the true coverage and compared this to coverage reported from CDD registers. We surveyed 1,791 people from 352 randomly selected households in 24 clusters in three districts in Plateau State in January 2011, following the implementation of MDA. Households were enumerated and all individuals present were asked about MDA participation. Household heads were questioned about household-level characteristics and predictors of participation. Individual responses were compared with the CDD registers. MDA coverage was estimated as 60.3% (95% CI 47.9–73.8%) by the survey compared with 75.8% from administrative program reports. CDD registration books for comparison with responses were available in 19 of the 24 clusters; there was a match for 658/682 (96%) of verifiable responses. CDD registers did not list 481 (41.3%) of the individuals surveyed. Gender and age were not associated with individual participation. Overall MDA coverage was lower than the minimum 80% target. The observed discrepancy between the administrative coverage estimate from program reports and the CRS was largely due to identification of communities missed by the MDA and not reported in the registers. CRS for evaluation of MDA provides a useful additional monitoring tool to CDD registers. These data support modification of distributor training and MDA delivery to increase coverage in subsequent rounds of MDA.
The World Health Organization recommends that mass drug administration for trachoma control reach a minimum of 80% of the target population. Previous evaluations of MDA coverage have demonstrated that administrative reports can bias coverage estimates. A survey of participation in mass drug administration for trachoma control was implemented in three districts in Plateau State, Nigeria in 2011 to validate coverage calculated from treatment registers. A total of 352 households were surveyed from 24 randomly selected communities. Heads of household were interviewed to identify household-level characteristics and predictors of participation. Individual household members were enumerated and those present at the time of interview were asked to report individual participation in the MDA. Responses were verified against the community-drug distributor registration log. Approximately 60% of the sample reported receiving either tetracycline eye ointment or azithromycin for trachoma control. Administrative data on treatment estimated coverage at 76% for the three LGAs. The discrepancy between the coverage estimate from administrative data (calculated by the program) and the survey data suggest that cluster random surveys of MDA provide a useful monitoring tool to validate administrative data on treatment coverage. These data support modification of distributor training and MDA delivery to increase coverage in subsequent rounds of MDA.
Our ability to respond to stress is critically dependent upon the release of the stress hormone adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) from corticotroph cells of the anterior pituitary gland. ACTH release is controlled by the electrical properties of corticotrophs that are determined by the movement of ions through channel pores in the plasma membrane. We show that a calcium-activated potassium ion channel called SK4 is expressed in corticotrophs and regulates ACTH release. We provide evidence of how SK4 channels control corticotroph function, which is essential for understanding homeostasis and for treating stress-related disorders.
The anterior pituitary corticotroph is a major control point for the regulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and the neuroendocrine response to stress. Although corticotrophs are known to be electrically excitable, ion channels controlling the electrical properties of corticotrophs are poorly understood. Here, we exploited a lentiviral transduction system to allow the unequivocal identification of live murine corticotrophs in culture. We demonstrate that corticotrophs display highly heterogeneous spontaneous action-potential firing patterns and their resting membrane potential is modulated by a background sodium conductance. Physiological concentrations of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) cause a depolarization of corticotrophs, leading to a sustained increase in action potential firing. A major component of the outward potassium conductance was mediated via intermediate conductance calcium-activated (SK4) potassium channels. Inhibition of SK4 channels with TRAM-34 resulted in an increase in corticotroph excitability and exaggerated CRH/AVP-stimulated ACTH secretion in vitro. In accordance with a physiological role for SK4 channels in vivo, restraint stress-induced plasma ACTH and corticosterone concentrations were significantly enhanced in gene-targeted mice lacking SK4 channels (Kcnn4−/−). In addition, Kcnn4−/− mutant mice displayed enhanced hypothalamic c-fos and nur77 mRNA expression following restraint, suggesting increased neuronal activation. Thus, stress hyperresponsiveness observed in Kcnn4−/− mice results from enhanced secretagogue-induced ACTH output from anterior pituitary corticotrophs and may also involve increased hypothalamic drive, thereby suggesting an important role for SK4 channels in HPA axis function.
Recent studies have reported increased mortality for right-sided colon cancers but had limited adjustment for patient characteristics and conflicting results by stage. We examined the relationship between colon cancer location (right- v left-side) and 5-year mortality by stage.
Patients and Methods
We identified Medicare beneficiaries from 1992 to 2005 with American Joint Commission on Cancer stages I to III primary adenocarcinoma of the colon who underwent surgery for curative intent through Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) –Medicare data. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs for predictors of all-cause 5-year mortality were obtained by using Cox proportional hazards regression.
Of 53,801 patients, 67% had right-sided colon cancer. Patients with right-sided cancer were more likely to be older, to be women, to be diagnosed with a more advanced stage, and to have more poorly differentiated tumors. Adjusted Cox regression showed no significant difference in mortality between right- and left-sided cancers for all stages combined (HR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.04; P = .598) or for stage I cancers (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.88 to 1.03; P = .211). Stage II right-sided cancers had lower mortality than left-sided cancers (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.87 to 0.97; P = .001), and stage III right-sided cancers had higher mortality (HR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.18; P < .001).
When analysis was adjusted for multiple patient, disease, comorbidity, and treatment variables, no overall difference in 5-year mortality was seen between right- and left-sided colon cancers. However, within stage II disease, right-sided cancers had lower mortality; within stage III, right-sided cancers had higher mortality.
The eye lens crystallin proteins are subject to UV irradiation throughout life, and the photochemistry of damage proceeds through the excited state; thus, their tryptophan (Trp) fluorescence lifetimes are physiologically important properties. The time resolved fluorescence spectra of single Trps in human γD- and γS-crystallins have been measured with both an upconversion spectrophotofluorometer on the 300fs to 100ps time scale, and a time correlated single photon counting apparatus on the 100ps to 10ns time scale, respectively. Three Trps in each wild type protein were replaced by phenylalanine, leading to single-Trp mutants: W68-only and W156-only of HγD- and W72-only and W162-only of HγS-crystallin. These proteins exhibit similar ultrafast signatures: positive definite decay associated spectra (DAS) for 50 – 65ps decay constants that indicate dominance of fast, heterogeneous quenching. The quenched population (judged by amplitude) of this DAS differs among mutants. Trps 68, 156 in human γD- and Trp72 in human γS-crystallin are buried, but water can reach amide oxygen and ring HE1 atoms through narrow channels. QM-MM simulations of quenching by electron transfer predict heterogeneous decay times from 50–500 ps that agree with our experimental results. Further analysis of apparent radiative lifetimes allow us to deduce that substantial subpopulations of Trp are fully quenched in even faster (sub-300 fs) processes for several of the mutants. The quenching of Trp fluorescence of human γD- and γS-crystallin may protect them from ambient light induced photo damage.
Scutellaria baicalensis (SB) and SB-derived polyphenols possess anti-proliferative activities in several cancers, including pancreatic cancer (PaCa). However, the precise molecular mechanisms have not been fully defined. SB extract and SB-derived polyphenols (wogonin, baicalin, and baicalein) were used to determine their anti-proliferative mechanisms. Baicalein significantly inhibited the proliferation of PaCa cell lines in a dose-dependent manner, whereas wogonin and baicalin exhibited a much less robust effect. Treatment with baicalein induced apoptosis with release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, and activation of caspase-3 and -7 and PARP. The general caspase inhibitor zVAD-fmk reversed baicalein-induced apoptosis, indicating a caspase-dependent mechanism. Baicalein decreased expression of Mcl-1, an anti-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 protein family, presumably through a transcriptional mechanism. Genetic knockdown of Mcl-1 resulted in marked induction of apoptosis. The effect of baicalein on apoptosis was significantly attenuated by Mcl-1 over-expression, suggesting a critical role of Mcl-1 in this process. Our results provide evidence that baicalein induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells through down-regulation of the anti-apoptotic Mcl-1 protein.
Mcl-1; baicalein; apoptosis; pancreatic cancer; Bcl-2 family proteins
The efficacy and safety of robenacoxib were assessed for the control of postoperative pain and inflammation in cats. The study was a multicenter, prospective, randomized, blinded, and parallel group clinical trial. A total of 249 client-owned cats scheduled for forelimb onychectomy plus either ovariohysterectomy or castration surgeries were included. All cats received butorphanol prior to anesthesia and forelimb four-point regional nerve blocks with bupivacaine after induction of general anesthesia. Cats were randomized to receive daily oral tablet robenacoxib, at a mean (range) dosage of 1.84 (1.03–2.40) mg/kg (n = 167), or placebo (n = 82), once prior to surgery and for two days postoperatively. Significantly (P < 0.05) fewer robenacoxib cats received additional analgesia rescue therapy (16.5%) than placebo cats (46.3%). Pain elicited on palpation of the soft tissue incision site, behavior following social interaction, and posture assessed during the first 8 hours after extubation were significantly (P < 0.05) improved in cats receiving robenacoxib. Frequency of reported adverse clinical signs, hematology, serum chemistry and urinalysis variables, and body weight changes weresimilar between groups. In conclusion, robenacoxib was effective and well tolerated in the control of postoperative pain and inflammation in cats undergoing onychectomy with ovariohysterectomy or castration.
The transparency of the eye lens depends upon maintenance of the native state of the γ- and β-crystallins, which is aided by the abundant chaperones αA- and αB-crystallin. Mature onset cataract, the leading cause of blindness worldwide, involves the polymerization of covalently damaged or partially unfolded crystallins into light-scattering aggregates. A number of single amino acid substitutions and truncations of γ-crystallins result in congenital cataract in both humans and mice, though in many cases the coupling between the protein alterations and the accumulation of aggregates is poorly defined.
We have studied the aggregation properties and chaperone interactions of human γD-crystallin carrying substitutions of two buried core mutants, I90F and V75D, which cause congenital cataract in mice. The in vitro aggregation pathway competing with productive refolding was not altered by either substitution. Furthermore, this aggregation pathway for both mutant proteins–originating from a partially folded intermediate–was efficiently suppressed by αB-crystallin. Thus the cataract pathology was unlikely to be associated with a direct folding defect. The native state of wild-type human γD-crystallin exhibited no tendency to aggregate under physiological conditions. However both I90F and V75D native-like proteins exhibited slow (days) aggregation to high molecular weight aggregates under physiological conditions. The perturbed conformation of I90F was recognized and bound by both αA and αB chaperones. In contrast, the aggregation derived from the perturbed state of V75D was not suppressed by either chaperone, and the aggregating species were not bound by the chaperone.
The cataract phenotype of I90F in mice may be due to premature saturation of the finite α- crystallin pool. The V75D aggregation pathway and its escape from chaperone surveillance and aggregation suppression can account for the congenital cataract pathology of this mutant. Failure of chaperone recognition may be an important source of pathology for many other protein folding defects.
This retrospective study reports the survival time [onset of congestive heart failure (CHF) to death from any cause] of 21 dogs with mitral regurgitation (MR) and CHF treated with a combination of furosemide, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI, benazepril, or enalapril), pimobendan, spironolactone, and amlodipine. Baseline echocardiographic data: end-systolic and end-diastolic volume indices (ESVI and EDVI), left atrium to aorta ratio (LA/Ao), and regurgitant fraction (RF) are reported. Median survival time (MST) was 430 d. Initial dosage of furosemide (P = 0.0081) and LA/Ao (P = 0.042) were negatively associated with survival. Baseline echocardiographic indices (mean ± standard deviation) were 40.24 ± 16.76 for ESVI, 161.48 ± 44.49 mL/m2 for EDVI, 2.11 ± 0.75 for LA/Ao, and 64.71 ± 16.85% for RF. Combining furosemide, ACEI, pimobendan, spironolactone, and amlodipine may result in long survival times in dogs with MR and CHF. Severity of MR at onset of CHF is at least moderate.
Campylobacter is the leading cause of foodborne diseases worldwide. Bacteriophages (phages) are naturally occurring predators of bacteria, ubiquitous in the environment, with high host specificity and thus considered an appealing option to control bacterial pathogens. Nevertheless for an effective use of phages as antimicrobial agents, it is important to understand phage biology which renders crucial the analysis of phage genomes and proteomes. The lack of sequence data from Campylobacter phages adds further importance to these studies.
vB_CcoM-IBB_35 is a broad lytic spectrum Myoviridae Campylobacter phage with high potential for therapeutic use. The genome of this phage was obtained by pyrosequencing and the sequence data was further analyzed. The proteomic analysis was performed by SDS-PAGE and Mass spectrometry.
Results and conclusions
The DNA sequence data of vB_CcoM-IBB_35 consists of five contigs for a total of 172,065 bp with an average GC content of 27%. Attempts to close the gaps between contigs were unsuccessful since the DNA preparations appear to contain substances that inhibited Taq and ϕ29 polymerases. From the 210 identified ORFs, around 60% represent proteins that were not functionally assigned. Homology exists with members of the Teequatrovirinae namely for T4 proteins involved in morphogenesis, nucleotide metabolism, transcription, DNA replication and recombination. Tandem mass spectrometric analysis revealed 38 structural proteins as part of the mature phage particle.
Genes encoding proteins involved in the carbohydrate metabolism along with several incidences of gene duplications, split genes with inteins and introns have been rarely found in other phage genomes yet are found in this phage. We identified the genes encoding for tail fibres and for the lytic cassette, this later, expressing enzymes for bacterial capsular polysaccharides (CPS) degradation, which has not been reported before for Campylobacter phages.
Bacteriophage; Genome; Campylobacter
Elongated trimeric adhesins are a distinct class of proteins employed by phages and viruses to recognize and bind to their host cells, and by bacteria to bind to their target cells and tissues. The tailspikes of E. coli phage K1F and Bacillus phage Ø29 exhibit auto-chaperone activity in their trimeric C-terminal domains. The P22 tailspike is structurally homologous to those adhesins. Though there are no disulfide bonds or reactive cysteines in the native P22 tailspikes, a set of C-terminal cysteines are very reactive in partially folded intermediates, implying an unusual local conformation in the domain. This is likely to be involved in the auto-chaperone function. We examined the unusual reactivity of C-terminal tailspike cysteines during folding and assembly as a potential reporter of auto-chaperone function. Reaction with IAA blocked productive refolding in vitro, but not off-pathway aggregation. Two-dimensional PAGE revealed that the predominant intermediate exhibiting reactive cysteine side chains was a partially folded monomer. Treatment with reducing reagent promoted native trimer formation from these species, consistent with transient disulfide bonds in the auto-chaperone domain. Limited enzymatic digestion and mass spectrometry of folding and assembly intermediates indicated that the C-terminal domain was compact in the protrimer species. These results indicate that the C-terminal domain of the P22 tailspike folds itself and associates prior to formation of the protrimer intermediate, and not after, as previously proposed. The C-terminal cysteines and triple β-helix domains apparently provide the staging for the correct auto-chaperone domain formation, needed for alignment of P22 tailspike native trimer.
auto-chaperone; cysteines; folding intermediates; tailspike; transient disulfide bond
The efficient mechanism by which double stranded DNA bacteriophages deliver their chromosome across the outer membrane, cell wall, and inner membrane of Gram-negative bacteria remains obscure. Advances in single particle electron cryo-microscopy have recently revealed details of the organization of the DNA injection apparatus within the mature virion for various bacteriophages, including epsilon15 (ε15) and P-SSP7. We have used electron cryo-tomography and 3D subvolume averaging to capture snapshots of ε15 infecting its host Salmonella anatum. These structures suggest the following stages of infection. In the first stage, the tailspikes of ε15 attach to the surface of the host cell. Next ε15's tail hub attaches to a putative cell receptor and establishes a tunnel through which the injection core proteins behind the portal exit the virion. A tube spanning the periplasmic space is formed for viral DNA passage, presumably from the rearrangement of core proteins or from cellular components. This tube would direct the DNA into the cytoplasm and protect it from periplasmic nucleases. Once the DNA has been injected into the cell, the tube and portal seals, and the empty bacteriophage remains at the cell surface.
virus; infection; Salmonella; electron; cryo-tomography