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 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
Syn5 is a marine cyanophage that is propagated on the marine photosynthetic cyanobacterial strain Synechococcus sp. WH8109 under laboratory conditions. Cryoelectron images of this double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) phage reveal an icosahedral capsid with short tail appendages and a single novel hornlike structure at the vertex opposite the tail. Despite the major impact of cyanophages on life in the oceans, there is limited information on cyanophage intracellular assembly processes within their photosynthetic hosts. The one-step growth curve of Syn5 demonstrated a short cycle with an eclipse period of ∼45 min, a latent phase of ∼60 min, and a burst size of 20 to 30 particles per cell at 28°C. SDS-PAGE and Western blot analysis of cell lysates at different times after infection showed the synthesis of major virion proteins and their increase as the infection progressed. The scaffolding protein of Syn5, absent from virions, was identified in the lysates and expressed from the cloned gene. It migrated anomalously on SDS-PAGE, similar to the phage T7 scaffolding protein. Particles lacking DNA but containing the coat and scaffolding proteins were purified from Syn5-infected cells using CsCl centrifugation followed by sucrose gradient centrifugation. Electron microscopic images of the purified particles showed shells lacking condensed DNA but filled with protein density, presumably scaffolding protein. These findings suggest that the cyanophages form infectious virions through the initial assembly of scaffolding-containing procapsids, similar to the assembly pathways for the enteric dsDNA bacteriophages. Since cyanobacteria predate the enteric bacteria, this procapsid-mediated assembly pathway may have originated with the cyanophages.
Zernike phase contrast cryo-electron microscopy (ZPC-cryoEM) is an emerging technique which is capable of producing higher image contrast than conventional cryoEM. By combining this technique with advanced image processing methods, we achieved subnanometer resolution for two biological specimens: 2-D bacteriorhodopsin crystal and epsilon15 bacteriophage. For an asymmetric reconstruction of epsilon15 bacteriophage, ZPC-cryoEM can reduce the required amount of data by a factor of ~3 compared to conventional cryoEM. The reconstruction was carried out to 13 Å resolution without the need to correct the contrast transfer function. New structural features at the portal vertex of the epsilon15 bacteriophage are revealed in this reconstruction. Using ZPC cryo-electron tomography (ZPC-cryoET), a similar level of data reduction and higher resolution structures of epsilon15 bacteriophage can be obtained relative to conventional cryoET. These results show quantitatively the benefits of ZPC-cryoEM and -cryoET for structural determinations of macromolecular machines at nanometer and subnanometer resolutions.
Human γ-crystallins are long-lived unusually stable proteins of the eye lens exhibiting duplicated, double Greek key domains. The lens also contains high concentrations of the small heat shock chaperone α-crystallin, which suppresses aggregation of model substrates in vitro. Mature-onset cataract is believed to represent an aggregated state of partially-unfolded and covalently damaged crystallins. Nonetheless, the lack of cell or tissue culture for anucleate lens fibers and the insoluble state of cataract proteins has made it difficult to identify the conformation of the human γ-crystallin substrate species recognized by human α-crystallin. The three major human lens monomeric γ-crystallins, γD, γC, and γS, all refold in vitro in the absence of chaperones, on dilution from denaturant into buffer. However, off-pathway aggregation of the partially folded intermediates competes with productive refolding. Incubation with human αB-Crystallin chaperone during refolding suppressed the aggregation pathways of the three human γ-crystallin proteins. The chaperone did not dissociate or refold the aggregated chains under these conditions. The αB-crystallin oligomers formed long-lived, stable complexes with its γD-crystallin substrates. Using α-crystallin chaperone variants lacking tryptophans, we obtained fluorescence spectra of the chaperone/substrate complex. Binding of substrate γ-crystallins with two or three of the four buried tryptophans replaced by phenylalanines, showed that the bound substrate remained in a partially folded state with neither domain native-like. These in vitro results provide support for protein unfolding/protein aggregation models for cataract, with α-crystallin suppressing aggregation of damaged or unfolded proteins through early adulthood, but becoming saturated with advancing age.
α-crystallin; cataracts; small heat shock protein; chaperone; aggregation
Despite historical evidence of blinding trachoma, there have been no widespread contemporary surveys of trachoma prevalence in the northern states of Sudan. We aimed to conduct district-level surveys in this vast region in order to map the extent of the problem and estimate the need for trachoma control interventions to eliminate blinding trachoma.
Methods and Findings
Separate, population based cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 88 localities (districts) in 12 northern states of Sudan between 2006 and 2010. Two-stage cluster random sampling with probability proportional to size was used to select the sample. Trachoma grading was done using the WHO simplified grading system. Key prevalence indicators were trachomatous inflammation-follicular (TF) in children aged 1–9 years and trachomatous trichiasis (TT) in adults aged 15 years and above. The sample comprised 1,260 clusters from which 25,624 households were surveyed. A total of 106,697 participants (81.6% response rate) were examined for trachoma signs. TF prevalence was above 10% in three districts and between 5% and 9% in 11 districts. TT prevalence among adults was above 1% in 20 districts (which included the three districts with TF prevalence >10%). The overall number of people with TT in the population was estimated to be 31,072 (lower and upper bounds = 26,125–36,955).
Trachoma mapping is complete in the northern states of Sudan except for the Darfur States. The survey findings will facilitate programme planning and inform deployment of resources for elimination of trachoma from the northern states of Sudan by 2015, in accordance with the Sudan Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) objectives.
Trachoma is an infectious disease which is caused by a bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis and is the leading cause of preventable blindness, estimated to be responsible for 2.9% of blindness globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an integrated strategy for control and elimination of blinding trachoma known as SAFE, which stands for: surgery; antibiotics; facial cleanliness; and environmental improvement. In order to identify districts where trachoma is a public health problem, we undertook 88 district-level surveys in 12 northern states of Sudan. Our findings revealed that interventions to prevent blinding trachoma are recommended in 14 out of 88 districts where the prevalence of trachomatous inflammation-follicular (TF) in children aged 1–9 years exceeded the WHO thresholds for intervention. Services to provide surgery to those with trachomatous trichiasis (TT) should be prioritized in 20 districts where prevalence of TT in adults exceeded 1%. These findings are important since they will help the Sudan Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) to prioritize resources for elimination of trachoma.
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a product of cyclooxygenase (COX) and prostaglandin E synthase (PGES) and deactivated by 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (PGDH). Down-regulation of PGDH contributes to PGE2 accumulation in lung and colon cancers but has not been identified in pancreatic cancer.
Human pancreatic normal and tumor matched tissues as well as MiaPaCa-2 and BxPC-3 cell lines were assessed for COX-2, mPGES-1, PGDH, SNAI1 and SNAI2 expression by RT-PCR and Western blotting and PGE2 by ELISA.
Normal tissues exhibited low COX-2 mRNA and protein expression, high PGDH mRNA and protein expression and PGE2 levels at 13 pg/mg protein. In contrast, tumor tissues exhibited high COX-2 mRNA and protein expression, low PGDH mRNA and protein expression and PGE2 levels at 32 pg/mg protein. Tumor tissues exhibited significantly elevated expression of SNAI2 mRNA and protein but not SNAI1 as SNAI1 and SNAI2 reportedly down-regulate PGDH expression. COX-2-positive BxPC-3 but not COX-2-negative MiaPaCa-2 treated with 100 nM of PGE2 induced pERK that was blocked by MEK inhibitor U0126, demonstrating the ability of PGE2 to activate ERK.
These results suggest that enhanced PGE2 production proceeds through the expression of COX-2 and mPGES-1 and down-regulation of PGDH by SNAI2 in pancreatic tumors.
prostaglandin E2; cyclooxygenase-2; 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase; microsomal prostaglandin E synthase; SNAI2
Trachoma prevalence surveys provide the evidence base for district and community-wide implementation of the SAFE strategy, and are used to evaluate the impact of trachoma control interventions. An economic analysis was performed to estimate the cost of trachoma prevalence surveys conducted between 2006 and 2010 from 8 national trachoma control programs in Africa.
Methodology and Findings
Data were collected retrospectively from reports for 165 districts surveyed for trachoma prevalence using a cluster random sampling methodology in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Southern Sudan and The Gambia.
The median cost per district survey was $4,784 (inter-quartile range [IQR] = $3,508–$6,650) while the median cost per cluster was $311 (IQR = $119–$393). Analysis by cost categories (personnel, transportation, supplies and other) and cost activity (training, field work, supervision and data entry) revealed that the main cost drivers were personnel and transportation during field work.
Population-based cluster random surveys are used to provide the evidence base to set objectives and determine when elimination targets have been reached for several neglected tropical diseases, including trachoma. The cost of conducting epidemiologically rigorous prevalence surveys should not be a barrier to program implementation or evaluation.
The costs of conducting population-based prevalence surveys for neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma are often cited as a reason that program managers do not conduct baseline or impact assessments when guidelines suggest they are warranted. The authors conducted a review of actual costs incurred during the implementation of 165 district level surveys in 8 national trachoma control programs to identify the median and mean costs per district and per cluster. In addition, the costs of the principal activities that are the most expensive were measured. The data show that field work is the most expensive activity for a prevalence survey, with personnel (per diems, allowances and accommodation) and transport costs driving the total cost of the survey. These findings can be used by program managers to budget for population-based prevalence surveys that are recommended for baseline and evaluation surveys, and periodic uptake surveys for neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma.
Lens clarity requires maintenance of a perfect proteome. Deamidated crystallins are observed in cataractous lenses. The authors demonstrate for the first time that deamidated proteins are selective substrates for the ubiquitin proteolytic pathway. As such, they could be more efficiently cleared from lens systems, but they are not. These data raise the possibility that ubiquitination is not productive for degradation or that proteasome activity in lens cells and tissues is insufficient, resulting in the accumulation rather than the timely degradation of the deamidated proteins.
The accumulation, aggregation, and precipitation of proteins is etiologic for age-related diseases, particularly cataract, because the precipitates cloud the lens. Deamidation of crystallins is associated with protein precipitation, aging, and cataract. Among the roles of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway (UPP) is protein surveillance and maintenance of protein quality. The purpose of this study was to determine whether deamidation can alter clearance of crystallins by the UPP.
Wild-type (WT) and deamidated crystallins were expressed and 125I-radiolabeled. Ubiquitination and degradation were monitored separately.
For βB2 crystallins, rates of ubiquitination and adenosine triphosphate–dependent degradation, both indicators of active UPP, occurred in the order Q70E/Q162E>Q162E> Q70E=WT βB2 using reticulocyte lysate as the source of degradation machinery. Human lens epithelial cell lysates and lens fiber cell lysates also catalyzed ubiquitination but only limited degradation. Supplementation with proteasome failed to enhance degradation. Rates of ubiquitination and degradation of WT and deamidated βB1 crystallins were rapid and showed little relationship to the site of deamidation using N157D and Q204E mutants. γD-Crystallins were not degraded by the UPP. Deamidation altered amine reactivity, circular dichroism spectra, surface hydrophobicity, and thermal stability.
These data demonstrate for the first time that, like mild oxidative stress, deamidation of some proteins makes them preferred substrates for ubiquitination and, in some cells, for UPP-dependent degradation. Failure to properly execute ubiquitination and degrade the ubiquitin-conjugates may explain their accumulation on aging and in cataractogenesis.
Renal ischemia-reperfusion injury results in oxidative stress-induced alterations in barrier function. Activation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway during recovery from oxidative stress may be an effector of oxidant-induced tight junction reorganization. We hypothesized that tight junction composition and barrier function would be perturbed during recovery from oxidative stress. We developed a model of short-term H2O2 exposure followed by recovery using Madin Darby Canine Kidney cells (MDCK II). H2O2 perturbs barrier function without a significant cytotoxic effect except in significant doses. ERK-1/2 and p38, both enzymes of the MAP kinase pathway, were activated within minutes of exposure to H2O2. Transient exposure to H2O2 produced a biphasic response in transepithelial electrical resistance (TER). An initial drop in TER at 6 hours was followed by a significant increase at 24 hours. Inhibition of ERK-1/2 activation attenuated the increase in TER observed at 24 hours. Expression of occludin initially decreased followed by partial recovery at 24 hours. In contrast, claudin-1 levels decreased and failed to recover at 24 hours. Claudin-2 levels markedly decreased at 24 hours; however, inhibition of ERK-1/2 activation was protective. Occludin and claudin-1 localization at the apical membrane on immunofluorescent images was fragmented at 6 hours after H2O2 exposure with subsequent recovery of appropriate localization by 24 hours. MDCK II cell recovery after H2O2 exposure is associated with functional and structural modification of the tight junction that are mediated in part by activation of the MAP kinase enzymes, ERK-1/2 and p38.
Tight junction; kidney epithelium; oxidative stress; barrier function
Marine Synechococcus spp and marine Prochlorococcus spp are numerically dominant photoautotrophs in the open oceans and contributors to the global carbon cycle. Syn5 is a short-tailed cyanophage isolated from the Sargasso Sea on Synechococcus strain WH8109. Syn5 has been grown in WH8109 to high titer in the laboratory and purified and concentrated retaining infectivity. Genome sequencing and annotation of Syn5 revealed that the linear genome is 46,214bp with a 237bp terminal direct repeat. Sixty-one open reading frames (ORFs) were identified. Based on genomic organization and sequence similarity to known protein sequences within GenBank, Syn5 shares features with T7-like phages. The presence of a putative integrase suggests access to a temperate life-cycle. Assignment of eleven ORFs to structural proteins found within the phage virion was confirmed by mass-spectrometry and N-terminal sequencing. Eight of these identified structural proteins exhibited amino acid sequence similarity to enteric phage proteins. The remaining three virion proteins did not resemble any known phage sequences in GenBank as of August 2006. Cryoelectron micrographs of purified Syn5 virions revealed that the capsid has a single “horn”, a novel fibrous structure protruding from the opposing end of the capsid from the tail of the virion. The tail appendage displayed an apparent three-fold rather than six-fold symmetry. An 18Å-resolution icosahedral reconstruction of the capsid revealed a T=7 lattice, but with an unusual pattern of surface knobs. This phage/host system should allow detailed investigation of the physiology and biochemistry of phage propagation in marine photosynthetic bacteria.
This paper is based on a presentation made during the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center’s Symposium on Mild Cognitive Impairment on April 19, 2008. The results of the ACTIVE study (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) were presented at the symposium including review of previously published study findings. The ACTIVE study is a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial that has been examining the long-term effectiveness of cognitive training on enhancing mental abilities (memory, reasoning, and attention) and preserving activities of daily living (managing finances, taking medication, using the telephone, and driving) in older adults. Six centers across the eastern United States enrolled nearly 3000 people initially. Participants underwent detailed assessments of mental and functional ability on multiple occasions over several years of follow-up. ACTIVE has shown positive effects of cognitive training at 5 years post-intervention for basic mental abilities, health-related quality of life, and improved ability to perform instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). A subgroup analysis through 2 years of follow-up suggested that subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) did not benefit from memory training; however, they did benefit, to the same degree as cognitively normal participants, from training in reasoning and speed of processing. This finding suggests that MCI may interfere with a person’s ability to benefit from some forms of cognitive enhancement. Limitations of ACTIVE and directions for future research are reviewed.
This work shows that human γC-crystallin formed amyloid fibrils upon incubation at low pH via a partially unfolded intermediate.
Mature-onset cataract results from the formation of light-scattering aggregates of lens crystallins. Although oxidative or mutational damage may be a prerequisite, little is known of the initiation or nucleation of these aggregated states. In mice carrying mutations in γ-crystallin genes, a truncated form of γ-crystallin formed intranuclear filamentous inclusions within lens fiber cells. Previous studies have shown that bovine crystallins and human γD-crystallin form amyloid fibrils under denaturing conditions in vitro. The amyloid fibril formation of human γC-crystallin (HγC-Crys) induced by low pH, together with characterization of a partially unfolded intermediate in the process were investigated.
HγC-Crys was expressed and purified from Escherichia coli. Partially unfolded intermediates were detected by tryptophan fluorescence spectroscopy and UV resonance Raman spectroscopy. The aggregation into amyloid fibrils was monitored by solution turbidity and fluorescence assay. The morphology of aggregates was characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Secondary structure of the peptides in their fibrillar state was characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).
The structure of HγC-Crys was perturbed at low pH. Partially unfolded intermediates were detected when solution pH was lowered to pH 3. At pH 3, HγC-Crys aggregated into amyloid fibrils. The kinetics and extent of the reaction was dependent on protein concentration, pH, and temperature. TEM images of aggregates revealed aggregation stages from short to long fibrils and from long fibrils to light-scattering fibril networks. FTIR spectroscopy confirmed the cross-β character of the secondary structure of these fibrils.
HγC-Crys formed amyloid fibrils on incubation at low pH via a partially unfolded intermediate. This process could contribute to the early stages of the formation of light-scattering species in the eye lens.
A national survey in 1997 demonstrated that trachoma was endemic in Mali. Interventions to control trachoma including mass drug administration (MDA) with azithromycin were launched in the regions of Kayes and Koulikoro in 2003. MDA was discontinued after three annual rounds in 2006, and an impact survey conducted. We resurveyed all districts in Kayes and Koulikoro in 2009 to reassess trachoma prevalence and determine intervention objectives for the future. In this paper we present findings from both the 2006 and 2009 surveys.
Population-based cluster surveys were conducted in each of the nine districts in Koulikoro in 2006 and 2009, whilst in Kayes, four of seven districts in 2006 and all seven districts in 2009 were surveyed. Household members present were examined for clinical signs of trachoma.
Overall, 29,179 persons from 2,528 compounds, in 260 clusters were examined in 2006 and 32,918 from 7,533 households in 320 clusters in 2009. The prevalence of TF in children aged 1–9 years in Kayes and Koulikoro was 3.9% (95%CI 2.9–5.0%, range by district 1.2–5.4%) and 2.7% (95%CI 2.3–3.1%, range by district 0.1–5.0%) respectively in 2006. In 2009 TF prevalence was 7.26% (95%CI 6.2–8.2%, range by district 2.5–15.4%) in Kayes and 8.19% (95%CI 7.3–9.1%, range by district 1.7–17.2%) in Koulikoro among children of the same age group. TT in adults 15 years of age and older was 2.37% (95%CI 1.66–3.07%, range by district 0.30–3.54%) in 2006 and 1.37% (95%CI 1.02–1.72%, range by district 0.37–1.87%) in 2009 in Kayes and 1.75% (95%CI 1.31–2.23%, range by district 1.06–2.49%) in 2006 and 1.08% (95%CI 0.86–1.30%, range by district 0.34–1.78%) in 2009 in Koulikoro.
Using WHO guidelines for decision making, four districts, Bafoulabe in Kayes Region; and Banamba, Kolokani and Koulikoro in Koulikoro Region, still meet criteria for district-wide implementation of the full SAFE strategy as TF in children exceeds 10%. A community-by-community approach to trachoma control may now be required in the other twelve districts. Trichiasis surgery provision remains a need in all districts and should be enhanced in six districts in Kayes and five in Koulikoro where the prevalence exceeded 1.0% in adults. Since 1997 great progress has been observed in the fight against blinding trachoma; however, greater effort is required to meet the elimination target of 2015.
Trachoma, a blinding bacterial disease, is targeted for elimination by 2020. To achieve the elimination target, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends member states implement the SAFE strategy; surgery, mass administration of antibiotics, promotion of hygiene and facial cleanliness and water and sanitation as environmental improvements. We present results from evaluation surveys conducted in 2006 and 2009 from the regions of Kayes and Koulikoro, Mali. Prevalence of active trachoma in 2006 was below baseline intervention thresholds in all surveyed districts and the national program stopped antibiotic distribution. The prevalence of trachoma in 2009 remained well below levels in 1998. However, in 8 of 13 districts compared, the prevalence of active trachoma was higher in 2009 than 2006. Three years of antibiotic intervention did not equate in all districts to a sustained reduction of active trachoma. No surveillance activities were implemented after stopping interventions. Surgical interventions may have reduced the burden of blinding trachoma but there is an ongoing need for surgeries specifically targeting affected women. Four districts meet the WHO criteria for resuming district-wide mass antibiotic distribution. A community-by-community approach to elimination may be needed in other districts. The promotion of facial cleanliness and good hygiene behavior should be reintroduced.
Serous cystic neoplasms of the pancreas are benign lesions with little chance for malignant degeneration. We report a case of malignant serous cystadenocarcinoma of the pancreas and review the literature.
Structured review of the literature was performed using PubMed and MEDLINE searches, and cases of serous cystadenocarcinoma of the pancreas were compiled.
A 70-year-old man diagnosed with a serous cystadenoma was managed expectantly until he became symptomatic, and studies revealed an increase in the size of the lesion as well as duodenal invasion. The patient underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy, and histopathological examination revealed a locally invasive cystadenocarcinoma without metastatic disease. Seven years later, the patient remains disease-free. Review of the literature identified 25 cases of serous cystadenocarcinoma published to date. The mean age at diagnosis is 68 ± 2 years (range, 52 to 81), and women are affected more commonly (2:1).
We conclude that there is a small but finite risk of malignancy for serous cystic neoplasms of the pancreas. The clinician should bear this in mind when faced with decisions regarding patient management. Prognosis is excellent with multiple reports of long-term survival even in the face of metastatic disease.
Pancreas; Oncology; Serous cystic lesion; Serous cystadenoma; Serous cystadenocarcinoma