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author:("Wang, anglong")
1.  Highly Efficient Expression of Interleukin-2 under the Control of Rabbit β-Globin Intron II Gene Enhances Protective Immune Responses of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) DNA Vaccine in Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90326.
Highly pathogenic porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (HP-PRRSV) had caused catastrophic losses in swine industry in China. The current inactivated vaccine provided only limited protection, and the attenuated live vaccine could protect piglets against the HP-PRRSV but there was a possibility that the attenuated virus returned to high virulence. In this study, the eukaryotic expression vector pVAX1© was modified under the control of rabbit β-globin intron II gene and the modified vector pMVAX1© was constructed. Porcine interleukin-2 (IL-2) and GP3-GP5 fusion protein of HP-PRRSV strain SD-JN were highly expressed by pMVAX1©. Mice inoculated with pMVAX1©-GP35 developed significantly higher PRRSV-specific antibody responses and T cell proliferation than those vaccinated with pVAX1©-GP35. pMVAX1©-GP35 was selected as PRRS DNA vaccine candidate and co-administrated with pVAX1©-IL-2 or pMVAX1©-IL-2 in pigs. pMVAX1©-IL-2+pMVAX1©-GP35 could provide enhanced PRRSV-specific antibody responses, T cell proliferation, Th1-type and Th2-type cytokine responses and CTL responses than pMVAX1©-GP35 and pVAX1©-IL-2+pMVAX1©-GP35. Following homologous challenge with HP-PRRSV strain SD-JN, similar with attenuated PRRS vaccine group, pigs inoculated with pMVAX1©-IL-2+pMVAX1©-GP35 showed no clinical signs, almost no lung lesions and no viremia, as compared to those in pMVAX1©-GP35 and pVAX1©-IL-2+pMVAX1©-GP35 groups. It indicated that pMVAX1©-IL-2 effectively increases humoral and cell mediated immune responses of pMVAX1©-GP35. Co-administration of pMVAX1©-IL-2 and pMVAX1©-GP35 might be attractive candidate vaccines for preventing HP-PRRSV infections.
PMCID: PMC3946010  PMID: 24603502
2.  Physiological regulation of tau phosphorylation during hibernation 
Journal of neurochemistry  2008;105(6):2098-2108.
The microtubule-associated protein tau is abnormally hyperphosphorylated in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer disease and other tauopathies, and is believed to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. While the mechanisms leading to abnormal tau phosphorylation remain elusive, the recent demonstration of reversible tau phosphorylation during hibernation provides an ideal physiological model to study this critical process in vivo. In this study, arctic ground squirrels (AGS) during hibernation were used to study mechanisms related to tau hyperphosphorylation. Our data demonstrate that tau is hyperphosphorylated at all six sites (S199, T205, S214, S262, S396, and S404) examined in hibernating AGS. Interestingly, only three of these sites (S199, S262, and S404) are dephosphorylated in aroused animals, suggesting a reversible phosphorylation at selective sites. Summer-active AGS demonstrated the lowest tau phosphorylation at all these sites. To explore the mechanisms underlying increased tau phosphorylation during hibernation, the expression level and enzyme activity of various potential tau kinases and protein phosphatases were examined. The kinetic analysis of enzyme activity at different temperatures revealed differential changes in enzyme activity with temperature decline. Specifically, increased protein kinase A activity, decreased protein phosphatase 2A activity, as well as substantial contribution from glycogen synthase kinase-3β, likely play a key role in increased tau phosphorylation during hibernation in AGS.
PMCID: PMC3796382  PMID: 18284615
hibernation; protein kinase A; protein phosphatase 2A; reversible phosphorylation; tau
3.  Mitochondrial defects and oxidative stress in Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease 
Alzheimer disease (AD) and Parkinson disease (PD) are the two most common age-related neurodegenerative diseases characterized by prominent neurodegeneration in selective neural systems. Although a small fraction of AD and PD cases exhibit evidence of heritability, among which many genes have been identified, the majority are sporadic without known causes. Molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and pathogenesis of these diseases remain elusive. Convincing evidence demonstrates oxidative stress as a prominent feature in AD and PD and links oxidative stress to the development of neuronal death and neural dysfunction, which suggests a key pathogenic role for oxidative stress in both AD and PD. Notably, mitochondrial dysfunction is also a prominent feature in these diseases, which is likely to be of critical importance in the genesis and amplification of reactive oxygen species and the pathophysiology of these diseases. In this review, we focus on changes in mitochondrial DNA and mitochondrial dynamics, two aspects critical to the maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis and function, in relationship with oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of AD and PD.
PMCID: PMC3744189  PMID: 23200807
Alzheimer disease; Parkinson disease; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Oxidative stress; Free radicals
4.  The Mitochondrial Dynamics of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease Offer Important Opportunities for Therapeutic Intervention 
Current pharmaceutical design  2011;17(31):3374-3380.
Mitochondrial dynamics play a crucial role in the pathobiology underlying Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Although a complete scientific understanding of these devastating conditions has yet to be realized, alterations in mitochondrial fission and fusion, and in the protein complexes that orchestrate mitochondrial fission and fusion, have been well established in AD- and PD-related neurodegeneration. Whether fission/fusion disruption in the brain is a causal agent in neuronal demise or a product of some other upstream disturbance is still a matter of debate; however, in both AD and PD, the potential for successful therapeutic amelioration of degeneration via mitochondrial protection is high. We here discuss the role of mitochondrial dynamics in AD and PD and assess the need for their therapeutic exploitation.
PMCID: PMC3749822  PMID: 21902671
Alzheimer’s disease; DLP-1; Drp-1; Fis1; fission; fusion; Mfn1; Mfn2; mitochondrial dynamics; neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; therapeutics
5.  Parkinson's disease-associated DJ-1 mutations impair mitochondrial dynamics and cause mitochondrial dysfunction 
Journal of neurochemistry  2012;121(5):830-839.
Mitochondrial dysfunction represents a critical event during the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and expanding evidences demonstrate that an altered balance in mitochondrial fission/fusion is likely an important mechanism leading to mitochondrial and neuronal dysfunction/degeneration. In this study, we investigated whether DJ-1 is involved in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics and function in neuronal cells. Confocal and electron microscopic analysis demonstrated that M17 human neuroblastoma cells over-expressing wild-type DJ-1 (WT DJ-1 cells) displayed elongated mitochondria while M17 cells over-expressing PD-associated DJ-1 mutants (R98Q, D149A and L166P) (mutant DJ-1 cells) showed significant increase of fragmented mitochondria. Similar mitochondrial fragmentation was also noted in primary hippocampal neurons overexpressing PD-associated mutant forms of DJ-1. Functional analysis revealed that over-expression of PD-associated DJ- 1 mutants resulted in mitochondria dysfunction and increased neuronal vulnerability to oxidative stress (H2O2) or neurotoxin. Further immunoblot studies demonstrated that levels of dynamin-like protein (DLP1), also known as Drp1, a regulator of mitochondrial fission, was significantly decreased in WT DJ-1 cells but increased in mutant DJ-1 cells. Importantly, DLP1 knockdown in these mutant DJ-1 cells rescued the abnormal mitochondria morphology and all associated mitochondria/neuronal dysfunction. Taken together, these studies suggest that DJ-1 is involved in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics through modulation of DLP1 expression and PD-associated DJ-1 mutations may cause PD by impairing mitochondrial dynamics and function.
PMCID: PMC3740560  PMID: 22428580
DJ-1; Drp1; mitochondrial elongation; mitochondrial fragmentation; mitochondrial fusion; Parkinson disease
6.  LRRK2 regulates mitochondrial dynamics and function through direct interaction with DLP1 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(9):1931-1944.
The leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) mutations are the most common cause of autosomal-dominant Parkinson disease (PD). Mitochondrial dysfunction represents a critical event in the pathogenesis of PD. We demonstrated that wild-type (WT) LRRK2 expression caused mitochondrial fragmentation along with increased mitochondrial dynamin-like protein (DLP1, also known as DRP1), a fission protein, which was further exacerbated by expression of PD-associated mutants (R1441C or G2019S) in both SH-SY5Y and differentiated primary cortical neurons. We also found that LRRK2 interacted with DLP1, and LRRK2–DLP1 interaction was enhanced by PD-associated mutations that probably results in increased mitochondrial DLP1 levels. Co-expression of dominant-negative DLP1 K38A or WT Mfn2 blocked LRRK2-induced mitochondrial fragmentation, mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal toxicity. Importantly, mitochondrial fragmentation and dysfunction were not observed in cells expressing either GTP-binding deficient mutant LRRK2 K1347A or kinase-dead mutant D1994A which has minimal interaction with DLP1 and did not increase the mitochondrial DLP1 level. We concluded that LRRK2 regulates mitochondrial dynamics by increasing mitochondrial DLP1 through its direct interaction with DLP1, and LRRK2 kinase activity plays a critical role in this process.
PMCID: PMC3315202  PMID: 22228096
7.  Suppression of immune responses in pigs by nonstructural protein 1 of Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus 
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is characterized by a delayed and defective adaptive immune response. The viral nonstructural protein 1 (NSP1) of the PRRS virus (PRRSV) is able to suppress the type I interferon (IFN) response in vitro. In this study, recombinant adenoviruses (rAds) expressing NSP1 (rAd-NSP1), glycoprotein 5 (GP5) (rAd-GP5), and the NSP1-GP5 fusion protein (rAd-NSP1-GP5) were constructed, and the effect of NSP1 on immune responses was investigated in pigs. Pigs inoculated with rAd-NSP1 or rAd-NSP1-GP5 had significantly lower levels of IFN-γ and higher levels of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10 than pigs inoculated with rAd-GP5, wild-type adenovirus, or cell culture medium alone. The antibody response to vaccination against classic swine fever virus (CSFV) was significantly decreased by inoculation of NSP1 7 d after CSFV vaccination in pigs. Thus, NSP1-mediated immune suppression may play an important role in PRRSV pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3460603  PMID: 23543950
8.  Cellular prion protein is essential for oligomeric amyloid-β-induced neuronal cell death 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;21(5):1138-1144.
In Alzheimer disease (AD), amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomer is suggested to play a critical role in imitating neurodegeneration, although its pathogenic mechanism remains to be determined. Recently, the cellular prion protein (PrPC) has been reported to be an essential co-factor in mediating the neurotoxic effect of Aβ oligomer. However, these previous studies focused on the synaptic plasticity in either the presence or the absence of PrPC and no study to date has reported whether PrPC is required for the neuronal cell death, the most critical element of neurodegeneration in AD. Here, we show that Prnp−/− mice are resistant to the neurotoxic effect of Aβ oligomer in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, application of an anti-PrPC antibody or PrPC peptide prevents Aβ oligomer-induced neurotoxicity. These findings are the first to demonstrate that PrPC is required for Aβ oligomer-induced neuronal cell death, the pathology essential to cognitive loss.
PMCID: PMC3277312  PMID: 22100763
9.  Molecular neuropathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease: an interaction model stressing the central role of oxidative stress 
Future neurology  2012;7(3):287-305.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) exhibits a complex etiology that simultaneously manifests as a complex cellular, neurobiological, molecular, anatomic–physiological and clinical entity. Other significant psychiatric conditions, such as depression and schizophrenia, may also present with complex and concurrent clinical and/or molecular phenotypes. These neuropsychiatric pathologies also originate from both environmental and genetic factors. We analyzed the molecular phenotypes of AD and discuss them with respect to the classical theories, which we integrated into mechanisms that share molecular and/or anatomical connections. Based on these mechanisms, we propose an interaction model and discuss the model in light of studies that refute or support it. Given the spectrum of AD phenotypes, we limit the scope of our discussion to a few, which facilitates concrete analysis. In addition, the study of specific, individual pathogenic phenotypes may be critical to defining the complex mechanisms leading to AD, thereby improving strategies for developing novel therapies.
PMCID: PMC3475420  PMID: 23086377
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β; apolipoprotein E; neurofibrillary tangles; Parkinson’s disease; reactive oxygen species
10.  Design and Selection of a Camelid Single-Chain Antibody Yeast Two-Hybrid Library Produced De Novo for the Cap Protein of Porcine Circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e56222.
Nanobodies (or variable domain of the heavy chain of the heavy-chain antibodies, VHHs) are single-domain antigen-binding fragments derived from camelid heavy chain antibodies. Their comparatively small size, monomeric behavior, high stability, high solubility, and ability to bind epitopes inaccessible to conventional antibodies make them especially suitable for many therapeutic and biotechnological applications. In this paper, for the first time, we created the immunized Camelus Bactrianus VHH yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) library according to the Clontech Mate & Plate library construction system. The transformation efficiency and titer of the VHH Y2H library were 7.26×106 cfu/3 µg and 2×109 cfu/ml, which met the demand for Y2H library screening. Using as an example the porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) Cap protein as bait, we screened 21 positive Cap-specific VHH sequences. Among these sequences, 7 of 9 randomly selected clones were strongly positive as indicated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, either using PCV2 viral lysis or purified Cap protein as coated antigen. Additionally, the immunocytochemistry results further indicated that the screened VHHs could specifically detected PCV2 in the infected cells. All this suggests the feasibility of in vivo VHH throughput screening based on Y2H strategy.
PMCID: PMC3585807  PMID: 23469171
11.  Bivalent ligand containing curcumin and cholesterol as fluorescence probe for Aβ plaques in Alzheimer's disease 
ACS chemical neuroscience  2011;3(2):141-146.
A recently developed bivalent ligand BMAOI 14 (7) has been evaluated for its capability to label and detect aggregated β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide as a fluorescent probe. This probe contains curcumin as the Aβ recognition moiety and cholesterol as an anchorage to the neuronal cell membrane/lipid rafts. The results demonstrate that 7 binds to the monomers, oligomers as well as fibrils of Aβ42 with low micromolar to submicromolar binding affinities. This chemical probe also has many of the required optical properties for use in imaging and can rapidly cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vivo. Furthermore, 7 specifically binds to Aβ plaques in both AD human patients and APP transgenic mouse brain tissues. Collectively, these results suggest that 7 is a strong candidate as an Aβ-imaging agent and encourage further optimization of 7 as a new lead to develop the next generation of Aβ-imaging probes.
PMCID: PMC3367438  PMID: 22685625
Bivalent ligands; fluorescent probes; Aβ plaques; Alzheimer's disease
12.  Bivalent Ligand Containing Curcumin and Cholesterol as a Fluorescence Probe for Aβ Plaques in Alzheimer’s Disease 
ACS Chemical Neuroscience  2011;3(2):141-146.
A recently developed bivalent ligand BMAOI 14 (7) has been evaluated for its ability to label and detect aggregated β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide as a fluorescent probe. This probe contains curcumin as the Aβ recognition moiety and cholesterol as an anchor to the neuronal cell membrane–lipid rafts. The results demonstrate that 7 binds to the monomers, oligomers, and fibrils of Aβ42 with low micromolar to submicromolar binding affinities. This chemical probe also has many of the required optical properties for use in imaging and can rapidly cross the blood–brain barrier in vivo. Furthermore, 7 specifically binds to Aβ plaques in both Alzheimer's disease human patients and Aβ precursor protein transgenic mouse brain tissues. Collectively, these results suggest that 7 is a strong candidate as an Aβ imaging agent and encourage further optimization of 7 as a new lead for the development of the next generation of Aβ imaging probes.
PMCID: PMC3367438  PMID: 22685625
Bivalent ligands; fluorescent probes; Aβ plaques; Alzheimer’s disease
13.  Emergency vaccination alleviates highly pathogenic porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus infection after contact exposure 
To assess the effectiveness of emergency vaccination for reducing the contact-induced infection and pathological damage caused by the highly pathogenic porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (HPPRRSV), Twenty pigs were equally divided into four groups. Groups 1, 2 and 3 were housed in one unit, whereas Group 4 was separately housed. Group 1 was challenged with HPPRRSV on day 0. Group 2 and 4 did not receive treatment and were used as the contact-infected and uninfected controls, respectively. Group 3 was treated with the attenuated vaccine at 0 days post-inoculation. The rectal temperatures, clinical signs, pathologic lesions and viraemia of the piglets were detected and evaluated.
The vaccinated pigs in Group 3 showed less clinical morbidity, viraemia, temperature fluctuations and lung lesions at 14 days post-inoculation, as compared with the contact-infected (Group 2) and experimentally infected (Group 1) pigs. Higher serum IFN-γ levels were detected among the pigs that received emergency immunisation. Thus, IFN-γ may be involved in immunity against HPPRRSV infection.
These results indicated that emergency vaccination could effectively alleviate HPPRRSV infection during experimental contact exposure. Our findings provide a novel and useful strategy for controlling clinical HPPRRSV.
PMCID: PMC3626546  PMID: 23394440
14.  Impaired Mitochondrial Biogenesis Contributes to Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease 
Journal of Neurochemistry  2011;120(3):419-429.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a prominent feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain. Our prior studies demonstrated reduced mitochondrial number in susceptible hippocampal neurons in the brain from AD patients and in M17 cells overexpressing FAD-causing APP mutant (APPswe). In the current study, we investigated whether alterations in mitochondrial biogenesis contribute to mitochondrial abnormalities in AD. Mitochondrial biogenesis is regulated by the PGC-1α-NRF-TFAM pathway. Expression levels of PGC-1α, NRF 1, NRF 2, and TFAM were significantly decreased in both AD hippocampal tissues and APPswe M17 cells, suggesting a reduced mitochondrial biogenesis. Indeed, APPswe M17 cells demonstrated decreased mitochondrial DNA/nuclear DNA ratio, correlated with reduced ATP content, and decreased cytochrome C oxidase activity. Importantly, overexpression of PGC-1α could completely rescue while knockdown of PGC-1α could exacerbate impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial deficits in APPswe M17 cells, suggesting reduced mitochondrial biogenesis is likely involved in APPswe-induced mitochondrial deficits. We further demonstrated that reduced expression of p-CREB and PGC-1α in APPswe M17 cells could be rescued by cAMP in a dose-dependent manner, which could be inhibited by PKA inhibitor H89, suggesting that the PKA/CREB pathway plays a critical role in the regulation of PGC-1α expression in APPswe M17 cells. Overall, our study demonstrated that impaired mitochondrial biogenesis likely contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction in AD.
PMCID: PMC3253532  PMID: 22077634
Alzheimer's disease; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM); nuclear respiratory factors (NRF); proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1alpha (PGC-1a)
15.  DLP1-Dependent Mitochondrial Fragmentation Mediates 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium Toxicity in Neurons: Implications for Parkinson's Disease 
Aging cell  2011;10(5):807-823.
Selective degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson disease (PD) can be modeled by the administration of the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+). Since abnormal mitochondrial dynamics are increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of PD, in this study, we investigated the effect of MPP+ on mitochondrial dynamics and assessed temporal and causal relationship with other toxic effects induced by MPP+ in neuronal cells. In SH-SY5Y cells, MPP+ causes a rapid increase in mitochondrial fragmentation followed by a second wave of increase in mitochondrial fragmentation, along with increased DLP1 expression and mitochondrial translocation. Genetic inactivation of DLP1 completely blocks MPP+-induced mitochondrial fragmentation. Notably, this approach partially rescues MPP+-induced decline in ATP levels and ATP/ADP ratio and increased [Ca2+]i and almost completely prevents increased reactive oxygen species production, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, enhanced autophagy and cell death, suggesting that mitochondria fragmentation is an upstream event that mediates MPP+-induced toxicity. On the other hand, thiol antioxidant NAC or glutamate receptor antagonist D-AP5 also partially alleviate MPP+-induced mitochondrial fragmentation, suggesting a vicious spiral of events contributes to MPP+-induced toxicity. We further validated our findings in primary rat midbrain dopaminergic neurons that 0.5 μM MPP+ induced mitochondrial fragmentation only in TH-positive dopaminergic neurons in a similar pattern to that in SH-SY5Y cells but had no effects on these mitochondrial parameters in TH-negative neurons. Overall, these findings suggest that DLP1-dependent mitochondrial fragmentation plays a crucial role in mediating MPP+-induced mitochondria abnormalities and cellular dysfunction and may represent a novel therapeutic target for PD.
PMCID: PMC3173562  PMID: 21615675
MPP+; mitochondrial dynamics; Parkinson disease; DLP1/Drp1; mitochondrial fragmentation; neurotoxicity
Post-mitotic neurons are typically terminally differentiated and in a quiescent status. However, in Alzheimer disease (AD), many neurons display ectopic re-expression of cell cycle-related proteins. Cyclin-dependent kinase 11 (CDK11) mRNA produces a 110-kDa protein (CDK11p110) throughout the cell cycle, a 58-kDa protein (CDK11p58) that is specifically translated from an internal ribosome entry site and expressed only in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle, and a 46-kDa protein (CDK11p46) that is considered to be apoptosis specific. CDK11 is required for sister chromatid cohesion and the completion of mitosis. In this study, we found that the expression patterns of CDK11 vary such that cytoplasmic CDK11 is increased in AD cellular processes, compared to a pronounced nuclear expression pattern in most controls. We also investigated the effect of amyloid precursor protein (APP) on CDK11 expression in vitro by using M17 cells overexpressing wild-type APP and APP Swedish mutant phenotype and found increased CDK11 expression compared to empty vector. In addition, amyloid-β25-35 resulted in increased CDK11 in M17 cells. These data suggest that CDK11 may play a vital role in cell cycle re-entry in AD neurons in an APP-dependent manner, thus presenting an intriguing novel function of the APP signaling pathway in AD.
PMCID: PMC3153952  PMID: 21461981
Alzheimer disease; APP; CDK11; M17 cells
17.  A Novel Origin for Granulovacuolar Degeneration in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease: Parallels to Stress Granules 
The phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 (pS6) is associated with the 40S ribosomal subunit in eukaryotes and is thought to play a role in RNA storage, degradation, and re-entry into translation. In this study, we found pS6 localized to granulovacuolar degeneration (GVD) within pyramidal neurons. Immunohistochemical analysis found nearly 20 fold more neurons contain pS6 positive granules in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) hippocampus compared with age-matched controls. Further, pS6-positive granules were more common in neurons not containing neurofibrillary tangles, were never associated with extracellular neurofibrillary tangles or in apoptotic neurons, and contained less RNA than neighboring pyramidal neurons not containing pS6-positive granules. In model systems, pS6 is a specific marker for stress granules, and another stress granule protein, p54/Rck we also found to be a component of GVD in the current study. Stress granules are transient, intracellular, dense aggregations of proteins and RNAs that accumulate as a stress response, protecting cells from apoptosis and inappropriate transcriptional activity, often described as a form of “molecular triage.” The RNA oxidation modification 8-hydroxyguanosine (8OHG) is strikingly increased in AD, yet this study reports that those neurons with pS6 granules display reduced RNA oxidation demonstrated by lower levels of 8OHG. Since chronic oxidative stress is central to AD pathogenesis, and RNA is a specific oxidative stress target and is intimately associated with stress granule biogenesis in model systems, we suggest that GVD in human brain parallel stress granules, and may in fact be more representative of early disease pathogenesis than traditionally believed. This proposed origin for GVD as a neuroprotective response, may represent a morphologic checkpoint between cell death and reversible cellular stress that proceeds in the absence of other inclusions.
PMCID: PMC3428037  PMID: 21968813
Alzheimer’s disease; granulovacuolar degeneration; ribosomal protein pS6; stress granules
18.  Early Induction of Oxidative Stress in Mouse Model of Alzheimer Disease with Reduced Mitochondrial Superoxide Dismutase Activity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e28033.
While oxidative stress has been linked to Alzheimer's disease, the underlying pathophysiological relationship is unclear. To examine this relationship, we induced oxidative stress through the genetic ablation of one copy of mitochondrial antioxidant superoxide dismutase 2 (Sod2) allele in mutant human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice. The brains of young (5–7 months of age) and old (25–30 months of age) mice with the four genotypes, wild-type (Sod2+/+), hemizygous Sod2 (Sod2+/−), hAPP/wild-type (Sod2+/+), and hAPP/hemizygous (Sod2+/−) were examined to assess levels of oxidative stress markers 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal and heme oxygenase-1. Sod2 reduction in young hAPP mice resulted in significantly increased oxidative stress in the pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus. Interestingly, while differences resulting from hAPP expression or Sod2 reduction were not apparent in the neurons in old mice, oxidative stress was increased in astrocytes in old, but not young hAPP mice with either Sod2+/+ or Sod2+/−. Our study shows the specific changes in oxidative stress and the causal relationship with the pathological progression of these mice. These results suggest that the early neuronal susceptibility to oxidative stress in the hAPP/Sod2+/− mice may contribute to the pathological and behavioral changes seen in this animal model.
PMCID: PMC3261865  PMID: 22276093
19.  Frontiers in Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutics 
Alzheimer disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which begins with insidious deterioration of higher cognition and progresses to severe dementia. Clinical symptoms typically involve impairment of memory and at least one other cognitive domain. Because of the exponential increase in the incidence of AD with age, the aging population across the world has seen a congruous increase AD, emphasizing the importance of disease altering therapy. Current therapeutics on the market, including cholinesterase inhibitors and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists, provide symptomatic relief but do not alter progression of the disease. Therefore, progress in the areas of prevention and disease modification may be of critical interest. In this review, we summarize novel AD therapeutics that are currently being explored, and also mechanisms of action of specific drugs within the context of current knowledge of AD pathologic pathways.
PMCID: PMC3129861  PMID: 21743833
Alzheimer disease; amyloid; antioxidants; cholinesterase inhibitors; luteinizing hormone; mitochondrial therapy; neurodegenerative drugs; NMDA antagonists; tau
20.  Detecting experimental techniques and selecting relevant documents for protein-protein interactions from biomedical literature 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12(Suppl 8):S11.
The selection of relevant articles for curation, and linking those articles to experimental techniques confirming the findings became one of the primary subjects of the recent BioCreative III contest. The contest’s Protein-Protein Interaction (PPI) task consisted of two sub-tasks: Article Classification Task (ACT) and Interaction Method Task (IMT). ACT aimed to automatically select relevant documents for PPI curation, whereas the goal of IMT was to recognise the methods used in experiments for identifying the interactions in full-text articles.
We proposed and compared several classification-based methods for both tasks, employing rich contextual features as well as features extracted from external knowledge sources. For IMT, a new method that classifies pair-wise relations between every text phrase and candidate interaction method obtained promising results with an F1 score of 64.49%, as tested on the task’s development dataset. We also explored ways to combine this new approach and more conventional, multi-label document classification methods. For ACT, our classifiers exploited automatically detected named entities and other linguistic information. The evaluation results on the BioCreative III PPI test datasets showed that our systems were very competitive: one of our IMT methods yielded the best performance among all participants, as measured by F1 score, Matthew’s Correlation Coefficient and AUC iP/R; whereas for ACT, our best classifier was ranked second as measured by AUC iP/R, and also competitive according to other metrics.
Our novel approach that converts the multi-class, multi-label classification problem to a binary classification problem showed much promise in IMT. Nevertheless, on the test dataset the best performance was achieved by taking the union of the output of this method and that of a multi-class, multi-label document classifier, which indicates that the two types of systems complement each other in terms of recall. For ACT, our system exploited a rich set of features and also obtained encouraging results. We examined the features with respect to their contributions to the classification results, and concluded that contextual words surrounding named entities, as well as the MeSH headings associated with the documents were among the main contributors to the performance.
PMCID: PMC3269934  PMID: 22151769
21.  The Protein-Protein Interaction tasks of BioCreative III: classification/ranking of articles and linking bio-ontology concepts to full text 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12(Suppl 8):S3.
Determining usefulness of biomedical text mining systems requires realistic task definition and data selection criteria without artificial constraints, measuring performance aspects that go beyond traditional metrics. The BioCreative III Protein-Protein Interaction (PPI) tasks were motivated by such considerations, trying to address aspects including how the end user would oversee the generated output, for instance by providing ranked results, textual evidence for human interpretation or measuring time savings by using automated systems. Detecting articles describing complex biological events like PPIs was addressed in the Article Classification Task (ACT), where participants were asked to implement tools for detecting PPI-describing abstracts. Therefore the BCIII-ACT corpus was provided, which includes a training, development and test set of over 12,000 PPI relevant and non-relevant PubMed abstracts labeled manually by domain experts and recording also the human classification times. The Interaction Method Task (IMT) went beyond abstracts and required mining for associations between more than 3,500 full text articles and interaction detection method ontology concepts that had been applied to detect the PPIs reported in them.
A total of 11 teams participated in at least one of the two PPI tasks (10 in ACT and 8 in the IMT) and a total of 62 persons were involved either as participants or in preparing data sets/evaluating these tasks. Per task, each team was allowed to submit five runs offline and another five online via the BioCreative Meta-Server. From the 52 runs submitted for the ACT, the highest Matthew's Correlation Coefficient (MCC) score measured was 0.55 at an accuracy of 89% and the best AUC iP/R was 68%. Most ACT teams explored machine learning methods, some of them also used lexical resources like MeSH terms, PSI-MI concepts or particular lists of verbs and nouns, some integrated NER approaches. For the IMT, a total of 42 runs were evaluated by comparing systems against manually generated annotations done by curators from the BioGRID and MINT databases. The highest AUC iP/R achieved by any run was 53%, the best MCC score 0.55. In case of competitive systems with an acceptable recall (above 35%) the macro-averaged precision ranged between 50% and 80%, with a maximum F-Score of 55%.
The results of the ACT task of BioCreative III indicate that classification of large unbalanced article collections reflecting the real class imbalance is still challenging. Nevertheless, text-mining tools that report ranked lists of relevant articles for manual selection can potentially reduce the time needed to identify half of the relevant articles to less than 1/4 of the time when compared to unranked results. Detecting associations between full text articles and interaction detection method PSI-MI terms (IMT) is more difficult than might be anticipated. This is due to the variability of method term mentions, errors resulting from pre-processing of articles provided as PDF files, and the heterogeneity and different granularity of method term concepts encountered in the ontology. However, combining the sophisticated techniques developed by the participants with supporting evidence strings derived from the articles for human interpretation could result in practical modules for biological annotation workflows.
PMCID: PMC3269938  PMID: 22151929
22.  Automatic extraction of angiogenesis bioprocess from text 
Bioinformatics  2011;27(19):2730-2737.
Motivation: Understanding key biological processes (bioprocesses) and their relationships with constituent biological entities and pharmaceutical agents is crucial for drug design and discovery. One way to harvest such information is searching the literature. However, bioprocesses are difficult to capture because they may occur in text in a variety of textual expressions. Moreover, a bioprocess is often composed of a series of bioevents, where a bioevent denotes changes to one or a group of cells involved in the bioprocess. Such bioevents are often used to refer to bioprocesses in text, which current techniques, relying solely on specialized lexicons, struggle to find.
Results: This article presents a range of methods for finding bioprocess terms and events. To facilitate the study, we built a gold standard corpus in which terms and events related to angiogenesis, a key biological process of the growth of new blood vessels, were annotated. Statistics of the annotated corpus revealed that over 36% of the text expressions that referred to angiogenesis appeared as events. The proposed methods respectively employed domain-specific vocabularies, a manually annotated corpus and unstructured domain-specific documents. Evaluation results showed that, while a supervised machine-learning model yielded the best precision, recall and F1 scores, the other methods achieved reasonable performance and less cost to develop.
Availability: The angiogenesis vocabularies, gold standard corpus, annotation guidelines and software described in this article are available at
PMCID: PMC3179660  PMID: 21821664
23.  Abnormal Mitochondrial Dynamics—A Novel Therapeutic Target for Alzheimer’s Disease? 
Molecular neurobiology  2010;41(2-3):87-96.
Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that undergo continuous fission and fusion, which could affect all aspects of mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been well documented in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In the past few years, emerging evidence indicates that an imbalance of mitochondrial dynamics is involved in the pathogenesis of AD. In this review, we discuss in detail the abnormal mitochondrial dynamics in AD and how such abnormal dynamics may impact mitochondrial and neuronal function and contribute to the course of disease. Based on this discussion, we propose that mitochondrial dynamics could be a potential therapeutic target for AD.
PMCID: PMC3129743  PMID: 20101529
Alzheimer’s disease; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial fission; Mitochondrial fusion; Drug; Dimebon
24.  Amyloid-β-Derived Diffusible Ligands Cause Impaired Axonal Transport of Mitochondria in Neurons 
Neuro-Degenerative Diseases  2010;7(1-3):56-59.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent form of dementia predominantly affecting the elderly. It is believed that soluble amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers are involved in the pathogenesis of AD, yet the underlying mechanisms remain elusive.
Emerging evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction likely plays a critical role in Aβ-induced neuronal degeneration. Previously, we demonstrated that Aβ-derived diffusible ligands (ADDLs) induce reduced mitochondrial density in neurites, and we suspect that an impaired mitochondrial trafficking might be involved, which is tested in this study.
Using live cell imaging, anterograde and retrograde transport of mitochondria in primary hippocampal neurons treated with sub-lethal doses of ADDLs was measured.
We found that ADDLs induced significant impairment in both anterograde and retrograde transport of mitochondria along axons.
These results suggest that an impaired mitochondrial transport likely contributes to ADDL-induced abnormal mitochondrial distribution and dysfunction and also reinforce the idea that axonal transport is likely involved in AD pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2859232  PMID: 20160460
Aβ-derived diffusible ligands; Mitochondria; Axonal transport; Alzheimer's disease
25.  Mitochondrial Dynamics in Alzheimer's Disease Opportunities for Future Treatment Strategies 
Drugs & aging  2010;27(3):181-192.
The complexities that underlie the cognitive impairment and neurodegeneration characteristic of Alzheimer's disease have yet to be completely understood, although many factors in disease pathogenesis have been identified. Particularly important in disease development seem to be mitochondrial disturbances. As pivotal role players in cellular metabolism, mitochondria are pertinent to cell survival and thus any deviation from their operation is certainly fatal. In this review, we describe how the dynamic balance of mitochondrial fission and fusion in particular is a necessary aspect of cell proliferation and that, as the cell ages, such balance is inevitably compromised to yield a destructive environment in which the cell cannot exist. Evidence for such disturbance is abundant in Alzheimer disease. That is, the dynamic balance of fission and fusion in AD is greatly shifted toward fission, and, as a result, affected neurons contain abnormal mitochondria that are unable to meet the metabolic demands of the cell. Moreover, mitochondrial distribution in AD cells is perinuclear, with few metabolic organelles in the distal processes where they are normally distributed in healthey cells and where they are needed for exocytosis, ion channel pumps, and synaptic function, among other things. AD neurons are thus characterized by increases in reactive oxidative species and decreases in metabolic capability, and notably, these changes are evident very early in AD progression. We therefore believe that oxidative stress and altered mitochondrial dynamics contribute to the precipitation of AD pathology and thus cognitive decline. These implications provide a window for therapeutic intervention (i.e., mitochondrial protection) that has the potential to significantly deter AD progression if adequately developed. Current treatment strategies under investigation are herein described.
PMCID: PMC2923854  PMID: 20210366

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