Summary: Gibberellic acids (GAs) are key plant hormones, regulating various aspects of growth and development, which have been at the center of the ‘green revolution’. GRAS family proteins, the primary players in GA signaling pathways, remain poorly understood. Using sequence-profile searches, structural comparisons and phylogenetic analysis, we establish that the GRAS family first emerged in bacteria and belongs to the Rossmann fold methyltransferase superfamily. All bacterial and a subset of plant GRAS proteins are likely to function as small-molecule methylases. The remaining plant versions have lost one or more AdoMet (SAM)-binding residues while preserving their substrate-binding residues. We predict that GRAS proteins might either modify or bind small molecules such as GAs or their derivatives.
Supplementary Material for this article is available at Bioinformatics online.
Discovery of the TET/JBP family of dioxygenases that modify bases in DNA has sparked considerable interest in novel DNA base modifications and their biological roles. Using sensitive sequence and structure analyses combined with contextual information from comparative genomics, we computationally characterize over 12 novel biochemical systems for DNA modifications. We predict previously unidentified enzymes, such as the kinetoplastid J-base generating glycosyltransferase (and its homolog GREB1), the catalytic specificity of bacteriophage TET/JBP proteins and their role in complex DNA base modifications. We also predict the enzymes involved in synthesis of hypermodified bases such as alpha-glutamylthymine and alpha-putrescinylthymine that have remained enigmatic for several decades. Moreover, the current analysis suggests that bacteriophages and certain nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses contain an unexpectedly diverse range of DNA modification systems, in addition to those using previously characterized enzymes such as Dam, Dcm, TET/JBP, pyrimidine hydroxymethylases, Mom and glycosyltransferases. These include enzymes generating modified bases such as deazaguanines related to queuine and archaeosine, pyrimidines comparable with lysidine, those derived using modified S-adenosyl methionine derivatives and those using TET/JBP-generated hydroxymethyl pyrimidines as biosynthetic starting points. We present evidence that some of these modification systems are also widely dispersed across prokaryotes and certain eukaryotes such as basidiomycetes, chlorophyte and stramenopile alga, where they could serve as novel epigenetic marks for regulation or discrimination of self from non-self DNA. Our study extends the role of the PUA-like fold domains in recognition of modified nucleic acids and predicts versions of the ASCH and EVE domains to be novel ‘readers’ of modified bases in DNA. These results open opportunities for the investigation of the biology of these systems and their use in biotechnology.
Polyhalogenated quinones are a class of carcinogenic intermediates. We found recently that the highly reactive and biologically/environmentally important ·OH can be produced by polyhalogenated quinones and H2O2 independent of transition metal ions. However, it is not clear whether this unusual metal-independent ·OH producing system can induce potent oxidative DNA damage. Here we show that TCBQ and H2O2 can induce oxidative damage to both dG and dsDNA; but surprisingly, it was more efficient to induce oxidative damage in dsDNA than in dG. We found that this is probably due to its strong intercalating ability to dsDNA through competitive intercalation assays. The intercalation of TCBQ in dsDNA may lead to ·OH generation more adjacent to DNA. This is the first report that polyhalogenated quinoid carcinogens and H2O2 can induce potent DNA damage via a metal-independent and intercalation-enhanced oxidation mechanism, which may partly explain their potential genotoxicity, mutagenesis, and carcinogenicity.
The goal of the studies presented here was to determine the tolerability, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of CMAB007, a biosimilar of omalizumab (Xolair; a humanized anti-immunoglobulin E monoclonal antibody), in healthy, male Chinese subjects. Thirty-six healthy Chinese men participated in two open-label, dose-escalation studies: 27 in a single-dose study (150, 300 or 600 mg) and 9 in a multiple-dose study (150 or 300 mg every 4 weeks for 20 weeks). The safety profiles of both studies were generally unremarkable. No drug-related adverse event was observed. CMAB007 exhibited a linear PK profile over the dose range of 150-600 mg. In the single-dose study, maximum concentration (Cmax) was reached within 6–8 d, and Cmax and area under concentration-time curve (AUC) increased linearly with the dose. In the multiple-dose study, steady-state appeared to have been achieved after the third dose. Css-max and AUCτ also showed dose-linearity. A dose-dependent suppression of free IgE was observed during treatment, as a median percentage change from baseline, 91.9–98.8%, in the three single-dose groups. No anti-CMAB007 antibodies were detected after dosing in any subject. Subcutaneous administration of CMAB007 was well-tolerated and seemed to be effective in reducing free IgE in healthy Chinese volunteers, which provides important information for further clinical studies.
pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; safety; IgE; humanized antibody
The tripartite DENN module, comprised of a N-terminal longin domain, followed by DENN, and d-DENN domains, is a GDP-GTP exchange factor (GEFs) for Rab GTPases, which are regulators of practically all membrane trafficking events in eukaryotes. Using sequence and structure analysis we identify multiple novel homologs of the DENN module, many of which can be traced back to the ancestral eukaryote. These findings provide unexpected leads regarding key cellular processes such as autophagy, vesicle-vacuole interactions, chromosome segregation, and human disease. Of these, SMCR8, the folliculin interacting protein-1 and 2 (FNIP1 and FNIP2), nitrogen permease regulator 2 (NPR2), and NPR3 are proposed to function in recruiting Rab GTPases during different steps of autophagy, fusion of autophagosomes with the vacuole and regulation of cellular metabolism. Another novel DENN protein identified in this study is C9ORF72; expansions of the hexanucleotide GGGGCC in its first intron have been recently implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD). While this mutation is proposed to cause a RNA-level defect, the identification of C9ORF72 as a potential DENN-type GEF raises the possibility that at least part of the pathology might relate to a specific Rab-dependent vesicular trafficking process, as has been observed in the case of some other neurological conditions with similar phenotypes. We present evidence that the longin domain, such as those found in the DENN module, are likely to have been ultimately derived from the related domains found in prokaryotic GTPase-activating proteins of MglA-like GTPases. Thus, the origin of the longin domains from this ancient GTPase-interacting domain, concomitant with the radiation of GTPases, especially of the Rab clade, played an important role in the dynamics of eukaryotic intracellular membrane systems.
membrane trafficking; evolution; homology detection; DENN domain; longin domain; C9ORF72; ALS; FTD
In addition to their role in motility, eukaryotic cilia serve as a distinct compartment for signal transduction and regulatory sequestration of biomolecules. Recent genetic and biochemical studies have revealed an extraordinary diversity of protein complexes involved in the biogenesis of cilia during each cell cycle. Mutations in components of these complexes are at the heart of human ciliopathies such as Nephronophthisis (NPHP), Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS), Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) and Joubert syndrome (JBTS). Despite intense studies, proteins in some of these complexes, such as the NPHP1-4-8 and the MKS, remain poorly understood. Using a combination of computational analyses we studied these complexes to identify novel domains in them which might throw new light on their functions and evolutionary origins. First, we identified both catalytically active and inactive versions of transglutaminase-like (TGL) peptidase domains in key ciliary/centrosomal proteins CC2D2A/MKS6, CC2D2B, CEP76 and CCDC135. These ciliary TGL domains appear to have originated from prokaryotic TGL domains that act as peptidases, either in a prokaryotic protein degradation system with the MoxR AAA+ ATPase, the precursor of eukaryotic dyneins and midasins, or in a peptide-ligase system with an ATP-grasp enzyme comparable to tubulin-modifying TTL proteins. We suggest that active ciliary TGL proteins are part of a cilia-specific peptidase system that might remove tubulin modifications or cleave cilia- localized proteins, while the inactive versions are likely to bind peptides and mediate key interactions during ciliogenesis. Second, we observe a vast radiation of C2 domains, which are key membrane-localization modules, in multiple ciliary proteins, including those from the NPHP1-4-8 and the MKS complexes, such as CC2D2A/MKS6, RPGRIP1, RPGRIP1L, NPHP1, NPHP4, C2CD3, AHI1/Jouberin and CEP76, most of which can be traced back to the last eukaryotic ancestor. Identification of these TGL and C2 domains aid in the proper reconstruction of the Y-shaped linkers, which are key structures in the transitional zone of cilia, by allowing precise prediction of the multiple membrane-contacting and protein-protein interaction sites in these structures. These findings help decipher key events in the evolutionary separation of the ciliary and nuclear compartments in course of the emergence of the eukaryotic cell.
ciliogenesis; transglutaminase-like; membrane; tubulin-tyrosine ligase; C2; transition zone; Y-shaped linkers; evolution; origin of eukaryotes; ciliopathy
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), the causative agents for life-threatening human disease botulism, have been recognized as biological warfare agents. Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics hold considerable promise as BoNT therapeutics, but the potencies of mAbs against BoNTs are usually less than that of polyclonal antibodies (or oligoclonal antibodies). The confirmation of key epitopes with development of effective mAb is urgently needed.
Methods and Findings
We selected 3 neutralizing mAbs which recognize different non-overlapping epitopes of BoNT/B from a panel of neutralizing antibodies against BoNT/B. By comparing the neutralizing effects among different combination groups, we found that 8E10, response to ganglioside receptor binding site, could synergy with 5G10 and 2F4, recognizing non-overlapping epitopes within Syt II binding sites. However, the combination of 5G10 with 2F4 blocking protein receptor binding sites did not achieve synergistical effects. Moreover, we found that the binding epitope of 8E10 was conserved among BoNT A, B, E, and F, which might cross-protect the challenge of different serotypes of BoNTs in vivo.
The combination of two mAbs recognizing different receptors' binding domain in BoNTs has a synergistic effect. 8E10 is a potential universal partner for the synergistical combination with other mAb against protein receptor binding domain in BoNTs of other serotypes.
The exotic pepper species Capsicum baccatum, also known as the aji or Peruvian hot pepper, is comprised of wild and domesticated botanical forms. The species is a valuable source of new genes useful for improving fruit quality and disease resistance in C. annuum sweet bell and hot chile pepper. However, relatively little research has been conducted to characterize the species, thus limiting its utilization. The structure of genetic diversity in a plant germplasm collection is significantly influenced by its ecogeographical distribution. Together with DNA fingerprints derived from AFLP markers, we evaluated variation in fruit and plant morphology of plants collected across the species native range in South America and evaluated these characters in combination with the unique geography, climate and ecology at different sites where plants originated.
The present study mapped the ecogeographic distribution, analyzed the spatial genetic structure, and assessed the relationship between the spatial genetic pattern and the variation of morphological traits in a diverse C. baccatum germplasm collection spanning the species distribution. A combined diversity analysis was carried out on the USDA-ARS C. baccatum germplasm collection using data from GIS, morphological traits and AFLP markers. The results demonstrate that the C. baccatum collection covers wide geographic areas and is adapted to divergent ecological conditions in South America ranging from cool Andean highland to Amazonia rainforest. A high level of morphological diversity was evident in the collection, with fruit weight the leading variable. The fruit weight distribution pattern was compatible to AFLP-based clustering analysis for the collection. A significant spatial structure was observed in the C. baccatum gene pool. Division of the domesticated germplasm into two major regional groups (Western and Eastern) was further supported by the pattern of spatial population structure.
The results reported improve our understanding of the combined effects of geography, ecology and human intervention on organization of the C. baccatum genepool. The results will facilitate utilization of C. baccatum for crop improvement and species conservation by providing a framework for efficient germplasm collection management and guidance for future plant acquisitions.
Proteinaceous toxins are observed across all levels of inter-organismal and intra-genomic conflicts. These include recently discovered prokaryotic polymorphic toxin systems implicated in intra-specific conflicts. They are characterized by a remarkable diversity of C-terminal toxin domains generated by recombination with standalone toxin-coding cassettes. Prior analysis revealed a striking diversity of nuclease and deaminase domains among the toxin modules. We systematically investigated polymorphic toxin systems using comparative genomics, sequence and structure analysis.
Polymorphic toxin systems are distributed across all major bacterial lineages and are delivered by at least eight distinct secretory systems. In addition to type-II, these include type-V, VI, VII (ESX), and the poorly characterized “Photorhabdus virulence cassettes (PVC)”, PrsW-dependent and MuF phage-capsid-like systems. We present evidence that trafficking of these toxins is often accompanied by autoproteolytic processing catalyzed by HINT, ZU5, PrsW, caspase-like, papain-like, and a novel metallopeptidase associated with the PVC system. We identified over 150 distinct toxin domains in these systems. These span an extraordinary catalytic spectrum to include 23 distinct clades of peptidases, numerous previously unrecognized versions of nucleases and deaminases, ADP-ribosyltransferases, ADP ribosyl cyclases, RelA/SpoT-like nucleotidyltransferases, glycosyltranferases and other enzymes predicted to modify lipids and carbohydrates, and a pore-forming toxin domain. Several of these toxin domains are shared with host-directed effectors of pathogenic bacteria. Over 90 families of immunity proteins might neutralize anywhere between a single to at least 27 distinct types of toxin domains. In some organisms multiple tandem immunity genes or immunity protein domains are organized into polyimmunity loci or polyimmunity proteins. Gene-neighborhood-analysis of polymorphic toxin systems predicts the presence of novel trafficking-related components, and also the organizational logic that allows toxin diversification through recombination. Domain architecture and protein-length analysis revealed that these toxins might be deployed as secreted factors, through directed injection, or via inter-cellular contact facilitated by filamentous structures formed by RHS/YD, filamentous hemagglutinin and other repeats. Phyletic pattern and life-style analysis indicate that polymorphic toxins and polyimmunity loci participate in cooperative behavior and facultative ‘cheating’ in several ecosystems such as the human oral cavity and soil. Multiple domains from these systems have also been repeatedly transferred to eukaryotes and their viruses, such as the nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses.
Along with a comprehensive inventory of toxins and immunity proteins, we present several testable predictions regarding active sites and catalytic mechanisms of toxins, their processing and trafficking and their role in intra-specific and inter-specific interactions between bacteria. These systems provide insights regarding the emergence of key systems at different points in eukaryotic evolution, such as ADP ribosylation, interaction of myosin VI with cargo proteins, mediation of apoptosis, hyphal heteroincompatibility, hedgehog signaling, arthropod toxins, cell-cell interaction molecules like teneurins and different signaling messengers.
This article was reviewed by AM, FE and IZ.
The endosymbiotic origin of eukaryotes brought together two disparate genomes in the cell. Additionally, eukaryotic natural history has included other endosymbiotic events, phagotrophic consumption of organisms, and intimate interactions with viruses and endoparasites. These phenomena facilitated large-scale lateral gene transfer and biological conflicts. We synthesize information from nearly two decades of genomics to illustrate how the interplay between lateral gene transfer and biological conflicts has impacted the emergence of new adaptations in eukaryotes. Using apicomplexans as example, we illustrate how lateral transfer from animals has contributed to unique parasite-host interfaces comprised of adhesion- and O-linked glycosylation-related domains. Adaptations, emerging due to intense selection for diversity in the molecular participants in organismal and genomic conflicts, being dispersed by lateral transfer, were subsequently exapted for eukaryote-specific innovations. We illustrate this using examples relating to eukaryotic chromatin, RNAi and RNA-processing systems, signaling pathways, apoptosis and immunity. We highlight the major contributions from catalytic domains of bacterial toxin systems to the origin of signaling enzymes (e.g., ADP-ribosylation and small molecule messenger synthesis), mutagenic enzymes for immune receptor diversification and RNA-processing. Similarly, we discuss contributions of bacterial antibiotic/siderophore synthesis systems and intra-genomic and intra-cellular selfish elements (e.g., restriction-modification, mobile elements and lysogenic phages) in the emergence of chromatin remodeling/modifying enzymes and RNA-based regulation. We develop the concept that biological conflict systems served as evolutionary “nurseries” for innovations in the protein world, which were delivered to eukaryotes via lateral gene flow to spur key evolutionary innovations all the way from nucleogenesis to lineage-specific adaptations.
antibiotics; biological conflict; endosymbiosis; immunity proteins; restriction-modfication; RNAi; selfish elements; toxins
This paper studies an absolute positioning sensor for a high-speed maglev train and its fault diagnosis method. The absolute positioning sensor is an important sensor for the high-speed maglev train to accomplish its synchronous traction. It is used to calibrate the error of the relative positioning sensor which is used to provide the magnetic phase signal. On the basis of the analysis for the principle of the absolute positioning sensor, the paper describes the design of the sending and receiving coils and realizes the hardware and the software for the sensor. In order to enhance the reliability of the sensor, a support vector machine is used to recognize the fault characters, and the signal flow method is used to locate the faulty parts. The diagnosis information not only can be sent to an upper center control computer to evaluate the reliability of the sensors, but also can realize on-line diagnosis for debugging and the quick detection when the maglev train is off-line. The absolute positioning sensor we study has been used in the actual project.
high-speed maglev train; absolute positioning sensor; fault diagnosis; position mark plate; support vector machine
Eukaryotes contain an elaborate membrane system, which bounds the cell itself, nuclei, organelles and transient intracellular structures, such as vesicles. The emergence of this system was marked by an expansion of number of structurally distinct classes of lipid-binding domains that could throw light on the early evolution of eukaryotic membranes. The C2 domain is a useful model to understand these events because it is one of the most prevalent eukaryotic lipid-binding domains deployed in diverse functional contexts. Most studies have concentrated on C2 domains prototyped by those in protein kinase C (PKC-C2) isoforms that bind lipid in a calcium-dependent manner. While two other distinct families of C2 domains, namely those in PI3K-C2 and PTEN-C2 are also recognized, a complete picture of evolutionary relationships within the C2 domain superfamily is lacking. We systematically studied this superfamily using sequence-profile searches, phylogenetic and phyletic-pattern analysis and structure-prediction. Consequently, we identified several distinct families of C2 domains including those respectively typified by C2 domains in the Aida (axin interactor, dorsalization associated) proteins, B9 proteins (e.g. Mks1 (Xbx-7), Stumpy (Tza-1) and Tza-2) involved in centrosome migration and ciliogenesis, Dock180/Zizimin proteins which are Rac/CDC42 GDP exchange factors, the EEIG1/Sym-3, EHBP1 and plant RPG/PMI1 proteins involved in endocytotic recycling and organellar positioning and an apicomplexan family. We present evidence that the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) contained at least 10 C2 domains belonging to 6 well-defined families. Further, we suggest that this pre-LECA diversification was linked to emergence of several quintessentially eukaryotic structures, such as membrane repair and vesicular trafficking system, anchoring of the actin and tubulin cytoskeleton to the plasma and vesicular membranes, localization of small GTPases to membranes and lipid-based signal transduction. Subsequent lineage-specific expansions of Zizimin-type C2 domains and functionally linked CDC42/Rac GTPases occurred independently in eukaryotes that evolved active amoeboid motility. While two lipid-binding regions are likely to be shared by majority of C2 domains, the actual constellation of lipid-binding residues (predominantly basic) are distinct in each family potentially reflective of the functional and biochemical diversity of these domains. Importantly, we show that the calcium-dependent membrane interaction is a derived feature limited to the PKC-C2 domains. Our identification of novel C2 domains offers new insights into interaction between both the microtubular and microfilament cytoskeleton and cellular membranes.
C2 domain; evolution; remote homology detection; structure and function; membranes; lipid recognition; cytoskeleton; GTPase signaling; vesicular trafficking
The deaminase-like fold includes, in addition to nucleic acid/nucleotide deaminases, several catalytic domains such as the JAB domain, and others involved in nucleotide and ADP-ribose metabolism. Using sensitive sequence and structural comparison methods, we develop a comprehensive natural classification of the deaminase-like fold and show that its ancestral version was likely to operate on nucleotides or nucleic acids. Consequently, we present evidence that a specific group of JAB domains are likely to possess a DNA repair function, distinct from the previously known deubiquitinating peptidase activity. We also identified numerous previously unknown clades of nucleic acid deaminases. Using inference based on contextual information, we suggest that most of these clades are toxin domains of two distinct classes of bacterial toxin systems, namely polymorphic toxins implicated in bacterial interstrain competition and those that target distantly related cells. Genome context information suggests that these toxins might be delivered via diverse secretory systems, such as Type V, Type VI, PVC and a novel PrsW-like intramembrane peptidase-dependent mechanism. We propose that certain deaminase toxins might be deployed by diverse extracellular and intracellular pathogens as also endosymbionts as effectors targeting nucleic acids of host cells. Our analysis suggests that these toxin deaminases have been acquired by eukaryotes on several independent occasions and recruited as organellar or nucleo-cytoplasmic RNA modifiers, operating on tRNAs, mRNAs and short non-coding RNAs, and also as mutators of hyper-variable genes, viruses and selfish elements. This scenario potentially explains the origin of mutagenic AID/APOBEC-like deaminases, including novel versions from Caenorhabditis, Nematostella and diverse algae and a large class of fast-evolving fungal deaminases. These observations greatly expand the distribution of possible unidentified mutagenic processes catalyzed by nucleic acid deaminases.
Hu12F6mu is an Fc-mutated, humanized anti-CD3 antibody developed in our lab. The aim of this study was to assess single dose escalation pharmacokinetics (PK) and safety profile of hu12F6mu and to measure the effects of the antibody on levels of circulating T cells over time. Twenty-seven patients receiving renal allografts were randomized to receive hu12F6mu intravenously at a single-dose of 2.5, 5 or 10 mg. The concentration-time data obtained by a validated ELISA method were subjected to non-compartmental PK analysis by DAS 2.1 software. Subgroups of CD2+, CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes were monitored periodically by flow cytometry. Our results showed that hu12F6mu exhibited linear PK over the dose range of 2.5–10 mg. A significant decline in the proportion of T cells was observed immediately after the infusion, followed by a progressive increase occurring over the ensuing days of therapy. A significant negative correlation was observed between serum concentration of hu12F6mu and CD3+ cell proportion. Intravenous infusion of hu12F6mu was well-tolerated in patients receiving renal allografts. These results suggest that hu12F6mu may have potential as a therapeutic agent, although further studies are needed.
CD3; humanized antibody; pharmacokinetics; enzyme immunoassay; first dose reaction
The use of nucleases as toxins for defense, offense or addiction of selfish elements is widely encountered across all life forms. Using sensitive sequence profile analysis methods, we characterize a novel superfamily (the SUKH superfamily) that unites a diverse group of proteins including Smi1/Knr4, PGs2, FBXO3, SKIP16, Syd, herpesviral US22, IRS1 and TRS1, and their bacterial homologs. Using contextual analysis we present evidence that the bacterial members of this superfamily are potential immunity proteins for a variety of toxin systems that also include the recently characterized contact-dependent inhibition (CDI) systems of proteobacteria. By analyzing the toxin proteins encoded in the neighborhood of the SUKH superfamily we predict that they possess domains belonging to diverse nuclease and nucleic acid deaminase families. These include at least eight distinct types of DNases belonging to HNH/EndoVII- and restriction endonuclease-fold, and RNases of the EndoU-like and colicin E3-like cytotoxic RNases-folds. The N-terminal domains of these toxins indicate that they are extruded by several distinct secretory mechanisms such as the two-partner system (shared with the CDI systems) in proteobacteria, ESAT-6/WXG-like ATP-dependent secretory systems in Gram-positive bacteria and the conventional Sec-dependent system in several bacterial lineages. The hedgehog-intein domain might also release a subset of toxic nuclease domains through auto-proteolytic action. Unlike classical colicin-like nuclease toxins, the overwhelming majority of toxin systems with the SUKH superfamily is chromosomally encoded and appears to have diversified through a recombination process combining different C-terminal nuclease domains to N-terminal secretion-related domains. Across the bacterial superkingdom these systems might participate in discriminating `self’ or kin from `non-self’ or non-kin strains. Using structural analysis we demonstrate that the SUKH domain possesses a versatile scaffold that can be used to bind a wide range of protein partners. In eukaryotes it appears to have been recruited as an adaptor to regulate modification of proteins by ubiquitination or polyglutamylation. Similarly, another widespread immunity protein from these toxin systems, namely the suppressor of fused (SuFu) superfamily has been recruited for comparable roles in eukaryotes. In animal DNA viruses, such as herpesviruses, poxviruses, iridoviruses and adenoviruses, the ability of the SUKH domain to bind diverse targets has been deployed to counter diverse anti-viral responses by interacting with specific host proteins.
Background As China continues to commit to universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services, its HIV/AIDS policies have become increasingly information driven. We review China’s key national-level HIV/AIDS policies and discuss policy gaps and challenges ahead.
Methods We conducted a desk review of key national-level policies that have had a major impact on China’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, and examined recent epidemiological data relevant to China’s HIV response.
Results National-level policies that have had a major impact on China’s HIV/AIDS response include: ‘Four Frees and One Care’; 5-year action plans; and HIV/AIDS regulation. These landmark policies have facilitated massive scaling up of services over the past decade. For example, the number of drug users provided with methadone maintenance treatment significantly increased from 8116 in 2005 to 241 975 in 2009; almost a 30-fold increase. The ‘Four Frees and One Care’ policy has increased the number of people living with AIDS on anti-retroviral treatment from some 100 patients in 2003 to over 80 000 in 2009. However, stigma and discrimination remains major obstacles for people living with HIV/AIDS trying to access services.
Conclusions China’s current national policies are increasingly information driven and responsive to changes in the epidemic. However, gaps remain in policy implementation, and new policies are needed to meet emerging challenges.
HIV/AIDS; policy; implementation; challenges; China
To estimate the size of the population of female sex workers (FSWs) on the basis of the HIV/AIDS behavioural surveillance approach in two Chinese cities, using a multiplier method.
Relevant questions were inserted into the questionnaires given to two behavioural surveillance groups—female attendees of sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics and FSWs. The size of the FSW population was derived by multiplying the number of FSWs in selected STD clinics during the study period by the proportion of FSW population who reported having attended the selected STD clinics during the same period.
The size of the FSW population in the urban area of Xingyi, China, was estimated to be about 2500 (95% CI 2000 to 3400). This accounted for 3.6% of the total urban adult female population. There were an estimated 17 500 FSWs in the urban area of Guiyang, China (95% CI 10 300 to 31 900) or about 3.4% of its total urban adult female population (rounded to the nearest 100).
The multiplier method could be a useful and cost‐effective approach to estimate the FSW population, especially suitable in countries where HIV behavioural surveillance has been established in high‐risk populations.
The mechanism by which the arthropod Oskar and vertebrate TDRD5/TDRD7 proteins nucleate or organize structurally related ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes, the polar granule and nuage, is poorly understood. Using sequence profile searches we identify a novel domain in these proteins that is widely conserved across eukaryotes and bacteria.
Using contextual information from domain architectures, sequence-structure superpositions and available functional information we predict that this domain is likely to adopt the winged helix-turn-helix fold and bind RNA with a potential specificity for dsRNA. We show that in eukaryotes this domain is often combined in the same polypeptide with protein-protein- or lipid- interaction domains that might play a role in anchoring these proteins to specific cytoskeletal structures.
Thus, proteins with this domain might have a key role in the recognition and localization of dsRNA, including miRNAs, rasiRNAs and piRNAs hybridized to their targets. In other cases, this domain is fused to ubiquitin-binding, E3 ligase and ubiquitin-like domains indicating a previously under-appreciated role for ubiquitination in regulating the assembly and stability of nuage-like RNP complexes. Both bacteria and eukaryotes encode a conserved family of proteins that combines this predicted RNA-binding domain with a previously uncharacterized domain (DUF88). We present evidence that it is an RNAse belonging to the superfamily that includes the 5'->3' nucleases, PIN and NYN domains and might be recruited to degrade certain RNAs.
This article was reviewed by Sandor Pongor and Arcady Mushegian.
HuCD25mAb is a humanized anti-CD25 antibody which has the same amino acid sequence as daclizumab (Zenapax, Roche). HuCD25mAb is expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells while daclizumab is expressed in the NSO myeloma cell line. A comparative study was performed to evaluate the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics between huCD25mAb and daclizumab in a two-dose regimen incorporating triple immunosuppressant treatment regimens (MMF, CsA and steroids). Fifteen patients were enrolled and randomized to receive intravenous infusion of either huCD25mAb (n = 10) or daclizumab (n = 5) at a dosage of 1 mg·kg−1 on operation day 0 and post-operation day 14. Serum concentrations of huCD25mAb and daclizumab were measured by a validated competitive ELISA. Subgroups of CD3+, CD25+, CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes were monitored periodically by flow cytometry. The concentration-time curves of huCD25mAb and daclizumab were found to fit well to a one-compartment model. A significant decline of proportion (%) of CD3-CD25+ and CD3+CD25+ lymphocytes was observed 30 min after first infusion on day 0 (3.40 ± 1.83 to 0.03 ± 0.07, 3.35 ± 2.02 to 0.37 ± 0.49), and these levels remained low for at least 70 days (0.03 ± 0.05, 0.31 ± 0.47). All pharmacokinetic parameters of huCD25mAb seemed similar to those of daclizumab. The two-dose huCD25mAb regimen was as effective as daclizumab in rapidly achieving high therapeutic concentration in the treated patients, and a significant decrease of CD3−CD25+ and CD3+CD25+ lymphocytes was demonstrated. This suggests that two-dose regimen is feasible in maintaining host immunosuppression and may provide an effective and economical strategy for reducing incidence of acute graft rejection.
CD25; pharmacokinetics; kidney transplantation; enzyme immunoassay; flow cytometry; monoclonal antibody
Many vertebrates, including the goldfish, exhibit seasonal reproductive rhythms, which are a result of interactions between external environmental stimuli and internal endocrine systems in the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis. While it is long believed that differential expression of neuroendocrine genes contributes to establishing seasonal reproductive rhythms, no systems-level investigation has yet been conducted.
In the present study, by analyzing multiple female goldfish brain microarray datasets, we have characterized global gene expression patterns for a seasonal cycle. A core set of genes (873 genes) in the hypothalamus were identified to be differentially expressed between May, August and December, which correspond to physiologically distinct stages that are sexually mature (prespawning), sexual regression, and early gonadal redevelopment, respectively. Expression changes of these genes are also shared by another brain region, the telencephalon, as revealed by multivariate analysis. More importantly, by examining one dataset obtained from fish in October who were kept under long-daylength photoperiod (16 h) typical of the springtime breeding season (May), we observed that the expression of identified genes appears regulated by photoperiod, a major factor controlling vertebrate reproductive cyclicity. Gene ontology analysis revealed that hormone genes and genes functionally involved in G-protein coupled receptor signaling pathway and transmission of nerve impulses are significantly enriched in an expression pattern, whose transition is located between prespawning and sexually regressed stages. The existence of seasonal expression patterns was verified for several genes including isotocin, ependymin II, GABAA gamma2 receptor, calmodulin, and aromatase b by independent samplings of goldfish brains from six seasonal time points and real-time PCR assays.
Using both theoretical and experimental strategies, we report for the first time global gene expression patterns throughout a breeding season which may account for dynamic neuroendocrine regulation of seasonal reproductive development.
Maelstrom (MAEL) plays a crucial role in a recently-discovered piRNA pathway; however its specific function remains unknown. Here a novel MAEL-specific domain characterized by a set of conserved residues (Glu-His-His-Cys-His-Cys, EHHCHC) was identified in a broad range of species including vertebrates, sea squirts, insects, nematodes, and protists. It exhibits ancient lineage-specific expansions in several species, however, appears to be lost in all examined teleost fish species. Functional involvement of MAEL domains in DNA- and RNA-related processes was further revealed by its association with HMG, SR-25-like and HDAC_interact domains. A distant similarity to the DnaQ-H 3'–5' exonuclease family with the RNase H fold was discovered based on the evidence that all MAEL domains adopt the canonical RNase H fold; and several protist MAEL domains contain the conserved 3'–5' exonuclease active site residues (Asp-Glu-Asp-His-Asp, DEDHD). This evolutionary link together with structural examinations leads to a hypothesis that MAEL domains may have a potential nuclease activity or RNA-binding ability that may be implicated in piRNA biogenesis. The observed transition of two sets of characteristic residues between the ancestral DnaQ-H and the descendent MAEL domains may suggest a new mode for protein function evolution called "active site switch", in which the protist MAEL homologues are the likely evolutionary intermediates due to harboring the specific characteristics of both 3'–5' exonuclease and MAEL domains.
This article was reviewed by L Aravind, Wing-Cheong Wong and Frank Eisenhaber. For the full reviews, please go to the Reviewers' Comments section.
Osteopontin plays an important role in the development and perpetuation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Antibodies targeting osteopontin have shown promising therapeutic benefits against this disease. We have previously reported a novel anti-RA monoclonal antibody, namely, 23C3, and shown it capable of alleviating the symptoms of RA in a murine collagen-induced arthritis model, restoring the cytokine production profile in joint tissues, and reducing T-cell recall responses to collagen type II. We describe here the crystal structure of 23C3 in complex with its epitope peptide. Analyses of the complex structure reveal the molecular mechanism of osteopontin recognition by 23C3. The peptide folds into two tandem β-turns, and two key residues of the peptide are identified to be critical for the recognition by 23C3: TrpP43 is deeply embedded into a hydrophobic pocket formed by AlaL34, TyrL36, LeuL46, TyrL49, PheL91, and MetH102 and therefore has extensive hydrophobic interactions with 23C3, while AspP47 has a network of hydrophilic interactions with residues ArgH50, ArgH52, SerH53, and AsnH56 of the antibody. Besides the complementarity-determining region loops, the framework region L2 of 23C3 is also shown to interact with the epitope peptide, which is not common in the antibody–antigen interactions and thus could be exploited in the engineering of 23C3. These results not only provide valuable information for further improvement of 23C3 such as chimerization or humanization for its therapeutic application, but also reveal the features of this specific epitope of osteopontin that may be useful for the development of new antibody drugs against RA.
mAb, monoclonal antibody; RA, rheumatoid arthritis; SF, synovial fluid; CIA, collagen-induced arthritis; CDR, complementarity-determining region; BSA, buried surface area; FWR, framework region; osteopontin; rheumatoid arthritis; 23C3; epitope; antibody structure
Normalization is essential in dual-labelled microarray data analysis to remove non-biological variations and systematic biases. Many normalization methods have been used to remove such biases within slides (Global, Lowess) and across slides (Scale, Quantile and VSN). However, all these popular approaches have critical assumptions about data distribution, which is often not valid in practice.
In this study, we propose a novel assumption-free normalization method based on the Generalized Procrustes Analysis (GPA) algorithm. Using experimental and simulated normal microarray data and boutique array data, we systemically evaluate the ability of the GPA method in normalization compared with six other popular normalization methods including Global, Lowess, Scale, Quantile, VSN, and one boutique array-specific housekeeping gene method. The assessment of these methods is based on three different empirical criteria: across-slide variability, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov (K-S) statistic and the mean square error (MSE). Compared with other methods, the GPA method performs effectively and consistently better in reducing across-slide variability and removing systematic bias.
The GPA method is an effective normalization approach for microarray data analysis. In particular, it is free from the statistical and biological assumptions inherent in other normalization methods that are often difficult to validate. Therefore, the GPA method has a major advantage in that it can be applied to diverse types of array sets, especially to the boutique array where the majority of genes may be differentially expressed.
• Background and Aims Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) is indigenous to the Amazon region of South America, and it is well known that the Peruvian Amazon harbours a large number of diverse cocoa populations. A small fraction of the diversity has been collected and maintained as an ex-situ germplasm repository in Peru. However, incorrect labelling of accessions and lack of information on genetic diversity have hindered efficient conservation and use of this germplasm. This study targeted assessment of genetic diversity and population structure in a managed and a semi-natural population.
•Methods Using a capillary electrophoresis genotyping system, 105 cocoa accessions collected from the Huallaga and Ucayali valleys of Peru were fingerprinted. Based on 15 loci SSR profiles, genetic identity was examined for each accession and duplicates identified, population structure assessed and genetic diversity analysed in these two populations.
•Key Results Ten synonymous mislabelled groups were identified among the 105 accessions. The germplasm group in the Huallaga valley was clearly separated from the group in Ucayali valley by the Bayesian assignment test. The Huallaga group has lower genetic diversity, both in terms of allelic richness and of gene diversity, than the Ucayali group. Analysis of molecular variance suggested genetic substructure in the Ucayali group. Significant spatial correlation between genetic distance and geographical distances was detected in the Ucayali group by Mantel tests.
•Conclusions These results substantiate the hypothesis that the Peruvian Amazon hosts a high level of cocoa genetic diversity, and the diversity has a spatial structure. The introduction of exotic seed populations into the Peruvian Amazon is changing the cocoa germplasm spectrum in this region. The spatial structure of cocoa diversity recorded here highlights the need for additional collecting and conservation measures for natural and semi-natural cocoa populations.
Theobroma cacao; cocoa; conservation; germplasm; DNA fingerprinting; genetic diversity; population structure; Peru; Huallaga; Ucayali