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author:("shirasawa, S")
1.  A new scenario of the evolutionary derivation of the mammalian diaphragm from shoulder muscles 
Journal of Anatomy  2013;222(5):504-517.
The evolutionary origin of the diaphragm remains unclear, due to the lack of a comparable structure in other extant taxa. However, recent researches into the developmental mechanism of this structure have yielded new insights into its origin. Here we summarize current understanding regarding the development of the diaphragm, and present a possible scenario for the evolutionary acquisition of this uniquely mammalian structure. Recent developmental analyses indicate that the diaphragm and forelimb muscles are derived from a shared cell population during embryonic development. Therefore, the embryonic positions of forelimb muscle progenitors, which correspond to the position of the brachial plexus, likely played an important role in the evolution of the diaphragm. We surveyed the literature to reexamine the position of the brachial plexus among living amniotes and confirmed that the cervico-thoracic transition in ribs reflects the brachial plexus position. Using this osteological correlate, we concluded that the anterior borders of the brachial plexuses in the stem synapsids were positioned at the level of the fourth spinal nerve, suggesting that the forelimb buds were laid in close proximity of the infrahyoid muscles. The topology of the phrenic and suprascapular nerves of mammals is similar to that of subscapular and supracoracoid nerves, respectively, of the other amniotes, suggesting that the diaphragm evolved from a muscle positioned medial to the pectoral girdle (cf. subscapular muscle). We hypothesize that the diaphragm was acquired in two steps: first, forelimb muscle cells were incorporated into tissues to form a primitive diaphragm in the stem synapsid grade, and second, the diaphragm in cynodonts became entrapped in the region controlled by pulmonary development.
PMCID: PMC3633340  PMID: 23448284
brachial plexus; development; diaphragm; evolution; mammals; pectoral girdle
2.  Image reconstruction of the absorption coefficients with l1-norm minimization from photoacoustic measurements 
The photoacoustic (PA) imaging by considering light propagation into image reconstruction process can provide quantitative information of photon absorbers, such as hemoglobin and exogenous dyes, and to improve their imaging contrasts.
A 2D image reconstruction of the distribution of the light absorption coefficient from the PA measurements with light source and ultrasound transducer placed at the identical position was tested. The PA pressures were formulated with the PA wave equation and the photon diffusion equation. The relation between the PA pressure and the absorption coefficient was linearized. The image reconstruction was carried out by minimizing the squared error between the measured and calculated PA signals. The l1-norm of the reconstructed image was simultaneously minimized to improve the localization of the reconstructed target in the image. The image reconstruction with the l1-norm minimization was compared to that with the Tikhonov regularization by numerical simulation and phantom experiment. In phantom experiment, an aqueous solution of the intralipid and the indocyanine green was used as the measured object. The PA probe had optical fiber for illumination and piezoelectric film for detection placed at the identical position.
The l1-norm minimization reconstructed more localized target than the Tikhonov regularization.
The l1-norm minimization is useful for the sparse PA image reconstruction.
PMCID: PMC4312303
Absorption coefficient; image reconstruction; inverse problem; photoacoustic (PA) imaging
3.  Induction of Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin Production by Nonanoic Acid and Exacerbation of Allergic Inflammation in Mice 
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) plays critical roles in the induction and exacerbation of allergic diseases. We tested various chemicals in the environment and found that xylene and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene induced the production of TSLP in vivo. These findings prompted us to search for additional chemicals that induce TSLP production. In this study, we examined whether fatty acids could induce the production of TSLP in vivo and exacerbate allergic inflammation.
Various fatty acids and related compounds were painted on the ear lobes of mice and the amount of TSLP in the homogenate of ear lobe tissue was determined. The effects of nonanoic acid on allergic inflammation were also examined.
Octanoic acid, nonanoic acid, and decanoic acid markedly induced TSLP production, while a medium-chain aldehyde and alcohol showed only weak activity. Nonanoic acid induced the production of TSLP with a maximum at 24 h. TSLP production was even observed in nonanoic acid-treated C3H/HeJ mice that lacked functional toll-like receptor 4. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist β-naphthoflavone did not induce TSLP production. Nonanoic acid promoted sensitization to ovalbumin, resulting in an enhancement in the cutaneous anaphylactic response. In addition, painting of nonanoic acid after the sensitization augmented picryl chloride-induced thickening of the ear, which was reversed in TSLP receptor-deficient mice.
Nonanoic acid and certain fatty acids induced TSLP production, resulting in the exacerbation of allergic inflammation. We propose that TSLP-inducing chemical compounds such as nonanoic acid be recognized as chemical allergo-accelerators.
PMCID: PMC3844038  PMID: 24060765
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin; nonanoic acid; fatty acid; ovalbumin; picryl chloride
4.  Blood flow distribution during heat stress: cerebral and systemic blood flow 
The purpose of the present study was to assess the effect of heat stress-induced changes in systemic circulation on intra- and extracranial blood flows and its distribution. Twelve healthy subjects with a mean age of 22±2 (s.d.) years dressed in a tube-lined suit and rested in a supine position. Cardiac output (Q), internal carotid artery (ICA), external carotid artery (ECA), and vertebral artery (VA) blood flows were measured by ultrasonography before and during whole body heating. Esophageal temperature increased from 37.0±0.2°C to 38.4±0.2°C during whole body heating. Despite an increase in Q (59±31%, P<0.001), ICA and VA decreased to 83±15% (P=0.001) and 87±8% (P=0.002), respectively, whereas ECA blood flow gradually increased from 188±72 to 422±189 mL/minute (+135%, P<0.001). These findings indicate that heat stress modified the effect of Q on blood flows at each artery; the increased Q due to heat stress was redistributed to extracranial vascular beds.
PMCID: PMC3851900  PMID: 23942362
arterial pressure; cardiac output; Doppler ultrasound; humans; hyperthermia
5.  Establishment of a Method to Measure Length of the Ulnar Nerve and Standardize F-wave Values in Clinically Normal Beagles 
We designed a new method of measuring the length of the ulnar nerve and determining standard values for F-wave parameters of the ulnar nerve in clinically normal beagles. Nerve length must be precisely measured to determine F-wave latency and conduction velocity. The length of the forelimb has served as the length of the ulnar nerve for F-wave assessments, but report indicates that F-wave latency is proportional to the length of the pathway traveled by nerve impulses. Therefore, we measured the surface distance from a stimulus point to the spinous process of the first thoracic vertebra (nerve length 1) and the anterior horn of the scapula (nerve length 2) as landmarks through the olecranon and the shoulder blade acromion. The correlation coefficients between the shortest F-wave latency and the length of nerves 1, 2 or the forelimb were 0.61, 0.7 and 0.58. Nerve length 2 generated the highest value. Furthermore, the anterior horn of the scapula was easily palpated in any dog regardless of well-fed body. We concluded that nerve length 2 was optimal for measuring the length of the ulnar nerve.
PMCID: PMC4300375  PMID: 25649942
canine; central nerve; forelimb; latency; motor nerve
6.  Percutaneous Image-Guided Biopsy for Non-Mass-Forming Isolated Splenomegaly and Suspected Malignant Lymphoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111657.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy, safety, and role of splenic biopsy in the management of patients with non-mass-forming isolated splenomegaly and suspected malignant lymphoma.
Between 2001 and 2013, 137 biopsies were performed under computed tomography (CT) fluoroscopic guidance in 39 patients. All patients had splenomegaly based on the CT findings and a suspected diagnosis of malignant lymphoma based on their clinical symptoms. The spleen was the only accessible site to perform a biopsy, and no mass lesions could be identified in the spleen.
The overall sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy of image-guided biopsy for malignant lymphoma were 88%, 100% and 92%, respectively. Major complications occurred in 3 patients. In 1 patient, transcatheter arterial embolization was performed due to hemorrhage, and two patients needed blood transfusion because of hematoma development, without the need for further treatment.
Image-guided splenic core-needle biopsy is a safe and accurate technique with a high diagnostic accuracy in most patients who with non-mass-forming isolated splenomegaly and suspected underlying malignant lymphoma.
PMCID: PMC4218790  PMID: 25365519
7.  The Japanese guidelines for the management of sepsis 
This is a guideline for the management of sepsis, developed by the Sepsis Registry Committee of The Japanese Society of Intensive Care Medicine (JSICM) launched in March 2007. This guideline was developed on the basis of evidence-based medicine and focuses on unique treatments in Japan that have not been included in the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines (SSCG), as well as treatments that are viewed differently in Japan and in Western countries. Although the methods in this guideline conform to the 2008 SSCG, the Japanese literature and the results of the Sepsis Registry Survey, which was performed twice by the Sepsis Registry Committee in intensive care units (ICUs) registered with JSICM, are also referred. This is the first and original guideline for sepsis in Japan and is expected to be properly used in daily clinical practice.
This article is translated from Japanese, originally published as “The Japanese Guidelines for the Management of Sepsis” in the Journal of the Japanese Society of Intensive Care Medicine (J Jpn Soc Intensive Care Med), 2013; 20:124–73. The original work is at
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40560-014-0055-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4336273
8.  Increased lodging resistance in long-culm, low-lignin gh2 rice for improved feed and bioenergy production 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6567.
Lignin modification has been a breeding target for the improvements of forage digestibility and energy yields in forage and bioenergy crops, but decreased lignin levels are often accompanied by reduced lodging resistance. The rice mutant gold hull and internode2 (gh2) has been identified to be lignin deficient. GH2 has been mapped to the short arm of chromosome 2 and encodes cinnamyl-alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD). We developed a long-culm variety, ‘Leaf Star’, with superior lodging resistance and a gh phenotype similar to one of its parents, ‘Chugoku 117’. The gh loci in Leaf Star and Chugoku 117 were localized to the same region of chromosome 2 as the gh2 mutant. Leaf Star had culms with low lignin concentrations due to a natural mutation in OsCAD2 that was not present in Chugoku 117. However, this variety had high culm strength due to its strong, thick culms. Additionally, this variety had a thick layer of cortical fiber tissue with well-developed secondary cell walls. Our results suggest that rice can be improved for forage and bioenergy production by combining superior lodging resistance, which can be obtained by introducing thick and stiff culm traits, with low lignin concentrations, which can be obtained using the gh2 variety.
PMCID: PMC4190510  PMID: 25298209
9.  The effect of changes in cerebral blood flow on cognitive function during exercise 
Physiological Reports  2014;2(9):e12163.
No studies have identified the direct effect of changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) on cognitive function at rest and during exercise. In this study, we manipulated CBF using hypercapnic gas to examine whether an increase in CBF improves cognitive function during prolonged exercise. The speed and the accuracy of cognitive function were assessed using the Stroop color‐word test. After the Stroop test at rest, the subjects began exercising on a cycling ergometer in which the workload was increased by 0.5 kilopond every minute until a target heart rate of 140 beats/min was achieved. Then, the subjects continued to cycle at a constant rate for 50 min. At four time points during the exercise (0, 10, 20, 50 min), the subjects performed a Stroop test with and without hypercapnic respiratory gas (2.0% CO2), with a random order of the exposures in the two tests. Despite a decrease in the mean blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery (MCA Vmean), the reaction time for the Stroop test gradually decreased during the prolonged exercise without any loss of performance accuracy. In addition, the hypercapnia‐induced increase in MCA Vmean produced neither changes in the reaction time nor error in the Stroop test during exercise. These findings suggest that the changes in CBF are unlikely to affect cognitive function during prolonged exercise. Thus, we conclude that improved cognitive function may be due to cerebral neural activation associated with exercise rather than global cerebral circulatory condition.
We found that even prolonged exercise improved cognitive function, which was unlikely to have been affected by changes in cerebral blood flow. Exercise‐induced improvements in cognitive function may be due to cerebral neural activation associated with exercise rather than cerebral circulatory condition. The finding would advance our understanding of physiological mechanisms underlying the regulation of the cognitive function.
PMCID: PMC4270220  PMID: 25263210
arterial blood pressure; brain; cognition; humans; hypercapnia
10.  Determination of Axial Length Requiring Adjustment of Measured Circumpapillary Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness for Ocular Magnification 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107553.
To determine the axial length requiring adjustment of measured circumpapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (cpRNFL) thickness to account for ocular magnification during spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT).
In this prospective study, 148 eyes of 148 healthy student volunteers were imaged by two examiners using three-dimensional SD-OCT. In 54 randomly selected eyes, total cpRNFL thickness was measured with and without adjustment for ocular magnification to establish intra-examiner and inter-examiner measurement error. The 148 eyes were then divided into three groups according to the error values: control group (difference in the corrected and uncorrected total cpRNFL thickness was within the measurement error range), thinner group (the corrected total cpRNFL thickness was less than the uncorrected one), and thicker group (the corrected total cpRNFL thickness was more than the uncorrected one). The cutoff values of axial length between the control and the other groups were calculated by receiver operating characteristic analysis.
Measurement error ranged from 4.2 to 5.3 µm; the threshold value was defined as 5.3 µm. The cutoff values of axial length between the thinner and the control groups and between the control and the thicker groups were 23.60 (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.959) and 25.55 (AUC = 0.944) mm, respectively.
Axial lengths shorter than 23.60 mm and longer than 25.55 mm require adjustment of measured cpRNFL thickness to account for ocular magnification during SD-OCT.
Clinical Trial Registration
UMIN Clinical Trials Registry ( under unique trial number UMIN000013248 (date of registration: 02/24/2014)
PMCID: PMC4162641  PMID: 25215521
11.  Evolution and Development of Ventricular Septation in the Amniote Heart 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106569.
During cardiogenesis the epicardium, covering the surface of the myocardial tube, has been ascribed several functions essential for normal heart development of vertebrates from lampreys to mammals. We investigated a novel function of the epicardium in ventricular development in species with partial and complete septation. These species include reptiles, birds and mammals. Adult turtles, lizards and snakes have a complex ventricle with three cava, partially separated by the horizontal and vertical septa. The crocodilians, birds and mammals with origins some 100 million years apart, however, have a left and right ventricle that are completely separated, being a clear example of convergent evolution. In specific embryonic stages these species show similarities in development, prompting us to investigate the mechanisms underlying epicardial involvement. The primitive ventricle of early embryos becomes septated by folding and fusion of the anterior ventricular wall, trapping epicardium in its core. This folding septum develops as the horizontal septum in reptiles and the anterior part of the interventricular septum in the other taxa. The mechanism of folding is confirmed using DiI tattoos of the ventricular surface. Trapping of epicardium-derived cells is studied by transplanting embryonic quail pro-epicardial organ into chicken hosts. The effect of decreased epicardium involvement is studied in knock-out mice, and pro-epicardium ablated chicken, resulting in diminished and even absent septum formation. Proper folding followed by diminished ventricular fusion may explain the deep interventricular cleft observed in elephants. The vertical septum, although indistinct in most reptiles except in crocodilians and pythonidsis apparently homologous to the inlet septum. Eventually the various septal components merge to form the completely septated heart. In our attempt to discover homologies between the various septum components we aim to elucidate the evolution and development of this part of the vertebrate heart as well as understand the etiology of septal defects in human congenital heart malformations.
PMCID: PMC4156344  PMID: 25192012
12.  Discriminating between Glaucoma and Normal Eyes Using Optical Coherence Tomography and the ‘Random Forests’ Classifier 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e106117.
To diagnose glaucoma based on spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) measurements using the ‘Random Forests’ method.
SD-OCT was conducted in 126 eyes of 126 open angle glaucoma (OAG) patients and 84 eyes of 84 normal subjects. The Random Forests method was then applied to discriminate between glaucoma and normal eyes using 151 OCT parameters including thickness measurements of circumpapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (cpRNFL), the macular RNFL (mRNFL) and the ganglion cell layer-inner plexiform layer combined (GCIPL). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AROC) was calculated using the Random Forests method adopting leave-one-out cross validation. For comparison, AROCs were calculated based on each one of the 151 OCT parameters.
The AROC obtained with the Random Forests method was 98.5% [95% Confidence interval (CI): 97.1–99.9%], which was significantly larger than the AROCs derived from any single OCT parameter (maxima were: 92.8 [CI: 89.4–96.2] %, 94.3 [CI: 91.1–97.6] % and 91.8 [CI: 88.2–95.4] % for cpRNFL-, mRNFL- and GCIPL-related parameters, respectively; P<0.05, DeLong’s method with Holm’s correction for multiple comparisons). The partial AROC above specificity of 80%, for the Random Forests method was equal to 18.5 [CI: 16.8–19.6] %, which was also significantly larger than the AROCs of any single OCT parameter (P<0.05, Bootstrap method with Holm’s correction for multiple comparisons).
The Random Forests method, analyzing multiple SD-OCT parameters concurrently, significantly improves the diagnosis of glaucoma compared with using any single SD-OCT measurement.
PMCID: PMC4148397  PMID: 25167053
13.  Features of ovarian cancer in Lynch syndrome (Review) 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2014;2(6):909-916.
Lynch syndrome is a hereditary ovarian cancer with a prevalence of 0.9–2.7%. Lynch syndrome accounts for 10–15% of hereditary ovarian cancers, while hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome accounts for 65–75% of these cancers. The lifetime risk for ovarian cancer in families with Lynch syndrome is ~8%, which is lower than colorectal and endometrial cancers, and ovarian cancer is not listed in the Amsterdam Criteria II. More than half of sporadic ovarian cancers are diagnosed in stage III or IV, but ≥80% of ovarian cancers in Lynch syndrome are diagnosed in stage I or II. Ovarian cancers in Lynch syndrome mostly have non-serous histology and different properties from those of sporadic ovarian cancers. A screening method for ovarian cancers in Lynch syndrome has yet to be established and clinical studies of prophylactic administration of oral contraceptives are not available. However, molecular profiles at the genetic level indicate that ovarian cancer in Lynch syndrome has a more favorable prognosis than sporadic ovarian cancer. Inhibitors of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mammalian target of the rapamycin pathway and anti-epidermal growth factor antibodies may have efficacy for the disease. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review focusing on ovarian cancer in Lynch syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4179837  PMID: 25279173
lynch syndrome; ovarian cancer; surveillance; chemoprevention; risk-reducing surgery
14.  Enhanced muscle pump during mild dynamic leg exercise inhibits sympathetic vasomotor outflow 
Physiological Reports  2014;2(7):e12070.
Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is not increased during leg cycling at light and mild intensities, despite activation of central command and the exercise pressor reflex. We determined whether increasing central blood volume and loading the cardiopulmonary baroreceptors modulate sympathetic vasomotor outflow during leg cycling. To this end, we changed the pedaling frequency to enhance skeletal muscle pump. Subjects performed two leg cycle exercises at differential pedal rates of 60 and 80 rpm (60EX and 80EX trials) for two conditions (with and without MSNA measurement). In each trial, subjects completed leg cycling with a differential workload to maintain constant oxygen consumption (VO2). MSNA was recorded via microneurography at the right median nerve of the elbow. Without MSNA measurement, thoracic impedance, stroke volume (SV), and cardiac output (CO) were measured non‐invasively using impedance cardiography. Heart rate and VO2 during exercise did not differ between the 60EX and 80EX trials. Changes in thoracic impedance, SV, and CO during the 80EX trial were greater than during the 60EX trial. MSNA during the 60EX trial was unchanged compared with that at rest (25.8 ± 3.1 [rest] to 28.3 ± 3.4 [exercise] bursts/min), whereas a significant decrease in MSNA was observed during the 80EX trial (25.8 ± 2.8 [rest] to 19.7 ± 2.0 [exercise] bursts/min). These results suggest that a muscle pump‐induced increase in central blood volume, and thereby loading of cardiopulmonary baroreceptors, could inhibit sympathetic vasomotor outflow during mild dynamic leg exercise, despite activation of central command and the exercise pressor reflex.
Muscle sympathetic nerve activity during leg cycling was reduced when central blood volume was manipulated by increasing the pedaling frequency. This result suggest that sympathetic vasomotor outflow is strongly affected by loading of cardiopulmonary baroreceptors at light and mild dynamic leg exercise to maintain arterial blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC4187562  PMID: 25347854
cardiopulmonary baroreceptors; dynamic leg exercise; sympathetic activity
15.  The Roles of Four Conserved Basic Amino Acids in a Ferredoxin-Dependent Cyanobacterial Nitrate Reductase 
Biochemistry  2013;52(25):4343-4353.
The roles of four conserved basic amino acids in the reaction catalyzed by the ferredoxin-dependent nitrate reductase from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 have been investigated using site-directed mutagenesis in combination with measurements of steady-state kinetics, substrate-binding affinities and spectroscopic properties of the enzyme’s two prosthetic groups. Replacement of either Lys58 or Arg70 by glutamine leads to a complete loss of activity, with both the physiological electron donor, reduced ferredoxin and with a non-physiological electron donor, reduced methyl viologen. More conservative, charge-maintaining K58R and R70K variants were also completely inactive. Replacement of Lys130 by glutamine produced a variant that retained 26% of the wild-type activity with methyl viologen as the electron donor and 22% of the wild-type activity with ferredoxin as the electron donor, while replacement by arginine produces a variant that retains a significantly higher percentage of the wild-type activity with both electron donors. In contrast, replacement of Arg146 by glutamine had minimal effect on the activity of the enzyme. These results, along with substrate-binding and spectroscopic measurements, are discussed in terms of an in silico structural model for the enzyme.
PMCID: PMC3741069  PMID: 23692082
16.  Regulation of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 production in adipocytes by glucose 
Type 1 and 2 diabetes are characterized by elevated blood glucose levels and increased dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) activity levels in the serum. However, previous studies reported a negative correlation between glucose concentrations and DPP4 levels. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the connection between glucose and DPP4 in adipocytes under physiological and diabetic conditions, because DPP4 is an adipokine.
Blood glucose and serum DPP4 levels were measured, and adipocytes were collected from mice under normal, high-fat diet fed, and diabetic conditions. The adipocytes obtained were incubated for 24 hours in medium containing 5.5 or 25 mM glucose, and 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were differentiated under 5.5 or 25 mM glucose. Adipocytes from mice and 3T3-L1 were stimulated by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) for 24 hours. The levels of released and intracellular DPP4 were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Mice fed high-fat diet had lower serum DPP4 levels in the first and second week than controls. However, this difference gradually disappeared over 6 weeks. The differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes under 25 mM glucose produced lower DPP4 levels than those differentiated under 5.5 mM; this was also observed in isolated adipocytes from mice. However, these effects of glucose were lost in adipocytes from diabetic mice, and an increase in total DPP4 levels was observed. The stimulation of adipocytes with TNF-α increased the release of DPP4 irrespective of glucose concentration.
The production of DPP4 in adipocytes was negatively regulated by 25 mM glucose under physiological conditions, but not in diabetic mice. Our results suggest that the observed increase in serum DPP4 levels may be attributed to increased production of DPP4 in adipocytes and an enhancement in TNF-α-induced release.
PMCID: PMC4043708  PMID: 24920931
DPP4; 3T3-L1; diabetes; TNF-α
17.  Increased 3-hydroxypropionic acid production from glycerol, by modification of central metabolism in Escherichia coli 
3-hydroxypropionic acid (3HP) is an important chemical precursor for the production of bioplastics. Microbial production of 3HP from glycerol has previously been developed through the optimization of culture conditions and the 3HP biosynthesis pathway. In this study, a novel strategy for improving 3HP production in Escherichia coli was investigated by the modification of central metabolism based on a genome-scale metabolic model and experimental validation.
Metabolic simulation identified the double knockout of tpiA and zwf as a candidate for improving 3HP production. A 3HP-producing strain was constructed by the expression of glycerol dehydratase and aldehyde dehydrogenase. The double knockout of tpiA and zwf increased the percentage carbon-molar yield (C-mol%) of 3HP on consumed glycerol 4.4-fold (20.1 ± 9.2 C-mol%), compared to the parental strain. Increased extracellular methylglyoxal concentrations in the ΔtpiA Δzwf strain indicated that glycerol catabolism was occurring through the methylglyoxal pathway, which converts dihydroxyacetone phosphate to pyruvate, as predicted by the metabolic model. Since the ΔtpiA Δzwf strain produced abundant 1,3-propanediol as a major byproduct (37.7 ± 13.2 C-mol%), yqhD, which encodes an enzyme involved in the production of 1,3-propanediol, was disrupted in the ΔtpiA Δzwf strain. The 3HP yield of the ΔtpiA Δzwf ΔyqhD strain (33.9 ± 1.2 C-mol%) was increased 1.7-fold further compared to the ΔtpiA Δzwf strain and by 7.4-fold compared to the parental strain.
This study successfully increased 3HP production by 7.4-fold in the ΔtpiA Δzwf ΔyqhD E. coli strain by the modification of the central metabolism, based on metabolic simulation and experimental validation of engineered strains.
PMCID: PMC4019354  PMID: 24885133
3-hydroxypropionic acid; Escherichia coli; Glycerol; Genome-scale metabolic model; Central metabolism
18.  Single Rapamycin Administration Induces Prolonged Downward Shift in Defended Body Weight in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e93691.
Manipulation of body weight set point may be an effective weight loss and maintenance strategy as the homeostatic mechanism governing energy balance remains intact even in obese conditions and counters the effort to lose weight. However, how the set point is determined is not well understood. We show that a single injection of rapamycin (RAP), an mTOR inhibitor, is sufficient to shift the set point in rats. Intraperitoneal RAP decreased food intake and daily weight gain for several days, but surprisingly, there was also a long-term reduction in body weight which lasted at least 10 weeks without additional RAP injection. These effects were not due to malaise or glucose intolerance. Two RAP administrations with a two-week interval had additive effects on body weight without desensitization and significantly reduced the white adipose tissue weight. When challenged with food deprivation, vehicle and RAP-treated rats responded with rebound hyperphagia, suggesting that RAP was not inhibiting compensatory responses to weight loss. Instead, RAP animals defended a lower body weight achieved after RAP treatment. Decreased food intake and body weight were also seen with intracerebroventricular injection of RAP, indicating that the RAP effect is at least partially mediated by the brain. In summary, we found a novel effect of RAP that maintains lower body weight by shifting the set point long-term. Thus, RAP and related compounds may be unique tools to investigate the mechanisms by which the defended level of body weight is determined; such compounds may also be used to complement weight loss strategy.
PMCID: PMC4008417  PMID: 24787262
19.  In the Absence of Thioredoxins, What Are the Reductants for Peroxiredoxins in Thermotoga maritima? 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;18(13):1613-1622.
Three peroxiredoxins (Prxs) were identified in Thermotoga maritima, which possesses neither glutathione nor typical thioredoxins: one of the Prx6 class; one 2-Cys PrxBCP; and a unique hybrid protein containing an N-terminal 1-Cys PrxBCP domain fused to a flavin mononucleotide-containing nitroreductase (Ntr) domain. No peroxidase activity was detected for Prx6, whereas both bacterioferritin comigratory proteins (BCPs) were regenerated by a NADH/thioredoxin reductase/glutaredoxin (Grx)-like system, constituting a unique peroxide removal system. Only two of the three Grx-like proteins were able to support peroxidase activity. The inability of TmGrx1 to regenerate oxidized 2-Cys PrxBCP probably results from the thermodynamically unfavorable difference in their disulfide/dithiol Em values, −150 and −315 mV, respectively. Mutagenesis of the Prx-Ntr fusion, combined with kinetic and structural analyses, indicated that electrons are not transferred between its two domains. However, their separate activities could function in a complementary manner, with peroxide originating from the chromate reductase activity of the Ntr domain reduced by the Prx domain. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18, 1613–1622.
PMCID: PMC3613187  PMID: 22866991
20.  Introgression of two chromosome regions for leaf photosynthesis from an indica rice into the genetic background of a japonica rice 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(8):2049-2056.
Increases in rates of individual leaf photosynthesis (P n) are critical for future increases of rice yields. A previous study, using introgression lines derived from a cross between indica cultivar Habataki, with one of the highest recorded values of P n, and the Japanese elite cultivar Koshihikari, identified four QTLs (qCAR4, qCAR5, qCAR8, and qCAR11) that affect P n. The present study examined the combined effect of qCAR4 and qCAR8 on P n in the genetic background of Koshihikari. The pyramided near-isogenic line NIL(qCAR4+qCAR8) showed higher P n than both NIL(qCAR4) and NIL(qCAR8), equivalent to that of Habataki despite being due to only two out of the four QTLs. The high P n of NIL(qCAR4+qCAR8) may be attributable to the high leaf nitrogen content, which may have been inherited from NIL(qCAR4), to the large hydraulic conductance due to the large root surface area from NIL(qCAR4), and to the high hydraulic conductivity from NIL(qCAR8). It might be also attributable to high mesophyll conductance, which may have been inherited from NIL(qCAR4). The induction of mesophyll conductance and the high leaf nitrogen content and high hydraulic conductivity could not be explained in isolation from the Koshihikari background. These results suggest that QTL pyramiding is a useful approach in rice breeding aimed at increasing P n.
PMCID: PMC3991736  PMID: 24591053
Hydraulic conductance; leaf nitrogen content; Oryza sativa; photosynthesis; quantitative trait locus; stomatal conductance.
21.  Predicting Perioperative Venous Thromboembolism in Japanese Gynecological Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89206.
To develop a convenient screening method that can predict perioperative venous thromboembolism (VTE) and identify patients at risk of fatal perioperative pulmonary embolism (PE).
Patients hospitalized for gynecological abdominal surgery (n = 183) underwent hematology tests and multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) to detect VTE. All statistical analyses were carried out using the SPSS software program (PASWV19.0J)
The following risk factors for VTE were identified by univariate analysis: plasmin-alpha2-plasmin inhibitor complex (PIC), thrombin-antithrombin III complex (TAT), and prolonged immobility (all p<0.001); age, neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC), malignancy, hypertension, past history of VTE, and hormone therapy (all p<0.01); and hemoglobin, transverse tumor diameter, ovarian disease, and menopause (all p<0.05). Multivariate analysis using these factors revealed that PIC, age, and transverse tumor diameter were significant independent determinants of the risk of VTE. We then calculated the incidence rate of perioperative VTE using PIC and transverse tumor diameter in patient groups stratified by age. In patients aged≦40 years, PIC ≧1.3 µg/mL and a transverse tumor diameter ≧10 cm identified the high-risk group for VTE with an accuracy of 93.6%. For patients in their 50 s, PIC ≧1.3 µg/mL identified a high risk of VTE with an accuracy of 78.2%. In patients aged ≧60 years, a transverse tumor diameter ≧15 cm (irrespective of PIC) or PIC ≧1.3 µg/mL identified the high-risk group with an accuracy of 82.4%.
We propose new screening criteria for VTE risk that are based on PIC, transverse tumor diameter, and age. Our findings suggest the usefulness of these criteria for predicting the risk of perioperative VTE and for identifying patients with a high risk of fatal perioperative PE.
PMCID: PMC3935859  PMID: 24586595
22.  Prognostic value of severity indicators of nursing-home-acquired pneumonia versus community-acquired pneumonia in elderly patients 
The credibility of prognostic indicators in nursing-home-acquired pneumonia (NHAP) is not clear. We previously reported a simple prognostic indicator in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP): blood urea nitrogen to serum albumin (B/A) ratio. This retrospective study investigated the prognostic value of severity indicators in NHAP versus CAP in elderly patients.
Patients aged ≥65 years and hospitalized because of NHAP or CAP within the previous 3 years were enrolled. Demographics, coexisting illnesses, laboratory and microbiological findings, and severity scores (confusion, urea, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and age ≥65 [CURB-65] scale; age, dehydration, respiratory failure, orientation disturbance, and pressure [A-DROP] scale; and pneumonia severity index [PSI]) were retrieved from medical records. The primary outcome was mortality within 28 days of admission.
In total, 138 NHAP and 307 CAP patients were enrolled. Mortality was higher in NHAP (18.1%) than in CAP (4.6%) (P<0.001). Patients with NHAP were older and had lower functional status and a higher rate of do-not-resuscitate orders, heart failure, and cerebrovascular diseases. The NHAP patients more frequently had typical bacterial pathogens. Using the receiver-operating characteristics curve for predicting mortality, the area under the curve in NHAP was 0.70 for the A-DROP scale, 0.69 for the CURB-65 scale, 0.67 for the PSI class, and 0.65 for the B/A ratio. The area under the curve in CAP was 0.73 for the A-DROP scale, 0.76 for the CURB-65 scale, 0.81 for the PSI class, and 0.83 for the B/A ratio.
Patient mortality was greater in NHAP than in CAP. Patient characteristics, coexisting illnesses, and detected pathogens differed greatly between NHAP and CAP. The existing severity indicators had less prognostic value for NHAP than for CAP.
PMCID: PMC3929165  PMID: 24611004
albumin; blood urea nitrogen; community-acquired pneumonia; mortality; nursing-home-acquired pneumonia; severity score
23.  Activation of ERα Signaling Differentially Modulates IFN-γ Induced HLA-Class II Expression in Breast Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87377.
The coordinate regulation of HLA class II (HLA-II) is controlled by the class II transactivator, CIITA, and is crucial for the development of anti-tumor immunity. HLA-II in breast carcinoma is associated with increased IFN-γ levels, reduced expression of the estrogen receptor (ER) and reduced age at diagnosis. Here, we tested the hypothesis that estradiol (E2) and ERα signaling contribute to the regulation of IFN-γ inducible HLA-II in breast cancer cells. Using a panel of established ER− and ER+ breast cancer cell lines, we showed that E2 attenuated HLA-DR in two ER+ lines (MCF-7 and BT-474), but not in T47D, while it augmented expression in ER− lines, SK-BR-3 and MDA-MB-231. To further study the mechanism(s), we used paired transfectants: ERα+ MC2 (MDA-MB-231 c10A transfected with the wild type ERα gene) and ERα− VC5 (MDA-MB-231 c10A transfected with the empty vector), treated or not with E2 and IFN-γ. HLA-II and CIITA were severely reduced in MC2 compared to VC5 and were further exacerbated by E2 treatment. Reduced expression occurred at the level of the IFN-γ inducible CIITA promoter IV. The anti-estrogen ICI 182,780 and gene silencing with ESR1 siRNA reversed the E2 inhibitory effects, signifying an antagonistic role for activated ERα on CIITA pIV activity. Moreover, STAT1 signaling, necessary for CIITA pIV activation, and selected STAT1 regulated genes were variably downregulated by E2 in transfected and endogenous ERα positive breast cancer cells, whereas STAT1 signaling was noticeably augmented in ERα− breast cancer cells. Collectively, these results imply immune escape mechanisms in ERα+ breast cancer may be facilitated through an ERα suppressive mechanism on IFN-γ signaling.
PMCID: PMC3903652  PMID: 24475282
24.  Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 is required for normal cerebellar development 
Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a serine/threonine kinase, and its kinase activity is dependent upon its association with either of the activating subunits p35 or p39, which are mainly expressed in neurons. We previously reported that Cdk5 knockout (KO) mice exhibit perinatal lethality, defective neuronal migration, and abnormal positioning of neurons in the facial motor nucleus and inferior olive in the hindbrain and Purkinje cells (PCs) in the cerebellum.. In this study, we focused on the analysis of the role of Cdk5 in cerebellar development. For this purpose we generated midbrain-hindbrain-specific Cdk5 conditional knockout (MHB-Cdk5 KO) mice because the cerebellum develops postnatally, whereas Cdk5 KO mice die perinatally. Histological analysis of the MHB-Cdk5 KO mice revealed a significant size reduction of the cerebellum. In addition, profound disturbance of inward migration of granule cells (GC) was observed in the developing cerebellum. A normal dendritic development of the Purkinje cells (PCs) was disturbed in MHB-Cdk5 KO mice. Cultured Cdk5-null PCs showed similar dendritic abnormalities. These results indicate that Cdk5/p35 plays an important role in neuronal migration of PCs and GCs and dendrite formation of PCs in cerebellar development.
PMCID: PMC3540197  PMID: 23085039
Cdk5; neuronal migration; midbrain-hindbrain; conditional KO; dendrite
25.  Therapeutic Role and Ligands of Medium- to Long-Chain Fatty Acid Receptors 
Medium- and long-chain free fatty acids (FFAs) are energy source for whole body and biological metabolites and components. In these decades, some research groups have reported that the biological functions of medium- to long-chain FFAs are exerted through G-protein coupled receptor designated free fatty acid receptor (FFAR). As the medium- to long-chain FFAs-activated FFARs, FFA1 and FFA4 are reported to be expressed widely in whole body and regulate various physiological processes. FFA1 expressed in pancreatic β-cells has been shown to be involved in insulin secretion. FFA4 expressed in intestine, adipocytes, and macrophages has been shown to be involved in incretin secretion, differentiation, and anti-inflammatory effect, respectively. These physiological functions have been focused on the treatment of metabolic disorders. In addition, these receptors have been also reported to be expressed in several other tissues such as intestine for FFA1, and tongue and stomach for FFA4. The recent functional studies indicated that they also contributed to energy homeostasis. Further, the number of synthetic compounds of FFA1 and FFA4 strongly promoted the physiological characterization of the receptors and their own therapeutic utility. In this article, we will discuss the recent progress regarding the therapeutic potential of these receptors and its ligands.
PMCID: PMC4040920  PMID: 24917851
FFA1; FFA4; medium- to long-chain fatty acid; energy metabolism

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