Few prospective cohort studies of workplace low back pain (LBP) with quantified job physical exposure have been performed. There are few prospective epidemiological studies for LBP occupational risk factors and reported data generally have few adjustments for many personal and psychosocial factors.
A multi-center prospective cohort study has been incepted to quantify risk factors for LBP and potentially develop improved methods for designing and analyzing jobs. Due to the subjectivity of LBP, six measures of LBP are captured: 1) any LBP, 2) LBP ≥ 5/10 pain rating, 3) LBP with medication use, 4) LBP with healthcare provider visits, 5) LBP necessitating modified work duties and 6) LBP with lost work time. Workers have thus far been enrolled from 30 different employment settings in 4 diverse US states and performed widely varying work. At baseline, workers undergo laptop-administered questionnaires, structured interviews, and two standardized physical examinations to ascertain demographics, medical history, psychosocial factors, hobbies and physical activities, and current musculoskeletal disorders. All workers’ jobs are individually measured for physical factors and are videotaped. Workers are followed monthly for the development of low back pain. Changes in jobs necessitate re-measure and re-videotaping of job physical factors. The lifetime cumulative incidence of low back pain will also include those with a past history of low back pain. Incident cases will exclude prevalent cases at baseline. Statistical methods planned include survival analyses and logistic regression.
Data analysis of a prospective cohort study of low back pain is underway and has successfully enrolled over 800 workers to date.
Epidemiology; Ergonomics; Cohort; Low back pain; NIOSH lifting equation
In this study, we adapted a FluoSphere bead-binding assay to study the exposure and release of guinea pig sperm acrosomal components during the course of capacitation and acrosomal exocytosis. Prior to capacitation or the initiation of exocytosis, acrosomal proteins were not accessible to FluoSpheres coated with antibodies against two acrosomal matrix (AM) proteins, AM67 and AM50; during the course of capacitation and ionophore-induced acrosomal exocytosis, however, we detected the transient exposure of the solid-phase AM proteins on the surface of guinea pig sperm using the antibody-coated fluorescent beads. Several different transitional stages leading to complete acrosomal exocytosis were classified, and we propose these represent true, functional intermediates since some of the AM proteins are orthologues of mouse proteins that bind the zona pellucida of unfertilized eggs. In addition, we present evidence that implicates acrosin in the proteolytic processing of AM50 during AM disassembly. Thus, we propose that the transitional states of acrosomal exocytosis involve early binding of AM proteins to the zona pellucida (by what visually appear to be “acrosome-intact” sperm), maintenance of zona pellucida binding that coincides with the progressive exposure of AM proteins, and gradual proteolytic disassembly of the AM to allow sperm movement through the zona pellucida. We feel this “transitional states” model provides a more refined view of acrosomal function that supports a move away from the widely-held, overly simplistic, and binary “acrosome-reaction” model, and embraces a more dynamic view of acrosomal exocytosis that involves intermediate stages of the secretory process in zona pellucida binding and penetration.
acrosin; acrosomal exocytosis; acrosomal matrix; acrosome
Diverse lines of evidence indicate that pre-fibrillar, diffusible assemblies of the amyloid β-protein play an important role in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. Although the precise molecular identity of these soluble toxins remains unsettled, recent experiments suggest that SDS-stable amyloid β-protein dimers may be the basic building blocks of Alzheimer’s disease-associated synaptotoxic assemblies and as such present an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. In the absence of sufficient amounts of highly pure cerebral amyloid β-protein dimers, we have used synthetic disulfide cross-linked dimers (free of Aβ monomer or fibrils) to generate conformation-specific monoclonal antibodies. These dimers aggregate to form kinetically trapped protofibrils, but do not readily form fibrils. We identified two antibodies, 3C6 and 4B5, which preferentially bind assemblies formed from covalent Aβ dimers, but do not bind to amyloid β-protein monomer, amyloid precursor protein, or aggregates formed by other amyloidogenic proteins. Monoclonal antibody 3C6, but not an IgM isotype-matched control antibody, ameliorated the plasticity-disrupting effects of Aβ extracted from the aqueous phase of Alzheimer’s disease brain, thus suggesting that 3C6 targets pathogenically relevant amyloid β-protein assemblies. These data prove the usefulness of covalent dimers and their assemblies as immunogens and recommend further investigation of the therapeutic and diagnostic utility of monoclonal antibodies raised to such assemblies.
Background: DAT activity is regulated by protein kinases.
Results: We identify Thr53 as a DAT phosphorylation site in rat striatum by mass spectrometry and a phospho-specific antibody; Thr53 mutation reduced dopamine influx and ablated transporter-mediated efflux.
Conclusion: Phosphorylation of DAT Thr53 is involved in transport activity.
Significance: These results identify Thr53 phosphorylation of DAT in vivo and elucidate associated functional properties.
In the central nervous system, levels of extraneuronal dopamine are controlled primarily by the action of the dopamine transporter (DAT). Multiple signaling pathways regulate transport activity, substrate efflux, and other DAT functions through currently unknown mechanisms. DAT is phosphorylated by protein kinase C within a serine cluster at the distal end of the cytoplasmic N terminus, whereas recent work in model cells revealed proline-directed phosphorylation of rat DAT at membrane-proximal residue Thr53. In this report, we use mass spectrometry and a newly developed phospho-specific antibody to positively identify DAT phosphorylation at Thr53 in rodent striatal tissue and heterologous expression systems. Basal phosphorylation of Thr53 occurred with a stoichiometry of ∼50% and was strongly increased by phorbol esters and protein phosphatase inhibitors, demonstrating modulation of the site by signaling pathways that impact DAT activity. Mutations of Thr53 to prevent phosphorylation led to reduced dopamine transport Vmax and total apparent loss of amphetamine-stimulated substrate efflux, supporting a major role for this residue in the transport kinetic mechanism.
ERK; MAP Kinases (MAPKs); Mass Spectrometry (MS); Protein Kinase C (PKC); SH3 Domains; 1-Methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+); PP1/2A; cis-trans Isomerization; Phospho-specific Antibody; Proline-directed Phosphorylation
Summary: OTUbase is an R package designed to facilitate the analysis of operational taxonomic unit (OTU) data and sequence classification (taxonomic) data. Currently there are programs that will cluster sequence data into OTUs and/or classify sequence data into known taxonomies. However, there is a need for software that can take the summarized output of these programs and organize it into easily accessed and manipulated formats. OTUbase provides this structure and organization within R, to allow researchers to easily manipulate the data with the rich library of R packages currently available for additional analysis.
Availability: OTUbase is an R package available through Bioconductor. It can be found at http://www.bioconductor.org/packages/release/bioc/html/OTUbase.html.
Few prospective cohort studies of distal upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders have been performed. Past studies have provided somewhat conflicting evidence for occupational risk factors and have largely reported data without adjustments for many personal and psychosocial factors.
A multi-center prospective cohort study was incepted to quantify risk factors for distal upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders and potentially develop improved methods for analyzing jobs. Disorders to analyze included carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylalgia, medial epicondylalgia, trigger digit, deQuervain’s stenosing tenosynovitis and other tendinoses. Workers have thus far been enrolled from 17 different employment settings in 3 diverse US states and performed widely varying work. At baseline, workers undergo laptop administered questionnaires, structured interviews, two standardized physical examinations and nerve conduction studies to ascertain demographic, medical history, psychosocial factors and current musculoskeletal disorders. All workers’ jobs are individually measured for physical factors and are videotaped. Workers are followed monthly for the development of musculoskeletal disorders. Repeat nerve conduction studies are performed for those with symptoms of tingling and numbness in the prior six months. Changes in jobs necessitate re-measure and re-videotaping of job physical factors. Case definitions have been established. Point prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome is a combination of paraesthesias in at least two median nerve-served digits plus an abnormal nerve conduction study at baseline. The lifetime cumulative incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome will also include those with a past history of carpal tunnel syndrome. Incident cases will exclude those with either a past history or prevalent cases at baseline. Statistical methods planned include survival analyses and logistic regression.
A prospective cohort study of distal upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders is underway and has successfully enrolled over 1,000 workers to date.
Epidemiology; Ergonomics; Cohort; Carpal tunnel syndrome; Strain index; TLV for HAL
This article reviews recent advances in ‘microbiome studies’: molecular, statistical and graphical techniques to explore and quantify how microbial organisms affect our environments and ourselves given recent increases in sequencing technology. Microbiome studies are moving beyond mere inventories of specific ecosystems to quantifications of community diversity and descriptions of their ecological function. We review the last 24 months of progress in this sort of research, and anticipate where the next 2 years will take us. We hope that bioinformaticians will find this a helpful springboard for new collaborations with microbiologists.
microbial ecology; biodiversity; metagenomics; next generation sequencing; microbiome; visual analytics
The ability to reprogram somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), exhibiting properties similar to those of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), has attracted much attention, with many studies focused on improving efficiency of derivation and unraveling the mechanisms of reprogramming. Despite this widespread interest, our knowledge of the molecular signaling pathways that are active in iPSCs and that play a role in controlling their fate have not been studied in detail. To address this shortfall, we have characterized the influence of different signals on the behavior of a model mouse iPSC line. We demonstrate significant responses of this iPSC line to the presence of serum, which leads to profoundly enhanced proliferation and, depending on the medium used, a reduction in the capacity of the iPSCs to self-renew. Surprisingly, this iPSC line was less sensitive to withdrawal of LIF compared to ESCs, exemplified by maintenance of expression of a Nanog-GFP reporter and enhanced self-renewal in the absence of LIF. While inhibition of phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) signaling decreased iPSC self-renewal, inhibition of Gsk-3 promoted it, even in the absence of LIF. High passages of this iPSC line displayed altered characteristics, including genetic instability and a reduced ability to self-renew. However, this second feature could be restored upon inhibition of Gsk-3. Collectively, our data suggest modulation of Gsk-3 activity plays a key role in the control of iPSC fate. We propose that more careful consideration should be given to characterization of the molecular pathways that control the fate of different iPSC lines, since perturbations from those observed in naïve pluripotent ESCs could render iPSCs and their derivatives susceptible to aberrant and potentially undesirable behaviors.
In contrast to tropane-based compounds such as benztropine and cocaine,
non-tropane-based photoaffinity ligands for the dopamine transporter (DAT) are
relatively unexplored. Towards addressing this knowledge gap, ligands were
synthesized in which the piperidine nitrogen of 3- and 4-iodomethylphenidate was
substituted with a benzyl group bearing a photoreactive azide. Analog
(±)-3a demonstrated modest DAT affinity and a
radioiodinated version was shown to bind covalently to rat striatal DAT and hDAT
expressed in cultured cells. Co-incubation of (±)-3a with
nonradioactive D-(+)-methylphenidate or
(β-CFT, WIN-35,428, a cocaine analog) blocked DAT labeling. Compound
(±)-3a represents the first successful example of a DAT
photoaffinity ligand based on the methylphenidate scaffold. Such ligands are
expected to assist in mapping non-tropane ligand-binding pockets within plasma
membrane monoamine transporters.
methylphenidate; Ritalin; Concerta; photoaffinity labeling; dopamine transporter; cocaine; attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
The male germ cell-specific fatty acid binding protein 9 (FABP9/PERF15) is the major component of the murine sperm perforatorium and perinuclear theca. Based on its cytoskeletal association and sequence homology to myelin P2 (FABP8), it has been suggested that FABP9 tethers sperm membranes to the underlying cytoskeleton. Furthermore, its upregulation in apoptotic testicular germ cells and its increased phosphorylation status during capacitation suggested multiple important functions for FABP9. Therefore, we investigated specific functions for FABP9 by means of targeted gene disruption in mice. FABP9−/− mice were viable and fertile. Phenotypic analysis showed that FABP9−/− mice had significant increases in sperm head abnormalities (~8% greater than their WT cohorts); in particular, we observed the reduction or absence of the characteristic structural element known as the “ventral spur” in ~10% of FABP9−/− sperm. However, deficiency of FABP9 neither affected membrane tethering to the perinuclear theca nor the fatty acid composition of sperm. Moreover, epididymal sperm numbers were not affected in FABP9−/− mice. Therefore, we conclude that FABP9 plays only a minor role in providing the murine sperm head its characteristic shape and is not absolutely required for spermatogenesis or sperm function.
Fatty acid binding protein; Germ cell; Sperm; Testis; Lipid; Perforatorium
Morbidity and mortality occurring in patients with multiple myeloma, AL amyloidosis, and light chain deposition disease can result from the pathologic deposition of monoclonal Ig light chains (LCs) in kidneys and other organs. To reduce synthesis of such components, therapy for these disorders typically has involved anti-plasma cell agents; however, this approach is not always effective and can have adverse consequences. We have investigated another means to achieve this objective; namely, RNA interference (RNAi).
Materials and Methods
SP2/O mouse myeloma cells were stably transfected with a construct encoding a λ6 LC (Wil) under control of the CMV promoter, while λ2-producing myeloma cell line RPMI 8226 was purchased from the ATCC. Both were treated with small interfering RNA (siRNA) directed specifically to the V, J, or C portions of the molecules and then analyzed by ELISA, flow cytometry and real time PCR.
Transfected cells were found to constitutively express detectable quantities of mRNA and protein Wil and, after exposure to siRNAs, an ~40% reduction in mRNA and LC production was evidenced at 48 hours. An even greater effect was seen with the 8226 cells.
Our results have shown that RNAi can markedly reduce LC synthesis and provide the basis for testing the therapeutic potential of this strategy using in vivo experimental models of multiple myeloma.
RNA interference; small interfering RNA; light chain; Bence Jones protein
Artificial ecosystem selection is an experimental technique that treats microbial communities as though they were discrete units by applying selection on community-level properties. Highly diverse microbial communities associated with humans and other organisms can have significant impacts on the health of the host. It is difficult to find correlations between microbial community composition and community-associated diseases, in part because it may be impossible to define a universal and robust species concept for microbes. Microbial communities are composed of potentially thousands of unique populations that evolved in intimate contact, so it is appropriate in many situations to view the community as the unit of analysis. This perspective is supported by recent discoveries using metagenomics and pangenomics. Artificial ecosystem selection experiments can be costly, but they bring the logical rigor of biological model systems to the emerging field of microbial community analysis.
artificial ecosystem selection; systems biology; microbial ecology; metagenomics; communities
We investigated the functional relationship between the SNARE protein syntaxin 1A (syn 1A) and the dopamine transporter (DAT) by treating rat striatal tissue with Botulinum Neurotoxin C (BoNT/C) and co-transfecting syn 1A with DAT in non-neuronal cells, followed by analysis of DAT activity, phosphorylation, and regulation. Treatment of striatal slices with BoNT/C resulted in elevated dopamine (DA) transport Vmax and reduced DAT phosphorylation, while heterologous co-expression of syn 1A led to reduction in DAT surface expression and transport Vmax. Syn 1A was present in DAT immunoprecipitation complexes, supporting a direct or indirect interaction between the proteins. Phorbol ester regulation of DA transport activity was retained in BoNT/C-treated synaptosomes and syn 1A transfected cells, demonstrating that PKC and syn 1A effects occur through independent processes. These findings reveal a novel mechanism for regulation of DAT activity and phosphorylation, and suggest the potential for syn 1A to impact DA neurotransmission through effects on reuptake.
botulinum neurotoxin C; synaptosomes; phorbol ester; transport regulation; synprint domain
In a scientific career spanning from 1955–2000, my research focused on phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and glucose-6-phosphatase. Grounded in basic enzymology, and initially pursuing the steady-state rate behavior of isolated preparations of these critically important gluconeogenic enzymes, our key findings were confirmed and extended by in situ enzyme rate experiments exploiting isolated liver perfusions. These efforts culminated in the discovery of the liver cytosolic isozyme of carboxykinase, known today as (GTP)PEPCK-C (EC22.214.171.124) and also revealed a biosynthetic function and multicomponent nature of glucose-6-phosphatase (EC126.96.36.199). Discovery that glucose-6-phosphatase possessed an intrinsically biosynthetic activity, now known as carbamyl-P:glucose phosphotransferase– along with a deeper consideration of the enzyme’s hydrolytic activity as well as the action of liver glucokinase resulted in the evolution of Tuning/Retuning Hypothesis for blood glucose homeostasis in health and disease. This THEN & NOW review shares with the reader the joy and exhilaration of major scientific discovery and also contrasts the methodologies and approaches on which I relied with those currently in use.
The risk of the transmission of ruminant transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) to humans was thought to be low due to the lack of association between sheep scrapie and the incidence of human TSE. However, a single TSE agent strain has been shown to cause both bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and human vCJD, indicating that some ruminant TSEs are transmissible to humans. While the transmission of cattle BSE to humans in transgenic mouse models has been inefficient, indicating the presence of a significant transmission barrier between cattle and humans, BSE has been transmitted to a number of other species. Here, we aimed to further investigate the human transmission barrier following the passage of BSE in a sheep. Following inoculation with cattle BSE, gene-targeted transgenic mice expressing human PrP showed no clinical or pathological signs of TSE disease. However, following inoculation with an isolate of BSE that had been passaged through a sheep, TSE-associated vacuolation and proteinase K-resistant PrP deposition were observed in mice homozygous for the codon 129-methionine PRNP gene. This observation may be due to higher titers of the BSE agent in sheep or an increased susceptibility of humans to BSE prions following passage through a sheep. However, these data confirm that, contrary to previous predictions, it is possible that a sheep prion is transmissible to humans and that BSE from other species is a public health risk.
Recent investigations have demonstrated that human milk contains a variety of bacterial genera; however, as of yet very little work has been done to characterize the full diversity of these milk bacterial communities and their relative stability over time. To more thoroughly investigate the human milk microbiome, we utilized microbial identification techniques based on pyrosequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Specifically, we characterized the bacterial communities present in milk samples collected from 16 women at three time-points over four weeks. Results indicated that milk bacterial communities were generally complex; several genera represented greater than 5% of the relative community abundance, and the community was often, yet not always, stable over time within an individual. These results support the conclusion that human milk, which is recommended as the optimal nutrition source for almost all healthy infants, contains a collection of bacteria more diverse than previously reported. This finding begs the question as to what role this community plays in colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract and maintaining mammary health.
We have posited that Odontogenic Ameloblast Associated Protein (ODAM) serves as a novel prognostic biomarker in breast cancer and now have investigated its potential role in regulating tumor growth and metastasis. Human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells were transfected with a recombinant ODAM plasmid construct (or, as a control, the plasmid vector alone). ODAM expression increased adhesion and apoptosis of the transfected MDA-MB-231 cells and suppressed their growth rate, migratory activity, and capability to invade extracellular matrix-coated membranes. Implantation of such cells into mouse mammary fat pads resulted in significantly smaller tumors than occurred in animals that received control cells; furthermore, ODAM-expressing cells, when injected intravenously into mice, failed to metastasize, whereas the control-transfected counterparts produced extensive lung lesions. Our finding that induction of ODAM expression in human breast cancer cells markedly inhibited their neoplastic properties provides further evidence for the regulatory role of this molecule in tumorigenesis and, consequently, is of potential clinical import.
invasion; cell adhesion; cell aggregation; breast tumor cell inhibition; tumor imaging
In this review of a collected series of patients undergoing hepatic resection for colorectal metastases, 100 patients were found to have survived greater than five years from the time of resection. Of these 100 long-term survivors, 71 remain disease-free through the last follow-up, 19 recurred prior to five years, and ten recurred after five years. Patient characteristics that may have contributed to survival were examined. Procedures performed included five trisegmentectomies, 32 lobectomies, 16 left lateral segmentectomies, and 45 wedge resections. The margin of resection was recorded in 27 patients, one of whom had a positive margin, nine of whom had a less than or equal to l-cm margin, and 17 of whom had a greater than 1-cm margin. Eighty-one patients had a solitary metastasis to the liver, 11 patients had two metastases, one patient had three metastases, and four patients had four metastases. Thirty patients had Stage C primary carcinoma, 40 had Stage B primary carcinoma, and one had Stage A primary carcinoma. The disease-free interval from the time of colon resection to the time of liver resection was less than one year in 65 patients, and greater than one year in 34 patients. Three patients had bilobar metastases. Four of the patients had extrahepatic disease resected simultaneously with the liver resection. Though several contraindications to hepatic resection have been proposed in the past, five-year survival has been found in patients with extrahepatic disease resected simultaneously, patients with bilobar metastases, patients with multiple metastases, and patients with positive margins. Five-year disease-free survivors are also present in each of these subsets. It is concluded that five-year survival is possible in the presence of reported contraindications to resection, and therefore that the decision to resect the liver must be individualized.
Hepatic metastases; Cancer; Colorectal neoplasms; Hepatic resection
The relevance of biological materials and processes to computing—aliasbioputing—has been explored for decades. These materials include DNA, RNA and proteins, while the processes include transcription, translation, signal transduction and regulation. Recently, the use of bacteria themselves as living computers has been explored but this use generally falls within the classical paradigm of computing. Computer scientists, however, have a variety of problems to which they seek solutions, while microbiologists are having new insights into the problems bacteria are solving and how they are solving them. Here, we envisage that bacteria might be used for new sorts of computing. These could be based on the capacity of bacteria to grow, move and adapt to a myriad different fickle environments both as individuals and as populations of bacteria plus bacteriophage. New principles might be based on the way that bacteria explore phenotype space via hyperstructure dynamics and the fundamental nature of the cell cycle. This computing might even extend to developing a high level language appropriate to using populations of bacteria and bacteriophage. Here, we offer a speculative tour of what we term bactoputing, namely the use of the natural behaviour of bacteria for calculating.
Biological computing; Bacteria; Minimal cell; Synthetic biology; Turing; Origin of life; Computer science
The application of genetic breeding programmes to eradicate transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in goats is an important aim for reasons of animal welfare as well as human food safety and food security. Based on the positive impact of Prnp genetics on sheep scrapie in Europe in the past decade, we have established caprine Prnp gene variation in more than 1100 goats from the United Kingdom and studied the association of Prnp alleles with disease phenotypes in 150 scrapie-positive goats. This investigation confirms the association of the Met142 encoding Prnp allele with increased resistance to preclinical and clinical scrapie. It reveals a novel association of the Ser127 encoding allele with a reduced probability to develop clinical signs of scrapie in goats that are already positive for the accumulation of disease-specific prion protein in brain or periphery. A United Kingdom survey of Prnp genotypes in eight common breeds revealed eleven alleles in over thirty genotypes. The Met142 encoding allele had a high overall mean allele frequency of 22.6%, whereas the Ser127 encoding allele frequency was considerably lower with 6.4%. In contrast, a well known resistance associated allele encoding Lys222 was found to be rare (0.9%) in this survey. The analysis of Prnp genotypes in Mexican Criollas goats revealed nine alleles, including a novel Phe to Leu substitution in codon 201, confirming that high genetic variability of Prnp can be found in scrapie-free populations. Our study implies that it should be feasible to lower scrapie prevalence in goat herds in the United Kingdom by genetic selection.
Non-tropane-based photoaffinity ligands for the dopamine transporter (DAT) are relatively unexplored in contrast to tropane-based compounds such as cocaine. In order to fill this knowledge gap, a ligand was synthesized in which the aromatic ring of pyrovalerone was substituted with a photoreactive azido group. The analog 1-(4-azido-3-iodophenyl)-2-pyrrolidin-1-yl-pentan-1-one demonstrated appreciable binding affinity for the DAT (Ki = 78 ± 18 nM), suggesting the potential utility of a radioiodinated version in structure-function studies of this protein.
pyrovalerone; photoaffinity labeling; dopamine transporter; cocaine
Phosphorylation of the dopamine transporter (DAT) on N-terminal serines and unidentified threonines occurs concomitantly with PKC- and substrate-induced alterations in transporter activity, subcellular distribution, and dopamine efflux, but the residues phosphorylated and identities of protein kinases and phosphatases involved are not known. As one approach to investigating these issues we recombinantly expressed the N-terminal tail of rat DAT (NDAT) and examined its phosphorylation and dephosphorylation properties in vitro. We found that NDAT could be phosphorylated to significant levels by PKCα, PKA, PKG, and CaMKII, which catalyzed serine phosphorylation, and ERK1, JNK, and p38, which catalyzed threonine phosphorylation. We identified Thr53, present in a membrane proximal proline-directed kinase motif as the NDAT site phosphorylated in vitro by ERK1, JNK and p38, and confirmed by peptide mapping and mutagenesis that Thr53 is phosphorylated in vivo. Dephosphorylation studies showed that protein phosphatase 1 catalyzed near-complete in vitro dephosphorylation of PKCα-phosphorylated NDAT, similar to its in vivo and in vitro effects on native DAT. These findings demonstrate the ability of multiple enzymes to directly recognize the DAT N-terminal domain and for kinases to act at multiple distinct sites. The strong correspondence between NDAT and rDAT phosphorylation characteristics suggests the potential for the enzymes that are active on NDAT in vitro to act on DAT in vivo and indicates the usefulness of NDAT for guiding future DAT phosphorylation analyses.
Scrapie is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease of sheep and goats. It is also the earliest known member in the family of diseases classified as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) or prion diseases, which includes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and chronic wasting disease in cervids. The recent revelation of naturally occurring BSE in a goat has brought the issue of TSE in goats to the attention of the public. In contrast to scrapie, BSE presents a proven risk to humans. The risk of goat BSE, however, is difficult to evaluate, as our knowledge of TSE in goats is limited. Natural caprine scrapie has been discovered throughout Europe, with reported cases generally being greatest in countries with the highest goat populations. As with sheep scrapie, susceptibility and incubation period duration of goat scrapie are most likely controlled by the prion protein (PrP) gene (PRNP). Like the PRNP of sheep, the caprine PRNP shows significantly greater variability than that of cattle and humans. Although PRNP variability in goats differs from that observed in sheep, the two species share several identical alleles. Moreover, while the ARR allele associated with enhancing resistance in sheep is not present in the goat PRNP, there is evidence for the existence of other PrP variants related to resistance. This review presents the current knowledge of the epidemiology of caprine scrapie within the major European goat populations, and compiles the current data on genetic variability of PRNP.
transmissible spongiform encephalopathy; prion protein; genetics; goat; scrapie
In healthy humans, many microbial consortia constitute rich ecosystems with dozens to hundreds of species, finely tuned to functions relevant to human health. Medical interventions, lifestyle changes, and the normal rhythms of life sometimes upset the balance in microbial ecosystems, facilitating pathogen invasions or causing other clinically relevant problems. Some diseases, such as bacterial vaginosis, have exactly this sort of community etiology. Mathematical network theory is ideal for studying the ecological networks of interacting species that comprise the human microbiome. Theoretical networks require little consortia specific data to provide insight into both normal and disturbed microbial community functions, but it is easy to incorporate additional empirical data as it becomes available. We argue that understanding some diseases, such as bacterial vaginosis, requires a shift of focus from individual bacteria to (mathematical) networks of interacting populations, and that known emergent properties of these networks will provide insights that would be otherwise elusive.