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1.  A variable selection method for genome-wide association studies 
Bioinformatics  2010;27(1):1-8.
Motivation: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) involving half a million or more single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) allow genetic dissection of complex diseases in a holistic manner. The common practice of analyzing one SNP at a time does not fully realize the potential of GWAS to identify multiple causal variants and to predict risk of disease. Existing methods for joint analysis of GWAS data tend to miss causal SNPs that are marginally uncorrelated with disease and have high false discovery rates (FDRs).
Results: We introduce GWASelect, a statistically powerful and computationally efficient variable selection method designed to tackle the unique challenges of GWAS data. This method searches iteratively over the potential SNPs conditional on previously selected SNPs and is thus capable of capturing causal SNPs that are marginally correlated with disease as well as those that are marginally uncorrelated with disease. A special resampling mechanism is built into the method to reduce false positive findings. Simulation studies demonstrate that the GWASelect performs well under a wide spectrum of linkage disequilibrium patterns and can be substantially more powerful than existing methods in capturing causal variants while having a lower FDR. In addition, the regression models based on the GWASelect tend to yield more accurate prediction of disease risk than existing methods. The advantages of the GWASelect are illustrated with the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium (WTCCC) data.
Availability: The software implementing GWASelect is available at http://www.bios.unc.edu/~lin.
Access to WTCCC data: http://www.wtccc.org.uk/
Contact: lin@bios.unc.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics Online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btq600
PMCID: PMC3025714  PMID: 21036813
2.  A variable selection method for genome-wide association studies 
Biometrics  2011;27(1):1-8.
Motivation
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) involving half a million or more single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) allow genetic dissection of complex diseases in a holistic manner. The common practice of analyzing one SNP at a time does not fully realize the potential of GWAS to identify multiple causal variants and to predict risk of disease. Existing methods for joint analysis of GWAS data tend to miss causal SNPs that are marginally uncorrelated with disease and have high false discovery rates (FDRs).
Results
We introduce GWASelect, a statistically powerful and computationally efficient variable selection method designed to tackle the unique challenges of GWAS data. This method searches iteratively over the potential SNPs conditional on previously selected SNPs and is thus capable of capturing causal SNPs that are marginally correlated with disease as well as those that are marginally uncorrelated with disease. A special resampling mechanism is built into the method to reduce false-positive findings. Simulation studies demonstrate that the GWASelect performs well under a wide spectrum of linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns and can be substantially more powerful than existing methods in capturing causal variants while having a lower FDR. In addition, the regression models based on the GWASelect tend to yield more accurate prediction of disease risk than existing methods. The advantages of the GWASelect are illustrated with the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium (WTCCC) data.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btq600
PMCID: PMC3025714  PMID: 21036813
3.  Efficient whole-genome association mapping using local phylogenies for unphased genotype data 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(19):2215-2221.
Motivation: Recent advances in genotyping technology has made data acquisition for whole-genome association study cost effective, and a current active area of research is developing efficient methods to analyze such large-scale datasets. Most sophisticated association mapping methods that are currently available take phased haplotype data as input. However, phase information is not readily available from sequencing methods and inferring the phase via computational approaches is time-consuming, taking days to phase a single chromosome.
Results: In this article, we devise an efficient method for scanning unphased whole-genome data for association. Our approach combines a recently found linear-time algorithm for phasing genotypes on trees with a recently proposed tree-based method for association mapping. From unphased genotype data, our algorithm builds local phylogenies along the genome, and scores each tree according to the clustering of cases and controls. We assess the performance of our new method on both simulated and real biological datasets.
Availability The software described in this article is available at http://www.daimi.au.dk/~mailund/Blossoc and distributed under the GNU General Public License.
Contact:mailund@birc.au.dk
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn406
PMCID: PMC2553438  PMID: 18667442
4.  iFoldRNA: three-dimensional RNA structure prediction and folding 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(17):1951-1952.
Summary: Three-dimensional RNA structure prediction and folding is of significant interest in the biological research community. Here, we present iFoldRNA, a novel web-based methodology for RNA structure prediction with near atomic resolution accuracy and analysis of RNA folding thermodynamics. iFoldRNA rapidly explores RNA conformations using discrete molecular dynamics simulations of input RNA sequences. Starting from simplified linear-chain conformations, RNA molecules (<50 nt) fold to native-like structures within half an hour of simulation, facilitating rapid RNA structure prediction. All-atom reconstruction of energetically stable conformations generates iFoldRNA predicted RNA structures. The predicted RNA structures are within 2–5 Å root mean squre deviations (RMSDs) from corresponding experimentally derived structures. RNA folding parameters including specific heat, contact maps, simulation trajectories, gyration radii, RMSDs from native state, fraction of native-like contacts are accessible from iFoldRNA. We expect iFoldRNA will serve as a useful resource for RNA structure prediction and folding thermodynamic analyses.
Availability: http://iFoldRNA.dokhlab.org.
Contact: dokh@med.unc.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn328
PMCID: PMC2559968  PMID: 18579566
5.  Systematic biological prioritization after a genome-wide association study: an application to nicotine dependence 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(16):1805-1811.
Motivation: A challenging problem after a genome-wide association study (GWAS) is to balance the statistical evidence of genotype–phenotype correlation with a priori evidence of biological relevance.
Results: We introduce a method for systematically prioritizing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for further study after a GWAS. The method combines evidence across multiple domains including statistical evidence of genotype–phenotype correlation, known pathways in the pathologic development of disease, SNP/gene functional properties, comparative genomics, prior evidence of genetic linkage, and linkage disequilibrium. We apply this method to a GWAS of nicotine dependence, and use simulated data to test it on several commercial SNP microarrays.
Availability: A comprehensive database of biological prioritization scores for all known SNPs is available at http://zork.wustl.edu/gin. This can be used to prioritize nicotine dependence association studies through a straightforward mathematical formula—no special software is necessary.
Contact: ssaccone@wustl.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn315
PMCID: PMC2610477  PMID: 18565990
6.  Comprehensive in silico mutagenesis highlights functionally important residues in proteins 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(16):i207-i212.
Motivation: Mutating residues into alanine (alanine scanning) is one of the fastest experimental means of probing hypotheses about protein function. Alanine scans can reveal functional hot spots, i.e. residues that alter function upon mutation. In vitro mutagenesis is cumbersome and costly: probing all residues in a protein is typically as impossible as substituting by all non-native amino acids. In contrast, such exhaustive mutagenesis is feasible in silico.
Results: Previously, we developed SNAP to predict functional changes due to non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms. Here, we applied SNAP to all experimental mutations in the ASEdb database of alanine scans; we identified 70% of the hot spots (≥1 kCal/mol change in binding energy); more severe changes were predicted more accurately. Encouraged, we carried out a complete all-against-all in silico mutagenesis for human glucokinase. Many of the residues predicted as functionally important have indeed been confirmed in the literature, others await experimental verification, and our method is ready to aid in the design of in vitro mutagenesis.
Availability: ASEdb and glucokinase scores are available at http://www.rostlab.org/services/SNAP. For submissions of large/whole proteins for processing please contact the author.
Contact: yb2009@columbia.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn268
PMCID: PMC2597370  PMID: 18689826
7.  Systematic biological prioritization after a genome-wide association study 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(16):1805-1811.
Motivation
A challenging problem after a genome-wide association study (GWAS) is to balance the statistical evidence of geno-type-phenotype correlation with a priori evidence of biological relevance.
Results
We introduce a method for systematically prioritizing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for further study after a GWAS. The method combines evidence across multiple domains, including statistical evidence of genotype-phenotype correlation, known pathways in the pathologic development of disease, SNP/gene functional properties, comparative genomics, prior evidence of genetic linkage, and linkage disequilibrium. We apply this method to a GWAS of nicotine dependence, and use simulated data to test it on several commercial SNP microarrays.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn315
PMCID: PMC2610477  PMID: 18565990
8.  LOT: a tool for linkage analysis of ordinal traits for pedigree data 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(15):1737-1739.
Summary: Existing linkage-analysis methods address binary or quantitative traits. However, many complex diseases and human conditions, particularly behavioral disorders, are rated on ordinal scales. Herein, we introduce, LOT, a tool that performs linkage analysis of ordinal traits for pedigree data. It implements a latent-variable proportional-odds logistic model that relates inheritance patterns to the distribution of the ordinal trait. The likelihood-ratio test is used for testing evidence of linkage.
Availability: The LOT program is available for download at http://c2s2.yale.edu/software/LOT/
Contact: heping.zhang@yale.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn258
PMCID: PMC2566542  PMID: 18535081
9.  Memory-efficient dynamic programming backtrace and pairwise local sequence alignment 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(16):1772-1778.
Motivation
A backtrace through a dynamic programming algorithm’s intermediate results in search of an optimal path, or to sample paths according to an implied probability distribution, or as the second stage of a forward–backward algorithm, is a task of fundamental importance in computational biology. When there is insufficient space to store all intermediate results in high-speed memory (e.g. cache) existing approaches store selected stages of the computation, and recompute missing values from these checkpoints on an as-needed basis.
Results
Here we present an optimal checkpointing strategy, and demonstrate its utility with pairwise local sequence alignment of sequences of length 10 000.
Availability
Sample C++-code for optimal backtrace is available in the Supplementary Materials.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn308
PMCID: PMC2668612  PMID: 18558620
10.  Modeling peptide fragmentation with dynamic Bayesian networks for peptide identification 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(13):i348-i356.
Motivation
Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) is an indispensable technology for identification of proteins from complex mixtures. Proteins are digested to peptides that are then identified by their fragmentation patterns in the mass spectrometer. Thus, at its core, MS/MS protein identification relies on the relative predictability of peptide fragmentation. Unfortunately, peptide fragmentation is complex and not fully understood, and what is understood is not always exploited by peptide identification algorithms.
Results
We use a hybrid dynamic Bayesian network (DBN)/support vector machine (SVM) approach to address these two problems. We train a set of DBNs on high-confidence peptide-spectrum matches. These DBNs, known collectively as Riptide, comprise a probabilistic model of peptide fragmentation chemistry. Examination of the distributions learned by Riptide allows identification of new trends, such as prevalent a-ion fragmentation at peptide cleavage sites C-term to hydrophobic residues. In addition, Riptide can be used to produce likelihood scores that indicate whether a given peptide-spectrum match is correct. A vector of such scores is evaluated by an SVM, which produces a final score to be used in peptide identification. Using Riptide in this way yields improved discrimination when compared to other state-of-the-art MS/MS identification algorithms, increasing the number of positive identifications by as much as 12% at a 1% false discovery rate.
Availability
Python and C source code are available upon request from the authors. The curated training sets are available at http://noble.gs.washington.edu/proj/intense/. The Graphical Model Tool Kit (GMTK) is freely available at http://ssli.ee.washington.edu/bilmes/gmtk.
Contact
noble@gs.washington.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn189
PMCID: PMC2665034  PMID: 18586734
11.  Comprehensive in silico mutagenesis highlights functionally important residues in proteins 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(16):i207-i212.
Motivation
Mutating residues into alanine (alanine scanning) is one of the fastest experimental means of probing hypotheses about protein function. Alanine scans can reveal functional hot spots, i.e. residues that alter function upon mutation. In vitro mutagenesis is cumbersome and costly: probing all residues in a protein is typically as impossible as substituting by all non-native amino acids. In contrast, such exhaustive mutagenesis is feasible in silico.
Results
Previously, we developed SNAP to predict functional changes due to non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms. Here, we applied SNAP to all experimental mutations in the ASEdb database of alanine scans; we identified 70% of the hot spots (≥1kCal/mol change in binding energy); more severe changes were predicted more accurately. Encouraged, we carried out a complete all-against-all in silico mutagenesis for human glucokinase. Many of the residues predicted as functionally important have indeed been confirmed in the literature, others await experimental verification, and our method is ready to aid in the design of in vitro mutagenesis.
Availability
ASEdb and glucokinase scores are available at http://www.rostlab.org/services/SNAP. For submissions of large/whole proteins for processing please contact the author.
Contact: yb2009@columbia.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn268
PMCID: PMC2597370  PMID: 18689826
12.  Powerful fusion: PSI-BLAST and consensus sequences 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(18):1987-1993.
Motivation
A typical PSI-BLAST search consists of iterative scanning and alignment of a large sequence database during which a scoring profile is progressively built and refined. Such a profile can also be stored and used to search against a different database of sequences. Using it to search against a database of consensus rather than native sequences is a simple add-on that boosts performance surprisingly well. The improvement comes at a price: we hypothesized that random alignment score statistics would differ between native and consensus sequences. Thus PSI-BLAST-based profile searches against consensus sequences might incorrectly estimate statistical significance of alignment scores. In addition, iterative searches against consensus databases may fail. Here, we addressed these challenges in an attempt to harness the full power of the combination of PSI-BLAST and consensus sequences.
Results
We studied alignment score statistics for various types of consensus sequences. In general, the score distribution parameters of profile-based consensus sequence alignments differed significantly from those derived for the native sequences. PSI-BLAST partially compensated for the parameter variation. We have identified a protocol for building specialized consensus sequences that significantly improved search sensitivity and preserved score distribution parameters. As a result, PSI-BLAST profiles can be used to search specialized consensus sequences without sacrificing estimates of statistical significance. We also provided results indicating that iterative PSI-BLAST searches against consensus sequences could work very well. Overall, we showed how a widely popular and effective method could be used to identify significantly more relevant similarities among protein sequences.
Availability
http://www.rostlab.org/services/consensus/
Contact:
dsp23@columbia.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn384
PMCID: PMC2577777  PMID: 18678588
13.  Efficient Whole-Genome Association Mapping using Local Phylogenies for Unphased Genotype Data 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(19):2215-2221.
Motivation
Recent advances in genotyping technology has made data acquisition for whole-genome association study cost effective, and a current active area of research is developing efficient methods to analyze such large-scale data sets. Most sophisticated association mapping methods that are currently available take phased haplotype data as input. However, phase information is not readily available from sequencing methods and inferring the phase via computational approaches is time-consuming, taking days to phase a single chromosome.
Results
In this paper, we devise an efficient method for scanning unphased whole-genome data for association. Our approach combines a recently found linear-time algorithm for phasing genotypes on trees with a recently proposed tree-based method for association mapping. From unphased genotype data, our algorithm builds local phylogenies along the genome, and scores each tree according to the clustering of cases and controls. We assess the performance of our new method on both simulated and real biological data sets.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn406
PMCID: PMC2553438  PMID: 18667442
14.  LOT 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(15):1737-1739.
Summary
Existing linkage-analysis methods address binary or quantitative traits. However, many complex diseases and human conditions, particularly behavioral disorders, are rated on ordinal scales. Herein, we introduce, LOT, a tool that performs linkage analysis of ordinal traits for pedigree data. It implements a latent-variable proportional-odds logistic model that relates inheritance patterns to the distribution of the ordinal trait. The likelihood-ratio test is used for testing evidence of linkage.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn258
PMCID: PMC2566542  PMID: 18535081
15.  iFoldRNA: Three-dimensional RNA Structure Prediction and Folding 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(17):1951-1952.
Summary
Three-dimensional RNA structure prediction and folding is of significant interest in the biological research community. Here, we present iFoldRNA, a novel web-based methodology for RNA structure prediction with near atomic resolution accuracy and analysis of RNA folding thermodynamics. iFoldRNA rapidly explores RNA conformations using discrete molecular dynamics simulations of input RNA sequences. Starting from simplified linear-chain conformations, RNA molecules (<50 nucleotides) fold to native-like structures within half an hour of simulation, facilitating rapid RNA structure prediction. All-atom reconstruction of energetically stable conformations generates iFoldRNA predicted RNA structures. The predicted RNA structures are within 2–5 Angstrom root mean square deviations from corresponding experimentally derived structures. RNA folding parameters including specific heat, contact maps, simulation trajectories, gyration radii, root mean square deviations from native state, fraction of native-like contacts are accessible from iFoldRNA. We expect iFoldRNA will serve as a useful resource for RNA structure prediction and folding thermodynamic analyses.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn328
PMCID: PMC2559968  PMID: 18579566
16.  Powerful fusion: PSI-BLAST and consensus sequences 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(18):1987-1993.
Motivation: A typical PSI-BLAST search consists of iterative scanning and alignment of a large sequence database during which a scoring profile is progressively built and refined. Such a profile can also be stored and used to search against a different database of sequences. Using it to search against a database of consensus rather than native sequences is a simple add-on that boosts performance surprisingly well. The improvement comes at a price: we hypothesized that random alignment score statistics would differ between native and consensus sequences. Thus PSI-BLAST-based profile searches against consensus sequences might incorrectly estimate statistical significance of alignment scores. In addition, iterative searches against consensus databases may fail. Here, we addressed these challenges in an attempt to harness the full power of the combination of PSI-BLAST and consensus sequences.
Results: We studied alignment score statistics for various types of consensus sequences. In general, the score distribution parameters of profile-based consensus sequence alignments differed significantly from those derived for the native sequences. PSI-BLAST partially compensated for the parameter variation. We have identified a protocol for building specialized consensus sequences that significantly improved search sensitivity and preserved score distribution parameters. As a result, PSI-BLAST profiles can be used to search specialized consensus sequences without sacrificing estimates of statistical significance. We also provided results indicating that iterative PSI-BLAST searches against consensus sequences could work very well. Overall, we showed how a very popular and effective method could be used to identify significantly more relevant similarities among protein sequences.
Availability: http://www.rostlab.org/services/consensus/
Contact: dariusz@mit.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn384
PMCID: PMC2577777  PMID: 18678588
17.  Modeling peptide fragmentation with dynamic Bayesian networks for peptide identification 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(13):i348-i356.
Motivation: Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) is an indispensable technology for identification of proteins from complex mixtures. Proteins are digested to peptides that are then identified by their fragmentation patterns in the mass spectrometer. Thus, at its core, MS/MS protein identification relies on the relative predictability of peptide fragmentation. Unfortunately, peptide fragmentation is complex and not fully understood, and what is understood is not always exploited by peptide identification algorithms.
Results: We use a hybrid dynamic Bayesian network (DBN)/support vector machine (SVM) approach to address these two problems. We train a set of DBNs on high-confidence peptide-spectrum matches. These DBNs, known collectively as Riptide, comprise a probabilistic model of peptide fragmentation chemistry. Examination of the distributions learned by Riptide allows identification of new trends, such as prevalent a-ion fragmentation at peptide cleavage sites C-term to hydrophobic residues. In addition, Riptide can be used to produce likelihood scores that indicate whether a given peptide-spectrum match is correct. A vector of such scores is evaluated by an SVM, which produces a final score to be used in peptide identification. Using Riptide in this way yields improved discrimination when compared to other state-of-the-art MS/MS identification algorithms, increasing the number of positive identifications by as much as 12% at a 1% false discovery rate.
Availability: Python and C source code are available upon request from the authors. The curated training sets are available at http://noble.gs.washington.edu/proj/intense/. The Graphical Model Tool Kit (GMTK) is freely available at http://ssli.ee.washington.edu/bilmes/gmtk.
Contact:noble@gs.washington.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn189
PMCID: PMC2665034  PMID: 18586734
18.  Memory-efficient dynamic programming backtrace and pairwise local sequence alignment 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(16):1772-1778.
Motivation: A backtrace through a dynamic programming algorithm's intermediate results in search of an optimal path, or to sample paths according to an implied probability distribution, or as the second stage of a forward–backward algorithm, is a task of fundamental importance in computational biology. When there is insufficient space to store all intermediate results in high-speed memory (e.g. cache) existing approaches store selected stages of the computation, and recompute missing values from these checkpoints on an as-needed basis.
Results: Here we present an optimal checkpointing strategy, and demonstrate its utility with pairwise local sequence alignment of sequences of length 10 000.
Availability: Sample C++-code for optimal backtrace is available in the Supplementary Materials.
Contact: leen@cs.rpi.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data is available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn308
PMCID: PMC2668612  PMID: 18558620
19.  Corrigendum 
RNA Biology  2015;12(9):1070.
doi:10.1080/15476286.2015.1082401
PMCID: PMC4615175  PMID: 26383778
20.  Dementia alters standing postural adaptation during a visual search task in older adult men 
Neuroscience letters  2015;593:101-106.
This study investigated the effects of dementia on standing postural adaptation during performance of a visual search task. We recruited 16 older adults with dementia and 15 without dementia. Postural sway was assessed by recording medial-lateral (ML) and anterior-posterior (AP) center-of-pressure when standing with and without a visual search task; i.e., counting target letter frequency within a block of displayed randomized letters. ML sway variability was significantly higher in those with dementia during visual search as compared to those without dementia and compared to both groups during the control condition. AP sway variability was significantly greater in those with dementia as compared to those without dementia, irrespective of task condition. In the ML direction, the absolute and percent change in sway variability between the control condition and visual search (i.e., postural adaptation) was greater in those with dementia as compared to those without. In contrast, postural adaptation to visual search was similar between groups in the AP direction. As compared to those without dementia, those with dementia identified fewer letters on the visual task. In the non-dementia group only, greater increases in postural adaptation in both the ML and AP direction, correlated with lower performance on the visual task. The observed relationship between postural adaptation during the visual search task and visual search task performance—in the non-dementia group only—suggests a critical link between perception and action. Dementia reduces the capacity to perform a visual-based task while standing and thus appears to disrupt this perception-action synergy.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2015.03.014
PMCID: PMC4509567  PMID: 25770830
postural adaptation; postural sway; visual search task; dual task; Alzheimer's disease; dementia
21.  Biotransformations of Antidiabetic Vanadium Prodrugs in Mammalian Cells and Cell Culture Media: A XANES Spectroscopic Study 
Inorganic Chemistry  2015;54(14):6707-6718.
The antidiabetic activities of vanadium(V) and -(IV) prodrugs are determined by their ability to release active species upon interactions with components of biological media. The first X-ray absorption spectroscopic study of the reactivity of typical vanadium (V) antidiabetics, vanadate ([VVO4]3–, A) and a vanadium(IV) bis(maltolato) complex (B), with mammalian cell cultures has been performed using HepG2 (human hepatoma), A549 (human lung carcinoma), and 3T3-L1 (mouse adipocytes and preadipocytes) cell lines, as well as the corresponding cell culture media. X-ray absorption near-edge structure data were analyzed using empirical correlations with a library of model vanadium(V), -(IV), and -(III) complexes. Both A and B ([V] = 1.0 mM) gradually converged into similar mixtures of predominantly five- and six-coordinate VV species (∼75% total V) in a cell culture medium within 24 h at 310 K. Speciation of V in intact HepG2 cells also changed with the incubation time (from ∼20% to ∼70% VIV of total V), but it was largely independent of the prodrug used (A or B) or of the predominant V oxidation state in the medium. Subcellular fractionation of A549 cells suggested that VV reduction to VIV occurred predominantly in the cytoplasm, while accumulation of VV in the nucleus was likely to have been facilitated by noncovalent bonding to histone proteins. The nuclear VV is likely to modulate the transcription process and to be ultimately related to cell death at high concentrations of V, which may be important in anticancer activities. Mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes (unlike for preadipocytes) showed a higher propensity to form VIV species, despite the prevalence of VV in the medium. The distinct V biochemistry in these cells is consistent with their crucial role in insulin-dependent glucose and fat metabolism and may also point to an endogenous role of V in adipocytes.
The first detailed speciation study of typical antidiabetic vanadium(V/IV) complexes in mammalian cell culture systems showed that the complexes decomposed rapidly in cell culture media and were further metabolized by the cells, which included interconversions of VV and VIV species.
doi:10.1021/ic5028948
PMCID: PMC4511291  PMID: 25906315
22.  A vaccine against Ebola: Problems and opportunities 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2015;11(5):1258-1260.
The unprecedented dimensions of the 2014 Ebola epidemic which ravaged 3 West African countries have challenged public health response capacity and urged the availability of safe and effective vaccines. In this context, vectored vaccines already tested in animal models have undergone phase 1 studies in human beings and are now ready for efficacy evaluation in large scale trials. Health care workers and other frontline caregivers are likely to be the target population for both vaccine trials and vaccination campaigns. However, methodological and ethical issues should be considered in plans concerning the conduction of clinical trials and the possible use of licensed vaccines against Ebola.
doi:10.1080/21645515.2015.1021528
PMCID: PMC4514158  PMID: 25901415
Ebola; ethics; epidemiology; study design; vectored vaccine
23.  Glycodendrimers and Modified ELISAs: Tools to Elucidate Multivalent Interactions of Galectins 1 and 3 
Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)  2015;20(4):7059-7096.
Multivalent protein-carbohydrate interactions that are mediated by sugar-binding proteins, i.e., lectins, have been implicated in a myriad of intercellular recognition processes associated with tumor progression such as galectin-mediated cancer cellular migration/metastatic processes. Here, using a modified ELISA, we show that glycodendrimers bearing mixtures of galactosides, lactosides, and N-acetylgalactosaminosides, galectin-3 ligands, multivalently affect galectin-3 functions. We further demonstrate that lactose functionalized glycodendrimers multivalently bind a different member of the galectin family, i.e., galectin-1. In a modified ELISA, galectin-3 recruitment by glycodendrimers was shown to directly depend on the ratio of low to high affinity ligands on the dendrimers, with lactose-functionalized dendrimers having the highest activity and also binding well to galectin-1. The results depicted here indicate that synthetic multivalent systems and upfront assay formats will improve the understanding of the multivalent function of galectins during multivalent protein carbohydrate recognition/interaction.
doi:10.3390/molecules20047059
PMCID: PMC4513649  PMID: 25903363
ELISA; galectin-1; galectin-3; glycodendrimer; dendrimer; multivalent
24.  Technology to Reduce Hypoglycemia 
Hypoglycemia is a major barrier toward achieving glycemic targets and is associated with significant morbidity (both psychological and physical) and mortality. This article reviews technological strategies, from simple to more advanced technologies, which may help prevent or mitigate exposure to hypoglycemia. More efficient insulin delivery systems, bolus advisor calculators, data downloads providing information on glucose trends, continuous glucose monitoring with alarms warning of hypoglycemia, predictive algorithms, and finally closed loop insulin delivery systems are reviewed. The building blocks to correct use and interpretation of this range of available technology require patient education and appropriate patient selection.
doi:10.1177/1932296815574547
PMCID: PMC4525662  PMID: 25883167
closed loop; continuous glucose monitoring; continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion; diabetes mellitus; hypoglycemia; sensor-augmented pump
25.  Exploring beyond norms: social capital of pregnant women in Sri Lanka as a factor influencing health 
SpringerPlus  2016;5:411.
Background
Social capital during pregnancy in low and middle-income countries is hardly discussed in scientific literature. In Sri Lanka, even though the maternal health indicators are exemplary, addressing social determinants in pregnancy to improve the quality of care remains at minimal levels. While social capital is found to be context dependent, a comprehensive approach on identification of its dimensions within the context will unravel its relationships to health. The present qualitative study protocol was developed to explore social capital related to health among pregnant women in Anuradhapura district Sri Lanka.
Methods
The study will be conducted in two phases. In the phase one, we will select different communities from Anuradhapura district. Five to seven pregnant women will be selected from each community to complete a two week solicited diary on their social relationships. After completion of the diaries they will be interviewed for further clarification of social capital based on their diary documentation. In the second phase, we will conduct in-depth interviews with Public Health Midwives and senior community dwellers from each community to discuss social capital of pregnant women in the respective communities in order to triangulate the information obtained from the diaries. A framework analysis will be conducted for each community and formulate a final framework for social capital among pregnant women and there possible effects on health.
Discussion
This study will focus on filling a research gap of social determinants pertaining to maternal health in Sri Lanka. The findings will be helpful in generating hypotheses on unidentified social risk factors and their pathways to maternal health. The results of this in-depth exploration will be utilized to formulate a culturally sensitive study instrument to assess social capital during pregnancy.
doi:10.1186/s40064-016-2063-2
PMCID: PMC4821848  PMID: 27069831
Social capital; Maternal health; Qualitative; Sri Lanka

Results 1-25 (3074)