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1.  Regulation of KLF4 turnover reveals an unexpected tissue specific role of pVHL in tumorigenesis 
Molecular cell  2012;45(2):233-243.
SUMMARY
The transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) is an important regulator of cell fate decision, including cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, and stem cell renewal, and plays an ambivalent role in tumorigenesis as a tissue specific tumor suppressor or oncogene. Here we report that the Von Hippel-Lindau gene product, pVHL, physically interacts with KLF4 and regulates its rapid turnover observed in both differentiated and stem cells. We provide mechanistic insights into KLF4 degradation and show that pVHL depletion in colorectal cancer cells leads to cell cycle arrest concomitant with increased transcription of the KLF4-dependent p21 gene. Finally, immunohistochemical staining revealed elevated pVHL and reduced KLF4 levels in colon cancer tissues. We therefore propose that unexpectedly pVHL, via the degradation of KLF4, is a facilitating factor in colorectal tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2011.11.031
PMCID: PMC3982234  PMID: 22284679
2.  Neurobiological markers of exercise-related brain plasticity in older adults 
The current study examined how a randomized one-year aerobic exercise program for healthy older adults would affect serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) - putative markers of exercise-induced benefits on brain function. The study also examined whether (a) change in the concentration of these growth factors was associated with alterations in functional connectivity following exercise, and (b) the extent to which pre-intervention growth factor levels were associated with training-related changes in functional connectivity. In 65 participants (mean age = 66.4), we found that although there were no group-level changes in growth factors as a function of the intervention, increased temporal lobe connectivity between the bilateral parahippocampus and the bilateral middle temporal gyrus was associated with increased BDNF, IGF-1, and VEGF for an aerobic walking group but not for a non-aerobic control group, and greater pre-intervention VEGF was associated with greater training-related increases in this functional connection. Results are consistent with animal models of exercise and the brain, but are the first to show in humans that exercise-induced increases in temporal lobe functional connectivity are associated with changes in growth factors and may be augmented by greater baseline VEGF.
doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2012.10.021
PMCID: PMC3544982  PMID: 23123199
exercise; aging; functional connectivity; fMRI; default mode network; aerobic fitness; growth factors
3.  Draft Genome Sequence of the Xylan-Degrading Marine Bacterium Strain S124, Representing a Novel Species of the Genus Oceanicola 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(22):6325.
We isolated a xylan-degrading bacterium from seawater of Micronesia and identified it as Oceanicola sp. strain S124. We sequenced the Oceanicola sp. S124 genome using GSFLX 454 pyrosequencing and predicted 4,433 open reading frames (ORFs) including putative saccharification and phage-related genes.
doi:10.1128/JB.01614-12
PMCID: PMC3486357  PMID: 23105065
4.  TcyR regulates L-cystine uptake via the TcyABC transporter in Streptococcus mutans 
Fems Microbiology Letters  2012;328(2):114-121.
Streptococcus mutans, a primary dental pathogen, has a remarkable capacity to scavenge nutrients from the oral biofilm for its survival. Cystine is an amino acid dimer formed by the oxidation of two cysteine residues that is required for optimal growth, whereas S. mutans modulates l-cystine uptake via two recently identified transporters designated TcyABC and TcyDEFGH, which have not been fully characterized. Using a non-polar tcyABC-deficient mutant (SmTcyABC), here we report that L-cystine uptake is drastically diminished in the mutant, whereas its ability to grow is severely impaired under l-cystine starvation conditions, relative to wild type. A substrate competition assay showed that l-cystine uptake by the TcyABC transporter was strongly inhibited by dl-cystathionine and l-djenkolic acid and moderately inhibited by S-methyl-l-cysteine and l-cysteine. Using gene expression analysis, we observed that the tcyABC operon was up-regulated under cystine starvation. TcyABC has been shown to be positively regulated by the LysR-type transcriptional regulator CysR. We identified another LysR-type transcriptional regulator that negatively regulates TcyABC with homology to the B. subtilis YtlI regulator, which we termed TcyR. Our study enhances the understanding of l-cystine uptake in S. mutans which allows survival and persistence of this pathogen in the oral biofilm.
doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2011.02492.x
PMCID: PMC3288405  PMID: 22212096
Cystine; cysteine; transport; TcyABC; Streptococcus mutans
5.  High temperatures alter physiological properties of pyramidal cells and inhibitory interneurons in hippocampus 
Temperature has multiple effects on neurons, yet little is known about the effects of high temperature on the physiology of mammalian central neurons. Hyperthermia can influence behavior and cause febrile seizures. We studied the effects of acute hyperthermia on the immature hippocampus in vitro by recording from pyramidal neurons and inhibitory oriens-lacunosum moleculare (O-LM) interneurons (identified by green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression in the GIN mouse line). Warming to 41°C caused depolarization, spontaneous action potentials, reduced input resistance and membrane time constant, and increased spontaneous synaptic activity of most pyramidal cells and O-LM interneurons. Pyramidal neurons of area CA3 were more strongly excited by hyperthermia than those of area CA1. About 90% of O-LM interneurons in both CA1 and CA3 increased their firing rates at hyperthermic temperatures; interneurons in CA3 fired faster than those in CA1 on average. Blockade of fast synaptic transmission did not abolish the effect of hyperthermia on neuronal excitability. Our results suggest that hyperthermia increases hippocampal excitability, particularly in seizure-prone area CA3, by altering the intrinsic membrane properties of pyramidal cells and interneurons.
doi:10.3389/fncel.2012.00027
PMCID: PMC3390787  PMID: 22783167
febrile seizures; hippocampal neurons; hyperthermia; inhibition
6.  Comprehensive genomic analyses associate UGT8 variants with musical ability in a Mongolian population 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2012;49(12):747-752.
Background
Musical abilities such as recognising music and singing performance serve as means for communication and are instruments in sexual selection. Specific regions of the brain have been found to be activated by musical stimuli, but these have rarely been extended to the discovery of genes and molecules associated with musical ability.
Methods
A total of 1008 individuals from 73 families were enrolled and a pitch-production accuracy test was applied to determine musical ability. To identify genetic loci and variants that contribute to musical ability, we conducted family-based linkage and association analyses, and incorporated the results with data from exome sequencing and array comparative genomic hybridisation analyses.
Results
We found significant evidence of linkage at 4q23 with the nearest marker D4S2986 (LOD=3.1), whose supporting interval overlaps a previous study in Finnish families, and identified an intergenic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs1251078, p=8.4×10−17) near UGT8, a gene highly expressed in the central nervous system and known to act in brain organisation. In addition, a non-synonymous SNP in UGT8 was revealed to be highly associated with musical ability (rs4148254, p=8.0×10−17), and a 6.2 kb copy number loss near UGT8 showed a plausible association with musical ability (p=2.9×10−6).
Conclusions
This study provides new insight into the genetics of musical ability, exemplifying a methodology to assign functional significance to synonymous and non-coding alleles by integrating multiple experimental methods.
doi:10.1136/jmedgenet-2012-101209
PMCID: PMC3512346  PMID: 23118445
Complex traits; Genetics; Linkage

Results 1-6 (6)