Single-molecule fluorescence imaging has provided unprecedented access to the dynamics of ribosome function, revealing transient intermediate states that are critical to ribosome activity. Imaging platforms have now been developed that are capable of probing many hundreds of molecules simultaneously at temporal and spatial resolutions approaching the sub-millisecond time and the sub-nanometer scales. These advances enable both steady- and pre-steady state measurements of individual steps in the translation process as well as processive reactions. The data generated using these methods have yielded new, quantitative structural and kinetic insights into ribosomal activity. They have also shed light on the mechanisms of antibiotics targeting the translation apparatus, revealing features of the structure-function relationship that would be difficult to obtain by other means. This review provides an overview of the types of information that can be obtained using such imaging platforms and a blueprint for using the technique to assess how small-molecule antibiotics alter macromolecular functions.
antibiotics; ribosome; smFRET; translation; tRNA
The following on molecular aspects of esophageal development contains commentaries on esophageal striated myogenesis and transdifferentiation; conversion from columnar into stratified squamous epithelium in the mouse esophagus; the roles for BMP signaling in the developing esophagus and forestomach; and evidence of a direct conversion from columnar to stratified squamous cells in the developing esophagus.
BMP signaling; esophagus; forestomach; stratification; differentiation; myogenesis; transdifferentiation; fate mapping; embryonic esophageal culture model; columnar epithelium; stratified squamous epithelium
Obesity has various deleterious effects on health largely associated with metabolic abnormalities including abnormal glucose and lipid homeostasis that are associated with vascular injury and known cardiac, renal, and cerebrovascular complications. Advanced age is also associated with increased adiposity, decreased lean mass, and increased risk for obesity-related diseases. Although many of these obesity- and age-related disease processes have long been subsumed to be secondary to metabolic or vascular dysfunction, increasing evidence indicates that obesity also modulates nonvascular diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia. The link between peripheral obesity and neurode-generation will be explored, using adipokines and AD as a template. After an introduction to the neuropathology of AD, the relationship between body weight, obesity, and dementia will be reviewed. Then, population-based and experimental studies that address whether leptin modulates brain health and mitigates AD pathways will be explored. These studies will serve as a framework for understanding the role of adipokines in brain health.
adiponectin; Alzheimer; amyloid; leptin
The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has long been implicated in associative learning. Early work by Mishkin and Rolls showed that the OFC was critical for rapid changes in learned behavior, a role that was reflected in the encoding of associative information by orbitofrontal neurons. Over the years, new data—particularly neurophysiological data—have increasingly emphasized the OFC in signaling actual value. These signals have been reported to vary according to internal preferences and judgments and to even be completely independent of the sensory qualities of predictive cues, the actual rewards, and the responses required to obtain them. At the same time, increasingly sophisticated behavioral studies have shown that the OFC is often unnecessary for simple value-based behavior and instead seems critical when information about specific outcomes must be used to guide behavior and learning. Here, we review these data and suggest a theory that potentially reconciles these two ideas, value versus specific outcomes, and bodies of work on the OFC.
orbital frontal cortex; overexpectation; reward; value-guided behavior
Immunodeficient mice bearing an IL2rγnull gene permit engraftment of a functional human immune system and study of human-specific infectious agents that was not previously possible.
SCID; humanized mice; immunity; infectious disease; NSG
Sixteen neurons, including vestibular-only (VO), eye–head velocity (EHV), and position-vestibular-pause (PVP) neurons sensitive to head tilt were recorded in the rostromedial and in superior vestibular nuclei. Projection of the otolith polarization vector to the horizontal plane (response vector orientation [RVO]) was determined before and after prolonged head orientation in side-down position. The RVO of VO neurons shifted toward alignment with the axis of gravity when the head was in the position of adaptation. PVP neurons had similar changes in RVO. There were also changes in RVO in some EHV neurons, but generally in directions not related to gravity. Modeling studies have suggested that the tendency to align RVOs with gravity leads to tuning of gravity-dependent angular vestibular ocular reflex (aVOR) gain changes to the position of adaptation. Thus, coding of orientation in PVP neurons would contribute significantly to the gravity-dependent adaptation of the aVOR.
adaptation; monkey; VOR; gravity
Remarkable progress has been made in recent years towards understanding the functions of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). The finding that neurons in this area encode the subjective value monkeys assign to different goods while choosing has been confirmed and extended by numerous studies using both primate neurophysiology and human imaging. Moreover, new lesion studies demonstrated that subjective values computed in the OFC are causally and specifically related to choice behavior. Importantly, values in the OFC are attached to goods, not to actions or to spatial locations. Furthermore, subjective values appear to be computed in this area even if the situation does not require a choice. In the light of this growing body of work, we propose that the computation of good identities and subjective values in an abstract representation is the primary function of the OFC. In this view, OFC neurons compute the subjective value of a good whenever that good is behaviorally relevant.
abstract representation; transitivity; context adaptation; decision making; economic choice; neuroeconomics
Approximately half of adults with diabetes have at least one comorbid condition. However, diabetes care guidelines focus on diabetes-specific care, and their recommendations may not be appropriate for many patients with diabetes and comorbidity. We describe Piette and Kerr's typology of comorbid conditions, which categorizes conditions based on if they are clinically dominant (eclipse diabetes management), symptomatic versus asymptomatic, and concordant (similar pathophysiologic processes as diabetes) versus discordant. We integrate this typology with clinical evidence and shared decision-making methods to create an algorithmic approach to prioritizing care in patients with diabetes and comorbidity. Initial steps are determining the patient's goals of care and preferences for treatment, whether there is a clinically dominant condition or inadequately treated symptomatic condition, and the risk of cardiovascular disease. With these data in hand, the clinician and patient prioritize diabetes treatments during a shared decision-making process. These steps should be repeated, especially when the patient's clinical status changes. This patient-centered process emphasizes overall quality of life and functioning rather than a narrow focus on diabetes.
diabetes mellitus; comorbidity; multimorbidity; prioritization
Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is considered to be a collection of genetic immune defects with complex inheritance patterns. While the main phenotype is loss of B cell function, the majority of the genetic mechanisms leading to CVID remain elusive. In the past two decades there have been increasing efforts to unravel the genetic defects in CVID. Here, we provide an overview of our current understanding of the genetic basis of these defects, as revealed over time by earlier linkage studies in large cohorts, analysis of families with recessive inheritance, targeted gene approaches, and genome-wide association studies using single nucleotide polymorphism arrays and copy number variation, and whole genome studies.
common variable immunodeficiency; hypogammaglobulinemia; IgA deficiency; genome-wide association studies; single nucleotide polymorphism; copy number variations; recessive genes
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease with episodic flares in affected joints, whose etiology is largely unknown. Recent studies in mice demonstrated alterations in lymphatics from affected joints precede flares. Thus, we aimed to develop novel methods for measuring lymph node pressure and lymph viscosity in limbs of mice. Pressure measurements were performed by inserting a glass micropipette connected to a pressure transducer into popliteal lymph nodes (PLN) or axillary lymph nodes (ALN) of mice and determined that the lymphatic pressures were 9 and 12 cm of water, respectively. We are also developing methods for measuring lymph viscosity in lymphatic vessels afferent to PLN, which can be measured by multi-photon fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (MP-FRAP) of FITC-BSA injected into the hind footpad. These results demonstrate the potential of lymph node pressure and lymph viscosity measurements, and warrant future studies to test these outcomes as biomarkers of arthritic flare.
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Lymph Node; Flare; Lymphatic Pressure; Lymph Viscosity
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) remove the acetyl groups from the lysine residues of histone tails, leading to the formation of a condensed and transcriptionally silenced chromatin. HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) block this action and can result in hyperacetylation of histones, leading to a less compact and more transcriptionally active chromatin and thereby, gene expression. Previously, we have shown that HDACi inhibit osteoclast differentiation. However, which genes are transcriptionally activated following hyperacetylation of histones, and lead to the suppression of osteoclastogenesis, has yet to be elucidated. In this study, we show that a HDACi, trichostatin A (TSA), inhibits receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) ligand (RANKL) stimulated TNF-α production, NF-κB activation and bone resorbing pit formation and down-regulates cFos and NFATc1 in RAW264.7 cells. Interestingly, anti-osteoclastogenic factors CCAAT enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)-β and mitogen activated protein kinase phosphatase (MKP)-1 expression were significantly up-regulated in TSA-treated RANKL-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. These findings suggest that TSA up-regulates the expression of C/EBP-β and MKP-1 which may down-regulate pro-osteoclastogenic factors and signaling molecules, ultimately suppressing osteoclastogenesis.
Behavioral changes driven by reinforcement and punishment are referred to as simple or model-free reinforcement learning. Animals can also change their behaviors by observing events that are neither appetitive nor aversive, when these events provide new information about payoffs available from alternative actions. This is an example of model-based reinforcement learning, and can be accomplished by incorporating hypothetical reward signals into the value functions for specific actions. Recent neuroimaging and single-neuron recording studies showed that the prefrontal cortex and the striatum are involved not only in reinforcement and punishment, but also in model-based reinforcement learning. We found evidence for both types of learning, and hence hybrid learning, in monkeys during simulated competitive games. In addition, in both the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex, individual neurons heterogeneously encoded signals related to actual and hypothetical outcomes from specific actions, suggesting that both areas might contribute to hybrid learning.
belief learning; decision making; game theory; reinforcement learning; reward
Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease (MSMD) is a rare syndrome conferring predisposition to clinical disease caused by weakly virulent mycobacteria, such as Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccines and nontuberculous, environmental mycobacteria (EM). Since 1996, MSMD-causing mutations have been found in six autosomal genes involved in IL-12/23-dependent, IFN-γ-mediated immunity. The aim of this review is to provide the description of the two described forms of X-linked recessive (XR) MSMD. Germline mutations in two genes, NEMO and CYBB, have long been known to cause other human diseases—incontinentia pigmenti (IP) and anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia with immunodeficiency (EDA-ID) (NEMO/IKKG), and X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) (CYBB)—but specific mutations in either of these two genes have recently been shown to cause XR-MSMD. NEMO is an essential component of several NF-κB-dependent signaling pathways. The MSMD-causing mutations in NEMO selectively affect the CD40-dependent induction of IL-12 in mononuclear cells. CYBB encoded for gp91phox, which is an essential component of the NADPH oxidase in phagocytes. The MSMD-causing mutation in CYBB selectively affects the respiratory burst in macrophages. Mutations in NEMO and CYBB may therefore cause MSMD by selectively exerting their deleterious impact on a single signaling pathway (CD40–IL-12, NEMO) or a single cell type (macrophages, CYBB). These experiments illustrate how specific germline mutations in pleiotropic genes can dissociate signalling pathways or cell lineages, thereby resulting in surprisingly narrow clinical phenotypes.
Mycobacteria; X-linked primary immunodeficiency; NEMO; CYBB; interleukin-12; interferon-γ; monocytes; macrophages
The availability of immunodeficient mice engrafted with functional human immune systems and islets permits in vivo study of human diabetes without putting patients at risk.
diabetes; humanized mice; animal models; islets
The most important milestone in understanding a genetic disease is the identification of the causative mutation. However, such knowledge is often insufficient to decipher the pathophysiology of the disorder or to effectively treat those affected. Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare, disabling, genetic disease of progressive heterotopic endochondral ossification (HEO) enabled by missense mutations that promiscuously and provisionally activate ACVR1/ALK2, a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type I receptor, in all affected individuals. While activating mutations of the ACVR1/ALK2 receptor are necessary, disease activity and progression also depend on altered cell and tissue physiology. Recent findings identify inflammatory and immunological factors, vascular-derived mesenchymal stem cells, and a hypoxic lesional microenvironment that trigger, promote, and enable episodic progression of FOP in the setting of the genetic mutation. Effective therapies for FOP will need to consider these seminal pathophysiologic interactions.
fibrodysplasia; ossificans progressiva; heterotopic ossification; BMP; ACVR1; ALK2
The role of circadian proteins in regulating whole body metabolism and bone turnover has been studied in detail and has led to the discovery of an elemental system for timekeeping involving the core genes Clock, Bmal1, Per, and Cry. Nocturnin, a peripheral circadian-regulated gene has been shown to play a very important role in regulating adipogenesis by deadenylation of key mRNAs and intra-cytoplasmic transport of PPARγ. The role that it plays in osteogenesis has previously not been studied in detail. In this report we examined in vitro and in vivo osteogenesis in the presence and absence of Nocturnin and show that loss of Nocturnin enhances bone formation and can rescue Rosiglitazone induced bone loss in mice. The circadian rhythm of Nocturnin is likely to be an essential element of marrow stromal cell fate.
Nocturnin; rosiglitazone; PPARγ
Inflammation plays a key role in excessive bone loss in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis. An important paradigm in immunology is that inflammatory factors activate feedback inhibition mechanisms to restrain inflammation and limit associated tissue damage. We hypothesized that inflammatory factors would activate similar feedback mechanisms to restrain bone loss in inflammatory settings. We have identified three mechanisms that inhibit osteoclastogenesis and are induced by inflammatory factors, such as toll-like receptor ligands and cytokines: downregulation of expression of costimulatory molecules such as TREM-2; induction of shedding and thereby inactivation of the M-CSF receptor c-Fms, leading to decreased RANK transcription; and induction of transcriptional repressors such as interferon regulatory factor 8. It is likely that these mechanisms work in a complementary and cooperative manner to fine tune the extent of osteoclastogenesis in inflammatory settings, and their augmentation may represent an alternative therapeutic approach to suppress bone resorption.
inflammation; osteoclasts; toll-like receptors; M-CSF; c-Fms; IRF8
Studies have suggested that manipulations of the central melanocortin circuitry by pharmacological agents produce robust effects on the regulation of body weight and glucose homeostasis. In this review, we discuss recent findings from genetic mouse models that have further established the physiological relevance of this circuitry in the context of glucose and energy balance. In addition, we will discuss distinct neuronal populations that respond to central melanocortins to regulate food intake, energy expenditure, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion, respectively. Finally, multiple hormonal and neural cues (e.g., leptin, estrogen, and serotonin) that use the melanocortin systems to regulate energy and glucose homeostasis will be reviewed. These findings suggest that targeting the specific branches of melanocortin circuits may be potential avenues to combat the current obesity and diabetes epidemics.
melanocortins; leptin; estrogen; serotonin; body weight
Circulating growth hormone (GH) levels rise in response to nutrient deprivation and fall in states of nutrient excess. Since GH regulates carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism, defining the mechanisms by which changes in metabolism alters GH secretion will aid in our understanding of the cause, progression and treatment of metabolic diseases. This review will summarize what is currently known regarding the impact of systemic metabolic signals on GH-axis function. In addition, ongoing studies using the Cre/loxP system to generate mouse models with selective somatotrope resistance to metabolic signals, will be discussed, where these models will serve to enhance our understanding of the specific role the somatotrope plays in sensing the metabolic environment and adjusting GH output in metabolic extremes.
growth hormone; somatotrope; fasting; obesity
Saccade-generating burst neurons (BN) are inhibited by omnipause neurons (OPN), except during saccades. OPN activity pauses before saccade onset and resumes at the saccade end. Microstimulation of OPN stops saccades in mid-flight, which shows that OPN can end saccades. However, OPN pause duration does not correlate well with saccade duration, and saccades are normometric after OPN lesions. We tested whether OPN were responsible for stopping saccades both in late-onset Tay–Sachs, which causes premature saccadic termination, and in individuals with cerebellar hypermetria. We studied gaze shifts between two targets at different distances aligned on one eye, which consist of a disjunctive saccade followed by vergence. High-frequency conjugate oscillations during the vergence movements that followed saccades were present in all subjects studied, indicating OPN silence. Thus, mechanisms other than OPN discharge (e.g., cerebellar caudal fastigial nucleus–promoting inhibitory BN discharge) must contribute to saccade termination.
Tay–Sachs disease; saccades; omnipause neurons; fastigial nucleus; Müller paradigm
The cerebellum plays an important role in programming accurate saccades. Cerebellar lesions affecting the ocular motor region of the fastigial nucleus (FOR) cause saccadic hypermetria; however, if a second target is presented before a saccade can be initiated (double-step paradigm), saccade hypermetria may be decreased. We tested the hypothesis that the cerebellum, especially FOR, plays a pivotal role in programming sequences of saccades. We studied patients with saccadic hypermetria due either to genetic cerebellar ataxia or surgical lesions affecting FOR and confirmed that the gain of initial saccades made to double-step stimuli was reduced compared with the gain of saccades to single target jumps. Based on measurements of the intersaccadic interval, we found that the ability to perform parallel processing of saccades was reduced or absent in all of our patients with cerebellar disease. Our results support the crucial role of the cerebellum, especially FOR, in programming sequences of saccades.
fastigial nucleus; double-step; saccade; latency; spinocerebellar ataxia; hypermetria; parallel processing
Disturbance of vertical saccadesis a cardinal feature of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). We investigated whether the amplitude and peak velocity of saccades is affected by the orbital position fromwhich movements start in PSP patients and age-matched control subjects. Subjects made vertical saccades in response to ± 5 degree vertical target jumps with their heads in one of three positions: head “center,” head pitched forward ~15 degrees, and head pitched back ~ 15 degrees.All patients showed some effect of starting eye position, whether beginning in the upward or downward field of gaze, on saccade amplitude, peak velocity (PV), and net range of movement. Generally, reduction of amplitude and PV were commensurate and bidirectional in the affected hemifield of gaze. Such findings are unlikelyto be due to orbital factors and could be explained by varying degrees of involvement of rostral midbrain nucleiin the pathological process.
saccades; midbrain; neural integrator; eyeball; parkinsonian disorders
Paraneoplastic syndromes affecting the brainstem and cerebellum are reported to cause a variety of abnormalities of eye movements. Recent studies have begun to account for the mechanisms underlying several syndromes, characterized by opsoclonus, slow, or dysmetric saccades, as well as downbeat nystagmus. We provide evidence that upbeat nystagmus in a patient with pancreatic cancer reflected a cerebellar-induced imbalance of otolithic pathways: she showed marked retropulsion, and her nystagmus was dependent on head position, being absent when supine, and suppressed with convergence. In addition to anti-Hu antibodies, we demonstrated antibodies to a novel neuronal cell surface antigen. Taken with other recent studies, our findings suggest that paraneoplastic syndromes arise due to antibodies against surface neuronal antigens, including receptors and channels. Abnormal eye movements in paraneoplastic syndromes offer insights into the pathogenesis of these disorders and the opportunity to test potential therapies, such as new drugs with effects on neuronal channels.
upbeat nystagmus; oscillopsia; pancreatic endocrine; neoplasm
Passive extraocular muscles (EOMs), like most biological tissues, are hyper-elastic, i.e., their stiffness increases as they are stretched. It has always been assumed, and in a few occasions argued, that this is their only nonlinearity and that it can be ignored in central gaze. However, using novel measurement techniques in anesthetized paralyzed monkeys, we have recently demonstrated that EOMs are characterized by another prominent nonlinearity: the forces induced by sequences of stretches do not sum. Thus, superposition, a central tenet of linear and quasi-linear models, does not hold in passive EOMs. Here, we outline the implications of this finding, especially in light of the common assumption that it is easier for the brain to control a linear than a nonlinear plant. We argue against this common belief: the specific nonlinearity of passive EOMs may actually make it easier for the brain to control the plant than if muscles were linear.
viscoelasticity; model; control; quasilinear; superposition
Acquired pendular nystagmus (APN) occurs with multiple sclerosis (MS) and oculopalatal tremor (OPT); distinct features of the nystagmus have led to the development of separate models for the pathogenesis. APN in MS has been attributed to instability in the neural integrator, which normally ensures steady gaze. APN in OPT may result from electrotonic coupling between neurons in the hypertrophied inferior olivary nucleus, which induces maladaptive learning in cerebellar cortex. We tested these two hypotheses by analyzing the effects of gabapentin, memantine, and baclofen on both forms of nystagmus. No drug changed the dominant frequency of either form of APN, but the variability of frequency was affected with gabapentin and memantine in patients with OPT. The amplitude of APN in both MS and OPT was reduced with gabapentin and memantine, but not baclofen. Analyzing the effects of drug therapies on ocular oscillations provides a novel approach to test models of nystagmus.
cerebellum; inferior olive; plasticity; learning; Guillain–Mollaret triangle; multiple sclerosis