Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

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    A systems biology approach sheds new light on Escherichia coli acid resistance
    Stincone, A ; Daudi, N ; Rahman, AS ; Antczak, P ; Henderson, I ; Cole, J ; Johnson, MD ; Lund, P ; Falciani, F (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2011-09-01)
    In order to develop an infection, diarrhogenic Escherichia coli has to pass through the stomach, where the pH can be as low as 1. Mechanisms that enable E. coli to survive in low pH are thus potentially relevant for pathogenicity. Four acid response systems involved in reducing the concentration of intracellular protons have been identified so far. However, it is still unclear to what extent the regulation of other important cellular functions may be required for survival in acid conditions. Here, we have combined molecular and phenotypic analysis of wild-type and mutant strains with computational network inference to identify molecular pathways underlying E. coli response to mild and strong acid conditions. The interpretative model we have developed led to the hypothesis that a complex transcriptional programme, dependent on the two-component system regulator OmpR and involving a switch between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, may be key for survival. Experimental validation has shown that the OmpR is responsible for controlling a sizeable component of the transcriptional programme to acid exposure. Moreover, we found that a ΔompR strain was unable to mount any transcriptional response to acid exposure and had one of the strongest acid sensitive phenotype observed.
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    Loss of the SPHF Homologue Slr1768 Leads to a Catastrophic Failure in the Maintenance of Thylakoid Membranes in Synechocystis sp PCC 6803
    Bryan, SJ ; Burroughs, NJ ; Evered, C ; Sacharz, J ; Nenninger, A ; Mullineaux, CW ; Spence, EM ; Stal, LJ (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-05-23)
    BACKGROUND: In cyanobacteria the photosystems are localised to, and maintained in, specialist membranes called the thylakoids. The mechanism driving the biogenesis of the thylakoid membranes is still an open question, with only two potential biogenesis factors, Vipp1 and Alb3 currently identified. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We generated a slr1768 knockout using the pGEM T-easy vector and REDIRECT. By comparing growth and pigment content (chlorophyll a fluoresence) of the Δslr1768 mutant with the wild-type, we found that Δslr1768 has a conditional phenotype; specifically under high light conditions (130 µmol m(-2) s(-1)) thylakoid biogenesis is disrupted leading to cell death on a scale of days. The thylakoids show considerable disruption, with loss of both structure and density, while chlorophyll a density decreases with the loss of thylakoids, although photosynthetic efficiency is unaffected. Under low light (30 µmol m(-2) s(-1)) the phenotype is significantly reduced, with a growth rate similar to the wild-type and only a low frequency of cells with evident thylakoid disruption. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first example of a gene that affects the maintenance of the thylakoid membranes specifically under high light, and which displays a phenotype dependent on light intensity. Our results demonstrate that Slr1768 has a leading role in acclimatisation, linking light damage with maintenance of the thylakoids.
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    Application of autologous bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells to an ovine model of growth plate cartilage injury.
    McCarty, RC ; Xian, CJ ; Gronthos, S ; Zannettino, ACW ; Foster, BK (Bentham Science Publishers Ltd., 2010-06-23)
    Injury to growth plate cartilage in children can lead to bone bridge formation and result in bone growth deformities, a significant clinical problem currently lacking biological treatment. Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC) offer a promising therapeutic option for regeneration of damaged cartilage, due to their self renewing and multi-lineage differentiation attributes. Although some small animal model studies highlight the therapeutic potential of MSC for growth plate repair, translational research in large animal models, which more closely resemble the human condition, are lacking. Our laboratory has recently characterised MSCs derived from ovine bone marrow, and demonstrated these cells form cartilage-like tissue when transplanted within the gelatin sponge, Gelfoam, in vivo. In the current study, autologous bone marrow MSC were seeded into Gelfoam scaffold containing TGF-beta1, and transplanted into a surgically created defect of the proximal ovine tibial growth plate. Examination of implants at 5 week post-operatively revealed transplanted autologous MSC failed to form new cartilage structure at the defect site, but contributed to an increase in formation of a dense fibrous tissue. Importantly, the extent of osteogenesis was diminished, and bone bridge formation was not accelerated due to transplantation of MSCs or the gelatin scaffold. The current study represents the first work that has utilised this ovine large animal model to investigate whether autologous bone marrow derived MSC can be used to initiate regeneration at the injured growth plate.
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    Assembly of the Mitochondrial Protein Import Channel Role of Tom5 in Two-Stage Interaction of Tom40 with the SAM Complex
    Becker, T ; Guiard, B ; Thornton, N ; Zufall, N ; Stroud, DA ; Wiedemann, N ; Pfanner, N ; Newmeyer, D (AMER SOC CELL BIOLOGY, 2010-09-15)
    The preprotein translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOM) consists of a central β-barrel channel, Tom40, and six proteins with α-helical transmembrane segments. The precursor of Tom40 is imported from the cytosol by a pre-existing TOM complex and inserted into the outer membrane by the sorting and assembly machinery (SAM). Tom40 then assembles with α-helical Tom proteins to the mature TOM complex. The outer membrane protein Mim1 promotes membrane insertion of several α-helical Tom proteins but also affects the biogenesis of Tom40 by an unknown mechanism. We have identified a novel intermediate in the assembly pathway of Tom40, revealing a two-stage interaction of the precursor with the SAM complex. The second SAM stage represents assembly of Tom5 with the precursor of Tom40. Mim1-deficient mitochondria accumulate Tom40 at the first SAM stage like Tom5-deficient mitochondria. Tom5 promotes formation of the second SAM stage and thus suppresses the Tom40 assembly defect of mim1Δ mitochondria. We conclude that the assembly of newly imported Tom40 is directly initiated at the SAM complex by its association with Tom5. The involvement of Mim1 in Tom40 biogenesis can be largely attributed to its role in import of Tom5.
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    Sexual dimorphism in lung function responses to acute influenza A infection
    Larcombe, AN ; Foong, RE ; Bozanich, EM ; Berry, LJ ; Garratt, LW ; Gualano, RC ; Jones, JE ; Dousha, LF ; Zosky, GR ; Sly, PD (WILEY, 2011-09-01)
    BACKGROUND: Males are generally more susceptible to respiratory infections; however, there are few data on the physiological responses to such infections in males and females. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether sexual dimorphism exists in the physiological/inflammatory responses of weanling and adult BALB/c mice to influenza. METHODS: Weanling and adult mice of both sexes were inoculated with influenza A or appropriate control solution. Respiratory mechanics, responsiveness to methacholine (MCh), viral titre and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cellular inflammation/cytokines were measured 4 (acute) and 21 (resolution) days post-inoculation. RESULTS: Acute infection impaired lung function and induced hyperresponsiveness and cellular inflammation in both sexes at both ages. Males and females responded differently with female mice developing greater abnormalities in tissue damping and elastance and greater MCh responsiveness at both ages. BAL inflammation, cytokines and lung viral titres were similar between the sexes. At resolution, all parameters had returned to baseline levels in adults and weanling males; however, female weanlings had persisting hyperresponsiveness. CONCLUSIONS: We identified significant differences in the physiological responses of male and female mice to infection with influenza A, which occurred in the absence of variation in viral titre and cellular inflammation.
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    Myocardial deletion of Smad4 using a novel alpha skeletal muscle actin Cre recombinase transgenic mouse causes misalignment of the cardiac outflow tract
    Azhar, M ; Wang, P-Y ; Frugier, T ; Koishi, K ; Deng, C ; Noakes, PG ; McLennan, IS (IVYSPRING INT PUBL, 2010-01-01)
    SMAD4 acts as the converging point for TGFβ and BMP signaling in heart development. Here, we investigated the role of SMAD4 in heart development using a novel α skeletal muscle actin Cre recombinase (MuCre) transgenic mouse strain. Lineage tracing using MuCre/ROSA26(LacZ) reporter mice indicated strong Cre-recombinase expression in developing and adult heart and skeletal muscles. In heart development, significant MuCre expression was noted at E11.5 in the atrial, ventricular, outflow tract and atrioventricular canal myocardium, but not in the endocardial cushions. MuCre-driven conditional deletion of Smad4 in mice caused double outlet right ventricle (DORV), ventricular septal defect (VSD), impaired trabeculation and thinning of ventricular myocardium, and mid-gestational embryonic lethality. In conclusion, MuCre mice effectively delete genes in both heart and skeletal muscles, thus enabling the discovery that myocardial Smad4 deletion causes misalignment of the outflow tract and DORV.
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    Oseltamivir treatment of mice before or after mild influenza infection reduced cellular and cytokine inflammation in the lung
    Wong, ZX ; Jones, JE ; Anderson, GP ; Gualano, RC (WILEY, 2011-09-01)
    BACKGROUND: Lung inflammation is a critical determinant of influenza infection outcomes but is seldom evaluated in animal studies of oseltamivir (OS), which have focused on viral titre and survival. OBJECTIVES: To study the effects of pre- and post-infection dosing with OS on viral replication and inflammation in a mouse model of non-lethal influenza infection. METHODS: BALB/c mice were infected with a laboratory-adapted H3N1 strain of influenza. In pre-dosing studies, OS was gavaged twice daily (1 and 10 mg/kg/day) from 4 hours prior to infection and continuing for 5 days (d) post-infection (p.i). In the second post-infection dosing study, dosing at 10 mg/kg/day began at 24-48 hours p.i. Mice were dissected at d3, d5 and d7 p.i. (pre-dosing study) and d5 p.i. (post-dosing study). Lung viral titres were determined by plaque assay. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was collected and used for the quantitation of inflammatory cells and mediators. RESULTS: Pre-infection dosing of OS reduced total cells, neutrophils and macrophages in BALF. With pre- or post-infection dosing, the pro-inflammatory mediators TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, the neutrophil chemokines keratinocyte-derived chemokine and MIP-1α and the macrophage chemokine MCP-1 were reduced in BALF. Pre-dosing with 1 mg/kg OS did not reduce viral titres, while 10 mg/kg slightly reduced viral titres at d3 and d5 p.i. CONCLUSIONS: Oseltamivir reduced the inflammatory response to influenza when given pre- or post-infection. This anti-inflammatory effect may contribute to the clinical benefit of OS.
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    Sculpting the immune response to infection.
    Hertzog, PJ ; Mansell, A ; van Driel, IR ; Hartland, EL (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2011-06-20)
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    Immune control of Legionella infection: an in vivo perspective
    Schuelein, R ; Ang, DKY ; van Driel, IR ; Hartland, EL (FRONTIERS RESEARCH FOUNDATION, 2011-01-01)
    Legionella pneumophila is an intracellular pathogen that replicates within alveolar macrophages. Through its ability to activate multiple host innate immune components, L. pneumophila has emerged as a useful tool to dissect inflammatory signaling pathways in macrophages. However the resolution of L. pneumophila infection in the lung requires multiple cell types and abundant cross talk between immune cells. Few studies have examined the coordination of events that lead to effective immune control of the pathogen. Here we discuss L. pneumophila interactions with macrophages and dendritic cell subsets and highlight the paucity of knowledge around how these interactions recruit and activate other immune effector cells in the lung.
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    A review of local anesthetic cardiotoxicity and treatment with lipid emulsion
    Bourne, E ; Wright, C ; Royse, C (DOVE MEDICAL PRESS LTD, 2010-01-01)
    Cardiovascular collapse from accidental local anesthetic toxicity is a rare but catastrophic complication of regional anesthesia. The long-acting amide local anesthetics bupivacaine, levobupivacaine and ropivacaine have differential cardiac toxicity, but all are capable of causing death with accidental overdose. In recent times, the chance discovery that lipid emulsion may improve the chance of successful resuscitation has lead to recommendations that it should be available in every location where regional anesthesia is performed. This review will outline the mechanisms of local anesthetic toxicity and the rationale for lipid emulsion therapy.