Medical Biology - Research Publications

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    Weight Gain in Early Life Predicts Risk of Islet Autoimmuity in Children With a First-Degree Relative With Type 1 Diabetes
    Couper, JJ ; Beresford, S ; Hirte, C ; Baghurst, PA ; Pollard, A ; Tait, BD ; Harrison, LC ; Colman, PG (AMER DIABETES ASSOC, 2009-01-01)
    OBJECTIVE: In a prospective birth cohort study, we followed infants who had a first-degree relative with type 1 diabetes to investigate the relationship between early growth and infant feeding and the risk of islet autoimmunity. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Infants with a first-degree relative with type 1 diabetes were identified during their mother's pregnancy. Dietary intake was recorded prospectively to determine duration of breast-feeding and age at introduction of cow's milk protein, cereals, meat, fruit, and vegetables. At 6-month reviews, length (or height) and weight, antibodies to insulin, GAD65, the tyrosine phosphatase-like insulinoma antigen, and tissue transglutaminase were measured. Islet autoimmunity was defined as persistent elevation of one or more islet antibodies at consecutive 6-month intervals, including the most recent measure, and was the primary outcome measure. RESULTS: Follow-up of 548 subjects for 5.7 +/- 3.2 years identified 46 children with islet autoimmunity. Weight z score and BMI z score were continuous predictors of risk of islet autoimmunity (adjusted hazard ratios 1.43 [95% CI 1.10-1.84], P = 0.007, and 1.29 [1.01-1.67], P = 0.04, respectively). The risk of islet autoimmunity was greater in subjects with weight z score >0 than in those with weight z score < or =0 over time (2.61 [1.26-5.44], P = 0.01). Weight z score and BMI z score at 2 years and change in weight z score between birth and 2 years, but not dietary intake, also predicted risk of islet autoimmunity. CONCLUSIONS: Weight gain in early life predicts risk of islet autoimmunity in children with a first-degree relative with type 1 diabetes.
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    Interferon-induced protein IFIT4 is associated with systemic lupus erythematosus and promotes differentiation of monocytes into dendritic cell-like cells.
    Huang, X ; Shen, N ; Bao, C ; Gu, Y ; Wu, L ; Chen, S (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2008)
    INTRODUCTION: Using oligonucleotide microarray, many IFN-inducible genes have been found to be highly expressed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from most patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Among these IFN-inducible genes, IFN-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 4 (IFIT4) is a novel gene whose function is unknown. METHODS: In this study we examined the role played by IFIT4 in monocyte differentiation and the correlation between IFIT4 expression and the clinical manifestation of SLE. To this end, we used plasmid transfection, flow cytometry, mixed leucocyte responses, ELISA, quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting. RESULTS: We found that both IFIT4 mRNA and protein expression levels were significantly higher in PBMCs and monocytes from SLE patients than in those from healthy control individuals. IFIT4 expression was positively correlated with antinuclear antibodies, anti-double-stranded DNA, and anti-Sm auto-immune antibodies in SLE. Patients with SLE exhibiting higher expression of IFIT4 had a higher prevalence of leucopenia, thrombocytopenia and C3/C4 decrease. IFIT4 protein was localized exclusively to the cytoplasm, and it was significantly upregulated by IFN-alpha in normal PBMCs. To determine the role played by IFIT4 in monocyte differentiation, the monocytic cell line THP-1 was transfected with pEGFP-IFIT4 expression plasmid and stimulated with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor/IL-4 to generate IFIT4-primed dendritic cell-like cells (DCLCs). IFIT4-primed DCLCs acquired morphological characteristics of dendritic cells more quickly, with greater resemblance to dendritic cells, as compared with DCLCs primed with pEGFP-C1 control plasmid trasfection. Furthermore, they exhibited higher expressions of CD40, CD86, CD80, HLA-DR and CD83, along with lower expression of CD14; increased IL-12 secretion; and an increased ability to stimulate T-cell proliferation. In addition, IFIT4-primed DCLCs enhanced IFN-gamma secretion (about 2.4-fold) by T cells compared with controls. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that IFIT4 might play roles in promoting monocyte differentiation into DCLCs and in directing DCLCs to modulate T-helper-1 cell differentiation; these actions might contribute to the autoimmunity and pathogenesis of SLE.
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    MT1-MMP regulates urothelial cell invasion via transcriptional regulation of Dickkopf-3.
    Saeb-Parsy, K ; Veerakumarasivam, A ; Wallard, MJ ; Thorne, N ; Kawano, Y ; Murphy, G ; Neal, DE ; Mills, IG ; Kelly, JD (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2008-08-19)
    Membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is a zinc-binding endopeptidase, which plays a crucial role in tumour growth, invasion and metastasis. We have shown previously that MT1-MMP has higher expression levels in the human urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC) tissue. We show here that siRNA against MT1-MMP blocks invasion in UCC cell lines. Invasion is also blocked by broad-spectrum protease and MMP inhibitors including tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 and -2. Membrane type-1-MMP can also regulate transcription. We have used expression arrays to identify genes that are differentially transcribed when siRNA is used to suppress MT1-MMP expression. Upon MT1-MMP knockdown, Dickkopf-3 (DKK3) expression was highly upregulated. The stability of DKK3 mRNA was unaffected under these conditions, suggesting transcriptional regulation of DKK3 by MT1-MMP. Dickkopf-3 has been previously shown to inhibit invasion. We confirm that the overexpression of DKK3 leads to decreased invasive potential as well as delayed wound healing. We show for the first time that the effects of MT1-MMP on cell invasion are mediated in part through changes in DKK3 gene transcription.
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    Tissue-specific splicing factor gene expression signatures.
    Grosso, AR ; Gomes, AQ ; Barbosa-Morais, NL ; Caldeira, S ; Thorne, NP ; Grech, G ; von Lindern, M ; Carmo-Fonseca, M (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2008-09)
    The alternative splicing code that controls and coordinates the transcriptome in complex multicellular organisms remains poorly understood. It has long been argued that regulation of alternative splicing relies on combinatorial interactions between multiple proteins, and that tissue-specific splicing decisions most likely result from differences in the concentration and/or activity of these proteins. However, large-scale data to systematically address this issue have just recently started to become available. Here we show that splicing factor gene expression signatures can be identified that reflect cell type and tissue-specific patterns of alternative splicing. We used a computational approach to analyze microarray-based gene expression profiles of splicing factors from mouse, chimpanzee and human tissues. Our results show that brain and testis, the two tissues with highest levels of alternative splicing events, have the largest number of splicing factor genes that are most highly differentially expressed. We further identified SR protein kinases and small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) proteins among the splicing factor genes that are most highly differentially expressed in a particular tissue. These results indicate the power of generating signature-based predictions as an initial computational approach into a global view of tissue-specific alternative splicing regulation.
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    Tpl2 kinase regulates T cell interferon-gamma production and host resistance to Toxoplasma gondii
    Watford, WT ; Hissong, BD ; Durant, LR ; Yamane, H ; Muul, LM ; Kanno, Y ; Tato, CM ; Ramos, HL ; Berger, AE ; Mielke, L ; Pesu, M ; Solomon, B ; Frucht, DM ; Paul, WE ; Sher, A ; Jankovic, D ; Tsichlis, PN ; O'Shea, JJ (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2008-11-24)
    Tpl2 (Tumor progression locus 2), also known as Cot/MAP3K8, is a hematopoietically expressed serine-threonine kinase. Tpl2 is known to have critical functions in innate immunity in regulating tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Toll-like receptor, and G protein-coupled receptor signaling; however, our understanding of its physiological role in T cells is limited. We investigated the potential roles of Tpl2 in T cells and found that it was induced by interleukin-12 in human and mouse T cells in a Stat4-dependent manner. Deficiency of Tpl2 was associated with impaired interferon (IFN)-gamma production. Accordingly, Tpl2(-/-) mice had impaired host defense against Toxoplasma gondii with reduced parasite clearance and decreased IFN-gamma production. Furthermore, reconstitution of Rag2(-/-) mice with Tpl2-deficient T cells followed by T. gondii infection recapitulated the IFN-gamma defect seen in the Tpl2-deficient mice, confirming a T cell-intrinsic defect. CD4(+) T cells isolated from Tpl2(-/-) mice showed poor induction of T-bet and failure to up-regulate Stat4 protein, which is associated with impaired TCR-dependent extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. These data underscore the role of Tpl2 as a regulator of T helper cell lineage decisions and demonstrate that Tpl2 has an important functional role in the regulation of Th1 responses.
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    c-Rel is required for the development of thymic Foxp3+ CD4 regulatory T cells.
    Isomura, I ; Palmer, S ; Grumont, RJ ; Bunting, K ; Hoyne, G ; Wilkinson, N ; Banerjee, A ; Proietto, A ; Gugasyan, R ; Wu, L ; McNally, A ; Steptoe, RJ ; Thomas, R ; Shannon, MF ; Gerondakis, S (Rockefeller University Press, 2009-12-21)
    During thymopoiesis, a unique program of gene expression promotes the development of CD4 regulatory T (T reg) cells. Although Foxp3 maintains a pattern of gene expression necessary for T reg cell function, other transcription factors are emerging as important determinants of T reg cell development. We show that the NF-kappaB transcription factor c-Rel is highly expressed in thymic T reg cells and that in c-rel(-/-) mice, thymic T reg cell numbers are markedly reduced as a result of a T cell-intrinsic defect that is manifest during thymocyte development. Although c-Rel is not essential for TGF-beta conversion of peripheral CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells into CD4(+)Foxp3(+) cells, it is required for optimal homeostatic expansion of peripheral T reg cells. Despite a lower number of peripheral T reg cells in c-rel(-/-) mice, the residual peripheral c-rel(-/-) T reg cells express normal levels of Foxp3, display a pattern of cell surface markers and gene expression similar to those of wild-type T reg cells, and effectively suppress effector T cell function in culture and in vivo. Collectively, our results indicate that c-Rel is important for both the thymic development and peripheral homeostatic proliferation of T reg cells.
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    Distribution of Brugia malayi larvae and DNA in vector and non-vector mosquitoes: implications for molecular diagnostics.
    Erickson, SM ; Fischer, K ; Weil, GJ ; Christensen, BM ; Fischer, PU (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-11-17)
    BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to extend prior studies of molecular detection of Brugia malayi DNA in vector (Aedes aegypti- Liverpool) and non-vector (Culex pipiens) mosquitoes at different times after ingestion of infected blood. RESULTS: Parasite DNA was detected over a two week time course in 96% of pooled thoraces of vector mosquitoes. In contrast, parasite DNA was detected in only 24% of thorax pools from non-vectors; parasite DNA was detected in 56% of midgut pools and 47% of abdomen pools from non-vectors. Parasite DNA was detected in vectors in the head immediately after the blood meal and after 14 days. Parasite DNA was also detected in feces and excreta of the vector and non-vector mosquitoes which could potentially confound results obtained with field samples. However, co-housing experiments failed to demonstrate transfer of parasite DNA from infected to non-infected mosquitoes. Parasites were also visualized in mosquito tissues by immunohistololgy using an antibody to the recombinant filarial antigen Bm14. Parasite larvae were detected consistently after mf ingestion in Ae. aegypti- Liverpool. Infectious L3s were seen in the head, thorax and abdomen of vector mosquitoes 14 days after Mf ingestion. In contrast, parasites were only detected by histology shortly after the blood meal in Cx. pipiens, and these were not labeled by the antibody. CONCLUSION: This study provides new information on the distribution of filarial parasites and parasite DNA in vector and non-vector mosquitoes. This information should be useful for those involved in designing and interpreting molecular xenomonitoring studies.
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    A comparative study of a flow-cytometry-based assessment of in vitro Plasmodium falciparum drug sensitivity.
    Karl, S ; Wong, RP ; St Pierre, TG ; Davis, TM (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-12-14)
    BACKGROUND: Recently developed Sybr Green-based in vitro Plasmodium falciparum drug sensitivity assays provide an attractive alternative to current manual and automated methods. The present study evaluated flow cytometry measurement of DNA staining with Sybr Green in comparison with the P. falciparum lactate dehydrogenase assay, the tritiated hypoxanthine incorporation assay, a previously described Sybr Green based plate reader assay and light microscopy. METHODS: All assays were set up in standardized format in 96-well plates. The 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of chloroquine, mefloquine and dihydroartemisinin against the laboratory adapted P. falciparum strains 3D7, E8B, W2mef and Dd2 were determined using each method. RESULTS: The resolution achieved by flow cytometry allowed quantification of the increase in individual cell DNA content after an incubation period of only 24 h. Regression, and Bland and Altman analyses showed that the IC50 values determined using the flow cytometry assay after 24 h agreed well with those obtained using the hypoxanthine incorporation assay, the P. falciparum lactate dehydrogenase assay, the Sybr Green plate reader assay and light microscopy. However the values obtained with the flow cytometry assay after 48 h of incubation differed significantly from those obtained with the hypoxanthine incorporation assay, and the P. falciparum lactate dehydrogenase assay at low IC50 values, but agreed well with the Sybr Green plate reader assay and light microscopy. CONCLUSIONS: Although flow cytometric equipment is expensive, the necessary reagents are inexpensive, the procedure is simple and rapid, and the cell volume required is minimal. This should allow field studies using fingerprick sample volumes.
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    Cryo-electron tomography of cells: connecting structure and function
    Lucic, V ; Leis, A ; Baumeister, W (SPRINGER, 2008-08-01)
    Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) allows the visualization of cellular structures under close-to-life conditions and at molecular resolution. While it is inherently a static approach, yielding structural information about supramolecular organization at a certain time point, it can nevertheless provide insights into function of the structures imaged, in particular, when supplemented by other approaches. Here, we review the use of experimental methods that supplement cryo-ET imaging of whole cells. These include genetic and pharmacological manipulations, as well as correlative light microscopy and cryo-ET. While these methods have mostly been used to detect and identify structures visualized in cryo-ET or to assist the search for a feature of interest, we expect that in the future they will play a more important role in the functional interpretation of cryo-tomograms.
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    Synthesis and antiplasmodial activity of 3-furyl and 3-thienylquinoxaline-2-carbonitrile 1,4-di-N-oxide derivatives.
    Vicente, E ; Charnaud, S ; Bongard, E ; Villar, R ; Burguete, A ; Solano, B ; Ancizu, S ; Pérez-Silanes, S ; Aldana, I ; Vivas, L ; Monge, A (MDPI AG, 2008-01-17)
    The aim of this study was to identify new compounds active against Plasmodium falciparum based on our previous research carried out on 3-phenyl-quinoxaline-2-carbonitrile 1,4-di-N-oxide derivatives. Twelve compounds were synthesized and evaluated for antimalarial activity. Eight of them showed an IC(50) less than 1 microM against the 3D7 strain. Derivative 1 demonstrated high potency (IC(50)= 0.63 microM) and good selectivity (SI=10.35), thereby becoming a new lead-compound.