Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications
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THE CONCISE GUIDE TO PHARMACOLOGY 2021/22: G protein-coupled receptors
The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2021/22 is the fifth in this series of biennial publications. The Concise Guide provides concise overviews, mostly in tabular format, of the key properties of nearly 1900 human drug targets with an emphasis on selective pharmacology (where available), plus links to the open access knowledgebase source of drug targets and their ligands (www.guidetopharmacology.org), which provides more detailed views of target and ligand properties. Although the Concise Guide constitutes over 500 pages, the material presented is substantially reduced compared to information and links presented on the website. It provides a permanent, citable, point-in-time record that will survive database updates. The full contents of this section can be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/bph.15538. G protein-coupled receptors are one of the six major pharmacological targets into which the Guide is divided, with the others being: ion channels, nuclear hormone receptors, catalytic receptors, enzymes and transporters. These are presented with nomenclature guidance and summary information on the best available pharmacological tools, alongside key references and suggestions for further reading. The landscape format of the Concise Guide is designed to facilitate comparison of related targets from material contemporary to mid-2021, and supersedes data presented in the 2019/20, 2017/18, 2015/16 and 2013/14 Concise Guides and previous Guides to Receptors and Channels. It is produced in close conjunction with the Nomenclature and Standards Committee of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (NC-IUPHAR), therefore, providing official IUPHAR classification and nomenclature for human drug targets, where appropriate.
Enteric neuroimmune interactions coordinate intestinal responses in health and disease
The enteric nervous system (ENS) of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract interacts with the local immune system bidirectionally. Recent publications have demonstrated that such interactions can maintain normal GI functions during homeostasis and contribute to pathological symptoms during infection and inflammation. Infection can also induce long-term changes of the ENS resulting in the development of post-infectious GI disturbances. In this review, we discuss how the ENS can regulate and be regulated by immune responses and how such interactions control whole tissue physiology. We also address the requirements for the proper regeneration of the ENS and restoration of GI function following the resolution of infection.
Towards spatio-temporally resolved developmental cardiac gene regulatory networks in zebrafish.
(Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021-06-25)
Heart formation in the zebrafish involves a rapid, complex series of morphogenetic events in three-dimensional space that spans cardiac lineage specification through to chamber formation and maturation. This process is tightly orchestrated by a cardiac gene regulatory network (GRN), which ensures the precise spatio-temporal deployment of genes critical for heart formation. Alterations of the timing or spatial localisation of gene expression can have a significant impact in cardiac ontogeny and may lead to heart malformations. Hence, a better understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of congenital heart disease relies on understanding the behaviour of cardiac GRNs with precise spatiotemporal resolution. Here, we review the recent technical advances that have expanded our capacity to interrogate the cardiac GRN in zebrafish. In particular, we focus on studies utilising high-throughput technologies to systematically dissect gene expression patterns, both temporally and spatially during heart development.
Plasma Proteomics of Renal Function: A Trans-ethnic Meta-analysis and Mendelian Randomization Study.
(American Society of Nephrology (ASN), 2021-06-16)
BACKGROUND: Studies on the relationship between renal function and the human plasma proteome have identified several potential biomarkers. However, investigations have been conducted largely in European populations, and causality of the associations between plasma proteins and kidney function has never been addressed. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 993 plasma proteins among 2,882 participants in four studies of European and admixed ancestries (KORA, INTERVAL, HUNT, QMDiab) identified trans-ethnic associations between eGFR/CKD and proteomic biomarkers. For the replicated associations, two-sample bidirectional Mendelian randomization (MR) was used to investigate potential causal relationships. Publicly available datasets and transcriptomic data from independent studies were used to examine the association between gene expression in kidney tissue and eGFR . RESULTS: Fifty-seven plasma proteins were associated with eGFR, including one novel protein. Twenty-three of these were additionally associated with CKD. The strongest inferred causal effect was the positive effect of eGFR on testican-2, in line with the known biological role of this protein and the expression of its protein-coding gene (SPOCK2) in renal tissue. We also observed suggestive evidence of an effect of melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA), carbonic anhydrase III, and cystatin-M on eGFR. CONCLUSIONS: In a discovery-replication setting, we identified 57 proteins trans-ethnically associated with eGFR. The revealed causal relationships are an important stepping-stone in establishing testican-2 as a clinically relevant physiological marker of kidney disease progression, and point to additional proteins warranting further investigation.
The Nucleosome Remodeling and Deacetylase Complex Has an Asymmetric, Dynamic, and Modular Architecture.
(Elsevier BV, 2020-12-01)
The nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex is essential for metazoan development but has been refractory to biochemical analysis. We present an integrated analysis of the native mammalian NuRD complex, combining quantitative mass spectrometry, cross-linking, protein biochemistry, and electron microscopy to define the architecture of the complex. NuRD is built from a 2:2:4 (MTA, HDAC, and RBBP) deacetylase module and a 1:1:1 (MBD, GATAD2, and Chromodomain-Helicase-DNA-binding [CHD]) remodeling module, and the complex displays considerable structural dynamics. The enigmatic GATAD2 controls the asymmetry of the complex and directly recruits the CHD remodeler. The MTA-MBD interaction acts as a point of functional switching, with the transcriptional regulator PWWP2A competing with MBD for binding to the MTA-HDAC-RBBP subcomplex. Overall, our data address the long-running controversy over NuRD stoichiometry, provide imaging of the mammalian NuRD complex, and establish the biochemical mechanism by which PWWP2A can regulate NuRD composition.
Shark liver oil supplementation enriches endogenous plasmalogens and reduces markers of dyslipidemia and inflammation
Plasmalogens are membrane glycerophospholipids with diverse biological functions. Reduced plasmalogen levels have been observed in metabolic diseases; hence, increasing their levels might be beneficial in ameliorating these conditions. Shark liver oil (SLO) is a rich source of alkylglycerols that can be metabolized into plasmalogens. This study was designed to evaluate the impact of SLO supplementation on endogenous plasmalogen levels in individuals with features of metabolic disease. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study, the participants (10 overweight or obese males) received 4-g Alkyrol® (purified SLO) or placebo (methylcellulose) per day for 3 weeks followed by a 3-week washout phase and were then crossed over to 3 weeks of the alternate placebo/Alkyrol® treatment. SLO supplementation led to significant changes in plasma and circulatory white blood cell lipidomes, notably increased levels of plasmalogens and other ether lipids. In addition, SLO supplementation significantly decreased the plasma levels of total free cholesterol, triglycerides, and C-reactive protein. These findings suggest that SLO supplementation can enrich plasma and cellular plasmalogens and this enrichment may provide protection against obesity-related dyslipidemia and inflammation.
Investigating lymphangiogenesis in vitro and in vivo using engineered human lymphatic vessel networks.
(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021-08-03)
The lymphatic system is involved in various biological processes, including fluid transport from the interstitium into the venous circulation, lipid absorption, and immune cell trafficking. Despite its critical role in homeostasis, lymphangiogenesis (lymphatic vessel formation) is less widely studied than its counterpart, angiogenesis (blood vessel formation). Although the incorporation of lymphatic vasculature in engineered tissues or organoids would enable more precise mimicry of native tissue, few studies have focused on creating engineered tissues containing lymphatic vessels. Here, we populated thick collagen sheets with human lymphatic endothelial cells, combined with supporting cells and blood endothelial cells, and examined lymphangiogenesis within the resulting constructs. Our model required just a few days to develop a functional lymphatic vessel network, in contrast to other reported models requiring several weeks. Coculture of lymphatic endothelial cells with the appropriate supporting cells and intact PDGFR-β signaling proved essential for the lymphangiogenesis process. Additionally, subjecting the constructs to cyclic stretch enabled the creation of complex muscle tissue aligned with the lymphatic and blood vessel networks, more precisely biomimicking native tissue. Interestingly, the response of developing lymphatic vessels to tensile forces was different from that of blood vessels; while blood vessels oriented perpendicularly to the stretch direction, lymphatic vessels mostly oriented in parallel to the stretch direction. Implantation of the engineered lymphatic constructs into a mouse abdominal wall muscle resulted in anastomosis between host and implant lymphatic vasculatures, demonstrating the engineered construct's potential functionality in vivo. Overall, this model provides a potential platform for investigating lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic disease mechanisms.
Alpha-protein kinase 3 (ALPK3) truncating variants are a cause of autosomal dominant hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2021-08-21)
AIMS: The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of heterozygous truncating ALPK3 variants (ALPK3tv) in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and confirm their pathogenicity using burden testing in independent cohorts and family co-segregation studies. METHODS AND RESULTS: In a discovery cohort of 770 index patients with HCM, 12 (1.56%) were heterozygous for ALPK3tv [odds ratio(OR) 16.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 7.94-30.02, P = 8.05e-11] compared to the Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD) population. In a validation cohort of 2047 HCM probands, 32 (1.56%) carried heterozygous ALPK3tv (OR 16.17, 95% CI 10.31-24.87, P < 2.2e-16, compared to gnomAD). Combined logarithm of odds score in seven families with ALPK3tv was 2.99. In comparison with a cohort of genotyped patients with HCM (n = 1679) with and without pathogenic sarcomere gene variants (SP+ and SP-), ALPK3tv carriers had a higher prevalence of apical/concentric patterns of hypertrophy (60%, P < 0.001) and of a short PR interval (10%, P = 0.009). Age at diagnosis and maximum left ventricular wall thickness were similar to SP- and left ventricular systolic impairment (6%) and non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (31%) at baseline similar to SP+. After 5.3 ± 5.7 years, 4 (9%) patients with ALPK3tv died of heart failure or had cardiac transplantation (log-rank P = 0.012 vs. SP- and P = 0.425 vs. SP+). Imaging and histopathology showed extensive myocardial fibrosis and myocyte vacuolation. CONCLUSIONS: Heterozygous ALPK3tv are pathogenic and segregate with a characteristic HCM phenotype.
BACE inhibitor treatment of mice induces hyperactivity in a Seizure-related gene 6 family dependent manner without altering learning and memory
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-07-23)
BACE inhibitors, which decrease BACE1 (β-secretase 1) cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein, are a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Clinical trials using BACE inhibitors have reported a lack of positive effect on patient symptoms and, in some cases, have led to increased adverse events, cognitive worsening and hippocampal atrophy. A potential drawback of this strategy is the effect of BACE inhibition on other BACE1 substrates such as Seizure-related gene 6 (Sez6) family proteins which are known to have a role in neuronal function. Mice were treated with an in-diet BACE inhibitor for 4-8 weeks to achieve a clinically-relevant level of amyloid-β40 reduction in the brain. Mice underwent behavioural testing and postmortem analysis of dendritic spine number and morphology with Golgi-Cox staining. Sez6 family triple knockout mice were tested alongside wild-type mice to identify whether any effects of the treatment were due to altered cleavage of Sez6 family proteins. Wild-type mice treated with BACE inhibitor displayed hyperactivity on the elevated open field, as indicated by greater distance travelled, but this effect was not observed in treated Sez6 triple knockout mice. BACE inhibitor treatment did not lead to significant changes in spatial or fear learning, reference memory, cognitive flexibility or anxiety in mice as assessed by the Morris water maze, context fear conditioning, or light-dark box tests. Chronic BACE inhibitor treatment reduced the density of mushroom-type spines in the somatosensory cortex, regardless of genotype, but did not affect steady-state dendritic spine density or morphology in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Chronic BACE inhibition for 1-2 months in mice led to increased locomotor output but did not alter memory or cognitive flexibility. While the mechanism underlying the treatment-induced hyperactivity is unknown, the absence of this response in Sez6 triple knockout mice indicates that blocking ectodomain shedding of Sez6 family proteins is a contributing factor. In contrast, the decrease in mature spine density in cortical neurons was not attributable to lack of shed Sez6 family protein ectodomains. Therefore, other BACE1 substrates are implicated in this effect and, potentially, in the cognitive decline in longer-term chronically treated patients.