Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences Collected Works - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 645
The mitochondrial genome of Protostrongylus rufescens - implications for population and systematic studies
BACKGROUND: Protostrongylus rufescens is a metastrongyloid nematode of small ruminants, such as sheep and goats, causing protostrongylosis. In spite of its importance, the ecology and epidemiology of this parasite are not entirely understood. In addition, genetic data are scant for P. rufescens and related metastrongyloids. METHODS: The mt genome was amplified from a single adult worm of P. rufescens (from sheep) by long-PCR, sequenced using 454-technology and annotated using bioinformatic tools. Amino acid sequences inferred from individual genes of the mt genomes were concatenated and subjected to phylogenetic analysis using Bayesian inference. RESULTS: The circular mitochondrial genome was 13,619 bp in length and contained two ribosomal RNA, 12 protein-coding and 22 transfer RNA genes, consistent with nematodes of the order Strongylida for which mt genomes have been determined. Phylogenetic analysis of the concatenated amino acid sequence data for the 12 mt proteins showed that P. rufescens was closely related to Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, Angiostrongylus vasorum, Angiostrongylus cantonensis and Angiostrongylus costaricensis. CONCLUSIONS: The mt genome determined herein provides a source of markers for future investigations of P. rufescens. Molecular tools, employing such mt markers, are likely to find applicability in studies of the population biology of this parasite and the systematics of lungworms.
In vitro and in vivo effects of the PPAR-alpha agonists fenofibrate and retinoic acid in endometrial cancer
UNLABELLED: Fenofibrate, an agonist of PPAR-alpha, in doses above 25 microM, inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in Ishikawa endometrial cancer cells. We show that these effects are potentiated by retinoic acid, an agonist of the retinoid-X-receptor. DNA content analysis shows that G1/S phase progression through the cell cycle is inhibited. Independent Component Analysis of gene microarray experiments demonstrated downregulation of Cyclin D1 (CCND1) and associated changes in cell cycle gene expression. Expression of PPAR-alpha mRNA was reduced by >75% using RNA-interference but this resulted in only minor changes in biological effects. A nude mouse model of endometrial carcinoma was used to investigate the effect of fenofibrate in vivo but failed to show consistent inhibition of tumour growth. CONCLUSION: The combination of fenofibrate and retinoic acid is a potent inhibitor of Ishikawa endometrial cancer cell growth in vitro.
BetaSearch: a new method for querying β-residue motifs.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2012-07-30)
BACKGROUND: Searching for structural motifs across known protein structures can be useful for identifying unrelated proteins with similar function and characterising secondary structures such as β-sheets. This is infeasible using conventional sequence alignment because linear protein sequences do not contain spatial information. β-residue motifs are β-sheet substructures that can be represented as graphs and queried using existing graph indexing methods, however, these approaches are designed for general graphs that do not incorporate the inherent structural constraints of β-sheets and require computationally-expensive filtering and verification procedures. 3D substructure search methods, on the other hand, allow β-residue motifs to be queried in a three-dimensional context but at significant computational costs. FINDINGS: We developed a new method for querying β-residue motifs, called BetaSearch, which leverages the natural planar constraints of β-sheets by indexing them as 2D matrices, thus avoiding much of the computational complexities involved with structural and graph querying. BetaSearch exhibits faster filtering, verification, and overall query time than existing graph indexing approaches whilst producing comparable index sizes. Compared to 3D substructure search methods, BetaSearch achieves 33 and 240 times speedups over index-based and pairwise alignment-based approaches, respectively. Furthermore, we have presented case-studies to demonstrate its capability of motif matching in sequentially dissimilar proteins and described a method for using BetaSearch to predict β-strand pairing. CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated that BetaSearch is a fast method for querying substructure motifs. The improvements in speed over existing approaches make it useful for efficiently performing high-volume exploratory querying of possible protein substructural motifs or conformations. BetaSearch was used to identify a nearly identical β-residue motif between an entirely synthetic (Top7) and a naturally-occurring protein (Charcot-Leyden crystal protein), as well as identifying structural similarities between biotin-binding domains of avidin, streptavidin and the lipocalin gamma subunit of human C8.
The role of Type I interferons in immunoregulation of breast cancer metastasis to the bone
(TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC, 2013-01-01)
Breast cancer spread to distant sites is often incurable. Our recent findings demonstrate that Type I interferons secreted by tumor cells induce anti-metastatic immune responses that prevent breast cancer metastasis to the bone. This provides novel insights into the importance of the crosstalk between neoplastic and immune cells in the metastatic process.
Health Risk Assessment for Cyanobacterial Toxins in Seafood
Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are abundant in fresh, brackish and marine waters worldwide. When toxins produced by cyanobacteria are present in the aquatic environment, seafood harvested from these waters may present a health hazard to consumers. Toxicity hazards from seafood have been internationally recognised when the source is from marine algae (dinoflagellates and diatoms), but to date few risk assessments for cyanobacterial toxins in seafood have been presented. This paper estimates risk from seafood contaminated by cyanobacterial toxins, and provides guidelines for safe human consumption.
Biosecurity interceptions of an invasive lizard: origin of stowaways and human-assisted spread within New Zealand
Globalization, and the resultant movement of animals beyond their native range, creates challenges for biosecurity agencies. Limited records of unintentional introductions inhibit our understanding of the trade pathways, transport vectors and mechanisms through which hitchhiker organisms are spread as stowaways. Here, we adopt a phylogeographic approach to determine the source and human-mediated dispersal pathways of New Zealand's only invasive lizard, the delicate skink (Lampropholis delicata), intercepted by biosecurity agencies in New Zealand. Biosecurity agencies correctly predicted the source region of 77% of stowaways, which were usually solitary adults, arriving via air or sea pathways during the cooler months, evading initial border checks and alive when detected. New arrivals from Australia comprised 16% of detections originating from the region between Brisbane and Sydney. Our analyses indicate human-mediated dispersal has driven the post-border spread of L. delicata within New Zealand. Propagule pressure was substantially greater for L. delicata compared with the noninvasive, congeneric Lampropholis guichenoti. Our results highlight the transport pathways, spread mechanisms, and stowaway characteristics of Lampropholis lizards entering New Zealand, which could enhance current biosecurity protocols and prevent the establishment of additional lizard species.
Extensive innate immune gene activation accompanies brain aging, increasing vulnerability to cognitive decline and neurodegeneration: a microarray study
BACKGROUND: This study undertakes a systematic and comprehensive analysis of brain gene expression profiles of immune/inflammation-related genes in aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD). METHODS: In a well-powered microarray study of young (20 to 59 years), aged (60 to 99 years), and AD (74 to 95 years) cases, gene responses were assessed in the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, superior frontal gyrus, and post-central gyrus. RESULTS: Several novel concepts emerge. First, immune/inflammation-related genes showed major changes in gene expression over the course of cognitively normal aging, with the extent of gene response far greater in aging than in AD. Of the 759 immune-related probesets interrogated on the microarray, approximately 40% were significantly altered in the SFG, PCG and HC with increasing age, with the majority upregulated (64 to 86%). In contrast, far fewer immune/inflammation genes were significantly changed in the transition to AD (approximately 6% of immune-related probesets), with gene responses primarily restricted to the SFG and HC. Second, relatively few significant changes in immune/inflammation genes were detected in the EC either in aging or AD, although many genes in the EC showed similar trends in responses as in the other brain regions. Third, immune/inflammation genes undergo gender-specific patterns of response in aging and AD, with the most pronounced differences emerging in aging. Finally, there was widespread upregulation of genes reflecting activation of microglia and perivascular macrophages in the aging brain, coupled with a downregulation of select factors (TOLLIP, fractalkine) that when present curtail microglial/macrophage activation. Notably, essentially all pathways of the innate immune system were upregulated in aging, including numerous complement components, genes involved in toll-like receptor signaling and inflammasome signaling, as well as genes coding for immunoglobulin (Fc) receptors and human leukocyte antigens I and II. CONCLUSIONS: Unexpectedly, the extent of innate immune gene upregulation in AD was modest relative to the robust response apparent in the aged brain, consistent with the emerging idea of a critical involvement of inflammation in the earliest stages, perhaps even in the preclinical stage, of AD. Ultimately, our data suggest that an important strategy to maintain cognitive health and resilience involves reducing chronic innate immune activation that should be initiated in late midlife.
Mitochondrial Genome of the Eyeworm, Thelazia callipaeda (Nematoda: Spirurida), as the First Representative from the Family Thelaziidae
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-01-01)
Human thelaziosis is an underestimated parasitic disease caused by Thelazia species (Spirurida: Thelaziidae). The oriental eyeworm, Thelazia callipaeda, infects a range of mammalian definitive hosts, including canids, felids and humans. Although this zoonotic parasite is of socio-economic significance in Asian countries, its genetics, epidemiology and biology are poorly understood. Mitochondrial (mt) DNA is known to provide useful genetic markers to underpin fundamental investigations, but no mt genome had been characterized for any members of the family Thelaziidae. In the present study, we sequenced and characterized the mt genome of T. callipaeda. This AT-rich (74.6%) mt genome (13,668 bp) is circular and contains 12 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes and two ribosomal RNA genes, but lacks an atp8 gene. All protein-coding genes are transcribed in the same direction; the gene order is the same as those of Dirofilaria immitis and Setaria digitata (Onchocercidae), but distinct from Dracunculus medinensis (Dracunculidae) and Heliconema longissimum (Physalopteridae). Phylogenetic analyses of the concatenated amino acid sequence data for all 12 protein-coding genes by Bayesian inference (BI) showed that T. callipaeda (Thelaziidae) is related to the family Onchocercidae. This is the first mt genome of any member of the family Thelaziidae and should represent a new source of genetic markers for studying the epidemiology, ecology, population genetics and systematics of this parasite of humans and other mammals.
Case study: Methadone maintenance treatment in Hanoi, Vietnam
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2012-07-09)
Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) was introduced in the rapidly developing semi-rural district of Tu Liem in Hanoi in December, 2009. Commune police play an integral role in determining which injecting drug users (IDUs) are eligible to commence and continue MMT. This case study highlights the importance of providing training to commune police about MMT to mitigate negative impacts drug law enforcement can have on IDU accessibility to MMT programs.
Assessment of the genetic relationship between Dictyocaulus species from Bos taurus and Cervus elaphus using complete mitochondrial genomic datasets
BACKGROUND: Dictyocaulus species are strongylid nematodes of major veterinary significance in ruminants, such as cattle and cervids, and cause serious bronchitis or pneumonia (dictyocaulosis or "husk"). There has been ongoing controversy surrounding the validity of some Dictyocaulus species and their host specificity. Here, we sequenced and characterized the mitochondrial (mt) genomes of Dictyocaulus viviparus (from Bos taurus) with Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti from red deer (Cervus elaphus), used mt datasets to assess the genetic relationship between these and related parasites, and predicted markers for future population genetic or molecular epidemiological studies. METHODS: The mt genomes were amplified from single adult males of D. viviparus and Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti (from red deer) by long-PCR, sequenced using 454-technology and annotated using bioinformatic tools. Amino acid sequences inferred from individual genes of each of the two mt genomes were compared, concatenated and subjected to phylogenetic analysis using Bayesian inference (BI), also employing data for other strongylids for comparative purposes. RESULTS: The circular mt genomes were 13,310 bp (D. viviparus) and 13,296 bp (Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti) in size, and each contained 12 protein-encoding, 22 transfer RNA and 2 ribosomal RNA genes, consistent with other strongylid nematodes sequenced to date. Sliding window analysis identified genes with high or low levels of nucleotide diversity between the mt genomes. At the predicted mt proteomic level, there was an overall sequence difference of 34.5% between D. viviparus and Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti, and amino acid sequence variation within each species was usually much lower than differences between species. Phylogenetic analysis of the concatenated amino acid sequence data for all 12 mt proteins showed that both D. viviparus and Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti were closely related, and grouped to the exclusion of selected members of the superfamilies Metastrongyloidea, Trichostrongyloidea, Ancylostomatoidea and Strongyloidea. CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with previous findings for nuclear ribosomal DNA sequence data, the present analyses indicate that Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti (red deer) and D. viviparus are separate species. Barcodes in the two mt genomes and proteomes should serve as markers for future studies of the population genetics and/or epidemiology of these and related species of Dictyocaulus.
Differential expression analysis of multifactor RNA-Seq experiments with respect to biological variation
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2012-05-01)
A flexible statistical framework is developed for the analysis of read counts from RNA-Seq gene expression studies. It provides the ability to analyse complex experiments involving multiple treatment conditions and blocking variables while still taking full account of biological variation. Biological variation between RNA samples is estimated separately from the technical variation associated with sequencing technologies. Novel empirical Bayes methods allow each gene to have its own specific variability, even when there are relatively few biological replicates from which to estimate such variability. The pipeline is implemented in the edgeR package of the Bioconductor project. A case study analysis of carcinoma data demonstrates the ability of generalized linear model methods (GLMs) to detect differential expression in a paired design, and even to detect tumour-specific expression changes. The case study demonstrates the need to allow for gene-specific variability, rather than assuming a common dispersion across genes or a fixed relationship between abundance and variability. Genewise dispersions de-prioritize genes with inconsistent results and allow the main analysis to focus on changes that are consistent between biological replicates. Parallel computational approaches are developed to make non-linear model fitting faster and more reliable, making the application of GLMs to genomic data more convenient and practical. Simulations demonstrate the ability of adjusted profile likelihood estimators to return accurate estimators of biological variability in complex situations. When variation is gene-specific, empirical Bayes estimators provide an advantageous compromise between the extremes of assuming common dispersion or separate genewise dispersion. The methods developed here can also be applied to count data arising from DNA-Seq applications, including ChIP-Seq for epigenetic marks and DNA methylation analyses.