Minerva Elements Records
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A Multi-Trait, Meta-analysis for Detecting Pleiotropic Polymorphisms for Stature, Fatness and Reproduction in Beef Cattle
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-03-01)
Polymorphisms that affect complex traits or quantitative trait loci (QTL) often affect multiple traits. We describe two novel methods (1) for finding single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) significantly associated with one or more traits using a multi-trait, meta-analysis, and (2) for distinguishing between a single pleiotropic QTL and multiple linked QTL. The meta-analysis uses the effect of each SNP on each of n traits, estimated in single trait genome wide association studies (GWAS). These effects are expressed as a vector of signed t-values (t) and the error covariance matrix of these t values is approximated by the correlation matrix of t-values among the traits calculated across the SNP (V). Consequently, t'V-1t is approximately distributed as a chi-squared with n degrees of freedom. An attractive feature of the meta-analysis is that it uses estimated effects of SNPs from single trait GWAS, so it can be applied to published data where individual records are not available. We demonstrate that the multi-trait method can be used to increase the power (numbers of SNPs validated in an independent population) of GWAS in a beef cattle data set including 10,191 animals genotyped for 729,068 SNPs with 32 traits recorded, including growth and reproduction traits. We can distinguish between a single pleiotropic QTL and multiple linked QTL because multiple SNPs tagging the same QTL show the same pattern of effects across traits. We confirm this finding by demonstrating that when one SNP is included in the statistical model the other SNPs have a non-significant effect. In the beef cattle data set, cluster analysis yielded four groups of QTL with similar patterns of effects across traits within a group. A linear index was used to validate SNPs having effects on multiple traits and to identify additional SNPs belonging to these four groups.
Evidence Based Selection of Commonly Used RT-qPCR Reference Genes for the Analysis of Mouse Skeletal Muscle
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-02-11)
The ability to obtain accurate and reproducible data using quantitative real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) is limited by the process of data normalization. The use of 'housekeeping' or 'reference' genes is the most common technique used to normalize RT-qPCR data. However, commonly used reference genes are often poorly validated and may change as a result of genetic background, environment and experimental intervention. Here we present an analysis of 10 reference genes in mouse skeletal muscle (Actb, Aldoa, Gapdh, Hprt1, Ppia, Rer1, Rn18s, Rpl27, Rpl41 and Rpl7L1), which were identified as stable either by microarray or in the literature. Using the MIQE guidelines we compared wild-type (WT) mice across three genetic backgrounds (R129, C57BL/6j and C57BL/10) as well as analyzing the α-actinin-3 knockout (Actn3 KO) mouse, which is a model of the common null polymorphism (R577X) in human ACTN3. Comparing WT mice across three genetic backgrounds, we found that different genes were more tightly regulated in each strain. We have developed a ranked profile of the top performing reference genes in skeletal muscle across these common mouse strains. Interestingly the commonly used reference genes; Gapdh, Rn18s, Hprt1 and Actb were not the most stable. Analysis of our experimental variant (Actn3 KO) also resulted in an altered ranking of reference gene suitability. Furthermore we demonstrate that a poor reference gene results in increased variability in the normalized expression of a gene of interest, and can result in loss of significance. Our data demonstrate that reference genes need to be validated prior to use. For the most accurate normalization, it is important to test several genes and use the geometric mean of at least three of the most stably expressed genes. In the analysis of mouse skeletal muscle, strain and intervention played an important role in selecting the most stable reference genes.
Homology blocks of Plasmodium falciparum var genes and clinically distinct forms of severe malaria in a local population
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-11-06)
Background The primary target of the human immune response to the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1), is encoded by the members of the hyper-diverse var gene family. The parasite exhibits antigenic variation via mutually exclusive expression (switching) of the ~60 var genes within its genome. It is thought that different variants exhibit different host endothelial binding preferences that in turn result in different manifestations of disease. Results Var sequences comprise ancient sequence fragments, termed homology blocks (HBs), that recombine at exceedingly high rates. We use HBs to define distinct var types within a local population. We then reanalyze a dataset that contains clinical and var expression data to investigate whether the HBs allow for a description of sequence diversity corresponding to biological function, such that it improves our ability to predict disease phenotype from parasite genetics. We find that even a generic set of HBs, which are defined for a small number of non-local parasites: capture the majority of local sequence diversity; improve our ability to predict disease severity from parasite genetics; and reveal a previously hypothesized yet previously unobserved parasite genetic basis for two forms of severe disease. We find that the expression rates of some HBs correlate more strongly with severe disease phenotypes than the expression rates of classic var DBLα tag types, and principal components of HB expression rate profiles further improve genotype-phenotype models. More specifically, within the large Kenyan dataset that is the focus of this study, we observe that HB expression differs significantly for severe versus mild disease, and for rosetting versus impaired consciousness associated severe disease. The analysis of a second much smaller dataset from Mali suggests that these HB-phenotype associations are consistent across geographically distant populations, since we find evidence suggesting that the same HB-phenotype associations characterize this population as well. Conclusions The distinction between rosetting versus impaired consciousness associated var genes has not been described previously, and it could have important implications for monitoring, intervention and diagnosis. Moreover, our results have the potential to illuminate the molecular mechanisms underlying the complex spectrum of severe disease phenotypes associated with malaria—an important objective given that only about 1% of P. falciparum infections result in severe disease.
Association of house spraying with suppressed levels of drug resistance in Zimbabwe
BACKGROUND: Public health strategies are needed to curb antimalarial drug resistance. Theoretical argument points to an association between malaria transmission and drug resistance although field evidence remains limited. Field observations, made in Zimbabwe, on the relationship between transmission and multigenic drug resistance, typified by chloroquine, are reported here. METHODS: Periodic assessments of the therapeutic response of uncomplicated falciparum malaria to chloroquine in two selectively sprayed or unsprayed health centre catchments, from 1995 - 2003. Cross-sectional analysis of in vivo chloroquine failure events for five sites in relation to natural endemicity and spraying history. RESULTS: During selective house spraying, the chloroquine failure rate for the sprayed catchment decreased, such that, after four years, the odds of chloroquine failure were 4x lower than before start of spraying in the area (OR 0.2, 95% CI 0.07 - 0.75, p = 0.010, n = 100). Chloroquine failure odds for the sprayed area became 4x lower than contemporaneous failure odds for the unsprayed area (OR 0.2 95% CI 0.08 - 0.65, p = 0.003, n = 156), although the likelihood of failure was not significantly different for the two catchments before selective spraying started (OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.21 - 1.32; p = 0.170, n = 88). When spraying ended, in 1999, the drug failure odds for the former sprayed area increased back 4 fold by 2003 (OR 4.2, 95%CI 1.49 - 11.78, p = 0.004, n = 146). High altitude areas with naturally lower transmission exhibited a 6x lower likelihood of drug failure than low-lying areas (OR 0.16 95% CI 0.068 - 0.353, -2 log likelihood change 23.239, p < 0.001, n = 465). Compared to sites under ongoing annual spraying, areas that were last sprayed 3-7 years ago experienced a 4-fold higher probability of chloroquine failure (OR 4.1, 95%CI 1.84 - 9.14, -2 log likelihood change 13.956, p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Reduced transmission is associated with suppressed levels of resistance to chloroquine and presumably other regimens with multigenic drug resistance. It seems the adoption of transmission control alongside combination chemotherapy is a potent strategy for the future containment of drug-resistant malaria.
Uric Acid Is a Mediator of the Plasmodium falciparum-Induced Inflammatory Response
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-04-17)
BACKGROUND: Malaria triggers a high inflammatory response in the host that mediates most of the associated pathologies and contributes to death. The identification of pro-inflammatory molecules derived from Plasmodium is essential to understand the mechanisms of pathogenesis and to develop targeted interventions. Uric acid derived from hypoxanthine accumulated in infected erythrocytes has been recently proposed as a mediator of inflammation in rodent malaria. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We found that human erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum gradually accumulate hypoxanthine in their late stages of development. To analyze the role of hypoxanthine-derived uric acid induced by P. falciparum on the inflammatory cytokine response from human blood mononuclear cells, cultures were treated with allopurinol, to inhibit uric acid formation from hypoxanthine, or with uricase, to degrade uric acid. Both treatments significantly reduce the secretion of TNF, IL-6, IL-1beta and IL-10 from human cells. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: Uric acid is a major contributor of the inflammatory response triggered by P. falciparum in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Since the inflammatory reaction induced by P. falciparum is considered a major cause of malaria pathogenesis, identifying the mechanisms used by the parasite to induce the host inflammatory response is essential to develop urgently needed therapies against this disease.
Population structuring of multi-copy, antigen-encoding genes in Plasmodium falciparum
(ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2012-12-18)
The coexistence of multiple independently circulating strains in pathogen populations that undergo sexual recombination is a central question of epidemiology with profound implications for control. An agent-based model is developed that extends earlier 'strain theory' by addressing the var gene family of Plasmodium falciparum. The model explicitly considers the extensive diversity of multi-copy genes that undergo antigenic variation via sequential, mutually exclusive expression. It tracks the dynamics of all unique var repertoires in a population of hosts, and shows that even under high levels of sexual recombination, strain competition mediated through cross-immunity structures the parasite population into a subset of coexisting dominant repertoires of var genes whose degree of antigenic overlap depends on transmission intensity. Empirical comparison of patterns of genetic variation at antigenic and neutral sites supports this role for immune selection in structuring parasite diversity.DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00093.001.
Necroptosis induced by RIPK3 requires MLKL but not Drp1
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-02-01)
Necroptosis is a mechanism by which cells can kill themselves that does not require caspase activity or the presence of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bax or Bak. It has been reported that RIPK3 (receptor interacting protein kinase 3) activates MLKL (mixed lineage kinase domain-like) to cause cell death that requires dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), because survival was increased in cells depleted of Drp1 or treated with the Drp1 inhibitor mdivi-1. To analyze necroptosis in a system that does not require addition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), we used a construct that allows RIPK3 to be induced in cells, and then dimerized via an E. coli gyrase domain fused to its carboxyl-terminus, using the dimeric gyrase binding antibiotic coumermycin. We have previously shown elsewhere that RIPK3 dimerized in this manner not only induces necroptosis but also apoptosis, which can be inhibited by the broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor Q-VD-OPh (QVD). In response to RIPK3 dimerization, wild-type mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) underwent cell death that was reduced but not completely blocked by QVD. In contrast, death upon dimerization of RIPK3 in Mlkl(-/-) MEFs was completely inhibited with QVD, confirming that MLKL is required for necroptosis. Similar to wild-type MEFs, most Drp1(-/-) MEFs died when RIPK3 was activated, even in the presence of QVD. Furthermore, overexpression of wild-type MLKL or dominant active mutants of MLKL (Q343A or S345E/S347E) caused death of wild-type and Drp1(-/-) MEFs that was not inhibited with QVD. These results indicate that necroptosis caused by RIPK3 requires MLKL but not Drp1.
Syncytiotrophoblast Vesicles Show Altered micro-RNA and Haemoglobin Content after Ex-vivo Perfusion of Placentas with Haemoglobin to Mimic Preeclampsia
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-02-27)
BACKGROUND: Cell-free foetal haemoglobin (HbF) has been shown to play a role in the pathology of preeclampsia (PE). In the present study, we aimed to further characterize the harmful effects of extracellular free haemoglobin (Hb) on the placenta. In particular, we investigated whether cell-free Hb affects the release of placental syncytiotrophoblast vesicles (STBMs) and their micro-RNA content. METHODS: The dual ex-vivo perfusion system was used to perfuse isolated cotyledons from human placenta, with medium alone (control) or supplemented with cell-free Hb. Perfusion medium from the maternal side of the placenta was collected at the end of all perfusion phases. The STBMs were isolated using ultra-centrifugation, at 10,000×g and 150,000×g (referred to as 10K and 150K STBMs). The STBMs were characterized using the nanoparticle tracking analysis, identification of surface markers and transmission electron microscopy. RNA was extracted and nine different micro-RNAs, related to hypoxia, PE and Hb synthesis, were selected for analysis by quantitative PCR. RESULTS: All micro-RNAs investigated were present in the STBMs. Mir-517a, mir-141 and mir-517b were down regulated after Hb perfusion in the 10K STBMs. Furthermore, Hb was shown to be carried by the STBMs. CONCLUSION: This study showed that Hb perfusion can alter the micro-RNA content of released STBMs. Of particular interest is the alteration of two placenta specific micro-RNAs; mir-517a and mir-517b. We have also seen that STBMs may function as carriers of Hb into the maternal circulation.
Eukaryotic expression, purification and structure/function analysis of native, recombinant CRISP3 from human and mouse
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-02-27)
While the Cysteine-Rich Secretory Proteins (CRISPs) have been broadly proposed as regulators of reproduction and immunity, physiological roles have yet to be established for individual members of this family. Past efforts to investigate their functions have been limited by the difficulty of purifying correctly folded CRISPs from bacterial expression systems, which yield low quantities of correctly folded protein containing the eight disulfide bonds that define the CRISP family. Here we report the expression and purification of native, glycosylated CRISP3 from human and mouse, expressed in HEK 293 cells and isolated using ion exchange and size exclusion chromatography. Functional authenticity was verified by substrate-affinity, native glycosylation characteristics and quaternary structure (monomer in solution). Validated protein was used in comparative structure/function studies to characterise sites and patterns of N-glycosylation in CRISP3, revealing interesting inter-species differences.
Early life programming as a target for prevention of child and adolescent mental disorders
This paper concerns future policy development and programs of research for the prevention of mental disorders based on research emerging from fetal and early life programming. The current review offers an overview of findings on pregnancy exposures such as maternal mental health, lifestyle factors, and potential teratogenic and neurotoxic exposures on child outcomes. Outcomes of interest are common child and adolescent mental disorders including hyperactive, behavioral and emotional disorders. This literature suggests that the preconception and perinatal periods offer important opportunities for the prevention of deleterious fetal exposures. As such, the perinatal period is a critical period where future mental health prevention efforts should be focused and prevention models developed. Interventions grounded in evidence-based recommendations for the perinatal period could take the form of public health, universal and more targeted interventions. If successful, such interventions are likely to have lifelong effects on (mental) health.
Increased metal content in the TDP-43(A315T) transgenic mouse model of frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(FRONTIERS RESEARCH FOUNDATION, 2014-02-11)
Disrupted metal homeostasis is a consistent feature of neurodegenerative disease in humans and is recapitulated in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and neuronal ceriod lipofuscinosis. While the definitive pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease in humans remains to be fully elucidated, disease-like symptoms in the mouse models are all driven by the presence or over-expression of a putative pathogenic protein, indicating an in vivo relationship between expression of these proteins, disrupted metal homeostasis and the symptoms of neuronal failure. Recently it was established that mutant TAR DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43) is associated with the development of frontotemporal lobar degeneration and ALS. Subsequent development of transgenic mice that express human TDP-43 carrying the disease-causing A315T mutation has provided new opportunity to study the underlying mechanisms of TDP-43-related neurodegenerative disease. We assessed the cognitive and locomotive phenotype of TDP-43 (A315T) mice and their wild-type littermates and also assessed bulk metal content of brain and spinal cord tissues. Metal levels in the brain were not affected by the expression of mutant TDP-43, but zinc, copper, and manganese levels were all increased in the spinal cords of TDP-43 (A315T) mice when compared to wild-type littermates. Performance of the TDP-43 (A315T) mice in the Y-maze test for cognitive function was not significantly different to wild-type mice. By contrast, performance of the TDP-43 (A315T) in the rotarod test for locomotive function was consistently worse than wild-type mice. These preliminary in vivo data are the first to show that expression of a disease-causing form of TDP-43 is sufficient to disrupt metal ion homeostasis in the central nervous system. Disrupted metal ion homeostasis in the spinal cord but not the brain may explain why the TDP-43 (A315T) mice show symptoms of locomotive decline and not cognitive decline.
Direct repression of MYB by ZEB1 suppresses proliferation and epithelial gene expression during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of breast cancer cells
INTRODUCTION: Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) promotes cell migration and is important in metastasis. Cellular proliferation is often downregulated during EMT, and the reverse transition (MET) in metastases appears to be required for restoration of proliferation in secondary tumors. We studied the interplay between EMT and proliferation control by MYB in breast cancer cells. METHODS: MYB, ZEB1, and CDH1 expression levels were manipulated by lentiviral small-hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated knockdown/overexpression, and verified with Western blotting, immunocytochemistry, and qRT-PCR. Proliferation was assessed with bromodeoxyuridine pulse labeling and flow cytometry, and sulforhodamine B assays. EMT was induced with epidermal growth factor for 9 days or by exposure to hypoxia (1% oxygen) for up to 5 days, and assessed with qRT-PCR, cell morphology, and colony morphology. Protein expression in human breast cancers was assessed with immunohistochemistry. ZEB1-MYB promoter binding and repression were determined with Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Assay and a luciferase reporter assay, respectively. Student paired t tests, Mann-Whitney, and repeated measures two-way ANOVA tests determined statistical significance (P < 0.05). RESULTS: Parental PMC42-ET cells displayed higher expression of ZEB1 and lower expression of MYB than did the PMC42-LA epithelial variant. Knockdown of ZEB1 in PMC42-ET and MDA-MB-231 cells caused increased expression of MYB and a transition to a more epithelial phenotype, which in PMC42-ET cells was coupled with increased proliferation. Indeed, we observed an inverse relation between MYB and ZEB1 expression in two in vitro EMT cell models, in matched human breast tumors and lymph node metastases, and in human breast cancer cell lines. Knockdown of MYB in PMC42-LA cells (MYBsh-LA) led to morphologic changes and protein expression consistent with an EMT. ZEB1 expression was raised in MYBsh-LA cells and significantly repressed in MYB-overexpressing MDA-MB-231 cells, which also showed reduced random migration and a shift from mesenchymal to epithelial colony morphology in two dimensional monolayer cultures. Finally, we detected binding of ZEB1 to MYB promoter in PMC42-ET cells, and ZEB1 overexpression repressed MYB promoter activity. CONCLUSIONS: This work identifies ZEB1 as a transcriptional repressor of MYB and suggests a reciprocal MYB-ZEB1 repressive relation, providing a mechanism through which proliferation and the epithelial phenotype may be coordinately modulated in breast cancer cells.