Sexual dysfunction is common among depressed adults. Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and depressive symptomology are among the risk factors for sexual dysfunction, and these factors may interact to predict adult relationship functioning. Several models have been developed postulating interactions between these variables.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be one of the most preventable mental disorders, since many people exposed to traumatic experiences (TEs) could be targeted in first response settings in the immediate aftermath of exposure for preventive intervention. However, these interventions are costly and the proportion of TE-exposed people who develop PTSD is small. To be cost-effective, risk prediction rules are needed to target high-risk people in the immediate aftermath of a TE. Although a number of studies have been carried out to examine prospective predictors of PTSD among people recently exposed to TEs, most were either small or focused on a narrow sample, making it unclear how well PTSD can be predicted in the total population of people exposed to TEs. The current report investigates this issue in a large sample based on the World Health Organization (WHO)'s World Mental Health Surveys. Retrospective reports were obtained on the predictors of PTSD associated with 47,466 TE exposures in representative community surveys carried out in 24 countries. Machine learning methods (random forests, penalized regression, super learner) were used to develop a model predicting PTSD from information about TE type, socio-demographics, and prior histories of cumulative TE exposure and DSM-IV disorders. DSM-IV PTSD prevalence was 4.0% across the 47,466 TE exposures. 95.6% of these PTSD cases were associated with the 10.0% of exposures (i.e., 4,747) classified by machine learning algorithm as having highest predicted PTSD risk. The 47,466 exposures were divided into 20 ventiles (20 groups of equal size) ranked by predicted PTSD risk. PTSD occurred after 56.3% of the TEs in the highest-risk ventile, 20.0% of the TEs in the second highest ventile, and 0.0-1.3% of the TEs in the 18 remaining ventiles. These patterns of differential risk were quite stable across demographic-geographic sub-samples. These results demonstrate that a sensitive risk algorithm can be created using data collected in the immediate aftermath of TE exposure to target people at highest risk of PTSD. However, validation of the algorithm is needed in prospective samples, and additional work is warranted to refine the algorithm both in terms of determining a minimum required predictor set and developing a practical administration and scoring protocol that can be used in routine clinical practice.
Mutations in CFTR lead to dysfunction of tubular organs, which is currently attributed to impairment of its conductive properties. We now show that CFTR regulates tight junction assembly and epithelial cell differentiation through modulation of the ZO-1-ZONAB pathway. CFTR colocalizes with ZO-1 at the tight junctions of trachea and epididymis, and is expressed before ZO-1 in Wolffian ducts. CFTR interacts with ZO-1 through the CTFR PDZ-binding domain. In a three-dimensional (3D) epithelial cell culture model, CFTR regulates tight junction assembly and is required for tubulogenesis. CFTR inhibition or knockdown reduces ZO-1 expression and induces the translocation of the transcription factor ZONAB (also known as YBX3) from tight junctions to the nucleus, followed by upregulation of the transcription of CCND1 and downregulation of ErbB2 transcription. The epididymal tubules of cftr(-/-) and cftr(?F508) mice have reduced ZO-1 levels, increased ZONAB nuclear expression, and decreased epithelial cell differentiation, illustrated by the reduced expression of apical AQP9 and V-ATPase. This study provides a new paradigm for the etiology of diseases associated with CFTR mutations, including cystic fibrosis.
The development of biocides as disinfectants that do not induce bacterial resistance is crucial to health care since hospital-acquired infections afflict millions of patients every year. Recent experimental studies of a class of cationic biocides based on the phenylene ethynylene backbone, known as OPEs, have revealed that their biocidal activity is accompanied by strong morphology changes to bacterial cell membranes. In vitro studies of bacterial membrane mimics have shown changes to the lipid phase that are dependent on the length and orientation of the cationic moieties on the backbone. This study uses classical molecular dynamics to conduct a comprehensive survey of how oligomers with different chemical structures interact with each other and with a bacterial cell membrane mimic. In particular, the ability of OPEs to disrupt membrane structure is studied as a function of the length of the biocides and the orientation of their cationic moieties along the backbone of the molecule. The simulation results show that the structure of OPEs radically affects their interactions with a lipid bilayer. Biocides with branched cationic groups form trans-membrane water pores regardless of their backbone length, while only 1-1.5 nm of membrane thinning is observed with biocides with cationic groups on their terminal ends. The molecular dynamics simulations provide mechanistic details at the molecular level of the interaction of these biocidal oligomers and the lipid bilayer and corroborate experimental findings regarding observed differences in membrane disruption by OPEs with different chemical structures.
Cationic oligo-p-phenylene ethynylenes have shown much promise as broad-spectrum light-activated antimicrobial compounds against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The anionic varieties, however, have weak biocidal activity. In this study, a complex is formed between a weakly biocidal anionic oligomer and a cationic surfactant, and the effects on their biocidal activity against Gram-negative E. coli and Gram-positive S. aureus are explored. The enhancement in biocidal activity that is observed when the complex is irradiated suggests that interfacial surfactant gives the complex a net-positive charge, allowing it to associate strongly with the bacterial membrane. The results of this study demonstrate a method for the enhancement of biocidal activity of singlet-oxygen sensitizers and corroborate the use of surfactants as trans-membrane drug-delivery agents.
The development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) and ICD-11 has led to reconsideration of diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys allow investigation of the implications of the changing criteria compared to DSM-IV and ICD-10.
We used deep sequencing technology to identify transcriptional adaptation of the euryhaline unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 and the marine facultative aerobe Shewanella putrefaciens W3-18-1 to growth in a co-culture and infer the effect of carbon flux distributions on photoautotroph-heterotroph interactions. The overall transcriptome response of both organisms to co-cultivation was shaped by their respective physiologies and growth constraints. Carbon limitation resulted in the expansion of metabolic capacities, which was manifested through the transcriptional upregulation of transport and catabolic pathways. Although growth coupling occurred via lactate oxidation or secretion of photosynthetically fixed carbon, there was evidence of specific metabolic interactions between the two organisms. These hypothesized interactions were inferred from the excretion of specific amino acids (for example, alanine and methionine) by the cyanobacterium, which correlated with the downregulation of the corresponding biosynthetic machinery in Shewanella W3-18-1. In addition, the broad and consistent decrease of mRNA levels for many Fe-regulated Synechococcus 7002 genes during co-cultivation may indicate increased Fe availability as well as more facile and energy-efficient mechanisms for Fe acquisition by the cyanobacterium. Furthermore, evidence pointed at potentially novel interactions between oxygenic photoautotrophs and heterotrophs related to the oxidative stress response as transcriptional patterns suggested that Synechococcus 7002 rather than Shewanella W3-18-1 provided scavenging functions for reactive oxygen species under co-culture conditions. This study provides an initial insight into the complexity of photoautotrophic-heterotrophic interactions and brings new perspectives of their role in the robustness and stability of the association.
Although only a few people exposed to a traumatic event (TE) develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), symptoms that do not meet full PTSD criteria are common and often clinically significant. Individuals with these symptoms sometimes have been characterized as having subthreshold PTSD, but no consensus exists on the optimal definition of this term. Data from a large cross-national epidemiologic survey are used in this study to provide a principled basis for such a definition.
A novel microfluidic reactor for biofilm growth and in situ characterization using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) was constructed to enable two-dimensional chemical imaging of hydrated biofilms. We demonstrate the detection of characteristic fatty acid fragments from microfluidic reactor-grown biofilms and illustrate advantages of hydrated-state ToF-SIMS imaging.
The ageing process is strongly influenced by nutrient balance, such that modest calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan in mammals. Irisin, a newly described hormone released from skeletal muscles after exercise, may induce CR-like effects by increasing adipose tissue energy expenditure. Using telomere length as a marker of ageing, this study investigates associations between body composition, plasma irisin levels and peripheral blood mononuclear cell telomere length in healthy, non-obese individuals. Segmental body composition (by bioimpedance), telomere length and plasma irisin levels were assessed in 81 healthy individuals (age 43?±?15.8 years, BMI 24.3?±?2.9 kg/m(2)). Data showed significant correlations between log-transformed relative telomere length and the following: age (p?0.001), height (p?=?0.045), total body fat percentage (p?=?0.031), abdominal fat percentage (p?=?0.038), visceral fat level (p?0.001), plasma leptin (p?=?0.029) and plasma irisin (p?=?0.011), respectively. Multiple regression analysis using backward elimination revealed that relative telomere length can be predicted by age (b?=?-0.00735, p?=?0.001) and plasma irisin levels (b?=?0.04527, p?=?0.021). These data support the view that irisin may have a role in the modulation of both energy balance and the ageing process.
Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 was grown to steady state in optically thin turbidostat cultures under conditions for which light quantity and quality was systematically varied by modulating the output of narrow-band LEDs. Cells were provided photons absorbed primarily by chlorophyll (680 nm) or phycocyanin (630 nm) as the organism was subjected to four distinct mono- and dichromatic regimes. During cultivation with dichromatic light, growth rates were generally proportional to the total incident irradiance at values <275 ?mol photons m(-2) · s(-1) and were not affected by the ratio of 630:680 nm wavelengths. Notably, under monochromatic light conditions, cultures exhibited similar growth rates only when they were irradiated with 630 nm light; cultures irradiated with only 680 nm light grew at rates that were 60-70% of those under other light quality regimes at equivalent irradiances. The functionality of photosystem II and associated processes such as maximum rate of photosynthetic electron transport, rate of cyclic electron flow, and rate of dark respiration generally increased as a function of growth rate. Nonetheless, some of the photophysiological parameters measured here displayed distinct patterns with respect to growth rate of cultures adapted to a single wavelength including phycobiliprotein content, which increased under severely light-limited growth conditions. Additionally, the ratio of photosystem II to photosystem I increased ~40% over the range of growth rates, although cells grown with 680 nm light only had the highest ratios. These results suggest the presence of effective mechanisms which allow acclimation of Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 acclimation to different irradiance conditions.
Protein redox chemistry constitutes a major void in knowledge pertaining to photoautotrophic system regulation and signaling processes. We have employed a chemical biology approach to analyze redox sensitive proteins in live Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 cells in both light and dark periods, and to understand how cellular redox balance is disrupted during nutrient perturbation. The present work identified 300 putative redox-sensitive proteins that are involved in the generation of reductant, macromolecule synthesis, and carbon flux through central metabolic pathways, and may be involved in cell signaling and response mechanisms. Furthermore, our research suggests that dynamic redox changes in response to specific nutrient limitations, including carbon and nitrogen limitations, contribute to the regulatory changes driven by a shift from light to dark. Taken together, these results contribute to a high-level understanding of post-translational mechanisms regulating flux distributions and suggest potential metabolic engineering targets for redirecting carbon toward biofuel precursors.
The epithelium that lines the epididymal duct establishes the optimal milieu in which spermatozoa mature, acquire motility, and are stored. This finely tuned environment also protects antigenic sperm against pathogens and autoimmunity, which are potential causes of transient or permanent infertility. The epididymal epithelium is pseudostratified and contains basal cells (BCs) that are located beneath other epithelial cells. Previous studies showed that in the mouse epididymis, BCs possess macrophage-like characteristics. However, we previously identified a dense population of cells belonging to the mononuclear phagocyte (MP) system (comprised of macrophages and dendritic cells) in the basal compartment of the mouse epididymis and showed that a subset of MPs express the macrophage marker F4/80. In the present study, we evaluate the distribution of BCs and MPs in the epididymis of transgenic CD11c-EYFP mice, in which EYFP is expressed exclusively in MPs, using antibodies against the BC marker keratin 5 (KRT5) and the macrophage marker F4/80. Immunofluorescence labeling for laminin, a basement membrane marker, showed that BCs and most MPs are located in the basal region of the epithelium. Confocal microscopy showed that in the initial segment, both BCs and MPs project intraepithelial extensions and establish a very intricate network. Flow cytometry experiments demonstrated that epididymal MPs and BCs are phenotypically distinct. BCs do not express F4/80, and MPs do not express KRT5. Therefore, despite their proximity and some morphological similarities with peritubular macrophages and dendritic cells, BCs do not belong to the MP system.
In this letter, the aggregation modes of two classes of ionic p-phenylene ethynylene oligomers with oppositely charged surfactants are studied. The location of the ionic side chains was found to influence the type of aggregate formed when an equivalent number of surfactant molecules are added to solution. When the charged groups were located at the terminal ends of the molecule, strong H-aggregates were observed to form. Alternatively, when the ionic groups were both located on opposite sides of the central phenyl ring, the formation of J-aggregates was observed. Interestingly, as the surfactant concentration approaches the critical micelle concentration, the weakly bound aggregates are dissociated and the absorbance spectrum returns to what is observed in water. This study reveals the structural basis for aggregation effects between molecules based on the p-phenylene ethynylene backbone, and gives an understanding of how to influence the aggregation mode of similar compounds.
How might religion shape intergroup conflict? We tested whether religious infusion-the extent to which religious rituals and discourse permeate the everyday activities of groups and their members-moderated the effects of two factors known to increase intergroup conflict: competition for limited resources and incompatibility of values held by potentially conflicting groups. We used data from the Global Group Relations Project to investigate 194 groups (e.g., ethnic, religious, national) at 97 sites around the world. When religion was infused in group life, groups were especially prejudiced against those groups that held incompatible values, and they were likely to discriminate against such groups. Moreover, whereas disadvantaged groups with low levels of religious infusion typically avoided directing aggression against their resource-rich and powerful counterparts, disadvantaged groups with high levels of religious infusion directed significant aggression against them-despite the significant tangible costs to the disadvantaged groups potentially posed by enacting such aggression. This research suggests mechanisms through which religion may increase intergroup conflict and introduces an innovative method for performing nuanced, cross-societal research.
Protein reduction-oxidation (redox) modification is an important mechanism that allows microorganisms to sense environmental changes and initiate cellular responses. We have developed a quantitative chemical probe approach for live cell labeling and imaging of proteins that are sensitive to redox modifications. We utilize this in vivo strategy to identify 176 proteins undergoing ?5-10-fold dynamic redox change in response to nutrient limitation and subsequent replenishment in the photoautotrophic cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002. We detect redox changes in as little as 30 s after nutrient perturbation and oscillations in reduction and oxidation for 60 min following the perturbation. Many of the proteins undergoing dynamic redox transformations participate in the major components for the production (photosystems and electron transport chains) or consumption (Calvin-Benson cycle and protein synthesis) of reductant and/or energy in photosynthetic organisms. Thus, our in vivo approach reveals new redox-susceptible proteins and validates those previously identified in vitro.
To understand how cell physiological state affects mRNA translation, we used Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 grown under steady state conditions at either 20% or 8.5% O2. Using a combination of quantitative proteomics and RNA-Seq, we generated high-confidence data on >1000 mRNA and protein pairs. By using a steady state model, we found that differences in protein-mRNA ratios were primarily due to differences in the translational efficiency of specific genes. When oxygen levels were lowered, 28% of the proteins showed at least a 2-fold change in expression. Transcription levels were sp. significantly altered for 26% of the protein changes; translational efficiency was significantly altered for 46% and a combination of both was responsible for the remaining 28%. Changes in translational efficiency were significantly correlated with the codon usage pattern of the genes and measurable tRNA pools changed in response to altered O2 levels. Our results suggest that changes in the translational efficiency of proteins, in part due to altered tRNA pools, is a major determinant of regulated alterations in protein expression levels in bacteria.
Cationic oligo-p-phenylene ethynylenes are very effective light-activated biocides and biosensors but degrade upon exposure to light. In this study, we explore the photochemistry of a class of "end-only" compounds from this series, which have cationic moieties on the ends of the backbone. Product characterization by mass spectrometry reveals that the photoreactivity of these molecules is higher than that of a previously studied oligomer and that the primary products of photolysis result from the addition of water or oxygen across the triple bond. In addition, a product suggesting the addition of peroxide or other reactive oxygen species across the triple bond was observed. To explore avenues by which the photodegradation of these compounds can be mitigated, the effects of complexation with sodium dodecyl sulfate micelles on their photochemistry was explored. Classical molecular dynamics simulations revealed that compounds that were protected from photolysis by SDS buried their phenylene ethynylene backbones into the interior of the micelle, protecting it from contact with water. This work has revealed a molecular basis for the protection of a novel class of light-activated biocides from irradiation that is consistent with the proposed photochemistry of these compounds. This information can be useful for developing photodegradation-resistant biocidal materials and applications for current compounds and leads to new molecular design.
Clinical research suggests that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients exposed to multiple traumatic events (TEs) rather than a single TE have increased morbidity and dysfunction. Although epidemiological surveys in the United States and Europe also document high rates of multiple TE exposure, no population-based cross-national data have examined this issue.
Clear cells express the vacuolar proton-pumping H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase) and acidify the lumen of the epididymis, a process that is essential for male fertility. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) regulates fluid and electrolyte balance in the epididymis, and a previous study showed binding of aldosterone exclusively to epididymal clear cells (Hinton BT, Keefer DA. Steroid Biochem 23: 231-233, 1985). We examined here the role of aldosterone in the regulation of V-ATPase in the epididymis. RT-PCR showed expression of the mineralocorticoid receptor [MR; nuclear receptor subfamily 3, group C member 2 (NR3C2)] and 11-?-dehydrogenase isozyme 2 (HSD11?2) mRNAs specifically in clear cells, isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting from B1-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) mice. Tail vein injection of adult rats with aldosterone, 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol (DOG), or 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-cAMP (cpt-cAMP) induced V-ATPase apical membrane accumulation and extension of V-ATPase-labeled microvilli in clear cells in the caput epididymis but not in the cauda. V-ATPase activity was measured in EGFP-expressing clear cells using the intracellular pH (pHi)-sensing dye seminaphthorhodafluor-5F-5-(and 6)-carboxylic acid, acetoxymethyl ester acetate (SNARF-5F). Aldosterone induced a rapid increase in the rate of Na(+)- and bicarbonate-independent pHi recovery following an NH4Cl-induced acid load in clear cells isolated from the caput but not the cauda. This effect was abolished by concanamycin A, spironolactone, and chelerythrine but not myristoylated-protein kinase inhibitor (mPKI) or mifepristone. Thus aldosterone increases V-ATPase-dependent proton secretion in clear cells in the caput epididymis via MR/NR3C2 and PKC activation. This study, therefore, identifies aldosterone as an active member of the RAAS for the regulation of luminal acidification in the proximal epididymis.
Cyanobacteria are ideal metabolic engineering platforms for carbon-neutral biotechnology because they directly convert CO2 to a range of valuable products. In this study, we present a computational assessment of biochemical production in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 (Synechococcus 7002), a fast growing cyanobacterium whose genome has been sequenced, and for which genetic modification methods have been developed. We evaluated the maximum theoretical yields (mol product per mol CO2 or mol photon) of producing various chemicals under photoautotrophic and dark conditions using a genome-scale metabolic model of Synechococcus 7002. We found that the yields were lower under dark conditions, compared to photoautotrophic conditions, due to the limited amount of energy and reductant generated from glycogen. We also examined the effects of photon and CO2 limitations on chemical production under photoautotrophic conditions. In addition, using various computational methods such as minimization of metabolic adjustment (MOMA), relative metabolic change (RELATCH), and OptORF, we identified gene-knockout mutants that are predicted to improve chemical production under photoautotrophic and/or dark anoxic conditions. These computational results are useful for metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria to synthesize value-added products.
Mood stabilising drugs such as lithium (LiCl) and valproic acid (VPA) are the first line agents for treating conditions such as Bipolar disorder and Epilepsy. However, these drugs have potential developmental effects that are not fully understood. This study explores the use of a simple human neurosphere-based in vitro model to characterise the pharmacological and toxicological effects of LiCl and VPA using gene expression changes linked to phenotypic alterations in cells. Treatment with VPA and LiCl resulted in the differential expression of 331 and 164 genes respectively. In the subset of VPA targeted genes, 114 were downregulated whilst 217 genes were upregulated. In the subset of LiCl targeted genes, 73 were downregulated and 91 were upregulated. Gene ontology (GO) term enrichment analysis was used to highlight the most relevant GO terms associated with a given gene list following toxin exposure. In addition, in order to phenotypically anchor the gene expression data, changes in the heterogeneity of cell subtype populations and cell cycle phase were monitored using flow cytometry. Whilst LiCl exposure did not significantly alter the proportion of cells expressing markers for stem cells/undifferentiated cells (Oct4, SSEA4), neurons (Neurofilament M), astrocytes (GFAP) or cell cycle phase, the drug caused a 1.4-fold increase in total cell number. In contrast, exposure to VPA resulted in significant upregulation of Oct4, SSEA, Neurofilament M and GFAP with significant decreases in both G2/M phase cells and cell number. This neurosphere model might provide the basis of a human-based cellular approach for the regulatory exploration of developmental impact of potential toxic chemicals.
The NT2.D1 cell line is one of the most well-documented embryocarcinoma cell lines, and can be differentiated into neurons and astrocytes. Great focus has also been placed on defining the electrophysiological properties of the neuronal cells, and more recently we have investigated the functional properties of their associated astrocytes. We now show for the first time that human stem cell-derived astrocytes produce glycogen and that co-cultures of these cells demonstrate a functional astrocyte-neuron lactate shuttle (ANLS). The ANLS hypothesis proposes that during neuronal activity, glutamate released into the synaptic cleft is taken up by astrocytes and triggers glucose uptake, which is converted into lactate and released via monocarboxylate transporters for neuronal use. Using mixed cultures of NT2-derived neurons and astrocytes, we have shown that these cells modulate their glucose uptake in response to glutamate. Additionally, we demonstrate that in response to increased neuronal activity and under hypoglycaemic conditions, co-cultures modulate glycogen turnover and increase lactate production. Similar results were also shown after treatment with glutamate, potassium, isoproterenol, and dbcAMP. Together, these results demonstrate for the first time a functional ANLS in a human stem cell-derived co-culture.
Although exposure to potentially traumatic experiences (PTEs) is common among youths in the United States, information on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) risk associated with PTEs is limited. We estimate lifetime prevalence of exposure to PTEs and PTSD, PTE-specific risk of PTSD, and associations of sociodemographics and temporally prior DSM-IV disorders with PTE exposure, PTSD given exposure, and PTSD recovery among U.S. adolescents.
A custom photobioreactor was designed to enable automatic light adjustments using computerized feedback control. The system consisted of a 7.5-L cylindrical vessel and an aluminum enclosure housing quantum sensors and light-emitting diode arrays, which provide 630 or 680 nm light to preferentially excite the major cyanobacterial pigments, phycocyanin and/or chlorophyll a, respectively. Custom-developed software rapidly measures light transmission and subsequently adjusts the irradiance to maintain a defined light profile to compensate for culture dynamics, biomass accumulation, and pigment adaptations during physiological transitions, thus ensuring appropriate illumination across batch and continuous growth modes. In addition to chemostat cultivation, the photobioreactor may also operate as a turbidostat, continuously adjusting the media dilution to achieve maximal growth at a fixed culture density. The cultivation system doubles as an analytical device, using real-time monitoring to avoid sampling bias (e.g., in-situ light-saturation response), determine conditions for optimal growth, and observe perturbation responses at high time-resolution.
It is now recognized that astrocytes participate in synaptic communication through intimate interactions with neurons. A principal mechanism is through the release of gliotransmitters (GTs) such as ATP, D-serine and most notably, glutamate, in response to astrocytic calcium elevations. We and others have shown that amyloid-? (A?), the toxic trigger for Alzheimers disease (AD), interacts with hippocampal ?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Since ?7nAChRs are highly permeable to calcium and are expressed on hippocampal astrocytes, we investigated whether A? could activate astrocytic ?7nAChRs in hippocampal slices and induce GT glutamate release. We found that biologically-relevant concentrations of A?1-42 elicited ?7nAChR-dependent calcium elevations in hippocampal CA1 astrocytes and induced NMDAR-mediated slow inward currents (SICs) in CA1 neurons. In the Tg2576 AD mouse model for A? over-production and accumulation, we found that spontaneous astrocytic calcium elevations were of higher frequency compared to wildtype (WT). The frequency and kinetic parameters of AD mice SICs indicated enhanced gliotransmission, possibly due to increased endogenous A? observed in this model. Activation of ?7nAChRs on WT astrocytes increased spontaneous inward currents on pyramidal neurons while ?7nAChRs on astrocytes of AD mice were abrogated. These findings suggest that, at an age that far precedes the emergence of cognitive deficits and plaque deposition, this mouse model for AD-like amyloidosis exhibits augmented astrocytic activity and glutamate GT release suggesting possible repercussions for preclinical AD hippocampal neural networks that contribute to subsequent cognitive decline.
Infectious individuals in an emergency department (ED) bring substantial risks of cross infection. Data about the complex social and spatial structure of interpersonal contacts in the ED will aid construction of biologically plausible transmission risk models that can guide cross infection control.
Our previous study has shown that basal cells sense luminal factors by forming a narrow body projection that can cross epithelial tight junctions. As a first step toward characterizing the structural plasticity of basal cells, in this study, we followed their appearance and morphology in the rat epididymis and vas deferens (VD) during postnatal development and examined their modulation by androgens in adulthood. Immunofluorescence labeling for cytokeratin 5 showed that basal cells are absent at birth. They progressively appear in a retrograde manner from the VD and cauda epididymis to the initial segments during the postnatal weeks PNW1-3. At the onset of differentiation, basal cells are in contact with the lumen and their nucleus is located at the same level as that of adjacent epithelial cells. Basal cells then position their nucleus to the base of the epithelium, and while some are still in contact with the lumen, others have a dome-shaped appearance. At PNW5-6, basal cells form a loose network at the base of the epithelium, and luminal-reaching basal cells are rarely detected. The arrival of spermatozoa during PNW7-8 did not trigger the development of projections in basal cells. However, cells with a narrow luminal-reaching projection began to reappear between PNW8 and PNW12 in the corpus and the cauda. Treatment with flutamide from PNW10 to PNW12 significantly reduced the number of luminal-reaching basal cell projections. In summary, basal cells exhibit significant structural plasticity during differentiation. Fewer apical-reaching projections were detected after flutamide treatment in adulthood, indicating the role of androgens in the luminal-sensing function of basal cells.
The production of high levels of reactive oxygen species by neutrophils is associated with the local and systemic destructive phenotype found in the chronic inflammatory disease periodontitis. In the present study, we investigated the ability of sulforaphane (SFN) to restore cellular glutathione levels and reduce the hyperactivity of circulating neutrophils associated with chronic periodontitis. Using differentiated HL60 cells as a neutrophil model, here we show that generation of extracellular O2 (. -) by the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADPH) oxidase complex is increased by intracellular glutathione depletion. This may be attributed to the upregulation of thiol regulated acid sphingomyelinase driven lipid raft formation. Intracellular glutathione was also lower in primary neutrophils from periodontitis patients and, consistent with our previous findings, patients neutrophils were hyper-reactive to stimuli. The activity of nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a master regulator of the antioxidant response, is impaired in circulating neutrophils from chronic periodontitis patients. Although patients neutrophils exhibit a low reduced glutathione (GSH)/oxidised glutathione (GSSG) ratio and a higher total Nrf2 level, the DNA-binding activity of nuclear Nrf2 remained unchanged relative to healthy controls and had reduced expression of glutamate cysteine ligase catalytic (GCLC), and modifier (GCLM) subunit mRNAs, compared to periodontally healthy subjects neutrophils. Pre-treatment with SFN increased expression of GCLC and GCM, improved intracellular GSH/GSSG ratios and reduced agonist-activated extracellular O2 (. -) production in both dHL60 and primary neutrophils from patients with periodontitis and controls. These findings suggest that a deficiency in Nrf2-dependent pathways may underpin susceptibility to hyper-reactivity in circulating primary neutrophils during chronic periodontitis.
Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 is a facultative anaerobe that derives energy by coupling organic matter oxidation to the reduction of a wide range of electron acceptors. Here, we quantitatively assessed the lactate and pyruvate metabolism of MR-1 under three distinct conditions: electron acceptor-limited growth on lactate with O(2), lactate with fumarate, and pyruvate fermentation. The latter does not support growth but provides energy for cell survival. Using physiological and genetic approaches combined with flux balance analysis, we showed that the proportion of ATP produced by substrate-level phosphorylation varied from 33% to 72.5% of that needed for growth depending on the electron acceptor nature and availability. While being indispensable for growth, the respiration of fumarate does not contribute significantly to ATP generation and likely serves to remove formate, a product of pyruvate formate-lyase-catalyzed pyruvate disproportionation. Under both tested respiratory conditions, S. oneidensis MR-1 carried out incomplete substrate oxidation, whereby the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle did not contribute significantly. Pyruvate dehydrogenase was not involved in lactate metabolism under conditions of O(2) limitation but was required for anaerobic growth, likely by supplying reducing equivalents for biosynthesis. The results suggest that pyruvate fermentation by S. oneidensis MR-1 cells represents a combination of substrate-level phosphorylation and respiration, where pyruvate serves as an electron donor and an electron acceptor. Pyruvate reduction to lactate at the expense of formate oxidation is catalyzed by a recently described new type of oxidative NAD(P)H-independent d-lactate dehydrogenase (Dld-II). The results further indicate that pyruvate reduction coupled to formate oxidation may be accompanied by the generation of proton motive force.
Systems biology attempts to reconcile large amounts of disparate data with existing knowledge to provide models of functioning biological systems. The cyanobacterium Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142 is an excellent candidate for such systems biology studies because: (i) it displays tight functional regulation between photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation; (ii) it has robust cyclic patterns at the genetic, protein and metabolomic levels; and (iii) it has potential applications for bioenergy production and carbon sequestration. We have represented the transcriptomic data from Cyanothece 51142 under diurnal light/dark cycles as a high-level functional abstraction and describe development of a predictive in silico model of diurnal and circadian behavior in terms of regulatory and metabolic processes in this organism. We show that incorporating network topology into the model improves performance in terms of our ability to explain the behavior of the system under new conditions. The model presented robustly describes transcriptomic behavior of Cyanothece 51142 under different cyclic and non-cyclic growth conditions, and represents a significant advance in the understanding of gene regulation in this important organism.
Three series of cationic oligo p-phenyleneethynylenes (OPEs) have been synthesized to study their structure-property relationships and gain insights into the transition from molecular to macromolecular properties. The absorbance maxima and molar extinction coefficients in all three sets increase with increasing number of repeat units; however, the increase in ?(max) between the oligomers having 2 and 3 repeat units is very small, and the oligomer having 3 repeat units shows virtually the same spectra as a p-phenyleneethynylene polymer having 49 repeat units. A computational study of the oligomers using density functional theory calculations indicates that while the simplest oligomers (OPE-1) are fully conjugated, the larger oligomers are nonplanar and the limiting "segment chromophore" may be confined to a near-planar segment extending over three or four phenyl rings. Several of the OPEs self-assemble on anionic "scaffolds", with pronounced changes in absorption and fluorescence. Both experimental and computational results suggest that the planarization of discrete conjugated segments along the phenylene-ethynylene backbone is predominantly responsible for the photophysical characteristics of the assemblies formed from the larger oligomers. The striking differences in fluorescence between methanol and water are attributed to reversible nucleophilic attack of structured interfacial water on the excited singlet state.
One of the most intriguing aspects of male reproductive physiology is the ability to generate spermatogenic cells - which are foreign to the host - without triggering immune activation. After leaving the testis, spermatozoa enter the epididymis where they mature and are stored. In this study, we report a previously unrecognized dense network of dendritic cells (DCs) located at the base of the epididymal epithelium. This network was detected in transgenic mice expressing CD11c-EYFP and CX3CR1-GFP reporters. Epididymal DCs (eDCs) establish intimate interactions with the epithelium and project long dendrites between epithelial cells toward the lumen. We show that isolated eDCs express numerous leukocyte markers described previously in other organs that are in contact with the external environment, and present and cross-present ovalbumin to T cells in vitro. eDCs are, therefore, strategically positioned to regulate the complex interplay between immune tolerance and activation, a balance that is fundamental to male fertility.
Shewanellae are gram-negative facultatively anaerobic metal-reducing bacteria commonly found in chemically (i.e., redox) stratified environments. Occupying such niches requires the ability to rapidly acclimate to changes in electron donor/acceptor type and availability; hence, the ability to compete and thrive in such environments must ultimately be reflected in the organization and utilization of electron transfer networks, as well as central and peripheral carbon metabolism. To understand how Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 utilizes its resources, the metabolic network was reconstructed. The resulting network consists of 774 reactions, 783 genes, and 634 unique metabolites and contains biosynthesis pathways for all cell constituents. Using constraint-based modeling, we investigated aerobic growth of S. oneidensis MR-1 on numerous carbon sources. To achieve this, we (i) used experimental data to formulate a biomass equation and estimate cellular ATP requirements, (ii) developed an approach to identify cycles (such as futile cycles and circulations), (iii) classified how reaction usage affects cellular growth, (iv) predicted cellular biomass yields on different carbon sources and compared model predictions to experimental measurements, and (v) used experimental results to refine metabolic fluxes for growth on lactate. The results revealed that aerobic lactate-grown cells of S. oneidensis MR-1 used less efficient enzymes to couple electron transport to proton motive force generation, and possibly operated at least one futile cycle involving malic enzymes. Several examples are provided whereby model predictions were validated by experimental data, in particular the role of serine hydroxymethyltransferase and glycine cleavage system in the metabolism of one-carbon units, and growth on different sources of carbon and energy. This work illustrates how integration of computational and experimental efforts facilitates the understanding of microbial metabolism at a systems level.
This study describes the results of the Reaching Rural Veterans Initiative (RRVI) funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Federal Government. The purpose of this project was to address the needs of veterans and their family members in rural communities who were seen by non-VA primary care providers. As part of this project, an assessment of healthcare providers knowledge and awareness of mental health-related issues and experiences with veterans healthcare services was conducted. Following this assessment, an education program was developed and implemented at primary care sites within the Geisinger Health System and also made available to other area providers. The survey indicated that Geisingers primary care providers are currently involved with providing mental health care to area service members and their families. It was estimated that these providers saw about 1,200 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) patients and 3,600 of their family members in clinics over a 6 month period. A significant number of these persons had mental health problems. About two-thirds (65.4%) of providers reported having a mental health professional onsite and nearly 23% reported that over one-third of their patients have mental health problems. Significant mental health gaps discovered indicated that providers lacked knowledge of PTSD and other combat-related stress disorders, as well as knowledge of VA resources. In addition only 20% of the providers rated their mental health treatment skills as high and only about 8% reported that they had adequate knowledge of current mental health treatment strategies. Based on this needs assessment and the results of the provider intervention, further service improvements are planned.
Fluid and solute transport across the epithelium of the male excurrent duct is important for sperm maturation and storage. Aquaporin 9 (AQP9), which allows permeation of water and neutral solutes, is abundant throughout the male reproductive tract, where it is expressed at the apical membrane of rat epididymal principal cells as early as at 1 week of age. We evaluated the effect of neonatal exposure to: 1) a GNRH antagonist (GNRHa); 2) diethylstilbestrol (DES); 3) ethinyl estradiol (EE); 4) DES plus testosterone (DES+TE); and 5) the anti-androgen flutamide on AQP9 expression in the epididymis of peripubertal rats. Control groups received the vehicle alone. In 25-day-old rats, quantification of the mean pixel intensity of immunofluorescence-stained sections showed a significant decrease in AQP9 staining in the apical membrane of epididymal principal cells after treatments with GNRHa, DES, or flutamide, compared to controls. These results were confirmed by western blotting. While EE induced a marked decrease in AQP9 levels by western blotting, the decrease in AQP9-associated fluorescence was not significant compared to controls. DES+TE-treated rats showed levels of AQP9 protein similar to controls, indicating maintenance of AQP9 expression by testosterone treatment in the presence of DES. Our data show that expression of AQP9 in the developing rat epididymis is downregulated by neonatal DES, GNRHa, EE, and flutamide, and that the effects mediated by estrogens can be prevented by testosterone administration.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) represents a challenging field. Therapeutic studies of proton pump inhibitors in LPR have shown mixed results. The Restech pH catheter (Respiratory Technology Corp., San Diego, CA) is a minimally invasive device for detection of oropharyngeal acid reflux. The aim of this study was to provide normative data using this device in both distal esophagus and oropharynx.
Religiosity, especially religious fundamentalism, is often assumed to have an inherent connection with conservative politics. This article proposes that the relationship varies by race in the United States. In Study 1, race moderated the relationships between religiosity indicators and political alignment in a nationally representative sample. In Study 2, the effect replicated in a student sample with more reliable measures. Among both Black and Latino Americans, the relationship between religiosity and conservative politics is far weaker than it is among White Americans, and it is sometimes altogether absent. In Study 3, a tradition-focused view of religion was found to more strongly mediate the link between religiosity and political attitudes among Whites than it did among Blacks and Latinos. It is argued that the relationship between religiosity and political alignment is best understood as a product of cultural-historical conditions associated with group memberships.
Polyketides are a class of natural products with diverse structures and biological activities. The structural variability of aromatic products of fungal nonreducing, multidomain iterative polyketide synthases (NR-PKS group of IPKSs) results from regiospecific cyclizations of reactive poly-beta-keto intermediates. How poly-beta-keto species are synthesized and stabilized, how their chain lengths are determined, and, in particular, how specific cyclization patterns are controlled have been largely inaccessible and functionally unknown until recently. A product template (PT) domain is responsible for controlling specific aldol cyclization and aromatization of these mature polyketide precursors, but the mechanistic basis is unknown. Here we present the 1.8 A crystal structure and mutational studies of a dissected PT monodomain from PksA, the NR-PKS that initiates the biosynthesis of the potent hepatocarcinogen aflatoxin B(1) in Aspergillus parasiticus. Despite having minimal sequence similarity to known enzymes, the structure displays a distinct double hot dog (DHD) fold. Co-crystal structures with palmitate or a bicyclic substrate mimic illustrate that PT can bind both linear and bicyclic polyketides. Docking and mutagenesis studies reveal residues important for substrate binding and catalysis, and identify a phosphopantetheine localization channel and a deep two-part interior binding pocket and reaction chamber. Sequence similarity and extensive conservation of active site residues in PT domains suggest that the mechanistic insights gleaned from these studies will prove general for this class of IPKSs, and lay a foundation for defining the molecular rules controlling NR-PKS cyclization specificity.
Two studies examined correlates of the Narrative Emplotment Scale (NES), which measures the extent to which individuals perceive chance events and unchosen experiences as meaningfully connected. In Study 1 (N=99), the NES demonstrated adequate test-retest stability and good internal reliability. The scale was positively related to paranormal beliefs, mystical experiences, and absorption. In Study 2 (N=342), personality measures indicative of external locus of control, intrinsic religiosity, well-being, satisfaction with life, and a measure of frequency of coincidence experience were all positively correlated with narrative emplotment, providing further support for the construct validity of the scale. In terms of the question of whether meaning making is predictive of better or worse psychological adjustment, analyses indicated that the relationship between narrative emplotment and psychological adjustment was moderated by individual differences in coping strategies. Path analysis indicated that emplotment was a mediator of the pathway between religiosity and well-being. Emplotment had a negative effect on well-being through chance locus of control. These analyses suggest that this type of meaning-making is an important variable for understanding religious/spiritual beliefs and their influence on psychological adjustment.
Unlike human patients with mutations in the 56-kDa B1 subunit isoform of the vacuolar proton-pumping ATPase (V-ATPase), B1-deficient mice (Atp6v1b1(-/-)) do not develop metabolic acidosis under baseline conditions. This is due to the insertion of V-ATPases containing the alternative B2 subunit isoform into the apical membrane of renal medullary collecting duct intercalated cells (ICs). We previously reported that quantitative Western blots (WBs) from whole kidneys showed similar B2 protein levels in Atp6v1b1(-/-) and wild-type mice (P?unescu TG, Russo LM, Da Silva N, Kovacikova J, Mohebbi N, Van Hoek AN, McKee M, Wagner CA, Breton S, Brown D. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 293: F1915-F1926, 2007). However, WBs from renal medulla (including outer and inner medulla) membrane and cytosol fractions reveal a decrease in the levels of the ubiquitous V-ATPase E1 subunit. To compare V-ATPase expression specifically in ICs from wild-type and Atp6v1b1(-/-) mice, we crossed mice in which EGFP expression is driven by the B1 subunit promoter (EGFP-B1(+/+) mice) with Atp6v1b1(-/-) mice to generate novel EGFP-B1(-/-) mice. We isolated pure IC populations by fluorescence-assisted cell sorting from EGFP-B1(+/+) and EGFP-B1(-/-) mice to compare their V-ATPase subunit protein levels. We report that V-ATPase A, E1, and H subunits are all significantly downregulated in EGFP-B1(-/-) mice, while the B2 protein level is considerably increased in these animals. We conclude that under baseline conditions B2 upregulation compensates for the lack of B1 and is sufficient to maintain basal acid-base homeostasis, even when other V-ATPase subunits are downregulated.
Melanins are a broad class of darkly pigmented macromolecules formed by oxidative polymerization of phenolic monomers. In fungi, melanins are known virulence factors that contribute to pathogenicity. Their biosynthesis generally involves polymerization of 1,8-dihydroxynaphthalene via a 1,3,6,8-tetrahydroxynaphthalene (THN) precursor assembled by multidomain, nonreducing polyketide synthases. Convergent routes to THN have evolved in fungi. Parallel heptaketide and hexaketide pathways exist that utilize conventional C-terminal thioesterase/Claisen cyclase domains and separate side-chain deacylases. Here, in vitro characterization of Pks1 from Colletotrichum lagenarium establishes a true THN synthase with a bifunctional thioesterase (TE) catalyzing both cyclization and deacetylation of an enzyme-bound hexaketide substrate. Chimeric TE domains were generated by swapping lid regions of active sites between classes of melanin TEs to gain insight into this unprecedented catalysis of carbon-carbon bond making and breaking by an ?/?-hydrolase fold enzyme.
Although the proposal for a dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in DSM-5 is supported by considerable clinical and neurobiological evidence, this evidence comes mostly from referred samples in Western countries. Cross-national population epidemiologic surveys were analyzed to evaluate generalizability of the subtype in more diverse samples.
A novel class of phenylene ethynylene polyelectrolyte oligomers (OPEs) has been found to be effective biocidal agents against a variety of pathogens. The mechanism of attack is not yet fully understood. Recent studies have shown that OPEs cause catastrophic damage to large unilamellar vesicles. This study uses classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to understand how OPEs interact with model lipid bilayers. All-atom molecular dynamics simulations show that aggregates of OPEs inserted into the membrane cause significant structural damage and create a channel, or pore, that allows significant leakage of water through the membrane on the 0.1 ?s time scale.
Many pesticides are used increasingly in combinations during crop protection and their stability ensures the presence of such combinations in foodstuffs. The effects of three fungicides, pyrimethanil, cyprodinil and fludioxonil, were investigated together and separately on U251 and SH-SY5Y cells, which can be representative of human CNS glial and neuronal cells respectively. Over 48h, all three agents showed significant reductions in cellular ATP, at concentrations that were more than tenfold lower than those which significantly impaired cellular viability. The effects on energy metabolism were reflected in their marked toxic effects on mitochondrial membrane potential. In addition, evidence of oxidative stress was seen in terms of a fall in cellular thiols coupled with increases in the expression of enzymes associated with reactive species formation, such as GSH peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. The glial cell line showed significant responsiveness to the toxin challenge in terms of changes in antioxidant gene expression, although the neuronal SH-SY5Y line exhibited greater vulnerability to toxicity, which was reflected in significant increases in caspase-3 expression, which is indicative of the initiation of apoptosis. Cyprodinil was the most toxic agent individually, although oxidative stress-related enzyme gene expression increases appeared to demonstrate some degree of synergy in the presence of the combination of agents. This report suggests that the impact of some pesticides, both individually and in combinations, merits further study in terms of their impact on human cellular health.
The relationship between dinitrogenase-driven H(2) production and oxygenic photosynthesis was investigated in a unicellular cyanobacterium, Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142, using a novel custom-built photobioreactor equipped with advanced process control. Continuously illuminated nitrogen-deprived cells evolved H(2) at rates up to 400 µmol ? mg Chl(-1) ? h(-1) in parallel with uninterrupted photosynthetic O(2) production. Notably, sustained coproduction of H(2) and O(2) occurred over 100 h in the presence of CO(2), with both gases displaying inverse oscillations which eventually dampened toward stable rates of 125 and 90 µmol ? mg Chl(-1) ? h(-1), respectively. Oscillations were not observed when CO(2) was omitted, and instead H(2) and O(2) evolution rates were positively correlated. The sustainability of the process was further supported by stable chlorophyll content, maintenance of baseline protein and carbohydrate levels, and an enhanced capacity for linear electron transport as measured by chlorophyll fluorescence throughout the experiment. In situ light saturation analyses of H(2) production displayed a strong dose dependence and lack of O(2) inhibition. Inactivation of photosystem II had substantial long-term effects but did not affect short-term H(2) production, indicating that the process is also supported by photosystem I activity and oxidation of endogenous glycogen. However, mass balance calculations suggest that carbohydrate consumption in the light may, at best, account for no more than 50% of the reductant required for the corresponding H(2) production over that period. Collectively, our results demonstrate that uninterrupted H(2) production in unicellular cyanobacteria can be fueled by water photolysis without the detrimental effects of O(2) and have important implications for sustainable production of biofuels.
A college student sample (109 women, 90 men) was administered measures of psychological adjustment, shame, guilt, personal fear of invalidity, and aspects of empathy, including personal distress in emergencies and fantasy involvement. Consistent with previous studies, shame but not guilt was significantly positively correlated with poor psychological adjustment. Path analyses with bootstrapped mediation tests indicated that the shame-adjustment relationship was significantly mediated by fear of invalidity, personal distress, and fantasy involvement. A novel finding was that the relationship between guilt and maladjustment was significantly mediated by proneness to fantasy. The findings are discussed in terms of an integrated theory of the shame-fear/distress-maladjustment relationship as a framework for understanding the maladaptive, individualistic shame experience.
Cln3(?ex7/8) mice harbor the most common genetic defect causing juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL), an autosomal recessive disease involving seizures, visual, motor and cognitive decline, and premature death. Here, to more thoroughly investigate the manifestations of the common JNCL mutation, we performed a broad phenotyping study of Cln3(?ex7/8) mice. Homozygous Cln3(?ex7/8) mice, congenic on a C57BL/6N background, displayed subtle deficits in sensory and motor tasks at 10-14 weeks of age. Homozygous Cln3(?ex7/8) mice also displayed electroretinographic changes reflecting cone function deficits past 5 months of age and a progressive decline of retinal post-receptoral function. Metabolic analysis revealed increases in rectal body temperature and minimum oxygen consumption in 12-13 week old homozygous Cln3(?ex7/8) mice, which were also seen to a lesser extent in heterozygous Cln3(?ex7/8) mice. Heart weight was slightly increased at 20 weeks of age, but no significant differences were observed in cardiac function in young adults. In a comprehensive blood analysis at 15-16 weeks of age, serum ferritin concentrations, mean corpuscular volume of red blood cells (MCV), and reticulocyte counts were reproducibly increased in homozygous Cln3(?) (ex7/8) mice, and male homozygotes had a relative T-cell deficiency, suggesting alterations in hematopoiesis. Finally, consistent with findings in JNCL patients, vacuolated peripheral blood lymphocytes were observed in homozygous Cln3(?) (ex7/8) neonates, and to a greater extent in older animals. Early onset, severe vacuolation in clear cells of the epididymis of male homozygous Cln3(?) (ex7/8) mice was also observed. These data highlight additional organ systems in which to study CLN3 function, and early phenotypes have been established in homozygous Cln3(?) (ex7/8) mice that merit further study for JNCL biomarker development.
A major focus of stem cell research is the generation of neurons that may then be implanted to treat neurodegenerative diseases. However, a picture is emerging where astrocytes are partners to neurons in sustaining and modulating brain function. We therefore investigated the functional properties of NT2 derived astrocytes and neurons using electrophysiological and calcium imaging approaches. NT2 neurons (NT2Ns) expressed sodium dependent action potentials, as well as responses to depolarisation and the neurotransmitter glutamate. NT2Ns exhibited spontaneous and coordinated calcium elevations in clusters and in extended processes, indicating local and long distance signalling. Tetrodotoxin sensitive network activity could also be evoked by electrical stimulation. Similarly, NT2 astrocytes (NT2As) exhibited morphology and functional properties consistent with this glial cell type. NT2As responded to neuronal activity and to exogenously applied neurotransmitters with calcium elevations, and in contrast to neurons, also exhibited spontaneous rhythmic calcium oscillations. NT2As also generated propagating calcium waves that were gap junction and purinergic signalling dependent. Our results show that NT2 derived astrocytes exhibit appropriate functionality and that NT2N networks interact with NT2A networks in co-culture. These findings underline the utility of such cultures to investigate human brain cell type signalling under controlled conditions. Furthermore, since stem cell derived neuron function and survival is of great importance therapeutically, our findings suggest that the presence of complementary astrocytes may be valuable in supporting stem cell derived neuronal networks. Indeed, this also supports the intriguing possibility of selective therapeutic replacement of astrocytes in diseases where these cells are either lost or lose functionality.
Genome-scale metabolic models have proven useful for answering fundamental questions about metabolic capabilities of a variety of microorganisms, as well as informing their metabolic engineering. However, only a few models are available for oxygenic photosynthetic microorganisms, particularly in cyanobacteria in which photosynthetic and respiratory electron transport chains (ETC) share components. We addressed the complexity of cyanobacterial ETC by developing a genome-scale model for the diazotrophic cyanobacterium, Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142. The resulting metabolic reconstruction, iCce806, consists of 806 genes associated with 667 metabolic reactions and includes a detailed representation of the ETC and a biomass equation based on experimental measurements. Both computational and experimental approaches were used to investigate light-driven metabolism in Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142, with a particular focus on reductant production and partitioning within the ETC. The simulation results suggest that growth and metabolic flux distributions are substantially impacted by the relative amounts of light going into the individual photosystems. When growth is limited by the flux through photosystem I, terminal respiratory oxidases are predicted to be an important mechanism for removing excess reductant. Similarly, under photosystem II flux limitation, excess electron carriers must be removed via cyclic electron transport. Furthermore, in silico calculations were in good quantitative agreement with the measured growth rates whereas predictions of reaction usage were qualitatively consistent with protein and mRNA expression data, which we used to further improve the resolution of intracellular flux values.
Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 encodes both a [NiFe]- and an [FeFe]-hydrogenase. While the output of these proteins has been characterized in mutant strains expressing only one of the enzymes, the contribution of each to H2 synthesis in the wild-type organism is not clear. Here we use stable isotope analysis of H2 in the culture headspace, along with transcription data and measurements of the concentrations of gases in the headspace, to characterize H2 production in the wild-type strain. After most of the O2 in the headspace had been consumed, H2 was produced and then consumed by the bidirectional [NiFe]-hydrogenase. Once the cultures were completely anaerobic, a new burst of H2 synthesis catalyzed by both enzymes took place. Our data is consistent with the hypothesis that at this point in the culture cycle, a pool of electrons is shunted toward both hydrogenases in the wild-type organisms, but that in the absence of one of the hydrogenases, the flux is redirected to the available enzyme. To our knowledge, this is the first use of natural-abundance stable isotope analysis of a metabolic product to elucidate substrate flux through two alternative enzymes in the same cellular system. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Cationic oligo-p-phenylene ethynylenes are highly effective light-activated biocides that deal broad-spectrum damage to a variety of pathogens, including bacteria. A potential problem arising in the long-term usage of these compounds is photochemical breakdown, which nullifies their biocidal activity. Recent work has shown that these molecules complex with oppositely-charged surfactants, and that the resulting complexes are protected from photodegradation. In this manuscript, we determine the biocidal activity of an oligomer and a complex formed between it and sodium dodecyl sulfate. The complexes are able to withstand prolonged periods of irradiation, continuing to effectively kill both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, while the oligomer by itself loses its biocidal effectiveness quickly in the presence of light. In addition, damage and stress responses induced by these biocides in both E. coli and S. aureus are discussed. This work shows that complexation with surfactants is a viable method for long-term light-activated biocidal applications.
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