Antisense oligonucleotides complementary to RNA targets promise generality and ease of drug design. The first systemically administered antisense drug was recently approved for treatment and others are in clinical development. Chemical modifications that increase the hybridization affinity of oligonucleotides are reasoned to confer higher potency, i.e., modified oligonucleotides can be dosed at lower concentrations to achieve the same effect. Surprisingly, shorter and less affine oligonucleotides sometimes display increased potency. To explain this apparent contradiction, increased uptake or decreased propensity to form structures have been suggested as possible mechanisms. Here, we provide an alternative explanation that invokes only the kinetics behind oligonucleotide-mediated cleavage of RNA targets. A model based on the law of mass action predicts, and experiments support, the existence of an optimal binding affinity. Exaggerated affinity, and not length per se, is detrimental to potency. This finding clarifies how to optimally apply high-affinity modifications in the discovery of potent antisense oligonucleotide drugs.
The Wnt signaling pathway transducing the stabilization of ?-catenin is essential for metazoan embryo development and is misregulated in many diseases such as cancers. In recent years models have been proposed for the Wnt signaling pathway during the segmentation process in developing embryos. Many of these include negative feedback loops where Axin2 plays a key role. However, Axin2 null mice show no segmentation phenotype. We therefore propose a new model where the negative feedback involves Dkk1 rather than Axin2. We show that this model can exhibit the same type of oscillations as the previous models with Axin2 and as observed in experiments. We show that a spatial Wnt gradient can consistently convert this temporal periodicity into the spatial periodicity of somites, provided the oscillations in new cells arising in the presomitic mesoderm are synchronized with the oscillations of older cells. We further investigate the hypothesis that a change in the Wnt level in the tail bud during the later stages of somitogenesis can lengthen the time period of the oscillations and hence the size and separation of the later somites.
To investigate the expression of pancreatic microRNAs (miRNAs) during the period of perinatal beta-cell expansion and maturation in rats, determine the localization of these miRNAs and perform a pathway analysis with predicted target mRNAs expressed in perinatal pancreas.
Several approaches have been developed for miRNA target prediction, including methods that incorporate expression profiling. However the methods are still in need of improvements due to a high false discovery rate. So far, none of the methods have used independent component analysis (ICA). Here, we developed a novel target prediction method based on ICA that incorporates both seed matching and expression profiling of miRNA and mRNA expressions. The method was applied on a cellular model of type 1 diabetes.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease and improved biomarkers would help identify high-risk individuals. The aim of this study was to discover candidate biomarkers for DN in the plasma peptidome in an in-house cross-sectional cohort (n=122) of type 1 diabetic patients diagnosed with normo-, micro-, and macroalbuminuria.
Oscillations are commonly observed in cellular behavior and span a wide range of timescales, from seconds in calcium signaling to 24 hours in circadian rhythms. In between lie oscillations with time periods of 1-5 hours seen in NF-?B, p53 and Wnt signaling, which play key roles in the immune system, cell growth/death and embryo development, respectively. In the first part of this article, we provide a brief overview of simple deterministic models of oscillations. In particular, we explain the mechanism of saturated degradation that has been used to model oscillations in the NF-?B, p53 and Wnt systems. The second part deals with the potential physiological role of oscillations. We use the simple models described earlier to explore whether oscillatory signals can encode more information than steady-state signals. We then discuss a few simple genetic circuits that could decode information stored in the average, amplitude or frequency of oscillations. The presence of frequency-detector circuit downstream of NF-?B or p53 would be a strong clue that oscillations are important for the physiological response of these signaling systems.
We propose a model for the segmentation clock in vertebrate somitogenesis, based on the Wnt signaling pathway. The core of the model is a negative feedback loop centered around the Axin2 protein. Axin2 is activated by beta-catenin, which in turn is degraded by a complex of GSK3beta and Axin2. The model produces oscillatory states of the involved constituents with typical time periods of a few hours (ultradian oscillations). The oscillations are robust to changes in parameter values and are often spiky, where low concentration values of beta-catenin are interrupted by sharp peaks. Necessary for the oscillations is the saturated degradation of Axin2. Somite formation in chick and mouse embryos is controlled by a spatial Wnt gradient which we introduce in the model through a time-dependent decrease in Wnt3a ligand level. We find that the oscillations disappear as the ligand concentration decreases, in agreement with observations on embryos.
As part of a clinical proteomics program focused on diabetes and its complications we are looking for new and better protein biomarkers for diabetic nephropathy. The search for new and better biomarkers for diabetic nephropathy has, with a few exceptions, previously focused on either hypothesis-driven studies or urinary based investigations. To date only two studies have investigated the proteome of blood in search for new biomarkers, and these studies were conducted in sera from patients with type 2 diabetes. This is the first reported in depth proteomic study where plasma from type 1 diabetic patients was investigated with the goal of finding improved candidate biomarkers to predict diabetic nephropathy. In order to reach lower concentration proteins in plasma a pre-fractionation step, either hexapeptide bead-based libraries or anion exchange chromatography, was performed prior to surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry analysis.
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