BackgroundTick control is an essential aspect of controlling the spread of tick-borne diseases affecting humans and animals, but it presently faces several challenges. Development of an anti-tick vaccine is aimed at designing cost-effective and environmentally friendly protection against ticks and tick-borne diseases as an alternative to the use of chemical acaricides. A single vaccine from the tick midgut protein Bm86 is currently available for field applications, but its efficacy is limited to only some tick species. Identification of candidate vaccine antigens that can affect multiple tick species is highly desirable. The hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis has two kinds of the iron-binding protein ferritin (HlFER), an intracellular HlFER1 and a secretory HlFER2, and RNA interference experiments showed that these are physiologically important in blood feeding and reproduction and in protection against oxidative stress. Here we investigated the potential of targeting HlFERs for tick control by immunizing the host with recombinant HlFERs (rHlFER1 and rHlFER2).MethodsRabbits were immunized with rHlFERs three times subcutaneously at two-week intervals. Antisera were collected before the first immunization and a week after each immunization to confirm the antigen-specific serum antibody titer by serum ELISA. Two weeks after the final immunization, the rabbits were challenged with tick infestation. After dropping, tick feeding and reproduction parameters were evaluated to determine vaccine efficacy. To demonstrate the effects of antibodies, oxidative stress was detected in the eggs and larvae.ResultsThe antibody titer of rHlFER-immunized rabbits greatly increased after the second immunization. Antibodies exhibited cross-reactivity with rHlFERs and reacted with tick native HlFERs in Western blot analysis. Significantly lower bodyweight was observed in the ticks infested from the rHlFER2-immunized rabbit compared to those from the control rabbit. Reduced oviposition and hatching rate were observed in both rHlFER-immunized groups. rHlFER2 showed a higher vaccine efficacy. The antibodies against rHlFERs were detected in the eggs, and higher levels of oxidative stress biomarkers in the eggs and larvae, of ticks from rHlFER vaccinated rabbits.ConclusionCollectively, these results showed that HlFER2 has a good potential as an anti-tick vaccine antigen that may affect multiple tick species.
Mammalian inner cell mass cells undergo lineage-specific differentiation into germ layers of endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm during gastrulation. It has been a long-standing challenge in developmental biology to replicate these organized germ layer patterns in culture. Here we present a method of generating organized germ layers from a single mouse embryonic stem cell cultured in a soft fibrin matrix. Spatial organization of germ layers is regulated by cortical tension of the colony, matrix dimensionality and softness, and cell-cell adhesion. Remarkably, anchorage of the embryoid colony from the 3D matrix to collagen-1-coated 2D substrates of ~1?kPa results in self-organization of all three germ layers: ectoderm on the outside layer, mesoderm in the middle and endoderm at the centre of the colony, reminiscent of generalized gastrulating chordate embryos. These results suggest that mechanical forces via cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions are crucial in spatial organization of germ layers during mammalian gastrulation. This new in vitro method could be used to gain insights on the mechanisms responsible for the regulation of germ layer formation.
Previously, we characterized an undocumented strain of Eimeria krijgsmanni by morphological and biological features. Here, we present a detailed molecular phylogenetic analysis of this organism. Namely, 18S ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) sequences of E. krijgsmanni were analyzed to incorporate this species into a comprehensive Eimeria phylogeny. As a result, partial 18S rDNA sequence from E. krijgsmanni was successfully determined, and two different types, Type A and Type B, that differed by 1 base pair were identified. E. krijgsmanni was originally isolated from a single oocyst, and thus the result show that the two types might have allelic sequence heterogeneity in the 18S rDNA. Based on phylogenetic analyses, the two types of E. krijgsmanni 18S rDNA formed one of two clades among murine Eimeria spp.; these Eimeria clades reflected morphological similarity among the Eimeria spp. This is the third molecular phylogenetic characterization of a murine Eimeria spp. in addition to E. falciformis and E. papillata.
Cronkhite-Canada Syndrome (CCS) is a rare non-inherited gastrointestinal polyposis syndrome with characteristic ectodermal changes. We report an extremely unusual case of CCS associated with primary esophageal and gastric cancers. A 74-year-old Japanese man with symptoms of anorexia and diarrhea was found to have primary esophageal and gastric cancers, as well as multiple gastric and colonic polyps. Based on the physical findings of onychodystrophy and alopecia, we diagnosed CCS. Because of his age and nutritional status, we decided to perform total gastrectomy for gastric cancer and chemoradiotherapy for esophageal cancer, upon completion of which the patient was started on steroid therapy for the CCS. After 1 week of steroid therapy, the patient's watery diarrhea improved. We recommend that for patients with CCS, the therapeutic strategy be carefully considered based on the patient's nutritional status, the severity of the CCS, and the extent of gastrointestinal cancer.
Pylorus-preserving nearly total gastrectomy (PPNTG) is a function-preserving gastrectomy for treating proximal early gastric cancer that prevents rapid gastric emptying and reflux. In this report, we present a surgical technique for performing laparoscopy-assisted PPNTG (LAPPNTG).
In the present study, infection experiments of E. krijgsmanni using various hosts were conducted to elucidate the host specificity among some animals and the infectivity to mouse strains. According to the results, the infection was not found in most animals, except for rats, in which some oocyst shedding was detected, and there was no significant difference in infectivity among mouse strains. Additionally, oocyst shedding was hardly detectable in a secondary infection to immunocompetent mice, although it was found in immunodeficient mice. These results indicated that only immunocompetent mice could develop adaptive immunity against reinfection by stimuli of the primary infection. Furthermore, the infection experiments were performed with splenic macrophage (M?)-depleted mice with a reagent and Beige (Bg) mice known to be a strain of mice with low NK cell activity. No significant effect was found in primary or secondary infections in the M?-depleted mice, whereas the mortality rate was clearly increased in Bg mice inoculated with a large number of oocysts. Their oocyst shedding was similar to that of immunocompetent hosts. Taken together, these results suggested that M? has only a minor role in the immune response, but the NK cell has an important function in resistance to primary infection of E. krijgsmanni.
We investigated changes of the complexity of coronary artery disease (CAD) after drug-eluting stent (DES) implantation using SYNTAX score and the predictor of worsened SYNTAX score at follow-up. 116 consecutive patients who underwent de novo PCI with first-generation DES were enrolled. SYNTAX scores were obtained from coronary angiography before PCI, just after final PCI and at follow-up after 6-8 months and investigated. SYNTAX score changed from 19.8 ± 11.9 before PCI to 13.7 ± 10.6 after PCI and to 15.0 ± 11.7 at follow-up. SYNTAX score before PCI was significantly correlated with a difference of SYNTAX score between before and after PCI [acute improved score (AIS)] and between after PCI and at follow-up (r = 0.5, p < 0.0001, r = 0.3, p = 0.002, respectively). At follow-up, SYNTAX score improved from just after PCI in 6.0 % of the subjects, did not change in 60.3 % and worsened in 33.6 %. In-stent restenosis occurred in 43.8 % of the patients with worsened score, and progression of lesion occurred in 62.5 %. On multivariate analysis for worsened score, only diabetes was a significant independent predictor (OR 3.0, 95 %CI 1.3-7.2, p = 0.01); however, SYNTAX scores both before PCI and AIS were not predictors. With regard to re-exacerbation of the complexity of CAD after PCI with DES, we need to exhibit caution in diabetic patients and there is no need to consider the complexity of CAD before PCI or the degree of acute improvement of complexity of CAD with PCI.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of positive bacterial cultures of the drainage fluid (D-cultures) during the early postoperative period on the incidence of intra-abdominal abscess formation following gastrectomy.
We report the development of a single cell gene delivery system based on electroporation using a synthetic nanopore, that is not only highly specific and very efficient but also transfects with single molecule resolution at low voltage (1 V) with minimal perturbation to the cell. Such a system can be used to control gene expression with unprecedented precision--no other method offers such capabilities.
Ticks are obligate hematophagous arthropods with unique life cycles characterized by relatively short feeding periods and long non-feeding periods. They ambush a suitable host animal while staying in a pasture without any food source for up to several months. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying their exceptional viability, we focused on autophagy, a proteolysis system via the lysosomes that is induced by starvation in eukaryotes. We hypothesized that starved conditions facilitate autophagy during host-seeking periods in the life cycle of the tick. To date, homologues of five autophagy-related (ATG) genes, ATG3, ATG4, ATG6, ATG8, and ATG12, have been identified from the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. We showed previously that the mRNA levels of H. longicornis ATG (HlATG) genes were higher during the non-feeding period than the feeding period in the nymphal to adult stages. In addition, the expressions of HlATG3, HlATG4, HlATG8 and HlATG12 were highest in the egg compared to the other developmental stages in the same tick. In the present study, we used real-time polymerase chain reaction to examine the expression profiles of HlATG genes in the embryonic stage, larval to nymphal stages, and in internal organs of female ticks. We found that the HlATG genes were expressed at the highest levels in developing eggs on day 0 after oviposition. The levels of HlATG4 and HlATG8 were higher during the non-feeding period than the feeding period in the larval to nymphal stages. In the adults, the unfed condition appeared to be associated with the increased expression of HlATG genes in the fat body and midgut, which are nutrient storage organs; however, the expression patterns of HlATG genes varied in other organs. These results suggest that an up-regulation of HlATG genes is not always induced in different organs of unfed female ticks. Taken together, our findings raise the new possibility that HlATG genes play distinct biological roles in eggs, unfed ticks, engorged ticks (metamorphosis), and in each organ.
The pathogenesis of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) and that of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs) is distinct. In this study, to reveal the differences in their biochemical properties, we performed quantitative proteomic analysis of AAAs and TAAs compared with adjacent normal aorta (NA) tissues. The proteomic analysis revealed 176 non-redundant differentially expressed proteins in the AAAs and 189 proteins in the TAAs which were common in at least 5 samples within 7 samples of each. Among the identified proteins, 55 and 68 proteins were unique to the AAAs and TAAs, respectively, whereas 121 proteins were identified in both the AAAs and TAAs. Panther overrepresentation analysis of the unique proteins in the AAAs and TAAs revealed a significant downregulation of the blood coagulation pathway in the AAAs and that of the integrin signaling pathway in the TAAs. On the other hand, Genesis analysis revealed distinct expression patterns of 58 proteins among the 121 proteins. Panther overrepresentation analysis of these 58 proteins revealed that the expression of these proteins in the blood coagulation and the plasminogen activating cascade was decreased in the AAAs, whereas it was increased in the TAAs compared with the NA tissues. On the other hand, the protein expression in the integrin signaling pathway was increased in the AAAs, whereas it was decreased in the TAAs compared with the NA tissues. Thus, the data presented in this study indicate that the proteins that show differential expression patterns in AAAs and TAAs may be involved in the distinct pathogenesis of AAAs and TAAs.
To measure psychiatric symptoms exhibited by children in Ishinomaki City, Japan, an area severely damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, at 8 and 20 months post-tsunami to investigate differences in symptom severity and recovery rate by age, sex, and degree of trauma experienced.
On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami. The tsunami caused tremendous damage and traumatized several people, including children. The aim of this study was to assess changes in traumatic symptoms 8, 20, and 30 months of the 2011 tsunami.
On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by the earthquake and tsunami. Twenty months after the disaster, we collected information on the difficulties faced by parents and teachers in dealing with the post-traumatic symptoms of child survivors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between post-traumatic symptoms in children and parents' and teachers' difficulties in dealing with children who survived the huge disaster.
Ticks are obligate hematophagous parasites that have successfully developed counteractive means against their hosts' immune and hemostatic mechanisms, but their ability to cope with potentially toxic molecules in the blood remains unclear. Iron is important in various physiological processes but can be toxic to living cells when in excess. We previously reported that the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis has an intracellular (HlFER1) and a secretory (HlFER2) ferritin, and both are crucial in successful blood feeding and reproduction. Ferritin gene silencing by RNA interference caused reduced feeding capacity, low body weight and high mortality after blood meal, decreased fecundity and morphological abnormalities in the midgut cells. Similar findings were also previously reported after silencing of ferritin genes in another hard tick, Ixodes ricinus. Here we demonstrated the role of ferritin in protecting the hard ticks from oxidative stress. Evaluation of oxidative stress in Hlfer-silenced ticks was performed after blood feeding or injection of ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) through detection of the lipid peroxidation product, malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein oxidation product, protein carbonyl. FAC injection in Hlfer-silenced ticks resulted in high mortality. Higher levels of MDA and protein carbonyl were detected in Hlfer-silenced ticks compared to Luciferase-injected (control) ticks both after blood feeding and FAC injection. Ferric iron accumulation demonstrated by increased staining on native HlFER was observed from 72 h after iron injection in both the whole tick and the midgut. Furthermore, weak iron staining was observed after Hlfer knockdown. Taken together, these results show that tick ferritins are crucial antioxidant molecules that protect the hard tick from iron-mediated oxidative stress during blood feeding.
On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami. The tsunami caused tremendous damage and traumatized a number of people, including children. This study aimed to compare traumatic symptoms and daily life activity among children 20 months after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami with those observed after 8 months.
The incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing, which might be an obstacle to various aspects of gastric cancer treatment, such as perisurgical management and postsurgical follow-up. The present study aimed to evaluate the short- and long-term surgical outcomes following gastrectomy in patients with CKD.
Herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM) is known to regulate immune response and to be expressed in several human malignancies. However, to the authorss knowledge, the precise role of HVEM in human cancer biology remains unknown. The objective of the current study was to clarify the clinical significance of HVEM in human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma as well as its in vivo functions.
Pylorus-preserving nearly-total gastrectomy (PPNTG) for gastric cancer is based on the principle that the operation prevents the rapid gastric emptying and reflux that occurs after traditional gastrectomy. In this study, we evaluate the postoperative functional status of patients undergoing PPNTG in comparison with total gastrectomy with Roux-en-Y reconstruction (TG-RY).
RING box protein-1 (RBX1) is an essential component of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Skp1/Cullin/RBX1/F-box protein complex. Although an altered expression of RBX1 has been reported in several human cancers, the role of RBX1 in gastric cancer remains unknown.
Esophagectomy is the primary treatment for esophageal cancers, but a few patients still suffer from early recurrence and die within one year after surgery. The aim of this study was to identify preoperative predictive risk factors for early cancer-related deaths after curative esophagectomy for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. The records of 200 consecutive patients with esophageal cancer who underwent esophagectomy between 1990 and 2009 were retrospectively reviewed. The preoperative clinical characteristics of the remaining 32 patients who died of cancer within one year were compared with those of 168 patients who survived for more than one year postsurgery. The most frequent cause of death was lymph node recurrence followed by local recurrence and lung metastases. A tumor size 60 mm or greater and lymph node metastases in two fields on preoperative imaging were identified as prognostic factors on multivariate analysis. The one-year survival rate and median survival time of patients with both these risk factors were 40 per cent and 12 months, respectively. Aggressive additional treatment may be needed if both a tumor size 60 mm or greater and lymph node metastases in two fields are found during diagnostic imaging before esophagectomy for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Transferrin is known to be an iron transporter in vertebrates and several arthropods. Iron from host blood is essential for ovarian development in blood-sucking arthropods. However, tick transferrin has been identified in only a few species, and its function has yet to be elucidated, resulting in incomplete understanding of iron metabolism in ticks. Here, we investigated the transfer of host-derived transferrin in the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis using immunological methods. Western blot showed that host-derived transferrin was maintained in all developmental stages of ticks up to 28 days after engorgement and was detected in the midgut and the ovary of adult females following blood feeding. However, no host-derived transferrin was detected in eggs after laying or in larvae after hatching, indicating that host-derived transferrin is not transferred to offspring transovarially. Indirect immunofluorescent antibody testing showed the localization of host-derived transferrin in digestive cells of the midgut and oocytes of the ovary from engorged adult females. These results suggest that host-derived transferrin is transferred to the ovary through the midgut and the hemolymph, and raise the possibility of the function of host-derived transferrin as an iron source in the ovary, providing additional insight on iron metabolism in ticks.
We examined the transcriptional activity of Oct3/4 (Pou5f1) in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) maintained under standard culture conditions to gain a better understanding of self-renewal in mESCs. First, we built an expression vector in which the Oct3/4 promoter drives the monocistronic transcription of Venus and a puromycin-resistant gene via the foot-and-mouth disease virus self-cleaving peptide T2A. Then, a genetically-engineered mESC line with the stable integration of this vector was isolated and cultured in the presence or absence of puromycin. The cultures were subsequently subjected to Illumina expression microarray analysis. We identified approximately 4600 probes with statistically significant differential expression. The genes involved in nucleic acid synthesis were overrepresented in the probe set associated with mESCs maintained in the presence of puromycin. In contrast, the genes involved in cell differentiation were overrepresented in the probe set associated with mESCs maintained in the absence of puromycin. Therefore, it is suggested with these data that the transcriptional activity of Oct3/4 fluctuates in mESCs and that Oct3/4 plays an essential role in sustaining the basal transcriptional activities required for cell duplication in populations with equal differentiation potential. Heterogeneity in the transcriptional activity of Oct3/4 was dynamic. Interestingly, we found that genes involved in the hedgehog signaling pathway showed unique expression profiles in mESCs and validated this observation by RT-PCR analysis. The expression of Gli2, Ptch1 and Smo was consistently detected in other types of pluripotent stem cells examined in this study. Furthermore, the Gli2 protein was heterogeneously detected in mESC nuclei by immunofluorescence microscopy and this result correlated with the detection of the Oct3/4 protein. Finally, forced activation of Gli2 in mESCs increased their proliferation rate. Collectively, it is suggested with these results that Gli2 may play a novel role in the self-renewal of pluripotent stem cells.
Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular protozoan parasite, which relies on a specialized compartment, the parasitophorous vacuole (PV), to survive within host cells. Dense granules within the parasite release a large variety of proteins to maintain the integrity of the vacuole structure. Here, we identified a novel dense granule protein in T. gondii, TgGRA23, which is a homolog of the Sarcocystis muris dense granule protein, SmDG32. Recombinant TgGRA23 (rTgGRA23) expressed in Escherichia coli as a glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion protein was used to raise antisera in mice and rabbits. Immunoblotting showed that antisera from the immunized mice and rabbits reacted with parasite lysates to yield a 21-kDa native protein. In addition, immuno-electron microscopic examination showed that TgGRA23 resides in the dense granules, PV membrane and intravacuolar network of the parasite. To confirm the precise subcellular localization of TgGRA23 in T. gondii, an immunofluorescent antibody test was performed using dense granule markers. Notably, TgGRA23 co-localized with other dense granule proteins including TgGRA4 and TgGRA7, in the extracellular-stage parasites. Biochemical experiments indicated that TgGRA23 is insoluble and may form an electrostatic complex that is resistant to non-ionic detergents. Furthermore, specific antibodies to TgGRA23 were detected during the chronic stage of Toxoplasma infection in mice. Our results suggest that TgGRA23 is an as yet unknown member of the T. gondii dense granule proteins, and that it may be involved in remodeling or maintenance of the PV.
Memory T cells survive for months and even years and are critical for host defense in humans. They have been recently suggested to play a significant role in tumor immunity. In this study, we aimed to investigate the clinical impact of tumor-infiltrating memory T cells on human gastric cancer. We evaluated CD45RO(+)T cells infiltrating into primary gastric cancer tissues by immunohistochemistry in 101 patients with gastric cancer. Patients were classified into 2 groups (CD45RO(+Hi) and CD45RO(+Lo)) based on the number of positively stained T cells. There was no significant correlation observed between CD45RO status and post-operative prognosis in early gastric cancer. By contrast, in advanced cancer, the post-operative overall and disease-free survival of patients with CD45RO(+Hi) were significantly improved compared to those of patients with CD45RO(+Lo). In addition, CD45RO status in the primary tumors significantly correlated with the development of post-operative recurrence, particularly peritoneal recurrence. Furthermore, the local expression of interferon-? (IFN-?) in the CD45RO(+Hi) tumors was significantly higher than that in the CD45RO(+Lo) tumors, suggesting that CD45RO(+) T cells induced local immune activation. Multivariate analysis indicated that the CD45RO(+) status was an independent prognostic factor in advanced gastric cancer. In conclusion, tumor-infiltrating CD45RO(+) memory T cells are functional and have significant prognostic value in human gastric cancer. Our data suggest that adaptive immune response is clinically critical in gastric cancer.
Ticks are obligate hematophagous parasites and important vectors of diseases. The large amount of blood they consume contains great quantities of iron, an essential but also toxic element. The function of ferritin, an iron storage protein, and iron metabolism in ticks need to be further elucidated. Here, we investigated the function a newly identified secreted ferritin from the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis (HlFER2), together with the previously identified intracellular ferritin (HlFER1). Recombinant ferritins, expressed in Escherichia coli, were used for anti-serum preparation and were also assayed for iron-binding activity. RT-PCR and western blot analyses of different organs and developmental stages of the tick during blood feeding were performed. The localization of ferritins in different organs was demonstrated through an indirect immunofluorescent antibody test. RNA interference (RNAi) was performed to evaluate the importance of ferritin in blood feeding and reproduction of ticks. The midgut was also examined after RNAi using light and transmission electron microscopy. RT-PCR showed differences in gene expression in some organs and developmental stages. Interestingly, only HlFER2 was detected in the ovary during oviposition and in the egg despite the low mRNA transcript. RNAi induced a reduction in post-blood meal body weight, high mortality and decreased fecundity. The expression of vitellogenin genes was affected by silencing of ferritin. Abnormalities in digestive cells, including disrupted microvilli, and alteration of digestive activity were also observed. Taken altogether, our results show that the iron storage and protective functions of ferritin are crucial to successful blood feeding and reproduction of H. longicornis.
Haemaphysalis longicornis is known as one of the most important ticks transmitting Babesia parasites in East Asian countries, including Babesia ovata and Babesia gibsoni, as well as Theileria parasites. H. longicornis is not the natural vector of Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina. Vector ticks and transmitted parasites are thought to have established unique host-parasite interaction for their survival, meaning that vector ticks may have defensive molecules for the growth control of parasites in their bodies. However, the precise adaptation mechanism of tick-Babesia parasites is still unknown. Recently, cyclophilin A (CyPA) was reported to be important for the development of Babesia parasites in ticks. To reveal a part of their adaptation mechanism, the current study was conducted. An injection of B. bovis-infected RBCs into adult female H. longicornis ticks was found to upregulate the expression profiles of the gene and protein of CyPA in H. longicornis (HlCyPA). In addition, recombinant HlCyPA (rHlCyPA) purified from Escherichia coli exhibited significant inhibitory growth effects on B. bovis and B. bigemina cultivated in vitro, without any hemolytic effect on bovine RBCs at all concentrations used. In conclusion, our results suggest that HlCyPA might play an important role in the growth regulation of Babesia parasites in H. longicornis ticks, during natural acquisition from an infected host. Furthermore, rHlCyPA may be a potential alternative chemotherapeutic agent against babesiosis.
Babesiosis is one of the most important tick-borne diseases affecting livestock that can cause major economic losses worldwide particularly in the tropics. Control relies on controlling both the protozoan parasite and the tick vector. Antiprotozoal drugs are most commonly used for treatment, but problems on emergence of resistant strains and food residues are encountered. Longicin, a defensin-like peptide identified from the hard tick, Haemapysalis longicornis, as well as one of its synthetic partial analogs (P4), were previously reported to exert antimicrobial, fungicidal, and parasiticidal activity. Both longicin and P4 showed babesiacidal activity, in vitro and in vivo. Here, peptide fragments of P4 were studied for in vitro activity against bovine Babesia parasites. One of the peptide fragments, antimicrobial peptide 1 (AMP1), reduced the parasitemia of Babesia bigemina. No peptide had significant effect on Babesia bovis. The sequence of AMP1 corresponded to the longicin sequence which is associated with antiparasitic activity. Although AMP1 caused reduction in parasitemia of B. bigemina, the difference in morphology of the parasite compared with the control group was not statistically significant. However, the percentage occurrence of piroplasms decreased, whereas the abnormal pycnotic form increased. The results demonstrated that this shorter peptide retained the anti-babesial activity of the parent peptide, exerting an antiparasitic effect against a bovine Babesia species. Therefore, this short peptide can be considered for chemical synthesis as an alternative therapeutic agent for babesiosis.
Increasing evidence suggests that mechanical factors play a critical role in fate decisions of stem cells. Recently we have demonstrated that a local force applied via Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptides coated magnetic beads to mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells increases cell spreading and cell stiffness and decreases Oct3/4 (Pou5f1) gene expression. However, it is not clear whether the effects of the applied stress on these functions of ES cells can be extended to natural extracellular matrix proteins or cell-cell adhesion molecules. Here we show that a local cyclic shear force applied via fibronectin or laminin to integrin receptors increased cell spreading and stiffness, downregulated Oct3/4 gene expression, and decreased cell proliferation rate. In contrast, the same cyclic force applied via cell-cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin (Cdh1) had no effects on cell spreading, Oct3/4 gene expression, and the self-renewal of mouse ES cells, but induced significant cell stiffening. Our findings demonstrate that biological responses of ES cells to force applied via integrins are different from those to force via E-cadherin, suggesting that mechanical forces might play different roles in different force transduction pathways to shape early embryogenesis.
We report a case of intrathoracic herniation of the colonic interposition pulled up through the retrosternal space after subtotal esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. The patient, a 68-year-old man, presented with progressive dysphagia about 1 year after this operation. We performed left thoracotomy and laparotomy, which revealed the reconstructed colon herniating into the left thoracic cavity through a large defect in the left mediastinal pleura. The redundant colon was resected, and the colonic graft was shortened and straightened. We concluded that the defect in the mediastinal pleura and colonic redundancy had permitted the colonic graft to herniate into the left thoracic cavity.
Ticks grow rapidly during blood feeding, and their body weight may ultimately increase 100-fold more than that before feeding. The molecular mechanisms controlling growth during blood feeding in ticks remain largely unknown. The conserved insulin/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway regulates growth and metabolism in eukaryotes. Here, we show evidence for the involvement of Akt in growth during blood feeding in the parthenogenetic strain of the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. We identified a homolog of the Ser/Thr kinase Akt (HlAkt) from the EST database of the H. longicornis embryo. HlAkt cDNA had a 1,590 bp ORF that encodes 529 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 60 kDa. HlAkt possesses a PH domain, a Ser/Thr kinase domain, a hydrophobic motif, and dual phosphorylation residues (Thr 338 and Ser 503) that are essential for kinase activation. Knockdown of HlAkt by RNA interference caused inhibition of blood feeding in female ticks. Histological observation demonstrated that HlAkt knockdown led to the arrest of growth in internal organs. HlAkt knockdown also affected the expressions of blood meal-induced genes that are essential for blood digestion, development, and reproduction in the female tick. These results strongly indicate that HlAkt is essential to complete the blood feeding process accompanied by the growth of internal organs in adult ticks. This is the first report of identification and characterization of Akt in Chelicerata, including ticks.
RNA interference is an efficient method to silence gene and protein expressions. Here, the class B scavenger receptor CD36 (SRB) mediated the uptake of exogenous dsRNAs in the induction of the RNAi responses in ticks. Unfed female Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks were injected with a single or a combination of H. longicornis SRB (HlSRB) dsRNA, vitellogenin-1 (HlVg-1) dsRNA, and vitellogenin receptor (HlVgR) dsRNA. We found that specific and systemic silencing of the HlSRB, HlVg-1, and HlVgR genes was achieved in ticks injected with a single dsRNA of HlSRB, HlVg-1, and HlVgR. In ticks injected first with HlVg-1 or HlVgR dsRNA followed 96 hours later with HlSRB dsRNA (HlVg-1/HlSRB or HlVgR/HlSRB), gene silencing of HlSRB was achieved in addition to first knockdown in HlVg-1 or HlVgR, and prominent phenotypic changes were observed in engorgement, mortality, and hatchability, indicating that a systemic and specific double knockdown of target genes had been simultaneously attained in these ticks. However, in ticks injected with HlSRB dsRNA followed 96 hours later with HlVg-1 or HlVgR dsRNAs, silencing of HlSRB was achieved, but no subsequent knockdown in HlVgR or HlVg-1 was observed. The Westernblot and immunohistochemical examinations revealed that the endogenous HlSRB protein was fully abolished in midguts of ticks injected with HlSRB/HlVg-1 dsRNAs but HlVg-1 was normally expressed in midguts, suggesting that HlVg-1 dsRNA-mediated RNAi was fully inhibited by the first knockdown of HlSRB. Similarly, the abolished localization of HlSRB protein was recognized in ovaries of ticks injected with HlSRB/HlVgR, while normal localization of HlVgR was observed in ovaries, suggesting that the failure to knock-down HlVgR could be attributed to the first knockdown of HlSRB. In summary, we demonstrated for the first time that SRB may not only mediate the effective knock-down of gene expression by RNAi but also play essential roles for systemic RNAi of ticks.
The objective of this retrospective descriptive study was to determine whether the universal influenza vaccination for schoolchildren was effective in controlling influenza outbreaks in a school. A universal vaccination program for schoolchildren was started in Japan in the 1960s, but the government abandoned the program in 1994 because of lack of evidence that the program was effective in preventing influenza in schoolchildren.
The utility of prophylactic splenectomy in patients with proximal third gastric carcinoma is controversial. In this study, we investigated the significance of nodal involvement in the splenic hilum and the impact of splenectomy.
The Haemaphysalis longicornis longicin P4 peptide is an active part peptide produced by longicin which displays bactericidal activity against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and other microorganisms. In the present study, the effect of the longicin P4 peptide on the infectivity of Toxoplasma gondii parasites was examined in vitro. Tachyzoites of T. gondii incubated with longicin P4 had induced aggregation and lost the trypan blue dye exclusion activity and the invasion ability into the mouse embryonal cell line (NIH/3T3). Longicin P4 bound to T. gondii tachyzoites, as demonstrated by fluoresce microscopic analysis. An electron microscopic analysis and a fluorescence propidium iodide exclusion assay of tachyzoites exposed to longicin P4 revealed pore formation in the cellular membrane, membrane disorganization, and hollowing as well as cytoplasmic vacuolization. The number of tachyzoites proliferated in mouse macrophage cell line (J774A.1) was significantly decreased by incubation with longicin P4. These findings suggested that longicin P4 conceivably impaired parasite membranes, leading to the destruction of Toxoplasma parasites in J774A.1 cells. Thus, longicin P4 is an interesting candidate for antitoxoplasmosis drug design that causes severe toxicity to T. gondii and plays an important role in reducing cellular infection. This is the first report showing that longicin P4 causes aggregation and membrane injury of parasites, leading to Toxoplasma tachyzoite destruction.
Here, we present evidence that the tumor-like growth of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) is suppressed by short-term serum-free culture, which is reversed by pharmacological inhibition of Gsk3?. Mouse ESCs maintained under standard conditions using fetal bovine serum (FBS) were cultured in a uniquely formulated chemically-defined serum-free (CDSF) medium, namely ESF7, for three passages before being subcutaneously transplanted into immunocompromised mice. Surprisingly, the mESCs failed to produce teratomas for up to six months, whereas mESCs maintained under standard conditions generated well-developed teratomas in five weeks. Mouse ESCs cultured under CDSF conditions maintained the expression of Oct3/4, Nanog, Sox2 and SSEA1, and differentiated into germ cells in vivo. In addition, when mESCs were cultured under CDSF conditions supplemented with FBS, or when the cells were cultured under CDSF conditions followed by standard culture conditions, they consistently developed into teratomas. Thus, these results validate that the pluripotency of mESCs was not compromised by CDSF conditions. Mouse ESCs cultured under CDSF conditions proliferated significantly more slowly than mESCs cultured under standard conditions, and were reminiscent of Eras-null mESCs. In fact, their slower proliferation was accompanied by the downregulation of Eras and c-Myc, which regulate the tumor-like growth of mESCs. Remarkably, when mESCs were cultured under CDSF conditions supplemented with a pharmacological inhibitor of Gsk3?, they efficiently proliferated and developed into teratomas without upregulation of Eras and c-Myc, whereas mESCs cultured under standard conditions expressed Eras and c-Myc. Although the role of Gsk3? in the self-renewal of ESCs has been established, it is suggested with these data that Gsk3? governs the tumor-like growth of mESCs by means of a mechanism different from the one to support the pluripotency of ESCs.
Rhox6 is one of the Reproductive Homeobox genes on the X chromosome (Rhox) that is expressed in the placenta and the post-migratory primordial germ cells (PGCs) in the nascent gonad. Despite its novel expression pattern, the significance of Rhox6 expression in the differentiation of these cell types remains unknown. To investigate the role that Rhox6 plays in PGCs, cDNA encoding Rhox6 and short-hairpin (sh) RNA directed against Rhox6 transcripts were introduced by unique expression vectors into a genetically engineered mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) line. This ESC line expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under the Oct3/4 promoter, thereby allowing us to monitor the presence of undifferentiated ESCs and PGCs in culture in real time. This ESC line was used to isolate clones that stably expressed Rhox6 cDNA, shRNA against Rhox6 transcripts, or controls. Quantitative RT-PCR results validated that overexpression had been achieved, as well as knockdown of Rhox6 transcripts in these ESC clones. However, these clones exhibited a normal appearance of undifferentiated ESCs and expressed EGFP. Next, these ESC clones were induced to differentiate into PGCs by generating embryoid bodies (EBs) in culture medium without leukemia inhibitory factor. Detection of EGFP expression by fluorescence microscopy and germ cell markers by RT-PCR validated the differentiation of PGCs in EBs. The Rhox6 transgene had little, if any, effect on EGFP expression in EBs, whereas Rhox6 knockdown significantly decreased EGFP expression in EBs. Thus, it is suggested with these results that Rhox6 is necessary for determination of the germ cell lineage.
Autophagy is the intracellular protein degradation process which is induced by starvation. Ticks have a unique tolerance for starvation, and it is possible that this tolerance is associated with their longevity. Previously, we isolated the homologues of four autophagy-related (ATG) genes in the hard tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, suggesting that autophagy appeared to play an important role in tolerance for starvation as well as the development of ticks. In this study, the homologue of ATG6 was isolated from H. longicornis (HlATG6). HlATG6 mRNA expression was higher in the egg and unfed larval stages than in other stages and upregulated in ovaries during the blood-feeding period. Moreover, HlATG6-knockdowned ticks laid a few and poorly developed eggs that were white brown in color and not well surface-coated with wax. However, the expression of vitellogenin (Vg)-2, HlVg-2, in the fat body of HlATG6-knockdowned ticks was significantly upregulated. In addition, hemolymph had a deep brown color in HlATG6-knockdowned ticks on day 21 after engorgement and drop-off, indicating that the Vgs synthesized by the fat body and midgut are retained and accumulated in the hemolymph of HlATG6-knockdowned ticks, probably due to the downregulation of the Vg uptake capability of oocytes. Interestingly, HlATG6 knockdown provided non-significant influences on the expression of the Vg receptor (HlVgR) at oocytes, suggesting a non-significant depression of VgR-mediated endocytosis in the oocytes of HlATG6-knockdowned ticks. Therefore, it was interpreted that the repression of Vg uptake in the oocytes of HlATG6-knockdowned ticks may be involved in endocytic processes other than the receptor recognition of Vgs in oocytes.
CTRP3/cartducin, a novel C1q family protein, is expressed in proliferating chondrocytes in the growth plate and has an important role in regulating the growth of both chondrogenic precursors and chondrocytes in vitro. We examined the expression of CTRP3/cartducin mRNA in Meckels cartilage and in condylar cartilage of the fetal mouse mandible. Based on in situ hybridization studies, CTRP3/cartducin mRNA was not expressed in the anlagen of Meckels cartilage at embryonic day (E)11.5, but it was strongly expressed in Meckels cartilage at E14.0, and then reduced in the hypertrophic chondrocytes at E16.0. CTRP3/cartducin mRNA was not expressed in the condylar anlagen at E14.0, but was expressed in the upper part of newly formed condylar cartilage at E15.0. At E16.0, CTRP3/cartducin mRNA was expressed from the polymorphic cell zone to the upper part of the hypertrophic cell zone, but was reduced in the lower part of the hypertrophic cell zone. CTRP3/cartducin-antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (AS-ODN) treatment of Meckels cartilage and condylar anlagen from E14.0 using an organ culture system indicated that, after 4-day culture, CTRP3/cartducin abrogation induced curvature deformation of Meckels cartilage with loss of the perichondrium and new cartilage formation. Aggrecan, type I collagen, and tenascin-C were simultaneously immunostained in this newly formed cartilage, indicating possible transformation from the perichondrium into cartilage. Further, addition of recombinant mouse CTRP3/cartducin protein to the organ culture medium with AS-ODN tended to reverse the deformation. These results suggest a novel function for CTRP3/cartducin in maintaining the perichondrium. Moreover, AS-ODN induced a deformation of the shape, loss of the perichondrium/fibrous cell zone, and disorder of the distinct architecture of zones in the mandibular condylar cartilage. Additionally, AS-ODN-treated condylar cartilage showed reduced levels of mRNA expression of aggrecan, collagen types I and X, and reduced BrdU-incorporation. These results suggest that CTRP3/cartducin is not only involved in the proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes, but also contributes to the regulation of mandibular condylar cartilage.
Human embryonic stem cells (ESCs [hESCs]) proliferate as colonies wherein individual cells are strongly adhered to one another. This architecture is linked to hESC self-renewal, pluripotency, and survival and depends on epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin), NMMIIA (nonmuscle myosin IIA), and p120-catenin. E-cadherin and p120-catenin work within a positive feedback loop that promotes localized accumulation of E-cadherin at intercellular junctions. NMMIIA stabilizes p120-catenin protein and controls E-cadherin-mediated intercellular adhesion. Perturbations of this signaling network disrupt colony formation, destabilize the transcriptional regulatory circuitry for pluripotency, and impair long-term survival of hESCs. Furthermore, depletion of E-cadherin markedly reduces the efficiency of reprogramming of human somatic cells to an ESC-like state. The feedback regulation and mechanical-biochemical integration provide mechanistic insights for the regulation of intercellular adhesion and cellular architecture in hESCs during long-term self-renewal. Our findings also contribute to the understanding of microenvironmental regulation of hESC identity and somatic reprogramming.
Maintaining undifferentiated mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) culture has been a major challenge as mESCs cultured in Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) conditions exhibit spontaneous differentiation, fluctuating expression of pluripotency genes, and genes of specialized cells. Here we show that, in sharp contrast to the mESCs seeded on the conventional rigid substrates, the mESCs cultured on the soft substrates that match the intrinsic stiffness of the mESCs and in the absence of exogenous LIF for 5 days, surprisingly still generated homogeneous undifferentiated colonies, maintained high levels of Oct3/4, Nanog, and Alkaline Phosphatase (AP) activities, and formed embryoid bodies and teratomas efficiently. A different line of mESCs, cultured on the soft substrates without exogenous LIF, maintained the capacity of generating homogeneous undifferentiated colonies with relatively high levels of Oct3/4 and AP activities, up to at least 15 passages, suggesting that this soft substrate approach applies to long term culture of different mESC lines. mESC colonies on these soft substrates without LIF generated low cell-matrix tractions and low stiffness. Both tractions and stiffness of the colonies increased with substrate stiffness, accompanied by downregulation of Oct3/4 expression. Our findings demonstrate that mESC self-renewal and pluripotency can be maintained homogeneously on soft substrates via the biophysical mechanism of facilitating generation of low cell-matrix tractions.
We have reported elsewhere that offspring from the No. 65 female of Xenopus laevis cleaved normally, but their development was arrested at the onset of gastrulation, like the Ambystoma ova-deficient (o) mutant, irrespective of mating with different wild-type males, and that an acidic, 38 kDa protein present in wild-type eggs was lacking in eggs of the female. In the current study, we first determined the partial amino acid sequence (VANLE) of one of the well-separated tryptic peptides from the protein, which was found in elongation factor 1 delta (Ef1delta) in Xenopus, and finally identified the protein as one of the Ef1delta isoforms, Ef1delta2, by peptide mass spectrometry. RT-PCR analyses for Ef1delta2 and its close homolog Ef1delta1 in wild-type oocytes and embryos demonstrated that both transcripts are maternal and Ef1delta1 is present more abundantly than Ef1delta2 throughout the stages examined. Importantly, the amount of the Ef1delta2 transcript per embryo decreased gradually after gastrulation, in accordance with the gradual decrease of the 38 kDa protein per embryo reported in our earlier study. Because pharmacological inhibition of translation induces gastrulation arrest in wild-type embryos, it is reasonable to conclude that the mutant embryos arrest in development due to the lack of Ef1delta2 that is indispensable for translation. Thus, the present study provides the first molecular information on the cause of the gastrulation-defective mutation in Amphibia.
Scavenger receptors (SRs) are cell-surface proteins and exhibit distinctive ligand-binding properties, recognizing a wide range of ligands that include microbial surface constituents and intact microbes. The class B scavenger receptor CD36 (SRB) is predominantly expressed by macrophages and is considered important in innate immunity. We here show the identification and characterization of SRB from the hard ixodid tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis (HlSRB). The full-length cDNA was 2,908 bp, including an ORF encoding of 1,518 amino acids with a pI value of 5.83. H. longicornis SRB contains a hydrophobic SRB domain and four centrally clustered cysteine residues for arrangement of disulfide bridges. Deduced amino acid sequence has an identity of 30-38% with the SRB of other organisms. RT-PCR analysis showed that mRNA transcripts were expressed in multiple organs of adult ticks but with a different transcript level in the developmental stages of H. longicornis ticks. His-tagged recombinant HlSRB was expressed in Escherichia coli with an expected molecular mass of 50 kDa. In Western blot analysis, mouse anti-rHlSRB serum recognized a strong reaction with a 50 kDa protein band in lysates prepared from egg and adult tick but showed a weak reaction with lysates of larva and nymph. In an indirect immunofluorescent antibody test, HlSRB antiserum recognized the protein located on the midgut, salivary glands, and ovary of partially fed H. longicornis females. Silencing of the HlSRB gene by RNAi led to a significant reduction in the engorged female body weight. It is noteworthy that more than a dozen SRB orthologs have been identified in the genomes of insect species with functions related to pheromone signaling, innate immunity, phagocytic clearance of apoptotic cells, and various aspects of the fatty acid metabolism. This is the first report of the identification and characterization of the SRB homologue in Chelicerata, including ticks, horseshoe crabs, scorpions, spiders, and mites.
A full-length cDNA-encoding lysozyme was obtained from cDNA libraries of salivary glands of the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis and designated as HlLysozyme. The HlLysozyme sequence represents an open reading frame for a putative signal peptide and the mature protein composed of 121 amino acids. The calculated molecular weight of the protein is 13.7 kDa, and the theoretical isoelectric point is 9.85. HlLysozyme shares 41-79% amino acid sequence identity with the lysozymes of other organisms. The activity of recombinant HlLysozyme expressed in Escherichia coli was confirmed by a lytic zone assay using lyophilized Micrococcus lysodeikticus. The HlLysozyme activity decreased at 70 °C and was demonstrated at acidic side and neutral in a pH range. Elevated gene expression of HlLysozyme was observed when female ticks were challenged with bacteria, suggesting possible roles of lysozyme as an innate immunity of ticks against microorganisms.
Ovarian development and egg maturation are crucial processes for the success of reproduction in ticks. Three full-length cDNAs encoding the precursor of major yolk protein, vitellogenin, were obtained from cDNA libraries of the Haemaphysalis longicornis tick and designated as HlVg-1, HlVg-2 and HlVg-3. The HlVg mRNAs were found in fed females with major expression sites in the midgut, fat body and ovary. Native PAGE and Western blot demonstrated that HlVgs in the hemolymph, fat body and ovary of fed females consisted of four major polypeptides. RNAi results showed that HlVg dsRNA-injected ticks obtained lower body weight, egg weight and showed higher mortality of engorged females after blood sucking than control groups. Our results indicate that all HlVgs are essential for egg development and oviposition.
Human defensins play a fundamental role in the initiation of innate immune responses to some microbial pathogens. In this paper, we show that human alpha-defensin-5 displays a parasiticidal role against Toxoplasma gondii, the causative agent of toxoplasmosis. Exposure of the tachyzoite form of T. gondii to defensin induced aggregation and significantly reduced parasite viability in a concentration-dependent peptide. Pre-incubation of tachyzoites with human alpha-defensin-5 followed by exposure to a mouse embryonal cell line (NIH/3T3) significantly reduced T. gondii infection in these cells. Thus, human alpha-defensin-5 is an innate immune molecule that causes severe toxocity to T. gondii and plays an important role in reducing cellular infection. This is the first report showing that human alpha-defensin-5 causes aggregation, leading to Toxoplasma destruction.
It has been previously established that living cells, including mesenchymal stem cells, stiffen in response to elevation of substrate stiffness. This stiffening is largely attributed to the elevation of the tractions at the cell base that is associated with increases in cell spreading on more-rigid substrates. We show here, surprisingly, that mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) do not stiffen when substrate stiffness increases. As shown recently, these cells do not increase spreading on more-rigid substrates either. However, these ESCs do increase their basal tractions as substrate stiffness increases. We conclude that these ESCs exhibit mechanical behaviors distinct from those of mesenchymal stem cells and of terminally differentiated cells, and decouple its apical cell stiffness from its basal tractional stresses during the substrate rigidity response.
Longicin, a defensin-like peptide, was recently identified in the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. Longicin and one of its synthetic partial analogs (P4) displayed antimicrobial/fungicidal/parasiticidal activity. In the present study, we compared longicin-derived synthetic analogs in order to characterize the antimicrobial motif (P4) by analyzing some structural features using various bioinformatic tools and/or CD spectroscopy. According to the chemicophysical characteristics, P4 is suggested to be a cationic peptide with hydrophobic and amphipathic character. The predicted secondary structure indicated the existence of a beta-sheet, which was also observed in the modeled tertiary structure. CD spectroscopic results also showed the existence of a beta-sheet and transition to a helical conformation in the presence of membrane-mimicking conditions. These structural observations on P4 suggested that the antimicrobial activity could be due to the beta-sheet as well as the alpha-helix. In addition, a sequence homology search showed that molecules identified in other ticks and organisms also have the P4 analogous domain at their C-terminal, which indicates P4 as a conserved domain. The peptide P4 also showed low cytolytic activity. Based on the present result and previously reported studies, the peptide P4 could be suggested as a novel antimicrobial domain indicating future therapeutic agent against bacteria.
Blood feeding tightly regulates the reproductive cycles of ticks. Vitellogenesis and nutritional signaling are key events in the tick reproductive cycle. Here we report the identification of a GATA factor that is synthesized after a blood meal and acts as a transcriptional activator of vitellogenin (Vg), and the identification of an S6 kinase that is a transcription regulator of the amino acid signaling pathway. Tick GATA mRNA accumulated in the midgut prior to blood feeding. However, translation of GATA was activated by blood feeding because the GATA protein dramatically increased in the fat body of engorged females. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of S6 kinase and GATA factor revealed the involvements of S6 kinase in GATA activation and resulted in a significant inhibition of the major yolk protein vitellogenin in engorged ticks and effectively disrupting egg development after a blood meal. These results indicate that the GATA factor, a specific transcriptional activator of Vg gene, represents an important molecule for the regulation of tick vitellogenesis and reproduction.
Growing evidence suggests that physical microenvironments and mechanical stresses, in addition to soluble factors, help direct mesenchymal-stem-cell fate. However, biological responses to a local force in embryonic stem cells remain elusive. Here we show that a local cyclic stress through focal adhesions induced spreading in mouse embryonic stem cells but not in mouse embryonic stem-cell-differentiated cells, which were ten times stiffer. This response was dictated by the cell material property (cell softness), suggesting that a threshold cell deformation is the key setpoint for triggering spreading responses. Traction quantification and pharmacological or shRNA intervention revealed that myosin II contractility, F-actin, Src or cdc42 were essential in the spreading response. The applied stress led to oct3/4 gene downregulation in mES cells. Our findings demonstrate that cell softness dictates cellular sensitivity to force, suggesting that local small forces might have far more important roles in early development of soft embryos than previously appreciated.
Gastric cancer with esophageal invasion (GCE) is a disease of poor prognosis, and issues pertaining to surgical treatment still remain unresolved. Particularly problematic areas in GCE cases include the need for lower mediastinal lymph node (MSLN) dissection, the most effective surgical approach, and the optimal extent of the esophageal resection. In this study, we evaluate the characteristics of GCE and investigate aspects of surgical treatment.
Despite the recent identification of the transcriptional regulatory circuitry involving SOX2, NANOG, and OCT-4, the intracellular signaling networks that control pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) remain largely undefined. Here, we demonstrate an essential role for the serine/threonine protein kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in regulating hESC long-term undifferentiated growth. Inhibition of mTOR impairs pluripotency, prevents cell proliferation, and enhances mesoderm and endoderm activities in hESCs. At the molecular level, mTOR integrates signals from extrinsic pluripotency-supporting factors and represses the transcriptional activities of a subset of developmental and growth-inhibitory genes, as revealed by genome-wide microarray analyses. Repression of the developmental genes by mTOR is necessary for the maintenance of hESC pluripotency. These results uncover a novel signaling mechanism by which mTOR controls fate decisions in hESCs. Our findings may contribute to effective strategies for tissue repair and regeneration.
Mammary glands exhibit a series of developmental states that are typified by proliferation, differentiation, and involution. Here, we demonstrate that a microRNA (miRNA), miR-101a, plays an important role in the process of mammary gland development. We used miRNA microarray analysis to show that some miRNAs exhibit changes in their expression during mouse mammary gland epithelial cell (HC11) differentiation, which corresponds to the time when these cells acquire the milk-producing phenotype. In particular, we observed an increase of miR-101a expression throughout differentiation and involution in mammary gland tissue, as well as in HC11 cells. Overexpression experiments revealed that miR-101a suppressed the expression of beta-casein mRNA, a milk protein, and marker of cell differentiation, but its suppression was not mediated by transcriptional or direct post-transcriptional regulation of beta-casein mRNA. Overexpression of miR-101a also inhibited HC11 cell proliferation that could influence the differentiation state of the mammary gland. We speculate that a direct target of miR-101a is cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) mRNA because there was an inverse relationship between these two genes during mammary gland development. Indeed, Cox-2 protein expression was suppressed by the overexpression of miR-101a, and the luciferase activity of reporter constructs containing the Cox-2 3UTR was also suppressed by miR-101a overexpression. As Cox-2 has been shown to mediate cell proliferation, it is possible that the inhibition of HC11 cell proliferation by miR-101a might be mediated by Cox-2. Taken together, these results suggest that miR-101a regulates cell proliferation via altering Cox-2 expression, which is critical for controlling mammary gland development.
The embryonic stem (ES) cell is a stem cell derived from early embryos that can indefinitely repeat self-renewing cell division cycles as an undifferentiated cell in vitro and give rise to all specialised cell types in the body. However, manipulating ES cell differentiation in vitro is a challenge due to, at least in part, heterogeneous gene induction. Recent experimental evidence has demonstrated that undifferentiated mouse ES cells maintained in culture exhibit heterogeneous expression of Dppa3, Nanog, Rex1, Pecam1 and Zscan4 as well as genes (Brachyury/T, Rhox6/9 and Twist2) normally expressed in specialised cell types. The Nanog-negative, Rex1-negative or T-positive ES cell subpopulation has a unique differentiation potential. Thus, studying the mechanism that generates ES cell subpopulations will improve manipulation of ES cell fate and help our understanding of the nature of embryonic development.
The major role of mast cells in wound healing process has not been identified. In this study, we used mast cell-deficient W/W(V) mice and their congenic control (+/+) mice to examine the role of mast cells in scald wound healing.
Lactoperoxidase (LPO) is a 78 kDa heme-containing oxidation-reduction enzyme present in milk, found in physiological fluids of mammals. LPO has an antimicrobial activity, and presumably contribute to the protective functions of milk against infectious diseases. In this study, recombinant vaccinia virus expressing bovine LPO (vv/bLPO) was constructed. In rabbit kidney (RK13) cells infected with vv/bLPO, recombinant bLPO was detected in both cell extracts and culture supernatants. Tunicamycin treatment decreased the molecular weight of recombinant bLPO, indicating that recombinant bLPO contains a N-linked glycosylation site. The replication of recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing bovine lactoferrin (vv/bLF) at a multiplicity of infection (moi) of 5 plaque-forming units (PFU)/cell was inhibited by antiviral activity of recombinant bLF, suggesting that vv/bLF has an antiviral effect against vaccinia virus. On the other hand, the replication of vv/bLPO at a moi of 5 PFU/cell was not inhibited by antiviral activity of recombinant bLPO, indicating that this recombinant virus could be used as a suitable viral vector. These results indicate that a combination of bLPO and vaccinia virus vector may be useful for medical and veterinary applications in vivo.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinicopathological characteristics and prognostic factors of cancer at the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) whose center is situated at a site within 2 cm above and below the junction. This retrospective study included 90 patients with cancer at the GEJ, including 58 with adenocarcinoma (ADC) and 32 with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). ADC tumors were larger in size than SCC tumors. ADC and SCC at the GEJ showed a similar distribution of the pattern of lymphatic spread. The rate of lower mediastinal lymph node metastasis was approximately 20 per cent, which is similar to the nodes along the celiac artery and the nodes along the common hepatic artery. The overall survival rates were similar between the groups. The presence of five or more lymph node metastases was an independent prognostic factor according to a multivariate analysis. When two or more lymph nodes larger than 10 mm were detected preoperatively, five or more lymph node metastases were proven by histology in most cases. The most frequent sites of recurrence of ADC and SCC were the peritoneum and lymph nodes, respectively. Aggressive additional treatment may be needed if two or more lymph nodes are seen on preoperative imaging.
Spatial organization of different epigenomic marks was used to infer functions of the epigenome. It remains unclear what can be learned from the temporal changes of the epigenome. Here, we developed a probabilistic model to cluster genomic sequences based on the similarity of temporal changes of multiple epigenomic marks during a cellular differentiation process. We differentiated mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells into mesendoderm cells. At three time points during this differentiation process, we used high-throughput sequencing to measure seven histone modifications and variants--H3K4me1/2/3, H3K27ac, H3K27me3, H3K36me3, and H2A.Z; two DNA modifications--5-mC and 5-hmC; and transcribed mRNAs and noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). Genomic sequences were clustered based on the spatiotemporal epigenomic information. These clusters not only clearly distinguished gene bodies, promoters, and enhancers, but also were predictive of bidirectional promoters, miRNA promoters, and piRNAs. This suggests specific epigenomic patterns exist on piRNA genes much earlier than germ cell development. Temporal changes of H3K4me2, unmethylated CpG, and H2A.Z were predictive of 5-hmC changes, suggesting unmethylated CpG and H3K4me2 as potential upstream signals guiding TETs to specific sequences. Several rules on combinatorial epigenomic changes and their effects on mRNA expression and ncRNA expression were derived, including a simple rule governing the relationship between 5-hmC and gene expression levels. A Sox17 enhancer containing a FOXA2 binding site and a Foxa2 enhancer containing a SOX17 binding site were identified, suggesting a positive feedback loop between the two mesendoderm transcription factors. These data illustrate the power of using epigenome dynamics to investigate regulatory functions.
Vitellogenin (Vg) synthesis, vitellogenesis, is an essential process for the development and reproduction of ticks. Our previous finding led to the hypothesis that target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway is important for vitellogenesis in the hard tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis. The TOR pathway controls cellular activity according to nutrient availability in eukaryotes. TOR, a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase family, is a central player in this pathway. Here, we present preliminary evidence that H. longicornis TOR (HlTOR) controls vitellogenesis via activation of S6 kinase (S6K) in the fat body. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated gene silencing of HlTOR was undertaken to elucidate the involvement of HlTOR in the vitellogenesis of the tick. HlTOR-RNAi caused inhibition of S6K phosphorylation in the fat body. HlTOR-RNAi also altered not only the expression levels of GATA mRNA and protein but also the intracellular localisation of GATA in the fat body. The expression levels of Vg mRNA and protein in the fat body of HlTOR-RNAi ticks were significantly lower than those in control ticks. In the pre-ovipositional stage, the ovaries of control ticks had brown oocytes developing, but those of HlTOR-RNAi ticks were white and immature. The haemolymph colour indicated that the amount of Vg was lower in HlTOR-RNAi ticks than in the controls. Furthermore, rapamycin inhibited S6K phosphorylation and reduced the expression levels of Vg mRNA and protein in the fat bodies. Vg proteins were not detected in rapamycin-treated fat bodies in the presence of 20-hydroxyecdysone. These results suggest that HlTOR activity is critical for vitellogenesis stimulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone.
In 2005, the SYNTAX score was reported as "an angiographic tool grading the complexity of coronary artery disease". We investigated risk factors for the complexity of coronary artery disease (CAD) using SYNTAX scores in patients with new-onset CAD. The subjects were 359 consecutive cases that underwent de novo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass graft surgery without previous PCI history. Acute myocardial infarction was excluded. The SYNTAX scores were obtained from coronary angiographies performed before PCI. On multivariate linear regression analysis of risk factors for the SYNTAX scores, aging, being a male and having diabetes mellitus were identified as significant independent risk factors (age: multiple regression coefficient 0.27, p = 0.001; male: 4.91, p = 0.004; diabetes: 4.53, p = 0.001). Other coronary risk factors such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking and reduced renal function were not identified as significant independent risk factors. In patients undergoing PCI, aging, being a male and having diabetes mellitus are considered to be independent risk factors for the complexity of CAD. Therefore, when patients with CAD have these factors, we expect the CAD of the patient to be more complex and that it will be necessary to provide more careful medical care.
The present patient was a 69-year-old male diagnosed as gastric cancer with peritoneal dissemination by staging laparoscopy. He was treated with chemotherapy using S-1 (120 mg/body/day) and docetaxel (70 mg/body/day 1) administered for 2 weeks, followed by one drug-free week in three-week courses. After 4 courses of treatment, the primary tumor regressed, but only slightly. Because of an adverse event, we continued with a lower dose. After 4 more courses of treatment, the primary tumor and dissemination were undetectable on abdominal CT scan but were endoscopically detected. The patient has been followed on an outpatient basis without surgical treatment for 2 years.
The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between intraoperative anastomotic troubles and the incidence of esophagojejunal anastomotic leakage (EJAL), and to identify risk factors for EJAL after elective gastrectomy for gastric cancer.
4E-BP, an eIF4E-binding protein, is well known as a cap-dependent translation inhibitor. Here, the 4E-BP homolog, Hl4E-BP, was isolated and identified from the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. Hl4E-BP transcripts were ubiquitously expressed in the active stages, including the larvae, nymphs, and female adults, and the transcription levels were found to be higher in unfed than engorged ticks. In contrast, the expression levels of non-phosphorylated Hl4E-BP, which is a 13.4-kDa protein detected by the anti-recombinant Hl4E-BP antibody, were the highest in engorged ticks and significantly decreased progressively during the unfed starvation period of ticks. The functional role of Hl4E-BP as a metabolic brake was verified by histochemical observations on the lipid storage in midguts and fat bodies during the starvation period using ticks injected with dsHl4E-BP. The results indicate that Hl4E-BP is highly relevant to the lipid storage of ticks during the non-feeding starvation period. Our results suggest, for the first time, that Hl4E-BP may have a crucial role in the starvation resistance of ticks in an off-host condition via lipid metabolism control, although it was unclear whether Hl4E-BP might be involved in lipid synthesis regulation and/or lipid consumption inhibition.
Aortic aneurysm is a complex multifactorial disease with genetic and environmental risk factors. It is often accompanied by aortic calcification. Here, to uncover proteins that are significantly changed in calcified abdominal aortic aneurysms (CAAs) and calcified thoracic aortic aneurysms (CTAs) compared with those in adjacent normal aorta tissues, comprehensive analysis of differentially expressed proteins in their tissues was performed by a quantitative proteomic approach with iTRAQ labeling in combination with nanoLC-MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS/MS followed by ProteinPilot analysis. The proteomic analysis revealed 138 and 134 proteins differentially expressed in CAAs and CTAs in contrast to neighboring normal aorta tissues with high confidence, respectively. Significantly increased expression (?1.3-fold) was found in 41 and 28 proteins, whereas decreased expression (<0.77-fold) was found in 4 and 60 proteins in CAAs and CTAs, respectively. Among them, we identified already known proteins involved in aneurysm formation and vascular calcification, such as type I and III collagen, matrix Gla protein, and ?-2-HS-glycoprotein in CAAs and fibrinogen ?, ? and ? chains and ?-2-HS-glycoprotein in CTAs with increased expression and mimecan in CAAs and fibulin-5 in CTAs with decreased expression. Based on the Panther pathway and Genesis clustering analyses, some of the proteins could be linked to corresponding biochemical pathways, such as the integrin signaling pathway with increased expression in CAAs, the blood coagulation pathway with increased expression in CTAs, and the inflammation mediated by chemokine and cytokine signaling pathway and the glycolysis pathway with decreased expression in CTAs. Interestingly, it was found by clustering analysis that samples from CAAs of patients with both CAAs and CTAs were clustered outside the samples of patients with CAAs and were clustered with samples of patients with CTAs. Our results provide a comprehensive patient-based proteomic analysis for the identification of potential biomarkers for CAAs and CTAs.
A heterologous prime-boost strategy with priming plasmid DNA followed by recombinant virus expressing relevant antigens is known to stimulate protective immunity against intracellular parasites. In this study, we have evaluated a heterologous prime-boost strategy for immunizing mice against Toxoplasma gondii infection. Our results revealed that the prime-boost strategy using both plasmid DNA and adenoviral vector encoding TgAMA1 may stimulate both humoral and Th1/Th2 cellular immune responses specific for TgAMA1. Moreover, C57BL/6 mice immunized with the pAMA1/Ad5Null, pNull/Ad5AMA1, and pAMA1/Ad5AMA1 constructs showed survival rates of 12.5%, 37.5%, and 50%, respectively. In contrast, all the pNull/Ad5Null immunized mice died after infection with the PLK-GFP strain of T. gondii. Brain cyst burden was reduced by 23% in mice immunized with pAMA1/Ad5AMA1 compared with the pNull/Ad5AMA1 immunized mice. These results demonstrate that the heterologous DNA priming and recombinant adenovirus boost strategy may provide protective immunity against T. gondii infection.
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