Open AccessArticle
Simulation of Cellular Energy Restriction in Quiescence (ERiQ)—A Theoretical Model for Aging
Biology 2017, 6(4), 44; doi:10.3390/biology6040044 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Cellular responses to energy stress involve activation of pro-survival signaling nodes, compensation in regulatory pathways and adaptations in organelle function. Specifically, energy restriction in quiescent cells (ERiQ) through energetic perturbations causes adaptive changes in response to reduced ATP, NAD+ and NADP levels in
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Cellular responses to energy stress involve activation of pro-survival signaling nodes, compensation in regulatory pathways and adaptations in organelle function. Specifically, energy restriction in quiescent cells (ERiQ) through energetic perturbations causes adaptive changes in response to reduced ATP, NAD+ and NADP levels in a regulatory network spanned by AKT, NF-κB, p53 and mTOR. Based on the experimental ERiQ platform, we have constructed a minimalistic theoretical model consisting of feedback motifs that enable investigation of stress-signaling pathways. The computer simulations reveal responses to acute energetic perturbations, promoting cellular survival and recovery to homeostasis. We speculated that the very same stress mechanisms are activated during aging in post-mitotic cells. To test this hypothesis, we modified the model to be deficient in protein damage clearance and demonstrate the formation of energy stress. Contrasting the network’s pro-survival role in acute energetic challenges, conflicting responses in aging disrupt mitochondrial maintenance and contribute to a lockstep progression of decline when chronically activated. The model was analyzed by a local sensitivity analysis with respect to lifespan and makes predictions consistent with inhibitory and gain-of-function experiments in aging. Full article
Open AccessOpinion
Natural Knockouts: Natural Selection Knocked Out
Biology 2017, 6(4), 43; doi:10.3390/biology6040043 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In functional genomics studies, research is dedicated to unveiling the function of genes using gene-knockouts, model organisms in which a gene is artificially inactivated. The idea is that, by knocking out the gene, the provoked phenotype would inform us about the function of
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In functional genomics studies, research is dedicated to unveiling the function of genes using gene-knockouts, model organisms in which a gene is artificially inactivated. The idea is that, by knocking out the gene, the provoked phenotype would inform us about the function of the gene. Still, the function of many genes cannot be elucidated, because disruption of conserved sequences, including protein-coding genes, often does not directly affect the phenotype. Since the phenomenon was first observed in the early nineties of the last century, these so-called ‘no-phenotype knockouts’ have met with great skepticism and resistance by died-in-the-wool selectionists. Still, functional genomics of the late 20th and early 21st centuries has taught us two important lessons. First, two or more unrelated genes can often substitute for each other; and second, some genes are only present in the genome in a silent state. In the laboratory, the disruption of such genes does not negatively influence reproductive success, and does not show measurable fitness effects of the species. The genes are redundant. Genetic redundancy, one of the big surprises of modern biology, can thus be defined as the condition in which the inactivation of a gene is selectively neutral. The no-phenotype knockout is not just a freak of the laboratory. Genetic variants known as homozygous loss-of-function (HLOF) variants are of considerable scientific and clinical interest, as they represent experiments of nature qualifying as “natural knockouts”. Such natural knockouts challenge the conventional NeoDarwinian appraisal that genetic information is the result of natural selection acting on random genetic variation. Full article
Open AccessReview
Living Organisms Author Their Read-Write Genomes in Evolution
Biology 2017, 6(4), 42; doi:10.3390/biology6040042 -
Abstract
Evolutionary variations generating phenotypic adaptations and novel taxa resulted from complex cellular activities altering genome content and expression: (i) Symbiogenetic cell mergers producing the mitochondrion-bearing ancestor of eukaryotes and chloroplast-bearing ancestors of photosynthetic eukaryotes; (ii) interspecific hybridizations and genome doublings generating new species
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Evolutionary variations generating phenotypic adaptations and novel taxa resulted from complex cellular activities altering genome content and expression: (i) Symbiogenetic cell mergers producing the mitochondrion-bearing ancestor of eukaryotes and chloroplast-bearing ancestors of photosynthetic eukaryotes; (ii) interspecific hybridizations and genome doublings generating new species and adaptive radiations of higher plants and animals; and, (iii) interspecific horizontal DNA transfer encoding virtually all of the cellular functions between organisms and their viruses in all domains of life. Consequently, assuming that evolutionary processes occur in isolated genomes of individual species has become an unrealistic abstraction. Adaptive variations also involved natural genetic engineering of mobile DNA elements to rewire regulatory networks. In the most highly evolved organisms, biological complexity scales with “non-coding” DNA content more closely than with protein-coding capacity. Coincidentally, we have learned how so-called “non-coding” RNAs that are rich in repetitive mobile DNA sequences are key regulators of complex phenotypes. Both biotic and abiotic ecological challenges serve as triggers for episodes of elevated genome change. The intersections of cell activities, biosphere interactions, horizontal DNA transfers, and non-random Read-Write genome modifications by natural genetic engineering provide a rich molecular and biological foundation for understanding how ecological disruptions can stimulate productive, often abrupt, evolutionary transformations. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Identification of a Raloxifene Analog That Promotes AhR-Mediated Apoptosis in Cancer Cells
Biology 2017, 6(4), 41; doi:10.3390/biology6040041 -
Abstract
We previously reported that raloxifene, an estrogen receptor modulator, is also a ligand for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Raloxifene induces apoptosis in estrogen receptor-negative human cancer cells through the AhR. We performed structure–activity studies with seven raloxifene analogs to better understand the
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We previously reported that raloxifene, an estrogen receptor modulator, is also a ligand for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Raloxifene induces apoptosis in estrogen receptor-negative human cancer cells through the AhR. We performed structure–activity studies with seven raloxifene analogs to better understand the structural requirements of raloxifene for induction of AhR-mediated transcriptional activity and apoptosis. We identified Y134 as a raloxifene analog that activates AhR-mediated transcriptional activity and induces apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 human triple negative breast cancer cells. Suppression of AhR expression strongly reduced apoptosis induced by Y134, indicating the requirement of AhR for Y134-induced apoptosis. Y134 also induced apoptosis in hepatoma cells without having an effect on cell cycle regulation. Toxicity testing on zebrafish embryos revealed that Y134 has a significantly better safety profile than raloxifene. Our studies also identified an analog of raloxifene that acts as a partial antagonist of the AhR, and is capable of inhibiting AhR agonist-induced transcriptional activity. We conclude that Y134 is a promising raloxifene analog for further optimization as an anti-cancer agent targeting the AhR. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dual Roles of Fer Kinase Are Required for Proper Hematopoiesis and Vascular Endothelium Organization during Zebrafish Development
Biology 2017, 6(4), 40; doi:10.3390/biology6040040 -
Abstract
Fer kinase, a protein involved in the regulation of cell-cell adhesion and proliferation, has been shown to be required during invertebrate development and has been implicated in leukemia, gastric cancer, and liver cancer. However, in vivo roles for Fer during vertebrate development have
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Fer kinase, a protein involved in the regulation of cell-cell adhesion and proliferation, has been shown to be required during invertebrate development and has been implicated in leukemia, gastric cancer, and liver cancer. However, in vivo roles for Fer during vertebrate development have remained elusive. In this study, we bridge the gap between the invertebrate and vertebrate realms by showing that Fer kinase is required during zebrafish embryogenesis for normal hematopoiesis and vascular organization with distinct kinase dependent and independent functions. In situ hybridization, quantitative PCR and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analyses revealed an increase in both erythrocyte numbers and gene expression patterns as well as a decrease in the organization of vasculature endothelial cells. Furthermore, rescue experiments have shown that the regulation of hematopoietic proliferation is dependent on Fer kinase activity, while vascular organizing events only require Fer in a kinase-independent manner. Our data suggest a model in which separate kinase dependent and independent functions of Fer act in conjunction with Notch activity in a divergent manner for hematopoietic determination and vascular tissue organization. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Impacts of Low Temperature on the Teleost Immune System
Biology 2017, 6(4), 39; doi:10.3390/biology6040039 -
Abstract
As poikilothermic vertebrates, fish can experience changes in water temperature, and hence body temperature, as a result of seasonal changes, migration, or efflux of large quantities of effluent into a body of water. Temperature shifts outside of the optimal temperature range for an
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As poikilothermic vertebrates, fish can experience changes in water temperature, and hence body temperature, as a result of seasonal changes, migration, or efflux of large quantities of effluent into a body of water. Temperature shifts outside of the optimal temperature range for an individual fish species can have negative impacts on the physiology of the animal, including the immune system. As a result, acute or chronic exposure to suboptimal temperatures can impair an organisms’ ability to defend against pathogens and thus compromise the overall health of the animal. This review focuses on the advances made towards understanding the impacts of suboptimal temperature on the soluble and cellular mediators of the innate and adaptive immune systems of fishes. Although cold stress can result in varying effects in different fish species, acute and chronic suboptimal temperature exposure generally yield suppressive effects, particularly on adaptive immunity. Knowledge of the effects of environmental temperature on fish species is critical for both the optimal management of wild species and the best management practices for aquaculture species. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Dynamics of Arrivals of Maine Migratory Breeding Birds: Results from a 24-Year Study
Biology 2017, 6(4), 38; doi:10.3390/biology6040038 -
Abstract
This citizen-science project is the first systematic study of patterns of spring migration of Maine migratory birds. A comparison of arrival data from the Maine Ornithological Society from 1899–1911 with the modern data (1994–2017) collected for this study indicated that most species are
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This citizen-science project is the first systematic study of patterns of spring migration of Maine migratory birds. A comparison of arrival data from the Maine Ornithological Society from 1899–1911 with the modern data (1994–2017) collected for this study indicated that most species are now not arriving earlier, contrary to the predictions of earlier arrivals in the face of global warming. Arrival was synchronous across the lower two-thirds of the state for most species, although some species showed delayed arrivals along the northeastern coast compared to southern coastal areas. Only thirteen of 81 species are now arriving earlier and seven arriving later. Using quantile regression analysis with three levels of tau, the effect of year, temperature-departure from mean monthly temperature and the North Atlantic Oscillation Index were weak. Most species did not respond to any of these explanatory variables using the modern data. Leaf-gleaners showed the strongest responses. Only four species showed increasing abundance in recent years, an effect that influences detectability and hence could confound interpretation of changes in arrival date. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Artificial RNA Motifs Expand the Programmable Assembly between RNA Modules of a Bimolecular Ribozyme Leading to Application to RNA Nanostructure Design
Biology 2017, 6(4), 37; doi:10.3390/biology6040037 -
Abstract
A bimolecular ribozyme consisting of a core ribozyme (ΔP5 RNA) and an activator module (P5abc RNA) has been used as a platform to design assembled RNA nanostructures. The tight and specific assembly between the P5abc and ΔP5 modules depends on two sets of
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A bimolecular ribozyme consisting of a core ribozyme (ΔP5 RNA) and an activator module (P5abc RNA) has been used as a platform to design assembled RNA nanostructures. The tight and specific assembly between the P5abc and ΔP5 modules depends on two sets of intermodule interactions. The interface between P5abc and ΔP5 must be controlled when designing RNA nanostructures. To expand the repertoire of molecular recognition in the P5abc/ΔP5 interface, we modified the interface by replacing the parent tertiary interactions in the interface with artificial interactions. The engineered P5abc/ΔP5 interfaces were characterized biochemically to identify those suitable for nanostructure design. The new interfaces were used to construct 2D-square and 1D-array RNA nanostructures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
In Vivo Effects of Lipopolysaccharide on Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Expression in Juvenile Gilthead Seabream (Sparus Aurata)
Biology 2017, 6(4), 36; doi:10.3390/biology6040036 -
Abstract
Fish are constantly exposed to microorganisms in the aquatic environment, many of which are bacterial pathogens. Bacterial pathogens activate the innate immune response in fish involving the production of pro-inflammatory molecules that, in addition to their immune-related role, can affect non-immune tissues. In
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Fish are constantly exposed to microorganisms in the aquatic environment, many of which are bacterial pathogens. Bacterial pathogens activate the innate immune response in fish involving the production of pro-inflammatory molecules that, in addition to their immune-related role, can affect non-immune tissues. In the present study, we aimed at investigating how inflammatory responses can affect metabolic homeostasis in the gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata), a teleost of considerable economic importance in Southern European countries. Specifically, we mimicked a bacterial infection by in vivo administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 6 mg/kg body weight) and measured metabolic parameters in the blood and, importantly, the mRNA expression levels of the three isotypes of peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARα, β, and γ) in metabolically-relevant tissues in seabream. PPARs are nuclear receptors that are important for lipid and carbohydrate metabolism in mammals and that act as biological sensors of altered lipid metabolism. We show here that LPS-induced inflammatory responses result in the modulation of triglyceride plasma levels that are accompanied most notably by a decrease in the hepatic mRNA expression levels of PPARα, β, and γ and by the up-regulation of PPARγ expression only in adipose tissue and the anterior intestine. In addition, LPS-induced inflammation results in an increase in the hepatic mRNA expression and protein activity levels of members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family, known in mammals to regulate the transcription and activity of PPARs. Our results provide evidence for the involvement of PPARs in the metabolic response to inflammatory stimuli in seabream and offer insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the redirection of metabolic activities under inflammatory conditions in vertebrates. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Role of Oocyte Organelles in Determining Developmental Competence
Biology 2017, 6(3), 35; doi:10.3390/biology6030035 -
Abstract
The ability of an oocyte to undergo successful cytoplasmic and nuclear maturation, fertilization and embryo development is referred to as the oocyte’s quality or developmental competence. Quality is dependent on the accumulation of organelles, metabolites and maternal RNAs during the growth and maturation
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The ability of an oocyte to undergo successful cytoplasmic and nuclear maturation, fertilization and embryo development is referred to as the oocyte’s quality or developmental competence. Quality is dependent on the accumulation of organelles, metabolites and maternal RNAs during the growth and maturation of the oocyte. Various models of good and poor oocyte quality have been used to understand the essential contributors to developmental success. This review covers the current knowledge of how oocyte organelle quantity, distribution and morphology differ between good and poor quality oocytes. The models of oocyte quality are also described and their usefulness for studying the intrinsic quality of an oocyte discussed. Understanding the key critical features of cytoplasmic organelles and metabolites driving oocyte quality will lead to methods for identifying high quality oocytes and improving oocyte competence, both in vitro and in vivo. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
MicroRNA Signaling in Embryo Development
Biology 2017, 6(3), 34; doi:10.3390/biology6030034 -
Abstract
Expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) is essential for embryonic development and serves important roles in gametogenesis. miRNAs are secreted into the extracellular environment by the embryo during the preimplantation stage of development. Several cell types secrete miRNAs into biological fluids in the extracellular environment.
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Expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) is essential for embryonic development and serves important roles in gametogenesis. miRNAs are secreted into the extracellular environment by the embryo during the preimplantation stage of development. Several cell types secrete miRNAs into biological fluids in the extracellular environment. These fluid-derived miRNAs have been shown to circulate the body. Stable transport is dependent on proper packaging of the miRNAs into extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes. These vesicles, which also contain RNA, DNA and proteins, are on the forefront of research on cell-to-cell communication. Interestingly, EVs have been identified in many reproductive fluids, such as uterine fluid, where their miRNA content is proposed to serve as a mechanism of crosstalk between the mother and conceptus. Here, we review the role of miRNAs in molecular signaling and discuss their transport during early embryo development and implantation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seed Coating with Hydro-Absorbers as Potential Mitigation of Early Season Drought in Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench)
Biology 2017, 6(3), 33; doi:10.3390/biology6030033 -
Abstract
Climate change poses a threat to sorghum production systems by shifting the onset of the rainy season to a later date, increasing the risk of crop failure during crop establishment. The effects of drought on sorghum during seedling establishment have not been determined.
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Climate change poses a threat to sorghum production systems by shifting the onset of the rainy season to a later date, increasing the risk of crop failure during crop establishment. The effects of drought on sorghum during seedling establishment have not been determined. Coating seeds with a water absorbing substance offers a way to buffer the seed against insufficient moisture in the surrounding soil. Seeds of two different sorghum varieties were coated with one of two commercially available hydro-absorbers: Stokosorb® and Geohumus®. These hydro-absorbers have the capacity to store water several times their own weight. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of the cited hydro-absorbers on early seedling growth of two sorghum landraces under different levels of soil water deficit. Seedlings were grown for 12 days under three water availability levels (Field capacity (FC), 50% of FC, and 25% of FC). The seedlings under water limited treatments were subsequently re-watered. Biomass, root length, plant height, leaf area, and leaf extension rate were monitored in two-day intervals for 24 days. Coating strongly affected seedling growth both under fully watered and water deficit conditions. Sorghum varieties differed in their responses to both soil water deficit and coating materials. In general, Stockosorb improved seedling performance under water limited conditions particularly by promoting root growth, whereas Geohumus did not. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Physical Forces May Cause the HoxD Gene Cluster Elongation
Biology 2017, 6(3), 32; doi:10.3390/biology6030032 -
Abstract
Hox gene collinearity was discovered be Edward B. Lewis in 1978. It consists of the Hox1, Hox2, Hox3 ordering of the Hox genes in the chromosome from the telomeric to the centromeric side of the chromosome. Surprisingly, the spatial activation of the Hox
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Hox gene collinearity was discovered be Edward B. Lewis in 1978. It consists of the Hox1, Hox2, Hox3 ordering of the Hox genes in the chromosome from the telomeric to the centromeric side of the chromosome. Surprisingly, the spatial activation of the Hox genes in the ontogenetic units of the embryo follows the same ordering along the anterior-posterior embryonic axis. The chromosome microscale differs from the embryo macroscale by 3 to 4 orders of magnitude. The traditional biomolecular mechanisms are not adequate to comprise phenomena at so divergent spatial domains. A Biophysical Model of physical forces was proposed which can bridge the intermediate space and explain the results of genetic engineering experiments. Recent progress in constructing instruments and achieving high resolution imaging (e.g., 3D DNA FISH, STORM etc.) enable the assessment of the geometric structure of the chromatin during the different phases of Hox gene activation. It is found that the mouse HoxD gene cluster is elongated up to 5–6 times during Hox gene transcription. These unexpected findings agree with the BM predictions. It is now possible to measure several physical quantities inside the nucleus during Hox gene activation. New experiments are proposed to test further this model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seed Coating Increases Seed Moisture Uptake and Restricts Embryonic Oxygen Availability in Germinating Cereal Seeds
Biology 2017, 6(2), 31; doi:10.3390/biology6020031 -
Abstract
Seed coating is a technology to improve germination and homogenize stand establishment. Although coating often results in lower germination rates, seeds that do germinate grow more vigorously and show strongly reduced respiratory losses during reserve mobilization. We hypothesize that the higher mobilization efficiency
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Seed coating is a technology to improve germination and homogenize stand establishment. Although coating often results in lower germination rates, seeds that do germinate grow more vigorously and show strongly reduced respiratory losses during reserve mobilization. We hypothesize that the higher mobilization efficiency is due to a shift in the enzymatic cleavage of sucrose from invertase to sucrose synthase in the embryonic tissue caused by a reduced oxygen availability induced by oversaturation with water caused by the coating during early germination. We investigated the effect of coating on barley, rye, and wheat seed imbibition during the first 30 h after seeds were placed in moisture. We profiled oxygen in the embryos and measured sucrose and acid invertase levels as imbibition progressed. We found that seeds within coatings absorbed significantly more moisture than uncoated seeds. Coating resulted in near anoxic oxygen concentrations in the developing embryonic tissues in all three species. In barley, sucrose was not cleaved via the invertase pathway, despite the fact that invertase activity in coated seeds was increased. In rye and wheat, invertase activities were significantly lower in embryos from coated seeds without significantly changing the sugar composition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Treatment of Real-World HCV Genotype 2-Infected Japanese Patients with Sofosbuvir plus Ribavirin
Biology 2017, 6(2), 30; doi:10.3390/biology6020030 -
Abstract
The aim of this study was to characterize the treatment response and tolerability of sofosbuvir plus ribavirin therapies in Japanese patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype (GT)-2. This retrospective study analyzed 114 Japanese HCV GT-2 patients treated for 12 weeks with
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The aim of this study was to characterize the treatment response and tolerability of sofosbuvir plus ribavirin therapies in Japanese patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype (GT)-2. This retrospective study analyzed 114 Japanese HCV GT-2 patients treated for 12 weeks with 400 mg of sofosbuvir plus weight-based ribavirin daily. This treatment led to higher sustained virologic response at 12-weeks post-treatment (SVR12) rates in both treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients. The efficacy of this treatment in compensated cirrhotics was the same as that in patients with chronic hepatitis. HCV GT-2a infection and lower estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) tended to be associated with SVR12. Of 114 patients, 113 completed the combination of sofosbuvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks. Seven patients without SVR12 did not have HCV NS5B-S282 mutations. The overall SVR12 rate was 90.4% (103 of 114). More effective therapeutic options with less adverse events are desired to achieve higher SVR rates in HCV GT-2 Japanese patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterisation of Arctic Bacterial Communities in the Air above Svalbard
Biology 2017, 6(2), 29; doi:10.3390/biology6020029 -
Abstract
Atmospheric dispersal of bacteria is increasingly acknowledged as an important factor influencing bacterial community biodiversity, biogeography and bacteria–human interactions, including those linked to human health. However, knowledge about patterns in microbial aerobiology is still relatively scarce, and this can be attributed, in part,
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Atmospheric dispersal of bacteria is increasingly acknowledged as an important factor influencing bacterial community biodiversity, biogeography and bacteria–human interactions, including those linked to human health. However, knowledge about patterns in microbial aerobiology is still relatively scarce, and this can be attributed, in part, to a lack of consensus on appropriate sampling and analytical methodology. In this study, three different methods were used to investigate aerial biodiversity over Svalbard: impaction, membrane filtration and drop plates. Sites around Svalbard were selected due to their relatively remote location, low human population, geographical location with respect to air movement and the tradition and history of scientific investigation on the archipelago, ensuring the presence of existing research infrastructure. The aerial bacterial biodiversity found was similar to that described in other aerobiological studies from both polar and non-polar environments, with Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes being the predominant groups. Twelve different phyla were detected in the air collected above Svalbard, although the diversity was considerably lower than in urban environments elsewhere. However, only 58 of 196 bacterial genera detected were consistently present, suggesting potentially higher levels of heterogeneity. Viable bacteria were present at all sampling locations, showing that living bacteria are ubiquitous in the air around Svalbard. Sampling location influenced the results obtained, as did sampling method. Specifically, impaction with a Sartorius MD8 produced a significantly higher number of viable colony forming units (CFUs) than drop plates alone. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Developmental Control of NRAMP1 (SLC11A1) Expression in Professional Phagocytes
Biology 2017, 6(2), 28; doi:10.3390/biology6020028 -
Abstract
NRAMP1 (SLC11A1) is a professional phagocyte membrane importer of divalent metals that contributes to iron recycling at homeostasis and to nutritional immunity against infection. Analyses of data generated by several consortia and additional studies were integrated to hypothesize mechanisms restricting NRAMP1 expression to
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NRAMP1 (SLC11A1) is a professional phagocyte membrane importer of divalent metals that contributes to iron recycling at homeostasis and to nutritional immunity against infection. Analyses of data generated by several consortia and additional studies were integrated to hypothesize mechanisms restricting NRAMP1 expression to mature phagocytes. Results from various epigenetic and transcriptomic approaches were collected for mesodermal and hematopoietic cell types and compiled for combined analysis with results of genetic studies associating single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with variations in NRAMP1 expression (eQTLs). Analyses establish that NRAMP1 is part of an autonomous topologically associated domain delimited by ubiquitous CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) sites. NRAMP1 locus contains five regulatory regions: a predicted super-enhancer (S-E) key to phagocyte-specific expression; the proximal promoter; two intronic areas, including 3′ inhibitory elements that restrict expression during development; and a block of upstream sites possibly extending the S-E domain. Also the downstream region adjacent to the 3′ CTCF locus boundary may regulate expression during hematopoiesis. Mobilization of the locus 14 predicted transcriptional regulatory elements occurs in three steps, beginning with hematopoiesis; at the onset of myelopoiesis and through myelo-monocytic differentiation. Basal expression level in mature phagocytes is further influenced by genetic variation, tissue environment, and in response to infections that induce various epigenetic memories depending on microorganism nature. Constitutively associated transcription factors (TFs) include CCAAT enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPb), purine rich DNA binding protein (PU.1), early growth response 2 (EGR2) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) while hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) and interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) may stimulate iron acquisition in pro-inflammatory conditions. Mouse orthologous locus is generally conserved; chromatin patterns typify a de novo myelo-monocytic gene whose expression is tightly controlled by TFs Pu.1, C/ebps and Irf8; Irf3 and nuclear factor NF-kappa-B p 65 subunit (RelA) regulate expression in inflammatory conditions. Functional differences in the determinants identified at these orthologous loci imply that species-specific mechanisms control gene expression. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Is Polysialylated NCAM Not Only a Regulator during Brain Development But also during the Formation of Other Organs?
Biology 2017, 6(2), 27; doi:10.3390/biology6020027 -
Abstract
In mammals several cell adhesion molecules are involved during the pre- and postnatal development of all organ systems. A very prominent member of this family is the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM). Interestingly, NCAM can be a target for a special form of
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In mammals several cell adhesion molecules are involved during the pre- and postnatal development of all organ systems. A very prominent member of this family is the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM). Interestingly, NCAM can be a target for a special form of posttranslational modification: polysialylation. Whereas nearly all extracellular proteins bear mono-sialic acid residues, only a very small group can be polysialylated. Polysialic acid is a highly negatively-charged sugar polymer and can comprise more than 90 sialic acid residues in postnatal mouse brains increasing dramatically the hydrodynamic radius of their carriers. Thus, adhesion and communication processes on cell surfaces are strongly influenced allowing, e.g., the migration of neuronal progenitor cells. In the developing brain the essential role of polysialylated NCAM has been demonstrated in many studies. In comparison to the neuronal system, however, during the formation of other organs the impact of the polysialylated form of NCAM is not well characterized and the number of studies is limited so far. This review summarizes these observations and discusses possible roles of polysialylated NCAM during the development of organs other than the brain. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rai1 Haploinsufficiency Is Associated with Social Abnormalities in Mice
Biology 2017, 6(2), 25; doi:10.3390/biology6020025 -
Abstract
Background: Autism is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors; with different degrees of severity in each of the core areas. Haploinsufficiency and point mutations of RAI1 are associated with Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS), a genetic condition that scores within the
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Background: Autism is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors; with different degrees of severity in each of the core areas. Haploinsufficiency and point mutations of RAI1 are associated with Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS), a genetic condition that scores within the autism spectrum range for social responsiveness and communication, and is characterized by neurobehavioral abnormalities, intellectual disability, developmental delay, sleep disturbance, and self-injurious behaviors. Methods: To investigate the relationship between Rai1 and social impairment, we evaluated the Rai1+/− mice with a battery of tests to address social behavior in mice. Results: We found that the mutant mice showed diminished interest in social odors, abnormal submissive tendencies, and increased repetitive behaviors when compared to wild type littermates. Conclusions: These findings suggest that Rai1 contributes to social behavior in mice, and prompt it as a candidate gene for the social behaviors observed in Smith-Magenis Syndrome patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Highly Specific scFvs against Total Adiponectin for Diagnostic Purposes
Biology 2017, 6(2), 26; doi:10.3390/biology6020026 -
Abstract
Adiponectin is one of the most abundant adipokines secreted from adipose tissue. It acts as an endogenous insulin sensitizer and plasma concentrations are inversely correlated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. A decrease in plasma adiponectin levels normally indicates increased hormonal activity of the
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Adiponectin is one of the most abundant adipokines secreted from adipose tissue. It acts as an endogenous insulin sensitizer and plasma concentrations are inversely correlated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. A decrease in plasma adiponectin levels normally indicates increased hormonal activity of the visceral lipid tissue, which is associated with decreased insulin sensitivity. It may therefore be considered a valuable biomarker for elucidating the underlying deteriorations resulting in type 2 diabetes and macrovascular disease. Here we present the use of phage display technology to identify highly specific antibody fragments (scFvs) against adiponectin. The selected scFvs showed highly specific binding to globular and native adiponectin in ELISA tests. By using our phage display technology, we were able to obtain monoclonal antibodies with specific high affinity binding to the target protein in an effective and easy to upscale manner. The selected scFvs against adiponectin can be used for developing immunoassays suitable for use in metabolic syndrome diagnosis and monitoring. Full article
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