Biology2014, 3(4), 831-845; doi:10.3390/biology3040831 (registering DOI) - published 21 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Dopaminergic neurons in Drosophila play critical roles in diverse brain functions such as motor control, arousal, learning, and memory. Using genetic and behavioral approaches, it has been firmly established that proper dopamine signaling is required for olfactory classical conditioning (e.g., aversive and appetitive learning). Dopamine mediates its functions through interaction with its receptors. There are two different types of dopamine receptors in Drosophila: D1-like (dDA1, DAMB) and D2-like receptors (DD2R). Currently, no study has attempted to characterize the role of DD2R in Drosophila learning and memory. Using a DD2R-RNAi transgenic line, we have examined the role of DD2R, expressed in dopamine neurons (i.e., the presynaptic DD2R autoreceptor), in larval olfactory learning. The function of postsynaptic DD2R expressed in mushroom body (MB) was also studied as MB is the center for Drosophila learning, with a function analogous to that of the mammalian hippocampus. Our results showed that suppression of presynaptic DD2R autoreceptors impairs both appetitive and aversive learning. Similarly, postsynaptic DD2R in MB neurons appears to be involved in both appetitive and aversive learning. The data confirm, for the first time, that DD2R plays an important role in Drosophila olfactory learning.
Abstract: Acyl-CoA:glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) and acyl-CoA: 1-acyl-glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (AGPAT) are involved in the de novo synthesis of triacylglycerol (TAG) and glycerophospholipids. Many enzymes belonging to the GPAT/AGPAT family have recently been identified and their physiological or pathophysiological roles have been proposed. The roles of GPAT/AGPAT in the synthesis of TAG and obesity-related diseases were revealed through the identification of causative genes of these diseases or analyses of genetically manipulated animals. Recent studies have suggested that some isoforms of GPAT/AGPAT family enzymes are involved in the fatty acid remodeling of phospholipids. The enzymology of GPAT/AGPAT and their physiological/ pathological roles in the metabolism of glycerolipids have been described and discussed in this review.
Abstract: We have developed a suitable heterologous cell expression system to study the localization, trafficking, and site(s) of function of the human ABCG1 transporter. Increased plasma membrane (PM) and late endosomal (LE) cholesterol generated by ABCG1 was removed by lipoproteins and liposomes, but not apoA-I. Delivery of ABCG1 to the PM and LE was required for ABCG1-mediated cellular cholesterol efflux. ABCG1 LEs frequently contacted the PM, providing a collisional mechanism for transfer of ABCG1-mobilized cholesterol, similar to ABCG1-mediated PM cholesterol efflux to lipoproteins. ABCG1-mobilized LE cholesterol also trafficked to the PM by a non-vesicular pathway. Transfer of ABCG1-mobilized cholesterol from the cytoplasmic face of LEs to the PM and concomitant removal of cholesterol from the outer leaflet of the PM bilayer by extracellular acceptors suggests that ABCG1 mobilizes cholesterol on both sides of the lipid bilayer for removal by acceptors. ABCG1 increased uptake of HDL into LEs, consistent with a potential ABCG1-mediated cholesterol efflux pathway involving HDL resecretion. Thus, ABCG1 at the PM mobilizes PM cholesterol and ABCG1 in LE/LYS generates mobile pools of cholesterol that can traffic by both vesicular and non-vesicular pathways to the PM where it can also be transferred to extracellular acceptors with a lipid surface.
Abstract: Centers for the screening of biologically active compounds and genomic libraries are becoming common in the academic setting and have enabled researchers devoted to developing strategies for the treatment of diseases or interested in studying a biological phenomenon to have unprecedented access to libraries that, until few years ago, were accessible only by pharmaceutical companies. As a result, new drugs and genetic targets have now been identified for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the most prominent of the neuromuscular disorders affecting children. Although the work is still at an early stage, the results obtained to date are encouraging and demonstrate the importance that these centers may have in advancing therapeutic strategies for DMD as well as other diseases. This review will provide a summary of the status and progress made toward the development of a cure for this disorder and implementing high-throughput screening (HTS) technologies as the main source of discovery. As more academic institutions are gaining access to HTS as a valuable discovery tool, the identification of new biologically active molecules is likely to grow larger. In addition, the presence in the academic setting of experts in different aspects of the disease will offer the opportunity to develop novel assays capable of identifying new targets to be pursued as potential therapeutic options. These assays will represent an excellent source to be used by pharmaceutical companies for the screening of larger libraries providing the opportunity to establish strong collaborations between the private and academic sectors and maximizing the chances of bringing into the clinic new drugs for the treatment of DMD.
Abstract: Although CpG dinucleotides remain the primary site for DNA methylation in mammals, there is emerging evidence that DNA methylation at non-CpG sites (CpA, CpT and CpC) is not only present in mammalian cells, but may play a unique role in the regulation of gene expression. For some time it has been known that non-CpG methylation is abundant in plants and present in mammalian embryonic stem cells, but non-CpG methylation was thought to be lost upon cell differentiation. However, recent publications have described a role for non-CpG methylation in adult mammalian somatic cells including the adult mammalian brain, skeletal muscle, and hematopoietic cells and new interest in this field has been stimulated by the availability of high throughput sequencing techniques that can accurately measure this epigenetic modification. Genome wide assays indicate that non-CpG methylation is negligible in human fetal brain, but abundant in human adult brain tissue. Genome wide measurement of non-CpG methylation coupled with RNA-Sequencing indicates that in the human adult brain non-CpG methylation levels are inversely proportional to the abundance of mRNA transcript at the associated gene. Additionally specific examples where alterations in non-CpG methylation lead to changes in gene expression have been described; in PGC1α in human skeletal muscle, IFN-γ in human T-cells and SYT11 in human brain, all of which contribute to the development of human disease.
Abstract: Small changes in size can lead to potential performance consequences and may influence an organism’s ability to utilize resources in its environment. As the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) transitions between neonate, juvenile and adult habitats (ontogenetic niche shifts), there are inevitably dynamic changes in their feeding performance. This study sought to investigate the scaling of the feeding mechanism and its performance from hatchling to juvenile size classes in A. mississippiensis. Feeding events were recorded during March 2011 at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge (Grand Chenier, Louisiana). Thirty-six captive individuals were randomly sampled, ranging from 30.5 cm to 91.5 cm total length, and feeding events were recorded using a high speed camera at a rate of 300 fps. Results indicated that many linear, angular and timing kinematic variables scale allometrically with cranium length; whereas maximum gape velocity and duration of feeding bout do not scale with cranium length and remain constant between these size classes. Although it has been shown that there is an isometric relationship between cranial elements and body size in A. mississippiensis, this relationship is not transferred to linear and timing variables of prey-capture events. These allometric relationships echo other investigations of scaling relationships such as bite-force production and terrestrial locomotion.