Abstract: Lipoprotein subclass concentrations are modifiable markers of cardiovascular disease risk. Fenofibrate is known to show beneficial effects on lipoprotein subclasses, but little is known about the role of genetics in mediating the responses of lipoprotein subclasses to fenofibrate. A recent genomewide association study (GWAS) associated several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with lipoprotein measures, and validated these associations in two independent populations. We used this information to construct genetic risk scores (GRSs) for fasting lipoprotein measures at baseline (pre-fenofibrate), and aimed to examine whether these GRSs also associated with the responses of lipoproteins to fenofibrate. Fourteen lipoprotein subclass measures were assayed in 817 men and women before and after a three week fenofibrate trial. We set significance at a Bonferroni corrected alpha <0.05 (p < 0.004). Twelve subclass measures changed with fenofibrate administration (each p = 0.003 to <0.0001). Mixed linear models which controlled for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, pedigree and study-center, revealed that GRSs were associated with eight baseline lipoprotein measures (p < 0.004), however no GRS was associated with fenofibrate response. These results suggest that the mechanisms for changes in lipoprotein subclass concentrations with fenofibrate treatment are not mediated by the genetic risk for fasting levels.
Abstract: Small molecular weight GTPase Rab2 has been shown to be a resident of pre-Golgi intermediates and required for protein transport from the ER to the Golgi complex, however, the function of Rab2 in Dictyostelium has yet to be fully characterized. Using cell lines that over-express DdRab2, as well as cell lines over-expressing constitutively active (CA), and dominant negative (DN) forms of the GTPase, we report a functional role in vesicular transport specifically phagocytosis, and endocytosis. Furthermore, Rab2 like other GTPases cycles between an active GTP-bound and an inactive GDP-bound state. We found that this GTP/GDP cycle for DdRab2 is crucial for normal Dictyostelium development and cell–cell adhesion. Similar to Rab5 and Rab7 in C. elegans, we found that DdRab2 plays a role in programmed cell death, possibly in the phagocytic removal of apoptotic corpses.
Abstract: The epigenetic patterns established during development may influence gene expression over a lifetime and increase susceptibility to chronic disease. Being born preterm (<37 weeks of gestation) is associated with increased risk mortality and morbidity from birth until adulthood. This brief review explores the potential role of DNA methylation in preterm birth (PTB) and its possible long-term consequences and provides an overview of the physiological processes central to PTB and recent DNA methylation studies of PTB.
Abstract: Glycosylation is a metabolic pathway consisting of the enzymatic modification of proteins and lipids through the stepwise addition of sugars that gives rise to glycoconjugates. To determine the full complement of glycoconjugates that cells produce (the glycome), a variety of genes are involved, many of which are regulated by DNA methylation. The aim of the present review is to briefly describe some relevant examples of glycosylation-related genes whose DNA methylation has been implicated in their regulation and to focus on the intriguing case of a glycosyltransferase gene (B3GALT5). Aberrant promoter methylation is frequently at the basis of their modulation in cancer, but in the case of B3GALT5, at least two promoters are involved in regulation, and a complex interplay is reported to occur between transcription factors, chromatin remodelling and DNA methylation of typical CpG islands or even of other CpG dinucleotides. Transcription of the B3GALT5 gene underwent a particular evolutionary fate, so that promoter hypermethylation, acting on one transcript, and hypomethylation of other sequences, acting on the other, cooperate on one gene to obtain full cancer-associated silencing. The findings may also help in unravelling the complex origin of serum CA19.9 antigen circulating in some patients.
Abstract: Contrary to earlier assumptions, molecular evidence has demonstrated the presence of diverse and localized soil bacterial communities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether fungal signals so far detected in Dry Valley soils using both culture-based and molecular techniques represent adapted and ecologically active biomass or spores transported by wind. Through a systematic and quantitative molecular survey, we identified significant heterogeneities in soil fungal communities across the Dry Valleys that robustly correlate with heterogeneities in soil physicochemical properties. Community fingerprinting analysis and 454 pyrosequencing of the fungal ribosomal intergenic spacer region revealed different levels of heterogeneity in fungal diversity within individual Dry Valleys and a surprising abundance of Chytridiomycota species, whereas previous studies suggested that Dry Valley soils were dominated by Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. Critically, we identified significant differences in fungal community composition and structure of adjacent sites with no obvious barrier to aeolian transport between them. These findings suggest that edaphic fungi of the Antarctic Dry Valleys are adapted to local environments and represent an ecologically relevant (and possibly important) heterotrophic component of the ecosystem.
Abstract: The R3C ligase ribozyme is an artificial ligase ribozyme produced by modification of the ribozyme that lacks cytidine. Here, we attempted to modify the original R3C ribozyme (73 nucleotides) by reducing the number of nucleotides while maintaining the maximum possible catalytic efficiency. By partially deleting both the “grip” (P4 + P5) and “hammer” (P3) stem-loops, we found the critical border to retain activity comparable to that of full-length R3C. The three-way junction structure was necessary to maintain enzymatic function and the stability of the “grip” (P4 + P5) stem had a large influence on the catalytic activity of R3C. The final minimized ribozyme we obtained comprised ~50 nucleotides, comparable to the estimated length of prebiotically synthesized RNA. Our findings suggest that the autocatalytic function in ribozymes is indeed possible to obtain using sequence lengths achievable with prebiotic synthesis.