Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) have been found adapted to a specific niche with low oxygen tension (hypoxia) in the body. As an important component of this niche, oxygen tension has been known to play a critical role in the maintenance of stem cell characteristics. However, the effect of O2 tension on their functional properties has not been well determined. In this study, we investigated the effects of O2 tension on ASCs stemness, differentiation and proliferation ability. Human ASCs were cultured under normoxia (21% O2) and hypoxia (2% O2). We found that hypoxia increased ASC stemness marker expression and proliferation rate without altering their morphology and surface markers. Low oxygen tension further enhances the chondrogenic differentiation ability, but reduces both adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation potential. These results might be correlated with the increased expression of HIF-1α under hypoxia. Taken together, we suggest that growing ASCs under 2% O2 tension may be important in expanding ASCs effectively while maintaining their functional properties for clinical therapy, particularly for the treatment of cartilage defects.
Pseudogenes are considered to be nonfunctional genes that lack a physiological role. By screening 3985 Escherichia coli mutants using chemochromic membranes, we found four pseudogenes involved in hydrogen metabolism. Knockouts of pseudogenes ydfW and ypdJ had a defective hydrogen phenotype on glucose and formate, respectively. Also, the knockout of pseudogene yqiG formed hydrogen from formate but not from glucose. For the yqiG mutant, 100% hydrogen recovery was obtained by the complementation of YqiG via a plasmid. The knockout of pseudogene ylcE showed hydrogen deficiency in minimal media which suggested that the role of YlcE is associated with cell growth. Hence, the products of these four pseudogenes play an important physiological role in hydrogen production in E. coli.
Most vertebrates possess at least two gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuron types. To understand the physiological significance of the multiple GnRH systems in the brain, we examined three GnRH neuron type-specific transcriptomes using single-cell microarray analyses in the medaka (Oryzias latipes). A microarray profile of the three GnRH neuron types revealed five genes that are uniquely expressed in specific GnRH neuron types. GnRH1 neurons expressed three genes that are homologous to functionally characterised genes, GnRH2 neurons uniquely expressed one unnamed gene, and GnRH3 neurons uniquely expressed one known gene. These genes may be involved in the modulation or maintenance of each GnRH neuron type.
Osteoclasts are specialised bone resorptive cells responsible for both physiological and pathological bone loss. Osteoclast differentiation and activity is dependent upon receptor activator NF-kappa-B ligand (RANKL) interacting with its receptor RANK to induce the transcription factor, nuclear factor of activated T-cells, cytoplasmic, calcineurin-dependent 1 (NFATc1). The immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-dependent pathway has been identified as a co-stimulatory pathway in osteoclasts. Osteoclast-associated receptor (OSCAR) and triggering receptor expressed in myeloid cells (TREM2) are essential receptors that pair with adaptor molecules Fc receptor common gamma chain (FcRγ) and DNAX-activating protein 12kDa (DAP12) respectively to induce calcium signalling. Treatment with calcineurin-NFAT inhibitors, Tacrolimus (FK506) and the 11R-VIVIT (VIVIT) peptide, reduces NFATc1 expression consistent with a reduction in osteoclast differentiation and activity. This study aimed to investigate the effects of inhibiting calcineurin-NFAT signalling on the expression of ITAM factors and late stage osteoclast genes including cathepsin K (CathK), Beta 3 integrin (β3) and Annexin VIII (AnnVIII). Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were differentiated with RANKL and macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) over 10days in the presence or absence of FK506 or VIVIT. Osteoclast formation (as assessed by tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)) and activity (assessed by dentine pit resorption) were significantly reduced with treatment. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis demonstrated that FK506 treatment significantly (p<0.05) reduced the expression of NFATc1, CathK, OSCAR, FcRγ, TREM2 and DAP12 during the terminal stage of osteoclast formation. VIVIT treatment significantly (p<0.05) decreased CathK, OSCAR, FcRγ, and AnnVIII, gene expression. This data suggest FK506 and VIVIT act differently in targeting the calcineurin-NFAT signalling cascade to suppress key mediators of the ITAM pathway during late stage osteoclast differentiation and this is associated with a reduction in both osteoclast differentiation and activity.
Xanthorrhizol is a plant-derived pharmacologically active sesquiterpenoid compound isolated from Curcuma xanthorrhiza. Previously, we have reported that xanthorrhizol inhibited the proliferation of HepG2 human hepatoma cells by inducing apoptotic cell death via caspase activation. Here, we attempt to further elucidate the mode of action of xanthorrhizol. Apoptosis in xanthorrhizol-treated HepG2 cells as observed by scanning electron microscopy was accompanied by truncation of BID; reduction of both anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) expression; cleavage of PARP and DFF45/ICAD proteins and DNA fragmentation. Taken together, these results suggest xanthorrhizol as a potent antiproliferative agent on HepG2 cells by inducing apoptosis via Bcl-2 family members. Hence we proposed that xanthorrhizol could be used as an anti-liver cancer drug for future studies.
Intracellular delivery of a functional gene or a nucleic acid sequence to specifically knockdown a harmful gene is a potential approach to precisely treat a critical human disease. The intensive efforts in the last few decades led to the development of a number of viral and non-viral synthetic vectors. However, an ideal delivery tool in terms of the safety and efficacy has yet to be established. Recently, we have developed pH-sensing inorganic nanocrystals of carbonate apatite for efficient and cell-targeted delivery of gene and gene-silencing RNA. Here we show that addition of very low level of fluoride to the particle-forming medium facilitates a robust increase in transgene expression following post-incubation of the particles with HeLa cells. Confocal microscopic observation and Southern blotting prove the cytoplasmic existence of plasmid DNA delivered by likely formed fluoridated carbonate apatite particles while degradation of plasmid DNA presumably by cytoplasmic nucleases was noticed following delivery with apatite particles alone. The beneficial role of fluoride in enhancing carbonate apatite-mediated gene expression might be due to the buffering potential of generated fluoridated apatite in endosomal acidic environment, thereby increasing the half-life of delivered plasmid DNA.
Shigella flexneri serotype 2a is a major public health concern in the developing and under-developed countries which contributes to shigellosis endemic and mortality. Thus, there is an urgent need for a rapid diagnostic test for effective therapy and disease management. Previous study showed that a ∼35 kDa antigenic protein from S. flexneri is a potential biomarker. We therefore modelled the three-dimensional structure of the antigen to probe its functionality which could aid in the development of an antigen-based diagnostic. Results showed that the antigen is a transmembrane protein consists of OmpA and OmpA-like domains. The OmpA domain is a beta-barrel embedded in the outer membrane with four surface-exposed extracellular loops. The OmpA-like domain is linked to the OmpA domain with a 17 amino acids linker and located in the periplasmic. Docking of peptidoglycan into the groove of OmpA-like domain might help in catalyzing the bacterial cell wall formation. Both domains are expected to be involved in the virulence, structural stability, pathogenesis and survival of Shigella thus made the 35 kDa protein a suitable shigellosis diagnostic biomarker. This structural elucidation will also enable a better identification of the epitope regions for the development of specific binders to the 35 kDa antigen.
The Malayan krait (Bungarus candidus) is one of the medically most important snake species in Southeast Asia. The venom from this snake has been shown to posses both presynaptic and post-synaptic neurotoxins. We have isolated a previously uncharacterized post-synaptic neurotoxin - alphaN3 from the venom of B. candidus. Isolation of the toxin was achieved in three successive chromatography steps - gel filtration on a Sephadex G75 column, followed by ion exchange chromatography (Mono-S strong cationic exchanger) and a final reverse-phase chromatography step (PRO-RPC C18 column). Purified toxin alphaN3 was shown to have an apparent molecular weight of approximately 7 to 8 kDa on SDS-PAGE. The complete amino acid sequence of toxin alphaN3 was determined by Edman degradation and was found to share a high degree of homology with known post-synaptic neurotoxins (93% with alpha-bungarotoxin from Bungarus multicinctus, 50% with alpha cobratoxin from Naja kaouthia). The intravenous LD(50) of toxin alphaN3 was determined to be 0.16+/-0.09 microg/g in mice which is comparable to alpha-bungarotoxin from B. multicinctus. Experiments with isolated nerve-muscle preparations suggested that toxin alphaN3 was a post-synaptic neurotoxin that produced complete blockade of neuromuscular transmission by binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.
Despite the known importance of long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) during development, very little is known about their utilization and biosynthesis during embryogenesis. Combining the advantages of the existence of a complete range of enzymes required for LC-PUFA biosynthesis and the well established developmental biology tools in zebrafish, we examined the expression patterns of three LC-PUFA biosynthesis genes, Elovl2-like elongase (elovl2), Elovl5-like elongase (elovl5) and fatty acyl desaturase (fad) in different zebrafish developmental stages. The presence of all three genes in the brain as early as 24 hours post fertilization (hpf) implies LC-PUFA synthesis activity in the embryonic brain. This expression eventually subsides from 72 hpf onwards, coinciding with the initiation of elovl2 and fad expression in the liver and intestine, 2 organs known to be involved in adult fish LC-PUFA biosynthesis. Collectively, these patterns strongly suggest the necessity for localized production of LC-PUFA in the brain during in early stage embryos prior to the maturation of the liver and intestine. Interestingly, we also showed a specific expression of elovl5 in the proximal convoluted tubule (PCT) of the zebrafish pronephros, suggesting a possible new role for LC-PUFA in kidney development and function.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) is a ligand activated transcription factor, plays many essential roles of biological function in higher organisms. The PPARgamma is mainly expressed in adipose tissue. It regulates the transcriptional activity of genes by binding with other transcription factor. The PPARgamma coding region has been found to be closest to that of monkey in ours and other research groups. Thus, monkey is a more suitable animal model for future PPARgamma studying, although mice and rat are frequently being used. The PPARgamma is involved in regulating alterations of adipose tissue masses result from changes in mature adipocyte size and/or number through a complex interplay process called adipogenesis. However, the role of PPARgamma in negatively regulating the process of adipogenesis remains unclear. This review may help we investigate the differential expression of key transcription factor in adipose tissue in response to visceral obesity-induced diet in vivo. The study may also provide valuable information to define a more appropriate physiological condition in adipogenesis which may help to prevent diseases cause by negative regulation of the transcription factors in adipose tissue.
A plasmid construct was designed in which the gene of antimicrobial peptide melittin is controlled by the tetracycline-responsive promoter of human cytomegalovirus, aided by a constitutively expressed trans-activator protein gene. Its vaginal administration and induction of melittin gene transcription with doxycycline markedly suppressed subsequent genital tract infection of mice by Mycoplasma hominis and Chlamydia trachomatis. At least half of the melittin-protected animals proved free of either pathogen within 3-4 weeks. Recombinant plasmids expressing genes of antimicrobial peptides hold much promise as agents for prevention and control of urogenital latent infections.
ARID3A and ARID3B are transcriptional targets of p53. Recently, it has been reported that ARID3A plays a critical role in the transcriptional activation of pro-arrest p21 in response to DNA damage. However, the role of ARID3B in the p53 regulatory pathway remains poorly understood. Here we show that ARID3A and ARID3B specifically bind to putative ARID3-binding sites in p53 target genes in vitro and in vivo. ARID3B and, to a lesser extent, ARID3A silencing blocked transcriptional activation of pro-apoptotic p53 target genes, such as PUMA, PIG3, and p53. Furthermore, ectopic ARID3B, to a lesser extent, ARID3A expression activated the pro-apoptotic gene expression, and only ARID3B induced apoptosis. Finally, ARID3B but not ARID3A silencing blocked apoptosis induction following DNA damage. These results indicated that, although ARID3B and ARID3A share overlapping functions, ARID3B play a key role in the expression of pro-apoptotic p53-target genes and apoptosis.
Apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain (ARC), an endogenous inhibitor of apoptosis, is upregulated in a number of human cancers, thereby conferring drug resistance and giving a rationale for the inhibition of ARC to overcome drug resistance. Our hypothesis was that ARC would be similarly upregulated and targetable for therapy in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Expression of ARC was assessed in 85 human RCC samples and paired non-neoplastic kidney by qPCR and immunohistochemistry, as well as in four RCC cell lines by qPCR, Western immunoblot and confocal microscopy. Contrary to expectations, ARC was significantly decreased in the majority of clear cell RCC and in three (ACHN, Caki-1 and 786-0) of the four RCC cell lines compared with the HK-2 non-cancerous human proximal tubular epithelial cell line. Inhibition of ARC with shRNA in the RCC cell line (SN12K1) that had shown increased ARC expression conferred resistance to Sunitinib, and upregulated interleukin-6 (IL-6) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). We therefore propose that decreased ARC, particularly in clear cell RCC, confers resistance to targeted therapy through restoration of tyrosine kinase-independent alternate angiogenesis pathways. Although the results are contrary to expectations from other cancer studies, they were confirmed here with multiple analytical methods. We believe the highly heterogeneous nature of cancers like RCC predicate that expression patterns of molecules must be interpreted in relation to respective matched non-neoplastic regions. In the current study, this procedure indicated that ARC is decreased in RCC.
PNMA2, a member of the Paraneoplastic Ma Family (PNMA), was identified through expression cloning by using anti-sera from patients with paraneoplastic disorder. Tissue expression studies showed that PNMA2 was predominantly expressed in normal human brain; however, the protein was shown to exhibit abnormal expression profile as it was found to be expressed in a number of tumour tissues obtained from paraneopalstic patients. The abnormal expression profile of PNMA2 suggests that it might play an important role in tumorigenesis; however, apart from protein expression and immunological studies, the physiological role of PNMA2 remains unclear. In order to determine potential role of PNMA2 in tumorigenesis, and its functional relationship with PNMA family members, MOAP-1 (PNMA4) and PNMA1, expression constructs encoding the respective proteins were generated for both in vitro and in vivo studies. Our investigations showed that over-expressed MOAP-1 and PNMA1 promoted apoptosis and chemo-sensitization in MCF-7 cells as evidenced by condensed nuclei and Annexin-V positive MCF-7 cells; however, the effects mediated by these proteins were significantly inhibited or abolished when co-expressed with PNMA2 in MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation study showed that PNMA1 and MOAP-1 failed to associate with each other but readily formed respective heterodimer with PNMA2, suggesting that PNMA2 functions as antagonist of MOAP-1 and PNMA1 through heterodimeric interaction.
Our group has previously reported the isolation, partial characterisation, and application of a Galbeta1-3GalNAc- and IgA1-reactive lectin from the seeds of champedak (Artocarpus integer). In the present study, we have subjected the purified lectin to reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography and sequenced its subunits. Determination of the N-terminal sequence of the first 47 residues of the large subunit demonstrated at least 95% homology to the N-terminal sequence of the alpha chains of a few other galactose-binding Artocarpus lectins. The two smaller subunits of the lectin, each comprised of 21 amino acid residues, demonstrated minor sequence variability. Their sequences were generally comparable to the beta chains of the other galactose-binding Artocarpus lectins. When used to probe human serum glycopeptides that were separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, the lectin demonstrated strong apparent interactions with glycopeptides of IgA1, hemopexin, alpha2-HS glycoprotein, alpha1-antichymotrypsin, and a few unknown glycoproteins. Immobilisation of the lectin to Sepharose generated an affinity column that may be used to isolate the O-glycosylated serum glycoproteins.
Langat (LGT) virus, initially isolated in 1956 from ticks in Malaysia, is a naturally occurring nonpathogenic virus with a very close antigenicity to the highly pathogenic tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) Western subtype virus and TBE Far Eastern subtype virus. NS3, the second largest viral protein of LGT virus, is highly conserved among flaviviruses and contains a characteristic protease moiety (NS3 pro). NS3 pro represents an attractive target for anti-protease molecules against TBE virus. We report herein a purification method specially designed for NS3 pro of LGT using a strategy for proper refolding coupled with the enzymatic characterisation of the protein. Different p-nitroanilide substrates, defined on canonic sequences for their susceptibility to Ser-protease, were applied to the proteolytic assays of the protein. The highest values were obtained from substrates containing an Arg or Lys (amino acid) residue at the P1 position. This purification method will facilitate the future development of reliable testing procedures for anti-proteases directed to NS3 proteins.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) is a ligand-activated transcriptional factor that governs many biological processes, including lipid metabolism, inflammation, and atherosclerosis. We demonstrate here the existence of six variants and multiple transcriptional start sites of the 5(') untranslated region (UTR) of hPPARalpha gene, originating from the use of alternative splicing mechanisms and four different promoters. Three new novel exons at the 5(')-untranslated region of human PPARalpha gene were also identified and designated as Exon A, Exon B, and Exon 2b. In addition, 1.2kb promoter fragment which drives the transcription of 2 variants with Exon B (hPPARalpha4 and 6) was successfully cloned and characterised. Sequencing results revealed promoter B did not contain a conservative TATA box within the first 100 nucleotides from transcriptional start site but has several GC-rich regions and putative Sp1 sites. Using luciferase reporter constructs transfected into HepG2 and Hep3B cell lines, promoter B was shown to be functionally active. Basal transcriptional activity was significantly high in the promoter fragment -341/+34, but lower in the region -341/-1147 as compared to the fragment -341/+34, indicating the presence of an element conferring transcriptional activation between positions -341 and +34 or alternatively, the presence of transcriptional repression between positions -341 and -1147 in the promoter B of hPPARalpha.
Mice were chronically infected with cysts of ME49 strain of Toxoplasma gondii. At different periods post-infection, their spleens were removed and single cell suspensions were made. Lymphocyte transformation experiments were performed on the lymphocyte suspensions using three different kinds of antigens of ME49 strain of T. gondii, namely soluble, excretory/secretory and cystic forms. The results showed that the pattern of lymphocyte responsiveness was dependent on the kind of antigen employed for induction of the blastogenesis. Using soluble and cystic forms of the antigen, different periods of lymphocyte suppression and lymphocyte proliferation were demonstrated. However, with the use of excretory/secretory antigen, no significant suppression of lymphocyte stimulation was noted throughout the course of infection. Thus excretory/secretory antigen may be the best form of antigen for stimulation of the cell-mediated immune response and hence it appears to be a good candidate for vaccine in toxoplasmosis.
C57BL/6 mice were orally infected with different doses of cysts of ME49 strain of Toxoplasma gondii to produce groups of acutely and chronically infected mice. Sera were obtained at different periods post-infection. SDS-PAGE was ran with excretory/secretory antigens of ME49 and RH strains of T. gondii, followed by Western blot analyses using the above sera and anti- IgA, IgM, IgG as conjugates. The SDS-PAGE profiles of the two antigens were similar. However the antigenic bands showed variations in all blots, most evidently in IgA blots of chronic sera. IgG blots showed greatest similarities in reactive bands. In IgM blots, more common bands were shown in chronic sera than in acute sera. Variations and similarities in prominence of some bands and time of their appearance were also noted, especially in IgM and IgG blots of chronic sera. Thus antigenic variations and similarities are present in excretory/secretory products of different strains of T. gondii.
Sera from fifty subjects with different presentations of Brugian filariasis and from common soil-transmitted helminth infections were tested for specific anti-filarial IgG and its subclasses. Anti-filarial IgG, IgG1 and IgG3 showed cross-reactivities with soil-transmitted helminthic infections and no significant differences in optical densities among the various groups of filarial patients. In comparison with other groups of subjects, IgG4-ELISA of sera from microfilaraemic patients and some previously microfilaraemic patients showed a significant increase in optical density readings, while IgG2-ELISA showed elevated optical density readings in sera of patients with chronic elephantiasis. Therefore IgG2-ELISA is potentially useful in the diagnosis of brugian chronic elephantiasis while IgG4-ELISA may be beneficial for follow-up diagnosis of treated microfilaraemic patients.