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During heart morphogenesis, epicardial cells undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and migrate into the subepicardium. The cellular signals controlling this process are poorly understood. Here, we show that epicardial cells exhibit two distinct mitotic spindle orientations, directed either parallel or perpendicular to the basement membrane. Cells undergoing perpendicular cell division subsequently enter the myocardium. We found that loss of beta-catenin led to a disruption of adherens junctions and a randomization of mitotic spindle orientation. Loss of adherens junctions also disrupted Numb localization within epicardial cells, and disruption of Numb and Numblike expression in the epicardium led to randomized mitotic spindle orientations. Taken together, these data suggest that directed mitotic spindle orientation contributes to epicardial EMT and implicate a junctional complex of beta-catenin and Numb in the regulation of spindle orientation.

A point mutation (E115K) resulting in slower growth of Escherichia coli DH5alpha and XL1-Blue in minimal media was identified in the purB gene, coding for adenylosuccinate lyase (ASL), through complementation with an E. coli K-12 genomic library and serial subcultures. Chromosomal modification reversing the mutation to the wild type restored growth phenotypes in minimal media.

Intravascular large B cell lymphoma (IVLBCL) is a rare cause of pyrexia of unknown origin. Because of its protean clinical manifestations, diagnosis is elusive and is often made postmortem. We report here a case of IVLBCL that evaded diagnosis despite multiple investigations in vivo for pyrexia of unknown origin over a 5‐month period.

Caesarean birth, without prior labour, is associated with an increased risk of neonatal respiratory morbidity among term infants. The concentration of lamellar bodies in amniotic fluid reflects pulmonary surfactant production and release, and is thus used in preterm populations as a marker of fetal lung maturity. Whether amniotic fluid lamellar body concentration (AFLBC) may correlate with risk factors for term respiratory distress has not previously been evaluated.

To determine the relationship between AFLBC and risk factors for respiratory distress following term caesarean birth.

The AFLBC of 249 women at the time of term caesarean birth was examined for an association with gestational age, gender, presentation and neonatal respiratory distress requiring special care nursery (SCN) admission.

There was a significant increase in AFLBC with gestation. When compared with caesarean deliveries performed during the 37th week of gestation, there was a 50%, 54% and 56% increase in lamellar body concentrations (LBCs) taken during the 38th, 39th and 40th week of gestation respectively (P < 0.05 for all). Female fetuses had a 16% higher LBC than males (P < 0.05). An LBC <100 x 10(9) mL(-1) was associated with increased risk of admission to the SCN with respiratory distress (RR = 5.6; 1.2-26.5, P < 0.05).

Known risk factors for term respiratory distress are reflected in the AFLBC. A significant relationship exists between AFLBC and respiratory morbidity following term caesarean birth. However, the low prevalence of this condition limits the clinical role of AFLBC as a predictive test for term respiratory morbidity.

Self-ligating brackets have been gaining popularity over the past several decades. Various advantages for these systems have been claimed. The purposes of this systematic review were to identify and review the orthodontic literature with regard to the efficiency, effectiveness, and stability of treatment with self-ligating brackets compared with conventional brackets.

An electronic search in 4 data bases was performed from 1966 to 2009, with supplemental hand searching of the references of retrieved articles. Quality assessment of the included articles was performed. Data were extracted by using custom forms, and weighted mean differences were calculated.

Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria, including 2 randomized controlled trials with low risk of bias, 10 cohort studies with moderate risk of bias, and 4 cross-sectional studies with moderate to high risk of bias. Self-ligation appears to have a significant advantage with regard to chair time, based on several cross-sectional studies. Analyses also showed a small, but statistically significant, difference in mandibular incisor proclination (1.5 degrees less in self-ligating systems). No other differences in treatment time and occlusal characteristics after treatment were found between the 2 systems. No studies on long-term stability of treatment were identified.

Despite claims about the advantages of self-ligating brackets, evidence is generally lacking. Shortened chair time and slightly less incisor proclination appear to be the only significant advantages of self-ligating systems over conventional systems that are supported by the current evidence.

The cell surface receptor kinase BRASSINOSTEROID-INSENSITIVE-1 (BRI1) is the major receptor for steroid hormones in Arabidopsis. Plants homozygous for loss-of-function mutations in BRI1 display a reduction in the size of vegetative organs, resulting in dwarfism. The recessive bri1-5 mutation produces receptors that do not accumulate to wild-type levels and are retained mainly in the endoplasmic reticulum. We have isolated a dominant suppressor of the dwarf phenotype of bri1-5 plants. We show that this suppression is caused by a second-site mutation in BRI1, bri1-5R1. The bri1-5R1 mutation partially rescues the phenotypes of bri1-5 in many tissues and enhances bri1-5 phenotypes above wild-type levels in several other tissues. We demonstrate that the phenotypes of bri1-5R1 plants are due to both increased cell expansion and increased cell division. To test the mechanism of bri1-5 suppression, we assessed whether the phenotypic suppression in bri1-5R1 was dependent on ligand availability and the integrity of the signaling pathway. Our results indicate that the suppression of the dwarf phenotypes associated with bri1-5R1 requires both BR biosynthesis and the receptor kinase BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE-1 (BAK1). Finally, we show that bri1-5R1 partially restores the accumulation and plasma membrane localization of BRI1. Collectively, our results point toward a model in which bri1-R1 compensates for the protein-folding abnormalities caused by bri1-5, restoring accumulation of the receptor and its delivery to the cell surface.

Pep1 is a 23-amino acid peptide that enhances resistance to a root pathogen, Pythium irregulare. Pep1 and its homologs (Pep2 to Pep7) are endogenous amplifiers of innate immunity of Arabidopsis thaliana that induce the transcription of defense-related genes and bind to PEPR1, a plasma membrane leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptor kinase. Here, we identify a plasma membrane LRR receptor kinase, designated PEPR2, that has 76% amino acid similarity to PEPR1, and we characterize its role in the perception of Pep peptides and defense responses. Both PEPR1 and PEPR2 were transcriptionally induced by wounding, treatment with methyl jasmonate, Pep peptides, and pathogen-associated molecular patterns. The effects of Pep1 application on defense-related gene induction and enhancement of resistance to Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000 were partially reduced in single mutants of PEPR1 and PEPR2 and abolished completely in double mutants. Photoaffinity labeling and binding assays using transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) cells expressing PEPR1 and PEPR2 clearly demonstrated that PEPR1 is a receptor for Pep1-6 and that PEPR2 is a receptor for Pep1 and Pep2. Our analysis demonstrates differential binding affinities of two receptors with a family of peptide ligands and the corresponding physiological effects of the specific receptor-ligand interactions. Therefore, we demonstrate that, through perception of Peps, PEPR1 and PEPR2 contribute to defense responses in Arabidopsis.

In the developing heart, the epicardium is a major source of progenitor cells that contribute to the formation of the coronary vessel system. These epicardial progenitors give rise to the different cellular components of the coronary vasculature by undergoing a number of morphological and physiological changes collectively known as epithelial to mesenchymal transformation (EMT). However, the specific signaling mechanisms that regulate epicardial EMT are yet to be delineated. In this study we investigated the role of TGFβ2 and hyaluronan (HA) during epicardial EMT and how signals from these two molecules are integrated during this important process. Here we show that TGFβ2 induces MEKK3 activation, which in turn promotes ERK1/2 and ERK5 phosphorylation. TGFβ2 also increases Has2 expression and subsequent HA production. Nevertheless, inhibition of MEKK3 kinase activity, silencing of ERK5 or pharmacological disruption of ERK1/2 activation significantly abrogates this response. Thus, TGFβ2 promotes Has2 expression and HA production through a MEKK3/ERK1/2/5-dependent cascade. Furthermore, TGFβ2 is able to induce epicardial cell invasion and differentiation but not proliferation. However, inhibition of MEKK3-dependent pathways, degradation of HA by hyaluronidases or blockade of CD44, significantly impairs the biological response to TGFβ2. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that TGFβ2 activation of MEKK3/ERK1/2/5 signaling modulates Has2 expression and HA production leading to the induction of EMT events. This is an important and novel mechanism showing how TGFβ2 and HA signals are integrated to regulate changes in epicardial cell behavior.

Arsenic has been a recognized contaminant and toxicant, as well as a medicinal compound throughout human history. Populations throughout the world are exposed to arsenic and these exposures have been associated with a number of human cancers. Not much is known about the role of arsenic as a human carcinogen and more recently its role in non-cancerous diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes mellitus have been uncovered. The health effects associated with arsenic are numerous and the association between arsenic exposure and human disease has intensified the search for molecular mechanisms that describe the biological activity of arsenic in humans and leads to the aforementioned disease states. Arsenic poses a human health risk due in part to the regulation of cellular signal transduction pathways and over the last few decades, some cellular mechanisms that account for arsenic toxicity, as well as, signal transduction pathways have been discovered. However, given the ubiquitous nature of arsenic in the environment, making sense of all the data remains a challenge. This review will focus on our knowledge of signal transduction pathways that are regulated by arsenic.

An aneurysm is a gradual and progressive ballooning of a blood vessel due to wall degeneration. Rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) constitutes a significant portion of deaths in the US. In this study, we describe a technique to reconstruct AAA geometry from CT images in an inexpensive and streamlined fashion. A 3D reconstruction technique was implemented with a GUI interface in MATLAB using the active contours technique. The lumen and the thrombus of the AAA were segmented individually in two separate protocols and were then joined together into a hybrid surface. This surface was then used to obtain the aortic wall. This method can deal with very poor contrast images where the aortic wall is indistinguishable from the surrounding features. Data obtained from the segmentation of image sets were smoothed in 3D using a Support Vector Machine technique. The segmentation method presented in this paper is inexpensive and has minimal user-dependency in reconstructing AAA geometry (lumen and wall) from patient image sets. The AAA model generated using this segmentation algorithm can be used to study a variety of biomechanical issues remaining in AAA biomechanics including stress estimation, endovascular stent-graft performance, and local drug delivery studies.

Asthma increased dramatically in the last decades of the 20th century and is representative of chronic diseases that have been linked to altered microbial exposure and immune responses. Here we evaluate the effects of environmental exposures typically associated with asthma protection or risk on the microbial community structure of household dust (dogs, cats, and day care). PCR-denaturing gradient gel analysis (PCR-DGGE) demonstrated that the bacterial community structure in house dust is significantly impacted by the presence of dogs or cats in the home (P = 0.0190 and 0.0029, respectively) and by whether or not children attend day care (P = 0.0037). In addition, significant differences in the dust bacterial community were associated with asthma outcomes in young children, including wheezing (P = 0.0103) and specific IgE (P = 0.0184). Our findings suggest that specific bacterial populations within the community are associated with either risk or protection from asthma.

No abstract given.

The pathogenesis of asthma and allergy typically involves not only distinct genetic and environmental factors, but also interactions between the two. Innate-immunity genes [particularly CD14, toll-like receptor (TLR)4 and TLR2, the critical mediators of responses to bacteria in the extracellular space] play a prominent role in gene-environment interactions relevant to asthma-related phenotypes because the interaction between microbial load and the innate-immune system is a critical determinant of both immune function and allergy/asthma susceptibility. This review presents recent findings illustrating the role of gene-environment interactions in asthma/allergy susceptibility.

Population studies have extended our understanding of the role of CD14 and innate-immune genes in the interplay between genetic variants and the environment, highlighting the complexity of these interactions and their significant influence on susceptibility to asthma and allergy.

Gene-environment interactions have become a leitmotiv in asthma and allergy genetics, especially over the last 3 years. The next challenge awaiting asthma and allergy geneticists will be to define the extent to which the search for gene-environment interactions can be successfully integrated with hypothesis-generating, genome-wide approaches aimed at the identification of genetic variants involved in the pathogenesis of complex-lung diseases.

Expression of the cytokine interleukin-13 (IL13) is critical for Th2 immune responses and Th2-mediated allergic diseases. Activation of human IL13 expression involves chromatin remodeling and formation of multiple DNase I-hypersensitive sites throughout the locus. Among these, HS4 is detected in the distal IL13 promoter in both naive and polarized CD4(+) T cells. We show herein that HS4 acts as a position-independent, orientation-dependent positive regulator of IL13 proximal promoter activity in transiently transfected, activated human CD4(+) Jurkat T cells and primary murine Th2 cells. The 3'-half of HS4 (HS4-3') was responsible for IL13 up-regulation and bound nuclear factor (NF) 90 and NF45, as demonstrated by DNA affinity chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and gel shift analysis. Notably, the CTGTT NF45/NF90-binding motif within HS4-3' was critical for HS4-dependent up-regulation of IL13 expression. Moreover, transfection of HS4-IL13 reporter vectors into primary, in vitro differentiated Th2 cells from wild-type, NF45(+/-), or NF90(+/-) mice showed that HS4 activity was exquisitely dependent on the levels of endogenous NF45 (and to a lesser degree NF90), because HS4-dependent IL13 expression was virtually abrogated in NF45(+/-) cells and reduced in NF90(+/-) cells. Collectively, our results identify NF45 and NF90 as novel regulators of HS4-dependent human IL13 transcription in response to T cell activation.

The year 2009 was marked by rapid progress in understanding cellular and chemical mechanisms in the pathogenesis of asthma and other allergic disorders. Studies published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology described advances in our knowledge of signaling molecules and pathways, cytokines, and activation and tolerance in asthma and murine models of this disease; food allergy; anaphylaxis and immediate hypersensitivity; mast cells and their disorders; atopic dermatitis; allergic conjunctivitis; nasal polyposis; and hypereosinophilic syndromes. Additional studies provided novel information about the induction and regulation of allergic inflammation and the genetic determinants of asthma and responsiveness to asthma therapy. Critical features of these studies and their potential effect on human atopic disorders are summarized here.

Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that children who grow up on traditional farms are protected from asthma, hay fever and allergic sensitization. Early-life contact with livestock and their fodder, and consumption of unprocessed cow's milk have been identified as the most effective protective exposures. Studies of the immunobiology of farm living point to activation and modulation of innate and adaptive immune responses by intense microbial exposures and possibly xenogeneic signals delivered before or soon after birth.

Membrane transporters can be major determinants of the pharmacokinetic, safety and efficacy profiles of drugs. This presents several key questions for drug development, including which transporters are clinically important in drug absorption and disposition, and which in vitro methods are suitable for studying drug interactions with these transporters. In addition, what criteria should trigger follow-up clinical studies, and which clinical studies should be conducted if needed. In this article, we provide the recommendations of the International Transporter Consortium on these issues, and present decision trees that are intended to help guide clinical studies on the currently recognized most important drug transporter interactions. The recommendations are generally intended to support clinical development and filing of a new drug application. Overall, it is advised that the timing of transporter investigations should be driven by efficacy, safety and clinical trial enrolment questions (for example, exclusion and inclusion criteria), as well as a need for further understanding of the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion properties of the drug molecule, and information required for drug labelling.

Recent investigations involving intact rabbit renal proximal tubules indicated that organic anion transporter 3 (OAT3) may be involved in the transport of 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS). Therefore, we evaluated the interaction of OAT3 with DMPS to determine the effect of OAT3 on basolateral DMPS uptake. We used stably transfected HEK293 cells expressing human and rabbit orthologs of the exchanger OAT1 and OAT3. Using 6-carboxyfluorescein (6-CF) as a substrate, the IC50 determinations for reduced DMPS (DMPSH) revealed a stronger interaction with OAT1 than with OAT3 (rbOAT1, 123.3 +/- 13.7; hOAT1, 85.1 +/- 8.8; rbOAT3, 171.7 +/- 22.3; and hOAT3, 172.2 +/- 36.4 micromol/L). However, inhibition of 6-CF uptake by the oxidized form of DMPS (DMPSS), the main form of DMPS in the blood, showed a greater affinity for OAT3 (rbOAT1, 237.4 +/- 23; hOAT1, 104.6 +/- 13.1; rbOAT3, 52.4 +/- 7.6; and hOAT3, 31.6 +/- 6.6 micromol/L). To determine whether DMPSH and DMPSS are substrates for OAT3, we performed efflux studies with [14C]glutarate and inwardly directed gradients of glutarate. The inhibitors trans-stimulated the efflux of [14C]glutarate, suggesting that OAT3 may be able to transport both forms of DMPS. On the basis of the substantial interaction of OAT3 with DMPSS, we conclude that OAT3 represents the dominant basolateral player in renal detoxification processes resulting from use of DMPS.

In flowering plants, the female gametophyte is typically a seven-celled structure with four cell types: the egg cell, the central cell, the synergid cells, and the antipodal cells. These cells perform essential functions required for double fertilization and early seed development. Differentiation of these distinct cell types likely involves coordinated changes in gene expression regulated by transcription factors. Therefore, understanding female gametophyte cell differentiation and function will require dissection of the gene regulatory networks operating in each of the cell types. These efforts have been hampered because few transcription factor genes expressed in the female gametophyte have been identified. To identify such genes, we undertook a large-scale differential expression screen followed by promoter-fusion analysis to detect transcription-factor genes transcribed in the Arabidopsis female gametophyte.

Using quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR, we analyzed 1,482 Arabidopsis transcription-factor genes and identified 26 genes exhibiting reduced mRNA levels in determinate infertile 1 mutant ovaries, which lack female gametophytes, relative to ovaries containing female gametophytes. Spatial patterns of gene transcription within the mature female gametophyte were identified for 17 transcription-factor genes using promoter-fusion analysis. Of these, ten genes were predominantly expressed in a single cell type of the female gametophyte including the egg cell, central cell and the antipodal cells whereas the remaining seven genes were expressed in two or more cell types. After fertilization, 12 genes were transcriptionally active in the developing embryo and/or endosperm.

We have shown that our quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR differential-expression screen is sufficiently sensitive to detect transcription-factor genes transcribed in the female gametophyte. Most of the genes identified in this study have not been reported previously as being expressed in the female gametophyte. Therefore, they might represent novel regulators and provide entry points for reverse genetic and molecular approaches to uncover the gene regulatory networks underlying female gametophyte development.

Nrf2 is a transcription factor that has emerged as the cell's main defense mechanism against many harmful environmental toxicants and carcinogens. Nrf2 is negatively regulated by Keap1, a substrate adaptor protein for the Cullin3 (Cul3)-containing E3-ligase complex, which targets Nrf2 for ubiquitination and degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). Recent evidence suggests that constitutive activation of Nrf2, due to mutations in Keap1 or Nrf2, is prominent in many cancer types and contributes to chemoresistance. Regulation of Nrf2 by the Cul3-Keap1-E3 ligase provides strong evidence that tight regulation of Cullin-ring ligases (CRLs) is imperative to maintain cellular homeostasis. There are seven known Cullin proteins that form various CRL complexes. They are regulated by neddylation/deneddylation, ubiquitination/deubiquitination, CAND1-assisted complex assembly/disassembly, and subunit dimerization. In this review, we will discuss the regulation of each CRL using the Cul3-Keap1-E3 ligase complex as the primary focus. The substrates of CRLs are involved in many signaling pathways. Therefore, deregulation of CRLs affects several cellular processes, including cell cycle arrest, DNA repair, cell proliferation, senescence, and death, which may lead to many human diseases, including cancer. This makes CRLs a promising target for novel cancer drug therapies.