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There is now conclusive evidence that, as a group, subjects with asthma have lower levels of lung function as compared with their peers and that a significant proportion of subjects with persistent asthma are at risk of developing non-fully reversible airflow limitation, the clinical hallmark of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Although at the population level the most conspicuous form of airflow limitation in asthma seems to be that of subjects who wheeze during the first years of life and whose symptoms persist into adult life, asthma-related lung deficits can be related to both acquired deficits in growth of lung function in childhood and steeper decline of lung function in adult life. These trajectories of lung function are likely to differ across subgroups of individuals with asthma, suggesting that different windows of opportunity may exist to modify the natural course of the disease before irreversible deficits are established. These observations indicate the importance of identifying biomarkers that can be used to target children and adults with asthma at increased risk for airflow limitation and determining whether pharmacological interventions can protect these patients from the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The cortical actin cytoskeleton beneath the plasma membrane represents a physical barrier that vaccinia virus has to overcome during its exit from an infected cell. Previous observations using overexpression and pharmacological approaches suggest that vaccinia enhances its release by modulating the cortical actin cytoskeleton by inhibiting RhoA signalling using the viral protein F11. We have now examined the role of F11 and its ability to interact with RhoA to inhibit its downstream signalling in the spread of vaccinia infection both in vitro and in vivo. Live cell imaging over 48 hours reveals that loss of F11 or its ability to bind RhoA dramatically reduces the rate of cell-to-cell spread of the virus in a cell monolayer. Cells infected with the DeltaF11L virus also maintained their cell-to-cell contacts, and did not undergo virus-induced motility as observed during wild-type infections. The DeltaF11L virus is also attenuated in intranasal mouse models of infection, as it is impaired in its ability to spread from the initial sites of infection to the lungs and spleen. Loss of the ability of F11 to bind RhoA also reduces viral spread in vivo. Our results clearly establish that viral-mediated inhibition of RhoA signalling can enhance the spread of infection not only in cell monolayers, but also in vivo.

The C-allele of rs13266634 located in SLC30A8 (ZNT8) has been strongly associated with decreased insulin release and with type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility in some but not all studies. To shed further light on this issue, we performed a meta-analysis of the association between rs13266634 and T2D in different ethnic groups and assessed the relationships between SLC30A8 genotypes and some properties of isolated human islets.

From 32 original articles, a total of 77,234 control individuals and 44,945 subjects with T2D were studied in meta-analysis. To assess the relationships between SLC30A8 genotype and islet cell phenotype, insulin secretion in response to glucose, glucose plus arginine and glucose plus glibenclamide was determined in pancreatic islets isolated from 82 multiorgan donors genotyped for the rs13266634 polymorphism. Quantitative expression of SLC30A8, Insulin and Glucagon mRNA was also measured.

Overall, each SLC30A8 risk allele was associated with a 14% increased risk for T2D (P=2.78 x 10(-34)). The population risk of T2D attributable to this polymorphism was estimated at 9.5% in Europeans and 8.1% in East Asians. Basal and stimulated insulin secretion from human islets as well as islet expressions of SLC30A8, Insulin and Glucagon were not affected by the presence of the polymorphism. However, SLC30A8 expression was positively correlated with Insulin (r=0.75, P=6.43 x 10(-6)) and Glucagon (r: 0.70, P=4.89 x 10(-5)) levels.

The SLC30A8 rs13266634 polymorphism is among the most confirmed genetic markers of T2D in Europeans and East Asians. In isolated human islets, the risk C-allele does not affect ex-vivo insulin secretion and SLC30A8 expression, which is correlated with that of insulin and glucagon.

beta-cell dysfunction is central to the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes. Reduced islet number and/or diminished beta-cell mass/volume in the pancreas of type 2 diabetic subjects have been reported by many authors, mainly due to increased apoptosis not compensated for by adequate regeneration. In addition, ultrastructural analysis has shown reduced insulin granules and morphological changes in several beta-cell organelles, including mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum. Several quantitative and qualitative defects of beta-cell function have been described in human type 2 diabetes using isolated islets, including alterations in early phase, glucose-stimulated insulin release. These survival and functional changes are accompanied by modifications of islet gene and protein expression. The impact of genotype in affecting beta-cell function and survival has been addressed in a few studies, and a number of gene variants have been associated with beta-cell dysfunction. Among acquired factors, the role of glucotoxicity and lipotoxicity could be of particular importance, due to the potential deleterious impact of elevated levels of glucose and/or free fatty acids in the natural history of beta-cell damage. More recently, it has been proposed that inflammation might also play a role in the dysfunction of the beta-cell in type 2 diabetes. Encouraging, although preliminary, data show that some of these defects might be directly counteracted, at least in part, by appropriate in vitro pharmacological intervention.

To assess household transmission of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in San Antonio, Texas, USA, during April 15-May 8, 2009, we investigated 77 households. The index case-patient was defined as the household member with the earliest onset date of symptoms of acute respiratory infection (ARI), influenza-like illness (ILI), or laboratory-confirmed pandemic (H1N1) 2009. Median interval between illness onset in index and secondary case-patients was 4 days (range 1-9 days); the index case-patient was likely to be < or =18 years of age (p = 0.034). The secondary attack rate was 4% for pandemic (H1N1) 2009, 9% for ILI, and 13% for ARI. The secondary attack rate was highest for children <5 years of age (8%-19%) and lowest for adults > or =50 years of age (4%-12%). Early in the outbreak, household transmission primarily occurred from children to other household members and was lower than the transmission rate for seasonal influenza.

GLP-1 and GIP are incretins known to affect beta-cell function and turnover. However, information on the direct actions of these hormones on human islet cells is limited. We tested the effects of acute (45min) or prolonged (2days) exposure to GLP-1 or GIP, alone or in combination, on the function and some molecular features of human islets isolated from non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic multiorgan donors. Acutely, both GLP-1 and, more markedly so, GIP, significantly potentiated glucose-stimulated insulin release, with no apparent synergic action. Some of these effects were observed with type 2 diabetic islets as well. Following prolonged exposure to the incretins, improved insulin secretion was observed, and transcription of insulin, PDX-1 and Bcl-2 was increased in both non-diabetic and diabetic islets, with the combination of GLP-1 and GIP showing more significant effects. Although it is still unclear at what extent these beta-cell direct actions of individual or combined incretins occur in-vivo in humans, nevertheless the results of the present study suggest that enhancing the exposure of pancreatic islets to circulating levels of both incretins may be useful for therapeutical purposes.

It is well established that schizophrenia is associated with difficulties in recognizing facial emotional expressions, but few studies have reported the presence of this deficit among their unaffected relatives. This study attempts to add new evidence of familial association on an emotional expression processing test. The study evaluated the performance of 93 paranoid schizophrenia patients, 110 first-degree relatives of probands from multiplex schizophrenia families, and 109 nonpsychiatric controls on a facial emotional recognition test using a computer morphing technique to present the dynamic expressions. The task entailed the recognition of a set of facial expressions depicting the six basic emotions presented in 21 successive frames of increasing intensity. The findings indicated that schizophrenia patients were consistently impaired for the recognition of the six basic facial expressions. In contrast, their unaffected relatives showed a selective impairment for the recognition of disgust and fearful expressions. Familial association of selective facial emotional expressions processing deficit may further implicate promising new endophenotypes that can advance the understanding of affective deficits in schizophrenia.

Recent studies have suggested that a restrictive pattern assessed with a single spirometric test is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. This study was undertaken to determine demographic, clinical and mortality profiles of subjects with either a recurrent or an inconsistent restrictive spirometric pattern assessed prospectively.

Data from 2048 adult participants in the population-based TESAOD study were analysed. Normal (forced expiratory volume in 1 s/forced vital capacity (FEV(1)/FVC) ratio >or=70% and FVC >or=80% predicted), restrictive (FEV(1)/FVC >or=70% and FVC <80% predicted) and obstructive (FEV(1)/FVC <70%) patterns were assessed at the enrollment survey in 1972 and in 11 subsequent follow-up surveys up to 1996. Demographic and clinical characteristics were measured at enrollment and vital status and cause of death were assessed at January 2005.

Overall, 12% of participants had a restrictive spirometric pattern at enrollment. They were less likely to be male, to smoke and to have asthma, and had lower IgE levels than subjects in the obstructive group. Among subjects with a restrictive pattern at enrollment, 38% developed an obstructive pattern during follow-up. The remaining 62% had either a recurrent (restrictive pattern >or=50% of follow-up surveys) or inconsistent (restrictive pattern <50% of follow-up surveys) longitudinal restrictive pattern. The recurrent and inconsistent restrictive groups had increased mortality risk for all-cause (adjusted HR 1.7 (95% CI 1.3 to 2.3) and 1.9 (95% CI 1.4 to 2.6), respectively), heart disease (2.0 (95% CI 1.3 to 3.1) and 2.7 (95% CI 1.7 to 4.3)), stroke (2.4 (95% CI 0.9 to 6.3) and 3.5 (95% CI 1.2 to 9.8)) and diabetes (8.0 (95% CI 2.9 to 21.8) and 6.0 (95% CI 1.9 to 19.2)).

The restrictive spirometric pattern identifies a pulmonary condition that is distinguishable from obstructive lung disease and is associated with an increased risk of life-threatening comorbidities.

The aim of this study was to define the effects on antigen-presenting cells of the expression of HIV antigens from an attenuated poxvirus vector. We have analyzed the transcriptional changes in gene expression following infection of human immature monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DC) with recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing the genes encoding the gp120 and Gag-Pol-Nef antigens of HIV type 1 clade B (referred to as MVA-B) versus parental MVA infection. Using microarray technology and real-time reverse transcription-PCR, we demonstrated that the HIV proteins induced the expression of cytokines, cytokine receptors, chemokines, chemokine receptors, and molecules involved in antigen uptake and processing, including major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. Levels of mRNAs for interleukin-1, beta interferon, CCR8, and SCYA20 were higher after HIV antigen production. MVA-B infection also modulated the expression of antigen processing and presentation genes: the gene for MICA was upregulated, whereas those for HLA-DRA and HSPA5 were downregulated. Indeed, the increased expression of the gene for MICA, a glycoprotein related to major histocompatibility complex class I molecules, was shown to enhance the interaction between MVA-B-infected target cells and cytotoxic lymphocytes. The expression profiles of the genes for protein kinases such as JAK1 and IRAK2 were activated after HIV antigen expression. Several genes included in the JAK-STAT and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways were regulated after HIV antigen expression. Our findings provide the first gene signatures in DC of a candidate MVA-B vaccine expressing four HIV antigens and identified the biological roles of some of the regulatory genes, like that for MICA, which will help in the design of more effective MVA-derived vaccines.

Both neurological and immunological systems are vulnerable to early life exposures. Neurological disorders and atopy have been related in animals and humans. Our main objective was to assess whether multiple exposures to early life determinants remain associated with neurodevelopment after considering the potential intermediate role of atopy. A second objective was to assess whether genes associated with atopy may inform about the potential neurotoxical mechanisms. Children were members of the AMICS birth cohort in Menorca (n=418, 87% of the recruited). General cognition was measured with the McCarthy Scales at age 4 and atopy through specific IgE at age 4 and prick test at age 6; 85 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 16 atopy and detoxification genes were genotyped. Among the 27 risk factors assessed, lower maternal social class, maternal smoking during pregnancy, being first born, shorter breastfeeding, higher DDT levels in cord blood, and higher indoor levels of NO2 (among the non-detoxifiers by GSTP1 polymorphism) were independently associated with poorer cognition. These associations were apparently not mediated by the relation between atopy and general cognition. Among the candidate atopic genes, variants in NQ01 (a detoxification gene) and NPRS1 (related with affective disorders like anxiety and stress management) had a significant association with general cognition (p-value<0.001). However, adjustment for the corresponding SNPs did not change the association between the early life determinants and general cognition. Multiple environmental pre-natal exposures were associated with neurodevelopment independently of their role in the immunological system. Atopic genes related to neurodevelopment suggest some potential mechanisms.

Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and other organochlorines suppress immunity biomarkers in animals and humans. Our aim was to study the association between prenatal levels of DDE and lower respiratory tract infection in infants independently from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other organochlorines.

Maternal levels of p'p'-DDE, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p'p-DDT), PCB congeners 28, 118, 138, 153, and 180, hexachlorobenzene, and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane were measured in first trimester serum of 584 pregnant women from a general population-based cohort in Sabadell (Catalonia, Spain). Mothers reported lower respiratory tract infection in interviewer-led questionnaires administered at infant age 6 and 14 months.

Thirteen percent of babies had recurrent lower respiratory tract infection during the first 14 months of life. Among the organochlorines, DDE showed the highest levels (median = 112 ng/g lipid); dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane was not detectable. The median total PCB level was 85 ng/g. DDE was the only organochlorine that showed an association with recurrent lower respiratory tract infection (at levels >83 ng/g, the first tertile, relative risk = 2.40 [95% confidence interval = 1.19-4.83]), lower respiratory tract infection at 6 months (1.68 [1.06-2.66]), and lower respiratory tract infection at 14 months (1.52 [1.05-2.21]). Adjusting for PCBs, hexachlorobenzene or beta-hexachlorocyclohexane did not confound the association.

Immunologic suppression by DDE as observed in experimental studies could explain the relation between DDE and lower respiratory tract infection, independently of PCBs. Exposure to DDE during prenatal life could be critical for the development of the immune and respiratory systems.

The topic of vascular anomalies is uncommon in the hand surgery literature, but hand surgeons do diagnose and treat patients with hemangiomas and vascular malformations. These are separate entities and require different treatment strategies. Proper diagnosis will lead to timely and appropriate treatment.

  The ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 s and forced expiratory volume in 6 s (FEV1/FEV6) has been proposed as an alternative for FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC) to diagnose obstructive diseases with less effort during spirometry; however, its prognostic value is unknown. We evaluated whether FEV1/FEV6 is a significant predictor of mortality in elderly subjects and compared its prognostic value with that of FEV1/FVC and FEV1.

  One thousand nine hundred and seventy-one subjects, aged >65 years, participated in the population-based SA.R.A. study. During the baseline exam, a multidimensional assessment included spirometry. Vital status was determined during 6 years of follow-up. Association of all-cause, cardio-pulmonary (CP) and non-CP mortality with a low FEV1/FEV6, FEV1/FVC and FEV1 was evaluated.

  Among subjects with both survival data and acceptable spirometry including FEV6, all-cause unadjusted mortality rates were 7·00 and 2·46 per 100 person-years in subjects with FEV1/FEV6 less than and greater than or equal to lower limit of normal (LLN), respectively (mortality rate ratio: 2·84, 95%CI: 2·12-3·84). After adjustment for age, gender, FVC, smoke exposure and main comorbidities, the risk of all-cause mortality remained significantly increased in subjects with FEV1/FEV6
  A low FEV1/FEV6 is a significant predictor of mortality in older individuals. Its prognostic value is comparable to that of a low FEV1/FVC and FEV1.

We assessed whether maternal C-reactive protein (CRP) levels during pregnancy and CRP gene variations are associated with wheezing and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in offspring.

Information on wheezing and LRTIs in the offspring at 6 and 14 months of age, and maternal CRP levels and genotype was obtained from a population-based birth cohort.

A total of 63 children (12.5%) experienced recurrent wheezing and 61 (12.4%) a recurrent diagnosis of LRTIs. Children in the highest tertile of maternal CRP levels had a higher risk of experiencing recurrent wheezing (adjusted odds ratio, 2.87; 95% confidence interval, 1.23-6.71) and being diagnosed with recurrent LRTIs (odds ratio, 2.37; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-5.55), as compared with children in the lowest tertile. The rs1205 polymorphism influenced maternal serum CRP levels but not the risk of the offspring outcomes.

Higher CRP levels in pregnancy are associated with wheezing and LRTIs in offspring. However, genetic variation in CRP influencing maternal levels is not related to these phenotypes.

The mechanisms of compartmentalization of intermediates and secretion of penicillins and cephalosporins in β-lactam antibiotic-producing fungi are of great interest. In Acremonium chrysogenum, there is a compartmentalization of the central steps of the CPC (cephalosporin C) biosynthetic pathway. In the present study, we found in the 'early' CPC cluster a new gene named cefP encoding a putative transmembrane protein containing 11 transmembrane spanner. Targeted inactivation of cefP by gene replacement showed that it is essential for CPC biosynthesis. The disrupted mutant is unable to synthesize cephalosporins and secretes a significant amount of IPN (isopenicillin N), indicating that the mutant is blocked in the conversion of IPN into PenN (penicillin N). The production of cephalosporin in the disrupted mutant was restored by transformation with both cefP and cefR (a regulatory gene located upstream of cefP), but not with cefP alone. Fluorescence microscopy studies with an EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein)-SKL (Ser-Lys-Leu) protein (a peroxisomal-targeted marker) as a control showed that the red-fluorescence-labelled CefP protein co-localized in the peroxisomes with the control peroxisomal protein. In summary, CefP is a peroxisomal membrane protein probably involved in the import of IPN into the peroxisomes where it is converted into PenN by the two-component CefD1/CefD2 protein system.

In this contribution, a pulse sequence is described for recording accordion-optimized DEPT experiments. The proposed ACCORDEPT experiment detects a wide range of one-bond coupling constants using accordion optimization. As a proof of concept, this strategy has been applied to a mesogen containing a large range of one-bond (1)J(CH) coupling constants associated with the various structural elements. The ACCORDEPT experiment afforded significant enhancements for the resonances with the larger (1)J(CH) couplings, similar SNR for aliphatic resonances, but reduced SNR for aliphatic resonances as compared with the standard DEPT experiment. In addition, the ACCORDEPT is straightforward to implement, does not require any supplementary calibration procedures and can be used under automated conditions without difficulty by inexperienced users.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease which behaves as a complex genetic trait. At least 20 SLE risk susceptibility loci have been mapped using both candidate gene and genome-wide association strategies. The gene encoding the pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL18, has been reported as a candidate gene showing an association with SLE. This pleiotropic cytokine is expressed in a range of immune cells and has been shown to induce interferon-γ and tumour necrosis factor-α. Serum interleukin-18 has been reported to be elevated in patients with SLE. Here we aimed to densely map single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across IL18 to investigate the association across this locus. We genotyped 36 across IL18 by Illumina bead express in 372 UK SLE trios. We also genotyped these SNPs in a further 508 non-trio UK cases and were able to accurately impute a dense marker set across IL18 in WTCCC2 controls with a total of 258 SNPs. To improve the study's power, we also imputed a total of 158 SNPs across the IL18 locus using data from an SLE genome-wide association study and performed association testing. In total, we analysed 1818 cases and 10 770 controls in this study. Our large well-powered study (98% to detect odds ratio = 1.5, with respect to rs360719) showed that no individual SNP or haplotype was associated with SLE in any of the cohorts studied. We conclude that we were unable to replicate the SLE association with rs360719 located upstream of IL18. No evidence for association with any other common variant at IL18 with SLE was found.

Control of polyene macrolide production in Streptomyces natalensis is mediated by the transcriptional activator PimM. This regulator, which combines an N-terminal PAS domain with a C-terminal helix-turn-helix motif, is highly conserved among polyene biosynthetic gene clusters. PimM, truncated forms of the protein without the PAS domain (PimM(ΔPAS)), and forms containing just the DNA-binding domain (DBD) (PimM(DBD)) were overexpressed in Escherichia coli as GST-fused proteins. GST-PimM binds directly to eight promoters of the pimaricin cluster, as demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Assays with truncated forms of the protein revealed that the PAS domain does not mediate specificity or the distinct recognition of target genes, which rely on the DBD domain, but significantly reduces binding affinity up to 500-fold. Transcription start points were identified by 5'-rapid amplification of cDNA ends, and the binding regions of PimM(DBD) were investigated by DNase I protection studies. In all cases, binding took place covering the -35 hexamer box of each promoter, suggesting an interaction of PimM and RNA polymerase to cause transcription activation. Information content analysis of the 16 sequences protected in target promoters was used to deduce the structure of the PimM-binding site. This site displays dyad symmetry, spans 14 nucleotides, and adjusts to the consensus TVGGGAWWTCCCBA. Experimental validation of this binding site was performed by using synthetic DNA duplexes. Binding of PimM to the promoter region of one of the polyketide synthase genes from the Streptomyces nodosus amphotericin cluster containing the consensus binding site was also observed, thus proving the applicability of the findings reported here to other antifungal polyketides.

No abstract given.

The origin of the epidemic of IgE-associated (allergic) diseases is unclear. MeDALL (Mechanisms of the Development of ALLergy), an FP7 European Union project (No. 264357), aims to generate novel knowledge on the mechanisms of initiation of allergy and to propose early diagnosis, prevention, and targets for therapy. A novel phenotype definition and an integrative translational approach are needed to understand how a network of molecular and environmental factors can lead to complex allergic diseases. A novel, stepwise, large-scale, and integrative approach will be led by a network of complementary experts in allergy, epidemiology, allergen biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, epigenetics, functional genomics, bioinformatics, computational and systems biology. The following steps are proposed: (i) Identification of 'classical' and 'novel' phenotypes in existing birth cohorts; (ii) Building discovery of the relevant mechanisms in IgE-associated allergic diseases in existing longitudinal birth cohorts and Karelian children; (iii) Validation and redefinition of classical and novel phenotypes of IgE-associated allergic diseases; and (iv) Translational integration of systems biology outcomes into health care, including societal aspects. MeDALL will lead to: (i) A better understanding of allergic phenotypes, thus expanding current knowledge of the genomic and environmental determinants of allergic diseases in an integrative way; (ii) Novel diagnostic tools for the early diagnosis of allergy, targets for the development of novel treatment modalities, and prevention of allergic diseases; (iii) Improving the health of European citizens as well as increasing the competitiveness and boosting the innovative capacity of Europe, while addressing global health issues and ethical issues.