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While heterochromatic gene silencing in cis is often accompanied by nucleosomal compaction, characteristic histone modifications, and recruitment of heterochromatin proteins, little is known concerning genes silenced by heterochromatin in trans. An insertion of heterochromatic satellite DNA in the euchromatic brown (bw) gene of Drosophila melanogaster results in bwDominant (bwD), which can inactivate loci on the homolog by relocation near the centric heterochromatin (trans-inactivation). Nucleosomal compaction was found to accompany trans-inactivation, but stereotypical heterochromatic histone modifications were mostly absent on silenced reporter genes. HP1 was enriched on trans-inactivated reporter constructs and this enrichment was more pronounced on adult chromatin than on larval chromatin. Interestingly, this HP1 enrichment in trans was unaccompanied by an increase in the 2MeH3K9 mark, which is generally thought to be the docking site for HP1 in heterochromatin. However, a substantial increase in the 2MeH3K9 mark was found on or near the bwD satellite insertion in cis, but did not spread further. These observations suggest that the interaction of HP1 with chromatin in cis is fundamentally different from that in trans. Our molecular data agree well with the differential phenotypic effect on bwD trans-inactivation of various genes known to be involved in histone modification and cis gene silencing.
OBJECTIVE - To test for an association between apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotypes and duration of intensive care unit delirium.
DESIGN - Prospective, observational cohort study.
SETTING - A 541-bed, community-based teaching hospital.
PATIENTS - Fifty-three mechanically ventilated intensive care unit patients.
INTERVENTIONS - None.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS - All patients were managed with standardized sedation and ventilator weaning protocols as part of an ongoing clinical trial and were evaluated prospectively for delirium with the Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit (CAM-ICU). DNA was extracted from whole blood samples obtained on enrollment, and APOE genotype was determined using polymerase chain reaction followed by restriction enzyme digestion by investigators blinded to the clinical information. Delirium occurred in 47 (89%) patients at some point during the intensive care unit stay. Of the 53 patients, 12 (23%) had an APOE4 allele (APOE4+) and 41 (77%) had only APOE2 or APOE3 alleles (APOE4-). APOE4+ patients were younger (53.2 +/- 21.9 vs. 65.4 +/- 13.4, p = .08) and less often admitted for pneumonia (0% vs. 29.3%, p = .05) compared with APOE4- patients, yet they had a duration of delirium that was twice as long: median (interquartile range), 4 (3, 4.5) vs. 2 (1, 4) days (p = .05). No other clinical outcomes were significantly different between the APOE4+ and APOE4- patients. Using multivariable regression analysis to adjust for age, admission diagnosis of sepsis or acute respiratory distress syndrome or pneumonia, severity of illness, and duration of coma, the presence of APOE4 allele was the strongest predictor of delirium duration (odds ratio, 7.32; 95% confidence interval, 1.82-29.51, p = .005).
CONCLUSIONS - APOE4 allele represents the first demonstrated genetic predisposition to longer duration of delirium in humans.
BACKGROUND - Polymorphisms in genes encoding proteins involved in the inflammatory response may lead to a differential response to a noxious stimulus. We hypothesized that proinflammatory alleles at candidate loci would predispose patients undergoing lung resection to cardiopulmonary complications with a presumed inflammatory cause.
METHODS - We determined the genotypes at six candidate loci in 155 patients who underwent 160 lung resection operations at our center. We correlated these results with data from our clinical database, constructed a model predicting the risk of postoperative complications, and assessed its adequacy using receiver operating characteristic curve methodology.
RESULTS - Preexisting cardiovascular disease (p < 0.001), primary lung cancer (p = 0.009), extent of lung resection (p = 0.042), interleukin 6 genotype (p = 0.017), and tumor necrosis factor genotype (p = 0.005) were significantly associated with complications. The odds ratio for complications for rare allele homozygosity was 3.9 (95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 10.4) for interleukin 6 and 15.3 (95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 131.4) for tumor necrosis factor. In multivariate analysis we found that cardiovascular disease (p < 0.001; odds ratio, 4.0 [95% confidence interval, 1.9 to 8.6]), interleukin 6 genotype (p = 0.027; odds ratio, 1.8 [95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 3.1]), and tumor necrosis factor genotype (p = 0.011; odds ratio, 2.5 [95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 5.1]) were independently predictive of complications, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the entire model of 0.765.
CONCLUSIONS - Carriage of specific alleles, and homozygosity in particular, at loci within the interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor genes appears to contribute to the risk of experiencing an adverse event after lung resection.
Genetic disruption of the mouse EP4 receptor results in perinatal lethality associated with persistent patent ductus areteriosus (PDA). To circumvent this, an EP4 allele amenable to conditional deletion using the Cre/loxP system was generated. The targeting construct was comprised of a floxed exon2 in tandem with the neomycin-resistance gene in intron 2, flanked by third 3' LoxP site. Mice homozygous for the targeted allele (EP4(lox+neo/lox+neo)), or following its Cre-mediated deletion (EP4(del/del)), also die within hours of birth with PDA. In contrast, mice homozygous for a partially recombined allele, retaining exon2 but lacking neo (EP4(flox/flox)), are viable and show no overt phenotype. Postnatal deletion of the floxed EP4 gene is efficiently achieved in the liver and kidney in a transgenic mouse expressing the inducible Mx1Cre recombinase. The EP4(flox) mouse should provide a useful reagent with which to examine the physiologic roles of the EP4 receptor.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
A murine epididymal retinoic-acid-binding protein (mE-RABP) is specifically expressed in the mid/distal caput epididymidis and is androgen regulated. The murine epididymal protein of 17 kDa (mEP17) gene, a novel gene homologous to mE-RABP, is located within 5 kb of the 5'-flanking region of the mE-RABP gene. In contrast, expression of the mEP17 gene is restricted to the initial segment and regulated by factor(s) contained in testicular fluid. To identify cis-DNA regulatory element(s) involved in the tissue- and region-specific expression of the mEP17 gene in transgenic mice, we have studied the expression of a transgene containing 5.3 kb of the 5'-flanking region of the mEP17 gene (5.3mEP17) linked to chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene. Significant caput epididymidis-specific CAT activity was detected in transgenic mouse lines; and CAT gene expression is restricted to the initial segment, as is the expression of the endogenous mEP17 gene. Ontogenic expression and testicular factor dependency also mimic that of endogenous mEP17 gene. These results suggest that the 5.3mEP17 fragment contains all the information required for spatial and temporal expression in the mouse epididymis. The 5.3mEP17 fragment will be useful to express a foreign gene of interest in the epididymis in an initial segment-specific manner.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) monooxygenases catalyze the oxidation of a large number of endogenous compounds and the majority of ingested environmental chemicals, leading to their elimination and often to their metabolic activation to toxic products. This enzyme system therefore provides our primary defense against xenobiotics and is a major determinant in the therapeutic efficacy of pharmacological agents. To evaluate the importance of hepatic P450s in normal homeostasis, drug pharmacology, and chemical toxicity, we have conditionally deleted the essential electron transfer protein, NADH:ferrihemoprotein reductase (EC, cytochrome P450 reductase, CPR) in the liver, resulting in essentially complete ablation of hepatic microsomal P450 activity. Hepatic CPR-null mice could no longer break down cholesterol because of their inability to produce bile acids, and whereas hepatic lipid levels were significantly increased, circulating levels of cholesterol and triglycerides were severely reduced. Loss of hepatic P450 activity resulted in a 5-fold increase in P450 protein, indicating the existence of a negative feedback pathway regulating P450 expression. Profound changes in the in vivo metabolism of pentobarbital and acetaminophen indicated that extrahepatic metabolism does not play a major role in the disposition of these compounds. Hepatic CPR-null mice developed normally and were able to breed, indicating that hepatic microsomal P450-mediated steroid hormone metabolism is not essential for fertility, demonstrating that a major evolutionary role for hepatic P450s is to protect mammals from their environment.
Klf4 (formerly GKLF) is a zinc-finger transcription factor expressed in the epithelia of the skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and several other organs. In vitro studies have suggested that Klf4 plays an important role in cell proliferation and/or differentiation. Mice homozygous for a null mutation in Klf4 die within 15 hours of birth and show selective perturbation of late-stage differentiation structures in the epidermis, but the function of Klf4 in the gastrointestinal tract has not been investigated. To address this issue, we have generated Klf4(-/-) mice by homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells. In this study, we provide the first in vivo evidence that Klf4 is a goblet cell-specific differentiation factor in the colon. Klf4(-/-) mice exhibit normal cell proliferation and cell death rates in the colon on postnatal day 1. However, Klf4(-/-) mice demonstrate a 90% decrease in the number of goblet cells in the colon, show abnormal expression of the goblet cell-specific marker Muc2 by in situ hybridization, have abnormal staining of the colonic epithelium with Alcian Blue for acidic mucins, and lack normal goblet cell morphology by ultrastructural analysis. All other epithelial cell types are present in the colon of Klf4(-/-) mice. In summary, Klf4 plays a crucial role in colonic epithelial cell differentiation in vivo.
The only proven requirement for ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is in preventing scurvy, presumably because it is a cofactor for hydroxylases required for post-translational modifications that stabilize collagen. We have created mice deficient in the mouse ortholog (solute carrier family 23 member 1 or Slc23a1) of a rat ascorbic-acid transporter, Svct2 (ref. 4). Cultured embryonic fibroblasts from homozygous Slc23a1(-/-) mice had less than 5% of normal ascorbic-acid uptake. Ascorbic-acid levels were undetectable or markedly reduced in the blood and tissues of Slc23a1(-/-) mice. Prenatal supplementation of pregnant females did not elevate blood ascorbic acid in Slc23a1(-/-) fetuses, suggesting Slc23a1 is important in placental ascorbic-acid transport. Slc23a1(-/-) mice died within a few minutes of birth with respiratory failure and intraparenchymal brain hemorrhage. Lungs showed no postnatal expansion but had normal surfactant protein B levels. Brain hemorrhage was unlikely to be simply a form of scurvy since Slc23a1(-/-) mice showed no hemorrhage in any other tissues and their skin had normal skin 4-hydroxyproline levels despite low ascorbic-acid content. We conclude that Slc23a1 is required for transport of ascorbic acid into many tissues and across the placenta. Deficiency of the transporter is lethal in newborn mice, thereby revealing a previously unrecognized requirement for ascorbic acid in the perinatal period.
It has been 20 years since DNA analysis was first used in the detection of sickle-cell anaemia. Here, techniques for detecting human mutations are reviewed. We describe direct detection of mutations using restriction enzyme analysis and polymerase chain reaction amplification to detect gene deletions, rearrangements and point mutations. Indirect detection of mutations include the use of DNA polymorphisms in linkage analysis.
FK506 binding proteins 12 and 12.6 (FKBP12 and FKBP12.6) are intracellular receptors for the immunosuppressant drug FK506 (ref. 1). The skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RyR1) is isolated as a hetero-oligomer with FKBP12 (ref. 2), whereas the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2) more selectively associates with FKBP12.6 (refs 3, 4, 5). FKBP12 modulates Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum in skeletal muscle and developmental cardiac defects have been reported in FKBP12-deficient mice, but the role of FKBP12.6 in cardiac excitation-contraction coupling remains unclear. Here we show that disruption of the FKBP12.6 gene in mice results in cardiac hypertrophy in male mice, but not in females. Female hearts are normal, despite the fact that male and female knockout mice display similar dysregulation of Ca2+ release, seen as increases in the amplitude and duration of Ca2+ sparks and calcium-induced calcium release gain. Female FKBP12.6-null mice treated with tamoxifen, an oestrogen receptor antagonist, develop cardiac hypertrophy similar to that of male mice. We conclude that FKBP12.6 modulates cardiac excitation-contraction coupling and that oestrogen plays a protective role in the hypertrophic response of the heart to Ca2+ dysregulation.