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Bridging cellular reproduction and survival is essential for all life forms. Aspergillus fungi primarily reproduce by forming asexual spores called conidia, whose formation and maturation is governed by the central genetic regulatory circuit BrlA→AbaA→WetA. Here, we report that WetA is a multi-functional regulator that couples spore differentiation and survival, and governs proper chemical development in Aspergillus flavus. The deletion of wetA results in the formation of conidia with defective cell walls and no intra-cellular trehalose, leading to reduced stress tolerance, a rapid loss of viability, and disintegration of spores. WetA is also required for normal vegetative growth, hyphal branching, and production of aflatoxins. Targeted and genome-wide expression analyses reveal that WetA exerts feedback control of brlA and that 5,700 genes show altered mRNA levels in the mutant conidia. Functional category analyses of differentially expressed genes in ΔwetA RNA-seq data indicate that WetA contributes to spore integrity and maturity by properly regulating the metabolic pathways of trehalose, chitin, α-(1,3)-glucan, β-(1,3)-glucan, melanin, hydrophobins, and secondary metabolism more generally. Moreover, 160 genes predicted to encode transcription factors are differentially expressed by the absence of wetA, suggesting that WetA may play a global regulatory role in conidial development. Collectively, we present a comprehensive model for developmental control that bridges spore differentiation and survival in A. flavus.
Mammalian gestation and pregnancy are fast evolving processes that involve the interaction of the fetal, maternal and paternal genomes. Version 1.0 of the GEneSTATION database (http://genestation.org) integrates diverse types of omics data across mammals to advance understanding of the genetic basis of gestation and pregnancy-associated phenotypes and to accelerate the translation of discoveries from model organisms to humans. GEneSTATION is built using tools from the Generic Model Organism Database project, including the biology-aware database CHADO, new tools for rapid data integration, and algorithms that streamline synthesis and user access. GEneSTATION contains curated life history information on pregnancy and reproduction from 23 high-quality mammalian genomes. For every human gene, GEneSTATION contains diverse evolutionary (e.g. gene age, population genetic and molecular evolutionary statistics), organismal (e.g. tissue-specific gene and protein expression, differential gene expression, disease phenotype), and molecular data types (e.g. Gene Ontology Annotation, protein interactions), as well as links to many general (e.g. Entrez, PubMed) and pregnancy disease-specific (e.g. PTBgene, dbPTB) databases. By facilitating the synthesis of diverse functional and evolutionary data in pregnancy-associated tissues and phenotypes and enabling their quick, intuitive, accurate and customized meta-analysis, GEneSTATION provides a novel platform for comprehensive investigation of the function and evolution of mammalian pregnancy.
© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
Menopause timing has a substantial impact on infertility and risk of disease, including breast cancer, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We report a dual strategy in ∼70,000 women to identify common and low-frequency protein-coding variation associated with age at natural menopause (ANM). We identified 44 regions with common variants, including two regions harboring additional rare missense alleles of large effect. We found enrichment of signals in or near genes involved in delayed puberty, highlighting the first molecular links between the onset and end of reproductive lifespan. Pathway analyses identified major association with DNA damage response (DDR) genes, including the first common coding variant in BRCA1 associated with any complex trait. Mendelian randomization analyses supported a causal effect of later ANM on breast cancer risk (∼6% increase in risk per year; P = 3 × 10(-14)), likely mediated by prolonged sex hormone exposure rather than DDR mechanisms.
BACKGROUND - Studies conducted in Western countries suggest that early age at menarche and early age at menopause are both associated with increased total mortality, but limited data are available for Asian populations. We examined associations of age at menarche and natural menopause and duration of the reproductive span with mortality in a population-based cohort study of Chinese women.
METHODS - We evaluated the effects of age at menarche, age at natural menopause, and number of reproductive years on total and cause-specific mortality among 31,955 naturally menopausal Chinese women who participated in the Shanghai Women's Health Study, a population-based, prospective cohort study.
RESULTS - A total of 3,158 deaths occurred during a median follow-up of 11.2 years. Results from Cox proportional hazards models showed that younger age at menopause (<46.64 years) was associated with higher risk of total mortality (Ptrend= 0.02). Younger age at menarche (<14 years) was associated with higher risk of mortality from stroke (Ptrend= 0.03) and diabetes (Ptrend = 0.02) but lower risk of mortality from respiratory system cancer (Ptrend = 0.01). Women with a shorter reproductive span had lower risk of mortality from gynecological cancers (Ptrend = 0.03).
CONCLUSIONS - Our study found that menstrual characteristics are important predictors of mortality, suggesting an important role of sex hormones in biological aging.
While there is clear evidence for an association between later age at first live birth and increased breast cancer risk, associations with the timing of other reproductive events are less clear. As breast tissues undergo major structural and cellular changes during pregnancy, we examined associations between reproductive time events and intervals with breast cancer risk among parous women from the population-based Shanghai Breast Cancer Study (SBCS). Unconditional logistic regression was used to evaluate associations with breast cancer risk for 3,269 cases and 3,341 controls. In addition to later age at first live birth, later ages at first pregnancy and last pregnancy were significantly associated with increased breast cancer risk (p-trend = 0.002, 0.015, 0.008, respectively); longer intervals from menarche to first or last live birth were also associated with increased risk (p-trend < 0.001, =0.018, respectively). Analyses stratified by menopausal status and estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR) status revealed that associations for later age at first pregnancy or live birth and longer intervals from menarche to first or last live birth occurred among premenopausal women and ER+/PR+ breast cancers, whereas the association for later age at last pregnancy occurred among postmenopausal women and women with ER+/PR- or ER-/PR+ breast cancers. Because of the high correlation with other reproductive variables, models did not include adjustment for age at first live birth; when included, the significance of all associations was attenuated. These findings suggest that while reproductive time events and intervals play an important role in breast cancer etiology, contributions may differ by menopausal status and hormone receptor status of breast cancers.
© 2013 UICC.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel assessed the safety of lauriminodipropionic acid, sodium lauriminodipropionate, and disodium lauriminodipropionate as used in cosmetics. These ingredients function in cosmetics as hair-conditioning agents and surfactant-cleansing agents. The Panel reviewed relevant animal and human data related to the safety of these ingredients in cosmetics. The Panel concluded that lauriminodipropionic acid, sodium lauriminodipropionate, and disodium lauriminodipropionate are safe as cosmetic ingredients in the present practices of use and concentration.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel assessed the safety of 19 alkyl glucosides as used in cosmetics and concluded that these ingredients are safe in the present practices of use and concentration when formulated to be nonirritating. Most of these ingredients function as surfactants in cosmetics, but some have additional functions as skin-conditioning agents, hair-conditioning agents, or emulsion stabilizers. The Panel reviewed the available animal and clinical data on these ingredients. Since glucoside hydrolases in human skin are likely to break down these ingredients to release their respective fatty acids and glucose, the Panel also reviewed CIR reports on the safety of fatty alcohols and were able to extrapolate data from those previous reports to support safety.
Wolbachia pipientis is the most common bacterial infection in the animal world and wields a vast influence on invertebrate reproduction, sex determination, speciation, and behavior worldwide. These avenues of research have made seminal gains, including the latest use of Wolbachia to alter mosquito populations and a strengthened focus on using anti-Wolbachia therapies against filarial nematode infections. This work is further bolstered by a more refined knowledge of Wolbachia biology spanning mechanisms to relevance. Here we tally the most up-to-date knowledge in the field and review the immense implications that this global infection has for the basic and applied life sciences.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - The aim of this article is to summarize the recommended updates to the 2001 Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop (STRAW) criteria. The 2011 STRAW + 10 reviewed advances in understanding of the critical changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian function that occur before and after the final menstrual period.
METHODS - Scientists from five countries and multiple disciplines evaluated data from cohort studies of midlife women and in the context of chronic illness and endocrine disorders on change in menstrual, endocrine, and ovarian markers of reproductive aging including antimüllerian hormone, inhibin-B, follicle-stimulating hormone, and antral follicle count. Modifications were adopted by consensus.
RESULTS - STRAW + 10 simplified bleeding criteria for the early and late menopausal transition, recommended modifications to criteria for the late reproductive stage (Stage -3) and the early postmenopause stage (Stage +1), provided information on the duration of the late transition (Stage -1) and early postmenopause (Stage +1), and recommended application regardless of women's age, ethnicity, body size, or lifestyle characteristics.
CONCLUSIONS - STRAW + 10 provides a more comprehensive basis for assessing reproductive aging in research and clinical contexts. Application of the STRAW + 10 staging system should improve comparability of studies of midlife women and facilitate clinical decision making. Nonetheless, important knowledge gaps persist, and seven research priorities are identified.