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Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are characterized by their dual abilities to undergo differentiation into multiple hematopoietic cell lineages or to undergo self-renewal. The molecular basis of these properties remains poorly understood. Recently the piwi gene was found in the embryonic germline stem cells (GSCs) of Drosophila melanogaster and has been shown to be important in GSC self-renewal. This study demonstrated that hiwi, a novel human homologue of piwi, is also present in human CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells but not in more differentiated cell populations. Placing CD34(+) cells into culture conditions that supported differentiation and rapid exit from the stem cell compartment resulted in a loss of hiwi expression by day 5 of a 14-day culture period. Expression of the hiwi gene was detected in many developing fetal and adult tissues. By means of 5' RACE cloning methodology, a novel putative full-length hiwi complementary DNA was cloned from human CD34(+) marrow cells. At the amino acid level, the human HIWI protein was 52% homologous to the Drosophila protein. The transient expression of hiwi in the human leukemia cell line KG1 resulted in a dramatic reduction in cellular proliferation. Overexpression of hiwi led to programmed cell death of KG1 cells as demonstrated by the Annexin V assay system. These studies suggest that hiwi maybe an important negative developmental regulator, which, in part, underlies the unique biologic properties associated with hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.
Norepinephrine (NE) transporters (NETs) constitute the primary mechanism for inactivation of synaptically released NE, are targets for multiple antidepressants and psychostimulants, and have been reported to be deficient in affective and autonomic disorders. Although the regional distribution of NETs has been defined through synaptosomal transport and autoradiographic approaches, NET protein expression has yet to be characterized fully in the central nervous system (CNS). We identified a cytoplasmic NET epitope (amino acids 585-602) and corresponding antibody (43411) that permits cellular localization of endogenous NET expression in the CNS and periphery. In the adult rat brain, NET labeling was confined to noradrenergic neuronal somata, axons, and dendrites, including extensive arborizations within the hippocampus and cortex, but was absent from epinephrine- and dopamine-containing neurons. Intracerebroventricular anti-dopamine beta-hydroxylase/saporin, a treatment that destroys a majority of noradrenergic neurons and their projections, validated the specificity of the 43411 antibody. At the level of light microscopy, 43411 labeling colocalized with the axonal markers syntaxin, synaptophysin, and SNAP-25. Indirect immunofluorescence revealed a nonuniform pattern of NET expression along axons, particularly evident within sympathetic fibers of the vas deferens, reflecting a high degree of spatial organization of NE clearance. NET labeling in somata was intracellular and absent from plasma membranes. Among nonneuronal cells, glial cells lacked NET immunoreactivity, whereas CNS ependymal cells were an unexpected site of labeling. NET immunoreactivity was also evident in a subset of adrenal chromaffin cells where labeling appeared to be predominantly associated with intracellular vesicles. Initial ultrastructural evaluation via preembedding immunogold techniques also revealed substantial cytoplasmic NET immunoreactivity in axon terminals within the prelimbic prefrontal cortex, consistent with postulates of regulated trafficking controlling neurotransmitter clearance. NET visualization should be of significant benefit in evaluating neuronal injury resulting from chronic drug exposure and in disease states.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Ergothioneine is a fungal metabolite that may have antioxidant functions in mammalian cells. Although it accumulates to low millimolar concentrations in liver and other tissues, it is not thought to be taken up by mature erythrocytes. During a study of the function of ergothioneine as an antioxidant in human erythrocytes, we found that these cells do take up ergothioneine from the surrounding medium. Ergothioneine concentrations in freshly prepared erythrocytes were 2-9-fold higher than in plasma from the same donor. Slow but progressive accumulation of ergothioneine to about 125% of basal levels was observed in erythrocytes over a 4 h incubation. After a 2 h incubation, intracellular ergothioneine concentrations rose on addition of increasing amounts of ergothioneine to the incubation medium, although saturation was not evident in cells from all donors. Both initial levels and rates of ergothioneine uptake varied in erythrocytes from different donors. Intracellular ergothioneine was stable to depletion of GSH by N-ethylmaleimide and to a more severe oxidant stress induced by hydrogen peroxide in the presence of catalase. These results show that human erythrocytes do take up ergothioneine; however, the GSH results do not support an antioxidant role for ergothioneine in erythrocytes.
Analyzing the expression of multiple distinct antigens within a single monolayer culture involves cumbersome immunostaining techniques. We describe a simple and economical procedure for the detection and quantification of multiple antigens within a single monolayer. By generating an immunohistochemical grid which divides a monolayer in a standard tissue culture dish into 20 distinct areas, we were able to detect and quantify four individual fibronectin (FN) isoforms within a single fibroblast monolayer culture. Quantification of each isoform was performed using a modified enzyme-linked immunoassay. In addition, within the same monolayer, each FN isoform was detected using standard immunohistochemical detection with DAB visualization. Using this novel approach to immunohistochemical analysis we determined that within the first 4 days of culture, the quantity of all FN isoforms increases faster than the number of cells. However, upon reaching confluency, the quantity of FN/cell drops dramatically. After reaching confluency, the amount of FN/cell levels off and remains constant within the postconfluent monolayer. Statistical analysis of the quantity of FN/cell indicates that a significant reduction in the amount of FN/cell occurs in the 2 days prior to reaching confluency. The distribution of all the FN isoforms, with the exception of B-FN, was found along the length of the cell body. In contrast, the distribution of B-FN was altered in postconfluent monolayers where it was detected only in distinct locations within the monolayer.
We have developed a stroma-free culture system in which mouse marrow or thymus cells, known to be enriched for lymphoid progenitors, can be driven to generate natural killer (NK) cells. Culture of lineage marker (Lin)-, c-kit+, Sca2+, interleukin (IL)-2/15Rbeta (CD122)- marrow cells in IL-6, IL-7, stem cell factor (SCF), and flt3 ligand (flt3-L) for 5-6 d followed by IL-15 alone for an additional 4-5 d expanded the starting population 30-40-fold and gave rise to a virtually pure population of NK1.1+, CD3- cells. Preculture in IL-6, IL-7, SCF, and flt3-L was necessary for inducing IL-15 responsiveness in the progenitors because the cells failed to significantly expand when cultured in IL-15 alone from the outset. Although culture of the sorted progenitors in IL-6, IL-7, SCF, and flt3-L for the entire 9-11-d culture period caused significant expansion, no lytic NK1.1+ cells were generated if IL-15 was not added, demonstrating a critical role for IL-15 in NK differentiation. Thus, two distinct populations of NK progenitors, IL-15 unresponsive and IL-15 responsive, have been defined. Similar results were obtained with Lin-, CD44+, CD25-, c-kit+ lymphoid progenitors obtained from adult thymus. The NK cells generated by this protocol lysed the NK-sensitive target YAC-1 and expressed markers of mature NK cells with the notable absence of Ly-49 major histocompatibility complex (MHC) receptors. However, despite the apparent lack of these inhibitory MHC receptors, the NK cells generated could distinguish MHC class I+ from class I- syngeneic targets, suggesting the existence of novel class I receptors.
The gene encoding E. coli nitroreductase (NTR) was expressed in the luminal cells of the mammary gland of transgenic mice using the ovine beta-lactoglobulin promoter. Treatment of NTR expressing animals with the prodrug CB1954 (5-aziridin-1-yl-2-4-dinitrobenzamide) resulted in a rapid and selective killing of this population of cells whereas the closely associated myoepithelial cells were unaffected. NTR-mediated inducible cell ablation offers a number of advantages over the use of HSV1-tk for the selective killing of cells in vivo.
To further characterize the properties of retinal horizontal cell electrical synapses, we have studied the gating characteristics of gap junctions between cone-driven horizontal cells from the hybrid striped bass retina using double whole-cell voltage-clamp techniques. In a total of 105 cell pairs, the macroscopic conductance ranged from 0.4-100 nS with most cell pairs exhibiting junctional conductances between 10 and 30 nS. The junctional current-voltage relationship showed that peak or instantaneous currents (Iinst) were linear within the Vj range of +/- 100 mV and that steady-state junctional currents (Iss) exhibited rectification with increasing voltage beginning around +/- 30-40 mV Vj. The normalized junctional current-voltage relationship was well fit by a two-state Boltzmann distribution, with an effective gating charge of 1.9 charges/channel, a half-maximal voltage of approximately +/- 55 mV, and a normalized residual conductance of 0.28. The decay of junctional current followed a single exponential time course with the time constant decreasing with increasing Vj. Recovery of junctional current from voltage-dependent inactivation takes about 1 s following a pulse of 80 mV, and is about five times slower than the inactivation time course at the same Vj. Single-channel analysis showed that the unitary conductance of junctional channels is 50-70 pS. The overall open probability decreased in a voltage-dependent manner. Both the mean channel open time and the frequency of channel opening decreased, while the channel closure time increased. The ratio of closed time/total recording time significantly increased as Vj increased. Increased Vj reduced the number of events at all levels and shifted the unitary conductance to a lower level. Kinetic analysis of channel open duration showed that the distribution of channel open times was best fit by two exponentials and increased Vj significantly reduced the slower time constant. These results indicate that bass retina horizontal cells exhibit voltage-dependent inactivation of macroscopic junctional current. The inactivation occurs at the single-channel level mainly by increasing the rate of closure of voltage-sensitive channels.
Juvenile chronic myelogenous leukemia (JCML) is an aggressive myeloproliferative disorder of childhood that differs both clinically and pathologically from adult type, Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myelogenous leukemia, and from the other myeloproliferative disorders that are more common in adulthood. The disease can have widely varying clinical presentations and shares many features with the monosomy 7 syndrome and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. With no specific marker chromosome, establishing the diagnosis can be difficult, and relies on a constellation of clinical, pathologic, and laboratory findings. This article discusses the differential diagnosis of JCML with an emphasis on the pathologic findings and laboratory data that are particularly important for confirming the diagnosis. The sensitivity, specificity, and clinical utility of cell culture colony assays are reviewed. Finally, current knowledge of the biology of JCML and some of the controversies regarding this disease are discussed.