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Genomic analyses have proliferated without being tied to tangible phenotypes. For example, although coordination of both gene expression and genetic linkage have been offered as genetic mechanisms for the frequently observed clustering of genes participating in fungal metabolic pathways, elucidation of the phenotype(s) favored by selection, resulting in cluster formation and maintenance, has not been forthcoming. We noted that the cause of certain well-studied human metabolic disorders is the accumulation of toxic intermediate compounds (ICs), which occurs when the product of an enzyme is not used as a substrate by a downstream neighbor in the metabolic network. This raises the hypothesis that the phenotype favored by selection to drive gene clustering is the mitigation of IC toxicity. To test this, we examined 100 diverse fungal genomes for the simplest type of cluster, gene pairs that are both metabolic neighbors and chromosomal neighbors immediately adjacent to each other, which we refer to as "double neighbor gene pairs" (DNGPs). Examination of the toxicity of their corresponding ICs shows that, compared with chromosomally nonadjacent metabolic neighbors, DNGPs are enriched for ICs that have acutely toxic LD50 doses or reactive functional groups. Furthermore, DNGPs are significantly more likely to be divergently oriented on the chromosome; remarkably, ∼40% of these DNGPs have ICs known to be toxic. We submit that the structure of synteny in metabolic pathways of fungi is a signature of selection for protection against the accumulation of toxic metabolic intermediates.
While Helicobacter pylori infects over 50% of the world's population, the mechanisms involved in the development of gastric disease are not fully understood. Bacterial, host, and environmental factors play a role in disease outcome. To investigate the role of bacterial factors in H. pylori pathogenesis, global gene expression of six H. pylori isolates was analyzed during coculture with gastric epithelial cells. Clustering analysis of six Colombian clinical isolates from a region with low gastric cancer risk and a region with high gastric cancer risk segregated strains based on their phylogeographic origin. One hundred forty-six genes had increased expression in European strains, while 350 genes had increased expression in African strains. Differential expression was observed in genes associated with motility, pathogenicity, and other adaptations to the host environment. European strains had greater expression of the virulence factors cagA, vacA, and babB and were associated with increased gastric histologic lesions in patients. In AGS cells, European strains promoted significantly higher interleukin-8 (IL-8) expression than did African strains. African strains significantly induced apoptosis, whereas only one European strain significantly induced apoptosis. Our data suggest that gene expression profiles of clinical isolates can discriminate strains by phylogeographic origin and that these profiles are associated with changes in expression of the proinflammatory and protumorigenic cytokine IL-8 and levels of apoptosis in host epithelial cells. These findings support the hypothesis that bacterial factors determined by the phylogeographic origin of H. pylori strains may promote increased gastric disease.
Pancreatic islets adapt to insulin resistance through a complex set of changes, including β-cell hyperplasia and hypertrophy. To determine if islet vascularization changes in response to insulin resistance, we investigated three independent models of insulin resistance: ob/ob, GLUT4(+/-), and mice with high-fat diet-induced obesity. Intravital blood vessel labeling and immunocytochemistry revealed a vascular plasticity in which islet vessel area was significantly increased, but intraislet vessel density was decreased as the result of insulin resistance. These vascular changes were independent of islet size and were only observed within the β-cell core but not in the islet periphery. Intraislet endothelial cell fenestration, proliferation, and islet angiogenic factor/receptor expression were unchanged in insulin-resistant compared with control mice, indicating that islet capillary expansion is mediated by dilation of preexisting vessels and not by angiogenesis. We propose that the islet capillary dilation is modulated by endothelial nitric oxide synthase via complementary signals derived from β-cells, parasympathetic nerves, and increased islet blood flow. These compensatory changes in islet vascularization may influence whether β-cells can adequately respond to insulin resistance and prevent the development of diabetes.
The isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) enzymes were initially identified as essential components of the Krebs cycle. IDH mutations were thought to be incompatible with cell survival. However, 90% of glioblastomas were recently shown to be associated with somatic mutations in these enzymes, indicating a possible role for IDH in promoting cellular survival in hypoxic environments. Our proteomic analysis of rats given 10 minutes of middle cerebral artery occlusion to induce transient ischemia demonstrates a significant decrease in IDH expression. We have recapitulated this decrease in an in vitro model using primary cortical neurons exposed to acute oxygen and glucose deprivation. Given the role of IDHs in energy metabolism and antioxidant production, we hypothesize that the IDHs may serve as first-line, rapid-response enzymes that regulate survival in environments of energetic or oxidative stress. In order to identify the specific events that regulate IDH enzymes, HT-22 neural cells were subjected to either a selective energetic challenge or a pure oxidative stress. In response to the non-lethal energetic challenge induced by substituting galactose for glucose, we observed increased IDH1, 2, and 3 expression and cessation of cellular proliferation. No change in expression of any IDH isoform was observed when neural cells were subjected to subtoxic oxidative stress via glutathione depletion. Taken together, these data imply that IDH expression rapidly responds to changes in energetic status, but not to oxidative stress. These data also suggest that IDH enzymes respond not only to allosteric modulation, but can also change patterns of expression in response to moderate stress in an effort to maximize ATP production and survival.
Short bowel syndrome-associated intestinal failure (SBS-IF) as a consequence of extensive surgical resection of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract results in a chronic reduction in intestinal absorption. The ensuing malabsorption of a conventional diet with associated diarrhea and weight loss results in a dependency on parenteral nutrition and/or intravenous fluids (PN/IV). A natural compensatory process of intestinal adaptation occurs in the years after bowel resection as the body responds to a lack of sufficient functional nutrient-processing intestinal surface area. The adaptive process improves bowel function but is a highly variable process, yielding different levels of symptom control and PN/IV independence among patients. Intestinal rehabilitation is the strategy of maximizing the absorptive capacity of the remnant GI tract. The approaches for achieving this goal have been limited to dietary intervention, antidiarrheal and antisecretory medications, and surgical bowel reconstruction. A targeted pharmacotherapy has now been developed that improves intestinal absorption. Teduglutide is a human recombinant analogue of glucagon-like peptide 2 that promotes the expansion of the intestinal surface area and increases the intestinal absorptive capacity. Enhanced absorption has been shown in clinical trials by a reduction in PN/IV requirements in patients with SBS-IF. This article details the clinical considerations and best-practice recommendations for intestinal rehabilitation, including optimization of fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients; the integration of teduglutide therapy; and approaches to PN/IV weaning.
Helicobacter pylori lives within the mucus layer of the human stomach, in close proximity to gastric epithelial cells. While a great deal is known about the effects of H. pylori on human cells and the specific bacterial products that mediate these effects, relatively little work has been done to investigate alterations in H. pylori that may be triggered by bacterial contact with human cells. In this review, we discuss the spectrum of changes in bacterial physiology and morphology that occur when H. pylori is in contact with gastric epithelial cells. Several studies have reported that cell contact causes alterations in H. pylori gene transcription. In addition, H. pylori contact with gastric epithelial cells promotes the formation of pilus-like structures at the bacteria-host cell interface. The formation of these structures requires multiple genes in the cag pathogenicity island, and these structures are proposed to have an important role in the type IV secretion system-dependent process through which CagA enters host cells. Finally, H. pylori contact with epithelial cells can promote bacterial replication and the formation of microcolonies, phenomena that are facilitated by the acquisition of iron and other nutrients from infected cells. In summary, the gastric epithelial cell surface represents an important niche for H. pylori, and upon entry into this niche, the bacteria alter their behavior in a manner that optimizes bacterial proliferation and persistent colonization of the host.
The wheel-lock (WL) model for depressed ambulatory activity in rats has shown metabolic maladies ensuing within 53-173 h after WL begins. We sought to determine if WL beginning after 21-23 days of voluntary running in growing female Wistar rats affected the mRNA profile in the polyribosomal fraction from plantaris muscle shortly following WL. In experiment 1, WL occurred at 0200 and muscles were harvested at 0700 daily at 5 h (WL5h, n = 4), 29 h (WL29h, n = 4), or 53 h (WL53h, n = 4) after WL. Affymetrix Rat Gene 1.0 ST Arrays were used to test the initial question as to whether WL affects mRNA occupancy on skeletal muscle polyribosomes. Using a false discovery rate of 15%, no changes in mRNAs in the polyribosomal fraction were observed at WL29h and eight mRNAs (of over 8,200 identified targets) were altered at WL53h compared with WL5h. Interestingly, two of the six downregulated genes included ankyrin repeat domain 2 (Ankrd2) and cysteine-rich protein 3/muscle LIM protein (Csrp3), both of which encode mechanical stretch sensors and RT-PCR verified their WL-induced decline. In experiment 2, whole muscle mRNA and protein levels were analyzed for Ankrd2 and Csrp3 from the muscles of WL5h (4 original samples + 2 new), WL29h (4 original), WL53h (4 original + 2 new), as well as WL173 h (n = 6 new) and animals that never ran (SED, 4-5 new). Relative to WL5h controls, whole tissue Ankrd2 and Csrp3 mRNAs were lower (P < 0.05) at WL53h, WL173h, and SED; Ankrd2 protein tended to decrease at WL53h (P = 0.054) and Csrp3 protein was less in WL173h and SED rats (P < 0.05). In summary, unique early declines in Ankrd2 and Csrp3 mRNAs were identified with removal of voluntary running, which was subsequently followed by declines in Csrp3 protein levels during longer periods of wheel lock.
While the abuse of opiate drugs continues to rise, the neuroadaptations that occur with long-term drug exposure remain poorly understood. We describe here a series of chronic morphine-induced adaptations in ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons, which are mediated via downregulation of AKT-mTORC2 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex-2). Chronic opiates decrease the size of VTA dopamine neurons in rodents, an effect seen in humans as well, and concomitantly increase the excitability of the cells but decrease dopamine output to target regions. Chronic morphine decreases mTORC2 activity, and overexpression of Rictor, a component of mTORC2, prevents morphine-induced changes in cell morphology and activity. Further, local knockout of Rictor in VTA decreases DA soma size and reduces rewarding responses to morphine, consistent with the hypothesis that these adaptations represent a mechanism of reward tolerance. Together, these findings demonstrate a novel role for AKT-mTORC2 signaling in mediating neuroadaptations to opiate drugs of abuse.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The molecular constituents of endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling are abundantly expressed within the mammalian amygdaloid complex, consistent with the robust role of eCB signaling in the modulation of emotional behavior, learning, and stress-response physiology. Here, we detail the anatomical distribution of eCB signaling machinery in the amygdala and the role of this system in the modulation of excitatory and inhibitory neuroplasticity in this region. We also summarize recent findings demonstrating dynamic alternations in eCB signaling that occur in response to stress exposure, as well as known behavioral consequences of eCB-mediated modulation of amygdala function. Finally, we discuss how integrating anatomical and physiological data regarding eCB signaling in the amygdala could help elucidate common functional motifs of this system in relation to broader forebrain function.
Copyright Â© 2011 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.