Project description:Vasohibin-1 (VASH1) is an angiogenesis-inhibiting factor synthesized by endothelial cells (ECs) and it also functions to increase stress tolerance of ECs, which function is critical for the maintenance of vascular integrity. Here, we examined whether the expression of VASH1 would be affected by aging. We passaged human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and observed that VASH1 was downregulated in old HUVECs. This decrease in VASH1 expression with aging was confirmed in mice. To explore the mechanism of this downregulation, we compared the expression of microRNAs between old and young HUVECs by performing microarray analysis. Among the top 20 microRNAs that were expressed at a higher level in old HUVECs, the third highest microRNA, namely miR-22-3p, had its binding site on the 3' UTR of VASH1 mRNA. Experiments with microRNA mimic and anti-miR revealed that miR-22-3p was involved at least in part in the downregulation of VASH1 in ECs during replicative senescence. We then clarified the significance of this defective expression of VASH1 in the vasculature. When a cuff was placed around the femoral arteries of wild-type mice and VASH1-null mice, neointimal formation was augmented in the VASH1-null mice accompanied by an increase in adventitial angiogenesis, macrophage accumulation in the adventitia, and medial/neointimal proliferating cells. These results indicate that in replicative senescence, the downregulation of VASH1 expression in ECs was caused, at least in part, by the alteration of microRNA expression. Such downregulation of VASH1 might be involved in the acceleration of age-associated vascular diseases.
Project description:Toxoplasma gondii is associated with physiological effects in the host. Dysregulation of catecholamines in the central nervous system has previously been observed in chronically infected animals. In the study described here, the noradrenergic system was found to be suppressed with decreased levels of norepinephrine (NE) in brains of infected animals and in infected human and rat neural cells in vitro The mechanism responsible for the NE suppression was found to be downregulation of dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) gene expression, encoding the enzyme that synthesizes norepinephrine from dopamine, with downregulation observed in vitro and in infected brain tissue, particularly in the dorsal locus coeruleus/pons region. The downregulation was sex specific, with males expressing reduced DBH mRNA levels whereas females were unchanged. Rather, DBH expression correlated with estrogen receptor in the female rat brains for this estrogen-regulated gene. DBH silencing was not a general response of neurons to infection, as human cytomegalovirus did not downregulate DBH expression. The noradrenergic-linked behaviors of sociability and arousal were altered in chronically infected animals, with a high correlation between DBH expression and infection intensity. A decrease in DBH expression in noradrenergic neurons can elevate dopamine levels, which provides a possible explanation for mixed observations of changes in this neurotransmitter with infection. Decreased NE is consistent with the loss of coordination and motor impairments associated with toxoplasmosis. Further, the altered norepinephrine synthesis observed here may, in part, explain behavioral effects of infection and associations with mental illness.
Project description:Bipolar disorder (BPD) affects more than 2 million adults in the USA and ranks among the top 10 causes of worldwide disabilities. Despite its prevalence, very little is known about the etiology of BPD. Recent evidence suggests that cellular energy metabolism is disturbed in BPD. Mitochondrial function is altered, and levels of high-energy phosphates, such as phosphocreatine (PCr), are reduced in the brain. This evidence has led to the hypothesis that deficiencies in energy metabolism could account for some of the pathophysiology observed in BPD. To further explore this hypothesis, we examined levels of creatine kinase (CK) mRNA, the enzyme involved in synthesis and metabolism of PCr, in the hippocampus (HIP) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of control, BPD and schizophrenia subjects.Tissue was obtained from the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (HIP, DLPFC) and gene expression microarrays (HIP) were employed to compare the brain and mitochondrial 1 isoforms of CK.Both CK isoforms were downregulated in BPD. Furthermore, mRNA transcripts for oligodendrocyte-specific proteins were downregulated in the DLPFC, whereas the mRNA for the neuron-specific protein microtubule-associated protein 2 was downregulated in the HIP.Although some of the downregulation of CK might be explained by cell loss, a more general mechanism seems to be responsible. The downregulation of CK transcripts, if translated into protein levels, could explain the reduction of high-energy phosphates previously observed in BPD.
Project description:A new method is described for the direct construction of synthetic genes by applying a modified version of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to crude oligonucleotide mixtures made by automated solid phase DNA synthesis. Construction of the HIV-1 393 bp rev gene and the 655 bp nef gene by this method is illustrated. The sequences for the entire top and bottom strands of rev were each programmed into an automated DNA synthesizer. Following DNA synthesis, the two crude oligonucleotide solutions were mixed together, specific primers were added, and the target gene was amplified by a modified PCR technique. Although the longer (greater than 200 bases) strands comprise a very small percentage of the total DNA after solid phase synthesis, this method uses PCR to 'find' and amplify such strands to create the target gene. The rev gene constructed by this method was found to contain 4 sequence errors, which were subsequently corrected by site-directed mutagenesis. In order to evaluate the source of sequence errors, several nef genes were made from the top and bottom strand DNA synthesis solutions using independent PCR's. Results suggest that sequence errors arose from both DNA synthesis and PCR. The utility of this method in producing a functional gene is demonstrated by expression of rev in E.coli.
Project description:Deoxyadenosine (dAdo) and deoxyguanosine (dGuo) decrease methionine synthesis from homocysteine in cultured lymphoblasts; because of the possible trapping of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate this could lead to decreased purine nucleotide synthesis. Since purine deoxynucleosides could also inhibit purine synthesis de novo at an early step not involving folate metabolism, we measured in azaserine-treated cells 5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide (Z-base)-dependent purine nucleotide synthesis using [14C]formate. In the T lymphoblasts, Z-base-dependent purine nucleotide synthesis was decreased 26% by 0.3 microM-dAdo, 21% by 1 microM-dGuo and 28% by 1 microM-adenosine dialdehyde, a potent S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase inhibitor; homocysteine fully reversed the inhibitions. The B lymphoblasts were considerably less sensitive to the deoxynucleoside-induced decrease in Z-base-dependent purine nucleotide synthesis, with 100 microM-dAdo required for significant inhibition and no inhibition by dGuo at this concentration; homocysteine partly reversed the inhibition by dAdo. The observed decrease in Z-base-dependent purine nucleotide synthesis could not be attributed either to dUMP depletion changing the folate pools or to decreased ATP availability because dUrd was without effect and during the experimental period the intracellular ATP concentration did not change significantly. Cells with 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency were relatively resistant to inhibition of Z-base-dependent purine nucleotide synthesis by dAdo and adenosine dialdehyde. Our results suggest that deoxynucleosides decrease purine nucleotide synthesis by trapping 5-methyltetrahydrofolate.
Project description:Outer hair cell (OHC) stereocilia bundle deflection opens mechanoelectrical transduction channels at the tips of the stereocilia from the middle and short rows, while bundle cohesion is maintained owing to the presence of horizontal top connectors. Here, we used a quantitative noncontact atomic force microscopy method to investigate stereocilia bundle stiffness and damping, when stimulated at acoustic frequencies and nanometer distances from the bundle. Stereocilia bundle mechanics were determined in stereocilin-deficient mice lacking top connectors and with detached tectorial membrane (Strc -/-/Tecta -/- double knockout) and heterozygous littermate controls (Strc +/-/Tecta -/-). A substantial decrease in bundle stiffness and damping by ~60 and ~74% on postnatal days P13 to P15 was observed when top connectors were absent. Additionally, we followed bundle mechanics during OHC top connectors development between P9 and P15 and quantified the observed increase in OHC bundle stiffness and damping in Strc +/-/Tecta -/- mice while no significant change was detected in Strc -/-/Tecta -/- animals.
Project description:Sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function with advancing age, is a significant cause of disability and loss of independence in the elderly and thus, represents a formidable challenge for the aging population. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism(s) underlying sarcopenia-associated muscle dysfunction remain poorly understood. In this study, we employed an integrated approach combining top-down targeted proteomics with mechanical measurements to dissect the molecular mechanism(s) in age-related muscle dysfunction. Top-down targeted proteomic analysis uncovered a progressive age-related decline in the phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain (RLC), a critical protein involved in the modulation of muscle contractility, in the skeletal muscle of aging rats. Top-down tandem mass spectrometry analysis identified a previously unreported bis-phosphorylated proteoform of fast skeletal RLC and localized the sites of decreasing phosphorylation to Ser14/15. Of these sites, Ser14 phosphorylation represents a previously unidentified site of phosphorylation in RLC from fast-twitch skeletal muscle. Subsequent mechanical analysis of single fast-twitch fibers isolated from the muscles of rats of different ages revealed that the observed decline in RLC phosphorylation can account for age-related decreases in the contractile properties of sarcopenic fast-twitch muscles. These results strongly support a role for decreasing RLC phosphorylation in sarcopenia-associated muscle dysfunction and suggest that therapeutic modulation of RLC phosphorylation may represent a new avenue for the treatment of sarcopenia.
Project description:The storage and use of glycogen, the main energy reserve in the brain, is a metabolic feature of astrocytes. Glycogen synthesis is regulated by Protein Targeting to Glycogen (PTG), a member of specific glycogen-binding subunits of protein phosphatase-1 (PPP1). It positively regulates glycogen synthesis through de-phosphorylation of both glycogen synthase (activation) and glycogen phosphorylase (inactivation). In cultured astrocytes, PTG mRNA levels were previously shown to be enhanced by the neurotransmitter noradrenaline. To achieve further insight into the role of PTG in the regulation of astrocytic glycogen, its levels of expression were manipulated in primary cultures of mouse cortical astrocytes using adenovirus-mediated overexpression of tagged-PTG or siRNA to downregulate its expression. Infection of astrocytes with adenovirus led to a strong increase in PTG expression and was associated with massive glycogen accumulation (>100 fold), demonstrating that increased PTG expression is sufficient to induce glycogen synthesis and accumulation. In contrast, siRNA-mediated downregulation of PTG resulted in a 2-fold decrease in glycogen levels. Interestingly, PTG downregulation strongly impaired long-term astrocytic glycogen synthesis induced by insulin or noradrenaline. Finally, these effects of PTG downregulation on glycogen metabolism could also be observed in cultured astrocytes isolated from PTG-KO mice. Collectively, these observations point to a major role of PTG in the regulation of glycogen synthesis in astrocytes and indicate that conditions leading to changes in PTG expression will directly impact glycogen levels in this cell type.