Schulkampf oder Chancen für einen Konsens in Nordrhein-Westfalen?
- Im Koalitionsvertrag von Rot-Grün heißt es am Ende einer Präambel zur „Schule der Zukunft“: „Die Diskussion darüber, wie das Schulsystem ausgestaltet werden soll, ist in Nordrhein-Westfalen sehr kontrovers und polarisiert geführt worden. Wir wollen versuchen, mit allen Fraktionen und allen beteiligten Akteurinnen und Akteuren einen Konsens in der Schulpolitik zu erzielen.“ (Koalitionsvertrag zwischen der NRWSPD und Bündnis 90/Die Grünen NRW, Juli 2010, S.7) Wie stehen die Chancen für einen solchen Konsens?
De novo assembly of a 40 Mb eukaryotic genome from short sequence reads: Sordaria macrospora, a model organism for fungal morphogenesis
Jason E. Stajich
Heinz D. Osiewacz
Nick D. Read
Kristina M. Smith
- Filamentous fungi are of great importance in ecology, agriculture, medicine, and biotechnology. Thus, it is not surprising that genomes for more than 100 filamentous fungi have been sequenced, most of them by Sanger sequencing. While next-generation sequencing techniques have revolutionized genome resequencing, e.g. for strain comparisons, genetic mapping, or transcriptome and ChIP analyses, de novo assembly of eukaryotic genomes still presents significant hurdles, because of their large size and stretches of repetitive sequences. Filamentous fungi contain few repetitive regions in their 30–90 Mb genomes and thus are suitable candidates to test de novo genome assembly from short sequence reads. Here, we present a high-quality draft sequence of the Sordaria macrospora genome that was obtained by a combination of Illumina/Solexa and Roche/454 sequencing. Paired-end Solexa sequencing of genomic DNA to 85-fold coverage and an additional 10-fold coverage by single-end 454 sequencing resulted in ~4 Gb of DNA sequence. Reads were assembled to a 40 Mb draft version (N50 of 117 kb) with the Velvet assembler. Comparative analysis with Neurospora genomes increased the N50 to 498 kb. The S. macrospora genome contains even fewer repeat regions than its closest sequenced relative, Neurospora crassa. Comparison with genomes of other fungi showed that S. macrospora, a model organism for morphogenesis and meiosis, harbors duplications of several genes involved in self/nonself-recognition. Furthermore, S. macrospora contains more polyketide biosynthesis genes than N. crassa. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that some of these genes may have been acquired by horizontal gene transfer from a distantly related ascomycete group. Our study shows that, for typical filamentous fungi, de novo assembly of genomes from short sequence reads alone is feasible, that a mixture of Solexa and 454 sequencing substantially improves the assembly, and that the resulting data can be used for comparative studies to address basic questions of fungal biology.
Early production of IL-22 but not IL-17 by peripheral blood mononuclear cells exposed to live Borrelia burgdorferi: the role of monocytes and interleukin-1
Josef Martin Pfeilschifter
- If insufficiently treated, Lyme borreliosis can evolve into an inflammatory disorder affecting skin, joints, and the CNS. Early innate immunity may determine host responses targeting infection. Thus, we sought to characterize the immediate cytokine storm associated with exposure of PBMC to moderate levels of live Borrelia burgdorferi. Since Th17 cytokines are connected to host defense against extracellular bacteria, we focused on interleukin (IL)-17 and IL-22. Here, we report that, despite induction of inflammatory cytokines including IL-23, IL-17 remained barely detectable in response to B. burgdorferi. In contrast, T cell-dependent expression of IL-22 became evident within 10 h of exposure to the spirochetes. This dichotomy was unrelated to interferon-gamma but to a large part dependent on caspase-1 and IL-1 bioactivity derived from monocytes. In fact, IL-1beta as a single stimulus induced IL-22 but not IL-17. Neutrophils display antibacterial activity against B. burgdorferi, particularly when opsonized by antibodies. Since neutrophilic inflammation, indicative of IL-17 bioactivity, is scarcely observed in Erythema migrans, a manifestation of skin inflammation after infection, protective and antibacterial properties of IL-22 may close this gap and serve essential functions in the initial phase of spirochete infection.
Failure of interferon gamma to induce the anti-inflammatory interleukin 18 binding protein in familial hemophagocytosis
Claudia A. Nold-Petry
Josef Martin Pfeilschifter
Marcel Friedrich Nold
- Background: Familial hemophagocytosis (FHL) is a rare disease associated with defects in proteins involved in CD8+ T-cell cytotoxicity. Hyperactivation of immune cells results in a perilous, Th1-driven cytokine storm. We set out to explore the regulation of cytokines in an FHL patient who was clinically stable on low-dose immunosuppressive therapy after bone marrow transplantation over a six-month period. During this period, chimerism analyses showed that the fraction of host cells was between 1 and 10%. Both parents of the patient as well as healthy volunteers were studied for comparison. Methods/Principal Findings: Using ELISA, quantitative real-time PCR, and clinical laboratory methods, we investigated constitutive and inducible cytokines, polymorphisms, and clinical parameters in whole blood and whole blood cultures. Although routine laboratory tests were within the normal range, the chemokines IP-10 and IL-8 as well as the cytokine IL-27p28 were increased up to 10-fold under constitutive and stimulated conditions compared to healthy controls. Moreover, high levels of IFNgamma and TNFalpha were produced upon stimulation. Unexpectedly, IFNgamma induction of IL-18 binding protein (IL-18BP) was markedly reduced (1.6-fold vs 5-fold in controls). The patient's mother featured intermediately increased cytokine levels, whereas levels in the father were similar to those in the controls. Conclusions/Significance: Since IL-18 plays a major role in perpetuating hemophagocytosis, the failure of IFNgamma to induce IL-18BP may constitute a fundamental pathogenetic mechanism. Furthermore, increased production of IL-8 and IL-27 appears to be associated with this disease. Such dysregulation of cytokines was also found in the heterozygous parents, providing a novel insight into genotype-phenotype correlation of FHL which may encourage future research of this rare disease.
A new type of proton coordination in an F1Fo-ATP synthase rotor ring
David B. Hicks
Terry A. Krulwich
- We solved the crystal structure of a novel type of c-ring isolated from Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4 at 2.5 Å, revealing a cylinder with a tridecameric stoichiometry, a central pore, and an overall shape that is distinct from those reported thus far. Within the groove of two neighboring c-subunits, the conserved glutamate of the outer helix shares the proton with a bound water molecule which itself is coordinated by three other amino acids of outer helices. Although none of the inner helices contributes to ion binding and the glutamate has no other hydrogen bonding partner than the water oxygen, the site remains in a stable, ion-locked conformation that represents the functional state present at the c-ring/membrane interface during rotation. This structure reveals a new, third type of ion coordination in ATP synthases. It appears in the ion binding site of an alkaliphile in which it represents a finely tuned adaptation of the proton affinity during the reaction cycle. Formal Correction: This article has been formally corrected to address the following errors. 1. The images for Figures S2 and S3 were incorrectly switched. The image that appears as Figure S2 should be Figure S3, and the image that appears as Figure S3 should be Figure S2. The figure legends appear in the correct order. Please view the correct... (read formal correction) 2. The images for Figures S2 and S3 were incorrectly switched. The image that appears as Figure S2 should be Figure S3, and the image that appears as Figure S3 should be Figure S2. The figure legends appear in the correct order. Please view the correct... (read formal correction)
Hemolysis is associated with low reticulocyte production index and predicts blood transfusion in severe malarial anemia
Wolfgang E. Berdel
Peter G. Kremsner
- Background: Falciparum Malaria, an infectious disease caused by the apicomplexan parasite Plasmodium falciparum, is among the leading causes of death and morbidity attributable to infectious diseases worldwide. In Gabon, Central Africa, one out of four inpatients have severe malarial anemia (SMA), a life-threatening complication if left untreated. Emerging drug resistant parasites might aggravate the situation. This case control study investigates biomarkers of enhanced hemolysis in hospitalized children with either SMA or mild malaria (MM). Methods and Findings: Ninety-one children were included, thereof 39 SMA patients. Strict inclusion criteria were chosen to exclude other causes of anemia. At diagnosis, erythrophagocytosis (a direct marker for extravascular hemolysis, EVH) was enhanced in SMA compared to MM patients (5.0 arbitrary units (AU) (interquartile range (IR): 2.2–9.6) vs. 2.1 AU (IR: 1.3–3.9), p<0.01). Furthermore, indirect markers for EVH, (i.e. serum neopterin levels, spleen size enlargement and monocyte pigment) were significantly increased in SMA patients. Markers for erythrocyte ageing, such as CD35 (complement receptor 1), CD55 (decay acceleration factor) and phosphatidylserine exposure (annexin-V-binding) were investigated by flow cytometry. In SMA patients, levels of CD35 and CD55 on the red blood cell surface were decreased and erythrocyte removal markers were increased when compared to MM or reconvalescent patients. Additionally, intravascular hemolysis (IVH) was quantified using several indirect markers (LDH, alpha-HBDH, haptoglobin and hemopexin), which all showed elevated IVH in SMA. The presence of both IVH and EVH predicted the need for blood transfusion during antimalarial treatment (odds ratio 61.5, 95% confidence interval (CI): 8.9–427). Interestingly, this subpopulation is characterized by a significantly lowered reticulocyte production index (RPI, p<0.05). Conclusions: Our results show the multifactorial pathophysiology of SMA, whereby EVH and IVH play a particularly important role. We propose a model where removal of infected and non-infected erythrocytes of all ages (including reticulocytes) by EVH and IVH is a main mechanism of SMA. Further studies are underway to investigate the mechanism and extent of reticulocyte removal to identify possible interventions to reduce the risk of SMA development.
Protein acetylation in archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotes
- Proteins can be acetylated at the alpha-amino group of the N-terminal amino acid (methionine or the penultimate amino acid after methionine removal) or at the epsilon-amino group of internal lysines. In eukaryotes the majority of proteins are N-terminally acetylated, while this is extremely rare in bacteria. A variety of studies about N-terminal acetylation in archaea have been reported recently, and it was revealed that a considerable fraction of proteins is N-terminally acetylated in haloarchaea and Sulfolobus, while this does not seem to apply for methanogenic archaea. Many eukaryotic proteins are modified by differential internal acetylation, which is important for a variety of processes. Until very recently, only two bacterial proteins were known to be acetylation targets, but now 125 acetylation sites are known for E. coli. Knowledge about internal acetylation in archaea is extremely limited; only two target proteins are known, only one of which--Alba--was used to study differential acetylation. However, indications accumulate that the degree of internal acetylation of archaeal proteins might be underestimated, and differential acetylation has been shown to be essential for the viability of haloarchaea. Focused proteomic approaches are needed to get an overview of the extent of internal protein acetylation in archaea.
Archaeal protein biogenesis: posttranslational modification and degradation
Bosonic spectral function and the electron-phonon interaction in HTSC cuprates
Evgeny G. Maksimov
Miodrag L. Kulic
Oleg V. Dolgov
- In this paper we discuss experimental evidence related to the structure and origin of the bosonic spectral function alpha 2F (omega) in high-temperature superconducting (HTSC) cuprates at and near optimal doping. Global properties of alpha 2F (omega), such as number and positions of peaks, are extracted by combining optics, neutron scattering, ARPES and tunnelling measurements. These methods give evidence for strong electron-phonon interaction (EPI) with 1<lambda ep <~ 3.5 in cuprates near optimal doping. We clarify how these results are in favor of the modified Migdal-Eliashberg (ME) theory for HTSC cuprates near optimal doping. In Section 2 we discuss theoretical ingredients—such as strong EPI, strong correlations—which are necessary to explain the mechanism of d-wave pairing in optimally doped cuprates. These comprise the ME theory for EPI in strongly correlated systems which give rise to the forward scattering peak. The latter is supported by the long-range part of EPI due to the weakly screened Madelung interaction in the ionic-metallic structure of layered HTSC cuprates. In this approach EPI is responsible for the strength of pairing while the residual Coulomb interaction and spin fluctuations trigger the d-wave pairing.
Preferential amplification of CD8 effector-T cells after transcutaneous application of an inactivated influenza vaccine: a randomized phase I trial
Sylvie van der Werf
- Background: Current conventional vaccination approaches do not induce potent CD8 T-cell responses for fighting mostly variable viral diseases such as influenza, avian influenza viruses or HIV. Following our recent study on vaccine penetration by targeting of vaccine to human hair follicular ducts surrounded by Langerhans cells, we tested in the first randomized Phase-Ia trial based on hair follicle penetration (namely transcutaneous route) the induction of virus-specific CD8 T cell responses. Methods and Findings: We chose the inactivated influenza vaccine – a conventional licensed tetanus/influenza (TETAGRIP®) vaccine – to compare the safety and immunogenicity of transcutaneous (TC) versus IM immunization in two randomized controlled, multi-center Phase I trials including 24 healthy-volunteers and 12 HIV-infected patients. Vaccination was performed by application of inactivated influenza vaccine according to a standard protocol allowing the opening of the hair duct for the TC route or needle-injection for the IM route. We demonstrated that the safety of the two routes was similar. We showed the superiority of TC application, but not the IM route, to induce a significant increase in influenza-specific CD8 cytokine-producing cells in healthy-volunteers and in HIV-infected patients. However, these routes did not differ significantly for the induction of influenza-specific CD4 responses, and neutralizing antibodies were induced only by the IM route. The CD8 cell response is thus the major immune response observed after TC vaccination. Conclusions: This Phase Ia clinical trial (Manon05) testing an anti-influenza vaccine demonstrated that vaccines designed for antibody induction by the IM route, generate vaccine-specific CD8 T cells when administered transcutaneously. These results underline the necessity of adapting vaccination strategies to control complex infectious diseases when CD8 cellular responses are crucial. Our work opens up a key area for the development of preventive and therapeutic vaccines for diseases in which CD8 cells play a crucial role.