Loss of the abundant nuclear non-coding RNA MALAT1 is compatible with life and development
- The metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1, MALAT1, is a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that has been discovered as a marker for lung cancer metastasis. It is highly abundant, its expression is strongly regulated in many tumor entities including lung adenocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma as well as physiological processes, and it is associated with many RNA binding proteins and highly conserved throughout evolution. The nuclear transcript MALAT-1 has been functionally associated with gene regulation and alternative splicing and its regulation has been shown to impact proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion.
Here, we have developed a human and a mouse knockout system to study the loss-of-function phenotypes of this important ncRNA. In human tumor cells, MALAT1 expression was abrogated using Zinc Finger Nucleases. Unexpectedly, the quantitative loss of MALAT1 did neither affect proliferation nor cell cycle progression nor nuclear architecture in human lung or liver cancer cells. Moreover, genetic loss of Malat1 in a knockout mouse model did not give rise to any obvious phenotype or histological abnormalities in Malat1-null compared with wild-type animals. Thus, loss of the abundant nuclear long ncRNA MALAT1 is compatible with cell viability and normal development.
IL-17A influences essential functions of the monocyte/macrophage lineage and is involved in advanced murine and human atherosclerosis
Kristina M. Little
Thomas J. Dengler
Hugo A. Katus
Christian A. Gleissner
- Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Lesion progression is primarily mediated by cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. IL-17A is a proinflammatory cytokine, which modulates immune cell trafficking and is involved inflammation in (auto)immune and infectious diseases. But the role of IL-17A still remains controversial. In the current study, we investigated effects of IL-17A on advanced murine and human atherosclerosis, the common disease phenotype in clinical care. The 26-wk-old apolipoprotein E–deficient mice were fed a standard chow diet and treated either with IL-17A mAb (n = 15) or irrelevant Ig (n = 10) for 16 wk. Furthermore, essential mechanisms of IL-17A in atherogenesis were studied in vitro. Inhibition of IL-17A markedly prevented atherosclerotic lesion progression (p = 0.001) by reducing inflammatory burden and cellular infiltration (p = 0.01) and improved lesion stability (p = 0.01). In vitro experiments showed that IL-17A plays a role in chemoattractance, monocyte adhesion, and sensitization of APCs toward pathogen-derived TLR4 ligands. Also, IL-17A induced a unique transcriptome pattern in monocyte-derived macrophages distinct from known macrophage types. Stimulation of human carotid plaque tissue ex vivo with IL-17A induced a proinflammatory milieu and upregulation of molecules expressed by the IL-17A–induced macrophage subtype. In this study, we show that functional blockade of IL-17A prevents atherosclerotic lesion progression and induces plaque stabilization in advanced lesions in apolipoprotein E–deficient mice. The underlying mechanisms involve reduced inflammation and distinct effects of IL-17A on monocyte/macrophage lineage. In addition, translational experiments underline the relevance for the human system.
Risk stratification for sudden cardiac death: current status and challenges for the future
Hein J. .J. Wellens
Peter J. Schwartz
Fred W. Lindemans
Alfred E. Buxton
Jeffrey J. Goldberger
Stefan H. Hohnloser
Heikki V. Heikki V.Huikuri
Maria Teresa La Rovere
Robert J. Myerburg
Maarten L. Simoons
Adriaan A. Voors
Arthur A. Wilde
- Sudden cardiac death (SCD) remains a daunting problem. It is a major public health issue for several reasons: from its prevalence (20% of total mortality in the industrialized world) to the devastating psycho-social impact on society and on the families of victims often still in their prime, and it represents a challenge for medicine, and especially for cardiology. This text summarizes the discussions and opinions of a group of investigators with a long-standing interest in this field. We addressed the occurrence of SCD in individuals apparently healthy, in patients with heart disease and mild or severe cardiac dysfunction, and in those with genetically based arrhythmic diseases. Recognizing the need for more accurate registries of the global and regional distribution of SCD in these different categories, we focused on the assessment of risk for SCD in these four groups, looking at the significance of alterations in cardiac function, of signs of electrical instability identified by ECG abnormalities or by autonomic tests, and of the progressive impact of genetic screening. Special attention was given to the identification of areas of research more or less likely to provide useful information, and thereby more or less suitable for the investment of time and of research funds.
Multimodal imaging of dynamic functional connectivity
- The study of large-scale functional interactions in the human brain with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) extends almost to the first applications of this technology. Due to historical reasons and preconceptions about the limitations of this brain imaging method, most studies have focused on assessing connectivity over extended periods of time. It is now clear that fMRI can resolve the temporal dynamics of functional connectivity, like other faster imaging techniques such as electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography (albeit on a different temporal scale). However, the indirect nature of fMRI measurements can hinder the interpretability of the results. After briefly summarizing recent advances in the field, we discuss how the simultaneous combination of fMRI with electrophysiological activity measurements can contribute to a better understanding of dynamic functional connectivity in humans both during rest and task, wakefulness, and other brain states
Risk Factors for the Presence of Chikungunya and Dengue Vectors (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus), Their Altitudinal Distribution and Climatic Determinants of Their Abundance in Central Nepal
Hari Datt Joshi
Robert B. O’Hara
- Background:The presence of the recently introduced primary dengue virus vector mosquito Aedes aegypti in Nepal, in association with the likely indigenous secondary vector Aedes albopictus, raises public health concerns. Chikungunya fever cases have also been reported in Nepal, and the virus causing this disease is also transmitted by these mosquito species. Here we report the results of a study on the risk factors for the presence of chikungunya and dengue virus vectors, their elevational ceiling of distribution, and climatic determinants of their abundance in central Nepal.
Methodology/Principal Findings: We collected immature stages of mosquitoes during six monthly cross-sectional surveys covering six administrative districts along an altitudinal transect in central Nepal that extended from Birgunj (80 m above sea level [asl]) to Dhunche (highest altitude sampled: 2,100 m asl). The dengue vectors Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus were commonly found up to 1,350 m asl in Kathmandu valley and were present but rarely found from 1,750 to 2,100 m asl in Dhunche. The lymphatic filariasis vector Culex quinquefasciatus was commonly found throughout the study transect. Physiographic region, month of collection, collection station and container type were significant predictors of the occurrence and co-occurrence of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. The climatic variables rainfall, temperature, and relative humidity were significant predictors of chikungunya and dengue virus vectors abundance.
Conclusions/Significance: We conclude that chikungunya and dengue virus vectors have already established their populations up to the High Mountain region of Nepal and that this may be attributed to the environmental and climate change that has been observed over the decades in Nepal. The rapid expansion of the distribution of these important disease vectors in the High Mountain region, previously considered to be non-endemic for dengue and chikungunya fever, calls for urgent actions to protect the health of local people and tourists travelling in the central Himalayas.
Adventitial vessel growth and progenitor cells activation in an ex vivo culture system mimicking human saphenous vein wall strain after coronary artery bypass graftin
Maria Cristina Vinci
Gianfranco Beniamino Fiore
- Saphenous vein graft disease is a timely problem in coronary artery bypass grafting. Indeed, after exposure of the vein to arterial blood flow, a progressive modification in the wall begins, due to proliferation of smooth muscle cells in the intima. As a consequence, the graft progressively occludes and this leads to recurrent ischemia. In the present study we employed a novel ex vivo culture system to assess the biological effects of arterial-like pressure on the human saphenous vein structure and physiology, and to compare the results to those achieved in the presence of a constant low pressure and flow mimicking the physiologic vein perfusion. While under both conditions we found an activation of Matrix Metallo-Proteases 2/9 and of microRNAs-21/146a/221, a specific effect of the arterial-like pressure was observed. This consisted in a marked geometrical remodeling, in the suppression of Tissue Inhibitor of Metallo-Protease-1, in the enhanced expression of TGF-β1 and BMP-2 mRNAs and, finally, in the upregulation of microRNAs-138/200b/200c. In addition, the veins exposed to arterial-like pressure showed an increase in the density of the adventitial vasa vasorum and of cells co-expressing NG2, CD44 and SM22α markers in the adventitia. Cells with nuclear expression of Sox-10, a transcription factor characterizing multipotent vascular stem cells, were finally found in adventitial vessels. Our findings suggest, for the first time, a role of arterial-like wall strain in the activation of pro-pathologic pathways resulting in adventitial vessels growth, activation of vasa vasorum cells, and upregulation of specific gene products associated to vascular remodeling and inflammation.
Simultaneous and dose dependent melanoma cytotoxic and immune stimulatory activity of betulin
Josef M. Pfeilschifter
Heinfried H. Radeke
- Conventional cytostatic cancer treatments rarely result in the complete eradication of tumor cells. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies focus on antagonizing the immunosuppressive activity of established tumors. In particular, recent studies of antigen-loaded dendritic cells (DCs) eliciting a specific antitumor immune response has raised the hopes of achieving the complete elimination of tumor tissue. Genistein, fingolimod and betulin have already been described as active compounds in different types of cancer. Herein, we applied an integrated screening approach to characterize both their cytostatic and their immune-modulating properties side-by-side. As will be described in detail, our data confirmed that all three compounds exerted proapoptotic and antiproliferative activity in different B16 melanoma cell lines to a given extent, as revealed by an MTT assay, CFSE and DAPI staining. However, while genistein and fingolimod also affected the survival of primary bone marrow (BM) derived DCs of C57BL/6 mice, betulin exhibited a lower cytotoxicity for BMDCs in comparison to the melanoma cells. Moreover, we could show for the first time, that only betulin caused a simultaneous, highly specific immune-stimulating activity, as measured by the IL-12p70 release of Toll-like receptor 4-stimulated BMDCs by ELISA, which was due to increased IL-12p35 mRNA expression. Interestingly, the activation of DCs resulted in enhanced T lymphocyte stimulation, indicated by increased IL-2 and IFN-γ production of cytotoxic T cells in spleen cell co-culture assays which led to a decreased viability of B16 cells in an antigen specific model system. This may overcome the immunosuppressive environment of a tumor and destroy tumor cells more effectively in vivo if the immune response is specific targeted against the tumor tissue by antigen-loaded dendritic cells. In summary, cytostatic agents, such as betulin, that simultaneously exhibit immune stimulatory activity may serve as lead compounds and hold great promise as a novel approach for an integrated cancer therapy
Both Ubiquitin Ligases FBXW8 and PARK2 Are Sequestrated into Insolubility by ATXN2 PolyQ Expansions, but Only FBXW8 Expression Is Dysregulated
Melanie Vanessa Halbach
Nesli Ece Şen
A. Nazlı Başak
- The involvement of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in the course of various age-associated neurodegenerative diseases is well established. The single RING finger type E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase PARK2 is mutated in a Parkinson’s disease (PD) variant and was found to interact with ATXN2, a protein where polyglutamine expansions cause Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) or increase the risk for Levodopa-responsive PD and for the motor neuron disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We previously reported evidence for a transcriptional induction of the multi-subunit RING finger Skp1/Cul/F-box (SCF) type E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase complex component FBXW8 in global microarray profiling of ATXN2-expansion mouse cerebellum and demonstrated its role for ATXN2 degradation in vitro. Now, we documented co-localization in vitro and co-immunoprecipitations both in vitro and in vivo, which indicate associations of FBXW8 with ATXN2 and PARK2. Both FBXW8 and PARK2 proteins are driven into insolubility by expanded ATXN2. Whereas the FBXW8 transcript upregulation by ATXN2- expansion was confirmed also in qPCR of skin fibroblasts and blood samples of SCA2 patients, a FBXW8 expression dysregulation was not observed in ATXN2-deficient mice, nor was a PARK2 transcript dysregulation observed in any samples. Jointly, all available data suggest that the degradation of wildtype and mutant ATXN2 is dependent on FBXW8, and that ATXN2 accumulation selectively modulates FBXW8 levels, while PARK2 might act indirectly through FBXW8. The effects of ATXN2-expansions on FBXW8 expression in peripheral tissues like blood may become useful for clinical diagnostics
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Interplay between endothelin and erythropoietin in astroglia: the role in protection against hypoxia
Christoph H. Gleiter
- We show that, under in vitro conditions, the vulnerability of astroglia to hypoxia is reflected by alterations in endothelin (ET)-1 release and capacity of erythropoietin (EPO) to regulate ET-1 levels. Exposure of cells to 24 h hypoxia did not induce changes in ET-1 release, while 48–72 h hypoxia resulted in increase of ET-1 release from astrocytes that could be abolished by EPO. The endothelin receptor type A (ETA) antagonist BQ123 increased extracellular levels of ET-1 in human fetal astroglial cell line (SV-FHAS). The survival and proliferation of rat primary astrocytes, neural precursors, and neurons upon hypoxic conditions were increased upon administration of BQ123. Hypoxic injury and aging affected the interaction between the EPO and ET systems. Under hypoxia EPO decreased ET-1 release from astrocytes, while ETA receptor blockade enhanced the expression of EPO mRNA and EPO receptor in culture-aged rat astroglia. The blockade of ETA receptor can increase the availability of ET-1 to the ETB receptor and can potentiate the neuroprotective effects of EPO. Thus, the new therapeutic use of combined administration of EPO and ETA receptor antagonists during hypoxia-associated neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) can be suggested.