cGMP-dependent protein kinase I is crucial for angiogenesis and postnatal vasculogenesis
Michael E. Mendelsohn
- Background Endothelium-derived nitric oxide plays an important role for the bone marrow microenvironment. Since several important effects of nitric oxide are mediated by cGMP-dependent pathways, we investigated the role of the cGMP downstream effector cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI) on postnatal neovascularization. Methodology/Principal Findings In a disc neovascularization model, cGKI -/- mice showed an impaired neovascularization as compared to their wild-type (WT) littermates. Infusion of WT, but not cGKI -/- bone marrow progenitors rescued the impaired ingrowth of new vessels in cGKI-deficient mice. Bone marrow progenitors from cGKI -/- mice showed reduced proliferation and survival rates. In addition, we used cGKI alpha leucine zipper mutant (LZM) mice as model for cGKI deficiency. LZM mice harbor a mutation in the cGKI alpha leucine zipper that prevents interaction with downstream signaling molecules. Consistently, LZM mice exhibited reduced numbers of vasculogenic progenitors and impaired neovascularization following hindlimb ischemia compared to WT mice. Conclusions/Significance Our findings demonstrate that the cGMP-cGKI pathway is critical for postnatal neovascularization and establish a new role for cGKI in vasculogenesis, which is mediated by bone marrow-derived progenitors.
Parkinson phenotype in aged PINK1-deficient mice is accompanied by progressive mitochondrial dysfunction in absence of neurodegeneration
Walter E. Müller
Alexei P. Kudin
Wolfram S. Kunz
Andreas S. Reichert
Robert L. Nussbaum
- Background Parkinson's disease (PD) is an adult-onset movement disorder of largely unknown etiology. We have previously shown that loss-of-function mutations of the mitochondrial protein kinase PINK1 (PTEN induced putative kinase 1) cause the recessive PARK6 variant of PD. Methodology/Principal Findings Now we generated a PINK1 deficient mouse and observed several novel phenotypes: A progressive reduction of weight and of locomotor activity selectively for spontaneous movements occurred at old age. As in PD, abnormal dopamine levels in the aged nigrostriatal projection accompanied the reduced movements. Possibly in line with the PARK6 syndrome but in contrast to sporadic PD, a reduced lifespan, dysfunction of brainstem and sympathetic nerves, visible aggregates of alpha-synuclein within Lewy bodies or nigrostriatal neurodegeneration were not present in aged PINK1-deficient mice. However, we demonstrate PINK1 mutant mice to exhibit a progressive reduction in mitochondrial preprotein import correlating with defects of core mitochondrial functions like ATP-generation and respiration. In contrast to the strong effect of PINK1 on mitochondrial dynamics in Drosophila melanogaster and in spite of reduced expression of fission factor Mtp18, we show reduced fission and increased aggregation of mitochondria only under stress in PINK1-deficient mouse neurons. Conclusion Thus, aging Pink1 -/- mice show increasing mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in impaired neural activity similar to PD, in absence of overt neuronal death.
The carboxy-terminal domain of Dictyostelium C-module-binding factor is an independent gene regulatory entity
- The C-module-binding factor (CbfA) is a multidomain protein that belongs to the family of jumonji-type (JmjC) transcription regulators. In the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, CbfA regulates gene expression during the unicellular growth phase and multicellular development. CbfA and a related D. discoideum CbfA-like protein, CbfB, share a paralogous domain arrangement that includes the JmjC domain, presumably a chromatin-remodeling activity, and two zinc finger-like (ZF) motifs. On the other hand, the CbfA and CbfB proteins have completely different carboxy-terminal domains, suggesting that the plasticity of such domains may have contributed to the adaptation of the CbfA-like transcription factors to the rapid genome evolution in the dictyostelid clade. To support this hypothesis we performed DNA microarray and real-time RT-PCR measurements and found that CbfA regulates at least 160 genes during the vegetative growth of D. discoideum cells. Functional annotation of these genes revealed that CbfA predominantly controls the expression of gene products involved in housekeeping functions, such as carbohydrate, purine nucleoside/nucleotide, and amino acid metabolism. The CbfA protein displays two different mechanisms of gene regulation. The expression of one set of CbfA-dependent genes requires at least the JmjC/ZF domain of the CbfA protein and thus may depend on chromatin modulation. Regulation of the larger group of genes, however, does not depend on the entire CbfA protein and requires only the carboxy-terminal domain of CbfA (CbfA-CTD). An AT-hook motif located in CbfA-CTD, which is known to mediate DNA binding to A+T-rich sequences in vitro, contributed to CbfA-CTD-dependent gene regulatory functions in vivo.
Downregulation of ETS rescues diabetes-induced reduction of endothelial progenitor cells
Florian Hartmut Seeger
- Background Transplantation of vasculogenic progenitor cells (VPC) improves neovascularization after ischemia. However, patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus show a reduced VPC number and impaired functional activity. Previously, we demonstrated that p38 kinase inhibition prevents the negative effects of glucose on VPC number by increasing proliferation and differentiation towards the endothelial lineage in vitro. Moreover, the functional capacity of progenitor cells is reduced in a mouse model of metabolic syndrome including type 2 diabetes (Leprdb) in vivo. Findings The aim of this study was to elucidate the underlying signalling mechanisms in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, we performed DNA-protein binding arrays in the bone marrow of mice with metabolic syndrome, in blood-derived progenitor cells of diabetic patients as well as in VPC ex vivo treated with high levels of glucose. The transcriptional activation of ETS transcription factors was increased in all samples analyzed. Downregulation of ETS1 expression by siRNA abrogated the reduction of VPC number induced by high-glucose treatment. In addition, we observed a concomitant suppression of the non-endothelial ETS-target genes matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) and CD115 upon short term lentiviral delivery of ETS-specific shRNAs. Long term inhibition of ETS expression by lentiviral infection increased the number of cells with the endothelial markers CD144 and CD105. Conclusion These data demonstrate that diabetes leads to dysregulated activation of ETS, which blocks the functional activity of progenitor cells and their commitment towards the endothelial cell lineage.
Exploring BOLD changes during spatial attention in non-stimulated visual cortex
Notger Germar Müller
- Blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) responses were measured in parts of primary visual cortex that represented unstimulated visual field regions at different distances from a stimulated central target location. The composition of the visual scene varied by the presence or absence of additional peripheral distracter stimuli. Bottom-up effects were assessed by comparing peripheral activity during central stimulation vs. no stimulation. Top-down effects were assessed by comparing active vs. passive conditions. In passive conditions subjects simply watched the central letter stimuli and in active conditions they had to report occurrence of pre-defined targets in a rapid serial letter stream. Onset of the central letter stream enhanced activity in V1 representations of the stimulated region. Within representations of the periphery activation decreased and finally turned into deactivation with increasing distance from the stimulated location. This pattern was most pronounced in the active conditions and during the presence of peripheral stimuli. Active search for a target did not lead to additional enhancement at areas representing the attentional focus but to a stronger deactivation in the vicinity. Suppressed neuronal activity was also found in the non distracter condition suggesting a top-down attention driven effect. Our observations suggest that BOLD signal decreases in primary visual cortex are modulated by bottom-up sensory-driven factors such as the presence of distracters in the visual field as well as by top-down attentional processes.
Bat eyes have ultraviolet-sensitive cone photoreceptors
Gabriel C. Knop
- Mammalian retinae have rod photoreceptors for night vision and cone photoreceptors for daylight and colour vision. For colour discrimination, most mammals possess two cone populations with two visual pigments (opsins) that have absorption maxima at short wavelengths (blue or ultraviolet light) and long wavelengths (green or red light). Microchiropteran bats, which use echolocation to navigate and forage in complete darkness, have long been considered to have pure rod retinae. Here we use opsin immunohistochemistry to show that two phyllostomid microbats, Glossophaga soricina and Carollia perspicillata, possess a significant population of cones and express two cone opsins, a shortwave-sensitive (S) opsin and a longwave-sensitive (L) opsin. A substantial population of cones expresses S opsin exclusively, whereas the other cones mostly coexpress L and S opsin. S opsin gene analysis suggests ultraviolet (UV, wavelengths <400 nm) sensitivity, and corneal electroretinogram recordings reveal an elevated sensitivity to UV light which is mediated by an S cone visual pigment. Therefore bats have retained the ancestral UV tuning of the S cone pigment. We conclude that bats have the prerequisite for daylight vision, dichromatic colour vision, and UV vision. For bats, the UV-sensitive cones may be advantageous for visual orientation at twilight, predator avoidance, and detection of UV-reflecting flowers for those that feed on nectar.
Negative association of the chemokine receptor CCR5 d32 polymorphism with systemic inflammatory response, extra-articular symptoms and joint erosion in rheumatoid arthritis
- Introduction Chemokines and their receptors control immune cell migration during infections as well as in autoimmune responses. A 32 bp deletion in the gene of the chemokine receptor CCR5 confers protection against HIV infection, but has also been reported to decrease susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The influence of this deletion variant on the clinical course of this autoimmune disease was investigated. Methods Genotyping for CCR5d32 was performed by PCR and subsequent electrophoretic fragment length determination. For the clinical analysis, the following extra-articular manifestations of RA were documented by the rheumatologist following the patient: presence of rheumatoid nodules, major organ vasculitis, pulmonary fibrosis, serositis or a Raynaud's syndrome. All documented CRP levels were analyzed retrospectively, and the last available hand and feet radiographs were analyzed with regards to the presence or absence of erosive disease. Results Analysis of the CCR5 polymorphism in 503 RA patients and in 459 age-matched healthy controls revealed a significantly decreased disease susceptibility for carriers of the CCR5d32 deletion (Odds ratio 0.67, P = 0.0437). Within the RA patient cohort, CCR5d32 was significantly less frequent in patients with extra-articular manifestations compared with those with limited, articular disease (13.2% versus 22.8%, P = 0.0374). In addition, the deletion was associated with significantly lower average CRP levels over time (median 8.85 vs. median 14.1, P = 0.0041) and had a protective effect against the development of erosive disease (OR = 0.40, P = 0.0047). Intriguingly, homozygosity for the RA associated DNASE2 -1066 G allele had an additive effect on the disease susceptibility conferred by the wt allele of CCR5 (OR = 2.24, P = 0.0051 for carrier of both RA associated alleles) Conclusions The presence of CCR5d32 significantly influenced disease susceptibility to and clinical course of RA in a German study population. The protective effect of this deletion, which has been described to lead to a decreased receptor expression in heterozygous patients, underlines the importance of chemokines in the pathogenesis of RA.
Reliability exercise for the polymyalgia rheumatica classification criteria study : the Oranjewoud ultrasound substudy
Alexander Konrad Scheel
Eric L. Matteson
George A. W. Bruyn
Wolfgang A. Schmidt
- Objective. A study supported by the EULAR and the ACR being conducted to establish classification criteria for polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) will include ultrasound examination of the shoulders and hips. Ultrasound (US) depicts glenohumeral joint effusion, biceps tenosynovitis, subdeltoid bursitis, hip joint synovitis, and trochanteric bursitis in PMR. These findings may aid in distinguishing PMR from other diseases. The purpose of this study was to assess standards and US interreader agreement of participants in the PMR classification criteria study. Methods. Sixteen physicians in four groups examined shoulders and hips of 4 patients and 4 healthy adults with ultrasound. Overall agreement and interobserver agreement were calculated. Results. The overall agreement (OA) between groups was 87%. The OA for healthy shoulders was 88.8%, for healthy hips 100%, for shoulders with pathology 85.2%, and 74.3% for hips with pathology, respectively. Conclusion. There was a high degree of agreement found for the examination of healthy shoulders and pathologic hips. Agreement was moderate for pathologic shoulders and perfect for healthy hips. US of shoulder and hips performed by different examiners is a reliable and feasible tool for assessment of PMR related disease pathology and can be incorporated into a classification criteria study.
Annual report / Department of Migration
Microbial processes in oil fields : culprits, problems, and opportunities
Mostafa S. Elshahed
Michael J. Mclnerney