Bayesian cue integration as a developmental outcome of reward mediated learning
Thomas H. Weisswange
Constantin A. Rothkopf
- Average human behavior in cue combination tasks is well predicted by Bayesian inference models. As this capability is acquired over developmental timescales, the question arises, how it is learned. Here we investigated whether reward dependent learning, that is well established at the computational, behavioral, and neuronal levels, could contribute to this development. It is shown that a model free reinforcement learning algorithm can indeed learn to do cue integration, i.e. weight uncertain cues according to their respective reliabilities and even do so if reliabilities are changing. We also consider the case of causal inference where multimodal signals can originate from one or multiple separate objects and should not always be integrated. In this case, the learner is shown to develop a behavior that is closest to Bayesian model averaging. We conclude that reward mediated learning could be a driving force for the development of cue integration and causal inference.
Spherical harmonics coeffcients for ligand-based virtual screening of cyclooxygenase inhibitors
Carlo Federico Angioni
- Background: Molecular descriptors are essential for many applications in computational chemistry, such as ligand-based similarity searching. Spherical harmonics have previously been suggested as comprehensive descriptors of molecular structure and properties. We investigate a spherical harmonics descriptor for shape-based virtual screening. Methodology/Principal Findings: We introduce and validate a partially rotation-invariant three-dimensional molecular shape descriptor based on the norm of spherical harmonics expansion coefficients. Using this molecular representation, we parameterize molecular surfaces, i.e., isosurfaces of spatial molecular property distributions. We validate the shape descriptor in a comprehensive retrospective virtual screening experiment. In a prospective study, we virtually screen a large compound library for cyclooxygenase inhibitors, using a self-organizing map as a pre-filter and the shape descriptor for candidate prioritization. Conclusions/Significance: 12 compounds were tested in vitro for direct enzyme inhibition and in a whole blood assay. Active compounds containing a triazole scaffold were identified as direct cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitors. This outcome corroborates the usefulness of spherical harmonics for representation of molecular shape in virtual screening of large compound collections. The combination of pharmacophore and shape-based filtering of screening candidates proved to be a straightforward approach to finding novel bioactive chemotypes with minimal experimental effort.
Inhibitors of Helicobacter pylori protease HtrA found by "virtual ligand" screening combat bacterial invasion of epithelia
- Background: The human pathogen Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a main cause for gastric inflammation and cancer. Increasing bacterial resistance against antibiotics demands for innovative strategies for therapeutic intervention. Methodology/Principal Findings: We present a method for structure-based virtual screening that is based on the comprehensive prediction of ligand binding sites on a protein model and automated construction of a ligand-receptor interaction map. Pharmacophoric features of the map are clustered and transformed in a correlation vector (‘virtual ligand’) for rapid virtual screening of compound databases. This computer-based technique was validated for 18 different targets of pharmaceutical interest in a retrospective screening experiment. Prospective screening for inhibitory agents was performed for the protease HtrA from the human pathogen H. pylori using a homology model of the target protein. Among 22 tested compounds six block E-cadherin cleavage by HtrA in vitro and result in reduced scattering and wound healing of gastric epithelial cells, thereby preventing bacterial infiltration of the epithelium. Conclusions/Significance: This study demonstrates that receptor-based virtual screening with a permissive (‘fuzzy’) pharmacophore model can help identify small bioactive agents for combating bacterial infection.
Agreeable smellers and sensitive neurotics - correlations among personality traits and sensory thresholds
Amy N. B. Johnston
- Correlations between personality traits and a wide range of sensory thresholds were examined. Participants (N = 124) completed a personality inventory (NEO-FFI) and underwent assessment of olfactory, trigeminal, tactile and gustatory detection thresholds, as well as examination of trigeminal and tactile pain thresholds. Significantly enhanced odor sensitivity in socially agreeable people, significantly enhanced trigeminal sensitivity in neurotic subjects, and a tendency for enhanced pain tolerance in highly conscientious participants was revealed. It is postulated that varied sensory processing may influence an individual's perception of the environment; particularly their perception of socially relevant or potentially dangerous stimuli and thus, varied with personality.
Role of p53 serine 46 in p53 target gene regulation
Simon J. van Heeringen
Hendrik G. Stunnenberg
- The tumor suppressor p53 plays a crucial role in cellular growth control inducing a plethora of different response pathways. The molecular mechanisms that discriminate between the distinct p53-responses have remained largely elusive. Here, we have analyzed the p53-regulated pathways induced by Actinomycin D and Etoposide treatment resulting in more growth arrested versus apoptotic cells respectively. We found that the genome-wide p53 DNA-binding patterns are almost identical upon both treatments notwithstanding transcriptional differences that we observed in global transcriptome analysis. To assess the role of post-translational modifications in target gene choice and activation we investigated the genome-wide level of phosphorylation of Serine 46 of p53 bound to DNA (p53-pS46) and of Serine 15 (p53-pS15). Interestingly, the extent of S46 phosphorylation of p53 bound to DNA is considerably higher in cells directed towards apoptosis while the degree of phosphorylation at S15 remains highly similar. Moreover, our data suggest that following different chemotherapeutical treatments, the amount of chromatin-associated p53 phosphorylated at S46 but not at pS15 is higher on certain apoptosis related target genes. Our data provide evidence that cell fate decisions are not made primarily on the level of general p53 DNA-binding and that post-translationally modified p53 can have distinct DNA-binding characteristics.
Eine Reise in den Wahnsinn : Erkenntnisse aus Literatur, Philosophie und Medizin, angewandt auf das Werk von Luigi Pirandello
Alternative oxidase dependent respiration leads to an increased mitochondrial content in two long-lived mutants of the aging model Podospora anserina
Christian Quintus Scheckhuber
Andrea C. Weil
Annemie De Vreese
Jacques R. Vanfleteren
Heinz D. Osiewacz
- The retrograde response constitutes an important signalling pathway from mitochondria to the nucleus which induces several genes to allow compensation of mitochondrial impairments. In the filamentous ascomycete Podospora anserina, an example for such a response is the induction of a nuclear-encoded and iron-dependent alternative oxidase (AOX) occurring when cytochrome-c oxidase (COX) dependent respiration is affected. Several long-lived mutants are known which predominantly or exclusively respire via AOX. Here we show that two AOX-utilising mutants, grisea and PaCox17::ble, are able to compensate partially for lowered OXPHOS efficiency resulting from AOX-dependent respiration by increasing mitochondrial content. At the physiological level this is demonstrated by an elevated oxygen consumption and increased heat production. However, in the two mutants, ATP levels do not reach WT levels. Interestingly, mutant PaCox17::ble is characterized by a highly increased release of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) hydrogen peroxide. Both grisea and PaCox17::ble contain elevated levels of mitochondrial proteins involved in quality control, i. e. LON protease and the molecular chaperone HSP60. Taken together, our work demonstrates that AOX-dependent respiration in two mutants of the ageing model P. anserina is linked to a novel mechanism involved in the retrograde response pathway, mitochondrial biogenesis, which might also play an important role for cellular maintenance in other organisms.
Bachelor und Master in Mathematik
Multiple indices of diffusion identifies white matter damage in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease
Arun L. W. Bokde
Yetunde O. Faluyi
Bernard M. Mazoyer
D. Rónán Collins
- The study of multiple indices of diffusion, including axial (DA), radial (DR) and mean diffusion (MD), as well as fractional anisotropy (FA), enables WM damage in Alzheimer's disease (AD) to be assessed in detail. Here, tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) were performed on scans of 40 healthy elders, 19 non-amnestic MCI (MCIna) subjects, 14 amnestic MCI (MCIa) subjects and 9 AD patients. Significantly higher DA was found in MCIna subjects compared to healthy elders in the right posterior cingulum/precuneus. Significantly higher DA was also found in MCIa subjects compared to healthy elders in the left prefrontal cortex, particularly in the forceps minor and uncinate fasciculus. In the MCIa versus MCIna comparison, significantly higher DA was found in large areas of the left prefrontal cortex. For AD patients, the overlap of FA and DR changes and the overlap of FA and MD changes were seen in temporal, parietal and frontal lobes, as well as the corpus callosum and fornix. Analysis of differences between the AD versus MCIna, and AD versus MCIa contrasts, highlighted regions that are increasingly compromised in more severe disease stages. Microstructural damage independent of gross tissue loss was widespread in later disease stages. Our findings suggest a scheme where WM damage begins in the core memory network of the temporal lobe, cingulum and prefrontal regions, and spreads beyond these regions in later stages. DA and MD indices were most sensitive at detecting early changes in MCIa.
Single HA2 mutation increases the infectivity and immunogenicity of a live attenuated H5N1 intranasal influenza vaccine candidate lacking NS1
Brigitte M. Krenn
Oleg V. Batishchev
Andrey V. Indenbom
- Background: H5N1 influenza vaccines, including live intranasal, appear to be relatively less immunogenic compared to seasonal analogs. The main influenza virus surface glycoprotein hemagglutinin (HA) of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) was shown to be more susceptible to acidic pH treatment than that of human or low pathogenic avian influenza viruses. The acidification machinery of the human nasal passageway in response to different irritation factors starts to release protons acidifying the mucosal surface (down to pH of 5.2). We hypothesized that the sensitivity of H5 HA to the acidic environment might be the reason for the low infectivity and immunogenicity of intranasal H5N1 vaccines for mammals. Methodology/Principal Findings: We demonstrate that original human influenza viruses infect primary human nasal epithelial cells at acidic pH (down to 5.4), whereas H5N1 HPAIVs lose infectivity at pH <= 5.6. The HA of A/Vietnam/1203/04 was modified by introducing the single substitution HA2 58K -> I, decreasing the pH of the HA conformational change. The H5N1 reassortants containing the indicated mutation displayed an increased resistance to acidic pH and high temperature treatment compared to those lacking modification. The mutation ensured a higher viral uptake as shown by immunohistochemistry in the respiratory tract of mice and 25 times lower mouse infectious dose50. Moreover, the reassortants keeping 58K -> I mutation designed as a live attenuated vaccine candidate lacking an NS1 gene induced superior systemic and local antibody response after the intranasal immunization of mice. Conclusion/Significance: Our finding suggests that an efficient intranasal vaccination with a live attenuated H5N1 virus may require a certain level of pH and temperature stability of HA in order to achieve an optimal virus uptake by the nasal epithelial cells and induce a sufficient immune response. The pH of the activation of the H5 HA protein may play a substantial role in the infectivity of HPAIVs for mammals.