Year of publication
- Sex-stratified genome-wide association studies including 270,000 individuals show sexual dimorphism in genetic loci for anthropometric traits (2013)
- Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
- cGMP-dependent signaling pathways in spinal pain processing (2009)
- Oral presentation from 4th International Conference of cGMP Generators, Effectors and Therapeutic Implications ; Regensburg, Germany. 19–21 June 2009 Background: An exaggerated pain sensitivity is the dominant feature of inflammatory and neuropathic pain both in the clinical setting and in experimental animal models. It manifests as pain in response to normally innocuous stimuli (allodynia), increased response to noxious stimuli (hyperalgesia) or spontaneous pain, and can persist long after the initial injury is resolved. Research over the last decades has revealed that several signaling pathways in the spinal cord essentially contribute to the pain sensitization. To test the contribution of cGMP produced by NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (NO-GC) to pain sensitization, we investigated the localization of NO-GC in the spinal cord and in dorsal root ganglia, and we characterized the nociceptive behavior of mice deficient in NO-GC (GC-KO mice). Results: We show that NO-GC (β1 subunit) is distinctly expressed in neurons of the mouse spinal cord, while its distribution in dorsal root ganglia is restricted to non-neuronal cells. GC-KO mice exhibited a considerably reduced nociceptive behavior in models of inflammatory or neuropathic pain, but their responses to acute pain were not impaired. Moreover, GC-KO mice failed to develop pain sensitization induced by spinal administration of drugs releasing NO. Surprisingly, during spinal nociceptive processing cGMP produced by NO-GC may activate signaling pathways different from cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI), while cGKI can be activated by natriuretic peptide receptor-B (NPR-B) dependent cGMP production. Conclusion: Taken together, our results provide evidence that NO-GC has a dominant role in the development of exaggerated pain sensitivity during inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Furthermore, beside the NO-mediated cGMP synthesis, cGMP produced by NPR-B contributes to pain sensitization by activation of cGKI.
- Cysteine-rich protein 2 is a downstream effector of cGMP-dependent protein kinase I in nociception : poster presentation (2007)
- The experience of pain is mediated by a specialized sensory system, the nociceptive system. There is considerable evidence that the cGMP/cGMP kinase I (cGKI) signaling pathway modulates the nociceptive processing within the spinal cord. However, downstream targets of cGKI in this context have not been identified to date. In this study we investigated whether cysteine-rich protein 2 (CRP2) is a downstream effector of cGKI in the spinal cord and is involved in nociceptive processing. Immunohistochemistry of the mouse spinal cord revealed that CRP2 is expressed in superficial laminae of the dorsal horn. CRP2 is colocalized with cGKI and with markers of primary afferent C fibers. Importantly, the majority of CRP2 mRNA-positive dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons express cGKI and CRP2 is phosphorylated in a cGMP-dependent manner. To elucidate the functional role of CRP2 in nociception, we investigated the nociceptive behavior of CRP2-deficient (CRP2-/-) mice. Touch perception and acute thermal nociception were unaltered in CRP2-/- mice. However, CRP2-/- mice showed an increased nociceptive behavior in models of persistent pain as compared to wild type mice. Intrathecal administration of cGKI activating cGMP analogs increased the nociceptive behavior in wild type but not in CRP2-/- mice, indicating that the presence of CRP2 was essential for cGMP/cGKI-mediated nociception. These data indicate that CRP2 is a new downstream effector of cGKI-mediated spinal nociceptive processing and point to an inhibitory role of CRP2 in the generation of inflammatory pain.
- Deletion of the Ca2+-activated potassium (BK) alpha-subunit but not the BK-beta-1-subunit leads to progressive hearing loss (2004)
- The large conductance voltage- and Ca2+-activated potassium (BK) channel has been suggested to play an important role in the signal transduction process of cochlear inner hair cells. BK channels have been shown to be composed of the pore-forming alpha-subunit coexpressed with the auxiliary beta-1-subunit. Analyzing the hearing function and cochlear phenotype of BK channel alpha-(BKalpha–/–) and beta-1-subunit (BKbeta-1–/–) knockout mice, we demonstrate normal hearing function and cochlear structure of BKbeta-1–/– mice. During the first 4 postnatal weeks also, BKalpha–/– mice most surprisingly did not show any obvious hearing deficits. High-frequency hearing loss developed in BKalpha–/– mice only from ca. 8 weeks postnatally onward and was accompanied by a lack of distortion product otoacoustic emissions, suggesting outer hair cell (OHC) dysfunction. Hearing loss was linked to a loss of the KCNQ4 potassium channel in membranes of OHCs in the basal and midbasal cochlear turn, preceding hair cell degeneration and leading to a similar phenotype as elicited by pharmacologic blockade of KCNQ4 channels. Although the actual link between BK gene deletion, loss of KCNQ4 in OHCs, and OHC degeneration requires further investigation, data already suggest human BK-coding slo1 gene mutation as a susceptibility factor for progressive deafness, similar to KCNQ4 potassium channel mutations. © 2004, The National Academy of Sciences. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.
- The role of cGMP and PKG-I in spinal nociceptive processing (2005)
- First paragraph (this article has no abstract) Persistent stimulation of nociceptors results in sensitization of nociceptive sensory neurons, which is associated with hyperalgesia and allodynia. The release of NO and subsequent synthesis of cGMP in the spinal cord are involved in this process. cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (PKG-I) has been suggested to act as a downstream target of cGMP, but its exact role in nociception hadn't been characterized yet. To further evaluate the NO/cGMP/PKG-I pathway in nociception we assessed the effects of PKG-I inhibiton and activaton in the rat formalin assay and analyzed the nociceptive behavior of PKG-I-/- mice. Open access article.
- IL-2 stimulated but not unstimulated NK cells induce selective disappearance of peripheral blood cells: concomitant results to a phase I/II study (2011)
- In an ongoing clinical phase I/II study, 16 pediatric patients suffering from high risk leukemia/tumors received highly purified donor natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapy (NK-DLI) at day (+3) +40 and +100 post haploidentical stem cell transplantation. However, literature about the influence of NK-DLI on recipient's immune system is scarce. Here we present concomitant results of a noninvasive in vivo monitoring approach of recipient's peripheral blood (PB) cells after transfer of either unstimulated (NK-DLI(unstim)) or IL-2 (1000 U/ml, 9–14 days) activated NK cells (NK-DLI(IL-2 stim)) along with their ex vivo secreted cytokine/chemokines. We performed phenotypical and functional characterizations of the NK-DLIs, detailed flow cytometric analyses of various PB cells and comprehensive cytokine/chemokine arrays before and after NK-DLI. Patients of both groups were comparable with regard to remission status, immune reconstitution, donor chimerism, KIR mismatching, stem cell and NK-DLI dose. Only after NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) was a rapid, almost complete loss of CD56(bright)CD16(dim/−) immune regulatory and CD56(dim)CD16(+) cytotoxic NK cells, monocytes, dendritic cells and eosinophils from PB circulation seen 10 min after infusion, while neutrophils significantly increased. The reduction of NK cells was due to both, a decrease in patients' own CD69(−) NCR(low)CD62L(+) NK cells as well as to a diminishing of the transferred cells from the NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) with the CD56(bright)CD16(+/−)CD69(+)NCR(high)CD62L(−) phenotype. All cell counts recovered within the next 24 h. Transfer of NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) translated into significantly increased levels of various cytokines/chemokines (i.e. IFN-γ, IL-6, MIP-1β) in patients' PB. Those remained stable for at least 1 h, presumably leading to endothelial activation, leukocyte adhesion and/or extravasation. In contrast, NK-DLI(unstim) did not cause any of the observed effects. In conclusion, we assume that the adoptive transfer of NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) under the influence of ex vivo and in vivo secreted cytokines/chemokines may promote NK cell trafficking and therefore might enhance efficacy of immunotherapy.
- Sequential anti-cytomegalovirus response monitoring may allow prediction of cytomegalovirus reactivation after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (2012)
- Background: Reconstitution of cytomegalovirus-specific CD3+CD8+ T cells (CMV-CTLs) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is necessary to bring cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation under control. However, the parameters determining protective CMV-CTL reconstitution remain unclear to date. Design and Methods: In a prospective tri-center study, CMV-CTL reconstitution was analyzed in the peripheral blood from 278 patients during the year following HSCT using 7 commercially available tetrameric HLA-CMV epitope complexes. All patients included could be monitored with at least CMV-specific tetramer. Results: CMV-CTL reconstitution was detected in 198 patients (71%) after allogeneic HSCT. Most importantly, reconstitution with 1 CMV-CTL per µl blood between day +50 and day +75 post-HSCT discriminated between patients with and without CMV reactivation in the R+/D+ patient group, independent of the CMV-epitope recognized. In addition, CMV-CTLs expanded more daramtaically in patients experiencing only one CMV-reactivation than those without or those with multiple CMV reactivations. Monitoring using at least 2 tetramers was possible in 63% (n = 176) of the patients. The combinations of particular HLA molecules influenced the numbers of CMV-CTLs detected. The highest CMV-CTL count obtained for an individual tetramer also changed over time in 11% of these patients (n = 19) resulting in higher levels of HLA-B*0801 (IE-1) recognizing CMV-CTLs in 14 patients. Conclusions: Our results indicate that 1 CMV-CTL per µl blood between day +50 to +75 marks the beginning of an immune response against CMV in the R+/D+ group. Detection of CMV-CTL expansion thereafter indicates successful resolution of the CMV reactivation. Thus, sequential monitoring of CMV-CTL reconstitution can be used to predict patients at risk for recurrent CMV reactivation.
- The Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey (GGMFS): challenges and opportunities of a unique, large-scale collaboration for invasion biology (2014)
- To understand what makes some species successful invaders, it is critical to quantify performance differences between native and introduced regions, and among populations occupying a broad range of environmental conditions within each region. However, these data are not available even for the world’s most notorious invasive species. Here we introduce the Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey, a coordinated distributed field survey to collect performance data and germplasm from a single invasive species: garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) across its entire distribution using minimal resources. We chose this species for its ecological impacts, prominence in ecological studies of invasion success, simple life history, and several genetic and life history attributes that make it amenable to experimental study. We developed a standardised field survey protocol to estimate population size (area) and density, age structure, plant size and fecundity, as well as damage by herbivores and pathogens in each population, and to collect representative seed samples. Across four years and with contributions from 164 academic and non-academic participants from 16 countries in North America and Europe thus far, we have collected 45,788 measurements and counts of 137,811 plants from 383 populations and seeds from over 5,000 plants. All field data and seed resources will be curated for release to the scientific community. Our goal is to establish A. petiolata as a model species for plant invasion biology and to encourage large collaborative studies of other invasive species.
- Integration of novel SSR and gene-based SNP marker loci in the chickpea genetic map and establishment of new anchor points with Medicago truncatula genome (2010)
- This study presents the development and mapping of simple sequence repeat (SSR) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in chickpea. The mapping population is based on an inter-specific cross between domesticated and non-domesticated genotypes of chickpea (Cicer arietinum ICC 4958 × C. reticulatum PI 489777). This same population has been the focus of previous studies, permitting integration of new and legacy genetic markers into a single genetic map. We report a set of 311 novel SSR markers (designated ICCM—ICRISAT chickpea microsatellite), obtained from an SSR-enriched genomic library of ICC 4958. Screening of these SSR markers on a diverse panel of 48 chickpea accessions provided 147 polymorphic markers with 2–21 alleles and polymorphic information content value 0.04–0.92. Fifty-two of these markers were polymorphic between parental genotypes of the inter-specific population. We also analyzed 233 previously published (H-series) SSR markers that provided another set of 52 polymorphic markers. An additional 71 gene-based SNP markers were developed from transcript sequences that are highly conserved between chickpea and its near relative Medicago truncatula. By using these three approaches, 175 new marker loci along with 407 previously reported marker loci were integrated to yield an improved genetic map of chickpea. The integrated map contains 521 loci organized into eight linkage groups that span 2,602 cM, with an average inter-marker distance of 4.99 cM. Gene-based markers provide anchor points for comparing the genomes of Medicago and chickpea, and reveal extended synteny between these two species. The combined set of genetic markers and their integration into an improved genetic map should facilitate chickpea genetics and breeding, as well as translational studies between chickpea and Medicago.