ResearchPad - gene-expression-and-vector-techniques Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Clinicopathological and prognostic significance of caveolin-1 and ATG4C expression in the epithelial ovarian cancer]]> Altered expression of caveolin-1 (CAV1) and autophagy marker ATG4C is observed in various types of human cancers. However, the clinical significance of CAV1 and ATG4C expression in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains largely unknown. The present study aims to explore the clinicopathological value and prognostic significance of CAV1 and ATG4C expression in EOC.MethodsThe expression pattern and prognostic value of CAV1 and ATG4C mRNA in EOC were analyzed using data from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database (N = 373). In addition, immunohistochemistry analysis was performed to detect and assay the expression of CAV1 and ATG4C proteins in tissue microarray of EOC.ResultsBased on TCGA data, Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated that patients with low CAV1 mRNA (p = 0.021) and high ATG4C mRNA (p = 0.018) expression had a significantly shorter overall survival (OS). Cox regression analysis demonstrated that the expression levels of CAV1 (p = 0.023) and ATG4C mRNA (p = 0.040) were independent prognostic factors for OS in EOC. In addition, the Concordance Index of the nomogram for OS prediction was 0.660. Immunohistochemical analysis showed the expression levels of stromal CAV1 and cancerous ATG4C proteins, and high expression of both CAV1 and ATG4C protein in the stroma were found to significantly correlate with the histologic subtypes of EOC, especially with serous subtype.ConclusionsDecreased expression of CAV1 mRNA and increased expression of ATG4C mRNA in EOC can predict poor overall survival. The expression levels of CAV1 protein in stromal cells and ATG4C protein in cancer cells are significantly associated with histologic subtypes of EOC. These findings suggest that CAV1 and ATG4C serve as useful prognostic biomarkers and candidate therapeutic targets in EOC. ]]> <![CDATA[Increased 14-3-3β and γ protein isoform expressions in parasitic eosinophilic meningitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection in mice]]>

The 14-3-3 proteins are cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers of neuronal damage during infectious meningitis and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Little is known about dynamic changes in the individual isoforms in response to parasitic eosinophilic meningitis. The purposes of this study were to determine the 14-3-3 protein isoform patterns, examine the kinetics and correlate the severity of blood brain barrier (BBB) damage with the expressions of these markers in mice with eosinophilic meningitis.

Mice were orally infected with 50 A. cantonensis L3 via an oro-gastric tube and sacrificed every week for 3 consecutive weeks after infection. The Evans blue method and BBB junctional protein expressions were used to measure changes in the BBB. Hematoxylin and eosin staining was used to analyze pathological changes in the mice brains following 1–3 weeks of infection with A. cantonensis. The levels of 14-3-3 protein isoforms in serum/CSF and brain homogenates were analyzed by Western blot, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) was used to explore the different isoform distributions of 14-3-3 proteins and changes in BBB junctional proteins in the mice brain meninges. Dexamethasone was injected intraperitoneally from the seventh day post infection (dpi) until the end of the study (21 dpi) to study the changes in BBB junctional proteins. The amounts of Evans blue, tight junction and 14-3-3 protein isoforms in the different groups of mice were compared using the nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis test.

There were significant increases in 14-3-3 protein isoforms β and γ in the CSF in the second and third weeks after infection compared to the controls and first week of infection, which were correlated with the severity of BBB damage in brain histology, and Evans blue extravasation. Using IHC to assess the distribution of 14-3-3 protein isoforms and changes in BBB junctional proteins in the mice brain meninges, the expressions of isoforms β, γ, ε, and θ and junctional proteins occludin and claudin-5 in the brain meninges increased over a 3-week period after infection compared to the controls and 1 week after infection. The administration of dexamethasone decreased the expressions of BBB junctional proteins occludin and claudin-5 in the mice brain meninges.

Our findings support that 14-3-3 proteins β and γ can potentially be used as a CSF marker of neuronal damage in parasitic eosinophilic meningitis caused by A. cantonensis.

<![CDATA[Subunits of the mechano-electrical transduction channel, Tmc1/2b, require Tmie to localize in zebrafish sensory hair cells]]>

Mutations in transmembrane inner ear (TMIE) cause deafness in humans; previous studies suggest involvement in the mechano-electrical transduction (MET) complex in sensory hair cells, but TMIE’s precise role is unclear. In tmie zebrafish mutants, we observed that GFP-tagged Tmc1 and Tmc2b, which are subunits of the MET channel, fail to target to the hair bundle. In contrast, overexpression of Tmie strongly enhances the targeting of Tmc1-GFP and Tmc2b-GFP to stereocilia. To identify the motifs of Tmie underlying the regulation of the Tmcs, we systematically deleted or replaced peptide segments. We then assessed localization and functional rescue of each mutated/chimeric form of Tmie in tmie mutants. We determined that the first putative helix was dispensable and identified a novel critical region of Tmie, the extracellular region and transmembrane domain, which is required for both mechanosensitivity and Tmc2b-GFP expression in bundles. Collectively, our results suggest that Tmie’s role in sensory hair cells is to target and stabilize Tmc channel subunits to the site of MET.

<![CDATA[Sexual dimorphism of acute doxorubicin-induced nephrotoxicity in C57Bl/6 mice]]>

Doxorubicin (DOX) is a chemotherapeutic agent that has been reported to cause nephrotoxicity in rodent models and to a lesser degree in cancer patients. Female rodents have been shown to be protected against several features of DOX-induced nephrotoxicity. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms of this sexual dimorphism are not fully elucidated. Therefore, in the current study, we investigated the sex and time-dependent changes in pathological lesions as well as apoptotic and fibrotic markers in response to acute DOX-induced nephrotoxicity. We also determined the effect of acute DOX treatment on the renal expression of the sexually dimorphic enzyme, soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH), since inhibition of sEH has been shown to protect against DOX-induced nephrotoxicity. Acute DOX-induced nephrotoxicity was induced by a single intra-peritoneal injection of 20 mg/kg DOX to male and female adult C57Bl/6 mice. The kidneys were isolated 1, 3 and 6 days after DOX administration. Histopathology assessment, gene expression of the apoptotic marker, BAX, protein expression of the fibrotic marker, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and gene and protein expression of sEH were assessed. DOX administration caused more severe pathological lesions as well as higher induction of the apoptotic and fibrotic markers in kidneys of male than in female mice. Intriguingly, DOX inhibited sEH protein expression in kidneys of male mice sacrificed at 3 and 6 days following administration, suggesting that induction of sEH is not necessary for acute DOX-induced nephrotoxicity. However, DOX-induced inhibition of renal sEH in male mice may protect the kidney from further DOX-induced injury in a negative feedback mechanism. We also observed lower constitutive expressions of TGF-β and sEH in the kidney of female mice which may contribute, at least in part, to sexual dimorphism of DOX-induced nephrotoxicity.

<![CDATA[Expression optimization, purification, and functional characterization of cholesterol oxidase from Chromobacterium sp. DS1]]>

Cholesterol oxidase is a bifunctional bacterial flavoenzyme which catalyzes oxidation and isomerization of cholesterol. This valuable enzyme has attracted a great deal of attention because of its wide application in the clinical laboratory, synthesis of steroid derived drugs, food industries, and its potentially insecticidal activity. Therefore, development of an efficient protocol for overproduction of cholesterol oxidase could be valuable and beneficial in this regard. The present study examined the role of various parameters (host strain, culture media, induction time, isopropyl ß-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside concentration, as well as post-induction incubation time and temperature) on over-expression of cholesterol oxidase from Chromobacterium sp. DS1. Applying the optimized protocol, the yield of recombinant cholesterol oxidase significantly increased from 92 U/L to 2115 U/L. Under the optimized conditions, the enzyme was produced on a large-scale, and overexpressed cholesterol oxidase was purified from cell lysate by column nickel affinity chromatography. Km and Vmax values of the purified enzyme for cholesterol were estimated using Lineweaver-Burk plot. Further, the optimum pH and optimum temperature for the enzyme activity were determined. This study reports a straightforward protocol for cholesterol oxidase production which can be performed in any laboratory.

<![CDATA[ARR22 overexpression can suppress plant Two-Component Regulatory Systems]]>

In plants, several developmental processes are co-coordinated by cytokinins via phosphorylation dependent processes of the Two-Component System (TCS). An outstanding challenge is to track phosphorelay flow from cytokinin perception to its molecular outputs, of which gene activation plays a major role. To address this issue, a kinetic-based reporter system was expounded to track TCS phosphorelay activity in vivo that can distinguish between basal and cytokinin dependent effects of overexpressed TCS members. The TCS phosphorelay can be positively activated by cytokinin and inhibited by pharmaceuticals or naturally interfering components. In this case we took advantage of the phosphohistidine-phosphatase Arabidopsis Response Regulator (ARR) 22 and investigated its phosphocompetition with other TCS members in regulating promoters of ARR5 and WUS in Arabidopsis thaliana cell culture protoplasts. In congruency with the proposed function of ARR22, overexpression of ARR22 blocked the activation of all B-type ARRs in this study in a TCS dependent manner. Furthermore, this effect could not be mimicked by A-type response regulator overexpression or compensated by AHP overexpression. Compared to other reporter assays, ours mimicked effects previously observed only in transgenic plants for all of the TCS proteins studied, suggesting that it is possible to expose phosphocompetition. Thus, our approach can be used to investigate gene signaling networks involving the TCS by leveraging ARR22 as a TCS inhibitor along with B-type ARR overexpression.

<![CDATA[Expression, purification and characterization of the dimeric protruding domain of Macrobrachium rosenbergii nodavirus capsid protein expressed in Escherichia coli]]>

Macrobrachium rosenbergii nodavirus (MrNV) is the causative agent of white tail disease (WTD) which seriously impedes the production of the giant freshwater prawn and has a major economic impact. MrNV contains two segmented RNA molecules, which encode the RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and the capsid protein (MrNV-CP) containing 371 amino acid residues. MrNV-CP comprises of the Shell (S) and the Protruding (P) domains, ranging from amino acid residues 1–252 and 253–371, respectively. The P-domain assembles into dimeric protruding spikes, and it is believed to be involved in host cell attachment and internalization. In this study, the recombinant P-domain of MrNV-CP was successfully cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, purified with an immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC) and size exclusion chromatography (SEC) up to ~90% purity. Characterization of the purified recombinant P-domain with SEC revealed that it formed dimers, and dynamic light scattering (DLS) analysis demonstrated that the hydrodynamic diameter of the dimers was ~6 nm. Circular dichroism (CD) analysis showed that the P-domain contained 67.9% of beta-sheets, but without alpha-helical structures. This is in good agreement with the cryo-electron microscopic analysis of MrNV which demonstrated that the P-domain contains only beta-stranded structures. Our findings of this study provide essential information for the production of the P-domain of MrNV-CP that will aid future studies particularly studies that will shed light on anti-viral drug discovery and provide an understanding of virus-host interactions and the viral pathogenicity.

<![CDATA[Equilin in conjugated equine estrogen increases monocyte-endothelial adhesion via NF-κB signaling]]>

The adhesion of monocytes to endothelial cells, which is mediated by adhesion molecules, plays a crucial role in the onset of atherosclerosis. Conjugated equine estrogen, which is widely used for estrogen-replacement therapy, contains both estrone sulfate and various nonhuman estrogens, including equilin. To investigate the association between various estrogen types and atherosclerosis risk, we examined their effect on adhesion-molecule expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). In estrogen-treated HUVECs, the mRNA and protein expression levels of adhesion molecules were quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction and enzyme immunoassay. Additionally, a flow-chamber system was used to assess the effects of estrogens on the adherence of U937 monocytoid cells to HUVECs. Equilin, but not 17β-estradiol (E2) or other types of estrogen, significantly increased the mRNA (P < 0.01) and protein (P < 0.05) expression of the adhesion molecules E-selectin and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 as compared with levels in controls. Equilin treatment increased the adherence of U937 monocytoid cells to HUVECs relative to the that in the control (P < 0.05), decreased estrogen receptor (ER)β expression, and increased the expression of proteins involved in nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) activation relative to levels in controls. Furthermore, the accumulation of NF-κB subunit p65 in HUVEC nuclei was promoted by equilin treatment. By contrast, E2 treatment neither increased the number of adhered monocytoid cells to HUVECs nor altered the expression of ERβ or NF-κB-activating proteins. Our findings suggest that in terms of the adhesion of monocytes at the onset of atherosclerosis, E2 may be preferable for estrogen-replacement therapy. Further studies comparing equilin treatment with that of E2 are needed to investigate their differential impacts on atherosclerosis.

<![CDATA[Individual response to mTOR inhibition in delaying replicative senescence of mesenchymal stromal cells]]>

Background aims

Delaying replicative senescence and extending lifespan of human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) may enhance their potential for tissue engineering and cell based therapies. Accumulating evidence suggests that inhibitors of the mTOR signaling pathway, such as rapamycin, constitute promising pharmacological agents to retard senescence and extend stemness properties of various progenitor cell types. Here, we investigated whether the ability of rapamycin to postpone replicative senescence varies among bone marrow MSC samples (BM-MSCs) derived from different healthy donors, and explored the molecular mechanisms that drive rapamycin-mediated lifespan increment.


BM-MSCs at early passages were serially passaged either in absence or continuous presence of rapamycin and the number of cell population doublings until growth arrest was measured. The inhibition of mTOR signaling was assessed by the phosphorylation status of the downstream target RPS6. The expression levels of several senescence and pluripotency markers at early and late/senescent passages were analyzed by RT-qPCR, flow cytometry and western blot.


We found that the lifespan extension in response to the continuous rapamycin treatment was highly variable among samples, but effective in most BM-MSCs. Despite all rapamycin-treated cells secreted significantly reduced levels of IL6, a major SASP cytokine, and expressed significantly higher levels of the pluripotency marker NANOG, the expression patterns of these markers were not correlated with the rapamycin-mediated increase in lifespan. Interestingly, rapamycin-mediated life-span extension was significantly associated only with repression of p16INK4A protein accumulation.


Taken together, our results suggest that some, but not all, BM-MSC samples would benefit from using rapamycin to postpone replicative arrest and reinforce a critical role of p16INK4A protein downregulation in this process.

<![CDATA[Connective tissue growth factor mediates transforming growth factor β-induced collagen expression in human endometrial stromal cells]]>


Adenomyosis is a medical condition defined by the abnormal presence of endometrial tissue within the myometrium, in which fibrosis occurs with new collagen deposition and myofibroblast differentiation. In this study, the effect of several mediators and growth factors on collagen expression was investigated on human endometrial stromal cells (fibroblasts) derived from adenomyotic endometrium.

Experimental approach

RT-PCR, Western blot analysis, pharmacological interventions and siRNA interference were applied to primary cultured human endometrial stromal cells (fibroblasts). Immunohistochemistry was used to analyze protein expression in adenomyotic endometrium tissue specimens.


Of the tested mediators, transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) and its isoforms were effective to induce collagen and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression. Collagen and CTGF induction by TGFβ1 could be reduced by the inhibitors targeting DNA transcription, protein translation, and Smad2/3 signaling. Interestingly, TGFβ1 induced Smad2/3 phosphorylation and CTGF mRNA expression, but not collagen mRNA expression, suggesting that TGFβ1 mediates collagen expression through CTGF induction and Smad2/3 activation. In parallel, TGFβ1 and CTGF also induced expression of heat shock protein (HSP) 47, a protein required for the synthesis of several types of collagens. However, only CTGF siRNA knockdown, could compromise TGFβ1-induced collagen expression. Finally, the immunohistochemistry revealed vimentin- and α-SMA-positive staining for (myo)fibroblasts, TGFβ1, collagen, and CTGF in the subepithelial stroma region of human adenomyotic endometria.

Conclusion and implications

We reveal here that TGFβ1, collagen, and CTGF are expressed in the stroma of adenomyotic endometria and demonstrate that TGFβ1 can induce collagen production in endometrium-derived fibroblasts through cellular Smad2/3-dependent signaling pathway and CTGF expression, suggesting that endometrial TGFβ may take part in the pathogenesis of adenomyosis and ectopic endometrium may participate in uterine adenomyosis.

<![CDATA[The glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase PLAT2 functions in the generation of DHA-rich glycerolipids in Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b]]>

Thraustochytrids possess docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) as acyl chain(s) of triacylglycerol (TG) and phosphatidylcholine (PC), some of which contain multiple DHAs. However, little is known about how these DHA-rich glycerolipids are produced in thraustochytrids. In this study, we identified PLAT2 in Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b as a glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) acyltransferase (GPAT) by heterologous expression of the gene in budding yeast. Subsequently, we found that GPAT activity was reduced by disruption of the PLAT2 gene in A. limacinum, resulting in a decrease in DHA-containing lysophosphatidic acid (LPA 22:6). Conversely, overexpression of PLAT2 increased both GPAT activity and LPA 22:6. These results indicate that PLAT2 is a GPAT that transfers DHA to G3P in vivo as well as in vitro. Overexpression of the PLAT2 gene increased the production of a two DHA-containing diacylglycerol (DG 44:12), followed by an increase in the three DHA-containing TG (TG 66:18), two-DHA-containing TG (TG 60:12), and two DHA-containing PC (PC 44:12). However, overexpression of PLAT2 did not increase DHA-free DG (DG32:0), which was preferentially converted to three 16:0-containing TG (TG 48:0) but not two 16:0-containing PC (PC 32:0). Collectively, we revealed that DHA-rich glycerolipids are produced from a precursor, LPA 22:6, which is generated by incorporating DHA to G3P by PLAT2 in the A. limacinum.

<![CDATA[In silico identification of critical proteins associated with learning process and immune system for Down syndrome]]>

Understanding expression levels of proteins and their interactions is a key factor to diagnose and explain the Down syndrome which can be considered as the most prevalent reason of intellectual disability in human beings. In the previous studies, the expression levels of 77 proteins obtained from normal genotype control mice and from trisomic Ts65Dn mice have been analyzed after training in contextual fear conditioning with and without injection of the memantine drug using statistical methods and machine learning techniques. Recent studies have also pointed out that there may be a linkage between the Down syndrome and the immune system. Thus, the research presented in this paper aim at in silico identification of proteins which are significant to the learning process and the immune system and to derive the most accurate model for classification of mice. In this paper, the features are selected by implementing forward feature selection method after preprocessing step of the dataset. Later, deep neural network, gradient boosting tree, support vector machine and random forest classification methods are implemented to identify the accuracy. It is observed that the selected feature subsets not only yield higher accuracy classification results but also are composed of protein responses which are important for the learning and memory process and the immune system.

<![CDATA[The value of diffusion kurtosis imaging in assessing mismatch repair gene expression of rectal carcinoma: Preliminary findings]]>


To determine the correlation between the parameters of MR diffusion kurtosis imaging (MR-DKI) and mismatch repair gene expression (MMR) for rectal carcinomas.

Materials and methods

Data from 80 patients with rectal carcinoma were analyzed in this prospective study. High-resolution T2WI and DKI (b = 0, 800 and 1600 s/mm2, respectively) were performed. Mean kurtosis (MK) and mean diffusivity (MD) from DKI were measured. MMR-positive expression and HER-2 expression were classified into two groups. For comparison between different grades, the Mann-Whitney U test, receiver operating characteristic curve, and Spearman’s correlation analysis were used for statistical analyses.


The MK values in identifying positive MMR expressions (MLH1, MSH2, and MSH6) were more reliable than the MD values (rs value: 0.772 vs. 0.448, 0.733 vs. 0.499, and 0.828 vs. 0.633 respectively, P<0.01). Receiver operating curve analysis showed that the performances of the MK values were better than those of the MD values (z = 2.835, 2.000, and 2.827, respectively, P<0.05), while the performances of the MK and MD-MK values were not statistically significant (z = 0.808, 1.557, and 0.596, respectively, P>0.05). Similarly, MK values were better than MD values in identifying HER2 expression (z = 2.795, P<0.05).


MK derived from DKI demonstrated a greater correlation than MD with MMR expression. It also showed better performance in differentiating between high- and low-grade positive MMR expression and HER2 expression. Thus, DKI may be valuable for the prognoses and evaluation of non-invasive therapies.

<![CDATA[Development of a novel fusion protein with Anaplasma marginale and A. centrale MSP5 improved performance of Anaplasma antibody detection by cELISA in infected and vaccinated cattle]]>

Detection of antibodies to Anaplasma spp. using commercial competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ccELISA) is based on the recombinant major surface protein 5 fused to maltose binding protein (MBP-MSP5) or glutathione S-transferase (GST-MSP5). To avoid false positive reactions due to the presence of antibodies against E. coli MBP in cattle, previous sera absorption is required. This study evaluated the replacement of MBP-MSP5 or GST-MSP5 antigens by the truncate MSP5 (residues 28–210) of A. marginale (tMSP5m), A. centrale (tMSP5c) and fusion protein MSP5 (tMSP5cm), expressed without N-terminus transmembrane helix in the ccELISA test. Immunoreactivity was evaluated by western blot using monoclonal antibodies against the tMSP5 and by in-house cELISA (hcELISA) with purified tMSP5m, tMSP5c or tMSP5cm using sera from cattle infected with A. marginale (n = 226) or vaccinated with A. centrale (n = 173) and uninfected cattle (n = 216). Results of hcELISA were compared with those of ccELISA. Recombinant protein was expressed highly soluble (> 95%) in E. coli without a molecular chaperone. Specificity of the hcELISA-tMSP5m, -MSP5c or -tMSP5cm was identical to (99.5%) and greater than that in ccELISA (96.3%). Sensitivity of hcELISA-tMSP5m and ccELISA was identical (95.5%), but lower than that of hcELISA-tMSP5cm (96.2%) and -tMSP5c (97.2%). The analysis of vaccinated cattle by hcELISA-tMSP5c showed sensitivity of 99.4%. In summary, the generation of fusion MSP5 A. marginale-A. centrale protein without transmembrane helix was a very effective method to express the recombinant protein highly soluble in the bacterial cytoplasm and contributed to an increased test performance for detecting antibodies in cattle naturally infected with A. marginale or vaccinated with A. centrale.

<![CDATA[Protein refolding based on high hydrostatic pressure and alkaline pH: Application on a recombinant dengue virus NS1 protein]]>

In this study we evaluated the association of high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) and alkaline pH as a minimally denaturing condition for the solubilization of inclusion bodies (IBs) generated by recombinant proteins expressed by Escherichia coli strains. The method was successfully applied to a recombinant form of the dengue virus (DENV) non-structural protein 1 (NS1). The minimal pH for IBs solubilization at 1 bar was 12 while a pH of 10 was sufficient for solubilization at HHP: 2.4 kbar for 90 min and 0.4 kbar for 14 h 30 min. An optimal refolding condition was achieved by compression of IBs at HHP and pH 10.5 in the presence of arginine, oxidized and reduced glutathiones, providing much higher yields (up to 8-fold) than association of HHP and GdnHCl via an established protocol. The refolded NS1, 109 ± 9.5 mg/L bacterial culture was recovered mainly as monomer and dimer, corresponding up to 90% of the total protein and remaining immunologically active. The proposed conditions represent an alternative for the refolding of immunologically active recombinant proteins expressed as IBs.

<![CDATA[Role of tau N-terminal motif in the secretion of human tau by End Binding proteins]]>

For unknown reasons, humans appear to be particular susceptible to developing tau pathology leading to neurodegeneration. Transgenic mice are still undoubtedly the most popular and extensively used animal models for studying Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies. While these murine models generally overexpress human tau in the mouse brain or specific brain regions, there are differences between endogenous mouse tau and human tau protein. Among them, a main difference between human and mouse tau is the presence of a short motif spanning residues 18 to 28 in the human tau protein that is missing in murine tau, and which could be at least partially responsible for that different susceptibility across species. Here we report novel data using affinity chromatography analysis indicating that the sequence containing human tau residues 18 to 28 acts a binding motif for End Binding proteins and that this interaction could facilitate tau secretion to the extracellular space.

<![CDATA[The role of microtubules and the dynein/dynactin motor complex of host cells in the biogenesis of the Coxiella burnetii-containing vacuole]]>

Microtubules (Mts) are dynamic cytoskeleton structures that play a key role in vesicular transport. The Mts-mediated transport depends on motor proteins named kinesins and the dynein/dynactin motor complex. The Rab7 adapter protein FYCO1 controls the anterograde transport of the endocytic compartments through the interaction with the kinesin KIF5. Rab7 and its partner RILP induce the recruitment of dynein/dynactin to late endosomes regulating its retrograde transport to the perinuclear area to fuse with lysosomes. The late endosomal-lysosomal fusion is regulated by the HOPS complex through its interaction with RILP and the GTPase Arl8. Coxiella burnetii (Cb), the causative agent of Q fever, is an obligate intracellular pathogen, which generates a large compartment with autophagolysosomal characteristics named Cb-containing vacuole (CCV). The CCV forms through homotypic fusion between small non-replicative CCVs (nrCCV) and through heterotypic fusion with other compartments, such as endosomes and lysosomes. In this work, we characterise the role of Mts, motor proteins, RILP/Rab7 and Arl8 on the CCV biogenesis. The formation of the CCV was affected when either the dynamics and/or the acetylation state of Mts were modified. Similarly, the overexpression of the dynactin subunit non-functional mutants p150Glued and RILP led to the formation of small nrCCVs. This phenomenon is not observed in cells overexpressing WT proteins, the motor KIF5 or its interacting protein FYCO1. The formation of the CCV was normal in infected cells that overexpressed Arl8 alone or together with hVps41 (a HOPS subunit) or in cells co-overexpressing hVps41 and RILP. The dominant negative mutant of Arl8 and the non-functional hVps41 inhibited the formation of the CCV. When the formation of CCV was affected, the bacterial multiplication diminished. Our results suggest that nrCCVs recruit the molecular machinery that regulate the Mts-dependent retrograde transport, Rab7/RILP and the dynein/dynactin system, as well as the tethering processes such as HOPS complex and Arl8 to finally originate the CCV where C. burnetii multiplies.

<![CDATA[Blue light irradiation and its beneficial effect on Dupuytren’s fibroblasts]]>

Dupuytren’s contracture is a fibroproliferative disorder affecting the palmar fascia of the hand. Most affected are the ring fingers, and little fingers of middle-aged men. Symptomatic for this disease is the increased proliferation and differentiation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, which is accompanied by an elevated α-SMA expression. The present study evaluated the therapeutic benefit of blue light (λ = 453 nm, 38 mW/cm2, continuous radiance, spot size 10–12 cm2) as well as the molecular mechanism mediating this effect. It could be determined that blue light significantly diminished the induced α-SMA protein expression in both normal palmar fibroblasts and Duypuytren’s fibroblasts. The beneficial effect mediated by this irradiance, radiant exposure and wavelength was associated with an elevated reactive oxygen species generation. Furthermore, the data underlines the potential usefulness of blue light irradiation as a promising therapy option for Dupuytren’s disease, especially for relapse prevention, and may represent a useful strategy to treat further fibrotic diseases, such as keloids, hypertrophic scarring, and scleroderma.

<![CDATA[BRASSINOSTEROID-SIGNALING KINASE 3, a plasma membrane-associated scaffold protein involved in early brassinosteroid signaling]]>

Brassinosteroids (BRs) are steroid hormones essential for plant growth and development. The BR signaling pathway has been studied in some detail, however, the functions of the BRASSINOSTEROID-SIGNALING KINASE (BSK) family proteins in the pathway have remained elusive. Through forward genetics, we identified five semi-dominant mutations in the BSK3 gene causing BSK3 loss-of-function and decreased BR responses. We therefore investigated the function of BSK3, a receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase, in BR signaling and plant growth and development. We find that BSK3 is anchored to the plasma membrane via N-myristoylation, which is required for its function in BR signaling. The N-terminal kinase domain is crucial for BSK3 function, and the C-terminal three tandem TPR motifs contribute to BSK3/BSK3 homodimer and BSK3/BSK1 heterodimer formation. Interestingly, the effects of BSK3 on BR responses are dose-dependent, depending on its protein levels. Our genetic studies indicate that kinase dead BSK3K86R protein partially rescues the bsk3-1 mutant phenotypes. BSK3 directly interacts with the BSK family proteins (BSK3 and BSK1), BRI1 receptor kinase, BSU1 phosphatase, and BIN2 kinase. BIN2 phosphorylation of BSK3 enhances BSK3/BSK3 homodimer and BSK3/BSK1 heterodimer formation, BSK3/BRI1 interaction, and BSK3/BSU1 interaction. Furthermore, we find that BSK3 upregulates BSU1 transcript and protein levels to activate BR signaling. BSK3 is broadly expressed and plays an important role in BR-mediated root growth, shoot growth, and organ separation. Together, our findings suggest that BSK3 may function as a scaffold protein to regulate BR signaling. The results of our studies provide new insights into early BR signaling mechanisms.

<![CDATA[Context-explorer: Analysis of spatially organized protein expression in high-throughput screens]]>

A growing body of evidence highlights the importance of the cellular microenvironment as a regulator of phenotypic and functional cellular responses to perturbations. We have previously developed cell patterning techniques to control population context parameters, and here we demonstrate context-explorer (CE), a software tool to improve investigation cell fate acquisitions through community level analyses. We demonstrate the capabilities of CE in the analysis of human and mouse pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs, mPSCs) patterned in colonies of defined geometries in multi-well plates. CE employs a density-based clustering algorithm to identify cell colonies. Using this automatic colony classification methodology, we reach accuracies comparable to manual colony counts in a fraction of the time, both in micropatterned and unpatterned wells. Classifying cells according to their relative position within a colony enables statistical analysis of spatial organization in protein expression within colonies. When applied to colonies of hPSCs, our analysis reveals a radial gradient in the expression of the transcription factors SOX2 and OCT4. We extend these analyses to colonies of different sizes and shapes and demonstrate how the metrics derived by CE can be used to asses the patterning fidelity of micropatterned plates. We have incorporated a number of features to enhance the usability and utility of CE. To appeal to a broad scientific community, all of the software’s functionality is accessible from a graphical user interface, and convenience functions for several common data operations are included. CE is compatible with existing image analysis programs such as CellProfiler and extends the analytical capabilities already provided by these tools. Taken together, CE facilitates investigation of spatially heterogeneous cell populations for fundamental research and drug development validation programs.