ResearchPad - sensory-receptors Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The qualitative assessment of optical coherence tomography and the central retinal sensitivity in patients with retinitis pigmentosa]]> To analyze the relationships between qualitative and quantitative parameters of spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and the central retinal sensitivity in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).Materials and methodsNinety-three eyes of 93 patients were finally enrolled, with a median age (quartile) of 58 (24.5) years. We assessed the patients using SD-OCT and the 10–2 program of a Humphry Field Analyzer (HFA). As a qualitative parameter, two graders independently classified the patients’ SD-OCT images into five severity grades (grades 1–5) based on the severity of damage to the photoreceptor inner and outer segments (IS/OS) layer. As quantitative parameters, we measured the IS-ellipsoid zone (IS-EZ) width, IS/OS thickness, outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness, central macular thickness (CMT, 1 and 3 mm) and macular cube (6 × 6 mm) volume and thickness. The central retinal sensitivity was defined by the best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA; logMAR), average sensitivities of the central 4 (foveal sensitivity [FS]) and 12 (macular sensitivity [MS]) points of the HFA 10–2 program and the mean deviation (MD) of the 10–2 program. Spearman’s correlation was used to assess the association between both qualitative and quantitative parameters and variables of the central retinal sensitivity. In addition, we performed a multiple regression analysis using these parameters to identify the parameters most strongly influencing the central retinal sensitivity.ResultsThe IS/OS severity grade was significantly correlated with the BCVA (ρ = 0.741, P < 0.001), FS (ρ = −0.844, P < 0.001), MS (ρ = −0.820, P < 0.001) and MD (ρ = −0.681, P < 0.001) and showed stronger correlations to them than any other quantitative parameters including the IS-EZ width, IS/OS thickness, ONL thickness, CMTs and macular cube volume/thickness. Furthermore, a step-wise multiple regression analysis indicated that the IS/OS severity grade was more strongly associated with the BCVA (β = 0.659, P < 0.001), FS (β = −0.820, P < 0.001), MS (β = −0.820, P < 0.001) and MD (β = −0.674, P < 0.001) than any other quantitative parameters. The intraclass correlation coefficient between two graders indicated substantial correlation (κ = 0.70).DiscussionThe qualitative grading of OCT based on the severity of the IS/OS layer was simple and strongly correlated with the central retinal sensitivity in patients with RP. It may be useful to assess the central visual function in patients with RP, although there is some variation in severity within the same severity grade. ]]> <![CDATA[A Notch-mediated, temporal asymmetry in BMP pathway activation promotes photoreceptor subtype diversification]]>

Neural progenitors produce neurons whose identities can vary as a function of the time that specification occurs. Here, we describe the heterochronic specification of two photoreceptor (PhR) subtypes in the zebrafish pineal gland. We find that accelerating PhR specification by impairing Notch signaling favors the early fate at the expense of the later fate. Using in vivo lineage tracing, we show that most pineal PhRs are born from a fate-restricted progenitor. Furthermore, sister cells derived from the division of PhR-restricted progenitors activate the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway at different times after division, and this heterochrony requires Notch activity. Finally, we demonstrate that PhR identity is established as a function of when the BMP pathway is activated. We propose a novel model in which division of a progenitor with restricted potential generates sister cells with distinct identities via a temporal asymmetry in the activation of a signaling pathway.

<![CDATA[An African-specific haplotype in MRGPRX4 is associated with menthol cigarette smoking]]>

In the U.S., more than 80% of African-American smokers use mentholated cigarettes, compared to less than 30% of Caucasian smokers. The reasons for these differences are not well understood. To determine if genetic variation contributes to mentholated cigarette smoking, we performed an exome-wide association analysis in a multiethnic population-based sample from Dallas, TX (N = 561). Findings were replicated in an independent cohort of African Americans from Washington, DC (N = 741). We identified a haplotype of MRGPRX4 (composed of rs7102322[G], encoding N245S, and rs61733596[G], T43T), that was associated with a 5-to-8 fold increase in the odds of menthol cigarette smoking. The variants are present solely in persons of African ancestry. Functional studies indicated that the variant G protein-coupled receptor encoded by MRGPRX4 displays reduced agonism in both arrestin-based and G protein-based assays, and alteration of agonism by menthol. These data indicate that genetic variation in MRGPRX4 contributes to inter-individual and inter-ethnic differences in the preference for mentholated cigarettes, and that the existence of genetic factors predisposing vulnerable populations to mentholated cigarette smoking can inform tobacco control and public health policies.

<![CDATA[GluClR-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents reveal targets for ivermectin and potential mechanisms of ivermectin resistance]]>

Glutamate-gated chloride channel receptors (GluClRs) mediate inhibitory neurotransmission at invertebrate synapses and are primary targets of parasites that impact drastically on agriculture and human health. Ivermectin (IVM) is a broad-spectrum pesticide that binds and potentiates GluClR activity. Resistance to IVM is a major economic and health concern, but the molecular and synaptic mechanisms of resistance are ill-defined. Here we focus on GluClRs of the agricultural endoparasite, Haemonchus contortus. We demonstrate that IVM potentiates inhibitory input by inducing a tonic current that plateaus over 15 minutes and by enhancing post-synaptic current peak amplitude and decay times. We further demonstrate that IVM greatly enhances the active durations of single receptors. These effects are greatly attenuated when endogenous IVM-insensitive subunits are incorporated into GluClRs, suggesting a mechanism of IVM resistance that does not affect glutamate sensitivity. We discovered functional groups of IVM that contribute to tuning its potency at different isoforms and show that the dominant mode of access of IVM is via the cell membrane to the receptor.

<![CDATA[Regeneration of the zebrafish retinal pigment epithelium after widespread genetic ablation]]>

The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a specialized monolayer of pigmented cells within the eye that is critical for maintaining visual system function. Diseases affecting the RPE have dire consequences for vision, and the most prevalent of these is atrophic (dry) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is thought to result from RPE dysfunction and degeneration. An intriguing possibility for treating RPE degenerative diseases like atrophic AMD is the stimulation of endogenous RPE regeneration; however, very little is known about the mechanisms driving successful RPE regeneration in vivo. Here, we developed a zebrafish transgenic model (rpe65a:nfsB-eGFP) that enabled ablation of large swathes of mature RPE. RPE ablation resulted in rapid RPE degeneration, as well as degeneration of Bruch’s membrane and underlying photoreceptors. Using this model, we demonstrate for the first time that zebrafish are capable of regenerating a functional RPE monolayer after RPE ablation. Regenerated RPE cells first appear at the periphery of the RPE, and regeneration proceeds in a peripheral-to-central fashion. RPE ablation elicits a robust proliferative response in the remaining RPE. Subsequently, proliferative cells move into the injury site and differentiate into RPE. BrdU incorporation assays demonstrate that the regenerated RPE is likely derived from remaining peripheral RPE cells. Pharmacological disruption using IWR-1, a Wnt signaling antagonist, significantly reduces cell proliferation in the RPE and impairs overall RPE recovery. These data demonstrate that the zebrafish RPE possesses a robust capacity for regeneration and highlight a potential mechanism through which endogenous RPE regenerate in vivo.

<![CDATA[The findings of optical coherence tomography of retinal degeneration in relation to the morphological and electroretinographic features in RPE65−/− mice]]>


Mutations of the gene encoding RPE65 cause Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The optical coherence tomography (OCT) is increasingly utilized to noninvasively evaluate various types of retinal diseases, including RP. The present study was conducted to characterize the OCT findings of the RPE65−/− mice—an animal model of LCA and RP—in relation to the morphological features based on histological and electron microscopic findings as well as electroretinography (ERG) features.

Materials and methods

RPE65−/− mice were employed as a model of retinal degeneration. C57BL/6J mice were used as a wild-type control. OCT was performed on the RPE65−/− mice from postnatal day (P) 22 to 170. The longitudinal changes in the OCT images and fundus pictures were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively in comparison to those of C57BL/6J mice. The OCT images were also compared to the histological and electron microscopic findings. Full field combined rod and cone ERG was performed to analyze the relationship between morphology based on OCT and the amplitudes of the a- and b-waves.


In the RPE65−/− mice, the photoreceptor rod and cone layer appeared as a diffuse hyperreflective zone contiguous with the inner segment ellipsoid zone (IS-EZ) on OCT, even on P22, whereas the IS-EZ and interdigitation zone were clearly identified in the age-matched C57BL/6J mice. The histological analyses revealed that the regular arrangement of the photoreceptor inner and outer segments was gradually lost in the RPE65-/- mice. On electron microscopy, most of the rod outer segments were degenerated from P21 to P35, whereas outer segments became variably shorter after P49 although ultrastructure appeared to normalize. The thickness of the outer nuclear layer of RPE65−/− mice was slowly and progressively reduced in comparison to C57BL/6J mice. Although the thickness of the inner and outer segment layer of RPE65−/− mice was significantly decreased in comparison to C57BL/6J mice, the change was not progressive, at least until P170. Even at P35, the amplitudes of both a- and b-waves on ERG were severely deteriorated in comparison to those of C57BL/6J mice. Mottled depigmented spots appeared throughout the fundus in RPE65−/− mice after P72, and were detected as hyperreflective deposits under the retinal pigment epithelium on OCT.


The pathological changes in the inner and outer segments layer of RPE65−/− mice were identified as diffuse hyperreflective changes on OCT. The rod outer segments showed degeneration in the early postnatal periods but became morphologically normalized in the disc structure after P49, although the sizes of the length of the rod outer segments were variable. OCT could not qualitatively differentiate the early degeneration of rods from the late variability in size of rods. Although the morphology of the photoreceptor outer segments was relatively preserved in the RPE65−/− mice, the amplitudes of ERG were severely disturbed. These structural and functional deficits may be derived from the defective supply of 11-cis-retinol to the photoreceptors.

<![CDATA[The molecular structure of β-alanine is resistant to sterilising doses of gamma radiation]]>

β-alanine is the rate-limiting point for the endogenous synthesis of carnosine in skeletal muscle. Carnosine has a wide range of implications for health, normal function and exercise performance. Whilst the physiological relevance of carnosine to different tissues remains enigmatic, β-alanine administration is a useful strategy to investigate the physiological roles of carnosine in humans. Intravenous administration of β-alanine is an interesting approach to study carnosine metabolism. However, sterilisation is mandatory due to the nature of the administration route. We evaluated whether sterilising doses of gamma radiation damages the molecular structure and leads to the loss of functional characteristics of β-alanine. Pure β-alanine was sterilised by gamma radiation in sealed glass vials using a 60Co multipurpose irradiator at a dose rate of 8.5 kGy.hour-1 totalising 10, 20, 25 30 and 40 kGy. The molecular integrity was assessed by X-ray Diffraction and changes in content were determined by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (UV-HPLC) and Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (HPLC/MS-MS). Sterility assurance was evaluated by inoculation assay. To examine whether functional properties were preserved, β-alanine was infused in one participant, who rated the level of paraesthesia on the skin using a 0–3 scale. Urinary β-alanine was quantified before and 24-h following β-alanine infusion using HPLC-ESI+-MS/MS. Irradiation resulted in no change in the crystal structure of β-alanine, no degradation, and no new peaks were identified in the dose range assayed. The inoculation assay showed the absence of viable microorganisms in all β-alanine samples, including those that did not undergo irradiation. Intravenous infusion of β-alanine resulted in paraesthesia and it detected in the urine as per normal. We conclude that gamma radiation is a suitable technique for the sterilisation of β-alanine. It does not lead to degradation, damage to the β-alanine structure, content or loss of function within the evaluated irradiation conditions.

<![CDATA[Odorant mixtures elicit less variable and faster responses than pure odorants]]>

In natural environments, odors are typically mixtures of several different chemical compounds. However, the implications of mixtures for odor processing have not been fully investigated. We have extended a standard olfactory receptor model to mixtures and found through its mathematical analysis that odorant-evoked activity patterns are more stable across concentrations and first-spike latencies of receptor neurons are shorter for mixtures than for pure odorants. Shorter first-spike latencies arise from the nonlinear dependence of binding rate on odorant concentration, commonly described by the Hill coefficient, while the more stable activity patterns result from the competition between different ligands for receptor sites. These results are consistent with observations from numerical simulations and physiological recordings in the olfactory system of insects. Our results suggest that mixtures allow faster and more reliable olfactory coding, which could be one of the reasons why animals often use mixtures in chemical signaling.

<![CDATA[Patterning the insect eye: From stochastic to deterministic mechanisms]]>

While most processes in biology are highly deterministic, stochastic mechanisms are sometimes used to increase cellular diversity. In human and Drosophila eyes, photoreceptors sensitive to different wavelengths of light are distributed in stochastic patterns, and one such patterning system has been analyzed in detail in the Drosophila retina. Interestingly, some species in the dipteran family Dolichopodidae (the “long legged” flies, or “Doli”) instead exhibit highly orderly deterministic eye patterns. In these species, alternating columns of ommatidia (unit eyes) produce corneal lenses of different colors. Occasional perturbations in some individuals disrupt the regular columns in a way that suggests that patterning occurs via a posterior-to-anterior signaling relay during development, and that specification follows a local, cellular-automaton-like rule. We hypothesize that the regulatory mechanisms that pattern the eye are largely conserved among flies and that the difference between unordered Drosophila and ordered dolichopodid eyes can be explained in terms of relative strengths of signaling interactions rather than a rewiring of the regulatory network itself. We present a simple stochastic model that is capable of explaining both the stochastic Drosophila eye and the striped pattern of Dolichopodidae eyes and thereby characterize the least number of underlying developmental rules necessary to produce both stochastic and deterministic patterns. We show that only small changes to model parameters are needed to also reproduce intermediate, semi-random patterns observed in another Doli species, and quantification of ommatidial distributions in these eyes suggests that their patterning follows similar rules.

<![CDATA[Importance of Propionibacterium acnes hemolytic activity in human intervertebral discs: A microbiological study]]>

Most patients with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) exhibit degenerative disc disease. Disc specimens obtained during initial therapeutic discectomies are often infected/colonized with Propionibacterium acnes, a Gram-positive commensal of the human skin. Although pain associated with infection is typically ascribed to the body’s inflammatory response, the Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus was recently observed to directly activate nociceptors by secreting pore-forming α-hemolysins that disrupt neuronal cell membranes. The hemolytic activity of P. acnes in cultured disc specimens obtained during routine therapeutic discectomies was assessed through incubation on sheep-blood agar. The β-hemolysis pattern displayed by P. acnes on sheep-blood agar was variable and phylogroup-dependent. Their molecular phylogroups were correlated with their hemolytic patterns. Our findings raise the possibility that pore-forming proteins contribute to the pathogenesis and/or symptomology of chronic P. acnes disc infections and CLBP, at least in a subset of cases.

<![CDATA[Zebrafish larvae show negative phototaxis to near-infrared light]]>

Zebrafish larvae (Danio rerio) are among the most used model species to test biological effects of different substances in biomedical research, neuroscience and ecotoxicology. Most tests are based on changes in swimming activity of zebrafish larvae by using commercially available high-throughput screening systems. These systems record and analyse behaviour patterns using visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) light sources, to simulate day (VIS) and night (NIR) phases, which allow continuous recording of the behaviour using a NIR sensitive camera. So far, however, the sensitivity of zebrafish larvae to NIR has never been tested experimentally, although being a critical piece of information for interpreting their behaviour under experimental conditions. Here, we investigated the swimming activity of 96 hpf (hours post fertilization) and 120 hpf zebrafish larvae under light sources of NIR at 860 nm and at 960 nm wavelength and under VIS light. A thermal source was simultaneously presented opposite to one of the light sources as control. We found that zebrafish larvae of both larval stages showed a clear negative phototactic response towards 860 nm NIR light and to VIS light, but not to 960 nm NIR light. Our results demonstrated that zebrafish larvae are able to perceive NIR at 860 nm, which is almost identical to the most commonly used light source in commercial screening systems (NIR at 850 nm) to create a dark environment. These tests, however, are not performed in the dark from the zebrafish´s point of view. We recommend testing sensitivity of the used test organism before assuming no interaction with the applied light source of commonly used biosensor test systems. Previous studies on biological effects of substances to zebrafish larvae should be interpreted with caution.

<![CDATA[Functional architecture of the foveola revealed in the living primate]]>

The primate foveola, with its high cone density and magnified cortical representation, is exquisitely specialized for high-resolution spatial vision. However, uncovering the wiring of retinal circuitry responsible for this performance has been challenging due to the difficulty in recording receptive fields of foveal retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in vivo. In this study, we use adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) to image the calcium responses of RGCs in the living primate, with a stable, high precision visual stimulus that allowed us to localize the receptive fields of hundreds of foveal ganglion cells. This approach revealed a precisely radial organization of foveal RGCs, despite the many distortions possible during the extended developmental migration of foveal cells. By back projecting the line connecting RGC somas to their receptive fields, we have been able to define the ‘physiological center’ of the foveola, locating the vertical meridian separating left and right hemifields in vivo.

<![CDATA[Prickle is phosphorylated by Nemo and targeted for degradation to maintain Prickle/Spiny-legs isoform balance during planar cell polarity establishment]]>

Planar cell polarity (PCP) instructs tissue patterning in a wide range of organisms from fruit flies to humans. PCP signaling coordinates cell behavior across tissues and is integrated by cells to couple cell fate identity with position in a developing tissue. In the fly eye, PCP signaling is required for the specification of R3 and R4 photoreceptors based upon their positioning relative to the dorso-ventral axis. The ‘core’ PCP pathway involves the asymmetric localization of two distinct membrane-bound complexes, one containing Frizzled (Fz, required in R3) and the other Van Gogh (Vang, required in R4). Inhibitory interactions between the cytosolic components of each complex reinforce asymmetric localization. Prickle (Pk) and Spiny-legs (Pk-Sple) are two antagonistic isoforms of the prickle (pk) gene and are cytoplasmic components of the Vang complex. The balance between their levels is critical for tissue patterning, with Pk-Sple being the major functional isoform in the eye. Here we uncover a post-translational role for Nemo kinase in limiting the amount of the minor isoform Pk. We identified Pk as a Nemo substrate in a genome-wide in vitro band-shift screen. In vivo, nemo genetically interacts with pkpk but not pksple and enhances PCP defects in the eye and leg. Nemo phosphorylation limits Pk levels and is required specifically in the R4 photoreceptor like the major isoform, Pk-Sple. Genetic interaction and biochemical data suggest that Nemo phosphorylation of Pk leads to its proteasomal degradation via the Cullin1/SkpA/Slmb complex. dTAK and Homeodomain interacting protein kinase (Hipk) may also act together with Nemo to target Pk for degradation, consistent with similar observations in mammalian studies. Our results therefore demonstrate a mechanism to maintain low levels of the minor Pk isoform, allowing PCP complexes to form correctly and specify cell fate.

<![CDATA[Identification of Copy Number Variations in Xiang and Kele Pigs]]>

Xiang and Kele pigs are two well-known local Chinese pig breeds that possess rich genetic resources and have enormous economic and scientific value. We performed a comprehensive genomic analysis of the copy number variations (CNVs) in these breeds. CNVs are one of the most important forms of genomic variation and have profound effects on phenotypic variation. In this study, PorcineSNP60 genotyping data from 98 Xiang pigs and 22 Kele pigs were used to identify CNVs. In total, 172 candidate CNV regions (CNVRs) were identified, ranging from 3.19 kb to 8175.26 kb and covering 80.41 Mb of the pig genome. Approximately 56.40% (97/172) of the CNVRs overlapped with those identified in seven previous studies, and 43.60% (75/172) of the identified CNVRs were novel. Of the identified CNVRs, 82 (47 gain, 33 loss, and two gain-loss events that covered 4.58 Mb of the pig genome) were found only in a Xiang population with a large litter size. In contrast, 13 CNVRs (8 gain and 5 loss events) were unique to a Xiang population with small litter sizes, and 30 CNVRs (14 loss and 16 gain events) were unique to Kele pigs. The CNVRs span approximately 660 annotated Sus scrofa genes that are significantly enriched for specific biological functions, such as sensory perception, cognition, reproduction, ATP biosynthetic processes, and neurological processes. Many CNVR-associated genes, particularly the genes involved in reproductive traits, differed between the Xiang populations with large and small litter sizes, and these genes warrant further investigation due to their importance in determining the reproductive performance of Xiang pigs. Our results provide meaningful information about genomic variation, which may be useful in future assessments of the associations between CNVs and important phenotypes in Xiang and Kele pigs to ultimately help protect these rare breeds.

<![CDATA[Instrument design and protocol for the study of light controlled processes in aquatic organisms, and its application to examine the effect of infrared light on zebrafish]]>

The acquisition of reliable data strongly depends on experimental design. When studying the effects of light on processes such as behaviour and physiology it is crucial to maintain all environmental conditions constant apart from the one under study. Furthermore, the precise values of the environmental factors applied during the experiment should be known. Although seemingly obvious, these conditions are often not met when the effects of light are being studied. Here, we document and discuss the wavelengths and light intensities of natural and artificial light sources. We present standardised experimental protocols together with building plans of a custom made instrument designed to accurately control light and temperature for experiments using fresh water or marine species. Infrared light is commonly used for recording behaviour and in electrophysiological experiments although the properties of fish photoreceptors potentially allow detection into the far red. As an example of our experimental procedure we have applied our protocol and instrument to specifically test the impact of infrared light (840 nm) on the zebrafish circadian clock, which controls many aspects of behaviour, physiology and metabolism. We demonstrate that infrared light does not influence the zebrafish circadian clock. Our results help to provide a solid framework for the future study of light dependent processes in aquatic organisms.

<![CDATA[Nerve Growth Factor Mediates a Switch in Intracellular Signaling for PGE2-Induced Sensitization of Sensory Neurons from Protein Kinase A to Epac]]>

We examined whether nerve growth factor (NGF), an inflammatory mediator that contributes to chronic hypersensitivity, alters the intracellular signaling that mediates the sensitizing actions of PGE2 from activation of protein kinase A (PKA) to exchange proteins directly activated by cAMP (Epacs). When isolated sensory neurons are grown in the absence of added NGF, but not in cultures grown with 30 ng/ml NGF, inhibiting protein kinase A (PKA) activity blocks the ability of PGE2 to augment capsaicin-evoked release of the neuropeptide CGRP and to increase the number of action potentials (APs) evoked by a ramp of current. Growing sensory neurons in culture in the presence of increasing concentrations of NGF increases the expression of Epac2, but not Epac1. An intradermal injection of complete Freund's adjuvant into the rat hindpaw also increases the expression of Epac2, but not Epac1 in the dorsal root ganglia and spinal cord: an effect blocked by intraplantar administration of NGF antibodies. Treating cultures grown in the presence of 30 ng/ml NGF with Epac1siRNA significantly reduced the expression of Epac1, but not Epac2, and did not block the ability of PGE2 to augment capsaicin-evoked release of CGRP from sensory neurons. Exposing neuronal cultures grown in NGF to Epac2siRNAreduced the expression of Epac2, but not Epac1 and prevented the PGE2-induced augmentation of capsaicin and potassium-evoked CGRP release in sensory neurons and the PGE2-induced increase in the number of APs generated by a ramp of current. In neurons grown with no added NGF, Epac siRNAs did not attenuate PGE2-induced sensitization. These results demonstrate that NGF, through increasing Epac2 expression, alters the signaling cascade that mediates PGE2-induced sensitization of sensory neurons, thus providing a novel mechanism for maintaining PGE2-induced hypersensitivity during inflammation.

<![CDATA[Upregulated Expression of Transient Receptor Potential Cation Channel Subfamily V Receptors in Mucosae of Patients with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Patients with a History of Alcohol Consumption or Smoking]]>


Transient receptor potential cation channel (subfamily V, members 1–4) (TRPV1–4) are expressed in skin and neurons and activated by external stimuli in normal mucosae of all oral cavity sites. The oral cavity is exposed to various stimuli, including temperature, mechanical stimuli, chemical substances, and changes in pH, and, notably, the risk factors for oncogenic transformation in oral squamous epithelium are the same as the external stimuli received by TRPV1–4 receptors. Hence, we examined the relationship between oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and TRPV1–4 expression.

Materials and Methods

Oral SCC patients (n = 37) who underwent surgical resection were included in this study. We investigated the expression of TRPV1–4 by immunohistochemical staining and quantification of TRPV1–4 mRNA in human oral mucosa. In addition, we compared the TRPV1–4 levels in mucosa from patients with SCC to those in normal oral mucosa.


The receptors were expressed in oral mucosa at all sites (tongue, buccal mucosa, gingiva, and oral floor) and the expression was stronger in epithelia from patients with SCC than in normal epithelia. Furthermore, alcohol consumption and tobacco use were strongly associated with the occurrence of oral cancer and were found to have a remarkable influence on TRPV1–4 receptor expression in normal oral mucosa. In particular, patients with a history of alcohol consumption demonstrated significantly higher expression levels.


Various external stimuli may influence the behavior of cancer cells. Overexpression of TRPV1-4 is likely to be a factor in enhanced sensitivity to external stimuli. These findings could contribute to the establishment of novel strategies for cancer therapy or prevention.

<![CDATA[The B Vitamins Nicotinamide (B3) and Riboflavin (B2) Stimulate Metamorphosis in Larvae of the Deposit-Feeding Polychaete Capitella teleta: Implications for a Sensory Ligand-Gated Ion Channel]]>

Marine sediments can contain B vitamins, presumably incorporated from settled, decaying phytoplankton and microorganisms associated with decomposition. Because B vitamins may be advantageous for the energetically intensive processes of metamorphosis, post-metamorphic growth, and reproduction, we tested several B vitamins to determine if they would stimulate larvae of the deposit-feeding polychaete Capitella teleta to settle and metamorphose. Nicotinamide and riboflavin individually stimulated larvae of C. teleta to settle and metamorphose, generally within 1–2 hours at nicotinamide concentrations as low as 3 µM and riboflavin concentrations as low as 50 µM. More than 80% of the larvae metamorphosed within 30 minutes at a nicotinamide concentration of 7 µM. The pyridine channel agonist pyrazinecarboxamide also stimulated metamorphosis at very low concentrations. In contrast, neither lumichrome, thiamine HCl, pyridoxine HCl, nor vitamin B12 stimulated larvae of C. teleta to metamorphose at concentrations as high as 500 µM. Larvae also did not metamorphose in response to either nicotinamide or pyrazinecarboxamide in calcium-free seawater or with the addition of 4-acetylpyridine, a competitive inhibitor of the pyridine receptor. Together, these results suggest that larvae of C. teleta are responding to nicotinamide and riboflavin via a chemosensory pyridine receptor similar to that previously reported to be present on crayfish chela and involved with food recognition. Our data are the first to implicate B vitamins as possible natural chemical settlement cues for marine invertebrate larvae.

<![CDATA[Polo-Like Kinase 3 Appears Dispensable for Normal Retinal Development Despite Robust Embryonic Expression]]>

During retinogenesis seven different cell types are generated in distinct yet overlapping timepoints from a population of retinal progenitor cells. Previously, we performed single cell transcriptome analyses of retinal progenitor cells to identify candidate genes that may play roles in the generation of early-born retinal neurons. Based on its expression pattern in subsets of early retinal cells, polo-like kinase 3 (Plk3) was identified as one such candidate gene. Further characterization of Plk3 expression by in situ hybridization revealed that this gene is expressed as cells exit the cell cycle. We obtained a Plk3 deficient mouse and investigated changes in the retina’s morphology and transcriptome through immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and gene expression profiling. These experiments have been performed initially on adult mice and subsequently extended throughout retinal development. Although morphological studies revealed no consistent changes in retinogenesis upon Plk3 loss, microarray profiling revealed potential candidate genes altered in Plk3-KO mice. Further studies will be necessary to understand the connection between these changes in gene expression and the loss of a protein kinase such as Plk3.

<![CDATA[OFD1, as a Ciliary Protein, Exhibits Neuroprotective Function in Photoreceptor Degeneration Models]]>

Ofd1 is a newly identified causative gene for Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a photoreceptor degenerative disease. This study aimed to examine Ofd1 localization in retina and further to investigate its function in photoreceptor degeneration models. Ofd1 localization in rat retina was examined using immunofluorescence. N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU)-induced rats and Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats were used as photoreceptor degeneration models. The expression pattern of Ofd1, other ciliary associated genes and Wnt signaling pathway genes were examined in rat models. Furthermore, pEGFP-Ofd1-CDS and pSUPER-Ofd1-shRNA were constructed to overexpress and knockdown the expression level in 661W and R28 cells. MNU was also used to induce cell death. Cilia formation was observed using immunocytochemistry (ICC). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were detected using the 2', 7'-Dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFH-DA) assay. Apoptosis genes expression was examined using qRT-PCR, Western blotting and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Ofd1 localized to outer segments of rat retina photoreceptors. Ofd1 and other ciliary proteins expression levels increased from the 1st and 4th postnatal weeks and decreased until the 6th week in the RCS rats, while their expression consistently decreased from the 1st and 7th day in the MNU rats. Moreover, Wnt signaling pathway proteins expression was significantly up-regulated in both rat models. Knockdown of Ofd1 expression resulted in a smaller population, shorter length of cell cilia, and lower cell viability. Ofd1 overexpression partially attenuated MNU toxic effects by reducing ROS levels and mitigating apoptosis. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating Ofd1 localization and its function in rat retina and in retinal degeneration rat models. Ofd1 plays a role in controlling photoreceptor cilium length and number. Importantly, it demonstrates a neuroprotective function by protecting the photoreceptor from oxidative stress and apoptosis. These data have expanded our understanding of Ofd1 function beyond cilia, and we concluded that ofd1 neuroprotection could be a potential treatment strategy in retina degeneration models.