Molecular Characterization of the Na+/H+-Antiporter NhaA from Salmonella Typhimurium
Christopher J. Lentes
Syed H. Mir
- Na+/H+ antiporters are integral membrane proteins that are present in almost every cell and in every kingdom of life. They are essential for the regulation of intracellular pH-value, Na+-concentration and cell volume. These secondary active transporters exchange sodium ions against protons via an alternating access mechanism, which is not understood in full detail. Na+/H+ antiporters show distinct species-specific transport characteristics and regulatory properties that correlate with respective physiological functions. Here we present the characterization of the Na+/H+ antiporter NhaA from Salmonella enterica serovar Thyphimurium LT2, the causing agent of food-born human gastroenteritis and typhoid like infections. The recombinant antiporter was functional in vivo and in vitro. Expression of its gene complemented the Na+-sensitive phenotype of an E. coli strain that lacks the main Na+/H+ antiporters. Purified to homogeneity, the antiporter was a dimer in solution as accurately determined by size-exclusion chromatography combined with multi-angle laser-light scattering and refractive index monitoring. The purified antiporter was fully capable of electrogenic Na+(Li+)/H+-antiport when reconstituted in proteoliposomes and assayed by solid-supported membrane-based electrophysiological measurements. Transport activity was inhibited by 2-aminoperimidine. The recorded negative currents were in agreement with a 1Na+(Li+)/2H+ stoichiometry. Transport activity was low at pH 7 and up-regulation above this pH value was accompanied by a nearly 10-fold decrease of KmNa (16 mM at pH 8.5) supporting a competitive substrate binding mechanism. K+ does not affect Na+ affinity or transport of substrate cations, indicating that selectivity of the antiport arises from the substrate binding step. In contrast to homologous E. coli NhaA, transport activity remains high at pH values above 8.5. The antiporter from S. Typhimurium is a promising candidate for combined structural and functional studies to contribute to the elucidation of the mechanism of pH-dependent Na+/H+ antiporters and to provide insights in the molecular basis of species-specific growth and survival strategies.
Cross-cultural color-odor associations
Carmel A. Levitan
Andy T. Woods
Jason S. Chan
Kirsten J. McKenzie
Jai A. Levin
Christine X. R. Leong
Jasper J. F. van den Bosch
- Colors and odors are associated; for instance, people typically match the smell of strawberries to the color pink or red. These associations are forms of crossmodal correspondences. Recently, there has been discussion about the extent to which these correspondences arise for structural reasons (i.e., an inherent mapping between color and odor), statistical reasons (i.e., covariance in experience), and/or semantically-mediated reasons (i.e., stemming from language). The present study probed this question by testing color-odor correspondences in 6 different cultural groups (Dutch, Netherlands-residing-Chinese, German, Malay, Malaysian-Chinese, and US residents), using the same set of 14 odors and asking participants to make congruent and incongruent color choices for each odor. We found consistent patterns in color choices for each odor within each culture, showing that participants were making non-random color-odor matches. We used representational dissimilarity analysis to probe for variations in the patterns of color-odor associations across cultures; we found that US and German participants had the most similar patterns of associations, followed by German and Malay participants. The largest group differences were between Malay and Netherlands-resident Chinese participants and between Dutch and Malaysian-Chinese participants. We conclude that culture plays a role in color-odor crossmodal associations, which likely arise, at least in part, through experience.
ND3, ND1 and 39kDa subunits are more exposed in the de-active form of bovine mitochondrial complex I
Catherine H. Botting
- An intriguing feature of mitochondrial complex I from several species is the so-called A/D transition, whereby the idle enzyme spontaneously converts from the active (A) form to the de-active (D) form. The A/D transition plays an important role in tissue response to the lack of oxygen and hypoxic deactivation of the enzyme is one of the key regulatory events that occur in mitochondria during ischaemia. We demonstrate for the first time that the A/D conformational change of complex I does not affect the macromolecular organisation of supercomplexes in vitro as revealed by two types of native electrophoresis. Cysteine 39 of the mitochondrially-encoded ND3 subunit is known to become exposed upon de-activation. Here we show that even if complex I is a constituent of the I+III2+IV (S1) supercomplex, cysteine 39 is accessible for chemical modification in only the D-form. Using lysine-specific fluorescent labelling and a DIGE-like approach we further identified two new subunits involved in structural rearrangements during the A/D transition: ND1 (MT-ND1) and 39kDa (NDUFA9). These results clearly show that structural rearrangements during de-activation of complex I include several subunits located at the junction between hydrophilic and hydrophobic domains, in the region of the quinone binding site. De-activation of mitochondrial complex I results in concerted structural rearrangement of membrane subunits which leads to the disruption of the sealed quinone chamber required for catalytic turnover.
Memory Concerns, Memory Performance and Risk of Dementia in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment
Friedel M. Reischies
- Background: Concerns about worsening memory (“memory concerns”; MC) and impairment in memory performance are both predictors of Alzheimer's dementia (AD). The relationship of both in dementia prediction at the pre-dementia disease stage, however, is not well explored. Refined understanding of the contribution of both MC and memory performance in dementia prediction is crucial for defining at-risk populations. We examined the risk of incident AD by MC and memory performance in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Methods: We analyzed data of 417 MCI patients from a longitudinal multicenter observational study. Patients were classified based on presence (n = 305) vs. absence (n = 112) of MC. Risk of incident AD was estimated with Cox Proportional-Hazards regression models.
Results: Risk of incident AD was increased by MC (HR = 2.55, 95%CI: 1.33–4.89), lower memory performance (HR = 0.63, 95%CI: 0.56–0.71) and ApoE4-genotype (HR = 1.89, 95%CI: 1.18–3.02). An interaction effect between MC and memory performance was observed. The predictive power of MC was greatest for patients with very mild memory impairment and decreased with increasing memory impairment.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that the power of MC as a predictor of future dementia at the MCI stage varies with the patients' level of cognitive impairment. While MC are predictive at early stage MCI, their predictive value at more advanced stages of MCI is reduced. This suggests that loss of insight related to AD may occur at the late stage of MCI.
Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Regarding Dengue Fever among the Healthy Population of Highland and Lowland Communities in Central Nepal
Krishna Kumar Aryal
Mandira Lamichhane Dhimal
Shanker Pratap Singh
Chop Lal Bhusal
- BACKGROUND: Dengue fever (DF) is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. In this decade it has expanded to new countries and from urban to rural areas. Nepal was regarded DF free until 2004. Since then dengue virus (DENV) has rapidly expanded its range even in mountain regions of Nepal, and major outbreaks occurred in 2006 and 2010. However, no data on the local knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of DF in Nepal exist although such information is required for prevention and control measures.
METHODS: We conducted a community based cross-sectional survey in five districts of central Nepal between September 2011 and February 2012. We collected information on the socio-demographic characteristics of the participants and their knowledge, attitude and practice regarding DF using a structured questionnaire. We then statistically compared highland and lowland communities to identify possible causes of observed differences.
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Out of 589 individuals interviewed, 77% had heard of DF. Only 12% of the sample had good knowledge of DF. Those living in the lowlands were five times more likely to possess good knowledge than highlanders (P<0.001). Despite low knowledge levels, 83% of the people had good attitude and 37% reported good practice. We found a significantly positive correlation among knowledge, attitude and practice (P<0.001). Among the socio-demographic variables, the education level of the participants was an independent predictor of practice level (P<0.05), and education level and interaction between the sex and age group of the participants were independent predictors of attitude level (P<0.05).
CONCLUSION: Despite the rapid expansion of DENV in Nepal, the knowledge of people about DF was very low. Therefore, massive awareness programmes are urgently required to protect the health of people from DF and to limit its further spread in this country.
Sustained release of triamcinolone acetonide from an intratympanically applied hydrogel designed for the delivery of high glucocorticoid doses
- The pharmacokinetic properties and tolerability of a triamcinolone acetonide poloxamer 407 hydrogel for intratympanic application were investigated in a guinea pig model. Evaluation of in vivo release kinetics showed very high initial perilymph drug levels, with clinically relevant levels present for a minimum of 10 days. Assessment of auditory brainstem response thresholds showed a minimal, delayed and transient threshold shift, which was apparent on day 3 and resolved by day 10. No relevant histological changes of the middle and inner ear structures were noted, and hair cell counts showed no significant differences between treated and untreated ears. Thus, the triamcinolone-acetonide-loaded poloxamer 407 hydrogel is an effective vehicle for sustained high-dose inner ear glucocorticoid delivery.
Medicanes in an ocean–atmosphere coupled regional climate model
- So-called medicanes (Mediterranean hurricanes) are meso-scale, marine, and warm-core Mediterranean cyclones that exhibit some similarities to tropical cyclones. The strong cyclonic winds associated with medicanes threaten the highly populated coastal areas around the Mediterranean basin. To reduce the risk of casualties and overall negative impacts, it is important to improve the understanding of medicanes with the use of numerical models. In this study, we employ an atmospheric limited-area model (COSMO-CLM) coupled with a one-dimensional ocean model (1-D NEMO-MED12) to simulate medicanes. The aim of this study is to assess the robustness of the coupled model in simulating these extreme events. For this purpose, 11 historical medicane events are simulated using the atmosphere-only model, COSMO-CLM, and coupled model, with different setups (horizontal atmospheric grid-spacings of 0.44°, 0.22°, and 0.08°; with/without spectral nudging, and an ocean grid-spacing of 1/12°). The results show that at high-resolution, the coupled model is able to not only simulate most of medicane events but also improve the track length, core temperature, and wind speed of simulated medicanes compared to the atmosphere-only simulations. The results suggest that the coupled model is more proficient for systemic and detailed studies of historical medicane events, and that this model can be an effective tool for future projections.
Propensity matched analysis of longterm outcomes following transcatheter based aortic valve implantation versus classic aortic valve replacement in patients with previous cardiac surgery
Christian F. Weber
- Background: The aim of this study was to compare outcome of patients with previous cardiac surgery undergoing transapical aortic valve implantation (Redo-TAVI) to those undergoing classic aortic valve replacement (Redo-AVR) by using propensity analysis.
Methods: From January 2005 through May 2012, 52 high-risk patients underwent Redo-TAVI using a pericardial xenograft fixed within a stainless steel, balloon-expandable stent (Edwards SAPIEN™). During the same period of time 167 patients underwent classic Redo-AVR. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify covariates among 11 baseline patient variables including the type of initial surgery. Using the significant regression coefficients, each patient’s propensity score was calculated, allowing selectively matched subgroups of 40 patients each. Initial surgery included coronary artery bypass grafting in 30 patients, aortic valve replacement in 7 patients and mitral valve reconstruction in 3 patients in each group. Follow-up was 4 ± 2 years and was 100% complete.
Results: Postoperative chest tube drainage (163 ± 214 vs. 562 ± 332 ml/24 h, p = 0.02) and incidence of early permanent neurologic deficit (0 vs. 13%, p = 0.04) was lower in patients with Redo-TAVI and there was a trend towards improved 30-day survival (p = 0.06). Also we detected a decreased ventilation time (p = 0.04) and lower transfusion rate of allogenic blood products (p ≤ 0.05) in the Redo-TAVI group. At late follow up differences regarding incidence of major adverse events, including death and permanent neurologic deficits (25% vs. 43%, p = 0.01) statistically supported early postoperative findings.
Conclusion: The encouraging results regarding early and long-term outcomes following TAVI in patients with previous cardiac surgery show, that this evolving approach may be particularly beneficial in this patient cohort.
The role of RNA interference in the developmental separation of blood and lymphatic vasculature
- Background: Dicer is an RNase III enzyme that cleaves double stranded RNA and generates functional interfering RNAs that act as important regulators of gene and protein expression. Dicer plays an essential role during mouse development because the deletion of the dicer gene leads to embryonic death. In addition, dicer-dependent interfering RNAs regulate postnatal angiogenesis. However, the role of dicer is not yet fully elucidated during vascular development.
Methods: In order to explore the functional roles of the RNA interference in vascular biology, we developed a new constitutive Cre/loxP-mediated inactivation of dicer in tie2 expressing cells.
Results: We show that cell-specific inactivation of dicer in Tie2 expressing cells does not perturb early blood vessel development and patterning. Tie2-Cre; dicerfl/fl mutant embryos do not show any blood vascular defects until embryonic day (E)12.5, a time at which hemorrhages and edema appear. Then, midgestational lethality occurs at E14.5 in mutant embryos. The developing lymphatic vessels of dicer-mutant embryos are filled with circulating red blood cells, revealing an impaired separation of blood and lymphatic vasculature.
Conclusion: Thus, these results show that RNA interference perturbs neither vasculogenesis and developmental angiogenesis, nor lymphatic specification from venous endothelial cells but actually provides evidence for an epigenetic control of separation of blood and lymphatic vasculature.
Profile of ocriplasmin and its potential in the treatment of vitreomacular adhesion
Francisco R. Stefanini
Amir H. Kashani
Mark S. Humayun
Michael J. Koss
- The recent approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of ocriplasmin for the treatment of symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA), often associated with vitreomacular traction (VMT) and macular hole (MH), has brought new attention to the field of pharmacologic vitreolysis. The need for an enzyme to split the vitreomacular interface, which is formed by a strong adhesive interaction between the posterior vitreous cortex and the internal limiting membrane, historically stems from pediatric eye surgery. This review summarizes the different anatomic classifications of posterior vitreous detachment or anomalous posterior vitreous detachment and puts these in the context of clinical pathologies commonly observed in clinical practice of the vitreoretinal specialist, such as MH, VMT, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic macular edema. We revisit the outcome of the Phase II studies that indicated ocriplasmin was a safe and effective treatment for selected cases of symptomatic VMA and MH. Release of VMA at day 28 was achieved by 26.5% of patients in the ocriplasmin group versus 10.1% in the placebo group (P<0.001). Interestingly, for MHs, the numbers were more remarkable. Predictive factors for successful ocriplasmin treatment were identified for VMT (VMA diameter smaller than 1,500 µm) and MH (smaller than 250 µm). In comparison with the highly predictable outcome after vitrectomy, the general success rate of ocriplasmin not under clinical trial conditions has not fully met expectations and needs to be proven in real-world clinical settings. The ocriplasmin data will be compared in the future with observational data on spontaneous VMA release, will help retina specialists make more accurate predictions, and will improve outcome rates.