Fluctuations and NA49
- A brief history of the study of fluctuations in high energy nuclear collisions at the CERN SPS performed by NA49 is presented. The ideas and the corresponding experimental data on fluctuations are discussed from the point of view of their sensitivity to the onset of deconfinement.
DCD – a novel plant specific domain in proteins involved in development and programmed cell death
- Background: Recognition of microbial pathogens by plants triggers the hypersensitive reaction, a common form of programmed cell death in plants. These dying cells generate signals that activate the plant immune system and alarm the neighboring cells as well as the whole plant to activate defense responses to limit the spread of the pathogen. The molecular mechanisms behind the hypersensitive reaction are largely unknown except for the recognition process of pathogens. We delineate the NRP-gene in soybean, which is specifically induced during this programmed cell death and contains a novel protein domain, which is commonly found in different plant proteins. Results: The sequence analysis of the protein, encoded by the NRP-gene from soybean, led to the identification of a novel domain, which we named DCD, because it is found in plant proteins involved in development and cell death. The domain is shared by several proteins in the Arabidopsis and the rice genomes, which otherwise show a different protein architecture. Biological studies indicate a role of these proteins in phytohormone response, embryo development and programmed cell by pathogens or ozone. Conclusion: It is tempting to speculate, that the DCD domain mediates signaling in plant development and programmed cell death and could thus be used to identify interacting proteins to gain further molecular insights into these processes.
Hematopoietic chimerism after allogeneic stem cell transplantation: a comparison of quantitative analysis by automated DNA sizing and fluorescent in situ hybridization
- Background: Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is performed mainly in patients with high-risk or advanced hematologic malignancies and congenital or acquired aplastic anemias. In the context of the significant risk of graft failure after allo-HSCT from alternative donors and the risk of relapse in recipients transplanted for malignancy, the precise monitoring of posttransplant hematopoietic chimerism is of utmost interest. Useful molecular methods for chimerism quantification after allogeneic transplantation, aimed at distinguishing precisely between donor's and recipient's cells, are PCR-based analyses of polymorphic DNA markers. Such analyses can be performed regardless of donor's and recipient's sex. Additionally, in patients after sex-mismatched allo-HSCT, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) can be applied. Methods: We compared different techniques for analysis of posttransplant chimerism, namely FISH and PCR-based molecular methods with automated detection of fluorescent products in an ALFExpress DNA Sequencer (Pharmacia) or ABI 310 Genetic Analyzer (PE). We used Spearman correlation test. Results: We have found high correlation between results obtained from the PCR/ALF Express and PCR/ABI 310 Genetic Analyzer. Lower, but still positive correlations were found between results of FISH technique and results obtained using automated DNA sizing technology. Conclusions: All the methods applied enable a rapid and accurate detection of post-HSCT chimerism.
Occupational risk of tuberculosis transmission in a low incidence area
- Background: To investigate the occupational risk of tuberculosis (TB) infection in a low-incidence setting, data from a prospective study of patients with culture-confirmed TB conducted in Hamburg, Germany, from 1997 to 2002 were evaluated. Methods: M. tuberculosis isolates were genotyped by IS6110 RFLP analysis. Results of contact tracing and additional patient interviews were used for further epidemiological analyses. Results: Out of 848 cases included in the cluster analysis, 286 (33.7%) were classified into 76 clusters comprising 2 to 39 patients. In total, two patients in the non-cluster and eight patients in the cluster group were health-care workers. Logistic regression analysis confirmed work in the health-care sector as the strongest predictor for clustering (OR 17.9). However, only two of the eight transmission links among the eight clusters involving health-care workers had been detected previously. Overall, conventional contact tracing performed before genotyping had identified only 26 (25.2%) of the 103 contact persons with the disease among the clustered cases whose transmission links were epidemiologically verified. Conclusion: Recent transmission was found to be strongly associated with health-care work in a setting with low incidence of TB. Conventional contact tracing alone was shown to be insufficient to discover recent transmission chains. The data presented also indicate the need for establishing improved TB control strategies in health-care settings.
Mycophenolate mofetil modulates adhesion receptors of the beta I integrin family on tumor cells: impact on tumor recurrence and malignancy
Roman A. Blaheta
- Background: Tumor development remains one of the major obstacles following organ transplantation. Immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus directly contribute to enhanced malignancy, whereas the influence of the novel compound mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) on tumor cell dissemination has not been explored. We therefore investigated the adhesion capacity of colon, pancreas, prostate and kidney carcinoma cell lines to endothelium, as well as their beta1 integrin expression profile before and after MMF treatment. Methods: Tumor cell adhesion to endothelial cell monolayers was evaluated in the presence of 0.1 and 1 μM MMF and compared to unstimulated controls. beta1 integrin analysis included alpha1beta1 (CD49a), alpha2beta1 (CD49b), alpha3beta1 (CD49c), alpha4beta1 (CD49d), alpha5beta1 (CD49e), and alpha6beta1 (CD49f) receptors, and was carried out by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. Results: Adhesion of the colon carcinoma cell line HT-29 was strongly reduced in the presence of 0.1 μM MMF. This effect was accompanied by down-regulation of alpha3beta1 and alpha6beta1 surface expression and of alpha3beta1 and alpha6beta1 coding mRNA. Adhesion of the prostate tumor cell line DU-145 was blocked dose-dependently by MMF. In contrast to MMF's effects on HT-29 cells, MMF dose-dependently up-regulated alpha1beta1, alpha2beta1, alpha3beta1, and alpha5beta1 on DU-145 tumor cell membranes. Conclusion: We conclude that MMF possesses distinct anti-tumoral properties, particularly in colon and prostate carcinoma cells. Adhesion blockage of HT-29 cells was due to the loss of alpha3beta1 and alpha6beta1 surface expression, which might contribute to a reduced invasive behaviour of this tumor entity. The enhancement of integrin beta1 subtypes observed in DU-145 cells possibly causes re-differentiation towards a low-invasive phenotype.
Opisthobranchia (Mollusca, Gastropoda) – more than just slimy slugs. Shell reduction and its implications on defence and foraging
- Background: In general shell-less slugs are considered to be slimy animals with a rather dull appearance and a pest to garden plants. But marine slugs usually are beautifully coloured animals belonging to the less-known Opisthobranchia. They are characterized by a large array of interesting biological phenomena, usually related to foraging and/or defence. In this paper our knowledge of shell reduction, correlated with the evolution of different defensive and foraging strategies is reviewed, and new results on histology of different glandular systems are included. Results: Based on a phylogeny obtained by morphological and histological data, the parallel reduction of the shell within the different groups is outlined. Major food sources are given and glandular structures are described as possible defensive structures in the external epithelia, and as internal glands. Conclusion: According to phylogenetic analyses, the reduction of the shell correlates with the evolution of defensive strategies. Many different kinds of defence structures, like cleptocnides, mantle dermal formations (MDFs), and acid glands, are only present in shell-less slugs. In several cases, it is not clear whether the defensive devices were a prerequisite for the reduction of the shell, or reduction occurred before. Reduction of the shell and acquisition of different defensive structures had an implication on exploration of new food sources and therefore likely enhanced adaptive radiation of several groups. © 2005 Wägele and Klussmann-Kolb; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited: http://www.frontiersinzoology.com/content/2/1/3/
E-Learning in der allgemeinmedizinischen Ausbildung: zentrale Begleitung im dezentralen Praktikum ; Eine Evaluation
Ferdinand M. Gerlach
- E-Learning soll im Rahmen der allgemeinmedizinischen Ausbildung von Medizinstudierenden erprobt werden. Ein zielgruppenspezifisches, multimodulares Online-Angebot begleitet Medizinstudenten des 10. Semesters während ihres dezentralen Praktikums in hausärztlichen Praxen. Folgende Lehrziele werden angestrebt: (1) Einführung in das E-Learning, (2) Klinische Allgemeinmedizin - Online-Modul, (3) Chronic Care Online-Modul, (4) Online-Bewerbung. Die systematische Evaluation zeigt, dass E-Learning die Kommunikation der Studierenden untereinander und mit der universitären Lehreinheit während des Praktikum fördert. Auf der Grundlage der in diesem Pilotversuch gewonnenen Erfahrungen erscheint die Kombination mit Präsenzunterricht (Blended Learning) eine vielversprechende Option für die allgemeinmedizinische Ausbildung zu sein.
Rationale, design and conduct of a comprehensive evaluation of a primary care based intervention to improve the quality of life of osteoarthritis patients. The PraxArt-project: a cluster randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN87252339] ; study protocol
- Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) has a high prevalence in primary care. Conservative, guideline orientated approaches aiming at improving pain treatment and increasing physical activity, have been proven to be effective in several contexts outside the primary care setting, as for instance the Arthritis Self management Programs (ASMPs). But it remains unclear if these comprehensive evidence based approaches can improve patients' quality of life if they are provided in a primary care setting. Methods/Design: PraxArt is a cluster randomised controlled trial with GPs as the unit of randomisation. The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of a comprehensive evidence based medical education of GPs on individual care and patients' quality of life. 75 GPs were randomised either to intervention group I or II or to a control group. Each GP will include 15 patients suffering from osteoarthritis according to the criteria of ACR. In intervention group I GPs will receive medical education and patient education leaflets including a physical exercise program. In intervention group II the same is provided, but in addition a practice nurse will be trained to monitor via monthly telephone calls adherence to GPs prescriptions and advices and ask about increasing pain and possible side effects of medication. In the control group no intervention will be applied at all. Main outcome measurement for patients' QoL is the GERMAN-AIMS2-SF questionnaire. In addition data about patients' satisfaction (using a modified EUROPEP-tool), medication, health care utilization, comorbidity, physical activity and depression (using PHQ-9) will be retrieved. Measurements (pre data collection) will take place in months I-III, starting in June 2005. Post data collection will be performed after 6 months. Discussion: Despite the high prevalence and increasing incidence, comprehensive and evidence based treatment approaches for OA in a primary care setting are neither established nor evaluated in Germany. If the evaluation of the presented approach reveals a clear benefit it is planned to provide this GP-centred interventions on a much larger scale.
The role of cGMP and PKG-I in spinal nociceptive processing
- 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.
Selection of functional human antibodies from retroviral display libraries
Johannes H. Urban
Richard M. Schneider
Christian J. Buchholz
- Antibody library technology represents a powerful tool for the discovery and design of antibodies with high affinity and specificity for their targets. To extend the technique to the expression and selection of antibody libraries in an eukaryotic environment, we provide here a proof of concept that retroviruses can be engineered for the display and selection of variable single-chain fragment (scFv) libraries. A retroviral library displaying the repertoire obtained after a single round of selection of a human synthetic scFv phage display library on laminin was generated. For selection, antigen-bound virus was efficiently recovered by an overlay with cells permissive for infection. This approach allowed more than 10(3)-fold enrichment of antigen binders in a single selection cycle. After three selection cycles, several scFvs were recovered showing similar laminin-binding activities but improved expression levels in mammalian cells as compared with a laminin-specific scFv selected by the conventional phage display approach. Thus, translational problems that occur when phage-selected antibodies have to be transferred onto mammalian expression systems to exert their therapeutic potential can be avoided by the use of retroviral display libraries.