Prox1 regulates the notch1-mediated inhibition of neurogenesis
Panagiotis K. Politis
- Activation of Notch1 signaling in neural progenitor cells (NPCs) induces self-renewal and inhibits neurogenesis. Upon neuronal differentiation, NPCs overcome this inhibition, express proneural genes to induce Notch ligands, and activate Notch1 in neighboring NPCs. The molecular mechanism that coordinates Notch1 inactivation with initiation of neurogenesis remains elusive. Here, we provide evidence that Prox1, a transcription repressor and downstream target of proneural genes, counteracts Notch1 signaling via direct suppression of Notch1 gene expression. By expression studies in the developing spinal cord of chick and mouse embryo, we showed that Prox1 is limited to neuronal precursors residing between the Notch1+ NPCs and post-mitotic neurons. Physiological levels of Prox1 in this tissue are sufficient to allow binding at Notch1 promoter and they are critical for proper Notch1 transcriptional regulation in vivo. Gain-of-function studies in the chick neural tube and mouse NPCs suggest that Prox1-mediated suppression of Notch1 relieves its inhibition on neurogenesis and allows NPCs to exit the cell cycle and differentiate. Moreover, loss-of-function in the chick neural tube shows that Prox1 is necessary for suppression of Notch1 outside the ventricular zone, inhibition of active Notch signaling, down-regulation of NPC markers, and completion of neuronal differentiation program. Together these data suggest that Prox1 inhibits Notch1 gene expression to control the balance between NPC self-renewal and neuronal differentiation.
A new model for computing the evolution of the extracellular, innercellular and membrane potential simultaneously
- Poster Presentation from Nineteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2010 San Antonio, TX, USA. 24-30 July 2010 In order to model extracellular potentials the Line-Source method provides  a very powerful and accurate approach. In this method transmembane fluxes are understood as sources for potential distributions which obey the Poission-equation with zero boundary conditions in the infinity. Its solutions reveal that the waveforms are proportional to local transmembrane net currents. The extracellular potentials are comparable small in amplitude and with the aid of their second special derivatives, it is possible to interpret them as additional fluxes to be included into the cable equation having an impact on the membrane potential of surrounding cells . On this basis ephaptic interactions have been studied and have been considered to play a minor role in the network activity. This modeling study provides a new approach based on the first principle of the conservation of charges which leads to a generalized form of the cable equation taking into account the full three-dimensional detail of the cell’s geometry and the presence of the extracellular potential. So instead of coupling the compartment model and the model for extracellular potentials by means of the transmembrane currents, a non-linear system of partial differential equations is solved. Because the abstraction of deviding the cell’s geometry into compartments falls apart, it is possible to examine the contribution of the precise cell geometry to the signal processing while not neglecting the impact which could result from the extracellular potential. Some simulations of propagating action potentials on ramified geometries are going to be shown as well as the resulting distributions of extracellular action potentials.
High functional diversity is related to high nitrogen availability in a deciduous forest - evidence from a functional trait approach
Valério de Patta Pillar
- The current study tested the assumption that floristic and functional diversity patterns are negatively related to soil nitrogen content. We analyzed 20 plots with soil N-contents ranging from 0.63% to 1.06% in a deciduous forest near Munich (Germany). To describe species adaptation strategies to different nitrogen availabilities, we used a plant functional type (PFT) approach. Each identified PFT represents one realized adaptation strategy to the current environment. These were correlated, next to plant species richness and evenness, to soil nitrogen contents. We found that N-efficient species were typical for low soil nitrogen contents, while N-requiring species occur at high N-contents. In contrast to our initial hypotheses, floristic and functional diversity measures (number of PFTs) were positively related to nitrogen content in the soil. Every functional group has its own adaptation to the prevailing environmental conditions; in consequence, these functional groups can co-exist but do not out-compete one another. The increased number of functional groups at high N-contents leads to increased species richness. Hence, for explaining diversity patterns we need to consider species groups representing different adaptations to the current environmental conditions. Such co-existing ecological strategies may even overcome the importance of competition in their effect on biodiversity.
RAF kinase activity regulates neuroepithelial cell proliferation and neuronal progenitor cell differentiation during early inner ear development
Maria Rodriguez Aburto
Ulf Rüdiger Rapp
- Background: Early inner ear development requires the strict regulation of cell proliferation, survival, migration and differentiation, coordinated by the concerted action of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Deregulation of these processes is associated with embryonic malformations and deafness. We have shown that insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) plays a key role in embryonic and postnatal otic development by triggering the activation of intracellular lipid and protein kinases. RAF kinases are serine/threonine kinases that regulate the highly conserved RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK signaling cascade involved in transducing the signals from extracellular growth factors to the nucleus. However, the regulation of RAF kinase activity by growth factors during development is complex and still not fully understood.
Methodology/Principal Findings: By using a combination of qRT-PCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, we show that C-RAF and B-RAF are expressed during the early development of the chicken inner ear in specific spatiotemporal patterns. Moreover, later in development B-RAF expression is associated to hair cells in the sensory patches. Experiments in ex vivo cultures of otic vesicle explants demonstrate that the influence of IGF-I on proliferation but not survival depends on RAF kinase activating the MEK-ERK phosphorylation cascade. With the specific RAF inhibitor Sorafenib, we show that blocking RAF activity in organotypic cultures increases apoptosis and diminishes the rate of cell proliferation in the otic epithelia, as well as severely impairing neurogenesis of the acoustic-vestibular ganglion (AVG) and neuron maturation.
Conclusions/Significance: We conclude that RAF kinase activity is essential to establish the balance between cell proliferation and death in neuroepithelial otic precursors, and for otic neuron differentiation and axonal growth at the AVG.
eLearning im Bologna-Prozess
- Fazit: Werfen wir den Blick zurück auf die Ergebnisse der BMBF-Studie über Abbrecherquoten, so lassen sich sicherlich einige der Probleme durch eLearning beheben oder zumindest in Ansätzen begegnen – jedoch nur in Kombination mit einer Veränderung auch der Präsenzlehre. Doch nicht jedem der in der BMBF-Studie  genannten Problem kann und sollte durch online Angebote abgeholfen werden. Den 18% der Abbrecher, die das vorzeitige Beenden des Studiums auf die mangelnde Studienmotivation durch die falsche Fächerwahl zurückführen, kann durch die oben genannten Self Assessments zumindest in Ansätzen frühzeitig begegnet werden. Diese Gruppe bricht das Studium ab, da sie sich nicht mehr mit ihm identifizieren. Aus ihrer Sicht haben sich ihre Vorstellungen vom gewählten Studium nicht eingelöst und sie haben sich mit falschen Erwartungen immatrikuliert. Diese Gruppe kann nur bei der Studienwahl unterstützt werden und sollte ggf. nicht durch ein für sie unpassendes Studium gehen. Hier gilt es nicht, durch spätere Reparaturen, das System zu retten, sondern von Anbeginn an realistische Erwartungen an das Studium und die erforderlichen Kompetenzen zu setzen. Die grundsätzliche Frage, die sich letztendlich zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt in der Umsetzung des Bologna-Prozesses immer wieder stellt: passen wir uns den in die Hochschulen einströmenden Studierenden an und passen Anforderungsprofile des Studiums und Eingangsvoraussetzungen dem Kompetenzniveau der Studierenden oder Studienanfänger an oder versuchen wir, einen Teil der Studierenden rechtzeitig eine realistische Studienwahl zu ermöglichen und ihnen ggf. auch zu einem frühen Zeitpunkt von einem Studium oder Studienfach abzuraten. Im Rahmen des Studiums jedoch bietet eLearning viele Ansätze für eine Verbesserung der Studienbedingungen, eine bessere Unterstützung in den Selbstlernphasen, Vorbereitung auf Klausuren und – bei Umgestaltung der Prüfungsstrukturen, eine Entlastung des Prüfungsberges durch eine Verbreiterung der anerkannten Prüfungsleistungen.
The Boko Haram uprising and islamic revivalism in Nigeria
- From the 1980 Maitatsine uprising to the 2009 Boko Haram uprising, Nigeria was bedevilled by ethno-religious conflicts with devastating human and material losses. But the Boko Haram uprising of July 2009 was significant in that it not only set a precedent, but also reinforced the attempts by Islamic conservative elements at imposing a variant of Islamic religious ideology on a secular state. Whereas the religious sensitivity of Nigerians provided fertile ground for the breeding of the Boko Haram sect, the sect’s blossoming was also aided by the prevailing economic dislocation in Nigerian society, the advent of party politics (and the associated desperation of politicians for political power), and the ambivalence of some vocal Islamic leaders, who, though they did not actively embark on insurrection, either did nothing to stop it from fomenting, or only feebly condemned it. These internal factors coupled with growing Islamic fundamentalism around the world make a highly volatile Nigerian society prone to violence, as evidenced by the Boko Haram uprising. Given the approach of the Nigerian state to religious conflict, this violence may remain a recurring problem. This paper documents and analyses the Boko Haram uprising, as well as its links with the promotion of Islamic revivalism and the challenges it poses to the secularity of the Nigerian state.
Kernel learning for ligand-based virtual screening:discovery of a new PPARgamma agonist
- Poster presentation at 5th German Conference on Cheminformatics: 23. CIC-Workshop Goslar, Germany. 8-10 November 2009 We demonstrate the theoretical and practical application of modern kernel-based machine learning methods to ligand-based virtual screening by successful prospective screening for novel agonists of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) . PPARgamma is a nuclear receptor involved in lipid and glucose metabolism, and related to type-2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. Applied methods included a graph kernel designed for molecular similarity analysis , kernel principle component analysis , multiple kernel learning , and, Gaussian process regression . In the machine learning approach to ligand-based virtual screening, one uses the similarity principle  to identify potentially active compounds based on their similarity to known reference ligands. Kernel-based machine learning  uses the "kernel trick", a systematic approach to the derivation of non-linear versions of linear algorithms like separating hyperplanes and regression. Prerequisites for kernel learning are similarity measures with the mathematical property of positive semidefiniteness (kernels). The iterative similarity optimal assignment graph kernel (ISOAK)  is defined directly on the annotated structure graph, and was designed specifically for the comparison of small molecules. In our virtual screening study, its use improved results, e.g., in principle component analysis-based visualization and Gaussian process regression. Following a thorough retrospective validation using a data set of 176 published PPARgamma agonists , we screened a vendor library for novel agonists. Subsequent testing of 15 compounds in a cell-based transactivation assay  yielded four active compounds. The most interesting hit, a natural product derivative with cyclobutane scaffold, is a full selective PPARgamma agonist (EC50 = 10 ± 0.2 microM, inactive on PPARalpha and PPARbeta/delta at 10 microM). We demonstrate how the interplay of several modern kernel-based machine learning approaches can successfully improve ligand-based virtual screening results.
Wassergefiltertes Infrarot A (wIRA) für die Wundheilung
- Wassergefiltertes Infrarot A (wIRA) ist eine spezielle Form der Wärmestrahlung mit hohem Penetrationsvermögen ins Gewebe bei geringer thermischer Oberflächenbelastung. wIRA entspricht dem Großteil der Sonnenwärmestrahlung, die in gemäßigten Klimazonen die Erdoberfläche wasserdampfgefiltert erreicht. wIRA steigert die drei energetisch für die Wundheilung wichtigen Faktoren Temperatur, Sauerstoffpartialdruck und Durchblutung im Gewebe. wIRA mindert Schmerzen, Entzündung und Wundsekretion. Entsprechend kann wIRA sehr gut zur Verbesserung der Wundheilung bei akuten und chronischen Wunden eingesetzt werden.
Intracarotid administration of human bone marrow mononuclear cells in rat photothrombotic ischemia
Florian Hartmut Seeger
- Background: Increasing evidence suggests that cell therapy improves functional recovery in experimental models of stroke and myocardial infarction. So far only small pilot trials tested the effects of cell therapy in stroke patients, whereas large clinical trials were conducted in patients with ischemic heart disease. To investigate the therapeutic benefit of cell therapy to improve the recovery after stroke, we determined the efficacy of bone marrow derived mononuclear cells, which were shown to improve the recovery in experimental and clinical acute myocardial infarction studies, in a rat stroke model. Methods: Adult male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to receive either five million human bone marrow mononuclear cells (hBMC) or placebo intraarterially 3 days after photothrombotic ischemia. For immunosuppression the animals received daily injections of cyclosporine throughout the experiment, commencing 24 hours before the cell transplantation. A battery of behavioural tests was performed before and up to 4 weeks after ischemia. Results: Body temperature and body weight revealed no difference between groups. Neurological deficits measured by the Rotarod test, the adhesive-removal test and the cylinder test were not improved by hBMC transplantation compared to placebo. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that hBMC do not improve functional recovery when transplanted intraaterially 3 days after the onset of focal cerebral ischemia. A possible reason for the failed neurological improvement after cell therapy might be the delayed treatment initiation compared to other experimental stroke studies that showed efficacy of bone marrow mononuclear cells.
The C-terminus of p63 contains multiple regulatory elements with different functions
Wesley E. Straub
Tobias Alexander Weber
Horng Der Ou
- The transcription factor p63 is expressed as at least six different isoforms, of which two have been assigned critical biological roles within ectodermal development and skin stem cell biology on the one hand and supervision of the genetic stability of oocytes on the other hand. These two isoforms contain a C-terminal inhibitory domain that negatively regulates their transcriptional activity. This inhibitory domain contains two individual components: one that uses an internal binding mechanism to interact with and mask the transactivation domain and one that is based on sumoylation. We have carried out an extensive alanine scanning study to identify critical regions within the inhibitory domain. These experiments show that a stretch of ~13 amino acids is crucial for the binding function. Further, investigation of transcriptional activity and the intracellular level of mutants that cannot be sumoylated suggests that sumoylation reduces the concentration of p63. We therefore propose that the inhibitory function of the C-terminal domain is in part due to direct inhibition of the transcriptional activity of the protein and in part due to indirect inhibition by controlling the concentration of p63. Keywords: p63, transcriptional regulation, auto-inhibition, sumoylation