David gegen Goliath : wie Viren das Immunsystem überlisten
- Infektionen mit Herpesviren sind bereits seit der Antike bekannt. So beschrieb zum Beispiel schon Hippokrates in seinem »Corpus Hippocraticum« die sich auf der Haut ausbreitenden Herpes Simplex Läsionen und gab der Krankheit ihren bis heute gültigen Namen. Verbürgt ist auch, dass der römische Kaiser Tiberius vor etwa 2000 Jahren während einer auftretenden Herpes labialis-Epidemie das Küssen bei öffentlichen Zeremonien per Dekret verbat. Shakespeare war ebenfalls bestens vertraut mit den periodisch auftretenden Herpes-Bläschen; in seinem Werk »Romeo & Julia« spricht Mercutio zu Romeo: »O’er ladies lips, who straight on kisses dream, which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, ….« Doch erst in den 1960er Jahren erkannte man die virale Herkunft der Erkrankung.
Effects of BPA in snails : Oehlmann et al. respond
Thomas A. Ternes
- Correspondence : Effects of BPA in snails: Oehlmann et al. respond We welcome critical appraisals that help to provide balance; however, Dietrich et al. gave an unjustified reproach. We feel that Dietrich’s position is severely compromised because he serves as an expert for the bisphenol A (BPA) Industry Group (Brussels, Belgium). We would like to respond to the issues raised by Dietrich et al., as well as to their oversights and inappropriate interpretations of our findings....
Effects of BPA in snails
Daniel R. Dietrich
Michael H. Depledge
COMPRENDO: Focus and Approach
Daniela Candia Carnevali
Kresten Ole Kusk
Ronny van Aerle
Christoph van Ballegoy
- Tens of thousands of man-made chemicals are in regular use and discharged into the environment. Many of them are known to interfere with the hormonal systems in humans and wildlife. Given the complexity of endocrine systems, there are many ways in which endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can affect the body’s signaling system, and this makes unraveling the mechanisms of action of these chemicals difficult. A major concern is that some of these EDCs appear to be biologically active at extremely low concentrations. There is growing evidence to indicate that the guiding principle of traditional toxicology that “the dose makes the poison” may not always be the case because some EDCs do not induce the classical dose–response relationships. The European Union project COMPRENDO (Comparative Research on Endocrine Disrupters—Phylogenetic Approach and Common Principles focussing on Androgenic/Antiandrogenic Compounds) therefore aims to develop an understanding of potential health problems posed by androgenic and antiandrogenic compounds (AACs) to wildlife and humans by focusing on the commonalities and differences in responses to AACs across the animal kingdom (from invertebrates to vertebrates).
Optimization and antiviral analysis of peptide ligands for the HIV-1 packaging signal PSI
- Oral presentations Background: We selected peptide ligands for the HIV-1 packaging signal PSI by screening phage displayed peptide libraries. Peptide ligands were optimized by screening spot synthesis peptide membranes. The aim of this study is the functional characterization of these peptide ligands with respect to inhibition of HIV-1 replication. Methods: Phage displayed peptide libraries were screened with PSI-RNA structures. The Trp-rich peptide motifs were optimized for specific binding on spot synthesis peptide membranes. The best binding peptide was expressed intracellularly in fusion with RFP or linked to a protein transduction domain (PTD) for intracellular delivery. The effects on virion production were analyzed using pseudotyped lentiviral particles. Results: After positive and negative selection rounds, phages binding specifically to PSI-RNA were identified by ELISA. Peptide inserts contained conserved motifs of aromatic amino acids known to be implicated in binding of PSI-RNA by the natural Gag ligand. The filter assay identified HKWPWW as the best binding ligand for PSI-RNA, which is delivered into several cell lines by addition of a PTD. Compared to a control peptide, the HKWPWW peptide inhibited HIV-1 replication as deduced from reduced titers of culture supernatants. As HKWPWW also binds to the TAR-RNA like the natural nucleocapsid PSI-RNA ligand, the effect on Tat-TAR inhibition will also be analyzed. Currently T-cell lines are established which stably express HKWPWW as well as a control peptide, which will be infected with HIV-1 to monitor the ability of HKWPWW to inhibit wild type HIV-1 replication. Conclusion: The selection of a peptide ligand for PSI-RNA able to inhibit HIV-1 replication proves the suitability of the phage display technology for the selection of peptides binding to RNA-structures. This enables the indentification of peptides serving as leads to interfere with additional targets in the HIV-1 replication cycle.
Optimized Particle Swarm Optimization (OPSO) and its application to artificial neural network training
- Background: Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) is an established method for parameter optimization. It represents a population-based adaptive optimization technique that is influenced by several "strategy parameters". Choosing reasonable parameter values for the PSO is crucial for its convergence behavior, and depends on the optimization task. We present a method for parameter meta-optimization based on PSO and its application to neural network training. The concept of the Optimized Particle Swarm Optimization (OPSO) is to optimize the free parameters of the PSO by having swarms within a swarm. We assessed the performance of the OPSO method on a set of five artificial fitness functions and compared it to the performance of two popular PSO implementations. Results: Our results indicate that PSO performance can be improved if meta-optimized parameter sets are applied. In addition, we could improve optimization speed and quality on the other PSO methods in the majority of our experiments. We applied the OPSO method to neural network training with the aim to build a quantitative model for predicting blood-brain barrier permeation of small organic molecules. On average, training time decreased by a factor of four and two in comparison to the other PSO methods, respectively. By applying the OPSO method, a prediction model showing good correlation with training-, test- and validation data was obtained. Conclusion: Optimizing the free parameters of the PSO method can result in performance gain. The OPSO approach yields parameter combinations improving overall optimization performance. Its conceptual simplicity makes implementing the method a straightforward task.
Co-utilization of L-arabinose and D-xylose by laboratory and industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains
- Background Fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass is an attractive alternative for the production of bioethanol. Traditionally, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used in industrial ethanol fermentations. However, S. cerevisiae is naturally not able to ferment the pentose sugars D-xylose and L-arabinose, which are present in high amounts in lignocellulosic raw materials. Results We describe the engineering of laboratory and industrial S. cerevisiae strains to co-ferment the pentose sugars D-xylose and L-arabinose. Introduction of a fungal xylose and a bacterial arabinose pathway resulted in strains able to grow on both pentose sugars. Introduction of a xylose pathway into an arabinose-fermenting laboratory strain resulted in nearly complete conversion of arabinose into arabitol due to the L-arabinose reductase activity of the xylose reductase. The industrial strain displayed lower arabitol yield and increased ethanol yield from xylose and arabinose. Conclusion Our work demonstrates simultaneous co-utilization of xylose and arabinose in recombinant strains of S. cerevisiae. In addition, the co-utilization of arabinose together with xylose significantly reduced formation of the by-product xylitol, which contributed to improved ethanol production.
The International Gene Trap Consortium website : a portal to all publicly available gene trap cell lines in mouse
Alex S. Nord
Patricia J. Chang
Bruce R. Conklin
Antony V. Cox
Courtney A. Harper
Geoffrey G. Hicks
Conrad C. Huang
Susan J. Johns
Elaine C. Meng
John H. Morris
William C. Skarnes
William L. Stanford
Harald von Melchner
Stephen G. Young
Patricia C. Babbitt
Thomas E. Ferrin
- Gene trapping is a method of generating murine embryonic stem (ES) cell lines containing insertional mutations in known and novel genes. A number of international groups have used this approach to create sizeable public cell line repositories available to the scientific community for the generation of mutant mouse strains. The major gene trapping groups worldwide have recently joined together to centralize access to all publicly available gene trap lines by developing a user-oriented Website for the International Gene Trap Consortium (IGTC). This collaboration provides an impressive public informatics resource comprising ~45 000 well-characterized ES cell lines which currently represent ~40% of known mouse genes, all freely available for the creation of knockout mice on a non-collaborative basis. To standardize annotation and provide high confidence data for gene trap lines, a rigorous identification and annotation pipeline has been developed combining genomic localization and transcript alignment of gene trap sequence tags to identify trapped loci. This information is stored in a new bioinformatics database accessible through the IGTC Website interface. The IGTC Website (www.genetrap.org) allows users to browse and search the database for trapped genes, BLAST sequences against gene trap sequence tags, and view trapped genes within biological pathways. In addition, IGTC data have been integrated into major genome browsers and bioinformatics sites to provide users with outside portals for viewing this data. The development of the IGTC Website marks a major advance by providing the research community with the data and tools necessary to effectively use public gene trap resources for the large-scale characterization of mammalian gene function.
Cyclooxygenases and prostaglandin E2 receptors in growth plate chondrocytes in vitro and in situ : prostaglandin E2 dependent proliferation of growth plate chondrocytes
Charles James Kirkpatrick
Rolf M. Nüsing
- Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) plays an important role in bone development and metabolism. To interfere therapeutically in the PGE2 pathway, however, knowledge about the involved enzymes (cyclooxygenases) and receptors (PGE2 receptors) is essential. We therefore examined the production of PGE2 in cultured growth plate chondrocytes in vitro and the effects of exogenously added PGE2 on cell proliferation. Furthermore, we analysed the expression and spatial distribution of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 and PGE2 receptor types EP1, EP2, EP3 and EP4 in the growth plate in situ and in vitro. PGE2 synthesis was determined by mass spectrometry, cell proliferation by DNA [3H]-thymidine incorporation, mRNA expression of cyclooxygenases and EP receptors by RT-PCR on cultured cells and in homogenized growth plates. To determine cellular expression, frozen sections of rat tibial growth plate and primary chondrocyte cultures were stained using immunohistochemistry with polyclonal antibodies directed towards COX-1, COX-2, EP1, EP2, EP3, and EP4. Cultured growth plate chondrocytes transiently secreted PGE2 into the culture medium. Although both enzymes were expressed in chondrocytes in vitro and in vivo, it appears that mainly COX-2 contributed to PGE2-dependent proliferation. Exogenously added PGE2 stimulated DNA synthesis in a dose-dependent fashion and gave a bell-shaped curve with a maximum at 10-8 M. The EP1/EP3 specific agonist sulprostone and the EP1-selective agonist ONO-D1-004 increased DNA synthesis. The effect of PGE2 was suppressed by ONO-8711. The expression of EP1, EP2, EP3, and EP4 receptors in situ and in vitro was observed; EP2 was homogenously expressed in all zones of the growth plate in situ, whereas EP1 expression was inhomogenous, with spared cells in the reserve zone. In cultured cells these four receptors were expressed in a subset of cells only. The most intense staining for the EP1 receptor was found in polygonal cells surrounded by matrix. Expression of receptor protein for EP3 and EP4 was observed also in rat growth plates. In cultured chrondrocytes, however, only weak expression of EP3 and EP4 receptor was detected. We suggest that in growth plate chondrocytes, COX-2 is responsible for PGE2 release, which stimulates cell proliferation via the EP1 receptor.
High-throughput trapping of secretory pathway genes in mouse embryonic stem cells
Harald von Melchner
- High-throughput gene trapping is a random approach for inducing insertional mutations across the mouse genome. This approach uses gene trap vectors that simultaneously inactivate and report the expression of the trapped gene at the insertion site, and provide a DNA tag for the rapid identification of the disrupted gene. Gene trapping has been used by both public and private institutions to produce libraries of embryonic stem (ES) cells harboring mutations in single genes. Presently,~ 66% of the protein coding genes in the mouse genome have been disrupted by gene trap insertions. Among these, however, genes encoding signal peptides or transmembrane domains (secretory genes) are underrepresented because they are not susceptible to conventional trapping methods. Here, we describe a high-throughput gene trapping strategy that effectively targets secretory genes. We used this strategy to assemble a library of ES cells harboring mutations in 716 unique secretory genes, of which 61% were not trapped by conventional trapping, indicating that the two strategies are complementary. The trapped ES cell lines, which can be ordered from the International Gene Trap Consortium (http://www.genetrap.org), are freely available to the scientific community.