Journals

Reconciling Pasteur and Darwin to control infectious diseases

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 9 hours 35 min ago

by Samuel Alizon, Pierre-Olivier Méthot

The continual emergence of new pathogens and the increased spread of antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations remind us that microbes are living entities that evolve at rates that impact public health interventions. Following the historical thread of the works of Pasteur and Darwin shows how reconciling clinical microbiology, ecology, and evolution can be instrumental to understanding pathology, developing new therapies, and prolonging the efficiency of existing ones.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Control of recollection by slow gamma dominating mid-frequency gamma in hippocampus CA1

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 9 hours 35 min ago

by Dino Dvorak, Basma Radwan, Fraser T. Sparks, Zoe Nicole Talbot, André A. Fenton

Behavior is used to assess memory and cognitive deficits in animals like Fmr1-null mice that model Fragile X Syndrome, but behavior is a proxy for unknown neural events that define cognitive variables like recollection. We identified an electrophysiological signature of recollection in mouse dorsal Cornu Ammonis 1 (CA1) hippocampus. During a shocked-place avoidance task, slow gamma (SG) (30–50 Hz) dominates mid-frequency gamma (MG) (70–90 Hz) oscillations 2–3 s before successful avoidance, but not failures. Wild-type (WT) but not Fmr1-null mice rapidly adapt to relocating the shock; concurrently, SG/MG maxima (SGdom) decrease in WT but not in cognitively inflexible Fmr1-null mice. During SGdom, putative pyramidal cell ensembles represent distant locations; during place avoidance, these are avoided places. During shock relocation, WT ensembles represent distant locations near the currently correct shock zone, but Fmr1-null ensembles represent the formerly correct zone. These findings indicate that recollection occurs when CA1 SG dominates MG and that accurate recollection of inappropriate memories explains Fmr1-null cognitive inflexibility.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Structure, function, and control of the human musculoskeletal network

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 9 hours 35 min ago

by Andrew C. Murphy, Sarah F. Muldoon, David Baker, Adam Lastowka, Brittany Bennett, Muzhi Yang, Danielle S. Bassett

The human body is a complex organism, the gross mechanical properties of which are enabled by an interconnected musculoskeletal network controlled by the nervous system. The nature of musculoskeletal interconnection facilitates stability, voluntary movement, and robustness to injury. However, a fundamental understanding of this network and its control by neural systems has remained elusive. Here we address this gap in knowledge by utilizing medical databases and mathematical modeling to reveal the organizational structure, predicted function, and neural control of the musculoskeletal system. We constructed a highly simplified whole-body musculoskeletal network in which single muscles connect to multiple bones via both origin and insertion points. We demonstrated that, using this simplified model, a muscle’s role in this network could offer a theoretical prediction of the susceptibility of surrounding components to secondary injury. Finally, we illustrated that sets of muscles cluster into network communities that mimic the organization of control modules in primary motor cortex. This novel formalism for describing interactions between the muscular and skeletal systems serves as a foundation to develop and test therapeutic responses to injury, inspiring future advances in clinical treatments.
Categories: Biology, Journals

The gram-negative bacterial periplasm: Size matters

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2018-01-18 00:00

by Samuel I. Miller, Nina R. Salama

Gram-negative bacteria are surrounded by two membrane bilayers separated by a space termed the periplasm. The periplasm is a multipurpose compartment separate from the cytoplasm whose distinct reducing environment allows more efficient and diverse mechanisms of protein oxidation, folding, and quality control. The periplasm also contains structural elements and important environmental sensing modules, and it allows complex nanomachines to span the cell envelope. Recent work indicates that the size or intermembrane distance of the periplasm is controlled by periplasmic lipoproteins that anchor the outer membrane to the periplasmic peptidoglycan polymer. This periplasm intermembrane distance is critical for sensing outer membrane damage and dictates length of the flagellar periplasmic rotor, which controls motility. These exciting results resolve longstanding debates about whether the periplasmic distance has a biological function and raise the possibility that the mechanisms for maintenance of periplasmic size could be exploited for antibiotic development.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Identification of a noncanonical function for ribose-5-phosphate isomerase A promotes colorectal cancer formation by stabilizing and activating β-catenin via a novel C-terminal domain

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2018-01-17 00:00

by Yu-Ting Chou, Jeng-Kai Jiang, Muh-Hwa Yang, Jeng-Wei Lu, Hua-Kuo Lin, Horng-Dar Wang, Chiou-Hwa Yuh

Altered metabolism is one of the hallmarks of cancers. Deregulation of ribose-5-phosphate isomerase A (RPIA) in the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) is known to promote tumorigenesis in liver, lung, and breast tissues. Yet, the molecular mechanism of RPIA-mediated colorectal cancer (CRC) is unknown. Our study demonstrates a noncanonical function of RPIA in CRC. Data from the mRNAs of 80 patients’ CRC tissues and paired nontumor tissues and protein levels, as well as a CRC tissue array, indicate RPIA is significantly elevated in CRC. RPIA modulates cell proliferation and oncogenicity via activation of β-catenin in colon cancer cell lines. Unlike its role in PPP in which RPIA functions within the cytosol, RPIA enters the nucleus to form a complex with the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) and β-catenin. This association protects β-catenin by preventing its phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and subsequent degradation. The C-terminus of RPIA (amino acid 290 to 311), a region distinct from its enzymatic domain, is necessary for RPIA-mediated tumorigenesis. Consistent with results in vitro, RPIA increases the expression of β-catenin and its target genes, and induces tumorigenesis in gut-specific, promotor-carrying RPIA transgenic (Tg) zebrafish. Together, we demonstrate a novel function of RPIA in CRC formation in which RPIA enters the nucleus and stabilizes β-catenin activity and suggests that RPIA might be a biomarker for targeted therapy and prognosis.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Anteroposterior axis patterning by early canonical Wnt signaling during hemichordate development

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2018-01-17 00:00

by Sébastien Darras, Jens H. Fritzenwanker, Kevin R. Uhlinger, Ellyn Farrelly, Ariel M. Pani, Imogen A. Hurley, Rachael P. Norris, Michelle Osovitz, Mark Terasaki, Mike Wu, Jochanan Aronowicz, Marc Kirschner, John C. Gerhart, Christopher J. Lowe

The Wnt family of secreted proteins has been proposed to play a conserved role in early specification of the bilaterian anteroposterior (A/P) axis. This hypothesis is based predominantly on data from vertebrate embryogenesis as well as planarian regeneration and homeostasis, indicating that canonical Wnt (cWnt) signaling endows cells with positional information along the A/P axis. Outside of these phyla, there is strong support for a conserved role of cWnt signaling in the repression of anterior fates, but little comparative support for a conserved role in promotion of posterior fates. We further test the hypothesis by investigating the role of cWnt signaling during early patterning along the A/P axis of the hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii. We have cloned and investigated the expression of the complete Wnt ligand and Frizzled receptor complement of S. kowalevskii during early development along with many secreted Wnt modifiers. Eleven of the 13 Wnt ligands are ectodermally expressed in overlapping domains, predominantly in the posterior, and Wnt antagonists are localized predominantly to the anterior ectoderm in a pattern reminiscent of their distribution in vertebrate embryos. Overexpression and knockdown experiments, in combination with embryological manipulations, establish the importance of cWnt signaling for repression of anterior fates and activation of mid-axial ectodermal fates during the early development of S. kowalevskii. However, surprisingly, terminal posterior fates, defined by posterior Hox genes, are unresponsive to manipulation of cWnt levels during the early establishment of the A/P axis at late blastula and early gastrula. We establish experimental support for a conserved role of Wnt signaling in the early specification of the A/P axis during deuterostome body plan diversification, and further build support for an ancestral role of this pathway in early evolution of the bilaterian A/P axis. We find strong support for a role of cWnt in suppression of anterior fates and promotion of mid-axial fates, but we find no evidence that cWnt signaling plays a role in the early specification of the most posterior axial fates in S. kowalevskii. This posterior autonomy may be a conserved feature of early deuterostome axis specification.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Functional characterization of adaptive variation within a <i>cis</i>-regulatory element influencing <i>Drosophila melanogaster</i> growth

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2018-01-12 00:00

by Amanda Glaser-Schmitt, John Parsch

Gene expression variation is a major contributor to phenotypic diversity within species and is thought to play an important role in adaptation. However, examples of adaptive regulatory polymorphism are rare, especially those that have been characterized at both the molecular genetic level and the organismal level. In this study, we perform a functional analysis of the Drosophila melanogaster CG9509 enhancer, a cis-regulatory element that shows evidence of adaptive evolution in populations outside the species’ ancestral range in sub-Saharan Africa. Using site-directed mutagenesis and transgenic reporter gene assays, we determined that 3 single nucleotide polymorphisms are responsible for the difference in CG9509 expression that is observed between sub-Saharan African and cosmopolitan populations. Interestingly, while 2 of these variants appear to have been the targets of a selective sweep outside of sub-Saharan Africa, the variant with the largest effect on expression remains polymorphic in cosmopolitan populations, suggesting it may be subject to a different mode of selection. To elucidate the function of CG9509, we performed a series of functional and tolerance assays on flies in which CG9509 expression was disrupted. We found that CG9509 plays a role in larval growth and influences adult body and wing size, as well as wing loading. Furthermore, variation in several of these traits was associated with variation within the CG9509 enhancer. The effect on growth appears to result from a modulation of active ecdysone levels and expression of growth factors. Taken together, our findings suggest that selection acted on 3 sites within the CG9509 enhancer to increase CG9509 expression and, as a result, reduce wing loading as D. melanogaster expanded out of sub-Saharan Africa.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Genome downsizing, physiological novelty, and the global dominance of flowering plants

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2018-01-12 00:00

by Kevin A. Simonin, Adam B. Roddy

The abrupt origin and rapid diversification of the flowering plants during the Cretaceous has long been considered an “abominable mystery.” While the cause of their high diversity has been attributed largely to coevolution with pollinators and herbivores, their ability to outcompete the previously dominant ferns and gymnosperms has been the subject of many hypotheses. Common among these is that the angiosperms alone developed leaves with smaller, more numerous stomata and more highly branching venation networks that enable higher rates of transpiration, photosynthesis, and growth. Yet, how angiosperms pack their leaves with smaller, more abundant stomata and more veins is unknown but linked—we show—to simple biophysical constraints on cell size. Only angiosperm lineages underwent rapid genome downsizing during the early Cretaceous period, which facilitated the reductions in cell size necessary to pack more veins and stomata into their leaves, effectively bringing actual primary productivity closer to its maximum potential. Thus, the angiosperms' heightened competitive abilities are due in no small part to genome downsizing.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Metallochaperone UreG serves as a new target for design of urease inhibitor: A novel strategy for development of antimicrobials

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2018-01-11 00:00

by Xinming Yang, Mohamad Koohi-Moghadam, Runming Wang, Yuen-Yan Chang, Patrick C. Y. Woo, Junwen Wang, Hongyan Li, Hongzhe Sun

Urease as a potential target of antimicrobial drugs has received considerable attention given its versatile roles in microbial infection. Development of effective urease inhibitors, however, is a significant challenge due to the deeply buried active site and highly specific substrate of a bacterial urease. Conventionally, urease inhibitors are designed by either targeting the active site or mimicking substrate of urease, which is not efficient. Up to now, only one effective inhibitor—acetohydroxamic acid (AHA)—is clinically available, but it has adverse side effects. Herein, we demonstrate that a clinically used drug, colloid bismuth subcitrate, utilizes an unusual way to inhibit urease activity, i.e., disruption of urease maturation process via functional perturbation of a metallochaperone, UreG. Similar phenomena were also observed in various pathogenic bacteria, suggesting that UreG may serve as a general target for design of new types of urease inhibitors. Using Helicobacter pylori UreG as a showcase, by virtual screening combined with experimental validation, we show that two compounds targeting UreG also efficiently inhibited urease activity with inhibitory concentration (IC)50 values of micromolar level, resulting in attenuated virulence of the pathogen. We further demonstrate the efficacy of the compounds in a mammalian cell infection model. This study opens up a new opportunity for the design of more effective urease inhibitors and clearly indicates that metallochaperones involved in the maturation of important microbial metalloenzymes serve as new targets for devising a new type of antimicrobial drugs.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Population genomics of Mesolithic Scandinavia: Investigating early postglacial migration routes and high-latitude adaptation

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2018-01-10 00:00

by Torsten Günther, Helena Malmström, Emma M. Svensson, Ayça Omrak, Federico Sánchez-Quinto, Gülşah M. Kılınç, Maja Krzewińska, Gunilla Eriksson, Magdalena Fraser, Hanna Edlund, Arielle R. Munters, Alexandra Coutinho, Luciana G. Simões, Mário Vicente, Anders Sjölander, Berit Jansen Sellevold, Roger Jørgensen, Peter Claes, Mark D. Shriver, Cristina Valdiosera, Mihai G. Netea, Jan Apel, Kerstin Lidén, Birgitte Skar, Jan Storå, Anders Götherström, Mattias Jakobsson

Scandinavia was one of the last geographic areas in Europe to become habitable for humans after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). However, the routes and genetic composition of these postglacial migrants remain unclear. We sequenced the genomes, up to 57× coverage, of seven hunter-gatherers excavated across Scandinavia and dated from 9,500–6,000 years before present (BP). Surprisingly, among the Scandinavian Mesolithic individuals, the genetic data display an east–west genetic gradient that opposes the pattern seen in other parts of Mesolithic Europe. Our results suggest two different early postglacial migrations into Scandinavia: initially from the south, and later, from the northeast. The latter followed the ice-free Norwegian north Atlantic coast, along which novel and advanced pressure-blade stone-tool techniques may have spread. These two groups met and mixed in Scandinavia, creating a genetically diverse population, which shows patterns of genetic adaptation to high latitude environments. These potential adaptations include high frequencies of low pigmentation variants and a gene region associated with physical performance, which shows strong continuity into modern-day northern Europeans.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Climate change could drive marine food web collapse through altered trophic flows and cyanobacterial proliferation

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2018-01-10 00:00

by Hadayet Ullah, Ivan Nagelkerken, Silvan U. Goldenberg, Damien A. Fordham

Global warming and ocean acidification are forecast to exert significant impacts on marine ecosystems worldwide. However, most of these projections are based on ecological proxies or experiments on single species or simplified food webs. How energy fluxes are likely to change in marine food webs in response to future climates remains unclear, hampering forecasts of ecosystem functioning. Using a sophisticated mesocosm experiment, we model energy flows through a species-rich multilevel food web, with live habitats, natural abiotic variability, and the potential for intra- and intergenerational adaptation. We show experimentally that the combined stress of acidification and warming reduced energy flows from the first trophic level (primary producers and detritus) to the second (herbivores), and from the second to the third trophic level (carnivores). Warming in isolation also reduced the energy flow from herbivores to carnivores, the efficiency of energy transfer from primary producers and detritus to herbivores and detritivores, and the living biomass of detritivores, herbivores, and carnivores. Whilst warming and acidification jointly boosted primary producer biomass through an expansion of cyanobacteria, this biomass was converted to detritus rather than to biomass at higher trophic levels—i.e., production was constrained to the base of the food web. In contrast, ocean acidification affected the food web positively by enhancing trophic flow from detritus and primary producers to herbivores, and by increasing the biomass of carnivores. Our results show how future climate change can potentially weaken marine food webs through reduced energy flow to higher trophic levels and a shift towards a more detritus-based system, leading to food web simplification and altered producer–consumer dynamics, both of which have important implications for the structuring of benthic communities.
Categories: Biology, Journals

“Pomacytosis”—Semi-extracellular phagocytosis of cyanobacteria by the smallest marine algae

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Sat, 2018-01-06 00:00

by Nina A. Kamennaya, Gabrielle Kennaway, Bernhard M. Fuchs, Mikhail V. Zubkov

The smallest algae, less than 3 μm in diameter, are the most abundant eukaryotes of the World Ocean. Their feeding on planktonic bacteria of similar size is globally important but physically enigmatic. Tiny algal cells tightly packed with the voluminous chloroplasts, nucleus, and mitochondria appear to have insufficient organelle-free space for prey internalization. Here, we present the first direct observations of how the 1.3-μm algae, which are only 1.6 times bigger in diameter than their prey, hold individual Prochlorococcus cells in their open hemispheric cytostomes. We explain this semi-extracellular phagocytosis by the cell size limitation of the predatory alga, identified as the Braarudosphaera haptophyte with a nitrogen (N2)–fixing endosymbiont. Because the observed semi-extracellular phagocytosis differs from all other types of protistan phagocytosis, we propose to name it “pomacytosis” (from the Greek πώμα for “plug”).
Categories: Biology, Journals

Neurotransmitter-mediated activity spatially controls neuronal migration in the zebrafish cerebellum

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2018-01-05 00:00

by Ulrike Theisen, Christian Hennig, Tobias Ring, Ralf Schnabel, Reinhard W. Köster

Neuronal migration during embryonic development contributes to functional brain circuitry. Many neurons migrate in morphologically distinct stages that coincide with differentiation, requiring tight spatial regulation. It had been proposed that neurotransmitter-mediated activity could exert this control. Here, we demonstrate that intracellular calcium transients occur in cerebellar neurons of zebrafish embryos during migration. We show that depolarization increases and hyperpolarization reduces the speed of tegmental hindbrain neurons using optogenetic tools and advanced track analysis optimized for in vivo migration. Finally, we introduce a compound screening assay to identify acetylcholine (ACh), glutamate, and glycine as regulators of migration, which act regionally along the neurons’ route. We summarize our findings in a model describing how different neurotransmitters spatially interact to control neuronal migration. The high evolutionary conservation of the cerebellum and hindbrain makes it likely that polarization state-driven motility constitutes an important principle in building a functional brain.
Categories: Biology, Journals

An atlas of <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i> chemoreceptor expression

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2018-01-03 00:00

by Berta Vidal, Ulkar Aghayeva, Haosheng Sun, Chen Wang, Lori Glenwinkel, Emily A. Bayer, Oliver Hobert

One goal of modern day neuroscience is the establishment of molecular maps that assign unique features to individual neuron types. Such maps provide important starting points for neuron classification, for functional analysis, and for developmental studies aimed at defining the molecular mechanisms of neuron identity acquisition and neuron identity diversification. In this resource paper, we describe a nervous system-wide map of the potential expression sites of 244 members of the largest gene family in the C. elegans genome, rhodopsin-like (class A) G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) chemoreceptors, using classic gfp reporter gene technology. We cover representatives of all sequence families of chemoreceptor GPCRs, some of which were previously entirely uncharacterized. Most reporters are expressed in a very restricted number of cells, often just in single cells. We assign GPCR reporter expression to all but two of the 37 sensory neuron classes of the sex-shared, core nervous system. Some sensory neurons express a very small number of receptors, while others, particularly nociceptive neurons, coexpress several dozen GPCR reporter genes. GPCR reporters are also expressed in a wide range of inter- and motorneurons, as well as non-neuronal cells, suggesting that GPCRs may constitute receptors not just for environmental signals, but also for internal cues. We observe only one notable, frequent association of coexpression patterns, namely in one nociceptive amphid (ASH) and two nociceptive phasmid sensory neurons (PHA, PHB). We identified GPCRs with sexually dimorphic expression and several GPCR reporters that are expressed in a left/right asymmetric manner. We identified a substantial degree of GPCR expression plasticity; particularly in the context of the environmentally-induced dauer diapause stage when one third of all tested GPCRs alter the cellular specificity of their expression within and outside the nervous system. Intriguingly, in a number of cases, the dauer-specific alterations of GPCR reporter expression in specific neuron classes are maintained during postdauer life and in some case new patterns are induced post-dauer, demonstrating that GPCR gene expression may serve as traits of life history. Taken together, our resource provides an entry point for functional studies and also offers a host of molecular markers for studying molecular patterning and plasticity of the nervous system.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Calmodulin fishing with a structurally disordered bait triggers CyaA catalysis

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Sat, 2017-12-30 00:00

by Darragh P. O’Brien, Dominique Durand, Alexis Voegele, Véronique Hourdel, Marilyne Davi, Julia Chamot-Rooke, Patrice Vachette, Sébastien Brier, Daniel Ladant, Alexandre Chenal

Once translocated into the cytosol of target cells, the catalytic domain (AC) of the adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA), a major virulence factor of Bordetella pertussis, is potently activated by binding calmodulin (CaM) to produce supraphysiological levels of cAMP, inducing cell death. Using a combination of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), and synchrotron radiation circular dichroism (SR-CD), we show that, in the absence of CaM, AC exhibits significant structural disorder, and a 75-residue-long stretch within AC undergoes a disorder-to-order transition upon CaM binding. Beyond this local folding, CaM binding induces long-range allosteric effects that stabilize the distant catalytic site, whilst preserving catalytic loop flexibility. We propose that the high enzymatic activity of AC is due to a tight balance between the CaM-induced decrease of structural flexibility around the catalytic site and the preservation of catalytic loop flexibility, allowing for fast substrate binding and product release. The CaM-induced dampening of AC conformational disorder is likely relevant to other CaM-activated enzymes.
Categories: Biology, Journals

<i>Arabidopsis</i> choline transporter-like 1 (CTL1) regulates secretory trafficking of auxin transporters to control seedling growth

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2017-12-29 00:00

by Yuan Wang, Lei Yang, Yumei Tang, Renjie Tang, Yanping Jing, Chi Zhang, Bin Zhang, Xiaojuan Li, Yaning Cui, Chunhua Zhang, Jisen Shi, Fugeng Zhao, Wenzhi Lan, Sheng Luan

Auxin controls a myriad of plant developmental processes and plant response to environmental conditions. Precise trafficking of auxin transporters is essential for auxin homeostasis in plants. Here, we report characterization of Arabidopsis CTL1, which controls seedling growth and apical hook development by regulating intracellular trafficking of PIN-type auxin transporters. The CTL1 gene encodes a choline transporter-like protein with an expression pattern highly correlated with auxin distribution and is enriched in shoot and root apical meristems, lateral root primordia, the vascular system, and the concave side of the apical hook. The choline transporter-like 1 (CTL1) protein is localized to the trans-Golgi network (TGN), prevacuolar compartment (PVC), and plasma membrane (PM). Disruption of CTL1 gene expression alters the trafficking of 2 auxin efflux transporters—Arabidopsis PM-located auxin efflux transporter PIN-formed 1 (PIN1) and Arabidopsis PM-located auxin efflux transporter PIN-formed 3 (PIN3)—to the PM, thereby affecting auxin distribution and plant growth and development. We further found that phospholipids, sphingolipids, and other membrane lipids were significantly altered in the ctl1 mutant, linking CTL1 function to lipid homeostasis. We propose that CTL1 regulates protein sorting from the TGN to the PM through its function in lipid homeostasis.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Developmental biology, the stem cell of biological disciplines

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2017-12-29 00:00

by Scott F. Gilbert

Developmental biology (including embryology) is proposed as "the stem cell of biological disciplines.” Genetics, cell biology, oncology, immunology, evolutionary mechanisms, neurobiology, and systems biology each has its ancestry in developmental biology. Moreover, developmental biology continues to roll on, budding off more disciplines, while retaining its own identity. While its descendant disciplines differentiate into sciences with a restricted set of paradigms, examples, and techniques, developmental biology remains vigorous, pluripotent, and relatively undifferentiated. In many disciplines, especially in evolutionary biology and oncology, the developmental perspective is being reasserted as an important research program.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Alternative therapeutics for self-limiting infections—An indirect approach to the antibiotic resistance challenge

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2017-12-29 00:00

by Kristofer Wollein Waldetoft, Sam P. Brown

Alternative therapeutics for infectious diseases is a top priority, but what infections should be the primary targets? At present there is a focus on therapies for severe infections, for which effective treatment is most needed, but these infections are hard to manage, and progress has been limited. Here, we explore a different approach. Applying an evolutionary perspective to a review of antibiotic prescription studies, we identify infections that likely make a large contribution to resistance evolution across multiple taxa but are clinically mild and thus present easier targets for therapeutics development. Alternative therapeutics for these infections, we argue, would save lives indirectly by preserving the high efficacy of existing antibiotics for the patients who need them the most.
Categories: Biology, Journals

A new vesicle trafficking regulator CTL1 plays a crucial role in ion homeostasis

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2017-12-29 00:00

by Yi-Qun Gao, Jiu-Geng Chen, Zi-Ru Chen, Dong An, Qiao-Yan Lv, Mei-Ling Han, Ya-Ling Wang, David E. Salt, Dai-Yin Chao

Ion homeostasis is essential for plant growth and environmental adaptation, and maintaining ion homeostasis requires the precise regulation of various ion transporters, as well as correct root patterning. However, the mechanisms underlying these processes remain largely elusive. Here, we reported that a choline transporter gene, CTL1, controls ionome homeostasis by regulating the secretory trafficking of proteins required for plasmodesmata (PD) development, as well as the transport of some ion transporters. Map-based cloning studies revealed that CTL1 mutations alter the ion profile of Arabidopsis thaliana. We found that the phenotypes associated with these mutations are caused by a combination of PD defects and ion transporter misregulation. We also established that CTL1 is involved in regulating vesicle trafficking and is thus required for the trafficking of proteins essential for ion transport and PD development. Characterizing choline transporter-like 1 (CTL1) as a new regulator of protein sorting may enable researchers to understand not only ion homeostasis in plants but also vesicle trafficking in general.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Common genes associated with antidepressant response in mouse and man identify key role of glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2017-12-29 00:00

by Tania Carrillo-Roa, Christiana Labermaier, Peter Weber, David P. Herzog, Caleb Lareau, Sara Santarelli, Klaus V. Wagner, Monika Rex-Haffner, Daniela Harbich, Sebastian H. Scharf, Charles B. Nemeroff, Boadie W. Dunlop, W. Edward Craighead, Helen S. Mayberg, Mathias V. Schmidt, Manfred Uhr, Florian Holsboer, Inge Sillaber, Elisabeth B. Binder, Marianne B. Müller

Response to antidepressant treatment in major depressive disorder (MDD) cannot be predicted currently, leading to uncertainty in medication selection, increasing costs, and prolonged suffering for many patients. Despite tremendous efforts in identifying response-associated genes in large genome-wide association studies, the results have been fairly modest, underlining the need to establish conceptually novel strategies. For the identification of transcriptome signatures that can distinguish between treatment responders and nonresponders, we herein submit a novel animal experimental approach focusing on extreme phenotypes. We utilized the large variance in response to antidepressant treatment occurring in DBA/2J mice, enabling sample stratification into subpopulations of good and poor treatment responders to delineate response-associated signature transcript profiles in peripheral blood samples. As a proof of concept, we translated our murine data to the transcriptome data of a clinically relevant human cohort. A cluster of 259 differentially regulated genes was identified when peripheral transcriptome profiles of good and poor treatment responders were compared in the murine model. Differences in expression profiles from baseline to week 12 of the human orthologues selected on the basis of the murine transcript signature allowed prediction of response status with an accuracy of 76% in the patient population. Finally, we show that glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-regulated genes are significantly enriched in this cluster of antidepressant-response genes. Our findings point to the involvement of GR sensitivity as a potential key mechanism shaping response to antidepressant treatment and support the hypothesis that antidepressants could stimulate resilience-promoting molecular mechanisms. Our data highlight the suitability of an appropriate animal experimental approach for the discovery of treatment response-associated pathways across species.
Categories: Biology, Journals