Alcoholic liver disease occurs due to chronic, heavy drinking and is driven both by metabolic alterations and immune cell activation. Women are at a higher risk than men for developing alcohol induced liver injury and this dimorphism is reflected in animal models of alcoholic liver disease. The importance of adipose tissue in alcoholic liver disease is emerging. Chronic alcohol consumption causes adipose tissue inflammation, which can influence liver injury. Sex differences in body fat composition are well known. However, it is still unclear if alcohol-induced adipose tissue inflammation occurs in a sex-dependent manner. Here we have employed the clinically relevant NIAAA model of chronic-binge alcohol consumption to investigate this sexual dimorphism. We report that female mice have greater liver injury than male mice despite lower alcohol consumption. Chronic-binge alcohol induces adipose tissue inflammation in vivo in female mice, which is illustrated by increased expression of TNFalpha, IL-6, and CCL2, compared to only IL-6 induction in male adipose tissue. Further, macrophage activation markers such as CD68 as well as the pro-inflammatory activation markers CD11b and CD11c were higher in female adipose tissue. Interestingly, alcohol induced expression of TLR2, 3, 4, and 9 in female but not male adipose tissue, without affecting the TLR adaptor, MyD88. Higher trends of serum endotoxin in female mice may likely contribute to adipose tissue inflammation. In vitro chronic alcohol-mediated sensitization of macrophages to endotoxin is independent of sex. In summary, we demonstrate for the first time that there is a sexual dimorphism in alcohol-induced adipose tissue inflammation and female mice exhibit a higher degree of inflammation than male mice.
A widely employed germ cell marker is an ancient disordered protein with reproductive functions in diverse eukaryotes
The advent of sexual reproduction and the evolution of a dedicated germline in multicellular organisms are critical landmarks in eukaryotic evolution. We report an ancient family of GCNA (germ cell nuclear antigen) proteins that arose in the earliest eukaryotes, and feature a rapidly evolving intrinsically disordered region (IDR). Phylogenetic analysis reveals that GCNA proteins emerged before the major eukaryotic lineages diverged; GCNA predates the origin of a dedicated germline by a billion years. Gcna gene expression is enriched in reproductive cells across eukarya - either just prior to or during meiosis in single-celled eukaryotes, and in stem cells and germ cells of diverse multicellular animals. Studies of Gcna-mutant C. elegans and mice indicate that GCNA has functioned in reproduction for at least 600 million years. Homology to IDR-containing proteins implicated in DNA damage repair suggests that GCNA proteins may protect the genomic integrity of cells carrying a heritable genome.
The spindle midzone harbors both microtubules and proteins necessary for furrow formation and the completion of cytokinesis. However, the mechanisms that mediate the temporal and spatial recruitment of cell division factors to the spindle midzone and midbody remain unclear. Here we describe a mechanism governed by the conserved RNA-binding protein ATX-2/Ataxin-2, which targets and maintains ZEN-4 at the spindle midzone. ATX-2 does this by regulating the amount of PAR-5 at mitotic structures, particularly the spindle, centrosomes, and midbody. Preventing ATX-2 function leads to elevated levels of PAR-5, enhanced chromatin and centrosome localization of PAR-5-GFP, and ultimately a reduction of ZEN-4-GFP at the spindle midzone. Codepletion of ATX-2 and PAR-5 rescued the localization of ZEN-4 at the spindle midzone, indicating that ATX-2 mediates the localization of ZEN-4 upstream of PAR-5. We provide the first direct evidence that ATX-2 is necessary for cytokinesis and suggest a model in which ATX-2 facilitates the targeting of ZEN-4 to the spindle midzone by mediating the posttranscriptional regulation of PAR-5.
Distinct Differences on Neointima Formation in Immunodeficient and Humanized Mice after Carotid or Femoral Arterial Injury
Percutaneous coronary intervention is widely adopted to treat patients with coronary artery disease. However, restenosis remains an unsolved clinical problem after vascular interventions. The role of the systemic and local immune response in the development of restenosis is not fully understood. Hence, the aim of the current study was to investigate the role of the human immune system on subsequent neointima formation elicited by vascular injury in a humanized mouse model. Immunodeficient NOD.Cg-PrkdcscidIL2rgtm1Wjl(NSG) mice were reconstituted with human (h)PBMCs immediately after both carotid wire and femoral cuff injury were induced in order to identify how differences in the severity of injury influenced endothelial regeneration, neointima formation, and homing of human inflammatory and progenitor cells. In contrast to non-reconstituted mice, hPBMC reconstitution reduced neointima formation after femoral cuff injury whereas hPBMCs promoted neointima formation after carotid wire injury 4 weeks after induction of injury. Neointimal endothelium and smooth muscle cells in the injured arteries were of mouse origin. Our results indicate that the immune system may differentially respond to arterial injury depending on the severity of injury, which may also be influenced by the intrinsic properties of the arteries themselves, resulting in either minimal or aggravated neointima formation.
www.common-metrics.org: a web application to estimate scores from different patient-reported outcome measures on a common scale
BACKGROUND: Recently, a growing number of Item-Response Theory (IRT) models has been published, which allow estimation of a common latent variable from data derived by different Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs). When using data from different PROs, direct estimation of the latent variable has some advantages over the use of sum score conversion tables. It requires substantial proficiency in the field of psychometrics to fit such models using contemporary IRT software. We developed a web application ( http://www.common-metrics.org ), which allows estimation of latent variable scores more easily using IRT models calibrating different measures on instrument independent scales.
RESULTS: Currently, the application allows estimation using six different IRT models for Depression, Anxiety, and Physical Function. Based on published item parameters, users of the application can directly estimate latent trait estimates using expected a posteriori (EAP) for sum scores as well as for specific response patterns, Bayes modal (MAP), Weighted likelihood estimation (WLE) and Maximum likelihood (ML) methods and under three different prior distributions. The obtained estimates can be downloaded and analyzed using standard statistical software.
CONCLUSIONS: This application enhances the usability of IRT modeling for researchers by allowing comparison of the latent trait estimates over different PROs, such as the Patient Health Questionnaire Depression (PHQ-9) and Anxiety (GAD-7) scales, the Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), PROMIS Anxiety and Depression Short Forms and others. Advantages of this approach include comparability of data derived with different measures and tolerance against missing values. The validity of the underlying models needs to be investigated in the future.
A unique feature of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the presence of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA). Several risk factors for RA are known to increase the expression or activity of peptidyl arginine deiminases (PADs), which catalyze citrullination and, when dysregulated, can result in hypercitrullination. However, the consequence of hypercitrullination is unknown and the function of each PAD has yet to be defined. Th cells of RA patients are hypoglycolytic and hyperproliferative due to impaired expression of PFKFB3 and ATM, respectively. Here, we report that these features are also observed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy at-risk individuals (ARIs). PBMCs of ARIs are also hypercitrullinated and produce more IL-2 and Th17 cytokines but fewer Th2 cytokines. These abnormal features are due to impaired induction of PTPN22, a phosphatase that also suppresses citrullination independently of its phosphatase activity. Attenuated phosphatase activity of PTPN22 results in aberrant expression of IL-2, ATM, and PFKFB3, whereas diminished nonphosphatase activity of PTPN22 leads to hypercitrullination mediated by PADs. PAD2- or PAD4-mediated hypercitrullination reduces the expression of Th2 cytokines. By contrast, only PAD2-mediated hypercitrullination can increase the expression of Th17 cytokines. Taken together, our data depict a molecular signature of preclinical RA that is triggered by impaired induction of PTPN22.
Comment on: Identification and Correction of Mechanisms Underlying Inherited Blindness in Human iPSC-Derived Optic Cups. [Cell Stem Cell. 2016]
A gene-centered C. elegans protein-DNA interaction network provides a framework for functional predictions
Transcription factors (TFs) play a central role in controlling spatiotemporal gene expression and the response to environmental cues. A comprehensive understanding of gene regulation requires integrating physical protein-DNA interactions (PDIs) with TF regulatory activity, expression patterns, and phenotypic data. Although great progress has been made in mapping PDIs using chromatin immunoprecipitation, these studies have only characterized ~10% of TFs in any metazoan species. The nematode C. elegans has been widely used to study gene regulation due to its compact genome with short regulatory sequences. Here, we delineated the largest gene-centered metazoan PDI network to date by examining interactions between 90% of C. elegans TFs and 15% of gene promoters. We used this network as a backbone to predict TF binding sites for 77 TFs, two-thirds of which are novel, as well as integrate gene expression, protein-protein interaction, and phenotypic data to predict regulatory and biological functions for multiple genes and TFs.
A Pilot Competency Matrix for Data Management Skills: A Step toward the Development of Systematic Data Information Literacy Programs
Initial work in identifying data management or data information literacy skills generally went as far as identifying a list of proposed competencies without further differentiation between those competencies, whether by discipline, complexity, or use case. This article describes a significant innovation upon existing competencies by identifying a scaffolding (built upon existing competencies) that moves students progressively from undergraduate training through post graduate coursework and research to post-doctoral work and into the early years of data stewardship. The scaffolding ties together existing research that has been completed in research data management skills and data information literacy with research into the outcomes that are desirable for individuals to present in data management at each of the levels of education. Competencies are aligned according to application (personal, team, research enterprise) in such a way that the skills attained at the undergraduate level give students moving on to graduate work greater familiarity with data management and therefore greater likelihood of success at the graduate and then post graduate and data steward levels.
It missed the historic discovery, but the Virgo lab in Italy is now primed to extend LIGO’s reach and precision.
Nature 542 146 doi: 10.1038/542146a
Industry and public-health experts concerned about ramifications of Nagoya Protocol.
Nature 542 148 doi: 10.1038/542148a
Researchers look into the future of the far North for clues to save species and maybe even bring back sea ice.
Nature 542 152 doi: 10.1038/542152a