Authors: Murphy GE, Narayan K, Lowekamp BC, Hartnell LM, Heymann JA, Fu J, Subramaniam S
Journal: J Struct Biol [Epub ahead of print]
We report methodological advances that extend the current capabilities of ion-abrasion scanning electron microscopy (IA-SEM), also known as focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy, a newly emerging technology for high resolution imaging of large biological specimens in 3D. We establish protocols that enable the routine generation of 3D image stacks of entire plastic-embedded mammalian cells by IA-SEM at resolutions of ∼10-20nm at high contrast and with minimal artifacts from the focused ion beam. We build on these advances by describing a detailed approach for carrying out correlative live confocal microscopy and IA-SEM on the same cells. Finally, we demonstrate that by combining correlative imaging with newly developed tools for automated image processing, small 100nm-sized entities such as HIV-1 or gold beads can be localized in SEM image stacks of whole mammalian cells. We anticipate that these methods will add to the arsenal of tools available for investigating mechanisms underlying host-pathogen interactions, and more generally, the 3D subcellular architecture of mammalian cells and tissues.
Authors: Medic N, Desai A, Komarow H, Burch LH, Bandara G, Beaven MA, Metcalfe DD, Gilfillan AM
Journal: Cell Calcium [Epub ahead of print]
Mast cells are considered the primary initiators of allergic diseases as a consequence of the release of multiple inflammatory mediators on activation. Although predominately activated through antigen-mediated aggregation of IgE-occupied-FcɛRI, they can also be induced to release mediators by other receptors and environmental stimuli. Based on studies conducted in the RBL 2H3 rodent mast cell line, the transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8) cation channel has been implicated in the activation of mast cells in response to cold and, by inference, the development of urticaria. Here we investigated the expression and role of TRPM8 receptor, in both human and mouse non-transformed cells, with the aim of exploring the potential link between TRPM8 and the pathology of cold urticaria in humans. Although expressed in mouse mast cells, we found no evidence of TRPM8 expression in human mast cells or functional mutations in TRPM8 in cold urticaria patients. Furthermore, neither mouse nor human primary cultured mast cells degranulated in response to cold challenge or TRPM8 agonists and mast cell reactivity was unaffected in Trpm8(-/-) mice. From these data, we conclude that TRPM8 is unlikely to directly regulate mast cell activation in cold urticaria. Thus, alternative mechanisms likely exist for the pathogenesis of this disease.
Authors: Manolio TA, Green ED.
Journal: Cell. 2011 Sep 30;147(1):14-6.
The potential for the burgeoning knowledge of genome structure and function to improve medical care has long been anticipated (Collins, 1999), but until very recently, the actual clinical application of genomics has been limited (Green and Guyer, 2011). Despite concerns about the pace of medically relevant genomic discoveries and the implementation of genomic medicine (clinical care based on or influenced by knowledge of a patient's specific genomic variants) (Varmus, 2010), growing numbers of encouraging examples are now in hand. Early case reports of genomic-based diagnoses leading to altered treatment and an improved clinical course, facilitated by advancing genomic technologies such as whole-exome and -genome sequencing, illustrate the potential of genomically informed medicine for improving clinical care. Such reports also demonstrate the critical role that basic science approaches play in characterizing implicated variants and pointing toward more effective treatments. Here, we describe several recent successes in genomic medicine that illustrate the critical interplay between basic and translational researchers that will be required to make the routine use of genomic medicine a reality.
Authors: Li Y, O'Dell S, Walker LM, Wu X, Guenaga J, Feng Y, Schmidt SD, McKee K, Louder MK, Ledgerwood JE, Graham BS, Haynes BF, Burton DR, Wyatt RT, Mascola JR
Journal: J Virol. 2011 Sep;85(17):8954-67. Epub 2011 Jun 29
The structure of VRC01 in complex with the HIV-1 gp120 core reveals that this broadly neutralizing CD4 binding site (CD4bs) antibody partially mimics the interaction of the primary virus receptor, CD4, with gp120. Here, we extended the investigation of the VRC01-gp120 core interaction to the biologically relevant viral spike to better understand the mechanism of VRC01-mediated neutralization and to define viral elements associated with neutralization resistance. In contrast to the interaction of CD4 or the CD4bs monoclonal antibody (MAb) b12 with the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env), occlusion of the VRC01 epitope by quaternary constraints was not a major factor limiting neutralization. Mutagenesis studies indicated that VRC01 contacts within the gp120 loop D, the CD4 binding loop, and the V5 region were necessary for optimal VRC01 neutralization, as suggested by the crystal structure. In contrast to interactions with the soluble gp120 monomer, VRC01 interaction with the native viral spike did not occur in a CD4-like manner; VRC01 did not induce gp120 shedding from the Env spike or enhance gp41 membrane proximal external region (MPER)-directed antibody binding to the Env spike. Finally, VRC01 did not display significant reactivity with human antigens, boding well for potential in vivo applications. The data indicate that VRC01 interacts with gp120 in the context of the functional spike in a manner distinct from that of CD4. It achieves potent neutralization by precisely targeting the CD4bs without requiring alterations of Env spike configuration and by avoiding steric constraints imposed by the quaternary structure of the functional Env spike.
Authors: Zhang P, Casaday-Potts R, Precht P, Jiang H, Liu Y, Pazin MJ, Mattson MP
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A [Epub ahead of print]
Telomere repeat-binding factor 2 (TRF2) is critical for telomere integrity in dividing stem and somatic cells, but its role in postmitotic neurons is unknown. Apart from protecting telomeres, nuclear TRF2 interacts with the master neuronal gene-silencer repressor element 1-silencing transcription factor (REST), and disruption of this interaction induces neuronal differentiation. Here we report a developmental switch from the expression of TRF2 in proliferating neural progenitor cells to expression of a unique short nontelomeric isoform of TRF2 (TRF2-S) as neurons establish a fully differentiated state. Unlike nuclear TRF2, which enhances REST-mediated gene repression, TRF2-S is located in the cytoplasm where it sequesters REST, thereby maintaining the expression of neuronal genes, including those encoding glutamate receptors, cell adhesion, and neurofilament proteins. In neurons, TRF2-S-mediated antagonism of REST nuclear activity is greatly attenuated by either overexpression of TRF2 or administration of the excitatory amino acid kainic acid. Overexpression of TRF2-S rescues kainic acid-induced REST nuclear accumulation and its gene-silencing effects. Thus, TRF2-S acts as part of a unique developmentally regulated molecular switch that plays critical roles in the maintenance and plasticity of neurons.
Authors: Ihne JL, Fitzgerald PJ, Hefner KR, Holmes A
Journal: Neuropharmacology [Epub ahead of print]
Psychological stress is a major risk factor for mood and anxiety disorders. However, the phenotypic manifestation of stress effects varies across individuals, likely due, in part, to genetic variation. Modeling the behavioral and neural consequences of stress across genetically diverse inbred mouse strains is a valuable approach to studying gene × stress interactions. Recent work has shown that C57BL/6J mice exposed to ten daily sessions of restraint stress exhibited increased exploration of the aversive light compartment in the light/dark exploration (LDE) test. Here we sought to clarify the nature of this stress-induced phenotype by testing the ability of treatment with various clinically efficacious drugs of different therapeutic classes to rescue it. Ten days of restraint increased light compartment exploration, reduced body weight and sensitized the corticosterone response to swim stress. Subchronic administration (during stress and LDE testing) of fluoxetine, and to a lesser extent, lithium chloride, rescued stress-induced LDE behavior. Chronic fluoxetine treatment prior to (plus during stress and testing) failed to block the LDE stress effect. Acute administration of antipsychotic haloperidol, anti-ADHD medication methylphenidate or anxiolytic drug chlordiazepoxide, prior to LDE testing, was also unable to normalize the LDE stress effect. Collectively, these data demonstrate a treatment-selective prophylactic rescue of a restraint stress-induced behavioral abnormality in the C57BL/6J inbred strain. Further work with this novel model could help elucidate genetic and neural mechanisms mediating stress-induced changes in mouse 'emotion-relevant' behaviors and, ultimately, further understanding of the pathophysiology of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Anxiety and Depression'.
Authors: Bell DW, Sikdar N, Lee KY, Price JC, Chatterjee R, Park HD, Fox J, Ishiai M, Rudd ML, Pollock LM, Fogoros SK, Mohamed H, Hanigan CL; NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Zhang S, Cruz P, Renaud G, Hansen NF, Cherukuri PF, Borate B, McManus KJ, Stoepel J, Sipahimalani P, Godwin AK, Sgroi DC, Merino MJ, Elliot G, Elkahloun A, Vinson C, Takata M, Mullikin JC, Wolfsberg TG, Hieter P, Lim DS, Myung K
Journal: PLoS Genet 7(8):e1002245
ATAD5, the human ortholog of yeast Elg1, plays a role in PCNA deubiquitination. Since PCNA modification is important to regulate DNA damage bypass, ATAD5 may be important for suppression of genomic instability in mammals in vivo. To test this hypothesis, we generated heterozygous (Atad5(+/m)) mice that were haploinsuffficient for Atad5. Atad5(+/m) mice displayed high levels of genomic instability in vivo, and Atad5(+/m) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) exhibited molecular defects in PCNA deubiquitination in response to DNA damage, as well as DNA damage hypersensitivity and high levels of genomic instability, apoptosis, and aneuploidy. Importantly, 90% of haploinsufficient Atad5(+/m) mice developed tumors, including sarcomas, carcinomas, and adenocarcinomas, between 11 and 20 months of age. High levels of genomic alterations were evident in tumors that arose in the Atad5(+/m) mice. Consistent with a role for Atad5 in suppressing tumorigenesis, we also identified somatic mutations of ATAD5 in 4.6% of sporadic human endometrial tumors, including two nonsense mutations that resulted in loss of proper ATAD5 function. Taken together, our findings indicate that loss-of-function mutations in mammalian Atad5 are sufficient to cause genomic instability and tumorigenesis.
Authors: Lindhurst MJ, Sapp JC, Teer JK, Johnston JJ, Finn EM, Peters K, Turner J, Cannons JL, Bick D, Blakemore L, Blumhorst C, Brockmann K, Calder P, Cherman N, Deardorff MA, Everman DB, Golas G, Greenstein RM, Kato BM, Keppler-Noreuil KM, Kuznetsov SA, Miyamoto RT, Newman K, Ng D, O'Brien K, Rothenberg S, Schwartzentruber DJ, Singhal V, Tirabosco R, Upton J, Wientroub S, Zackai EH, Hoag K, Whitewood-Neal T, Robey PG, Schwartzberg PL, Darling TN, Tosi LL, Mullikin JC, Biesecker LG
Journal: N Engl J Med. 2011 Aug 18;365(7):611-9.
The Proteus syndrome is characterized by the overgrowth of skin, connective tissue, brain, and other tissues. It has been hypothesized that the syndrome is caused by somatic mosaicism for a mutation that is lethal in the nonmosaic state.