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Thomas J Lawton, Amy C Rosenzweig
Nature utilizes two groups of enzymes to catalyze methane conversions, methyl-coenzyme M reductases (MCRs) and methane monooxygenases (MMOs). These enzymes have been difficult to incorporate into industrial processes due to their complexity, poor stability, and lack of recombinant tractability. Despite these issues, new ways of preparing and stabilizing these enzymes have recently been discovered, and new mechanistic insight into how MCRs and MMOs break the C-H bond in nature's most inert hydrocarbon have been obtained...
October 18, 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Biology
Kenneth M McCullough, Dennis Choi, Jidong Guo, Kelsey Zimmerman, Jordan Walton, Donald G Rainnie, Kerry J Ressler
Molecular characterization of neuron populations, particularly those controlling threat responses, is essential for understanding the cellular basis of behaviour and identifying pharmacological agents acting selectively on fear-controlling circuitry. Here we demonstrate a comprehensive workflow for identification of pharmacologically tractable markers of behaviourally characterized cell populations. Thy1-eNpHR-, Thy1-Cre- and Thy1-eYFP-labelled neurons of the BLA consistently act as fear inhibiting or 'Fear-Off' neurons during behaviour...
October 21, 2016: Nature Communications
William Severa, Ojas Parekh, Conrad D James, James B Aimone
The dentate gyrus forms a critical link between the entorhinal cortex and CA3 by providing a sparse version of the signal. Concurrent with this increase in sparsity, a widely accepted theory suggests the dentate gyrus performs pattern separation-similar inputs yield decorrelated outputs. Although an active region of study and theory, few logically rigorous arguments detail the dentate gyrus's (DG) coding. We suggest a theoretically tractable, combinatorial model for this action. The model provides formal methods for a highly redundant, arbitrarily sparse, and decorrelated output signal...
October 20, 2016: Neural Computation
Yoonsik Shim, Andrew Philippides, Kevin Staras, Phil Husbands
We propose a biologically plausible architecture for unsupervised ensemble learning in a population of spiking neural network classifiers. A mixture of experts type organisation is shown to be effective, with the individual classifier outputs combined via a gating network whose operation is driven by input timing dependent plasticity (ITDP). The ITDP gating mechanism is based on recent experimental findings. An abstract, analytically tractable model of the ITDP driven ensemble architecture is derived from a logical model based on the probabilities of neural firing events...
October 2016: PLoS Computational Biology
Tao Wu, Emilie Heuillard, Véronique Lindner, Ghina Bou About, Mihaela Ignat, Jean-Philippe Dillenseger, Nicolas Anton, Eugénie Dalimier, Francine Gossé, Gael Fouré, Franck Blindauer, Céline Giraudeau, Hussein El-Saghire, Mourad Bouhadjar, Cynthia Calligaro, Tania Sorg, Philippe Choquet, Thierry Vandamme, Christophe Ferrand, Jacques Marescaux, Thomas F Baumert, Michele Diana, Patrick Pessaux, Eric Robinet
The development of multimodal strategies for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma requires tractable animal models allowing for advanced in vivo imaging. Here, we characterize an orthotopic hepatocellular carcinoma model based on the injection of luciferase-expressing human hepatoma Huh-7 (Huh-7-Luc) cells in immunodeficient mice. Luciferase allows for an easy repeated monitoring of tumor growth by in vivo bioluminescence. The intrahepatic injection was more efficient than intrasplenic or intraportal injection in terms of survival, rate of orthotopic engraftment, and easiness...
October 14, 2016: Scientific Reports
Timothy Chao, Emma E Furth, Robert H Vonderheide
Tumor-associated neutrophils are increasingly recognized for their ability to promote tumor progression, mediate resistance to therapy, and regulate immunosuppression. Evidence from various murine models has shown that the chemokine receptor CXCR2 attracts neutrophil into tumors and, therefore, represents a tractable therapeutic target. Here, we report prominent expression of a neutrophil gene signature in a subset of human pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDA). CXCL5 was the most prominently expressed CXCR2 ligand in human PDA, and its expression was higher in PDA than in any other common tumor represented in The Cancer Genome Atlas...
October 13, 2016: Cancer Immunology Research
Alana M Thackray, Olivier Andreoletti, Raymond Bujdoso
In pursuit of a tractable bioassay to assess blood prion infectivity we have generated PrP transgenic Drosophila , which show a neurotoxic phenotype in adulthood after exposure to exogenous prions at the larval stage. Here we determined the sensitivity of ovine PrP transgenic Drosophila to ovine prion infectivity by exposure of these flies to a dilution series of scrapie-infected sheep brain homogenate. Ovine PrP transgenic Drosophila showed a significant neurotoxic response to dilutions of 10-2 through to 10-10 of the original scrapie-infected sheep brain homogenate...
October 12, 2016: Biochemical Journal
Elizabeth G Pringle
Life on earth is enormously diverse, in part because each individual engages in countless interactions with its biotic and abiotic environment during its lifetime. Not only are there many such interactions, but any given interaction of each individual with, say, its neighbor or a nutrient could lead to a different effect on its fitness and on the dynamics of the population of which it is a member. Predicting those effects is an enduring challenge to the field of ecology. Using a simple laboratory system, Hoek and colleagues present evidence that resource availability can be a primary driver of variation between interactions...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Stefan Thiem, Moritz F Eissmann, Emma Stuart, Joachim Elzer, Anna Jonas, Michael Buchert, Matthias Ernst
Temporal and spatial regulation of genes mediated by tissue-specific promoters and conditional gene expression systems provide a powerful tool to study gene function in health, disease and during development. Although transgenic mice expressing the Cre recombinase in the gastric epithelium have been reported, there is a lack of models that allow inducible and reversible gene modification in the stomach. Here, we exploited the gastrointestinal epithelium-specific expression pattern of the three trefoil factor (Tff) genes and bacterial artificial chromosome transgenesis to generate a novel mouse strain that expresses the CreERT2 recombinase and the reverse tetracycline transactivator (rtTA)...
October 12, 2016: Genesis: the Journal of Genetics and Development
Frank W Smith, Bob Goldstein
The origin and diversification of segmented metazoan body plans has fascinated biologists for over a century. The superphylum Panarthropoda includes three phyla of segmented animals-Euarthropoda, Onychophora, and Tardigrada. This superphylum includes representatives with relatively simple and representatives with relatively complex segmented body plans. At one extreme of this continuum, euarthropods exhibit an incredible diversity of serially homologous segments. Furthermore, distinct tagmosis patterns are exhibited by different classes of euarthropods...
October 7, 2016: Arthropod Structure & Development
S R C Howie, J Schellenberg, O Chimah, R C Ideh, B E Ebruke, C Oluwalana, G Mackenzie, M Jallow, M Njie, S Donkor, K L Dionisio, G Goldberg, K Fornace, C Bottomley, P C Hill, C C Grant, T Corrah, A M Prentice, M Ezzati, B M Greenwood, P G Smith, R A Adegbola, K Mulholland
SETTING: Greater Banjul and Upper River Regions, The Gambia. OBJECTIVE: To investigate tractable social, environmental and nutritional risk factors for childhood pneumonia. DESIGN: A case-control study examining the association of crowding, household air pollution (HAP) and nutritional factors with pneumonia was undertaken in children aged 2-59 months: 458 children with severe pneumonia, defined according to the modified WHO criteria, were compared with 322 children with non-severe pneumonia, and these groups were compared to 801 neighbourhood controls...
October 2016: International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Camilla M Whittington, Kevin Danastas, Georges E Grau, Christopher R Murphy, Michael B Thompson
Vascular endothelial growth factor A is a major mediator of angiogenesis, a critically important process in vertebrate growth and development as well as pregnancy. Here we report for the first time the expression of a rare and unusually potent splice variant, VEGF 111 , in vivo in mammals. This variant has previously only been found in mammals in cultured human cells exposed to genotoxic agents. Our discovery of VEGF 111 in the uterus of both a eutherian (rat) and a marsupial (fat-tailed dunnart) suggests that the splice variant may be common to all mammals...
October 8, 2016: Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Carlo Ng Giachello, Richard A Baines
Stability of neural circuits is reliant on homeostatic mechanisms that return neuron activity towards pre-determined and physiologically appropriate levels. Without these mechanisms, changes due to synaptic plasticity, ageing and disease may push neural circuits towards instability. Whilst widely documented, understanding of how and when neurons determine an appropriate activity level, the so-called set-point, remains unknown. Genetically tractable model systems have greatly contributed to our understanding of neuronal homeostasis and continue to offer attractive models to explore these additional questions...
October 6, 2016: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Thomas G McWilliams, Ian G Ganley
The past decade has seen an intensive and concerted research effort into the molecular regulation of mitophagy, the selective autophagy of mitochondria. Cell-based studies have implicated mitophagy in the pathology of diverse conditions ranging from cancer to neurodegeneration. However, a definitive link between mitophagy and the aetiology of human disease remains to be demonstrated. Moreover, we do not know how pervasive mammalian mitophagy is in vivo and fundamental questions remain unanswered. For example, is mitophagy common to all tissues under basal conditions or does it only occur in highly oxidative tissues under stress? This paucity of knowledge is largely due to a lack of experimentally tractable tools that can measure and monitor mitophagy in tissues...
October 7, 2016: Autophagy
Cherrie L Small, Lydia Xing, Joseph B McPhee, Hong T Law, Brian K Coombes
Crohn's disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory condition of diverse etiology. Exposure to foodborne pathogens causing acute gastroenteritis produces a long-term risk of CD well into the post-infectious period but the mechanistic basis for this ongoing relationship to disease onset is unknown. We developed two novel models to study the comorbidity of acute gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella Typhimurium or Citrobacter rodentium in mice colonized with adherent-invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC), a bacterial pathobiont linked to CD...
October 2016: PLoS Pathogens
Martin Y Peek, Gwyneth M Card
Neural circuits mediating visually evoked escape behaviors are promising systems in which to dissect the neural basis of behavior. Behavioral responses to predator-like looming stimuli, and their underlying neural computations, are remarkably similar across species. Recently, genetic tools have been applied in this classical paradigm, revealing novel non-cortical pathways that connect loom processing to defensive behaviors in mammals and demonstrating that loom encoding models from locusts also fit vertebrate neural responses...
October 3, 2016: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Henrike Knacke, Maik Pietzner, Kieu Trinh Do, Werner Römisch-Margl, Gabi Kastenmüller, Uwe Völker, Henry Völzke, Jan Krumsiek, Anna Artati, Henri Wallaschofski, Matthias Nauck, Karsten Suhre, Jerzy Adamski, Nele Friedrich
OBJECTIVE: Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-I) is known for its various physiological and severe pathophysiological effects on human metabolism, however underlying molecular mechanisms still remain unsolved. To reveal possible molecular mechanisms mediating these effects, for the first time we associated serum IGF-I levels with multi-fluid untargeted metabolomics data. METHODS: Plasma/urine samples of 995 non-diabetic participants of the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-TREND) were characterized by mass spectrometry...
October 6, 2016: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
S Negrão, S M Schmöckel, M Tester
BACKGROUND: Because soil salinity is a major abiotic constraint affecting crop yield, much research has been conducted to develop plants with improved salinity tolerance. Salinity stress impacts many aspects of a plant's physiology, making it difficult to study in toto Instead, it is more tractable to dissect the plant's response into traits that are hypothesized to be involved in the overall tolerance of the plant to salinity. SCOPE AND CONCLUSIONS: We discuss how to quantify the impact of salinity on different traits, such as relative growth rate, water relations, transpiration, transpiration use efficiency, ionic relations, photosynthesis, senescence, yield and yield components...
October 5, 2016: Annals of Botany
Talita Dias da Silva, Thais Massetti, Carlos Bandeira de Mello Monteiro, Isabela Lopes Trevizan, Claudia Arab, Fatima Aparecida Caromano, Mariana Callil Voos, Acary Souza Bulle Oliveira, Francis Meire Favero
Objective: To investigate the relationship between DMD and pain. Methods: We conducted a systematic review in Medline/PubMed and BVS (virtual library in health) databases. We searched for articles that showed the terms "Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne" and "Pain" in all fields. All studies included boys diagnosed with DMD and the occurrence/amount of pain on this population. Results: Initially, there were 175 studies. 167 articles were excluded for not meeting the inclusion criteria...
September 2016: Arquivos de Neuro-psiquiatria
Anna Jordanous, Bill Keller
Creativity is a complex, multi-faceted concept encompassing a variety of related aspects, abilities, properties and behaviours. If we wish to study creativity scientifically, then a tractable and well-articulated model of creativity is required. Such a model would be of great value to researchers investigating the nature of creativity and in particular, those concerned with the evaluation of creative practice. This paper describes a unique approach to developing a suitable model of how creative behaviour emerges that is based on the words people use to describe the concept...
2016: PloS One
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