121 research outputs found

    Reduction of mm-Regular Noncrossing Partitions

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    In this paper, we present a reduction algorithm which transforms mm-regular partitions of [n]={1,2,...,n}[n]=\{1, 2, ..., n\} to (m1)(m-1)-regular partitions of [n1][n-1]. We show that this algorithm preserves the noncrossing property. This yields a simple explanation of an identity due to Simion-Ullman and Klazar in connection with enumeration problems on noncrossing partitions and RNA secondary structures. For ordinary noncrossing partitions, the reduction algorithm leads to a representation of noncrossing partitions in terms of independent arcs and loops, as well as an identity of Simion and Ullman which expresses the Narayana numbers in terms of the Catalan numbers

    Riordan Paths and Derangements

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    Riordan paths are Motzkin paths without horizontal steps on the x-axis. We establish a correspondence between Riordan paths and (321,31ˉ42)(321,3\bar{1}42)-avoiding derangements. We also present a combinatorial proof of a recurrence relation for the Riordan numbers in the spirit of the Foata-Zeilberger proof of a recurrence relation on the Schr\"oder numbers.Comment: 9 pages, 2 figure

    A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Pioglitazone in Combination with Riluzole in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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    BACKGROUND: Pioglitazone, an oral anti-diabetic that stimulates the PPAR-gamma transcription factor, increased survival of mice with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We performed a phase II, double blind, multicentre, placebo controlled trial of pioglitazone in ALS patients under riluzole. 219 patients were randomly assigned to receive 45 mg/day of pioglitazone or placebo (one: one allocation ratio). The primary endpoint was survival. Secondary endpoints included incidence of non-invasive ventilation and tracheotomy, and slopes of ALS-FRS, slow vital capacity, and quality of life as assessed using EUROQoL EQ-5D. The study was conducted under a two-stage group sequential test, allowing to stop for futility or superiority after interim analysis. Shortly after interim analysis, 30 patients under pioglitazone and 24 patients under placebo had died. The trial was stopped for futility; the hazard ratio for primary endpoint was 1.21 (95% CI: 0.71-2.07, p = 0.48). Secondary endpoints were not modified by pioglitazone treatment. Pioglitazone was well tolerated. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Pioglitazone has no beneficial effects on the survival of ALS patients as add-on therapy to riluzole. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00690118

    International Network for Comparison of HIV Neutralization Assays: The NeutNet Report

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    BACKGROUND: Neutralizing antibody assessments play a central role in human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) vaccine development but it is unclear which assay, or combination of assays, will provide reliable measures of correlates of protection. To address this, an international collaboration (NeutNet) involving 18 independent participants was organized to compare different assays. METHODS: Each laboratory evaluated four neutralizing reagents (TriMab, 447-52D, 4E10, sCD4) at a given range of concentrations against a panel of 11 viruses representing a wide range of genetic subtypes and phenotypes. A total of 16 different assays were compared. The assays utilized either uncloned virus produced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) (virus infectivity assays, VI assays), or their Env-pseudotyped (gp160) derivatives produced in 293T cells (PSV assays) from molecular clones or uncloned virus. Target cells included PBMC and genetically-engineered cell lines in either a single- or multiple-cycle infection format. Infection was quantified by using a range of assay read-outs that included extracellular or intracellular p24 antigen detection, RNA quantification and luciferase and beta-galactosidase reporter gene expression. FINDINGS: PSV assays were generally more sensitive than VI assays, but there were important differences according to the virus and inhibitor used. For example, for TriMab, the mean IC50 was always lower in PSV than in VI assays. However, with 4E10 or sCD4 some viruses were neutralized with a lower IC50 in VI assays than in the PSV assays. Inter-laboratory concordance was slightly better for PSV than for VI assays with some viruses, but for other viruses agreement between laboratories was limited and depended on both the virus and the neutralizing reagent. CONCLUSIONS: The NeutNet project demonstrated clear differences in assay sensitivity that were dependent on both the neutralizing reagent and the virus. No single assay was capable of detecting the entire spectrum of neutralizing activities. Since it is not known which in vitro assay correlates with in vivo protection, a range of neutralization assays is recommended for vaccine evaluation

    The Stimulatory Gαs Protein Is Involved in Olfactory Signal Transduction in Drosophila

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    Seven-transmembrane receptors typically mediate olfactory signal transduction by coupling to G-proteins. Although insect odorant receptors have seven transmembrane domains like G-protein coupled receptors, they have an inverted membrane topology, constituting a key difference between the olfactory systems of insects and other animals. While heteromeric insect ORs form ligand-activated non-selective cation channels in recombinant expression systems, the evidence for an involvement of cyclic nucleotides and G-proteins in odor reception is inconsistent. We addressed this question in vivo by analyzing the role of G-proteins in olfactory signaling using electrophysiological recordings. We found that Gαs plays a crucial role for odorant induced signal transduction in OR83b expressing olfactory sensory neurons, but not in neurons expressing CO2 responsive proteins GR21a/GR63a. Moreover, signaling of Drosophila ORs involved Gαs also in a heterologous expression system. In agreement with these observations was the finding that elevated levels of cAMP result in increased firing rates, demonstrating the existence of a cAMP dependent excitatory signaling pathway in the sensory neurons. Together, we provide evidence that Gαs plays a role in the OR mediated signaling cascade in Drosophila

    Heterologous Expression of Membrane Proteins: Choosing the Appropriate Host

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    International audienceBACKGROUND: Membrane proteins are the targets of 50% of drugs, although they only represent 1% of total cellular proteins. The first major bottleneck on the route to their functional and structural characterisation is their overexpression; and simply choosing the right system can involve many months of trial and error. This work is intended as a guide to where to start when faced with heterologous expression of a membrane protein. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The expression of 20 membrane proteins, both peripheral and integral, in three prokaryotic (E. coli, L. lactis, R. sphaeroides) and three eukaryotic (A. thaliana, N. benthamiana, Sf9 insect cells) hosts was tested. The proteins tested were of various origins (bacteria, plants and mammals), functions (transporters, receptors, enzymes) and topologies (between 0 and 13 transmembrane segments). The Gateway system was used to clone all 20 genes into appropriate vectors for the hosts to be tested. Culture conditions were optimised for each host, and specific strategies were tested, such as the use of Mistic fusions in E. coli. 17 of the 20 proteins were produced at adequate yields for functional and, in some cases, structural studies. We have formulated general recommendations to assist with choosing an appropriate system based on our observations of protein behaviour in the different hosts. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Most of the methods presented here can be quite easily implemented in other laboratories. The results highlight certain factors that should be considered when selecting an expression host. The decision aide provided should help both newcomers and old-hands to select the best system for their favourite membrane protein
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