188 research outputs found

    Characteristics of the Pre-College Students at Parkland College

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    Parkland College is a community college of approximately 8,000 students located in Champaign, Illinois. The faculty and administrative staff is concerned with student retention, particularly the retention of those students in the pre-college or underprepared category who take courses that are below the college level. This retention study identified characteristics of underprepared students, interventions that had been successful at model community colleges, and recommended program implications for the future. The study provided base-line data regarding characteristics of the 1346 underprepared students at Parkland College who were taking remedial coursework in the fall of 1988. Data was also gathered for the 612 first-time developmental students with regard to full-time and part-time status, ethnicity, sex, age, program selection, high school rank, and ACT scores. This was compared with the data from the fall of 1989 to determine which students had returned to Parkland for another term and which students had dropped out. A Chi-square statistical analysis was performed at the University of Illinois using the Statistical Analysis System to discover which categories were significant at the .05 level. A profile was then drawn of the pre-college student at Parkland College. This profile indicated that members of the underprepared group were younger, predominantly fulltime, and more likely to be male and Black than the student population as a whole. Parkland was attracting a higher percentage of first-time students in the pre-college program than in its regular program. The first-time developmental students who were in the lower high school quartile, male, Black, part-time, or who had low ACT scores were the ones more likely to drop out. These students should be Parkland\u27s target population for curricular, advising, and budgetary intervention

    Potential function for the Huntingtin protein as a scaffold for selective autophagy

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    Although dominant gain-of-function triplet repeat expansions in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene are the underlying cause of Huntington disease (HD), understanding the normal functions of nonmutant HTT protein has remained a challenge. We report here findings that suggest that HTT plays a significant role in selective autophagy. Loss of HTT function in Drosophila disrupts starvation-induced autophagy in larvae and conditional knockout of HTT in the mouse CNS causes characteristic cellular hallmarks of disrupted autophagy, including an accumulation of striatal p62/SQSTM1 over time. We observe that specific domains of HTT have structural similarities to yeast Atg proteins that function in selective autophagy, and in particular that the C-terminal domain of HTT shares structural similarity to yeast Atg11, an autophagic scaffold protein. To explore possible functional similarity between HTT and Atg11, we investigated whether the C-terminal domain of HTT interacts with mammalian counterparts of yeast Atg11-interacting proteins. Strikingly, this domain of HTT coimmunoprecipitates with several key Atg11 interactors, including the Atg1/Unc-51–like autophagy activating kinase 1 kinase complex, autophagic receptor proteins, and mammalian Atg8 homologs. Mutation of a phylogenetically conserved WXXL domain in a C-terminal HTT fragment reduces coprecipitation with mammalian Atg8 homolog GABARAPL1, suggesting a direct interaction. Collectively, these data support a possible central role for HTT as an Atg11-like scaffold protein. These findings have relevance to both mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and to therapeutic intervention strategies that reduce levels of both mutant and normal HTT.Hereditary Disease Foundation (U.S.)Cure Huntington’s Disease Initiative, Inc.Fox Family Foundatio

    SUMO-2 and PIAS1 Modulate Insoluble Mutant Huntingtin Protein Accumulation

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    SUMMARY A key feature in Huntington disease (HD) is the accumulation of mutant Huntingtin (HTT) protein, which may be regulated by posttranslational modifications. Here, we define the primary sites of SUMO modification in the amino-terminal domain of HTT, show modification downstream of this domain, and demonstrate that HTT is modified by the stress-inducible SUMO-2. A systematic study of E3 SUMO ligases demonstrates that PIAS1 is an E3 SUMO ligase for both HTT SUMO-1 and SUMO-2 modification and that reduction of dPIAS in a mutant HTT Drosophila model is protective. SUMO-2 modification regulates accumulation of insoluble HTT in HeLa cells in a manner that mimics proteasome inhibition and can be modulated by overexpression and acute knockdown of PIAS1. Finally, the accumulation of SUMO-2-modified proteins in the insoluble fraction of HD postmortem striata implicates SUMO-2 modification in the age-related pathogenic accumulation of mutant HTT and other cellular proteins that occurs during HD progression

    A cellular trafficking signal in the SIV envelope protein cytoplasmic domain is strongly selected for in pathogenic infection

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    The HIV/SIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) cytoplasmic domain contains a highly conserved Tyr-based trafficking signal that mediates both clathrin-dependent endocytosis and polarized sorting. Despite extensive analysis, the role of these functions in viral infection and pathogenesis is unclear. An SIV molecular clone (SIVmac239) in which this signal is inactivated by deletion of Gly-720 and Tyr-721 (SIVmac239ΔGY), replicates acutely to high levels in pigtail macaques (PTM) but is rapidly controlled. However, we previously reported that rhesus macaques and PTM can progress to AIDS following SIVmac239ΔGY infection in association with novel amino acid changes in the Env cytoplasmic domain. These included an R722G flanking the ΔGY deletion and a nine nucleotide deletion encoding amino acids 734–736 (ΔQTH) that overlaps the rev and tat open reading frames. We show that molecular clones containing these mutations reconstitute signals for both endocytosis and polarized sorting. In one PTM, a novel genotype was selected that generated a new signal for polarized sorting but not endocytosis. This genotype, together with the ΔGY mutation, was conserved in association with high viral loads for several months when introduced into naïve PTMs. For the first time, our findings reveal strong selection pressure for Env endocytosis and particularly for polarized sorting during pathogenic SIV infection in vivo

    The PTEN Phosphatase Controls Intestinal Epithelial Cell Polarity and Barrier Function: Role in Colorectal Cancer Progression

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    The PTEN phosphatase acts on phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphates resulting from phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activation. PTEN expression has been shown to be decreased in colorectal cancer. Little is known however as to the specific cellular role of PTEN in human intestinal epithelial cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of PTEN in human colorectal cancer cells.Caco-2/15, HCT116 and CT26 cells were infected with recombinant lentiviruses expressing a shRNA specifically designed to knock-down PTEN. The impact of PTEN downregulation was analyzed on cell polarization and differentiation, intercellular junction integrity (expression of cell-cell adhesion proteins, barrier function), migration (wound assay), invasion (matrigel-coated transwells) and on tumor and metastasis formation in mice. Electron microscopy analysis showed that lentiviral infection of PTEN shRNA significantly inhibited Caco-2/15 cell polarization, functional differentiation and brush border development. A strong reduction in claudin 1, 3, 4 and 8 was also observed as well as a decrease in transepithelial resistance. Loss of PTEN expression increased the spreading, migration and invasion capacities of colorectal cancer cells in vitro. PTEN downregulation also increased tumor size following subcutaneous injection of colorectal cancer cells in nude mice. Finally, loss of PTEN expression in HCT116 and CT26, but not in Caco-2/15, led to an increase in their metastatic potential following tail-vein injections in mice.Altogether, these results indicate that PTEN controls cellular polarity, establishment of cell-cell junctions, paracellular permeability, migration and tumorigenic/metastatic potential of human colorectal cancer cells

    Molecular Characterization of HIV-1 CRF01_AE in Mekong Delta, Vietnam, and Impact of T-Cell Epitope Mutations on HLA Recognition (ANRS 12159)

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    To date, 11 HIV-1 subtypes and 48 circulating recombinant forms have been described worldwide. The underlying reason why their distribution is so heterogeneous is not clear. Host genetic factors could partly explain this distribution. The aim of this study was to describe HIV-1 strains circulating in an unexplored area of Mekong Delta, Vietnam, and to assess the impact of optimal epitope mutations on HLA binding.We recruited 125 chronically antiretroviral-naive HIV-1-infected subjects from five cities in the Mekong Delta. We performed high-resolution DNA typing of HLA class I alleles, sequencing of Gag and RT-Prot genes and phylogenetic analysis of the strains. Epitope mutations were analyzed in patients bearing the HLA allele restricting the studied epitope. Optimal wild-type epitopes from the Los Alamos database were used as reference. T-cell epitope recognition was predicted using the immune epitope database tool according to three different scores involved in antigen processing (TAP and proteasome scores) and HLA binding (MHC score). with a Vietnamese specificity held by two different haplotypes. The percentage of homology between Mekong and B consensus HIV-1 sequences was above 85%. Divergent epitopes had TAP and proteasome scores comparable with wild-type epitopes. MHC scores were significantly lower in divergent epitopes with a mean of 2.4 (±0.9) versus 2 (±0.7) in non-divergent ones (p<0.0001).Our study confirms the wide predominance of CRF01_AE in the Mekong Delta where patients harbor a specific HLA pattern. Moreover, it demonstrates the lower MHC binding affinity among divergent epitopes. This weak immune pressure combined with a narrow genetic diversity favors immune escape and could explain why CRF01_AE is still predominant in Vietnam, particularly in the Mekong area

    Modelling the Evolution and Spread of HIV Immune Escape Mutants

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    During infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), immune pressure from cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) selects for viral mutants that confer escape from CTL recognition. These escape variants can be transmitted between individuals where, depending upon their cost to viral fitness and the CTL responses made by the recipient, they may revert. The rates of within-host evolution and their concordant impact upon the rate of spread of escape mutants at the population level are uncertain. Here we present a mathematical model of within-host evolution of escape mutants, transmission of these variants between hosts and subsequent reversion in new hosts. The model is an extension of the well-known SI model of disease transmission and includes three further parameters that describe host immunogenetic heterogeneity and rates of within host viral evolution. We use the model to explain why some escape mutants appear to have stable prevalence whilst others are spreading through the population. Further, we use it to compare diverse datasets on CTL escape, highlighting where different sources agree or disagree on within-host evolutionary rates. The several dozen CTL epitopes we survey from HIV-1 gag, RT and nef reveal a relatively sedate rate of evolution with average rates of escape measured in years and reversion in decades. For many epitopes in HIV, occasional rapid within-host evolution is not reflected in fast evolution at the population level

    Low CD4+ T Cell Counts among African HIV-1 Infected Subjects with Group B KIR Haplotypes in the Absence of Specific Inhibitory KIR Ligands

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    Natural killer (NK) cells are regulated by interactions between polymorphic killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) and human leukocyte antigens (HLA). Genotypic combinations of KIR3DS1/L1 and HLA Bw4-80I were previously shown to influence HIV-1 disease progression, however other KIR genes have not been well studied. In this study, we analyzed the influence of all activating and inhibitory KIR, in association with the known HLA inhibitory KIR ligands, on markers of disease progression in a West African population of therapy-naïve HIV-1 infected subjects. We observed a significant association between carriage of a group B KIR haplotype and lower CD4+ T cell counts, with an additional effect for KIR3DS1 within the frame of this haplotype. In contrast, we found that individuals carrying genes for the inhibitory KIR ligands HLA-Bw4 as well as HLA-C1 showed significantly higher CD4+ T cell counts. These associations were independent from the viral load and from individual HIV-1 protective HLA alleles. Our data suggest that group B KIR haplotypes and lack of specific inhibitory KIR ligand genes, genotypes considered to favor NK cell activation, are predictive of HIV-1 disease progression
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