1,063 research outputs found

    DNA-binding by Haemophilus influenzae and Escherichia coli YbaB, members of a widely-distributed bacterial protein family

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    BACKGROUND: Genes orthologous to the ybaB loci of Escherichia coli and Haemophilus influenzae are widely distributed among eubacteria. Several years ago, the three-dimensional structures of the YbaB orthologs of both E. coli and H. influenzae were determined, revealing a novel tweezer -like structure. However, a function for YbaB had remained elusive, with an early study of the H. influenzae ortholog failing to detect DNA-binding activity. Our group recently determined that the Borrelia burgdorferi YbaB ortholog, EbfC, is a DNA-binding protein. To reconcile those results, we assessed the abilities of both the H. influenzae and E. coli YbaB proteins to bind DNA to which B. burgdorferi EbfC can bind. RESULTS: Both the H. influenzae and the E. coli YbaB proteins bound to tested DNAs. DNA-binding was not well competed with poly-dI-dC, indicating some sequence preferences for those two proteins. Analyses of binding characteristics determined that both YbaB orthologs bind as homodimers. Different DNA sequence preferences were observed between H. influenzae YbaB, E. coli YbaB and B. burgdorferi EbfC, consistent with amino acid differences in the putative DNA-binding domains of these proteins. CONCLUSION: Three distinct members of the YbaB/EbfC bacterial protein family have now been demonstrated to bind DNA. Members of this protein family are encoded by a broad range of bacteria, including many pathogenic species, and results of our studies suggest that all such proteins have DNA-binding activities. The functions of YbaB/EbfC family members in each bacterial species are as-yet unknown, but given the ubiquity of these DNA-binding proteins among Eubacteria, further investigations are warranted

    Facial Curvature Detects and Explicates Ethnic Differences in Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

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    Background Our objective is to help clinicians detect the facial effects of prenatal alcohol exposure by developing computer-based tools for screening facial form. Methods All 415 individuals considered were evaluated by expert dysmorphologists and categorized as (i) healthy control (HC), (ii) fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), or (iii) heavily prenatally alcohol exposed (HE) but not clinically diagnosable as FAS; 3D facial photographs were used to build models of facial form to support discrimination studies. Surface curvature-based delineations of facial form were introduced. Results (i) Facial growth in FAS, HE, and control subgroups is similar in both cohorts. (ii) Cohort consistency of agreement between clinical diagnosis and HC-FAS facial form classification is lower for midline facial regions and higher for nonmidline regions. (iii) Specific HC-FAS differences within and between the cohorts include: for HC, a smoother philtrum in Cape Coloured individuals; for FAS, a smoother philtrum in Caucasians; for control-FAS philtrum difference, greater homogeneity in Caucasians; for control-FAS face difference, greater homogeneity in Cape Coloured individuals. (iv) Curvature changes in facial profile induced by prenatal alcohol exposure are more homogeneous and greater in Cape Coloureds than in Caucasians. (v) The Caucasian HE subset divides into clusters with control-like and FAS-like facial dysmorphism. The Cape Coloured HE subset is similarly divided for nonmidline facial regions but not clearly for midline structures. (vi) The Cape Coloured HE subset with control-like facial dysmorphism shows orbital hypertelorism. Conclusions Facial curvature assists the recognition of the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and helps explain why different facial regions result in inconsistent control-FAS discrimination rates in disparate ethnic groups. Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure can give rise to orbital hypertelorism, supporting a long-standing suggestion that prenatal alcohol exposure at a particular time causes increased separation of the brain hemispheres with a concomitant increase in orbital separation

    Antilymphoid antibody preconditioning and tacrolimus monotherapy for pediatric kidney transplantation

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    Objective: Heavy post-transplant immunosuppression may contribute to long-term immunosuppression dependence by subverting tolerogenic mechanisms; thus, we sought to determine if this undesirable consequence could be mitigated by pretransplant lymphoid depletion and minimalistic post-transplant monotherapy. Study design: Lymphoid depletion in 17 unselected pediatric recipients of live (n = 14) or deceased donor kidneys (n = 3) was accomplished with antithymocyte globulin (ATG) (n = 8) or alemtuzumab (n = 9). Tacrolimus was begun post-transplantation with subsequent lengthening of intervals between doses (spaced weaning). Maintenance immunosuppression, morbidity, graft function, and patient/graft survival were collated. Results: Steroids were added temporarily to treat rejection in two patients (both ATG subgroup) or to treat hemolytic anemia in two others. After 16 to 31 months (mean 22), patient and graft survival was 100% and 94%, respectively. The only graft loss was in a nonweaned noncompliant recipient. In the other 16, serum creatinine was 0.85 ± 0.35 mg/dL and creatinine clearance was 90.8 ± 22.1 mL/1.73 m2. All 16 patients are on monotherapy (15 tacrolimus, one sirolimus), and 14 receive every other day or 3 times per week doses. There were no wound or other infections. Two patients developed insulin-dependent diabetes. Conclusion: The strategy of lymphoid depletion and minimum post-transplant immunosuppression appears safe and effective for pediatric kidney recipients. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

    \u3cem\u3eBorrelia burgdorferi\u3c/em\u3e EbfC Defines a Newly-Identified, Widespread Family of Bacterial DNA-Binding Proteins

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    The Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, encodes a novel type of DNA-binding protein named EbfC. Orthologs of EbfC are encoded by a wide range of bacterial species, so characterization of the borrelial protein has implications that span the eubacterial kingdom. The present work defines the DNA sequence required for high-affinity binding by EbfC to be the 4 bp broken palindrome GTnAC, where ‘n’ can be any nucleotide. Two high-affinity EbfC-binding sites are located immediately 5′ of B. burgdorferi erp transcriptional promoters, and binding of EbfC was found to alter the conformation of erp promoter DNA. Consensus EbfC-binding sites are abundantly distributed throughout the B. burgdorferi genome, occurring approximately once every 1 kb. These and other features of EbfC suggest that this small protein and its orthologs may represent a distinctive type of bacterial nucleoid-associated protein. EbfC was shown to bind DNA as a homodimer, and site-directed mutagenesis studies indicated that EbfC and its orthologs appear to bind DNA via a novel α-helical ‘tweezer’-like structure

    How Should Addiction-Related Research at the National Institutes of Health be Reorganized?

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    The decades-old debate about the optimum organizational structure of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reached a crescendo with the recent deliberations of the Scientific Management Review Board, which, despite the lack of a crisis, proposed a structural reorganization that would dissolve the two institutes and create a new institute for substance use, abuse, and addiction, in hope of new scientific and public health advances (Collins, 2010). For a new institute to succeed, a multitude of potential challenges need to be negotiated effectivel

    Updated Clinical Guidelines for Diagnosing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

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    The adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure constitute a continuum of disabilities (fetal alcohol spectrum disorders [FASD]). In 1996, the Institute of Medicine established diagnostic categories delineating the spectrum but not specifying clinical criteria by which diagnoses could be assigned. In 2005, the authors published practical guidelines operationalizing the Institute of Medicine categories, allowing for standardization of FASD diagnoses in clinical settings. The purpose of the current report is to present updated diagnostic guidelines based on a thorough review of the literature and the authors’ combined expertise based on the evaluation of >10 000 children for potential FASD in clinical settings and in epidemiologic studies in conjunction with National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism–funded studies, the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and the Collaboration on FASD Prevalence. The guidelines were formulated through conference calls and meetings held at National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offices in Rockville, MD. Specific areas addressed include the following: precise definition of documented prenatal alcohol exposure; neurobehavioral criteria for diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome, partial fetal alcohol syndrome, and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder; revised diagnostic criteria for alcohol-related birth defects; an updated comprehensive research dysmorphology scoring system; and a new lip/philtrum guide for the white population, incorporating a 45-degree view. The guidelines reflect consensus among a large and experienced cadre of FASD investigators in the fields of dysmorphology, epidemiology, neurology, psychology, developmental/behavioral pediatrics, and educational diagnostics. Their improved clarity and specificity will guide clinicians in accurate diagnosis of infants and children prenatally exposed to alcohol

    Implementation of a Shared Data Repository and Common Data Dictionary for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Research

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    Many previous attempts by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders researchers to compare data across multiple prospective and retrospective human studies have failed due to both structural differences in the collected data as well as difficulty in coming to agreement on the precise meaning of the terminology used to describe the collected data. Although some groups of researchers have an established track record of successfully integrating data, attempts to integrate data more broadly amongst different groups of researchers have generally faltered. Lack of tools to help researchers share and integrate data has also hampered data analysis. This situation has delayed improving diagnosis, intervention, and treatment before and after birth. We worked with various researchers and research programs in the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CI-FASD) to develop a set of common data dictionaries to describe the data to be collected, including definitions of terms and specification of allowable values. The resulting data dictionaries were the basis for creating a central data repository (CI-FASD Central Repository) and software tools to input and query data. Data entry restrictions ensure that only data which conform to the data dictionaries reach the CI-FASD Central Repository. The result is an effective system for centralized and unified management of the data collected and analyzed by the initiative, including a secure, long-term data repository. CI-FASD researchers are able to integrate and analyze data of different types, collected using multiple methods, and collected from multiple populations, and data are retained for future reuse in a secure, robust repository

    Volume changes and brain-behavior relationships in white matter and subcortical gray matter in children with prenatal alcohol exposure: Volume Changes and Brain-Behavior in Children with PAE

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    Children with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) may have cognitive, behavioral and brain abnormalities. Here, we compare rates of white matter and subcortical gray matter volume change in PAE and control children, and examine relationships between annual volume change and arithmetic ability, behavior, and executive function. Participants (n=75 PAE/64 control; age: 7.1–15.9 years) each received two structural magnetic resonance scans, ~2 years apart. Assessments included Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). Subcortical white and gray volumes were extracted for each hemisphere. Group volume differences were tested using false discovery rate (FDR, q<0.05). Analyses examined group-by-age interactions and group-score interactions for correlations between change in volume and raw behavioral scores. Results showed that subjects with PAE had smaller volumes than control subjects across the brain. Significant group-score interactions were found in temporal and parietal regions for WISC arithmetic scores and in frontal and parietal regions for behavioral measures. Poorer cognitive/ behavioral outcomes were associated with larger volume increases in PAE, while control subjects generally showed no significant correlations. In contrast with previous results demonstrating different trajectories of cortical volume change in PAE, our results show similar rates of subcortical volume growth in subjects with PAE and control subjects. We also demonstrate abnormal brain-behavior relationships in subjects with PAE, suggesting different use of brain resources. Our results are encouraging in that, due to the stable volume differences, there may be an extended window of opportunity for intervention in children with PAE

    The Clinical Utility and Specificity of Parent Report of Executive Function among Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

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    Prenatal alcohol exposure and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) result in behavioral issues related to poor executive function (EF). This overlap may hinder clinical identification of alcohol-exposed children. This study examined the relation between parent and neuropsychological measures of EF and whether parent ratings aid in differential diagnosis. Neuropsychological measures of EF, including the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS), were administered to four groups of children (8–16 years): alcohol-exposed with ADHD (AE+, n = 80), alcohol-exposed without ADHD (AE−, n = 36), non-exposed with ADHD (ADHD, n = 93), and controls (CON, n = 167). Primary caregivers completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). For parent ratings, multivariate analyses of variance revealed main effects of Exposure and ADHD and an interaction between these factors, with significant differences between all groups on nearly all BRIEF scales. For neuropsychological measures, results indicated main effects of Exposure and ADHD, but no interaction. Discriminant function analysis indicated the BRIEF accurately classifies groups. These findings confirm compounded behavioral, but not neuropsychological, effects in the AE+ group over the other clinical groups. Parent-report was not correlated with neuropsychological performance in the clinical groups and may provide unique information about neurobehavior. Parent-report measures are clinically useful in predicting alcohol exposure regardless of ADHD. Results contribute to a neurobehavioral profile of prenatal alcohol exposure
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