1,326 research outputs found

    Mapping and characterization of G-quadruplexes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis gene promoter regions

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    Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2015. The recent emergence of strains resistant to all current drugs urges the development of compounds with new mechanisms of action. G-quadruplexes are nucleic acids secondary structures that may form in G-rich regions to epigenetically regulate cellular functions. Here we implemented a computational tool to scan the presence of putative G-quadruplex forming sequences in the genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and analyse their association to transcription start sites. We found that the most stable G-quadruplexes were in the promoter region of genes belonging to definite functional categories. Actual G-quadruplex folding of four selected sequences was assessed by biophysical and biomolecular techniques: all molecules formed stable G-quadruplexes, which were further stabilized by two G-quadruplex ligands. These compounds inhibited Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth with minimal inhibitory concentrations in the low micromolar range. These data support formation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis G-quadruplexes in vivo and their potential regulation of gene transcription, and prompt the use of G4 ligands to develop original antitubercular agents

    Integrating computational methods to predict mutagenicity of aromatic azo compounds

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    Azo dyes have several industrial uses. However, these azo dyes and their degradation products showed mutagenicity, inducing damage in environmental and human systems. Computational methods are proposed as cheap and rapid alternatives to predict the toxicity of azo dyes. A benchmark dataset of Ames data for 354 azo dyes was employed to develop three classification strategies using knowledge-based methods and docking simulations. Results were compared and integrated with three models from the literature, developing a series of consensus strategies. The good results confirm the usefulness of in silico methods as a support for experimental methods to predict the mutagenicity of azo compounds


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    I cianobatteri sono diffusi in moltissimi ambienti acquatici, dove possono produrre cianotossine con diversi profili tossicologici. Il presente rapporto riporta le linee guida per la gestione delle fioriture di cianobatteri nelle acque di balneazione, elaborate da un gruppo di esperti. La prima parte sintetizza le attuali conoscenze scientifiche su vari aspetti, fra cui la loro presenza nei laghi italiani, le caratteristiche chimiche e tossicologiche delle varie cianotossine, gli effetti osservati sulla salute dell\u2019uomo e la valutazione del rischio. La seconda parte definisce le linee guida per prevenire effetti dannosi per la salute dei bagnanti e gestire il rischio associato alle fioriture. Vengono fornite indicazioni per pianificare attivit\ue0 di monitoraggio ambientale e sorveglianza sanitaria nelle aree a maggiore criticit\ue0. Viene inoltre presentato un sistema di reportistica, ambientale e sanitario, anche allo scopo di uniformare le informazioni a livello nazionale. Il rapporto \ue8 completato dalle indicazioni tecniche rivolte alle strutture territoriali preposte.Cyanobacteria thrive in many aquatic environments, where they can produce cyanotoxins with different toxicological profiles. This report provides the guidelines for the management of cyanobacterial blooms in bathing water, put together by a group of experts. The first part summarizes the current scientific knowledge on various aspects, including their presence in the Italian lakes, chemical and toxicological characteristics of different cyanotoxins, the observed effects on human health and the risk assessment. The second part defines the guidelines to prevent harmful effects on the health of bathers and manage the risk associated with blooms. It provides recommendations for planning environmental monitoring activities and a health surveillance system in most critical areas. It also introduces an environmental and health reporting system, with the purpose to standardize the information at national level too. The report is supplemented by technical information aimed at territorial authorities in charge

    Role of a Novel Heparanase Inhibitor on the Balance between Apoptosis and Autophagy in U87 Human Glioblastoma Cells

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    Background: Heparanase (HPSE) is an endo-& beta;-glucuronidase that cleaves heparan sulfate side chains, leading to the disassembly of the extracellular matrix, facilitating cell invasion and metastasis dissemination. In this research, we investigated the role of a new HPSE inhibitor, RDS 3337, in the regulation of the autophagic process and the balance between apoptosis and autophagy in U87 glioblastoma cells. Methods: After treatment with RDS 3337, cell lysates were analyzed for autophagy and apoptosis-related proteins by Western blot. Results: We observed, firstly, that LC3II expression increased in U87 cells incubated with RDS 3337, together with a significant increase of p62/SQSTM1 levels, indicating that RDS 3337 could act through the inhibition of autophagic-lysosomal flux of LC3-II, thereby leading to accumulation of lipidated LC3-II form. Conversely, the suppression of autophagic flux could activate apoptosis mechanisms, as revealed by the activation of caspase 3, the increased level of cleaved Parp1, and DNA fragmentation. Conclusions: These findings support the notion that HPSE promotes autophagy, providing evidence that RDS 3337 blocks autophagic flux. It indicates a role for HPSE inhibitors in the balance between apoptosis and autophagy in U87 human glioblastoma cells, suggesting a potential role for this new class of compounds in the control of tumor growth progression

    Poliomyelitis surveillance report number 18, May 20, 1955

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    Dr. Edwin Lennette, Virus Laboratory, California Department of Public Health, reports isolation of type 1 virus from the stool of case PSU No. Cal-21. He also reports isolation of type 1 virus from the stool of a third \uc2\ub0th contact of non-paralytic case PSU No. Cal-14. Isolations from 2 other contacts of this case were previously reported.Dr. Werner Henle, Children\ue2\u20ac\u2122s Hospital, Philadelphia, reports isolation of type 1 poliomyelitis virus from Case PSU No. Pa-2. This is the first isolation from a case receiving Wyeth Vaccine. This case had first paralysis at the same site as inoculation.One new case was accepted today from West Virginia. This seven-year-old female developed bulbar signs 26 days after inoculation with Lilly Vaccine. Vaccinated cases total 79 at 12:00 noon 5-20-55 (Table l)

    Role of mitochondrial raft-like microdomains in the regulation of cell apoptosis

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    Lipid rafts are envisaged as lateral assemblies of specific lipids and proteins that dissociate and associate rapidly and form functional clusters in cell membranes. These structural platforms are not confined to the plasma membrane; indeed lipid microdomains are similarly formed at subcellular organelles, which include endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi and mitochondria, named raft-like microdomains. In addition, some components of raft-like microdomains are present within ER-mitochondria associated membranes. This review is focused on the role of mitochondrial raft-like microdomains in the regulation of cell apoptosis, since these microdomains may represent preferential sites where key reactions take place, regulating mitochondria hyperpolarization, fission-associated changes, megapore formation and release of apoptogenic factors. These structural platforms appear to modulate cytoplasmic pathways switching cell fate towards cell survival or death. Main insights on this issue derive from some pathological conditions in which alterations of microdomains structure or function can lead to severe alterations of cell activity and life span. In the light of the role played by raft-like microdomains to integrate apoptotic signals and in regulating mitochondrial dynamics, it is conceivable that these membrane structures may play a role in the mitochondrial alterations observed in some of the most common human neurodegenerative diseases, such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's chorea and prion-related diseases. These findings introduce an additional task for identifying new molecular target(s) of pharmacological agents in these pathologies

    Strategy and rationale for urine collection protocols employed in the NEPTUNE study

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    Abstract Background Glomerular diseases are potentially fatal, requiring aggressive interventions and close monitoring. Urine is a readily-accessible body fluid enriched in molecular signatures from the kidney and therefore particularly suited for routine clinical analysis as well as development of non-invasive biomarkers for glomerular diseases. Methods The Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01209000) is a North American multicenter collaborative consortium established to develop a translational research infrastructure for nephrotic syndrome. This includes standardized urine collections across all participating centers for the purpose of discovering non-invasive biomarkers for patients with nephrotic syndrome due to minimal change disease, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and membranous nephropathy. Here we describe the organization and methods of urine procurement and banking procedures in NEPTUNE. Results We discuss the rationale for urine collection and storage conditions, and demonstrate the performance of three experimental analytes (neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin [NGAL], retinol binding globulin, and alpha-1 microglobulin) under these conditions with and without urine preservatives (thymol, toluene, and boric acid). We also demonstrate the quality of RNA and protein collected from the urine cellular pellet and exosomes. Conclusions The urine collection protocol in NEPTUNE allows robust detection of a wide range of proteins and RNAs from urine supernatant and pellets collected longitudinally from each patient over 5 years. Combined with the detailed clinical and histopathologic data, this provides a unique resource for exploration and validation of new or accepted markers of glomerular diseases. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01209000http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/116023/1/12882_2015_Article_185.pd

    Optimizing a qPCR Gene Expression Quantification Assay for S. epidermidis Biofilms: A Comparison between Commercial Kits and a Customized Protocol

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    Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm-related infections are a current concern within the medical community due to their high incidence and prevalence, particularly in patients with indwelling medical devices. Biofilm gene expression analysis by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) has been increasingly used to understand the role of biofilm formation in the pathogenesis of S. epidermidis infections. However, depending on the RNA extraction procedure, and cDNA synthesis and qPCR master mixes used, gene expression quantification can be suboptimal. We recently showed that some RNA extraction kits are not suitable for S. epidermidis biofilms, due to sample composition, in particular the presence of the extracellular matrix. In this work, we describe a custom RNA extraction assay followed by the evaluation of gene expression using different commercial reverse transcriptase kits and qPCR master mixes. Our custom RNA extraction assay was able to produce good quality RNA with reproducible gene expression quantification, reducing the time and the costs associated. We also tested the effect of reducing cDNA and qPCR reaction volumes and, in most of the cases tested, no significant differences were found. Finally, we titered the SYBR Green I concentrations in standard PCR master mixes and compared the normalized expression of the genes icaA, bhp, aap, psmβ1 and agrB using 4 distinct biofilm forming S. epidermidis strains to the results obtained with commercially available kits. The overall results demonstrated that despite some statistically, but not biologically significant differences observed, the customized qPCR protocol resulted in the same gene expression trend presented by the commercially available kits used

    Induction of p38- and gC1qR-dependent IL-8 expression in pulmonary fibroblasts by soluble hepatitis C core protein

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    BACKGROUND: Recent studies suggest that HCV infection is associated with progressive declines in pulmonary function in patients with underlying pulmonary diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Few molecular studies have addressed the inflammatory aspects of HCV-associated pulmonary disease. Because IL-8 plays a fundamental role in reactive airway diseases, we examined IL-8 signaling in normal human lung fibroblasts (NHLF) in response to the HCV nucleocapsid core protein, a viral antigen shown to modulate intracellular signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation, apoptosis and inflammation. METHODS: NHLF were treated with HCV core protein and assayed for IL-8 expression, phosphorylation of the p38 MAPK pathway, and for the effect of p38 inhibition. RESULTS: Our studies demonstrate that soluble HCV core protein induces significant increases in both IL-8 mRNA and protein expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Treatment with HCV core led to phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, and expression of IL-8 was dependent upon p38 activation. Using TNFα as a co-stimulant, we observed additive increases in IL-8 expression. HCV core-mediated expression of IL-8 was inhibited by blocking gC1qR, a known receptor for soluble HCV core linked to MAPK signaling. CONCLUSION: These studies suggest that HCV core protein can lead to enhanced p38- and gC1qR-dependent IL-8 expression. Such a pro-inflammatory role may contribute to the progressive deterioration in pulmonary function recently recognized in individuals chronically infected with HCV
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