2,582 research outputs found

    Molecular Modulation of Intestinal Epithelial Barrier: Contribution of Microbiota

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    The daunting task required of the gut-barrier to prevent luminal pathogens and harmful substances from entering into the internal milieu and yet promoting digestion and absorption of nutrients requires an exquisite degree of coordination between the different architectural units of this barrier. The complex integration and execution of these functions are superbly carried out by the intestinal mucosal (IM) surface. Exposed to trillions of luminal microbes, the IM averts threats by signaling to the innate immune system, through pattern recognition receptors (PRR), to respond to the commensal bacteria by developing tolerance (hyporesponsiveness) towards them. This system also acts by protecting against pathogens by elaborating and releasing protective peptides, cytokines, chemokines, and phagocytic cells. The IM is constantly sampling luminal contents and making molecular adjustments at its frontier. This article describes the topography of the IM and the mechanisms of molecular adjustments that protect the internal milieu, and also describes the role of the microbiota in achieving this goal

    Energy Calibration of b-Quark Jets with Z->b-bbar Decays at the Tevatron Collider

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    The energy measurement of jets produced by b-quarks at hadron colliders suffers from biases due to the peculiarities of the hadronization and decay of the originating B hadron. The impact of these effects can be estimated by reconstructing the mass of Z boson decays into pairs of b-quark jets. From a sample of 584 pb-1 of data collected by the CDF experiment in 1.96 TeV proton-antiproton collisions at the Tevatron collider, we show how the Z signal can be identified and measured. Using the reconstructed mass of Z candidates we determine a jet energy scale factor for b-quark jets with a precision better than 2%. This measurement allows a reduction of one of the dominant source of uncertainty in analyses based on high transverse momentum b-quark jets. We also determine, as a cross-check of our analysis, the Z boson cross section in hadronic collisions using the b-bbar final state as sigma x B(Z->b-bbar) = 1578 +636 -410 pb.Comment: 35 pages, 9 figures, submitted to Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section

    Discovery and Validation of a New Class of Small Molecule Toll-Like Receptor 4 (TLR4) Inhibitors

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    Many inflammatory diseases may be linked to pathologically elevated signaling via the receptor for lipopolysaccharide (LPS), toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). There has thus been great interest in the discovery of TLR4 inhibitors as potential anti-inflammatory agents. Recently, the structure of TLR4 bound to the inhibitor E5564 was solved, raising the possibility that novel TLR4 inhibitors that target the E5564-binding domain could be designed. We utilized a similarity search algorithm in conjunction with a limited screening approach of small molecule libraries to identify compounds that bind to the E5564 site and inhibit TLR4. Our lead compound, C34, is a 2-acetamidopyranoside (MW 389) with the formula C17H27NO9, which inhibited TLR4 in enterocytes and macrophages in vitro, and reduced systemic inflammation in mouse models of endotoxemia and necrotizing enterocolitis. Molecular docking of C34 to the hydrophobic internal pocket of the TLR4 co-receptor MD-2 demonstrated a tight fit, embedding the pyran ring deep inside the pocket. Strikingly, C34 inhibited LPS signaling ex-vivo in human ileum that was resected from infants with necrotizing enterocolitis. These findings identify C34 and the β-anomeric cyclohexyl analog C35 as novel leads for small molecule TLR4 inhibitors that have potential therapeutic benefit for TLR4-mediated inflammatory diseases. © 2013 Neal et al

    Fecal Microbiota in Premature Infants Prior to Necrotizing Enterocolitis

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    Intestinal luminal microbiota likely contribute to the etiology of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a common disease in preterm infants. Microbiota development, a cascade of initial colonization events leading to the establishment of a diverse commensal microbiota, can now be studied in preterm infants using powerful molecular tools. Starting with the first stool and continuing until discharge, weekly stool specimens were collected prospectively from infants with gestational ages ≤32 completed weeks or birth weights≤1250 g. High throughput 16S rRNA sequencing was used to compare the diversity of microbiota and the prevalence of specific bacterial signatures in nine NEC infants and in nine matched controls. After removal of short and low quality reads we retained a total of 110,021 sequences. Microbiota composition differed in the matched samples collected 1 week but not <72 hours prior to NEC diagnosis. We detected a bloom (34% increase) of Proteobacteria and a decrease (32%) in Firmicutes in NEC cases between the 1 week and <72 hour samples. No significant change was identified in the controls. At both time points, molecular signatures were identified that were increased in NEC cases. One of the bacterial signatures detected more frequently in NEC cases (p<0.01) matched closest to γ-Proteobacteria. Although this sequence grouped to the well-studied Enterobacteriaceae family, it did not match any sequence in Genbank by more than 97%. Our observations suggest that abnormal patterns of microbiota and potentially a novel pathogen contribute to the etiology of NEC

    US Cosmic Visions: New Ideas in Dark Matter 2017: Community Report

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    This white paper summarizes the workshop "U.S. Cosmic Visions: New Ideas in Dark Matter" held at University of Maryland on March 23-25, 2017.Comment: 102 pages + reference

    Horizontal DNA transfer mechanisms of bacteria as weapons of intragenomic conflict

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    Horizontal DNA transfer (HDT) is a pervasive mechanism of diversification in many microbial species, but its primary evolutionary role remains controversial. Much recent research has emphasised the adaptive benefit of acquiring novel DNA, but here we argue instead that intragenomic conflict provides a coherent framework for understanding the evolutionary origins of HDT. To test this hypothesis, we developed a mathematical model of a clonally descended bacterial population undergoing HDT through transmission of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and genetic transformation. Including the known bias of transformation toward the acquisition of shorter alleles into the model suggested it could be an effective means of counteracting the spread of MGEs. Both constitutive and transient competence for transformation were found to provide an effective defence against parasitic MGEs; transient competence could also be effective at permitting the selective spread of MGEs conferring a benefit on their host bacterium. The coordination of transient competence with cell-cell killing, observed in multiple species, was found to result in synergistic blocking of MGE transmission through releasing genomic DNA for homologous recombination while simultaneously reducing horizontal MGE spread by lowering the local cell density. To evaluate the feasibility of the functions suggested by the modelling analysis, we analysed genomic data from longitudinal sampling of individuals carrying Streptococcus pneumoniae. This revealed the frequent within-host coexistence of clonally descended cells that differed in their MGE infection status, a necessary condition for the proposed mechanism to operate. Additionally, we found multiple examples of MGEs inhibiting transformation through integrative disruption of genes encoding the competence machinery across many species, providing evidence of an ongoing "arms race." Reduced rates of transformation have also been observed in cells infected by MGEs that reduce the concentration of extracellular DNA through secretion of DNases. Simulations predicted that either mechanism of limiting transformation would benefit individual MGEs, but also that this tactic's effectiveness was limited by competition with other MGEs coinfecting the same cell. A further observed behaviour we hypothesised to reduce elimination by transformation was MGE activation when cells become competent. Our model predicted that this response was effective at counteracting transformation independently of competing MGEs. Therefore, this framework is able to explain both common properties of MGEs, and the seemingly paradoxical bacterial behaviours of transformation and cell-cell killing within clonally related populations, as the consequences of intragenomic conflict between self-replicating chromosomes and parasitic MGEs. The antagonistic nature of the different mechanisms of HDT over short timescales means their contribution to bacterial evolution is likely to be substantially greater than previously appreciated