983 research outputs found

    Lung ultrasound in systemic sclerosis: correlation with high-resolution computed tomography, pulmonary function tests and clinical variables of disease

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    Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a hallmark of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Although high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is the gold standard to diagnose ILD, recently lung ultrasound (LUS) has emerged in SSc patients as a new promising technique for the ILD evaluation, noninvasive and radiation-free. The aim of this study was to evaluate if there is a correlation between LUS, chest HRCT, pulmonary function tests findings and clinical variables of the disease. Thirty-nine patients (33 women and 6 men; mean age 51 ± 15.2 years) underwent clinical examination, HRCT, pulmonary function tests and LUS for detection of B-lines. A positive correlation exists between the number of B-lines and the HRCT score (r = 0.81, p < 0.0001), conversely a negative correlation exists between the number of B-lines and diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) (r = −0.63, p < 0.0001). The number of B-lines increases along with the progression of the capillaroscopic damage. A statistically significant difference in the number of B-lines was found between patients with and without digital ulcers [42 (3–84) vs 16 (4–55)]. We found that the number of B-lines increased with the progression of both HRCT score and digital vascular damage. LUS may therefore, be a useful tool to determine the best timing for HRCT execution, thus, preventing for many patients a continuous and useless exposure to ionizing radiatio

    The involvement of T regulatory lymphocytes in a cohort of lupus nephritis patients: a pilot study

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    T regulator lymphocytes (Tregs) play a key role in the maintenance of immune tolerance and in the development of autoimmune diseases. Expression of Foxp3 is specific for Tregs, and can be used for the identification of these cells. This study investigated the variations of Tregs Foxp3? in the kidney biopsies inflammatory infiltrate of different lupus nephritis classes compared to that of ANCA glomerulonephritis, acute tubulointerstitial nephritis and nephroangiosclerosis. Sections of paraffin-embedded tissue have been stained by immunohistochemistry with anti-CD3 and anti-FoxP3 antibodies. We find that the ratio of FoxP3?/CD3? cells is significantly lower in patients with lupus nephritis class IV and in patients with vasculitides than in the course of nephroangiosclerosis, tubulointerstitial nephritis and lupus nephritis class V. The data presented herein demonstrate a decrease of FoxP3? Treg cells in the inflammatory infiltrate of lupus nephritis, particularly during the most active phases of lupus nephritis, as observed in the course of a IV class nephritis

    Structural analysis of the Sulfolobus solfataricus MCM protein N-terminal domain†

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    The Mini-Chromosome Maintenance (MCM) proteins are candidates of replicative DNA helicase in eukarya and archaea. Here we report a 2.8 Å crystal structure of the N-terminal domain (residues 1–268) of the Sulfolobus solfataricus MCM (Sso MCM) protein. The structure reveals single-hexameric ring-like architecture, at variance from the protein of Methanothermobacter thermoautotrophicus (Mth). Moreover, the central channel in Sso MCM seems significantly narrower than the Mth counterpart, which appears to more favorably accommodate single-stranded DNA than double-stranded DNA, as supported by DNA-binding assays. Structural analysis also highlights the essential role played by the zinc-binding domain in the interaction with nucleic acids and allows us to speculate that the Sso MCM N-ter domain may function as a molecular clamp to grasp the single-stranded DNA passing through the central channel. On this basis possible DNA unwinding mechanisms are discussed

    Amino acids of the Sulfolobus solfataricus mini-chromosome maintenance-like DNA helicase involved in DNA binding/remodeling.

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    Herein we report the identification of amino acids of the Sulfolobus solfataricus mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM)-like DNA helicase (SsoMCM), which are critical for DNA binding/remodeling. The crystallographic structure of the N-terminal portion (residues 2–286) of the Methanothermobacter thermoautotrophicum MCM protein revealed a dodecameric assembly with two hexameric rings in a head-to-head configuration and a positively charged central channel proposed to encircle DNA molecules. A structure-guided alignment of the M. thermoautotrophicum and S. solfataricus MCM sequences identified positively charged amino acids in SsoMCM that could point to the center of the channel. These residues (Lys-129, Lys-134, His-146, and Lys-194) were changed to alanine. The purified mutant proteins were all found to form homo-hexamers in solution and to retain full ATPase activity. K129A, H146A, and K194A SsoMCMs are unable to bind DNA either in single- or double-stranded form in band shift assays and do not display helicase activity. In contrast, the substitution of lysine 134 to alanine affects only binding to duplex DNA molecules, whereas it has no effect on binding to single-stranded DNA and on the DNA unwinding activity. These results have important implications for the understanding of the molecular mechanism of the MCM DNA helicase action

    A CDC6-like factor from the archaea Sulfolobus solfataricus promotes binding of the mini-chromosome maintenance complex to DNA

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    The archaeal replication apparatus appears to be a simplified version of the eukaryotic one with fewer polypeptides and simpler protein complexes. Herein, we report evidence that a Cdc6-like factor from the hyperthermophilic crenarchaea Sulfolobus solfataricus stimulates binding of the homohexameric MCM-like complex to bubble- and fork-containing DNA oligonucleotides that mimic early replication intermediates. This function does not require the Cdc6 ATP and DNA binding activities. These findings may provide important clues to understanding how the DNA replication initiation process has evolved in the more complex eukaryotic organisms

    Intraperitoneal Oxygen/Ozone Treatment Decreases the Formation of Experimental Postsurgical Peritoneal Adhesions and the Levels/Activity of the Local Ubiquitin-Proteasome System

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    We have investigated whether an oxygen/ozone (95%O2/5%O3) mixture would have potential against the formation of experimental postsurgical peritoneal adhesions. In two groups of rats, one control intraperitoneally injected with 3 mL/rat of O2 and one intraperitoneally injected with oxygen/ozone mixture (3 mL/rat equivalent to 300 μg/kg ozone), we induced a midline laparotomy and an enterotomy at the level of the ileum to encourage the formation of peritoneal adhesions. Samples were taken from the parietal peritoneal tissue to assess the formation of adhesions 0 and 10 days after the surgical procedure and to assess the levels of ubiquitin and 20S proteasome. We found decreased formation of postsurgical peritoneal adhesions after treatment of the rats with 300 μg/kg ozone associated with a decreased levels of ubiquitin and 20S proteasome subunit within the adhered tissue. Oxygen/ozone mixture is potentially useful for approaching the post-surgical peritoneal adhesions, and the UPS system is involved in this

    Biochemical characterization of a CDC6-like protein from the crenarchaeon sulfolobus solfataricus

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    Cdc6 proteins play an essential role in the initiation of chromosomal DNA replication in Eukarya. Genes coding for putative homologs of Cdc6 have been also identified in the genomic sequence of Archaea, but the properties of the corresponding proteins have been poorly investigated so far. Herein, we report the biochemical characterization of one of the three putative Cdc6-like factors from the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus (SsoCdc6-1). SsoCdc6-1 was overproduced in Escherichia coli as a His-tagged protein and purified to homogeneity. Gel filtration and glycerol gradient ultracentrifugation experiments indicated that this protein behaves as a monomer in solution (molecular mass of about 45 kDa). We demonstrated that SsoCdc6-1 binds single- and double-stranded DNA molecules by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. SsoCdc6-1 undergoes autophosphorylation in vitro and possesses a weak ATPase activity, whereas the protein with a mutation in the Walker A motif (Lys-59 --> Ala) is completely unable to hydrolyze ATP and does not autophosphorylate. We found that SsoCdc6-1 strongly inhibits the ATPase and DNA helicase activity of the S. solfataricus MCM protein. These findings provide the first in vitro biochemical evidence of a functional interaction between a MCM complex and a Cdc6 factor and have important implications for the understanding of the Cdc6 biological function

    Case report: bullous pemphigoid development underlies dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa disease worsening

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    Autoimmune response to cutaneous basement membrane components superimposed on a genetic skin fragility disease, hereditary epidermolysis bullosa (EB), has been described, but its effects on disease course remain unclear. We report a 69-year-old individual with congenital skin fragility and acral trauma-induced blistering that had suddenly worsened with the onset of severe itch and diffuse spontaneous inflammatory blisters. Next-generation sequencing identified compound heterozygous null and missense COL7A1 mutations, allowing the diagnosis of recessive dystrophic EB. However, the patient’s clinical history prompted us to investigate whether he might have developed a pathological autoimmune response against basement membrane components. Tissue-bound and circulating IgG antibodies to the major bullous pemphigoid (BP) antigen, BP180, were detected in the patient’s skin and serum, respectively, consistent with a diagnosis of BP. Corticosteroid therapy was initiated resulting in remission of BP manifestations. EB patients presenting rapid disease worsening should be investigated for the development of a concomitant autoimmune blistering disease

    The SSDC Role in the LICIACube Mission: Data Management and the MATISSE Tool

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    Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) is an Italian mission managed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and part of the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) planetary defense mission. Its main goals are to document the effects of the DART impact on Dimorphos, the secondary member of the (65803) Didymos binary asteroid system, characterizing the shape of the target body and performing dedicated scientific investigations on it. Within this framework, the mission Science Operations Center will be managed by the Space Science Data Center (ASI-SSDC), which will have the responsibility of processing, archiving, and disseminating the data acquired by the two LICIACube onboard cameras. In order to better accomplish this task, SSDC also plans to use and modify its scientific webtool Multi-purpose Advanced Tool for Instruments for the solar system Exploration (MATISSE), making it the primary tool for the LICIACube data analysis, thanks to its advanced capabilities for searching and visualizing data, particularly useful for the irregular shapes common to several small bodies
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