129 research outputs found

    Comparative analysis of the liver transcriptome in the red-eared slider Trachemys scripta elegans under chronic salinity stress

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    The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), identified as one of the 100 most invasive species in the world, is a freshwater turtle originally from the eastern United States and northeastern Mexico. Field investigations have shown that T. s. elegans can survive and lay eggs in saline habitats. In order to understand the molecular mechanisms of salinity adaptation, high-throughput RNA-Seq was utilized to identify the changes in gene expression profiles in the liver of T. s. elegans in response to elevated salinity. We exposed individuals to 0, 5, or 15 psu (practical salinity units) for 30 days. A total of 157.21 million reads were obtained and assembled into 205138 unigenes with an average length of 620 bp and N50 of 964 bp. Of these, 1019 DEGs (differentially expressed genes) were found in the comparison of 0 vs. 5 psu, 1194 DEGs in 0 vs. 15 psu and 1180 DEGs in 5 vs. 15 psu, which are mainly related to macromolecule metabolic process, ion transport, oxidoreductase activity and generation of precursor metabolites and energy by GO (Gene Ontology) enrichment analyses. T. s. elegans can adapt itself into salinity by balancing the entry of sodium and chloride ions via the up-regulation expression genes of ion transport (potassium voltage-gated channel subfamily H member 5, KCNH5; erine/threonine-protein kinase 32, STK32; salt-inducible kinase 1, SIK1; adiponectin, ACDC), and by accumulating plasma urea and free amino acid via the up-regulation expression genes of amino acid metabolism (ornithine decarboxylase antizyme 3, OAZ3; glutamine synthetase, GLUL; asparaginase-like protein 1b, ASRGL; L-amino-acid oxidase-like, LAAO; sodium-dependent neutral amino acid transporter B, SLC6A15s; amino acid permease, SLC7A9) in response to osmotic regulation. An investment of energy to maintain their homeostatic balance is required to salinity adaptation, therefore, the genes related to energy production and conversion (F-ATPase protein 6, ATP6; cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, COX1; cytochrome c oxidase subunit III, COX3; cytochrome b, CYTb; cytochrome P450 17A1, CYP17A1) were up-regulated with the increase of gene expression associated with lipid metabolism (apolipoprotein E precursor, APoE; coenzyme Q-binding protein, CoQ10; high-density lipoprotein particle, SAA) and carbohydrate metabolism (HK, MIP). These findings improve our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in salinity adaptationand provide general guidance to illuminate the invasion potential of T. s. elegans into saline environments

    Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase Signaling Regulates Lipid Metabolism in Response to Salinity Stress in the Red-Eared Slider Turtle Trachemys scripta elegans

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    Aquatic animals have developed various mechanisms to live in either hyperionic or hypoionic environments, and, as such, not many species are capable of surviving in both. The red-eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans, a well-known freshwater species, has recently been found to invade and inhabit brackish water. Herein, we focus on some of the metabolic adaptations that are required to survive and cope with salinity stress. The regulation of the adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a main cellular “energy sensor,” and its influence on lipid metabolism were evaluated with a comparison of three groups of turtles: controls in freshwater, and turtles held in water of either 5 salinity (S5) or 15 salinity (S15) with sampling at 6, 24, and 48 h and 30 days of exposure. When subjected to elevated salinities of 5 or 15, AMPK mRNA levels and AMPK enzyme activity increased strongly. In addition, the high expression of the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-α (PPARα) transcription factor that, in turn, facilitated upregulation of target genes including carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) and acyl-CoA oxidase (ACO). Furthermore, the expression of transcription factors involved in lipid synthesis such as the carbohydrate-responsive element-binding protein (ChREBP) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c) was inhibited, and two of their target genes, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and fatty acid synthase (FAS), were significantly decreased. Moreover, exposure to saline environments also increased plasma triglyceride (TG) content. Interestingly, the content of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and total cholesterol (TC) in plasma was markedly higher than the control in the S15 group after 30 days, which indicated that lipid metabolism was disrupted by chronic exposure to high salinity. These findings demonstrate that activation of AMPK might regulate lipid metabolism in r

    Generation of integration-free neural progenitor cells from cells in human urine

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    Human neural stem cells hold great promise for research and therapy in neural disease. We describe the generation of integration-free and expandable human neural progenitor cells (NPCs). We combined an episomal system to deliver reprogramming factors with a chemically defined culture medium to reprogram epithelial-like cells from human urine into NPCs (hUiNPCs). These transgene-free hUiNPCs can self-renew and can differentiate into multiple functional neuronal subtypes and glial cells in vitro. Although functional in vivo analysis is still needed, we report that the cells survive and differentiate upon transplant into newborn rat brain.postprin

    Targeting Hepatitis B Virus with Zinc Finger Nucleases

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    Despite an existing effective vaccine, hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a major public health concern. There are effective suppressive therapies for HBV, but they remain expensive and inaccessible to many, and not all patients respond well. Furthermore, HBV can persist as genomic covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) that remains in hepatocytes even during otherwise effective therapy and facilitates rebound in patients after treatment has stopped. Therefore, the need for an effective treatment that targets active and persistent HBV infections remains. As a novel approach to treat HBV, we have targeted the HBV genome for disruption to prevent viral reactivation and replication. We generated 3 zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) that target sequences within the HBV polymerase, core and X genes. Upon the formation of ZFN-induced DNA double strand breaks (DSB), imprecise repair by non-homologous end joining leads to mutations that inactivate HBV genes. We delivered HBV-specific ZFNs using self-complementary adeno-associated virus (scAAV) vectors and tested their anti-HBV activity in HepAD38 cells. HBV-ZFNs efficiently disrupted HBV target sites by inducing site-specific mutations. Cytotoxicity was seen with one of the ZFNs. scAAV-mediated delivery of a ZFN targeting HBV polymerase resulted in complete inhibition of HBV DNA replication and production of infectious HBV virions in HepAD38 cells. This effect was sustained for at least 2 weeks following only a single treatment. Furthermore, high specificity was observed for all ZFNs, as negligible off-target cleavage was seen via high-throughput sequencing of 7 closely matched potential off-target sites. These results show that HBV-targeted ZFNs can efficiently inhibit active HBV replication and suppress the cellular template for HBV persistence, making them promising candidates for eradication therapy

    Genetic Variation of HvCBF Genes and Their Association with Salinity Tolerance in Tibetan Annual Wild Barley

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    The evaluation of both the genetic variation and the identification of salinity tolerant accessions of Tibetan annual wild barley (hereafter referred to as Tibetan barley) (Hordeum vulgare L. ssp. Spontaneum and H. vulgare L. ssp. agriocrithum) are essential for discovering and exploiting novel alleles involved in salinity tolerance. In this study, we examined tissue dry biomass and the Na+ and K+ contents of 188 Tibetan barley accessions in response to salt stress. We investigated the genetic variation of transcription factors HvCBF1, HvCBF3 and HvCBF4 within these accessions, conducting association analysis between these three genes and the respective genotypic salt tolerance. Salt stress significantly reduced shoot and root dry weight by 27.6% to 73.1% in the Tibetan barley lines. HvCBF1, HvCBF3 and HvCBF4 showed diverse sequence variation in amplicon as evident by the identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 3, 8 and 13 haplotypes, respectively. Furthermore, the decay of Linkage disequilibrium (LD) of chromosome 5 was 8.9 cM (r2<0.1). Marker bpb-4891 and haplotype 13 (Ps 610) of the HvCBF4 gene were significantly (P<0.05) and highly significantly (P<0.001) associated with salt tolerance. However, HvCBF1 and HvCBF3 genes were not associated with salinity tolerance. The accessions from haplotype 13 of the HvCBF4 gene showed high salinity tolerance, maintaining significantly lower Na+/K+ ratios and higher dry weight. It is thus proposed that these Tibetan barley accessions could be of value for enhancing salinity tolerance in cultivated barley

    Antioxidant responses to salinity stress in an invasive species, the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and involvement of a TOR-Nrf2 signaling pathway

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    The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), a freshwater turtle, is an invasive species in many parts of the world where it survives in both freshwater and coastal saline habitats. High salinity can induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and lead to oxidative damage. In this study, we investigate the antioxidant defense mechanisms of T. s. elegans in response to salinity stress. The results showed that the mRNA expression levels of superoxide dismutase (SODs), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PXs) were significantly increased in both 5 psu and 15 psu groups at the early stages of salinity exposure (generally 6–48 h), but typically returned to control levels after the longest 30 d exposure. In addition, hepatic and cardiac mRNA levels of the NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), showed a similar upregulation as an early response to stress, but decreased at 30 d in the 5 psu and 15 psu groups. The mRNA levels of the negative regulator of Nrf2, kelch-like ECH associating protein 1 (Keap1), exhibited the opposite pattern. Moreover, mRNA expression levels of target of rapamycin (TOR) and ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1) in liver and heart showed roughly similar patterns to those for Nrf2. Furthermore, the content of malondialdehyde (MDA) was significantly increased in liver, especially in the 15 psu group by ~2.5-fold. Taken together, these results indicate that T. s. elegans may activate the TOR-Nrf2 pathway to modulate antioxidant genes transcription in order to promote enhanced antioxidant defense in response to salinity stress