80 research outputs found

    A large scale hearing loss screen reveals an extensive unexplored genetic landscape for auditory dysfunction

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    The developmental and physiological complexity of the auditory system is likely reflected in the underlying set of genes involved in auditory function. In humans, over 150 non-syndromic loci have been identified, and there are more than 400 human genetic syndromes with a hearing loss component. Over 100 non-syndromic hearing loss genes have been identified in mouse and human, but we remain ignorant of the full extent of the genetic landscape involved in auditory dysfunction. As part of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, we undertook a hearing loss screen in a cohort of 3006 mouse knockout strains. In total, we identify 67 candidate hearing loss genes. We detect known hearing loss genes, but the vast majority, 52, of the candidate genes were novel. Our analysis reveals a large and unexplored genetic landscape involved with auditory function

    Characterisation of aggregates of cyclodextrin-drug complexes using Taylor Dispersion Analysis

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    There is a need to understand the nature of aggregation of cyclodextrins (CDs) with guest molecules in increasingly complex formulation systems. To this end an innovative application of Taylor dispersion analysis (TDA) and comparison with dynamic light scattering (DLS) have been carried out to probe the nature of ICT01-2588 (ICT-2588), a novel tumor-targeted vascular disrupting agent, in solvents including a potential buffered formulation containing 10% hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin. The two hydrodynamic sizing techniques give measurement responses are that fundamentally different for aggregated solutions containing the target molecule, and the benefits of using TDA in conjunction with DLS are that systems are characterised through measurement of both mass- and z-average hydrodynamic radii. Whereas DLS measurements primarily resolve the large aggregates of ICT01-2588 in its formulation medium, methodology for TDA is described to determine the size and notably to quantify the proportion of monomers in the presence of large aggregates, and at the same time measure the formulation viscosity. Interestingly TDA and DLS have also distinguished between aggregate profiles formed using HP-β-CD samples from different suppliers. The approach is expected to be widely applicable to this important class of drug formulations where drug solubility is enhanced by cyclodextrin and other excipients

    The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment: Exploring Fundamental Symmetries of the Universe

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    The preponderance of matter over antimatter in the early Universe, the dynamics of the supernova bursts that produced the heavy elements necessary for life and whether protons eventually decay --- these mysteries at the forefront of particle physics and astrophysics are key to understanding the early evolution of our Universe, its current state and its eventual fate. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) represents an extensively developed plan for a world-class experiment dedicated to addressing these questions. LBNE is conceived around three central components: (1) a new, high-intensity neutrino source generated from a megawatt-class proton accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, (2) a near neutrino detector just downstream of the source, and (3) a massive liquid argon time-projection chamber deployed as a far detector deep underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. This facility, located at the site of the former Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, is approximately 1,300 km from the neutrino source at Fermilab -- a distance (baseline) that delivers optimal sensitivity to neutrino charge-parity symmetry violation and mass ordering effects. This ambitious yet cost-effective design incorporates scalability and flexibility and can accommodate a variety of upgrades and contributions. With its exceptional combination of experimental configuration, technical capabilities, and potential for transformative discoveries, LBNE promises to be a vital facility for the field of particle physics worldwide, providing physicists from around the globe with opportunities to collaborate in a twenty to thirty year program of exciting science. In this document we provide a comprehensive overview of LBNE's scientific objectives, its place in the landscape of neutrino physics worldwide, the technologies it will incorporate and the capabilities it will possess.Comment: Major update of previous version. This is the reference document for LBNE science program and current status. Chapters 1, 3, and 9 provide a comprehensive overview of LBNE's scientific objectives, its place in the landscape of neutrino physics worldwide, the technologies it will incorporate and the capabilities it will possess. 288 pages, 116 figure

    Transcriptional regulation of Elf-1: locus-wide analysis reveals four distinct promoters, a tissue-specific enhancer, control by PU.1 and the importance of Elf-1 downregulation for erythroid maturation

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    Ets transcription factors play important roles during the development and maintenance of the haematopoietic system. One such factor, Elf-1 (E74-like factor 1) controls the expression of multiple essential haematopoietic regulators including Scl/Tal1, Lmo2 and PU.1. However, to integrate Elf-1 into the wider regulatory hierarchies controlling haematopoietic development and differentiation, regulatory elements as well as upstream regulators of Elf-1 need to be identified. Here, we have used locus-wide comparative genomic analysis coupled with chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-chip) assays which resulted in the identification of five distinct regulatory regions directing expression of Elf-1. Further, ChIP-chip assays followed by functional validation demonstrated that the key haematopoietic transcription factor PU.1 is a major upstream regulator of Elf-1. Finally, overexpression studies in a well-characterized erythroid differentiation assay from primary murine fetal liver cells demonstrated that Elf-1 downregulation is necessary for terminal erythroid differentiation. Given the known activation of PU.1 by Elf-1 and our newly identified reciprocal activation of Elf-1 by PU.1, identification of an inhibitory role for Elf-1 has significant implications for our understanding of how PU.1 controls myeloid–erythroid differentiation. Our findings therefore not only represent the first report of Elf-1 regulation but also enhance our understanding of the wider regulatory networks that control haematopoiesis

    Phenotypic Characterization of a Genetically Diverse Panel of Mice for Behavioral Despair and Anxiety

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    Animal models of human behavioral endophenotypes, such as the Tail Suspension Test (TST) and the Open Field assay (OF), have proven to be essential tools in revealing the genetics and mechanisms of psychiatric diseases. As in the human disorders they model, the measurements generated in these behavioral assays are significantly impacted by the genetic background of the animals tested. In order to better understand the strain-dependent phenotypic variability endemic to this type of work, and better inform future studies that rely on the data generated by these models, we phenotyped 33 inbred mouse strains for immobility in the TST, a mouse model of behavioral despair, and for activity in the OF, a model of general anxiety and locomotor activity.We identified significant strain-dependent differences in TST immobility, and in thigmotaxis and distance traveled in the OF. These results were replicable over multiple testing sessions and exhibited high heritability. We exploited the heritability of these behavioral traits by using in silico haplotype-based association mapping to identify candidate genes for regulating TST behavior. Two significant loci (-logp >7.0, gFWER adjusted p value <0.05) of approximately 300 kb each on MMU9 and MMU10 were identified. The MMU10 locus is syntenic to a major human depressive disorder QTL on human chromosome 12 and contains several genes that are expressed in brain regions associated with behavioral despair.We report the results of phenotyping a large panel of inbred mouse strains for depression and anxiety-associated behaviors. These results show significant, heritable strain-specific differences in behavior, and should prove to be a valuable resource for the behavioral and genetics communities. Additionally, we used haplotype mapping to identify several loci that may contain genes that regulate behavioral despair

    Genetic Variations Strongly Influence Phenotypic Outcome in the Mouse Retina

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    Variation in genetic background can significantly influence the phenotypic outcome of both disease and non-disease associated traits. Additionally, differences in temporal and strain specific gene expression can also contribute to phenotypes in the mammalian retina. This is the first report of microarray based cross-strain analysis of gene expression in the retina investigating genetic background effects. Microarray analyses were performed on retinas from the following mouse strains: C57BL6/J, AKR/J, CAST/EiJ, and NOD.NON-H2-nb1 at embryonic day 18.5 (E18.5) and postnatal day 30.5 (P30.5). Over 3000 differentially expressed genes were identified between strains and developmental stages. Differential gene expression was confirmed by qRT-PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry. Three major gene networks were identified that function to regulate retinal or photoreceptor development, visual perception, cellular transport, and signal transduction. Many of the genes in these networks are implicated in retinal diseases such as bradyopsia, night-blindness, and cone-rod dystrophy. Our analysis revealed strain specific variations in cone photoreceptor cell patterning and retinal function. This study highlights the substantial impact of genetic background on both development and function of the retina and the level of gene expression differences tolerated for normal retinal function. These strain specific genetic variations may also be present in other tissues. In addition, this study will provide valuable insight for the development of more accurate models for human retinal diseases

    Development of a glycoconjugate vaccine to prevent invasive Salmonella Typhimurium infections in sub-Saharan Africa

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    Invasive infections associated with non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) serovars Enteritidis (SE), Typhimurium (STm) and monophasic variant 1,4,[5],12:i:- are a major health problem in infants and young children in sub-Saharan Africa, and currently, there are no approved human NTS vaccines. NTS O-polysaccharides and flagellin proteins are protective antigens in animal models of invasive NTS infection. Conjugates of SE core and O-polysaccharide (COPS) chemically linked to SE flagellin have enhanced the anti-COPS immune response and protected mice against fatal challenge with a Malian SE blood isolate. We report herein the development of a STm glycoconjugate vaccine comprised of STm COPS conjugated to the homologous serovar phase 1 flagellin protein (FliC) with assessment of the role of COPS O-acetyls for functional immunity. Sun-type COPS conjugates linked through the polysaccharide reducing end to FliC were more immunogenic and protective in mice challenged with a Malian STm blood isolate than multipoint lattice conjugates (>95% vaccine efficacy [VE] versus 30-43% VE). Immunization with de-O-acetylated STm-COPS conjugated to CRM197 provided significant but reduced protection against STm challenge compared to mice immunized with native STm-COPS:CRM197 (63-74% VE versus 100% VE). Although OPS O-acetyls were highly immunogenic, post-vaccination sera that contained various O-acetyl epitope-specific antibody profiles displayed similar in vitro bactericidal activity when equivalent titers of anti-COPS IgG were assayed. In-silico molecular modeling further indicated that STm OPS forms a single dominant conformation, irrespective of O-acetylation, in which O-acetyls extend outward and are highly solvent exposed. These preclinical results establish important quality attributes for an STm vaccine that could be co-formulated with an SE-COPS:FliC glycoconjugate as a bivalent NTS vaccine for use in sub-Saharan Africa

    Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery

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    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well
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