234 research outputs found

    11th German Conference on Chemoinformatics (GCC 2015) : Fulda, Germany. 8-10 November 2015.

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    Mating dynamics in a nematode with three sexes and its evolutionary implications

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    Nematodes have diverse reproductive strategies, which make them ideal subjects for comparative studies to address how mating systems evolve. Here we present the sex ratios and mating dynamics of the free-living nematode Rhabditis sp. SB347, in which males, females and hermaphrodites co-exist. The three sexes are produced by both selfing and outcrossing, and females tend to appear early in a mother’s progeny. Males prefer mating with females over hermaphrodites, which our results suggest is related to the female-specific production of the sex pheromones ascr#1 and ascr#9. We discuss the parallels between this system and that of parasitic nematodes that exhibit alternation between uniparental and biparental reproduction

    Quantifying the Effects of Elastic Collisions and Non-Covalent Binding on Glutamate Receptor Trafficking in the Post-Synaptic Density

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    One mechanism of information storage in neurons is believed to be determined by the strength of synaptic contacts. The strength of an excitatory synapse is partially due to the concentration of a particular type of ionotropic glutamate receptor (AMPAR) in the post-synaptic density (PSD). AMPAR concentration in the PSD has to be plastic, to allow the storage of new memories; but it also has to be stable to preserve important information. Although much is known about the molecular identity of synapses, the biophysical mechanisms by which AMPAR can enter, leave and remain in the synapse are unclear. We used Monte Carlo simulations to determine the influence of PSD structure and activity in maintaining homeostatic concentrations of AMPARs in the synapse. We found that, the high concentration and excluded volume caused by PSD molecules result in molecular crowding. Diffusion of AMPAR in the PSD under such conditions is anomalous. Anomalous diffusion of AMPAR results in retention of these receptors inside the PSD for periods ranging from minutes to several hours in the absence of strong binding of receptors to PSD molecules. Trapping of receptors in the PSD by crowding effects was very sensitive to the concentration of PSD molecules, showing a switch-like behavior for retention of receptors. Non-covalent binding of AMPAR to anchored PSD molecules allowed the synapse to become well-mixed, resulting in normal diffusion of AMPAR. Binding also allowed the exchange of receptors in and out of the PSD. We propose that molecular crowding is an important biophysical mechanism to maintain homeostatic synaptic concentrations of AMPARs in the PSD without the need of energetically expensive biochemical reactions. In this context, binding of AMPAR with PSD molecules could collaborate with crowding to maintain synaptic homeostasis but could also allow synaptic plasticity by increasing the exchange of these receptors with the surrounding extra-synaptic membrane

    Novel Photosensitizers Trigger Rapid Death of Malignant Human Cells and Rodent Tumor Transplants via Lipid Photodamage and Membrane Permeabilization

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    BACKGROUND: Apoptotic cascades may frequently be impaired in tumor cells; therefore, the approaches to circumvent these obstacles emerge as important therapeutic modalities. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Our novel derivatives of chlorin e(6), that is, its amide (compound 2) and boronated amide (compound 5) evoked no dark toxicity and demonstrated a significantly higher photosensitizing efficacy than chlorin e(6) against transplanted aggressive tumors such as B16 melanoma and M-1 sarcoma. Compound 5 showed superior therapeutic potency. Illumination with red light of mammalian tumor cells loaded with 0.1 ”M of 5 caused rapid (within the initial minutes) necrosis as determined by propidium iodide staining. The laser confocal microscopy-assisted analysis of cell death revealed the following order of events: prior to illumination, 5 accumulated in Golgi cysternae, endoplasmic reticulum and in some (but not all) lysosomes. In response to light, the reactive oxygen species burst was concomitant with the drop of mitochondrial transmembrane electric potential, the dramatic changes of mitochondrial shape and the loss of integrity of mitochondria and lysosomes. Within 3-4 min post illumination, the plasma membrane became permeable for propidium iodide. Compounds 2 and 5 were one order of magnitude more potent than chlorin e(6) in photodamage of artificial liposomes monitored in a dye release assay. The latter effect depended on the content of non-saturated lipids; in liposomes consisting of saturated lipids no photodamage was detectable. The increased therapeutic efficacy of 5 compared with 2 was attributed to a striking difference in the ability of these photosensitizers to permeate through hydrophobic membrane interior as evidenced by measurements of voltage jump-induced relaxation of transmembrane current on planar lipid bilayers. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The multimembrane photodestruction and cell necrosis induced by photoactivation of 2 and 5 are directly associated with membrane permeabilization caused by lipid photodamage

    PALB2, CHEK2 and ATM rare variants and cancer risk: data from COGS

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    Background: The rarity of mutations in PALB2, CHEK2 and ATM make it difficult to estimate precisely associated cancer risks. Population-based family studies have provided evidence that at least some of these mutations are associated with breast cancer risk as high as those associated with rare BRCA2 mutations. We aimed to estimate the relative risks associated with specific rare variants in PALB2, CHEK2 and ATM via a multicentre case-control study.Methods: We genotyped 10 rare mutations using the custom iCOGS array: PALB2 c.1592delT, c.2816T&gt;G and c.3113G&gt;A, CHEK2c.349A&gt;G, c.538C&gt;T, c.715G&gt;A, c.1036C&gt;T, c.1312G&gt;T, and c.1343T&gt;G and ATM c.7271T&gt;G. We assessed associations with breast cancer risk (42 671 cases and 42 164 controls), as well as prostate (22 301 cases and 22 320 controls) and ovarian (14 542 cases and 23 491 controls) cancer risk, for each variant.Results: For European women, strong evidence of association with breast cancer risk was observed for PALB2 c.1592delT OR 3.44 (95% CI 1.39 to 8.52, p=7.1×10−5), PALB2 c.3113G&gt;A OR 4.21 (95% CI 1.84 to 9.60, p=6.9×10−8) and ATM c.7271T&gt;G OR 11.0 (95% CI 1.42 to 85.7, p=0.0012). We also found evidence of association with breast cancer risk for three variants in CHEK2, c.349A&gt;G OR 2.26 (95% CI 1.29 to 3.95), c.1036C&gt;T OR 5.06 (95% CI 1.09 to 23.5) and c.538C&gt;T OR 1.33 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.67) (p≀0.017). Evidence for prostate cancer risk was observed for CHEK2 c.1343T&gt;G OR 3.03 (95% CI 1.53 to 6.03, p=0.0006) for African men and CHEK2 c.1312G&gt;T OR 2.21 (95% CI 1.06 to 4.63, p=0.030) for European men. No evidence of association with ovarian cancer was found for any of these variants.Conclusions: This report adds to accumulating evidence that at least some variants in these genes are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer that is clinically important.</p

    A partially supervised physical activity program for adult and adolescent survivors of childhood cancer (SURfit): study design of a randomized controlled trial [NCT02730767]

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    Genome-wide association study identifies six new loci influencing pulse pressure and mean arterial pressure.

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    Numerous genetic loci have been associated with systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in Europeans. We now report genome-wide association studies of pulse pressure (PP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP). In discovery (N = 74,064) and follow-up studies (N = 48,607), we identified at genome-wide significance (P = 2.7 × 10(-8) to P = 2.3 × 10(-13)) four new PP loci (at 4q12 near CHIC2, 7q22.3 near PIK3CG, 8q24.12 in NOV and 11q24.3 near ADAMTS8), two new MAP loci (3p21.31 in MAP4 and 10q25.3 near ADRB1) and one locus associated with both of these traits (2q24.3 near FIGN) that has also recently been associated with SBP in east Asians. For three of the new PP loci, the estimated effect for SBP was opposite of that for DBP, in contrast to the majority of common SBP- and DBP-associated variants, which show concordant effects on both traits. These findings suggest new genetic pathways underlying blood pressure variation, some of which may differentially influence SBP and DBP

    Genetic variants in novel pathways influence blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk.

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    Blood pressure is a heritable trait influenced by several biological pathways and responsive to environmental stimuli. Over one billion people worldwide have hypertension (≄140 mm Hg systolic blood pressure or  ≄90 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure). Even small increments in blood pressure are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. This genome-wide association study of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which used a multi-stage design in 200,000 individuals of European descent, identified sixteen novel loci: six of these loci contain genes previously known or suspected to regulate blood pressure (GUCY1A3-GUCY1B3, NPR3-C5orf23, ADM, FURIN-FES, GOSR2, GNAS-EDN3); the other ten provide new clues to blood pressure physiology. A genetic risk score based on 29 genome-wide significant variants was associated with hypertension, left ventricular wall thickness, stroke and coronary artery disease, but not kidney disease or kidney function. We also observed associations with blood pressure in East Asian, South Asian and African ancestry individuals. Our findings provide new insights into the genetics and biology of blood pressure, and suggest potential novel therapeutic pathways for cardiovascular disease prevention

    Measurement and interpretation of same-sign W boson pair production in association with two jets in pp collisions at s = 13 TeV with the ATLAS detector