(1/50503) Sulfhydryl compounds in melanocytes of yellow (Ay/a), nonagouti (a/a), and agouti (A/A) mice.

CLEFFMANN (1953, 1963a,b) has reported that yellow but not black melanocytes of agouti (A/A) rabbits contained reducing sulfhydryl compounds. We have attempted to repeat CLEFFMANN's observations in mouse melanocytes of the lethal yellow (Ay/a), nonagouti (a/a) and agouti (A/A) genotypes. Our results contradict those of CLEFFMANN and reveal that yellow and black melanocytes, regardless of genotype, possess equivalent amounts of histochemically detectable sulfhydryl compounds. These results do not support the hypothesis that agouti-locus genes act by controlling the sulfhydryl metabolism of pigment cells.  (+info)

(2/50503) JunB is essential for mammalian placentation.

Lack of JunB, an immediate early gene product and member of the AP-1 transcription factor family causes embryonic lethality between E8.5 and E10.0. Although mutant embryos are severely retarded in growth and development, cellular proliferation is apparently not impaired. Retardation and embryonic death are caused by the inability of JunB-deficient embryos to establish proper vascular interactions with the maternal circulation due to multiple defects in extra-embryonic tissues. The onset of the phenotypic defects correlates well with high expression of junB in wild-type extra-embryonic tissues. In trophoblasts, the lack of JunB causes a deregulation of proliferin, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) gene expression, resulting in a defective neovascularization of the decidua. As a result of downregulation of the VEGF-receptor 1 (flt-1), blood vessels in the yolk sac mesoderm appeared dilated. Mutant embryos which escape these initial defects finally die from a non-vascularized placental labyrinth. Injection of junB-/- embryonic stem (ES) cells into tetraploid wild-type blastocysts resulted in a partial rescue, in which the ES cell-derived fetuses were no longer growth retarded and displayed a normal placental labyrinth. Therefore, JunB appears to be involved in multiple signaling pathways regulating genes involved in the establishment of a proper feto-maternal circulatory system.  (+info)

(3/50503) Metallothionein-null mice absorb less Zn from an egg-white diet, but a similar amount from solutions, although with altered intertissue Zn distribution.

The influence of metallothionein (MT) on Zn transfer into non-gut tissues was investigated in MT-null (MT-/-) and normal (MT+/+) mice 4 h after oral gavage of aqueous 65ZnSO4solution at doses of 154, 385, 770 and 1540 nmol Zn per mouse. Zn transfer was not significantly different between MT+/+ and MT-/- mice and was directly proportional to the oral dose (slope = 0.127, r = 0.991; 0. 146, r = 0.994, respectively). Blood 65Zn and plasma Zn concentrations increased progressively in MT-/- mice at doses >154 nmol Zn, reaching levels of 2.4% of oral dose and 60 micromol/L, respectively, at the 1540 nmol Zn dose. The corresponding values for MT+/+ mice were approximately half, 1.0% and 29 micromol/L. Intergenotypic differences were found in tissue distribution of 65Zn within the body; MT-/- mice had higher 65Zn levels in muscle, skin, heart and brain, whereas MT+/+ mice retained progressively more Zn in the liver, in conjunction with a linear increase in hepatic MT up to the highest Zn dose. MT induction in the small intestine reached its maximum at an oral dose of 385 nmol Zn and did not differ at higher doses. Absorption of a 770 nmol 65Zn dose from a solid egg-white diet was only one fourth (MT+/+) and one eighth (MT-/-) of the Zn absorption from the same dose of 65Zn in aqueous solution. MT+/+ mice had greater (P < 0.05) Zn absorption from the egg-white diet than did MT-/- mice, indicating that gut MT confers an absorptive advantage, but only when Zn is incorporated into solid food.  (+info)

(4/50503) Hereditary juvenile haemochromatosis: a genetically heterogeneous life-threatening iron-storage disease.

Juvenile haemochromatosis is a rare inborn error of iron metabolism with clinical manifestations before 30 years of age. Unlike adult haemochromatosis which principally affects men, juvenile haemochromatosis affects the sexes equally; it causes early endocrine failure, dilated cardiomyopathy and joint disease. We report four patients (two of each sex) from three pedigrees affected by juvenile haemochromatosis with a mean onset at 22 years (range 14-30). All had endocrine deficiency with postpubertal gonadal failure secondary to pituitary disease; two suffered near-fatal cardiomyopathy with heart failure. Mean time to diagnosis from the first clinical signs of disease was 9.8 years (range 0.5-20) but general health and parameters of iron storage responded favourably to iron-depletion therapy. A 24-year-old man listed for heart transplantation because of cardiomyopathy [left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction 16%] responded to intravenous iron chelation with desferrioxamine combined with phlebotomy (ejection fraction 31%). A 27-year-old woman with subacute biventricular heart failure refractory to medication required orthotopic cardiac transplantation before the diagnosis was established (LV ejection fraction 25%). Genetic studies showed that these two patients with cardiomyopathy from unrelated families were heterozygous for the HFE 845G-->A (C282Y) mutation and wild-type at the H63D locus: complete sequencing of the intron-exon boundaries and entire coding sequence of the HFE gene failed to identify additional lesions. Two siblings in a pedigree without cardiomyopathy were wild-type at the HFE C282Y locus; although the brother harboured a single copy of the 187C-->G (H63D) allele, segregation analysis showed that in neither sibling was the iron-storage disease linked to MHC Class I markers on chromosome 6p. Juvenile haemochromatosis is thus a genetically heterogenous disorder distinct from the common adult variant.  (+info)

(5/50503) Clusters of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: analysis of person-to-person transmission by genotyping.

Genotyping at the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of the nuclear rRNA operon was performed on isolates of P. carinii sp. f. hominis from three clusters of P. carinii pneumonia among eight patients with haematological malignancies and six with HIV infection. Nine different ITS sequence types of P. carinii sp. f. hominis were identified in the samples from the patients with haematological malignancies, suggesting that this cluster of cases of P. carinii pneumonia was unlikely to have resulted from nosocomial transmission. A common ITS sequence type was observed in two of the patients with haematological malignancies who shared a hospital room, and also in two of the patients with HIV infection who had prolonged close contact on the ward. In contrast, different ITS sequence types were detected in samples from an HIV-infected homosexual couple who shared the same household. These data suggest that person-to-person transmission of P. carinii sp. f. hominis may occur from infected to susceptible immunosuppressed patients with close contact within hospital environments. However direct transmission between patients did not account for the majority of cases within the clusters, suggesting that person-to-person transmission of P. carinii sp. f. hominis infection may be a relatively infrequent event and does not constitute the major route of transmission in man.  (+info)

(6/50503) Structure of cag pathogenicity island in Japanese Helicobacter pylori isolates.

BACKGROUND: cag pathogenicity island (PAI) is reported to be a major virulence factor of Helicobacter pylori. AIM: To characterise cagA and the cag PAI in Japanese H pylori strains. METHODS: H pylori isolates from Japanese patients were evaluated for CagA by immunoblot, for cagA transcription by northern blot, and for cagA and 13 other cag PAI genes by Southern blot. cagA negative strains from Western countries were also studied. Induction of interleukin-8 secretion from gastric epithelial cells was also investigated. RESULTS: All Japanese strains retained cagA. Fifty nine of 63 (94%) strains had all the cag PAI genes. In the remaining four, cag PAI was partially deleted, lacking cagA transcripts and not producing CagA protein. Details of the PAI of these strains were checked; three lacked cagB to cagQ (cagI) and continuously cagS to cag13 (cagII), and the remaining one lacked cagB to cag8. Western cagA negative strains completely lacked cag PAI including cagA. Nucleotide sequence analysis in one strain in which the cag PAI was partially deleted showed that the partial deletion contained 25 kb of cag PAI and the cagA promoter. Interleukin-8 induction was lower with the cag PAI partial deletion strains than with the intact ones. All Japanese cag PAI deleted strains were derived from patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia, whereas 41 of 59 (70%) CagA-producing strains were from patients with peptic ulcers or gastric cancer (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Most Japanese H pylori strains had the intact cag PAI. However, some lacked most of the cag PAI in spite of the presence of cagA. Thus the presence of the cagA gene is not an invariable marker of cag PAI related virulence in Japanese strains.  (+info)

(7/50503) Disruption of the Toxoplasma gondii bradyzoite-specific gene BAG1 decreases in vivo cyst formation.

The bradyzoite stage of the Apicomplexan protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii plays a critical role in maintenance of latent infection. We reported previously the cloning of a bradyzoite-specific gene BAG1/hsp30 (previously referred to as BAG5) encoding a cytoplasmic antigen related to small heat shock proteins. We have now disrupted BAG1 in the T. gondii PLK strain by homologous recombination. H7, a cloned null mutant, and Y8, a control positive for both cat and BAG1, were chosen for further characterization. Immunofluorescence and Western blot analysis of bradyzoites with BAG1 antisera demonstrated expression of BAG1 in the Y8 and the PLK strain but no expression in H7. All three strains expressed a 116 kDa bradyzoite cyst wall antigen, a 29 kDa matrix antigen and the 65 kDa matrix reactive antigen MAG1. Mice inoculated with H7 parasites formed significantly fewer cysts than those inoculated with the Y8 and the PLK strains. H7 parasites were complemented with BAG1 using phleomycin selection. Cyst formation in vivo for the BAG1-complemented H7 parasites was similar to wild-type parasites. We therefore conclude that BAG1 is not essential for cyst formation, but facilitates formation of cysts in vivo.  (+info)

(8/50503) Ovine MHC class II DRB1 alleles associated with resistance or susceptibility to development of bovine leukemia virus-induced ovine lymphoma.

For the further characterization of bovine leukemia virus (BLV)-induced leukemogenesis, we investigated the association between polymorphism of ovine leukocyte antigen (OLA)-DRB1 gene and tumor development after infection of sheep with BLV. We infected 28 sheep with BLV and cloned exon 2 of the OLA-DRB1 gene from asymptomatic animals and from animals with lymphoma Sequence analysis revealed that, among 12 healthy sheep without any evidence of tumor, ten (83.3%) carried DRB1 alleles encoding Arg-Lys (RK) at positions beta70/71 as compared with only 6 (37.5%) of the 16 sheep with lymphoma, which suggested that alleles encoding the RK motif might protect against development of tumors after infection by BLV. By contrast, alleles encoding Ser-Arg (SR) at positions beta70/71 were present at a significantly elevated frequency in sheep with lymphoma as compared with the healthy carriers, which indicated that OLA-DRB1 alleles encoding the SR motif might be positively related to susceptibility to tumor development. The two amino acids in these motifs line a pocket that accommodates the side chain of a bound peptide according to a model of the crystal structure of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR1. To analyze immunoreactions of sheep with alleles that encoded RK or SR at beta70/71, we selected sheep with either the RK/SR genotypes or the SR/SR genotypes and immunized them with a mixture of multiple synthetic antigenic peptides that corresponded to T-helper, T-cytotoxic, and B-cell epitopes of the BLV envelope glycoprotein gp51. Two weeks after the last immunization, all of the sheep were challenged with BLV. Sheep with the RK/SR genotype produced neutralizing antibodies against BLV; they eliminated BLV completely within 28 weeks of the BLV challenge, and they gave strong lymphocyte-proliferative responses to the peptides used for immunization. Moreover, such animals did not develop lymphoma. By contrast, sheep with the SR/SR genotype continued to produce BLV throughout the experimental period and developed terminal disease. Our results indicate that the differences in immunoresponse were due to differences in major histocompatibility complex class II alleles and reflected the risk of BLV-induced leukemogenesis. In addition, it appears that susceptibility to tumor development may be determined to some extent by polymorphic residues binding to antigenic peptides directly within the binding cleft of the OLA-DR molecule.  (+info)