(1/3622) The bystander effect in the HSVtk/ganciclovir system and its relationship to gap junctional communication.

The bystander effect (BSE) is an interesting and important property of the herpes thymidine kinase/ganciclovir (hTK/GCV) system of gene therapy for cancer. With the BSE, not only are the hTK expressing cells killed upon ganciclovir (GCV) exposure but also neighboring wild-type tumor cells. On testing a large number of tumor cell lines in vitro, a wide range of sensitivity to bystander killing was found. Since transfer of toxic GCV metabolites from hTK-modified to wild-type tumor cells via gap junctions (GJ) seemed to be a likely mechanism of the BSE, we tested GJ function in these various tumors with a dye transfer technique and pharmacological agents known to affect GJ communication. We confirmed that mixtures of tumor cell resistant to the BSE did not show dye transfer from cell to cell while bystander-sensitive tumor cells did. Dieldrin, a drug known to decrease GJ communication, diminished dye transfer and also inhibited the BSE. Forskolin, an upregulator of cAMP did increase GJ, but directly inhibited hTK and therefore its effect on BSE could not be determined. We conclude that these observations further support port the concept that functional GJ play an important role in the BSE and further suggest that pharmacological manipulation of GJ may influence the outcome of cancer therapy with hTK/GCV.  (+info)

(2/3622) Prion domain initiation of amyloid formation in vitro from native Ure2p.

The [URE3] non-Mendelian genetic element of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an infectious protein (prion) form of Ure2p, a regulator of nitrogen catabolism. Here, synthetic Ure2p1-65 were shown to polymerize to form filaments 40 to 45 angstroms in diameter with more than 60 percent beta sheet. Ure2p1-65 specifically induced full-length native Ure2p to copolymerize under conditions where native Ure2p alone did not polymerize. Like Ure2p in extracts of [URE3] strains, these 180- to 220-angstrom-diameter filaments were protease resistant. The Ure2p1-65-Ure2p cofilaments could seed polymerization of native Ure2p to form thicker, less regular filaments. All filaments stained with Congo Red to produce the green birefringence typical of amyloid. This self-propagating amyloid formation can explain the properties of [URE3].  (+info)

(3/3622) Purification and characterization of a novel peroxidase from Geotrichum candidum dec 1 involved in decolorization of dyes.

A peroxidase (DyP) involved in the decolorization of dyes and produced by the fungus strain Geotrichum candidum Dec 1 was purified. DyP, a glycoprotein, is glycosylated with N-acetylglucosamine and mannose (17%) and has a molecular mass of 60 kDa and an isoelectric point (pI) of 3.8. The absorption spectrum of DyP exhibited a Soret band at 406 nm corresponding to a hemoprotein, and its Na2S2O4-reduced form revealed a peak at 556 nm that indicates the presence of a protoheme as its prosthetic group. Nine of the 21 types of dyes that were decolorized by Dec 1 cells were decolorized by DyP; in particular, anthraquinone dyes were highly decolorized. DyP also oxidized 2,6-dimethoxyphenol and guaiacol but not veratryl alcohol. The optimal temperature for DyP activity was 30 degrees C, and DyP activity was stable even after incubation at 50 degrees C for 11 h.  (+info)

(4/3622) Identification of Epichloe endophytes in planta by a microsatellite-based PCR fingerprinting assay with automated analysis.

Epichloe endophytes are a group of filamentous fungi that include both sexual (Epichloe) and asexual (Neotyphodium) species. As a group they are genetically diverse and form both antagonistic and mutualistic associations with temperate grasses. We report here on the development of a microsatellite-based PCR system for fingerprinting this group of fungi with template isolated from either culture or infected plant material. M13mp19 partial genomic libraries were constructed for size-fractionated genomic DNA from two endophyte strains. These libraries were screened with a mixture of DIG-labeled dinucleotide and trinucleotide repeat probes. Positive clones were sequenced, and nine unique microsatellite loci were identified. An additional microsatellite was serendipitously identified in the 3' untranscribed region of the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase gene from N. lolii Lp19. Primers were designed for each locus and a panel of endophytes, from different taxonomic groupings, was screened to determine the degree of polymorphism. On the basis of these results a multiplex assay was developed for strain identification with fluorescently labeled primers for five of these loci. Using this system the size of the products amplified can be precisely determined by automated analysis, and an allele profile for each strain can be readily generated. The assay was shown to resolve endophyte groupings to the level of known isozyme phenotype groupings. In a blind test the assay was used successfully to identify a set of endophytes in planta. A reference database of allele sizes has been established for the panel of endophytes examined, and this will be expanded as new strains are analyzed.  (+info)

(5/3622) An animal exposure system using ultrasonic nebulizer that generates well controlled aerosols from liquids.

Various aerosol generators have been developed for animal inhalation experiments and the performance tests of measuring instruments and respirators. It has been, however, difficult to generate aerosols from an aqueous solution or suspension keeping the concentration and particle size distribution constant for a long time. Resolving such difficulties, the present study developed an animal exposure system that generates well-controlled and stable aerosols from liquids. The exposure system consists of an aerosol generator using ultrasonic nebulizer, a mixing chamber and an exposure chamber. The validity of this system was confirmed in the generation of NiCl2 and TiO2 aerosol from solution and suspension, respectively. The concentration levels of NiCl2 aerosol were kept at 3.2 mg/m3 and 0.89 mg/m3 for 5 hours with good coefficients of variation (CVs) of 2.5% and 1.7%, respectively. For TiO2 aerosol, the concentration levels of 1.59 mg/m3 and 0.90 mg/m3 were kept for 5 hours with small CVs of 1.3% and 2.0%, respectively. This exposure system could be sufficiently used for inhalation experiments with even high toxic aerosols such as NiCl2 because a momentary high concentration possibly affects results and an extremely stable concentration is required.  (+info)

(6/3622) Psoriatic keratinocytes show reduced IRF-1 and STAT-1alpha activation in response to gamma-IFN.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory dermatosis characterized by hyperproliferative keratinocytes (KC). The skin lesions are infiltrated by T cells, which secrete gamma interferon (gamma-IFN) and are believed to be necessary to maintain the psoriatic phenotype. In normal KC, gamma-IFN is a potent inhibitor of proliferation, but proliferation of KC persists in psoriatic plaques despite the presence of gamma-IFN. Immunostaining of interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) revealed that IRF-1 was localized to the basal cells of the epidermis in normal and in nonlesional psoriatic skin, but was suprabasal or completely absent in lesional psoriatic skin. This finding led to the hypothesis that abnormal signaling in the gamma-IFN pathway may occur in psoriatic KC. To test this hypothesis, we measured activation of IRF-1 and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-1alpha transcription factors in KC after stimulation with gamma-IFN. Primary cultures of KC from normal and nonlesional psoriatic skin were stimulated with gamma-IFN and subsequent transcription factor activation was measured by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Psoriatic KC showed a reduced induction of IRF-1 and STAT-1alpha activation after stimulation with gamma-IFN, compared with normal KC. Reduced activation of IRF-1 and STAT-1alpha in response to gamma-IFN indicates a fundamental defect in the growth and differentiation control of psoriatic KC in the absence of the influence of other cell types.  (+info)

(7/3622) Heparin inhibits proliferation of myometrial and leiomyomal smooth muscle cells through the induction of alpha-smooth muscle actin, calponin h1 and p27.

Mast cells are widely distributed in human tissues, including the human uterus. However, the function of mast cells in uterine smooth muscle has not been clearly established. Mast cells possess secretory granules containing such substances as heparin, serotonin, histamine and many cytokines. To help establish the role of mast cells in the human myometrium, the action of heparin was investigated using smooth muscle cells (SMC) from normal myometrium and from leiomyoma. The proliferation of cultured myometrial and leiomyomal SMC was inhibited by heparin treatment. Flow cytometric analysis showed that the population in the G1 phase of the cell cycle increased under heparin treatment. Western blotting analysis showed that markers of SMC differentiation such as alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), calponin h1 and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 were induced by heparin, whereas cell-cycle-related gene products from the G1 phase of the cell cycle, such as cyclin E and cdk2, were not changed. Taken together, these results indicate that heparin inhibits the proliferation of myometrial and leiomyomal SMC through the induction of alpha-SMA, calponin h1 and p27. We suggest that heparin from mast cells may induce differentiation in uterine SMC and may influence tissue remodelling and reconstruction during physiological and pathophysiological events.  (+info)

(8/3622) Detection of small numbers of immature cells in the blood of healthy subjects.

AIMS: To determine the frequency of immature haemopoietic cells in the peripheral blood of healthy persons. METHODS: Cytocentrifuge preparations were made using mononuclear leucocytes separated by a Ficoll-Hypaque density gradient. The slides were stained by May-Grunwald-Giemsa. The combination with immunoperoxidase technique allowed immunotyping of uncommon blood cells. RESULTS: Blast cells expressing the progenitor cell marker CD34 represented 0.11 (0.06) per cent (mean (SD)) of the total mononuclear leucocyte count; these were the haemopoietic progenitor cells in the peripheral blood. Dark blue cells expressing CD38, CD45, HLA-DR, CD4, CD11a, CD29, CD49d, CD50, and CD54 represented 0.30 (0.21) per cent of the mononuclear leucocytes; most of these cells did not express T, B, NK, myelomonocytic, progenitor cell, proliferation, activation, blood dendritic cell, or follicular dendritic cell markers. These were dendritic cell precursors in the peripheral blood. Very small numbers of cells expressing CD83 were found. Blast-like cells expressing CD45, HLA-DR, CD11a, and CD50 represented 0.15 (0.10) per cent of the mononuclear leucocytes; morphology and immunotyping supported the conclusion that these cells were poorly differentiated monocytes. CONCLUSIONS: Morphological investigation of mononuclear leucocytes in peripheral blood of healthy persons can be used to detect small numbers of blasts, dark blue cells, and blast-like cells. The immunoperoxidase technique can then be used for immunotyping of these cells. This simple method may be helpful in diagnosing haematological disorders.  (+info)