VEGF is required for growth and survival in neonatal mice. (1/4355)

We employed two independent approaches to inactivate the angiogenic protein VEGF in newborn mice: inducible, Cre-loxP- mediated gene targeting, or administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG, a soluble VEGF receptor chimeric protein. Partial inhibition of VEGF achieved by inducible gene targeting resulted in increased mortality, stunted body growth and impaired organ development, most notably of the liver. Administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG, which achieves a higher degree of VEGF inhibition, resulted in nearly complete growth arrest and lethality. Ultrastructural analysis documented alterations in endothelial and other cell types. Histological and biochemical changes consistent with liver and renal failure were observed. Endothelial cells isolated from the liver of mFlt(1-3)-IgG-treated neonates demonstrated an increased apoptotic index, indicating that VEGF is required not only for proliferation but also for survival of endothelial cells. However, such treatment resulted in less significant alterations as the animal matured, and the dependence on VEGF was eventually lost some time after the fourth postnatal week. Administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG to juvenile mice failed to induce apoptosis in liver endothelial cells. Thus, VEGF is essential for growth and survival in early postnatal life. However, in the fully developed animal, VEGF is likely to be involved primarily in active angiogenesis processes such as corpus luteum development.  (+info)

JNK2 is required for efficient T-cell activation and apoptosis but not for normal lymphocyte development. (2/4355)

BACKGROUND: The Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway has been implicated in cell proliferation and apoptosis, but its function seems to depend on the cell type and inducing signal. In T cells, JNK has been implicated in both antigen-induced activation and apoptosis. RESULTS: We generated mice lacking the JNK2 isozymes. The mutant mice were healthy and fertile but defective in peripheral T-cell activation induced by antibody to the CD3 component of the T-cell receptor (TCR) complex - proliferation and production of interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) were reduced. The proliferation defect was restored by exogenous IL-2. B-cell activation was normal in the absence of JNK2. Activation-induced peripheral T-cell apoptosis was comparable between mutant and wild-type mice, but immature (CD4(+) CD8(+)) thymocytes lacking JNK2 were resistant to apoptosis induced by administration of anti-CD3 antibody in vivo. The lack of JNK2 also resulted in partial resistance of thymocytes to anti-CD3 antibody in vitro, but had little or no effect on apoptosis induced by anti-Fas antibody, dexamethasone or ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation. CONCLUSIONS: JNK2 is essential for efficient activation of peripheral T cells but not B cells. Peripheral T-cell activation is probably required indirectly for induction of thymocyte apoptosis resulting from administration of anti-CD3 antibody in vivo. JNK2 functions in a cell-type-specific and stimulus-dependent manner, being required for apoptosis of immature thymocytes induced by anti-CD3 antibody but not for apoptosis induced by anti-Fas antibody, UVC or dexamethasone. JNK2 is not required for activation-induced cell death of mature T cells.  (+info)

A single membrane-embedded negative charge is critical for recognizing positively charged drugs by the Escherichia coli multidrug resistance protein MdfA. (3/4355)

The nature of the broad substrate specificity phenomenon, as manifested by multidrug resistance proteins, is not yet understood. In the Escherichia coli multidrug transporter, MdfA, the hydrophobicity profile and PhoA fusion analysis have so far identified only one membrane-embedded charged amino acid residue (E26). In order to determine whether this negatively charged residue may play a role in multidrug recognition, we evaluated the expression and function of MdfA constructs mutated at this position. Replacing E26 with the positively charged residue lysine abolished the multidrug resistance activity against positively charged drugs, but retained chloramphenicol efflux and resistance. In contrast, when the negative charge was preserved in a mutant with aspartate instead of E26, chloramphenicol recognition and transport were drastically inhibited; however, the mutant exhibited almost wild-type multidrug resistance activity against lipophilic cations. These results suggest that although the negative charge at position 26 is not essential for active transport, it dictates the multidrug resistance character of MdfA. We show that such a negative charge is also found in other drug resistance transporters, and its possible significance regarding multidrug resistance is discussed.  (+info)

JunB is essential for mammalian placentation. (4/4355)

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)

Loss-of-function mutations in the rice homeobox gene OSH15 affect the architecture of internodes resulting in dwarf plants. (5/4355)

The rice homeobox gene OSH15 (Oryza sativa homeobox) is a member of the knotted1-type homeobox gene family. We report here on the identification and characterization of a loss-of-function mutation in OSH15 from a library of retrotransposon-tagged lines of rice. Based on the phenotype and map position, we have identified three independent deletion alleles of the locus among conventional morphological mutants. All of these recessive mutations, which are considered to be null alleles, exhibit defects in internode elongation. Introduction of a 14 kbp genomic DNA fragment that includes all exons, introns and 5'- and 3'- flanking sequences of OSH15 complemented the defects in internode elongation, confirming that they were caused by the loss-of-function of OSH15. Internodes of the mutants had abnormal-shaped epidermal and hypodermal cells and showed an unusual arrangement of small vascular bundles. These mutations demonstrate a role for OSH15 in the development of rice internodes. This is the first evidence that the knotted1-type homeobox genes have roles other than shoot apical meristem formation and/or maintenance in plant development.  (+info)

Stabilization of poly-L-lysine/DNA polyplexes for in vivo gene delivery to the liver. (6/4355)

We are developing a self-assembling non-viral in vivo gene delivery vehicle based on poly-l-lysine and plasmid DNA. We have characterized poly-l-lysines of different chain lengths for DNA condensation and strength of DNA binding. Poly-l-lysine chains >20 residues bound DNA efficiently in physiological saline, while shorter chains did not. Attachment of asialoorosomucoid to PLL increased the PLL chain length required for efficient DNA binding in saline and for efficient DNA condensation. By electron microscopy, poly-l-lysine/DNA polyplexes appeared as toroids 25-50 nm in diameter or rods 40-80 nm long; conjugation of asialoorosomucoid to the polylysine component increased the size of resulting polyplexes to 50-90 nm. In water, poly-l-lysine and asialoorosomucoid-PLL polyplexes have effective diameters of 46 and 87.6 nm, respectively. Polyplexes containing only poly-l-lysine and DNA aggregated in physiological saline at all charge ratios and aggregated at neutral charge ratios in water. Attachment of asialoorosomucoid lessened, but did not eliminate, the aggregation of PLL polyplexes, and did not result in efficient delivery of polyplexes to hepatocytes. Conjugation of polyethylene glycol to poly-l-lysine sterically stabilized resulting polyplexes at neutral charge ratios by shielding the surfaces. For efficient in vivo gene delivery, polyplexes will need to be sterically stabilized to prevent aggregation and interaction with serum components.  (+info)

Prolonged eosinophil accumulation in allergic lung interstitium of ICAM-2 deficient mice results in extended hyperresponsiveness. (7/4355)

ICAM-2-deficient mice exhibit prolonged accumulation of eosinophils in lung interstitium concomitant with a delayed increase in eosinophil numbers in the airway lumen during the development of allergic lung inflammation. The ICAM-2-dependent increased and prolonged accumulation of eosinophils in lung interstitium results in prolonged, heightened airway hyperresponsiveness. These findings reveal an essential role for ICAM-2 in the development of the inflammatory and respiratory components of allergic lung disease. This phenotype is caused by the lack of ICAM-2 expression on non-hematopoietic cells. ICAM-2 deficiency on endothelial cells causes reduced eosinophil transmigration in vitro. ICAM-2 is not essential for lymphocyte homing or the development of leukocytes, with the exception of megakaryocyte progenitors, which are significantly reduced.  (+info)

Transplacement mutagenesis: a novel in situ mutagenesis system using phage-plasmid recombination. (8/4355)

Site-specific mutagenesis provides the ability to alter DNA with precision so that the function of any given gene can be more fully understood. Several methods of in vitro mutagenesis are time-consuming and imprecise, requiring the subcloning and sequencing of products. Here we describe a rapid, high fidelity method of in situ mutagenesis in bacteriophage lambda using transplacement. Using this method, mutations are transferred from oligonucleotides to target phages using a plasmid interface. A small (50 bp) homology region bearing a centred point mutation is generated from oligonucleotides and subcloned into a transplacement plasmid bearing positive and negative phage selectable markers. Following a positive/negative selection cycle of integrative recombination and excision, the point mutation is transferred precisely from plasmid to phage in a subset ( approximately 25-50%) of recombinants. As the fidelity of both oligonucleotide synthesis and phage-plasmid recombination is great, this approach is extremely reliable. Using transplacement, point mutations can be accurately deposited within large phage clones and we demonstrate the utility of this technique in the construction of gene targeting vectors in bacteriophages.  (+info)