Gestational changes in endothelin-1-induced receptors and myometrial contractions in rat.
The present experiments were performed to characterize the gestational changes in endothelin (ET)-1-induced myometrial contractions and ET receptors in rat. ET-1-induced contractions were composed of two types: increases in resting tone and rhythmic contractions. The increase in resting tone was decreased at 7 days of gestation, but increased at 20 days. The increase in amplitude and frequency of rhythmic contractions remained unchanged during days 7-14 of gestation. Continuous rhythmic contractions were not produced by ET-1 near the term. Both contractions were inhibited by the antagonists BQ 123 and Ro 46-2005 but not by RES 701-1 or BQ 788. In binding studies, total binding sites of -ET-1 were unchanged, however higher affinity binding sites appeared during pregnancy in addition to the lower affinity sites. The specific [125I]-ET-1 binding in non-pregnant and pregnant myometrium was completely inhibited by unlabelled ET-1 and Ro 46-2005. In contrast, the proportion which was inhibited by BQ 123 was decreased during pregnancy. In conclusion, characteristic gestational changes were the augmentation of ET-1-induced increased resting tone near term, and the appearance of high affinity ET-1 binding sites and an increase in BQ 123-resistant ET-1 binding sites during pregnancy. Further investigations are needed to understand the physiological role of these changes. (+info)
Equilibrium regained: from nonequilibrium chaos to statistical mechanics.
Far-from-equilibrium, spatially extended chaotic systems have generally eluded analytical solution, leading researchers to consider theories based on a statistical rather than a detailed knowledge of the microscopic length scales. Building on the recent discovery of a separation of length scales between macroscopic behavior and microscopic chaos, a simple far-from-equilibrium spatially extended chaotic system has been studied computationally at intermediate, coarse-grained scales. Equilibrium properties such as Gibbs distributions and detailed balance are recovered at these scales, which suggests that the macroscopic behavior of some far-from-equilibrium systems might be understood in terms of equilibrium statistical mechanics. (+info)
Mechanistic study of beta-xylosidase from Trichoderma koningii G-39.
The catalytic mechanism of the beta-xylosidase purified from the culture filtrate of Trichoderma koningii G-39 was investigated. By NMR spectroscopy, the stereochemistry of the enzyme catalyzing the hydrolysis of 2,4-dinitrophenyl and p-nitrophenyl-beta-D-xylosides was found unequivocally to involve retention of the anomeric configuration. Based on the k(cat) values of a series of arylxylosides with leaving group pK(a)s in the range of 4-10, an extended Bronsted plot was constructed with a slope (beta(lg)) near zero. Enzymatic hydrolysis of aryl-beta-D-xylosides in acetate buffer (pH 4.0) containing 3 or 5% methanol showed a constant product ratio (methylxyloside/xylose), indicating the presence of a common intermediate, probably the xylosyl-enzyme intermediate. In the presence of DTT, the k(cat) values of p-cyanophenyl-beta-D-xylopyranoside and p-nitrophenyl-beta-D-xylopyranoside increased greatly. A two-step mechanism involving the formation and breakdown of the xylosyl-enzyme intermediate was therefore proposed. The rate-limiting step is the breakdown of the intermediate. The secondary deuterium kinetic isotope effect (k(H)/k(D)) measured for 2,4-dinitrophenyl-beta-D-xyloside was 1.02+/-0.01, suggesting that the transition state for breakdown of the xylosyl-enzyme intermediate is S(N)2-like. (+info)
Chemically and mechanically induced membrane fusion: non-activating methods for nuclear transfer in mature human oocytes.
Most current studies of nuclear transfer in mammalian oocytes have used electrofusion to incorporate donor cell nuclei into enucleated oocyte cytoplasts. However, the application of electrofusion to human oocytes is hampered by the relative ease with which this procedure induces oocyte activation. Here we tested a previously described chemical fusion technique and an original mechanical fusion procedure in this application. Enucleated metaphase II oocytes were first agglutinated with karyoplasts originating from other metaphase II oocytes and then induced to fuse with the use of polyethylene glycol or by micromanipulation with an intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) micropipette. Both techniques yielded a high frequency of fusion and did not cause oocyte activation. Moreover, the reconstructed oocytes were easily activated by subsequent treatment with ionophore A23187 and 6-dimethylaminopurine. These techniques may be used in attempts to alleviate female infertility due to insufficiency of ooplasmic factors by nuclear transfer from patients' oocytes to enucleated donor oocyte cytoplasts. For eventual future use in human cloning, they would ensure prolonged exposure of transferred nuclei to metaphase promoting factor, which appears to be required for optimal nuclear reprogramming. (+info)
Effects of anodal vs. cathodal pacing on the mechanical performance of the isolated rabbit heart.
Previous studies have suggested that anodal pacing enhances electrical conduction in the heart near the pacing site. It was hypothesized that enhanced conduction by anodal pacing would also enhance ventricular pressure in the heart. Left ventricular pressure measurements were made in isolated, Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts by means of a Millar pressure transducer with the use of a balloon catheter fixed in the left ventricle. The pressure wave was analyzed for maximum pressure (Pmax) generated in the left ventricle and the work done by the left ventricle (Parea). Eight hearts were paced with monophasic square-wave pulses of varying amplitudes (2, 4, 6, and 8 V) with 100 pulses of each waveform delivered to the epicardium. Anodal stimulation pulses showed statistically significant improvement in mechanical response at 2, 4, and 8 V. Relative to unipolar cathodal pacing, unipolar anodal pacing improved Pmax by 4.4 +/- 2.3 (SD), 5.3 +/- 3.1, 3.5 +/- 4.9, and 4.8 +/- 1.9% at 2, 4, 6, and 8 V, respectively. Unipolar anodal stimulation also improved Parea by 9.0 +/- 3.0, 12.0 +/- 6.0, 10.1 +/- 7.7, and 11.9 +/- 6.0% at 2, 4, 6, and 8 V, respectively. Improvements in Pmax and Parea indicate that an anodally paced heart has a stronger mechanical response than does a cathodally paced heart. Anodal pacing might be useful as a novel therapeutic technology to treat mechanically impaired or failed hearts. (+info)
This article explains the mechanism of indirect retention for RPDs and discusses the factors which determine its effectiveness. Examples are given of designs which incorporate indirect retention. (+info)
Optimized suspension culture: the rotating-wall vessel.
Suspension culture remains a popular modality, which manipulates mechanical culture conditions to maintain the specialized features of cultured cells. The rotating-wall vessel is a suspension culture vessel optimized to produce laminar flow and minimize the mechanical stresses on cell aggregates in culture. This review summarizes the engineering principles, which allow optimal suspension culture conditions to be established, and the boundary conditions, which limit this process. We suggest that to minimize mechanical damage and optimize differentiation of cultured cells, suspension culture should be performed in a solid-body rotation Couette-flow, zero-headspace culture vessel such as the rotating-wall vessel. This provides fluid dynamic operating principles characterized by 1) solid body rotation about a horizontal axis, characterized by colocalization of cells and aggregates of different sedimentation rates, optimally reduced fluid shear and turbulence, and three-dimensional spatial freedom; and 2) oxygenation by diffusion. Optimization of suspension culture is achieved by applying three tradeoffs. First, terminal velocity should be minimized by choosing microcarrier beads and culture media as close in density as possible. Next, rotation in the rotating-wall vessel induces both Coriolis and centrifugal forces, directly dependent on terminal velocity and minimized as terminal velocity is minimized. Last, mass transport of nutrients to a cell in suspension culture depends on both terminal velocity and diffusion of nutrients. In the transduction of mechanical culture conditions into cellular effects, several lines of evidence support a role for multiple molecular mechanisms. These include effects of shear stress, changes in cell cycle and cell death pathways, and upstream regulation of secondary messengers such as protein kinase C. The discipline of suspension culture needs a systematic analysis of the relationship between mechanical culture conditions and biological effects, emphasizing cellular processes important for the industrial production of biological pharmaceuticals and devices. (+info)
Spider silk fibers spun from soluble recombinant silk produced in mammalian cells.
Spider silks are protein-based "biopolymer" filaments or threads secreted by specialized epithelial cells as concentrated soluble precursors of highly repetitive primary sequences. Spider dragline silk is a flexible, lightweight fiber of extraordinary strength and toughness comparable to that of synthetic high-performance fibers. We sought to "biomimic" the process of spider silk production by expressing in mammalian cells the dragline silk genes (ADF-3/MaSpII and MaSpI) of two spider species. We produced soluble recombinant (rc)-dragline silk proteins with molecular masses of 60 to 140 kilodaltons. We demonstrated the wet spinning of silk monofilaments spun from a concentrated aqueous solution of soluble rc-spider silk protein (ADF-3; 60 kilodaltons) under modest shear and coagulation conditions. The spun fibers were water insoluble with a fine diameter (10 to 40 micrometers) and exhibited toughness and modulus values comparable to those of native dragline silks but with lower tenacity. Dope solutions with rc-silk protein concentrations >20% and postspinning draw were necessary to achieve improved mechanical properties of the spun fibers. Fiber properties correlated with finer fiber diameter and increased birefringence. (+info)