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(1/4631) Inducible long-term gene expression in brain with adeno-associated virus gene transfer.

Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors hold promise for treating a number of neurological disorders due to the ability to deliver long-term gene expression without toxicity or immune response. Critical to these endeavors will be controlled expression of the therapeutic gene in target cells. We have constructed and tested a dual cassette rAAV vector carrying a reporter gene under the control of the tetracycline-responsive system and the tetracycline transactivator. Transduction in vitro resulted in stable expression from the vector that can be suppressed 20-fold by tetracycline treatment. In vivo experiments, carried out to 6 weeks, demonstrated that vector-transduced expression is sustained until doxycycline administration upon which reporter gene expression is reduced. Moreover, the suppression of vector-driven expression can be reversed by removal of the drug. These studies demonstrate long-term regulated gene expression from rAAV vectors. This system will provide a valuable approach for controlling vector gene expression both in vitro and in vivo.  (+info)

(2/4631) Astrocyte-specific expression of tyrosine hydroxylase after intracerebral gene transfer induces behavioral recovery in experimental parkinsonism.

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the depletion of dopamine in the caudate putamen. Dopamine replacement with levodopa, a precursor of the neurotransmitter, is presently the most common treatment for this disease. However, in an effort to obtain better therapeutic results, tissue or cells that synthesize catecholamines have been grafted into experimental animals and human patients. In this paper, we present a novel technique to express tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the host's own astrocytes. This procedure uses a transgene in which the expression of a TH cDNA is under the control of a glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter, which confers astrocyte-specific expression and also increases its activity in response to brain injury. The method was tested in a rat model of Parkinson's disease produced by lesioning the striatum with 6-hydroxydopamine. Following microinjection of the transgene into the denervated striatum as a DNA-liposome complex, expression of the transgene was detected by RT-PCR and TH protein was observed specifically in astrocytes by using double-labeling immunofluorescence for GFAP and TH coupled with laser confocal microscopy. Efficacy was demonstrated by significant behavioral recovery, as assessed by a decrease in the pharmacologically induced turning behavior generated by the unilateral denervation of the rat striatum. These results suggest this is a valuable technique to express molecules of therapeutic interest in the brain.  (+info)

(3/4631) An intact sperm nuclear matrix may be necessary for the mouse paternal genome to participate in embryonic development.

We have been interested in determining the minimally required elements in the sperm head that are necessary in order for the paternal genome to participate in embryogenesis. We used an ionic detergent, mixed alkyltrimethylammonium bromide (ATAB), plus dithiothreitol (DTT) to remove the acrosome and almost all of the perinuclear theca, leaving only the sperm nucleus morphologically intact. We also tested the stability of the sperm nuclear matrix by the ability to form nuclear halos. Sperm nuclei washed in freshly prepared 0.5% ATAB + 2 mM DTT completely decondensed when extracted with salt, but nuclei washed in the same buffer that was 1 wk old, and then extracted with salt, produced nuclear halos, indicating stable nuclear matrices. When we treated sperm heads with freshly prepared ATAB+DTT and injected them into oocytes, none of the oocytes developed into live offspring. In contrast, sperm heads treated in the same way but with 1-wk-old ATAB+DTT solution could support development of about 30% of the oocytes to live offspring. Electron microscopy demonstrated that most of the perinuclear theca had been removed in both cases. These data suggest that at least in the mouse, the only component of the spermatozoa that is crucial for participation in embryologic development is the sperm nucleus with a stable nuclear matrix.  (+info)

(4/4631) A novel trans-complementation assay suggests full mammalian oocyte activation is coordinately initiated by multiple, submembrane sperm components.

To initiate normal embryonic development, an egg must receive a signal to become activated at fertilization. We here report that the ability of demembranated sperm heads to activate is abolished after incubation over the range 20-44 degreesC and is sensitive to reducing agents. On the basis of this observation, we have developed a microinjection-based, trans-complementation assay in order to dissect the heat-inactivated sperm-borne oocyte-activating factor(s) (SOAF). We demonstrate that the failure of heat-inactivated sperm heads to activate an egg is rescued by coinjection with dithiothreitol-solubilized SOAF from demembranated sperm heads. The solubilized SOAF (SOAFs) is trypsin sensitive and is liberated from demembranated heads in a temperature-dependent manner that inversely correlates with the ability of sperm heads to activate. This argues that SOAFs is a proteinaceous molecular species required to initiate activation. Injection of oocytes with mouse or hamster sperm cytosolic factors, but not SOAFs alone, induced resumption of meiosis, further suggesting that these cytosolic factors and SOAF are distinct. Collectively, these data strongly suggest that full mammalian oocyte activation is initiated by the coordinated action of one or more heat-sensitive protein constituents of the perinuclear matrix and at least one heat-stable submembrane component.  (+info)

(5/4631) PrKX is a novel catalytic subunit of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase regulated by the regulatory subunit type I.

The human X chromosome-encoded protein kinase X (PrKX) belongs to the family of cAMP-dependent protein kinases. The catalytically active recombinant enzyme expressed in COS cells phosphorylates the heptapeptide Kemptide (LRRASLG) with a specific activity of 1.5 micromol/(min.mg). Using surface plasmon resonance, high affinity interactions were demonstrated with the regulatory subunit type I (RIalpha) of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (KD = 10 nM) and the heat-stable protein kinase inhibitor (KD = 15 nM), but not with the type II regulatory subunit (RIIalpha, KD = 2.3 microM) under physiological conditions. Kemptide and autophosphorylation activities of PrKX are strongly inhibited by the RIalpha subunit and by protein kinase inhibitor in vitro, but only weakly by the RIIalpha subunit. The inhibition by the RIalpha subunit is reversed by addition of nanomolar concentrations of cAMP (Ka = 40 nM), thus demonstrating that PrKX is a novel, type I cAMP-dependent protein kinase that is activated at lower cAMP concentrations than the holoenzyme with the Calpha subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Microinjection data clearly indicate that the type I R subunit but not type II binds to PrKX in vivo, preventing the translocation of PrKX to the nucleus in the absence of cAMP. The RIIalpha subunit is an excellent substrate for PrKX and is phosphorylated in vitro in a cAMP-independent manner. We discuss how PrKX can modulate the cAMP-mediated signal transduction pathway by preferential binding to the RIalpha subunit and by phosphorylating the RIIalpha subunit in the absence of cAMP.  (+info)

(6/4631) Cannabinoid suppression of noxious heat-evoked activity in wide dynamic range neurons in the lumbar dorsal horn of the rat.

The effects of cannabinoid agonists on noxious heat-evoked firing of 62 spinal wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons were examined in urethan-anesthetized rats (1 cell/animal). Noxious thermal stimulation was applied with a Peltier device to the receptive fields in the ipsilateral hindpaw of isolated WDR neurons. To assess the site of action, cannabinoids were administered systemically in intact and spinally transected rats and intraventricularly. Both the aminoalkylindole cannabinoid WIN55,212-2 (125 microg/kg iv) and the bicyclic cannabinoid CP55,940 (125 microg/kg iv) suppressed noxious heat-evoked activity. Responses evoked by mild pressure in nonnociceptive neurons were not altered by CP55,940 (125 microg/kg iv), consistent with previous observations with another cannabinoid agonist, WIN55,212-2. The cannabinoid induced-suppression of noxious heat-evoked activity was blocked by pretreatment with SR141716A (1 mg/kg iv), a competitive antagonist for central cannabinoid CB1 receptors. By contrast, intravenous administration of either vehicle or the receptor-inactive enantiomer WIN55,212-3 (125 microg/kg) failed to alter noxious heat-evoked activity. The suppression of noxious heat-evoked activity induced by WIN55,212-2 in the lumbar dorsal horn of intact animals was markedly attenuated in spinal rats. Moreover, intraventricular administration of WIN55,212-2 suppressed noxious heat-evoked activity in spinal WDR neurons. By contrast, both vehicle and enantiomer were inactive. These findings suggest that cannabinoids selectively modulate the activity of nociceptive neurons in the spinal dorsal horn by actions at CB1 receptors. This modulation represents a suppression of pain neurotransmission because the inhibitory effects are selective for pain-sensitive neurons and are observed with different modalities of noxious stimulation. The data also provide converging lines of evidence for a role for descending antinociceptive mechanisms in cannabinoid modulation of spinal nociceptive processing.  (+info)

(7/4631) Incompetence of preovulatory mouse oocytes to undergo cortical granule exocytosis following induced calcium oscillations.

Immature oocytes of many species are incompetent to undergo cortical granule (CG) exocytosis upon fertilization. In mouse eggs, CG exocytosis is dependent primarily on an inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3)-mediated elevation of intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i). While deficiencies upstream of [Ca2+]i release are known, this study examined whether downstream deficiencies also contribute to the incompetence of preovulatory mouse oocytes to release CGs. The experimental strategy was to bypass upstream deficiencies by inducing normal, fertilization-like [Ca2+]i oscillations in fully grown, germinal vesicle (GV) stage oocytes and determine if the extent of CG exocytosis was restored to levels observed in mature, metaphase II (MII)-stage eggs. Because IP3 does not stimulate a normal Ca2+ response in GV-stage oocytes, three alternate methods were used to induce oscillations: thimerosal treatment, electroporation, and sperm factor injection. Long-lasting oscillations from thimerosal treatment resulted in 64 and 10% mean CG release at the MII and GV stages, respectively (P < 0.001). Three electrical pulses induced mean [Ca2+]i elevations of approximately 730 and 650 nM in MII- and GV-stage oocytes, respectively, and 31% CG release in MII-stage eggs and 9% in GV-stage oocytes (P < 0.001). Sperm factor microinjection resulted in 86% CG release in MII-stage eggs, while similarly treated GV-stage oocytes exhibited < 1% CG release (P < 0.001). Taken together, these results demonstrate a deficiency downstream of [Ca2+]i release which is developmentally regulated in the 12 h prior to ovulation.  (+info)

(8/4631) Neuronal differentiation and patterning in Xenopus: the role of cdk5 and a novel activator xp35.2.

Cdk5, a member of the cyclin-dependent kinase family, has been shown to play an important role in development of the central nervous system in mammals when partnered by its activator p35. Here we describe the cloning and characterization of a novel activator of cdk5 in Xenopus, Xp35.2. Xp35.2 is expressed during development initially in the earliest differentiating primary neurons in the neural plate and then later in differentiating neural tissue of the brain. This is in contrast to the previously described Xenopus cdk5 activator Xp35.1 which is expressed over the entire expanse of the neural plate in both proliferating and differentiating cells. Expression of both Xp35.1 and Xp35.2 and activation of cdk5 kinase occur when terminal neural differentiation is induced by neurogenin and neuro D overexpression but not when only early stages of neural differentiation are induced by noggin. Moreover, blocking cdk5 kinase activity specifically results in disruption and reduction of the embryonic eye where cdk5 and its Xp35 activators are expressed. Thus, cdk5/p35 complexes function in aspects of neural differentiation and patterning in the early embryo and particularly in formation of the eye.  (+info)