Global expression analysis of ECL cells in Mastomys natalensis gastric mucosa identifies alterations in the AP-1 pathway induced by gastrin-mediated transformation.
Enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cell hyperplasia and then irreversible neoplasia can be generated in the African rodent Mastomys natalensis using the H2 receptor blocker, loxtidine, for 8-16 wk. We used a GeneChip approach complemented by standard technologies to identify gene expression alterations in the gastric mucosa during gastrin-mediated ECL cell transformation. Gastric mucosa (mucosal scrapping) and ECL cell-enriched fractions were obtained from untreated Mastomys (controls) and from animals treated with loxtidine for 8 wk (hyperplasia). Tumor ECL cells were obtained by hand-dissection of gastric ECL cell nodules from animals treated with loxtidine for >16 wk and from a spontaneously developed ECL cell tumor. RNA was isolated, examined on rat U34A GeneChips, and comparison analysis was performed to identify altered gene expression. Alterations in gene expressions were examined further by immunohistochemistry, quantitative RT-PCR (Q-RT-PCR), sequencing and Western blot. GeneSpring analysis demonstrated alterations in few genes (<20) in hyperplastic and tumor mucosa. The histamine H1 receptor was consistently increased in proliferating mucosa. This gene change was confirmed by Q-RT-PCR. Other genes showing alterations included neural-(chromogranin A and somatostatin), cell-cycle-, and AP-1-associated genes. Immunostaining confirmed alterations in neural markers. Cluster analysis of ECL cell-enriched samples demonstrated that c-fos and junD were differently regulated. Q-RT-PCR and Western blot in prospectively collected gastric mucosal samples confirmed the differential expression of Fos and Jun. The negative regulators of AP-1, JunD, and Menin were decreased in tumor mucosa. A missense of unknown function was noted in the menin gene. Hypergastrinemia in an animal model of gastric carcinoids differentially altered the histamine type 1 receptor and gene expression and protein composition of AP-1. These results suggest that expression of this receptor and an altered composition of AP-1 with a loss of inhibition play a role in ECL cell transformation. (+info
Species-specific analysis of protein sequence motifs using mutual information.
BACKGROUND: Protein sequence motifs are by definition short fragments of conserved amino acids, often associated with a specific function. Accordingly protein sequence profiles derived from multiple sequence alignments provide an alternative description of functional motifs characterizing families of related sequences. Such profiles conveniently reflect functional necessities by pointing out proximity at conserved sequence positions as well as depicting distances at variable positions. Discovering significant conservation characteristics within the variable positions of profiles mirrors group-specific and, in particular, evolutionary features of the underlying sequences. RESULTS: We describe the tool PROfile analysis based on Mutual Information (PROMI) that enables comparative analysis of user-classified protein sequences. PROMI is implemented as a web service using Perl and R as well as other publicly available packages and tools on the server-side. On the client-side platform-independence is achieved by generally applied internet delivery standards. As one possible application analysis of the zinc finger C2H2-type protein domain is introduced to illustrate the functionality of the tool. CONCLUSION: The web service PROMI should assist researchers to detect evolutionary correlations in protein profiles of defined biological sequences. It is available at http://promi.mpimp-golm.mpg.de where additional documentation can be found. (+info
Detection of ehrlichial DNA in small rodents captured in a woodland area of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, where Lyme disease is endemic.
The ehrlichial gene was detected in small rodents trapped in a Lyme disease-endemic area in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Primer pairs of 16S rDNA targeting the genus Ehrlichia and other regions of the 16S rDNA specific for E. chaffeensis and E. muris were used for identification. The DNA fragment specific for 16S rDNA of Ehrlichia spp. was detected in 4 of 94 Apodemus speciosus mice (positive rate: 4.3%) and 5 of 73 Clethrionomys rufocanus bedfordiae mice (positive rate: 6.8%). The nucleotide sequence of the amplified 16S rDNA fragment was most similar to those of E. muris-like Ehrlichia, Ehrlichia spp. HF565 and Shizuoka-36, originating in the northern and central parts of Japan. In phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rDNA sequences, the northern, central and western groups of E. muris-like Ehrlichia from a cluster with microorganisms of the E. muris group. These results suggest that there are a group of E. muris microorganisms and a group of E. muris- like microorganisms in Japan. (+info
Isolation, functional characterization, and transcriptome of Mastomys ileal enterochromaffin cells.
Although the enterochromaffin (EC) cell is one of the primary neuroendocrine regulatory cells of the small intestine, the lack of a purified cell system has precluded characterization of the cell and limited precise physiological evaluation. We developed methodology to obtain a pure population of Mastomys ileal EC cells, evaluated their functional regulation, and defined the transcriptome. Mastomys ilea were everted, end ligated, pronase-collagenase digested, and Nycodenz gradient centrifuged, and EC cells were collected by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) of acridine orange-labeled cells. Enrichment was confirmed by immunostaining of tryptophan hydroxylase and chromogranin A, specific EC cell markers, serotonin content, EC cell marker gene expression, and electron microscopy. Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP), somatostatin, and gastrin receptor expression was determined by real-time RT-PCR. Live post-FACS-sorted cells were cultured, and the effects of forskolin, isoproterenol, acetylcholine, GABAA, PACAP-38, and gastrin on serotonin secretion were measured by ELISA. GeneChip Affymetrix profiling of FACS-sorted cells was undertaken to obtain the EC cell transcriptome. FACS produced a >70-fold enrichment of EC cells with a serotonin content of 240 +/- 22 ng/mg protein. Preparations were 99 +/- 0.7% pure by immunostaining for tryptophan hydroxylase. Vasoactive intestinal peptide/PACAP receptor 1 (VPAC1) and somatostatin receptor 2 were present, whereas PACAP receptor 1 (PAC1) and CCK2 receptors were undetectable. Forskolin, isoproterenol, and PACAP-38 stimulated serotonin secretion at EC50 values of 5 x 10(-10), 4.5 x 10(-10), and 1.2 x 10(-9) M, respectively. Isoproterenol stimulated cAMP levels by approximately 3.5 +/- 0.62-fold vs. unstimulated cells (EC50 of approximately 10(-9) M). Octreotide, acetylcholine, and GABAA inhibited serotonin secretion with IC50 values of 3 x 10(-11), 3 x 10(-10), and 2.9 x 10(-10) M, respectively. Gastrin had no effect on serotonin secretion. The naive EC cell transcriptome revealed highly expressed EC cell marker genes, the absence of marker genes for other small intestinal cell types, and a receptor profile that included cholinergic, adrenergic, dopaminergic, serotoninergic, GABAergic, and prostaglandin receptors. We were able to isolate homogeneous preparations (>99%) of live ileal EC cells and demonstrated regulation of serotonin secretion as well as established the normal EC cell transcriptome. Application of this methodology to normal and diseased human ileum will facilitate the elucidation of the pathophysiology of EC cells. (+info
Postepizootic persistence of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Venezuela.
Five years after the apparent end of the major 1995 Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) epizootic/epidemic, focal outbreaks of equine encephalitis occurred in Carabobo and Barinas States of western Venezuela. Virus isolates from horses in each location were nearly identical in sequence to 1995 isolates, which suggests natural persistence of subtype IC VEE virus (VEEV) strains in a genetically stable mode. Serologic evidence indicated that additional outbreaks occurred in Barinas State in 2003. Field studies identified known Culex (Melanoconion) spp. vectors and reservoir hosts of enzootic VEEV but a dearth of typical epidemic vectors. Cattle serosurveys indicated the recent circulation of enzootic VEEV strains, and possibly of epizootic strains. Persistence of VEEV subtype IC strains and infection of horses at the end of the rainy season suggest the possibility of an alternative, cryptic transmission cycle involving survival through the dry season of infected vectors or persistently infected vertebrates. (+info
Hantavirus in African wood mouse, Guinea.
Hantaviruses are rodent-borne, emerging viruses that cause life-threatening human diseases in Eurasia and the Americas. We detected hantavirus genome sequences in an African wood mouse (Hylomyscus simus) captured in Sangassou, Guinea. Sequence and phylogenetic analyses of the genetic material demonstrate a novel hantavirus species, which we propose to name "Sangassou virus." (+info
Balancing the competing requirements of saltatorial and fossorial specialisation: burrowing costs in the spinifex hopping mouse, Notomys alexis.
Semi-fossorial animals (burrowing surface foragers) need to balance the competing morphological requirements of terrestrial and burrowing locomotion. These species rarely show the same degree of claw, forelimb and pectoral girdle structural development that fully fossorial forms (burrowing subterranean foragers) do, but nevertheless invest considerable amounts of energy in burrow systems. The compromise between terrestrial and burrowing locomotion was investigated by measuring net costs of burrowing and pedestrian transport in the spinifex hopping mouse, Notomys alexis, a species that forages in open areas in arid environments and is adapted for saltatorial locomotion. The net cost of transport by burrowing of hopping mice was found to be more expensive than for specialised fossorial species, and burrows were estimated to represent an energy investment equivalent to the terrestrial locomotion expected to be incurred in 17-100 days. A phylogenetically independent-contrasts approach revealed that morphological specialisation for burrowing was associated with low maximum running speeds in fossorial mammals and, for non-fossorial rodents and marsupials, maximum running speed was positively correlated with an index of habitat structure that ranged from arboreal to open desert. The high terrestrial speeds attainable by this semi-fossorial species by saltatory locomotion apparently outweigh the energetic savings that would be associated with burrowing specialisation. (+info
Nutritionally induced diabetes in desert rodents as models of type 2 diabetes: Acomys cahirinus (spiny mice) and Psammomys obesus (desert gerbil).
The dietary effects of hyperglycemia increasingly result in type 2 diabetes in humans. Two species, the spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus) and the desert gerbil (Psammomys obesus), which have different metabolic responses to such effects, are discussed. Spiny mice exemplify a pathway that leads to diabetes without marked insulin resistance due to low supply of insulin on abundant nutrition, possibly characteristic of a desert animal. They respond with obesity and glucose intolerance, beta-cell hyperplasia, and hypertrophy on a standard rodent diet supplemented with fat-rich seeds. The accompanying hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia are mild and intermittent but after a few months, the enlarged pancreatic islets suddenly collapse, resulting in loss of insulin and ketosis. Glucose and other secretagogues produce only limited insulin release in vivo and in vitro, pointing to the inherent disability of the beta-cells to respond with proper insulin secretion despite their ample insulin content. On a 50% sucrose diet there is marked lipogenesis with hyperlipidemia without obesity or diabetes, although beta-cell hypertrophy is evident. P.obesus is characterized by muscle insulin resistance and the inability of insulin to activate the insulin signaling on a high-energy (HE) diet. Insulin resistance imposes a vicious cycle of Hyperglycemia and compensatory hyperinsulinemia, leading to beta-cell failure and increased secretion of proinsulin. Ultrastructural studies reveal gradual disappearance of beta-cell glucokinase, GLUT 2 transporter, and insulin, followed by apoptosis of beta-cells. Studies using the non-insulin-resistant HE diet-fed animals maintained as a control group are discussed. The insulin resistance that is evident to date in the normoglycemic state on a low-energy diet indicates sparing of glucose fuel in muscles of a desert-adapted animal for the benefit of glucose obligatory tissues. Also discussed are the effect of Psammomys age on the disabetogenicity of the HE diet; the impaired function of several components of the insulin signal transduction pathway in muscles, which reduces the availability of GLUT4 transporter; the testing of several antidiabetic modalities for the prevention of nutritional diabetes in Psammomys; and various complications related to the diabetic condition. (+info