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(1/2115) Retarded growth and deficits in the enteric and parasympathetic nervous system in mice lacking GFR alpha2, a functional neurturin receptor.

Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and a related protein, neurturin (NTN), require a GPI-linked coreceptor, either GFR alpha1 or GFR alpha2, for signaling via the transmembrane Ret tyrosine kinase. We show that mice lacking functional GFR alpha2 coreceptor (Gfra2-/-) are viable and fertile but have dry eyes and grow poorly after weaning, presumably due to malnutrition. While the sympathetic innervation appeared normal, the parasympathetic cholinergic innervation was almost absent in the lacrimal and salivary glands and severely reduced in the small bowel. Neurite outgrowth and trophic effects of NTN at low concentrations were lacking in Gfra2-/- trigeminal neurons in vitro, whereas responses to GDNF were similar between the genotypes. Thus, GFR alpha2 is a physiological NTN receptor, essential for the development of specific postganglionic parasympathetic neurons.  (+info)

(2/2115) Gene targeting reveals a critical role for neurturin in the development and maintenance of enteric, sensory, and parasympathetic neurons.

Neurturin (NTN) is a neuronal survival factor that activates the Ret tyrosine kinase in the presence of a GPI-linked coreceptor (either GFR alpha1 or GFR alpha2). Neurturin-deficient (NTN-/-) mice generated by homologous recombination are viable and fertile but have defects in the enteric nervous system, including reduced myenteric plexus innervation density and reduced gastrointestinal motility. Parasympathetic innervation of the lacrimal and submandibular salivary gland is dramatically reduced in NTN-/- mice, indicating that Neurturin is a neurotrophic factor for parasympathetic neurons. GFR alpha2-expressing cells in the trigeminal and dorsal root ganglia are also depleted in NTN-/- mice. The loss of GFR alpha2-expressing neurons, in conjunction with earlier studies, provides strong support for GFR alpha2/Ret receptor complexes as the critical mediators of NTN function in vivo.  (+info)

(3/2115) Purification and cloning of the salivary peroxidase/catechol oxidase of the mosquito Anopheles albimanus.

Salivary homogenates of the adult female mosquito Anopheles albimanus have been shown previously to contain a vasodilatory activity associated with a catechol oxidase/peroxidase activity. We have now purified the salivary peroxidase using high-performance liquid chromatography. The pure enzyme is able to relax rabbit aortic rings pre-constricted with norepinephrine. The peroxidase has a relative molecular mass of 66 907 as estimated by mass spectrometry. Amino-terminal sequencing allowed us to design oligonucleotide probes for isolation of cDNA clones derived from the salivary gland mRNA from female mosquitoes. The full sequence of the cDNA demonstrated homology between A. albimanus salivary peroxidase and several members of the myeloperoxidase gene family. A close comparison of A. albimanus salivary peroxidase with canine myeloperoxidase, for which the crystal structure is known, showed that all six disulfide bridges were conserved and demonstrated identity for all five residues associated with a Ca2+-binding site. In addition, 16 of 26 residues shown to be in close proximity to the heme moiety in the canine myeloperoxidase were identical. We conclude that the salivary peroxidase of A. albimanus belongs to the myeloperoxidase gene family. Other possible functions for this molecule in blood feeding are discussed.  (+info)

(4/2115) Tissue tropism related to vector competence of Frankliniella occidentalis for tomato spotted wilt tospovirus.

The development of tomato spotted wilt tospovirus (TSWV) infection in the midgut and salivary glands of transmitting and non-transmitting thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis, was studied to elucidate tissue tropism and the virus pathway within the body of this vector. Immunohistological techniques used in this study showed that the midgut, foregut and salivary glands were the only organs in which virus accumulated. The first signals of infection, observed as randomly distributed fluorescent granular spots, were found in the epithelial cells of the midgut, mainly restricted to the anterior region. The virus subsequently spread to the circular and longitudinal midgut muscle tissues, a process which occurred late in the larval stage. In the adult stage, the infection occurred in the visceral muscle tissues, covering the whole midgut and foregut, and was abolished in the midgut epithelium. The infection of the salivary glands was first observed 72 h post-acquisition, and simultaneously in the ligaments connecting the midgut with these glands. The salivary glands of transmitting individuals appeared heavily or completely infected, while no or only a low level of infection was found in the glands of non-transmitting individuals. Moreover, the development of an age-dependent midgut barrier against virus infection was observed in second instar larvae and adults. The results show that the establishment of TSWV infection in the various tissues and the potential of transmission seems to be regulated by different barriers and processes related to the metamorphosis of thrips.  (+info)

(5/2115) Molecular characterization of a Haemaphysalis longicornis tick salivary gland-associated 29-kilodalton protein and its effect as a vaccine against tick infestation in rabbits.

The use of tick vaccines in mammalian hosts has been shown to be the most promising alternative tick control method to current use of acaricides, which suffers from a number of limitations. However, the success of this method is dependent on the identification, cloning, and in vitro expression of tick molecules involved in the mediation of key physiological roles with respect to the biological success of a tick as a vector and pest. We have sequenced and characterized a Haemaphysalis longicornis tick salivary gland-associated cDNA coding for a 29-kDa extracellular matrix-like protein. This protein is expressed in both unfed and fed immature and mature H. longicornis ticks. The predicted amino acid sequence of p29 shows high homology to sequences of some known extracellular matrix like-proteins with the structural conservation similar to all known collagen proteins. Immunization with the recombinant p29 conferred a significant protective immunity in rabbits, resulting in reduced engorgement weight for adult ticks and up to 40 and 56% mortality in larvae and nymphs that fed on the immunized rabbits. We speculate that this protein is associated with formation of tick cement, a chemical compound that enables the tick to remain attached to the host, and suggest a role for p29 as a candidate tick vaccine molecule for the control of ticks. We have discussed our findings with respect to the search of tick molecules for vaccine candidates.  (+info)

(6/2115) Recombinant feline leukemia virus (FeLV) variants establish a limited infection with altered cell tropism in specific-pathogen-free cats in the absence of FeLV subgroup A helper virus.

Feline leukemia virus subgroup B (FeLV-B) is commonly associated with feline lymphosarcoma and arises through recombination between endogenous retroviral elements inherited in the cat genome and corresponding regions of the envelope (env) gene from FeLV subgroup A (FeLV-A). In vivo infectivity for FeLV-B is thought to be inefficient in the absence of FeLV-A. Proposed FeLV-A helper functions include enhanced replication efficiency, immune evasion, and replication rescue for defective FeLV-B virions. In vitro analysis of the recombinant FeLV-B-like viruses (rFeLVs) employed in this study confirmed these viruses were replication competent prior to their use in an in vivo study without FeLV-A helper virus. Eight specific-pathogen-free kittens were inoculated with the rFeLVs alone. Subsequent hematology and histology results were within normal limits, however, in the absence of detectable viremia, virus expression, or significant seroconversion, rFeLV proviral DNA was detected in bone marrow tissue of 4/4 (100%) cats at 45 weeks postinoculation (pi), indicating these rFeLVs established a limited but persistent infection in the absence of FeLV-A. Altered cell tropism was also noted. Focal infection was seen in T-cell areas of the splenic follicles in 3/4 (75%) rFeLV-infected cats analyzed, while an FeLV-A-infected cat showed focal infection in B-cell areas of the splenic follicles. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the surface glycoprotein portion of the rFeLV env gene amplified from bone marrow tissue collected at 45 weeks pi showed no sequence alterations from the original rFeLV inocula.  (+info)

(7/2115) Fas and Fas-mediated effects on a human salivary cell line in vitro: a model for immune-mediated exocrine damage in Sjogren's syndrome.

Sjogren's syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune exocrinopathy characterized by mononuclear cell infiltration and loss of parenchymal tissue in salivary and lacrimal glands. The mechanisms for these histologic alterations are not known. Apoptotic cell death, induced by the ligation of Fas (APO-1/CD95) with Fas ligand (FasL/CD95L) may be an explanation for the tissue damage seen in SS. Fas and FasL were detected in minor salivary glands from SS patients and healthy individuals using immunohistochemical methods. There was increased expression of both Fas and FasL in the patients. The ability of the Fas-FasL pathway to influence epithelial cell growth and survival was demonstrated in vitro using a human submandibular cell line. The presence of Fas receptor was demonstrated on the cells. Anti-Fas antibody triggered cell death. Cells were also grown in the presence of gamma-interferon (IFN-gamma). IFN-gamma induced an upregulation of Fas receptor expression and pre-treatment of cells with IFN-gamma led to enhanced anti-Fas mediated cell death.  (+info)

(8/2115) Salivary glands of the sand fly Phlebotomus papatasi contain pharmacologically active amounts of adenosine and 5'-AMP.

Salivary gland homogenates of the sand fly Phlebotomus papatasi contain large amounts of adenosine and 5'-AMP, of the order of 1 nmol per pair of glands, as demonstrated by liquid chromatography, ultraviolet spectrometry, mass spectrometry and bioassays. These purines, 75-80 % of which are secreted from the glands following a blood meal, have vasodilatory and anti-platelet activities and probably help the fly to obtain a blood meal. Salivary 5'-AMP is also responsible for the previously reported protein phosphatase inhibitor in the salivary glands of P. papatasi, which is shown to be artifactual in nature as a result of allosteric modification by AMP of the phosphatase substrate used (phosphorylase a).  (+info)