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    ABSTRACT: This review discusses the role that the sperm-specific phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ) is proposed to play during the fertilization of mammalian eggs. At fertilization, the sperm initiates development by causing a series of oscillations in cytosolic concentrations of calcium [Ca2] within the egg. PLCζ mimics the sperm at fertilization, causing the same pattern of Ca2+ release as seen at fertilization. Introducing PLCζ into mouse eggs also mimics a number of other features of the way in which the fertilizing sperm triggers Ca2+ oscillations. We discuss the localization of PLCζ within the egg and present a hypothesis about the localization of PLCζ within the sperm before the initiation of fertilization.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The role of magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) in the treatment of acute asthma is not clear. Four recent systematic reviews suggest a limited role of intravenous (i.v.) and inhaled nebulized treatment. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current literature, focus on two recent large multicenter randomized controlled trials, and discuss future research directions. The Magnesium Nebulized Trial In Children (MAGNETIC) trial has shown little benefit to routine use of nebulized MgSO4 in children with acute asthma, but there may be a benefit in those with severe exacerbations and a shorter duration of symptoms. The 3Mg trial has shown no role for nebulized MgSO4 in adults and, at best a limited role for i.v. MgSO4 in only the most severe exacerbations. This is the only study with direct comparison of nebulized and i.v. MgSO4. MgSO4 has a role in severe exacerbations of acute asthma and there is no evidence of benefit outside this clinical situation. Both nebulized and i.v. treatments are well tolerated and inexpensive. In adults, the most effective route of administration is i.v. There are no direct comparison studies in children. Further research should focus on more severe exacerbations.
    Current opinion in pulmonary medicine 11/2013;
  • Thrombosis and Haemostasis 10/2013; 111(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Phospholipase C-zeta (PLCζ) is a sperm-specific protein believed to cause Ca(2+) oscillations and egg activation during mammalian fertilization. PLCζ is very similar to the somatic PLCδ1 isoform but is far more potent in mobilising Ca(2+) in eggs. To investigate how discrete protein domains contribute to Ca(2+) release, we assessed the function of a series of PLCζ/PLCδ1 chimeras. We examined their ability to cause Ca(2+) oscillations in mouse eggs, enzymatic properties using in vitro PIP2 hydrolysis and their binding to PIP2 and PI(3)P with a liposome interaction assay. Most chimeras hydrolysed PIP2 with no major differences in Ca(2+) sensitivity and enzyme kinetics. Insertion of a PH domain or replacement of the PLCζ EF hands domain had no deleterious effect on Ca(2+) oscillations. In contrast, replacement of either XY-linker or C2 domain of PLCζ completely abolished Ca(2+) releasing activity. Notably, chimeras containing the PLCζ XY-linker bound to PIP2-containing liposomes, while chimeras containing the PLCζ C2 domain exhibited PI(3)P binding. Our data suggest that the EF hands are not solely responsible for the nanomolar Ca(2+) sensitivity of PLCζ and that membrane PIP2 binding involves the C2 domain and XY-linker of PLCζ. To investigate the relationship between PLC enzymatic properties and Ca(2+) oscillations in eggs we have developed a mathematical model that incorporates Ca(2+)-dependent InsP3 generation by the PLC chimeras and their levels of intracellular expression. These numerical simulations can for the first time predict the empirical variability in onset and frequency of Ca(2+) oscillatory activity associated with specific PLC variants.
    Molecular Human Reproduction 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Age-related defects in fibroblast differentiation was previously shown to be associated with impaired hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) function, with both required for normal fibroblast functionality. In fibroblasts, transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1) dependent phenotypic activation uses two distinct but co- operating pathways that involve TGF-β receptor (TGF-βR)/Smad2 activation and HA-mediated CD44-EGFR co-localisation and signalling through extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). The HA-mediated CD44-EGFR pathway was found to be compromised with in vitro aging, through loss of EGFR expression and a reduced movement of CD44 throughout the cellular membrane. Here we also investigate the involvement of microRNAs (miRNAs) in age- related loss of differentiation, through investigation of miRNA-7 (miR-7) regulation of the HA- mediated EGFR signalling pathway. The transcription of miR-7 was found to be upregulated in aged cells. In young cells, age-related loss of differentiation could be mimicked through transfection of pre-miR-7, and in aged cells, could be reversed through transfection of locked nucleic acids (LNA) targeting miR-7. Additionally, miR-7 was found to be involved in the regulation of CD44 membrane motility, which was down-regulated in instances of miR-7 upregulation, and partially restorable through either miR-7 inhibition or HAS2 overexpression. The altered dynamics of CD44 in the cell membrane demonstrated a further action of miR-7 in regulating the HA-dependent CD44/EGFR pathway. We explain this novel mechanism of age- associated functional consequence due to miR-7 upregulation and demonstrate that it is reversible; highlighting miR-7 as a potential target for restoring the healing capabilities in chronic wounds in the elderly. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Aging cell 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Pulmonary surfactant protein-D (SP-D) is a soluble collagenous C-type lectin with important anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Although it is subject to functionally relevant modification by common polymorphisms and unregulated inflammation, the functional status of SP-D in cystic fibrosis (CF) remains unclear. Given the importance of infection and inflammation in CF lung pathology we have undertaken the first systematic analysis of SP-D lectin activity in this population. By ELISA, we found that airway lavage fluid SP-D expression was greater in CF compared to control patients but was reduced in CF patients with infection and correlated negatively with markers of neutrophilic inflammation. In a functional assay, the percentage of SP-D capable of binding zymosan rarely exceeded 60% in CF or control patients and similarly restricted binding activity was observed towards maltose-agarose. SP-D lectin activity also correlated negatively with infection and neutrophilic inflammation but there was little evidence of major proteolytic degradation among the non-bound material. SP-D which failed to bind zymosan exhibited features of lower oligomeric form compared to bound material when tested by native gel electrophoresis. Furthermore, when separated by gel chromatography, high and low oligomeric populations of SP-D were observed in CF lavage fluid but only high oligomeric forms exhibited substantial lectin activity towards yeast derived mannan. Our data demonstrate that oligomeric heterogeneity underlies functional diversity amongst SP-D in health and disease and that dynamic regulation of oligomerisation is an important feature of SP-D biology.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 10/2013;
  • Clinical Toxicology 07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Folic acid enhances endothelial function and improves outcome in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. The exact intracellular signalling mechanisms involved remain elusive and were therefore the subject of this study. Particular focus was placed on folic acid-induced changes in posttranslational modifications of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Cultured endothelial cells were exposed to folic acid in the absence or presence of phosphatidylinositol-3' kinase/Akt (PI3K/Akt) inhibitors. The phosphorylation status of eNOS was determined via western blotting. The activities of eNOS and PI3K/Akt were evaluated. The interaction of eNOS with caveolin-1, Heat-Shock Protein 90 and calmodulin was studied using co-immunoprecipitation. Intracellular localisation of eNOS was investigated using sucrose gradient centrifugation and confocal microscopy. Folic acid promoted eNOS dephosphorylation at negative regulatory sites, and increased phosphorylation at positive regulatory sites. Modulation of phosphorylation status was concomitant with increased cGMP concentrations, and PI3K/Akt activity. Inhibition of PI3K/Akt revealed specific roles for this kinase pathway in folic acid-mediated eNOS phosphorylation. Regulatory protein and eNOS protein associations were altered in favour of a positive regulatory effect in the absence of bulk changes in intracellular eNOS localisation. Folic acid-mediated eNOS activation involves the modulation of eNOS phosphorylation status at multiple residues and positive changes in important protein-protein interactions. Such intracellular mechanisms may in part explain improvements in clinical vascular outcome following folic acid treatment.
    European journal of pharmacology 06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: This study was designed to determine whether the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2) central domain, a region associated with catecholamine polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) mutations, interacts with the RyR2 regulators, ATP and the FK506-binding protein 12.6 (FKBP12.6). METHODS: Wild-type (WT) RyR2 central domain constructs (G(2236)to G(2491)) and those containing the CPVT mutations P2328S and N2386I, were expressed as recombinant proteins. Folding and stability of the proteins were examined by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and guanidine hydrochloride chemical denaturation. RESULTS: The far-UV CD spectra showed a soluble stably-folded protein with WT and mutant proteins exhibiting a similar secondary structure. Chemical denaturation analysis also confirmed a stable protein for both WT and mutant constructs with similar two-state unfolding. ATP and caffeine binding was measured by fluorescence spectroscopy. Both ATP and caffeine bound with an EC50 of ~200-400μM, , and the affinity was the same for WT and mutant constructs. Sequence alignment with other ATP binding proteins indicated the RyR2 central domain contains the signature of an ATP binding pocket. Interaction of the central domain with FKBP12.6 was tested by glutaraldehyde cross-linking and no association was found. CONCLUSIONS: The RyR2 central domain, expressed as a 'correctly' folded recombinant protein, bound ATP in accord with bioinformatics evidence of conserved ATP binding sequence motifs. An interaction with FKBP12.6 was not evident. CPVT mutations did not disrupt the secondary structure nor binding to ATP. General Significance Part of the RyR2 central domain CPVT mutation cluster, can be expressed independently with retention of ATP binding.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 06/2013;
  • Nature Reviews Endocrinology 06/2013;
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