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    ABSTRACT: In our recent paper, we demonstrated that the hypervirulence exhibited by a lineage of the fatal fungal pathogen Cryptococcus gattii is associated with its mitochondrial gene expression and an unusual mitochondrial morphology. As an important organelle, the mitochondrion has been linked to various cellular activities, but its role in modulating virulence of pathogens remains unclear. In this addendum, the potential role of mitochondria in determining virulence in eukaryotic pathogens is discussed along with future experiments that may lead to an improved understanding of this topic.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Virulence
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, there are relatively few tasks suitable for testing planned problem solving in children. We presented 4- to 10-year-old children (N = 172) with two planning tasks (sequential planning and advance planning) using the paddle-box apparatus, which was originally designed to investigate the planning skills of nonhuman apes. First, we were interested in the development of children’s performance in the two tasks and whether the strategies children used to succeed differed among age groups. Performance improved significantly across age groups in both tasks. Strategies for success in the advance planning task differed among age groups, with 4- and 5-year-olds performing more excess actions, and a greater proportion of irrelevant excess actions, than older children. Findings are discussed in relation to the development of performance in tower tasks, which are a commonly used test of planning ability in humans. Second, based on previous findings with apes, we predicted that introducing measures to reduce the inhibitory demands of the advance planning task would improve children’s performance. Therefore, in this study we introduced two methodological alterations that have been shown to improve children’s performance in other tasks with inhibitory demands: (a) imposing a short delay before a child is allowed to act and (b) replacing reward items with symbolic tokens. Surprisingly, neither of these measures improved the performance of children in any of the age groups, suggesting that, contrary to our prediction, inhibitory control might not be a key performance-limiting factor in the advance planning paddle-box task.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: The common Ser326Cys polymorphism in the base excision repair protein 8-oxoguanine glycosylase 1 is associated with a reduced capacity to repair oxidative DNA damage particularly under conditions of intracellular oxidative stress and there is evidence that Cys326-OGG1 homozygous individuals have increased susceptibility to specific cancer types. Indirect biochemical studies have shown that reduced repair capacity is related to OGG1 redox modification and also possibly OGG1 dimer formation. In the current study we have used bimolecular fluorescence complementation to study for the first time a component of the base excision repair pathway and applied it to visualise accumulation of Cys326-OGG1 protein complexes in the native cellular environment. Fluorescence was observed both within and around the cell nucleus, was shown to be specific to cells expressing Cys326-OGG1 and only occurred in cells under conditions of cellular oxidative stress following depletion of intracellular glutathione levels by treatment with buthionine sulphoximine. Furthermore, OGG1 complex formation was inhibited by incubation of cells with the thiol reducing agents β-mercaptoethanol and dithiothreitol and the antioxidant dimethylsulfoxide indicating a causative role for oxidative stress in the formation of OGG1 cellular complexes. In conclusion, this study has provided for the first time evidence of redox sensitive Cys326-OGG1 protein accumulation in cells under conditions of intracellular oxidative stress that may be related to the previously reported reduced repair capacity of Cys326-OGG1 specifically under conditions of oxidative stress.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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