[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Each cell produces its own responses even if it appears identical to other cells. To analyze these individual cell characteristics, we need to measure trace amounts of molecules in a single cell. Nucleic acids in a single cell can be easily amplified by polymerase chain reaction, but single-cell measurement of proteins and sugars will require de novo techniques. In the present study, we outline the techniques we have developed toward this end. For proteins, our ultrasensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) coupled with thionicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide cycling can detect proteins at subattomoles per assay. For sugars, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy coupled with glucose oxidase-catalyzed reaction allows us to measure glucose at tens of nM. Our methods thus offer versatile techniques for single-cell-level analyses, and they are hoped to strongly promote single-cell biology as well as to develop noninvasive tests in clinical medicine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To minimize patient suffering, the smallest possible volume of blood should be collected for diagnosis and disease monitoring. When estimating insulin secretion capacity and resistance to insulin in diabetes mellitus (DM), increasing insulin assay immunosensitivity would reduce the blood sample volume required for testing. Here we present an ultrasensitive ELISA coupled with thio-NAD cycling to measure immunoreactive insulin in blood serum. Only 5 μL of serum was required for testing, with a limit of detection (LOD) for the assay of 10(-16) moles/assay. Additional recovery tests confirmed this method can detect insulin in sera. Comparisons between a commercially available immunoreactive insulin kit and our ultrasensitive ELISA using the same commercially available reference demonstrated good data correlation, providing further evidence of assay accuracy. Together, these results demonstrate our ultrasensitive ELISA could be a powerful tool in the diagnosis and treatment of not only DM but also many other diseases in the future.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis is capable of taste avoidance classical conditioning (TAC) with sucrose as the conditional stimulus (CS) and mechanical prodding as the unconditional stimulus (US). After successful training, feeding behavior is significantly suppressed in response to CS presentation.
An automated apparatus is described for the training of multiple snails up to 10 snails at the same time. The new apparatus employs an electrical shock obtained from a 9-V dry cell to deliver a consistent and effective current amplitude of 0.4μA (i.e. the US).
Using this apparatus, 10 snails can be conditioned simultaneously. We found that the optimal parameters to result in both short (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) were 15 paired presentations of the CS and US with a 5-min inter-trial interval (ITI) and 0.2-s current duration. However, both STM and LTM were observed with other ITIs tested. Successful TAC with only a single pairing of the CS-US occurred with a CS of 100mM sucrose solution for 60 s followed by a US of 9V with 0.4μA for 5 s.
Comparison with existing method:
The use of automated training apparatus for TAC will enable us to better examine the relationship between strength of CS and US.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Neuroscience Methods
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin is well known as a hormone regulating glucose homeostasis across phyla. Although there are insulin-independent mechanisms for glucose uptake in the mammalian brain, which had contributed to a perception of the brain as an insulin-insensitive organ for decades, the finding of insulin and its receptors in the brain revolutionized the concept of insulin signaling in the brain. However, insulin's role in brain functions, such as cognition, attention, and memory, remains unknown. Studies using invertebrates with their open blood-vascular system have the promise of promoting a better understanding of the role played by insulin in mediating/modulating cognitive functions. In this review, the relationship between insulin and its impact on long-term memory (LTM) is discussed particularly in snails. The pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis has the ability to undergo conditioned taste aversion (CTA), that is, it associatively learns and forms LTM not to respond with a feeding response to a food that normally elicits a robust feeding response. We show that molluscan insulin-related peptides are up-regulated in snails exhibiting CTA-LTM and play a key role in the causal neural basis of CTA-LTM. We also survey the relevant literature of the roles played by insulin in learning and memory in other phyla.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Comparative Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To reduce the window period between HIV-1 infection and the ability to diagnose it, a fourth-generation immunoassay including the detection of HIV-1 p24 antigen has been developed. However, because the commercially available systems for this assay use special, high-cost instruments to measure, for example, chemiluminescence, it is performed only by diagnostics companies and hub hospitals. To overcome this limitation, we applied an ultrasensitive ELISA coupled with a thio-NAD cycling, which is based on a usual enzyme immunoassay without special instruments, to detect HIV-1 p24. The p24 detection limit by our ultrasensitive ELISA was 0.0065 IU/assay (i.e., ca. 10-18 moles/assay). Because HIV-1 p24 antigen is thought to be present in the virion in much greater numbers than viral RNA copies, the value of 10-18 moles of the p24/assay corresponds to ca. 103 copies of the HIV-1 RNA/assay. That is, our ultrasensitive ELISA is chasing the detection limit (102 copies/assay) obtained by PCR-based nucleic acid testing (NAT) with a margin of only one different order. Further, the detection limit by our ultrasensitive ELISA is less than that mandated for a CE-marked HIV antigen/antibody assay. An additional recovery test using blood supported the reliability of our ultrasensitive ELISA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The activity of thermo-transient receptor potential (TRP) channels is highly dependent on temperature, and thus thermo-TRP reactions have a high temperature coefficient Q10. In thermodynamics, a high value of Q10 indicates the existence of a large activation energy (i.e., a large enthalpy) over a short period during the transition process between the closed and open states of the channels. The Gibbs free energy equation shows that a large entropy is required to compensate for this large enthalpy and permit activation of the channels, suggesting a large conformational change of the channels. These large values of enthalpy and entropy seem to be a match for the values of the unfolding process of globular proteins. We outline these thermodynamic issues in thermo-TRPs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The involvement of serotonin in mediating hunger-related changes in behavioral state has been described in many invertebrates. However, the mechanisms by which hunger signals to serotonergic cells remain unknown. We tested the hypothesis that serotonergic neurons can directly sense the concentration of glucose, a metabolic indicator of nutritional state. In the snail Lymnaea stagnalis, we demonstrate that completely isolated pedal serotonergic neurons that control locomotion changed their biophysical characteristics in response to glucose application by lowering membrane potential and decreasing the firing rate. Additionally, the excitatory response of the isolated serotonergic neurons to the neuroactive microenvironment of the pedal ganglia was significantly lowered by glucose application. Because hunger has been reported to increase the activity of select neurons and their responses to the pedal ganglia microenvironment, these responses to glucose are in accordance with the hypothesis that direct glucose signaling is involved in the mediation of the hunger-related behavioral state.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adiponectin is a hormone secreted from adipocytes, and it demonstrates antidiabetic, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the patterns of change in urinary adiponectin levels in various diseases remain unknown, because only trace amounts of the hormone are present in urine. In the present study, we applied an ultrasensitive ELISA coupled with thio-NAD cycling to measure urinary adiponectin levels. Spike-and-recovery tests using urine confirmed the reliability of our ultrasensitive ELISA. The limit of detection for adiponectin in urine was 2.3×10–19 moles/assay (1.4 pg/mL). The urinary adiponectin concentration ranged between 0.04 and 5.82 ng/mL in healthy subjects. The pilot study showed that the urinary adiponectin levels, which were corrected by the creatinine concentration, were 0.73±0.50 (ng/mg creatinine, N=6) for healthy subjects, versus 12.02±3.85 (ng/mg creatinine, N=3) for patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). That is, the urinary adiponectin levels were higher (P<0.05) in DM patients than in healthy subjects. Further, these urinary adiponectin levels tended to increase with the progression of DM accompanied with nephropathy. Our method is thus expected to provide a simple, rapid and reasonably priced test for noninvasive monitoring of the progression of DM without the requirement of special tools.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine: 5-HT) is a multimodal transmitter that controls both feeding response and heart- beat in snails. However, the effects of 5-HT on the hunger state are still unknown. We therefore examined the rela- tion among the hunger state, the heartbeat rate and the 5-HT action in food-starved snails. We found that the hunger state was significantly distinguished by the heart- beat rate in snails. The heartbeat rate was high in the food-satiated snails, whereas it was low in the food- starved snails. An increase in 5-HT concentration in the body boosted the heartbeat rate in the food-starved snails, but did not affect the rate in the food-satiated snails. These results suggest that 5-HT application may mimic the change from a starvation to a satiation state normally achieved by direct ingestion of food.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis can learn conditioned taste aversion and then consolidate it into long-term memory (LTM). A high voltage electric shock was used as the unconditioned stimulus (US), whereas we previously used KCl. We varied both the strength of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and US to determine if the so-called Yerkes-Dodson law prevailed. This is an empirical relationship between the state of arousal and LTM formation, showing that there is an optimal level of arousal leading to memory formation. However, too little or too much arousal results in poorer LTM. We found here that the most appropriate stimuli to use in taste aversion training in Lymnaea were a 10 mmol l(-1) sucrose solution as the CS and a 3-s electric shock as the US.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Experimental Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The honeybee waggle dance communicates the location of profitable food sources, usually with a certain degree of error in the directional information ranging from 10-15° at the lower margin. We simulated one-day colonial foraging to address the biological significance of information error in the waggle dance. When the error was 30° or larger, the waggle dance was not beneficial. If the error was 15°, the waggle dance was beneficial when the food sources were scarce. When the error was 10° or smaller, the waggle dance was beneficial under all the conditions tested. Our simulation also showed that precise information (0-5° error) yielded great success in finding feeders, but also caused failures at finding new feeders, i.e., a high-risk high-return strategy. The observation that actual bees perform the waggle dance with an error of 10-15° might reflect, at least in part, the maintenance of a successful yet risky foraging trade-off.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An ultrasensitive method for the determination of proteins is described that combines an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and a thionicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide (thio-NAD) cycling method. A sandwich method using a primary and a secondary antibody for antigens is employed in an ELISA. An androsterone derivative, 3α-hydroxysteroid, is produced by the hydrolysis of 3α-hydroxysteroid 3-phosphate with alkaline phosphatase linked to the secondary antibody. This 3α-hydroxysteroid is oxidized to a 3-ketosteroid by 3α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3α-HSD) with a cofactor thio-NAD. By the opposite reaction, the 3-ketosteroid is reduced to a 3α-hydroxysteroid by 3α-HSD with a cofactor NADH. During this cycling reaction, thio-NADH accumulates in a quadratic function-like fashion. Accumulated thio-NADH can be measured directly at an absorbance of 400 nm without any interference from other cofactors. These features enable us to detect a target protein with ultrasensitivity (10–19 mol/assay) by measuring the cumulative quantity of thio-NADH. Our ultrasensitive determination of proteins thus allows for the detection of small amounts of proteins only by the application of thio-NAD cycling reagents to the usual ELISA system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis is capable of being classically conditioned to avoid food and to consolidate this aversion into a long-term memory (LTM). Previous studies have shown that the length of food deprivation is important for both the acquisition of taste aversion and its consolidation into LTM, which is referred to as conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Here we tested the hypothesis that the hemolymph glucose concentration is an important factor in the learning and memory of CTA. One-day food deprivation resulted in the best learning and memory, whereas more prolonged food deprivation had diminishing effects. Five-day food deprivation resulted in snails incapable of learning or remembering. During this food deprivation period, the hemolymph glucose concentration decreased. If snails were fed for 2 days following the 5-day food deprivation, their glucose levels increased significantly and they exhibited both learning and memory, but neither learning nor memory was as good as with the 1-day food-deprived snails. Injection of the snails with insulin to reduce glucose levels resulted in better learning and memory. Insulin is also known to cause a long-term enhancement of synaptic transmission between the feeding-related neurons. On the other hand, injection of glucose into 5-day food-deprived snails did not alter their inability to learn and remember. However, if these snails were fed on sucrose for 3 minutes, they then exhibited learning and memory formation. Our data suggest that hemolymph glucose concentration is an important factor in motivating acquisition of CTA in Lymnaea and that the action of insulin in the brain and the feeding behavior are also important factors.
No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) is a technique in which measurement of fluorescence intensity fluctuations is used to clarify dynamic molecular interactions within a very small space in a solution containing a small number of fluorescent molecules. The FCS-based analysis gives the average number and average diffusion time of the fluorescent molecules during their passage through a very small space. One advantage of FCS is that physical separation between free and bound fluorescent probes is not required because the properties of fluorescence fluctuations are accounted for. Therefore, when fluorescent probes are bound with proteins by peroxidase and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), FCS enables us to detect H2O2 with high sensitivity. In addition, because H2O2 is generated by oxidase-catalyzed reactions, a highly sensitive method for detecting H2O2 is applicable to the measurement of low levels of various oxidases and their substrates, such as glucose. We here describe the protocol of a de novo, highly sensitive method for the measurement of H2O2 and glucose using FCS.
No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Methods in enzymology