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See detailSteady-State Metabolite Concentrations Reflect a Balance between Maximizing Enzyme Efficiency and Minimizing Total Metabolite Load
Tepper, Naama; Noor, Elad; Amador-Noguez, Daniel et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(9), 75370

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See detailPhenoTimer: Software for the Visual Mapping of Time-Resolved Phenotypic Landscapes
Secrier, Maria; Schneider, Reinhard UL

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(8), 72361

Timing common and specific modulators of disease progression is crucial for treatment, but the understanding of the underlying complex system of interactions is limited. While attempts at elucidating this ... [more ▼]

Timing common and specific modulators of disease progression is crucial for treatment, but the understanding of the underlying complex system of interactions is limited. While attempts at elucidating this experimentally have produced enormous amounts of phenotypic data, tools that are able to visualize and analyze them are scarce and the insight obtained from the data is often unsatisfactory. Linking and visualizing processes from genes to phenotypes and back, in a temporal context, remains a challenge in systems biology. We introduce PhenoTimer, a 2D/3D visualization tool for the mapping of time-resolved phenotypic links in a genetic context. It uses a novel visualization approach for relations between morphological defects, pathways or diseases, to enable fast pattern discovery and hypothesis generation. We illustrate its capabilities of tracing dynamic motifs on cell cycle datasets that explore the phenotypic order of events upon perturbations of the system, transcriptional activity programs and their connection to disease. By using this tool we are able to fine-grain regulatory programs for individual time points of the cell cycle and better understand which patterns arise when these programs fail. We also illustrate a way to identify common mechanisms of misregulation in diseases and drug abuse. [less ▲]

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See detailModulation of Pleurodeles waltl DNA Polymerase mu Expression by Extreme Conditions Encountered during Spaceflight
Schenten, Véronique; Gueguinou, Nathan UL; Baatout, Sarah et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(7),

DNA polymerase μ is involved in DNA repair, V(D)J recombination and likely somatic hypermutation of immunoglobulin genes. Our previous studies demonstrated that spaceflight conditions affect ... [more ▼]

DNA polymerase μ is involved in DNA repair, V(D)J recombination and likely somatic hypermutation of immunoglobulin genes. Our previous studies demonstrated that spaceflight conditions affect immunoglobulin gene expression and somatic hypermutation frequency. Consequently, we questioned whether Polμ expression could also be affected. To address this question, we characterized Polμ of the Iberian ribbed newt Pleurodeles waltl and exposed embryos of that species to spaceflight conditions or to environmental modifications corresponding to those encountered in the International Space Station. We noted a robust expression of Polμ mRNA during early ontogenesis and in the testis, suggesting that Polμ is involved in genomic stability. Full-length Polμ transcripts are 8-9 times more abundant in P. waltl than in humans and mice, thereby providing an explanation for the somatic hypermutation predilection of G and C bases in amphibians. Polμ transcription decreases after 10 days of development in space and radiation seem primarily involved in this down-regulation. However, space radiation, alone or in combination with a perturbation of the circadian rhythm, did not affect Polμ protein levels and did not induce protein oxidation, showing the limited impact of radiation encountered during a 10-day stay in the International Space Station. © 2013 Schenten et al. [less ▲]

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See detailOptimization and Pharmacological Validation of a Leukocyte Migration Assay in Zebrafish Larvae for the Rapid In Vivo Bioactivity Analysis of Anti-Inflammatory Secondary Metabolites
Cordero-Maldonado, M. L.; Siverio-Mota, D.; Vicet-Muro, L. et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(10),

Over the past decade, zebrafish (Danio rerio) have emerged as an attractive model for in vivo drug discovery. In this study, we explore the suitability of zebrafish larvae to rapidly evaluate the anti ... [more ▼]

Over the past decade, zebrafish (Danio rerio) have emerged as an attractive model for in vivo drug discovery. In this study, we explore the suitability of zebrafish larvae to rapidly evaluate the anti-inflammatory activity of natural products (NPs) and medicinal plants used in traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammatory disorders. First, we optimized a zebrafish assay for leukocyte migration. Inflammation was induced in four days post-fertilization (dpf) zebrafish larvae by tail transection and co-incubation with bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS), resulting in a robust recruitment of leukocytes to the zone of injury. Migrating zebrafish leukocytes were detected in situ by myeloperoxidase (MPO) staining, and anti-inflammatory activity was semi-quantitatively scored using a standardized scale of relative leukocyte migration (RLM). Pharmacological validation of this optimized assay was performed with a panel of anti-inflammatory drugs, demonstrating a concentration-responsive inhibition of leukocyte migration for both steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (SAIDs and NSAIDs). Subsequently, we evaluated the bioactivity of structurally diverse NPs with well-documented anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, we further used this zebrafish-based assay to quantify the anti-inflammatory activity in the aqueous and methanolic extracts of several medicinal plants. Our results indicate the suitability of this LPS-enhanced leukocyte migration assay in zebrafish larvae as a front-line screening platform in NP discovery, including for the bioassay-guided isolation of anti-inflammatory secondary metabolites from complex NP extracts. © 2013 Cordero-Maldonado et al. [less ▲]

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See detailA phenotypic screen in zebrafish identifies a novel small-molecule inducer of ectopic tail formation suggestive of alterations in non-canonical Wnt/PCP signaling
Gebruers, E.; Cordero-Maldonado, M. L.; Gray, A. I. et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(12),

Zebrafish have recently emerged as an attractive model for the in vivo bioassay-guided isolation and characterization of pharmacologically active small molecules of natural origin. We carried out a ... [more ▼]

Zebrafish have recently emerged as an attractive model for the in vivo bioassay-guided isolation and characterization of pharmacologically active small molecules of natural origin. We carried out a zebrafish-based phenotypic screen of over 3000 plant-derived secondary metabolite extracts with the goal of identifying novel small-molecule modulators of the BMP and Wnt signaling pathways. One of the bioactive plant extracts identified in this screen - Jasminum gilgianum, an Oleaceae species native to Papua New Guinea - induced ectopic tails during zebrafish embryonic development. As ectopic tail formation occurs when BMP or non-canonical Wnt signaling is inhibited during the tail protrusion process, we suspected a constituent of this extract to act as a modulator of these pathways. A bioassay-guided isolation was carried out on the basis of this zebrafish phenotype, identifying para-coumaric acid methyl ester (pCAME) as the active compound. We then performed an in-depth phenotypic analysis of pCAME-treated zebrafish embryos, including a tissue-specific marker analysis of the secondary tails. We found pCAME to synergize with the BMP-inhibitors dorsomorphin and LDN-193189 in inducing ectopic tails, and causing convergence-extension defects in compound-treated embryos. These results indicate that pCAME may interfere with non-canonical Wnt signaling. Inhibition of Jnk, a downstream target of Wnt/PCP signaling (via morpholino antisense knockdown and pharmacological inhibition with the kinase inhibitor SP600125) phenocopied pCAME-treated embryos. However, immunoblotting experiments revealed pCAME to not directly inhibit Jnk-mediated phosphorylation of c-Jun, suggesting additional targets of SP600125, and/or other pathways, as possibly being involved in the ectopic tail formation activity of pCAME. Further investigation of pCAME's mechanism of action will help determine this compound's pharmacological utility. © 2013 Gebruers et al. [less ▲]

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See detailHeme Oxygenase-1 Regulates Matrix Metalloproteinase MMP-1 Secretion and Chondrocyte Cell Death via Nox4 NADPH Oxidase Activity in Chondrocytes
Rousset, Francis; Nguyen, Minh Vu Chong UL; Grange, Laurent et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(6),

Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) activates the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secretion of MMPs as well as chondrocyte apoptosis. Those events lead to matrix breakdown and are key features of ... [more ▼]

Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) activates the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secretion of MMPs as well as chondrocyte apoptosis. Those events lead to matrix breakdown and are key features of osteoarthritis (OA). We confirmed that in human C-20/A4 chondrocytes the NADPH oxidase Nox4 is the main source of ROS upon IL-1β stimulation. Since heme molecules are essential for the NADPH oxidase maturation and activity, we therefore investigated the consequences of the modulation of Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), the limiting enzyme in heme catabolism, on the IL-1β signaling pathway and more specifically on Nox4 activity. Induction of HO-1 expression decreased dramatically Nox4 activity in C-20/A4 and HEK293 T-REx™ Nox4 cell lines. Unexpectedly, this decrease was not accompanied by any change in the expression, the subcellular localization or the maturation of Nox4. In fact, the inhibition of the heme synthesis by succinylacetone rather than heme catabolism by HO-1, led to a confinement of the Nox4/p22phox heterodimer in the endoplasmic reticulum with an absence of redox differential spectrum highlighting an incomplete maturation. Therefore, the downregulation of Nox4 activity by HO-1 induction appeared to be mediated by carbon monoxide (CO) generated from the heme degradation process. Interestingly, either HO-1 or CO caused a significant decrease in the expression of MMP-1 and DNA fragmentation of chondrocytes stimulated by IL-1β. These results all together suggest that a modulation of Nox4 activity via heme oxygenase-1 may represent a promising therapeutic tool in osteoarthritis. © 2013 Rousset et al. [less ▲]

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See detailA Protein Prioritization Approach Tailored for the FA/BRCA Pathway
Haitjema, Anneke; Brandt, Bernd W.; Ameziane, Najim et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(4), 62017

<sec><title/><p>Fanconi anemia (FA) is a heterogeneous recessive disorder associated with a markedly elevated risk to develop cancer. To date sixteen FA genes have been identified, three of which ... [more ▼]

<sec><title/><p>Fanconi anemia (FA) is a heterogeneous recessive disorder associated with a markedly elevated risk to develop cancer. To date sixteen FA genes have been identified, three of which predispose heterozygous mutation carriers to breast cancer. The FA proteins work together in a genome maintenance pathway, the so-called FA/BRCA pathway which is important during the <italic>S</italic> phase of the cell cycle. Since not all FA patients can be linked to (one of) the sixteen known complementation groups, new FA genes remain to be identified. In addition the complex FA network remains to be further unravelled. One of the FA genes, <italic>FANCI</italic>, has been identified via a combination of bioinformatic techniques exploiting FA protein properties and genetic linkage. The aim of this study was to develop a prioritization approach for proteins of the entire human proteome that potentially interact with the FA/BRCA pathway or are novel candidate FA genes. To this end, we combined the original bioinformatics approach based on the properties of the first thirteen FA proteins identified with publicly available tools for protein-protein interactions, literature mining (Nermal) and a protein function prediction tool (FuncNet). Importantly, the three newest FA proteins FANCO/RAD51C, FANCP/SLX4, and XRCC2 displayed scores in the range of the already known FA proteins. Likewise, a prime candidate FA gene based on next generation sequencing and having a very low score was subsequently disproven by functional studies for the FA phenotype. Furthermore, the approach strongly enriches for GO terms such as DNA repair, response to DNA damage stimulus, and cell cycle-regulated genes. Additionally, overlaying the top 150 with a haploinsufficiency probability score, renders the approach more tailored for identifying breast cancer related genes. This approach may be useful for prioritization of putative novel FA or breast cancer genes from next generation sequencing efforts.</p></sec> [less ▲]

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See detailComparing the MicroRNA Spectrum between Serum and Plasma
Wang, K.; Yuan, Y.; Cho, J. H. et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(7), 41561

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate various biological processes, primarily through interaction with messenger RNAs. The levels of specific, circulating miRNAs in blood have been ... [more ▼]

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate various biological processes, primarily through interaction with messenger RNAs. The levels of specific, circulating miRNAs in blood have been shown to associate with various pathological conditions including cancers. These miRNAs have great potential as biomarkers for various pathophysiological conditions. In this study we focused on different sample types’ effects on the spectrum of circulating miRNA in blood. Using serum and corresponding plasma samples from the same individuals, we observed higher miRNA concentrations in serum samples compared to the corresponding plasma samples. The difference between serum and plasma miRNA concentration showed some associations with miRNA from platelets, which may indicate that the coagulation process may affect the spectrum of extracellular miRNA in blood. Several miRNAs also showed platform dependent variations in measurements. Our results suggest that there are a number of factors that might affect the measurement of circulating miRNA concentration. Caution must be taken when comparing miRNA data generated from different sample types or measurement platforms [less ▲]

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See detailMurine gut microbiota is defined by host genetics and modulates variation of metabolic traits.
McKnite, Autumn M.; Perez-Munoz, Maria Elisa; Lu, Lu et al

in PloS one (2012), 7(6), 39191

The gastrointestinal tract harbors a complex and diverse microbiota that has an important role in host metabolism. Microbial diversity is influenced by a combination of environmental and host genetic ... [more ▼]

The gastrointestinal tract harbors a complex and diverse microbiota that has an important role in host metabolism. Microbial diversity is influenced by a combination of environmental and host genetic factors and is associated with several polygenic diseases. In this study we combined next-generation sequencing, genetic mapping, and a set of physiological traits of the BXD mouse population to explore genetic factors that explain differences in gut microbiota and its impact on metabolic traits. Molecular profiling of the gut microbiota revealed important quantitative differences in microbial composition among BXD strains. These differences in gut microbial composition are influenced by host-genetics, which is complex and involves many loci. Linkage analysis defined Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) restricted to a particular taxon, branch or that influenced the variation of taxa across phyla. Gene expression within the gastrointestinal tract and sequence analysis of the parental genomes in the QTL regions uncovered candidate genes with potential to alter gut immunological profiles and impact the balance between gut microbial communities. A QTL region on Chr 4 that overlaps several interferon genes modulates the population of Bacteroides, and potentially Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes-the predominant BXD gut phyla. Irak4, a signaling molecule in the Toll-like receptor pathways is a candidate for the QTL on Chr15 that modulates Rikenellaceae, whereas Tgfb3, a cytokine modulating the barrier function of the intestine and tolerance to commensal bacteria, overlaps a QTL on Chr 12 that influence Prevotellaceae. Relationships between gut microflora, morphological and metabolic traits were uncovered, some potentially a result of common genetic sources of variation. [less ▲]

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See detailEvolutionary conservation and network structure characterize genes of phenotypic relevance for mitosis in human
Ostaszewski, Marek UL; Eifes, Serge UL; del Sol Mesa, Antonio UL

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(5), 36488

The impact of gene silencing on cellular phenotypes is difficult to establish due to the complexity of interactions in the associated biological processes and pathways. A recent genome-wide RNA knock-down ... [more ▼]

The impact of gene silencing on cellular phenotypes is difficult to establish due to the complexity of interactions in the associated biological processes and pathways. A recent genome-wide RNA knock-down study both identified and phenotypically characterized a set of important genes for the cell cycle in HeLa cells. Here, we combine a molecular interaction network analysis, based on physical and functional protein interactions, in conjunction with evolutionary information, to elucidate the common biological and topological properties of these key genes. Our results show that these genes tend to be conserved with their corresponding protein interactions across several species and are key constituents of the evolutionary conserved molecular interaction network. Moreover, a group of bistable network motifs is found to be conserved within this network, which are likely to influence the network stability and therefore the robustness of cellular functioning. They form a cluster, which displays functional homogeneity and this cluster is significantly enriched in genes phenotypically relevant for mitosis. Additional results reveal a relationship between specific cellular processes and the phenotypic outcomes induced by gene silencing. This study introduces new ideas regarding the relationship between genotype and phenotype in the context of the cell cycle. We show that the analysis of molecular interaction networks can result in the identification of genes relevant to cellular processes, which is a promising avenue for future research. [less ▲]

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See detailA Novel Network Integrating a miRNA-203/SNAI1 Feedback Loop which Regulates Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition.
Moes, Michèle UL; Le Béchec, Antony UL; Crespo, Isaac UL et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(4), 35440

Background: The majority of human cancer deaths are caused by metastasis. The metastatic dissemination is initiated by the breakdown of epithelial cell homeostasis. During this phenomenon, referred to as ... [more ▼]

Background: The majority of human cancer deaths are caused by metastasis. The metastatic dissemination is initiated by the breakdown of epithelial cell homeostasis. During this phenomenon, referred to as epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), cells change their genetic and trancriptomic program leading to phenotypic and functional alterations. The challenge of understanding this dynamic process resides in unraveling regulatory networks involving master transcription factors (e.g. SNAI1/2, ZEB1/2 and TWIST1) and microRNAs. Here we investigated microRNAs regulated by SNAI1 and their potential role in the regulatory networks underlying epithelial plasticity. Results: By a large-scale analysis on epithelial plasticity, we highlighted miR-203 and its molecular link with SNAI1 and the miR-200 family, key regulators of epithelial homeostasis. During SNAI1-induced EMT in MCF7 breast cancer cells, miR-203 and miR-200 family members were repressed in a timely correlated manner. Importantly, miR-203 repressed endogenous SNAI1, forming a double negative miR203/SNAI1 feedback loop. We integrated this novel miR203/SNAI1 with the known miR200/ZEB feedback loops to construct an a priori EMT core network. Dynamic simulations revealed stable epithelial and mesenchymal states, and underscored the crucial role of the miR203/SNAI1 feedback loop in state transitions underlying epithelial plasticity. Conclusion: By combining computational biology and experimental approaches, we propose a novel EMT core network integrating two fundamental negative feedback loops, miR203/SNAI1 and miR200/ZEB. Altogether our analysis implies that this novel EMT core network could function as a switch controlling epithelial cell plasticity during differentiation and cancer progression. [less ▲]

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See detailAutophagy Mediates the Delivery of Thrombogenic Tissue Factor to Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in Human Sepsis
Kambas, Konstantinos; Mitroulis, Ioannis; Apostolidou, Eirini et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(9),

Background: Sepsis is associated with systemic inflammatory responses and induction of coagulation system. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) constitute an antimicrobial mechanism, recently implicated ... [more ▼]

Background: Sepsis is associated with systemic inflammatory responses and induction of coagulation system. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) constitute an antimicrobial mechanism, recently implicated in thrombosis via platelet entrapment and aggregation. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study, we demonstrate for the first time the localization of thrombogenic tissue factor (TF) in NETs released by neutrophils derived from patients with gram-negative sepsis and normal neutrophils treated with either serum from septic patients or inflammatory mediators involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis. Localization of TF in acidified autophagosomes was observed during this process, as indicated by positive LC3B and LysoTracker staining. Moreover, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibition with 3-MA or inhibition of endosomal acidification with bafilomycin A1 hindered the release of TF-bearing NETs. TF present in NETs induced thrombin generation in culture supernatants, which further resulted in protease activated receptor-1 signaling. Conclusions/Significance: This study demonstrates the involvement of autophagic machinery in the extracellular delivery of TF in NETs and the subsequent activation of coagulation cascade, providing evidence for the implication of this process in coagulopathy and inflammatory response in sepsis. © 2012 Kambas et al. [less ▲]

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See detailThe complex exogenous RNA spectra in human plasma: an interface with human gut biota?
Wang, K.; Li, H.; Yuan, Y. et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(12),

Human plasma has long been a rich source for biomarker discovery. It has recently become clear that plasma RNA molecules, such as microRNA, in addition to proteins are common and can serve as biomarkers ... [more ▼]

Human plasma has long been a rich source for biomarker discovery. It has recently become clear that plasma RNA molecules, such as microRNA, in addition to proteins are common and can serve as biomarkers. Surveying human plasma for microRNA biomarkers using next generation sequencing technology, we observed that a significant fraction of the circulating RNA appear to originate from exogenous species. With careful analysis of sequence error statistics and other controls, we demonstrated that there is a wide range of RNA from many different organisms, including bacteria and fungi as well as from other species. These RNAs may be associated with protein, lipid or other molecules protecting them from RNase activity in plasma. Some of these RNAs are detected in intracellular complexes and may be able to influence cellular activities under in vitro conditions. These findings raise the possibility that plasma RNAs of exogenous origin may serve as signaling molecules mediating for example the human-microbiome interaction and may affect and/or indicate the state of human health [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of cold pressor stress on the human startle response
Deuter, C. E.; Kuehl, L. K.; Blumenthal, T. D. et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(11), 49866-49866

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See detailTRIM32 regulates skeletal muscle stem cell differentiation and is necessary for normal adult muscle regeneration.
Nicklas, Sarah; Otto, Anthony; Wu, Xiaoli et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(1), 30445

Limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2H (LGMD2H) is an inherited autosomal recessive disease of skeletal muscle caused by a mutation in the TRIM32 gene. Currently its pathogenesis is entirely unclear ... [more ▼]

Limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2H (LGMD2H) is an inherited autosomal recessive disease of skeletal muscle caused by a mutation in the TRIM32 gene. Currently its pathogenesis is entirely unclear. Typically the regeneration process of adult skeletal muscle during growth or following injury is controlled by a tissue specific stem cell population termed satellite cells. Given that TRIM32 regulates the fate of mammalian neural progenitor cells through controlling their differentiation, we asked whether TRIM32 could also be essential for the regulation of myogenic stem cells. Here we demonstrate for the first time that TRIM32 is expressed in the skeletal muscle stem cell lineage of adult mice, and that in the absence of TRIM32, myogenic differentiation is disrupted. Moreover, we show that the ubiquitin ligase TRIM32 controls this process through the regulation of c-Myc, a similar mechanism to that previously observed in neural progenitors. Importantly we show that loss of TRIM32 function induces a LGMD2H-like phenotype and strongly affects muscle regeneration in vivo. Our studies implicate that the loss of TRIM32 results in dysfunctional muscle stem cells which could contribute to the development of LGMD2H. [less ▲]

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See detailUsing rule-based machine learning for candidate disease gene prioritization and sample classification of cancer gene expression data
Glaab, Enrico UL; Bacardit, Jaume; Garibaldi, Jonathan M. et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(7), 39932-39932

Microarray data analysis has been shown to provide an effective tool for studying cancer and genetic diseases. Although classical machine learning techniques have successfully been applied to find ... [more ▼]

Microarray data analysis has been shown to provide an effective tool for studying cancer and genetic diseases. Although classical machine learning techniques have successfully been applied to find informative genes and to predict class labels for new samples, common restrictions of microarray analysis such as small sample sizes, a large attribute space and high noise levels still limit its scientific and clinical applications. Increasing the interpretability of prediction models while retaining a high accuracy would help to exploit the information content in microarray data more effectively. For this purpose, we evaluate our rule-based evolutionary machine learning systems, BioHEL and GAssist, on three public microarray cancer datasets, obtaining simple rule-based models for sample classification. A comparison with other benchmark microarray sample classifiers based on three diverse feature selection algorithms suggests that these evolutionary learning techniques can compete with state-of-the-art methods like support vector machines. The obtained models reach accuracies above 90% in two-level external cross-validation, with the added value of facilitating interpretation by using only combinations of simple if-then-else rules. As a further benefit, a literature mining analysis reveals that prioritizations of informative genes extracted from BioHEL’s classification rule sets can outperform gene rankings obtained from a conventional ensemble feature selection in terms of the pointwise mutual information between relevant disease terms and the standardized names of top-ranked genes. [less ▲]

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See detailProtein dynamics governed by interfaces of high polarity and low packing density.
Espinosa Angarica, Vladimir UL; Sancho, Javier

in PloS one (2012), 7(10), 48212

The folding pathway, three-dimensional structure and intrinsic dynamics of proteins are governed by their amino acid sequences. Internal protein surfaces with physicochemical properties appropriate to ... [more ▼]

The folding pathway, three-dimensional structure and intrinsic dynamics of proteins are governed by their amino acid sequences. Internal protein surfaces with physicochemical properties appropriate to modulate conformational fluctuations could play important roles in folding and dynamics. We show here that proteins contain buried interfaces of high polarity and low packing density, coined as LIPs: Light Interfaces of high Polarity, whose physicochemical properties make them unstable. The structures of well-characterized equilibrium and kinetic folding intermediates indicate that the LIPs of the corresponding native proteins fold late and are involved in local unfolding events. Importantly, LIPs can be identified using very fast and uncomplicated computational analysis of protein three-dimensional structures, which provides an easy way to delineate the protein segments involved in dynamics. Since LIPs can be retained while the sequences of the interacting segments diverge significantly, proteins could in principle evolve new functional features reusing pre-existing encoded dynamics. Large-scale identification of LIPS may contribute to understanding evolutionary constraints of proteins and the way protein intrinsic dynamics are encoded. [less ▲]

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See detailMolecular interface of S100A8 with cytochrome b558 and NADPH oxidase activation
Berthier, Sylvie; Nguyen, Minh Vu Chong UL; Baillet, Athan et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(7),

S100A8 and S100A9 are two calcium binding Myeloid Related Proteins, and important mediators of inflammatory diseases. They were recently introduced as partners for phagocyte NADPH oxidase regulation ... [more ▼]

S100A8 and S100A9 are two calcium binding Myeloid Related Proteins, and important mediators of inflammatory diseases. They were recently introduced as partners for phagocyte NADPH oxidase regulation. However, the precise mechanism of their interaction remains elusive. We had for aim (i) to evaluate the impact of S100 proteins on NADPH oxidase activity; (ii) to characterize molecular interaction of either S100A8, S100A9, or S100A8/S100A9 heterocomplex with cytochrome b558; and (iii) to determine the S100A8 consensus site involved in cytochrome b558/S100 interface. Recombinant full length or S100A9-A8 truncated chimera proteins and ExoS-S100 fusion proteins were expressed in E. coli and in P. aeruginosa respectively. Our results showed that S100A8 is the functional partner for NADPH oxidase activation contrary to S100A9, however, the loading with calcium and a combination with phosphorylated S100A9 are essential in vivo. Endogenous S100A9 and S100A8 colocalize in differentiated and PMA stimulated PLB985 cells, with Nox2/gp91phox and p22phox. Recombinant S100A8, loaded with calcium and fused with the first 129 or 54 N-terminal amino acid residues of the P. aeruginosa ExoS toxin, induced a similar oxidase activation in vitro, to the one observed with S100A8 in the presence of S100A9 in vivo. This suggests that S100A8 is the essential component of the S100A9/S100A8 heterocomplex for oxidase activation. In this context, recombinant full-length rS100A9-A8 and rS100A9-A8 truncated 90 chimera proteins as opposed to rS100A9-A8 truncated 86 and rS100A9-A8 truncated 57 chimeras, activate the NADPH oxidase function of purified cytochrome b558 suggesting that the C-terminal region of S100A8 is directly involved in the molecular interface with the hemoprotein. The data point to four strategic 87HEES90 amino acid residues of the S100A8 C-terminal sequence that are involved directly in the molecular interaction with cytochrome b558 and then in the phagocyte NADPH oxidase activation. © 2012 Berthier et al. [less ▲]

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See detailMultiscale modeling of metabolism and macromolecular synthesis in E. coli and its application to the evolution of codon usage.
Thiele, Ines UL; Fleming, Ronan MT UL; Que, Richard et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(9), 45635

Biological systems are inherently hierarchal and multiscale in time and space. A major challenge of systems biology is to describe biological systems as a computational model, which can be used to derive ... [more ▼]

Biological systems are inherently hierarchal and multiscale in time and space. A major challenge of systems biology is to describe biological systems as a computational model, which can be used to derive novel hypothesis and drive experiments leading to new knowledge. The constraint-based reconstruction and analysis approach has been successfully applied to metabolism and to the macromolecular synthesis machinery assembly. Here, we present the first integrated stoichiometric multiscale model of metabolism and macromolecular synthesis for Escherichia coli K12 MG1655, which describes the sequence-specific synthesis and function of almost 2000 gene products at molecular detail. We added linear constraints, which couple enzyme synthesis and catalysis reactions. Comparison with experimental data showed improvement of growth phenotype prediction with the multiscale model over E. coli's metabolic model alone. Many of the genes covered by this integrated model are well conserved across enterobacters and other, less related bacteria. We addressed the question of whether the bias in synonymous codon usage could affect the growth phenotype and environmental niches that an organism can occupy. We created two classes of in silico strains, one with more biased codon usage and one with more equilibrated codon usage than the wildtype. The reduced growth phenotype in biased strains was caused by tRNA supply shortage, indicating that expansion of tRNA gene content or tRNA codon recognition allow E. coli to respond to changes in codon usage bias. Our analysis suggests that in order to maximize growth and to adapt to new environmental niches, codon usage and tRNA content must co-evolve. These results provide further evidence for the mutation-selection-drift balance theory of codon usage bias. This integrated multiscale reconstruction successfully demonstrates that the constraint-based modeling approach is well suited to whole-cell modeling endeavors. [less ▲]

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See detailRegrowing the adult brain: NF-kappaB controls functional circuit formation and tissue homeostasis in the dentate gyrus.
Imielski, Yvonne; Schwamborn, Jens Christian UL; Luningschror, Patrick et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(2), 30838

Cognitive decline during aging is correlated with a continuous loss of cells within the brain and especially within the hippocampus, which could be regenerated by adult neurogenesis. Here we show that ... [more ▼]

Cognitive decline during aging is correlated with a continuous loss of cells within the brain and especially within the hippocampus, which could be regenerated by adult neurogenesis. Here we show that genetic ablation of NF-kappaB resulted in severe defects in the neurogenic region (dentate gyrus) of the hippocampus. Despite increased stem cell proliferation, axogenesis, synaptogenesis and neuroprotection were hampered, leading to disruption of the mossy fiber pathway and to atrophy of the dentate gyrus during aging. Here, NF-kappaB controls the transcription of FOXO1 and PKA, regulating axogenesis. Structural defects culminated in behavioral impairments in pattern separation. Re-activation of NF-kappaB resulted in integration of newborn neurons, finally to regeneration of the dentate gyrus, accompanied by a complete recovery of structural and behavioral defects. These data identify NF-kappaB as a crucial regulator of dentate gyrus tissue homeostasis suggesting NF-kappaB to be a therapeutic target for treating cognitive and mood disorders. [less ▲]

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