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  • Sidoroff, Marianne; Kolho, Kaija-Leena (BioMed Central Ltd, 2014)
    Abstract Background Pharmacological doses of corticoids may result in adrenal suppression but with individual sensitivity. In paediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), glucocorticoids are needed in the majority of the patients but there are less studies related to tapering off the drugs. The objective of this study was to estimate the frequency of adrenal insufficiency in children with IBD that were at the end of their systemic glucocorticoid therapy course. Methods The study was a retrospective case series of 59 consecutive paediatric IBD patients (median age 14.1 years; Crohn’s disease n = 22, ulcerative colitis n = 26, unclassified colitis n = 11) that were on oral prednisolone therapy about to be discontinued. The study patients were treated in a tertiary university hospital setting. Serum morning cortisol was measured with Immulite 2000 cortisol kit. Values < 20 nmol/l are undetectable and indicate adrenal suppression, values > 69 nmol/l are considered to represent normal basal secretion. Results The morning cortisol was below the reference range in 20% of the patients and undetectable in 10%. Low cortisol levels associated with higher daily glucocorticoid doses (median 7.2 mg/m2 vs. 3.0 mg/m2 in patients with normal cortisol levels, p < 0.05) and with the long duration of the treatment (median 11 months vs. 4 months, p < 0.05). Patients with undetectable cortisol levels recovered within few weeks (median 5.6 weeks). Conclusions In paediatric IBD prolonged courses of glucocorticoids are frequent due to the steroid-dependent nature of the disease in a considerable proportion of patients. Adrenal suppression may occur in at least one fifth of the patients despite slowly tapering off the glucocorticoids. Notably, this is based on a set of serum cortisol measurements by request of experienced clinicians. All paediatric IBD patients receiving conventional doses of oral glucocorticoids should be subjected to screening for adrenal suppression when anticipated discontinuation of the drug.
  • Ahola, Tero; Karlin, David G (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Members of the alphavirus supergroup include human pathogens such as chikungunya virus, hepatitis E virus and rubella virus. They encode a capping enzyme with methyltransferase-guanylyltransferase (MTase-GTase) activity, which is an attractive drug target owing to its unique mechanism. However, its experimental study has proven very difficult. Results We examined over 50 genera of viruses by sequence analyses. Earlier studies showed that the MTase-GTase contains a “Core” region conserved in sequence. We show that it is followed by a long extension, which we termed “Iceberg” region, whose secondary structure, but not sequence, is strikingly conserved throughout the alphavirus supergroup. Sequence analyses strongly suggest that the minimal capping domain corresponds to the Core and Iceberg regions combined, which is supported by earlier experimental data. The Iceberg region contains all known membrane association sites that contribute to the assembly of viral replication factories. We predict that it may also contain an overlooked, widely conserved membrane-binding amphipathic helix. Unexpectedly, we detected a sequence homolog of the alphavirus MTase-GTase in taxa related to nodaviruses and to chronic bee paralysis virus. The presence of a capping enzyme in nodaviruses is biologically consistent, since they have capped genomes but replicate in the cytoplasm, where no cellular capping enzyme is present. The putative MTase-GTase domain of nodaviruses also contains membrane-binding sites that may drive the assembly of viral replication factories, revealing an unsuspected parallel with the alphavirus supergroup. Conclusions Our work will guide the functional analysis of the alphaviral MTase-GTase and the production of domains for structure determination. The identification of a homologous domain in a simple model system, nodaviruses, which replicate in numerous eukaryotic cell systems (yeast, flies, worms, mammals, and plants), can further help crack the function and structure of the enzyme. Reviewers This article was reviewed by Valerian Dolja, Eugene Koonin and Sebastian Maurer-Stroh.
  • Ahola, Tero; Karlin, David G (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Members of the alphavirus supergroup include human pathogens such as chikungunya virus, hepatitis E virus and rubella virus. They encode a capping enzyme with methyltransferase-guanylyltransferase (MTase-GTase) activity, which is an attractive drug target owing to its unique mechanism. However, its experimental study has proven very difficult. Results We examined over 50 genera of viruses by sequence analyses. Earlier studies showed that the MTase-GTase contains a “Core” region conserved in sequence. We show that it is followed by a long extension, which we termed “Iceberg” region, whose secondary structure, but not sequence, is strikingly conserved throughout the alphavirus supergroup. Sequence analyses strongly suggest that the minimal capping domain corresponds to the Core and Iceberg regions combined, which is supported by earlier experimental data. The Iceberg region contains all known membrane association sites that contribute to the assembly of viral replication factories. We predict that it may also contain an overlooked, widely conserved membrane-binding amphipathic helix. Unexpectedly, we detected a sequence homolog of the alphavirus MTase-GTase in taxa related to nodaviruses and to chronic bee paralysis virus. The presence of a capping enzyme in nodaviruses is biologically consistent, since they have capped genomes but replicate in the cytoplasm, where no cellular capping enzyme is present. The putative MTase-GTase domain of nodaviruses also contains membrane-binding sites that may drive the assembly of viral replication factories, revealing an unsuspected parallel with the alphavirus supergroup. Conclusions Our work will guide the functional analysis of the alphaviral MTase-GTase and the production of domains for structure determination. The identification of a homologous domain in a simple model system, nodaviruses, which replicate in numerous eukaryotic cell systems (yeast, flies, worms, mammals, and plants), can further help crack the function and structure of the enzyme. Reviewers This article was reviewed by Valerian Dolja, Eugene Koonin and Sebastian Maurer-Stroh.
  • Kim, Jinsil; Stirling, Kara J; Cooper, Margaret E; Ascoli, Mario; Momany, Allison M; McDonald, Erin L; Ryckman, Kelli K; Rhea, Lindsey; Schaa, Kendra L; Cosentino, Viviana; Gadow, Enrique; Saleme, Cesar; Shi, Min; Hallman, Mikko; Plunkett, Jevon; Teramo, Kari A; Muglia, Louis J; Feenstra, Bjarke; Geller, Frank; Boyd, Heather A; Melbye, Mads; Marazita, Mary L; Dagle, John M; Murray, Jeffrey C (BioMed Central Ltd, 2013)
    Abstract Background Preterm birth (PTB) is a complex disorder associated with significant neonatal mortality and morbidity and long-term adverse health consequences. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that genetic factors play an important role in its etiology. This study was designed to identify genetic variation associated with PTB in oxytocin pathway genes whose role in parturition is well known. Methods To identify common genetic variants predisposing to PTB, we genotyped 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the oxytocin (OXT), oxytocin receptor (OXTR), and leucyl/cystinyl aminopeptidase (LNPEP) genes in 651 case infants from the U.S. and one or both of their parents. In addition, we examined the role of rare genetic variation in susceptibility to PTB by conducting direct sequence analysis of OXTR in 1394 cases and 1112 controls from the U.S., Argentina, Denmark, and Finland. This study was further extended to maternal triads (maternal grandparents-mother of a case infant, N=309). We also performed in vitro analysis of selected rare OXTR missense variants to evaluate their functional importance. Results Maternal genetic effect analysis of the SNP genotype data revealed four SNPs in LNPEP that show significant association with prematurity. In our case–control sequence analysis, we detected fourteen coding variants in exon 3 of OXTR, all but four of which were found in cases only. Of the fourteen variants, three were previously unreported novel rare variants. When the sequence data from the maternal triads were analyzed using the transmission disequilibrium test, two common missense SNPs (rs4686302 and rs237902) in OXTR showed suggestive association for three gestational age subgroups. In vitro functional assays showed a significant difference in ligand binding between wild-type and two mutant receptors. Conclusions Our study suggests an association between maternal common polymorphisms in LNPEP and susceptibility to PTB. Maternal OXTR missense SNPs rs4686302 and rs237902 may have gestational age-dependent effects on prematurity. Most of the OXTR rare variants identified do not appear to significantly contribute to the risk of PTB, but those shown to affect receptor function in our in vitro study warrant further investigation. Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the findings of this study.
  • Tonteri, Elina; Jokelainen, Pikka; Matala, Juho; Pusenius, Jyrki; Vapalahti, Olli (BioMed Central, 2016)
    Abstract Background The incidence of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in humans has increased in Finland, and the disease has emerged in new foci. These foci have been investigated to determine the circulating virus subtype, the tick host species and the ecological parameters, but countrywide epidemiological information on the distribution of TBEV has been limited. Methods In this study, we screened sera from hunter-harvested wild cervids for the presence of antibodies against tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) with a hemagglutination inhibition test. The positive results were confirmed by a neutralisation assay. Results Nine (0.74 %) of 1213 moose, one (0.74 %) of 135 white-tailed deer, and none of the 17 roe deer were found seropositive for TBEV. A close geographical congruence between seropositive cervids and recently reported human TBE cases was observed: nine of the ten seropositive animals were from known endemic areas. Conclusions Our results confirm the local circulation of TBEV in several known endemic areas. One seropositive moose had been shot in an area where human TBE cases have not been reported, suggesting a possible new focus. Moose appear to be a useful sentinel animal for the presence of TBEV in the taiga region.
  • Jokelainen, Pikka; Velström, Kaisa; Lassen, Brian (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Although the prevalence of human Toxoplasma gondii infections is high in Estonia, no information is available on the prevalence of infections in the local animal populations. Wild boars are a good indicator species for estimating the prevalence and spread of T. gondii and were thus investigated in this nationwide cross-sectional study. Volunteer hunters sampled cardiac or skeletal muscle of 471 wild boars legally hunted for human consumption in Estonia during the hunting season of 2012–2013. Serosanguineous meat juice samples were obtained from thawed tissue samples, diluted 1:40, and screened for specific anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies with a commercial direct agglutination test. Results Almost one-quarter (113; 24%) of the wild boars examined were seropositive for T. gondii. The seroprevalence did not differ significantly between age groups or sexes. The seroprevalence was lowest in Viljandimaa, which is located in the southern part of Estonia. In other counties, the infection was evenly prevalent. Conclusions In Estonia, wild boars are commonly exposed to T. gondii, which is endemic and widespread. The consumption of raw or undercooked meat of Estonian wild boars may pose an infection risk to humans and other hosts.
  • Jokelainen, Pikka; Velström, Kaisa; Lassen, Brian (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Although the prevalence of human Toxoplasma gondii infections is high in Estonia, no information is available on the prevalence of infections in the local animal populations. Wild boars are a good indicator species for estimating the prevalence and spread of T. gondii and were thus investigated in this nationwide cross-sectional study. Volunteer hunters sampled cardiac or skeletal muscle of 471 wild boars legally hunted for human consumption in Estonia during the hunting season of 2012–2013. Serosanguineous meat juice samples were obtained from thawed tissue samples, diluted 1:40, and screened for specific anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies with a commercial direct agglutination test. Results Almost one-quarter (113; 24%) of the wild boars examined were seropositive for T. gondii. The seroprevalence did not differ significantly between age groups or sexes. The seroprevalence was lowest in Viljandimaa, which is located in the southern part of Estonia. In other counties, the infection was evenly prevalent. Conclusions In Estonia, wild boars are commonly exposed to T. gondii, which is endemic and widespread. The consumption of raw or undercooked meat of Estonian wild boars may pose an infection risk to humans and other hosts.
  • Werner, Stefan; Apolinário, José A Jr.; Diniz, Paulo SR (Springer, 2007)
    Proportionate adaptive filters can improve the convergence speed for the identification of sparse systems as compared to their conventional counterparts. In this paper, the idea of proportionate adaptation is combined with the framework of set-membership filtering (SMF) in an attempt to derive novel computationally efficient algorithms. The resulting algorithms attain an attractive faster converge for both situations of sparse and dispersive channels while decreasing the average computational complexity due to the data discerning feature of the SMF approach. In addition, we propose a rule that allows us to automatically adjust the number of past data pairs employed in the update. This leads to a set-membership proportionate affine projection algorithm (SM-PAPA) having a variable data-reuse factor allowing a significant reduction in the overall complexity when compared with a fixed data-reuse factor. Reduced-complexity implementations of the proposed algorithms are also considered that reduce the dimensions of the matrix inversions involved in the update. Simulations show good results in terms of reduced number of updates, speed of convergence, and final mean-squared error.
  • Kondadi, Pradeep K; Revez, Joana; Hänninen, Marja-Liisa; Rossi, Mirko (BioMed Central Ltd, 2015)
    Abstract Sialic acid in lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of mucosal pathogens is known to be an important virulence factor. Few strains of Helicobacter pylori express sialyl-Lewis-X and we have reported that human and canine Helicobacter bizzozeronii strains express sialyl-lactoseamine in their LPS. However, the role of sialyation of Helicobacter LPS in the interaction with the host cells is still unknown. In this study H. bizzozeronii LPS is shown to activate the TLR2 in a dose and strain dependent manner in the in vitro HEK-293 cells model expressing TLR2, but not the cells expressing TLR4. These results indicate that TLR2 is the specific receptor for H. bizzozzeronii LPS, as previously described for H. pylori. To further explore the role of sialylation of H. bizzozeronii LPS on TLR2 response, H. bizzozeronii Δhbs2 mutant strains deficient in sialyltransferase activity were constructed by homologous recombination. LPS from H. bizzozeronii Δhbs2 strains enhanced the NF-ĸB induction via TLR2 compared to the respective wild types, leading to the conclusion that the sialylation of H. bizzozeronii LPS in wild-type strains may modulate host immune response.
  • Hoffmann, Rasmus; Borsboom, Gerard; Saez, Marc; Mari Dell’Olmo, Marc; Burström, Bo; Corman, Diana; Costa, Claudia; Deboosere, Patrick; Domínguez-Berjón, M F; Dzúrová, Dagmar; Gandarillas, Ana; Gotsens, Mercè; Kovács, Katalin; Mackenbach, Johan; Martikainen, Pekka; Maynou, Laia; Morrison, Joana; Palència, Laia; Pérez, Gloria; Pikhart, Hynek; Rodríguez-Sanz, Maica; Santana, Paula; Saurina, Carme; Tarkiainen, Lasse; Borrell, Carme (BioMed Central, 2014)
    Abstract Background Health and inequalities in health among inhabitants of European cities are of major importance for European public health and there is great interest in how different health care systems in Europe perform in the reduction of health inequalities. However, evidence on the spatial distribution of cause-specific mortality across neighbourhoods of European cities is scarce. This study presents maps of avoidable mortality in European cities and analyses differences in avoidable mortality between neighbourhoods with different levels of deprivation. Methods We determined the level of mortality from 14 avoidable causes of death for each neighbourhood of 15 large cities in different European regions. To address the problems associated with Standardised Mortality Ratios for small areas we smooth them using the Bayesian model proposed by Besag, York and Mollié. Ecological regression analysis was used to assess the association between social deprivation and mortality. Results Mortality from avoidable causes of death is higher in deprived neighbourhoods and mortality rate ratios between areas with different levels of deprivation differ between gender and cities. In most cases rate ratios are lower among women. While Eastern and Southern European cities show higher levels of avoidable mortality, the association of mortality with social deprivation tends to be higher in Northern and lower in Southern Europe. Conclusions There are marked differences in the level of avoidable mortality between neighbourhoods of European cities and the level of avoidable mortality is associated with social deprivation. There is no systematic difference in the magnitude of this association between European cities or regions. Spatial patterns of avoidable mortality across small city areas can point to possible local problems and specific strategies to reduce health inequality which is important for the development of urban areas and the well-being of their inhabitants.
  • Kulhánová, Ivana; Menvielle, Gwenn; Bopp, Matthias; Borrell, Carme; Deboosere, Patrick; Eikemo, Terje A; Hoffmann, Rasmus; Leinsalu, Mall; Martikainen, Pekka; Regidor, Enrique; Rodríguez-Sanz, Maica; Rychtaříková, Jitka; Wojtyniak, Bogdan; Mackenbach, Johan P (BioMed Central, 2014)
    Abstract Background Cause-of-death data linked to information on socioeconomic position form one of the most important sources of information about health inequalities in many countries. The proportion of deaths from ill-defined conditions is one of the indicators of the quality of cause-of-death data. We investigated educational differences in the use of ill-defined causes of death in official mortality statistics. Methods Using age-standardized mortality rates from 16 European countries, we calculated the proportion of all deaths in each educational group that were classified as due to “Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions”. We tested if this proportion differed across educational groups using Chi-square tests. Results The proportion of ill-defined causes of death was lower than 6.5% among men and 4.5% among women in all European countries, without any clear geographical pattern. This proportion statistically significantly differed by educational groups in several countries with in most cases a higher proportion among less than secondary educated people compared with tertiary educated people. Conclusions We found evidence for educational differences in the distribution of ill-defined causes of death. However, the differences between educational groups were small suggesting that socioeconomic inequalities in cause-specific mortality in Europe are not likely to be biased.
  • Kulhánová, Ivana; Menvielle, Gwenn; Bopp, Matthias; Borrell, Carme; Deboosere, Patrick; Eikemo, Terje A; Hoffmann, Rasmus; Leinsalu, Mall; Martikainen, Pekka; Regidor, Enrique; Rodríguez-Sanz, Maica; Rychtaříková, Jitka; Wojtyniak, Bogdan; Mackenbach, Johan P (BioMed Central Ltd, 2014)
    Abstract Background Cause-of-death data linked to information on socioeconomic position form one of the most important sources of information about health inequalities in many countries. The proportion of deaths from ill-defined conditions is one of the indicators of the quality of cause-of-death data. We investigated educational differences in the use of ill-defined causes of death in official mortality statistics. Methods Using age-standardized mortality rates from 16 European countries, we calculated the proportion of all deaths in each educational group that were classified as due to “Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions”. We tested if this proportion differed across educational groups using Chi-square tests. Results The proportion of ill-defined causes of death was lower than 6.5% among men and 4.5% among women in all European countries, without any clear geographical pattern. This proportion statistically significantly differed by educational groups in several countries with in most cases a higher proportion among less than secondary educated people compared with tertiary educated people. Conclusions We found evidence for educational differences in the distribution of ill-defined causes of death. However, the differences between educational groups were small suggesting that socioeconomic inequalities in cause-specific mortality in Europe are not likely to be biased.
  • Plug, Iris; Hoffmann, Rasmus; Artnik, Barbara; Bopp, Matthias; Borrell, Carme; Costa, Giuseppe; Deboosere, Patrick; Esnaola, Santi; Kalediene, Ramune; Leinsalu, Mall; Lundberg, Olle; Martikainen, Pekka; Regidor, Enrique; Rychtarikova, Jitka; Strand, Björn H; Wojtyniak, Bogdan; Mackenbach, Johan P (BioMed Central Ltd, 2012)
    AbstractBackgroundPrevious studies have reported large socioeconomic inequalities in mortality from conditions amenable to medical intervention, but it is unclear whether these can be attributed to inequalities in access or quality of health care, or to confounding influences such as inequalities in background risk of diseases. We therefore studied whether inequalities in mortality from conditions amenable to medical intervention vary between countries in patterns which differ from those observed for other (non-amenable) causes of death. More specifically, we hypothesized that, as compared to non-amenable causes, inequalities in mortality from amenable causes are more strongly associated with inequalities in health care use and less strongly with inequalities in common risk factors for disease such as smoking.MethodsCause-specific mortality data for people aged 30–74 years were obtained for 14 countries, and were analysed by calculating age-standardized mortality rates and relative risks comparing a lower with a higher educational group. Survey data on health care use and behavioural risk factors for people aged 30–74 years were obtained for 12 countries, and were analysed by calculating age-and sex-adjusted odds ratios comparing a low with a higher educational group. Patterns of association were explored by calculating correlation coefficients.ResultsIn most countries and for most amenable causes of death substantial inequalities in mortality were observed, but inequalities in mortality from amenable causes did not vary between countries in patterns that are different from those seen for inequalities in non-amenable mortality. As compared to non-amenable causes, inequalities in mortality from amenable causes are not more strongly associated with inequalities in health care use. Inequalities in mortality from amenable causes are also not less strongly associated with common risk factors such as smoking.ConclusionsWe did not find evidence that inequalities in mortality from amenable conditions are related to inequalities in access or quality of health care. Further research is needed to find the causes of socio-economic inequalities in mortality from amenable conditions, and caution should be exercised in interpreting these inequalities as indicating health care deficiencies.
  • Barreto, Goncalo; Soininen, Antti; Ylinen, Pekka; Sandelin, Jerker; Konttinen, Yrjö T; Nordström, Dan C; Eklund, Kari K (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Soluble biglycan (sBGN) and soluble decorin (sDCN), are two closely related essential components of extracellular matrix which both have been shown to possess proinflammatory properties. We studied whether sBGN or sDCN were present in synovial fluid (SF) of osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and studied sBGN or sDCN potential role in the degradation of OA cartilage. Methods SF obtained from meniscus tear, OA, and RA patients were analysed for sBGN and sDCN using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. OA chondrocytes and cartilage explants were stimulated for 48 h with 5 μg/ml sBGN or 1 μg/ml lipopolysaccharide. Messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of Toll-like receptors (TLRs), proteinases and cartilage matrix molecules were determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Protein levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and cytokines were measured using Luminex xMap technology. Production of nitric oxide (NO), release of proteoglycans and soluble collagen were measured from conditioned culture media using biochemical assays. OA cartilage explant proteoglycans were stained for Safranin O and quantified using image analysis. TLR4 activation by sBGN and sDCN was studied in engineered HEK-293 cells with TLR4 signalling genes inserted together with a reporter gene. Results sBGN was found in meniscus tear SF (14 ± 2 ng/ml), OA SF (582 ± 307 ng/ml) and RA SF (1191 ± 482 ng/ml). Low levels of sDCN could also be detected in SF of meniscus tear (51 ± 4) ng/ml, OA (52 ± 3 ng/ml), and RA (49 ± 4 ng/ml). Stimulation of chondrocytes with sBGN increased significantly the mRNA and protein expression of catabolic MMPs, including MMP1, MMP9 and MMP13, and of inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8, whereas the expression of anabolic markers aggrecan and collagen type II was decreased. sBGN induced release of proteoglycans, collagen and NO from chondrocytes and cartilage explants. The catabolic response in explants was dependent of OA cartilage degradation stage. The mechanism of action of sBGN was mainly mediated through the TLR4-nuclear factor-κB pathway. Conclusions High levels of sBGN was found in advanced OA and RA SF. sBGN activates chondrocytes mainly via TLR4, which results in net loss of cartilage. Thus, sBGN can be a mediator of OA cartilage degradation and also a potential biomarker for arthritis.
  • Rosti, Katja; Goldman, Adrian; Kajander, Tommi (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background The protein growth arrest specific-1 (GAS1) was discovered based on its ability to stop the cell cycle. During development it is involved in embryonic patterning, inhibits cell proliferation and mediates cell death, and has therefore been considered as a tumor suppressor. GAS1 is known to signal through two different cell membrane receptors: Rearranged during transformation (RET), and the sonic hedgehog receptor Patched-1. Sonic Hedgehog signalling is important in stem cell renewal and RET mediated signalling in neuronal survival. Disorders in both sonic hedgehog and RET signalling are connected to cancer progression. The neuroprotective effect of RET is controlled by glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor family ligands and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor receptor alphas (GFRαs). Human Growth arrest specific-1 is a distant homolog of the GFRαs. Results We have produced and purified recombinant human GAS1 protein, and confirmed that GAS1 is a monomer in solution by static light scattering and small angle X-ray scattering analysis. The low resolution solution structure reveals that GAS1 is more elongated and flexible than the GFRαs, and the homology modelling of the individual domains show that they differ from GFRαs by lacking the amino acids for neurotrophic factor binding. In addition, GAS1 has an extended loop in the N-terminal domain that is conserved in vertebrates after the divergence of fishes and amphibians. Conclusions We conclude that GAS1 most likely differs from GFRαs functionally, based on comparative structural analysis, while it is able to bind the extracellular part of RET in a neurotrophic factor independent manner, although with low affinity in solution. Our structural characterization indicates that GAS1 differs from GFRα’s significantly also in its conformation, which probably reflects the functional differences between GAS1 and the GFRαs.
  • Eeva, Tapio; Andersson, Tommi; Berglund, Åsa M M; Brommer, Jon E; Hyvönen, Raimo; Klemola, Tero; Laaksonen, Toni; Loukola, Olli; Morosinotto, Chiara; Rainio, Kalle; Sirkiä, Päivi M; Vesterinen, Eero J (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Birds host several ectoparasitic fly species with negative effects on nestling health and reproductive output, and with the capability of transmitting avian blood parasites. Information on the abundance and distribution of the ectoparasitic fly genera Ornithomya (Hippoboscidae) and Protocalliphora (Calliphoridae) in northern Europe is still generally poor, and we thus explored their geographic range and occurrence of these flies in the nests of a common avian model species, the pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca. Methods Nests of F. hypoleuca were collected from 21 locations across Fennoscandia in summer 2013, across a latitudinal gradient (between 56 °N – 70 °N) and examined for the presence of fly puparia. Adult specimens of Ornithomya spp. were also collected for species identification. Fly species were identified morphologically and identifications confirmed with DNA barcoding. Results We found three species: two louse-flies − Ornithomya chloropus and O. avicularia − and one blow-fly, Protocalliphora azurea. The prevalence of O. avicularia was higher in southern latitudes and this species was not encountered beyond 62 °N whereas O. chloropus and P. azurea occurred across the whole range of latitudes. The prevalence of O. chloropus further increased with increasing distance from the coast – a pattern not documented before. The three fly species showed no interspecific associations in their prevalence. Conclusions Our study revealed relatively high prevalence for all the species (O. chloropus 59 %, O. avicularia 20 %, P. azurea 32 %), and an interesting spatial pattern in the prevalence of the two louse fly species. Our sample did not indicate any major range shifts towards the north for the southern species as compared to the information from the past. Morphological identification of O. chloropus did not match with the corresponding sequences published in the GenBank and taxonomy of this group calls for further studies.
  • Taponen, Suvi; Nykäsenoja, Suvi; Pohjanvirta, Tarja; Pitkälä, Anna; Pyörälä, Satu (BioMed Central, 2016)
    Abstract Background Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are the most common bovine mastitis causing bacteria in many countries. It is known that resistance for antimicrobials is in general more common in CoNS than in Staphylococcus aureus but little is known about the antimicrobial resistance of specific CoNS species. In this study, 400 CoNS isolates from bovine mastitic milk samples were identified to species level using ribotyping and MALDI-TOF MS, and their antimicrobial susceptibility was determined using a commercially available microdilution system. The results were interpreted according to the epidemiological cut-off values by the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility testing. Results The most common CoNS species were S. simulans, S. epidermidis, S. chromogenes and S. haemolyticus. Penicillin resistance was the most common type of antimicrobial resistance. Staphylococcus epidermidis was the most resistant among the four major species. Almost one-third of our S. epidermidis isolates were resistant to >2 antimicrobials and close to 7 % were multidrug resistant. The majority of S. epidermidis isolates were resistant to benzylpenicillin. On the contrary, only few S. simulans isolates were penicillin-resistant. Phenotypic oxacillin resistance was found in all four main species, and 34 % of the isolates were oxacillin resistant. However, only 21 isolates (5 %) were positive for the mecA gene. Of these, 20 were S. epidermidis and one S. sciuri. mecC positive isolates were not found. Conclusion Staphylococcus epidermidis differed from the three other major CoNS species as resistance to the tested antimicrobials was common, several isolates were multidrug resistant, and 19 % of the isolates carried the mecA gene encoding methicillin resistance.
  • Lülf, Sebastian; Matz, Julie; Rouyez, Marie-Christine; Järviluoma, Annika; Saksela, Kalle; Benichou, Serge; Geyer, Matthias (BioMed Central, 2014)
    Abstract Background The HIV-1 Nef protein is essential for AIDS pathogenesis by its interaction with host cell surface receptors and signaling factors. Despite its critical role as a virulence factor Nef is not targeted by current antiviral strategies. Results We have determined the crystal structure of the complex formed by a camelid single-domain antibody fragment, termed sdAb19, bound to HIV-1 Nef together with a stabilizing SH3 domain. sdAb19 forms a stoichiometric 1:1 complex with Nef and binds to a conformationally conserved surface at the C-terminus of Nef that overlaps with functionally important interaction sites involved in Nef-induced perturbations of signaling and trafficking pathways. The antibody fragment binds Nef with low nanomolar affinity, which could be attenuated to micromolar affinity range by site-directed mutagenesis of key interaction residues in sdAb19. Fusion of the SH3 domain to sdAb19, termed Neffin, leads to a significantly increased affinity for Nef and formation of a stoichiometric 2:2 Nef–Neffin complex. The 19 kDa Neffin protein inhibits all functions of Nef as CD4 and MHC-I downregulation, association with Pak2, and the increase in virus infectivity and replication. Conclusions Together, sdAb19 and Neffin thus represent efficient tools for the rational development of antiviral strategies against HIV-1 Nef.
  • Föhr, Tiina; Tolvanen, Asko; Myllymäki, Tero; Järvelä-Reijonen, Elina; Rantala, Sanni; Korpela, Riitta; Peuhkuri, Katri; Kolehmainen, Marjukka; Puttonen, Sampsa; Lappalainen, Raimo; Rusko, Heikki; Kujala, Urho M (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background The present study aimed to investigate how subjective self-reported stress is associated with objective heart rate variability (HRV)-based stress and recovery on workdays. Another aim was to investigate how physical activity (PA), body composition, and age are associated with subjective stress, objective stress, and recovery. Methods Working-age participants (n = 221; 185 women, 36 men) in this cross-sectional study were overweight (body mass index, 25.3–40.1 kg/m2) and psychologically distressed (≥3/12 points on the General Health Questionnaire). Objective stress and recovery were based on HRV recordings over 1–3 workdays. Subjective stress was assessed by the Perceived Stress Scale. PA level was determined by questionnaire, and body fat percentage was assessed by bioelectrical impedance analysis. Results Subjective stress was directly associated with objective stress (P = 0.047) and inversely with objective recovery (P = 0.046). These associations persisted after adjustments for sex, age, PA, and body fat percentage. Higher PA was associated with lower subjective stress (P = 0.037). Older age was associated with higher objective stress (P < 0.001). After further adjustment for alcohol consumption and regular medication, older age was associated with lower subjective stress (P = 0.043). Conclusions The present results suggest that subjective self-reported stress is associated with objective physiological stress, but they are also apparently affected by different factors. However, some of the found associations among these overweight and psychologically distressed participants with low inter-individual variation in PA are rather weak and the clinical value of the present findings should be studied further among participants with greater heterogeneity of stress, PA and body composition. However, these findings suggest that objective stress assessment provides an additional aspect to stress evaluation. Furthermore, the results provide valuable information for developing stress assessment methods.
  • Tikkinen, Kari A; Agarwal, Arnav; Craigie, Samantha; Cartwright, Rufus; Gould, Michael K; Haukka, Jari; Naspro, Richard; Novara, Giacomo; Sandset, Per M; Siemieniuk, Reed A; Violette, Philippe D; Guyatt, Gordon H (BioMed Central, 2014)
    Abstract Background Pharmacological thromboprophylaxis in the peri-operative period involves a trade-off between reduction in venous thromboembolism (VTE) and an increase in bleeding. Baseline risks, in the absence of prophylaxis, for VTE and bleeding are known to vary widely between urological procedures, but their magnitude is highly uncertain. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses addressing baseline risks are uncommon, needed, and require methodological innovation. In this article, we describe the rationale and methods for a series of systematic reviews of the risks of symptomatic VTE and bleeding requiring reoperation in urological surgery. Methods/design We searched MEDLINE from January 1, 2000 until April 10, 2014 for observational studies reporting on symptomatic VTE or bleeding after urological procedures. Additional studies known to experts and studies cited in relevant review articles were added. Teams of two reviewers, independently assessed articles for eligibility, evaluated risk of bias, and abstracted data. We derived best estimates of risk from the median estimates among studies rated at the lowest risk of bias. The primary endpoints were 30-day post-operative risk estimates of symptomatic VTE and bleeding requiring reoperation, stratified by procedure and patient risk factors. Discussion This series of systematic reviews will inform clinicians and patients regarding the trade-off between VTE prevention and bleeding. Our work advances standards in systematic reviews of surgical complications, including assessment of risk of bias, criteria for arriving at best estimates of risk (including modeling of timing of events and dealing with suboptimal data reporting), dealing with subgroups at higher and lower risk of bias, and use of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach to rate certainty in estimates of risk. The results will be incorporated in the upcoming European Association Urology Guideline on Thromboprophylaxis. Systematic review registration PROSPERO CRD42014010342 .