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  • Benoit, Isabelle; Culleton, Helena; Zhou, Miaomiao; DiFalco, Marcos; Aguilar-Osorio, Guillermo; Battaglia, Evy; Bouzid, Ourdia; Brouwer, Carlo P J M; El-Bushari, Hala B O; Coutinho, Pedro M; Gruben, Birgit S; Hildén, Kristiina S; Houbraken, Jos; Barboza, Luis A J; Levasseur, Anthony; Majoor, Eline; Mäkelä, Miia R; Narang, Hari-Mander; Trejo-Aguilar, Blanca; van den Brink, Joost; vanKuyk, Patricia A; Wiebenga, Ad; McKie, Vincent; McCleary, Barry; Tsang, Adrian; Henrissat, Bernard; de Vries, Ronald P (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Plant biomass is the major substrate for the production of biofuels and biochemicals, as well as food, textiles and other products. It is also the major carbon source for many fungi and enzymes of these fungi are essential for the depolymerization of plant polysaccharides in industrial processes. This is a highly complex process that involves a large number of extracellular enzymes as well as non-hydrolytic proteins, whose production in fungi is controlled by a set of transcriptional regulators. Aspergillus species form one of the best studied fungal genera in this field, and several species are used for the production of commercial enzyme cocktails. Results It is often assumed that related fungi use similar enzymatic approaches to degrade plant polysaccharides. In this study we have compared the genomic content and the enzymes produced by eight Aspergilli for the degradation of plant biomass. All tested Aspergilli have a similar genomic potential to degrade plant biomass, with the exception of A. clavatus that has a strongly reduced pectinolytic ability. Despite this similar genomic potential their approaches to degrade plant biomass differ markedly in the overall activities as well as the specific enzymes they employ. While many of the genes have orthologs in (nearly) all tested species, only very few of the corresponding enzymes are produced by all species during growth on wheat bran or sugar beet pulp. In addition, significant differences were observed between the enzyme sets produced on these feedstocks, largely correlating with their polysaccharide composition. Conclusions These data demonstrate that Aspergillus species and possibly also other related fungi employ significantly different approaches to degrade plant biomass. This makes sense from an ecological perspective where mixed populations of fungi together degrade plant biomass. The results of this study indicate that combining the approaches from different species could result in improved enzyme mixtures for industrial applications, in particular saccharification of plant biomass for biofuel production. Such an approach may result in a much better improvement of saccharification efficiency than adding specific enzymes to the mixture of a single fungus, which is currently the most common approach used in biotechnology.
  • Traoré, Oumar; Nyholm, Outi; Siitonen, Anja; Bonkoungou, Isidore J O; Traoré, Alfred S; Barro, Nicolas; Haukka, Kaisa (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background This study investigated the prevalence, serotypes and antimicrobial sensitivity patterns of Salmonella enterica in environment in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. A total of 476 samples, consisting of 36 samples of tap water, 51 samples of well water, 87 samples of channel water, 44 samples of reservoir water, 238 samples of fish, and 20 samples of lettuce were examined using standard bacteriological procedures for Salmonella. Results Salmonella were isolated from 98 samples. Salmonella were rare in drinking water, since they were not found at all from the tap water, and only in 2 % of well water. Salmonella were more common in the water of reservoir of Tanghin (15 %), reservoir of Yamtenga (20 %), and in the water channels in the city (from 20 to 31 %). Salmonella were commonly isolated from the fish (24 %) caught from the reservoir of Tanghin and from the lettuce (50 %) irrigated with water from Tanghin. The Salmonella isolates were found to represent 50 different serotypes. The 11 most common serotypes were Salmonella Bredeney and S. Colindale (both 8.2 %), S. Muenster (6.1 %), S. Korlebu (5.1 %), S. Eastbourne and S. Poona (both 4.1 %), and S. Agona, S. Derby, S. Drac, S. Senftenberg, S. Waycross (each 3.1 %), accounting for 51.3 % of all the isolates. In general, the Salmonella strains were sensitive to the antimicrobials tested, but two strains were resistant to streptomycin and many more intermediate to streptomycin or sulphonamide. Conclusion This study highlights the common prevalence of Salmonella and the high diversity of Salmonella serotypes in aquatic environment in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Therefore, various human activities linked to water and consumption of water-related products, such as fish and lettuce, can lead to human Salmonella infections.
  • Autio, Karoliina P M; Ruotsalainen, Janne J; Anttila, Marjukka O; Niittykoski, Minna; Waris, Matti; Hemminki, Akseli; Vähä-Koskela, Markus J V; Hinkkanen, Ari E (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Dogs suffer from spontaneous tumors which may be amenable to therapies developed for human cancer patients, and dogs may serve as large-animal cancer models. A non-pathogenic Semliki Forest virus vector VA7-EGFP previously showed promise in targeting human tumor xenografts in mice, but the oncolytic capacity of the virus in canine cancer cells and the safety of the virus in higher mammals such as dogs, are not known. We therefore assessed the oncolytic potency of VA7-EGFP against canine cancer cells by infectivity and viability assays in two dog solid tumor cell lines. Furthermore we performed a 3-week safety study in two adult Beagles which received a single intravenous injection of ~2 × 105 plaque forming units of parental A7(74) strain. Results VA7-EGFP was able to replicate in and kill both canine cancer cell lines tested. No adverse events were observed in either of the two virus-injected adult Beagles and no infective virus could be recovered from any of the biological samples collected over the course of the study. Neutralizing antibodies to Semliki Forest virus became detectable in the dogs at 5 days post infection and remained elevated until study termination. Conclusions Based on these results, testing of the oncolytic potential of attenuated Semliki Forest virus in canine cancer patients appears feasible.
  • Tripathi, Sushil; Flobak, Åsmund; Chawla, Konika; Baudot, Anaïs; Bruland, Torunn; Thommesen, Liv; Kuiper, Martin; Lægreid, Astrid (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background The gastrointestinal peptide hormones cholecystokinin and gastrin exert their biological functions via cholecystokinin receptors CCK1R and CCK2R respectively. Gastrin, a central regulator of gastric acid secretion, is involved in growth and differentiation of gastric and colonic mucosa, and there is evidence that it is pro-carcinogenic. Cholecystokinin is implicated in digestion, appetite control and body weight regulation, and may play a role in several digestive disorders. Results We performed a detailed analysis of the literature reporting experimental evidence on signaling pathways triggered by CCK1R and CCK2R, in order to create a comprehensive map of gastrin and cholecystokinin-mediated intracellular signaling cascades. The resulting signaling map captures 413 reactions involving 530 molecular species, and incorporates the currently available knowledge into one integrated signaling network. The decomposition of the signaling map into sub-networks revealed 18 modules that represent higher-level structures of the signaling map. These modules allow a more compact mapping of intracellular signaling reactions to known cell behavioral outcomes such as proliferation, migration and apoptosis. The integration of large-scale protein-protein interaction data to this literature-based signaling map in combination with topological analyses allowed us to identify 70 proteins able to increase the compactness of the map. These proteins represent experimentally testable hypotheses for gaining new knowledge on gastrin- and cholecystokinin receptor signaling. The CCKR map is freely available both in a downloadable, machine-readable SBML-compatible format and as a web resource through PAYAO ( http://sblab.celldesigner.org:18080/Payao11/bin/ ). Conclusion We have demonstrated how a literature-based CCKR signaling map together with its protein interaction extensions can be analyzed to generate new hypotheses on molecular mechanisms involved in gastrin- and cholecystokinin-mediated regulation of cellular processes.
  • Valo, Satu; Kaur, Sippy; Ristimäki, Ari; Renkonen-Sinisalo, Laura; Järvinen, Heikki; Mecklin, Jukka-Pekka; Nyström, Minna; Peltomäki, Päivi (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Lynch syndrome (LS) is associated with germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. The first “hit” to inactivate one allele of the predisposing MMR gene is present in every cell, contributing to accelerated tumorigenesis. Less information is available of the nature, timing, and order of other molecular “hits” required for tumor development. To this end, MMR protein expression and coordinated promoter methylation were examined in colorectal specimens prospectively collected from LS mutation carriers (n = 55) during colonoscopy surveillance (10/2011–5/2013), supplemented with retrospective specimens. Results Loss of MMR protein corresponding to the gene mutated in the germline increased with dysplasia, with frequency of 0 % in normal mucosa, 50–68 % in low-grade dysplasia adenomas, and 100 % in high-grade dysplasia adenomas and carcinomas. Promoter methylation as a putative “second hit” occurred in 1/56 (2 %) of tumors with silenced MMR protein. A general hypermethylation tendency was evaluated by two gene sets, eight CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) genes, and seven candidate tumor suppressor genes linked to colorectal carcinoma (CRC). Hypermethylation followed the same trend as MMR protein loss and was present in some low-grade dysplasia adenomas that still expressed MMR protein suggesting the absence of a “second hit.” To assess prospectively collected normal mucosa for carcinogenic “fields,” the specimen donors were stratified according to age at biopsy (50 years or below vs. above 50 years) and further according to the absence vs. presence of a (previous or concurrent) diagnosis of CRC. In mutation carriers over 50 years old, two markers from the candidate gene panel (SFRP1 and SLC5A8) revealed a significantly elevated average degree of methylation in individuals with CRC diagnosis vs. those without. Conclusions Our findings emphasize the importance and early appearance of epigenetic alterations in LS-associated tumorigenesis. The results serve early detection and assessment of progression of CRC.
  • Grönthal, Thomas; Ollilainen, Matti; Eklund, Marjut; Piiparinen, Heli; Gindonis, Veera; Junnila, Jouni; Saijonmaa-Koulumies, Leena; Liimatainen, Riitta; Rantala, Merja (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are common multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria in dogs. In 2012–2013 three dogs of the Guide Dog School of the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired were found to be MRSP positive. Guide dogs have regular contact with each other during their first year of life and prolonged contact when in training. Since dogs are placed in different parts of Finland after training, there is a risk for national spread of MDR bacteria. In this study the prevalence of MRSP and MRSA, as well as the risk factors for MRSP were determined in the Finnish guide dog population. MRSP isolates were investigated using molecular methods and compared to the earlier isolates. Results Out of 132 tested dogs 4 were MRSP positive thus giving the prevalence estimate of 3% (95% CI: 1–8%) for MRSP in the target population. MRSA was not detected (prevalence estimate 0%, 95% CI: 0–3%). Risk factors associated with MRSP were being a breeding bitch (OR = 8.4; 95% CI: 1.1–64.1, P = 0.012), the number of veterinary visits (OR = 1.23; 95% CI: 1.0–1.5, P = 0.025) and number of antimicrobial courses (OR = 1.63; 95% CI: 1.0–2.55; P = 0.035). Identified MRSP isolates belonged to five different sequence types (ST45, 71, 402, 403 and 404). All ST71 isolates carried SCCmec II-III, while the SCCmec type of the ST45 and ST402 (a single locus variant of ST45) isolates were non-typeable with the method used. Conclusions MRSP and MRSA had low prevalence in the studied dog population despite the close contact between dogs, and the MRSP population was heterogenic. Antimicrobial therapy and veterinary visits are risk factors for MRSP even among a small case group.
  • Virtanen, Jorma I; Vehkalahti, Kimmo I; Vehkalahti, Miira M (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Health behaviors play a major role in the prevention of the most common oral diseases. To investigate health behaviors related to the potential transmission of oral bacteria from mother to child using novel multiple correspondence analysis (MCA). Methods Mothers (n = 313) with children under three years attending two municipal child health clinics in Finland completed a self-administered questionnaire on health knowledge and behaviors such as sharing a spoon with their child, kissing on the lips, and the mothers’ tooth brushing, smoking, age, and level of education. We used MCA to reveal the relationships between the mothers’ behaviors and background factors, along with unconditional, binary, multivariable logistic regression models, odds ratios (OR) and their 95 % confidence intervals (95 %CI). Results Of the mothers, 38 % kissed their child on the lips and 14 % shared a spoon with their child; 11 % believed that oral bacteria cannot be transmitted from mother to child. Two-thirds (68 %) of them reported tooth brushing twice daily, and 80 % were non-smokers. MCA revealed two diverging dimensions of the mothers’ behaviors: a ‘horizontal’ one showing clear evidence of relationships between tooth brushing, smoking, age and education, whereas the ‘vertical’ one revealed the mothers’ habits of kissing the child on the lips and sharing a spoon related to each other. Spoon sharing was related to the kissing on lips (OR 10.3), a higher level of education (OR 3.1), and, inversely, older age (OR 0.1), whereas kissing on lips behavior was inversely related to a higher level of education (OR 0.5). Conclusion The study revealed two diverging dimensions of the mothers’ health behaviors. More emphasis in health education ought to be put to how to avoid bacterial transmission from caregiver to child during feeding.
  • Sobral-Leite, Marcelo; Wesseling, Jelle; Smit, Vincent T H B M; Nevanlinna, Heli; van Miltenburg, Martine H; Sanders, Joyce; Hofland, Ingrid; Blows, Fiona M; Coulson, Penny; Patrycja, Gazinska; Schellens, Jan H M; Fagerholm, Rainer; Heikkilä, Päivi; Aittomäki, Kristiina; Blomqvist, Carl; Provenzano, Elena; Ali, Hamid R; Figueroa, Jonine; Sherman, Mark; Lissowska, Jolanta; Mannermaa, Arto; Kataja, Vesa; Kosma, Veli-Matti; Hartikainen, Jaana M; Phillips, Kelly-Anne; Couch, Fergus J; Olson, Janet E; Vachon, Celine; Visscher, Daniel; Brenner, Hermann; Butterbach, Katja; Arndt, Volker; Holleczek, Bernd; Hooning, Maartje J; Hollestelle, Antoinette; Martens, John W M; van Deurzen, Carolien H M; van de Water, Bob; Broeks, Annegien; Chang-Claude, Jenny; Chenevix-Trench, Georgia; Easton, Douglas F; Pharoah, Paul D P; García-Closas, Montserrat; de Graauw, Marjo; Schmidt, Marjanka K (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Annexin A1 (ANXA1) is a protein related with the carcinogenesis process and metastasis formation in many tumors. However, little is known about the prognostic value of ANXA1 in breast cancer. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the association between ANXA1 expression, BRCA1/2 germline carriership, specific tumor subtypes and survival in breast cancer patients. Methods Clinical-pathological information and follow-up data were collected from nine breast cancer studies from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) (n = 5,752) and from one study of familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations (n = 107). ANXA1 expression was scored based on the percentage of immunohistochemical staining in tumor cells. Survival analyses were performed using a multivariable Cox model. Results The frequency of ANXA1 positive tumors was higher in familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations than in BCAC patients, with 48.6 % versus 12.4 %, respectively; P <0.0001. ANXA1 was also highly expressed in BCAC tumors that were poorly differentiated, triple negative, EGFR-CK5/6 positive or had developed in patients at a young age. In the first 5 years of follow-up, patients with ANXA1 positive tumors had a worse breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS) than ANXA1 negative (HRadj = 1.35; 95 % CI = 1.05–1.73), but the association weakened after 10 years (HRadj = 1.13; 95 % CI = 0.91–1.40). ANXA1 was a significant independent predictor of survival in HER2+ patients (10-years BCSS: HRadj = 1.70; 95 % CI = 1.17–2.45). Conclusions ANXA1 is overexpressed in familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations and correlated with poor prognosis features: triple negative and poorly differentiated tumors. ANXA1 might be a biomarker candidate for breast cancer survival prediction in high risk groups such as HER2+ cases.
  • Lienemann, Taru; Kyyhkynen, Aino; Halkilahti, Jani; Haukka, Kaisa; Siitonen, Anja (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Salmonella enterica spp. enterica serotype Typhimurium (STM) is the most common agent of domestically acquired salmonellosis in Finland. Subtyping methods which allow the characterization of STM are essential for effective laboratory-based STM surveillance and for recognition of outbreaks. This study describes the diversity of Finnish STM isolates using phage typing, antimicrobial susceptible testing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), and compares the discriminatory power and the concordance of these methods. Results A total of 375 sporadic STM isolates were analysed. The isolates were divided into 31 definite phage (DT) types, dominated by DT1 (47 % of the isolates), U277 (9 % of the isolates) and DT104 (8 % of the isolates). Of all the isolates, 62 % were susceptible to all the 12 antimicrobials tested and 11 % were multidrug resistant. Subtyping resulted in 83 different XbaI-PFGE profiles and 111 MLVA types. The three most common XbaI-PFGE profiles (STYM1, STYM7 and STYM8) and one MLVA profile with three single locus variants accounted for 56 % and 49 % of the STM isolates, respectively. The studied isolates showed a genetic similarity of more than 70 % by XbaI-PFGE. In MLVA, 71 % of the isolates lacked STTR6 and 77 % missed STTR10p loci. Nevertheless, the calculated Simpson’s diversity index for XbaI-PFGE was 0.829 (95 % CI 0.792−0.865) and for MLVA 0.867 (95 % CI 0.835−0.898). However, the discriminatory power of the 5-loci MLVA varied among the phage types. The highest concordance of the results was found between XbaI-PFGE and phage typing (adjusted Wallace coefficient was 0.833 and adjusted Rand coefficient was 0.627). Conclusions In general, the calculated discriminatory power was higher for genotyping methods (MLVA and XbaI-PFGE) than for phenotyping methods (phage typing). Overall, comparable diversity indices were calculated for PFGE and MLVA (both DI > 0.8). However, MLVA was phage type dependent providing better discrimination of the most common phage types. Furthermore, 5-loci MLVA was a less laborious method and easier to interpret than XbaI-PFGE. Thus, the laboratory-based surveillance of the Finnish human STM infections has been conducted with a combination of phage typing, antimicrobial susceptibility testing and 5-loci MLVA since January 2014.
  • Sobral-Leite, Marcelo; Wesseling, Jelle; Smit, Vincent T H B M; Nevanlinna, Heli; van Miltenburg, Martine H; Sanders, Joyce; Hofland, Ingrid; Blows, Fiona M; Coulson, Penny; Patrycja, Gazinska; Schellens, Jan H M; Fagerholm, Rainer; Heikkilä, Päivi; Aittomäki, Kristiina; Blomqvist, Carl; Provenzano, Elena; Ali, Hamid R; Figueroa, Jonine; Sherman, Mark; Lissowska, Jolanta; Mannermaa, Arto; Kataja, Vesa; Kosma, Veli-Matti; Hartikainen, Jaana M; Phillips, Kelly-Anne; Couch, Fergus J; Olson, Janet E; Vachon, Celine; Visscher, Daniel; Brenner, Hermann; Butterbach, Katja; Arndt, Volker; Holleczek, Bernd; Hooning, Maartje J; Hollestelle, Antoinette; Martens, John W M; van Deurzen, Carolien H M; van de Water, Bob; Broeks, Annegien; Chang-Claude, Jenny; Chenevix-Trench, Georgia; Easton, Douglas F; Pharoah, Paul D P; García-Closas, Montserrat; de Graauw, Marjo; Schmidt, Marjanka K (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Annexin A1 (ANXA1) is a protein related with the carcinogenesis process and metastasis formation in many tumors. However, little is known about the prognostic value of ANXA1 in breast cancer. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the association between ANXA1 expression, BRCA1/2 germline carriership, specific tumor subtypes and survival in breast cancer patients. Methods Clinical-pathological information and follow-up data were collected from nine breast cancer studies from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) (n = 5,752) and from one study of familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations (n = 107). ANXA1 expression was scored based on the percentage of immunohistochemical staining in tumor cells. Survival analyses were performed using a multivariable Cox model. Results The frequency of ANXA1 positive tumors was higher in familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations than in BCAC patients, with 48.6 % versus 12.4 %, respectively; P <0.0001. ANXA1 was also highly expressed in BCAC tumors that were poorly differentiated, triple negative, EGFR-CK5/6 positive or had developed in patients at a young age. In the first 5 years of follow-up, patients with ANXA1 positive tumors had a worse breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS) than ANXA1 negative (HRadj = 1.35; 95 % CI = 1.05–1.73), but the association weakened after 10 years (HRadj = 1.13; 95 % CI = 0.91–1.40). ANXA1 was a significant independent predictor of survival in HER2+ patients (10-years BCSS: HRadj = 1.70; 95 % CI = 1.17–2.45). Conclusions ANXA1 is overexpressed in familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations and correlated with poor prognosis features: triple negative and poorly differentiated tumors. ANXA1 might be a biomarker candidate for breast cancer survival prediction in high risk groups such as HER2+ cases.
  • Katayama, Shintaro; Skoog, Tiina; Jouhilahti, Eeva-Mari; Siitonen, H. A; Nuutila, Kristo; Tervaniemi, Mari H; Vuola, Jyrki; Johnsson, Anna; Lönnerberg, Peter; Linnarsson, Sten; Elomaa, Outi; Kankuri, Esko; Kere, Juha (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Keratinocytes (KCs) are the most frequent cells in the epidermis, and they are often isolated and cultured in vitro to study the molecular biology of the skin. Cultured primary cells and various immortalized cells have been frequently used as skin models but their comparability to intact skin has been questioned. Moreover, when analyzing KC transcriptomes, fluctuation of polyA+ RNA content during the KCs’ lifecycle has been omitted. Results We performed STRT RNA sequencing on 10 ng samples of total RNA from three different sample types: i) epidermal tissue (split-thickness skin grafts), ii) cultured primary KCs, and iii) HaCaT cell line. We observed significant variation in cellular polyA+ RNA content between tissue and cell culture samples of KCs. The use of synthetic RNAs and SAMstrt in normalization enabled comparison of gene expression levels in the highly heterogenous samples and facilitated discovery of differences between the tissue samples and cultured cells. The transcriptome analysis sensitively revealed genes involved in KC differentiation in skin grafts and cell cycle regulation related genes in cultured KCs and emphasized the fluctuation of transcription factors and non-coding RNAs associated to sample types. Conclusions The epidermal keratinocytes derived from tissue and cell culture samples showed highly different polyA+ RNA contents. The use of SAMstrt and synthetic RNA based normalization allowed the comparison between tissue and cell culture samples and thus proved to be valuable tools for RNA-seq analysis with translational approach. Transciptomics revealed clear difference both between tissue and cell culture samples and between primary KCs and immortalized HaCaT cells.
  • Chong, Sun-Li; Derba-Maceluch, Marta; Koutaniemi, Sanna; Gómez, Leonardo D; McQueen-Mason, Simon J; Tenkanen, Maija; Mellerowicz, Ewa J (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Expressing microbial polysaccharide-modifying enzymes in plants is an attractive approach to custom tailor plant lignocellulose and to study the importance of wall structures to plant development. Expression of α-glucuronidases in plants to modify the structures of glucuronoxylans has not been yet attempted. Glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 115 α-glucuronidases cleave the internal α-D-(4-O-methyl)glucopyranosyluronic acid ((Me)GlcA) from xylans or xylooligosaccharides. In this work, a GH115 α-glucuronidase from Schizophyllum commune, ScAGU115, was expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana and targeted to apoplast. The transgene effects on native xylans’ structures, plant development, and lignocellulose saccharification were evaluated and compared to those of knocked out glucuronyltransferases AtGUX1 and AtGUX2. Results The ScAGU115 extracted from cell walls of Arabidopsis was active on the internally substituted aldopentaouronic acid (XUXX). The transgenic plants did not show any change in growth or in lignocellulose saccharification. The cell wall (Me)GlcA and other non-cellulosic sugars, as well as the lignin content, remained unchanged. In contrast, the gux1gux2 double mutant showed a 70% decrease in (Me)GlcA to xylose molar ratio, and, interestingly, a 60% increase in the xylose content. Whereas ScAGU115-expressing plants exhibited a decreased signal in native secondary walls from the monoclonal antibody UX1 that recognizes (Me)GlcA on non-acetylated xylan, the signal was not affected after wall deacetylation. In contrast, gux1gux2 mutant was lacking UX1 signals in both native and deacetylated cell walls. This indicates that acetyl substitution on the xylopyranosyl residue carrying (Me)GlcA or on the neighboring xylopyranosyl residues may restrict post-synthetic modification of xylans by ScAGU115 in planta. Conclusions Active GH115 α-glucuronidase has been produced for the first time in plants. The cell wall–targeted ScAGU115 was shown to affect those glucuronate substitutions of xylan, which are accessible to UX1 antibody and constitute a small fraction in Arabidopsis, whereas majority of (Me)GlcA substitutions were resistant, most likely due to the shielding by acetyl groups. Plants expressing ScAGU115 did not show any defects under laboratory conditions indicating that the UX1 epitope of xylan is not essential under these conditions. Moreover the removal of the UX1 xylan epitope does not affect lignocellulose saccharification.
  • Koskinen, Lotta L E; Seppälä, Eija H; Belanger, Janelle M; Arumilli, Meharji; Hakosalo, Osmo; Jokinen, Päivi; Nevalainen, Elisa M; Viitmaa, Ranno; Jokinen, Tarja S; Oberbauer, Anita M; Lohi, Hannes (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Idiopathic epilepsy is a common neurological disease in human and domestic dogs but relatively few risk genes have been identified to date. The seizure characteristics, including focal and generalised seizures, are similar between the two species, with gene discovery facilitated by the reduced genetic heterogeneity of purebred dogs. We have recently identified a risk locus for idiopathic epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd breed on a 4.4 megabase region on CFA37. Results We have expanded a previous study replicating the association with a combined analysis of 157 cases and 179 controls in three additional breeds: Schipperke, Finnish Spitz and Beagle (pc = 2.9e–07, pGWAS = 1.74E-02). A targeted resequencing of the 4.4 megabase region in twelve Belgian Shepherd cases and twelve controls with opposite haplotypes identified 37 case-specific variants within the ADAM23 gene. Twenty-seven variants were validated in 285 cases and 355 controls from four breeds, resulting in a strong replication of the ADAM23 locus (praw = 2.76e–15) and the identification of a common 28 kb-risk haplotype in all four breeds. Risk haplotype was present in frequencies of 0.49–0.7 in the breeds, suggesting that ADAM23 is a low penetrance risk gene for canine epilepsy. Conclusions These results implicate ADAM23 in common canine idiopathic epilepsy, although the causative variant remains yet to be identified. ADAM23 plays a role in synaptic transmission and interacts with known epilepsy genes, LGI1 and LGI2, and should be considered as a candidate gene for human epilepsies.
  • Aho, Velma T E; Pereira, Pedro A B; Haahtela, Tari; Pawankar, Ruby; Auvinen, Petri; Koskinen, Kaisa (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract For a long time, the human lower airways were considered a sterile environment where the presence of microorganisms, typically revealed by culturing, was interpreted as an abnormal health state. More recently, high-throughput sequencing-based studies have led to a shift in this perception towards the notion that even in healthy conditions the lower airways show either transient presence or even permanent colonization by microorganisms. However, challenges related to low biomass and contamination in samples still remain, and the composition, structure and dynamics of such putative microbial communities are unclear. Here, we review the evidence for the presence of microbial communities in the human lower airways, in healthy subjects and within the context of medical conditions of interest. We also provide an overview of the methodology pertinent to high-throughput sequencing studies, specifically those based on amplicon sequencing, including a discussion of good practices and common pitfalls.
  • Borgquist, Signe; Zhou, Wenjing; Jirström, Karin; Amini, Rose-Marie; Sollie, Thomas; Sørlie, Therese; Blomqvist, Carl; Butt, Salma; Wärnberg, Fredrik (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background HER2 is a well-established prognostic and predictive factor in invasive breast cancer. The role of HER2 in ductal breast carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is debated and recent data have suggested that HER2 is mainly related to in situ recurrences. Our aim was to study HER2 as a prognostic factor in a large population based cohort of DCIS with long-term follow-up. Methods All 458 patients diagnosed with a primary DCIS 1986–2004 in two Swedish counties were included. Silver-enhanced in situ hybridisation (SISH) was used for detection of HER2 gene amplification and protein expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in tissue microarrays. HER2 positivity was defined as amplified HER2 gene and/or HER2 3+ by IHC. HER2 status in relation to new ipsilateral events (IBE) and Invasive Breast Cancer Recurrences, local or distant (IBCR) was assessed by Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and Cox proportional hazards regression models. Results Primary DCIS was screening-detected in 75.5 % of cases. Breast conserving surgery (BCS) was performed in 78.6 % of whom 44.0 % received postoperative radiotherapy. No patients received adjuvant endocrine- or chemotherapy. The majority of DCIS could be HER2 classified (N = 420 (91.7 %)); 132 HER2 positive (31 %) and 288 HER2 negative (69 %)). HER2 positivity was related to large tumor size (P = 0.002), high grade (P < 0.001) and ER- and PR negativity (P < 0.001 for both). During follow-up (mean 184 months), 106 IBCRs and 105 IBEs were identified among all 458 cases corresponding to 54 in situ and 51 invasive recurrences. Eighteen women died from breast cancer and another 114 had died from other causes. The risk of IBCR was statistically significantly lower subsequent to a HER2 positive DCIS compared to a HER2 negative DCIS, (Log-Rank P = 0.03, (HR) 0.60 (95 % CI 0.38–0.94)). Remarkably, the curves did not separate until after 10 years. In ER-stratified analyses, HER2 positive DCIS was associated with lower risk of IBCR among women with ER negative DCIS (Log-Rank P = 0.003), but not for women with ER positive DCIS. Conclusions Improved prognostic tools for DCIS patients are warranted to tailor adjuvant therapy. Here, we demonstrate that HER2 positive disease in the primary DCIS is associated with lower risk of recurrent invasive breast cancer.
  • Karhu, Lasse; Turku, Ainoleena; Xhaard, Henri (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Interactions between the orexin peptides and their cognate OX1 and OX2 receptors remain poorly characterized. Site-directed mutagenesis studies on orexin peptides and receptors have indicated amino acids important for ligand binding and receptor activation. However, a better understanding of specific pairwise interactions would benefit small molecule discovery. Results We constructed a set of three-dimensional models of the orexin 1 receptor based on the 3D-structures of the orexin 2 receptor (released while this manuscript was under review), neurotensin receptor 1 and chemokine receptor CXCR4, conducted an exhaustive docking of orexin-A16–33 peptide fragment with ZDOCK and RDOCK, and analyzed a total of 4301 complexes through multidimensional scaling and clustering. The best docking poses reveal two alternative binding modes, where the C-terminus of the peptide lies deep in the binding pocket, on average about 5–6 Å above Tyr6.48 and close to Gln3.32. The binding modes differ in the about 100° rotation of the peptide; the peptide His26 faces either the receptor’s fifth transmembrane helix or the seventh helix. Both binding modes are well in line with previous mutation studies and partake in hydrogen bonding similar to suvorexant. Conclusions We present two binding modes for orexin-A into orexin 1 receptor, which help rationalize previous results from site-directed mutagenesis studies. The binding modes should serve small molecule discovery, and offer insights into the mechanism of receptor activation.
  • Örmälä-Odegrip, Anni-Maria; Ojala, Ville; Hiltunen, Teppo; Zhang, Ji; Bamford, Jaana K; Laakso, Jouni (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Consumer-resource interactions constitute one of the most common types of interspecific antagonistic interaction. In natural communities, complex species interactions are likely to affect the outcomes of reciprocal co-evolution between consumers and their resource species. Individuals face multiple enemies simultaneously, and consequently they need to adapt to several different types of enemy pressures. In this study, we assessed how protist predation affects the susceptibility of bacterial populations to infection by viral parasites, and whether there is an associated cost of defence on the competitive ability of the bacteria. As a study system we used Serratia marcescens and its lytic bacteriophage, along with two bacteriovorous protists with distinct feeding modes: Tetrahymena thermophila (particle feeder) and Acanthamoeba castellanii (surface feeder). The results were further confirmed with another study system with Pseudomonas and Tetrahymena thermophila. Results We found that selection by protist predators lowered the susceptibility to infections by lytic phages in Serratia and Pseudomonas. In Serratia, concurrent selection by phages and protists led to lowered susceptibility to phage infections and this effect was independent from whether the bacteria shared a co-evolutionary history with the phage population or not. Bacteria that had evolved with phages were overall more susceptible to phage infection (compared to bacteria with history with multiple enemies) but they were less vulnerable to the phages they had co-evolved with than ancestral phages. Selection by bacterial enemies was costly in general and was seen as a lowered fitness in absence of phages, measured as a biomass yield. Conclusions Our results show the significance of multiple species interactions on pairwise consumer-resource interaction, and suggest potential overlap in defending against predatory and parasitic enemies in microbial consumer-resource communities. Ultimately, our results could have larger scale effects on eco-evolutionary community dynamics.
  • Kovalchuk, Andriy; Raffaello, Tommaso; Jaber, Emad; Keriö, Susanna; Ghimire, Rajendra; Lorenz, W W; Dean, Jeffrey F; Holopainen, Jarmo K; Asiegbu, Fred O (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background During their lifetime, conifer trees are exposed to numerous herbivorous insects. To protect themselves against pests, trees have developed a broad repertoire of protective mechanisms. Many of the plant’s defence reactions are activated upon an insect attack, and the underlying regulatory mechanisms are not entirely understood yet, in particular in conifer trees. Here, we present the results of our studies on the transcriptional response and the volatile compounds production of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) upon the large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) feeding. Results Transcriptional response of Scots pine to the weevil attack was investigated using a novel customised 36.4 K Pinus taeda microarray. The weevil feeding caused large-scale changes in the pine transcriptome. In total, 774 genes were significantly up-regulated more than 4-fold (p ≤ 0.05), whereas 64 genes were significantly down-regulated more than 4-fold. Among the up-regulated genes, we could identify genes involved in signal perception, signalling pathways, transcriptional regulation, plant hormone homeostasis, secondary metabolism and defence responses. The weevil feeding on stem bark of pine significantly increased the total emission of volatile organic compounds from the undamaged stem bark area. The emission levels of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes were also increased. Interestingly, we could not observe any correlation between the increased production of the terpenoid compounds and expression levels of the terpene synthase-encoding genes. Conclusions The obtained data provide an important insight into the transcriptional response of conifer trees to insect herbivory and illustrate the massive changes in the host transcriptome upon insect attacks. Moreover, many of the induced pathways are common between conifers and angiosperms. The presented results are the first ones obtained by the use of a microarray platform with an extended coverage of pine transcriptome (36.4 K cDNA elements). The platform will further facilitate the identification of resistance markers with the direct relevance for conifer tree breeding.
  • Österman, Janina; Mousavi, Seyed A; Koskinen, Patrik; Paulin, Lars; Lindström, Kristina (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background The symbiotic phenotype of Neorhizobium galegae, with strains specifically fixing nitrogen with either Galega orientalis or G. officinalis, has made it a target in research on determinants of host specificity in nitrogen fixation. The genomic differences between representative strains of the two symbiovars are, however, relatively small. This introduced a need for a dataset representing a larger bacterial population in order to make better conclusions on characteristics typical for a subset of the species. In this study, we produced draft genomes of eight strains of N. galegae having different symbiotic phenotypes, both with regard to host specificity and nitrogen fixation efficiency. These genomes were analysed together with the previously published complete genomes of N. galegae strains HAMBI 540T and HAMBI 1141. Results The results showed that the presence of an additional rpoN sigma factor gene in the symbiosis gene region is a characteristic specific to symbiovar orientalis, required for nitrogen fixation. Also the nifQ gene was shown to be crucial for functional symbiosis in both symbiovars. Genome-wide analyses identified additional genes characteristic of strains of the same symbiovar and of strains having similar plant growth promoting properties on Galega orientalis. Many of these genes are involved in transcriptional regulation or in metabolic functions. Conclusions The results of this study confirm that the only symbiosis-related gene that is present in one symbiovar of N. galegae but not in the other is an rpoN gene. The specific function of this gene remains to be determined, however. New genes that were identified as specific for strains of one symbiovar may be involved in determining host specificity, while others are defined as potential determinant genes for differences in efficiency of nitrogen fixation.
  • Liu, Chengyu; Louhimo, Riku; Laakso, Marko; Lehtonen, Rainer; Hautaniemi, Sampsa (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Histologically similar tumors even from the same anatomical position may still show high variability at molecular level hindering analysis of genome-wide data. Leveling the analysis to a gene regulatory network instead of focusing on single genes has been suggested to overcome the heterogeneity issue although the majority of the network methods require large datasets. Network methods that are able to function at a single sample level are needed to overcome the heterogeneity and sample size issues. Methods We present a novel network method, Differentially Expressed Regulation Analysis (DERA) that integrates expression data to biological network information at a single sample level. The sample-specific networks are subsequently used to discover samples with similar molecular functions by identification of regulations that are shared between samples or are specific for a subgroup. Results We applied DERA to identify key regulations in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is characterized by lack of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2 expression and has poorer prognosis than the other breast cancer subtypes. DERA identified 110 core regulations consisting of 28 disconnected subnetworks for TNBC. These subnetworks are related to oncogenic activity, proliferation, cancer survival, invasiveness and metastasis. Our analysis further revealed 31 regulations specific for TNBC as compared to the other breast cancer subtypes and thus form a basis for understanding TNBC. We also applied DERA to high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGS-OvCa) data and identified several common regulations between HGS-OvCa and TNBC. The performance of DERA was compared to two pathway analysis methods GSEA and SPIA and our results shows better reproducibility and higher sensitivity in a small sample set. Conclusions We present a novel method called DERA to identify subnetworks that are similarly active for a group of samples. DERA was applied to breast cancer and ovarian cancer data showing our method is able to identify reliable and potentially important regulations with high reproducibility. R package is available at http://csbi.ltdk.helsinki.fi/pub/czliu/DERA/ .