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vegetative function [keywords]
- Disruption of transfer entropy and inter-hemispheric brain functional connectivity in patients with disorder of consciousness. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Front Neuroinform 2013.:24.
Severe traumatic brain injury can lead to disorders of consciousness (DOC) characterized by deficit in conscious awareness and cognitive impairment including coma, vegetative state, minimally consciousness, and lock-in syndrome. Of crucial importance is to find objective markers that can account for the large-scale disturbances of brain function to help the diagnosis and prognosis of DOC patients and eventually the prediction of the coma outcome. Following recent studies suggesting that the functional organization of brain networks can be altered in comatose patients, this work analyzes brain functional connectivity (FC) networks obtained from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). Two approaches are used to estimate the FC: the Partial Correlation (PC) and the Transfer Entropy (TE). Both the PC and the TE show significant statistical differences between the group of patients and control subjects; in brief, the inter-hemispheric PC and the intra-hemispheric TE account for such differences. Overall, these results suggest two possible rs-fMRI markers useful to design new strategies for the management and neuropsychological rehabilitation of DOC patients.
- On ERPs detection in disorders of consciousness rehabilitation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Front Hum Neurosci 2013.:775.
Disorders of Consciousness (DOC) like Vegetative State (VS), and Minimally Conscious State (MCS) are clinical conditions characterized by the absence or intermittent behavioral responsiveness. A neurophysiological monitoring of parameters like Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) could be a first step to follow-up the clinical evolution of these patients during their rehabilitation phase. Eleven patients diagnosed as VS (n = 8) and MCS (n = 3) by means of the JFK Coma Recovery Scale Revised (CRS-R) underwent scalp EEG recordings during the delivery of a 3-stimuli auditory oddball paradigm, which included standard, deviant tones and the subject own name (SON) presented as a novel stimulus, administered under passive and active conditions. Four patients who showed a change in their clinical status as detected by means of the CRS-R (i.e., moved from VS to MCS), were subjected to a second EEG recording session. All patients, but one (anoxic etiology), showed ERP components such as mismatch negativity (MMN) and novelty P300 (nP3) under passive condition. When patients were asked to count the novel stimuli (active condition), the nP3 component displayed a significant increase in amplitude (p = 0.009) and a wider topographical distribution with respect to the passive listening, only in MCS. In 2 out of the 4 patients who underwent a second recording session consistently with their transition from VS to MCS, the nP3 component elicited by passive listening of SON stimuli revealed a significant amplitude increment (p < 0.05). Most relevant, the amplitude of the nP3 component in the active condition, acquired in each patient and in all recording sessions, displayed a significant positive correlation with the total scores (p = 0.004) and with the auditory sub-scores (p < 0.00001) of the CRS-R administered before each EEG recording. As such, the present findings corroborate the value of ERPs monitoring in DOC patients to investigate residual unconscious and conscious cognitive function.
- Identification of Genes Required by Bacillus thuringiensis for Survival in Soil by Transposon-Directed Insertion Site Sequencing. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Curr Microbiol 2013 Dec 6.
Transposon-directed insertion site sequencing was used to identify genes required by Bacillus thuringiensis to survive in non-axenic plant/soil microcosms. A total of 516 genetic loci fulfilled the criteria as conferring survival characteristics. Of these, 127 (24.6 %) were associated with uptake and transport systems; 227 loci (44.0 %) coded for enzymatic properties; 49 (9.5 %) were gene regulation or sensory loci; 40 (7.8 %) were structural proteins found in the cell envelope or had enzymatic activities related to it and 24 (4.7 %) were involved in the production of antibiotics or resistance to them. Eighty-three (16.1 %) encoded hypothetical proteins or those of unknown function. The ability to form spores was a key survival characteristic in the microcosms: bacteria, inoculated in either spore or vegetative form, were able to multiply and colonise the soil, whereas a sporulation-deficient mutant was not. The presence of grass seedlings was critical to colonisation. Bacteria labelled with green fluorescent protein were observed to adhere to plant roots. The sporulation-specific promoter of spo0A, the key regulator of sporulation, was strongly activated in the rhizosphere. In contrast, the vegetative-specific promoters of spo0A and PlcR, a pleiotropic regulator of genes with diverse activities, were only very weakly activated.
- AtObgC-AtRSH1 interaction may play a vital role in stress response signal transduction in Arabidopsis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Plant Physiol Biochem 2013 Nov 22.:176-184.
The interaction of Obg (Spo0B-associated GTP-binding protein) GTPase and SpoT, which is a bifunctional ppGpp (guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate) hydrolase/synthetase, is vital for the modulation of intracellular ppGpp levels during bacterial responses to environmental cues. It has been recently reported that the ppGpp level is also inducible by various stresses in the chloroplasts of plant cells. However, the function of the Obg-SpoT interaction in plants remains elusive. The results from the present and previous studies suggest that AtRSH1 is a putative bacterial SpoT homolog in Arabidopsis and that its transcription levels are responsive to wounding and salt stresses. In this study, we used a yeast two-hybrid analysis to map the regions required for the AtObgC-AtRSH1 interaction. Moreover, protein-protein docking simulations revealed reasonable geometric and electrostatic complementarity in the binding surfaces of the two proteins. The data support our experimental results, which suggest that the conserved domains in AtObgC and the N terminus of AtRSH1 containing the TGS domain contribute to their interaction. In addition, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analyses showed that the expression of AtObgC and AtRSH1 exhibit a similar inhibition pattern under wounding and salt-stress conditions, but the inhibition pattern was not greatly influenced by the presence or absence of light. Based on in vivo analyses, we further confirmed that the AtRSH1 and AtObgC proteins similarly localize in chloroplasts. Based on these results, we propose that the AtObgC-AtRSH1 interaction plays a vital role in ppGpp-mediated stress responses in chloroplasts.
- Liver adapts mitochondrial function to insulin resistant and diabetic states in mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Hepatol 2013 Nov 28.
To determine if diabetic and insulin-resistant states cause mitochondrial dysfunction in liver or if there is long term adaptation of mitochondrial function to these states, mice were (i) fed with a high-fat diet to induce obesity and T2D (HFD), (ii) had a genetic defect in insulin signaling causing whole body insulin resistance, but not full blown T2D (IR/IRS-1+/- mice) or (iii) were analyzed after treatment with streptozocin (STZ) to induce a T1D-like state.Hepatic lipid levels were measured by thin layer chromatography. Mitochondrial respiratory chain (RC) levels and function were determined by Western blot, spectrophotometric, oxygen consumption and proton motive force analysis. Gene expression was analyzed by real-time PCR and microarray.HFD caused insulin resistance and hepatic lipid accumulation, but RC was largely unchanged. Livers from insulin resistant IR/IRS-1+/- mice had normal lipid contents and a normal RC, but mitochondria were less well coupled. Livers from severely hyperglycemic and hypoinsulinemic STZ mice had massively depleted lipid levels, but RC abundance was unchanged. However, liver mitochondria isolated from these animals showed increased abundance and activity of the RC, which was better coupled.Insulin resistance, induced either by obesity or genetic manipulation and steatosis do not cause mitochondrial dysfunction in mouse liver. Also, mitochondrial dysfunction is not a prerequisite for liver steatosis. However, severe insulin deficiency and high blood glucose levels lead to an enhanced performance and better coupling of the RC. This may represent an adaptation to fuel overload and the high energy-requirement of an unsuppressed gluconeogenesis.
- Trehalose 6-phosphate phosphatase is required for development, virulence and mycotoxin biosynthesis apart from trehalose biosynthesis in Fusarium graminearum. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Fungal Genet Biol 2013 Nov 27.
Trehalose 6-phosphate synthase (TPS1) and trehalose 6-phosphate phosphatase (TPS2) are required for trehalose biosynthesis in yeast and filamentous fungi, including Fusarium graminearum. Three null mutants Δtps1, Δtps2 and Δtps1-Δtps2, each carrying either a single deletion of TPS1 or TPS2 or a double deletion of TPS1-TPS2, were generated from a toxigenic F. graminearum strain and were not able to synthesize trehalose. In contrast to its reported function in yeasts and filamentous fungi, TPS1 appeared dispensable for development and virulence. However, deletion of TPS2 abolished sporulation and sexual reproduction; it also altered cell polarity and ultrastructure of the cell wall in association with reduced chitin biosynthesis. The cell polarity alteration was exhibited as reduced apical growth and increased lateral growth and branching with increased hyphal and cell wall widths. Moreover, the TPS2-deficient strain displayed abnormal septum development and nucleus distribution in its conidia and vegetative hyphae. The Δtps2 mutant also had 62% lower mycelial growth on potato dextrose agar and 99% lower virulence on wheat compared with the wild-type. The Δtps1, Δtps2 and Δtps1-Δtps2 mutants synthesized over 3.08-, 7.09- and 2.47-fold less mycotoxins, respectively, on rice culture compared with the wild-type. Comparative transcriptome analysis revealed that the Δtps1, Δtps2 and Δtps1-Δtps2 mutants had 486, 1885 and 146 genotype-specific genes, respectively, with significantly changed expression profiles compared with the wild-type. Further dissection of this pathway will provide new insights into regulation of fungal development, virulence and trichothecene biosynthesis.
- Submissions bode well for 2014. [EDITORIAL]
- Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2013 Nov 29.
- Increased myofiber remodelling and NFATc1-myonuclear translocation in rat postural skeletal muscle after experimental vestibular deafferentation. [Journal Article]
- J Vestib Res 2013 Jan 1; 23(4):187-93.
The vestibular system undergoes considerable modification during spaceflight . This is paralleled by microgravity-induced muscle atrophy . However, the possibility of vestibulo-autonomic regulatory mechanisms affecting skeletal muscle structure and function have not yet been addressed.We hypothesise that the vestibular system affects anti-gravitational skeletal muscle phenotype composition, size and the transcriptional factor called nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFATc1).In a laboratory study, we examined the morphological and histochemical properties including intramyocellular NFATc1 changes in slow-type soleus muscle of chemically labyrinthectomized rats (VLx; n=8) compared to a control group (Sham; n=6) after a period of one month.Neurochemical vestibular deafferentation resulted in smaller myofibre sizes, altered myofibre phenotype composition, high yields of hybrid fibre formation, and reduced myonuclear NFATc1 accumulation as signs of slow-type myofibre atrophy, myofibre type remodelling, and altered nuclear transcriptional activity in the postural soleus muscle of rats. We propose that vestibulo-autonomic modification of skeletal muscles occurs during prolonged microgravity. Our findings are likely to have implications for vestibular rehabilitation in clinical settings.
- A glycine-rich RNA-binding protein affects gibberellin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Rep 2013 Nov 27.
The RNA-binding protein Arabidopsis thaliana glycine-rich RNA-binding protein 7 (AtGRP7) regulates the steady-state abundance of numerous target transcripts in A. thaliana. Here we show that the GA1 and GA2 transcripts encoding the first enzymes of the gibberellin biosynthetic pathway are expressed at reduced levels in transgenic plants ectopically over-expressing AtGRP7 (AtGRP7-ox plants). Furthermore, the levels of the bioactive phytohormone GA4 as well as of several intermediates of the GA biosynthetic pathway are reduced in AtGRP7-ox plants. The transgenic plants show a reduced length of the vegetative stem. The application of exogenous GA largely reverses the phenotype by increasing the number of vegetative internodes. AtGRP7-ox plants flower with fewer leaves than wt plants, suggesting that the floral promotive effect of AtGRP7 bypasses the effect of a reduced GA level in AtGRP7-ox plants. Upon GA treatment, AtGRP7-ox plants flower only slightly earlier than wild type plants. Thus, exogenous GA has only a small additional effect in reducing the number of leaves at the onset of flowering in AtGRP7-ox plants.
- MMN and Novelty P3 in Coma and Other Altered States of Consciousness: A Review. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Brain Topogr 2013 Nov 27.
In recent decades, there has been a growing interest in the assessment of patients in altered states of consciousness. There is a need for accurate and early prediction of awakening and recovery from coma. Neurophysiological assessment of coma was once restricted to brainstem auditory and primary cortex somatosensory evoked potentials elicited in the 30 ms range, which have both shown good predictive value for poor coma outcome only. In this paper, we review how passive auditory oddball paradigms including deviant and novel sounds have proved their efficiency in assessing brain function at a higher level, without requiring the patient's active involvement, thus providing an enhanced tool for the prediction of coma outcome. The presence of an MMN in response to deviant stimuli highlights preserved automatic sensory memory processes. Recorded during coma, MMN has shown high specificity as a predictor of recovery of consciousness. The presence of a novelty P3 in response to the subject's own first name presented as a novel (rare) stimulus has shown a good correlation with coma awakening. There is now a growing interest in the search for markers of consciousness, if there are any, in unresponsive patients (chronic vegetative or minimally conscious states). We discuss the different ERP patterns observed in these patients. The presence of novelty P3, including parietal components and possibly followed by a late parietal positivity, raises the possibility that some awareness processes are at work in these unresponsive patients.