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Normal embryonic development requires the coordinated expression of many genes. The temporal and spatial expression of these genes is regulated by transcription factors. The LIM homeodomain (LIM-HD) family of transcription factors plays important roles in the formation of the nervous system, reproductive tract, and kidney. lhx1 is a member of the LIM-HD family and is expressed in zebrafish kidney stem cells during development and regeneration. Its interaction with ldb1 has been shown to be important for its activation. However, no other protein is known to interact with lhx1. In this report, we set out to identify new interacting proteins and discovered for the first time that lhx1 can interact with itself to form a dimer. This provides a better understanding of the molecular function of lhx1 and may contribute to designing therapies for diseases caused by lhx1 malfunction.
Red raspberry leaf (Rubus spp.) has been historically used as an herbal medicine to promote labor as well as to reduce pain during childbirth. Previous research has shown red raspberry leaf (RRL) to either contract or relax uterine smooth muscle tissues. These variable responses are likely a function of the species used, the stage of estrous, whether the protocols were completed on intact organisms or isolated tissues, how the extracts were prepared, as well as the concentrations administered. The purpose of this investigation was to collect data using contemporary techniques that either supported or refuted claims that RRL contracts isolated uterine muscle. Aqueous extracts of RRL at all concentrations tested (1.5 - 50 mg) produced increases in contractile forces from isolated longitudinal strips of mouse uterine tissues suspended in standard 15 mL organ baths. The responses were concentration-dependent when presented as a standardized contractile response to10−5 M ACh (p = 0.005), and were equal in magnitude or slightly greater than those induced by 10−5 M ACh. Both cholinergic nicotinic and muscarinic receptor antagonists failed to block RRL induced contractions. Salbutamol prevented any contractile response from RRL; however, the β2 antagonist propranolol successfully blocked the salbutamol induced-relaxation response and allowed RRL contractions, implying there may be a constituent in RRL that interacts with some functional component of the β2 adrenoceptor. The L-type Ca2 channel blocker nifedipine blocked RRL induced contractile responses by 90%. This study provides empirical evidence for the traditional use RRL as an herbal uterotonic. It does not however, address the relative effectiveness of ingested RRL on the labor and birth processes.
Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) is a processive actin polymerase that regulates membrane architecture, cell motility, and pathophysiologic processes such as metastatic invasion. VASP is also a putative regulator of host-pathogen interactions. Intracellular pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Cryptosporidium parvum, and Mycobacterium marnium are known to utilize the host's actin network to facilitate entry into and motility within host cells. In order to determine if VASP is involved in mediating cytoskeletal rearrangement in cells infected with Mycobacterium bovis-BCG, a model organism for the study of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, murine macrophages were infected with the bacterium and analyzed by immunofluorescence. Antibodies against VASP were used to determine its localization. Results indicate that VASP is present on the membrane of murine macrophages in an evenly distributed fashion. Macrophages infected with M. bovis-BCG showed punctate VASP structures. Activated macrophages infected with M. bovis-BCG showed punctate VASP structures in addition to phagosomes. VASP was also located to what is believed to be the phagosomal cup. These results indicate that VASP localization is mediated by M. bovis-BCG infection. M. bovis-BCG may alter the actin cytoskeleton to evade the antimicrobial response in order to persist in the host.
Morphological diversity was analyzed in pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) between a lake (40.5 ha) and a pond (4 ha) at the Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station in upstate New York. The hypotheses were (1) fish from the lake and pond would differ in body shape due to different biotic/abiotic factors in each water body, and (2) there would be a difference in variance in body shape between the lake and the pond due to differences in the availability of niches. Body shape variation was examined using geometric morphometrics, and parametric statistics were used to identify differences in body shape, and differences in the variance in body shape, between fish from the pond and the lake. Fish from the pond were, on average, slightly deeper bodied for a given body size; however, there was substantial overlap in variation, so this variation may not be ecologically significant even though it is statistically significant. The variance in components of body shape also differed between the pond and the lake. These results support the hypothesis that body shape, and variance in body shape, differ between the pond and the lake. The variation might have been stronger were it not for gene flow that could be preventing further ecological divergence. It is also not known whether observed patterns are due to evolutionary processes or are a result of phenotypic plasticity. Further research is needed to determine if these patterns hold when sampling across a broader range of water bodies.
Adequate characterization of diet composition is critical to understanding and managing largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) populations. The representativeness of sampling schemes within littoral zones is well studied but littoral oriented sampling schemes could still lead to inadequate characterization of diet composition through underrepresentation of pelagic foragers. We captured largemouth bass foraging in either the littoral or deep pelagic zones (metalimnion and shallow hypolimnion) of a small north temperate lake. Fish foraging in each respective zone was determined by angling depth and confirmed by body core temperature. Differences were evaluated between foraging zones in four metrics commonly applied in diet content analysis (percent by weight, percent frequency of occurrence, percent by number, and relative importance index). Prey characteristic of the pelagic zone, especially Chaoborus spp., were generally more important to fish captured in the pelagic zone than fish captured in the littoral zone. Prey characteristic of the littoral zone were generally more important to fish captured in the littoral zone than fish captured in the pelagic zone. However, there is considerable variability in these results and the diet contents of pelagic and littoral foraging largemouth bass are not significantly different from each other. Littoral largemouth bass sampling schemes may be robust to potential pelagic foraging but our study underscores the need for more precision when sampling using different diet metrics on populations with dichotomous foraging strategies.