Dyskeratosis congenita (DC), an inherited bone marrow failure syndrome, is caused by defects in telomerase. Somatic cells from DC patients have shortened telomeres and clinical symptoms are most pronounced in organs with a high cell turnover, including those involved in hematopoiesis and skin function. We previously identified an autosomal dominant (AD) form of DC that is caused by mutations in the telomerase RNA component (TER).
Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures at the ends of chromosomes that are composed of a repetitive G rich sequence and telomeric binding proteins. Telomeres prevent the degradation of chromosomal ends and protect against inappropriate recombination. Telomere attrition involves a tumor suppressor pathway that limits the replication of premalignant cells. The loss of telomeric DNA with each round of replication leads to growth arrest accompanied by senescence or apoptosis. Many tumor cells activate the telomerase gene to bypass senescence.
Telomeres are an unusual component of the genome because they do not encode genes, but their structure and cellular maintenance machinery (which we define as "telotype") are essential for chromosome stability. Cells can switch between different phenotypic states. One such example is when they switch from maintenance mediated by telomerase (TERT telotype) to one of the two alternative mechanisms of telomere preservation (ALT I and ALT II telotype). The nature of this switch is largely unknown.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare and devastating neurodegenerative disorder. The majority of cases are sporadic ALS (SALS), with 5-10% being familial ALS (FALS), and are inherited mostly as autosomal dominant. Mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) and the TAR DNA-binding protein (TARDBP) gene are the most commonly known cause of ALS. We analyzed these genes in 61 Italian ALS patients using high-resolution melting analysis to confirm the role of SOD1 and TARDBP in the physiopathology of ALS.
How external stimuli prevent the onset of sleep has been little studied. This is usually considered to be a non-specific type of phenomenon. However, the hypnotic drug dexmedetomidine, an agonist at ?2 adrenergic receptors, has unusual properties that make it useful for investigating this question. Dexmedetomidine is considered to produce an 'arousable' sleep-like state, so that patients or animals given dexmedetomidine become alert following modest stimulation.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects and mechanisms of sCD40L on endothelial dysfunction in both human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs) and porcine coronary artery rings. HCAECs treated with sCD40L showed significant reductions of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) mRNA and protein levels, eNOS mRNA stability, eNOS enzyme activity, and cellular NO levels, whereas superoxide anion (O(2)(-)) production was significantly increased. sCD40L enhanced eNOS mRNA 3'UTR binding to cytoplasmic molecules and induced a unique expression pattern of 95 microRNAs.
Distal myopathies are a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by progressive weakness and muscular atrophy, beginning in distal limb muscles and affecting proximal limb muscles at a later stage. We studied a large German kindred with 10 affected members. Weakness and atrophy of the anterior tibial muscles started between the ages of 8 and 16 years, followed by atrophy of intrinsic hand muscles. Progression was slow, and patients retained the ability to walk until the seventh decade. Serum creatinine kinase levels were increased in the range of 150-1400 U/l.