While the genetic basis of hip fracture risk has been studied extensively in adults, it is not known whether parental history of bone fractures affects their children's fracture risk. In this article, the authors investigated whether a parental history of bone fractures influences the rate of fractures in their children. They found that adolescent children whose parents had a more extensive history of fractures were more likely to have a history of fractures themselves, suggesting that parents' medical histories may be an important consideration in future pediatric health research.
Does the overuse of plastic in Japan poses an ecological risk to marine species and their consumers? Using visual and chemical dissection, all fish in this study were found to have microplastics present in their gastrointestinal tract, including two species that are typically eaten whole in Japan. Overall, these results are concerning as previous studies have found that microplastics can carry persistent organic pollutants. It is presumed that the increasing consumption of microplastics will have negative implications on organ systems such as the liver, gut, and hormones.
Numerous organisms, including the marine bacterium Aliivibrio fischeri, produce light. This bioluminescence is involved in many important symbioses and may one day be an important source of light for humans. In this study, the authors investigated ways to increase bioluminescence production from the model organism E. coli.
Dhar and colleagues established a Type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) model in fruit flies, using this model to induce insulin resistance and characterize the effects Resveratrol and Pterostilbene on a number of growth and activity metrics. Resveratrol and Pterostilbene treatment notably overturned the weight gain and glucose levels. The results of this study suggest that Drosophila can be utilized as a model organism to study T2DM and novel pharmacological treatments.
Caenorhabditis elegans xpa-1 and him-1 are orthologs of human XPA and human SMC1A, respectively. Mutations in the XPA are correlated with Xeroderma pigmentosum, a condition that induces hypersensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Alternatively, SMC1A mutations may lead to Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, a multi-organ disorder that makes patients more sensitive to UVinduced DNA damage. Both C. elegans genes have been found to be involved in protection against UV radiation, but their combined effects have not been tested when they are both knocked down. The authors hypothesized that because these genes are involved in separate pathways, the simultaneous knockdown of both of these genes using RNA interference (RNAi) in C. elegans will cause them to become more sensitive to UV radiation than either of them knocked down individually. UV protection was measured via the percent survival of C. elegans post 365 nm and 5.4x10-19 joules of UV radiation. The double xpa-1/him-1 RNAi knockdown showed a significantly reduced percent survival after 15 and 30 minutes of UV radiation relative to wild-type and xpa-1 and him-1 single knockdowns. These measurements were consistent with their hypothesis and demonstrated that xpa-1 and him-1 genes play distinct roles in resistance against UV stress in C. elegans. This result raises the possibility that the xpa-1/him-1 double knockdown could be useful as an animal model for studying the human disease Xeroderma pigmentosum and Cornelia de Lange Syndrome.
Phagocytes feed by forming food vacuoles. In this article the authors investigate the extent that exposure of non-nutritional food, such as India Ink, to Tetrahymena pyriformis affects the number of vacuole formation. These studies provide insight to how organisms budget their energy and metabolic processes during an energy shortage.
As humans, not all our body organs can adequately regenerate after injury, an ability that declines with age. In some species, however, regeneration is a hallmark response that can occur limitless numbers of time throughout the life of an organism. Understanding how such species can regenerate so efficiently is of central importance to regenerative medicine. Sea urchins, unlike humans, can regenerate their spinal tissue after injury. Here the authors study the effect of a growth factor, FGF2, on sea urchin regeneration but find no conclusive evidence for a pro-regenerative effect after spinal tissue injury.
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant brain tumor with the highest fraction of genome alterations (FGA), manifesting poor disease-free status (DFS) and overall survival (OS). We explored The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and cBioportal public dataset- Firehose legacy GBM to study DNA repair genes Activating Signal Cointegrator 1 Complex Subunit 3 (ASCC3) and Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase AlkB Homolog 3 (ALKBH3). To test our hypothesis that these genes have correlations with FGA and can better determine prognosis and survival, we sorted the dataset to arrive at 254 patients. Analyzing using RStudio, both ASCC3 and ALKBH3 demonstrated hypomethylation in 82.3% and 61.8% of patients, respectively. Interestingly, low mRNA expression was observed in both these genes. We further conducted correlation tests between both methylation and mRNA expression of these genes with FGA. ASCC3 was found to be negatively correlated, while ALKBH3 was found to be positively correlated, potentially indicating contrasting dysregulation of these two genes. Prognostic analysis showed the following: ASCC3 hypomethylation is significant with DFS and high ASCC3 mRNA expression to be significant with OS, demonstrating ASCC3’s potential as disease prediction marker.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects over 10 million people worldwide. It is caused by destruction of dopamine-producing neurons, which results in severe motor and movement symptoms. In this study, the authors investigated the anti-Parkinsonian effects of two natural compounds curcumin and nicotinamide using C. elegans as a model organism.
Vibrio fischeri is an amazing species of bacteria that lives symbiotically in the light organ of luminescent bobtail squid. In this study, authors study the strength and optimal conditions for V. fischeri light production, and assess whether this luminescence could be a natural light source comparable to manmade lighting.