• Automated Reporter Quantification In Vivo: High-Throughput Screening Method for Reporter-Based Assays in Zebrafish

      Walker, Steven L.; Ariga, Junko; Mathias, Jonathan R.; Coothankandaswamy, Veena; Xie, Xiayang; Distel, Martin; Koster, Reinhard W.; Parsons, Michael J.; Bhalla, Kapil N.; Saxena, Meera T.; et al. (2012-01-4)
      Reporter-based assays underlie many high-throughput screening (HTS) platforms, but most are limited to in vitro applications. Here, we report a simple whole-organism HTS method for quantifying changes in reporter intensity in individual zebrafish over time termed,
    • Ex Vivo Stretch Reveals Altered Mechanical Properties of Isolated Dystrophin-Deficient Hearts

      Barnabei, Matthew S.; Metzger, Joseph M.; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy (2012-03-9)
      Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive and fatal disease of muscle wasting caused by loss of the cytoskeletal protein dystrophin. In the heart, DMD results in progressive cardiomyopathy and dilation of the left ventricle through mechanisms that are not fully understood. Previous reports have shown that loss of dystrophin causes sarcolemmal instability and reduced mechanical compliance of isolated cardiac myocytes. To expand upon these findings, here we have subjected the left ventricles of dystrophin-deficient mdx hearts to mechanical stretch. Unexpectedly, isolated mdx hearts showed increased left ventricular (LV) compliance compared to controls during stretch as LV volume was increased above normal end diastolic volume. During LV chamber distention, sarcomere lengths increased similarly in mdx and WT hearts despite greater excursions in volume of mdx hearts. This suggests that the mechanical properties of the intact heart cannot be modeled as a simple extrapolation of findings in single cardiac myocytes. To explain these findings, a model is proposed in which disruption of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex perturbs cell-extracellular matrix contacts and promotes the apparent slippage of myocytes past each other during LV distension. In comparison, similar increases in LV compliance were obtained in isolated hearts from b-sarcoglycan-null and laminin-a2 mutant mice, but not in dysferlin-null mice, suggesting that increased whole-organ compliance in mdx mice is a specific effect of disrupted cell-extracellular matrix contacts and not a general consequence of cardiomyopathy via membrane defect processes. Collectively, these findings suggest a novel and cell-death independent mechanism for the progressive pathological LV dilation that occurs in DMD.
    • Genetic Ablation of CD68 Results in Mice with Increased Bone and Dysfunctional Osteoclasts

      Ashley, Jason W.; Shi, Zhenqi; Zhao, Haibo; Li, Xingsheng; Kesterson, Robert A.; Feng, Xu; McNeil, Paul L.; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy; College of Graduate Studies (2011-10-3)
      CD68 is a member of the lysosome associated membrane protein (LAMP) family that is restricted in its expression to cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. This lineage restriction includes osteoclasts, and, while previous studies of CD68 in macrophages and dendritic cells have proposed roles in lipid metabolism, phagocytosis, and antigen presentation, the expression and function of CD68 in osteoclasts have not been explored. In this study, we investigated the expression and localization of CD68 in macrophages and osteoclasts in response to the monocyte/macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) and the receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL). We found that M-CSF stimulates CD68 expression and RANKL alters the apparent molecular weight of CD68 as measured by Western immunoblotting. In addition, we explored the significance of CD68 expression in osteoclasts by generating mice that lack expression of CD68. These mice have increased trabecular bone, and in vitro assessment of CD68â /â osteoclasts revealed that, in the absence of CD68, osteoclasts demonstrate an accumulation of intracellular vesicle-like structures, and do not efficiently resorb bone. These findings demonstrate a role for CD68 in the function of osteoclasts, and future studies will determine the mechanistic nature of the defects seen in CD68â /â osteoclasts.
    • Myostatin Is Elevated in Congenital Heart Disease and After Mechanical Unloading

      Bish, Lawrence T.; George, Isaac; Maybaum, Simon; Yang, Jonathan; Chen, Jonathan M.; Sweeney, H. Lee; McNeil, Paul L.; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy; College of Graduate Studies (2011-09-13)
      Background: Myostatin is a negative regulator of skeletal muscle mass whose activity is upregulated in adult heart failure (HF); however, its role in congenital heart disease (CHD) is unknown.
    • Rhabdomyosarcomas in Aging A/J Mice

      Sher, Roger B.; Cox, Gregory A.; Mills, Kevin D.; Sundberg, John P.; McNeil, Paul L.; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy; College of Graduate Studies (2011-08-10)
      Rhabdomyosarcomas (RSCs) are skeletal muscle neoplasms found in humans and domestic mammals. The A/J inbred strain developed a high frequency (between 70â 80%) of adult pleomorphic type (APT) RSC at >20 months of age while BALB/cByJ also develop RSC but less frequently. These neoplasms invaded skeletal muscle surrounding either the axial or proximal appendicular skeleton and were characterized by pleomorphic cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm, multiple nuclei, and cross striations. The diagnosis was confirmed by detection of alpha-sarcomeric actin and myogenin in the neoplastic cells using immunocytochemistry. The A/J strain, but not the related BALB/c substrains, is also characterised by a progressive muscular dystrophy homologous to limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B. The association between the development of RSC in similar muscle groups to those most severely affected by the progressive muscular dystrophy suggested that these neoplasms developed from abnormal regeneration of the skeletal muscle exacerbated by the dysferlin mutation. Transcriptome analyses of RSCs revealed marked downregulation of genes in muscular development and function signaling networks. Non-synonymous coding SNPs were found in Myl1, Abra, Sgca, Ttn, and Kcnj12 suggesting these may be important in the pathogenesis of RSC. These studies suggest that A strains of mice can be useful models for dissecting the molecular genetic basis for development, progression, and ultimately for testing novel anticancer therapeutic agents dealing with rhabdomyosarcoma.