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Shainheit MG, Valentino MD, Gilmore MS, Camilli A. Mutations in Pneumococcal cpsE Generated via In Vitro Serial Passaging Reveal a Potential Mechanism of Reduced Encapsulation Utilized by a Conjunctival Isolate. J Bacteriol 2015;197(10):1781-91.Abstract
UNLABELLED: The polysaccharide capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae is required for nasopharyngeal colonization and for invasive disease in the lungs, blood, and meninges. In contrast, the vast majority of conjunctival isolates are acapsular. The first serotype-specific gene in the capsule operon, cpsE, encodes the initiating glycosyltransferase and is one of the few serotype-specific genes that can tolerate null mutations. This report characterizes a spontaneously arising TIGR4 mutant exhibiting a reduced capsule, caused by a 6-nucleotide duplication in cpsE which results in duplication of Ala and Ile at positions 45 and 46. This strain (AI45dup) possessed more exposed phosphorylcholine and was hypersusceptible to C3 complement deposition compared to the wild type. Accordingly, the mutant was significantly better at forming abiotic biofilms and binding epithelial cells in vitro but was avirulent in a sepsis model. In vitro serial passaging of the wild-type strain failed to reproduce the AI45dup mutation but instead led to a variety of mutants with reduced capsule harboring single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in cpsE. A single passage in the sepsis model after high-dose inoculation readily yielded revertants of AI45dup with restored wild-type capsule level, but the majority of SNP alleles of cpsE could not revert, suppress, or bypass. Analysis of cpsE in conjunctival isolates revealed a strain with a single missense mutation at amino acid position 377, which was responsible for reduced encapsulation. This study supports the hypothesis that spontaneous, nonreverting mutations in cpsE serve as a form of adaptive mutation by providing a selective advantage to S. pneumoniae in niches where expression of capsule is detrimental. IMPORTANCE: While the capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae is required for colonization and invasive disease, most conjunctival isolates are acapsular by virtue of deletion of the entire capsular operon. We show that spontaneous acapsular mutants isolated in vitro harbor mostly nonrevertible single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) null mutations in cpsE, encoding the initiating glycosyltransferase. From a small collection of acapsular conjunctival isolates, we identified one strain with a complete capsular operon but containing a SNP in cpsE that we show is responsible for the acapsular phenotype. We propose that acapsular conjunctival isolates may arise initially from such nonreverting SNP null mutations in cpsE, which can be followed later by deletion of portions or all of the cps operon.
Kang JH, Loomis SJ, Rosner BA, Wiggs JL, Pasquale LR. Comparison of risk factor profiles for primary open angle glaucoma subtypes defined by pattern of visual field loss: a prospective study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;Abstract

PURPOSE: We explored whether risk factor associations differed by primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) subtypes defined by visual field (VF) loss pattern (i.e., paracentral or peripheral). METHODS: We included 77,157 women in the Nurses Health Study and 42,773 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2010) and incident medical-record confirmed cases of paracentral (n=440) and peripheral (n=865) POAG subtypes. We evaluated African-heritage, glaucoma family history, body mass index (BMI), mean arterial blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, physical activity, smoking, caffeine and alcohol intakes. We used competing risk Cox regression analyses modeling age as the metameter and stratified by age, cohort and event type. We sequentially identified factors with the least significant differences in associations with POAG subtypes ("stepwise down" approach with P for heterogeneity [P-het]<0.10 as threshold). RESULTS: BMI was more inversely associated with the POAG paracentral VF loss subtype than the peripheral VF loss subtype (per 10 kg/m2; hazard ratio [HR]=0.67 [95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.52, 0.86] vs. HR=0.93 [95% CI: 0.78, 1.10]; P-het=0.03) as was smoking (per 10 pack-years; HR=0.92 [95% CI: 0.87, 0.98] vs. HR=0.98 [95% CI: 0.94, 1.01]; P-het=0.09). These findings were robust in sensitivity analyses using a "stepwise up" approach (identify factors that showed the most significant differences). Non-heterogeneous (p-het>0.10) adverse associations with both POAG subtypes were observed with glaucoma family history, diabetes, African-heritage, greater caffeine intake and higher mean arterial pressure. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that POAG with early paracentral VF loss has distinct as well as common determinants compared to POAG with peripheral VF loss.

Ding J, Wirostko B, Sullivan DA. Human growth hormone promotes corneal epithelial cell migration in vitro. Cornea 2015;34(6):686-92.Abstract

PURPOSE: Corneal wound healing is a highly regulated process that requires the proliferation and migration of epithelial cells and interactions between epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts. Compounds that can be applied topically to the ocular surface and that have the capability of activating corneal epithelial cells to proliferate and/or migrate would be useful to promote corneal wound healing. We hypothesize that human growth hormone (HGH) will activate signal transducers and activators of transcription-5 (STAT5) signaling and promote corneal wound healing by enhancing corneal epithelial cell and fibroblast proliferation and/or migration in vitro. The purpose of this study was to test these hypotheses. METHODS: We studied cell signaling, proliferation, and migration using an immortalized human corneal epithelial cell line and primary human corneal fibroblasts in vitro. We also examined whether insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone known to mediate many of HGH's growth promoting actions, may play a role in this effect. RESULTS: We show that HGH activates STAT5 signaling and promotes corneal epithelial cell migration in vitro. The migratory effect requires an intact communication between corneal epithelia and fibroblasts and is not mediated by IGF-1. CONCLUSIONS: HGH may represent a topical therapeutic to promote corneal epithelial wound healing. This warrants further investigation.

Andzelm MM, Cherry TJ, Harmin DA, Boeke AC, Lee C, Hemberg M, Pawlyk B, Malik AN, Flavell SW, Sandberg MA, Raviola E, Greenberg ME. MEF2D Drives Photoreceptor Development through a Genome-wide Competition for Tissue-Specific Enhancers. Neuron 2015;86(1):247-63.Abstract

Organismal development requires the precise coordination of genetic programs to regulate cell fate and function. MEF2 transcription factors (TFs) play essential roles in this process but how these broadly expressed factors contribute to the generation of specific cell types during development is poorly understood. Here we show that despite being expressed in virtually all mammalian tissues, in the retina MEF2D binds to retina-specific enhancers and controls photoreceptor cell development. MEF2D achieves specificity by cooperating with a retina-specific factor CRX, which recruits MEF2D away from canonical MEF2 binding sites and redirects it to retina-specific enhancers that lack the consensus MEF2-binding sequence. Once bound to retina-specific enhancers, MEF2D and CRX co-activate the expression of photoreceptor-specific genes that are critical for retinal function. These findings demonstrate that broadly expressed TFs acquire specific functions through competitive recruitment to enhancers by tissue-specific TFs and through selective activation of these enhancers to regulate tissue-specific genes.

Pundlik SJ, Tomasi M, Luo G. Evaluation of a portable collision warning device for patients with peripheral vision loss in an obstacle course. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;Abstract

PURPOSE: A pocket-sized collision warning device equipped with a video camera was developed to predict impending collisions based on time to collision rather than proximity. A study was conducted in a high density obstacle course to evaluate the effect of the device on collision avoidance in people with peripheral field loss (PFL). METHODS: The 41 meter long loop-shaped obstacle course consisted of 46 stationary obstacles from floor to head level, and oncoming pedestrians. Twenty five patients with tunnel vision (n = 13) or hemianopia (n = 12) completed 4 consecutive loops with and without the device, while not using any other habitual mobility aid. Walking direction and device usage order were counterbalanced. Number of collisions and preferred percentage of walking speed (PPWS) were compared within subjects. RESULTS: Collisions were reduced significantly by about 37% (p < 0.001) with the device (Floor-level obstacles were excluded because the device was not designed for them). No patient had more collisions when using the device. While the PPWS also reduced with the device from 52% to 49% (p = 0.053), this did not account for the lower number of collisions, as the changes in collisions and PPWS were not correlated (p = 0.516). CONCLUSIONS: The device may help patients with a wide range of PFL avoid collisions with high-level obstacles and barely affect their walking speed.

Kheirkhah A, Saboo US, Abud TB, Dohlman TH, Arnoldner MA, Hamrah P, Dana R. Reduced Corneal Endothelial Cell Density inPatients With Dry Eye Disease. Am J Ophthalmol 2015;159(6):1022-1026.e2.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate corneal endothelial cell density (ECD) in patients with dry eye disease (DED) compared to an age-matched control group. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, controlled study. METHODS: This study included 90 eyes of 45 patients with moderate to severe DED (aged 53.7 ± 9.8 years) and 30 eyes of 15 normal controls (aged 50.7 ± 9.8 years). All subjects had a complete ophthalmic evaluation including symptom assessment using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and corneal fluorescein staining. In addition, laser scanning in vivo confocal microscopy was performed to measure the density of the following parameters in the central cornea: endothelial cells, subbasal nerves, and subbasal immune dendritic cells. RESULTS: Corneal ECD was significantly lower in the DED group (2595.8 ± 356.1 cells/mm(2)) than in the control group (2812.7 ± 395.2 cells/mm(2), P = .046). The DED group showed significantly lower corneal subbasal nerve density (17.1 ± 6.9 mm/mm(2)) compared to the control group (24.7 ± 4.4 mm/mm(2), P < .001). Dendritic cell density was significantly higher in the DED group than in the controls (111.7 ± 137.3 vs 32.0 ± 24.4 cells/mm(2), respectively, P = .002). There were statistically significant correlations between corneal ECD and dry eye severity parameters including the OSDI score (rs = -0.26, P = .03), and corneal fluorescein staining (rs = -0.28, P = .008). CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant reduction in corneal ECD in DED that correlates with clinical severity of the disease.

Gabel HW, Kinde B, Stroud H, Gilbert CS, Harmin DA, Kastan NR, Hemberg M, Ebert DH, Greenberg ME. Disruption of DNA-methylation-dependent long gene repression in Rett syndrome. Nature 2015;Abstract

Disruption of the MECP2 gene leads to Rett syndrome (RTT), a severe neurological disorder with features of autism. MECP2 encodes a methyl-DNA-binding protein that has been proposed to function as a transcriptional repressor, but despite numerous mouse studies examining neuronal gene expression in Mecp2 mutants, no clear model has emerged for how MeCP2 protein regulates transcription. Here we identify a genome-wide length-dependent increase in gene expression in MeCP2 mutant mouse models and human RTT brains. We present evidence that MeCP2 represses gene expression by binding to methylated CA sites within long genes, and that in neurons lacking MeCP2, decreasing the expression of long genes attenuates RTT-associated cellular deficits. In addition, we find that long genes as a population are enriched for neuronal functions and selectively expressed in the brain. These findings suggest that mutations in MeCP2 may cause neurological dysfunction by specifically disrupting long gene expression in the brain.

Cestari DM, Lessell S, Mantopoulos D. Early Diagnosis of Subclinical Interferon Alpha-Associated Optic Neuropathy Using Fluorescein Angiography. J Neuroophthalmol 2015;35(3):280-3.Abstract

We report a case of a 57-year-old man who presented with decreased visual acuity in the left eye secondary to nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) while on therapy with interferon-α for hepatitis C. Fundus fluorescein angiography revealed late leakage of both optic discs, consistent with bilateral disease. One week later, the patient developed clinical signs and symptoms consistent with NAION in the fellow eye. Fluorescein angiography may play an important role in identifying subclinical NAION in patients taking interferon-α.

Weis B, Schmidt J, Maamar H, Raj A, Lin H, Tóth C, Riedmann K, Raddatz G, Seitz H-K, Ho AD, Lyko F, Linhart HG. Inhibition of intestinal tumor formation by deletion of the DNA methyltransferase 3a. Oncogene 2015;34(14):1822-30.Abstract
Aberrant de novo methylation of DNA is considered an important mediator of tumorigenesis. To investigate the role of de novo DNA methyltransferase 3a (Dnmt3a) in intestinal tumor development, we analyzed the expression of Dnmt3a in murine colon crypts, murine colon adenomas and human colorectal cancer using RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), quantitative PCR and immunostaining. Following conditional deletion of Dnmt3a in the colon of APC((Min/+)) mice, we analyzed tumor numbers, genotype of macroadenomas and laser dissected microadenomas, global and regional DNA methylation and gene expression. Our results showed increased Dnmt3a expression in colon adenomas of APC((Min/+)) mice and human colorectal cancer samples when compared with control tissue. Interestingly, in tumor tissue, RNA FISH analysis showed highest Dnmt3a expression in Lgr5-positive stem/progenitor cells. Deletion of Dnmt3a in APC((Min/+)) mice reduced colon tumor numbers by ~40%. Remaining adenomas and microadenomas almost exclusively contained the non-recombined Dnmt3a allele; no tumors composed of the inactivated Dnmt3a allele were detected. DNA methylation was reduced at the Oct4, Nanog, Tff2 and Cdkn1c promoters and expression of the tumor-suppressor genes Tff2 and Cdkn1c was increased. In conclusion, our results show that Dnmt3a is predominantly expressed in the stem/progenitor cell compartment of tumors and that deletion of Dnmt3a inhibits the earliest stages of intestinal tumor development.
Sakurai K, Chen J, Khani SC, Kefalov VJ. Regulation of Mammalian cone phototransduction by recoverin and rhodopsin kinase. J Biol Chem 2015;290(14):9239-50.Abstract

Cone photoreceptors function under daylight conditions and are essential for color perception and vision with high temporal and spatial resolution. A remarkable feature of cones is that, unlike rods, they remain responsive in bright light. In rods, light triggers a decline in intracellular calcium, which exerts a well studied negative feedback on phototransduction that includes calcium-dependent inhibition of rhodopsin kinase (GRK1) by recoverin. Rods and cones share the same isoforms of recoverin and GRK1, and photoactivation also triggers a calcium decline in cones. However, the molecular mechanisms by which calcium exerts negative feedback on cone phototransduction through recoverin and GRK1 are not well understood. Here, we examined this question using mice expressing various levels of GRK1 or lacking recoverin. We show that although GRK1 is required for the timely inactivation of mouse cone photoresponse, gradually increasing its expression progressively delays the cone response recovery. This surprising result is in contrast with the known effect of increasing GRK1 expression in rods. Notably, the kinetics of cone responses converge and become independent of GRK1 levels for flashes activating more than ∼1% of cone pigment. Thus, mouse cone response recovery in bright light is independent of pigment phosphorylation and likely reflects the spontaneous decay of photoactivated visual pigment. We also find that recoverin potentiates the sensitivity of cones in dim light conditions but does not contribute to their capacity to function in bright light.

Papavasileiou E, Sobrin L, Papaliodis GN. Ocular ischemic syndrome presenting as retinal vasculitis in a patient with moyamoya syndrome. Retin Cases Brief Rep 2015;9(2):170-2.Abstract

PURPOSE: To report a case of ocular ischemic syndrome presenting as retinal vasculitis in a patient with Moyamoya syndrome. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted to record clinical data including fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography, and serologic testing. A review of the literature from 1969 to 2014 of ocular involvement in Moyamoya syndrome was performed. RESULTS: A 51-year-old woman with long history of bilateral retinal vasculitis and refractory cystoid macular edema was eventually diagnosed with Moyamoya syndrome after sustaining a perioperative cerebrovascular accident. Moyamoya syndrome has been associated in the literature with ocular ischemic syndrome, presenting with narrowed retinal arteries, dilated veins, and midperipheral retinal hemorrhages, but retinal vasculitis with cystoid macular edema has not been reported. CONCLUSION: Moyamoya-related ocular ischemic syndrome can present as retinal vascular leakage and macular edema. Ophthalmologists should be cognizant that signs of the disease may be first observed in the eye before manifestations in the cerebrovascular system.

Sim DA, Keane PA, Tufail A, Egan CA, Aiello LP, Silva PS. Automated retinal image analysis for diabetic retinopathy in telemedicine. Curr Diab Rep 2015;15(3):14.Abstract

There will be an estimated 552 million persons with diabetes globally by the year 2030. Over half of these individuals will develop diabetic retinopathy, representing a nearly insurmountable burden for providing diabetes eye care. Telemedicine programmes have the capability to distribute quality eye care to virtually any location and address the lack of access to ophthalmic services. In most programmes, there is currently a heavy reliance on specially trained retinal image graders, a resource in short supply worldwide. These factors necessitate an image grading automation process to increase the speed of retinal image evaluation while maintaining accuracy and cost effectiveness. Several automatic retinal image analysis systems designed for use in telemedicine have recently become commercially available. Such systems have the potential to substantially improve the manner by which diabetes eye care is delivered by providing automated real-time evaluation to expedite diagnosis and referral if required. Furthermore, integration with electronic medical records may allow a more accurate prognostication for individual patients and may provide predictive modelling of medical risk factors based on broad population data.

Mehta M, Rasheed RA, Duker J, Reichel E, Feinberg E, Husain D, Foster CS, Laver NV. Vitreous evaluation: a diagnostic challenge. Ophthalmology 2015;122(3):531-7.Abstract

PURPOSE: To categorize vitrectomy cytologic diagnoses and ancillary tests to address appropriate processing of low-volume vitreous samples. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. PARTICIPANTS: Five thousand seven hundred thirty-six vitreous samples. METHODS: Cytologic diagnoses of therapeutic and diagnostic vitrectomy samples and their processing protocols from 3 teaching institutions were reviewed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Diagnostic results were categorized as negative for malignancy, suspicious for malignancy, and positive for malignancy. All ancillary studies performed were documented, including special stains, immunohistochemistry analysis, cytokine levels, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. RESULTS: Of the 5736 vitreous samples analyzed, 4683 (81.64%) were from Tufts Medical Center (TMC), 955 (16.65%) were from Boston Medical Center (BMC), and 98 (1.70%) were from Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution (MERSI). Cases from TMC and BMC were therapeutic and diagnostic vitrectomies, and MERSI cases were diagnostic vitrectomies. Most vitrectomies showed negative results for malignancy: 99.47% of TMC cases, 99.89% of BMC cases, and 79.6% of MERSI cases. These included vitreous hemorrhage and inflammatory or infectious findings. Ancillary studies performed in this category included Periodic Acid-Schiff staining for fungi, PCR analysis for toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes simplex virus I and II, and vitreous cultures for infections (coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, Candida, Fusarium, and Propionibacterium species). Interleukin (IL) 10-to-IL-6 ratios were performed on 38.7% of cases from MERSI. Fourteen cases from TMC were suspicious for malignancy based on cytologic evaluation. Eleven cases from TMC, 1 case from BMC, and 20 cases from MERSI showed positive results for malignancy and included B-cell lymphoma, retinoblastoma, melanoma, and metastatic adenocarcinoma. The ancillary testing included PCR for heavy chain immunoglobulin gene rearrangements, immunohistochemistry for EBV, in situ hybridization for κ and λ light chains, and cytogenetics. CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest data pool of reported cytologic diagnoses of diagnostic and therapeutic vitrectomy samples. Cytologic evaluation of therapeutic vitrectomy samples provides a valuable baseline of nonpathologic findings that assist in differentiation between malignancy, infections, and inflammatory conditions. Allocation of small-volume vitreous samples to select ancillary testing from the plethora of available diagnostic tests requires preoperative communication between surgeons and pathologists to ensure appropriate and timely treatment methods.

Bunker S, Holeniewska J, Vijay S, Dahlmann-Noor A, Khaw P, Ng Y-S, Shima D, Foxton R. Experimental glaucoma induced by ocular injection of magnetic microspheres. J Vis Exp 2015;(96)Abstract

Progress in understanding the pathophysiology, and providing novel treatments for glaucoma is dependent on good animal models of the disease. We present here a protocol for elevating intraocular pressure (IOP) in the rat, by injecting magnetic microspheres into the anterior chamber of the eye. The use of magnetic particles allows the user to manipulate the beads into the iridocorneal angle, thus providing a very effective blockade of fluid outflow from the trabecular meshwork. This leads to long-lasting IOP rises, and eventually neuronal death in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) as well as optic nerve pathology, as seen in patients with the disease. This method is simple to perform, as it does not require machinery, specialist surgical skills, or many hours of practice to perfect. Furthermore, the pressure elevations are very robust, and reinjection of the magnetic microspheres is not usually required unlike in some other models using plastic beads. Additionally, we believe this method is suitable for adaptation for the mouse eye.

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