The prevailing methods to predict T-cell epitopes are reviewed. Motif matching, matrix, support vector machine (SVM), and empirical scoring function methods are mainly reviewed; and the thermodynamic integration (TI) method using all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is mentioned briefly. The motif matching method appeared first and developed with the increased understanding of the characteristic structure of MHC-peptide complexes, that is, pockets aligned in the groove and corresponding residues fitting on them. This method is now becoming outdated due to the insufficiency and inaccuracy of information. The matrix method, the generalization of interaction between pockets of MHC and residues of bound peptide to all the positions in the groove, is the most prevalent one. Efficiency of calculation makes this method appropriate to scan for candidates of T-cell epitopes within whole expressed proteins in an organ or even in a body. A large amount of experimental binding data is necessary to determine a matrix. SVM is a relative of the artificial neural network, especially direct generalization of a linear Perceptron. By incorporating non-binder data and adopting encoding that reflects the physical properties of amino acids, its performance becomes quite high. Empirical scoring functions apparently seem to be founded on a physical basis. However, the estimates directly derived from the method using only structural data are far from practical use. Through regression with binding data of a series of ligands and receptors, this method predicts binding affinity with appropriate accuracy. The TI method using MD requires only structural data and a general atomic parameter, that is, force field, and hence theoretically most consistent; however, the extent of perturbation, inaccuracy of the force field, the necessity of an immense amount of calculations, and continued difficulty of sampling an adequate structure hamper the application of this method in practical use.
In this study, we investigated autophagy induced by oridonin in HeLa cells. HeLa cells were exposed to oridonin, and the fluorescent changes, autophagic levels, and protein expressions were evaluated. Oridonin induced autophagy in HeLa cells in vitro in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Oridonin-treated HeLa cells, which had been prelabeled with the autophagosome-specific dye monodansylcadervarine (MDC), recruited more MDC-positive particles and had a significantly higher fluorescent density; and simultaneously, expressions of autophagy-related proteins, MAP-LC3 and Beclin 1, were increased by oridonin. In oridonin-induced Hela cells, pretreatment with 3-methyladenine (3-MA, the specific inhibitor of autophagy) dose-dependently decreased the autophagic ratio accompanied with downregulation of the protein expressions of MAP-LC3 and Beclin 1. Furthermore, when a Ras inhibitor was applied, the autophagic levels were augmented, whereas P38 and JNK inhibitors decreased the autophagic ratio significantly, indicating that this oridonin-induced autophagic process was negatively regulated by Ras, but positively regulated by P38 and JNK MAPKs. Raf-1 and ERK1/2 had no obvious correlation to these signaling pathways.
It is believed that BALB/c mice appear to be less sensitive to the locomotor effects of abused drugs compared to other strains, and several behaviors induced by abused drugs depend on genetic factors. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of the interaction between psychostimulants and morphine on behavior in BALB/c mice. Morphine and cocaine induced hyperlocomotion and hypolocomotion, respectively, while methamphetamine did not affect locomotor activity and high doses of methamphetamine significantly increased self-injurious behavior. Cocaine or methamphetamine increased the effects of morphine on locomotor behavior. Haloperidol (a dopamine-receptor antagonist) attenuated the hyperlocomotion induced by the combination of cocaine or methamphetamine plus morphine. These results indicate that the synergistic effects of methamphetamine or cocaine and morphine on locomotor activity are mediated through enhancement of the dopaminergic system and that combinations of psychostimulants and morphine enhance the locomotor activity in BALB/c mice. On the other hand, morphine completely attenuated methamphetamine-induced self-injurious behavior. Furthermore, a low dose (0.01 mg/kg) of haloperidol significantly increased the effects of methamphetamine and morphine on the locomotor activity. Hyperlocomotion induced by psychostimulants is mediated by the mesolimbic dopaminergic system, whereas stereotyped behaviors is mediated by the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. Our findings suggest that balances of the activation of dopaminergic neurons (between mesolimbic and nigrostriatal systems) may play an important role to engender corresponding behavioral outcomes in BALB/c mice.
The HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) have been shown to exert several vascular protective effects that are not related to changes in cholesterol profile, and these effects of statins are partly caused by the activation of angiogenesis. Endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and migration are crucial events for angiogenesis and statins are known to enhance these events. However, the molecular mechanism by which statins promote EC proliferation and migration is not fully understood. In this study, we show Akt and its downstream target mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) play an important role in pravastatin-induced EC proliferation and migration. We found that pravastatin significantly enhanced the proliferation and migration of rat aortic endothelial cells (rAECs). The addition of pravastatin to rAECs resulted in rapid phosphorylation of Akt and p70 S6 kinase (p70S6K). LY294002, a specific inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), blocked both Akt and p70S6K phosphorylation, whereas rapamycin, a specific inhibitor of mTOR, suppressed only p70S6K phosphorylation induced by pravastatin. Furthermore, both LY294002 and rapamycin inhibited pravastatin-induced rAEC proliferation and migration. Taken together, our findings indicate that pravastatin activates PI3K/Akt/mTOR /p70S6K signaling in this sequential manner and this pathway contributes to pravastatin-induced rAEC proliferation and migration.
Cellular and tissue injury associated with reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been reported in many kinds of disorders. While the antioxidant enzymes play critical roles in inhibiting the ROS-mediated injury, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) is scavenging hydroperoxides including H2O2. We previously reported that Shengmai-san (SMS), a traditional Chinese medicine, prevented ischemia/reperfusion injury of the brain and other organs in rats. To clarify the effect of SMS on intracellular responses of muscle cells against oxidative stress, C2C12 myoblasts were subjected to H2O2 abuse. SMS pre-incubation prevented the decreasing cell viability after H2O2 treatment. The accumulations of cellular protein carbonyl associated with apoptotic cell death were also inhibited by the SMS pre-incubation prior to oxidative damage induction. At the same time, enhanced activity, protein, and mRNA expression levels of GPx were observed in cells pre-incubated with SMS prior to H2O2 abuse. Moreover, intracellular GSH was subsequently decreased after H2O2 treatment. These findings suggest that SMS improved the antioxidant capacity against acute oxidative stress through the constitutive enhancement of GPx expression in C2C12 myoblasts. Because of its antioxidative property, SMS might be useful not only for the oxidative damage associated diseases but also for the transplantation of myoblasts into muscular dystrophy patients.
It is known that opioid analgesics given systemically have limited distribution into the brain because of their interaction with P-glycoprotein (P-gp), an ATP-dependent efflux pump acting at the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We previously found that morphine and fentanyl showed higher analgesic potencies in P-gp–deficient mice compared with those in wild-type mice, suggesting that their analgesic effects are considerably dependent on P-gp expression. In this study, we focused on individual differences in the analgesic effectiveness of morphine, in cortical P-gp expression, and in basal P-gp ATPase activity in male ICR mice. We found that there were 3- to 10-fold differences between the magnitude of morphine analgesia (3 mg/kg, s.c.; tail-pinch method) in mice. Furthermore, there was a significant negative correlation between morphine’s analgesic effects and individual P-gp expression in the cortex as estimated by western blot analysis. In addition, basal P-gp ATPase activities in isolated membrane preparations of brain capillary endothelial cells (BCECs) were negatively correlated with the magnitude of the analgesic effect of morphine. These results indicate that the individual differences in morphine analgesia may be due to some functional or quantitative differences in individual P-gp in BCECs, acting at the BBB.
The effect of the serotonin 5-HT2A/2C-receptor agonist 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) on Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-induced catalepsy-like immobilization was studied in mice. DOI (0.3 and 1 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly inhibited the catalepsy-like immobilization induced by THC (10 mg/kg, i.p.). In contrast, the selective 5-HT2C-receptor agonist 8,9-dichloro-2,3,4,4a-tetrahydro-1H-pyrazino[1,2-a]quinoxalin-5(6H)-one (WAY 161503) had no effect on this catalepsy-like immobilization. Moreover, the 5-HT2A-receptor antagonist ketanserin (0.3 mg/kg, i.p.) reversed the inhibition of THC-induced catalepsy-like immobilization caused by DOI (1 mg/kg), whereas the selective 5-HT2C-receptor antagonist 6-chloro-2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-N-[6-(2-methyl-3-pyridinyl)oxyl]-3-pyridinyl]-1H-indole-1-carboxyamide (SB 242084) did not affect this inhibitory effect of DOI. On the other hand, ketanserin (0.3 and 1 mg/kg, i.p.) enhanced the catalepsy-like immobilization induced by THC (6 mg/kg, i.p.). Thus, on the basis of these results, it appears that 5-HT2A-receptor mechanisms might be responsible for the inhibitory effect of DOI on THC-induced catalepsy-like immobilization.
We demonstrated that exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) enhanced dopamine levels in the rat striatum. To extend our understanding, we examined the role of dopaminergic receptors in ELF-MF–induced behavioral changes. Exposure to ELF-MF (2.4 mT, 1 h/day, for one or seven days) enhanced locomotor activity in a time-dependent manner. This hyperlocomotor activity paralleled an increase in c-Fos-like immunoreactivity (c-Fos-IR). Pretreatment with SCH23390, a dopaminergic D1-like receptor antagonist, but not with sulpiride, a dopaminergic D2-like receptor antagonist, inhibited ELF-MF–induced increased locomotor activity and c-Fos-IR. Thus, our results suggest that ELF-MF–induced behavioral responses are, at least in part, mediated by activation of dopamine D1-like receptors.