Influenza A virus (IAV) causes significant morbidity and mortality. The knowledge gained within the last decade on the pandemic IAV(H1N1)2009 improved our understanding not only of the viral pathogenicity but also the host cellular factors involved in the pathogenicity of multiorgan failure (MOF), such as cellular trypsin-type hemagglutinin (HA0) processing proteases for viral multiplication, cytokine storm, metabolic disorders and energy crisis. The HA processing proteases in the airway and organs for all IAV known to date have been identified. Recently, a new concept on the pathogenicity of MOF, the “influenza virus–cytokine–trypsin” cycle, has been proposed involving up-regulation of trypsin through pro-inflammatory cytokines, and potentiation of viral multiplication in various organs. Furthermore, the relationship between causative factors has been summarized as the “influenza virus–cytokine–trypsin” cycle interconnected with the “metabolic disorders–cytokine” cycle. These cycles provide new treatment concepts for ATP crisis and MOF. This review discusses IAV pathogenicity on cellular proteases, cytokines, metabolites and therapeutic options.
Shortly after the discovery of Zr-catalyzed carboalumination of alkynes in 1978, we sought expansion of the scope of this reaction so as to develop its alkene version for catalytic asymmetric C–C bond formation, namely the ZACA (Zr-catalyzed asymmetric carboalumination of alkenes). However, this seemingly easy task proved to be quite challenging. The ZACA reaction was finally discovered in 1995 by suppressing three competitive side reactions, i.e., (i) cyclic carbometalation, (ii) β-H transfer hydrometalation, and (iii) alkene polymerization. The ZACA reaction has been used to significantly modernize and improve syntheses of various natural products including deoxypolypropionates and isoprenoids. This review focuses on our recent progress on the development of ZACA–lipase-catalyzed acetylation–transition metal-catalyzed cross-coupling processes for highly efficient and enantioselective syntheses of a wide range of chiral organic compounds with ultra-high enantiomeric purities.
Terminal structure analysis of an insect cytoplasmic polyhedrosis virus (CPV) genome RNA in the early 1970s at the National Institute of Genetics in Japan yielded a 2′-O-methylated nucleotide in the 5′ end of double-stranded RNA genome. This finding prompted me to add S-adenosyl-L-methionine, a natural methylation donor, to the in vitro transcription reaction of viruses that contain RNA polymerase. This effort resulted in unprecedented mRNA synthesis that generates a unique blocked and methylated 5′ terminal structure (referred later to as “cap” or “m7G-cap”) in the transcription of silkworm CPV and human reovirus and vaccinia viruses that contain RNA polymerase in virus particles. Initial studies with viruses paved the way to discover the 5′-cap m7GpppNm structure present generally in cellular mRNAs of eukaryotes. I participated in those studies and was able to explain the pathway of cap synthesis and the significance of the 5′ cap (and capping) in gene expression processes, including transcription and protein synthesis. In this review article I concentrate on the description of these initial studies that eventually led us to a new paradigm of mRNA capping.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common autoimmune disease that results in significant morbidity. As with other complex disorders, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have greatly contributed to the current understanding of RA etiology. In this review, we describe the genetic configuration of RA as revealed primarily through GWASs and their meta-analyses. In addition, we discuss the pathologic mechanisms of RA as suggested by the findings of genetic and functional studies of individual RA-associated genes, including HLA-DRB1, PADI4, PTPN22, CCR6 and FCRL3, and the potential use of genetic information for RA treatment in clinical practice.
The oral cavity is the beginning of the aero-digestive tract, which is covered by mucosal epithelium continuously under the threat of invasion of pathogens, it is thus protected by the mucosal immune system. In the early phase of our scientific efforts for the demonstration of mucosal immune system, dental science was one of major driving forces due to their foreseeability to use oral immunity for the control of oral diseases. The mucosal immune system is divided functionally into, but interconnected inductive and effector sites. Intestinal Peyer’s patches (PPs) are an inductive site containing antigen-sampling M cells and immunocompetent cells required to initiate antigen-specific immune responses. At effector sites, PP-originated antigen-specific IgA B cells become plasma cells to produce polymeric IgA and form secretory IgA by binding to poly-Ig receptor expressed on epithelial cells for protective immunity. The development of new-generation mucosal vaccines, including the rice-based oral vaccine MucoRice, on the basis of the coordinated mucosal immune system is a promising strategy for the control of mucosal infectious diseases.
BABYSCAN, a whole-body counter (WBC) for small children was developed in 2013, and units have been installed at three hospitals in Fukushima Prefecture. Between December, 2013 and March, 2015, 2707 children between the ages of 0 and 11 have been scanned, and none had detectable levels of radioactive cesium. The minimum detectable activities (MDAs) for 137Cs were ≤3.5 Bq kg−1 for ages 0–1, decreasing to ≤2 Bq kg−1 for ages 10–11. Including the 134Cs contribution, these translate to a maximum committed effective dose of ∼16 µSv y−1 even for newborn babies, and therefore the internal exposure risks can be considered negligibly small. Analysis of the questionnaire filled out by the parents of the scanned children regarding their families’ food and water consumption revealed that the majority of children residing in the town of Miharu regularly consume local or home-grown rice and vegetables, while in Minamisoma, a majority avoid tap water and produce from Fukushima. The data show, however, no correlation between consumption of locally produced food and water and the children’s body burdens.