Individual variability has clear effects upon the outcome of therapies and treatment approaches. The customization of healthcare options to the individual patient should accordingly improve treatment results. We propose a novel approach to brain interventions based on personalized brain network models derived from non-invasive structural data of individual patients. Along the example of a patient with bitemporal epilepsy, we show step by step how to develop a Virtual Epileptic Patient (VEP) brain model and integrate patient-specific information such as brain connectivity, epileptogenic zone and MRI lesions. Using high-performance computing, we systematically carry out parameter space explorations, fit and validate the brain model against the patient's empirical stereotactic EEG (SEEG) data and demonstrate how to develop novel personalized strategies towards therapy and intervention.
A depolarized resting membrane potential has long been considered to be a universal feature of immature neurons. Despite the physiological importance, the underlying mechanisms of this developmental phenomenon are poorly understood. Using perforated-patch, whole cell, and cell-attached recordings, we measured the membrane potential in CA3 pyramidal cells in hippocampal slices from postnatal rats. With gramicidin perforated-patch recordings, membrane potential was -44 +/- 4 (SE) mV at postnatal days P0-P2, and it progressively shifted to -67 +/- 2 mV at P13-15. A similar developmental change of the membrane potential has been also observed with conventional whole cell recordings. However, the value of the membrane potential deduced from the reversal potential of N-methyl-d-aspartate channels in cell-attached recordings did not change with age and was -77 +/- 2 mV at P2 and -77 +/- 2 mV at P13-14. The membrane potential measured using whole cell recordings correlated with seal and input resistance, being most depolarized in neurons with high, several gigaohms, input resistance and low seal resistance. Simulations revealed that depolarized values of the membrane potential in whole cell and perforated-patch recordings could be explained by a shunt through the seal contact between the pipette and membrane. Thus the membrane potential of CA3 pyramidal cells appears to be strongly negative at birth and does not change during postnatal development.
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) is a pathogen implicated in several infant diarrhea or diarrheal outbreaks in areas of endemicity. Although multiple genes involved in EAEC pathogenesis have been identified, the overall mechanism of virulence is not well understood. Recently, a novel secretion system, called type VI secretion (T6S) system (T6SS), has been identified in EAEC and most animal or plant gram-negative pathogens. T6SSs are multicomponent cell envelope machines responsible for the secretion of at least two putative substrates, Hcp and VgrG. In EAEC, two copies of T6S gene clusters, called sci-1 and sci-2, are present on the pheU pathogenicity island. In this study, we focused our work on the sci-1 gene cluster. The Sci-1 apparatus is probably composed of all, or a subset of, the 21 gene products encoded on the cluster. Among these subunits, some are shared by all T6SSs identified to date, including a ClpV-type AAA ؉ ATPase (SciG) and an IcmF (SciS) and an IcmH (SciP) homologue, as well as a putative lipoprotein (SciN). In this study, we demonstrate that sciN is a critical gene necessary for T6S-dependent secretion of the Hcp-like SciD protein and for biofilm formation. We further show that SciN is a lipoprotein, as shown by the inhibition of its processing by globomycin and in vivo labeling with [ 3 H]palmitic acid. SciN is tethered to the outer membrane and exposed in the periplasm. Sequestration of SciN at the inner membrane by targeting the ؉2 residue responsible for lipoprotein localization (Gly2Asp) fails to complement an sciN mutant for SciD secretion and biofilm formation. Together, these results support a model in which SciN is an outer membrane lipoprotein exposed in the periplasm and essential for the Sci-1 apparatus function.
Morphological studies suggest that the primate hippocampus develops extensively before birth, but little is known about its functional development. Patch-clamp recordings of hippocampal neurons and reconstruction of biocytin-filled pyramidal cells were performed in slices of macaque cynomolgus fetuses delivered by cesarean section. We found that during the second half of gestation, axons and dendrites of pyramidal cells grow intensively by hundreds of micrometers per day to attain a high level of maturity near term. Synaptic currents appear around midgestation and are correlated with the level of morphological differentiation of pyramidal cells: the first synapses are GABAergic, and their emergence correlates with the growth of apical dendrite into stratum radiatum. A later occurrence of glutamatergic synaptic currents correlates with a further differentiation of the axodendritic tree and the appearance of spines. Relying on the number of dendritic spines, we estimated that hundreds of new glutamatergic synapses are established every day on a pyramidal neuron during the last third of gestation. Most of the synaptic activity is synchronized in spontaneous slow ( approximately 0.1 Hz) network oscillations reminiscent of the giant depolarizing potentials in neonatal rodents. Epileptiform discharges can be evoked by the GABA(A) receptor antagonist bicuculline by the last third of gestation, and postsynaptic GABA(B) receptors contribute to the termination of epileptiform discharges. Comparing the results obtained in primates and rodents, we conclude that the template of early hippocampal network development is conserved across the mammalian evolution but that it is shifted toward fetal life in primate.
Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are macromolecular, transenvelope machines encoded within the genomes of most Gram-negative bacteria, including plant, animal, and human pathogens, as well as soil and environmental isolates. T6SS are involved in a broad variety of functions: from pathogenesis to biofilm formation and stress sensing. This large array of functions is reflected by a vast diversity of regulatory mechanisms: repression by histone-like proteins and regulation by quorum sensing, transcriptional factors, two-component systems, alternative sigma factors, or small regulatory RNAs. Finally, T6SS may be produced in an inactive state and are turned on through the action of a posttranslational cascade involving phosphorylation and subunit recruitment. The current data reviewed here highlight how T6SS have been integrated into existing regulatory networks and how the expression of the T6SS loci is precisely modulated to adapt T6SS production to the specific needs of individual bacteria.
Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are macromolecular machines of the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria responsible for bacterial killing and/or virulence towards different host cells. Here, we characterized the regulatory mechanism underlying expression of the enteroagregative Escherichia coli sci1 T6SS gene cluster. We identified Fur as the main regulator of the sci1 cluster. A detailed analysis of the promoter region showed the presence of three GATC motifs, which are target of the DNA adenine methylase Dam. Using a combination of reporter fusion, gel shift, and in vivo and in vitro Dam methylation assays, we dissected the regulatory role of Fur and Dam-dependent methylation. We showed that the sci1 gene cluster expression is under the control of an epigenetic switch depending on methylation: fur binding prevents methylation of a GATC motif, whereas methylation at this specific site decreases the affinity of Fur for its binding box. A model is proposed in which the sci1 promoter is regulated by iron availability, adenine methylation, and DNA replication.
SummaryFtsN is the last known essential protein component to be recruited to the Escherichia coli divisome, and has several special properties. Here we report the isolation of suppressor mutants of ftsA that allow viability in the absence of ftsN. Cells producing the FtsA suppressors exhibited a mild cell division deficiency in the absence of FtsN, and no obvious phenotype in its presence. Remarkably, these altered FtsA proteins also could partially suppress a deletion of ftsK or zipA, were less toxic than wild-type FtsA when in excess, and conferred resistance to excess MinC, indicating that they share some properties with the previously isolated FtsA* suppressor mutant, and bypass the need for ftsN by increasing the integrity of the Z ring. TolA, which normally requires FtsN for its recruitment to the divisome, localized proficiently in the suppressed ftsN null strain, strongly suggesting that FtsN does not recruit the Tol-Pal complex directly. Therefore, despite its classification as a core divisome component, FtsN has no unique essential function but instead promotes overall Z ring integrity. The results strongly suggest that FtsA is conformationally flexible, and this flexibility is a key modulator of divisome function at all stages.
The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa has redundant molecular systems that contribute to its pathogenicity. Those assembling fimbrial structures promote complex organized community lifestyle. We characterized a new 5.8 kb genetic locus, cupE, that includes the conserved usher- and chaperone-encoding genes. This locus, widely conserved in different bacterial species, contains four additional genes encoding non-archetypal fimbrial subunits. We first evidenced that the cupE gene cluster was specifically expressed in biofilm conditions and was responsible for fibre assembly containing at least CupE1 protein, at the bacterial cell surface. These fimbriae not only played a significant role in the early stages (microcolony and macrocolony formation) but also in shaping 3D mushrooms during P. aeruginosa biofilm development. Using wide-genome transposon mutagenesis, we identified the PprAB two-component system (TCS) as a regulator of cupE expression, and further demonstrated the involvement of the PprAB TCS in direct CupE fimbrial assembly activation. Thus, this TCS represents a new regulatory element controlling the transition between planktonic and community lifestyles in P. aeruginosa.
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