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Kim S.H.,Indiana University Bloomington | Kim S.H.,University of Missouri | Qi D.,Indiana University Bloomington | Qi D.,Center for Research and Technology | And 3 more authors.

Maintaining high crop yields in an environmentally sustainable manner requires the development of disease-resistant crop varieties. We describe a method to engineer disease resistance in plants by means of an endogenous disease resistance gene from Arabidopsis thaliana named RPS5, which encodes a nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) protein. RPS5 is normally activated when a second host protein, PBS1, is cleaved by the pathogen-secreted protease AvrPphB. We show that the AvrPphB cleavage site within PBS1 can be substituted with cleavage sites for other pathogen proteases, which then enables RPS5 to be activated by these proteases, thereby conferring resistance to new pathogens. This "decoy" approach may be applicable to other NLR proteins and should enable engineering of resistance in plants to diseases for which we currently lack robust genetic resistance. © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved. Source

Chassanidis C.G.,University of Thessaly | Malizos K.N.,University of Thessaly | Malizos K.N.,Center for Research and Technology | Varitimidis S.,University of Thessaly | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B

Periosteum is important for bone homoeostasis through the release of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and their effect on osteoprogenitor cells. Smoking has an adverse effect on fracture healing and bone regeneration. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of smoking on the expression of the BMPs of human periosteum. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed for BMP-2,-4,-6,-7 gene expression in periosteal samples obtained from 45 fractured bones (19 smokers, 26 non-smokers) and 60 non-fractured bones (21 smokers, 39 non-smokers). A hierarchical model of BMP gene expression (BMP-2 > BMP-6 > BMP-4 > BMP-7) was demonstrated in all samples. When smokers and non-smokers were compared, a remarkable reduction in the gene expression of BMP-2, -4 and -6 was noticed in smokers. The comparison of fracture and non-fracture groups demonstrated a higher gene expression of BMP-2, -4 and -7 in the non-fracture samples. Within the subgroups (fracture and non-fracture), BMP gene expression in smokers was either lower but without statistical significance in the majority of BMPs, or similar to that in non-smokers with regard to BMP-4 in fracture and BMP-7 in non-fracture samples. In smokers, BMP gene expression of human periosteum was reduced, demonstrating the effect of smoking at the molecular level by reduction of mRNA transcription of periosteal BMPs. Among the BMPs studied, BMP-2 gene expression was significantly higher, highlighting its role in bone homoeostasis. ©2012 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery. Source

Samara S.,University of Thessaly | Dailiana Z.,University of Thessaly | Chassanidis C.,University of Thessaly | Koromila T.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | And 4 more authors.
Experimental and Molecular Pathology

Introduction: Femoral head avascular necrosis (AVN) is a recalcitrant disease of the hip that leads to joint destruction. Osteoprotegerin (OPG), Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor kappa-B (RANK) and RANK ligand (RANKL) regulate the balance between osteoclasts-osteoblasts. The expression of these genes affects the maturation and function of osteoblasts-osteoclasts and bone remodeling. In this study, we investigated the molecular pathways leading to AVN by studying the expression profile of OPG, RANK and RANKL genes. Material and methods: Quantitative Real Time-PCR was performed for evaluation of OPG, RANK and RANKL expression. Analysis was based on parallel evaluation of mRNA and protein levels in normal/necrotic sites of 42 osteonecrotic femoral heads (FHs). OPG and RANKL protein levels were estimated by western blotting. Results: The OPG mRNA levels were higher (insignificantly) in the necrotic than the normal site (p. >. 0.05). Although the expression of RANK and RANKL was significantly lower than OPG in both sites, RANK and RANKL mRNA levels were higher in the necrotic part than the normal (p. <. 0.05). Protein levels of OPG and RANKL showed no remarkable divergence. Conclusions: Our results indicate that differential expression mechanisms for OPG, RANK and RANKL that could play an important role in the progress of bone remodeling in the necrotic area, disturbing bone homeostasis. This finding may have an effect on the resulting bone destruction and the subsequent collapse of the hip joint. © 2013. Source

Nash E.,University of Rostock | Wiebensohn J.,University of Rostock | Nikkila R.,Aalto University | Vatsanidou A.,University of Thessaly | And 4 more authors.
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture

Production standards in the form of legal regulations or quality assurance labels are playing an increasingly important role in farming. Each farm must therefore gather information on all standards which apply, which may vary from field-to-field, and ensure that they are respected during operations. This information may be provided on paper or as electronic documents, by the standards publishers or by advisors. Together with the need to document compliance, the need to collect and process the requirements is becoming increasingly burdensome for farmers.In this paper, two questions are addressed: whether an automation of the compliance checking is possible, in order to assist the farmer by proactively warning against 'forbidden' operations, and how the definition of the production standard may be formally represented in order to clearly and unambiguously inform the farmer as to what is required. This formal representation also forms one of the prerequisites for any automated assessment.As an initial step, a general model of production standards was developed and applied to some common standards in European agriculture. Based on this model, separating standards into metadata and a list of individual rules (check points), a formal representation was developed and an assessment was made as to whether an automated compliance check was feasible. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

Pavlidis P.,Kings College London | Pavlidis P.,University College London | Romanidou O.,Kings College London | Romanidou O.,Center for Research and Technology | And 16 more authors.
Clinical and Developmental Immunology

Why zymogen glycoprotein 2 (GP2), the Crohn's disease (CD)-specific pancreatic autoantigen, is the major target of humoral autoimmunity in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) is uknown. Recent evidence demonstrates that GP2 is also present on the apical surface of microfold (M) intestinal cells. As the colon lacks GP2-rich M cells, we assumed that patients with colonic CD are seronegative for anti-GP2. Anti-GP2 antibodies were tested in 225 CDs, including 45 patients with colonic location (L2), 45 with terminal ileum (L1) and 135 with ileocolonic involvement; 225 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) were also tested. Anti-GP2 reactivity was detected in 59 (26.2) CDs and 15 (6.7) UCs (P < 0.001). Only 5 CDs with L2 had anti-GP2 antibodies, compared to 54/180 (30.0, P = 0.0128) of the CDs with L1 and L3. Anti-GP2 antibody positive CD patients had higher ASCA titres compared to seronegative cases. Amongst the 128 CD patients with previous surgical intervention, 45 (35.0) were anti-GP2 antibody positive compared to 14/97 (14.0) without surgical (P < 0.001). Our data support the assumption that ileal inflammation is required for the development of anti-GP2 antibodies in CD, and suggest that the intestine rather than the pancreatic juice is the antigenic source required for the initiation of anti-GP2 antibodies. © 2012 Polychronis Pavlidis et al. Source

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