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Clegg R.A.,Hannah Research Institute | Bowen L.C.,University of Liverpool | Bicknell A.V.,University of Liverpool | Tabish M.,University of Liverpool | And 4 more authors.
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics | Year: 2012

Multiple isoforms of the cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PK-A) catalytic (C) subunit, arise as a consequence of the use of alternative splicing strategies during transcription of the kin-1 gene in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. N-myristoylation is a common co-translational modification of mammalian PK-A C-subunits; however, the major isoform (N′3), originally characterised in C. elegans, is not N-myristoylated. Here, we show that N′1 isoforms are targets for N-myristoylation in C. elegans. We have demonstrated the in vivo incorporation of radioactivity into N′1 C-subunit isoforms, following incubation of nematodes with [ 3H]-myristic acid. HPLC and MALDI-TOF MS analysis of proteolytic digests of immunoprecipitates confirmed the presence of myristoyl-glycine in the C-subunit. In order to better understand the impact of the N′1 N-terminal sequence, and its myristoylation, on C-subunit activity, a chimerical C-subunit, consisting of the N′1 N-terminus from C. elegans and a murine core and C-terminal sequence was expressed. Myristoylation had no appreciable effect on the catalytic properties of the chimeric protein. However, the myristoylated chimeric protein did exhibit enhanced apolar targeting compared to the myristoylated wild-type murine polypeptide. This behaviour may reflect the inability of the N′1-encoded N-terminus sequence to correctly dock with a hydrophobic domain on the surface of the C-subunit. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Huber R.C.,University of Porto | Kolb A.F.,Hannah Research Institute | Kolb A.F.,University of Aberdeen | Lillico S.,Roslin Institute | And 6 more authors.
Nutritional Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Objectives: Early malnutrition is a highly prevalent condition in developing countries. Different rodent models of postnatal early malnutrition have been used to approach the subject experimentally, inducing early malnutrition by maternal malnutrition, temporal maternal separation, manipulation of litter size or the surgical nipple ligation to impair lactation. Studies on the behaviour of (previously) malnourished animals using animal models have produced sometimes contradictory results regarding the effects of early postnatal malnutrition and have been criticized for introducing potential confounding factors. The present paper is a first report on the behavioural effects of early malnutrition induced by an alternative approach: mice nursed by α-casein-deficient knockout dams showed a severe growth delay during early development and substantial catch-up growth after weaning when compared with animals nursed by wild-type females. Methods: Established behavioural tests were used to study the consequences of early postnatal malnutrition on mouse pups at weaning and after partial weight recovery. Results: Despite the impaired growth, the only behavioural difference between malnourished and normally growing animals was found in exploratory behaviour during acute malnutrition at the time of weaning. After partial catch-up in weight early protein malnourished animals showed no indication of lasting effects on general activity, emotionality and exploration, memory, and pain reactivity. Discussion: These results suggest that the role of early nutrition on behavioural development after recovery in animal models may have been overestimated. Further careful examination of this animal model in terms of maternal care and offspring behaviour will be necessary to confirm if mice nursed by α-casein-deficient dams offer an alternative to existing models while eliminating potential confounding factors.

Sorrell D.A.,Hannah Research Institute | Robinson C.J.,Hannah Research Institute | Smith J.-A.,Hannah Research Institute | Kolb A.F.,Hannah Research Institute | Kolb A.F.,University of Aberdeen
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2010

Recombinase mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) is a process in which site-specific recombinases exchange one gene cassette flanked by a pair of incompatible target sites for another cassette flanked by an identical pair of sites. Typically one cassette is present in the host genome, whereas the other gene cassette is introduced into the host cell by chemical or biological means. We show here that the frequency of cassette exchange is dependent on the relative and absolute quantities of the transgene cassette and the recombinase. We were able to successfully modify genomic targets not only by electroporation or chemically mediated gene transfer but also by using an adenovirus vector carrying both the transgene cassette to be inserted and the recombinase coding region. RMCE proceeds efficiently in cells in which the adenovirus vector is able to replicate. In contrast, insufficient quantities of the transgene cassette are produced in cells in which the virus cannot replicate. Additional transfection of the transgene cassette significantly enhances the RMCE frequency. This demonstrates that an RMCE system in the context of a viral vector allows the site directed insertion of a transgene into a defined genomic site. © The Author(s) 2010. Published by Oxford University Press.

Kolb A.F.,University of Aberdeen | Kolb A.F.,Hannah Research Institute | Sorrell D.,Hannah Research Institute | Sorrell D.,Horizon Discovery | And 7 more authors.
Transgenic Research | Year: 2013

Development of the mammary gland requires the coordinated action of proteolytic enzymes during two phases of remodelling. Firstly, new ducts and side-branches thereof need to be established during pregnancy to generate an extensive ductal tree allowing the secretion and transport of milk. A second wave of remodelling occurs during mammary involution after weaning. We have analysed the role of the cell surface protease aminopeptidase N (Anpep, APN, CD13) during these processes using Anpep deficient and Anpep over-expressing mice. We find that APN deficiency significantly delays mammary gland morphogenesis during gestation. The defect is characterised by a reduction in alveolar buds and duct branching at mid-pregnancy. Conversely over-expression of Anpep leads to accelerated ductal development. This indicates that Anpep plays a critical role in the proteolytic remodelling of mammary tissue during adult mammary development. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Kolb A.F.,Hannah Research Institute | Kolb A.F.,University of Aberdeen | Huber R.C.,University of Porto | Huber R.C.,Roslin Institute | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

The major physiological function of milk is the transport of amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids and minerals to mammalian offspring. Caseins, the major milk proteins, are secreted in the form of a micelle consisting of protein and calcium-phosphate. We have analysed the role of the milk protein α-casein by inactivating the corresponding gene in mice. Absence of α-casein protein significantly curtails secretion of other milk proteins and calcium-phosphate, suggesting a role for α-casein in the establishment of casein micelles. In contrast, secretion of albumin, which is not synthesized in the mammary epithelium, into milk is not reduced. The absence of α-casein also significantly inhibits transcription of the other casein genes. α-Casein deficiency severely delays pup growth during lactation and results in a life-long body size reduction compared to control animals, but has only transient effects on physical and behavioural development of the pups. The data support a critical role for α-casein in casein micelle assembly. The results also confirm lactation as a critical window of metabolic programming and suggest milk protein concentration as a decisive factor in determining adult body weight. © 2011 Kolb et al.

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