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Upper Heyford, United Kingdom

Paterson D.J.,Oxford Genetics
Journal of Physiology | Year: 2014

One hundred years ago in this journal, Krogh and Lindhard published a seminal paper highlighting the importance of the brain in the control of breathing during exercise. This symposium report reviews the historical developments that have taken place since 1913, and attempts to place the detailed neurocircuitry thought to underpin exercise hyperpnoea into context by focusing on key structures that might form the command network. With the advent of enhanced neuroimaging and functional neurosurgical techniques, a unique window of opportunity has recently arisen to target potential circuits in humans. Animal studies have identified a priori sites of interest in mid-brain structures, in particular the subthalamic locomotor region (subthalamic nucleus, STN) and the periaqueductal grey (PAG), which have now been recorded from in humans during exercise. When all data are viewed in an integrative manner, the PAG, in particular the lateral PAG, and aspects of the dorsal lateral PAG, appear to be key communicating circuitry for 'central command'. Moreover, the PAG also fulfils many requirements of a command centre. It has functional connectivity to higher centres (dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex) and the basal ganglia (in particular, the STN), and receives a sensory input from contracting muscle, but, importantly, it sends efferent information to brainstem nuclei involved in cardiorespiratory control. © 2013 The Physiological Society.

Krell D.,Oxford Genetics
Future oncology (London, England) | Year: 2013

Isocitrate dehydrogenases (IDHs) catalyze the oxidative decarboxylation of isocitrate to α-ketoglutarate (α-KG). Somatic mutations in genes encoding IDH1 and IDH2 were first identified in glioma and subsequently in acute myeloid leukemia and other solid tumors. These heterozygous point mutations occur at the arginine residue of the enzyme's active site and cause both loss of normal enzyme function and gain of function, causing reduction of α-KG to D-2-hydroxyglutarate, which accumulates. D-2-hydroxyglutarate may act as an oncometabolite through the inhibition of various α-KG-dependent enzymes, stimulating angiogenesis, histone modifications and aberrant DNA methylation. Possibly, IDH mutations may also cause oncogenic effects through dysregulation of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, or by increasing susceptibility to oxidative stress. Clinically, IDH mutations may be useful diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers, and it is anticipated that a better understanding of the pathogenesis of IDH mutations will enable IDH-directed therapies to be developed in the future.

Baumer D.,Oxford Genetics
Expert reviews in molecular medicine | Year: 2010

Motor neurons are large, highly polarised cells with very long axons and a requirement for precise spatial and temporal gene expression. Neurodegenerative disorders characterised by selective motor neuron vulnerability include various forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). A rapid expansion in knowledge on the pathophysiology of motor neuron degeneration has occurred in recent years, largely through the identification of genes leading to familial forms of ALS and SMA. The major emerging theme is that motor neuron degeneration can result from mutation in genes that encode factors important for ribonucleoprotein biogenesis and RNA processing, including splicing regulation, transcript stabilisation, translational repression and localisation of mRNA. Complete understanding of how these pathways interact and elucidation of specialised mechanisms for mRNA targeting and processing in motor neurons are likely to produce new targets for therapy in ALS and related disorders.

Noble D.,Oxford Genetics
Experimental Physiology | Year: 2013

New Findings: • What is the Topic of this review? Have recent experimental findings in evolutionary biology concerning the transmission of inheritance opened the way to a reintegration of physiology with evolutionary biology? • What advances does it highlight? The answer is yes, and that this requires a new synthesis between evolutionary theory and experimental physiology. The 'Modern Synthesis' (Neo-Darwinism) is a mid-20th century gene-centric view of evolution, based on random mutations accumulating to produce gradual change through natural selection. Any role of physiological function in influencing genetic inheritance was excluded. The organism became a mere carrier of the real objects of selection, its genes. We now know that genetic change is far from random and often not gradual. Molecular genetics and genome sequencing have deconstructed this unnecessarily restrictive view of evolution in a way that reintroduces physiological function and interactions with the environment as factors influencing the speed and nature of inherited change. Acquired characteristics can be inherited, and in a few but growing number of cases that inheritance has now been shown to be robust for many generations. The 21st century can look forward to a new synthesis that will reintegrate physiology with evolutionary biology. © 2013 The Physiological Society.

Anderson C.A.,Oxford Genetics
Nature protocols | Year: 2010

This protocol details the steps for data quality assessment and control that are typically carried out during case-control association studies. The steps described involve the identification and removal of DNA samples and markers that introduce bias. These critical steps are paramount to the success of a case-control study and are necessary before statistically testing for association. We describe how to use PLINK, a tool for handling SNP data, to perform assessments of failure rate per individual and per SNP and to assess the degree of relatedness between individuals. We also detail other quality-control procedures, including the use of SMARTPCA software for the identification of ancestral outliers. These platforms were selected because they are user-friendly, widely used and computationally efficient. Steps needed to detect and establish a disease association using case-control data are not discussed here. Issues concerning study design and marker selection in case-control studies have been discussed in our earlier protocols. This protocol, which is routinely used in our labs, should take approximately 8 h to complete.

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