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Umea, Sweden

Umeå University is a university in Umeå in the mid-northern region of Sweden. The university was founded in 1965 and is the fifth oldest within Sweden's present borders.As of 2013, Umeå University has over 32,000 registered students , including those at the postgraduate and doctoral level. It has more than 4,000 employees, half of which are teachers/researchers, including 368 professors.Internationally, the university is known for research relating to the genome of the Populus tree and the Norway Spruce, and its highly ranked Institute of Design. Wikipedia.

Dimitriou M.,Umea University
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Muscle spindles are commonly considered as stretch receptors encoding movement, but the functional consequence of their efferent control has remained unclear. The “÷- coactivation” hypothesis states that activity in a muscle is positively related to the output of its spindle afferents. However, in addition to the above, possible reciprocal inhibition of spindle controllers entails a negative relationship between contractile activity in one muscle and spindle afferent output from its antagonist. By recording spindle afferent responses from alert humans using microneurography, I show that spindle output does reflect antagonistic muscle balance. Specifically, regardless of identical kinematic profiles across active finger movements, stretch of the loaded antagonist muscle (i.e., extensor) was accompanied by increased afferent firing rates from this muscle compared with the baseline case of no constant external load. In contrast, spindle firing rates from the stretching antagonist were lowest when the agonist muscle powering movement (i.e., flexor) acted against an additional resistive load. Stepwise regressions confirmed that instantaneous velocity, extensor, and flexor muscle activity had a significant effect on spindle afferent responses, with flexor activity having a negative effect. Therefore, the results indicate that, as consequence of their efferent control, spindle sensitivity (gain) to muscle stretch reflects the balance of activity between antagonistic muscles rather than only the activity of the spindle-bearing muscle. © 2014 the authors.

Ingvarsson P.K.,Umea University
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2010

One important goal of population genetics is to understand the relative importance of different evolutionary processes for shaping variation in natural populations. Here, I use multilocus data to show that natural selection on both synonymous and nonsynonymous mutations plays an important role in shaping levels of synonymous polymorphism in European aspen (Populus tremula). Previous studies have documented a preferential fixation of synonymous mutations encoding preferred codons in P. tremula. The results presented here show that this has resulted in an increase in codon bias in P. tremula, consistent with stronger selection acting on synonymous codon usage. In addition, positive selection on nonsynonymous mutations appears to be common in P. tremula, with approximately 30% of all mutations having been fixed by positive selection. In addition, the recurrent fixation of beneficial mutations also reduces standing levels of polymorphism as evidenced by a significantly negative relationship between the rate of protein evolution synonymous site diversity and silent site diversity. Finally, I use approximate Bayesian methods to estimate the strength of selection acting on beneficial substitutions. These calculations show that recurrent hitchhiking reduces polymorphism by, on average, 30%. The product of strength of selection acting on beneficial mutations and the rate by which these occur across the genome (2Neλs) equals 1.54×10-7, which is in line with estimates from Drosophila where recurrent hitchhiking has also been shown to have significant effects on standing levels of polymorphism.

Grebe M.,Umea University
Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Year: 2012

Epidermal hairs of Arabidopsis thaliana emerge in regular spacing patterns providing excellent model systems for studies of biological pattern formation. A number of root-hair and leaf-trichome patterning mutants and tools for cell-specific and tissue-specific manipulation of patterning protein activities have been combined in cycles of experimentation and mathematical modelling. These approaches have provided insight into molecular mechanisms of epidermal patterning. During the last two years, endoreplication has, unexpectedly, been found to control cell-fate maintenance during trichome patterning. New genetic interactions between a downstream, positive transcriptional regulator and lateral inhibitors of trichome or non-root-hair fate specification have been uncovered. A lateral inhibitor and a new positive regulator have been identified as major loci affecting trichome patterning in natural Arabidopsis populations. Finally, factors that modify root-hair patterning from the underlying cell layer have been discovered. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Fowler C.J.,Umea University
FEBS Journal | Year: 2013

Endocannabinoids are readily accumulated from the extracellular space by cells. Although their uptake properties have the appearance of a process of facilitated diffusion, it is by no means clear as to whether there is a plasma membrane transporter dedicated to this task. Intracellular carrier proteins that shuttle the endocannabinoid anandamide from the plasma membrane to its intracellular targets such as the metabolic enzyme, fatty acid amide hydrolase, have been identified. These include proteins with other primary functions, such as fatty-acid-binding proteins and heat shock protein 70, and possibly a fatty acid amide hydrolase-like anandamide transporter protein. Thus, anandamide uptake can be adequately described as a diffusion process across the plasma membrane followed by intracellular carrier-mediated transport to effector molecules, catabolic enzymes and sequestration sites, although it is recognized that different cells are likely to utilize different mechanisms of endocannabinoid transport depending upon the utility of the endocannabinoid for the cell in question. © 2013 FEBS.

Transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) can be both a tumor promoter and suppressor, although the mechanisms behind the protumorigenic switch remain to be fully elucidated. The TGFβ type I receptor (TβRI) is proteolytically cleaved in the ectodomain region. Cleavage requires the combined activities of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and TNF-α-converting enzyme (TACE). The cleavage event occurs selectively in cancer cells and generates an intracellular domain (ICD) of TβRI, which enters the nucleus to mediate gene transcription. Presenilin 1 (PS1), a γ-secretase catalytic core component, mediates intramembrane proteolysis of transmembrane receptors, such as Notch. We showed that TGFβ increased both the abundance and activity of PS1. TRAF6 recruited PS1 to the TβRI complex and promoted lysine-63-linked polyubiquitination of PS1, which activated PS1. Furthermore, PS1 cleaved TβRI in the transmembrane domain between valine-129 and isoleucine-130, and ICD generation was inhibited when these residues were mutated to alanine. We also showed that, after entering the nucleus, TβRI-ICD bound to the promoter and increased the transcription of the gene encoding TβRI. The TRAF6- and PS1-induced intramembrane proteolysis of TβRI promoted TGFβ-induced invasion of various cancer cells in vitro. Furthermore, when a mouse xenograft model of prostate cancer was treated with the γ-secretase inhibitor DBZ {(2S)-2-[2-(3,5-difluorophenyl)-acetylamino]-N-(5-methyl-6-oxo-6,7-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[b,d]azepin-7-yl)-propionamide}, generation of TβRI-ICD was prevented, transcription of the gene encoding the proinvasive transcription factor Snail1 was reduced, and tumor growth was inhibited. These results suggest that γ-secretase inhibitors may be useful for treating aggressive prostate cancer.

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