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    Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of the Aspergillus fumigatus hypoxia response using an oxygen-controlled fermenter
    (2012-02) Barker, Bridget M.; Kroll, Kristin; Vödisch, Martin; Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Kniemeyer, Olaf; Cramer, Robert A.
    Background Aspergillus fumigatus is a mold responsible for the majority of cases of aspergillosis in humans. To survive in the human body, A. fumigatus must adapt to microenvironments that are often characterized by low nutrient and oxygen availability. Recent research suggests that the ability of A. fumigatus and other pathogenic fungi to adapt to hypoxia contributes to their virulence. However, molecular mechanisms of A. fumigatus hypoxia adaptation are poorly understood. Thus, to better understand how A. fumigatus adapts to hypoxic microenvironments found in vivo during human fungal pathogenesis, the dynamic changes of the fungal transcriptome and proteome in hypoxia were investigated over a period of 24 hours utilizing an oxygen-controlled fermenter system. Results Significant increases in transcripts associated with iron and sterol metabolism, the cell wall, the GABA shunt, and transcriptional regulators were observed in response to hypoxia. A concomitant reduction in transcripts was observed with ribosome and terpenoid backbone biosynthesis, TCA cycle, amino acid metabolism and RNA degradation. Analysis of changes in transcription factor mRNA abundance shows that hypoxia induces significant positive and negative changes that may be important for regulating the hypoxia response in this pathogenic mold. Growth in hypoxia resulted in changes in the protein levels of several glycolytic enzymes, but these changes were not always reflected by the corresponding transcriptional profiling data. However, a good correlation overall (R2 = 0.2, p < 0.05) existed between the transcriptomic and proteomics datasets for all time points. The lack of correlation between some transcript levels and their subsequent protein levels suggests another regulatory layer of the hypoxia response in A. fumigatus. Conclusions Taken together, our data suggest a robust cellular response that is likely regulated both at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level in response to hypoxia by the human pathogenic mold A. fumigatus. As with other pathogenic fungi, the induction of glycolysis and transcriptional down-regulation of the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation appear to major components of the hypoxia response in this pathogenic mold. In addition, a significant induction of the transcripts involved in ergosterol biosynthesis is consistent with previous observations in the pathogenic yeasts Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans indicating conservation of this response to hypoxia in pathogenic fungi. Because ergosterol biosynthesis enzymes also require iron as a co-factor, the increase in iron uptake transcripts is consistent with an increased need for iron under hypoxia. However, unlike C. albicans and C. neoformans, the GABA shunt appears to play an important role in reducing NADH levels in response to hypoxia in A. fumigatus and it will be intriguing to determine whether this is critical for fungal virulence. Overall, regulatory mechanisms of the A. fumigatus hypoxia response appear to involve both transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of transcript and protein levels and thus provide candidate genes for future analysis of their role in hypoxia adaptation and fungal virulence.
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    Evolution of metabolic network organization
    (2010-05) Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Bonchev, Danail; Schwikowski, Benno; Buck, Gregory A.
    Background Comparison of metabolic networks across species is a key to understanding how evolutionary pressures shape these networks. By selecting taxa representative of different lineages or lifestyles and using a comprehensive set of descriptors of the structure and complexity of their metabolic networks, one can highlight both qualitative and quantitative differences in the metabolic organization of species subject to distinct evolutionary paths or environmental constraints. Results We used a novel representation of metabolic networks, termed network of interacting pathways or NIP, to focus on the modular, high-level organization of the metabolic capabilities of the cell. Using machine learning techniques we identified the most relevant aspects of cellular organization that change under evolutionary pressures. We considered the transitions from prokarya to eukarya (with a focus on the transitions among the archaea, bacteria and eukarya), from unicellular to multicellular eukarya, from free living to host-associated bacteria, from anaerobic to aerobic, as well as the acquisition of cell motility or growth in an environment of various levels of salinity or temperature. Intuitively, we expect organisms with more complex lifestyles to have more complex and robust metabolic networks. Here we demonstrate for the first time that such organisms are not only characterized by larger, denser networks of metabolic pathways but also have more efficiently organized cross communications, as revealed by subtle changes in network topology. These changes are unevenly distributed among metabolic pathways, with specific categories of pathways being promoted to more central locations as an answer to environmental constraints. Conclusions Combining methods from graph theory and machine learning, we have shown here that evolutionary pressures not only affects gene and protein sequences, but also specific details of the complex wiring of functional modules in the cell. This approach allows the identification and quantification of those changes, and provides an overview of the evolution of intracellular systems.
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    Physiology of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in biofilms as revealed by transcriptome analysis
    (2010) Folsom, James P.; Richards, Lee A.; Roe, Frank L.; Ehrlich, Garth D.; Parker, Albert E.; Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Stewart, Philip S.
    BACKGROUND: Transcriptome analysis was applied to characterize the physiological activities of Pseudomonas aeruginosa grown for three days in drip-flow biofilm reactors. Conventional applications of transcriptional profiling often compare two paired data sets that differ in a single experimentally controlled variable. In contrast this study obtained the transcriptome of a single biofilm state, ranked transcript signals to make the priorities of the population manifest, and compared rankings for a priori identified physiological marker genes between the biofilm and published data sets.RESULTS: Biofilms tolerated exposure to antibiotics, harbored steep oxygen concentration gradients, and exhibited stratified and heterogeneous spatial patterns of protein synthetic activity. Transcriptional profiling was performed and the signal intensity of each transcript was ranked to gain insight into the physiological state of the biofilm population. Similar rankings were obtained from data sets published in the GEO database (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo). By comparing the rank of genes selected as markers for particular physiological activities between the biofilm and comparator data sets, it was possible to infer qualitative features of the physiological state of the biofilm bacteria. These biofilms appeared, from their transcriptome, to be glucose nourished, iron replete, oxygen limited, and growing slowly or exhibiting stationary phase character. Genes associated with elaboration of type IV pili were strongly expressed in the biofilm. The biofilm population did not indicate oxidative stress, homoserine lactone mediated quorum sensing, or activation of efflux pumps. Using correlations with transcript ranks, the average specific growth rate of biofilm cells was estimated to be 0.08 h-1.CONCLUSIONS: Collectively these data underscore the oxygen-limited, slow-growing nature of the biofilm population and are consistent with antimicrobial tolerance due to low metabolic activity.
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    Potential role of multiple carbon fixation pathways during lipid accumulation in Phaeodactylum tricornutum
    (2012-06) Valenzuela, Jacob J.; Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Carlson, Ross P.; Gerlach, Robin; Cooksey, Keith E.; Peyton, Brent M.; Fields, Matthew W.
    BACKGROUND: Phaeodactylum tricornutum is a unicellular diatom in the class Bacillariophyceae. The full genome hasbeen sequenced (<30 Mb), and approximately 20 to 30% triacylglyceride (TAG) accumulation on a dry cell basis hasbeen reported under different growth conditions. To elucidate P. tricornutum gene expression profiles duringnutrient-deprivation and lipid-accumulation, cell cultures were grown with a nitrate to phosphate ratio of 20:1 (N:P)and whole-genome transcripts were monitored over time via RNA-sequence determination.RESULTS: The specific Nile Red (NR) fluorescence (NR fluorescence per cell) increased over time; however, theincrease in NR fluorescence was initiated before external nitrate was completely exhausted. Exogenous phosphatewas depleted before nitrate, and these results indicated that the depletion of exogenous phosphate might be anearly trigger for lipid accumulation that is magnified upon nitrate depletion. As expected, many of the genesassociated with nitrate and phosphate utilization were up-expressed. The diatom-specific cyclins cyc7 and cyc10were down-expressed during the nutrient-deplete state, and cyclin B1 was up-expressed during lipid-accumulationafter growth cessation. While many of the genes associated with the C3 pathway for photosynthetic carbonreduction were not significantly altered, genes involved in a putative C4 pathway for photosynthetic carbonassimilation were up-expressed as the cells depleted nitrate, phosphate, and exogenous dissolved inorganic carbon(DIC) levels. P. tricornutum has multiple, putative carbonic anhydrases, but only two were significantly up-expressed(2-fold and 4-fold) at the last time point when exogenous DIC levels had increased after the cessation of growth.Alternative pathways that could utilize HCO-3 were also suggested by the gene expression profiles (e.g., putativepropionyl-CoA and methylmalonyl-CoA decarboxylases).CONCLUSION: The results indicate that P. tricornutum continued carbon dioxide reduction when population growthwas arrested and different carbon-concentrating mechanisms were used dependent upon exogenous DIC levels.Based upon overall low gene expression levels for fatty acid synthesis, the results also suggest that the build-up ofprecursors to the acetyl-CoA carboxylases may play a more significant role in TAG synthesis rather than the actualenzyme levels of acetyl-CoA carboxylases per se. The presented insights into the types and timing of cellularresponses to inorganic carbon will help maximize photoautotrophic carbon flow to lipid accumulation.
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    In situ gene expression profiling of the thermoacidophilic alga C yanidioschyzon in relation to visible and ultraviolet irradiance
    (2014-06) Skorupa, Dana J.; Castenholz, R. W.; Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Carey, Charles C.; Rosenzweig, F.; McDermott, Timothy R.
    Ultraviolet and high-intensity visible radiation generate reactive intermediates that damage phototrophic microorganisms. In Yellowstone National Park, the thermoacidophilic alga Cyanidioschyzon exhibits an annual seasonal biomass fluctuation referred to as 'mat decline', where algal viability decreases as ultraviolet and visible irradiances increase during summer. We examined the role irradiance might play in mat decline using irradiance filters that uncouple ultraviolet and visible effects along with custom microarrays to study gene expression in situ. Of the 6,507 genes, 88% showed no response to ultraviolet or visible, implying that at the biomolecular level, these algae inhabit a chemostat-like environment and is consistent with the near constant aqueous chemistry measured. The remaining genes exhibited expression changes linked to ultraviolet exposure, to increased visible radiation, or to the apparent combined effects of ultraviolet and visible. Expression of DNA repetitive elements was synchronized, being repressed by visible but also influenced by ultraviolet. At highest irradiance levels, these algae reduced transcription of genes encoding functions involved with DNA replication, photosynthesis and cell cycle progression but exhibited an uptick in activities related to repairing DNA damage. This corroborates known physiological responses to ultraviolet and visible radiation, and leads us to provisionally conclude that mat decline is linked to photoinhibition.
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    Hypothyroidism risk compared among nine common bipolar disorder therapies in a large US cohort.
    (2016-05) Lambert, Christophe G.; Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Lauve, Nicolas R.; Hurwitz, Nathaniel G.; Young, S. Stanley; Obenchain, Robert L.; Hengartner, Nicolas W.; Perkins, Douglas J.; Tohen, Mauricio; Kerner, Berit
    Objectives: Thyroid abnormalities in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) have been linked to lithium treatment for decades, yet other drugs have been less well studied. Our objective was to compare hypothyroidism risk for lithium versus the anticonvulsants and second-generation antipsychotics commonly prescribed for BD. Methods: Administrative claims data on 24,574 patients with BD were analyzed with competing risk survival analysis. Inclusion criteria were (i) one year of no prior hypothyroid diagnosis nor BD drug treatment, (ii) followed by at least one thyroid test during BD monotherapy on lithium carbonate, mood-stabilizing anticonvulsants (lamotrigine, valproate, oxcarbazepine, or carbamazepine) or antipsychotics (aripiprazole, olanzapine, risperidone, or quetiapine). The outcome was cumulative incidence of hypothyroidism per drug, in the presence of the competing risk of ending monotherapy, adjusted for age, sex, physician visits, and thyroid tests. Results: Adjusting for covariates, the four-year cumulative risk of hypothyroidism for lithium (8.8%) was 1.39-fold that of the lowest risk therapy, oxcarbazepine (6.3%). Lithium was non-statistically significantly different from quetiapine. While lithium conferred a higher risk when compared to all other treatments combined as a group, hypothyroidism risk error bars overlapped for all drugs. Treatment (p = 3.86e-3), age (p = 6.91e-10), sex (p = 3.93e-7), and thyroid testing (p = 2.79e-87) affected risk. Patients taking lithium were tested for hypothyroidism 2.26–3.05 times more frequently than those on other treatments. Conclusions: Thyroid abnormalities occur frequently in patients with BD regardless of treatment. Therefore, patients should be regularly tested for clinical or subclinical thyroid abnormalities on all therapies and treated as indicated to prevent adverse effects of hormone imbalances on mood.
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    Potential role of multiple carbon fixation pathways during lipid accumulation in Phaeodactylum tricornutum
    (2012-06) Valenzuela, Jacob J.; Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Carlson, Ross P.; Gerlach, Robin; Cooksey, Keith E.; Bothner, Brian; Peyton, Brent M.; Fields, Matthew W.
    Background Phaeodactylum tricornutum is a unicellular diatom in the class Bacillariophyceae. The full genome has been sequenced (<30 Mb), and approximately 20 to 30% triacylglyceride (TAG) accumulation on a dry cell basis has been reported under different growth conditions. To elucidate P. tricornutum gene expression profiles during nutrient-deprivation and lipid-accumulation, cell cultures were grown with a nitrate to phosphate ratio of 20:1 (N:P) and whole-genome transcripts were monitored over time via RNA-sequence determination. Results The specific Nile Red (NR) fluorescence (NR fluorescence per cell) increased over time; however, the increase in NR fluorescence was initiated before external nitrate was completely exhausted. Exogenous phosphate was depleted before nitrate, and these results indicated that the depletion of exogenous phosphate might be an early trigger for lipid accumulation that is magnified upon nitrate depletion. As expected, many of the genes associated with nitrate and phosphate utilization were up-expressed. The diatom-specific cyclins cyc 7 and cyc 10 were down-expressed during the nutrient-deplete state, and cyclin B1 was up-expressed during lipid-accumulation after growth cessation. While many of the genes associated with the C3 pathway for photosynthetic carbon reduction were not significantly altered, genes involved in a putative C4 pathway for photosynthetic carbon assimilation were up-expressed as the cells depleted nitrate, phosphate, and exogenous dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) levels. P. tricornutum has multiple, putative carbonic anhydrases, but only two were significantly up-expressed (2-fold and 4-fold) at the last time point when exogenous DIC levels had increased after the cessation of growth. Alternative pathways that could utilize HCO3- were also suggested by the gene expression profiles (e.g., putative propionyl-CoA and methylmalonyl-CoA decarboxylases). Conclusions The results indicate that P. tricornutum continued carbon dioxide reduction when population growth was arrested and different carbon-concentrating mechanisms were used dependent upon exogenous DIC levels. Based upon overall low gene expression levels for fatty acid synthesis, the results also suggest that the build-up of precursors to the acetyl-CoA carboxylases may play a more significant role in TAG synthesis rather than the actual enzyme levels of acetyl-CoA carboxylases per se. The presented insights into the types and timing of cellular responses to inorganic carbon will help maximize photoautotrophic carbon flow to lipid accumulation.
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    Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Personal Health Data for Health Research
    (Oxford University Press, 2015-09) Bietz, Matthew J; Bloss, Cinnamon S; Calvert, Scout; Godino, Job G; Gregory, Judith; Claffey, Michael P; Sheehan, Jerry; Patrick, Kevin
    Objective: Understand barriers to the use of personal health data (PHD) in research from the perspective of three stakeholder groups: early adopter individuals who track data about their health, researchers who may use PHD as part of their research, and companies that market self-tracking devices, apps or services, and aggregate and manage the data that are generated. Materials and Methods: A targeted convenience sample of 465 individuals and 134 researchers completed an extensive online survey. Thirty-five hour-long semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with a subset of 11 individuals and 9 researchers, as well as 15 company/key informants. Results: Challenges to the use of PHD for research were identified in six areas: data ownership; data access for research; privacy; informed consent and ethics; research methods and data quality; and the unpredictable nature of the rapidly evolving ecosystem of devices, apps, and other services that leave “digital footprints.” Individuals reported willingness to anonymously share PHD if it would be used to advance research for the good of the public. Researchers were enthusiastic about using PHD for research, but noted barriers related to intellectual property, licensing, and the need for legal agreements with companies. Companies were interested in research but stressed that their first priority was maintaining customer relationships. Conclusion: Although challenges exist in leveraging PHD for research, there are many opportunities for stakeholder engagement, and experimentation with these data is already taking place. These early examples foreshadow a much larger set of activities with the potential to positively transform how health research is conducted.
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    Data-Intensive Science and Campus IT
    (EDUCAUSE, 2015-09) Sheehan, Jerry; Arlitsch, Kenning; Mannheimer, Sara; Knobel, Cory; Llovet, Pol
    Montana State University developed the Research Data Census to engage local research communities in dialogue about their data: size, sharing resources and behaviors, and interest in services. The census confirmed the need for a tight coupling of IT infrastructure to data and curation services in order to make those resources useful to the research community.
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    Montana State University Research Data Census Instrument, Version 1
    (2015-01) Arlitsch, Kenning; Clark, Jason A.; Hager, Ben; Heetderks, Thomas; Llovet, Pol; Mannheimer, Sara; Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Sheehan, Jerry; Sterman, Leila B.
    Montana State University developed the Research Data Census (RDC) to engage our local research community in an interactive dialogue about their data. The research team was particularly interested in learning more about the following issues at Montana State: the size of research data; the role the local and wide area network play in accessing and sharing resources; data sharing behaviors; interest in existing services that assist with the curation, storage, and publication of scientific data discoveries.
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    Real-Time Digitization of Metabolomics Patterns from a Living System Using Mass Spectrometry
    (2014-10) Heinemann, Joshua; Noon, Brigit; Mohigmi, Mohammad J.; Mazurie, Aurélien J.; Dickensheets, David L.; Bothner, Brian
    The real-time quantification of changes in intracellular metabolic activities has the potential to vastly improve upon traditional transcriptomics and metabolomics assays for the prediction of current and future cellular phenotypes. This is in part because intracellular processes reveal themselves as specific temporal patterns of variation in metabolite abundance that can be detected with existing signal processing algorithms. Although metabolite abundance levels can be quantified by mass spectrometry (MS), large-scale real-time monitoring of metabolite abundance has yet to be realized because of technological limitations for fast extraction of metabolites from cells and biological fluids. To address this issue, we have designed a microfluidic-based inline small molecule extraction system, which allows for continuous metabolomic analysis of living systems using MS. The system requires minimal supervision, and has been successful at real-time monitoring of bacteria and blood. Feature-based pattern analysis of Escherichia coli growth and stress revealed cyclic patterns and forecastable metabolic trajectories. Using these trajectories, future phenotypes could be inferred as they exhibit predictable transitions in both growth and stress related changes. Herein, we describe an interface for tracking metabolic changes directly from blood or cell suspension in real-time.
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