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Søren Rasmussen - Top 30 Publications

TILLING in Brachypodium distachyon.

TILLING is a low-cost screening method that allows for identification of mutations in a gene-of-interest within a range of few base pairs. TILLING can be applied to mutant populations or to plant collections of cultivars, landraces or crop wild relatives (Eco-TILLING). The method is based on the Cel1 enzyme cleavage of mismatches in PCR products amplified with labeled primers. The cleavage can be detected due to the labeled primers by different methods including capillary electrophoresis. Here, we introduce the development of the mutant population BRACHYLIFE and present a Brachypodium TILLING protocol based on fluorescing primers for PCR, enzymatic cleavage, and detection with Applied Biosystems 3130xl Genetic Analyzer.

Ligand modulation of sidechain dynamics in a wild-type human GPCR.

GPCRs regulate all aspects of human physiology, and biophysical studies have deepened our understanding of GPCR conformational regulation by different ligands. Yet there is no experimental evidence for how sidechain dynamics control allosteric transitions between GPCR conformations. To address this deficit, we generated samples of a wild-type GPCR (A2AR) that are deuterated apart from (1)H/(13)C NMR probes at isoleucine δ1 methyl groups, which facilitated (1)H/(13)C methyl TROSY NMR measurements with opposing ligands. Our data indicate that low [Na(+)] is required to allow large agonist-induced structural changes in A2AR, and that patterns of sidechain dynamics substantially differ between agonist (NECA) and inverse agonist (ZM241385) bound receptors, with the inverse agonist suppressing fast ps-ns timescale motions at the G protein binding site. Our approach to GPCR NMR creates a framework for exploring how different regions of a receptor respond to different ligands or signaling proteins through modulation of fast ps-ns sidechain dynamics.

Liraglutide and Renal Outcomes in Type 2 Diabetes.

In a randomized, controlled trial that compared liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 analogue, with placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes and high cardiovascular risk who were receiving usual care, we found that liraglutide resulted in lower risks of the primary end point (nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes) and death. However, the long-term effects of liraglutide on renal outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes are unknown.

Genome-wide association mapping in winter barley for grain yield and culm cell wall polymer content using the high-throughput CoMPP technique.

A collection of 112 winter barley varieties (Hordeum vulgare L.) was grown in the field for two years (2008/09 and 2009/10) in northern Italy and grain and straw yields recorded. In the first year of the trial, a severe attack of barley yellow mosaic virus (BaYMV) strongly influenced final performances with an average reduction of ~ 50% for grain and straw harvested in comparison to the second year. The genetic determination (GD) for grain yield was 0.49 and 0.70, for the two years respectively, and for straw yield GD was low in 2009 (0.09) and higher in 2010 (0.29). Cell wall polymers in culms were quantified by means of the monoclonal antibodies LM6, LM11, JIM13 and BS-400-3 and the carbohydrate-binding module CBM3a using the high-throughput CoMPP technique. Of these, LM6, which detects arabinan components, showed a relatively high GD in both years and a significantly negative correlation with grain yield (GYLD). Overall, heritability (H2) was calculated for GYLD, LM6 and JIM and resulted to be 0.42, 0.32 and 0.20, respectively. A total of 4,976 SNPs from the 9K iSelect array were used in the study for the analysis of population structure, linkage disequilibrium (LD) and genome-wide association study (GWAS). Marker-trait associations (MTA) were analyzed for grain yield and cell wall determination by LM6 and JIM13 as these were the traits showing significant correlations between the years. A single QTL for GYLD containing three MTAs was found on chromosome 3H located close to the Hv-eIF4E gene, which is known to regulate resistance to BaYMV. Subsequently the QTL was shown to be tightly linked to rym4, a locus for resistance to the virus. GWAs on arabinans quantified by LM6 resulted in the identification of major QTLs closely located on 3H and hypotheses regarding putative candidate genes were formulated through the study of gene expression levels based on bioinformatics tools.

Mapping of common bunt resistance gene Bt9 in wheat.

The Bt9 resistance locus was mapped and shown to be distinct from the Bt10 locus. New markers linked to Bt9 have been identified and may be used to breed for resistance towards the seed-borne disease. Increasing organic wheat production in Denmark, and in other wheat-producing areas, in conjunction with legal requirements for organic seed production, may potentially lead to a rise in common bunt occurrence. As systemic pesticides are not used in organic farming, organic wheat production systems may benefit from genetic resistances. However, little is known about the underlying genetic mechanisms and locations of the resistance factors for common bunt resistance in wheat. A double haploid (DH) population segregating for common bunt resistance was used to identify the chromosomal location of common bunt resistance gene Bt9. DH lines were phenotyped in three environments and genotyped with DArTseq and SSR markers. The total length of the resulting linkage map was 2882 cM distributed across all 21 wheat chromosomes. Bt9 was mapped to the distal end of chromosome 6DL. Since wheat common bunt resistance gene Bt10 is also located on chromosome 6D, the possibility of their co-location was investigated. A comparison of marker sequences linked to Bt9 and Bt10 on physical maps of chromosome 6D confirmed that Bt9 and Bt10 are two distinct resistance factors located at the distal (6DL) and proximal (6DS) end, respectively, of chromosome 6D. Five new SSR markers Xgpw4005-1, Xgpw7433, Xwmc773, Xgpw7303 and Xgpw362 and many SNP and PAV markers flanking the Bt9 resistance locus were identified and they may be used in the future for marker-assisted selection.

Genoproteomics-assisted improvement of Andrographis paniculata: toward a promising molecular and conventional breeding platform for autogamous plants affecting the pharmaceutical industry.

Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Wall. ex Nees. (AP) is a hermaphroditic, self-compatible, and habitual inbreeding plant. Its main bioactive component is andrographolide, which is capable of inducing autophagic cell death in some human cancer cells and helps fight HIV/AIDS. Increasing the andrographolide content by investigating the genetic mechanisms controlling its biosynthesis in order to improve and develop high-yielding cultivars are the main breeding targets for AP. However, there might exist some limitations or barriers for crossability within AP accessions. Recently, this problem was addressed in AP by using a combination of crossbreeding and biotechnology-aided genetic methods. This review emphasizes that development of a breeding platform in a hard-to-breed plant, such as AP, requires the involvement of a broad range of methods from classical genetics to molecular breeding. To this end, a phenological stage (for example, flowering and stigma development) can be simplified to a quantitative morphological trait (for example, bud or stigma length) to be used as an index to express the highest level of receptivity in order to manage outcrossing. The outcomes of the basic crossability research can be then employed in diallel mating and crossbreeding. This review explains how genomic data could produce useful information regarding genetic distance and its influence on the crossability of AP accessions. Our review indicates that co-dominant DNA markers, such as microsatellites, are also capable of resolving the evolutionary pathway and cryptic features of plant populations and such information can be used to select the best breeding strategy. This review also highlights the importance of proteomic analysis as a breeding tool. In this regard, protein diversification, as well as the impact of normal and stress-responsive proteins on morphometric and physiological behaviors, could be used in breeding programs. These findings have immense potential for improving plant production and, therefore, can be regarded as prospective breeding platforms for medicinal plants that have an autogamous mode of reproduction. Finally, this review suggests that novel site-directed genome editing approaches such as TALENs (Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases) and CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)/Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein-9 nuclease) systems together with other new plant breeding technologies (NPBT) should simultaneously be taken into consideration for improvement of pharmaceutical plants.

Intensification of IDegAsp Twice Daily (Adding Insulin Aspart vs. Switching To Basal-Bolus): Exploratory Randomized Trial in Type 2 Diabetes.

In a preceding trial comparing two different titration schemes, insulin degludec/insulin aspart (IDegAsp) showed good efficacy for achieving HbA1c <7% when administered twice daily (BID) in patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, poor glycemic control persisted in a minority of patients. The current exploratory trial investigated the efficacy and safety of intensifying IDegAsp BID treatment in these patients by either adding a once-daily (OD) bolus injection of insulin aspart (IAsp) or by switching to a basal-bolus regimen of insulin degludec (IDeg) plus IAsp taken three times a day (TID).

Erratum to: Identification of manganese efficiency candidate genes in winter barley (Hordeum vulgare) using genome wide association mapping.

Identification of manganese efficiency candidate genes in winter barley (Hordeum vulgare) using genome wide association mapping.

Manganese (Mn) has several essential functions in plants, including a role as cofactor in the oxygen evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II (PSII). Manganese deficiency is a major plant nutritional disorder in winter cereals resulting in significant yield reductions and winter kill in more severe cases. Among the winter cereals, genotypes of winter barley are known to differ considerably in tolerance to Mn deficiency, but the genes controlling the Mn deficiency trait remains elusive.

Allosteric coupling from G protein to the agonist-binding pocket in GPCRs.

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) remain the primary conduit by which cells detect environmental stimuli and communicate with each other. Upon activation by extracellular agonists, these seven-transmembrane-domain-containing receptors interact with heterotrimeric G proteins to regulate downstream second messenger and/or protein kinase cascades. Crystallographic evidence from a prototypic GPCR, the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR), in complex with its cognate G protein, Gs, has provided a model for how agonist binding promotes conformational changes that propagate through the GPCR and into the nucleotide-binding pocket of the G protein α-subunit to catalyse GDP release, the key step required for GTP binding and activation of G proteins. The structure also offers hints about how G-protein binding may, in turn, allosterically influence ligand binding. Here we provide functional evidence that G-protein coupling to the β2AR stabilizes a ‘closed’ receptor conformation characterized by restricted access to and egress from the hormone-binding site. Surprisingly, the effects of G protein on the hormone-binding site can be observed in the absence of a bound agonist, where G-protein coupling driven by basal receptor activity impedes the association of agonists, partial agonists, antagonists and inverse agonists. The ability of bound ligands to dissociate from the receptor is also hindered, providing a structural explanation for the G-protein-mediated enhancement of agonist affinity, which has been observed for many GPCR–G-protein pairs. Our data also indicate that, in contrast to agonist binding alone, coupling of a G protein in the absence of an agonist stabilizes large structural changes in a GPCR. The effects of nucleotide-free G protein on ligand-binding kinetics are shared by other members of the superfamily of GPCRs, suggesting that a common mechanism may underlie G-protein-mediated enhancement of agonist affinity.

The reaction mechanism for the SCR process on monomer V(5+) sites and the effect of modified Brønsted acidity.

The energetics, structures and activity of a monomeric VO3H/TiO2(001) catalyst are investigated for the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) reaction by the use of density functional theory (DFT). Furthermore we study the influences of a dopant substitute in the TiO2 support and its effects on the known properties of the SCR system such as Brønsted acidity and reducibility of vanadium. We find for the reduction part of the SCR mechanism that it involves two Ti-O-V oxygen sites. One is a hydroxyl possessing Brønsted acidity which contributes to the formation of NH4(+), while the other accepts a proton which charge stabilizes the reduced active site. In the reduction the proton is donated to the latter due to a reaction between NH3 and NO that forms a H2NNO molecule which decomposes into N2(g) and H2O(g). A dopant substitution of 10 different dopants: Si, Ge, Se, Zr, Sn, Te, Hf, V, Mo and W at each of the sites, which participate in the reaction, modifies the energetics and therefore the SCR activity. We find that Brønsted acidity is a descriptor for the SCR activity at low temperatures. Based on this descriptor we find that Zr, Hf and Sn have a positive effect as they decrease the activation energy for the SCR reaction.

Fast, cross cultivar determination of total carotenoids in intact carrot tissue by Raman spectroscopy and Partial Least Squares calibration.

In order to speed up the breeding of orange carrots for high carotenoid content it is imperative to develop a fast and non-destructive technique. 332 roots from 86 carrot varieties grown in 2014 at the experimental farm in Høje Taastrup (DK) form the basis of this study. All roots were measured by Raman spectroscopy. The carotenoid content of the very same roots was estimated through a wet chemistry method coupled with UV-VIS at 447nm and 540nm. For the Raman spectroscopy, measurements were made on a cross section disk approximately 10cm from the root top at three different positions in the phloem. Since the top of the carrot is intact, it may still be used for growing. The final calibration model shows an uncertainty (RMSECV) of 20.5ppm, and a R(2)=0.86. It has thus proven to be well suited for prediction of carotenoids in orange carrots, and especially for ranking them according to the content.

Colles' fractures and osteoporosis--A new role for the Emergency Department.

In Denmark, guidelines from the Danish Orthopedic Society recommend that patients older than 65 years who sustain a Colles' fracture should be referred to assessment of underlying osteoporosis. An assessment of referral rates at our hospital during the period October 2010-September 2013 showed that none were referred. Due to this, an automatic out-patient referral system for assessment of underlying osteoporosis was established. With this system, patients are referred directly from the Emergency Department (ED). The purpose of this study was to assess how effective this new referral system was at improving referral rates for assessment of osteoporosis and to evaluate how many more cases of osteoporosis that was identified with this practice during the period October 2013-September 2014.

Association Mapping in Scandinavian Winter Wheat for Yield, Plant Height, and Traits Important for Second-Generation Bioethanol Production.

A collection of 100 wheat varieties representing more than 100 years of wheat-breeding history in Scandinavia was established in order to identify marker-trait associations for plant height (PH), grain yield (GY), and biomass potential for bioethanol production. The field-grown material showed variations in PH from 54 to 122 cm and in GY from 2 to 6.61 t ha(-1). The release of monomeric sugars was determined by high-throughput enzymatic treatment of ligno-cellulosic material and varied between 0.169 and 0.312 g/g dm for glucose (GLU) and 0.146 and 0.283 g/g dm for xylose (XYL). As expected, PH and GY showed to be highly influenced by genetic factors with repeatability (R) equal to 0.75 and 0.53, respectively, while this was reduced for GLU and XYL (R = 0.09 for both). The study of trait correlations showed how old, low-yielding, tall varieties released higher amounts of monomeric sugars after straw enzymatic hydrolysis, showing reduced recalcitrance to bioconversion compared to modern varieties. Ninety-three lines from the collection were genotyped with the DArTseq(®) genotypic platform and 5525 markers were used for genome-wide association mapping. Six quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for GY, PH, and GLU released from straw were mapped. One QTL for PH was previously reported, while the remaining QTLs constituted new genomic regions linked to trait variation. This paper is one of the first studies in wheat to identify QTLs that are important for bioethanol production based on a genome-wide association approach.

Lower rates of hypoglycemia during maintenance treatment with insulin degludec/insulin aspart versus biphasic insulin aspart 30: a combined analysis of two Phase 3a studies in type 2 diabetes.

Insulin degludec/insulin aspart (IDegAsp) is a soluble coformulation of the basal analog insulin degludec and the rapid-acting prandial insulin aspart in a single injection. The present combined analysis of two Phase 3a trials compared the incidence of hypoglycemia in participants treated twice daily with IDegAsp or biphasic insulin aspart 30 (BIAsp 30).

Emergency team calls for critically ill non-trauma patients in the emergency department: an observational study.

Handling critically ill patients is a complex task for Emergency Department (ED) personnel. Initial treatment is of major importance and requires adequately experienced ED doctors to initiate and decide for the right medical or surgical treatment. Our aim was, with regard to clinical presentation, management and mortality to describe adult non-trauma patients that upon ED arrival elicited emergency team calls.

Stability and genetic control of morphological, biomass and biofuel traits under temperate maritime and continental conditions in sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolour).

Eight morphological, biomass and biofuel traits were found with high broad-sense heritability and 18 significant QTLs discovered including one locus controlling the stem juice trait for sorghum grown in Denmark and China. Sweet sorghum with tall plant, fast maturation and high stem Brix content can be bred as a biofuel crop for Northern Europe. Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolour), a native tropical C4 crop, has attracted interest as a bioenergy crop in northern countries due to its juice-rich stem and high biomass production. Little is known about the traits important for its adaptation to high altitude climatic conditions and their genetic controls. Recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between a sweet and a grain kaoliang sorghum were used in five field trials in Denmark and in China to identify the stability and genetic controls of morphological, biomass and biofuel traits during three consecutive summers with short duration, cool temperatures and long days. Eight out of 15 traits were found with high broad-sense heritability. Strong positive correlations between plant height and biomass traits were observed, while Brix and juice content were under different genetic controls. Using newly developed PAV (presence and absence variant) markers, 53 QTLs were detected, of which 18 were common for both countries, including a locus controlling stem juice (LOD score = 20.5, r (2) = 37.5 %). In Denmark, the heading stage correlated significantly with biomass and morphology traits, and two significant maturity QTLs detected on chromosomes SBI01 and SBI02 co-localised with QTLs previously associated with early-stage chilling tolerance, suggesting that accelerating maturation might be a means of coping with low-temperature stress. Our results suggest that selection for tall and fast maturating sorghum plants combined with high Brix content represents a high potential for breeding bioenergy crop for Northern Europe.

A multi-pronged investigation into the effect of glucose starvation and culture duration on fed-batch CHO cell culture.

In this study, omics-based analysis tools were used to explore the effect of glucose starvation and culture duration on monoclonal antibody (mAb) production in fed-batch CHO cell culture to gain better insight into how these parameters can be controlled to ensure optimal mAb productivity and quality. Titer and N-glycosylation of mAbs, as well as proteomic signature and metabolic status of the production cells in the culture were assessed. We found that the impact of glucose starvation on the titer and N-glycosylation of mAbs was dependent on the degree of starvation during early stationary phase of the fed-batch culture. Higher degree of glucose starvation reduced intracellular concentrations of UDP-GlcNAc and UDP-GalNAc, but increased the levels of UDP-Glc and UDP-Gal. Increased GlcNAc and Gal occupancy correlated well with increased degree of glucose starvation, which can be attributed to the interplay between the dilution effect associated with change in specific productivity of mAbs and the changed nucleotide sugar metabolism. Herein, we also show and discuss that increased cell culture duration negatively affect the maturation of glycans. In addition, comparative proteomics analysis of cells was conducted to observe differences in protein abundance between early growth and early stationary phases. Generally higher expression of proteins involved in regulating cellular metabolism, extracellular matrix, apoptosis, protein secretion and glycosylation was found in early stationary phase. These analyses offered a systematic view of the intrinsic properties of these cells and allowed us to explore the root causes correlating culture duration with variations in the productivity and glycosylation quality of monoclonal antibodies produced with CHO cells.

Amino acid and glucose metabolism in fed-batch CHO cell culture affects antibody production and glycosylation.

Fed-batch Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell culture is the most commonly used process for IgG production in the biopharmaceutical industry. Amino acid and glucose consumption, cell growth, metabolism, antibody titer, and N-glycosylation patterns are always the major concerns during upstream process optimization, especially media optimization. Gaining knowledge on their interrelations could provide insight for obtaining higher immunoglobulin G (IgG) titer and better controlling glycosylation-related product quality. In this work, different fed-batch processes with two chemically defined proprietary media and feeds were studied using two IgG-producing cell lines. Our results indicate that the balance of glucose and amino acid concentration in the culture is important for cell growth, IgG titer and N-glycosylation. Accordingly, the ideal fate of glucose and amino acids in the culture could be mainly towards energy and recombinant product, respectively. Accumulation of by-products such as NH4(+) and lactate as a consequence of unbalanced nutrient supply to cell activities inhibits cell growth. The levels of Leu and Arg in the culture, which relate to cell growth and IgG productivity, need to be well controlled. Amino acids with the highest consumption rates correlate with the most abundant amino acids present in the produced IgG, and thus require sufficient availability during culture. Case-by-case analysis is necessary for understanding the effect of media and process optimization on glycosylation. We found that in certain cases the presence of Man5 glycan can be linked to limitation of UDP-GlcNAc biosynthesis as a result of insufficient extracellular Gln. However, under different culture conditions, high Man5 levels can also result from low α-1,3-mannosyl-glycoprotein 2-β-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (GnTI) and UDP-GlcNAc transporter activities, which may be attributed to high level of NH4+ in the cell culture. Furthermore, galactosylation of the mAb Fc glycans was found to be limited by UDP-Gal biosynthesis, which was observed to be both cell line and cultivation condition-dependent. Extracellular glucose and glutamine concentrations and uptake rates were positively correlated with intracellular UDP-Gal availability. All these findings are important for optimization of fed-batch culture for improving IgG production and directing glycosylation quality.

Nanoscale high-content analysis using compositional heterogeneities of single proteoliposomes.

Proteoliposome reconstitution is a standard method to stabilize purified transmembrane proteins in membranes for structural and functional assays. Here we quantified intrareconstitution heterogeneities in single proteoliposomes using fluorescence microscopy. Our results suggest that compositional heterogeneities can severely skew ensemble-average proteoliposome measurements but also enable ultraminiaturized high-content screens. We took advantage of this screening capability to map the oligomerization energy of the β2-adrenergic receptor using ∼10(9)-fold less protein than conventional assays.

Update on the genomics and basic biology of Brachypodium: International Brachypodium Initiative (IBI).

The scientific presentations at the First International Brachypodium Conference (abstracts available at http://www.brachy2013.unimore.it) are evidence of the widespread adoption of Brachypodium distachyon as a model system. Furthermore, the wide range of topics presented (genome evolution, roots, abiotic and biotic stress, comparative genomics, natural diversity, and cell walls) demonstrates that the Brachypodium research community has achieved a critical mass of tools and has transitioned from resource development to addressing biological questions, particularly those unique to grasses.

Quantification of amylose, amylopectin, and β-glucan in search for genes controlling the three major quality traits in barley by genome-wide association studies.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for amylose, amylopectin and β-glucan concentration in a collection of 254 European spring barley varieties allowed to identify 20, 17, and 21 single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) markers, respectively, associated with these important grain quality traits. Negative correlations between the content of amylose and β-glucan (R = -0.62, P < 0.01) and amylopectin and β-glucan (R = -0.487, P < 0.01) were found in this large collection of spring barley varieties. Besides HvCslF6, amo1 and AGPL2, sex6, and waxy were identified among the major genes responsible for β-glucan, amylose and amylopectin content, respectively. Several minor genes like HvGSL4, HvGSL3, and HvCesA6, PWD were also detected by GWAS for the first time. Furthermore, the gene encoding β-fructofuranosidase, located on the short arm of chromosome 7H at 1.49 cM, and SRF6, encoding "leucine-rich repeat receptor kinase protein" on chromosome 2 H, are proposed to be new candidate genes for amylopectin formation in barley endosperm. Several of the associated SNPs on chromosome 1, 5, 6, and 7H mapped to overlapping regions containing QTLs and genes controlling the three grain constituents. In particular chromosomes 5 and 7H carry many QTLs controlling barley grain quality. Amylose, amylopectin and β-glucan were interacted among each other through a metabolic network connected by UDP showing pleiotropic effects. Taken together, these results showed that cereal quality traits related each other and regulated through an interaction network, the identified major genes and genetic regions for amylose, amylopectin and β-glucan is a helpful for further research on carbohydrates and barley breeding.

Brief hospitalizations of elderly patients: a retrospective, observational study.

Crowded departments are a common problem in Danish hospitals, especially in departments of internal medicine, where a large proportion of the patients are elderly. We therefore chose to investigate the number and character of hospitalizations of elderly patients with a duration of less than 24 hours, as such short admissions could indicate that the patients had not been severely ill and that it might have been possible in these cases to avoid hospitalization.

A general protocol for the generation of Nanobodies for structural biology.

There is growing interest in using antibodies as auxiliary tools to crystallize proteins. Here we describe a general protocol for the generation of Nanobodies to be used as crystallization chaperones for the structural investigation of diverse conformational states of flexible (membrane) proteins and complexes thereof. Our technology has a competitive advantage over other recombinant crystallization chaperones in that we fully exploit the natural humoral response against native antigens. Accordingly, we provide detailed protocols for the immunization with native proteins and for the selection by phage display of in vivo-matured Nanobodies that bind conformational epitopes of functional proteins. Three representative examples illustrate that the outlined procedures are robust, making it possible to solve by Nanobody-assisted X-ray crystallography in a time span of 6-12 months.

Regulation of β2-adrenergic receptor function by conformationally selective single-domain intrabodies.

The biologic activity induced by ligand binding to orthosteric or allosteric sites on a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) is mediated by stabilization of specific receptor conformations. In the case of the β2 adrenergic receptor, these ligands are generally small-molecule agonists or antagonists. However, a monomeric single-domain antibody (nanobody) from the Camelid family was recently found to allosterically bind and stabilize an active conformation of the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR). Here, we set out to study the functional interaction of 18 related nanobodies with the β2AR to investigate their roles as novel tools for studying GPCR biology. Our studies revealed several sequence-related nanobody families with preferences for active (agonist-occupied) or inactive (antagonist-occupied) receptors. Flow cytometry analysis indicates that all nanobodies bind to epitopes displayed on the intracellular receptor surface; therefore, we transiently expressed them intracellularly as "intrabodies" to test their effects on β2AR-dependent signaling. Conformational specificity was preserved after intrabody conversion as demonstrated by the ability for the intracellularly expressed nanobodies to selectively bind agonist- or antagonist-occupied receptors. When expressed as intrabodies, they inhibited G protein activation (cyclic AMP accumulation), G protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK)-mediated receptor phosphorylation, β-arrestin recruitment, and receptor internalization to varying extents. These functional effects were likely due to either steric blockade of downstream effector (Gs, β-arrestin, GRK) interactions or stabilization of specific receptor conformations which do not support effector coupling. Together, these findings strongly implicate nanobody-derived intrabodies as novel tools to study GPCR biology.

Novel tripod amphiphiles for membrane protein analysis.

Integral membrane proteins play central roles in controlling the flow of information and molecules across membranes. Our understanding of membrane protein structures and functions, however, is seriously limited, mainly due to difficulties in handling and analysing these proteins in aqueous solution. The use of a detergent or other amphipathic agents is required to overcome the intrinsic incompatibility between the large lipophilic surfaces displayed by the membrane proteins in their native forms and the polar solvent molecules. Here, we introduce new tripod amphiphiles displaying favourable behaviours toward several membrane protein systems, leading to an enhanced protein solubilisation and stabilisation compared to both conventional detergents and previously described tripod amphiphiles.

A mouse model that recapitulates cardinal features of the 15q13.3 microdeletion syndrome including schizophrenia- and epilepsy-related alterations.

Genome-wide scans have uncovered rare copy number variants conferring high risk of psychiatric disorders. The 15q13.3 microdeletion is associated with a considerably increased risk of idiopathic generalized epilepsy, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia.

Insulin degludec is not associated with a delayed or diminished response to hypoglycaemia compared with insulin glargine in type 1 diabetes: a double-blind randomised crossover study.

Insulin degludec (Des(B30)LysB29(γ-Glu Nε-hexadecandioyl) human insulin; IDeg) is a new basal insulin with an ultra-long flat action profile. The acute physiological responses to hypoglycaemia with IDeg and insulin glargine (A21Gly,B31Arg,B32Arg human insulin; IGlar) were compared.

Low-volume insulin degludec 200 units/ml once daily improves glycemic control similarly to insulin glargine with a low risk of hypoglycemia in insulin-naive patients with type 2 diabetes: a 26-week, randomized, controlled, multinational, treat-to-target trial: the BEGIN LOW VOLUME trial.

The 200 units/mL formulation of insulin degludec (IDeg 200 units/mL) contains equal units of insulin in half the volume compared with the 100 units/mL formulation. We compared the efficacy and safety of IDeg 200 units/mL once daily with 100 units/mL insulin glargine (IGlar) in insulin-naïve subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) inadequately controlled with oral antidiabetic drugs.

Conformational biosensors reveal GPCR signalling from endosomes.

A long-held tenet of molecular pharmacology is that canonical signal transduction mediated by G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) coupling to heterotrimeric G proteins is confined to the plasma membrane. Evidence supporting this traditional view is based on analytical methods that provide limited or no subcellular resolution. It has been subsequently proposed that signalling by internalized GPCRs is restricted to G-protein-independent mechanisms such as scaffolding by arrestins, or GPCR activation elicits a discrete form of persistent G protein signalling, or that internalized GPCRs can indeed contribute to the acute G-protein-mediated response. Evidence supporting these various latter hypotheses is indirect or subject to alternative interpretation, and it remains unknown if endosome-localized GPCRs are even present in an active form. Here we describe the application of conformation-specific single-domain antibodies (nanobodies) to directly probe activation of the β2-adrenoceptor, a prototypical GPCR, and its cognate G protein, Gs (ref. 12), in living mammalian cells. We show that the adrenergic agonist isoprenaline promotes receptor and G protein activation in the plasma membrane as expected, but also in the early endosome membrane, and that internalized receptors contribute to the overall cellular cyclic AMP response within several minutes after agonist application. These findings provide direct support for the hypothesis that canonical GPCR signalling occurs from endosomes as well as the plasma membrane, and suggest a versatile strategy for probing dynamic conformational change in vivo.