• Towards the integration of mouse databases - definition and implementation of solutions to two use-cases in mouse functional genomics

      Gruenberger, Michael; Alberts, Rudi; Smedley, Damian; Swertz, Morris; Schofield, Paul; Schughart, Klaus (2010-01-22)
      Abstract Background The integration of information present in many disparate biological databases represents a major challenge in biomedical research. To define the problems and needs, and to explore strategies for database integration in mouse functional genomics, we consulted the biologist user community and implemented solutions to two user-defined use-cases. Results We organised workshops, meetings and used a questionnaire to identify the needs of biologist database users in mouse functional genomics. As a result, two use-cases were developed that can be used to drive future designs or extensions of mouse databases. Here, we present the use-cases and describe some initial computational solutions for them. The application for the gene-centric use-case, "MUSIG-Gen" starts from a list of gene names and collects a wide range of data types from several distributed databases in a "shopping cart"-like manner. The iterative user-driven approach is a response to strongly articulated requests from users, especially those without computational biology backgrounds. The application for the phenotype-centric use-case, "MUSIG-Phen", is based on a similar concept and starting from phenotype descriptions retrieves information for associated genes. Conclusion The use-cases created, and their prototype software implementations should help to better define biologists' needs for database integration and may serve as a starting point for future bioinformatics solutions aimed at end-user biologists.
    • Towards the integration of mouse databases - definition and implementation of solutions to two use-cases in mouse functional genomics.

      Gruenberger, Michael; Alberts, Rudi; Smedley, Damian; Swertz, Morris; Schofield, Paul; Schughart, Klaus; Department of Infection Genetics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research & University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Inhoffenstr, 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. kls@helmholtz-hzi.de. (2010)
      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The integration of information present in many disparate biological databases represents a major challenge in biomedical research. To define the problems and needs, and to explore strategies for database integration in mouse functional genomics, we consulted the biologist user community and implemented solutions to two user-defined use-cases. RESULTS: We organised workshops, meetings and used a questionnaire to identify the needs of biologist database users in mouse functional genomics. As a result, two use-cases were developed that can be used to drive future designs or extensions of mouse databases. Here, we present the use-cases and describe some initial computational solutions for them. The application for the gene-centric use-case, "MUSIG-Gen" starts from a list of gene names and collects a wide range of data types from several distributed databases in a "shopping cart"-like manner. The iterative user-driven approach is a response to strongly articulated requests from users, especially those without computational biology backgrounds. The application for the phenotype-centric use-case, "MUSIG-Phen", is based on a similar concept and starting from phenotype descriptions retrieves information for associated genes. CONCLUSION: The use-cases created, and their prototype software implementations should help to better define biologists' needs for database integration and may serve as a starting point for future bioinformatics solutions aimed at end-user biologists.
    • The transcription factors Nkx2.2 and Nkx2.9 play a novel role in floor plate development and commissural axon guidance.

      Holz, Andreas; Kollmus, Heike; Ryge, Jesper; Niederkofler, Vera; Dias, Jose; Ericson, Johan; Stoeckli, Esther T; Kiehn, Ole; Arnold, Hans-Henning; Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Braunschweig, Spielmannstrasse 7, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-12)
      The transcription factors Nkx2.2 and Nkx2.9 have been proposed to execute partially overlapping functions in neuronal patterning of the ventral spinal cord in response to graded sonic hedgehog signaling. The present report shows that in mice lacking both Nkx2 proteins, the presumptive progenitor cells in the p3 domain of the neural tube convert to motor neurons (MN) and never acquire the fate of V3 interneurons. This result supports the concept that Nkx2 transcription factors are required to establish V3 progenitor cells by repressing the early MN lineage-specific program, including genes like Olig2. Nkx2.2 and Nkx2.9 proteins also perform an additional, hitherto unknown, function in the development of non-neuronal floor plate cells. Here, we demonstrate that loss of both Nkx2 genes results in an anatomically smaller and functionally impaired floor plate causing severe defects in axonal pathfinding of commissural neurons. Defective floor plates were also seen in Nkx2.2(+/-);Nkx2.9(-/-) compound mutants and even in single Nkx2.9(-/-) mutants, suggesting that floor plate development is sensitive to dose and/or timing of Nkx2 expression. Interestingly, adult Nkx2.2(+/-);Nkx2.9(-/-) compound-mutant mice exhibit abnormal locomotion, including a permanent or intermittent hopping gait. Drug-induced locomotor-like activity in spinal cords of mutant neonates is also affected, demonstrating increased variability of left-right and flexor-extensor coordination. Our data argue that the Nkx2.2 and Nkx2.9 transcription factors contribute crucially to the formation of neuronal networks that function as central pattern generators for locomotor activity in the spinal cord. As both factors affect floor plate development, control of commissural axon trajectories might be the underlying mechanism.
    • Transient oligoarthritis of the lower extremity following influenza B virus infection: Case report

      Bruck, Normi; Gahr, Manfred; Pessler, Frank (2010-01-14)
      Abstract A 12-year-old girl developed influenza B virus infection proven by typical symptoms and detection of the virus in a nasopharyngeal swab by culture and PCR. Two weeks later she developed an otherwise unexplained transient oligoarthritis of small joints of the left foot. Influenza viruses may be a hitherto underappreciated cause of a post-infectious arthritis.
    • Translational neuroscience of Schizophrenia: seeking a meeting of minds between mouse and man.

      Kas, Martien J; Kahn, René S; Collier, David A; Waddington, John L; Ekelund, Jesper; Porteous, David J; Schughart, Klaus; Hovatta, Iiris; Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584CG Utrecht, The Netherlands. m.j.h.kas@umcutrecht.nl (2011-09-28)
      Understanding the etiology of developmental brain disorders such as schizophrenia is critical for achieving advances in treatment and requires new research strategies that control for individual variation in genetic background, environmental challenges, and expression of phenotype. SYSGENET, a European systems genetics network for the study of complex genetic human diseases with mouse genetic reference populations, brought together in Helsinki a cross-disciplinary group of clinical and basic scientists and mouse geneticists to debate, formulate, and prioritize a strategy for future research based on mouse models. The main conclusions of this meeting are summarized here.
    • The wild-derived inbred mouse strain SPRET/Ei is resistant to LPS and defective in IFN-beta production.

      Mahieu, Tina; Park, Jin Mo; Revets, Hilde; Pasche, Bastian; Lengeling, Andreas; Staelens, Jan; Wullaert, Andy; Vanlaere, Ineke; Hochepied, Tino; van Roy, Frans; et al. (2006-02-14)
      Although activation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-positive cells is essential for eliminating Gram-negative bacteria, overactivation of these cells by the TLR4 ligand LPS initiates a systemic inflammatory reaction and shock. Here we demonstrate that SPRET/Ei mice, derived from Mus spretus, exhibit a dominant resistance against LPS-induced lethality. This resistance is mediated by bone marrow-derived cells. Macrophages from these mice exhibit normal signaling and gene expression responses that depend on the myeloid differentiation factor 88 adaptor protein, but they are impaired in IFN-beta production. The defect appears to be specific for IFN-beta, although the SPRET/Ei IFN-beta promoter is normal. In vivo IFN-beta induction by LPS or influenza virus is very low in SPRET/Ei mice, but IFN-beta-treatment restores the sensitivity to LPS, and IFN type 1 receptor-deficient mice are also resistant to LPS. Because of the defective induction of IFN-beta, these mice are completely resistant to Listeria monocytogenes and highly sensitive to Leishmania major infection. Stimulation of SPRET/Ei macrophages leads to rapid down-regulation of IFN type 1 receptor mRNA expression, which is reflected in poor induction of IFN-beta-dependent genes. This finding indicates that the resistance of SPRET/Ei mice to LPS is due to disruption of a positive-feedback loop that amplifies IFN-beta production. In contrast to TLR4-deficient mice, SPRET/Ei mice resist both LPS and sepsis induced with Klebsiella pneumoniae.
    • XGAP: a uniform and extensible data model and software platform for genotype and phenotype experiments.

      Swertz, Morris A; Velde, K Joeri van der; Tesson, Bruno M; Scheltema, Richard A; Arends, Danny; Vera, Gonzalo; Alberts, Rudi; Dijkstra, Martijn; Schofield, Paul; Schughart, Klaus; et al. (2010)
      We present an extensible software model for the genotype and phenotype community, XGAP. Readers can download a standard XGAP (http://www.xgap.org) or auto-generate a custom version using MOLGENIS with programming interfaces to R-software and web-services or user interfaces for biologists. XGAP has simple load formats for any type of genotype, epigenotype, transcript, protein, metabolite or other phenotype data. Current functionality includes tools ranging from eQTL analysis in mouse to genome-wide association studies in humans.