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The microbiota–gut–brain axis, especially the microbial tryptophan (Trp) biosynthesis and metabolism pathway (MiTBamp), may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, studies on the MiTBamp in MDD are lacking. The aim of the present study was to analyze the gut microbiota composition and the MiTBamp in MDD patients.
We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing of stool samples from 26 MDD patients and 29 healthy controls (HCs). In addition to the microbiota community and the MiTBamp analyses, we also built a classification based on the Random Forests (RF) and Boruta algorithm to identify the gut microbiota as biomarkers for MDD.
The Bacteroidetes abundance was strongly reduced whereas that of Actinobacteria was significantly increased in the MDD patients compared with the abundance in the HCs. Most noteworthy, the MDD patients had increased levels of Bifidobacterium, which is commonly used as a probiotic. Four Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) orthologies (KOs) (K01817, K11358, K01626, K01667) abundances in the MiTBamp were significantly lower in the MDD group. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between the K01626 abundance and the HAMD scores in the MDD group. Finally, RF classification at the genus level can achieve an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.890.
The present findings enabled a better understanding of the changes in gut microbiota and the related Trp pathway in MDD. Alterations of the gut microbiota may have the potential as biomarkers for distinguishing MDD patients form HCs.
It is well known that extracellular signal-regulated kinase 8 (ERK8) plays pivotal roles in various mitotic events. But its physiological roles in oocyte meiotic maturation remain unclear. In this study, we found that although no specific ERK8 signal was detected in oocyte at the germinal vesicle stage, ERK8 began to migrate to the periphery of chromosomes shortly after germinal vesicle breakdown. At prometaphase I, metaphase I (MI), anaphase I, telophase I, and metaphase II (MII) stages, ERK8 was stably detected at the spindles. By taxol treatment, we clarified that the ERK8 signal was stained on the spindle fibers as well as microtubule asters in MI and MII oocytes. In fertilized eggs, the ERK8 signal was not observed in the two pronuclei stages. At prometaphase, metaphase, and anaphase of the first mitosis, ERK8 was detected on the mitotic spindle. ERK8 knock down by antibody microinjection and specific siRNA caused abnormal spindles, failed chromosome congression, and decreased first polar body extrusion. Taken together, our results suggest that ERK8 plays an important role in spindle organization during mouse oocyte meiotic maturation and early embryo cleavage.
It is well known that c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) plays pivotal roles in various mitotic events, but its function in mammalian oocyte meiosis remains unknown. In this study, we found that no specific JNK2 signal was detected in germinal vesicle stage. JNK2 was associated with the spindles especially the spindle poles and cytoplasmic microtubule organizing centers at prometaphase I, metaphase I, and metaphase II stages. JNK2 became diffusely distributed and associated with the midbody at telophase I stage. Injection of myc-tagged JNK2α1 mRNA into oocytes also revealed its localization on spindle poles. The association of JNK2 with spindle poles was further confirmed by colocalization with the centrosomal proteins, γ-tubulin and Plk1. Nocodazole treatment showed that JNK2 may interact with Plk1 to regulate the spindle assembly. Then we investigated the possible function of JNK2 by JNK2 antibody microinjection and JNK specific inhibitor SP600125 treatment. These two manipulations caused abnormal spindle formation and decreased the rate of first polar body (PB1) extrusion. In addition, inhibition of JNK2 resulted in impaired localization of Plk1. Taken together, our results suggest that JNK2 plays an important role in spindle assembly and PB1 extrusion during mouse oocyte meiotic maturation.
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