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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evidence that mouse brain neuropathy target esterase is a lysophospholipase.

Neuropathy target esterase (NTE) is inhibited by several organophosphorus (OP) pesticides, chemical warfare agents, lubricants, and plasticizers, leading to OP-induced delayed neuropathy in people (>30,000 cases of human paralysis) and hens (the best animal model for this demyelinating disease). The active site region of NTE as a recombinant protein preferentially hydrolyzes lysolecithin, suggesting that this enzyme may be a type of lysophospholipase (LysoPLA) with lysolecithin as its physiological substrate. This hypothesis is tested here in mouse brain by replacing the phenyl valerate substrate of the standard NTE assay with lysolecithin for an "NTE-LysoPLA" assay with four important findings. First, NTE-LysoPLA activity, as the NTE activity, is 41-45% lower in Nte-haploinsufficient transgenic mice than in their wild-type littermates. Second, the potency of six delayed neurotoxicants or toxicants as in vitro inhibitors varies from IC50 0.02 to 13,000 nM and is essentially the same for NTE-LysoPLA and NTE (r2 = 0.98). Third, the same six delayed toxicants administered i.p. to mice at multiple doses inhibit brain NTE-LysoPLA and NTE to the same extent (r2 = 0.90). Finally, their in vivo inhibition of brain NTE-LysoPLA generally correlates with delayed toxicity. Therefore, OP-induced delayed toxicity in mice, and possibly the hyperactivity associated with NTE deficiency, may be due to NTE-LysoPLA inhibition, leading to localized accumulation of lysolecithin, a known demyelinating agent and receptor-mediated signal transducer. This mouse model has some features in common with OP-induced delayed neuropathy in hens and people but differs in the neuropathological signs and apparently the requirement for NTE aging.[1]


  1. Evidence that mouse brain neuropathy target esterase is a lysophospholipase. Quistad, G.B., Barlow, C., Winrow, C.J., Sparks, S.E., Casida, J.E. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
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