Andrew B. Bicknell

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The adrenal gland requires stimuli from peptides derived from the ACTH precursor, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), to maintain its tonic state. Studies have proposed that a specific postsecretional cleavage of the nonmitogenic N-terminal 16 kDa fragment, also known as pro-gamma-melanotropin (pro-gamma-MSH), is required, releasing shorter fragments that promote(More)
It is just over 30 years since the definitive identification of the adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) precursor, pro-opiomelanocotin (POMC). Although first characterised in the anterior and intermediate lobes of the pituitary, POMC is also expressed in a number of both central and peripheral tissues including the skin, central nervous tissue and placenta.(More)
BACKGROUND Thiol isomerases are a family of endoplasmic reticulum enzymes which orchestrate redox-based modifications of protein disulphide bonds. Previous studies have identified important roles for the thiol isomerases PDI and ERp5 in the regulation of normal platelet function. AIM Recently, we demonstrated the presence of a further five thiol(More)
BACKGROUND Serine proteases are a major component of viper venoms and are thought to disrupt several distinct elements of the blood coagulation system of envenomed victims. A detailed understanding of the functions of these enzymes is important both for acquiring a fuller understanding of the pathology of envenoming and because these venom proteins have(More)
Snaclecs are small non-enzymatic proteins present in viper venoms reported to modulate hemostasis of victims through effects on platelets, vascular endothelial, and smooth muscle cells. In this study, we have isolated and functionally characterized a snaclec that we named "rhinocetin" from the venom of West African gaboon viper, Bitis gabonica rhinoceros.(More)
Agouti related protein (AgRP) is a recently discovered melanocortin receptors (MCR) antagonist implicated in the control of feeding behaviour. Expression of AgRP has been shown to be localized by in situ hybridization to the arcuate nucleus and median eminence of the brain, where it acts as an antagonist to the MC3 and MC4 receptors, while in the periphery(More)
Lys-gamma3-MSH is a melanocortin peptide derived from the C-terminal of the 16 kDa fragment of POMC. The physiological role of Lys-gamma3-MSH is unclear, although it has previously been shown that, although not directly steroidogenic, it can act to potentiate the steroidogenic response of adrenal cortical cells to ACTH. This synergistic effect appears to be(More)
A variety of transcription factors including Wilms tumor gene (Wt-1), steroidogenic factor 1 (Sf-1), dosage-sensitive sex reversal, adrenal hypoplasia congenita on the X-chromosome, Gene 1 (Dax-1), and pre-B-cell transcription factor 1 (Pbx1) have been defined as necessary for regular adrenocortical development. However, the role of Pbx1 for adrenal growth(More)
Alpha-, beta- and gamma-melanocyte stimulating hormones (MSHs) are peptides derived from the ACTH precursor, pro-opiomelanocortin. All three peptides have been highly conserved throughout evolution but their exact biological function in mammals is still largely obscure. In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in alpha-MSH and its role in the(More)
Valproic acid (VPA) is used widely to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Women undergoing VPA treatment reportedly have an increased incidence of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)-like symptoms including hyperandrogenism and oligo- or amenorrhoea. To investigate potential direct effects of VPA on ovarian steroidogenesis we used primary bovine theca (TC)(More)