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In the female reproductive tract, mammalian sperm undergo a regulated sequence of prefusion changes that "prime" sperm for fertilization. Among the least understood of these complex processes are the molecular mechanisms that underlie sperm guidance by environmental chemical cues. A "hard-wired" Ca(2+) signaling strategy that orchestrates specific motility(More)
BACKGROUND The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) evolved from a common ancestor. Still not completely understood is how specificity for glucocorticoids (e.g. cortisol) and mineralocorticoids (e.g. aldosterone) evolved in these receptors. RESULTS Our analysis of several vertebrate GRs and MRs in the context of 3D structures(More)
BACKGROUND Organotins are highly toxic and widely distributed environmental chemicals. Dibutyltin (DBT) is used as stabilizer in the production of polyvinyl chloride plastics, and it is also the major metabolite formed from tributyltin (TBT) in vivo. DBT is immunotoxic, however, the responsible targets remain to be defined. Due to the importance of(More)
BACKGROUND The role of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1) in the regulation of energy metabolism and immune system by locally reactivating glucocorticoids has been extensively studied. Experiments determining initial rates of enzyme activity revealed that 11beta-HSD1 can catalyze both the reductase and the dehydrogenase reaction in(More)
An integrated robotic laser and microscope system has been developed to automatically analyze individual sperm motility and energetics. The custom-designed optical system directs near-infrared laser light into an inverted microscope to create a single-point 3-D gradient laser trap at the focal spot of the microscope objective. A two-level computer structure(More)
BACKGROUND Lamprey, basal vertebrate, is an important model system for understanding early events in vertebrate evolution. Lamprey contains orthologs of the estrogen receptor [ER], progesterone receptor and corticoid receptor. A perplexing property of lamprey is that 15alpha-hydroxy-steroids are active steroids. For example, 15alpha-hydroxy-estradiol(More)
We have developed a microscope system for real-time single sperm tracking with an automated laser tweezers escape power assay. Phase contrast images of swimming sperm are digitized to the computer at video rate. The custom algorithm creates a region of interest centered about a sperm in response to a mouse click and performs all subsequent tasks(More)
Bisphenol A [BPA] is a widely dispersed environmental chemical that is of much concern because the BPA monomer is a weak transcriptional activator of human estrogen receptor α [ERα] and ERβ in cell culture. A BPA metabolite, 4-methyl-2,4-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)pent-1-ene [MBP], has transcriptional activity at nM concentrations, which is 1000-fold lower than(More)
We combine laser tweezers with custom computer tracking software and robotics to analyze the motility [swimming speed, VCL (curvilinear velocity), and swimming force in terms of escape laser power (Pesc)] and energetics [mitochondrial membrane potential (MP)] of individual sperm. Domestic dog sperm are labeled with a cationic fluorescent probe, DiOC2(3),(More)
Coumestrol, a phytoestrogen found in alfalfa, clover, and beans, has nM affinity for both estrogen receptor-α [ERα] and ERβ. Recently, a novel activity of coumestrol was reported: coumestrol binding to human ERβ represses microglia-mediated inflammation, which is associated with various neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. In contrast,(More)