Publications by authors named "Emily B Askew"

12 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2) overexpression diminishes the procatabolic activity of chondrocytes by a mechanism independent of extracellular hyaluronan.

J Biol Chem 2019 09 3;294(37):13562-13579. Epub 2019 Jul 3.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27834

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive degenerative disease of the joints caused in part by a change in the phenotype of resident chondrocytes within affected joints. This altered phenotype, often termed proinflammatory or procatabolic, features enhanced production of endoproteinases and matrix metallo-proteinases (MMPs) as well as secretion of endogenous inflammatory mediators. Degradation and reduced retention of the proteoglycan aggrecan is an early event in OA. Enhanced turnover of hyaluronan (HA) is closely associated with changes in aggrecan. Here, to determine whether experimentally increased HA production promotes aggrecan retention and generates a positive feedback response, we overexpressed HA synthase-2 (HAS2) in chondrocytes via an inducible adenovirus construct (HA synthase-2 viral overexpression; HAS2-OE). HAS2-OE incrementally increased high-molecular-mass HA >100-fold within the cell-associated and growth medium pools. More importantly, our results indicated that the HAS2-OE expression system inhibits MMP3, MMP13, and other markers of the procatabolic phenotype (such as TNF-stimulated gene 6 protein (TSG6)) and also enhances aggrecan retention. These markers were inhibited in OA-associated chondrocytes and in chondrocytes activated by interleukin-1β (IL1β), but also chondrocytes activated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), or HA oligosaccharides. However, the enhanced extracellular HA resulting from HAS2-OE did not reduce the procatabolic phenotype of neighboring nontransduced chondrocytes as we had expected. Rather, HA-mediated inhibition of the phenotype occurred only in transduced cells. In addition, high HA biosynthesis rates, especially in transduced procatabolic chondrocytes, resulted in marked changes in chondrocyte dependence on glycolysis oxidative phosphorylation for their metabolic energy needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA119.008567DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6746454PMC
September 2019

Simvastatin promotes restoration of chondrocyte morphology and phenotype.

Arch Biochem Biophys 2019 04 15;665:1-11. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, East Carolina University, 600 Moye Blvd., Greenville, NC, 27834, USA. Electronic address:

In this study we examined whether the action of simvastatin affects re-differentiation of passaged chondrocytes and if so, whether this was mediated via changes in cholesterol or cholesterol intermediates. Bovine articular chondrocytes, of varying passage number, human knee chondrocytes and rat chondrosarcoma chondrocytes were treated with simvastatin and examined for changes in mRNA and protein expression of markers of the chondrocyte phenotype as well as changes in cell shape, proliferation and proteoglycan production. In all three models, while still in monolayer culture, simvastatin treatment alone promoted changes in phenotype and morphology indicative of re-differentiation most prominent being an increase in SOX9 mRNA and protein expression. In passaged bovine chondrocytes, simvastatin stimulated the expression of SOX9, ACAN, BMP2 and inhibited the expression of COL1 and α-smooth muscle actin. Co-treatment of chondrocytes with simvastatin plus exogenous cholesterol-conditions that had previously reversed the inhibition on CD44 shedding, did not alter the effects of simvastatin on re-differentiation. However, the co-treatment of chondrocytes with simvastatin together with other pathway intermediates, mevalonate, geranylgeranylpyrophosphate and to a lesser extent, farnesylpyrophosphate, blocked the pro-differentiation effects of simvastatin. Treatment with simvastatin stimulated expression of SOX9 and COL2a and enhanced SOX9 protein in human OA chondrocytes. The co-treatment of OA chondrocytes with mevalonate or geranylgeranylpyrophosphate, but not cholesterol, blocked the simvastatin effects. These results lead us to conclude that the blocking of critical protein prenylation events is required for the positive effects of simvastatin on the re-differentiation of chondrocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2019.01.038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6450767PMC
April 2019

The pericellular hyaluronan of articular chondrocytes.

Matrix Biol 2019 05 6;78-79:32-46. Epub 2018 Feb 6.

East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.

The story of hyaluronan in articular cartilage, pericellular hyaluronan in particular, essentially is also the story of aggrecan. Without properly tethered aggrecan, the load bearing function of cartilage is compromised. The anchorage of aggrecan to the cell surface only occurs due to the binding of aggrecan to hyaluronan-with hyaluronan tethered either to a hyaluronan synthase or by multivalent binding to CD44. In this review, details of hyaluronan synthesis are discussed including how HAS2 production of hyaluronan is necessary for normal chondrocyte development and matrix assembly, how an abundance or deficit of pericellular hyaluronan alters chondrocyte metabolism, and whether hyaluronan size matters or changes with aging or disease. The biomechanical role and matrix assembly function of hyaluronan in addition to the functions of hyaluronidases are discussed. The turnover of hyaluronan is considered including mechanisms by which its turnover, at least in part, is mediated by endocytosis by chondrocytes and regulated by aggrecan degradation. Differences between turnover and clearance of newly synthesized hyaluronan and aggrecan versus the half-life of hyaluronan remaining within the inter-territorial matrix of cartilage are discussed. The release of neutral pH-acting hyaluronidase activity remains one unanswered question concerning the loss of cartilage hyaluronan in osteoarthritis. Signaling events driven by changes in hyaluronan-chondrocyte interactions may involve a chaperone function of CD44 with other receptors/cofactors as well as the changes in hyaluronan production functioning as a metabolic rheostat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matbio.2018.02.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6078830PMC
May 2019

Androgen receptor regulation by histone methyltransferase Suppressor of variegation 3-9 homolog 2 and Melanoma antigen-A11.

Mol Cell Endocrinol 2017 03 29;443:42-51. Epub 2016 Dec 29.

Laboratories for Reproductive Biology, Department of Pediatrics, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States. Electronic address:

Androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity depends on interactions between the AR NH-terminal region and transcriptional coregulators. A yeast two-hybrid screen of a human testis library using predicted α-helical NH-terminal fragment AR-(370-420) as bait identified suppressor of variegation 3-9 homolog 2 (SUV39H2) histone methyltransferase as an AR interacting protein. SUV39H2 interaction with AR and the AR coregulator, melanoma antigen-A11 (MAGE-A11), was verified in two-hybrid, in vitro glutathione S-transferase affinity matrix and coimmunoprecipitation assays. Fluorescent immunocytochemistry colocalized SUV39H2 and AR in the cytoplasm without androgen, in the nucleus with androgen, and with MAGE-A11 in the nucleus independent of androgen. Chromatin immunoprecipitation using antibodies raised against SUV39H2 demonstrated androgen-dependent recruitment of AR and SUV39H2 to the androgen-responsive upstream enhancer of the prostate-specific antigen gene. SUV39H2 functioned cooperatively with MAGE-A11 to increase androgen-dependent AR transcriptional activity. SUV39H2 histone methyltransferase is an AR coactivator that increases androgen-dependent transcriptional activity through interactions with AR and MAGE-A11.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2016.12.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5303141PMC
March 2017

4-Methylumbelliferone Diminishes Catabolically Activated Articular Chondrocytes and Cartilage Explants via a Mechanism Independent of Hyaluronan Inhibition.

J Biol Chem 2016 Jun 25;291(23):12087-104. Epub 2016 Apr 25.

From the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27834

Depletion of the cartilage proteoglycan aggrecan is one of the earliest events that occurs in association with osteoarthritis. This loss is often accompanied by a coordinate loss in another glycosaminoglycan, hyaluronan. Chondrocytes experimentally depleted of cell-associated hyaluronan respond by switching to a pro-catabolic metabolism that includes enhanced production of endogenous inflammatory mediators and increased synthesis of matrix metalloproteinases. Hyaluronan turnover is also increased. Together, such a response provides for possible establishment of a self-perpetuating spiral of events that maintains or prolongs the pro-catabolic state. Chondrocytes or cartilage can also be activated by treatment with pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators such as IL-1β, TNFα, LPS, fibronectin fragments, and hyaluronan oligosaccharides. To determine the mechanism of chondrocyte activation due to hyaluronan loss, a depletion method was required that did not include degrading the hyaluronan. In recent years, several laboratories have used the coumarin derivative, 4-methylumbelliferone, as a potent inhibitor of hyaluronan biosynthesis, due in part to its ability to sequester intracellular UDP-glucuronic acid and inhibition of hyaluronan synthase transcription. However, contrary to our expectation, although 4-methylumbelliferone was indeed an inhibitor of hyaluronan biosynthesis, this depletion did not give rise to an activation of chondrocytes or cartilage. Rather, 4-methylumbelliferone directly and selectively blocked gene products associated with the pro-catabolic metabolic state of chondrocytes and did so through a mechanism preceding and independent of hyaluronan inhibition. These data suggest that 4-methylumbelliferone has additional useful applications to block pro-inflammatory cell activation events but complicates how it is used for defining functions related to hyaluronan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M115.709683DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4933260PMC
June 2016

CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of HAS2 in rat chondrosarcoma chondrocytes demonstrates the requirement of hyaluronan for aggrecan retention.

Matrix Biol 2016 12 14;56:74-94. Epub 2016 Apr 14.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, East Carolina University, The Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, NC 27834, USA. Electronic address:

Hyaluronan (HA) plays an essential role in cartilage where it functions to retain aggrecan. Previous studies have suggested that aggrecan is anchored indirectly to the plasma membrane of chondrocytes via its binding to cell-associated HA. However, reagents used to test these observations such as hyaluronidase and HA oligosaccharides are short term and may have side activities that complicate interpretation. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing approach, a model system was developed by generating HA-deficient chondrocyte cell lines. HA synthase-2 (Has2)-specific single guide RNA was introduced into two different variant lines of rat chondrosarcoma chondrocytes; knockout clones were isolated and characterized. Two other members of the HA synthase gene family were expressed at very low relative copy number but showed no compensatory response in the Has2 knockouts. Wild type chondrocytes of both variants exhibited large pericellular matrices or coats extending from the plasma membrane. Addition of purified aggrecan monomer expanded the size of these coats as the proteoglycan became retained within the pericellular matrix. Has2 knockout chondrocytes lost all capacity to assemble a particle-excluding pericellular matrix and more importantly, no matrices formed around the knockout cells following the addition of purified aggrecan. When grown as pellet cultures so as to generate a bioengineered neocartilage tissue, the Has2 knockout chondrocytes assumed a tightly-compacted morphology as compared to the wild type cells. When knockout chondrocytes were transduced with Adeno-ZsGreen1-mycHas2, the cell-associated pericellular matrices were restored including the capacity to bind and incorporate additional exogenous aggrecan into the matrix. These results suggest that HA is essential for aggrecan retention and maintaining cell separation during tissue formation.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5065400PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matbio.2016.04.002DOI Listing
December 2016

CD44 and hyaluronan promote the bone morphogenetic protein 7 signaling response in murine chondrocytes.

Arthritis Rheumatol 2014 Jun;66(6):1547-58

East Carolina University, Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina; Nankai University School of Medicine, Tianjin, China.

Objective: Cell-matrix interactions promote cartilage homeostasis. We previously found that Smad1, the transcriptional modulator of the canonical bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP-7) pathway, interacted with the cytoplasmic domain of CD44, the principal hyaluronan receptor on chondrocytes. To elucidate the physiologic function of CD44-Smad1 interactions, as well as the role of hyaluronan, we studied the response of chondrocytes isolated from CD44(-/-) and BALB/c (wild-type [WT]) mice to stimulation with BMP-7.

Methods: In primary murine chondrocytes, CD44 expression was decreased by small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection or was enhanced by plasmid transfection. Pericellular hyaluronan was removed by hyaluronidase treatment, or its endogenous synthesis was inhibited. Changes in response to BMP-7 stimulation were evaluated by Western blotting of Smad1 phosphorylation and aggrecan messenger RNA (mRNA) expression.

Results: Chondrocytes from CD44(-/-) mice and WT mice transfected with CD44 siRNA were less responsive than untransfected chondrocytes from WT mice to BMP-7. CD44(-/-) mouse chondrocytes transfected with pCD44 showed increased sensitivity to BMP-7. Significant increases in aggrecan mRNA were observed in WT mouse chondrocytes in response to 10 ng/ml of BMP-7, whereas at least 100 ng/ml of BMP-7 was required for CD44(-/-) mouse chondrocytes. However, in chondrocytes from CD44(-/-) and WT mice, hyaluronidase treatment decreased cellular responses to BMP-7. Treatment of both bovine and murine chondrocytes with 4-methylumbelliferone to reduce the synthesis of endogenous hyaluronan confirmed that hyaluronan promoted BMP-7 signaling.

Conclusion: Taken together, these investigations into the mechanisms underlying BMP-7 signaling in chondrocytes revealed that while hyaluronan-dependent pericellular matrix is critical for BMP-7 signaling, the expression of CD44 promotes the cellular response to lower concentrations of BMP-7.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.38388DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4070509PMC
June 2014

Intracellular domain fragment of CD44 alters CD44 function in chondrocytes.

J Biol Chem 2013 Sep 24;288(36):25838-50. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27834, USA.

The hyaluronan receptor CD44 undergoes sequential proteolytic cleavage at the cell surface. The initial cleavage of the CD44 extracellular domain is followed by a second intramembranous cleavage of the residual CD44 fragment, liberating the C-terminal cytoplasmic tail of CD44. In this study conditions that promote CD44 cleavage resulted in a diminished capacity to assemble and retain pericellular matrices even though sufficient non-degraded full-length CD44 remained. Using stable and transient overexpression of the cytoplasmic domain of CD44, we determined that the intracellular domain interfered with anchoring of the full-length CD44 to the cytoskeleton and disrupted the ability of the cells to bind hyaluronan and assemble a pericellular matrix. Co-immunoprecipitation assays were used to determine whether the mechanism of this interference was due to competition with actin adaptor proteins. CD44 of control chondrocytes was found to interact and co-immunoprecipitate with both the 65- and 130-kDa isoforms of ankyrin-3. Moreover, this interaction with ankyrin-3 proteins was diminished in cells overexpressing the CD44 intracellular domain. Mutating the putative ankyrin binding site of the transiently transfected CD44 intracellular domain diminished the inhibitory effects of this protein on matrix retention. Although CD44 in other cells types has been shown to interact with members of the ezrin/radixin/moesin (ERM) family of adaptor proteins, only modest interactions between CD44 and moesin could be demonstrated in chondrocytes. The data suggest that release of the CD44 intracellular domain into the cytoplasm of cells such as chondrocytes exerts a competitive or dominant-negative effect on the function of full-length CD44.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M113.494872DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764790PMC
September 2013

Structural features discriminate androgen receptor N/C terminal and coactivator interactions.

Mol Cell Endocrinol 2012 Jan 1;348(2):403-10. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Laboratories for Reproductive Biology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7500, USA.

Human androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity involves interdomain and coactivator interactions with the agonist-bound AR ligand binding domain (LBD). Structural determinants of the AR NH(2)- and carboxyl-terminal interaction between the AR NH(2)-terminal FXXLF motif and activation function 2 (AF2) in the LBD were shown previously by crystallography. In this report, we provide evidence for a region in AR LBD helix 12 outside the AF2 binding cleft that facilitates interactions with the FXXLF and LXXLL motifs. Mutagenesis of glutamine 902 to alanine in AR LBD helix 12 (Q902A) disrupted AR FXXLF motif binding to AF2, but enhanced coactivator LXXLL motif binding. Functional compensation for defective FXXLF motif binding by AR-Q902A was suggested by the slower dissociation rate of bound androgen. Functional importance of glutamine 902 was indicated by the charged residue germline mutation Q902R that caused partial androgen insensitivity, and a similar somatic mutation Q902K reported in prostate cancer, both of which increased the androgen dissociation rate and decreased AR transcriptional activity. High affinity equilibrium androgen binding was retained by alanine substitution mutations at Tyr-739 in AR LBD helix 5 or Lys-905 in helix 12 structurally adjacent to AF2, whereas transcriptional activity decreased and the androgen dissociation increased. Deleterious effects of these loss of function mutations were rescued by the helix stabilizing AR prostate cancer somatic mutation H874Y. Sequence NH(2)-terminal to the AR FXXLF motif contributed to the AR NH(2)- and carboxyl-terminal interaction based on greater AR-2-30 FXXLF motif peptide binding to the agonist-bound AR LBD than a shorter AR-20-30 FXXLF motif peptide. We conclude that helix 12 residues outside the AF2 binding cleft modulate AR transcriptional activity by providing flexibility to accommodate FXXLF or LXXLL motif binding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2011.03.026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3199032PMC
January 2012

Transcriptional synergy between melanoma antigen gene protein-A11 (MAGE-11) and p300 in androgen receptor signaling.

J Biol Chem 2010 Jul 6;285(28):21824-36. Epub 2010 May 6.

Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.

Androgen receptor (AR)-mediated gene regulation involves interactions with coregulatory proteins that include the melanoma antigen gene protein-A11 (MAGE-11). To understand the functional significance of sequence similarity between MAGE-11 and the adenovirus early protein E1A, we determined whether MAGE-11 contributes to AR transcriptional activity through an interaction with p300, a potent and ubiquitous transcriptional regulator. Here, we report that MAGE-11 interacts with the NH(2)-terminal region of p300 through the MAGE-11 MXXIF motif (185)MXXIF(189), with transcriptional activity depending on the MAGE-11 F-box and MAPK phosphorylation. The MAGE-11- and p300-dependent increase in AR transactivation required the NH(2)-terminal regions of AR and p300, p300 acetyltransferase activity, and the AR FXXLF motif (23)FQNLF(27) interaction with MAGE-11. MAGE-11 linked AR to p300 and the p160 coactivator, transcriptional intermediary protein 2 (TIF2). The p300 NH(2)-terminal FXXLF motif (33)FGSLF(37) was required for transcriptional activation by TIF2. Increased expression of p300 decreased the ubiquitinylation of MAGE-11 and transiently increased endogenous MAGE-11 levels. Autoacetylation of p300 and decreased acetylation of TIF2 were evident in the MAGE-11, p300, and TIF2 complex. The studies suggest that MAGE-11 links NH(2)-terminal domains of AR and p300 to promote transcriptional synergy through a cadre of FXXLF-related interacting motifs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M110.120600DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898404PMC
July 2010

Melanoma antigen gene protein-A11 (MAGE-11) F-box links the androgen receptor NH2-terminal transactivation domain to p160 coactivators.

J Biol Chem 2009 Dec 14;284(50):34793-808. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Curriculum in Toxicology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7500, USA.

Androgen-dependent transcriptional activity by the androgen receptor (AR) and its coregulators is required for male reproductive development and function. In humans and other primates, melanoma antigen gene protein-A11 (MAGE-11) is an AR selective coregulator that increases AR transcriptional activity. Here we show that the interaction between AR and MAGE-11 is mediated by AR NH(2)-terminal FXXLF motif binding to a highly conserved MAGE-11 F-box in the MAGE homology domain, and is modulated by serum stimulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation of MAGE-11 Ser-174. The MAGE-11-dependent increase in AR transcriptional activity is mediated by a direct interaction between MAGE-11 and transcriptional intermediary factor 2 (TIF2) through the NH(2)-terminal region of TIF2, and by a MAGE-11 FXXIF motif interaction with an F-box-like region in activation domain 1 of TIF2. The results suggest that MAGE-11 functions as a bridging factor to recruit AR coactivators through a novel FXX(L/I)F motif-F-box interaction paradigm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.065979DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2787342PMC
December 2009

Modulation of androgen receptor activation function 2 by testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.

J Biol Chem 2007 Aug 25;282(35):25801-16. Epub 2007 Jun 25.

Curriculum in Toxicology, Laboratories for Reproductive Biology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599, USA.

The androgen receptor (AR) is transcriptionally activated by high affinity binding of testosterone (T) or its 5alpha-reduced metabolite, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent androgen required for male reproductive tract development. The molecular basis for the weaker activity of T was investigated by determining T-bound ligand binding domain crystal structures of wild-type AR and a prostate cancer somatic mutant complexed with the AR FXXLF or coactivator LXXLL peptide. Nearly identical interactions of T and DHT in the AR ligand binding pocket correlate with similar rates of dissociation from an AR fragment containing the ligand binding domain. However, T induces weaker AR FXXLF and coactivator LXXLL motif interactions at activation function 2 (AF2). Less effective FXXLF motif binding to AF2 accounts for faster T dissociation from full-length AR. T can nevertheless acquire DHT-like activity through an AR helix-10 H874Y prostate cancer mutation. The Tyr-874 mutant side chain mediates a new hydrogen bonding scheme from exterior helix-10 to backbone protein core helix-4 residue Tyr-739 to rescue T-induced AR activity by improving AF2 binding of FXXLF and LXXLL motifs. Greater AR AF2 activity by improved core helix interactions is supported by the effects of melanoma antigen gene protein-11, an AR coregulator that binds the AR FXXLF motif and targets AF2 for activation. We conclude that T is a weaker androgen than DHT because of less favorable T-dependent AR FXXLF and coactivator LXXLL motif interactions at AF2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M703268200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4075031PMC
August 2007