Publications by authors named "Emma Kenyon"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Identification of a series of hair-cell MET channel blockers that protect against aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity.

JCI Insight 2021 04 8;6(7). Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Sussex Neuroscience and.

To identify small molecules that shield mammalian sensory hair cells from the ototoxic side effects of aminoglycoside antibiotics, 10,240 compounds were initially screened in zebrafish larvae, selecting for those that protected lateral-line hair cells against neomycin and gentamicin. When the 64 hits from this screen were retested in mouse cochlear cultures, 8 protected outer hair cells (OHCs) from gentamicin in vitro without causing hair-bundle damage. These 8 hits shared structural features and blocked, to varying degrees, the OHC's mechano-electrical transducer (MET) channel, a route of aminoglycoside entry into hair cells. Further characterization of one of the strongest MET channel blockers, UoS-7692, revealed it additionally protected against kanamycin and tobramycin and did not abrogate the bactericidal activity of gentamicin. UoS-7692 behaved, like the aminoglycosides, as a permeant blocker of the MET channel; significantly reduced gentamicin-Texas red loading into OHCs; and preserved lateral-line function in neomycin-treated zebrafish. Transtympanic injection of UoS-7692 protected mouse OHCs from furosemide/kanamycin exposure in vivo and partially preserved hearing. The results confirmed the hair-cell MET channel as a viable target for the identification of compounds that protect the cochlea from aminoglycosides and provide a series of hit compounds that will inform the design of future otoprotectants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.145704DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8133782PMC
April 2021

Low genotypic diversity and long-term ecological decline in a spatially structured seagrass population.

Sci Rep 2019 12 5;9(1):18387. Epub 2019 Dec 5.

Department of Biosciences, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom.

In isolated or declining populations, viability may be compromised further by loss of genetic diversity. Therefore, it is important to understand the relationship between long-term ecological trajectories and population genetic structure. However, opportunities to combine these types of data are rare, especially in natural systems. Using an existing panel of 15 microsatellites, we estimated allelic diversity in seagrass, Zostera marina, at five sites around the Isles of Scilly Special Area of Conservation, UK, in 2010 and compared this to 23 years of annual ecological monitoring (1996-2018). We found low diversity and long-term declines in abundance in this relatively pristine but isolated location. Inclusion of the snapshot of genotypic, but less-so genetic, diversity improved prediction of abundance trajectories; however, this was spatial scale-dependent. Selection of the appropriate level of genetic organization and spatial scale for monitoring is, therefore, important to identify drivers of eco-evolutionary dynamics. This has implications for the use of population genetic information in conservation, management, and spatial planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54828-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6895181PMC
December 2019

Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of a New Series of Carvedilol Derivatives That Protect Sensory Hair Cells from Aminoglycoside-Induced Damage by Blocking the Mechanoelectrical Transducer Channel.

J Med Chem 2019 06 24;62(11):5312-5329. Epub 2019 May 24.

Medicines Discovery Institute , Cardiff University , Park Place , Cardiff CF10 3AT , U.K.

Aminoglycosides (AGs) are broad-spectrum antibiotics used for the treatment of serious bacterial infections but have use-limiting side effects including irreversible hearing loss. Here, we assessed the otoprotective profile of carvedilol in mouse cochlear cultures and in vivo zebrafish assays and investigated its mechanism of protection which, we found, may be mediated by a block of the hair cell's mechanoelectrical transducer (MET) channel, the major entry route for the AGs. To understand the full otoprotective potential of carvedilol, a series of 18 analogues were prepared and evaluated for their effect against AG-induced damage as well as their affinity for the MET channel. One derivative was found to confer greater protection than carvedilol itself in cochlear cultures and also to bind more tightly to the MET channel. At higher concentrations, both carvedilol and this derivative were toxic in cochlear cultures but not in zebrafish, suggesting a good therapeutic window under in vivo conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b01325DOI Listing
June 2019

Identification of ion-channel modulators that protect against aminoglycoside-induced hair cell death.

JCI Insight 2017 12 21;2(24). Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Sussex Neuroscience, School of Life Sciences.

Aminoglycoside antibiotics are used to treat life-threatening bacterial infections but can cause deafness due to hair cell death in the inner ear. Compounds have been described that protect zebrafish lateral line hair cells from aminoglycosides, but few are effective in the cochlea. As the aminoglycosides interact with several ion channels, including the mechanoelectrical transducer (MET) channels by which they can enter hair cells, we screened 160 ion-channel modulators, seeking compounds that protect cochlear outer hair cells (OHCs) from aminoglycoside-induced death in vitro. Using zebrafish, 72 compounds were identified that either reduced loading of the MET-channel blocker FM 1-43FX, decreased Texas red-conjugated neomycin labeling, or reduced neomycin-induced hair cell death. After testing these 72 compounds, and 6 structurally similar compounds that failed in zebrafish, 13 were found that protected against gentamicin-induced death of OHCs in mouse cochlear cultures, 6 of which are permeant blockers of the hair cell MET channel. None of these compounds abrogated aminoglycoside antibacterial efficacy. By selecting those without adverse effects at high concentrations, 5 emerged as leads for developing pharmaceutical otoprotectants to alleviate an increasing clinical problem.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.96773DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5752279PMC
December 2017

d-Tubocurarine and Berbamine: Alkaloids That Are Permeant Blockers of the Hair Cell's Mechano-Electrical Transducer Channel and Protect from Aminoglycoside Toxicity.

Front Cell Neurosci 2017 5;11:262. Epub 2017 Sep 5.

Sussex Neuroscience, School of Life Sciences, University of SussexBrighton, United Kingdom.

Aminoglycoside antibiotics are widely used for the treatment of life-threatening bacterial infections, but cause permanent hearing loss in a substantial proportion of treated patients. The sensory hair cells of the inner ear are damaged following entry of these antibiotics via the mechano-electrical transducer (MET) channels located at the tips of the hair cell's stereocilia. d-Tubocurarine (dTC) is a MET channel blocker that reduces the loading of gentamicin-Texas Red (GTTR) into rat cochlear hair cells and protects them from gentamicin treatment. Berbamine is a structurally related alkaloid that reduces GTTR labeling of zebrafish lateral-line hair cells and protects them from aminoglycoside-induced cell death. Both compounds are thought to reduce aminoglycoside entry into hair cells through the MET channels. Here we show that dTC (≥6.25 μM) or berbamine (≥1.55 μM) protect zebrafish hair cells from neomycin (6.25 μM, 1 h). Protection of zebrafish hair cells against gentamicin (10 μM, 6 h) was provided by ≥25 μM dTC or ≥12.5 μM berbamine. Hair cells in mouse cochlear cultures are protected from longer-term exposure to gentamicin (5 μM, 48 h) by 20 μM berbamine or 25 μM dTC. Berbamine is, however, highly toxic to mouse cochlear hair cells at higher concentrations (≥30 μM) whilst dTC is not. The absence of toxicity in the zebrafish assays prompts caution in extrapolating results from zebrafish neuromasts to mammalian cochlear hair cells. MET current recordings from mouse outer hair cells (OHCs) show that both compounds are permeant open-channel blockers, rapidly and reversibly blocking the MET channel with half-blocking concentrations of 2.2 μM (dTC) and 2.8 μM (berbamine) in the presence of 1.3 mM Ca at -104 mV. Berbamine, but not dTC, also blocks the hair cell's basolateral K current, I, and modeling studies indicate that berbamine permeates the MET channel more readily than dTC. These studies reveal key properties of MET-channel blockers required for the future design of successful otoprotectants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2017.00262DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5591855PMC
September 2017

Expression and knockdown of zebrafish folliculin suggests requirement for embryonic brain morphogenesis.

BMC Dev Biol 2016 07 8;16(1):23. Epub 2016 Jul 8.

School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.

Background: Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) is a dominantly inherited familial cancer syndrome characterised by the development of benign skin fibrofolliculomas, multiple lung and kidney cysts, spontaneous pneumothorax and susceptibility to renal cell carcinoma. BHD is caused by mutations in the gene encoding Folliculin (FLCN). Little is known about what FLCN does in a healthy individual and how best to treat those with BHD. As a first approach to developing a vertebrate model for BHD we aimed to identify the temporal and spatial expression of flcn transcripts in the developing zebrafish embryo. To gain insights into the function of flcn in a whole organism system we generated a loss of function model of flcn by the use of morpholino knockdown in zebrafish.

Results: flcn is expressed broadly and upregulated in the fin bud, somites, eye and proliferative regions of the brain of the Long-pec stage zebrafish embryos. Together with knockdown phenotypes, expression analysis suggest involvement of flcn in zebrafish embryonic brain development. We have utilised the zFucci system, an in vivo, whole organism cell cycle assay to study the potential role of flcn in brain development. We found that at the 18 somite stage there was a significant drop in cells in the S-M phase of the cell cycle in flcn morpholino injected embryos with a corresponding increase of cells in the G1 phase. This was particularly evident in the brain, retina and somites of the embryo. Timelapse analysis of the head region of flcn morpholino injected and mismatch control embryos shows the temporal dynamics of cell cycle misregulation during development.

Conclusions: In conclusion we show that zebrafish flcn is expressed in a non-uniform manner and is likely required for the maintenance of correct cell cycle regulation during embryonic development. We demonstrate the utilisation of the zFucci system in testing the role of flcn in cell proliferation and suggest a function for flcn in regulating cell proliferation in vertebrate embryonic brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12861-016-0119-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939010PMC
July 2016

Zebrafish Rab5 proteins and a role for Rab5ab in nodal signalling.

Dev Biol 2015 Jan 3;397(2):212-24. Epub 2014 Dec 3.

Sequencing Technology Development, The Genome Analysis Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom.

The RAB5 gene family is the best characterised of all human RAB families and is essential for in vitro homotypic fusion of early endosomes. In recent years, the disruption or activation of Rab5 family proteins has been used as a tool to understand growth factor signal transduction in whole animal systems such as Drosophila melanogaster and zebrafish. In this study we have examined the functions for four rab5 genes in zebrafish. Disruption of rab5ab expression by antisense morpholino oligonucleotide (MO) knockdown abolishes nodal signalling in early zebrafish embryos, whereas overexpression of rab5ab mRNA leads to ectopic expression of markers that are normally downstream of nodal signalling. By contrast MO disruption of other zebrafish rab5 genes shows little or no effect on expression of markers of dorsal organiser development. We conclude that rab5ab is essential for nodal signalling and organizer specification in the developing zebrafish embryo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.11.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4294769PMC
January 2015

The roles of flowering, overwinter survival and sea surface temperature in the long-term population dynamics of Zostera marina around the Isles of Scilly, UK.

Mar Pollut Bull 2014 Jun 14;83(2):500-7. Epub 2014 Apr 14.

Department of Biosciences, Wallace Building, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Interaction between biotic and abiotic drivers of dynamics is an important topic in ecology. Despite numerous short-term studies, there is a paucity of evidence about how environmental structure modifies dynamics in marine systems. We quantified Zostera marina flowering and non-flowering shoot density annually from 1996 to 2012 around the Isles of Scilly, UK, parameterizing a population dynamic model. Flowering is structured in time and space, with temperature and flowering positively associated at some locations only. We found no evidence that flower production contributes to seagrass density but 'patchiness' was positively associated with flowering in the previous year. With evidence of substantial overwinter survival, findings support the hypothesis that local populations are maintained largely through vegetative reproduction but sexual reproduction may contribute to colonisation of vacant habitat. This long-term study (1) tests validity of shorter-term investigations, (2) quantifies interaction between biotic and abiotic factors and (3) promotes seagrass as a model ecosystem.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.03.035DOI Listing
June 2014

The zebrafish reference genome sequence and its relationship to the human genome.

Nature 2013 Apr 17;496(7446):498-503. Epub 2013 Apr 17.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.

Zebrafish have become a popular organism for the study of vertebrate gene function. The virtually transparent embryos of this species, and the ability to accelerate genetic studies by gene knockdown or overexpression, have led to the widespread use of zebrafish in the detailed investigation of vertebrate gene function and increasingly, the study of human genetic disease. However, for effective modelling of human genetic disease it is important to understand the extent to which zebrafish genes and gene structures are related to orthologous human genes. To examine this, we generated a high-quality sequence assembly of the zebrafish genome, made up of an overlapping set of completely sequenced large-insert clones that were ordered and oriented using a high-resolution high-density meiotic map. Detailed automatic and manual annotation provides evidence of more than 26,000 protein-coding genes, the largest gene set of any vertebrate so far sequenced. Comparison to the human reference genome shows that approximately 70% of human genes have at least one obvious zebrafish orthologue. In addition, the high quality of this genome assembly provides a clearer understanding of key genomic features such as a unique repeat content, a scarcity of pseudogenes, an enrichment of zebrafish-specific genes on chromosome 4 and chromosomal regions that influence sex determination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703927PMC
April 2013

Local competition and metapopulation processes drive long-term seagrass-epiphyte population dynamics.

PLoS One 2013 21;8(2):e57072. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.

It is well known that ecological processes such as population regulation and natural enemy interactions potentially occur over a range of spatial scales, and there is a substantial body of literature developing theoretical understanding of the interplay between these processes. However, there are comparatively few studies quantifying the long-term effects of spatial scaling in natural ecosystems. A key challenge is that trophic complexity in real-world biological communities quickly obscures the signal from a focal process. Seagrass meadows provide an excellent opportunity in this respect: in many instances, seagrasses effectively form extensive natural monocultures, in which hypotheses about endogenous dynamics can be formulated and tested. We present amongst the longest unbroken, spatially explict time series of seagrass abundance published to date. Data include annual measures of shoot density, total above-ground abundance, and associated epiphyte cover from five Zostera marina meadows distributed around the Isles of Scilly, UK, from 1996 to 2011. We explore empirical patterns at the local and metapopulation scale using standard time series analysis and develop a simple population dynamic model, testing the hypothesis that both local and metapopulation scale feedback processes are important. We find little evidence of an interaction between scales in seagrass dynamics but that both scales contribute approximately equally to observed local epiphyte abundance. By quantifying the long-term dynamics of seagrass-epiphyte interactions we show how measures of density and extent are both important in establishing baseline information relevant to predicting responses to environmental change and developing management plans. We hope that this study complements existing mechanistic studies of physiology, genetics and productivity in seagrass, whilst highlighting the potential of seagrass as a model ecosystem. More generally, this study provides a rare opportunity to test some of the predictions of ecological theory in a natural ecosystem of global conservation and economic value.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0057072PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3578831PMC
August 2013

Wasting disease regulates long-term population dynamics in a threatened seagrass.

Oecologia 2012 May 11;169(1):135-42. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

The role of disease in the long-term dynamics of threatened species is poorly quantified, as well as being under-represented in ecology and conservation management. To understand persistent host-pathogen interaction operating in a vulnerable habitat, we quantified dynamics driving patterns of seagrass density using a longitudinal study in a relatively pristine site (Isles of Scilly, UK). Replicated samples of eelgrass (Zostera marina) density and wasting disease prevalence, presumably caused by Labyrinthula zosterae, were taken from five meadows at the height of the growing season, over the years 1997-2010. Data were used to parameterise a population dynamic model, incorporating density-dependent factors and sea temperature records. We found that direct density and disease-mediated feedback operate within a network of local populations. Furthermore, our results indicate that the strength of limitation to seagrass growth by disease was increased at higher temperatures. This modification of the coupled host-pathogen dynamics forms a novel hypothesis to account for dramatic die-backs of Z. marina widely reported elsewhere. Our findings highlight the importance of disease in structuring distributions of vulnerable species, as well as the application of population modelling in order to reveal ecological processes and prioritize future mechanistic investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-011-2187-6DOI Listing
May 2012

Functional analysis of conserved non-coding regions around the short stature hox gene (shox) in whole zebrafish embryos.

PLoS One 2011 24;6(6):e21498. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.

Background: Mutations in the SHOX gene are responsible for Leri-Weill Dyschondrosteosis, a disorder characterised by mesomelic limb shortening. Recent investigations into regulatory elements surrounding SHOX have shown that deletions of conserved non-coding elements (CNEs) downstream of the SHOX gene produce a phenotype indistinguishable from Leri-Weill Dyschondrosteosis. As this gene is not found in rodents, we used zebrafish as a model to characterise the expression pattern of the shox gene across the whole embryo and characterise the enhancer domains of different CNEs associated with this gene.

Methodology/principal Findings: Expression of the shox gene in zebrafish was identified using in situ hybridization, with embryos showing expression in the blood, putative heart, hatching gland, brain pharyngeal arch, olfactory epithelium, and fin bud apical ectodermal ridge. By identifying sequences showing 65% identity over at least 40 nucleotides between Fugu, human, dog and opossum we uncovered 35 CNEs around the shox gene. These CNEs were compared with CNEs previously discovered by Sabherwal et al., resulting in the identification of smaller more deeply conserved sub-sequence. Sabherwal et al.'s CNEs were assayed for regulatory function in whole zebrafish embryos resulting in the identification of additional tissues under the regulatory control of these CNEs.

Conclusion/significance: Our results using whole zebrafish embryos have provided a more comprehensive picture of the expression pattern of the shox gene, and a better understanding of its regulation via deeply conserved noncoding elements. In particular, we identify additional tissues under the regulatory control of previously identified SHOX CNEs. We also demonstrate the importance of these CNEs in evolution by identifying duplicated shox CNEs and more deeply conserved sub-sequences within already identified CNEs.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0021498PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3123344PMC
November 2011

Long-term effects of ovariectomy and estrogen replacement treatment on endothelial function in mature rats.

Maturitas 2003 Jul;45(3):213-23

Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, 2176 Health Sciences Mall,Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3.

Objectives: Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) improves blood flow through various mechanisms including an augmented release of nitric oxide (NO). We report on the long-term effects of estrogen loss on vascular function and endothelial regulation.

Methods: Male, female, ovariectomized and ovariectomized+ERT treated rats were used. Female rats were ovariectomized at 12 weeks of age and received ERT via subcutaneously implanted 90-day release pellets. Vasodilation to acetylcholine (ACh) was studied in tail artery segments; arterial blood was collected for measurements of 17-beta-estradiol and stable metabolites of NO (nitrate/nitrite). Some arterial segments were harvested for TUNEL staining to determine endothelial apoptosis.

Results: Ovariectomy caused a rapid loss of estradiol that was negated by ERT. Likewise, there was also a loss in plasma NO. Loss of ACh-mediated dilations were age-dependent and were significant in males and untreated ovariectomized rats, with the change being maximal after 12 weeks of ovariectomy. After 12 weeks post-ovariectomy, there were no time dependent changes in ACh sensitivity in either group. Dilations to ACh were maintained in females and age-matched ERT ovariectomized rats over time. TUNEL staining of the endothelium (at 6 months of age) revealed apoptotic changes with the rank order male>ovariectomized>female, or ERT treated ovariectomized female rats.

Conclusions: In a rat model of surgical menopause, loss of endothelial function is maximal 12 weeks after ovariectomy. Apoptosis of endothelial cells is greatest in arteries from male rats. Our data suggests that early ERT treatment may be an important consideration for reducing endothelium-dependent vascular dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0378-5122(03)00149-xDOI Listing
July 2003
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