Publications by authors named "Linda S Kaltenbach"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

KEAP1-modifying small molecule reveals muted NRF2 signaling responses in neural stem cells from Huntington's disease patients.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 06 22;114(23):E4676-E4685. Epub 2017 May 22.

Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114.

The activity of the transcription factor nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-derived factor 2 (NRF2) is orchestrated and amplified through enhanced transcription of antioxidant and antiinflammatory target genes. The present study has characterized a triazole-containing inducer of NRF2 and elucidated the mechanism by which this molecule activates NRF2 signaling. In a highly selective manner, the compound covalently modifies a critical stress-sensor cysteine (C151) of the E3 ligase substrate adaptor protein Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (KEAP1), the primary negative regulator of NRF2. We further used this inducer to probe the functional consequences of selective activation of NRF2 signaling in Huntington's disease (HD) mouse and human model systems. Surprisingly, we discovered a muted NRF2 activation response in human HD neural stem cells, which was restored by genetic correction of the disease-causing mutation. In contrast, selective activation of NRF2 signaling potently repressed the release of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 in primary mouse HD and WT microglia and astrocytes. Moreover, in primary monocytes from HD patients and healthy subjects, NRF2 induction repressed expression of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFα. Together, our results demonstrate a multifaceted protective potential of NRF2 signaling in key cell types relevant to HD pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1614943114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5468652PMC
June 2017

SIRT2- and NRF2-Targeting Thiazole-Containing Compound with Therapeutic Activity in Huntington's Disease Models.

Cell Chem Biol 2016 07 14;23(7):849-861. Epub 2016 Jul 14.

Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Electronic address:

There are currently no disease-modifying therapies for the neurodegenerative disorder Huntington's disease (HD). This study identified novel thiazole-containing inhibitors of the deacetylase sirtuin-2 (SIRT2) with neuroprotective activity in ex vivo brain slice and Drosophila models of HD. A systems biology approach revealed an additional SIRT2-independent property of the lead-compound, MIND4, as an inducer of cytoprotective NRF2 (nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-derived factor 2) activity. Structure-activity relationship studies further identified a potent NRF2 activator (MIND4-17) lacking SIRT2 inhibitory activity. MIND compounds induced NRF2 activation responses in neuronal and non-neuronal cells and reduced production of reactive oxygen species and nitrogen intermediates. These drug-like thiazole-containing compounds represent an exciting opportunity for development of multi-targeted agents with potentially synergistic therapeutic benefits in HD and related disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2016.05.015DOI Listing
July 2016

Dual activities of the anti-cancer drug candidate PBI-05204 provide neuroprotection in brain slice models for neurodegenerative diseases and stroke.

Sci Rep 2016 05 12;6:25626. Epub 2016 May 12.

Center for Drug Discovery and Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, US.

We previously reported neuroprotective activity of the botanical anti-cancer drug candidate PBI-05204, a supercritical CO2 extract of Nerium oleander, in brain slice and in vivo models of ischemic stroke. We showed that one component of this neuroprotective activity is mediated through its principal cardiac glycoside constituent, oleandrin, via induction of the potent neurotrophic factor brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, we also noted that the concentration-relation for PBI-05204 in the brain slice oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) model is considerably broader than that for oleandrin as a single agent. We thus surmised that PBI-05204 contains an additional neuroprotective component(s), distinct from oleandrin. We report here that neuroprotective activity is also provided by the triterpenoid constituents of PBI-05204, notably oleanolic acid. We demonstrate that a sub-fraction of PBI-05204 (Fraction 0-4) containing oleanolic and other triterpenoids, but without cardiac glycosides, induces the expression of cellular antioxidant gene transcription programs regulated through antioxidant transcriptional response elements (AREs). Finally, we show that Fraction 0-4 provides broad neuroprotection in organotypic brain slice models for neurodegeneration driven by amyloid precursor protein (APP) and tau implicated in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementias, respectively, in addition to ischemic injury modeled by OGD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep25626DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4865873PMC
May 2016

A large scale Huntingtin protein interaction network implicates Rho GTPase signaling pathways in Huntington disease.

J Biol Chem 2014 Mar 9;289(10):6709-6726. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, California 94945. Electronic address:

Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG expansion in the HTT gene. Using yeast two-hybrid methods, we identified a large set of proteins that interact with huntingtin (HTT)-interacting proteins. This network, composed of HTT-interacting proteins (HIPs) and proteins interacting with these primary nodes, contains 3235 interactions among 2141 highly interconnected proteins. Analysis of functional annotations of these proteins indicates that primary and secondary HIPs are enriched in pathways implicated in HD, including mammalian target of rapamycin, Rho GTPase signaling, and oxidative stress response. To validate roles for HIPs in mutant HTT toxicity, we show that the Rho GTPase signaling components, BAIAP2, EZR, PIK3R1, PAK2, and RAC1, are modifiers of mutant HTT toxicity. We also demonstrate that Htt co-localizes with BAIAP2 in filopodia and that mutant HTT interferes with filopodial dynamics. These data indicate that HTT is involved directly in membrane dynamics, cell attachment, and motility. Furthermore, they implicate dysregulation in these pathways as pathological mechanisms in HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M113.523696DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945331PMC
March 2014

Suppressing aberrant GluN3A expression rescues synaptic and behavioral impairments in Huntington's disease models.

Nat Med 2013 Aug 14;19(8):1030-8. Epub 2013 Jul 14.

Cellular Neurobiology and Neurophysiology Laboratories, Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada y Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

Huntington's disease is caused by an expanded polyglutamine repeat in the huntingtin protein (HTT), but the pathophysiological sequence of events that trigger synaptic failure and neuronal loss are not fully understood. Alterations in N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs) have been implicated. Yet, it remains unclear how the HTT mutation affects NMDAR function, and direct evidence for a causative role is missing. Here we show that mutant HTT redirects an intracellular store of juvenile NMDARs containing GluN3A subunits to the surface of striatal neurons by sequestering and disrupting the subcellular localization of the endocytic adaptor PACSIN1, which is specific for GluN3A. Overexpressing GluN3A in wild-type mouse striatum mimicked the synapse loss observed in Huntington's disease mouse models, whereas genetic deletion of GluN3A prevented synapse degeneration, ameliorated motor and cognitive decline and reduced striatal atrophy and neuronal loss in the YAC128 Huntington's disease mouse model. Furthermore, GluN3A deletion corrected the abnormally enhanced NMDAR currents, which have been linked to cell death in Huntington's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Our findings reveal an early pathogenic role of GluN3A dysregulation in Huntington's disease and suggest that therapies targeting GluN3A or pathogenic HTT-PACSIN1 interactions might prevent or delay disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.3246DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3936794PMC
August 2013

Experimental models for identifying modifiers of polyglutamine-induced aggregation and neurodegeneration.

Neurotherapeutics 2013 Jul;10(3):400-15

Department of Neurobiology and Center for Drug Discovery, Duke University Medical Center, 4321 Medical Park Drive, Durham, NC 27704, USA.

Huntington's disease (HD) typifies a class of inherited neurodegenerative disorders in which a CAG expansion in a single gene leads to an extended polyglutamine tract and misfolding of the expressed protein, driving cumulative neural dysfunction and degeneration. HD is invariably fatal with symptoms that include progressive neuropsychiatric and cognitive impairments, and eventual motor disability. No curative therapies yet exist for HD and related polyglutamine diseases; therefore, substantial efforts have been made in the drug discovery field to identify potential drug and drug target candidates for disease-modifying treatment. In this context, we review here a range of early-stage screening approaches based in in vitro, cellular, and invertebrate models to identify pharmacological and genetic modifiers of polyglutamine aggregation and induced neurodegeneration. In addition, emerging technologies, including high-content analysis, three-dimensional culture models, and induced pluripotent stem cells are increasingly being incorporated into drug discovery screening pipelines for protein misfolding disorders. Together, these diverse screening strategies are generating novel and exciting new probes for understanding the disease process and for furthering development of therapeutic candidates for eventual testing in the clinical setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13311-013-0195-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3701774PMC
July 2013

TR-FRET-based duplex immunoassay reveals an inverse correlation of soluble and aggregated mutant huntingtin in huntington's disease.

Chem Biol 2012 Feb;19(2):264-75

Neuroscience Discovery, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Basel CH-4002, Switzerland.

Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by the amplification of a polyglutamine stretch at the N terminus of the huntingtin protein. N-terminal fragments of the mutant huntingtin (mHtt) aggregate and form intracellular inclusions in brain and peripheral tissues. Aggregates are an important hallmark of the disease, translating into a high need to quantify them in vitro and in vivo. We developed a one-step TR-FRET-based immunoassay to quantify soluble and aggregated mHtt in cell and tissue homogenates. Strikingly, quantification revealed a decrease of soluble mHtt correlating with an increase of aggregated protein in primary neuronal cell cultures, transgenic R6/2, and HdhQ150 knock-in HD mice. These results emphasize the assay's efficiency for highly sensitive and quantitative detection of soluble and aggregated mHtt and its application in high-throughput screening and characterization of HD models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2011.12.020DOI Listing
February 2012

Activated microglia proliferate at neurites of mutant huntingtin-expressing neurons.

Neurobiol Aging 2012 Mar 11;33(3):621.e17-33. Epub 2011 Apr 11.

Neurotoxicology Group, Laboratory of Toxicology and Pharmacology, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.

In Huntington's disease (HD), mutated huntingtin (mhtt) causes striatal neurodegeneration which is paralleled by elevated microglia cell numbers. In vitro corticostriatal slice and primary neuronal culture models, in which neuronal expression of mhtt fragments drives HD-like neurotoxicity, were employed to examine wild type microglia during both the initiation and progression of neuronal pathology. As neuronal pathology progressed, microglia initially localized in the vicinity of neurons expressing mhtt fragments increased in number, demonstrated morphological evidence of activation, and expressed the proliferation marker, Ki67. These microglia were positioned along irregular neurites, but did not localize with mhtt inclusions nor exacerbate mhtt fragment-induced neurotoxicity. Prior to neuronal pathology, microglia upregulated ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1), signaling a functional shift. With neurodegeneration, interleukin-6 and complement component 1q were increased. The results suggest a stimulatory, proliferative signal for microglia present at the onset of mhtt fragment-induced neurodegeneration. Thus, microglia effect a localized inflammatory response to neuronal mhtt expression that may serve to direct microglial removal of dysfunctional neurites or aberrant synapses, as is required for reparative actions in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.02.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135676PMC
March 2012

Identification of anti-inflammatory targets for Huntington's disease using a brain slice-based screening assay.

Neurobiol Dis 2011 Jul 31;43(1):248-56. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Discovery Neuroscience, Wyeth Research, Princeton, NJ 08543, USA.

Huntington's disease (HD) is a late-onset, neurodegenerative disease for which there are currently no cures nor disease-modifying treatments. Here we report the identification of several potential anti-inflammatory targets for HD using an ex vivo model of HD that involves the acute transfection of human mutant huntingtin-based constructs into rat brain slices. This model recapitulates key components of the human disease, including the formation of intracellular huntingtin protein (HTT)-containing inclusions and the progressive neurodegeneration of striatal neurons-both occurring within the native tissue context of these neurons. Using this "high-throughput biology" screening platform, we conducted a hypothesis-neutral screen of a collection of drug-like compounds which identified several anti-inflammatory targets that provided neuroprotection against HTT fragment-induced neurodegeneration. The nature of these targets provide further support for non-cell autonomous mechanisms mediating significant aspects of neuropathogenesis induced by mutant HTT fragment proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2011.03.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104027PMC
July 2011

Perturbation with intrabodies reveals that calpain cleavage is required for degradation of huntingtin exon 1.

PLoS One 2011 Jan 31;6(1):e16676. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, United States of America.

Background: Proteolytic processing of mutant huntingtin (mHtt), the protein that causes Huntington's disease (HD), is critical for mHtt toxicity and disease progression. mHtt contains several caspase and calpain cleavage sites that generate N-terminal fragments that are more toxic than full-length mHtt. Further processing is then required for the degradation of these fragments, which in turn, reduces toxicity. This unknown, secondary degradative process represents a promising therapeutic target for HD.

Methodology/principal Findings: We have used intrabodies, intracellularly expressed antibody fragments, to gain insight into the mechanism of mutant huntingtin exon 1 (mHDx-1) clearance. Happ1, an intrabody recognizing the proline-rich region of mHDx-1, reduces the level of soluble mHDx-1 by increasing clearance. While proteasome and macroautophagy inhibitors reduce turnover of mHDx-1, Happ1 is still able to reduce mHDx-1 under these conditions, indicating Happ1-accelerated mHDx-1 clearance does not rely on these processes. In contrast, a calpain inhibitor or an inhibitor of lysosomal pH block Happ1-mediated acceleration of mHDx-1 clearance. These results suggest that mHDx-1 is cleaved by calpain, likely followed by lysosomal degradation and this process regulates the turnover rate of mHDx-1. Sequence analysis identifies amino acid (AA) 15 as a potential calpain cleavage site. Calpain cleavage of recombinant mHDx-1 in vitro yields fragments of sizes corresponding to this prediction. Moreover, when the site is blocked by binding of another intrabody, V(L)12.3, turnover of soluble mHDx-1 in living cells is blocked.

Conclusions/significance: These results indicate that calpain-mediated removal of the 15 N-terminal AAs is required for the degradation of mHDx-1, a finding that may have therapeutic implications.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016676PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3031625PMC
January 2011

Identification and evaluation of small molecule pan-caspase inhibitors in Huntington's disease models.

Chem Biol 2010 Nov;17(11):1189-200

Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Huntington's Disease (HD) is characterized by a mutation in the huntingtin (Htt) gene encoding an expansion of glutamine repeats on the N terminus of the Htt protein. Numerous studies have identified Htt proteolysis as a critical pathological event in HD postmortem human tissue and mouse HD models, and proteases known as caspases have emerged as attractive HD therapeutic targets. We report the use of the substrate activity screening method against caspase-3 and -6 to identify three novel, pan-caspase inhibitors that block proteolysis of Htt at caspase-3 and -6 cleavage sites. In HD models these irreversible inhibitors suppressed Hdh(111Q/111Q)-mediated toxicity and rescued rat striatal and cortical neurons from cell death. In this study, the identified nonpeptidic caspase inhibitors were used to confirm the role of caspase-mediated Htt proteolysis in HD. These results further implicate caspases as promising targets for HD therapeutic development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2010.08.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035168PMC
November 2010

Composite primary neuronal high-content screening assay for Huntington's disease incorporating non-cell-autonomous interactions.

J Biomol Screen 2010 Aug 25;15(7):806-19. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Center for Drug Discovery and Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27704, USA.

Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive cognitive, behavioral, and motor deficits and caused by expansion of a polyglutamine repeat in the Huntingtin protein (Htt). Despite its monogenic nature, HD pathogenesis includes obligatory non-cell-autonomous pathways involving both the cortex and the striatum, and therefore effective recapitulation of relevant HD disease pathways in cell lines and primary neuronal monocultures is intrinsically limited. To address this, the authors developed an automated high-content imaging screen in high-density primary cultures of cortical and striatal neurons together with supporting glial cells. Cortical and striatal neurons are transfected separately with different fluorescent protein markers such that image-based high-content analysis can be used to assay these neuronal populations separately but still supporting their intercellular interactions, including abundant synaptic interconnectivity. This assay was reduced to practice using transfection of a mutant N-terminal Htt domain and validated via a screen of ~400 selected small molecules. Both expected as well as novel candidate targets for HD emerged from this screen; of particular interest were target classes with close relative proximity to clinical testing. These findings suggest that composite primary cultures incorporating increased levels of biological complexity can be used for high-content imaging and "high-context" screening to represent molecular targets that otherwise may be operant only in the complex tissue environment found in vivo during disease pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1087057110373392DOI Listing
August 2010

IKK phosphorylates Huntingtin and targets it for degradation by the proteasome and lysosome.

J Cell Biol 2009 Dec 21;187(7):1083-99. Epub 2009 Dec 21.

Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 92697, USA.

Expansion of the polyglutamine repeat within the protein Huntingtin (Htt) causes Huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative disease associated with aging and the accumulation of mutant Htt in diseased neurons. Understanding the mechanisms that influence Htt cellular degradation may target treatments designed to activate mutant Htt clearance pathways. We find that Htt is phosphorylated by the inflammatory kinase IKK, enhancing its normal clearance by the proteasome and lysosome. Phosphorylation of Htt regulates additional post-translational modifications, including Htt ubiquitination, SUMOylation, and acetylation, and increases Htt nuclear localization, cleavage, and clearance mediated by lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2A and Hsc70. We propose that IKK activates mutant Htt clearance until an age-related loss of proteasome/lysosome function promotes accumulation of toxic post-translationally modified mutant Htt. Thus, IKK activation may modulate mutant Htt neurotoxicity depending on the cell's ability to degrade the modified species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.200909067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2806289PMC
December 2009

Huntingtin interacting proteins are genetic modifiers of neurodegeneration.

PLoS Genet 2007 May;3(5):e82

Prolexys Pharmaceuticals, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America.

Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative condition caused by expansion of the polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin (Htt) protein. Neuronal toxicity in HD is thought to be, at least in part, a consequence of protein interactions involving mutant Htt. We therefore hypothesized that genetic modifiers of HD neurodegeneration should be enriched among Htt protein interactors. To test this idea, we identified a comprehensive set of Htt interactors using two complementary approaches: high-throughput yeast two-hybrid screening and affinity pull down followed by mass spectrometry. This effort led to the identification of 234 high-confidence Htt-associated proteins, 104 of which were found with the yeast method and 130 with the pull downs. We then tested an arbitrary set of 60 genes encoding interacting proteins for their ability to behave as genetic modifiers of neurodegeneration in a Drosophila model of HD. This high-content validation assay showed that 27 of 60 orthologs tested were high-confidence genetic modifiers, as modification was observed with more than one allele. The 45% hit rate for genetic modifiers seen among the interactors is an order of magnitude higher than the 1%-4% typically observed in unbiased genetic screens. Genetic modifiers were similarly represented among proteins discovered using yeast two-hybrid and pull-down/mass spectrometry methods, supporting the notion that these complementary technologies are equally useful in identifying biologically relevant proteins. Interacting proteins confirmed as modifiers of the neurodegeneration phenotype represent a diverse array of biological functions, including synaptic transmission, cytoskeletal organization, signal transduction, and transcription. Among the modifiers were 17 loss-of-function suppressors of neurodegeneration, which can be considered potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Finally, we show that seven interacting proteins from among 11 tested were able to co-immunoprecipitate with full-length Htt from mouse brain. These studies demonstrate that high-throughput screening for protein interactions combined with genetic validation in a model organism is a powerful approach for identifying novel candidate modifiers of polyglutamine toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.0030082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1866352PMC
May 2007

Contribution of the amino and carboxyl termini for PHA-4/FoxA function in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Dev Dyn 2005 Oct;234(2):346-54

Huntsman Cancer Institute and Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.

FoxA transcription factors are central regulators of gut development in all animals that have been studied. Here we examine the sole Caenorhabditis elegans FoxA protein, which is called pha-4. We describe the molecular characterization of five pha-4 mutations and characterize their associated phenotypes. Two nonsense mutations are predicted to truncate PHA-4 after the DNA binding domain and remove the conserved carboxyl terminus. Surprisingly, animals harboring these mutations are viable, provided the mutant mRNAs are stabilized by inactivating the nonsense-mediated decay pathway. Two additional nonsense mutations reveal that the DNA binding domain is critical for activity. A missense mutation predicted to alter the PHA-4 amino terminus leads to a dramatic reduction in pha-4 activity even though the protein is expressed appropriately. We suggest that the PHA-4 amino terminus is essential for PHA-4 function in vivo, possibly as a transactivation domain, and can compensate for loss of the carboxyl terminus. We also provide evidence for autoregulation by PHA-4.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dvdy.20550DOI Listing
October 2005