The November 2019 “VTPP Science in action” article comes from the recent PhD dissertation research of Richard Chang in the laboratory of Dr. Mike Golding. The recently graduated Dr. Chang took advantage of a series of observations suggesting that paternally inherited alterations in epigenetic programming have a growing role in numerous disease states, including the growth and metabolic defects observed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Leveraging earlier observations that in addition to fetal growth restriction, chronic paternal alcohol use elicits sex-specific alterations in insulin signaling and lipid homeostasis in offspring, Dr. Chang proposed that metabolic irregularities may be linked to paternally inherited alterations in liver x receptor (LXR) activity. The research confirms alcohol-mediated effects beyond simple maternal models of exposure and that LXR signaling pathways maybe key mediators of the immune and metabolic disturbances observed in FASD. Dr. Chang’s article (link below) provides important new data that supports paternal transmission of alcohol effects. The compelling data (for the first time) suggest that programmed increases in hepatic LXRα suppress production of alcohol-induced inflammatory cytokines, which relieves Ikkβ-mediated inhibition of the insulin signaling pathway and increases insulin sensitivity in the male offspring of alcohol-exposed fathers. Why the effects appear linked to male offspring remains a mystery but the studies provide novel insight into LXR function. The compelling data (summarized in the putative mechanism Figure 8) suggest new directions for future research.
Dr. Long (Recently returned from 3 months as an Indo-US GETin visiting fellow) headlined a hands-on Workshop “CRISPR Editing in Mammalian Cells and Embryos” November 4-9 in the ICAR-Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes (CIRB), Hisar, Haryana, India. Not only was registration for the Workshop extraordinary, it was the first ever CRISPR workshop of this kind in the country. Based on the success of the initial workshop, Dr. Long was also invited to visit and present at the National Dairy Research Institute, in Karnal, Haranya, India. This unexpected presentation and invitation was overbooked requiring the largest lecture on the national campus. From all accounts, the impact of the initial foray into India by Dr. Long has been successful. Plans are in motion for continued faculty exchange, grant submissions and more engagement