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Henning Wackerhage

University of Aberdeen; h.wackerhage@abdn.ac.uk

Please e-mail me (h.wackerhage@abdn.ac.uk) with corrections or additions.

Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1; involved in the regulation of protein synthesis
Polymorphism in the angiotensin-converting enzyme with either an insertion or deletion of a DNA sequence
Addition of an acetyl (CH3CO ) group to a protein, usually on a lysine. Histone aceytlation is a key event in gene regulation
Acquired (adaptive) immune system
The acquired (adaptive) immune system fights against microbes that may have evaded the innate system
Acrylamide gel
Used for gel electrophoresis of proteins especially during Western blots. Acrylamide is toxic and carcinogenic
Action potential
A rapid rise and fall of the membrane potential; occurs in neurons and in muscle fibres and leads to neurotransmitter release and muscle contraction
Polymorphism in the ACTN3 gene; R stands for arginine and X for a stop codon. If a stop codon is encoded then no functional ACTN3 is produced
Cell-to-cell signalling proteins that are secreted by adipose tissue (fat)
Agarose gel
Used for gel electrophoresis of DNA
PKB (Akt)
Protein kinase B (also known as Akt); a serine/threonine kinase that regulates glucose uptake and protein synthesis via mTOR
One form or variant of a gene
AMP-activated kinase; a serine/threonine kinase involved in the regulation of the adaptation to endurance exercise
Anabolic resistance
A decreased response especially of skeletal muscle to anabolic stimuli such as resistance exercise, hormones or nutrients; contributes to sarcopenia
Formation of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels; an adaptation to endurance exercise
A protein also known as immunoglobulin produced by B cells. Antibodies bind specifically binds to target proteins; also used as a method to visualize specific proteins for example during immunohistochemistry and Western blotting
Programmed cell death
Association study
A study where subjects are genotyped for one genotype and this is then compared to the trait investigated
ATPase stain
A histochemical method to stain different types of muscle fibres; usually involves a alkaline or acid preincubation step to only stain one type of muscle fibre
Breakdown of cells to ensure cellular survival during starvation
A chromosome that is not a sex chromosome (i.e. not X or Y). There are 22 pairs of autosomes in the human genome
A projection that usually conveys action potential away from the neuron cell body
B cell
B cells are immune cells produced by the bone marrow
b-cell dysfunction
A state where b-cells of the pancreas release less insulin at a given blood glucose concentration
Bergström needle
A needle used especially for skeletal muscle biopsies
Retrieval and analysis of biological data using mathematics and computer science
A transcription factor believed to be involved in the genesis of the athlete’s heart
A mouse muscle myoblast cell line that can be differentiated into myotubes
A protein phosphatase that dephosphorylates the transcription factor NFAT
Caloric restriction
A reduction of nutrient intake without causing malnutrition; increases lifespan in several species
Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase; a serine/threonine kinase; involved in the adaptation to endurance exercise
Case–control study
A study where genotype frequencies in subjects with and without a trait are compared
An antioxidant enzyme that catalyses the break up of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen
Complementary DNA; in a reverse transcription reaction, a mRNA template is transcribed into cDNA
Cell line
Cell culture originating from a single cell
Central pattern generator
A neural network that generates rhythmic patterns for movements such as walking or running
Chromatin remodelling
The process of opening up or closing the packaged chromatin, for example by histone modification; a key step in the regulation of gene transcription
Chromosomes are made of DNA tightly coiled DNA
Cyclosporin A
Calcineurin inhibitor
Proteins secreted by leukocytes and other immune cells
Projections of neurons that receive inputs from synapses of other neurons and convey this information to the cell body of the neuron
Dendritic spines
Small protrusions from dendrites that receive input from a single synapse. They are believed to change during learning processes
Diabetes mellitus (types 1 and 2)
A metabolic disease characterized by high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia). In type 1 diabetes, insulin is not produced due to b-cell loss; type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance and b-cell dysfunction
Two copies of each chromosome per cell
Deoxyribonucleic acid made from guanine, adenine, thymine and cytosine (bases) with a backbone of a deoxyribose sugar connected by phosphate groups
Encode project
Large-scale project to systematically find functional elements in the human genome
Endogenous peptides (opoids) believed to be involved in the ‘runner’s high’
In contrast to (proximal) promoters, enhancers are distal regulatory stretches of DNA to which transcription factors bind. They can be far away from the regulated gene and interact by looping
Heritable changes in gene expression that are not due to changes in DNA sequence. A loser definition is that epigenetics is genetic control without the need that this is heritable
Part of an antigen (antibody-detected protein/molecule) that is recognized by antibodies and other immune system cells
Erythropoietin receptor; an activating mutation in this receptor increases the haematocrit in heterozygous carriers
Ethidium bromide
DNA-binding agent that will fluoresce in ultraviolet light. It is a mutagen, carcinogen and teratogen
Excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSP) and inhibitory postsynaptic potential ( IPSP)
An excitatory or inhibitory postsynaptic membrane potential change
DNA sequence in a gene that is present in the final mRNA after introns have been removed
Gene doping
Genetic modification with the aim of enhancing performance
Genetic fingerprinting
Also known as DNA profiling. A technique used to identify individuals via their DNA profiles
Genome–lifestyle divergence hypothesis
A hypothesis postulating a difference between the lifestyle we live and the genome humans have been selected for
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS)
Usually a case–control study where individuals are genotyped with SNP arrays to analyse millions of SNPs (one-base DNA sequence variations)
Generation of glucose from substrates such as pyruvate, lactate, glycerol, amino acids or fatty acids
Phosphorylates glucose to glucose-6-phosphate
Glucose transporter type 4; responsive to insulin and exercise. Other glucose transporters exist
Glutathione peroxidase (GPx)
Antioxidant enzymes that reduce lipid hydroperoxides
Breakdown of glycogen to glucose-1-phosphate
White blood cells marked by granules in their cytoplasm
Haematoxylin & Eosin
A stain which stains nuclei dark purple and protein pink
Hayflick limit
Describes the number of times a human cell can divide until cell division stops; a mechanism linked to ageing
Henneman size principle
States that motor units are recruited from smallest (S) via intermediate (FR) to fastest (FF). Also known as ramp-like recruitment
Proportion of the variation of a trait that is due to DNA sequence variations (genetic factors)
Heritage Family Study
Most important study into the genetics of endurance training, led by Prof. Claude Bouchard
Difference in two alleles (forms or variants of a gene)
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1; transcription factor that is stabilized in response to hypoxia. Regulates the expression of erythropoietin (Epo) and angiogenesis
Proteins found in cell nuclei that package DNA into nucleosomes; histones are modified to package or unpackage DNA
Members of the human tribe; hominin evolution is believed to have started 7 million years ago to the east of the East African rift
Identical alleles (forms or variants of a gene)
An increase of cell number
An increase of cell size
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
A pathological form of cardiac hypertrophy
Part of the nervous system that connects to the endocrine system
Insulin-like growth factor 1; increases protein synthesis and causes hypertrophy via the mTOR pathway
IkB kinase is upstream of NF-kB proteins and sequesters them in an inactive state in the cytoplasm; it causes atrophy
Innate immune system
First defence system; it defends from infection in a non-specific manner
Insulators in the DNA are elements that block the interaction between enhancers and promoters
Insulin resistance
Cells fail to exhibit the normal response to insulin which is glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis
Cytokines that are produced by leukocytes and other cells
DNA sequence of a gene which is removed by splicing
An enzyme that transfers phosphate groups, especially from ATP to other molecules. Protein kinases are key signal transduction molecules
Knockout mouse
A genetically engineered mouse where a gene has been inactivated (knocked out)
A hormone that regulates energy intake and expenditure
White blood cells that defend the body against infectious disease
Linkage analysis
A genetic method that allows researchers to identify the location of a disease-causing gene relative to genetic markers
Conditions where the adipose tissue (fat) is absent or reduced
Liquid nitrogen (N2)
Nitrogen in the liquid state; nitrogen boils at –196°C
Liver kinase B1; phosphorylates AMPK at Thr172
Long-term potentiation (LTP)
Long-lasting signal transmission between two neurons in response to a stimulus
Organelles that contain acid hydrolase enzymes that break down waste materials
Immune cells that engulf and digest debris and pathogens
Mitogen-activated protein kinase; these serine-threonine kinases are involved in signal transduction
Signal transduction events triggered by mechanical stimuli; resistance exercise is one example where mechanotransduction occurs
A drug used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus; activates AMPK
Addition of a methyl group to DNA or protein
DNA microarray
Printed DNA spots on a solid surface. It is used to measure the expression of thousands of genes or to detect thousands of SNPs
microRNA; small non-coding RNA; regulates gene expression
Mitochondrial haplogroup
DNA sequence variations in human mitochondrial DNA; can be used to trace ancestry
Organelle which is the site of oxidative phosphorylation
Mitochondrial biogenesis
Process by which new mitochondria are formed; an adaptation to endurance exercise
Separation of two sets of chromosomes during cell division
Molecular exercise physiology
Molecular exercise physiology is the study of exercise physiology using molecular biology methods
Monoclonal antibody
Antibodies made by identical immune cells
Monogenic trait
Such traits depend mainly on one DNA sequence variation
Motor unit (S, FR, FF)
A motor neuron and the muscle fibres innervated by it. Motor units can e distinguished into slow (S), fatigue-resistant (FR) and fast-fatiguing (FF)
Messenger RNA, produced as a result of transcription or gene expression
Mitochondrial DNA; mitochondria have their own DNA which is roughly 16 000 bases long in humans.
Mammalian complex of rapamycin; this kinase is a regulator of protein synthesis. It forms two complexes named mTORC1 and mTORC2
Muscle fibre (I, IIa, IIx, IIb)
Multinucleated, differentiated muscle cell. The classification as I, IIa etc. is based on the predominant myosin heavy chain isoform that is expressed
Muscle fibre grouping
A phenomenon typically observed in old muscle. It is due to a loss of one kind of muscle fibre
A mononucleated muscle cell derived, for example, from satellite cells. Myoblasts differentiate to form myotubes and fully differentiated muscle fibres
Myogenic regulatory factors (Myf5, MyoD, myogenin, Mrf4)
Transcription factors that regulate the determination (a cell entering the muscle lineage) and differentiation which is the process where myoblasts form myotubes and muscle fibres
Cytokine secreted by muscle cells
Myosin heavy chain
Main part of skeletal muscle myosin proteins. It consumes ATP to produce work and heat. Type I, IIa, IIx and IIb isoforms exist (type IIb is not expressed in many human muscles)
Secreted, muscle-produced protein that inhibits muscle growth
Myotubes are formed from myoblasts during differentiation. Myotubes are immature muscle fibres
Natural killer T cell
A set of immune cells; their inactivation can lead to autoimmunity
The event where neurons are generated from neural stem and progenitor cells
Key cell of the nervous system; electrically excitable cell that transmits information electrically and through chemical signals (neurotransmitter)
Molecules that transmit signals from neurons to target cells which can be other neurons or cells such as muscle fibres
Neutrophil (granulocyte)
Key white blood cell which is part of the innate immune system
Next-generation sequencing (NGS)
High capacity DNA-sequencing methods
Nuclear factor of activated T cells; transcription factor activated by dephosphorylation by calcineurin
Nuclear factor-kappa B; involved in immune system regulation and muscle atrophy
Notch pathway
A pathway where cell–cell signals lead to the cleavage of Notch. The intracellular part then migrates to the nucleus and co-activates a transcription factor and regulates gene expression
Nuclear localisation sequence (NLS)
An amino acid sequence that directs a protein to the nucleus
Protein 53; a protein that detects DNA-damaging signals and then regulates DNA repair, cell cycle arrest, or apotosus. Also termed the ‘guardian of the genome’ as it is a tumour suppressor
p70 S6k
Protein 70 S6 kinase; key part of the mTOR pathway; it regulates protein synthesis
A marker and identity regulator of satellite cells; Pax7 knockout mice have few satellite cells
Polymerase chain reaction; a method to amplify or make more of a small stretch of DNA
Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase; an enzyme involved in gluconeogenesis. PEPCK overexpression in mouse muscle leads to an increase in endurance capacity
Personalized medicine
Tailoring medicine to the individual for example based on genetic testing
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha; a gene that is expressed in response to endurance exercise and that drives mitochondrial biogenesis
Engulfment of a particle by a cell; macrophages undergo phagocytosis
An enzyme that removes a phosphate group
The process where a serine, threonine or tyrosine on a protein is phosphorylated (PO4 group). A key regulatory event
Physiological cardiac hypertrophy (athlete’s) heart
Exercise-induced eccentric hypertrophy, especially of the left ventricle
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase; a kinase which regulates glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis and protein synthesis
Polyclonal antibody
Antibodies produced by B cells against an antigen; the antibodies vary and are frequently produced by inoculation of a suitable mammal
Polygenic trait
Such traits depend on multiple DNA sequence variation
A common DNA sequence variation that occurs >1% of the population
The high-throughput analysis of proteins
Primary antibody
Antibody that targets the primary target (usually protein of interest) in a Western blot or immunohistochemistry reaction
Primary cell culture
Culture of cells directly obtained from an organ; such cells generally have a limited lifespan in contrast to cell lines
A short stretch of DNA that binds to the start or end of a target sequence; a key ingredient for the polymerase chain reaction
A region of DNA that initiates the transcription of a gene. Transcription factors bind to the promoter
Quantitative trait locus (QTL)
Stretches of DNA where DNA sequence variation can cause the variation of a trait
An inhibitor of mTOR
Rare mutation
A DNA sequence variation that is rare (<1% of the population is a carrier)
Restriction enzyme
Enzymes that locate and cleave specific, short DNA sequences
A compound that activates sirtuins and may extend lifespan and increase mitochondrial biogenesis
Reverse transcription
The transcription of RNA into DNA; retroviruses are capable of this
The organelle that synthesizes peptides and proteins from mRNA. Ribosomes are mainly rRNA but also include some ribosomal proteins
Ribonucleic acid; single stranded, similar to DNA. Made from guanine, adenine, uracil and cytosine
RNA polymerase
An enzyme that reads DNA and produces a RNA template
Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species
Ribosomal RNA; a building block of ribosomes
Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction; a method to detect the expression of a gene
Reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction; a method to quantify the expression of a gene
Sanger DNA sequencing
Classical DNA sequencing method
The basic contraction unit of a muscle; comprises mainly of myosin and actin
The loss of muscle mass and function during normal ageing
Satellite cell
The resident, adult muscle stem cell; capable of extensive self renewal and differentiation
Secondary antibody
An antibody to detect a primary antibody; usually conjugated to a visualisation reaction
The phenomenon that cells cease to divide after a certain number of divisions
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
One base DNA sequence variation
Ribosyltransferases or deacetylases that are involved in the regulation of adaptation to exercise and ageing
The names comes from the C. elegens gene name SMA and the Drosophila gene name mothers against decapentaplegic. In muscle, Smads are regulated among other by myostatin
Sport and exercise genetics (kinesiogenomics)
The study of heredity in a sport and exercise context
Stable isotope
Chemical isotopes that are not radioactive
Stem cell
A cell that is capable of extensive self-renewal and differentiation. Stem cells are frequently key for the repair of organs
A time course that describes the decrease of glycogen during exercise and the recovery and overshoot of glycogen during regeneration and after a meal. Such time course does neither describe nor explain common adaptations to exercise
Superoxide dismutase
An enzyme that catalyses the break down of superoxide (O2−) into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide
A structure usually at the end of an axon/neuron that triggers the release of neurotransmitter in response to electrical signals
Synergist ablation
Surgical removal of a synergist muscle. The result is frequently the hypertrophy of the remaining muscle
T cell
Immune cell that plays a key role in cell-mediated immunity. T cells mature in the thymus, hence the ‘T’ in the name
Taq polymerase
Thermus aquaticus DNA polymerase. This enzyme can synthesize a DNA double strand on the basis of a single-strand template and is not degraded by heat as the organism lives in hot wells. Key enzyme for the polymerase chain reaction
A ribonucleoprotein enzyme that elongates telomeres
6–8 base pair repeats (TTAGGG in vertebrates) at the end of chromosomes; telomeres shorten during each cell division
Mitochondrial transcription factor A; a transcription factor that regulates the transcription of mtDNA
The magnitude of adaptation to a given exercise training regime. Individuals with high trainability adapt a lot
A trait is a variable phenotypic characteristic. Examples are eye colour, maximal oxygen uptake or muscle mass
Process by which DNA is copied into RNA
Transgenic mouse
A mouse whose genome has been altered by genetic engineering
Refers to the process where a peptide or protein is synthesized on the basis of an mRNA template on the basis of the ribosome
Tumour necrosis factor α; regulates protein breakdown
Twin studies
A study type used to estimate the heritability of a trait
The transfer of a ubiquitin group to a protein. Ubiquitination regulates protein breakdown by the proteasome but can also be a signalling event
Vascular endothelial growth factor; a key regulator of angiogenesis for example as an adaptation to exercise
Western blot
A method combining gel electrophoresis and antibody-based detection of specific proteins
X-ray crystallography
A method to determine the structure of a molecule