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Genes, Volume 8, Issue 12 (December 2017)

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Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis of the Complete Chloroplast Genome of Four Known Ziziphus Species
Genes 2017, 8(12), 340; doi:10.3390/genes8120340
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
Ziziphus Mill. (Rhamnaceae) is comprised of about 170 species that are mainly distributed in tropical to subtropical regions, with few in the temperate zone. Several Ziziphus fruit tree species are important energy, nutrient, and medicinal resources for human populations, particularly for those living
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Ziziphus Mill. (Rhamnaceae) is comprised of about 170 species that are mainly distributed in tropical to subtropical regions, with few in the temperate zone. Several Ziziphus fruit tree species are important energy, nutrient, and medicinal resources for human populations, particularly for those living in rural regions. To date, limited genomic information is available for this genus. Here, we assembled the complete chloroplast genomes of four best known Ziziphus species, i.e., Ziziphus jujuba, Ziziphus acidojujuba, Ziziphus mauritiana, and Ziziphus spina-christi, based on the Illumina Paired-end sequencing method. The chloroplast genomes of the four Ziziphus species are all very similar to one another, and exhibit structural, gene content, and order characteristics that are similar to other flowering plants. The entire chloroplast genome encodes 113 predicted unique genes (85 protein-coding genes, 8 rRNA, and 37 tRNA), 17 of which are duplicated in the inverted repeat regions. Rich single sequence repeats loci (217) were detected in Z. jujuba and 106 SSR loci, composed of A/T, displayed polymorphism across the four species by comparative genomic analysis. We found only four genes under positive selection between Z. jujuba and Z. acidojujuba, and two genes for Z. mauritiana vs. Z. spina-christi, respectively, while half of the 78 protein-coding genes experienced positive selection between the two groups. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that Ziziphus (Rhamnaceae) was sister to Elaeagnaceae, and the four species of Ziziphus were clustered into two groups (Z. jujuba and Z. acidojujuba, Z. mauritiana and Z. spina-christi). Our results provide genomic resources for intrageneric classifications of Ziziphus, and valuable genetic markers for investigating the population genetics and biogeography of closely related Ziziphus species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution and Biodiversity of the Plant Genome Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis of Soybean Root Proteome Reveals Molecular Basis of Differential Carboxylate Efflux under Low Phosphorus Stress
Genes 2017, 8(12), 341; doi:10.3390/genes8120341
Received: 9 October 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 30 November 2017
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Abstract
Carboxylate efflux from roots is a crucial and differential response of soybean genotypes to low phosphorus (P) stress. Exudation of carboxylic acids including oxalate, citrate, succinate and fumarate was induced under low P stress, particularly in P-efficient soybean genotypes. Enhancement of root length,
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Carboxylate efflux from roots is a crucial and differential response of soybean genotypes to low phosphorus (P) stress. Exudation of carboxylic acids including oxalate, citrate, succinate and fumarate was induced under low P stress, particularly in P-efficient soybean genotypes. Enhancement of root length, surface area and volume further improved P acquisition under low P stress. To understand the molecular basis of carboxylate efflux under low P stress, the root proteome of contrasting genotypes (P-efficient: EC-232019 and P-inefficient: EC-113396) was compared. Among a total of 325 spots, 105 (32%) were differentially abundant proteins (DAPs) between sufficient (250 µM) and low P (4 µM) levels. Abundance of 44 (14%) proteins decreased by more than two-fold under low P stress, while 61 (19%) proteins increased by more than two-fold. Protein identification and annotation revealed that the DAPs were involved in a myriad of functions including carboxylic acid synthesis, carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Proteins with significant abundance included malate dehydrogenase, isocitrate dehydrogenase, phosphoglucomutase, phosphoglycerate mutase, fructokinase, enolase, phosphoglycerate kinase, triosephosphate isomerase, alcohol dehydrogenase, glucan water dikinase, glutamine synthetase and argininosuccinate lyase. Inferences from proteomic analysis suggests the crosstalk between various metabolic pathways implicated in conferring superior P acquisition efficiency under stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of the Transcriptome and Gene Expression of Tetraploid Black Locust Cuttings in Response to Etiolation
Genes 2017, 8(12), 345; doi:10.3390/genes8120345
Received: 21 September 2017 / Revised: 2 November 2017 / Accepted: 11 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
Etiolation (a process of growing plants in partial or complete absence of light) promotes adventitious root formation in tetraploid black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) cuttings. We investigated the mechanism underlying how etiolation treatment promotes adventitious root formation in tetraploid black locust and
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Etiolation (a process of growing plants in partial or complete absence of light) promotes adventitious root formation in tetraploid black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) cuttings. We investigated the mechanism underlying how etiolation treatment promotes adventitious root formation in tetraploid black locust and assessed global transcriptional changes after etiolation treatment. Solexa paired-end sequencing of complementary DNAs (cDNAs) from control (non-etiolated, NE) and etiolated (E) samples resulted in 107,564 unigenes. In total, 52,590 transcripts were annotated and 474 transcripts (211 upregulated and 263 downregulated) potentially involved in etiolation were differentially regulated. These genes were associated with hormone metabolism and response, photosynthesis, signaling pathways, and starch and sucrose metabolism. In addition, we also found significant differences of phytohormone contents, activity of following enzymes i.e., peroxidase, polyphenol oxidase and indole acetic acid oxidase between NE and E tissues during some cottage periods. The genes responsive to etiolation stimulus identified in this study will provide the base for further understanding how etiolation triggers adventitious roots formation in tetraploid black locus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Insights into the Genetics of Root Development)
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Open AccessArticle Genome-Wide Analysis Reveals the Secondary Metabolome in Streptomyces kanasensis ZX01
Genes 2017, 8(12), 346; doi:10.3390/genes8120346
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 26 October 2017 / Accepted: 17 November 2017 / Published: 30 November 2017
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Abstract
Streptomyces kanasensis ZX01 produces some antibiotics and a glycoprotein with antiviral activity. To further evaluate its biosynthetic potential, here we sequenced the 7,026,279 bp draft genome of S. kanasensis ZX01 and analyzed all identifiable secondary gene clusters for controlling natural products. More than
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Streptomyces kanasensis ZX01 produces some antibiotics and a glycoprotein with antiviral activity. To further evaluate its biosynthetic potential, here we sequenced the 7,026,279 bp draft genome of S. kanasensis ZX01 and analyzed all identifiable secondary gene clusters for controlling natural products. More than 60 putative clusters were found in S. kanasensis ZX01, the majority of these biosynthetic loci are novel. In addition, the regulators for secondary metabolism in S. kanasensis ZX01 were abundant. The global regulator nsdA not only controls biosynthesis of some antibiotics, but also enhances production of glycoprotein GP-1 with antiviral activity. This study importantly reveals the powerful interplay between genomic analysis and studies of traditional natural product purification/production increasing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Genes and Gut Bacteria Involved in Luminal Butyrate Reduction Caused by Diet and Loperamide
Genes 2017, 8(12), 350; doi:10.3390/genes8120350
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
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Abstract
Unbalanced dietary habits and gut dysmotility are causative factors in metabolic and functional gut disorders, including obesity, diabetes, and constipation. Reduction in luminal butyrate synthesis is known to be associated with gut dysbioses, and studies have suggested that restoring butyrate formation in the
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Unbalanced dietary habits and gut dysmotility are causative factors in metabolic and functional gut disorders, including obesity, diabetes, and constipation. Reduction in luminal butyrate synthesis is known to be associated with gut dysbioses, and studies have suggested that restoring butyrate formation in the colon may improve gut health. In contrast, shifts in different types of gut microbiota may inhibit luminal butyrate synthesis, requiring different treatments to restore colonic bacterial butyrate synthesis. We investigated the influence of high-fat diets (HFD) and low-fiber diets (LFD), and loperamide (LPM) administration, on key bacteria and genes involved in reduction of butyrate synthesis in mice. MiSeq-based microbiota analysis and HiSeq-based differential gene analysis indicated that different types of bacteria and genes were involved in butyrate metabolism in each treatment. Dietary modulation depleted butyrate kinase and phosphate butyryl transferase by decreasing members of the Bacteroidales and Parabacteroides. The HFD also depleted genes involved in succinate synthesis by decreasing Lactobacillus. The LFD and LPM treatments depleted genes involved in crotonoyl-CoA synthesis by decreasing Roseburia and Oscilllibacter. Taken together, our results suggest that different types of bacteria and genes were involved in gut dysbiosis, and that selected treatments may be needed depending on the cause of gut dysfunction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diabetes, Obesity and the Gut Microbiome)
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Open AccessArticle Evolution of Tandem Repeat Satellite Sequences in Two Closely Related Caenorhabditis Species. Diminution of Satellites in Hermaphrodites
Genes 2017, 8(12), 351; doi:10.3390/genes8120351
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
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Abstract
The availability of the genome sequence of the unisexual (male-female) Caenorhabditis nigoni offers an opportunity to compare its non-coding features with the related hermaphroditic species Caenorhabditis briggsae; to understand the evolutionary dynamics of their tandem repeat sequences (satellites), as a result of
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The availability of the genome sequence of the unisexual (male-female) Caenorhabditis nigoni offers an opportunity to compare its non-coding features with the related hermaphroditic species Caenorhabditis briggsae; to understand the evolutionary dynamics of their tandem repeat sequences (satellites), as a result of evolution from the unisexual ancestor. We take advantage of the previously developed SATFIND program to build satellite families defined by a consensus sequence. The relative number of satellites (satellites/Mb) in C. nigoni is 24.6% larger than in C. briggsae. Some satellites in C. nigoni have developed from a proto-repeat present in the ancestor species and are conserved as an isolated sequence in C. briggsae. We also identify unique satellites which occur only once and joint satellite families with a related sequence in both species. Some of these families are only found in C. nigoni, which indicates a recent appearance; they contain conserved adjacent 5′ and 3′ regions, which may favor transposition. Our results show that the number, length and turnover of satellites are restricted in the hermaphrodite C. briggsae when compared with the unisexual C. nigoni. We hypothesize that this results from differences in unequal recombination during meiotic chromosome pairing, which limits satellite turnover in hermaphrodites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Gene Silencing of Argonaute5 Negatively Affects the Establishment of the Legume-Rhizobia Symbiosis
Genes 2017, 8(12), 352; doi:10.3390/genes8120352
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
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Abstract
The establishment of the symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia is finely regulated at the transcriptional, posttranscriptional and posttranslational levels. Argonaute5 (AGO5), a protein involved in RNA silencing, can bind both viral RNAs and microRNAs to control plant-microbe interactions and plant physiology. For
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The establishment of the symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia is finely regulated at the transcriptional, posttranscriptional and posttranslational levels. Argonaute5 (AGO5), a protein involved in RNA silencing, can bind both viral RNAs and microRNAs to control plant-microbe interactions and plant physiology. For instance, AGO5 regulates the systemic resistance of Arabidopsis against Potato Virus X as well as the pigmentation of soybean (Glycine max) seeds. Here, we show that AGO5 is also playing a central role in legume nodulation based on its preferential expression in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and soybean roots and nodules. We also report that the expression of AGO5 is induced after 1 h of inoculation with rhizobia. Down-regulation of AGO5 gene in P. vulgaris and G. max causes diminished root hair curling, reduces nodule formation and interferes with the induction of three critical symbiotic genes: Nuclear Factor Y-B (NF-YB), Nodule Inception (NIN) and Flotillin2 (FLOT2). Our findings provide evidence that the common bean and soybean AGO5 genes play an essential role in the establishment of the symbiosis with rhizobia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of the Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis)
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Open AccessArticle Molecular Screening of 43 Brazilian Families Diagnosed with Leber Congenital Amaurosis or Early-Onset Severe Retinal Dystrophy
Genes 2017, 8(12), 355; doi:10.3390/genes8120355
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 29 November 2017
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Abstract
Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is a severe disease that leads to complete blindness in children, typically before the first year of life. Due to the clinical and genetic heterogeneity among LCA and other retinal diseases, providing patients with a molecular diagnosis is essential
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Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is a severe disease that leads to complete blindness in children, typically before the first year of life. Due to the clinical and genetic heterogeneity among LCA and other retinal diseases, providing patients with a molecular diagnosis is essential to assigning an accurate clinical diagnosis. Using our gene panel that targets 300 genes that are known to cause retinal disease, including 24 genes reported to cause LCA, we sequenced 43 unrelated probands with Brazilian ancestry. We identified 42 unique variants and were able to assign a molecular diagnosis to 30/43 (70%) Brazilian patients. Among these, 30 patients were initially diagnosed with LCA or a form of early-onset retinal dystrophy, 17 patients harbored mutations in LCA-associated genes, while 13 patients had mutations in genes that were reported to cause other diseases involving the retina. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Responsive Proteins in Wheat Cultivars with Contrasting Nitrogen Efficiencies under the Combined Stress of High Temperature and Low Nitrogen
Genes 2017, 8(12), 356; doi:10.3390/genes8120356
Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 29 November 2017
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Abstract
Productivity of wheat (Triticum aestivum) is markedly affected by high temperature and nitrogen deficiency. Identifying the functional proteins produced in response to these multiple stresses acting in a coordinated manner can help in developing tolerance in the crop. In this study,
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Productivity of wheat (Triticum aestivum) is markedly affected by high temperature and nitrogen deficiency. Identifying the functional proteins produced in response to these multiple stresses acting in a coordinated manner can help in developing tolerance in the crop. In this study, two wheat cultivars with contrasting nitrogen efficiencies (N-efficient VL616 and N-inefficient UP2382) were grown in control conditions, and under a combined stress of high temperature (32 °C) and low nitrogen (4 mM), and their leaf proteins were analysed in order to identify the responsive proteins. Two-dimensional electrophoresis unravelled sixty-one proteins, which varied in their expression in wheat, and were homologous to known functional proteins involved in biosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, energy metabolism, photosynthesis, protein folding, transcription, signalling, oxidative stress, water stress, lipid metabolism, heat stress tolerance, nitrogen metabolism, and protein synthesis. When exposed to high temperature in combination with low nitrogen, wheat plants altered their protein expression as an adaptive means to maintain growth. This response varied with cultivars. Nitrogen-efficient cultivars showed a higher potential of redox homeostasis, protein stability, osmoprotection, and regulation of nitrogen levels. The identified stress-responsive proteins can pave the way for enhancing the multiple-stress tolerance in wheat and developing a better understanding of its mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessArticle Non-Additive Transcriptomic Responses to Inoculation with Rhizobia in a Young Allopolyploid Compared with Its Diploid Progenitors
Genes 2017, 8(12), 357; doi:10.3390/genes8120357
Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 27 November 2017 / Published: 30 November 2017
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Abstract
Root nodule symbioses (nodulation) and whole genome duplication (WGD, polyploidy) are both important phenomena in the legume family (Leguminosae). Recently, it has been proposed that polyploidy may have played a critical role in the origin or refinement of nodulation. However, while nodulation and
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Root nodule symbioses (nodulation) and whole genome duplication (WGD, polyploidy) are both important phenomena in the legume family (Leguminosae). Recently, it has been proposed that polyploidy may have played a critical role in the origin or refinement of nodulation. However, while nodulation and polyploidy have been studied independently, there have been no direct studies of mechanisms affecting the interactions between these phenomena in symbiotic, nodule-forming species. Here, we examined the transcriptome-level responses to inoculation in the young allopolyploid Glycine dolichocarpa (T2) and its diploid progenitor species to identify underlying processes leading to the enhanced nodulation responses previously identified in T2. We assessed the differential expression of genes and, using weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA), identified modules associated with nodulation and compared their expression between species. These transcriptomic analyses revealed patterns of non-additive expression in T2, with evidence of transcriptional responses to inoculation that were distinct from one or both progenitors. These differential responses elucidate mechanisms underlying the nodulation-related differences observed between T2 and the diploid progenitors. Our results indicate that T2 has reduced stress-related transcription, coupled with enhanced transcription of modules and genes implicated in hormonal signaling, both of which are important for nodulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of the Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis)
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Open AccessCommunication Phylogenetic Analysis of the SNORD116 Locus
Genes 2017, 8(12), 358; doi:10.3390/genes8120358
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 25 November 2017 / Accepted: 26 November 2017 / Published: 30 November 2017
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Abstract
The SNORD116 small nucleolar RNA locus (SNORD116@) is contained within the long noncoding RNA host gene SNHG14 on human chromosome 15q11-q13. The SNORD116 locus is a cluster of 28 or more small nucleolar (sno) RNAs; C/D box (SNORDs). Individual RNAs within
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The SNORD116 small nucleolar RNA locus (SNORD116@) is contained within the long noncoding RNA host gene SNHG14 on human chromosome 15q11-q13. The SNORD116 locus is a cluster of 28 or more small nucleolar (sno) RNAs; C/D box (SNORDs). Individual RNAs within the cluster are tandem, highly similar sequences, referred to as SNORD116-1, SNORD116-2, etc., with the entire set referred to as SNORD116@. There are also related SNORD116 loci on other chromosomes, and these additional loci are conserved among primates. Inherited chromosomal 15q11-q13 deletions, encompassing the SNORD116@ locus, are causative for the paternally-inherited/maternally-imprinted genetic condition, Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS). Using in silico tools, along with molecular-based and sequenced-based confirmation, phylogenetic analysis of the SNORD116@ locus was performed. The consensus sequence for the SNORD116@ snoRNAs from various species was determined both for all the SNORD116 snoRNAs, as well as those grouped using sequence and location according to a human grouping convention. The implications of these findings are put in perspective for studying SNORD116 in patients with inherited Prader–Willi syndrome, as well as model organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-coding RNAs)
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Open AccessArticle Transcriptional and Hormonal Regulation of Weeping Trait in Salix matsudana
Genes 2017, 8(12), 359; doi:10.3390/genes8120359
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 28 November 2017 / Published: 30 November 2017
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Abstract
Salix matsudana is a large and rapidly-growing tree, with erect or spreading branchlets (upright willow). However, S. matsudana var. pseudomatsudana is one of the varietas, with pendulous branchlets (weeping willow). It has high ornamental value for its graceful pendulous branches. In order to
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Salix matsudana is a large and rapidly-growing tree, with erect or spreading branchlets (upright willow). However, S. matsudana var. pseudomatsudana is one of the varietas, with pendulous branchlets (weeping willow). It has high ornamental value for its graceful pendulous branches. In order to study the molecular basis for this weeping trait, leaves and stems collected at different developmental stages were analyzed using RNA-seq coupled with digital gene expression. Although weeping trees are used worldwide as landscape plants, little is known about the genes that control weeping. Our growth results indicated that branches in weeping willow developed and elongated throughout all developmental stages, but branches in upright willow grew rapidly in the initial stages and then grew slowly and began shoot branching in the middle stages. A total of 613 hormone-related genes were differentially expressed in willow development. Among these, genes associated with auxin and gibberellin (GA) were highly likely to be responsible for the weeping trait, and genes associated with auxin and ethylene probably play crucial roles in shoot elongation. The genes with differential expression patterns were used to construct a network that regulated stem development, and auxin-related genes were identified as hub genes in the network in the weeping willow. Our results suggest an important role of gibberellin and auxin in regulating the weeping trait in Salix matsudana. This is the first report on the molecular aspects of hormonal effects on weeping trait in willow using transcriptomics and helps in dissecting the molecular mechanisms by which the weeping trait is controlled. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Hierarchical Control of Nitrite Respiration by Transcription Factors Encoded within Mobile Gene Clusters of Thermus thermophilus
Genes 2017, 8(12), 361; doi:10.3390/genes8120361
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 23 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
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Abstract
Denitrification in Thermus thermophilus is encoded by the nitrate respiration conjugative element (NCE) and nitrite and nitric oxide respiration (nic) gene clusters. A tight coordination of each cluster’s expression is required to maximize anaerobic growth, and to avoid toxicity by intermediates, especially
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Denitrification in Thermus thermophilus is encoded by the nitrate respiration conjugative element (NCE) and nitrite and nitric oxide respiration (nic) gene clusters. A tight coordination of each cluster’s expression is required to maximize anaerobic growth, and to avoid toxicity by intermediates, especially nitric oxides (NO). Here, we study the control of the nitrite reductases (Nir) and NO reductases (Nor) upon horizontal acquisition of the NCE and nic clusters by a formerly aerobic host. Expression of the nic promoters PnirS, PnirJ, and PnorC, depends on the oxygen sensor DnrS and on the DnrT protein, both NCE-encoded. NsrR, a nic-encoded transcription factor with an iron–sulfur cluster, is also involved in Nir and Nor control. Deletion of nsrR decreased PnorC and PnirJ transcription, and activated PnirS under denitrification conditions, exhibiting a dual regulatory role never described before for members of the NsrR family. On the basis of these results, a regulatory hierarchy is proposed, in which under anoxia, there is a pre-activation of the nic promoters by DnrS and DnrT, and then NsrR leads to Nor induction and Nir repression, likely as a second stage of regulation that would require NO detection, thus avoiding accumulation of toxic levels of NO. The whole system appears to work in remarkable coordination to function only when the relevant nitrogen species are present inside the cell. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Extremophiles)
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Open AccessArticle Molecular Investigation of the Stem Snap Point in Textile Hemp
Genes 2017, 8(12), 363; doi:10.3390/genes8120363
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 17 November 2017 / Accepted: 27 November 2017 / Published: 4 December 2017
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Abstract
Fibre crops are important natural resources, as they sustainably provide bast fibres, an economically-valuable raw material used in the textile and biocomposite sectors. Among fibre crops, textile hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is appreciated for its long and strong gelatinous bast fibres. The
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Fibre crops are important natural resources, as they sustainably provide bast fibres, an economically-valuable raw material used in the textile and biocomposite sectors. Among fibre crops, textile hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is appreciated for its long and strong gelatinous bast fibres. The stem of fibre crops is a useful system for cell wall-oriented studies, because it shows a strong tissue polarity with a lignified inner core and a cellulosic hypolignified cortex, as well as a basipetal lignification gradient. Along the stem axis of fibre crops, a specific region, denoted snap point, marks the transition from elongation (above it) to fibre thickening (below it). After empirically determining the snap point by tilting the plant, we divided the stem segment containing it into three non-overlapping consecutive regions measuring 1 cm each, and carried out targeted RT-qPCR on cell wall-related genes separately, in outer and inner tissues. Different gene clusters can be observed, two of which are the major gene groups, i.e., one group with members expressed at higher levels in the inner tissues, and one group whose genes are more expressed in the cortex. The present results provide a molecular validation that the snap point is characterised by a gradient of events associated with the shift from fibre elongation to thickening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Delivery Mode and the Transition of Pioneering Gut-Microbiota Structure, Composition and Predicted Metabolic Function
Genes 2017, 8(12), 364; doi:10.3390/genes8120364
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 4 December 2017
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Abstract
Cesarean (C-section) delivery, recently shown to cause excess weight gain in mice, perturbs human neonatal gut microbiota development due to the lack of natural mother-to-newborn transfer of microbes. Neonates excrete first the in-utero intestinal content (referred to as meconium) hours after birth, followed
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Cesarean (C-section) delivery, recently shown to cause excess weight gain in mice, perturbs human neonatal gut microbiota development due to the lack of natural mother-to-newborn transfer of microbes. Neonates excrete first the in-utero intestinal content (referred to as meconium) hours after birth, followed by intestinal contents reflective of extra-uterine exposure (referred to as transition stool) 2 to 3 days after birth. It is not clear when the effect of C-section on the neonatal gut microbiota emerges. We examined bacterial DNA in carefully-collected meconium, and the subsequent transitional stool, from 59 neonates [13 born by scheduled C-section and 46 born by vaginal delivery] in a private hospital in Brazil. Bacterial DNA was extracted, and the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq (San Diego, CA, USA) platform. We found evidence of bacterial DNA in the majority of meconium samples in our study. The bacterial DNA structure (i.e., beta diversity) of meconium differed significantly from that of the transitional stool microbiota. There was a significant reduction in bacterial alpha diversity (e.g., number of observed bacterial species) and change in bacterial composition (e.g., reduced Proteobacteria) in the transition from meconium to stool. However, changes in predicted microbiota metabolic function from meconium to transitional stool were only observed in vaginally-delivered neonates. Within sample comparisons showed that delivery mode was significantly associated with bacterial structure, composition and predicted microbiota metabolic function in transitional-stool samples, but not in meconium samples. Specifically, compared to vaginally delivered neonates, the transitional stool of C-section delivered neonates had lower proportions of the genera Bacteroides, Parabacteroides and Clostridium. These differences led to C-section neonates having lower predicted abundance of microbial genes related to metabolism of amino and nucleotide sugars, and higher abundance of genes related to fatty-acid metabolism, amino-acid degradation and xenobiotics biodegradation. In summary, microbiota diversity was reduced in the transition from meconium to stool, and the association of delivery mode with microbiota structure, composition and predicted metabolic function was not observed until the passing of the transitional stool after meconium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diabetes, Obesity and the Gut Microbiome)
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Open AccessArticle Genome-Wide Comprehensive Analysis the Molecular Phylogenetic Evaluation and Tissue-Specific Expression of SABATH Gene Family in Salvia miltiorrhiza
Genes 2017, 8(12), 365; doi:10.3390/genes8120365
Received: 22 September 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 28 November 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
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Abstract
The plant SABATH gene family is a group of O-methyltransferases (O-MTs), which belongs to the S-adenosyl-l-methionine-dependent methyltransferases (SAM-MTs). The resulting reaction products of SABATH genes play an important role in various processes of plant development. In this
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The plant SABATH gene family is a group of O-methyltransferases (O-MTs), which belongs to the S-adenosyl-l-methionine-dependent methyltransferases (SAM-MTs). The resulting reaction products of SABATH genes play an important role in various processes of plant development. In this study, a total of 30 SABATH genes were detected in Salvia miltiorrhiza, which is an important medicinal plant, widely used to treat cardiovascular disease. Multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic analyses showed that SmSABATH genes could be classified into three groups. The ratios of non-synonymous (Ka) and synonymous (Ks) substitution rates of 11 pairs paralogous of SmSABATH genes revealed that the SmSABATH genes had gone through purifying selection. Positive selection analyses using site models and branch-site models indicated that SmSABATH genes had undergone selective pressure for adaptive evolution. Functional divergence analyses suggested that the SmSABATH subgroup genes were divergent in terms of functions and positive selection sites that contributed to a functional divergence among the subgroups that were detected. Tissue-specific expression showed that the SABATH gene family in S. miltiorrhiza was primarily expressed in stems and leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle scRNASeqDB: A Database for RNA-Seq Based Gene Expression Profiles in Human Single Cells
Genes 2017, 8(12), 368; doi:10.3390/genes8120368
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
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Abstract
Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) is rapidly becoming a powerful tool for high-throughput transcriptomic analysis of cell states and dynamics at the single cell level. Both the number and quality of scRNA-Seq datasets have dramatically increased recently. A database that can comprehensively collect, curate,
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Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) is rapidly becoming a powerful tool for high-throughput transcriptomic analysis of cell states and dynamics at the single cell level. Both the number and quality of scRNA-Seq datasets have dramatically increased recently. A database that can comprehensively collect, curate, and compare expression features of scRNA-Seq data in humans has not yet been built. Here, we present scRNASeqDB, a database that includes almost all the currently available human single cell transcriptome datasets (n = 38) covering 200 human cell lines or cell types and 13,440 samples. Our online web interface allows users to rank the expression profiles of the genes of interest across different cell types. It also provides tools to query and visualize data, including Gene Ontology and pathway annotations for differentially expressed genes between cell types or groups. The scRNASeqDB is a useful resource for single cell transcriptional studies. This database is publicly available at bioinfo.uth.edu/scrnaseqdb/. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrative Genomics and Systems Medicine in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis of Cotton Small RNAs and Their Target Genes in Response to Salt Stress
Genes 2017, 8(12), 369; doi:10.3390/genes8120369
Received: 8 October 2017 / Revised: 23 November 2017 / Accepted: 24 November 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
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Abstract
Small RNAs play an important role in regulating plant responses to abiotic stress. Depending on the method of salt application, whether sudden or gradual, plants may experience either salt shock or salt stress, respectively. In this study, small RNA expression in response to
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Small RNAs play an important role in regulating plant responses to abiotic stress. Depending on the method of salt application, whether sudden or gradual, plants may experience either salt shock or salt stress, respectively. In this study, small RNA expression in response to salt shock and long-term salt stress in parallel experiments was described. Cotton small RNA libraries were constructed and sequenced under normal conditions, as well as sudden and gradual salt application. A total of 225 cotton microRNAs (miRNAs) were identified and of these 24 were novel miRNAs. There were 88 and 75 miRNAs with differential expression under the salt shock and long-term salt stress, respectively. Thirty one transcripts were found to be targets of 20 miRNA families. Eight targets showed a negative correlation in expression with their corresponding miRNAs. We also identified two TAS3s with two near-identical 21-nt trans-acting small interfering RNA (tasiRNA)-Auxin Response Factors (ARFs) that coaligned with the phases D7(+) and D8(+) in three Gossypium species. The miR390/tasiRNA-ARFs/ARF4 pathway was identified and showed altered expression under salt stress. The identification of these small RNAs as well as elucidating their functional significance broadens our understanding of post-transcriptional gene regulation in response to salt stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessArticle Are Pericentric Inversions Reorganizing Wedge Shell Genomes?
Genes 2017, 8(12), 370; doi:10.3390/genes8120370
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 1 December 2017 / Published: 7 December 2017
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Abstract
Wedge shells belonging to the Donacidae family are the dominant bivalves in exposed beaches in almost all areas of the world. Typically, two or more sympatric species of wedge shells differentially occupy intertidal, sublittoral, and offshore coastal waters in any given locality. A
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Wedge shells belonging to the Donacidae family are the dominant bivalves in exposed beaches in almost all areas of the world. Typically, two or more sympatric species of wedge shells differentially occupy intertidal, sublittoral, and offshore coastal waters in any given locality. A molecular cytogenetic analysis of two sympatric and closely related wedge shell species, Donax trunculus and Donax vittatus, was performed. Results showed that the karyotypes of these two species were both strikingly different and closely alike; whilst metacentric and submetacentric chromosome pairs were the main components of the karyotype of D. trunculus, 10–11 of the 19 chromosome pairs were telocentric in D. vittatus, most likely as a result of different pericentric inversions. GC-rich heterochromatic bands were present in both species. Furthermore, they showed coincidental 45S ribosomal RNA (rRNA), 5S rRNA and H3 histone gene clusters at conserved chromosomal locations, although D. trunculus had an additional 45S rDNA cluster. Intraspecific pericentric inversions were also detected in both D. trunculus and D. vittatus. The close genetic similarity of these two species together with the high degree of conservation of the 45S rRNA, 5S rRNA and H3 histone gene clusters, and GC-rich heterochromatic bands indicate that pericentric inversions contribute to the karyotype divergence in wedge shells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Conditioned Medium Modulates Apoptotic and Stress-Related Gene Expression, Ameliorates Maturation and Allows for the Development of Immature Human Oocytes after Artificial Activation
Genes 2017, 8(12), 371; doi:10.3390/genes8120371 (registering DOI)
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 30 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
The aim of the present study was to determine whether mesenchymal stem cell-conditioned medium (MSC-CM) modulates apoptotic and stress-related gene expression, and ameliorates maturation and developmental potential of immature human oocytes after artificial activation. A total of 247 surplus immature germinal vesicle (GV)
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The aim of the present study was to determine whether mesenchymal stem cell-conditioned medium (MSC-CM) modulates apoptotic and stress-related gene expression, and ameliorates maturation and developmental potential of immature human oocytes after artificial activation. A total of 247 surplus immature germinal vesicle (GV) oocytes obtained from infertile women were allocated into two in vitro maturation (IVM) groups: 1: GV oocytes (n = 116) matured in vitro (fIVM), and 2: GV oocytes (n = 131) that were vitrified, then in vitro matured (vIVM). Also, two maturation media were used: Alpha-minimum essential medium (α-MEM) and human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (hUCM). After 36 h of incubation, the IVM oocytes were examined for nuclear maturation. In IVM-matured oocytes, cytoplasmic maturation was evaluated after artificial activation through Ionomycin. Moreover, the quantitative expressions of B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL2), BCL2-associated X protein (BAX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and Heat shock proteins (HSP70) in matured oocytes were assessed by quantitative Real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and compared with fresh and vitrified in vivo matured oocytes, which were used as fIVM and vIVM controls, respectively. The highest maturation rate was found in hUCM in fIVM, and the lowest maturation rate was found using α-MEM in vIVM (85.18% and 71.42%, respectively). The cleavage rate in fIVM was higher than that in vIVM (83.4% vs. 72.0%). In addition, the cleavage rate in α-MEM was lower than that in the hUCM (66.0% vs. 89.4%). Furthermore, the difference between parthenote embryo arrested in 4–8 cells (p < 0.04) and the quality of embryo arrested in 8-cell (p < 0.007) were significant. The developmental stages of parthenote embryos in hUCM versus α-MEM were as follows: 2–4 cell (89.45% vs. 66.00%, respectively), 4–8 cell (44.31% vs. 29.11%, respectively), morula (12.27% vs. 2.63%, respectively), and blastocysts (2.5% vs. 0%, respectively). The messenger RNA (mRNA) expression levels of BCL2, BAX and SOD were significantly different (p < 0.05) between the matured IVM oocytes. Overall, hUCM showed potential efficacy in terms of ameliorating oocyte maturation and in promoting the development and mRNA expression of BAX, BCL2, and SOD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle Tissue-Specific Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Multiple Responses to Salt Stress in Populus euphratica Seedlings
Genes 2017, 8(12), 372; doi:10.3390/genes8120372 (registering DOI)
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
Salt stress is one of the most crucial factors impacting plant growth, development and reproduction. However, information regarding differences in tissue-specific gene expression patterns, which may improve a plant’s tolerance to salt stress, is limited. Here, we investigated the gene expression patterns in
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Salt stress is one of the most crucial factors impacting plant growth, development and reproduction. However, information regarding differences in tissue-specific gene expression patterns, which may improve a plant’s tolerance to salt stress, is limited. Here, we investigated the gene expression patterns in tissues of Populus euphratica Oliv. seedlings using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) technology. A total of 109.3 million, 125bp paired-end clean reads were generated, and 6428, 4797, 2335 and 3358 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in leaf, phloem, xylem and root tissues, respectively. While the tissue-specific DEGs under salt stress had diverse functions, “membrane transporter activity” was the most significant leaf function, whereas “oxidation–reduction process” was the most significant function in root tissue. Further analysis of the tissue-specific DEGs showed that the expression patterns or functions of gene families, such as SOS, NHX, GolS, GPX, APX, RBOHF and CBL, were diverse, suggesting that calcium signaling, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and salt overly sensitive (SOS) pathways are all involved in ionic homeostasis in tissues from P. euphratica seedlings. The DEGs, for example the up-regulated antioxidant genes, contribute to ROS-scavenging induced by salt stress but result in decreased Na+ concentrations in root vasculature cells and in xylem sap, while the down-regulated rbohF leads to the reverse results. These results suggest that the divergence of DEGs expression patterns contribute to maintenance of ionic and ROS homeostasis in tissues and improve plant salinity tolerance. We comprehensively analyzed the response of P. euphratica seedlings to salt stress and provide helpful genetic resources for studying plant-abiotic stress interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessArticle Genetic Analysis of the Major Capsid Protein of the Archaeal Fusellovirus SSV1: Mutational Flexibility and Conformational Change
Genes 2017, 8(12), 373; doi:10.3390/genes8120373 (registering DOI)
Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 1 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
Viruses with spindle or lemon-shaped virions are rare in the world of viruses, but are common in viruses of archaeal extremophiles, possibly due to the extreme conditions in which they thrive. However, the structural and genetic basis for the unique spindle shape is
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Viruses with spindle or lemon-shaped virions are rare in the world of viruses, but are common in viruses of archaeal extremophiles, possibly due to the extreme conditions in which they thrive. However, the structural and genetic basis for the unique spindle shape is unknown. The best-studied spindle-shaped virus, Sulfolobus Spindle-shaped Virus 1 (SSV1), is composed mostly of the major capsid protein VP1. Similar to many other viruses, proteolytic cleavage of VP1 is thought to be critical for virion formation. Unlike half of the genes in SSV1, including the minor capsid protein gene VP3, the VP1 gene does not tolerate deletion or transposon insertion. To determine the role of the VP1 gene and its proteolysis for virus function, we developed techniques for site-directed mutagenesis of the SSV1 genome and complemented deletion mutants with VP1 genes from other SSVs. By analyzing these mutants, we demonstrate that the N-terminus of the VP1 protein is required, but the N-terminus, or entire SSV1 VP1 protein, can be exchanged with VP1s from other SSVs. However, the conserved glutamate at the cleavage site is not essential for infectivity. Interestingly, viruses containing point mutations at this position generate mostly abnormal virions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Extremophiles)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of Bradyrhizobium elkanii Genes Involved in Incompatibility with Vigna radiata
Genes 2017, 8(12), 374; doi:10.3390/genes8120374 (registering DOI)
Received: 28 October 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
The establishment of a root nodule symbiosis between a leguminous plant and a rhizobium requires complex molecular interactions between the two partners. Compatible interactions lead to the formation of nitrogen-fixing nodules, however, some legumes exhibit incompatibility with specific rhizobial strains and restrict nodulation
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The establishment of a root nodule symbiosis between a leguminous plant and a rhizobium requires complex molecular interactions between the two partners. Compatible interactions lead to the formation of nitrogen-fixing nodules, however, some legumes exhibit incompatibility with specific rhizobial strains and restrict nodulation by the strains. Bradyrhizobium elkanii USDA61 is incompatible with mung bean (Vigna radiata cv. KPS1) and soybean cultivars carrying the Rj4 allele. Here, we explored genetic loci in USDA61 that determine incompatibility with V. radiata KPS1. We identified five novel B. elkanii genes that contribute to this incompatibility. Four of these genes also control incompatibility with soybean cultivars carrying the Rj4 allele, suggesting that a common mechanism underlies nodulation restriction in both legumes. The fifth gene encodes a hypothetical protein that contains a tts box in its promoter region. The tts box is conserved in genes encoding the type III secretion system (T3SS), which is known for its delivery of virulence effectors by pathogenic bacteria. These findings revealed both common and unique genes that are involved in the incompatibility of B. elkanii with mung bean and soybean. Of particular interest is the novel T3SS-related gene, which causes incompatibility specifically with mung bean cv. KPS1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of the Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis)
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Open AccessReview Clavine Alkaloids Gene Clusters of Penicillium and Related Fungi: Evolutionary Combination of Prenyltransferases, Monooxygenases and Dioxygenases
Genes 2017, 8(12), 342; doi:10.3390/genes8120342
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
The clavine alkaloids produced by the fungi of the Aspergillaceae and Arthrodermatacea families differ from the ergot alkaloids produced by Claviceps and Neotyphodium. The clavine alkaloids lack the extensive peptide chain modifications that occur in lysergic acid derived ergot alkaloids. Both clavine
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The clavine alkaloids produced by the fungi of the Aspergillaceae and Arthrodermatacea families differ from the ergot alkaloids produced by Claviceps and Neotyphodium. The clavine alkaloids lack the extensive peptide chain modifications that occur in lysergic acid derived ergot alkaloids. Both clavine and ergot alkaloids arise from the condensation of tryptophan and dimethylallylpyrophosphate by the action of the dimethylallyltryptophan synthase. The first five steps of the biosynthetic pathway that convert tryptophan and dimethylallyl-pyrophosphate (DMA-PP) in chanoclavine-1-aldehyde are common to both clavine and ergot alkaloids. The biosynthesis of ergot alkaloids has been extensively studied and is not considered in this article. We focus this review on recent advances in the gene clusters for clavine alkaloids in the species of Penicillium, Aspergillus (Neosartorya), Arthroderma and Trychophyton and the enzymes encoded by them. The final products of the clavine alkaloids pathways derive from the tetracyclic ergoline ring, which is modified by late enzymes, including a reverse type prenyltransferase, P450 monooxygenases and acetyltransferases. In Aspergillus japonicus, a α-ketoglutarate and Fe2+-dependent dioxygenase is involved in the cyclization of a festuclavine-like unknown type intermediate into cycloclavine. Related dioxygenases occur in the biosynthetic gene clusters of ergot alkaloids in Claviceps purpurea and also in the clavine clusters in Penicillium species. The final products of the clavine alkaloid pathway in these fungi differ from each other depending on the late biosynthetic enzymes involved. An important difference between clavine and ergot alkaloid pathways is that clavine producers lack the enzyme CloA, a P450 monooxygenase, involved in one of the steps of the conversion of chanoclavine-1-aldehyde into lysergic acid. Bioinformatic analysis of the sequenced genomes of the Aspergillaceae and Arthrodermataceae fungi showed the presence of clavine gene clusters in Arthroderma species, Penicillium roqueforti, Penicillium commune, Penicillium camemberti, Penicillium expansum, Penicillium steckii and Penicillium griseofulvum. Analysis of the gene clusters in several clavine alkaloid producers indicates that there are gene gains, gene losses and gene rearrangements. These findings may be explained by a divergent evolution of the gene clusters of ergot and clavine alkaloids from a common ancestral progenitor six genes cluster although horizontal gene transfer of some specific genes may have occurred more recently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessReview Epigenetic Basis of Cellular Senescence and Its Implications in Aging
Genes 2017, 8(12), 343; doi:10.3390/genes8120343
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 18 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
Cellular senescence is a tumor suppressive response that has become recognized as a major contributor of tissue aging. Senescent cells undergo a stable proliferative arrest that protects against neoplastic transformation, but acquire a secretory phenotype that has long-term deleterious effects. Studies are still
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Cellular senescence is a tumor suppressive response that has become recognized as a major contributor of tissue aging. Senescent cells undergo a stable proliferative arrest that protects against neoplastic transformation, but acquire a secretory phenotype that has long-term deleterious effects. Studies are still unraveling the effector mechanisms that underlie these senescence responses with the goal to identify therapeutic interventions. Such effector mechanisms have been linked to the dramatic remodeling in the epigenetic and chromatin landscape that accompany cellular senescence. We discuss these senescence-associated epigenetic changes and their impact on the senescence phenotypes, notably the proliferative arrest and senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP). We also explore possible epigenetic targets to suppress the deleterious effects of senescent cells that contribute towards aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Epigenetics of Aging and Longevity)
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Open AccessReview Alternative Splicing of L-type CaV1.2 Calcium Channels: Implications in Cardiovascular Diseases
Genes 2017, 8(12), 344; doi:10.3390/genes8120344
Received: 11 October 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
L-type CaV1.2 calcium channels are the major pathway for Ca2+ influx to initiate the contraction of smooth and cardiac muscles. Alteration of CaV1.2 channel function has been implicated in multiple cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy.
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L-type CaV1.2 calcium channels are the major pathway for Ca2+ influx to initiate the contraction of smooth and cardiac muscles. Alteration of CaV1.2 channel function has been implicated in multiple cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy. Alternative splicing is a post-transcriptional mechanism that expands CaV1.2 channel structures to modify function, pharmacological and biophysical property such as calcium/voltage-dependent inactivation (C/VDI), or to influence its post-translational modulation by interacting proteins such as Galectin-1. Alternative splicing has generated functionally diverse CaV1.2 isoforms that can be developmentally regulated in the heart, or under pathophysiological conditions such as in heart failure. More importantly, alternative splicing of certain exons of CaV1.2 has been reported to be regulated by splicing factors such as RNA-binding Fox-1 homolog 1/2 (Rbfox 1/2), polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTBP1) and RNA-binding motif protein 20 (RBM20). Understanding how CaV1.2 channel function is remodelled in disease will provide better information to guide the development of more targeted approaches to discover therapeutic agents for cardiovascular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aberrant Pre-mRNA Splicing in Disease)
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Open AccessReview A Strategy for Identifying Quantitative Trait Genes Using Gene Expression Analysis and Causal Analysis
Genes 2017, 8(12), 347; doi:10.3390/genes8120347
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 27 November 2017
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Abstract
Large numbers of quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting complex diseases and other quantitative traits have been reported in humans and model animals. However, the genetic architecture of these traits remains elusive due to the difficulty in identifying causal quantitative trait genes (QTGs) for
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Large numbers of quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting complex diseases and other quantitative traits have been reported in humans and model animals. However, the genetic architecture of these traits remains elusive due to the difficulty in identifying causal quantitative trait genes (QTGs) for common QTL with relatively small phenotypic effects. A traditional strategy based on techniques such as positional cloning does not always enable identification of a single candidate gene for a QTL of interest because it is difficult to narrow down a target genomic interval of the QTL to a very small interval harboring only one gene. A combination of gene expression analysis and statistical causal analysis can greatly reduce the number of candidate genes. This integrated approach provides causal evidence that one of the candidate genes is a putative QTG for the QTL. Using this approach, I have recently succeeded in identifying a single putative QTG for resistance to obesity in mice. Here, I outline the integration approach and discuss its usefulness using my studies as an example. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Genetic Loci)
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Open AccessReview Non-Coding RNAs in Pediatric Airway Diseases
Genes 2017, 8(12), 348; doi:10.3390/genes8120348
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 18 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 27 November 2017
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Abstract
Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are involved in the regulation of numerous biological processes and pathways and therefore have been extensively studied in human diseases. Previous reports have shown that non-coding RNAs play a crucial role in the pathogenesis and aberrant regulation of respiratory diseases.
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Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are involved in the regulation of numerous biological processes and pathways and therefore have been extensively studied in human diseases. Previous reports have shown that non-coding RNAs play a crucial role in the pathogenesis and aberrant regulation of respiratory diseases. The altered expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs in blood and also locally in sputum or exhaled breath condensate influences lung function, immune response, and disease phenotype and may be used for the development of biomarkers specific for airway disease. In this review, we provide an overview of the recent works studying the non-coding RNAs in airway diseases, with a particular focus on chronic respiratory diseases of childhood. We have chosen the most common chronic respiratory condition—asthma—and the most severe, chronic disease of the airways—cystic fibrosis. Study of the altered expression of non-coding RNAs in these diseases may be key to better understanding their pathogenesis and improving diagnosis, while also holding promise for the development of therapeutic strategies using the regulatory potential of non-coding RNAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-coding RNAs)
Open AccessReview The Potential of Zebrafish as a Model Organism for Improving the Translation of Genetic Anticancer Nanomedicines
Genes 2017, 8(12), 349; doi:10.3390/genes8120349
Received: 9 October 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
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Abstract
In the last few decades, the field of nanomedicine applied to cancer has revolutionized cancer treatment: several nanoformulations have already reached the market and are routinely being used in the clinical practice. In the case of genetic nanomedicines, i.e., designed to deliver gene
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In the last few decades, the field of nanomedicine applied to cancer has revolutionized cancer treatment: several nanoformulations have already reached the market and are routinely being used in the clinical practice. In the case of genetic nanomedicines, i.e., designed to deliver gene therapies to cancer cells for therapeutic purposes, advances have been less impressive. This is because of the many barriers that limit the access of the therapeutic nucleic acids to their target site, and the lack of models that would allow for an improvement in the understanding of how nanocarriers can be tailored to overcome them. Zebrafish has important advantages as a model species for the study of anticancer therapies, and have a lot to offer regarding the rational development of efficient delivery of genetic nanomedicines, and hence increasing the chances of their successful translation. This review aims to provide an overview of the recent advances in the development of genetic anticancer nanomedicines, and of the zebrafish models that stand as promising tools to shed light on their mechanisms of action and overall potential in oncology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish: The Key for Cancer Treatment)
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Open AccessReview Circular RNAs (circRNAs) in Health and Disease
Genes 2017, 8(12), 353; doi:10.3390/genes8120353
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 22 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
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Abstract
Splicing events do not always produce a linear transcript. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of RNA that are emerging as key new members of the gene regulatory milieu, which are produced by back-splicing events within genes. In circRNA formation, rather than being
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Splicing events do not always produce a linear transcript. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of RNA that are emerging as key new members of the gene regulatory milieu, which are produced by back-splicing events within genes. In circRNA formation, rather than being spliced in a linear fashion, exons can be circularised by use of the 3′ acceptor splice site of an upstream exon, leading to the formation of a circular RNA species. circRNAs have been demonstrated across species and have the potential to present genetic information in new orientations distinct from their parent transcript. The importance of these RNA players in gene regulation and normal cellular homeostasis is now beginning to be recognised. They have several potential modes of action, from serving as sponges for micro RNAs and RNA binding proteins, to acting as transcriptional regulators. In accordance with an important role in the normal biology of the cell, perturbations of circRNA expression are now being reported in association with disease. Furthermore, the inherent stability of circRNAs conferred by their circular structure and exonuclease resistance, and their expression in blood and other peripheral tissues in association with endosomes and microvesicles, renders them excellent candidates as disease biomarkers. In this review, we explore the state of knowledge on this exciting class of transcripts in regulating gene expression and discuss their emerging role in health and disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aberrant Pre-mRNA Splicing in Disease)
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Open AccessReview TRIM8: Making the Right Decision between the Oncogene and Tumour Suppressor Role
Genes 2017, 8(12), 354; doi:10.3390/genes8120354
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
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Abstract
The TRIM8/GERP protein is a member of the TRIM family defined by the presence of a common domain structure composed of a tripartite motif including a RING-finger, one or two B-box domains, and a coiled-coil motif. The TRIM8 gene maps on chromosome 10
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The TRIM8/GERP protein is a member of the TRIM family defined by the presence of a common domain structure composed of a tripartite motif including a RING-finger, one or two B-box domains, and a coiled-coil motif. The TRIM8 gene maps on chromosome 10 within a region frequently found deleted and rearranged in tumours and transcribes a 3.0-kB mRNA. Its expression is mostly ubiquitously in murine and human tissues, and in epithelial and lymphoid cells, it can be induced by IFNγ. The protein spans 551 aa and is highly conserved during evolution. TRIM8 plays divergent roles in many biological processes, including important functions in inflammation and cancer through regulating various signalling pathways. In regulating cell growth, TRIM8 exerts either a tumour suppressor action, playing a prominent role in regulating p53 tumour suppressor activity, or an oncogene function, through the positive regulation of the NF-κB pathway. The molecular mechanisms underlying this dual role in human cancer will be discussed in depth in this review, and it will highlight the challenge and importance of developing novel therapeutic strategies specifically aimed at blocking the pro-oncogenic arm of the TRIM8 signalling pathway without affecting its tumour suppressive effects. Full article
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Open AccessReview Synthesis of Rhizobial Exopolysaccharides and Their Importance for Symbiosis with Legume Plants
Genes 2017, 8(12), 360; doi:10.3390/genes8120360
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 26 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
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Abstract
Rhizobia dwell and multiply in the soil and represent a unique group of bacteria able to enter into a symbiotic interaction with plants from the Fabaceae family and fix atmospheric nitrogen inside de novo created plant organs, called nodules. One of the key
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Rhizobia dwell and multiply in the soil and represent a unique group of bacteria able to enter into a symbiotic interaction with plants from the Fabaceae family and fix atmospheric nitrogen inside de novo created plant organs, called nodules. One of the key determinants of the successful interaction between these bacteria and plants are exopolysaccharides, which represent species-specific homo- and heteropolymers of different carbohydrate units frequently decorated by non-carbohydrate substituents. Exopolysaccharides are typically built from repeat units assembled by the Wzx/Wzy-dependent pathway, where individual subunits are synthesized in conjunction with the lipid anchor undecaprenylphosphate (und-PP), due to the activity of glycosyltransferases. Complete oligosaccharide repeat units are transferred to the periplasmic space by the activity of the Wzx flippase, and, while still being anchored in the membrane, they are joined by the polymerase Wzy. Here we have focused on the genetic control over the process of exopolysaccharides (EPS) biosynthesis in rhizobia, with emphasis put on the recent advancements in understanding the mode of action of the key proteins operating in the pathway. A role played by exopolysaccharide in Rhizobium–legume symbiosis, including recent data confirming the signaling function of EPS, is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of the Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis)
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Open AccessReview Current Research on Non-Coding Ribonucleic Acid (RNA)
Genes 2017, 8(12), 366; doi:10.3390/genes8120366
Received: 13 October 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
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Abstract
Non-coding ribonucleic acid (RNA) has without a doubt captured the interest of biomedical researchers. The ability to screen the entire human genome with high-throughput sequencing technology has greatly enhanced the identification, annotation and prediction of the functionality of non-coding RNAs. In this review,
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Non-coding ribonucleic acid (RNA) has without a doubt captured the interest of biomedical researchers. The ability to screen the entire human genome with high-throughput sequencing technology has greatly enhanced the identification, annotation and prediction of the functionality of non-coding RNAs. In this review, we discuss the current landscape of non-coding RNA research and quantitative analysis. Non-coding RNA will be categorized into two major groups by size: long non-coding RNAs and small RNAs. In long non-coding RNA, we discuss regular long non-coding RNA, pseudogenes and circular RNA. In small RNA, we discuss miRNA, transfer RNA, piwi-interacting RNA, small nucleolar RNA, small nuclear RNA, Y RNA, single recognition particle RNA, and 7SK RNA. We elaborate on the origin, detection method, and potential association with disease, putative functional mechanisms, and public resources for these non-coding RNAs. We aim to provide readers with a complete overview of non-coding RNAs and incite additional interest in non-coding RNA research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-coding RNAs)
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Open AccessReview Histone MacroH2A1: A Chromatin Point of Intersection between Fasting, Senescence and Cellular Regeneration
Genes 2017, 8(12), 367; doi:10.3390/genes8120367
Received: 26 October 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
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Abstract
Histone variants confer chromatin unique properties. They have specific genomic distribution, regulated by specific deposition and removal machineries. Histone variants, mostly of canonical histones H2A, H2B and H3, have important roles in early embryonic development, in lineage commitment of stem cells, in the
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Histone variants confer chromatin unique properties. They have specific genomic distribution, regulated by specific deposition and removal machineries. Histone variants, mostly of canonical histones H2A, H2B and H3, have important roles in early embryonic development, in lineage commitment of stem cells, in the converse process of somatic cell reprogramming to pluripotency and, in some cases, in the modulation of animal aging and life span. MacroH2A1 is a variant of histone H2A, present in two alternatively exon-spliced isoforms macroH2A1.1 and macroH2A1.2, regulating cell plasticity and proliferation, during pluripotency and tumorigenesis. Furthermore, macroH2A1 participates in the formation of senescence-associated heterochromatic foci (SAHF) in senescent cells, and multiple lines of evidence in genetically modified mice suggest that macroH2A1 integrates nutritional cues from the extracellular environment to transcriptional programs. Here, we review current molecular evidence based on next generation sequencing data, cell assays and in vivo models supporting different mechanisms that could mediate the function of macroH2A1 in health span and life span. We will further discuss context-dependent and isoform-specific functions. The aim of this review is to provide guidance to assess histone variant macroH2A1 potential as a therapeutic intervention point. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Epigenetics of Aging and Longevity)
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Open AccessReview Dualistic Role of BARD1 in Cancer
Genes 2017, 8(12), 375; doi:10.3390/genes8120375 (registering DOI)
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 1 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
BRCA1 Associated RING Domain 1 (BARD1) encodes a protein which interacts with the N-terminal region of BRCA1 in vivo and in vitro. The full length (FL) BARD1 mRNA includes 11 exons and encodes a protein comprising of six domains (N-terminal RING-finger domain, three
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BRCA1 Associated RING Domain 1 (BARD1) encodes a protein which interacts with the N-terminal region of BRCA1 in vivo and in vitro. The full length (FL) BARD1 mRNA includes 11 exons and encodes a protein comprising of six domains (N-terminal RING-finger domain, three Ankyrin repeats and two C-terminal BRCT domains) with different functions. Emerging data suggest that BARD1 can have both tumor-suppressor gene and oncogene functions in tumor initiation and progression. Indeed, whereas FL BARD1 protein acts as tumor-suppressor with and without BRCA1 interactions, aberrant splice variants of BARD1 have been detected in various cancers and have been shown to play an oncogenic role. Further evidence for a dualistic role came with the identification of BARD1 as a neuroblastoma predisposition gene in our genome wide association study which has demonstrated that single nucleotide polymorphisms in BARD1 can correlate with risk or can protect against cancer based on their association with the expression of FL and splice variants of BARD1. This review is an overview of how BARD1 functions in tumorigenesis with opposite effects in various types of cancer. Full article
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Open AccessReview Context-Dependent Role of IKKβ in Cancer
Genes 2017, 8(12), 376; doi:10.3390/genes8120376 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 1 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
Inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa-B kinase subunit beta (IKKβ) is a kinase principally known as a positive regulator of the ubiquitous transcription factor family Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-κB). In addition, IKKβ also phosphorylates a number of other proteins that regulate many cellular processes,
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Inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa-B kinase subunit beta (IKKβ) is a kinase principally known as a positive regulator of the ubiquitous transcription factor family Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-κB). In addition, IKKβ also phosphorylates a number of other proteins that regulate many cellular processes, from cell cycle to metabolism and differentiation. As a consequence, IKKβ affects cell physiology in a variety of ways and may promote or hamper tumoral transformation depending on hitherto unknown circumstances. In this article, we give an overview of the NF-κB-dependent and -independent functions of IKKβ. We also summarize the current knowledge about the relationship of IKKβ with cellular transformation and cancer, obtained mainly through the study of animal models with cell type-specific modifications in IKKβ expression or activity. Finally, we describe the most relevant data about IKKβ implication in cancer obtained from the analysis of the human tumoral samples gathered in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC). Full article
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Open AccessReview Mitochondria and α-Synuclein: Friends or Foes in the Pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease?
Genes 2017, 8(12), 377; doi:10.3390/genes8120377 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a movement disorder characterized by dopaminergic nigrostriatal neuron degeneration and the formation of Lewy bodies (LB), pathological inclusions containing fibrils that are mainly composed of α-synuclein. Dopaminergic neurons, for their intrinsic characteristics, have a high energy demand that relies
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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a movement disorder characterized by dopaminergic nigrostriatal neuron degeneration and the formation of Lewy bodies (LB), pathological inclusions containing fibrils that are mainly composed of α-synuclein. Dopaminergic neurons, for their intrinsic characteristics, have a high energy demand that relies on the efficiency of the mitochondria respiratory chain. Dysregulations of mitochondria, deriving from alterations of complex I protein or oxidative DNA damage, change the trafficking, size and morphology of these organelles. Of note, these mitochondrial bioenergetics defects have been related to PD. A series of experimental evidence supports that α-synuclein physiological action is relevant for mitochondrial homeostasis, while its pathological aggregation can negatively impinge on mitochondrial function. It thus appears that imbalances in the equilibrium between the reciprocal modulatory action of mitochondria and α-synuclein can contribute to PD onset by inducing neuronal impairment. This review will try to highlight the role of physiological and pathological α-synuclein in the modulation of mitochondrial functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria and Aging)
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