Open AccessReview
Anaphase A: Disassembling Microtubules Move Chromosomes toward Spindle Poles
Biology 2017, 6(1), 15; doi:10.3390/biology6010015 -
Abstract
The separation of sister chromatids during anaphase is the culmination of mitosis and one of the most strikingly beautiful examples of cellular movement. It consists of two distinct processes: Anaphase A, the movement of chromosomes toward spindle poles via shortening of the connecting
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The separation of sister chromatids during anaphase is the culmination of mitosis and one of the most strikingly beautiful examples of cellular movement. It consists of two distinct processes: Anaphase A, the movement of chromosomes toward spindle poles via shortening of the connecting fibers, and anaphase B, separation of the two poles from one another via spindle elongation. I focus here on anaphase A chromosome-to-pole movement. The chapter begins by summarizing classical observations of chromosome movements, which support the current understanding of anaphase mechanisms. Live cell fluorescence microscopy studies showed that poleward chromosome movement is associated with disassembly of the kinetochore-attached microtubule fibers that link chromosomes to poles. Microtubule-marking techniques established that kinetochore-fiber disassembly often occurs through loss of tubulin subunits from the kinetochore-attached plus ends. In addition, kinetochore-fiber disassembly in many cells occurs partly through ‘flux’, where the microtubules flow continuously toward the poles and tubulin subunits are lost from minus ends. Molecular mechanistic models for how load-bearing attachments are maintained to disassembling microtubule ends, and how the forces are generated to drive these disassembly-coupled movements, are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mechanisms of Chromosome Congression during Mitosis
Biology 2017, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/biology6010013 -
Abstract
Chromosome congression during prometaphase culminates with the establishment of a metaphase plate, a hallmark of mitosis in metazoans. Classical views resulting from more than 100 years of research on this topic have attempted to explain chromosome congression based on the balance between opposing
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Chromosome congression during prometaphase culminates with the establishment of a metaphase plate, a hallmark of mitosis in metazoans. Classical views resulting from more than 100 years of research on this topic have attempted to explain chromosome congression based on the balance between opposing pulling and/or pushing forces that reach an equilibrium near the spindle equator. However, in mammalian cells, chromosome bi-orientation and force balance at kinetochores are not required for chromosome congression, whereas the mechanisms of chromosome congression are not necessarily involved in the maintenance of chromosome alignment after congression. Thus, chromosome congression and maintenance of alignment are determined by different principles. Moreover, it is now clear that not all chromosomes use the same mechanism for congressing to the spindle equator. Those chromosomes that are favorably positioned between both poles when the nuclear envelope breaks down use the so-called “direct congression” pathway in which chromosomes align after bi-orientation and the establishment of end-on kinetochore-microtubule attachments. This favors the balanced action of kinetochore pulling forces and polar ejection forces along chromosome arms that drive chromosome oscillatory movements during and after congression. The other pathway, which we call “peripheral congression”, is independent of end-on kinetochore microtubule-attachments and relies on the dominant and coordinated action of the kinetochore motors Dynein and Centromere Protein E (CENP-E) that mediate the lateral transport of peripheral chromosomes along microtubules, first towards the poles and subsequently towards the equator. How the opposite polarities of kinetochore motors are regulated in space and time to drive congression of peripheral chromosomes only now starts to be understood. This appears to be regulated by position-dependent phosphorylation of both Dynein and CENP-E and by spindle microtubule diversity by means of tubulin post-translational modifications. This so-called “tubulin code” might work as a navigation system that selectively guides kinetochore motors with opposite polarities along specific spindle microtubule populations, ultimately leading to the congression of peripheral chromosomes. We propose an integrated model of chromosome congression in mammalian cells that depends essentially on the following parameters: (1) chromosome position relative to the spindle poles after nuclear envelope breakdown; (2) establishment of stable end-on kinetochore-microtubule attachments and bi-orientation; (3) coordination between kinetochore- and arm-associated motors; and (4) spatial signatures associated with post-translational modifications of specific spindle microtubule populations. The physiological consequences of abnormal chromosome congression, as well as the therapeutic potential of inhibiting chromosome congression are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MetaGaAP: A Novel Pipeline to Estimate Community Composition and Abundance from Non-Model Sequence Data
Biology 2017, 6(1), 14; doi:10.3390/biology6010014 -
Abstract
Next generation sequencing and bioinformatic approaches are increasingly used to quantify microorganisms within populations by analysis of ‘meta-barcode’ data. This approach relies on comparison of amplicon sequences of ‘barcode’ regions from a population with public-domain databases of reference sequences. However, for many organisms
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Next generation sequencing and bioinformatic approaches are increasingly used to quantify microorganisms within populations by analysis of ‘meta-barcode’ data. This approach relies on comparison of amplicon sequences of ‘barcode’ regions from a population with public-domain databases of reference sequences. However, for many organisms relevant ‘barcode’ regions may not have been identified and large databases of reference sequences may not be available. A workflow and software pipeline, ‘MetaGaAP,’ was developed to identify and quantify genotypes through four steps: shotgun sequencing and identification of polymorphisms in a metapopulation to identify custom ‘barcode’ regions of less than 30 polymorphisms within the span of a single ‘read’, amplification and sequencing of the ‘barcode’, generation of a custom database of polymorphisms, and quantitation of the relative abundance of genotypes. The pipeline and workflow were validated in a ‘wild type’ Alphabaculovirus isolate, Helicoverpa armigera single nucleopolyhedrovirus (HaSNPV-AC53) and a tissue-culture derived strain (HaSNPV-AC53-T2). The approach was validated by comparison of polymorphisms in amplicons and shotgun data, and by comparison of predicted dominant and co-dominant genotypes with Sanger sequences. The computational power required to generate and search the database effectively limits the number of polymorphisms that can be included in a barcode to 30 or less. The approach can be used in quantitative analysis of the ecology and pathology of non-model organisms. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Glutamate Dehydrogenase Pathway and Its Roles in Cell and Tissue Biology in Health and Disease
Biology 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/biology6010011 -
Abstract
Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) is a hexameric enzyme that catalyzes the reversible conversion of glutamate to α-ketoglutarate and ammonia while reducing NAD(P)+ to NAD(P)H. It is found in all living organisms serving both catabolic and anabolic reactions. In mammalian tissues, oxidative deamination of
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Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) is a hexameric enzyme that catalyzes the reversible conversion of glutamate to α-ketoglutarate and ammonia while reducing NAD(P)+ to NAD(P)H. It is found in all living organisms serving both catabolic and anabolic reactions. In mammalian tissues, oxidative deamination of glutamate via GDH generates α-ketoglutarate, which is metabolized by the Krebs cycle, leading to the synthesis of ATP. In addition, the GDH pathway is linked to diverse cellular processes, including ammonia metabolism, acid-base equilibrium, redox homeostasis (via formation of fumarate), lipid biosynthesis (via oxidative generation of citrate), and lactate production. While most mammals possess a single GDH1 protein (hGDH1 in the human) that is highly expressed in the liver, humans and other primates have acquired, via duplication, an hGDH2 isoenzyme with distinct functional properties and tissue expression profile. The novel hGDH2 underwent rapid evolutionary adaptation, acquiring unique properties that enable enhanced enzyme function under conditions inhibitory to its ancestor hGDH1. These are thought to provide a biological advantage to humans with hGDH2 evolution occurring concomitantly with human brain development. hGDH2 is co-expressed with hGDH1 in human brain, kidney, testis and steroidogenic organs, but not in the liver. In human cerebral cortex, hGDH1 and hGDH2 are expressed in astrocytes, the cells responsible for removing and metabolizing transmitter glutamate, and for supplying neurons with glutamine and lactate. In human testis, hGDH2 (but not hGDH1) is densely expressed in the Sertoli cells, known to provide the spermatids with lactate and other nutrients. In steroid producing cells, hGDH1/2 is thought to generate reducing equivalents (NADPH) in the mitochondria for the biosynthesis of steroidal hormones. Lastly, up-regulation of hGDH1/2 expression occurs in cancer, permitting neoplastic cells to utilize glutamine/glutamate for their growth. In addition, deregulation of hGDH1/2 is implicated in the pathogenesis of several human disorders. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Consequences of Chromosome Segregation Errors in Mitosis and Meiosis
Biology 2017, 6(1), 12; doi:10.3390/biology6010012 -
Abstract
Mistakes during cell division frequently generate changes in chromosome content, producing aneuploid or polyploid progeny cells. Polyploid cells may then undergo abnormal division to generate aneuploid cells. Chromosome segregation errors may also involve fragments of whole chromosomes. A major consequence of segregation defects
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Mistakes during cell division frequently generate changes in chromosome content, producing aneuploid or polyploid progeny cells. Polyploid cells may then undergo abnormal division to generate aneuploid cells. Chromosome segregation errors may also involve fragments of whole chromosomes. A major consequence of segregation defects is change in the relative dosage of products from genes located on the missegregated chromosomes. Abnormal expression of transcriptional regulators can also impact genes on the properly segregated chromosomes. The consequences of these perturbations in gene expression depend on the specific chromosomes affected and on the interplay of the aneuploid phenotype with the environment. Most often, these novel chromosome distributions are detrimental to the health and survival of the organism. However, in a changed environment, alterations in gene copy number may generate a more highly adapted phenotype. Chromosome segregation errors also have important implications in human health. They may promote drug resistance in pathogenic microorganisms. In cancer cells, they are a source for genetic and phenotypic variability that may select for populations with increased malignance and resistance to therapy. Lastly, chromosome segregation errors during gamete formation in meiosis are a primary cause of human birth defects and infertility. This review describes the consequences of mitotic and meiotic errors focusing on novel concepts and human health. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Circadian Rhythms and Hormonal Homeostasis: Pathophysiological Implications
Biology 2017, 6(1), 10; doi:10.3390/biology6010010 -
Abstract
Over recent years, a deeper comprehension of the molecular mechanisms that control biological clocks and circadian rhythms has been achieved. In fact, many studies have contributed to unravelling the importance of the molecular clock for the regulation of our physiology, including hormonal and
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Over recent years, a deeper comprehension of the molecular mechanisms that control biological clocks and circadian rhythms has been achieved. In fact, many studies have contributed to unravelling the importance of the molecular clock for the regulation of our physiology, including hormonal and metabolic homeostasis. Here we will review the structure, organisation and molecular machinery that make our circadian clock work, and its relevance for the proper functioning of physiological processes. We will also describe the interconnections between circadian rhythms and endocrine homeostasis, as well as the underlying consequences that circadian dysregulations might have in the development of several pathologic affections. Finally, we will discuss how a better knowledge of such relationships might prove helpful in designing new therapeutic approaches for endocrine and metabolic diseases. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Profiling of Hydroxy Lipid Metabolites in Mouse Organs Reveals Distinct Lipidomic Profiles and Modifications Due to Elevated n-3 Fatty Acid Levels
Biology 2017, 6(1), 9; doi:10.3390/biology6010009 -
Abstract
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are precursors of bioactive metabolites and mediators. In this study, the profile of hydroxyeicosatetraenoic (HETE), hydroxyeicosapentaenoic (HEPE) and hydroxydocosahexaenoic (HDHA) acids derived from arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in colon, liver, lung, spleen, muscle,
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Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are precursors of bioactive metabolites and mediators. In this study, the profile of hydroxyeicosatetraenoic (HETE), hydroxyeicosapentaenoic (HEPE) and hydroxydocosahexaenoic (HDHA) acids derived from arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in colon, liver, lung, spleen, muscle, heart and kidney tissue of healthy wildtype mice were characterized, and compared to profiles in organs from transgenic fat-1 mice engineered to express the Caenorhabditis elegans fat-1 gene encoding an n-3 desaturase and thereby with endogenously elevated n-3 PUFA levels. PUFAs were measured using gas chromatography. The lipid metabolites were assayed using LC-MS/MS. AA and DHA were the prominent PUFAs in wildtype and fat-1 mice. EPA levels were low in both groups even though there was a significant increase in fat-1 organs with an up to 12-fold increase in fat-1 spleen and kidney. DHA levels increased by approximately 1.5-fold in fat-1 as compared to wildtype mice. While HETEs remained the same or decreased moderately and HDHAs increased 1- to 3-fold, HEPE formation in fat-1 tissues increased from 8- (muscle) to 44-fold (spleen). These findings indicate distinct profiles of monohydroxy lipid metabolites in different organs and strong utilization of EPA for HEPE formation, by which moderate EPA supplementation might trigger formation of biologically active EPA-derived resolvins. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Metaphase Spindle Assembly
Biology 2017, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/biology6010008 -
Abstract A microtubule-based bipolar spindle is required for error-free chromosome segregation during cell division. In this review I discuss the molecular mechanisms required for the assembly of this dynamic micrometer-scale structure in animal cells. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Cardiac Channelopathies and Sudden Death: Recent Clinical and Genetic Advances
Biology 2017, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/biology6010007 -
Abstract
Sudden cardiac death poses a unique challenge to clinicians because it may be the only symptom of an inherited heart condition. Indeed, inherited heart diseases can cause sudden cardiac death in older and younger individuals. Two groups of familial diseases are responsible for
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Sudden cardiac death poses a unique challenge to clinicians because it may be the only symptom of an inherited heart condition. Indeed, inherited heart diseases can cause sudden cardiac death in older and younger individuals. Two groups of familial diseases are responsible for sudden cardiac death: cardiomyopathies (mainly hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy) and channelopathies (mainly long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, short QT syndrome, and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia). This review focuses on cardiac channelopathies, which are characterized by lethal arrhythmias in the structurally normal heart, incomplete penetrance, and variable expressivity. Arrhythmias in these diseases result from pathogenic variants in genes encoding cardiac ion channels or associated proteins. Due to a lack of gross structural changes in the heart, channelopathies are often considered as potential causes of death in otherwise unexplained forensic autopsies. The asymptomatic nature of channelopathies is cause for concern in family members who may be carrying genetic risk factors, making the identification of these genetic factors of significant clinical importance. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mitotic Spindle Assembly in Land Plants: Molecules and Mechanisms
Biology 2017, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/biology6010006 -
Abstract
In textbooks, the mitotic spindles of plants are often described separately from those of animals. How do they differ at the molecular and mechanistic levels? In this chapter, we first outline the process of mitotic spindle assembly in animals and land plants. We
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In textbooks, the mitotic spindles of plants are often described separately from those of animals. How do they differ at the molecular and mechanistic levels? In this chapter, we first outline the process of mitotic spindle assembly in animals and land plants. We next discuss the conservation of spindle assembly factors based on database searches. Searches of >100 animal spindle assembly factors showed that the genes involved in this process are well conserved in plants, with the exception of two major missing elements: centrosomal components and subunits/regulators of the cytoplasmic dynein complex. We then describe the spindle and phragmoplast assembly mechanisms based on the data obtained from robust gene loss-of-function analyses using RNA interference (RNAi) or mutant plants. Finally, we discuss future research prospects of plant spindles. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Molecular View of Kinetochore Assembly and Function
Biology 2017, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/biology6010005 -
Abstract
Kinetochores are large protein assemblies that connect chromosomes to microtubules of the mitotic and meiotic spindles in order to distribute the replicated genome from a mother cell to its daughters. Kinetochores also control feedback mechanisms responsible for the correction of incorrect microtubule attachments,
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Kinetochores are large protein assemblies that connect chromosomes to microtubules of the mitotic and meiotic spindles in order to distribute the replicated genome from a mother cell to its daughters. Kinetochores also control feedback mechanisms responsible for the correction of incorrect microtubule attachments, and for the coordination of chromosome attachment with cell cycle progression. Finally, kinetochores contribute to their own preservation, across generations, at the specific chromosomal loci devoted to host them, the centromeres. They achieve this in most species by exploiting an epigenetic, DNA-sequence-independent mechanism; notable exceptions are budding yeasts where a specific sequence is associated with centromere function. In the last 15 years, extensive progress in the elucidation of the composition of the kinetochore and the identification of various physical and functional modules within its substructure has led to a much deeper molecular understanding of kinetochore organization and the origins of its functional output. Here, we provide a broad summary of this progress, focusing primarily on kinetochores of humans and budding yeast, while highlighting work from other models, and present important unresolved questions for future studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Anti-Oxidant Defense System of the Marine Polar Ciliate Euplotes nobilii: Characterization of the MsrB Gene Family
Biology 2017, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/biology6010004 -
Abstract
Organisms living in polar waters must cope with an extremely stressful environment dominated by freezing temperatures, high oxygen concentrations and UV radiation. To shed light on the genetic mechanisms on which the polar marine ciliate, Euplotes nobilii, relies to effectively cope with
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Organisms living in polar waters must cope with an extremely stressful environment dominated by freezing temperatures, high oxygen concentrations and UV radiation. To shed light on the genetic mechanisms on which the polar marine ciliate, Euplotes nobilii, relies to effectively cope with the oxidative stress, attention was focused on methionine sulfoxide reductases which repair proteins with oxidized methionines. A family of four structurally distinct MsrB genes, encoding enzymes specific for the reduction of the methionine-sulfoxide R-forms, were identified from a draft of the E. nobilii transcriptionally active (macronuclear) genome. The En-MsrB genes are constitutively expressed to synthesize proteins markedly different in amino acid sequence, number of CXXC motifs for zinc-ion binding, and presence/absence of a cysteine residue specific for the mechanism of enzyme regeneration. The En-MsrB proteins take different localizations in the nucleus, mitochondria, cytosol and endoplasmic reticulum, ensuring a pervasive protection of all the major subcellular compartments from the oxidative damage. These observations have suggested to regard the En-MsrB gene activity as playing a central role in the genetic mechanism that enables E. nobilii and ciliates in general to live in the polar environment. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Concerted Flexibility of Chromatin Structure, Methylome, and Histone Modifications along with Plant Stress Responses
Biology 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/biology6010003 -
Abstract
The spatial organization of chromosome structure within the interphase nucleus, as well as the patterns of methylome and histone modifications, represent intersecting layers that influence genome accessibility and function. This review is focused on the plastic nature of chromatin structure and epigenetic marks
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The spatial organization of chromosome structure within the interphase nucleus, as well as the patterns of methylome and histone modifications, represent intersecting layers that influence genome accessibility and function. This review is focused on the plastic nature of chromatin structure and epigenetic marks in association to stress situations. The use of chemical compounds (epigenetic drugs) or T-DNA-mediated mutagenesis affecting epigenetic regulators (epi-mutants) are discussed as being important tools for studying the impact of deregulated epigenetic backgrounds on gene function and phenotype. The inheritability of epigenetic marks and chromatin configurations along successive generations are interpreted as a way for plants to “communicate” past experiences of stress sensing. A mechanistic understanding of chromatin and epigenetics plasticity in plant response to stress, including tissue- and genotype-specific epigenetic patterns, may help to reveal the epigenetics contributions for genome and phenotype regulation. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Biology in 2016
Biology 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/biology6010002 -
Abstract The editors of Biology would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Mechanisms to Avoid and Correct Erroneous Kinetochore-Microtubule Attachments
Biology 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/biology6010001 -
Abstract
In dividing vertebrate cells multiple microtubules must connect to mitotic kinetochores in a highly stereotypical manner, with each sister kinetochore forming microtubule attachments to only one spindle pole. The exact sequence of events by which this goal is achieved varies considerably from cell
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In dividing vertebrate cells multiple microtubules must connect to mitotic kinetochores in a highly stereotypical manner, with each sister kinetochore forming microtubule attachments to only one spindle pole. The exact sequence of events by which this goal is achieved varies considerably from cell to cell because of the variable locations of kinetochores and spindle poles, and randomness of initial microtubule attachments. These chance encounters with the kinetochores nonetheless ultimately lead to the desired outcome with high fidelity and in a limited time frame, providing one of the most startling examples of biological self-organization. This chapter discusses mechanisms that contribute to accurate chromosome segregation by helping dividing cells to avoid and resolve improper microtubule attachments. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Brief History of Research on Mitotic Mechanisms
Biology 2016, 5(4), 55; doi:10.3390/biology5040055 -
Abstract
This chapter describes in summary form some of the most important research on chromosome segregation, from the discovery and naming of mitosis in the nineteenth century until around 1990. It gives both historical and scientific background for the nine chapters that follow, each
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This chapter describes in summary form some of the most important research on chromosome segregation, from the discovery and naming of mitosis in the nineteenth century until around 1990. It gives both historical and scientific background for the nine chapters that follow, each of which provides an up-to-date review of a specific aspect of mitotic mechanism. Here, we trace the fruits of each new technology that allowed a deeper understanding of mitosis and its underlying mechanisms. We describe how light microscopy, including phase, polarization, and fluorescence optics, provided descriptive information about mitotic events and also enabled important experimentation on mitotic functions, such as the dynamics of spindle fibers and the forces generated for chromosome movement. We describe studies by electron microscopy, including quantitative work with serial section reconstructions. We review early results from spindle biochemistry and genetics, coupled to molecular biology, as these methods allowed scholars to identify key molecular components of mitotic mechanisms. We also review hypotheses about mitotic mechanisms whose testing led to a deeper understanding of this fundamental biological event. Our goal is to provide modern scientists with an appreciation of the work that has laid the foundations for their current work and interests. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Multiple Forms of Glutamate Dehydrogenase in Animals: Structural Determinants and Physiological Implications
Biology 2016, 5(4), 53; doi:10.3390/biology5040053 -
Abstract
Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) of animal cells is usually considered to be a mitochondrial enzyme. However, this enzyme has recently been reported to be also present in nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum and lysosomes. These extramitochondrial localizations are associated with moonlighting functions of GDH, which include
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Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) of animal cells is usually considered to be a mitochondrial enzyme. However, this enzyme has recently been reported to be also present in nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum and lysosomes. These extramitochondrial localizations are associated with moonlighting functions of GDH, which include acting as a serine protease or an ATP-dependent tubulin-binding protein. Here, we review the published data on kinetics and localization of multiple forms of animal GDH taking into account the splice variants, post-translational modifications and GDH isoenzymes, found in humans and apes. The kinetic properties of human GLUD1 and GLUD2 isoenzymes are shown to be similar to those published for GDH1 and GDH2 from bovine brain. Increased functional diversity and specific regulation of GDH isoforms due to alternative splicing and post-translational modifications are also considered. In particular, these structural differences may affect the well-known regulation of GDH by nucleotides which is related to recent identification of thiamine derivatives as novel GDH modulators. The thiamine-dependent regulation of GDH is in good agreement with the fact that the non-coenzyme forms of thiamine, i.e., thiamine triphosphate and its adenylated form are generated in response to amino acid and carbon starvation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Critical Function of PRDM2 in the Neoplastic Growth of Testicular Germ Cell Tumors
Biology 2016, 5(4), 54; doi:10.3390/biology5040054 -
Abstract
Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) derive from primordial germ cells. Their maturation is blocked at different stages, reflecting histological tumor subtypes. A common genetic alteration in TGCT is a deletion of the chromosome 1 short arm, where the PRDM2 gene, belonging to the
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Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) derive from primordial germ cells. Their maturation is blocked at different stages, reflecting histological tumor subtypes. A common genetic alteration in TGCT is a deletion of the chromosome 1 short arm, where the PRDM2 gene, belonging to the Positive Regulatory domain gene (PRDM) family, is located. Expression of PRDM2 gene is shifted in different human tumors, where the expression of the two principal protein forms coded by PRDM2 gene, RIZ1 and RIZ2, is frequently unbalanced. Therefore, PRDM2 is actually considered a candidate tumor suppressor gene in different types of cancer. Although recent studies have demonstrated that PRDM gene family members have a pivotal role during the early stages of testicular development, no information are actually available on the involvement of these genes in TGCTs. In this article we show by qRT-PCR analysis that PRDM2 expression level is modulated by proliferation and differentiation agents such as estradiol, whose exposure during fetal life is probably an important risk factor for TGCTs development in adulthood. Furthermore in normal and cancer germ cell lines, PRDM2 binds estradiol receptor α (ERα) and influences proliferation, survival and apoptosis, as previously reported using MCF-7 breast cancer cell line, suggesting a potential tumor-suppressor role in TGCT formation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Subjective Mood in Young Unmedicated Depressed Women under High and Low Sleep Pressure Conditions
Biology 2016, 5(4), 52; doi:10.3390/biology5040052 -
Abstract
Diurnal mood variations are one of the core symptoms in depression, and total sleep deprivation (SD) can induce rapid, short-lasting clinical improvement in depressed patients. Here, we investigated if differential sleep pressure conditions impact on subjective mood levels in young women with major
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Diurnal mood variations are one of the core symptoms in depression, and total sleep deprivation (SD) can induce rapid, short-lasting clinical improvement in depressed patients. Here, we investigated if differential sleep pressure conditions impact on subjective mood levels in young women with major depressive disorder (MDD) without sleep disturbances, and in healthy controls. Eight healthy and eight MDD women underwent 40-h SD (high sleep pressure) and 40-h multiple NAP (low sleep pressure) protocols under constant routine conditions during which subjective mood was assessed every 30-min. MDD women rated overall significantly worse mood than controls, with minimal values for both groups during the biological night (ca. 4 a.m.), under high and low sleep pressure conditions. During SD, nighttime mood ratings in MDD women were lower than in controls and partially recovered during the second day of SD, but never attained control levels. The degree of this diurnal time-course in mood under SD correlated positively with sleep quality in MDD women. Our data indicate that MDD women without sleep disturbances did not exhibit a SD-induced antidepressant response, suggesting that the mood enhancement response to sleep deprivation might be related to the co-existence of sleep disturbances, which is an association that remains to be fully established. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Anaphase B
Biology 2016, 5(4), 51; doi:10.3390/biology5040051 -
Abstract
Anaphase B spindle elongation is characterized by the sliding apart of overlapping antiparallel interpolar (ip) microtubules (MTs) as the two opposite spindle poles separate, pulling along disjoined sister chromatids, thereby contributing to chromosome segregation and the propagation of all cellular life. The major
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Anaphase B spindle elongation is characterized by the sliding apart of overlapping antiparallel interpolar (ip) microtubules (MTs) as the two opposite spindle poles separate, pulling along disjoined sister chromatids, thereby contributing to chromosome segregation and the propagation of all cellular life. The major biochemical “modules” that cooperate to mediate pole–pole separation include: (i) midzone pushing or (ii) braking by MT crosslinkers, such as kinesin-5 motors, which facilitate or restrict the outward sliding of antiparallel interpolar MTs (ipMTs); (iii) cortical pulling by disassembling astral MTs (aMTs) and/or dynein motors that pull aMTs outwards; (iv) ipMT plus end dynamics, notably net polymerization; and (v) ipMT minus end depolymerization manifest as poleward flux. The differential combination of these modules in different cell types produces diversity in the anaphase B mechanism. Combinations of antagonist modules can create a force balance that maintains the dynamic pre-anaphase B spindle at constant length. Tipping such a force balance at anaphase B onset can initiate and control the rate of spindle elongation. The activities of the basic motor filament components of the anaphase B machinery are controlled by a network of non-motor MT-associated proteins (MAPs), for example the key MT cross-linker, Ase1p/PRC1, and various cell-cycle kinases, phosphatases, and proteases. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms of anaphase B spindle elongation in eukaryotic cells and briefly mentions bacterial DNA segregation systems that operate by spindle elongation. Full article
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