Biomolecules2015, 5(3), 1717-1740; doi:10.3390/biom5031717 - published 24 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Alternative pre-messenger RNA splicing in higher plants emerges as an important layer of regulation upon exposure to exogenous and endogenous cues. Accordingly, mutants defective in RNA-binding proteins predicted to function in the splicing process show severe phenotypic alterations. Among those are developmental defects, impaired responses to pathogen threat or abiotic stress factors, and misregulation of the circadian timing system. A suite of splicing factors has been identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Here we summarize recent insights on how defects in these splicing factors impair plant performance.
Biomolecules2015, 5(3), 1697-1716; doi:10.3390/biom5031697 - published 24 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: α-Synuclein inclusion bodies are a pathological hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, and contain aggregated α-synuclein and a variety of recruited factors, including protein chaperones, proteasome components, ubiquitin and the small ubiquitin-like modifier, SUMO-1. Cell culture and animal model studies suggest that misfolded, aggregated α-synuclein is actively translocated via the cytoskeletal system to a region of the cell where other factors that help to lessen the toxic effects can also be recruited. SUMO-1 covalently conjugates to various intracellular target proteins in a way analogous to ubiquitination to alter cellular distribution, function and metabolism and also plays an important role in a growing list of cellular pathways, including exosome secretion and apoptosis. Furthermore, SUMO-1 modified proteins have recently been linked to cell stress responses, such as oxidative stress response and heat shock response, with increased SUMOylation being neuroprotective in some cases. Several recent studies have linked SUMOylation to the ubiquitin-proteasome system, while other evidence implicates the lysosomal pathway. Other reports depict a direct mechanism whereby sumoylation reduced the aggregation tendency of α-synuclein, and reduced the toxicity. However, the precise role of SUMO-1 in neurodegeneration remains unclear. In this review, we explore the potential direct or indirect role(s) of SUMO-1 in the cellular response to misfolded α-synuclein in neurodegenerative disorders.
Biomolecules2015, 5(3), 1671-1696; doi:10.3390/biom5031671 - published 24 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Carbohydrate-lectin interactions are relatively weak. As they play an important role in biological recognition processes, multivalent glycan ligands are designed to enhance binding affinity and inhibitory potency. We here report on novel neo-glycoproteins based on bovine serum albumin as scaffold for multivalent presentation of ligands for galectins. We prepared two kinds of tetrasaccharides (N-acetyllactosamine and N,N-diacetyllactosamine terminated) by multi-step chemo-enzymatic synthesis utilizing recombinant glycosyltransferases. Subsequent conjugation of these glycans to lysine groups of bovine serum albumin via squaric acid diethyl ester yielded a set of 22 different neo-glycoproteins with tuned ligand density. The neo-glycoproteins were analyzed by biochemical and chromatographic methods proving various modification degrees. The neo-glycoproteins were used for binding and inhibition studies with human galectin-3 showing high affinity. Binding strength and inhibition potency are closely related to modification density and show binding enhancement by multivalent ligand presentation. At galectin-3 concentrations comparable to serum levels of cancer patients, we detect the highest avidities. Selectivity of N,N-diacetyllactosamine terminated structures towards galectin-3 in comparison to galectin-1 is demonstrated. Moreover, we also see strong inhibitory potency of our scaffolds towards galectin-3 binding. These novel neo-glycoproteins may therefore serve as selective and strong galectin-3 ligands in cancer related biomedical research.
Biomolecules2015, 5(3), 1652-1670; doi:10.3390/biom5031652 - published 22 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Most chemotherapy regimens contain at least one DNA-damaging agent that preferentially affects the growth of cancer cells. This strategy takes advantage of the differences in cell proliferation between normal and cancer cells. Chemotherapeutic drugs are usually designed to target rapid-dividing cells because sustained proliferation is a common feature of cancer [1,2]. Rapid DNA replication is essential for highly proliferative cells, thus blocking of DNA replication will create numerous mutations and/or chromosome rearrangements—ultimately triggering cell death . Along these lines, DNA topoisomerase inhibitors are of great interest because they help to maintain strand breaks generated by topoisomerases during replication. In this article, we discuss the characteristics of topoisomerase (DNA) I (TOP1) and its inhibitors, as well as the underlying DNA repair pathways and the use of TOP1 inhibitors in cancer therapy.
Biomolecules2015, 5(3), 1634-1651; doi:10.3390/biom5031634 - published 22 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Misfolding and aggregation of α-synuclein into toxic soluble oligomeric α-synuclein aggregates has been strongly correlated with the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here, we show that two different morphologically distinct oligomeric α-synuclein aggregates are present in human post-mortem PD brain tissue and are responsible for the bulk of α-synuclein induced toxicity in brain homogenates from PD samples. Two antibody fragments that selectively bind the different oligomeric α-synuclein variants block this α-synuclein induced toxicity and are useful tools to probe how various cell models replicate the α-synuclein aggregation pattern of human PD brain. Using these reagents, we show that mammalian cell type strongly influences α-synuclein aggregation, where neuronal cells best replicate the PD brain α-synuclein aggregation profile. Overexpression of α-synuclein in the different cell lines increased protein aggregation but did not alter the morphology of the oligomeric aggregates generated. Differentiation of the neuronal cells into a cholinergic-like or dopaminergic-like phenotype increased the levels of oligomeric α-synuclein where the aggregates were localized in cell neurites and cell bodies.
Biomolecules2015, 5(3), 1618-1633; doi:10.3390/biom5031618 - published 22 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Transcriptional regulation of inflammatory gene expression has been at the forefront of studies of innate immunity and is coordinately regulated by transcription factors, including NF-κB, and chromatin modifiers. The growing evidence for involvement of chromatin in the regulation of gene expression in innate immune cells, has uncovered an evolutionarily conserved role of microbial sensing and chromatin remodeling. Toll-like receptors and RIG-I-like receptors trigger these signaling pathways leading to transcriptional expression of a set of genes involved in inflammation. Tightly regulated control of this gene expression is a paramount, and often foremost, goal of most biological endeavors. In this review, we will discuss the recent progress about the molecular mechanisms governing control of pro-inflammatory gene expression by an evolutionarily conserved novel nuclear protein Akirin2 in macrophages and its emergence as an essential link between NF-κB and chromatin remodelers for transcriptional regulation.