Biomolecules2015, 5(4), 2477-2503; doi:10.3390/biom5042477 - published 30 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Both Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) and alcohol-related susceptibility to acute lung injury are estimated to account for the highest morbidity and mortality related to chronic alcohol abuse and, thus, represent a focus of intense investigation. In general, alcohol-induced derangements to both organs are considered to be independent and are often evaluated separately. However, the liver and lung share many general responses to damage, and specific responses to alcohol exposure. For example, both organs possess resident macrophages that play key roles in mediating the immune/inflammatory response. Additionally, alcohol-induced damage to both organs appears to involve oxidative stress that favors tissue injury. Another mechanism that appears to be shared between the organs is that inflammatory injury to both organs is enhanced by alcohol exposure. Lastly, altered extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition appears to be a key step in disease progression in both organs. Indeed, recent studies suggest that early subtle changes in the ECM may predispose the target organ to an inflammatory insult. The purpose of this chapter is to review the parallel mechanisms of liver and lung injury in response to alcohol consumption. This chapter will also explore the potential that these mechanisms are interdependent, as part of a gut-liver-lung axis.
Biomolecules2015, 5(4), 2464-2476; doi:10.3390/biom5042464 - published 30 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Constitutive activation of oncogenes byfusion to partner genes, caused by chromosome translocation and inversion, is a critical genetic event driving lung carcinogenesis. Fusions of the tyrosine kinase genes ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase), ROS1 (c-ros oncogene 1), or RET (rearranged during transfection) occur in 1%–5% of lung adenocarcinomas (LADCs) and their products constitute therapeutic targets for kinase inhibitory drugs. Interestingly, ALK, RET, and ROS1 fusions occur preferentially in LADCs of never- and light-smokers, suggesting that the molecular mechanisms that cause these rearrangements are smoking-independent. In this study, using previously reported next generation LADC genome sequencing data of the breakpoint junction structures of chromosome rearrangements that cause oncogenic fusions in human cancer cells, we employed the structures of breakpoint junctions of ALK, RET, and ROS1 fusions in 41 LADC cases as “traces” to deduce the molecular processes of chromosome rearrangements caused by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and illegitimate joining. We found that gene fusion was produced by illegitimate repair of DSBs at unspecified sites in genomic regions of a few kb through DNA synthesis-dependent or -independent end-joining pathways, according to DSB type. This information will assist in the understanding of how oncogene fusions are generated and which etiological factors trigger them.
Biomolecules2015, 5(4), 2435-2463; doi:10.3390/biom5042435 - published 30 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ion pairs (also known as salt bridges) of electrostatically interacting cationic and anionic moieties are important for proteins and nucleic acids to perform their function. Although numerous three-dimensional structures show ion pairs at functionally important sites of biological macromolecules and their complexes, the physicochemical properties of the ion pairs are not well understood. Crystal structures typically show a single state for each ion pair. However, recent studies have revealed the dynamic nature of the ion pairs of the biological macromolecules. Biomolecular ion pairs undergo dynamic transitions between distinct states in which the charged moieties are either in direct contact or separated by water. This dynamic behavior is reasonable in light of the fundamental concepts that were established for small ions over the last century. In this review, we introduce the physicochemical concepts relevant to the ion pairs and provide an overview of the recent advancement in biophysical research on the ion pairs of biological macromolecules.
Biomolecules2015, 5(4), 2417-2434; doi:10.3390/biom5042417 - published 30 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) belongs to the family of Ras-homologous small GTPases. It is well characterized as a membrane-bound signal transducing molecule that is involved in the regulation of cell motility and adhesion as well as cell cycle progression, mitosis, cell death and gene expression. Rac1 also adjusts cellular responses to genotoxic stress by regulating the activity of stress kinases, including c-Jun-N-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase (JNK/SAPK) and p38 kinases as well as related transcription factors. Apart from being found on the inner side of the outer cell membrane and in the cytosol, Rac1 has also been detected inside the nucleus. Different lines of evidence indicate that genotoxin-induced DNA damage is able to activate nuclear Rac1. The exact mechanisms involved and the biological consequences, however, are unclear. The data available so far indicate that Rac1 might integrate DNA damage independent and DNA damage dependent cellular stress responses following genotoxin treatment, thereby coordinating mechanisms of the DNA damage response (DDR) that are related to DNA repair, survival and cell death.
Biomolecules2015, 5(4), 2388-2416; doi:10.3390/biom5042388 - published 30 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The maintenance of genomic integrity is an important process in organisms as failure to sense and repair damaged DNA can result in a variety of diseases. Eukaryotic cells have developed complex DNA repair response (DDR) mechanisms to accurately sense and repair damaged DNA. Post-translational modifications by ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins, such as SUMO and NEDD8, have roles in coordinating the progression of DDR. Proteins in the neddylation pathway have also been linked to regulating DDR. Of interest is the COP9 signalosome (CSN), a multi-subunit metalloprotease present in eukaryotes that removes NEDD8 from cullins and regulates the activity of cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRLs). This in turn regulates the stability and turnover of a host of CRL-targeted proteins, some of which have established roles in DDR. This review will summarize the current knowledge on the role of the CSN and neddylation in DNA repair.
Biomolecules2015, 5(4), 2363-2387; doi:10.3390/biom5042363 - published 30 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Posttranscriptional modifications of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are key processes in the fine-tuning of cellular homeostasis. Two major actors in this scenario are RNA binding proteins (RBPs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) that together play important roles in the biogenesis, turnover, translation and localization of mRNAs. This review will highlight recent advances in the understanding of the role of RBPs in the regulation of the maturation and the function of miRNAs. The interplay between miRNAs and RBPs is discussed specifically in the context of neuronal development and function.