Open AccessReview
Epigenetic Impact on EBV Associated B-Cell Lymphomagenesis
Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 46; doi:10.3390/biom6040046 -
Abstract
Epigenetic modifications leading to either transcriptional repression or activation, play an indispensable role in the development of human cancers. Epidemiological study revealed that approximately 20% of all human cancers are associated with tumor viruses. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the first human tumor virus, demonstrates
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Epigenetic modifications leading to either transcriptional repression or activation, play an indispensable role in the development of human cancers. Epidemiological study revealed that approximately 20% of all human cancers are associated with tumor viruses. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the first human tumor virus, demonstrates frequent epigenetic alterations on both viral and host genomes in associated cancers—both of epithelial and lymphoid origin. The cell type-dependent different EBV latent gene expression patterns appear to be determined by the cellular epigenetic machinery and similarly viral oncoproteins recruit epigenetic regulators in order to deregulate the cellular gene expression profile resulting in several human cancers. This review elucidates the epigenetic consequences of EBV–host interactions during development of multiple EBV-induced B-cell lymphomas, which may lead to the discovery of novel therapeutic interventions against EBV-associated B-cell lymphomas by alteration of reversible patho-epigenetic markings. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Emergence of Pan-Cancer CIMP and Its Elusive Interpretation
Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 45; doi:10.3390/biom6040045 -
Abstract
Epigenetic dysregulation is recognized as a hallmark of cancer. In the last 16 years, a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) has been documented in tumors originating from different tissues. However, a looming question in the field is whether or not CIMP is a
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Epigenetic dysregulation is recognized as a hallmark of cancer. In the last 16 years, a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) has been documented in tumors originating from different tissues. However, a looming question in the field is whether or not CIMP is a pan-cancer phenomenon or a tissue-specific event. Here, we give a synopsis of the history of CIMP and describe the pattern of DNA methylation that defines the CIMP phenotype in different cancer types. We highlight new conceptual approaches of classifying tumors based on CIMP in a cancer type-agnostic way that reveal the presence of distinct CIMP tumors in a multitude of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets, suggesting that this phenotype may transcend tissue-type specificity. Lastly, we show evidence supporting the clinical relevance of CIMP-positive tumors and suggest that a common CIMP etiology may define new mechanistic targets in cancer treatment. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of miRNAs in Common Inflammatory Arthropathies: Osteoarthritis and Gouty Arthritis
Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 44; doi:10.3390/biom6040044 -
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNA species that are highly evolutionarily conserved, from higher invertebrates to man. Up to 1000 miRNAs have been identified in human cells thus far, where they are key regulators of the expression of numerous targets at the post-transcriptional
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNA species that are highly evolutionarily conserved, from higher invertebrates to man. Up to 1000 miRNAs have been identified in human cells thus far, where they are key regulators of the expression of numerous targets at the post-transcriptional level. They are implicated in various processes, including cell differentiation, metabolism, and inflammation. An expanding list of miRNAs is known to be involved in the pathogenesis of common, non-autoimmune inflammatory diseases. Interestingly, osteoarthritis (OA) is now being conceptualized as a metabolic disease, as there is a correlation among hyperuricemia and metabolic syndrome (MetS). Experimental evidence suggests that metabolic deregulation is a commonality between these different pathological entities, and that miRNAs are key players in the modulation of metabolic routes. In light of these findings, this review discusses the role of miRNAs in OA and gouty arthritis, as well as the possible therapeutic targetability of miRNAs in these diseases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
CoverageAnalyzer (CAn): A Tool for Inspection of Modification Signatures in RNA Sequencing Profiles
Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 42; doi:10.3390/biom6040042 -
Abstract
Combination of reverse transcription (RT) and deep sequencing has emerged as a powerful instrument for the detection of RNA modifications, a field that has seen a recent surge in activity because of its importance in gene regulation. Recent studies yielded high-resolution RT signatures
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Combination of reverse transcription (RT) and deep sequencing has emerged as a powerful instrument for the detection of RNA modifications, a field that has seen a recent surge in activity because of its importance in gene regulation. Recent studies yielded high-resolution RT signatures of modified ribonucleotides relying on both sequence-dependent mismatch patterns and reverse transcription arrests. Common alignment viewers lack specialized functionality, such as filtering, tailored visualization, image export and differential analysis. Consequently, the community will profit from a platform seamlessly connecting detailed visual inspection of RT signatures and automated screening for modification candidates. CoverageAnalyzer (CAn) was developed in response to the demand for a powerful inspection tool. It is freely available for all three main operating systems. With SAM file format as standard input, CAn is an intuitive and user-friendly tool that is generally applicable to the large community of biomedical users, starting from simple visualization of RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) data, up to sophisticated modification analysis with significance-based modification candidate calling. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Chronic Binge Alcohol Administration Dysregulates Hippocampal Genes Involved in Immunity and Neurogenesis in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Macaques
Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 43; doi:10.3390/biom6040043 -
Abstract
Alcohol use disorders (AUD) exacerbate neurocognitive dysfunction in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV+) patients. We have shown that chronic binge alcohol (CBA) administration (13–14 g EtOH/kg/wk) prior to and during simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in rhesus macaques unmasks learning deficits in operant learning
[...] Read more.
Alcohol use disorders (AUD) exacerbate neurocognitive dysfunction in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV+) patients. We have shown that chronic binge alcohol (CBA) administration (13–14 g EtOH/kg/wk) prior to and during simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in rhesus macaques unmasks learning deficits in operant learning and memory tasks. The underlying mechanisms of neurocognitive alterations due to alcohol and SIV are not known. This exploratory study examined the CBA-induced differential expression of hippocampal genes in SIV-infected (CBA/SIV+; n = 2) macaques in contrast to those of sucrose administered, SIV-infected (SUC/SIV+; n = 2) macaques. Transcriptomes of hippocampal samples dissected from brains obtained at necropsy (16 months post-SIV inoculation) were analyzed to determine differentially expressed genes. MetaCore from Thomson Reuters revealed enrichment of genes involved in inflammation, immune responses, and neurodevelopment. Functional relevance of these alterations was examined in vitro by exposing murine neural progenitor cells (NPCs) to ethanol (EtOH) and HIV trans-activator of transcription (Tat) protein. EtOH impaired NPC differentiation as indicated by decreased βIII tubulin expression. These findings suggest a role for neuroinflammation and neurogenesis in CBA/SIV neuropathogenesis and warrant further investigation of their potential contribution to CBA-mediated neurobehavioral deficits. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Continuous Reusability using Immobilized HasApf in Chemoenzymatic Deracemization: A New Heterogeneous Enzyme Catalysis
Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 41; doi:10.3390/biom6040041 -
Abstract
This study found that the calibration curve of heme acquisition system A (HasA, a new reactive active species) immobilized by a porous ceramic particle (ImHApf; immobilized HasA from Pseudomonas fluorescens) can be constructed in the range of 1750–1450 cm−1 using Fourier
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This study found that the calibration curve of heme acquisition system A (HasA, a new reactive active species) immobilized by a porous ceramic particle (ImHApf; immobilized HasA from Pseudomonas fluorescens) can be constructed in the range of 1750–1450 cm−1 using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis, and evaluated its catalytic efficiency. In the asymmetric oxidation of rac-1-(6-methoxynaphthalen-2-yl)ethanol (rac-1: a naproxen precursor), a product ketone from the (R)-isomer is desymmetrized using NaBH4 and continuously reused even if treated with an organic solvent in 50 mM glycine–NaOH buffer at 40 °C in the absence of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(P)), leading to >99% enantiomeric excess and >90% chemical yield; the activity was calculated at 0.74 ± 0.03 mU/(mg·min) and the turnover number was determined to be approximately 2 × 106. It was confirmed that the other sec-alcohols such as rac-1-(2-naphthyl)ethanol (rac-2) and m- and p-substituted rac-1-phenyl ethanols (rac-3ab6ab) using ImHApf can also yield a single stereoisomer from a racemate. Therefore, HasA immobilization can be expected to become an important tool for building an environmentally friendly system that promotes industrial sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Pennisi, R., et al. Hsp90: A New Player in DNA Repair? Biomolecules 2015, 5, 2589–2618
Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 40; doi:10.3390/biom6040040 -
Open AccessReview
Intra- and Extra-Cellular Events Related to Altered Glycosylation of MUC1 Promote Chronic Inflammation, Tumor Progression, Invasion, and Metastasis
Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 39; doi:10.3390/biom6040039 -
Abstract
Altered glycosylation of mucin 1 (MUC1) on tumor cells compared to normal epithelial cells was previously identified as an important antigenic modification recognized by the immune system in the process of tumor immunosurveillance. This tumor form of MUC1 is considered a viable target
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Altered glycosylation of mucin 1 (MUC1) on tumor cells compared to normal epithelial cells was previously identified as an important antigenic modification recognized by the immune system in the process of tumor immunosurveillance. This tumor form of MUC1 is considered a viable target for cancer immunotherapy. The importance of altered MUC1 glycosylation extends also to its role as a promoter of chronic inflammatory conditions that lead to malignant transformation and cancer progression. We review here what is known about the role of specific cancer-associated glycans on MUC1 in protein-protein interactions and intracellular signaling in cancer cells and in their adhesion to each other and the tumor stroma. The tumor form of MUC1 also creates a different landscape of inflammatory cells in the tumor microenvironment by controlling the recruitment of inflammatory cells, establishing specific interactions with dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages, and facilitating tumor escape from the immune system. Through multiple types of short glycans simultaneously present in tumors, MUC1 acquires multiple oncogenic properties that control tumor development, progression, and metastasis at different steps of the process of carcinogenesis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Inhibition of Bacterial RNase P RNA by Phenothiazine Derivatives
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 38; doi:10.3390/biom6030038 -
Abstract
There is a need to identify novel scaffolds and targets to develop new antibiotics. Methylene blue is a phenothiazine derivative, and it has been shown to possess anti-malarial and anti-trypanosomal activities. Here, we show that different phenothiazine derivatives and pyronine G inhibited the
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There is a need to identify novel scaffolds and targets to develop new antibiotics. Methylene blue is a phenothiazine derivative, and it has been shown to possess anti-malarial and anti-trypanosomal activities. Here, we show that different phenothiazine derivatives and pyronine G inhibited the activities of three structurally different bacterial RNase P RNAs (RPRs), including that from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, with Ki values in the lower μM range. Interestingly, three antipsychotic phenothiazines (chlorpromazine, thioridazine, and trifluoperazine), which are known to have antibacterial activities, also inhibited the activity of bacterial RPRs, albeit with higher Ki values than methylene blue. Phenothiazines also affected lead(II)-induced cleavage of bacterial RPR and inhibited yeast tRNAPhe, indicating binding of these drugs to functionally important regions. Collectively, our findings provide the first experimental data showing that long, noncoding RNAs could be targeted by different phenothiazine derivatives. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Epigenomic Approach to Improving Response to Neoadjuvant Cisplatin Chemotherapy in Bladder Cancer
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 37; doi:10.3390/biom6030037 -
Abstract
Bladder cancer is among the five most common cancers diagnosed in the Western world and causes significant mortality and morbidity rates in affected patients. Therapeutic options to treat the disease in advanced muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) include cystectomy and chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant cisplatin-based combination
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Bladder cancer is among the five most common cancers diagnosed in the Western world and causes significant mortality and morbidity rates in affected patients. Therapeutic options to treat the disease in advanced muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) include cystectomy and chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy is effective in MIBC; however, it has not been widely adopted by the community. One reason is that many patients do not respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and no biomarker currently exists to identify these patients. It is also not clear whether a strategy to sensitize chemoresistant patients may exist. We sought to identify cisplatin-resistance patterns in preclinical models of bladder cancer, and test whether treatment with the epigenetic modifier decitabine is able to sensitize cisplatin-resistant bladder cancer cell lines. Using a screening approach in cisplatin-resistant bladder cancer cell lines, we identified dysregulated genes by RNA sequencing (RNAseq) and DNA methylation assays. DNA methylation analysis of tumors from 18 patients receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy was used to confirm in vitro results. Cisplatin-resistant bladder cancer cells were treated with decitabine to investigate epigenetic sensitization of resistant cell lines. Our results show that HOXA9 promoter methylation status is associated with response to cisplatin-based chemotherapy in bladder cancer cell lines and in metastatic bladder cancer. Bladder cancer cells resistant to cisplatin chemotherapy can be sensitized to cisplatin by the DNA methylation inhibitor decitabine. Our data suggest that HOXA9 promoter methylation could serve as potential predictive biomarker and decitabine might sensitize resistant tumors in patients receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Internalization of the Extracellular Full-Length Tau Inside Neuro2A and Cortical Cells Is Enhanced by Phosphorylation
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 36; doi:10.3390/biom6030036 -
Abstract
Tau protein is mainly intracellular. However, several studies have demonstrated that full-length Tau can be released into the interstitial fluid of the brain. The physiological or pathological function of this extracellular Tau remains unknown. Moreover, as evidence suggests, extracellular Tau aggregates can be
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Tau protein is mainly intracellular. However, several studies have demonstrated that full-length Tau can be released into the interstitial fluid of the brain. The physiological or pathological function of this extracellular Tau remains unknown. Moreover, as evidence suggests, extracellular Tau aggregates can be internalized by neurons, seeding Tau aggregation. However, much less is known about small species of Tau. In this study, we hypothesized that the status of phosphorylation could alter the internalization of recombinant Tau in Neuro2A and cortical cells. Our preliminary results revealed that the highly phosphorylated form of Tau entered the cells ten times more easily than a low phosphorylated one. This suggests that hyperphosphorylated Tau protein could spread between neurons in pathological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Full article
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Lai, R.Y.K.; Harrington, C.R.; Wischik, C.M. Absence of a Role for Phosphorylation in the Tau Pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease. Biomolecules 2016, 6, 19
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 35; doi:10.3390/biom6030035 -
Abstract The authors wish to correct their affiliations in this paper [1] as follows:[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Functional Consequences of Differential O-glycosylation of MUC1, MUC4, and MUC16 (Downstream Effects on Signaling)
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 34; doi:10.3390/biom6030034 -
Abstract
Glycosylation is one of the most abundant post-translational modifications that occur within the cell. Under normal physiological conditions, O-linked glycosylation of extracellular proteins is critical for both structure and function. During the progression of cancer, however, the expression of aberrant and truncated
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Glycosylation is one of the most abundant post-translational modifications that occur within the cell. Under normal physiological conditions, O-linked glycosylation of extracellular proteins is critical for both structure and function. During the progression of cancer, however, the expression of aberrant and truncated glycans is commonly observed. Mucins are high molecular weight glycoproteins that contain numerous sites of O-glycosylation within their extracellular domains. Transmembrane mucins also play a functional role in monitoring the surrounding microenvironment and transducing these signals into the cell. In cancer, these mucins often take on an oncogenic role and promote a number of pro-tumorigenic effects, including pro-survival, migratory, and invasive behaviors. Within this review, we highlight both the processes involved in the expression of aberrant glycan structures on mucins, as well as the potential downstream impacts on cellular signaling. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mucin-Type O-Glycosylation in Gastric Carcinogenesis
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 33; doi:10.3390/biom6030033 -
Abstract
Mucin-type O-glycosylation plays a crucial role in several physiological and pathological processes of the gastric tissue. Modifications in enzymes responsible for key glycosylation steps and the consequent abnormal biosynthesis and expression of their glycan products constitute well-established molecular hallmarks of disease state.
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Mucin-type O-glycosylation plays a crucial role in several physiological and pathological processes of the gastric tissue. Modifications in enzymes responsible for key glycosylation steps and the consequent abnormal biosynthesis and expression of their glycan products constitute well-established molecular hallmarks of disease state. This review addresses the major role played by mucins and associated O-glycan structures in Helicobacter pylori adhesion to the gastric mucosa and the subsequent establishment of a chronic infection, with concomitant drastic alterations of the gastric epithelium glycophenotype. Furthermore, alterations of mucin expression pattern and glycan signatures occurring in preneoplastic lesions and in gastric carcinoma are also described, as well as their impact throughout the gastric carcinogenesis cascade and in cancer progression. Altogether, mucin-type O-glycosylation alterations may represent promising biomarkers with potential screening and prognostic applications, as well as predictors of cancer patients’ response to therapy. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Turning on the Radio: Epigenetic Inhibitors as Potential Radiopriming Agents
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 32; doi:10.3390/biom6030032 -
Abstract
First introduced during the late 1800s, radiation therapy is fundamental to the treatment of cancer. In developed countries, approximately 60% of all patients receive radiation therapy (also known as the sixty percenters), which makes radioresistance in cancer an important and, to date, unsolved,
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First introduced during the late 1800s, radiation therapy is fundamental to the treatment of cancer. In developed countries, approximately 60% of all patients receive radiation therapy (also known as the sixty percenters), which makes radioresistance in cancer an important and, to date, unsolved, clinical problem. Unfortunately, the therapeutic refractoriness of solid tumors is the rule not the exception, and the ubiquity of resistance also extends to standard chemotherapy, molecularly targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Based on extrapolation from recent clinical inroads with epigenetic agents to prime refractory tumors for maximum sensitivity to concurrent or subsequent therapies, the radioresistant phenotype is potentially reversible, since aberrant epigenetic mechanisms are critical contributors to the evolution of resistant subpopulations of malignant cells. Within the framework of a syllogism, this review explores the emerging link between epigenetics and the development of radioresistance and makes the case that a strategy of pre- or co-treatment with epigenetic agents has the potential to, not only derepress inappropriately silenced genes, but also increase reactive oxygen species production, resulting in the restoration of radiosensitivity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aberrant Glycosylation of Anchor-Optimized MUC1 Peptides Can Enhance Antigen Binding Affinity and Reverse Tolerance to Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 31; doi:10.3390/biom6030031 -
Abstract
Cancer vaccines have often failed to live up to their promise, although recent results with checkpoint inhibitors are reviving hopes that they will soon fulfill their promise. Although mutation-specific vaccines are under development, there is still high interest in an off-the-shelf vaccine to
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Cancer vaccines have often failed to live up to their promise, although recent results with checkpoint inhibitors are reviving hopes that they will soon fulfill their promise. Although mutation-specific vaccines are under development, there is still high interest in an off-the-shelf vaccine to a ubiquitous antigen, such as MUC1, which is aberrantly expressed on most solid and many hematological tumors, including more than 90% of breast carcinomas. Clinical trials for MUC1 have shown variable success, likely because of immunological tolerance to a self-antigen and to poor immunogenicity of tandem repeat peptides. We hypothesized that MUC1 peptides could be optimized, relying on heteroclitic optimizations of potential anchor amino acids with and without tumor-specific glycosylation of the peptides. We have identified novel MUC1 class I peptides that bind to HLA-A*0201 molecules with significantly higher affinity and function than the native MUC1 peptides. These peptides elicited CTLs from normal donors, as well as breast cancer patients, which were highly effective in killing MUC1-expressing MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Each peptide elicited lytic responses in greater than 6/8 of normal individuals and 3/3 breast cancer patients. The CTLs generated against the glycosylated-anchor modified peptides cross reacted with the native MUC1 peptide, STAPPVHNV, suggesting these analog peptides may offer substantial improvement in the design of epitope-based vaccines. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Role of Transcription Factors in Steatohepatitis and Hypertension after Ethanol: The Epicenter of Metabolism
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 29; doi:10.3390/biom6030029 -
Abstract
Chronic alcohol consumption induces multi-organ damage, including alcoholic liver disease (ALD), pancreatitis and hypertension. Ethanol and ethanol metabolic products play a significant role in the manifestation of its toxicity. Ethanol metabolizes to acetaldehyde and produces reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) by cytosolic alcohol
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Chronic alcohol consumption induces multi-organ damage, including alcoholic liver disease (ALD), pancreatitis and hypertension. Ethanol and ethanol metabolic products play a significant role in the manifestation of its toxicity. Ethanol metabolizes to acetaldehyde and produces reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) by cytosolic alcohol dehydrogenase. Ethanol metabolism mediated by cytochrome-P450 2E1 causes oxidative stress due to increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Acetaldehyde, increased redox cellular state and ROS activate transcription factors, which in turn activate genes for lipid biosynthesis and offer protection of hepatocytes from alcohol toxicity. Sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) and peroxisome proliferator activated-receptors (PPARs) are two key lipogenic transcription factors implicated in the development of fatty liver in alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. SREBP-1 is activated in the livers of chronic ethanol abusers. An increase in ROS activates nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) to provide protection to hepatocytes from ethanol toxicity. Under ethanol exposure, due to increased gut permeability, there is release of gram-negative bacteria-derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from intestine causing activation of immune response. In addition, the metabolic product, acetaldehyde, modifies the proteins in hepatocyte, which become antigens inviting auto-immune response. LPS activates macrophages, especially the liver resident macrophages, Kupffer cells. These Kupffer cells and circulating macrophages secrete various cytokines. The level of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), interleukin-1beta (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-8 and IL-12 have been found elevated among chronic alcoholics. In addition to elevation of these cytokines, the peripheral iron (Fe2+) is also mobilized. An increased level of hepatic iron has been observed among alcoholics. Increased ROS, IL-1β, acetaldehyde, and increased hepatic iron, all activate nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) transcription factor. Resolution of increased reactive oxygen species requires increased expression of genes responsible for dismutation of increased ROS which is partially achieved by IL-6 mediated activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3). In addition to these transcription factors, activator protein-1 may also be activated in hepatocytes due to its association with resolution of increased ROS. These transcription factors are central to alcohol-mediated hepatotoxicity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mechanistic and Structural Studies of Protein-Only RNase P Compared to Ribonucleoproteins Reveal the Two Faces of the Same Enzymatic Activity
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 30; doi:10.3390/biom6030030 -
Abstract
RNase P, the essential activity that performs the 5′ maturation of tRNA precursors, can be achieved either by ribonucleoproteins containing a ribozyme present in the three domains of life or by protein-only enzymes called protein-only RNase P (PRORP) that occur in eukaryote nuclei
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RNase P, the essential activity that performs the 5′ maturation of tRNA precursors, can be achieved either by ribonucleoproteins containing a ribozyme present in the three domains of life or by protein-only enzymes called protein-only RNase P (PRORP) that occur in eukaryote nuclei and organelles. A fast growing list of studies has investigated three-dimensional structures and mode of action of PRORP proteins. Results suggest that similar to ribozymes, PRORP proteins have two main domains. A clear functional analogy can be drawn between the specificity domain of the RNase P ribozyme and PRORP pentatricopeptide repeat domain, and between the ribozyme catalytic domain and PRORP N4BP1, YacP-like Nuclease domain. Moreover, both types of enzymes appear to dock with the acceptor arm of tRNA precursors and make specific contacts with the corner of pre-tRNAs. While some clear differences can still be delineated between PRORP and ribonucleoprotein (RNP) RNase P, the two types of enzymes seem to use, fundamentally, the same catalytic mechanism involving two metal ions. The occurrence of PRORP and RNP RNase P represents a remarkable example of convergent evolution. It might be the unique witness of an ongoing replacement of catalytic RNAs by proteins for enzymatic activities. Full article
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Open AccessReview
NMR Meets Tau: Insights into Its Function and Pathology
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 28; doi:10.3390/biom6020028 -
Abstract
In this review, we focus on what we have learned from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies on the neuronal microtubule-associated protein Tau. We consider both the mechanistic details of Tau: the tubulin relationship and its aggregation process. Phosphorylation of Tau is intimately linked
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In this review, we focus on what we have learned from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies on the neuronal microtubule-associated protein Tau. We consider both the mechanistic details of Tau: the tubulin relationship and its aggregation process. Phosphorylation of Tau is intimately linked to both aspects. NMR spectroscopy has depicted accurate phosphorylation patterns by different kinases, and its non-destructive character has allowed functional assays with the same samples. Finally, we will discuss other post-translational modifications of Tau and its interaction with other cellular factors in relationship to its (dys)function. Full article
Open AccessReview
The Diversity of Ribonuclease P: Protein and RNA Catalysts with Analogous Biological Functions
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 27; doi:10.3390/biom6020027 -
Abstract
Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is an essential endonuclease responsible for catalyzing 5’ end maturation in precursor transfer RNAs. Since its discovery in the 1970s, RNase P enzymes have been identified and studied throughout the three domains of life. Interestingly, RNase P is either
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Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is an essential endonuclease responsible for catalyzing 5’ end maturation in precursor transfer RNAs. Since its discovery in the 1970s, RNase P enzymes have been identified and studied throughout the three domains of life. Interestingly, RNase P is either RNA-based, with a catalytic RNA subunit, or a protein-only (PRORP) enzyme with differential evolutionary distribution. The available structural data, including the active site data, provides insight into catalysis and substrate recognition. The hydrolytic and kinetic mechanisms of the two forms of RNase P enzymes are similar, yet features unique to the RNA-based and PRORP enzymes are consistent with different evolutionary origins. The various RNase P enzymes, in addition to their primary role in tRNA 5’ maturation, catalyze cleavage of a variety of alternative substrates, indicating a diversification of RNase P function in vivo. The review concludes with a discussion of recent advances and interesting research directions in the field. Full article
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