Open AccessReview
Major Tumor Suppressor and Oncogenic Non-Coding RNAs: Clinical Relevance in Lung Cancer
Cells 2017, 6(2), 12; doi:10.3390/cells6020012 -
Abstract
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, yet there remains a lack of specific and sensitive tools for early diagnosis and targeted therapies. High-throughput sequencing techniques revealed that non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), e.g., microRNAs and long ncRNAs (lncRNAs), represent more than
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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, yet there remains a lack of specific and sensitive tools for early diagnosis and targeted therapies. High-throughput sequencing techniques revealed that non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), e.g., microRNAs and long ncRNAs (lncRNAs), represent more than 80% of the transcribed human genome. Emerging evidence suggests that microRNAs and lncRNAs regulate target genes and play an important role in biological processes and signaling pathways in malignancies, including lung cancer. In lung cancer, several tumor suppressor/oncogenic microRNAs and lncRNAs function as biomarkers for metastasis and prognosis, and thus may serve as therapeutic tools. In this review, recent work on microRNAs and lncRNAs is introduced and briefly summarized with a focus on potential biological and therapeutic applications. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Taking a Bad Turn: Compromised DNA Damage Response in Leukemia
Cells 2017, 6(2), 11; doi:10.3390/cells6020011 -
Abstract
Genomic integrity is of outmost importance for the survival at the cellular and the organismal level and key to human health. To ensure the integrity of their DNA, cells have evolved maintenance programs collectively known as the DNA damage response. Particularly challenging for
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Genomic integrity is of outmost importance for the survival at the cellular and the organismal level and key to human health. To ensure the integrity of their DNA, cells have evolved maintenance programs collectively known as the DNA damage response. Particularly challenging for genome integrity are DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) and defects in their repair are often associated with human disease, including leukemia. Defective DSB repair may not only be disease-causing, but further contribute to poor treatment outcome and poor prognosis in leukemia. Here, we review current insight into altered DSB repair mechanisms identified in leukemia. While DSB repair is somewhat compromised in all leukemic subtypes, certain key players of DSB repair are particularly targeted: DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) and Ku70/80 in the non-homologous end-joining pathway, as well as Rad51 and breast cancer 1/2 (BRCA1/2), key players in homologous recombination. Defects in leukemia-related DSB repair may not only arise from dysfunctional repair components, but also indirectly from mutations in key regulators of gene expression and/or chromatin structure, such as p53, the Kirsten ras oncogene (K-RAS), and isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (IDH1/2). A detailed understanding of the basis for defective DNA damage response (DDR) mechanisms for each leukemia subtype may allow to further develop new treatment methods to improve treatment outcome and prognosis for patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Distinct Fiber Type Signature in Mouse Muscles Expressing a Mutant Lamin A Responsible for Congenital Muscular Dystrophy in a Patient
Cells 2017, 6(2), 10; doi:10.3390/cells6020010 -
Abstract
Specific mutations in LMNA, which encodes nuclear intermediate filament proteins lamins A/C, affect skeletal muscle tissues. Early-onset LMNA myopathies reveal different alterations of muscle fibers, including fiber type disproportion or prominent dystrophic and/or inflammatory changes. Recently, we identified the p.R388P LMNA mutation
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Specific mutations in LMNA, which encodes nuclear intermediate filament proteins lamins A/C, affect skeletal muscle tissues. Early-onset LMNA myopathies reveal different alterations of muscle fibers, including fiber type disproportion or prominent dystrophic and/or inflammatory changes. Recently, we identified the p.R388P LMNA mutation as responsible for congenital muscular dystrophy (L-CMD) and lipodystrophy. Here, we asked whether viral-mediated expression of mutant lamin A in murine skeletal muscles would be a pertinent model to reveal specific muscle alterations. We found that the total amount and size of muscle fibers as well as the extent of either inflammation or muscle regeneration were similar to wildtype or mutant lamin A. In contrast, the amount of fast oxidative muscle fibers containing myosin heavy chain IIA was lower upon expression of mutant lamin A, in correlation with lower expression of genes encoding transcription factors MEF2C and MyoD. These data validate this in vivo model for highlighting distinct muscle phenotypes associated with different lamin contexts. Additionally, the data suggest that alteration of muscle fiber type identity may contribute to the mechanisms underlying physiopathology of L-CMD related to R388P mutant lamin A. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microinjection of Antibodies Targeting the Lamin A/C Histone-Binding Site Blocks Mitotic Entry and Reveals Separate Chromatin Interactions with HP1, CenpB and PML
Cells 2017, 6(2), 9; doi:10.3390/cells6020009 -
Abstract
Lamins form a scaffold lining the nucleus that binds chromatin and contributes to spatial genome organization; however, due to the many other functions of lamins, studies knocking out or altering the lamin polymer cannot clearly distinguish between direct and indirect effects. To overcome
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Lamins form a scaffold lining the nucleus that binds chromatin and contributes to spatial genome organization; however, due to the many other functions of lamins, studies knocking out or altering the lamin polymer cannot clearly distinguish between direct and indirect effects. To overcome this obstacle, we specifically targeted the mapped histone-binding site of A/C lamins by microinjecting antibodies specific to this region predicting that this would make the genome more mobile. No increase in chromatin mobility was observed; however, interestingly, injected cells failed to go through mitosis, while control antibody-injected cells did. This effect was not due to crosslinking of the lamin polymer, as Fab fragments also blocked mitosis. The lack of genome mobility suggested other lamin-chromatin interactions. To determine what these might be, mini-lamin A constructs were expressed with or without the histone-binding site that assembled into independent intranuclear structures. HP1, CenpB and PML proteins accumulated at these structures for both constructs, indicating that other sites supporting chromatin interactions exist on lamin A. Together, these results indicate that lamin A-chromatin interactions are highly redundant and more diverse than generally acknowledged and highlight the importance of trying to experimentally separate their individual functions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
KDM2 Family Members are Regulated by HIF-1 in Hypoxia
Cells 2017, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/cells6010008 -
Abstract
Hypoxia is not only a developmental cue but also a stress and pathological stimulus in many human diseases. The response to hypoxia at the cellular level relies on the activity of the transcription factor family, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF). HIF-1 is responsible for
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Hypoxia is not only a developmental cue but also a stress and pathological stimulus in many human diseases. The response to hypoxia at the cellular level relies on the activity of the transcription factor family, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF). HIF-1 is responsible for the acute response and transactivates a variety of genes involved in cellular metabolism, cell death, and cell growth. Here, we show that hypoxia results in increased mRNA levels for human lysine (K)-specific demethylase 2 (KDM2) family members, KDM2A and KDM2B, and also for Drosophila melanogaster KDM2, a histone and protein demethylase. In human cells, KDM2 family member’s mRNA levels are regulated by HIF-1 but not HIF-2 in hypoxia. Interestingly, only KDM2A protein levels are significantly induced in a HIF-1-dependent manner, while KDM2B protein changes in a cell type-dependent manner. Importantly, we demonstrate that in human cells, KDM2A regulation by hypoxia and HIF-1 occurs at the level of promoter, with HIF-1 binding to the KDM2A promoter being required for RNA polymerase II recruitment. Taken together, these results demonstrate that KDM2 is a novel HIF target that can help coordinate the cellular response to hypoxia. In addition, these results might explain why KDM2 levels are often deregulated in human cancers. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Application of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Technology to the Study of Hematological Diseases
Cells 2017, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/cells6010007 -
Abstract
The burst of reprogramming technology in recent years has revolutionized the field of stem cell biology, offering new opportunities for personalized, regenerative therapies. The direct reprogramming of somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has provided an invaluable tool to study and
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The burst of reprogramming technology in recent years has revolutionized the field of stem cell biology, offering new opportunities for personalized, regenerative therapies. The direct reprogramming of somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has provided an invaluable tool to study and model a wide range of human diseases. Here, we review the transforming potential of such a strategy in research and in therapies applicable to the hematology field. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Invariant Chain Complexes and Clusters as Platforms for MIF Signaling
Cells 2017, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/cells6010006 -
Abstract
Invariant chain (Ii/CD74) has been identified as a surface receptor for migration inhibitory factor (MIF). Most cells that express Ii also synthesize major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) molecules, which depend on Ii as a chaperone and a targeting factor. The assembly
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Invariant chain (Ii/CD74) has been identified as a surface receptor for migration inhibitory factor (MIF). Most cells that express Ii also synthesize major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) molecules, which depend on Ii as a chaperone and a targeting factor. The assembly of nonameric complexes consisting of one Ii trimer and three MHC II molecules (each of which is a heterodimer) has been regarded as a prerequisite for efficient delivery to the cell surface. Due to rapid endocytosis, however, only low levels of Ii-MHC II complexes are displayed on the cell surface of professional antigen presenting cells and very little free Ii trimers. The association of Ii and MHC II has been reported to block the interaction with MIF, thus questioning the role of surface Ii as a receptor for MIF on MHC II-expressing cells. Recent work offers a potential solution to this conundrum: Many Ii-complexes at the cell surface appear to be under-saturated with MHC II, leaving unoccupied Ii subunits as potential binding sites for MIF. Some of this work also sheds light on novel aspects of signal transduction by Ii-bound MIF in B-lymphocytes: membrane raft association of Ii-MHC II complexes enables MIF to target Ii-MHC II to antigen-clustered B-cell-receptors (BCR) and to foster BCR-driven signaling and intracellular trafficking. Full article
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Open AccessReview
May I Cut in? Gene Editing Approaches in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Cells 2017, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/cells6010005 -
Abstract
In the decade since Yamanaka and colleagues described methods to reprogram somatic cells into a pluripotent state, human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have demonstrated tremendous promise in numerous disease modeling, drug discovery, and regenerative medicine applications. More recently, the development and refinement
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In the decade since Yamanaka and colleagues described methods to reprogram somatic cells into a pluripotent state, human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have demonstrated tremendous promise in numerous disease modeling, drug discovery, and regenerative medicine applications. More recently, the development and refinement of advanced gene transduction and editing technologies have further accelerated the potential of hiPSCs. In this review, we discuss the various gene editing technologies that are being implemented with hiPSCs. Specifically, we describe the emergence of technologies including zinc-finger nuclease (ZFN), transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 that can be used to edit the genome at precise locations, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each of these technologies. In addition, we present the current applications of these technologies in elucidating the mechanisms of human development and disease, developing novel and effective therapeutic molecules, and engineering cell-based therapies. Finally, we discuss the emerging technological advances in targeted gene editing methods. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Stem Cell Therapies in Retinal Disorders
Cells 2017, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/cells6010004 -
Abstract
Stem cell therapy has long been considered a promising mode of treatment for retinal conditions. While human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have provided the precedent for regenerative medicine, the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) revolutionized this field. iPSCs allow for the
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Stem cell therapy has long been considered a promising mode of treatment for retinal conditions. While human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have provided the precedent for regenerative medicine, the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) revolutionized this field. iPSCs allow for the development of many types of retinal cells, including those of the retinal pigment epithelium, photoreceptors, and ganglion cells, and can model polygenic diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. Cellular programming and reprogramming technology is especially useful in retinal diseases, as it allows for the study of living cells that have genetic variants that are specific to patients’ diseases. Since iPSCs are a self-renewing resource, scientists can experiment with an unlimited number of pluripotent cells to perfect the process of targeted differentiation, transplantation, and more, for personalized medicine. Challenges in the use of stem cells are present from the scientific, ethical, and political realms. These include transplant complications leading to anatomically incorrect placement, concern for tumorigenesis, and incomplete targeting of differentiation leading to contamination by different types of cells. Despite these limitations, human ESCs and iPSCs specific to individual patients can revolutionize the study of retinal disease and may be effective therapies for conditions currently considered incurable. Full article
Open AccessReview
Implications for Diverse Functions of the LINC Complexes Based on the Structure
Cells 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/cells6010003 -
Abstract
The linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex is composed of the outer and inner nuclear membrane protein families Klarsicht, Anc-1, and Syne homology (KASH), and Sad1 and UNC-84 (SUN) homology domain proteins. Increasing evidence has pointed to diverse functions of the LINC
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The linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex is composed of the outer and inner nuclear membrane protein families Klarsicht, Anc-1, and Syne homology (KASH), and Sad1 and UNC-84 (SUN) homology domain proteins. Increasing evidence has pointed to diverse functions of the LINC complex, such as in nuclear migration, nuclear integrity, chromosome movement and pairing during meiosis, and mechanotransduction to the genome. In metazoan cells, the nuclear envelope possesses the nuclear lamina, which is a thin meshwork of intermediate filaments known as A-type and B-type lamins and lamin binding proteins. Both of lamins physically interact with the inner nuclear membrane spanning SUN proteins. The nuclear lamina has also been implicated in various functions, including maintenance of nuclear integrity, mechanotransduction, cellular signalling, and heterochromatin dynamics. Thus, it is clear that the LINC complex and nuclear lamins perform diverse but related functions. However, it is unknown whether the LINC complex–lamins interactions are involved in these diverse functions, and their regulation mechanism has thus far been elusive. Recent structural analysis suggested a dynamic nature of the LINC complex component, thus providing an explanation for LINC complex organization. This review, elaborating on the integration of crystallographic and biochemical data, helps to integrate this research to gain a better understanding of the diverse functions of the LINC complex. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vimentin Levels and Serine 71 Phosphorylation in the Control of Cell-Matrix Adhesions, Migration Speed, and Shape of Transformed Human Fibroblasts
Cells 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/cells6010002 -
Abstract
Metastasizing tumor cells show increased expression of the intermediate filament (IF) protein vimentin, which has been used to diagnose invasive tumors for decades. Recent observations indicate that vimentin is not only a passive marker for carcinoma, but may also induce tumor cell invasion.
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Metastasizing tumor cells show increased expression of the intermediate filament (IF) protein vimentin, which has been used to diagnose invasive tumors for decades. Recent observations indicate that vimentin is not only a passive marker for carcinoma, but may also induce tumor cell invasion. To clarify how vimentin IFs control cell adhesions and migration, we analyzed the nanoscale (30–50 nm) spatial organization of vimentin IFs and cell-matrix adhesions in metastatic fibroblast cells, using three-color stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy. We also studied whether wild-type and phospho-deficient or -mimicking mutants of vimentin changed the size and lifetime of focal adhesions (FAs), cell shape, and cell migration, using live-cell total internal reflection imaging and confocal microscopy. We observed that vimentin exists in fragments of different lengths. Short fragments were mostly the size of a unit-length filament and were mainly localized close to small cell-matrix adhesions. Long vimentin filaments were found in the proximity of large FAs. Vimentin expression in these cells caused a reduction in FAs size and an elongated cell shape, but did not affect FA lifetime, or the speed or directionality of cell migration. Expression of a phospho-mimicking mutant (S71D) of vimentin increased the speed of cell migration. Taken together, our results suggest that in highly migratory, transformed mesenchymal cells, vimentin levels control the cell shape and FA size, but not cell migration, which instead is linked to the phosphorylation status of S71 vimentin. These observations are consistent with the possibility that not only levels, but also the assembly status of vimentin control cell migration. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Cells in 2016
Cells 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/cells6010001 -
Abstract The editors of Cells would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Translational Prospects and Challenges in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Research in Drug Discovery
Cells 2016, 5(4), 46; doi:10.3390/cells5040046 -
Abstract
Despite continuous efforts to improve the process of drug discovery and development, achieving success at the clinical stage remains challenging because of a persistent translational gap between the preclinical and clinical settings. Under these circumstances, the discovery of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS)
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Despite continuous efforts to improve the process of drug discovery and development, achieving success at the clinical stage remains challenging because of a persistent translational gap between the preclinical and clinical settings. Under these circumstances, the discovery of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells has brought new hope to the drug discovery field because they enable scientists to humanize a variety of pharmacological and toxicological models in vitro. The availability of human iPS cell-derived cells, particularly as an alternative for difficult-to-access tissues and organs, is increasing steadily; however, their use in the field of translational medicine remains challenging. Biomarkers are an essential part of the translational effort to shift new discoveries from bench to bedside as they provide a measurable indicator with which to evaluate pharmacological and toxicological effects in both the preclinical and clinical settings. In general, during the preclinical stage of the drug development process, in vitro models that are established to recapitulate human diseases are validated by using a set of biomarkers; however, their translatability to a clinical setting remains problematic. This review provides an overview of current strategies for human iPS cell-based drug discovery from the perspective of translational research, and discusses the importance of early consideration of clinically relevant biomarkers. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Random Splicing of Several Exons Caused by a Single Base Change in the Target Exon of CRISPR/Cas9 Mediated Gene Knockout
Cells 2016, 5(4), 45; doi:10.3390/cells5040045 -
Abstract
The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated sequence 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) system is widely used for genome editing purposes as it facilitates an efficient knockout of a specific gene in, e.g. cultured cells. Targeted double-strand breaks are introduced to the target sequence of
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The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated sequence 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) system is widely used for genome editing purposes as it facilitates an efficient knockout of a specific gene in, e.g. cultured cells. Targeted double-strand breaks are introduced to the target sequence of the guide RNAs, which activates the cellular DNA repair mechanism for non-homologous-end-joining, resulting in unprecise repair and introduction of small deletions or insertions. Due to this, sequence alterations in the coding region of the target gene frequently cause frame-shift mutations, facilitating degradation of the mRNA. We here show that such CRISPR/Cas9-mediated alterations in the target exon may also result in altered splicing of the respective pre-mRNA, most likely due to mutations of splice-regulatory sequences. Using the human FLOT-1 gene as an example, we demonstrate that such altered splicing products also give rise to aberrant protein products. These may potentially function as dominant-negative proteins and thus interfere with the interpretation of the data generated with these cell lines. Since most researchers only control the consequences of CRISPR knockout at genomic and protein level, our data should encourage to also check the alterations at the mRNA level. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Potential of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) for Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Cells 2016, 5(4), 44; doi:10.3390/cells5040044 -
Abstract
The field of stem cell biology has rapidly evolved in the last few decades. In the area of regenerative medicine, clinical applications using stem cells hold the potential to be a powerful tool in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases, in
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The field of stem cell biology has rapidly evolved in the last few decades. In the area of regenerative medicine, clinical applications using stem cells hold the potential to be a powerful tool in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases, in particular, disorders of the eye. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are promising technologies that can potentially provide an unlimited source of cells for cell replacement therapy in the treatment of retinal degenerative disorders such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Stargardt disease, and other disorders. ESCs and iPSCs have been used to generate retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells and their functional behavior has been tested in vitro and in vivo in animal models. Additionally, iPSC-derived RPE cells provide an autologous source of cells for therapeutic use, as well as allow for novel approaches in disease modeling and drug development platforms. Clinical trials are currently testing the safety and efficacy of these cells in patients with AMD. In this review, the current status of iPSC disease modeling of AMD is discussed, as well as the challenges and potential of this technology as a viable option for cell replacement therapy in retinal degeneration. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Role of Cytokine-Induced Glycosylation Changes in Regulating Cell Interactions and Cell Signaling in Inflammatory Diseases and Cancer
Cells 2016, 5(4), 43; doi:10.3390/cells5040043 -
Abstract
Glycosylation is one of the most important modifications of proteins and lipids, and cell surface glycoconjugates are thought to play important roles in a variety of biological functions including cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions, bacterial adhesion, cell immunogenicity and cell signaling. Alterations of glycosylation
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Glycosylation is one of the most important modifications of proteins and lipids, and cell surface glycoconjugates are thought to play important roles in a variety of biological functions including cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions, bacterial adhesion, cell immunogenicity and cell signaling. Alterations of glycosylation are observed in number of diseases such as cancer and chronic inflammation. In that context, pro-inflammatory cytokines have been shown to modulate cell surface glycosylation by regulating the expression of glycosyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis of carbohydrate chains. These changes in cell surface glycosylation are also known to regulate cell signaling and could contribute to disease pathogenesis. This review summarizes our current knowledge of the glycosylation changes induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines, with a particular focus on cancer and cystic fibrosis, and their consequences on cell interactions and signaling. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role and Application of Sirtuins and mTOR Signaling in the Control of Ovarian Functions
Cells 2016, 5(4), 42; doi:10.3390/cells5040042 -
Abstract
The present short review demonstrates the involvement of sirtuins (SIRTs) in the control of ovarian functions at various regulatory levels. External and endocrine factors can affect female reproduction via SIRTs-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) system, which, via hormones and growth factors, can in
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The present short review demonstrates the involvement of sirtuins (SIRTs) in the control of ovarian functions at various regulatory levels. External and endocrine factors can affect female reproduction via SIRTs-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) system, which, via hormones and growth factors, can in turn regulate basic ovarian functions (proliferation, apoptosis, secretory activity of ovarian cells, their response to upstream hormonal regulators, ovarian folliculo- and oogenesis, and fecundity). SIRTs and SIRTs-related signaling molecules and drugs regulating mTOR can be used for characterization, prediction, and regulation of ovarian functions, as well as for diagnostics and treatment of ovarian disorders. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Prelamin A Accumulation Attenuates Rac1 Activity and Increases the Intrinsic Migrational Persistence of Aged Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells
Cells 2016, 5(4), 41; doi:10.3390/cells5040041 -
Abstract
Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) motility is essential during both physiological and pathological vessel remodeling. Although ageing has emerged as a major risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, our understanding of the impact of ageing on VSMC motility remains limited. Prelamin
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Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) motility is essential during both physiological and pathological vessel remodeling. Although ageing has emerged as a major risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, our understanding of the impact of ageing on VSMC motility remains limited. Prelamin A accumulation is known to drive VSMC ageing and we show that presenescent VSMCs, that have accumulated prelamin A, display increased focal adhesion dynamics, augmented migrational velocity/persistence and attenuated Rac1 activity. Importantly, prelamin A accumulation in proliferative VSMCs, induced by depletion of the prelamin A processing enzyme FACE1, recapitulated the focal adhesion, migrational persistence and Rac1 phenotypes observed in presenescent VSMCs. Moreover, lamin A/C-depleted VSMCs also display reduced Rac1 activity, suggesting that prelamin A influences Rac1 activity by interfering with lamin A/C function at the nuclear envelope. Taken together, these data demonstrate that lamin A/C maintains Rac1 activity in VSMCs and prelamin A disrupts lamin A/C function to reduce Rac1 activity and induce migrational persistence during VSMC ageing. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Airway Epithelial Cell Cilia and Obstructive Lung Disease
Cells 2016, 5(4), 40; doi:10.3390/cells5040040 -
Abstract
Airway epithelium is the first line of defense against exposure of the airway and lung to various inflammatory stimuli. Ciliary beating of airway epithelial cells constitutes an important part of the mucociliary transport apparatus. To be effective in transporting secretions out of the
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Airway epithelium is the first line of defense against exposure of the airway and lung to various inflammatory stimuli. Ciliary beating of airway epithelial cells constitutes an important part of the mucociliary transport apparatus. To be effective in transporting secretions out of the lung, the mucociliary transport apparatus must exhibit a cohesive beating of all ciliated epithelial cells that line the upper and lower respiratory tract. Cilia function can be modulated by exposures to endogenous and exogenous factors and by the viscosity of the mucus lining the epithelium. Cilia function is impaired in lung diseases such as COPD and asthma, and pharmacologic agents can modulate cilia function and mucus viscosity. Cilia beating is reduced in COPD, however, more research is needed to determine the structural-functional regulation of ciliary beating via all signaling pathways and how this might relate to the initiation or progression of obstructive lung diseases. Additionally, genotypes and how these can influence phenotypes and epithelial cell cilia function and structure should be taken into consideration in future investigations. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Self-Organization of Stem Cell Colonies and of Early Mammalian Embryos: Recent Experiments Shed New Light on the Role of Autonomy vs. External Instructions in Basic Body Plan Development
Cells 2016, 5(4), 39; doi:10.3390/cells5040039 -
Abstract
Organoids”, i.e., complex structures that can develop when pluripotent or multipotent stem cells are maintained in three-dimensional cultures, have become a new area of interest in stem cell research. Hopes have grown that when focussing experimentally on the mechanisms behind this
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Organoids”, i.e., complex structures that can develop when pluripotent or multipotent stem cells are maintained in three-dimensional cultures, have become a new area of interest in stem cell research. Hopes have grown that when focussing experimentally on the mechanisms behind this type of in vitro morphogenesis, research aiming at tissue and organ replacements can be boosted. Processes leading to the formation of organoids in vitro are now often addressed as self-organization, a term referring to the formation of complex tissue architecture in groups of cells without depending on specific instruction provided by other cells or tissues. The present article focuses on recent reports using the term self-organization in the context of studies on embryogenesis, specifically addressing pattern formation processes in human blastocysts attaching in vitro, or in colonies of pluripotent stem cells (“gastruloids”). These morphogenetic processes are of particular interest because, during development in vivo, they lead to basic body plan formation and individuation. Since improved methodologies like those employed by the cited authors became available, early embryonic pattern formation/self-organization appears to evolve now as a research topic of its own. This review discusses concepts concerning the involved mechanisms, focussing on autonomy of basic body plan development vs. dependence on external signals, as possibly provided by implantation in the uterus, and it addresses biological differences between an early mammalian embryo, e.g., a morula, and a cluster of pluripotent stem cells. It is concluded that, apart from being of considerable biological interest, the described type of research needs to be contemplated carefully with regard to ethical implications when performed with human cells. Full article
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