Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Autophagic Removal of Farnesylated Carboxy-Terminal Lamin Peptides
Cells 2018, 7(4), 33; doi:10.3390/cells7040033 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The mammalian nuclear lamina proteins—prelamin A- and B-type lamins—are post-translationally modified by farnesylation, endoproteolysis, and carboxymethylation at a carboxy-terminal CAAX (C, cysteine; a, aliphatic amino acid; X, any amino acid) motif. However, prelamin A processing into mature lamin A is a unique process
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The mammalian nuclear lamina proteins—prelamin A- and B-type lamins—are post-translationally modified by farnesylation, endoproteolysis, and carboxymethylation at a carboxy-terminal CAAX (C, cysteine; a, aliphatic amino acid; X, any amino acid) motif. However, prelamin A processing into mature lamin A is a unique process because it results in the production of farnesylated and carboxymethylated peptides. In cells from patients with Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome, the mutant prelamin A protein, progerin, cannot release its prenylated carboxyl-terminal moiety and therefore remains permanently associated with the nuclear envelope (NE), causing severe nuclear alterations and a dysmorphic morphology. To obtain a better understanding of the abnormal interaction and retention of progerin in the NE, we analyzed the spatiotemporal distribution of the EGFP fusion proteins with or without a nuclear localization signal (NLS) and a functional CAAX motif in HeLa cells transfected with a series of plasmids that encode the carboxy-terminal ends of progerin and prelamin A. The farnesylated carboxy-terminal fusion peptides bind to the NE and induce the formation of abnormally shaped nuclei. In contrast, the unfarnesylated counterparts exhibit a diffuse localization in the nucleoplasm, without obvious NE deformation. High levels of farnesylated prelamin A and progerin carboxy-terminal peptides induce nucleophagic degradation of the toxic protein, including several nuclear components and chromatin. However, SUN1, a constituent of the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex, is excluded from these autophagic NE protrusions. Thus, nucleophagy requires NE flexibility, as indicated by SUN1 delocalization from the elongated NE–autophagosome complex. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
CDK5RAP2 Is an Essential Scaffolding Protein of the Corona of the Dictyostelium Centrosome
Cells 2018, 7(4), 32; doi:10.3390/cells7040032 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Dictyostelium centrosomes consist of a nucleus-associated cylindrical, three-layered core structure surrounded by a corona consisting of microtubule-nucleation complexes embedded in a scaffold of large coiled-coil proteins. One of them is the conserved CDK5RAP2 protein. Here we focus on the role of Dictyostelium CDK5RAP2
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Dictyostelium centrosomes consist of a nucleus-associated cylindrical, three-layered core structure surrounded by a corona consisting of microtubule-nucleation complexes embedded in a scaffold of large coiled-coil proteins. One of them is the conserved CDK5RAP2 protein. Here we focus on the role of Dictyostelium CDK5RAP2 for maintenance of centrosome integrity, its interaction partners and its dynamic behavior during interphase and mitosis. GFP-CDK5RAP2 is present at the centrosome during the entire cell cycle except from a short period during prophase, correlating with the normal dissociation of the corona at this stage. RNAi depletion of CDK5RAP2 results in complete disorganization of centrosomes and microtubules suggesting that CDK5RAP2 is required for organization of the corona and its association to the core structure. This is in line with the observation that overexpressed GFP-CDK5RAP2 elicited supernumerary cytosolic MTOCs. The phenotype of CDK5RAP2 depletion was very reminiscent of that observed upon depletion of CP148, another scaffolding protein of the corona. BioID interaction assays revealed an interaction of CDK5RAP2 not only with the corona markers CP148, γ-tubulin, and CP248, but also with the core components Cep192, CP75, and CP91. Furthermore, protein localization studies in both depletion strains revealed that CP148 and CDK5RAP2 cooperate in corona organization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Shape-Shifted Red Blood Cells: A Novel Red Blood Cell Stage?
Cells 2018, 7(4), 31; doi:10.3390/cells7040031 -
Abstract
Primitive nucleated erythroid cells in the bloodstream have long been suggested to be more similar to nucleated red cells of fish, amphibians, and birds than the red cells of fetal and adult mammals. Rainbow trout Ficoll-purified red blood cells (RBCs) cultured in vitro
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Primitive nucleated erythroid cells in the bloodstream have long been suggested to be more similar to nucleated red cells of fish, amphibians, and birds than the red cells of fetal and adult mammals. Rainbow trout Ficoll-purified red blood cells (RBCs) cultured in vitro undergo morphological changes, especially when exposed to stress, and enter a new cell stage that we have coined shape-shifted RBCs (shRBCs). We have characterized these shRBCs using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) micrographs, Wright–Giemsa staining, cell marker immunostaining, and transcriptomic and proteomic evaluation. shRBCs showed reduced density of the cytoplasm, hemoglobin loss, decondensed chromatin in the nucleus, and striking expression of the B lymphocyte molecular marker IgM. In addition, shRBCs shared some features of mammalian primitive pyrenocytes (extruded nucleus surrounded by a thin rim of cytoplasm and phosphatidylserine (PS) exposure on cell surface). These shRBCs were transiently observed in heat-stressed rainbow trout bloodstream for three days. Functional network analysis of combined transcriptomic and proteomic studies resulted in the identification of proteins involved in pathways related to the regulation of cell morphogenesis involved in differentiation, cellular response to stress, and immune system process. In addition, shRBCs increased interleukin 8 (IL8), interleukin 1 β (IL1β), interferon ɣ (IFNɣ), and natural killer enhancing factor (NKEF) protein production in response to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). In conclusion, shRBCs may represent a novel cell stage that participates in roles related to immune response mediation, homeostasis, and the differentiation and development of blood cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cell Adhesion Molecules Are Mediated by Photobiomodulation at 660 nm in Diabetic Wounded Fibroblast Cells
Cells 2018, 7(4), 30; doi:10.3390/cells7040030 -
Abstract
Diabetes affects extracellular matrix (ECM) metabolism, contributing to delayed wound healing and lower limb amputation. Application of light (photobiomodulation, PBM) has been shown to improve wound healing. This study aimed to evaluate the influence of PBM on cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) in diabetic
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Diabetes affects extracellular matrix (ECM) metabolism, contributing to delayed wound healing and lower limb amputation. Application of light (photobiomodulation, PBM) has been shown to improve wound healing. This study aimed to evaluate the influence of PBM on cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) in diabetic wound healing. Isolated human skin fibroblasts were grouped into a diabetic wounded model. A diode laser at 660 nm with a fluence of 5 J/cm2 was used for irradiation and cells were analysed 48 h post-irradiation. Controls consisted of sham-irradiated (0 J/cm2) cells. Real-time reverse transcription (RT) quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used to determine the expression of CAM-related genes. Ten genes were up-regulated in diabetic wounded cells, while 25 genes were down-regulated. Genes were related to transmembrane molecules, cell–cell adhesion, and cell–matrix adhesion, and also included genes related to other CAM molecules. PBM at 660 nm modulated gene expression of various CAMs contributing to the increased healing seen in clinical practice. There is a need for new therapies to improve diabetic wound healing. The application of PBM alongside other clinical therapies may be very beneficial in treatment. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Centrosome Positioning in Dictyostelium: Moving beyond Microtubule Tip Dynamics
Cells 2018, 7(4), 29; doi:10.3390/cells7040029 -
Abstract
The variability in centrosome size, shape, and activity among different organisms provides an opportunity to understand both conserved and specialized actions of this intriguing organelle. Centrosomes in the model organism Dictyostelium sp. share some features with fungal systems and some with vertebrate cell
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The variability in centrosome size, shape, and activity among different organisms provides an opportunity to understand both conserved and specialized actions of this intriguing organelle. Centrosomes in the model organism Dictyostelium sp. share some features with fungal systems and some with vertebrate cell lines and thus provide a particularly useful context to study their dynamics. We discuss two aspects, centrosome positioning in cells and their interactions with nuclei during division as a means to highlight evolutionary modifications to machinery that provide the most basic of cellular services. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flotillins Regulate Focal Adhesions by Interacting with α-Actinin and by Influencing the Activation of Focal Adhesion Kinase
Cells 2018, 7(4), 28; doi:10.3390/cells7040028 -
Abstract
Cell–matrix adhesion and cell migration are physiologically important processes that also play a major role in cancer spreading. In cultured cells, matrix adhesion depends on integrin-containing contacts such as focal adhesions. Flotillin-1 and flotillin-2 are frequently overexpressed in cancers and are associated with
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Cell–matrix adhesion and cell migration are physiologically important processes that also play a major role in cancer spreading. In cultured cells, matrix adhesion depends on integrin-containing contacts such as focal adhesions. Flotillin-1 and flotillin-2 are frequently overexpressed in cancers and are associated with poor survival. Our previous studies have revealed a role for flotillin-2 in cell–matrix adhesion and in the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. We here show that flotillins are important for cell migration in a wound healing assay and influence the morphology and dynamics of focal adhesions. Furthermore, anchorage-independent growth in soft agar is enhanced by flotillins. In the absence of flotillins, especially flotillin-2, phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase and extracellularly regulated kinase is diminished. Flotillins interact with α-actinin, a major regulator of focal adhesion dynamics. These findings are important for understanding the molecular mechanisms of how flotillin overexpression in cancers may affect cell migration and, especially, enhance metastasis formation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Natural Resistance Associated Macrophage Protein Is Involved in Immune Response of Blunt Snout Bream, Megalobrama amblycephala
Cells 2018, 7(4), 27; doi:10.3390/cells7040027 -
Abstract
The natural resistance-associated macrophage protein gene (Nramp), has been identified as one of the significant candidate genes responsible for modulating vertebrate natural resistance to intracellular pathogens. Here, we identified and characterized a new Nramp family member, named as maNramp, in
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The natural resistance-associated macrophage protein gene (Nramp), has been identified as one of the significant candidate genes responsible for modulating vertebrate natural resistance to intracellular pathogens. Here, we identified and characterized a new Nramp family member, named as maNramp, in the blunt snout bream. The full-length cDNA of maNramp consists of a 153 bp 5′UTR, a 1635 bp open reading frame encoding a protein with 544 amino acids, and a 1359 bp 3′UTR. The deduced protein (maNRAMP) possesses the typical structural features of NRAMP protein family, including 12 transmembrane domains, three N-linked glycosylation sites, and a conserved transport motif. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that maNRAMP shares the significant sequence consistency with other teleosts, and shows the higher sequence similarity to mammalian Nramp2 than Nramp1. It was found that maNramp expressed ubiquitously in all normal tissues tested, with the highest abundance in the spleen, followed by the head kidney and intestine, and less abundance in the muscle, gill, and kidney. After lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, the mRNA level of maNramp was rapidly up-regulated, which reached a peak level at 6 h. Altogether, these results indicated that maNramp might be related to fish innate immunity and similar to mammalian Nramp1 in function. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Microglia after Seizures and in Epilepsy
Cells 2018, 7(4), 26; doi:10.3390/cells7040026 -
Abstract
Microglia are the resident immune cells in the brain that constitute the brain’s innate immune system. Recent studies have revealed various functions of microglia in the development and maintenance of the central nervous system (CNS) in both health and disease. However, the role
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Microglia are the resident immune cells in the brain that constitute the brain’s innate immune system. Recent studies have revealed various functions of microglia in the development and maintenance of the central nervous system (CNS) in both health and disease. However, the role of microglia in epilepsy remains largely undiscovered, partly because of the complex phenotypes of activated microglia. Activated microglia likely exert different effects on brain function depending on the phase of epileptogenesis. In this review, we mainly focus on the animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and discuss the proepileptic and antiepileptic roles of activated microglia in the epileptic brain. Specifically, we focus on the roles of microglia in the production of inflammatory cytokines, regulation of neurogenesis, and surveillance of the surrounding environment in epilepsy. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Junctional Adhesion Molecules (JAMs): The JAM-Integrin Connection
Cells 2018, 7(4), 25; doi:10.3390/cells7040025 -
Abstract
Junctional adhesion molecules (JAMs) are cell surface adhesion receptors of the immunoglobulin superfamily. JAMs are involved in a variety of biological processes both in the adult organism but also during development. These include processes such as inflammation, angiogenesis, hemostasis, or epithelial barrier formation,
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Junctional adhesion molecules (JAMs) are cell surface adhesion receptors of the immunoglobulin superfamily. JAMs are involved in a variety of biological processes both in the adult organism but also during development. These include processes such as inflammation, angiogenesis, hemostasis, or epithelial barrier formation, but also developmental processes such as hematopoiesis, germ cell development, and development of the nervous system. Several of these functions of JAMs depend on a physical and functional interaction with integrins. The JAM – integrin interactions in trans regulate cell-cell adhesion, their interactions in cis regulate signaling processes originating at the cell surface. The JAM – integrin interaction can regulate the function of the JAM as well as the function of the integrin. Beyond the physical interaction with integrins, JAMs can regulate integrin function through intracellular signaling indicating an additional level of JAM – integrin cross-talk. In this review, we describe the various levels of the functional interplay between JAMs and integrins and the role of this interplay during different physiological processes. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Towards Improvements for Penetrating the Blood–Brain Barrier—Recent Progress from a Material and Pharmaceutical Perspective
Cells 2018, 7(4), 24; doi:10.3390/cells7040024 -
Abstract
The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is a critical biological structure that prevents damage to the brain and maintains its bathing microenvironment. However, this barrier is also the obstacle to deliver beneficial drugs to treat CNS (central nervous system) diseases. Many efforts have been made
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The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is a critical biological structure that prevents damage to the brain and maintains its bathing microenvironment. However, this barrier is also the obstacle to deliver beneficial drugs to treat CNS (central nervous system) diseases. Many efforts have been made for improvement of delivering drugs across the BBB in recent years to treat CNS diseases. In this review, the anatomical and functional structure of the BBB is comprehensively discussed. The mechanisms of BBB penetration are summarized, and the methods and effects on increasing BBB permeability are investigated in detail. It also elaborates on the physical, chemical, biological and nanocarrier aspects to improve drug delivery penetration to the brain and introduces some specific drug delivery effects on BBB permeability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Carotid Smooth Muscle Cells during Phenotypic Transition
Cells 2018, 7(3), 23; doi:10.3390/cells7030023 -
Abstract
Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are central players in carotid atherosclerosis plaque development. Although the precise mechanisms involved in plaque destabilization are not completely understood, it is known that VSMC proliferation and migration participate in plaque stabilization. In this study, we analyzed expression
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Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are central players in carotid atherosclerosis plaque development. Although the precise mechanisms involved in plaque destabilization are not completely understood, it is known that VSMC proliferation and migration participate in plaque stabilization. In this study, we analyzed expression patterns of genes involved in carotid atherosclerosis development (e.g., transcription factors of regulation of SMC genes) of VSMCs located inside or outside the plaque lesion that may give clues about changes in phenotypic plasticity during atherosclerosis. VSMCs were isolated from 39 carotid plaques extracted from symptomatic and asymptomatic patients by endarterectomy. Specific biomarker expression, related with VSMC phenotype, was analyzed by qPCR, western immunoblot, and confocal microscopy. MYH11, CNN1, SRF, MKL2, and CALD1 were significantly underexpressed in VSMCs from plaques compared with VSMCs from a macroscopically intact (MIT) region, while SPP1, KLF4, MAPLC3B, CD68, and LGALS3 were found significantly upregulated in plaque VSMCs versus MIT VSMCs. The gene expression pattern of arterial VSMCs from a healthy donor treated with 7-ketocholesterol showed high similarity with the expression pattern of carotid plaque VSMCs. Our results indicate that VSMCs isolated from plaque show a typical SMC dedifferentiated phenotype with macrophage-like features compared with VSMCs isolated from a MIT region of the carotid artery. Additionally, MYH11, KLF5, and SPP1 expression patterns were found to be associated with symptomatology of human carotid atherosclerosis. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Ubiquitination and De-Ubiquitination in Signal Transduction and Receptor Trafficking
Cells 2018, 7(3), 22; doi:10.3390/cells7030022 -
Abstract
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are membrane-based sensors that enable rapid communication between cells and their environment. Evidence is now emerging that interdependent regulatory mechanisms, such as membrane trafficking, ubiquitination, proteolysis and gene expression, have substantial effects on RTK signal transduction and cellular responses.
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Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are membrane-based sensors that enable rapid communication between cells and their environment. Evidence is now emerging that interdependent regulatory mechanisms, such as membrane trafficking, ubiquitination, proteolysis and gene expression, have substantial effects on RTK signal transduction and cellular responses. Different RTKs exhibit both basal and ligand-stimulated ubiquitination, linked to trafficking through different intracellular compartments including the secretory pathway, plasma membrane, endosomes and lysosomes. The ubiquitin ligase superfamily comprising the E1, E2 and E3 enzymes are increasingly implicated in this post-translational modification by adding mono- and polyubiquitin tags to RTKs. Conversely, removal of these ubiquitin tags by proteases called de-ubiquitinases (DUBs) enables RTK recycling for another round of ligand sensing and signal transduction. The endocytosis of basal and activated RTKs from the plasma membrane is closely linked to controlled proteolysis after trafficking and delivery to late endosomes and lysosomes. Proteolytic RTK fragments can also have the capacity to move to compartments such as the nucleus and regulate gene expression. Such mechanistic diversity now provides new opportunities for modulating RTK-regulated cellular responses in health and disease states. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Elucidating the Metabolic Plasticity of Cancer: Mitochondrial Reprogramming and Hybrid Metabolic States
Cells 2018, 7(3), 21; doi:10.3390/cells7030021 -
Abstract
Aerobic glycolysis, also referred to as the Warburg effect, has been regarded as the dominant metabolic phenotype in cancer cells for a long time. More recently, it has been shown that mitochondria in most tumors are not defective in their ability to carry
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Aerobic glycolysis, also referred to as the Warburg effect, has been regarded as the dominant metabolic phenotype in cancer cells for a long time. More recently, it has been shown that mitochondria in most tumors are not defective in their ability to carry out oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Instead, in highly aggressive cancer cells, mitochondrial energy pathways are reprogrammed to meet the challenges of high energy demand, better utilization of available fuels and macromolecular synthesis for rapid cell division and migration. Mitochondrial energy reprogramming is also involved in the regulation of oncogenic pathways via mitochondria-to-nucleus retrograde signaling and post-translational modification of oncoproteins. In addition, neoplastic mitochondria can engage in crosstalk with the tumor microenvironment. For example, signals from cancer-associated fibroblasts can drive tumor mitochondria to utilize OXPHOS, a process known as the reverse Warburg effect. Emerging evidence shows that cancer cells can acquire a hybrid glycolysis/OXPHOS phenotype in which both glycolysis and OXPHOS can be utilized for energy production and biomass synthesis. The hybrid glycolysis/OXPHOS phenotype facilitates metabolic plasticity of cancer cells and may be specifically associated with metastasis and therapy-resistance. Moreover, cancer cells can switch their metabolism phenotypes in response to external stimuli for better survival. Taking into account the metabolic heterogeneity and plasticity of cancer cells, therapies targeting cancer metabolic dependency in principle can be made more effective. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Integrin Activation: Implications for Axon Regeneration
Cells 2018, 7(3), 20; doi:10.3390/cells7030020 -
Abstract
Integrin activation is essential for creating functional transmembrane receptors capable of inducing downstream cellular effects such as cell migration, cell spreading, neurite outgrowth and axon regeneration. Integrins are bidirectional signalling molecules that mediate their effects by ‘inside–out’ and ‘outside–in’ signalling. This review will
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Integrin activation is essential for creating functional transmembrane receptors capable of inducing downstream cellular effects such as cell migration, cell spreading, neurite outgrowth and axon regeneration. Integrins are bidirectional signalling molecules that mediate their effects by ‘inside–out’ and ‘outside–in’ signalling. This review will provide a detailed overview of integrin activation focusing on intracellular activation in neurons and discussing direct implications in the regulation of neurite outgrowth and axon regeneration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Construction and Analysis of Gene Co-Expression Networks in Escherichia coli
Cells 2018, 7(3), 19; doi:10.3390/cells7030019 -
Abstract
Network-based systems biology has become an important method for analyzing high-throughput gene expression data and gene function mining. Escherichia coli (E. coli) has long been a popular model organism for basic biological research. In this paper, weighted gene co-expression network analysis
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Network-based systems biology has become an important method for analyzing high-throughput gene expression data and gene function mining. Escherichia coli (E. coli) has long been a popular model organism for basic biological research. In this paper, weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) algorithm was applied to construct gene co-expression networks in E. coli. Thirty-one gene co-expression modules were detected from 1391 microarrays of E. coli data. Further characterization of these modules with the database for annotation, visualization, and integrated discovery (DAVID) tool showed that these modules are associated with several kinds of biological processes, such as carbohydrate catabolism, fatty acid metabolism, amino acid metabolism, transportation, translation, and ncRNA metabolism. Hub genes were also screened by intra-modular connectivity. Genes with unknown functions were annotated by guilt-by-association. Comparison with a previous prediction tool, EcoliNet, suggests that our dataset can expand gene predictions. In summary, 31 functional modules were identified in E. coli, 24 of which were functionally annotated. The analysis provides a resource for future gene discovery. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective
Miro—Working beyond Mitochondria and Microtubules
Cells 2018, 7(3), 18; doi:10.3390/cells7030018 -
Abstract
The small GTPase Miro is best known for its regulation of mitochondrial movement by engaging with the microtubule-based motor proteins kinesin and dynein. Very recent findings have now showed that Miro also targets peroxisomes and regulates microtubule-dependent peroxisome motility. Moreover, Miro recruits and
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The small GTPase Miro is best known for its regulation of mitochondrial movement by engaging with the microtubule-based motor proteins kinesin and dynein. Very recent findings have now showed that Miro also targets peroxisomes and regulates microtubule-dependent peroxisome motility. Moreover, Miro recruits and stabilizes the myosin motor Myo19 at the mitochondria to enable actin-based mitochondria movement, which is important for mitochondrial segregation during mitosis. Miro thus has much broader functions that previously known, and these new findings may have important implications on disease pathology. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Modes of Interaction of KMT2 Histone H3 Lysine 4 Methyltransferase/COMPASS Complexes with Chromatin
Cells 2018, 7(3), 17; doi:10.3390/cells7030017 -
Abstract
Regulation of gene expression is achieved by sequence-specific transcriptional regulators, which convey the information that is contained in the sequence of DNA into RNA polymerase activity. This is achieved by the recruitment of transcriptional co-factors. One of the consequences of co-factor recruitment is
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Regulation of gene expression is achieved by sequence-specific transcriptional regulators, which convey the information that is contained in the sequence of DNA into RNA polymerase activity. This is achieved by the recruitment of transcriptional co-factors. One of the consequences of co-factor recruitment is the control of specific properties of nucleosomes, the basic units of chromatin, and their protein components, the core histones. The main principles are to regulate the position and the characteristics of nucleosomes. The latter includes modulating the composition of core histones and their variants that are integrated into nucleosomes, and the post-translational modification of these histones referred to as histone marks. One of these marks is the methylation of lysine 4 of the core histone H3 (H3K4). While mono-methylation of H3K4 (H3K4me1) is located preferentially at active enhancers, tri-methylation (H3K4me3) is a mark found at open and potentially active promoters. Thus, H3K4 methylation is typically associated with gene transcription. The class 2 lysine methyltransferases (KMTs) are the main enzymes that methylate H3K4. KMT2 enzymes function in complexes that contain a necessary core complex composed of WDR5, RBBP5, ASH2L, and DPY30, the so-called WRAD complex. Here we discuss recent findings that try to elucidate the important question of how KMT2 complexes are recruited to specific sites on chromatin. This is embedded into short overviews of the biological functions of KMT2 complexes and the consequences of H3K4 methylation. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Impaired Cargo Clearance in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) Underlies Irreversible Blinding Diseases
Cells 2018, 7(2), 16; doi:10.3390/cells7020016 -
Abstract
Chronic degeneration of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) is a precursor to pathological changes in the outer retina. The RPE monolayer, which lies beneath the neuroretina, daily internalises and digests large volumes of spent photoreceptor outer segments. Impaired cargo handling and processing in
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Chronic degeneration of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) is a precursor to pathological changes in the outer retina. The RPE monolayer, which lies beneath the neuroretina, daily internalises and digests large volumes of spent photoreceptor outer segments. Impaired cargo handling and processing in the endocytic/phagosome and autophagy pathways lead to the accumulation of lipofuscin and pyridinium bis-retinoid A2E aggregates and chemically modified compounds such as malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal within RPE. These contribute to increased proteolytic and oxidative stress, resulting in irreversible damage to post-mitotic RPE cells and development of blinding conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, Stargardt disease and choroideremia. Here, we review how impaired cargo handling in the RPE results in their dysfunction, discuss new findings from our laboratory and consider how newly discovered roles for lysosomes and the autophagy pathway could provide insights into retinopathies. Studies of these dynamic, molecular events have also been spurred on by recent advances in optics and imaging technology. Mechanisms underpinning lysosomal impairment in other degenerative conditions including storage disorders, α-synuclein pathologies and Alzheimer’s disease are also discussed. Collectively, these findings help transcend conventional understanding of these intracellular compartments as simple waste disposal bags to bring about a paradigm shift in the way lysosomes are perceived. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Nutrient Limitation Inactivates Mrc1-to-Cds1 Checkpoint Signalling in Schizosaccharomyces pombe
Cells 2018, 7(2), 15; doi:10.3390/cells7020015 -
Abstract
The S. pombe checkpoint kinase, Cds1, protects the integrity of stalled DNA replication forks after its phosphorylation at threonine-11 by Rad3 (ATR). Modified Cds1 associates through its N-terminal forkhead-associated domain (FHA)-domain with Mrc1 (Claspin) at stalled forks. We report here that nutrient starvation
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The S. pombe checkpoint kinase, Cds1, protects the integrity of stalled DNA replication forks after its phosphorylation at threonine-11 by Rad3 (ATR). Modified Cds1 associates through its N-terminal forkhead-associated domain (FHA)-domain with Mrc1 (Claspin) at stalled forks. We report here that nutrient starvation results in post-translational changes to Cds1 and the loss of Mrc1. A drop in glucose after a down-shift from 3% to 0.1–0.3%, or when cells enter the stationary phase, triggers a sharp decline in Mrc1 and the accumulation of insoluble Cds1. Before this transition, Cds1 is transiently activated and phosphorylated by Rad3 when glucose levels fall. Because this coincides with the phosphorylation of histone 2AX at S129 by Rad3, an event that occurs towards the end of every unperturbed S phase, we suggest that a glucose limitation promotes the exit from the S phase. Since nitrogen starvation also depletes Mrc1 while Cds1 is post-translationally modified, we suggest that nutrient limitation is the general signal that promotes exit from S phase before it inactivates the Mrc1–Cds1 signalling component. Why Cds1 accumulates in resting cells while its activator Mrc1 declines is, as yet, unclear but suggests a novel function of Cds1 in non-replicating cells. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a Model for Understanding RAS Proteins and their Role in Human Tumorigenesis
Cells 2018, 7(2), 14; doi:10.3390/cells7020014 -
Abstract
The exploitation of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a biological model for the investigation of complex molecular processes conserved in multicellular organisms, such as humans, has allowed fundamental biological discoveries. When comparing yeast and human proteins, it is clear that both amino acid
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The exploitation of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a biological model for the investigation of complex molecular processes conserved in multicellular organisms, such as humans, has allowed fundamental biological discoveries. When comparing yeast and human proteins, it is clear that both amino acid sequences and protein functions are often very well conserved. One example of the high degree of conservation between human and yeast proteins is highlighted by the members of the RAS family. Indeed, the study of the signaling pathways regulated by RAS in yeast cells led to the discovery of properties that were often found interchangeable with RAS proto-oncogenes in human pathways, and vice versa. In this work, we performed an updated critical literature review on human and yeast RAS pathways, specifically highlighting the similarities and differences between them. Moreover, we emphasized the contribution of studying yeast RAS pathways for the understanding of human RAS and how this model organism can contribute to unveil the roles of RAS oncoproteins in the regulation of mechanisms important in the tumorigenic process, like autophagy. Full article
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