Abstract: Intermediate filaments are an important component of the cellular cytoskeleton. The first established role attributed to intermediate filaments was the mechanical support to cells. However, it is now clear that intermediate filaments have many different roles affecting a variety of other biological functions, such as the organization of microtubules and microfilaments, the regulation of nuclear structure and activity, the control of cell cycle and the regulation of signal transduction pathways. Furthermore, a number of intermediate filament proteins have been involved in the acquisition of tumorigenic properties. Over the last years, a strong involvement of intermediate filament proteins in the regulation of several aspects of intracellular trafficking has strongly emerged. Here, we review the functions of intermediate filaments proteins focusing mainly on the recent knowledge gained from the discovery that intermediate filaments associate with key proteins of the vesicular membrane transport machinery. In particular, we analyze the current understanding of the contribution of intermediate filaments to the endocytic pathway.
Abstract: ZMPSTE24 encodes the only metalloprotease, which transforms prelamin into mature lamin A. Up to now, mutations in ZMPSTE24 have been linked to Restrictive Dermopathy (RD), Progeria or Mandibulo-Acral Dysplasia (MAD). We report here the phenotype of a patient referred for severe metabolic syndrome and cardiomyopathy, carrying a mutation in ZMPSTE24. The patient presented with a partial lipodystrophic syndrome associating hypertriglyceridemia, early onset type 2 diabetes, and android obesity with truncal and abdominal fat accumulation but without subcutaneous lipoatrophy. Other clinical features included acanthosis nigricans, liver steatosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, and high myocardial and hepatic triglycerides content. Mutated fibroblasts from the patient showed increased nuclear shape abnormalities and premature senescence as demonstrated by a decreased Population Doubling Level, an increased beta-galactosidase activity and a decreased BrdU incorporation rate. Reduced prelamin A expression by siRNA targeted toward LMNA transcripts resulted in decreased nuclear anomalies. We show here that a central obesity without subcutaneous lipoatrophy is associated with a laminopathy due to a heterozygous missense mutation in ZMPSTE24. Given the high prevalence of metabolic syndrome and android obesity in the general population, and in the absence of familial study, the causative link between mutation and phenotype cannot be formally established. Nevertheless, altered lamina architecture observed in mutated fibroblasts are responsible for premature cellular senescence and could contribute to the phenotype observed in this patient.
Abstract: Thoracic aortic dilation is the most common malformation of the proximal aorta and is responsible for 1%–2% of all deaths in industrialized countries. In approximately 50% of patients with a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), dilation of any or all segments of the aorta occurs. BAV patients with aortic dilation show an increased incidence of cultured vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) loss. In this study, VSMC, isolated from the ascending aorta of BAV, was treated with Simian virus 40 to generate a BAV-originated VSMC cell line. To exclude any genomic DNA or cross-contamination, highly polymorphic short tandem repeats of the cells were profiled. The cells were then characterized using flow cytometry and karyotyping. The WG-59 cell line created is the first reported VSMC cell line isolated from a BAV patient. Using an RT2 Profiler PCR Array, genes within the TGFβ/BMP family that are dependent on losartan treatment were identified. Endoglin was found to be among the regulated genes and was downregulated in WG-59 cells following treatment with different losartan concentrations, when compared to untreated WG-59 cells.
Abstract: Despite well-studied bacterial strategies to target actin to subvert the host cell cytoskeleton, thus promoting bacterial survival, replication, and dissemination, relatively little is known about the bacterial interaction with other components of the host cell cytoskeleton, including intermediate filaments (IFs). IFs have not only roles in maintaining the structural integrity of the cell, but they are also involved in many cellular processes including cell adhesion, immune signaling, and autophagy, processes that are important in the context of bacterial infections. Here, we summarize the knowledge about the role of IFs in bacterial infections, focusing on the type III IF protein vimentin. Recent studies have revealed the involvement of vimentin in host cell defenses, acting as ligand for several pattern recognition receptors of the innate immune system. Two main aspects of bacteria-vimentin interactions are presented in this review: the role of vimentin in pathogen-binding on the cell surface and subsequent bacterial invasion and the interaction of cytosolic vimentin and intracellular pathogens with regards to innate immune signaling. Mechanistic insight is presented involving distinct bacterial virulence factors that target vimentin to subvert its function in order to change the host cell fate in the course of a bacterial infection.
Abstract: The Rho GTPases regulate many cellular signaling cascades that modulate cell motility, migration, morphology and cell division. A large body of work has now delineated the biochemical cues and pathways, which stimulate the GTPases and their downstream effectors. However, cells also respond exquisitely to biophysical and mechanical cues such as stiffness and topography of the extracellular matrix that profoundly influence cell migration, proliferation and differentiation. As these cellular responses are mediated by the actin cytoskeleton, an involvement of Rho GTPases in the transduction of such cues is not unexpected. In this review, we discuss an emerging role of Rho GTPase proteins in the regulation of the responses elicited by biophysical and mechanical stimuli.
Abstract: The NF-κB transcription factor pathway is a crucial regulator of inflammation and immune responses. Additionally, aberrant NF-κB signaling has been identified in many types of cancer. Downstream of key oncogenic pathways, such as RAS, BCR-ABL, and Her2, NF-κB regulates transcription of target genes that promote cell survival and proliferation, inhibit apoptosis, and mediate invasion and metastasis. The cancer stem cell model posits that a subset of tumor cells (cancer stem cells) drive tumor initiation, exhibit resistance to treatment, and promote recurrence and metastasis. This review examines the evidence for a role for NF-κB signaling in cancer stem cell biology.