Abstract: It has been recognized for decades that proteins, which are encoded by our genome and produced via transcription and translation steps, are building blocks that play vital roles in almost all biological processes. Mutations identified in many protein-coding genes are linked to various human diseases. However, this “protein-centered” dogma has been challenged in recent years with the discovery that the majority of our genome is “non-coding” yet transcribed. Non-coding RNA has become the focus of “next generation” biology. Here, we review the emerging field of non-coding RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), and their role in cardiovascular function and disease.
Abstract: The 3-dimensional spatial organization of eukaryotic genomes is important for regulation of gene expression as well as DNA damage repair. It has been proposed that one basic biophysical property of all nuclei is that interphase chromatin must be kept in a condensed prestressed state in order to prevent entropic pressure of the DNA polymer from expanding and disrupting the nuclear envelope. Although many factors can contribute to specific organizational states to compact chromatin, the mechanisms through which such interphase chromatin compaction is maintained are not clearly understood. Condensin proteins are known to exert compaction forces on chromosomes in anticipation of mitosis, but it is not known whether condensins also function to maintain interphase prestressed chromatin states. Here we show that RNAi depletion of the N-CAP-H2, N-CAP-D3 and SMC2 subunits of human condensin II leads to dramatic disruption of nuclear architecture and nuclear size. This is consistent with the idea that condensin mediated chromatin compaction contributes significantly to the prestressed condensed state of the interphase nucleus, and when such compaction forces are disrupted nuclear size and shape change due to chromatin expansion.
Abstract: Protein ubiquitination plays indispensable roles in the regulation of cell homeostasis and pathogenesis of neoplastic, infectious, and neurodegenerative diseases. Given the importance of this modification, it is to be expected that several pathogenic bacteria have developed the ability to utilize the host ubiquitin system for their own benefit. Modulation of the host ubiquitin system by bacterial effector proteins inhibits innate immune responses and hijacks central signaling pathways. Bacterial effectors mimic enzymes of the host ubiquitin system, but may or may not be structurally similar to the mammalian enzymes. Other effectors bind and modify components of the host ubiquitin system, and some are themselves subject to ubiquitination. This review will describe recent findings, based on structural analyses, regarding how pathogens use post-translational modifications of proteins to establish an infection.
Abstract: Quality control of protein folding inside the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) includes chaperone-mediated assistance in folding and the selective targeting of terminally misfolded species to a pathway called ER-associated protein degradation, or simply ERAD. Once selected for ERAD, substrates will be transported (back) into the cytosol, a step called retrotranslocation. Although still ill defined, retrotranslocation likely involves a protein conducting channel that is in part formed by specific membrane-embedded E3 ubiquitin ligases. Early during retrotranslocation, reversible self-ubiquitination of these ligases is thought to aid in initiation of substrate transfer across the membrane. Once being at least partially exposed to the cytosol, substrates will become ubiquitinated on the cytosolic side of the ER membrane by the same E3 ubiquitin ligases. Ubiquitin on substrates was originally thought to be a permanent modification that (1) promotes late steps of retrotranslocation by recruiting the energy-providing ATPase Cdc48p/p97 via binding to its associated adaptor proteins and that (2) serves to target substrates to the proteasome. Recently it became evident, however, that the poly-ubiquitin chains (PUCs) on ERAD substrates are often subject to extensive remodeling, or processing, at several stages during ERAD. This review recapitulates the current knowledge and recent findings about PUC processing on ERAD substrates and ubiquitination of ERAD machinery components and discusses their functional consequences.
Abstract: The role of small, non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) has recently emerged as fundamental in the regulation of the physiology of the cardiovascular system. Several specific miRNAs were found to be expressed in embryonic, postnatal, and adult cardiac tissues. In the present review, we will provide an overview about their role in controlling the different pathways regulating cell identity and fate determination. In particular, we will focus on the involvement of miRNAs in pluripotency determination and reprogramming, and specifically on cardiac lineage commitment and cell direct transdifferentiation into cardiomyocytes. The identification of cardiac-specific miRNAs and their targets provide new promising insights into the mechanisms that regulate cardiac development, function and dysfunction. Furthermore, due to their contribution in reprogramming, they could offer new opportunities for developing safe and efficient cell-based therapies for cardiovascular disorders.
Abstract: The short noncoding RNAs, known as microRNAs, are of undisputed importance in cellular signaling during differentiation and development, and during adaptive and maladaptive responses of adult tissues, including those that comprise the heart. Cardiac microRNAs are regulated by hemodynamic overload resulting from exercise or hypertension, in the response of surviving myocardium to myocardial infarction, and in response to environmental or systemic disruptions to homeostasis, such as those arising from diabetes. A large body of work has explored microRNA responses in both physiological and pathological contexts but there is still much to learn about their integrated actions on individual mRNAs and signaling pathways. This review will highlight key studies of microRNA regulation in cardiac stress and suggest possible approaches for more precise identification of microRNA targets, with a view to exploiting the resulting data for therapeutic purposes.