Cells2014, 3(3), 724-750; doi:10.3390/cells3030724 - published online 22 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Cardiac development is an exquisitely regulated process that is sensitive to perturbations in transcriptional activity and gene dosage. Accordingly, congenital heart abnormalities are prevalent worldwide, and are estimated to occur in approximately 1% of live births. Recently, small non-coding RNAs, known as microRNAs, have emerged as critical components of the cardiogenic regulatory network, and have been shown to play numerous roles in the growth, differentiation, and morphogenesis of the developing heart. Moreover, the importance of miRNA function in cardiac development has facilitated the identification of prospective therapeutic targets for patients with congenital and acquired cardiac diseases. Here, we discuss findings attesting to the critical role of miRNAs in cardiogenesis and cardiac regeneration, and present evidence regarding the therapeutic potential of miRNAs for cardiovascular diseases.
Cells2014, 3(3), 713-723; doi:10.3390/cells3030713 - published online 11 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The importance of microRNAs for maintaining stability in the developing vertebrate heart has recently become apparent. In addition, there is a growing appreciation for the significance of microRNAs in developmental pathology, including the formation of congenital heart defects. We examined the expression of microRNAs in right ventricular (RV) myocardium from infants with idiopathic tetralogy of Fallot (TOF, without a 22q11.2 deletion), and found 61 microRNAs to be significantly changed in expression in myocardium from children with TOF compared to normally developing comparison subjects (O’Brien et al. 2012). Predicted targets of microRNAs with altered expression were enriched for gene networks that regulate cardiac development. We previously derived a list of 229 genes known to be critical to heart development, and found 44 had significantly changed expression in TOF myocardium relative to normally developing myocardium. These 44 genes had significant negative correlations with 33 microRNAs, each of which also had significantly changed expression. Here, we focus on miR-421, as it is significantly upregulated in RV tissue from infants with TOF; is predicted to interact with multiple members of cardiovascular regulatory pathways; and has been shown to regulate cell proliferation. We knocked down, and over expressed miR-421 in primary cells derived from the RV of infants with TOF, and infants with normally developing hearts, respectively. We found a significant inverse correlation between the expression of miR-421 and SOX4, a key regulator of the Notch pathway, which has been shown to be important for the cardiac outflow track. These findings suggest that the dysregulation of miR-421 warrants further investigation as a potential contributor to tetralogy of Fallot.
Cells2014, 3(3), 702-712; doi:10.3390/cells3030702 - published online 10 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Activation and recruitment of resident macrophages in tissues in response to physiological stress are crucial regulatory processes in promoting the development of obesity-associated metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies have provided compelling evidence that microRNAs play important roles in modulating monocyte formation, macrophage maturation, infiltration into tissues and activation. Macrophage-dependent systemic physiological and tissue-specific responses also involve cell-cell interactions between macrophages and host tissue niche cell components, including other tissue-resident immune cell lineages, adipocytes, vascular smooth muscle and others. In this review, we highlight the roles of microRNAs in regulating the development and function of macrophages in the context of obesity, which could provide insights into the pathogenesis of obesity-related metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases.
Cells2014, 3(3), 690-701; doi:10.3390/cells3030690 - published online 10 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Around 2 × 103–2.5 × 103 million years ago, a unicellular organism with radically novel features, ancestor of all eukaryotes, dwelt the earth. This organism, commonly referred as the last eukaryotic common ancestor, contained in its proteome the same functionally capable ubiquitin molecule that all eukaryotic species contain today. The fact that ubiquitin protein has virtually not changed during all eukaryotic evolution contrasts with the high expansion of the ubiquitin system, constituted by hundreds of enzymes, ubiquitin-interacting proteins, protein complexes, and cofactors. Interestingly, the simplest genetic arrangement encoding a fully-equipped ubiquitin signaling system is constituted by five genes organized in an operon-like cluster, and is found in archaea. How did ubiquitin achieve the status of central element in eukaryotic physiology? We analyze here the features of the ubiquitin molecule and the network that it conforms, and propose notions to explain the complexity of the ubiquitin signaling system in eukaryotic cells.
Cells2014, 3(3), 674-689; doi:10.3390/cells3030674 - published online 1 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ubiquitination is an important post-translational process involving attachment of the ubiquitin molecule to lysine residue/s on a substrate protein or on another ubiquitin molecule, leading to the formation of protein mono-, multi- or polyubiquitination. Protein ubiquitination requires a cascade of three enzymes, where the interplay between different ubiquitin-conjugating and ubiquitin-ligase enzymes generates diverse ubiquitinated proteins topologies. Structurally diverse ubiquitin conjugates are recognized by specific proteins with ubiquitin-binding domains (UBDs) to target the substrate proteins of different pathways. The mechanism/s for generating the different ubiquitinated proteins topologies is not well understood. Here, we will discuss our current understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the generation of mono- or polyubiquitinated substrates. In addition, we will discuss how linkage-specific polyubiquitin chains through lysines-11, -48 or -63 are formed to target proteins to different fates by binding specific UBD proteins.
Cells2014, 3(3), 662-673; doi:10.3390/cells3030662 - published online 26 June 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Low-level laser irradiation in the visible as well as infrared range is applied to skin for treatment of various diseases. Here we summarize and discuss effects of laser irradiation on mast cells that leads to degranulation of the cells. This process may contribute to initial steps in the final medical effects. We suggest that activation of TRPV channels in the mast cells forms a basis for the underlying mechanisms and that released ATP and histamine may be putative mediators for therapeutic effects.