Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Lazar-Karsten, P., et al. Generation and Characterization of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Lines Derived from a Patient with a Bicuspid Aortic Valve. Cells 2016, 5, 19.
Cells 2016, 5(3), 36; doi:10.3390/cells5030036 (registering DOI) -
Abstract The authors wish to make the following erratum to this paper [1].[...] Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Keratins Are Altered in Intestinal Disease-Related Stress Responses
Cells 2016, 5(3), 35; doi:10.3390/cells5030035 -
Abstract
Keratin (K) intermediate filaments can be divided into type I/type II proteins, which form obligate heteropolymers. Epithelial cells express type I-type II keratin pairs, and K7, K8 (type II) and K18, K19 and K20 (type I) are the primary keratins found in [...] Read more.
Keratin (K) intermediate filaments can be divided into type I/type II proteins, which form obligate heteropolymers. Epithelial cells express type I-type II keratin pairs, and K7, K8 (type II) and K18, K19 and K20 (type I) are the primary keratins found in the single-layered intestinal epithelium. Keratins are upregulated during stress in liver, pancreas, lung, kidney and skin, however, little is known about their dynamics in the intestinal stress response. Here, keratin mRNA, protein and phosphorylation levels were studied in response to murine colonic stresses modeling human conditions, and in colorectal cancer HT29 cells. Dextran sulphate sodium (DSS)-colitis was used as a model for intestinal inflammatory stress, which elicited a strong upregulation and widened crypt distribution of K7 and K20. K8 levels were slightly downregulated in acute DSS, while stress-responsive K8 serine-74 phosphorylation (K8 pS74) was increased. By eliminating colonic microflora using antibiotics, K8 pS74 in proliferating cells was significantly increased, together with an upregulation of K8 and K19. In the aging mouse colon, most colonic keratins were upregulated. In vitro, K8, K19 and K8 pS74 levels were increased in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in HT29 cells. In conclusion, intestinal keratins are differentially and dynamically upregulated and post-translationally modified during stress and recovery. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Multiple Roles of the Small GTPase Rab7
Cells 2016, 5(3), 34; doi:10.3390/cells5030034 -
Abstract
Rab7 is a small GTPase that belongs to the Rab family and controls transport to late endocytic compartments such as late endosomes and lysosomes. The mechanism of action of Rab7 in the late endocytic pathway has been extensively studied. Rab7 is fundamental [...] Read more.
Rab7 is a small GTPase that belongs to the Rab family and controls transport to late endocytic compartments such as late endosomes and lysosomes. The mechanism of action of Rab7 in the late endocytic pathway has been extensively studied. Rab7 is fundamental for lysosomal biogenesis, positioning and functions, and for trafficking and degradation of several signaling receptors, thus also having implications on signal transduction. Several Rab7 interacting proteins have being identified leading to the discovery of a number of different important functions, beside its established role in endocytosis. Furthermore, Rab7 has specific functions in neurons. This review highlights and discusses the role and the importance of Rab7 on different cellular pathways and processes. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Skeletal Muscle Laminopathies: A Review of Clinical and Molecular Features
Cells 2016, 5(3), 33; doi:10.3390/cells5030033 -
Abstract
LMNA-related disorders are caused by mutations in the LMNA gene, which encodes for the nuclear envelope proteins, lamin A and C, via alternative splicing. Laminopathies are associated with a wide range of disease phenotypes, including neuromuscular, cardiac, metabolic disorders and premature [...] Read more.
LMNA-related disorders are caused by mutations in the LMNA gene, which encodes for the nuclear envelope proteins, lamin A and C, via alternative splicing. Laminopathies are associated with a wide range of disease phenotypes, including neuromuscular, cardiac, metabolic disorders and premature aging syndromes. The most frequent diseases associated with mutations in the LMNA gene are characterized by skeletal and cardiac muscle involvement. This review will focus on genetics and clinical features of laminopathies affecting primarily skeletal muscle. Although only symptomatic treatment is available for these patients, many achievements have been made in clarifying the pathogenesis and improving the management of these diseases. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Intermediate Filaments and Polarization in the Intestinal Epithelium
Cells 2016, 5(3), 32; doi:10.3390/cells5030032 -
Abstract
The cytoplasmic intermediate filament cytoskeleton provides a tissue-specific three-dimensional scaffolding with unique context-dependent organizational features. This is particularly apparent in the intestinal epithelium, in which the intermediate filament network is localized below the apical terminal web region and is anchored to the [...] Read more.
The cytoplasmic intermediate filament cytoskeleton provides a tissue-specific three-dimensional scaffolding with unique context-dependent organizational features. This is particularly apparent in the intestinal epithelium, in which the intermediate filament network is localized below the apical terminal web region and is anchored to the apical junction complex. This arrangement is conserved from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to humans. The review summarizes compositional, morphological and functional features of the polarized intermediate filament cytoskeleton in intestinal cells of nematodes and mammals. We emphasize the cross talk of intermediate filaments with the actin- and tubulin-based cytoskeleton. Possible links of the intermediate filament system to the distribution of apical membrane proteins and the cell polarity complex are highlighted. Finally, we discuss how these properties relate to the establishment and maintenance of polarity in the intestine. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antisense-Based Progerin Downregulation in HGPS-Like Patients’ Cells
Cells 2016, 5(3), 31; doi:10.3390/cells5030031 -
Abstract
Progeroid laminopathies, including Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS, OMIM #176670), are premature and accelerated aging diseases caused by defects in nuclear A-type Lamins. Most HGPS patients carry a de novo point mutation within exon 11 of the LMNA gene encoding A-type Lamins. This [...] Read more.
Progeroid laminopathies, including Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS, OMIM #176670), are premature and accelerated aging diseases caused by defects in nuclear A-type Lamins. Most HGPS patients carry a de novo point mutation within exon 11 of the LMNA gene encoding A-type Lamins. This mutation activates a cryptic splice site leading to the deletion of 50 amino acids at its carboxy-terminal domain, resulting in a truncated and permanently farnesylated Prelamin A called Prelamin A Δ50 or Progerin. Some patients carry other LMNA mutations affecting exon 11 splicing and are named “HGPS-like” patients. They also produce Progerin and/or other truncated Prelamin A isoforms (Δ35 and Δ90) at the transcriptional and/or protein level. The results we present show that morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (AON) prevent pathogenic LMNA splicing, markedly reducing the accumulation of Progerin and/or other truncated Prelamin A isoforms (Prelamin A Δ35, Prelamin A Δ90) in HGPS-like patients’ cells. Finally, a patient affected with Mandibuloacral Dysplasia type B (MAD-B, carrying a homozygous mutation in ZMPSTE24, encoding an enzyme involved in Prelamin A maturation, leading to accumulation of wild type farnesylated Prelamin A), was also included in this study. These results provide preclinical proof of principle for the use of a personalized antisense approach in HGPS-like and MAD-B patients, who may therefore be eligible for inclusion in a therapeutic trial based on this approach, together with classical HGPS patients. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Intermediate Filaments as Organizers of Cellular Space: How They Affect Mitochondrial Structure and Function
Cells 2016, 5(3), 30; doi:10.3390/cells5030030 -
Abstract
Intermediate filaments together with actin filaments and microtubules form the cytoskeleton, which is a complex and highly dynamic 3D network. Intermediate filaments are the major mechanical stress protectors but also affect cell growth, differentiation, signal transduction, and migration. Using intermediate filament-mitochondrial crosstalk [...] Read more.
Intermediate filaments together with actin filaments and microtubules form the cytoskeleton, which is a complex and highly dynamic 3D network. Intermediate filaments are the major mechanical stress protectors but also affect cell growth, differentiation, signal transduction, and migration. Using intermediate filament-mitochondrial crosstalk as a prominent example, this review emphasizes the importance of intermediate filaments as crucial organizers of cytoplasmic space to support these functions. We summarize observations in different mammalian cell types which demonstrate how intermediate filaments influence mitochondrial morphology, subcellular localization, and function through direct and indirect interactions and how perturbations of these interactions may lead to human diseases. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Epithelial Intermediate Filaments: Guardians against Microbial Infection?
Cells 2016, 5(3), 29; doi:10.3390/cells5030029 -
Abstract
Intermediate filaments are abundant cytoskeletal components of epithelial tissues. They have been implicated in overall stress protection. A hitherto poorly investigated area of research is the function of intermediate filaments as a barrier to microbial infection. This review summarizes the accumulating knowledge [...] Read more.
Intermediate filaments are abundant cytoskeletal components of epithelial tissues. They have been implicated in overall stress protection. A hitherto poorly investigated area of research is the function of intermediate filaments as a barrier to microbial infection. This review summarizes the accumulating knowledge about this interaction. It first emphasizes the unique spatial organization of the keratin intermediate filament cytoskeleton in different epithelial tissues to protect the organism against microbial insults. We then present examples of direct interaction between viral, bacterial, and parasitic proteins and the intermediate filament system and describe how this affects the microbe-host interaction by modulating the epithelial cytoskeleton, the progression of infection, and host response. These observations not only provide novel insights into the dynamics and function of intermediate filaments but also indicate future avenues to combat microbial infection. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Under Pressure: Mechanical Stress Management in the Nucleus
Cells 2016, 5(2), 27; doi:10.3390/cells5020027 -
Abstract
Cells are constantly adjusting to the mechanical properties of their surroundings, operating a complex mechanochemical feedback, which hinges on mechanotransduction mechanisms. Whereas adhesion structures have been shown to play a central role in mechanotransduction, it now emerges that the nucleus may act [...] Read more.
Cells are constantly adjusting to the mechanical properties of their surroundings, operating a complex mechanochemical feedback, which hinges on mechanotransduction mechanisms. Whereas adhesion structures have been shown to play a central role in mechanotransduction, it now emerges that the nucleus may act as a mechanosensitive structure. Here, we review recent advances demonstrating that mechanical stress emanating from the cytoskeleton can activate pathways in the nucleus which eventually impact both its structure and the transcriptional machinery. Full article
Open AccessReview
Atypical Rho GTPases of the RhoBTB Subfamily: Roles in Vesicle Trafficking and Tumorigenesis
Cells 2016, 5(2), 28; doi:10.3390/cells5020028 -
Abstract
RhoBTB proteins constitute a subfamily of atypical Rho GTPases represented in mammals by RhoBTB1, RhoBTB2, and RhoBTB3. Their characteristic feature is a carboxyl terminal extension that harbors two BTB domains capable of assembling cullin 3-dependent ubiquitin ligase complexes. The expression of all [...] Read more.
RhoBTB proteins constitute a subfamily of atypical Rho GTPases represented in mammals by RhoBTB1, RhoBTB2, and RhoBTB3. Their characteristic feature is a carboxyl terminal extension that harbors two BTB domains capable of assembling cullin 3-dependent ubiquitin ligase complexes. The expression of all three RHOBTB genes has been found reduced or abolished in a variety of tumors. They are considered tumor suppressor genes and recent studies have strengthened their implication in tumorigenesis through regulation of the cell cycle and apoptosis. RhoBTB3 is also involved in retrograde transport from endosomes to the Golgi apparatus. One aspect that makes RhoBTB proteins atypical among the Rho GTPases is their proposed mechanism of activation. No specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors or GTPase activating proteins are known. Instead, RhoBTB might be activated through interaction with other proteins that relieve their auto-inhibited conformation and inactivated through auto-ubiquitination and destruction in the proteasome. In this review we discuss our current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of action of RhoBTB proteins and the implications for tumorigenesis and other pathologic conditions. Full article
Open AccessReview
Structural Mechanisms and Drug Discovery Prospects of Rho GTPases
Cells 2016, 5(2), 26; doi:10.3390/cells5020026 -
Abstract
Rho GTPases regulate cellular morphology and dynamics, and some are key drivers of cancer progression. This superfamily offers attractive potential targets for therapeutic intervention, with RhoA, Rac1 and Cdc42 being prime examples. The challenges in developing agents that act on these signaling [...] Read more.
Rho GTPases regulate cellular morphology and dynamics, and some are key drivers of cancer progression. This superfamily offers attractive potential targets for therapeutic intervention, with RhoA, Rac1 and Cdc42 being prime examples. The challenges in developing agents that act on these signaling enzymes include the lack of obvious druggable pockets and their membrane-bound activities. However, progress in targeting the similar Ras protein is illuminating new strategies for specifically inhibiting oncogenic GTPases. The structures of multiple signaling and regulatory states of Rho proteins have been determined, and the post-translational modifications including acylation and phosphorylation points have been mapped and their functional effects examined. The development of inhibitors to probe the significance of overexpression and mutational hyperactivation of these GTPases underscores their importance in cancer progression. The ability to integrate in silico, in vitro, and in vivo investigations of drug-like molecules indicates the growing tractability of GTPase systems for lead optimization. Although no Rho-targeted drug molecules have yet been clinically approved, this family is clearly showing increasing promise for the development of precision medicine and combination cancer therapies. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Hagfish Gland Thread Cell: A Fiber-Producing Cell Involved in Predator Defense
Cells 2016, 5(2), 25; doi:10.3390/cells5020025 -
Abstract
Fibers are ubiquitous in biology, and include tensile materials produced by specialized glands (such as silks), extracellular fibrils that reinforce exoskeletons and connective tissues (such as chitin and collagen), as well as intracellular filaments that make up the metazoan cytoskeleton (such as [...] Read more.
Fibers are ubiquitous in biology, and include tensile materials produced by specialized glands (such as silks), extracellular fibrils that reinforce exoskeletons and connective tissues (such as chitin and collagen), as well as intracellular filaments that make up the metazoan cytoskeleton (such as F-actin, microtubules, and intermediate filaments). Hagfish gland thread cells are unique in that they produce a high aspect ratio fiber from cytoskeletal building blocks within the confines of their cytoplasm. These threads are elaborately coiled into structures that readily unravel when they are ejected into seawater from the slime glands. In this review we summarize what is currently known about the structure and function of gland thread cells and we speculate about the mechanism that these cells use to produce a mechanically robust fiber that is almost one hundred thousand times longer than it is wide. We propose that a key feature of this mechanism involves the unidirectional rotation of the cell’s nucleus, which would serve to twist disorganized filaments into a coherent thread and impart a torsional stress on the thread that would both facilitate coiling and drive energetic unravelling in seawater. Full article
Open AccessReview
Advances in Autophagy Regulatory Mechanisms
Cells 2016, 5(2), 24; doi:10.3390/cells5020024 -
Abstract
Autophagy plays a critical role in cell metabolism by degrading and recycling internal components when challenged with limited nutrients. This fundamental and conserved mechanism is based on a membrane trafficking pathway in which nascent autophagosomes engulf cytoplasmic cargo to form vesicles that [...] Read more.
Autophagy plays a critical role in cell metabolism by degrading and recycling internal components when challenged with limited nutrients. This fundamental and conserved mechanism is based on a membrane trafficking pathway in which nascent autophagosomes engulf cytoplasmic cargo to form vesicles that transport their content to the lysosome for degradation. Based on this simple scheme, autophagy modulates cellular metabolism and cytoplasmic quality control to influence an unexpectedly wide range of normal mammalian physiology and pathophysiology. In this review, we summarise recent advancements in three broad areas of autophagy regulation. We discuss current models on how autophagosomes are initiated from endogenous membranes. We detail how the uncoordinated 51-like kinase (ULK) complex becomes activated downstream of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (MTORC1). Finally, we summarise the upstream signalling mechanisms that can sense amino acid availability leading to activation of MTORC1. Full article
Open AccessReview
The Ubiquitination of NF-κB Subunits in the Control of Transcription
Cells 2016, 5(2), 23; doi:10.3390/cells5020023 -
Abstract
Nuclear factor (NF)-κB has evolved as a latent, inducible family of transcription factors fundamental in the control of the inflammatory response. The transcription of hundreds of genes involved in inflammation and immune homeostasis require NF-κB, necessitating the need for its strict control. [...] Read more.
Nuclear factor (NF)-κB has evolved as a latent, inducible family of transcription factors fundamental in the control of the inflammatory response. The transcription of hundreds of genes involved in inflammation and immune homeostasis require NF-κB, necessitating the need for its strict control. The inducible ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of the cytoplasmic inhibitor of κB (IκB) proteins promotes the nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity of NF-κB. More recently, an additional role for ubiquitination in the regulation of NF-κB activity has been identified. In this case, the ubiquitination and degradation of the NF-κB subunits themselves plays a critical role in the termination of NF-κB activity and the associated transcriptional response. While there is still much to discover, a number of NF-κB ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases have now been identified which coordinate to regulate the NF-κB transcriptional response. This review will focus the regulation of NF-κB subunits by ubiquitination, the key regulatory components and their impact on NF-κB directed transcription. Full article
Open AccessReview
Post-Translational Modifications of RelB NF-κB Subunit and Associated Functions
Cells 2016, 5(2), 22; doi:10.3390/cells5020022 -
Abstract
The family of NF-κB transcription factors plays a key role in diverse biological processes, such as inflammatory and immune responses, cell survival and tumor development. Beyond the classical NF-κB activation pathway, a second NF-κB pathway has more recently been uncovered, the so-called [...] Read more.
The family of NF-κB transcription factors plays a key role in diverse biological processes, such as inflammatory and immune responses, cell survival and tumor development. Beyond the classical NF-κB activation pathway, a second NF-κB pathway has more recently been uncovered, the so-called alternative NF-κB activation pathway. It has been shown that this pathway mainly controls the activity of RelB, a member of the NF-κB family. Post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation, acetylation, methylation, ubiquitination and SUMOylation, have recently emerged as a strategy for the fine-tuned regulation of NF-κB. Our review discusses recent progress in the understanding of RelB regulation by post-translational modifications and the associated functions in normal and pathological conditions. Full article
Open AccessReview
Role of Intermediate Filaments in Vesicular Traffic
Cells 2016, 5(2), 20; doi:10.3390/cells5020020 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Heterozygous ZMPSTE24 Mutation Associated with Severe Metabolic Syndrome, Ectopic Fat Accumulation, and Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Cells 2016, 5(2), 21; doi:10.3390/cells5020021 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Generation and Characterization of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Lines Derived from a Patient with a Bicuspid Aortic Valve
Cells 2016, 5(2), 19; doi:10.3390/cells5020019 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Vimentin in Bacterial Infections
Cells 2016, 5(2), 18; doi:10.3390/cells5020018 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Regulation of Cellular Responses to Mechanical Cues by Rho GTPases
Cells 2016, 5(2), 17; doi:10.3390/cells5020017 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article