Abstract: Aging is one major risk factor for the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and the development of atherosclerosis. One important enzyme known to be involved in aging processes is Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT). After the discovery of the enzyme in humans, TERT had initially only been attributed to germ line cells, stem cells and cancer cells. However, over the last few years it has become clear that TERT is also active in cells of the cardiovascular system including cardiac myocytes, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. Interference with the activity of this enzyme greatly contributes to cardiovascular diseases. This review will summarize the findings on the role of TERT in cardiovascular cells. Moreover, recent findings concerning TERT in different mouse models with respect to cardiovascular diseases will be described. Finally, the extranuclear functions of TERT will be covered within this review.
Abstract: The MST/Hippo signalling pathway was first described over a decade ago in Drosophila melanogaster and the core of the pathway is evolutionary conserved in mammals. The mammalian MST/Hippo pathway regulates organ size, cell proliferation and cell death. In addition, it has been shown to play a central role in the regulation of cellular homeostasis and it is commonly deregulated in human tumours. The delineation of the canonical pathway resembles the behaviour of the Hippo pathway in the fly where the activation of the core kinases of the pathway prevents the proliferative signal mediated by the key effector of the pathway YAP. Nevertheless, several lines of evidence support the idea that the mammalian MST/Hippo pathway has acquired new features during evolution, including different regulators and effectors, crosstalk with other essential signalling pathways involved in cellular homeostasis and the ability to actively trigger cell death. Here we describe the current knowledge of the mechanisms that mediate MST/Hippo dependent cell death, especially apoptosis. We include evidence for the existence of complex signalling networks where the core proteins of the pathway play a central role in controlling the balance between survival and cell death. Finally, we discuss the possible involvement of these signalling networks in several human diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.
Abstract: Changes in hTERT splice variant expression have been proposed to facilitate the decrease of telomerase activity during fetal development in various human tissues. Here, we analyzed the expression of telomerase RNA (hTR), wild type and α-spliced hTERT in developing human fetal brain (post conception weeks, pcw, 6–19) and in young and old cortices using qPCR and correlated it to telomerase activity measured by TRAP assay. Decrease of telomerase activity occurred early during brain development and correlated strongest to decreased hTR expression. The expression of α-spliced hTERT increased between pcw 10 and 19, while that of wild type hTERT remained unchanged. Lack of expression differences between young and old cortices suggests that most changes seem to occur early during human brain development. Using in vitro differentiation of neural precursor stem cells (NPSCs) derived at pcw 6 we found a decrease in telomerase activity but no major expression changes in telomerase associated genes. Thus, they do not seem to model the mechanisms for the decrease in telomerase activity in fetal brains. Our results suggest that decreased hTR levels, as well as transient increase in α-spliced hTERT, might both contribute to downregulation of telomerase activity during early human brain development between 6 and 17 pcw.
Abstract: We aimed to identify endometrioid endometrial carcinoma (EEC)-related gene signatures using a multi-step miRNA-mRNA regulatory network construction approach. Pathway analysis showed that 61 genes were enriched on many carcinoma-related pathways. Among the 14 highest scoring gene signatures, six genes had been previously shown to be endometrial carcinoma. By qRT-PCR and next generation sequencing, we found that a gene signature (CPEB1) was significantly down-regulated in EEC tissues, which may be caused by hsa-miR-183-5p up-regulation. In addition, our literature surveys suggested that CPEB1 may play an important role in EEC pathogenesis by regulating the EMT/p53 pathway. The miRNA-mRNA network is worthy of further investigation with respect to the regulatory mechanisms of miRNAs in EEC. CPEB1 appeared to be a tumor suppressor in EEC. Our results provided valuable guidance for the functional study at the cellular level, as well as the EEC mouse models.
Abstract: The importance of sheep’s wool in making textiles has inspired extensive research into its structure and the underlying genetics since the 1960s. Wool keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are a key structural component of the wool fibre. The characterisation of the genes encoding these proteins has progressed rapidly with advances in the nucleotide and protein sequencing. This review describes our knowledge of ovine KAPs, their categorisation into families, polymorphism in the proteins and genes, the clustering and chromosomal location of the genes, some characteristics of gene expression and some potential effects of the KAPs on wool traits. The extent and nature of genetic variation in wool KAP genes and its association with fibre characteristics, provides an opportunity for the development of gene-markers for selective breeding of sheep to produce better wool with properties highly matched to specific end-uses.
Abstract: Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is a rapid and sensitive method for analyzing microRNA (miRNA) expression. However, accurate qRT-PCR results depend on the selection of reliable reference genes as internal positive controls. To date, few studies have identified reliable reference genes for differential expression analysis of miRNAs among tissues, and among experimental conditions in plants. In this study, three miRNAs and four non-coding small RNAs (ncRNA) were selected as reference candidates, and the stability of their expression was evaluated among different tissues and under different experimental conditions in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) using the geNorm and NormFinder programs. It was shown that miR159a was the best single reference gene in the bud to the fifth leaf, 5S rRNA was the most suitable gene in different organs, miR6149 was the most stable gene when the leaves were attacked by Ectropis oblique and U4, miR5368n and miR159a were the best genes when the leaves were treated by methyl jasmonate (MeJA), salicylic acid (SA) and abscisic acid (ABA), respectively. Our results provide suitable reference genes for future investigations on miRNA functions in tea plants.