Genes2016, 7(9), 56; doi:10.3390/genes7090056 (registering DOI) - published 31 August 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common monogenetic cause of intellectual disability. The cognitive deficits in the mouse model for this disorder, the Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 (Fmr1) knockout (KO) mouse, have been restored by different pharmacological approaches, among those the blockade of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor. In this regard, our previous study showed that the CB1 receptor antagonist/inverse agonist rimonabant normalized a number of core features in the Fmr1 knockout mouse. Rimonabant was commercialized at high doses for its anti-obesity properties, and withdrawn from the market on the bases of mood-related adverse effects. In this study we show, by using electrophysiological approaches, that low dosages of rimonabant (0.1 mg/kg) manage to normalize metabotropic glutamate receptor dependent long-term depression (mGluR-LTD). In addition, low doses of rimonabant (from 0.01 mg/kg) equally normalized the cognitive deficit in the mouse model of FXS. These doses of rimonabant were from 30 to 300 times lower than those required to reduce body weight in rodents and to presumably produce adverse effects in humans. Furthermore, NESS0327, a CB1 receptor neutral antagonist, was also effective in preventing the novel object-recognition memory deficit in Fmr1 KO mice. These data further support targeting CB1 receptors as a relevant therapy for FXS.
Genes2016, 7(9), 57; doi:10.3390/genes7090057 (registering DOI) - published 31 August 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: DNA is constantly exposed to both endogenous and exogenous damages. More than 10,000 DNA modifications are induced every day in each cell’s genome. Maintenance of the integrity of the genome is accomplished by several DNA repair systems. The core enzymes for these pathways are the DNA polymerases. Out of 17 DNA polymerases present in a mammalian cell, at least 13 are specifically devoted to DNA repair and are often acting in different pathways. DNA polymerases β and λ are involved in base excision repair of modified DNA bases and translesion synthesis past DNA lesions. Polymerase λ also participates in non-homologous end joining of DNA double-strand breaks. However, recent data have revealed that, depending on their relative levels, the cell cycle phase, the ratio between deoxy- and ribo-nucleotide pools and the interaction with particular auxiliary proteins, the repair reactions carried out by these enzymes can be an important source of genetic instability, owing to repair mistakes. This review summarizes the most recent results on the ambivalent properties of these enzymes in limiting or promoting genetic instability in mammalian cells, as well as their potential use as targets for anticancer chemotherapy.
Abstract: The Hippo signaling pathway is a highly-conserved developmental pathway that plays an essential role in organ size control, tumor suppression, tissue regeneration and stem cell self-renewal. The YES-associated protein (YAP) and the transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) are two important transcriptional co-activators that are negatively regulated by the Hippo signaling pathway. By binding to transcription factors, especially the TEA domain transcription factors (TEADs), YAP and TAZ induce the expression of growth-promoting genes, which can promote organ regeneration after injury. Therefore, controlled activation of YAP and TAZ can be useful for regenerative medicine. However, aberrant activation of YAP and TAZ due to deregulation of the Hippo pathway or overexpression of YAP/TAZ and TEADs can promote cancer development. Hence, pharmacological inhibition of YAP and TAZ may be a useful approach to treat tumors with high YAP and/or TAZ activity. In this review, we present the mechanisms regulating the Hippo pathway, the role of the Hippo pathway in tissue repair and cancer, as well as a detailed analysis of the different strategies to target the Hippo signaling pathway and the genes regulated by YAP and TAZ for regenerative medicine and cancer therapy.
Abstract: Retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor alpha (RORA) plays a key role in the regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism and insulin expression that are implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, the effects of genetic variants in the RORA gene on the susceptibility to T2DM remain unknown. Nine tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were screened by using the SNaPshot method in 427 patients with T2DM and 408 normal controls. Association between genotypes and haplotypes derived from these SNPs with T2DM was analyzed using different genetic models. Allele and genotype frequencies at rs10851685 were significantly different between T2DM patients and control subjects (allele: p = 0.009, Odds ratios (OR) = 1.36 [95% Confidence intervals (CI) = 1.08–1.72]; genotype: p = 0.029). The minor allele T, at rs10851685, was potentially associated with an increased risk of T2DM in the dominant model, displaying OR of 1.38 (95% CI: 1.04–1.82, p = 0.025) in subjects with genotypes TA+TT vs. AA. In haplotype analysis, we observed that haplotypes GGTGTAACT, GGTGTAACC, and GATATAACT were significantly associated with increased risk of T2DM, while haplotypes GATGAAGTT, AGTGAAGTT, and AATGAAATT were protective against T2DM. These data suggest that the genetic variation in RORA might determine a Chinese Han individual’s susceptibility to T2DM.
Abstract: The 14-3-3 family of phosphorylated serine-binding proteins acts as signaling molecules in biological processes such as metabolism, division, differentiation, autophagy, and apoptosis. Herein, we report the requirement of 14-3-3ɛ isoform from Tenebrio molitor (Tm14-3-3ɛ) in the hemocyte antimicrobial activity. The Tm14-3-3ɛ transcript is 771 nucleotides in length and encodes a polypeptide of 256 amino acid residues. The protein has the typical 14-3-3 domain, the nuclear export signal (NES) sequence, and the peptide binding residues. The Tm14-3-3ɛ transcript shows a significant three-fold expression in the hemocyte of T. molitor larvae when infected with Escherichia coliTm14-3-3ɛ silenced larvae show significantly lower survival rates when infected with E. coli. Under Tm14-3-3ɛ silenced condition, a strong antimicrobial activity is elicited in the hemocyte of the host inoculated with E. coli. This suggests impaired secretion of antimicrobial peptides (AMP) into the hemolymph. Furthermore, a reduction in AMP secretion under Tm14-3-3ɛ silenced condition would be responsible for loss in the capacity to kill bacteria and might explain the reduced survivability of the larvae upon E. coli challenge. This shows that Tm14-3-3ɛ is required to maintain innate immunity in T. molitor by enabling antimicrobial secretion into the hemolymph and explains the functional specialization of the isoform.
Abstract: The human cellular genome is under constant stress from extrinsic and intrinsic factors, which can lead to DNA damage and defective replication. In normal cells, DNA damage response (DDR) mediated by various checkpoints will either activate the DNA repair system or induce cellular apoptosis/senescence, therefore maintaining overall genomic integrity. Cancer cells, however, due to constitutive growth signaling and defective DDR, may exhibit “replication stress” —a phenomenon unique to cancer cells that is described as the perturbation of error-free DNA replication and slow-down of DNA synthesis. Although replication stress has been proven to induce genomic instability and tumorigenesis, recent studies have counterintuitively shown that enhancing replicative stress through further loosening of the remaining checkpoints in cancer cells to induce their catastrophic failure of proliferation may provide an alternative therapeutic approach. In this review, we discuss the rationale to enhance replicative stress in cancer cells, past approaches using traditional radiation and chemotherapy, and emerging approaches targeting the signaling cascades induced by DNA damage. We also summarize current clinical trials exploring these strategies and propose future research directions including the use of combination therapies, and the identification of potential new targets and biomarkers to track and predict treatment responses to targeting DNA replication stress.