Open AccessArticle
The AGPase Family Proteins in Banana: Genome-Wide Identification, Phylogeny, and Expression Analyses Reveal Their Involvement in the Development, Ripening, and Abiotic/Biotic Stress Responses
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1581; doi:10.3390/ijms18081581 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) is the first rate-limiting enzyme in starch biosynthesis and plays crucial roles in multiple biological processes. Despite its importance, AGPase is poorly studied in starchy fruit crop banana (Musa acuminata L.). In this study, eight MaAGPase genes have been
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ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) is the first rate-limiting enzyme in starch biosynthesis and plays crucial roles in multiple biological processes. Despite its importance, AGPase is poorly studied in starchy fruit crop banana (Musa acuminata L.). In this study, eight MaAGPase genes have been identified genome-wide in M. acuminata, which could be clustered into the large (APL) and small (APS) subunits. Comprehensive transcriptomic analysis revealed temporal and spatial expression variations of MaAPLs and MaAPSs and their differential responses to abiotic/biotic stresses in two banana genotypes, Fen Jiao (FJ) and BaXi Jiao (BX). MaAPS1 showed generally high expression at various developmental and ripening stages and in response to abiotic/biotic stresses in both genotypes. MaAPL-3 and -2a were specifically induced by abiotic stresses including cold, salt, and drought, as well as by fungal infection in FJ, but not in BX. The presence of hormone-related and stress-relevant cis-acting elements in the promoters of MaAGPase genes suggests that MaAGPases may play an important role in multiple biological processes. Taken together, this study provides new insights into the complex transcriptional regulation of AGPases, underlying their key roles in promoting starch biosynthesis and enhancing stress tolerance in banana. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Roles of Wnt Target Genes in the Journey of Cancer Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1604; doi:10.3390/ijms18081604 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The importance of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in cancer stem cells (CSCs) has been acknowledged; however, the mechanism through which it regulates the biological function of CSCs and promotes cancer progression remains elusive. Hence, to understand the intricate mechanism by which Wnt controls stemness, the
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The importance of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in cancer stem cells (CSCs) has been acknowledged; however, the mechanism through which it regulates the biological function of CSCs and promotes cancer progression remains elusive. Hence, to understand the intricate mechanism by which Wnt controls stemness, the specific downstream target genes of Wnt were established by analyzing the genetic signatures of multiple types of metastatic cancers based on gene set enrichment. By focusing on the molecular function of Wnt target genes, the biological roles of Wnt were interpreted in terms of CSC dynamics from initiation to metastasis. Wnt signaling participates in cancer initiation by generating CSCs from normal stem cells or non-CSCs and augmenting persistent growth at the primary region, which is resistant to anti-cancer therapy. Moreover, it assists CSCs in invading nearby tissues and in entering the blood stream, during which the negative feedback of the Wnt signaling pathway maintains CSCs in a dormant state that is suitable for survival. When CSCs arrive at distant organs, another burst of Wnt signaling induces CSCs to succeed in re-initiation and colonization. This comprehensive understanding of Wnt target genes provides a plausible explanation for how Wnt allows CSCs variation during cancer progression. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Epigenetic Regulation in Epstein-Barr Virus-Associated Gastric Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1606; doi:10.3390/ijms18081606 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is detected in about 10% of gastric carcinoma cases throughout the world. In EBV-associated gastric carcinoma (EBVaGC), all tumor cells harbor the clonal EBV genome. The expression of latent EBV genes is strictly regulated through the methylation of EBV
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The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is detected in about 10% of gastric carcinoma cases throughout the world. In EBV-associated gastric carcinoma (EBVaGC), all tumor cells harbor the clonal EBV genome. The expression of latent EBV genes is strictly regulated through the methylation of EBV DNA. The methylation of viral DNA regulates the type of EBV latency, and methylation of the tumor suppressor genes is a key abnormality in EBVaGC. The methylation frequencies of several tumor suppressor genes and cell adhesion molecules are significantly higher in EBVaGC than in control cases. EBV-derived microRNAs repress translation from viral and host mRNAs. EBV regulates the expression of non-coding RNA in gastric carcinoma. With regard to the clinical application of demethylating agents against EBVaGC, we investigated the effects of decitabine against the EBVaGC cell lines. Decitabine inhibited the cell growth of EBVaGC cells. The promoter regions of p73 and Runt-related transcription factor 3(RUNX3) were demethylated, and their expression was upregulated by the treatment. We review the role of epigenetic regulation in the development and maintenance of EBVaGC and discuss the therapeutic application of DNA demethylating agents for EBVaGC. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Updated Insight into the Physiological and Pathological Roles of the Retromer Complex
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1601; doi:10.3390/ijms18081601 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Retromer complexes mediate protein trafficking from the endosomes to the trans-Golgi network (TGN) or through direct recycling to the plasma membrane. In yeast, they consist of a conserved trimer of the cargo selective complex (CSC), Vps26–Vps35–Vps29 and a dimer of sorting nexins
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Retromer complexes mediate protein trafficking from the endosomes to the trans-Golgi network (TGN) or through direct recycling to the plasma membrane. In yeast, they consist of a conserved trimer of the cargo selective complex (CSC), Vps26–Vps35–Vps29 and a dimer of sorting nexins (SNXs), Vps5–Vps17. In mammals, the CSC interacts with different kinds of SNX proteins in addition to the mammalian homologues of Vps5 and Vps17, which further diversifies retromer functions. The retromer complex plays important roles in many cellular processes including restriction of invading pathogens. In this review, we summarize some recent developments in our understanding of the physiological and pathological functions of the retromer complex. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Expression of Serum Exosomal and Esophageal MicroRNA in Rat Reflux Esophagitis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1611; doi:10.3390/ijms18081611 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common upper gastrointestinal disease. However, the role of exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) and esophageal miRNAs in GERD has not been studied. A rat model of acid reflux esophagitis was used to establish a novel diagnosis marker for GERD
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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common upper gastrointestinal disease. However, the role of exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) and esophageal miRNAs in GERD has not been studied. A rat model of acid reflux esophagitis was used to establish a novel diagnosis marker for GERD and examine dynamics of miRNA expression in GERD. Rats were sacrificed 3 (acute phase), 7 (sub-acute phase) and 21 days (chronic phase) after induction of esophagitis. Exosomes were extracted from serum, and the expression patterns of serum miRNAs were analyzed. Four upregulated miRNAs (miR-29a-3p, 128-3p, 223-3p and 3473) were identified by microarray analysis. The expression levels of exosomal miR-29a-3p were significantly higher in the chronic phase of reflux esophagitis compared with controls, and increased expression of miR-29a-3p was specific to chronic reflux esophagitis. Esophageal miR-223-3p expression was higher compared with controls, and gradually decreased from acute to chronic phase in esophagitis. In conclusion, exosomal miR-29a-3p and esophageal miR-223-3p might play roles in GERD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Porcine Interferon Stimulated Gene 12a Restricts Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Replication in MARC-145 Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1613; doi:10.3390/ijms18081613 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) causes severe losses in the global pig industry. In the present study, we investigated the molecular characterization of porcine interferon stimulated gene 12a (ISG12A) and confirmed its anti-PRRSV ability for the first time. We
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Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) causes severe losses in the global pig industry. In the present study, we investigated the molecular characterization of porcine interferon stimulated gene 12a (ISG12A) and confirmed its anti-PRRSV ability for the first time. We found that porcine ISG12A was localized in mitochondria and significantly decreased the number of cells in G2/S phase. Porcine ISG12A mRNA was up-regulated in cells/tissues of Tongcheng (TC) pigs and Large White (LW) pigs after PRRSV challenge. More importantly, the ectopic overexpression of ISG12A could significantly suppress PRRSV replication at 24, 36 and 48 h post challenge (hpc), which was confirmed by detecting PRRSV ORF7 mRNA with quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and PRRSV N protein with indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) in MARC-145 cells. Meanwhile, knockdown of endogenic ISG12A could obviously facilitate PRRSV replication in MARC-145 cells at 36 hpc. The results will lead to a better understanding of the interaction between host immune system and PRRSV, which may help us develop novel therapeutic tools to control PRRSV. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Unusual Antioxidant Properties of 26S Proteasome Isolated from Cold-Adapted Organisms
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1605; doi:10.3390/ijms18081605 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The oxidative challenge represents an important factor affecting the adaptive strategies in Antarctic fish, but their impact on the protein degradation machinery still remains unclear. The previous analysis of the first 26S proteasome from the Antarctic red-blooded fish Trematomus bernacchii, evidenced improved
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The oxidative challenge represents an important factor affecting the adaptive strategies in Antarctic fish, but their impact on the protein degradation machinery still remains unclear. The previous analysis of the first 26S proteasome from the Antarctic red-blooded fish Trematomus bernacchii, evidenced improved antioxidant functions necessary to counteract the environmental pro-oxidant conditions. The purpose of this work was to carry out a study on 26S proteasomes from the temperate red-blooded Dicenthrarcus labrax and the icefish Chionodraco hamatus in comparison with the isoform already described from T. bernacchii, to better elucidate the cold-adapted physiological functions of this complex. Therefore, the 26S isoforms were isolated and the complementary DNAs (cDNAs) codifying the catalytic subunits were cloned. The biochemical characterization of Antarctic 26S proteasomes revealed their significantly higher structural stability and resistance to H2O2 with respect to that of the temperate counterpart, as also suggested by a comparative modeling analysis of the catalytic subunits. Moreover, in contrast to that observed in T. bernacchii, the 26S systems from C. hamatus and D. labrax were incapable to hydrolyze oxidized proteins in a ubiquitin-independent manner. Therefore, the ‘uncommon’ properties displayed by the Antarctic 26S proteasomes can mirror the impact exercised by evolutionary pressure in response to richly oxygenated environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Pharmaceutical Device Prisma® Skin Promotes in Vitro Angiogenesis through Endothelial to Mesenchymal Transition during Skin Wound Healing
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1614; doi:10.3390/ijms18081614 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Glycosaminoglycans are polysaccharides of the extracellular matrix supporting skin wound closure. Mesoglycan is a mixture of glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin-, dermatan-, heparan-sulfate and heparin and is the main component of Prisma® Skin, a pharmaceutical device developed by Mediolanum Farmaceutici S.p.a. Here, we
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Glycosaminoglycans are polysaccharides of the extracellular matrix supporting skin wound closure. Mesoglycan is a mixture of glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin-, dermatan-, heparan-sulfate and heparin and is the main component of Prisma® Skin, a pharmaceutical device developed by Mediolanum Farmaceutici S.p.a. Here, we show the in vitro effects of this device in the new vessels formation by endothelial cells, since angiogenesis represents a key moment in wound healing. We found a strong increase of migration and invasion rates of these cells treated with mesoglycan and Prisma® Skin which mediate the activation of the pathway triggered by CD44 receptor. Furthermore, endothelial cells form longer capillary-like structures with a great number of branches, in the presence of the same treatments. Thus, the device, thanks to the mesoglycan, leads the cells to the Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition, suggesting the switch to a fibroblast-like phenotype, as shown by immunofluorescence assays. Finally, we found that mesoglycan and Prisma® Skin inhibit inflammatory reactions such as nitric oxide secretion and NF-κB nuclear translocation in endothelial cells and Tumor Necrosis Factor-α production by macrophages. In conclusion, based on our data, we suggest that Prisma® Skin may be able to accelerate angiogenesis in skin wound healing, and regulate inflammation avoiding chronic, thus pathological, responses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Arginase Inhibition Reverses Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1609; doi:10.3390/ijms18081609 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a heterogeneous disorder associated with a poor prognosis. Thus, the development of novel treatment strategies is of great interest. The enzyme arginase (Arg) is emerging as important player in PH development. The aim of the current study was to
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Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a heterogeneous disorder associated with a poor prognosis. Thus, the development of novel treatment strategies is of great interest. The enzyme arginase (Arg) is emerging as important player in PH development. The aim of the current study was to determine the expression of ArgI and ArgII as well as the effects of Arg inhibition in a rat model of PH. PH was induced in 35 Sprague–Dawley rats by monocrotaline (MCT, 60 mg/kg as single-dose). There were three experimental groups: sham-treated controls (control group, n = 11), MCT-induced PH (MCT group, n = 11) and MCT-induced PH treated with the Arg inhibitor Nω-hydroxy-nor-l-arginine (nor-NOHA; MCT/NorNoha group, n = 13). ArgI and ArgII expression was determined by immunohistochemistry and Western blot. Right ventricular systolic pressure (RVPsys) was measured and lung tissue remodeling was determined. Induction of PH resulted in an increase in RVPsys (81 ± 16 mmHg) compared to the control group (41 ± 15 mmHg, p = 0.002) accompanied by a significant elevation of histological sum-score (8.2 ± 2.4 in the MCT compared to 1.6 ± 1.6 in the control group, p < 0.001). Both, ArgI and ArgII were relevantly expressed in lung tissue and there was a significant increase in the MCT compared to the control group (p < 0.01). Arg inhibition resulted in a significant reduction of RVPsys to 52 ± 19 mmHg (p = 0.006) and histological sum-score to 5.8 ± 1.4 compared to the MCT group (p = 0.022). PH leads to increased expression of Arg. Arg inhibition leads to reduction of RVPsys and diminished lung tissue remodeling and therefore represents a potential treatment strategy in PH. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Design for Additive Bio-Manufacturing: From Patient-Specific Medical Devices to Rationally Designed Meta-Biomaterials
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1607; doi:10.3390/ijms18081607 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Recent advances in additive manufacturing (AM) techniques in terms of accuracy, reliability, the range of processable materials, and commercial availability have made them promising candidates for production of functional parts including those used in the biomedical industry. The complexity-for-free feature offered by AM
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Recent advances in additive manufacturing (AM) techniques in terms of accuracy, reliability, the range of processable materials, and commercial availability have made them promising candidates for production of functional parts including those used in the biomedical industry. The complexity-for-free feature offered by AM means that very complex designs become feasible to manufacture, while batch-size-indifference enables fabrication of fully patient-specific medical devices. Design for AM (DfAM) approaches aim to fully utilize those features for development of medical devices with substantially enhanced performance and biomaterials with unprecedented combinations of favorable properties that originate from complex geometrical designs at the micro-scale. This paper reviews the most important approaches in DfAM particularly those applicable to additive bio-manufacturing including image-based design pipelines, parametric and non-parametric designs, metamaterials, rational and computationally enabled design, topology optimization, and bio-inspired design. Areas with limited research have been identified and suggestions have been made for future research. The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the practical aspects of DfAM and the potential of combining AM with subtractive and formative manufacturing processes in so-called hybrid manufacturing processes. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Finding a Balance between Protection and Pathology: The Dual Role of Perforin in Human Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1608; doi:10.3390/ijms18081608 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Perforin is critical for controlling viral infection and tumor surveillance. Clinically, mutations in perforin are viewed as unfavorable, as lack of this pore-forming protein results in lethal, childhood disease, familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis type 2 (FHL 2). However, many mutations in the coding region
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Perforin is critical for controlling viral infection and tumor surveillance. Clinically, mutations in perforin are viewed as unfavorable, as lack of this pore-forming protein results in lethal, childhood disease, familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis type 2 (FHL 2). However, many mutations in the coding region of PRF1 are not yet associated with disease. Animal models of viral-associated blood–brain barrier (BBB) disruption and experimental cerebral malaria (ECM) have identified perforin as critical for inducing pathologic central nervous system CNS vascular permeability. This review focuses on the role of perforin in both protecting and promoting human disease. It concludes with a novel hypothesis that diversity observed in the PRF1 gene may be an example of selective advantage that protects an individual from perforin-mediated pathology, such as BBB disruption. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Microbubbles-Assisted Ultrasound Triggers the Release of Extracellular Vesicles
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1610; doi:10.3390/ijms18081610 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Microbubbles-assisted ultrasound (USMB) has shown promise in improving local drug delivery. The formation of transient membrane pores and endocytosis are reported to be enhanced by USMB, and they contribute to cellular drug uptake. Exocytosis also seems to be linked to endocytosis upon USMB
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Microbubbles-assisted ultrasound (USMB) has shown promise in improving local drug delivery. The formation of transient membrane pores and endocytosis are reported to be enhanced by USMB, and they contribute to cellular drug uptake. Exocytosis also seems to be linked to endocytosis upon USMB treatment. Based on this rationale, we investigated whether USMB triggers exocytosis resulting in the release of extracellular vesicles (EVs). USMB was performed on a monolayer of head-and-neck cancer cells (FaDu) with clinically approved microbubbles and commonly used ultrasound parameters. At 2, 4, and 24 h, cells and EV-containing conditioned media from USMB and control conditions (untreated cells, cells treated with microbubbles and ultrasound only) were harvested. EVs were measured using flow cytometric immuno-magnetic bead capture assay, immunogold electron microscopy, and western blotting. After USMB, levels of CD9 exposing-EVs significantly increased at 2 and 4 h, whereas levels of CD63 exposing-EVs increased at 2 h. At 24 h, EV levels were comparable to control levels. EVs released after USMB displayed a heterogeneous size distribution profile (30–1200 nm). Typical EV markers CD9, CD63, and alix were enriched in EVs released from USMB-treated FaDu cells. In conclusion, USMB treatment triggers exocytosis leading to the release of EVs from FaDu cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Lactacystin-Induced Model of Hypertension in Rats: Effects of Melatonin and Captopril
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1612; doi:10.3390/ijms18081612 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Lactacystin is a proteasome inhibitor that interferes with several factors involved in heart remodelling. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the chronic administration of lactacystin induces hypertension and heart remodelling and whether these changes can be modified by captopril or
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Lactacystin is a proteasome inhibitor that interferes with several factors involved in heart remodelling. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the chronic administration of lactacystin induces hypertension and heart remodelling and whether these changes can be modified by captopril or melatonin. In addition, the lactacystin-model was compared with NG-nitro-l-arginine-methyl ester (L-NAME)- and continuous light-induced hypertension. Six groups of three-month-old male Wistar rats (11 per group) were treated for six weeks as follows: control (vehicle), L-NAME (40 mg/kg/day), continuous light (24 h/day), lactacystin (5 mg/kg/day) alone, and lactacystin with captopril (100 mg/kg/day), or melatonin (10 mg/kg/day). Lactacystin treatment increased systolic blood pressure (SBP) and induced fibrosis of the left ventricle (LV), as observed in L-NAME-hypertension and continuous light-hypertension. LV weight and the cross-sectional area of the aorta were increased only in L-NAME-induced hypertension. The level of oxidative load was preserved or reduced in all three models of hypertension. Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity in the LV and kidney was unchanged in the lactacystin group. Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) protein expression in the LV was increased in all treated groups in the cytoplasm, however, in neither group in the nucleus. Although melatonin had no effect on SBP, only this indolamine (but not captopril) reduced the concentration of insoluble and total collagen in the LV and stimulated the NO-pathway in the lactacystin group. We conclude that chronic administration of lactacystin represents a novel model of hypertension with collagenous rebuilding of the LV, convenient for testing antihypertensive drugs or agents exerting a cardiovascular benefit beyond blood pressure reduction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tanshinone IIA Inhibits Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Bladder Cancer Cells via Modulation of STAT3-CCL2 Signaling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1616; doi:10.3390/ijms18081616 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Tanshinone IIA (Tan-IIA) is an extract from the widely used traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), and has been found to attenuate the proliferation of bladder cancer (BCa) cells (The IC50 were: 5637, 2.6 μg/mL; BFTC, 2 μg/mL; T24,
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Tanshinone IIA (Tan-IIA) is an extract from the widely used traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), and has been found to attenuate the proliferation of bladder cancer (BCa) cells (The IC50 were: 5637, 2.6 μg/mL; BFTC, 2 μg/mL; T24, 2.7 μg/mL, respectively.). However, the mechanism of the effect of Tan-IIA on migration inhibition of BCa cells remains unclear. This study investigates the anti-metastatic effect of Tan-IIA in human BCa cells and clarifies its molecular mechanism. Three human BCa cell lines, 5637, BFTC and T24, were used for subsequent experiments. Cell migration and invasion were evaluated by transwell assays. Real-time RT-PCR and western blotting were performed to detect epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related gene expression. The enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) was evaluated by zymography assay. Tan-IIA inhibited the migration and invasion of human BCa cells. Tan-IIA suppressed both the protein expression and enzymatic activity of MMP-9/-2 in human BCa cells. Tan-IIA up-regulated the epithelial marker E-cadherin and down-regulated mesenchymal markers such as N-cadherin and Vimentin, along with transcription regulators such as Snail and Slug in BCa cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Mechanism dissection revealed that Tan-IIA-inhibited BCa cell invasion could function via suppressed chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) expression, which could be reversed by the addition of CCL2 recombinant protein. Furthermore, Tan-IIA could inhibit the phosphorylation of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) (Tyr705), which cannot be restored by the CCL2 recombinant protein addition. These data implicated that Tan-IIA might suppress EMT on BCa cells through STAT3-CCL2 signaling inhibition. Tan-IIA inhibits EMT of BCa cells via modulation of STAT3-CCL2 signaling. Our findings suggest that Tan-IIA can serve as a potential anti-metastatic agent in BCa therapy. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Notch Signaling in Endothelial Cells: Is It the Therapeutic Target for Vascular Neointimal Hyperplasia?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1615; doi:10.3390/ijms18081615 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Blood vessels respond to injury through a healing process that includes neointimal hyperplasia. The vascular endothelium is a monolayer of cells that separates the outer vascular wall from the inner circulating blood. The disruption and exposure of endothelial cells (ECs) to subintimal components
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Blood vessels respond to injury through a healing process that includes neointimal hyperplasia. The vascular endothelium is a monolayer of cells that separates the outer vascular wall from the inner circulating blood. The disruption and exposure of endothelial cells (ECs) to subintimal components initiate the neointimal formation. ECs not only act as a highly selective barrier to prevent early pathological changes of neointimal hyperplasia, but also synthesize and release molecules to maintain vascular homeostasis. After vascular injury, ECs exhibit varied responses, including proliferation, regeneration, apoptosis, phenotypic switching, interacting with other cells by direct contact or secreted molecules and the change of barrier function. This brief review presents the functional role of the evolutionarily-conserved Notch pathway in neointimal hyperplasia, notably by regulating endothelial cell functions (proliferation, regeneration, apoptosis, differentiation, cell-cell interaction). Understanding endothelial cell biology should help us define methods to prompt cell proliferation, prevent cell apoptosis and dysfunction, block neointimal hyperplasia and vessel narrowing. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Redox Properties of Tryptophan Metabolism and the Concept of Tryptophan Use in Pregnancy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1595; doi:10.3390/ijms18071595 -
Abstract
During pregnancy, tryptophan (Trp) is required for several purposes, and Trp metabolism varies over time in the mother and fetus. Increased oxidative stress (OS) with high metabolic, energy and oxygen demands during normal pregnancy or in pregnancy-associated disorders has been reported. Taking the
[...] Read more.
During pregnancy, tryptophan (Trp) is required for several purposes, and Trp metabolism varies over time in the mother and fetus. Increased oxidative stress (OS) with high metabolic, energy and oxygen demands during normal pregnancy or in pregnancy-associated disorders has been reported. Taking the antioxidant properties of Trp and its metabolites into consideration, we made four hypotheses. First, the use of Trp and its metabolites is optional based on their antioxidant properties during pregnancy. Second, dynamic Trp metabolism is an accommodation mechanism in response to OS. Third, regulation of Trp metabolism could be used to control/attenuate OS according to variations in Trp metabolism during pregnancy. Fourth, OS-mediated injury could be alleviated by regulation of Trp metabolism in pregnancy-associated disorders. Future studies in normal/abnormal pregnancies and in associated disorders should include measurements of free Trp, total Trp, Trp metabolites, and activities of Trp-degrading enzymes in plasma. Abnormal pregnancies and some associated disorders may be associated with disordered Trp metabolism related to OS. Mounting evidence suggests that the investigation of the use of Trp and its metabolites in pregnancy will be meanful. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Appropriate Modulation of Lymphoproliferative Response and Cytokine Release as Possible Contributors to Longevity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1598; doi:10.3390/ijms18071598 -
Abstract
The decrease in the proliferative response of lymphocytes is one of the most evident among the age-related changes of the immune system. This has been linked to a higher risk of mortality in both humans and experimental animals. However, long-lived individuals, in spite
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The decrease in the proliferative response of lymphocytes is one of the most evident among the age-related changes of the immune system. This has been linked to a higher risk of mortality in both humans and experimental animals. However, long-lived individuals, in spite of optimally maintaining most of the functions of the immune system, also seem to show an impaired proliferative response. Thus, it was hypothesized that these individuals may have distinct evolution times in this proliferation and a different modulatory capacity through their cytokine release profiles. An individualized longitudinal study was performed on female ICR-CD1 mice, starting at the adult age (40 weeks old), analyzing the proliferation of peritoneal leukocytes at different ages in both basal conditions and in the presence of the mitogen Concanavalin A, for 4, 24 and 48 h of culture. The cytokine secretions (IL-2, IL-17, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-10) in the same cultures were also studied. Long-lived mice show a high proliferative capacity after short incubation times and, despite experiencing a functional decline when they are old, are able to compensate this decrease with an appropriate modulation of the lymphoproliferative response and cytokine release. This could explain their elevated resistance to infections and high longevity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Cytoprotective Effect of the UCP2-SIRT3 Signaling Pathway by Decreasing Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress on Cerebral Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1599; doi:10.3390/ijms18071599 -
Abstract
Recovered blood supply after cerebral ischemia for a certain period of time fails to restore brain function, with more severe dysfunctional problems developing, called cerebral ischemia–reperfusion injury (CIR). CIR involves several extremely complex pathophysiological processes in which the interactions between key factors at
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Recovered blood supply after cerebral ischemia for a certain period of time fails to restore brain function, with more severe dysfunctional problems developing, called cerebral ischemia–reperfusion injury (CIR). CIR involves several extremely complex pathophysiological processes in which the interactions between key factors at various stages have not been fully elucidated. Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the most important mechanisms of CIR. The mitochondrial deacetylase, sirtuin 3 (SIRT3), can inhibit mitochondrial oxidative stress by deacetylation, to maintain mitochondrial stability. Uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) regulates ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) and reactive oxygen species production by affecting the mitochondrial respiratory chain, which may play a protective role in CIR. Finally, we propose that UCP2 regulates the activity of SIRT3 through sensing the energy level and, in turn, maintaining the mitochondrial steady state, which demonstrates a cytoprotective effect on CIR. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Artemisinin on the Cytolytic Activity of Natural Killer (NK) Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1600; doi:10.3390/ijms18071600 -
Abstract
Artemisinin, a chemical compound used for the treatment of malaria, has been known to show anti-cancer activity. However, the effect of this chemical on natural killer (NK) cells, which are involved in tumor killing, remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that artemisinin exerts a
[...] Read more.
Artemisinin, a chemical compound used for the treatment of malaria, has been known to show anti-cancer activity. However, the effect of this chemical on natural killer (NK) cells, which are involved in tumor killing, remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that artemisinin exerts a potent anti-cancer effect by activating NK cells. NK-92MI cells pre-treated with artemisinin were subjected to a cytotoxicity assay using K562 cells. The results showed that artemisinin significantly enhances the cytolytic activity of NK cells in a dose-dependent manner. Additionally, the artemisinin-enhanced cytotoxic effect of NK-92MI cells on tumor cells was accompanied by the stimulation of granule exocytosis, as evidenced by the detection of CD107a expression in NK cells. Moreover, this enhancement of cytotoxicity by artemisinin was also observed in human primary NK cells from peripheral blood. Our results suggest that artemisinin enhances human NK cell cytotoxicity and degranulation. This is the first evidence that artemisinin exerts antitumor activity by enhancing NK cytotoxicity. Therefore, these results provide a deeper understanding of the action of artemisinin and will contribute to the development and application of this class of compounds in cancer treatment strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pyranopyran-1,8-dione, an Active Compound from Vitices Fructus, Attenuates Cigarette-Smoke Induced Lung Inflammation in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1602; doi:10.3390/ijms18071602 -
Abstract
Previously, we isolated and identified pyranopyran-1,8-dione (PPY) from Viticis Fructus, as a bioactive compound possessing anti-inflammatory properties. The present study was aimed to evaluate the preventive benefit of PPY on cigarette–smoke (CS)-induced lung inflammation. C57BL/6 mice were exposed to CS for 2 weeks
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Previously, we isolated and identified pyranopyran-1,8-dione (PPY) from Viticis Fructus, as a bioactive compound possessing anti-inflammatory properties. The present study was aimed to evaluate the preventive benefit of PPY on cigarette–smoke (CS)-induced lung inflammation. C57BL/6 mice were exposed to CS for 2 weeks while PPY was administrated by oral injection 2 h before CS exposure. To validate the anti-inflammatory effects of PPY, the numbers of immune cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were counted. Proinflammatory cytokines (Tumor necrosis factor-α: TNF-α, IL-6) and keratinocyte chemokine (KC/CXCL1) were also measured. Histopathologic analysis and cellular profiles showed that inflammatory cell infiltrations were significantly decreased in peribronchial and perivascular area by PPY treatment. The alveolar destruction by CS was markedly ameliorated by PPY treatment. In addition, the TNF-α, IL-6, and KC levels were declined in the PPY groups. These observations suggest that PPY has a preventive potential for lung inflammatory diseases. Full article
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