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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 21, Issue 19 (October-1 2020) – 454 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Extracellular vesicles (EVs) represent a new reality for many physiological and pathological [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
The Discovery of Highly Potent THP Derivatives as OCTN2 Inhibitors: From Structure-Based Virtual Screening to In Vivo Biological Activity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7431; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197431 - 08 Oct 2020
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Abstract
A mismatch between β-oxidation and the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle flux in mitochondria produces an accumulation of lipid metabolic intermediates, resulting in both blunted metabolic flexibility and decreased glucose utilization in the affected cells. The ability of the cell to switch to [...] Read more.
A mismatch between β-oxidation and the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle flux in mitochondria produces an accumulation of lipid metabolic intermediates, resulting in both blunted metabolic flexibility and decreased glucose utilization in the affected cells. The ability of the cell to switch to glucose as an energy substrate can be restored by reducing the reliance of the cell on fatty acid oxidation. The inhibition of the carnitine system, limiting the carnitine shuttle to the oxidation of lipids in the mitochondria, allows cells to develop a high plasticity to metabolic rewiring with a decrease in fatty acid oxidation and a parallel increase in glucose oxidation. We found that 3-(2,2,2-trimethylhydrazine)propionate (THP), which is able to reduce cellular carnitine levels by blocking both carnitine biosynthesis and the cell membrane carnitine/organic cation transporter (OCTN2), was reported to improve mitochondrial dysfunction in several diseases, such as Huntington’s disease (HD). Here, new THP-derived carnitine-lowering agents (TCL), characterized by a high affinity for the OCTN2 with a minimal effect on carnitine synthesis, were developed, and their biological activities were evaluated in both in vitro and in vivo HD models. Certain compounds showed promising biological activities: reducing protein aggregates in HD cells, ameliorating motility defects, and increasing the lifespan of HD Drosophila melanogaster. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Open AccessReview
Helicobacter pylori Virulence Factor Cytotoxin-Associated Gene A (CagA)-Mediated Gastric Pathogenicity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7430; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197430 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 587
Abstract
Helicobacter pylori causes persistent infection in the gastric epithelium of more than half of the world’s population, leading to the development of severe complications such as peptic ulcer diseases, gastric cancer, and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma. Several virulence factors, including cytotoxin-associated [...] Read more.
Helicobacter pylori causes persistent infection in the gastric epithelium of more than half of the world’s population, leading to the development of severe complications such as peptic ulcer diseases, gastric cancer, and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma. Several virulence factors, including cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA), which is translocated into the gastric epithelium via the type 4 secretory system (T4SS), have been indicated to play a vital role in disease development. Although infection with strains harboring the East Asian type of CagA possessing the EPIYA-A, -B, and -D sequences has been found to potentiate cell proliferation and disease pathogenicity, the exact mechanism of CagA involvement in disease severity still remains to be elucidated. Therefore, we discuss the possible role of CagA in gastric pathogenicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Virulence Factors 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Vitamin E Is Superior to Vitamin C in Delaying Seedling Senescence and Improving Resistance in Arabidopsis Deficient in Macro-Elements
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7429; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197429 - 08 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are three essential macro-elements for plant growth and development. Used to improve yield in agricultural production, the excessive use of chemical fertilizers often leads to increased production costs and ecological environmental pollution. Vitamins C and E [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are three essential macro-elements for plant growth and development. Used to improve yield in agricultural production, the excessive use of chemical fertilizers often leads to increased production costs and ecological environmental pollution. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that play an important role in alleviating abiotic stress. However, there are few studies on alleviating oxidative stress caused by macro-element deficiency. Here, we used Arabidopsis vitamin E synthesis-deficient mutant vte4 and vitamin C synthesis-deficient mutant vtc1 on which exogenous vitamin E and vitamin C, respectively, were applied at the bolting stage. In the deficiency of macro-elements, the Arabidopsis chlorophyll content decreased, malondialdehyde (MDA) content and relative electric conductivity increased, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulated. The mutants vtc1 and vte4 are more severely stressed than the wild-type plants. Adding exogenous vitamin E was found to better alleviate stress than adding vitamin C. Vitamin C barely affected and vitamin E significantly inhibited the synthesis of ethylene (ETH) and jasmonic acid (JA) genes, thereby reducing the accumulation of ETH and JA that alleviated the senescence caused by macro-element deficiency at the later stage of bolting in Arabidopsis. A deficiency of macro-elements also reduced the yield and germination rate of the seeds, which were more apparent in vtc1 and vte4, and adding exogenous vitamin C and vitamin E, respectively, could restore them. This study reported, for the first time, that vitamin E is better than vitamin C in delaying seedling senescence caused by macro-element deficiency in Arabidopsis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Paralogue of the Intrinsically Disordered Nuclear Protein 1 Has a Nuclear Localization Sequence that Binds to Human Importin α3
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7428; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197428 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 334
Abstract
Numerous carrier proteins intervene in protein transport from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in eukaryotic cells. One of those is importin α, with several human isoforms; among them, importin α3 (Impα3) features a particularly high flexibility. The protein NUPR1L is an intrinsically disordered [...] Read more.
Numerous carrier proteins intervene in protein transport from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in eukaryotic cells. One of those is importin α, with several human isoforms; among them, importin α3 (Impα3) features a particularly high flexibility. The protein NUPR1L is an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP), evolved as a paralogue of nuclear protein 1 (NUPR1), which is involved in chromatin remodeling and DNA repair. It is predicted that NUPR1L has a nuclear localization sequence (NLS) from residues Arg51 to Gln74, in order to allow for nuclear translocation. We studied in this work the ability of intact NUPR1L to bind Impα3 and its depleted species, ∆Impα3, without the importin binding domain (IBB), using fluorescence, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), circular dichroism (CD), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and molecular docking techniques. Furthermore, the binding of the peptide matching the isolated NLS region of NUPR1L (NLS-NUPR1L) was also studied using the same methods. Our results show that NUPR1L was bound to Imp α3 with a low micromolar affinity (~5 μM). Furthermore, a similar affinity value was observed for the binding of NLS-NUPR1L. These findings indicate that the NLS region, which was unfolded in isolation in solution, was essentially responsible for the binding of NUPR1L to both importin species. This result was also confirmed by our in silico modeling. The binding reaction of NLS-NUPR1L to ∆Impα3 showed a larger affinity (i.e., lower dissociation constant) compared with that of Impα3, confirming that the IBB could act as an auto-inhibition region of Impα3. Taken together, our findings pinpoint the theoretical predictions of the NLS region in NUPR1L and, more importantly, suggest that this IDP relies on an importin for its nuclear translocation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Circulating miR-99a-5p Expression in Plasma: A Potential Biomarker for Early Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7427; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197427 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 310
Abstract
MicroRNAs have emerged as new diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers for breast cancer. Herein, we analysed miR-99a-5p expression levels in primary tumours and plasma of breast cancer patients to evaluate its usefulness as a minimally invasive diagnostic biomarker. MiR-99a-5p expression levels were determined by [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs have emerged as new diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers for breast cancer. Herein, we analysed miR-99a-5p expression levels in primary tumours and plasma of breast cancer patients to evaluate its usefulness as a minimally invasive diagnostic biomarker. MiR-99a-5p expression levels were determined by quantitative real-time PCR in three independent cohorts of patients: (I) Discovery cohort: breast cancer tissues (n = 103) and healthy breast tissues (n = 26); (II) Testing cohort: plasma samples from 105 patients and 98 healthy donors; (III) Validation cohort: plasma samples from 89 patients and 85 healthy donors. Our results demonstrated that miR-99a-5p was significantly downregulated in breast cancer tissues compared to healthy breast tissues. Conversely, miR-99a-5p levels were significantly higher in breast cancer patients than in healthy controls in plasma samples from both testing and validation cohorts, and ROC curve analysis revealed that miR-99a-5p has good diagnostic potential even to detect early breast cancer. In conclusion, miR-99a-5p’s deregulated expression distinguished healthy patients from breast cancer patients in two different types of samples (tissues and plasma). Interestingly, expression levels in plasma were significantly lower in healthy controls than in early-stage breast cancer patients. Our findings suggest circulating miR-99a-5p as a novel promising non-invasive biomarker for breast cancer detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Discovery of Novel Fetal Hemoglobin Inducers through Small Chemical Library Screening
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7426; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197426 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 336
Abstract
The screening of chemical libraries based on cellular biosensors is a useful approach to identify new hits for novel therapeutic targets involved in rare genetic pathologies, such as β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. In particular, pharmacologically mediated stimulation of human γ-globin [...] Read more.
The screening of chemical libraries based on cellular biosensors is a useful approach to identify new hits for novel therapeutic targets involved in rare genetic pathologies, such as β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. In particular, pharmacologically mediated stimulation of human γ-globin gene expression, and increase of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) production, have been suggested as potential therapeutic strategies for these hemoglobinopathies. In this article, we screened a small chemical library, constituted of 150 compounds, using the cellular biosensor K562.GR, carrying enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) and red fluorescence protein (RFP) genes under the control of the human γ-globin and β-globin gene promoters, respectively. Then the identified compounds were analyzed as HbF inducers on primary cell cultures, obtained from β-thalassemia patients, confirming their activity as HbF inducers, and suggesting these molecules as lead compounds for further chemical and biological investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle
Phosphoglycerate Mutase 1 Prevents Neuronal Death from Ischemic Damage by Reducing Neuroinflammation in the Rabbit Spinal Cord
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7425; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197425 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Phosphoglycerate mutase 1 (PGAM1) is a glycolytic enzyme that increases glycolytic flux in the brain. In the present study, we examined the effects of PGAM1 in conditions of oxidative stress and ischemic damage in motor neuron-like (NSC34) cells and the rabbit spinal cord. [...] Read more.
Phosphoglycerate mutase 1 (PGAM1) is a glycolytic enzyme that increases glycolytic flux in the brain. In the present study, we examined the effects of PGAM1 in conditions of oxidative stress and ischemic damage in motor neuron-like (NSC34) cells and the rabbit spinal cord. A Tat-PGAM1 fusion protein was prepared to allow easy crossing of the blood-brain barrier, and Control-PGAM1 was synthesized without the Tat peptide protein transduction domain. Intracellular delivery of Tat-PGAM1, not Control-PGAM1, was achieved in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Immunofluorescent staining confirmed the intracellular expression of Tat-PGAM1 in NSC34 cells. Tat-PGAM1, but not Control-PGAM1, significantly alleviated H2O2-induced oxidative stress, neuronal death, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and apoptosis-inducing factor expression in NSC34 cells. After ischemia induction in the spinal cord, Tat-PGAM1 treatment significantly improved ischemia-induced neurological impairments and ameliorated neuronal cell death in the ventral horn of the spinal cord 72 h after ischemia. Tat-PGAM1 treatment significantly mitigated the ischemia-induced increase in malondialdehyde and 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α production in the spinal cord. In addition, Tat-PGAM1, but not Control-PGAM1, significantly decreased microglial activation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α induced by ischemia in the ventral horn of the spinal cord. These results suggest that Tat-PGAM1 can be used as a therapeutic agent to reduce spinal cord ischemia-induced neuronal damage by lowering the oxidative stress, microglial activation, and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Neurobiology)
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Open AccessReview
T Cell Activation Machinery: Form and Function in Natural and Engineered Immune Receptors
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7424; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197424 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 601
Abstract
The impressive success of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies in treating advanced B-cell malignancies has spurred a frenzy of activity aimed at developing CAR-T therapies for other cancers, particularly solid tumors, and optimizing engineered T cells for maximum clinical benefit in many [...] Read more.
The impressive success of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies in treating advanced B-cell malignancies has spurred a frenzy of activity aimed at developing CAR-T therapies for other cancers, particularly solid tumors, and optimizing engineered T cells for maximum clinical benefit in many different disease contexts. A rapidly growing body of design work is examining every modular component of traditional single-chain CARs as well as expanding out into many new and innovative engineered immunoreceptor designs that depart from this template. New approaches to immune cell and receptor engineering are being reported with rapidly increasing frequency, and many recent high-quality reviews (including one in this special issue) provide comprehensive coverage of the history and current state of the art in CAR-T and related cellular immunotherapies. In this review, we step back to examine our current understanding of the structure-function relationships in natural and engineered lymphocyte-activating receptors, with an eye towards evaluating how well the current-generation CAR designs recapitulate the most desirable features of their natural counterparts. We identify key areas that we believe are under-studied and therefore represent opportunities to further improve our grasp of form and function in natural and engineered receptors and to rationally design better therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in T Cell Immunity)
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Open AccessEditorial
Wheat and Barley: Acclimatization to Abiotic and Biotic Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7423; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197423 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 337
Abstract
Twelve articles (ten research papers and two reviews) included in the Special Issue entitled “Wheat and Barley: Acclimatization to Abiotic and Biotic Stress” are summed up here to present the latest research on the molecular background of adaptation to environmental stresses in two [...] Read more.
Twelve articles (ten research papers and two reviews) included in the Special Issue entitled “Wheat and Barley: Acclimatization to Abiotic and Biotic Stress” are summed up here to present the latest research on the molecular background of adaptation to environmental stresses in two cereal species. Crucial research results were presented and discussed, as they may be of importance in breeding aimed at increasing wheat and barley tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wheat and Barley: Acclimatization to Abiotic and Biotic Stress)
Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Analysis of Antibodies Induced by Vaccination with 4 Kinds of Avian Influenza H5N1 Pre-Pandemic Vaccines
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7422; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197422 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 308
Abstract
Four kinds of avian-derived H5N1 influenza virus, A/Vietnam/1194/2004 (Clade 1), A/Indonesia/5/2005 (Clade 2.1), A/Qinghai/1A/2005 (Clade 2.2), and A/Anhui/1/2005 (Clade 2.3), have been stocked in Japan for use as pre-pandemic vaccines. When a pandemic occurs, these viruses would be used as vaccines in the [...] Read more.
Four kinds of avian-derived H5N1 influenza virus, A/Vietnam/1194/2004 (Clade 1), A/Indonesia/5/2005 (Clade 2.1), A/Qinghai/1A/2005 (Clade 2.2), and A/Anhui/1/2005 (Clade 2.3), have been stocked in Japan for use as pre-pandemic vaccines. When a pandemic occurs, these viruses would be used as vaccines in the hope of inducing immunity against the pandemic virus. We analyzed the specificity of antibodies (Abs) produced by B lymphocytes present in the blood after immunization with these vaccines. Eighteen volunteers took part in this project. After libraries of Ab-encoding sequences were constructed using blood from subjects vaccinated with these viruses, a large number of clones that encoded Abs that bound to the virus particles used as vaccines were isolated. These clones were classified into two groups according to the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) activity of the encoded Abs. While two-thirds of the clones were HI positive, the encoded Abs exhibited only restricted strain specificity. On the other hand, half of the HI-negative clones encoded Abs that bound not only to the H5N1 virus but also to the H1N1 virus; with a few exceptions, these Abs appeared to be encoded by memory B cells present before vaccination. The HI-negative clones included those encoding broadly cross-reactive Abs, some of which were encoded by non-VH1-69 germline genes. However, although this work shows that various kinds of anti-H5N1 Abs are encoded by volunteers vaccinated with pre-pandemic vaccines, broad cross-reactivity was seen only in a minority of clones, raising concern regarding the utility of these H5N1 vaccine viruses for the prevention of H5N1 pandemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Intraarticular Administration Effect of Hydrogen Sulfide on an In Vivo Rat Model of Osteoarthritis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7421; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197421 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 371
Abstract
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common articular chronic disease. However, its current treatment is limited and mostly symptomatic. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenous gas with recognized physiological activities. The purpose here was to evaluate the effects of the intraarticular administration [...] Read more.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common articular chronic disease. However, its current treatment is limited and mostly symptomatic. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenous gas with recognized physiological activities. The purpose here was to evaluate the effects of the intraarticular administration of a slow-releasing H2S compound (GYY-4137) on an OA experimental model. OA was induced in Wistar rats by the transection of medial collateral ligament and the removal of the medial meniscus of the left joint. The animals were randomized into three groups: non-treated and intraarticularly injected with saline or GYY-4137. Joint destabilization induced articular thickening (≈5% increment), the loss of joint mobility and flexion (≈12-degree angle), and increased levels of pain (≈1.5 points on a scale of 0 to 3). Animals treated with GYY-4137 presented improved motor function of the joint, as well as lower pain levels (≈75% recovery). We also observed that cartilage deterioration was attenuated in the GYY-4137 group (≈30% compared with the saline group). Likewise, these animals showed a reduced presence of pro-inflammatory mediators (cyclooxygenase-2, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and metalloproteinase-13) and lower oxidative damage in the cartilage. The increment of the nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf-2) levels and Nrf-2-regulated gene expression (≈30%) in the GYY-4137 group seem to be underlying its chondroprotective effects. Our results suggest the beneficial impact of the intraarticular administration of H2S on experimental OA, showing a reduced cartilage destruction and oxidative damage, and supporting the use of slow H2S-producing molecules as a complementary treatment in OA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Redox Signaling and Oxidative Stress in Bone Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Prognostic Role of Survivin and Macrophage Infiltration Quantified on Protein and mRNA Level in Molecular Subtypes Determined by RT-qPCR of KRT5, KRT20, and ERBB2 in Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer Treated by Adjuvant Chemotherapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7420; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197420 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Objectives: Bladder cancer is a heterogeneous malignancy. Therefore, it is difficult to find single predictive markers. Moreover, most studies focus on either the immunohistochemical or molecular assessment of tumor tissues by next-generation sequencing (NGS) or PCR, while a combination of immunohistochemistry (IHC) and [...] Read more.
Objectives: Bladder cancer is a heterogeneous malignancy. Therefore, it is difficult to find single predictive markers. Moreover, most studies focus on either the immunohistochemical or molecular assessment of tumor tissues by next-generation sequencing (NGS) or PCR, while a combination of immunohistochemistry (IHC) and PCR for tumor marker assessment might have the strongest impact to predict outcome and select optimal therapies in real-world application. We investigated the role of proliferation survivin/BIRC5 and macrophage infiltration (CD68, MAC387, CLEVER-1) on the basis of molecular subtypes of bladder cancer (KRT5, KRT20, ERBB2) to predict outcomes of adjuvant treated muscle-invasive bladder cancer patients with regard to progression-free survival (PFS) and disease-specific survival (DSS). Materials and Methods: We used tissue microarrays (TMA) from n = 50 patients (38 males, 12 female) with muscle-invasive bladder cancer. All patients had been treated with radical cystectomy followed by adjuvant triple chemotherapy. Median follow-up time was 60.5 months. CD68, CLEVER-1, MAC387, and survivin protein were detected by immunostaining and subsequent visual inspection. BIRC5, KRT5, KRT20, ERBB2, and CD68 mRNAs were detected by standardized RT-qPCR after tissue dot RNA extraction using a novel stamp technology. All these markers were evaluated in three different centers of excellence. Results: Nuclear staining rather than cytoplasmic staining of survivin predicted DSS as a single marker with high levels of survivin being associated with better PFS and DSS upon adjuvant chemotherapy (p = 0.0138 and p = 0.001, respectively). These results were validated by the quantitation of BIRC5 mRNA by PCR (p = 0.0004 and p = 0.0508, respectively). Interestingly, nuclear staining of survivin protein was positively associated with BIRC5 mRNA, while cytoplasmic staining was inversely related, indicating that the translocation of survivin protein into the nucleus occurred at a discrete, higher level of its mRNA. Combining survivin/BIRC5 levels based on molecular subtype being assessed by KRT20 expression improved the predictive value, with tumors having low survivin/BIRC5 and KRT20 mRNA levels having the best survival (75% vs. 20% vs. 10% 5-year DSS, p = 0.0005), and these values were independent of grading, node status, and tumor stage in multivariate analysis (p = 0.0167). Macrophage infiltration dominated in basal tumors and was inversely related with the luminal subtype marker gene expression. The presence of macrophages in survivin-positive or ERBB2-positive tumors was associated with worse DSS. Conclusions: For muscle-invasive bladder cancer patients, the proliferative activity as determined by the nuclear staining of survivin or RT-qPCR on the basis of molecular subtype characteristics outperforms single marker detections and single technology approaches. Infiltration by macrophages detected by IHC or PCR is associated with worse outcome in defined subsets of tumors. The limitations of this study are the retrospective nature and the limited number of patients. However, the number of molecular markers has been restricted and based on predefined assumptions, which resulted in the dissection of muscle-invasive disease into tumor–biological axes of high prognostic relevance, which warrant further investigation and validation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in Drosophila Models of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7419; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197419 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is one of the most common inherited peripheral neuropathies. CMT patients typically show slowly progressive muscle weakness and sensory loss in a distal dominant pattern in childhood. The diagnosis of CMT is based on clinical symptoms, electrophysiological examinations, and genetic [...] Read more.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is one of the most common inherited peripheral neuropathies. CMT patients typically show slowly progressive muscle weakness and sensory loss in a distal dominant pattern in childhood. The diagnosis of CMT is based on clinical symptoms, electrophysiological examinations, and genetic testing. Advances in genetic testing technology have revealed the genetic heterogeneity of CMT; more than 100 genes containing the disease causative mutations have been identified. Because a single genetic alteration in CMT leads to progressive neurodegeneration, studies of CMT patients and their respective models revealed the genotype-phenotype relationships of targeted genes. Conventionally, rodents and cell lines have often been used to study the pathogenesis of CMT. Recently, Drosophila has also attracted attention as a CMT model. In this review, we outline the clinical characteristics of CMT, describe the advantages and disadvantages of using Drosophila in CMT studies, and introduce recent advances in CMT research that successfully applied the use of Drosophila, in areas such as molecules associated with mitochondria, endosomes/lysosomes, transfer RNA, axonal transport, and glucose metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Drosophila in Human Disease Research 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparative Transcriptome Analysis, Conserved Regulatory Elements and Associated Transcription Factors Related to Accumulation of Fusariotoxins in Grain of Rye (Secale cereale L.) Hybrids
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197418 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 343
Abstract
Detoxification of fusariotoxin is a type V Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance and is considered a component of type II resistance, which is related to the spread of infection within spikes. Understanding this type of resistance is vital for FHB resistance, but to [...] Read more.
Detoxification of fusariotoxin is a type V Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance and is considered a component of type II resistance, which is related to the spread of infection within spikes. Understanding this type of resistance is vital for FHB resistance, but to date, nothing is known about candidate genes that confer this resistance in rye due to scarce genomic resources. In this study, we generated a transcriptomic resource. The molecular response was mined through a comprehensive transcriptomic analysis of two rye hybrids differing in the build-up of fusariotoxin contents in grain upon pathogen infection. Gene mining identified candidate genes and pathways contributing to the detoxification of fusariotoxins in rye. Moreover, we found cis regulatory elements in the promoters of identified genes and linked them to transcription factors. In the fusariotoxin analysis, we found that grain from the Nordic seed rye hybrid “Helltop” accumulated 4 times higher concentrations of deoxynivalenol (DON), 9 times higher nivalenol (NIV), and 28 times higher of zearalenone (ZEN) than that of the hybrid “DH372” after artificial inoculation under field conditions. In the transcriptome analysis, we identified 6675 and 5151 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in DH372 and Helltop, respectively, compared to non-inoculated control plants. A Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis revealed that DEGs were associated with glycolysis and the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway in Helltop, whereas carbon fixation in photosynthesis organisms were represented in DH372. The gene ontology (GO) enrichment and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) of DEGs lead to identification of the metabolic and biosynthetic processes of peptides and amides in DH372, whereas photosynthesis, negative regulation of catalytic activity, and protein-chromophore linkage were the significant pathways in Helltop. In the process of gene mining, we found four genes that were known to be involved in FHB resistance in wheat and that were differentially expressed after infection only in DH372 but not in Helltop. Based on our results, we assume that DH372 employed a specific response to pathogen infection that led to detoxification of fusariotoxin and prevented their accumulation in grain. Our results indicate that DH372 might resist the accumulation of fusariotoxin through activation of the glycolysis and drug metabolism via cytochrome P450. The identified genes in DH372 might be regulated by the WRKY family transcription factors as associated cis regulatory elements found in the in silico analysis. The results of this study will help rye breeders to develop strategies against type V FHB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Structural and Computational Insights into a Blebbistatin-Bound Myosin•ADP Complex with Characteristics of an ADP-Release Conformation along the Two-Step Myosin Power Stoke
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7417; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197417 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 338
Abstract
The motor protein myosin drives a wide range of cellular and muscular functions by generating directed movement and force, fueled through adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis. Release of the hydrolysis product adenosine diphosphate (ADP) is a fundamental and regulatory process during force production. However, [...] Read more.
The motor protein myosin drives a wide range of cellular and muscular functions by generating directed movement and force, fueled through adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis. Release of the hydrolysis product adenosine diphosphate (ADP) is a fundamental and regulatory process during force production. However, details about the molecular mechanism accompanying ADP release are scarce due to the lack of representative structures. Here we solved a novel blebbistatin-bound myosin conformation with critical structural elements in positions between the myosin pre-power stroke and rigor states. ADP in this structure is repositioned towards the surface by the phosphate-sensing P-loop, and stabilized in a partially unbound conformation via a salt-bridge between Arg131 and Glu187. A 5 Å rotation separates the mechanical converter in this conformation from the rigor position. The crystallized myosin structure thus resembles a conformation towards the end of the two-step power stroke, associated with ADP release. Computationally reconstructing ADP release from myosin by means of molecular dynamics simulations further supported the existence of an equivalent conformation along the power stroke that shows the same major characteristics in the myosin motor domain as the resolved blebbistatin-bound myosin-II·ADP crystal structure, and identified a communication hub centered on Arg232 that mediates chemomechanical energy transduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biophysics)
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Open AccessArticle
PPAR-α Deletion Attenuates Cisplatin Nephrotoxicity by Modulating Renal Organic Transporters MATE-1 and OCT-2
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7416; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197416 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 343
Abstract
Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug widely used in the treatment of solid tumors. However, nephrotoxicity has been reported in about one-third of patients undergoing cisplatin therapy. Proximal tubules are the main target of cisplatin toxicity and cellular uptake; elimination of this drug can [...] Read more.
Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug widely used in the treatment of solid tumors. However, nephrotoxicity has been reported in about one-third of patients undergoing cisplatin therapy. Proximal tubules are the main target of cisplatin toxicity and cellular uptake; elimination of this drug can modulate renal damage. Organic transporters play an important role in the transport of cisplatin into the kidney and organic cations transporter 2 (OCT-2) has been shown to be one of the most important transporters to play this role. On the other hand, multidrug and toxin extrusion 1 (MATE-1) transporter is the main protein that mediates the extrusion of cisplatin into the urine. Cisplatin nephrotoxicity has been shown to be enhanced by increased OCT-2 and/or reduced MATE-1 activity. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-α) is the transcription factor which controls lipid metabolism and glucose homeostasis; it is highly expressed in the kidneys and interacts with both MATE-1 and OCT-2. Considering the above, we treated wild-type and PPAR-α knockout mice with cisplatin in order to evaluate the severity of nephrotoxicity. Cisplatin induced renal dysfunction, renal inflammation, apoptosis and tubular injury in wild-type mice, whereas PPAR-α deletion protected against these alterations. Moreover, we observed that cisplatin induced down-regulation of organic transporters MATE-1 and OCT-2 and that PPAR-α deletion restored the expression of these transporters. In addition, PPAR-α knockout mice at basal state showed increased MATE-1 expression and reduced OCT-2 levels. Here, we show for the first time that PPAR-α deletion protects against cisplatin nephrotoxicity and that this protection is via modulation of the organic transporters MATE-1 and OCT-2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Serum-Based Proteomics Profiling in Adult Patients with Cystic Fibrosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197415 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common lethal autosomal recessive disorder among Caucasians, is caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel gene. Despite significant advances in the management of CF patients, novel disease-related biomarkers and therapies must be identified. [...] Read more.
Cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common lethal autosomal recessive disorder among Caucasians, is caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel gene. Despite significant advances in the management of CF patients, novel disease-related biomarkers and therapies must be identified. We performed serum proteomics profiling in CF patients (n = 28) and healthy subjects (n = 10) using the 2D-DIGE MALDI-TOF proteomic approach. Out of a total of 198 proteins identified, 134 showed a statistically significant difference in abundance and a 1.5-fold change (ANOVA, p < 0.05), including 80 proteins with increased abundance and 54 proteins with decreased abundance in CF patients. A multiple reaction monitoring-mass spectrometry analysis of six differentially expressed proteins identified by a proteomic approach (DIGE-MALD-MS) showed a significant increase in C3 and CP proteins and a decrease in APOA1, Complement C1, Hp, and RBP4proteins compared with healthy controls. Fifteen proteins were identified as potential biomarkers for CF diagnosis. An ingenuity pathway analysis of the differentially regulated proteins indicates that the central nodes dysregulated in CF subjects involve pro-inflammatory cytokines, ERK1/2, and P38 MAPK, which are primarily involved in catalytic activities and metabolic processes. The involved canonical pathways include those related to FXR/RXR, LXR/RXR, acute phase response, IL12, nitric oxide, and reactive oxygen species in macrophages. Our data support the current efforts toward augmenting protease inhibitors in patients with CF. Perturbations in lipid and vitamin metabolism frequently observed in CF patients may be partly due to abnormalities in their transport mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers in Rare Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Transition of Pre-Symptomatic to Symptomatic Huntington’s Disease Status Based on Omics Data
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197414 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 411
Abstract
Huntington’s disease is a rare neurodegenerative disease caused by a cytosine–adenine–guanine (CAG) trinucleotide expansion in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. Although Huntington’s disease (HD) is well studied, the pathophysiological mechanisms, genes and metabolites involved in HD remain poorly understood. Systems bioinformatics can [...] Read more.
Huntington’s disease is a rare neurodegenerative disease caused by a cytosine–adenine–guanine (CAG) trinucleotide expansion in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. Although Huntington’s disease (HD) is well studied, the pathophysiological mechanisms, genes and metabolites involved in HD remain poorly understood. Systems bioinformatics can reveal synergistic relationships among different omics levels and enables the integration of biological data. It allows for the overall understanding of biological mechanisms, pathways, genes and metabolites involved in HD. The purpose of this study was to identify the differentially expressed genes (DEGs), pathways and metabolites as well as observe how these biological terms differ between the pre-symptomatic and symptomatic HD stages. A publicly available dataset from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) was analyzed to obtain the DEGs for each HD stage, and gene co-expression networks were obtained for each HD stage. Network rewiring, highlights the nodes that change most their connectivity with their neighbors and infers their possible implication in the transition between different states. The CACNA1I gene was the mostly highly rewired node among pre-symptomatic and symptomatic HD network. Furthermore, we identified AF198444 to be common between the rewired genes and DEGs of symptomatic HD. CNTN6, DEK, LTN1, MST4, ZFYVE16, CEP135, DCAKD, MAP4K3, NUPL1 and RBM15 between the DEGs of pre-symptomatic and DEGs of symptomatic HD and CACNA1I, DNAJB14, EPS8L3, HSDL2, SNRPD3, SOX12, ACLY, ATF2, BAG5, ERBB4, FOCAD, GRAMD1C, LIN7C, MIR22, MTHFR, NABP1, NRG2, OTC, PRAMEF12, SLC30A10, STAG2 and Y16709 between the rewired genes and DEGs of pre-symptomatic HD. The proteins encoded by these genes are involved in various biological pathways such as phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase activity, cAMP response element-binding protein binding, protein tyrosine kinase activity, voltage-gated calcium channel activity, ubiquitin protein ligase activity, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) binding, and protein serine/threonine kinase. Additionally, prominent molecular pathways for each HD stage were then obtained, and metabolites related to each pathway for both disease stages were identified. The transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling (pre-symptomatic and symptomatic stages of the disease), calcium (Ca2+) signaling (pre-symptomatic), dopaminergic synapse pathway (symptomatic HD patients) and Hippo signaling (pre-symptomatic) pathways were identified. The in silico metabolites we identified include Ca2+, inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate, sphingosine 1-phosphate, dopamine, homovanillate and L-tyrosine. The genes, pathways and metabolites identified for each HD stage can provide a better understanding of the mechanisms that become altered in each disease stage. Our results can guide the development of therapies that may target the altered genes and metabolites of the perturbed pathways, leading to an improvement in clinical symptoms and hopefully a delay in the age of onset. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Pericyte-Endothelial Interactions in the Retinal Microvasculature
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7413; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197413 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 338
Abstract
Retinal microvasculature is crucial for the visual function of the neural retina. Pericytes and endothelial cells (ECs) are the two main cellular constituents in the retinal microvessels. Formation, maturation, and stabilization of the micro-vasculatures require pericyte-endothelial interactions, which are perturbed in many retinal [...] Read more.
Retinal microvasculature is crucial for the visual function of the neural retina. Pericytes and endothelial cells (ECs) are the two main cellular constituents in the retinal microvessels. Formation, maturation, and stabilization of the micro-vasculatures require pericyte-endothelial interactions, which are perturbed in many retinal vascular disorders, such as retinopathy of prematurity, retinal vein occlusion, and diabetic retinopathy. Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of pericyte-endothelial interaction and perturbation can facilitate the design of therapeutic intervention for the prevention and treatment of retinal vascular disorders. Pericyte-endothelial interactions are indispensable for the integrity and functionality of retinal neurovascular unit (NVU), including vascular cells, retinal neurons, and glial cells. The essential autocrine and paracrine signaling pathways, such as Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), Platelet-derived growth factor subunit B (PDGFB), Notch, Angipointein, Norrin, and Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), have been well characterized for the regulation of pericyte-endothelial interactions in the neo-vessel formation processes (vasculogenesis and angiogenesis) during embryonic development. They also play a vital role in stabilizing and remodeling mature vasculature under pathological conditions. Awry signals, aberrant metabolisms, and pathological conditions, such as oxidative stress and inflammation, can disrupt the communication between pericytes and endothelial cells, thereby resulting in the breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) and other microangiopathies. The emerging evidence supports extracellular exosomes’ roles in the (mis)communications between the two cell types. This review summarizes the essential knowledge and updates about new advancements in pericyte-EC interaction and communication, emphasizing the retinal microvasculature. Full article
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Open AccessReview
p38 MAPK Pathway in the Heart: New Insights in Health and Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7412; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197412 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 349
Abstract
The p38 mitogen-activated kinase (MAPK) family controls cell adaptation to stress stimuli. p38 function has been studied in depth in relation to cardiac development and function. The first isoform demonstrated to play an important role in cardiac development was p38α; however, all p38 [...] Read more.
The p38 mitogen-activated kinase (MAPK) family controls cell adaptation to stress stimuli. p38 function has been studied in depth in relation to cardiac development and function. The first isoform demonstrated to play an important role in cardiac development was p38α; however, all p38 family members are now known to collaborate in different aspects of cardiomyocyte differentiation and growth. p38 family members have been proposed to have protective and deleterious actions in the stressed myocardium, with the outcome of their action in part dependent on the model system under study and the identity of the activated p38 family member. Most studies to date have been performed with inhibitors that are not isoform-specific, and, consequently, knowledge remains very limited about how the different p38s control cardiac physiology and respond to cardiac stress. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the role of the p38 pathway in cardiac physiology and discuss recent advances in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue P38 Signaling Pathway)
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Open AccessReview
Amphiphilic Aminoglycosides as Medicinal Agents
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197411 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 316
Abstract
The conjugation of hydrophobic group(s) to the polycationic hydrophilic core of the antibiotic drugs aminoglycosides (AGs), targeting ribosomal RNA, has led to the development of amphiphilic aminoglycosides (AAGs). These drugs exhibit numerous biological effects, including good antibacterial effects against susceptible and multidrug-resistant bacteria [...] Read more.
The conjugation of hydrophobic group(s) to the polycationic hydrophilic core of the antibiotic drugs aminoglycosides (AGs), targeting ribosomal RNA, has led to the development of amphiphilic aminoglycosides (AAGs). These drugs exhibit numerous biological effects, including good antibacterial effects against susceptible and multidrug-resistant bacteria due to the targeting of bacterial membranes. In the first part of this review, we summarize our work in identifying and developing broad-spectrum antibacterial AAGs that constitute a new class of antibiotic agents acting on bacterial membranes. The target-shift strongly improves antibiotic activity against bacterial strains that are resistant to the parent AG drugs and to antibiotic drugs of other classes, and renders the emergence of resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains highly difficult. Structure–activity and structure–eukaryotic cytotoxicity relationships, specificity and barriers that need to be crossed in their development as antibacterial agents are delineated, with a focus on their targets in membranes, lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and cardiolipin (CL), and the corresponding mode of action against Gram-negative bacteria. At the end of the first part, we summarize the other recent advances in the field of antibacterial AAGs, mainly published since 2016, with an emphasis on the emerging AAGs which are made of an AG core conjugated to an adjuvant or an antibiotic drug of another class (antibiotic hybrids). In the second part, we briefly illustrate other biological and biochemical effects of AAGs, i.e., their antifungal activity, their use as delivery vehicles of nucleic acids, of short peptide (polyamide) nucleic acids (PNAs) and of drugs, as well as their ability to cleave DNA at abasic sites and to inhibit the functioning of connexin hemichannels. Finally, we discuss some aspects of structure–activity relationships in order to explain and improve the target selectivity of AAGs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Replication of Prion Protein Fragment 89-230 Amyloid Fibrils Accelerated by Prion Protein Fragment 107-143 Aggregates
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7410; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197410 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 410
Abstract
Prion protein amyloid aggregates are associated with infectious neurodegenerative diseases, known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Self-replication of amyloid structures by refolding of native protein molecules is the probable mechanism of disease transmission. Amyloid fibril formation and self-replication can be affected by many different [...] Read more.
Prion protein amyloid aggregates are associated with infectious neurodegenerative diseases, known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Self-replication of amyloid structures by refolding of native protein molecules is the probable mechanism of disease transmission. Amyloid fibril formation and self-replication can be affected by many different factors, including other amyloid proteins and peptides. Mouse prion protein fragments 107-143 (PrP(107-143)) and 89-230 (PrP(89-230)) can form amyloid fibrils. β-sheet core in PrP(89-230) amyloid fibrils is limited to residues ∼160–220 with unstructured N-terminus. We employed chemical kinetics tools, atomic force microscopy and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, to investigate the effects of mouse prion protein fragment 107-143 fibrils on the aggregation of PrP(89-230). The data suggest that amyloid aggregates of a short prion-derived peptide are not able to seed PrP(89-230) aggregation; however, they accelerate the self-replication of PrP(89-230) amyloid fibrils. We conclude that PrP(107-143) fibrils could facilitate the self-replication of PrP(89-230) amyloid fibrils in several possible ways, and that this process deserves more attention as it may play an important role in amyloid propagation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amyloid Hetero-Aggregation)
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Open AccessReview
Genetic Aspects of Inflammation and Immune Response in Stroke
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7409; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197409 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 369
Abstract
Genetic determinants play important role in the complex processes of inflammation and immune response in stroke and could be studied in different ways. Inflammation and immunomodulation are associated with repair processes in ischemic stroke, and together with the concept of preconditioning are promising [...] Read more.
Genetic determinants play important role in the complex processes of inflammation and immune response in stroke and could be studied in different ways. Inflammation and immunomodulation are associated with repair processes in ischemic stroke, and together with the concept of preconditioning are promising modes of stroke treatment. One of the important aspects to be considered in the recovery of patients after the stroke is a genetic predisposition, which has been studied extensively. Polymorphisms in a number of candidate genes, such as IL-6, BDNF, COX2, CYPC19, and GPIIIa could be associated with stroke outcome and recovery. Recent GWAS studies pointed to the variant in genesPATJ and LOC as new genetic markers of long term outcome. Epigenetic regulation of immune response in stroke is also important, with mechanisms of histone modifications, DNA methylation, and activity of non-coding RNAs. These complex processes are changing from acute phase over the repair to establishing homeostasis or to provoke exaggerated reaction and death. Pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics of stroke cures might also be evaluated in the context of immuno-inflammation and brain plasticity. Potential novel genetic treatment modalities are challenged but still in the early phase of the investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunoinflammatory Background of Neuronal Damage in Stroke)
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Open AccessArticle
Rose Bengal Crosslinking to Stabilize Collagen Sheets and Generate Modulated Collagen Laminates
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197408 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 319
Abstract
For medical application, easily accessible biomaterials with tailored properties are desirable. Collagen type I represents a biomaterial of choice for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Here, we present a simple method to modify the properties of collagen and to generate collagen laminates. We [...] Read more.
For medical application, easily accessible biomaterials with tailored properties are desirable. Collagen type I represents a biomaterial of choice for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Here, we present a simple method to modify the properties of collagen and to generate collagen laminates. We selected three commercially available collagen sheets with different thicknesses and densities and examined the effect of rose bengal and green light collagen crosslinking (RGX) on properties such as microstructure, swelling degree, mechanical stability, cell compatibility and drug release. The highest impact of RGX was measured for Atelocollagen, for which the swelling degree was reduced from 630% (w/w) to 520% (w/w) and thickness measured under force application increased from 0.014 mm to 0.455 mm, indicating a significant increase in mechanical stability. Microstructural analysis revealed that the sponge-like structure was replaced by a fibrous structure. While the initial burst effect during vancomycin release was not influenced by crosslinking, RGX increased cell proliferation on sheets of Atelocollagen and on Collagen Solutions. We furthermore demonstrate that RGX can be used to covalently attach different sheets to create materials with combined properties, making the modification and combination of readily available sheets with RGX an attractive approach for clinical application. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
LINC00885 a Novel Oncogenic Long Non-Coding RNA Associated with Early Stage Breast Cancer Progression
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7407; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197407 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 358
Abstract
Long intergenic non-protein coding RNA 885 (LINC00885) was identified as significantly upregulated in breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The aim of this study was to characterize the phenotypic effects and signaling pathways modulated by LINC00885 in non-invasive and invasive breast [...] Read more.
Long intergenic non-protein coding RNA 885 (LINC00885) was identified as significantly upregulated in breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The aim of this study was to characterize the phenotypic effects and signaling pathways modulated by LINC00885 in non-invasive and invasive breast cancer models. We determined that LINC00885 induces premalignant phenotypic changes by increasing cell proliferation, motility, migration and altering 3D growth in normal and DCIS breast cell lines. Transcriptomic studies (RNA-seq) identified the main signaling pathways modulated by LINC00885, which include bioprocesses related to TP53 signaling pathway and proliferative signatures such as activation of EREG, EGFR and FOXM1 pathways. LINC00885 silencing in breast cancer lines overexpressing this lncRNA leads to downregulation of proliferation related transcripts such as EREG, CMYC, CCND1 and to significant decrease in cell migration and motility. TCGA-BRCA data analyses show an association between high LINC00885 expression and worse overall survival in patients with primary invasive breast carcinomas (p = 0.024), suggesting that the pro-tumorigenic effects of LINC00885 overexpression persist post-invasion. We conclude that LINC00885 behaves as a positive regulator of cell growth both in normal and DCIS breast cells possibly operating as a ceRNA and representing a novel oncogenic lncRNA associated with early stage breast cancer progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial Cells and Cancer: Victims, Villains or Heroes?)
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Open AccessReview
Therapeutic Potential of Endothelial Colony-Forming Cells in Ischemic Disease: Strategies to Improve their Regenerative Efficacy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7406; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197406 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) comprises a range of major clinical cardiac and circulatory diseases, which produce immense health and economic burdens worldwide. Currently, vascular regenerative surgery represents the most employed therapeutic option to treat ischemic disorders, even though not all the patients are amenable [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) comprises a range of major clinical cardiac and circulatory diseases, which produce immense health and economic burdens worldwide. Currently, vascular regenerative surgery represents the most employed therapeutic option to treat ischemic disorders, even though not all the patients are amenable to surgical revascularization. Therefore, more efficient therapeutic approaches are urgently required to promote neovascularization. Therapeutic angiogenesis represents an emerging strategy that aims at reconstructing the damaged vascular network by stimulating local angiogenesis and/or promoting de novo blood vessel formation according to a process known as vasculogenesis. In turn, circulating endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) represent truly endothelial precursors, which display high clonogenic potential and have the documented ability to originate de novo blood vessels in vivo. Therefore, ECFCs are regarded as the most promising cellular candidate to promote therapeutic angiogenesis in patients suffering from CVD. The current briefly summarizes the available information about the origin and characterization of ECFCs and then widely illustrates the preclinical studies that assessed their regenerative efficacy in a variety of ischemic disorders, including acute myocardial infarction, peripheral artery disease, ischemic brain disease, and retinopathy. Then, we describe the most common pharmacological, genetic, and epigenetic strategies employed to enhance the vasoreparative potential of autologous ECFCs by manipulating crucial pro-angiogenic signaling pathways, e.g., extracellular-signal regulated kinase/Akt, phosphoinositide 3-kinase, and Ca2+ signaling. We conclude by discussing the possibility of targeting circulating ECFCs to rescue their dysfunctional phenotype and promote neovascularization in the presence of CVD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Vesicle Size on the Cytolysis of Cell-Penetrating Peptides (CPPs)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7405; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197405 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 389
Abstract
A specific series of peptides, called a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP), is known to be free to directly permeate through cell membranes into the cytosol (cytolysis); hence, this CPP would be a potent carrier for a drug delivery system (DDS). Previously, we proposed the [...] Read more.
A specific series of peptides, called a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP), is known to be free to directly permeate through cell membranes into the cytosol (cytolysis); hence, this CPP would be a potent carrier for a drug delivery system (DDS). Previously, we proposed the mechanism of cytolysis as a temporal and local phase transfer of membrane lipid caused by positive membrane curvature generation. Moreover, we showed how to control the CPP cytolysis. Here, we investigate the phospholipid vesicle’s size effect on CPP cytolysis because this is the most straightforward way to control membrane curvature. Contrary to our expectation, we found that the smaller the vesicle diameter (meaning a higher membrane curvature), the more cytolysis was suppressed. Such controversial findings led us to seek the reason for the unexpected results, and we ended up finding out that the mobility of membrane lipids as a liquid crystal is the key to cytolysis. As a result, we could explain the cause of cytolysis suppression by reducing the vesicle size (because of the restriction of lipid mobility); osmotic pressure reduction to enhance positive curvature generation works as long as the membrane is mobile enough to modulate the local structure. Taking all the revealed vital factors and their effects as a tool, we will further explore how to control CPP cytolysis for developing a DDS system combined with appropriate cargo selection to be tagged with CPPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assembly Superstructures in Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Conserved and Opposite Transcriptome Patterns during Germination in Hordeum vulgare and Arabidopsis thaliana
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7404; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197404 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 431
Abstract
Seed germination is a critical process for completion of the plant life cycle and for global food production. Comparing the germination transcriptomes of barley (Hordeum vulgare) to Arabidopsis thaliana revealed the overall pattern was conserved in terms of functional gene ontology; [...] Read more.
Seed germination is a critical process for completion of the plant life cycle and for global food production. Comparing the germination transcriptomes of barley (Hordeum vulgare) to Arabidopsis thaliana revealed the overall pattern was conserved in terms of functional gene ontology; however, many oppositely responsive orthologous genes were identified. Conserved processes included a set of approximately 6000 genes that peaked early in germination and were enriched in processes associated with RNA metabolism, e.g., pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR)-containing proteins. Comparison of orthologous genes revealed more than 3000 orthogroups containing almost 4000 genes that displayed similar expression patterns including functions associated with mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, carbohydrate and RNA/DNA metabolism, autophagy, protein modifications, and organellar function. Biochemical and proteomic analyses indicated mitochondrial biogenesis occurred early in germination, but detailed analyses revealed the timing involved in mitochondrial biogenesis may vary between species. More than 1800 orthogroups representing 2000 genes displayed opposite patterns in transcript abundance, representing functions of energy (carbohydrate) metabolism, photosynthesis, protein synthesis and degradation, and gene regulation. Differences in expression of basic-leucine zippers (bZIPs) and Apetala 2 (AP2)/ethylene-responsive element binding proteins (EREBPs) point to differences in regulatory processes at a high level, which provide opportunities to modify processes in order to enhance grain quality, germination, and storage as needed for different uses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Respiration)
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Open AccessArticle
N-Butylidenephthalide Inhibits the Phenotypic Switch of VSMCs through Activation of AMPK and Prevents Stenosis in an Arteriovenous Fistula Rat Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7403; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197403 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 361
Abstract
The phenotypic switch of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) plays a pivotal role in the development of vascular disorders, such as atherosclerosis, stenosis and restenosis, after vascular intervention. In our previous study, n-butylidenephthalide (BP) was reported to have anti-proliferating and apoptotic effects on [...] Read more.
The phenotypic switch of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) plays a pivotal role in the development of vascular disorders, such as atherosclerosis, stenosis and restenosis, after vascular intervention. In our previous study, n-butylidenephthalide (BP) was reported to have anti-proliferating and apoptotic effects on VSMCs. The purpose of the current study is to further investigate its role in platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced VSMC phenotypic modulation in an arteriovenous fistula model. In vitro, we observed that BP inhibited the PDGF-induced cytoskeleton reorganization of the VSMCs. The enhanced expression of vimentin and collagen, as well as the migration ability induced by PDGF, were also inhibited by BP. By cell cycle analysis, we found that BP inhibited the PDGF-induced VSMCs proliferation and arrested the VSMCs in the G0/G1 phase. In an arteriovenous fistula rat model, the formation of stenosis, which was coupled with a thrombus, and the expression of vimentin and collagen in VSMCs, were also inhibited by administration of BP, indicating that BP inhibited the PDGF-induced phenotypic switch and the migration of VSMCs. Besides, the inhibitory effects of BP on the phenotypic switch were found to accompany the activated 5’ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) as well as the inhibited phosphorylation of mTOR. Knockdown of AMPK by gene silencing conflicted the effects of BP and further exacerbated the PDGF-induced VSMCs phenotypic switch, confirming the modulating effect that BP exerted on the VSMCs by this pathway. These findings suggest that BP may contribute to the vasculoprotective potential in vasculature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Antioxidant Amelioration of Riboflavin Transporter Deficiency in Motoneurons Derived from Patient-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7402; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197402 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 471
Abstract
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a key element in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, such as riboflavin transporter deficiency (RTD). This is a rare, childhood-onset disease characterized by motoneuron degeneration and caused by mutations in SLC52A2 and SLC52A3, encoding riboflavin (RF) transporters (RFVT2 and [...] Read more.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a key element in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, such as riboflavin transporter deficiency (RTD). This is a rare, childhood-onset disease characterized by motoneuron degeneration and caused by mutations in SLC52A2 and SLC52A3, encoding riboflavin (RF) transporters (RFVT2 and RFVT3, respectively), resulting in muscle weakness, ponto-bulbar paralysis and sensorineural deafness. Based on previous findings, which document the contribution of oxidative stress in RTD pathogenesis, we tested possible beneficial effects of several antioxidants (Vitamin C, Idebenone, Coenzyme Q10 and EPI-743, either alone or in combination with RF) on the morphology and function of neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from two RTD patients. To identify possible improvement of the neuronal morphotype, neurite length was measured by confocal microscopy after β-III tubulin immunofluorescent staining. Neuronal function was evaluated by determining superoxide anion generation by MitoSOX assay and intracellular calcium (Ca2+) levels, using the Fluo-4 probe. Among the antioxidants tested, EPI-743 restored the redox status, improved neurite length and ameliorated intracellular calcium influx into RTD motoneurons. In conclusion, we suggest that antioxidant supplementation may have a role in RTD treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue hiPSC-Derived Cells as Models for Drug Discovery)
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