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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 21, Issue 20 (October-2 2020) – 377 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) New hybrid γ/γ-peptides, consisting of a cyclobutane-containing amino acid joined in alternation to [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Safety and Molecular-Toxicological Implications of Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract and Methylsulfonylmethane Co-Administration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7808; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207808 - 21 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a biologically active, non-psychotropic component of Cannabis sativa whose popularity has grown exponentially in recent years. Besides a wealth of potential health benefits, ingestion of CBD poses risks for a number of side effects, of which hepatotoxicity and CBD/herb-drug interactions [...] Read more.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a biologically active, non-psychotropic component of Cannabis sativa whose popularity has grown exponentially in recent years. Besides a wealth of potential health benefits, ingestion of CBD poses risks for a number of side effects, of which hepatotoxicity and CBD/herb-drug interactions are of particular concern. Here, we investigated the interaction potential between the cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract (CRCE) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a popular dietary supplement, in the mouse model. For this purpose, 8-week-old male C57BL6/J mice received MSM-containing water (80 mg/100 mL) ad libitum for 17 days. During the last three days of treatment, mice received three doses of CRCE administered in sesame oil via oral gavage (123 mg/kg/day). Administration of MSM alone did not result in any evidence of liver toxicity and did not induce expression of mouse cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes. Administration of CRCE did produce significant (p < 0.05) increases in Cyp1a2, Cyp2b10, Cyp2c29, Cyp3a4, Cyp3a11, Cyp2c65, and Cyp2c66 messenger RNA, however, this effect was not amplified by MSM/CRCE co-treatment. Similarly, no evidence of liver toxicity was observed in MSM/CRCE dosed mice. In conclusion, short-term MSM/CRCE co-administration did not demonstrate any evidence of hepatotoxicity in the mouse model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
rad21 Is Involved in Corneal Stroma Development by Regulating Neural Crest Migration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7807; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207807 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 292
Abstract
Previously, we identified RAD21R450C from a peripheral sclerocornea pedigree. Injection of this rad21 variant mRNA into Xenopus laevis embryos disrupted the organization of corneal stroma fibrils. To understand the mechanisms of RAD21-mediated corneal stroma defects, gene expression and chromosome conformation analysis were [...] Read more.
Previously, we identified RAD21R450C from a peripheral sclerocornea pedigree. Injection of this rad21 variant mRNA into Xenopus laevis embryos disrupted the organization of corneal stroma fibrils. To understand the mechanisms of RAD21-mediated corneal stroma defects, gene expression and chromosome conformation analysis were performed using cells from family members affected by peripheral sclerocornea. Both gene expression and chromosome conformation of cell adhesion genes were affected in cells carrying the heterozygous rad21 variant. Since cell migration is essential in early embryonic development and sclerocornea is a congenital disease, we studied neural crest migration during cornea development in X. laevis embryos. In X. laevis embryos injected with rad21 mutant mRNA, neural crest migration was disrupted, and the number of neural crest-derived periocular mesenchymes decreased significantly in the corneal stroma region. Our data indicate that the RAD21R450C variant contributes to peripheral sclerocornea by modifying chromosome conformation and gene expression, therefore disturbing neural crest cell migration, which suggests RAD21 plays a key role in corneal stroma development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Genotoxicity)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermodynamic Insights by Microscale Thermophoresis into Translesion DNA Synthesis Catalyzed by DNA Polymerases Across a Lesion of Antitumor Platinum–Acridine Complex
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7806; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207806 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 244
Abstract
Translesion synthesis (TLS) through DNA adducts of antitumor platinum complexes has been an interesting aspect of DNA synthesis in cells treated with these metal-based drugs because of its correlation to drug sensitivity. We utilized model systems employing a DNA lesion derived from a [...] Read more.
Translesion synthesis (TLS) through DNA adducts of antitumor platinum complexes has been an interesting aspect of DNA synthesis in cells treated with these metal-based drugs because of its correlation to drug sensitivity. We utilized model systems employing a DNA lesion derived from a site-specific monofunctional adduct formed by antitumor [PtCl(en)(L)](NO3)2 (complex AMD, en = ethane-1,2-diamine, L = N-[2-(acridin-9-ylamino)ethyl]-N-methylpropionamidine) at a unique G residue. The catalytic efficiency of TLS DNA polymerases, which differ in their processivity and fidelity for the insertion of correct dCTP, with respect to the other incorrect nucleotides, opposite the adduct of AMD, was investigated. For a deeper understanding of the factors that control the bypass of the site-specific adducts of AMD catalyzed by DNA polymerases, we also used microscale thermophoresis (MST) to measure the thermodynamic changes associated with TLS across a single, site-specific adduct formed in DNA by AMD. The relative catalytic efficiency of the investigated DNA polymerases for the insertion of correct dCTP, with respect to the other incorrect nucleotides, opposite the AMD adduct, was reduced. Nevertheless, incorporation of the correct C opposite the G modified by AMD of the template strand was promoted by an increasing thermodynamic stability of the resulting duplex. The reduced relative efficiency of the investigated DNA polymerases may be a consequence of the DNA intercalation of the acridine moiety of AMD and the size of the adduct. The products of the bypass of this monofunctional lesion produced by AMD and DNA polymerases also resulted from the misincorporation of dNTPs opposite the platinated G residues. The MST analysis suggested that thermodynamic factors may contribute to the forces that governed enhanced incorporation of the incorrect dNTPs by DNA polymerases. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection 20th Anniversary of IJMS: Advances in Biochemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Polysulfide and Hydrogen Sulfide Ameliorate Cisplatin-Induced Nephrotoxicity and Renal Inflammation through Persulfidating STAT3 and IKKβ
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7805; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207805 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 193
Abstract
Cisplatin, a widely used chemotherapy for the treatment of various tumors, is clinically limited due to its extensive nephrotoxicity. Inflammatory response in tubular cells is a driving force for cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. The plant-derived agents are widely used to relieve cisplatin-induced renal dysfunction in [...] Read more.
Cisplatin, a widely used chemotherapy for the treatment of various tumors, is clinically limited due to its extensive nephrotoxicity. Inflammatory response in tubular cells is a driving force for cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. The plant-derived agents are widely used to relieve cisplatin-induced renal dysfunction in preclinical studies. Polysulfide and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are ubiquitously expressed in garlic, and both of them are documented as potential agents for preventing and treating inflammatory disorders. This study was designed to determine whether polysulfide and H2S could attenuate cisplatin nephrotoxicity through suppression of inflammatory factors. In renal proximal tubular cells, we found that sodium tetrasulfide (Na2S4), a polysulfide donor, and sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) and GYY4137, two H2S donors, ameliorated cisplatin-caused renal toxicity through suppression of the massive production of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Mechanistically, the anti-inflammatory actions of Na2S4 and H2S may be mediated by persulfidation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and inhibitor kappa B kinase β (IKKβ), followed by decreased phosphorylation of STAT3 and IKKβ. Moreover, the nuclear translocation of nuclear transcription factor kappa B (NF-κB), and phosphorylation and degradation of nuclear factor kappa B inhibitor protein alpha (IκBα) induced by cisplatin, were also mitigated by both polysulfide and H2S. In mice, after treatment with polysulfide and H2S donors, cisplatin-associated renal dysfunction was strikingly ameliorated, as evidenced by measurement of serum blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels, renal morphology, and the expression of renal inflammatory factors. Our present work suggests that polysulfide and H2S could afford protection against cisplatin nephrotoxicity, possibly via persulfidating STAT3 and IKKβ and inhibiting NF-κB-mediated inflammatory cascade. Our results might shed light on the potential benefits of garlic-derived polysulfide and H2S in chemotherapy-induced renal damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals for Diabetes and Kidney)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Shear Stress-Induced Activation of von Willebrand Factor and Cardiovascular Pathology
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7804; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207804 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 196
Abstract
The von Willebrand factor (vWF) is a plasma protein that mediates platelet adhesion and leukocyte recruitment to vascular injury sites and carries coagulation factor VIII, a building block of the intrinsic pathway of coagulation. The presence of ultra-large multimers of vWF in the [...] Read more.
The von Willebrand factor (vWF) is a plasma protein that mediates platelet adhesion and leukocyte recruitment to vascular injury sites and carries coagulation factor VIII, a building block of the intrinsic pathway of coagulation. The presence of ultra-large multimers of vWF in the bloodstream is associated with spontaneous thrombosis, whereas its deficiency leads to bleeding. In cardiovascular pathology, the progression of the heart valve disease results in vWF deficiency and cryptogenic gastrointestinal bleeding. The association between higher plasma levels of vWF and thrombotic complications of coronary artery disease was described. Of note, it is not the plasma levels that are crucial for vWF hemostatic activity, but vWF activation, triggered by a rise in shear rates. vWF becomes highly reactive with platelets upon unfolding into a stretched conformation, at shear rates above the critical value (more than 5000 s−1), which might occur at sites of arterial stenosis and injury. The activation of vWF and its counterbalance by ADAMTS-13, the vWF-cleaving protease, might contribute to complications of cardiovascular diseases. In this review, we discuss vWF involvement in complications of cardiovascular diseases and possible diagnostic and treatment approaches. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
First Identification of RNA-Binding Proteins That Regulate Alternative Exons in the Dystrophin Gene
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7803; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207803 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 205
Abstract
The Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene has a complex expression pattern regulated by multiple tissue-specific promoters and by alternative splicing (AS) of the resulting transcripts. Here, we used an RNAi-based approach coupled with DMD-targeted RNA-seq to identify RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that regulate splicing [...] Read more.
The Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene has a complex expression pattern regulated by multiple tissue-specific promoters and by alternative splicing (AS) of the resulting transcripts. Here, we used an RNAi-based approach coupled with DMD-targeted RNA-seq to identify RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that regulate splicing of its skeletal muscle isoform (Dp427m) in a human muscular cell line. A total of 16 RBPs comprising the major regulators of muscle-specific splicing events were tested. We show that distinct combinations of RBPs maintain the correct inclusion in the Dp427m of exons that undergo spatio-temporal AS in other dystrophin isoforms. In particular, our findings revealed the complex networks of RBPs contributing to the splicing of the two short DMD exons 71 and 78, the inclusion of exon 78 in the adult Dp427m isoform being crucial for muscle function. Among the RBPs tested, QKI and DDX5/DDX17 proteins are important determinants of DMD exon inclusion. This is the first large-scale study to determine which RBP proteins act on the physiological splicing of the DMD gene. Our data shed light on molecular mechanisms contributing to the expression of the different dystrophin isoforms, which could be influenced by a change in the function or expression level of the identified RBPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
NLRP3 as Putative Marker of Ipilimumab-Induced Cardiotoxicity in the Presence of Hyperglycemia in Estrogen-Responsive and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7802; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207802 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 180
Abstract
Hyperglycemia, obesity and metabolic syndrome are negative prognostic factors in breast cancer patients. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized cancer treatment, achieving unprecedented efficacy in multiple malignancies. However, ICIs are associated with immune-related adverse events involving cardiotoxicity. We aimed to study if hyperglycemia [...] Read more.
Hyperglycemia, obesity and metabolic syndrome are negative prognostic factors in breast cancer patients. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized cancer treatment, achieving unprecedented efficacy in multiple malignancies. However, ICIs are associated with immune-related adverse events involving cardiotoxicity. We aimed to study if hyperglycemia could affect ipilimumab-induced anticancer efficacy and enhance its cardiotoxicity. Human cardiomyocytes and estrogen-responsive and triple-negative breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines) were exposed to ipilimumab under high glucose (25 mM); low glucose (5.5 mM); high glucose and co-administration of SGLT-2 inhibitor (empagliflozin); shifting from high glucose to low glucose. Study of cell viability and the expression of new putative biomarkers of cardiotoxicity and resistance to ICIs (NLRP3, MyD88, cytokines) were quantified through ELISA (Cayman Chemical) methods. Hyperglycemia during treatment with ipilimumab increased cardiotoxicity and reduced mortality of breast cancer cells in a manner that is sensitive to NLRP3. Notably, treatment with ipilimumab and empagliflozin under high glucose or shifting from high glucose to low glucose reduced significantly the magnitude of the effects, increasing responsiveness to ipilimumab and reducing cardiotoxicity. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that hyperglycemia exacerbates ipilimumab-induced cardiotoxicity and decreases its anticancer efficacy in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. This study sets the stage for further tests on other breast cancer cell lines and primary cardiomyocytes and for preclinical trials in mice aimed to decrease glucose through nutritional interventions or administration of gliflozines during treatment with ipilimumab. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Prognostic and Predictive Markers in Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle
Increased Radiation-Associated T-Cell Infiltration in Recurrent IDH-Mutant Glioma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7801; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207801 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 252
Abstract
Most gliomas are associated with a fatal prognosis and remain incurable because of their infiltrative growth. Consequently, the addition of immunotherapy to conventional therapy may improve patient outcomes. Here, we analyzed T-cell infiltration and, therefore, a major prerequisite for successful immunotherapy in a [...] Read more.
Most gliomas are associated with a fatal prognosis and remain incurable because of their infiltrative growth. Consequently, the addition of immunotherapy to conventional therapy may improve patient outcomes. Here, we analyzed T-cell infiltration and, therefore, a major prerequisite for successful immunotherapy in a series of primary (n = 78) and recurrent (n = 66) isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)-mutant glioma and their changes following treatment with radio- and/or chemotherapy. After multicolor immunofluorescence staining, T cells were counted in entire tumor sections using a software-based setup. Newly diagnosed diffuse IDH-mutant gliomas displayed a median T-cell infiltration of 0.99 T cells/mm2 (range: 0–48.97 CD3+ T cells/mm2), which was about two-fold increased for CD3+, helper, and cytotoxic T cells in recurrent glioma. Furthermore, T-cell infiltration of recurrent tumors was associated with the type of adjuvant treatment of the primary tumor. Interestingly, only glioma patients solely receiving radiotherapy presented consistently with increased T-cell infiltration in their recurrent tumors. This was confirmed in a subset of 27 matched pairs. In conclusion, differences in the T-cell infiltration of primary and recurrent gliomas were demonstrated, and evidence was provided for a beneficial long-term effect on T-cell infiltration upon treatment with radiotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Molecular Biology and Translational Aspects in CNS Tumors)
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Open AccessArticle
Intranasal Administration of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Secretome Reduces Hippocampal Oxidative Stress, Neuroinflammation and Cell Death, Improving the Behavioral Outcome Following Perinatal Asphyxia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7800; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207800 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 260
Abstract
Perinatal Asphyxia (PA) is a leading cause of motor and neuropsychiatric disability associated with sustained oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and cell death, affecting brain development. Based on a rat model of global PA, we investigated the neuroprotective effect of intranasally administered secretome, derived from [...] Read more.
Perinatal Asphyxia (PA) is a leading cause of motor and neuropsychiatric disability associated with sustained oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and cell death, affecting brain development. Based on a rat model of global PA, we investigated the neuroprotective effect of intranasally administered secretome, derived from human adipose mesenchymal stem cells (MSC-S), preconditioned with either deferoxamine (an hypoxia-mimetic) or TNF-α+IFN-γ (pro-inflammatory cytokines). PA was generated by immersing fetus-containing uterine horns in a water bath at 37 °C for 21 min. Thereafter, 16 μL of MSC-S (containing 6 μg of protein derived from 2 × 105 preconditioned-MSC), or vehicle, were intranasally administered 2 h after birth to asphyxia-exposed and control rats, evaluated at postnatal day (P) 7. Alternatively, pups received a dose of either preconditioned MSC-S or vehicle, both at 2 h and P7, and were evaluated at P14, P30, and P60. The preconditioned MSC-S treatment (i) reversed asphyxia-induced oxidative stress in the hippocampus (oxidized/reduced glutathione); (ii) increased antioxidative Nuclear Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2 (NRF2) translocation; (iii) increased NQO1 antioxidant protein; (iv) reduced neuroinflammation (decreasing nuclearNF-κB/p65 levels and microglial reactivity); (v) decreased cleaved-caspase-3 cell-death; (vi) improved righting reflex, negative geotaxis, cliff aversion, locomotor activity, anxiety, motor coordination, and recognition memory. Overall, the study demonstrates that intranasal administration of preconditioned MSC-S is a novel therapeutic strategy that prevents the long-term effects of perinatal asphyxia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hypoxia Signaling in Human Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
Advanced Methods for Studying Structure and Interactions of Macrolide Antibiotics
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207799 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 170
Abstract
Macrolide antibiotics are macrocyclic compounds that are clinically used and prescribed for the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. They inhibit the synthesis of bacterial proteins by reversible binding to the 23S rRNA at or near the peptidyl transferase center. However, [...] Read more.
Macrolide antibiotics are macrocyclic compounds that are clinically used and prescribed for the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. They inhibit the synthesis of bacterial proteins by reversible binding to the 23S rRNA at or near the peptidyl transferase center. However, their excellent antibacterial profile was largely compromised by the emergence of bacterial resistance. Today, fighting resistance to antibiotics is one of the greatest challenges in medicinal chemistry. Considering various physicochemical properties of macrolides, understanding their structure and interactions with macromolecular targets is crucial for the design of new antibiotics efficient against resistant pathogens. The solid-state structures of some macrolide-ribosome complexes have recently been solved, throwing new light on the macrolide binding mechanisms. On the other hand, a combination of NMR spectroscopy and molecular modeling calculations can be applied to study free and bound conformations in solution. In this article, a description of advanced physicochemical methods for elucidating the structure and interactions of macrolide antibiotics in solid state and solution will be provided, and their principal advantages and drawbacks will be discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Irisin Gene Delivery Ameliorates Burn-Induced Sensory and Motor Neuropathy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7798; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207798 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 218
Abstract
Burn-related neuropathy is common and often involves pain, paresthesia, or muscle weakness. Irisin, an exercise-induced myokine after cleavage from its membrane precursor fibronectin type III domain-containing 5 (FNDC5), exhibits neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory activities. A rat model of third-degree burn on the right hind [...] Read more.
Burn-related neuropathy is common and often involves pain, paresthesia, or muscle weakness. Irisin, an exercise-induced myokine after cleavage from its membrane precursor fibronectin type III domain-containing 5 (FNDC5), exhibits neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory activities. A rat model of third-degree burn on the right hind paw was used to investigate the therapeutic role of irisin/FNDC5. Rats received burn injury and were treated with intrathecal recombinant adenovirus containing the irisin sequence (Ad-irisin) at 3 weeks postburn. One week later, mechanical allodynia was examined. The expression of irisin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was detected. Ipsilateral gastrocnemius muscle and lumbar spinal cord were also obtained for further investigation. Furthermore, the anti-apoptotic effect of recombinant irisin in SH-SY5Y cells was evaluated through tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) stimulus to mimic burn injury. We noted intrathecal Ad-irisin attenuated pain sensitization and gastrocnemius muscle atrophy by modulating the level of irisin in CSF, and the expression of neuronal FNDC5/irisin and TNFα in the spinal cord. Ad-irisin also ameliorated neuronal apoptosis in both dorsal and ventral horns. Furthermore, recombinant irisin attenuated TNFα-induced SH-SY5Y cell apoptosis. In summary, irisin attenuated allodynia and muscle wasting by ameliorating neuroinflammation-induced neuronal apoptosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Neuropathic Pain and Nerve Injury)
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Open AccessArticle
Newly Synthesized Imino-Derivatives Analogues of Resveratrol Exert Inhibitory Effects in Breast Tumor Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207797 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 210
Abstract
Breast cancer represents the most frequently diagnosed malignancy in women worldwide. Various therapeutics are currently used in order to halt the progression of breast tumor, even though certain side effects may limit the beneficial effects. In recent years, many efforts have been addressed [...] Read more.
Breast cancer represents the most frequently diagnosed malignancy in women worldwide. Various therapeutics are currently used in order to halt the progression of breast tumor, even though certain side effects may limit the beneficial effects. In recent years, many efforts have been addressed to the usefulness of natural compounds as anticancer agents due to their low toxicity. Resveratrol, a stilbene found in grapes, berries, peanuts and soybeans, has raised a notable interest for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor properties. Here, we report the design, the synthesis and the characterization of the anticancer activity of a small series of imino N-aryl-substituted compounds that are analogues of resveratrol. In particular, the most active compound, named 3, exhibited anti-tumor activity in diverse types of breast cancer cells through the inhibition of the human topoisomerase II and the induction of apoptotic cell death. Therefore, the abovementioned compound maybe considered as a promising agent in more comprehensive treatments of breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Drugs for Breast Cancer Treatment)
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Zinc in Male Fertility
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7796; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207796 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 235
Abstract
Several studies proposed the importance of zinc ion in male fertility. Here, we describe the properties, roles and cellular mechanisms of action of Zn2+ in spermatozoa, focusing on its involvement in sperm motility, capacitation and acrosomal exocytosis, three functions that are crucial [...] Read more.
Several studies proposed the importance of zinc ion in male fertility. Here, we describe the properties, roles and cellular mechanisms of action of Zn2+ in spermatozoa, focusing on its involvement in sperm motility, capacitation and acrosomal exocytosis, three functions that are crucial for successful fertilization. The impact of zinc supplementation on assisted fertilization techniques is also described. The impact of zinc on sperm motility has been investigated in many vertebrate and invertebrate species. It has been reported that Zn2+ in human seminal plasma decreases sperm motility and that Zn2+ removal enhances motility. Reduction in the intracellular concentration of Zn2+ during epididymal transit allows the development of progressive motility and the subsequent hyper activated motility during sperm capacitation. Extracellular Zn2+ affects intracellular signaling pathways through its interaction with the Zn2+ sensing receptor (ZnR), also named GPR39. This receptor was found in the sperm tail and the acrosome, suggesting the possible involvement of Zn2+ in sperm motility and acrosomal exocytosis. Our studies showed that Zn2+ stimulates bovine sperm acrosomal exocytosis, as well as human sperm hyper-activated motility, were both mediated by GPR39. Zn2+ binds and activates GPR39, which activates the trans-membrane-adenylyl-cyclase (tmAC) to catalyze cAMP production. The NHE (Na+/H+-exchanger) is activated by cAMP, leading in increased pHi and activation of the sperm-specific Ca2+ channel CatSper, resulting in an increase in [Ca2+]i, which, together with HCO3, activates the soluble adenylyl-cyclase (sAC). The increase in [cAMP]i activates protein kinase A (PKA), followed by activation of the Src-epidermal growth factor receptor-Pphospholipase C (Src-EGFR-PLC) cascade, resulting in inositol-triphosphate (IP3) production, which mobilizes Ca2+ from the acrosome, causing a further increase in [Ca2+]i and the development of hyper-activated motility. PKA also activates phospholipase D1 (PLD1), leading to F-actin formation during capacitation. Prior to the acrosomal exocytosis, PLC induces phosphadidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) hydrolysis, leading to the release of the actin-severing protein gelsolin to the cytosol, which is activated by Ca2+, resulting in F-actin breakdown and the occurrence of acrosomal exocytosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements and Male Fertility)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancing the Therapeutic Potential of CCL2-Overexpressing Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Acute Stroke
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7795; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207795 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 187
Abstract
Although intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is effective for experimental stroke, low engraftment and the limited functional capacity of transplanted cells are critical hurdles for clinical applications. C–C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) is associated with neurological repair after stroke and [...] Read more.
Although intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is effective for experimental stroke, low engraftment and the limited functional capacity of transplanted cells are critical hurdles for clinical applications. C–C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) is associated with neurological repair after stroke and delivery of various cells into the brain via CCL2/CCR2 (CCL2 receptor) interaction. In this study, after CCL2-overexpressing human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (hUC-MSCs) were intravenously transplanted with mannitol in rats with middle cerebral arterial occlusion, we compared the differences between four different treatment groups: mannitol + CCL2-overexpressing hUC-MSCs (CCL2-MSC), mannitol + naïve hUC-MSCs (M-MSC), mannitol only, and control. At four-weeks post-transplantation, the CCL2-MSC group showed significantly better functional recovery and smaller stroke volume relative to the other groups. Additionally, we observed upregulated levels of CCR2 in acute ischemic brain and the increase of migrated stem cells into these areas in the CCL2-MSC group relative to the M-MSC. Moreover, the CCL2-MSC group displayed increased angiogenesis and endogenous neurogenesis, decreased neuro-inflammation but with increased healing-process inflammatory cells relative to other groups. These findings indicated that CCL2-overexpressing hUC-MSCs showed better functional recovery relative to naïve hUC-MSCs according to the increased migration of these cells into brain areas of higher CCR2 expression, thereby promoting subsequent endogenous brain repair. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Open AccessReview
Platelet-Rich Plasma: New Performance Understandings and Therapeutic Considerations in 2020
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7794; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207794 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Emerging autologous cellular therapies that utilize platelet-rich plasma (PRP) applications have the potential to play adjunctive roles in a variety of regenerative medicine treatment plans. There is a global unmet need for tissue repair strategies to treat musculoskeletal (MSK) and spinal disorders, osteoarthritis [...] Read more.
Emerging autologous cellular therapies that utilize platelet-rich plasma (PRP) applications have the potential to play adjunctive roles in a variety of regenerative medicine treatment plans. There is a global unmet need for tissue repair strategies to treat musculoskeletal (MSK) and spinal disorders, osteoarthritis (OA), and patients with chronic complex and recalcitrant wounds. PRP therapy is based on the fact that platelet growth factors (PGFs) support the three phases of wound healing and repair cascade (inflammation, proliferation, remodeling). Many different PRP formulations have been evaluated, originating from human, in vitro, and animal studies. However, recommendations from in vitro and animal research often lead to different clinical outcomes because it is difficult to translate non-clinical study outcomes and methodology recommendations to human clinical treatment protocols. In recent years, progress has been made in understanding PRP technology and the concepts for bioformulation, and new research directives and new indications have been suggested. In this review, we will discuss recent developments regarding PRP preparation and composition regarding platelet dosing, leukocyte activities concerning innate and adaptive immunomodulation, serotonin (5-HT) effects, and pain killing. Furthermore, we discuss PRP mechanisms related to inflammation and angiogenesis in tissue repair and regenerative processes. Lastly, we will review the effect of certain drugs on PRP activity, and the combination of PRP and rehabilitation protocols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blood-Derived Products for Tissue Repair/Regeneration 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Rational Design of Aptamer-Tagged tRNAs
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7793; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207793 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 221
Abstract
Reprogramming of the genetic code system is limited by the difficulty in creating new tRNA structures. Here, I developed translationally active tRNA variants tagged with a small hairpin RNA aptamer, using Escherichia coli reporter assay systems. As the tRNA chassis for engineering, I [...] Read more.
Reprogramming of the genetic code system is limited by the difficulty in creating new tRNA structures. Here, I developed translationally active tRNA variants tagged with a small hairpin RNA aptamer, using Escherichia coli reporter assay systems. As the tRNA chassis for engineering, I employed amber suppressor variants of allo-tRNAs having the 9/3 composition of the 12-base pair amino-acid acceptor branch as well as a long variable arm (V-arm). Although their V-arm is a strong binding site for seryl-tRNA synthetase (SerRS), insertion of a bulge nucleotide in the V-arm stem region prevented allo-tRNA molecules from being charged by SerRS with serine. The SerRS-rejecting allo-tRNA chassis were engineered to have another amino-acid identity of either alanine, tyrosine, or histidine. The tip of the V-arms was replaced with diverse hairpin RNA aptamers, which were recognized by their cognate proteins expressed in E. coli. A high-affinity interaction led to the sequestration of allo-tRNA molecules, while a moderate-affinity aptamer moiety recruited histidyl-tRNA synthetase variants fused with the cognate protein domain. The new design principle for tRNA-aptamer fusions will enhance radical and dynamic manipulation of the genetic code. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expanding and Reprogramming the Genetic Code 2.0)
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Open AccessReview
Advances in the Treatment and Prevention of Chemotherapy-Induced Ovarian Toxicity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7792; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207792 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 214
Abstract
Due to improvements in chemotherapeutic agents, cancer treatment efficacy and cancer patient survival rates have greatly improved, but unfortunately gonadal damage remains a major complication. Gonadotoxic chemotherapy, including alkylating agents during reproductive age, can lead to iatrogenic premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), and loss [...] Read more.
Due to improvements in chemotherapeutic agents, cancer treatment efficacy and cancer patient survival rates have greatly improved, but unfortunately gonadal damage remains a major complication. Gonadotoxic chemotherapy, including alkylating agents during reproductive age, can lead to iatrogenic premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), and loss of fertility. In recent years, the demand for fertility preservation has increased dramatically among female cancer patients. Currently, embryo and oocyte cryopreservation are the only established options for fertility preservation in women. However, there is growing evidence for other experimental techniques including ovarian tissue cryopreservation, oocyte in vitro maturation, artificial ovaries, stem cell technologies, and ovarian suppression. To prevent fertility loss in women with cancer, individualized fertility preservation options including established and experimental techniques that take into consideration the patient’s age, marital status, chemotherapy regimen, and the possibility of treatment delay should be provided. In addition, effective multidisciplinary oncofertility strategies that involve a highly skilled and experienced oncofertility team consisting of medical oncologists, gynecologists, reproductive biologists, surgical oncologists, patient care coordinators, and research scientists are necessary to provide cancer patients with high-quality care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Treatment and Prevention of Chemotherapy Toxicity)
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Open AccessArticle
Calcium Modulation, Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Skin Allergens Targeting the Nrf2 Signaling Pathway in Alzheimer’s Disease Cellular Models
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7791; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207791 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 227
Abstract
Experimental evidence highlights nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) as a molecular target in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The well-known effect of electrophilic cysteine-reactive skin allergens on Nrf2-activation led to the hypothesis that these compounds could have a therapeutic role in AD. This was [...] Read more.
Experimental evidence highlights nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) as a molecular target in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The well-known effect of electrophilic cysteine-reactive skin allergens on Nrf2-activation led to the hypothesis that these compounds could have a therapeutic role in AD. This was further supported by the neuroprotective activity of the skin allergen dimethyl fumarate (DMF), demonstrated in in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases. We evaluated the effect of the cysteine-reactive allergens 1,4-phenylenediamine (PPD) and methyl heptine carbonate (MHC) on (1) neuronal redox imbalance and calcium dyshomeostasis using N2a wild-type (N2a-wt) and human APP-overexpressing neuronal cells (wild-type, N2a-APPwt) and (2) on neuroinflammation, using microglia BV-2 cells exposed to LPS (lipopolysaccharide). Phthalic anhydride (PA, mainly lysine-reactive), was used as a negative control. DMF, PPD and MHC increased Hmox1 gene and HMOX1 protein levels in N2a-APPwt cells suggesting Nrf2-dependent antioxidant activity. MHC, but also PA, rescued N2a-APPwt mitochondrial membrane potential and calcium levels in a Nrf2-independent pathway. All the chemicals showed anti-inflammatory activity by decreasing iNOS protein in microglia. This work highlights the potential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory role of the selected skin allergens in in vitro models of AD, and supports further studies envisaging the validation of the results using in vivo AD models. Full article
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Open AccessReview
An Overview of ADAM9: Structure, Activation, and Regulation in Human Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7790; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207790 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 232
Abstract
ADAM9 (A disintegrin and a metalloprotease 9) is a membrane-anchored protein that participates in a variety of physiological functions, primarily through the disintegrin domain for adhesion and the metalloprotease domain for ectodomain shedding of a wide variety of cell surface proteins. ADAM9 influences [...] Read more.
ADAM9 (A disintegrin and a metalloprotease 9) is a membrane-anchored protein that participates in a variety of physiological functions, primarily through the disintegrin domain for adhesion and the metalloprotease domain for ectodomain shedding of a wide variety of cell surface proteins. ADAM9 influences the developmental process, inflammation, and degenerative diseases. Recently, increasing evidence has shown that ADAM9 plays an important role in tumor biology. Overexpression of ADAM9 has been found in several cancer types and is correlated with tumor aggressiveness and poor prognosis. In addition, through either proteolytic or non-proteolytic pathways, ADAM9 promotes tumor progression, therapeutic resistance, and metastasis of cancers. Therefore, comprehensively understanding the mechanism of ADAM9 is crucial for the development of therapeutic anti-cancer strategies. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of ADAM9 in biological function, pathophysiological diseases, and various cancers. Recent advances in therapeutic strategies using ADAM9-related pathways are presented as well. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mutation of Arabidopsis Copper-Containing Amine Oxidase Gene AtCuAOδ Alters Polyamines, Reduces Gibberellin Content and Affects Development
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7789; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207789 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 204
Abstract
Polyamines (PAs) are essential metabolites in plants performing multiple functions during growth and development. Copper-containing amine oxidases (CuAOs) catalyse the catabolism of PAs and in Arabidopsis thaliana are encoded by a gene family. Two mutants of one gene family member, AtCuAOδ, showed [...] Read more.
Polyamines (PAs) are essential metabolites in plants performing multiple functions during growth and development. Copper-containing amine oxidases (CuAOs) catalyse the catabolism of PAs and in Arabidopsis thaliana are encoded by a gene family. Two mutants of one gene family member, AtCuAOδ, showed delayed seed germination, leaf emergence, and flowering time. The height of the primary inflorescence shoot was reduced, and developmental leaf senescence was delayed. Siliques were significantly longer in mutant lines and contained more seeds. The phenotype of AtCuAOδ over-expressors was less affected. Before flowering, there was a significant increase in putrescine in AtCuAOδ mutant leaves compared to wild type (WT), while after flowering both spermidine and spermine concentrations were significantly higher than in WT leaves. The expression of GA (gibberellic acid) biosynthetic genes was repressed and the content of GA1, GA7, GA8, GA9, and GA20 was reduced in the mutants. The inhibitor of copper-containing amine oxidases, aminoguanidine hydrochloride, mimicked the effect of AtCuAOδ mutation on WT seed germination. Delayed germination, reduced shoot height, and delayed flowering in the mutants were rescued by GA3 treatment. These data strongly suggest AtCuAOδ is an important gene regulating PA homeostasis, and that a perturbation of PAs affects plant development through a reduction in GA biosynthesis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Neurons Expressing the Novel Analgesic Drug Target Somatostatin Receptor 4 in Mouse and Human Brains
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7788; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207788 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 204
Abstract
Somatostatin is an important mood and pain-regulating neuropeptide, which exerts analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant effects via its Gi protein-coupled receptor subtype 4 (SST4) without endocrine actions. SST4 is suggested to be a unique novel drug target for chronic neuropathic pain, [...] Read more.
Somatostatin is an important mood and pain-regulating neuropeptide, which exerts analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant effects via its Gi protein-coupled receptor subtype 4 (SST4) without endocrine actions. SST4 is suggested to be a unique novel drug target for chronic neuropathic pain, and depression, as a common comorbidity. However, its neuronal expression and cellular mechanism are poorly understood. Therefore, our goals were (i) to elucidate the expression pattern of Sstr4/SSTR4 mRNA, (ii) to characterize neurochemically, and (iii) electrophysiologically the Sstr4/SSTR4-expressing neuronal populations in the mouse and human brains. Here, we describe SST4 expression pattern in the nuclei of the mouse nociceptive and anti-nociceptive pathways as well as in human brain regions, and provide neurochemical and electrophysiological characterization of the SST4-expressing neurons. Intense or moderate SST4 expression was demonstrated predominantly in glutamatergic neurons in the major components of the pain matrix mostly also involved in mood regulation. The SST4 agonist J-2156 significantly decreased the firing rate of layer V pyramidal neurons by augmenting the depolarization-activated, non-inactivating K+ current (M-current) leading to remarkable inhibition. These are the first translational results explaining the mechanisms of action of SST4 agonists as novel analgesic and antidepressant candidates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Diseases: on Signaling Pathways and Miswired Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
High-Resolution Crystal Structure of Chloroplastic Ribose-5-Phosphate Isomerase from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii—An Enzyme Involved in the Photosynthetic Calvin-Benson Cycle
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7787; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207787 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 297
Abstract
The Calvin–Benson cycle is the key metabolic pathway of photosynthesis responsible for carbon fixation and relies on eleven conserved enzymes. Ribose-5-phosphate isomerase (RPI) isomerizes ribose-5-phosphate into ribulose-5-phosphate and contributes to the regeneration of the Rubisco substrate. Plant RPI is the target of diverse [...] Read more.
The Calvin–Benson cycle is the key metabolic pathway of photosynthesis responsible for carbon fixation and relies on eleven conserved enzymes. Ribose-5-phosphate isomerase (RPI) isomerizes ribose-5-phosphate into ribulose-5-phosphate and contributes to the regeneration of the Rubisco substrate. Plant RPI is the target of diverse post-translational modifications including phosphorylation and thiol-based modifications to presumably adjust its activity to the photosynthetic electron flow. Here, we describe the first experimental structure of a photosynthetic RPI at 1.4 Å resolution. Our structure confirms the composition of the catalytic pocket of the enzyme. We describe the homo-dimeric state of the protein that we observed in the crystal and in solution. We also map the positions of previously reported post-translational modifications and propose mechanisms by which they may impact the catalytic parameters. The structural data will inform the biochemical modeling of photosynthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural/Functional Characterization of Plant Proteins)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification, Characterization and Synthesis of Walterospermin, a Sperm Motility Activator from the Egyptian Black Snake Walterinnesia aegyptia Venom
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7786; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207786 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 234
Abstract
Animal venoms are small natural mixtures highly enriched in bioactive components. They are known to target at least two important pharmacological classes of cell surface receptors: ion channels and G protein coupled receptors. Since sperm cells express a wide variety of ion channels [...] Read more.
Animal venoms are small natural mixtures highly enriched in bioactive components. They are known to target at least two important pharmacological classes of cell surface receptors: ion channels and G protein coupled receptors. Since sperm cells express a wide variety of ion channels and membrane receptors, required for the control of cell motility and acrosome reaction, two functions that are defective in infertility issues, animal venoms should contain interesting compounds capable of modulating these two essential physiological functions. Herein, we screened for bioactive compounds from the venom of the Egyptian black snake Walterinnesia aegyptia (Wa) that possess the property to activate sperm motility in vitro from male mice OF1. Using RP-HPLC and cation exchange chromatography, we identified a new toxin of 6389.89 Da (termed walterospermin) that activates sperm motility. Walterospermin was de novo sequenced using a combination of matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS/MS) and liquid chromatography electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-QTOF MS/MS) following reduction, alkylation, and enzymatic proteolytic digestion with trypsin, chymotrypsin or V8 protease. The peptide is 57 amino acid residues long and contains three disulfide bridges and was found to be identical to the previously cloned Wa Kunitz-type protease inhibitor II (Wa Kln-II) sequence. Moreover, it has strong homology with several other hitherto cloned Elapidae and Viperidae snake toxins suggesting that it belongs to a family of compounds able to regulate sperm function. The synthetic peptide shows promising activation of sperm motility from a variety of species, including humans. Its fluorescently-labelled analog predominantly marks the flagellum, a localization in agreement with a receptor that controls motility function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessReview
Lymph Node Stromal Cells: Mapmakers of T Cell Immunity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7785; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207785 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 207
Abstract
Stromal cells (SCs) are strategically positioned in both lymphoid and nonlymphoid organs to provide a scaffold and orchestrate immunity by modulating immune cell maturation, migration and activation. Recent characterizations of SCs have expanded our understanding of their heterogeneity and suggested a functional specialization [...] Read more.
Stromal cells (SCs) are strategically positioned in both lymphoid and nonlymphoid organs to provide a scaffold and orchestrate immunity by modulating immune cell maturation, migration and activation. Recent characterizations of SCs have expanded our understanding of their heterogeneity and suggested a functional specialization of distinct SC subsets, further modulated by the microenvironment. Lymph node SCs (LNSCs) have been shown to be particularly important in maintaining immune homeostasis and T cell tolerance. Under inflammation situations, such as viral infections or tumor development, SCs undergo profound changes in their numbers and phenotype and play important roles in contributing to either the activation or the control of T cell immunity. In this review, we highlight the role of SCs located in LNs in shaping peripheral T cell responses in different immune contexts, such as autoimmunity, viral and cancer immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in T Cell Immunity)
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Open AccessReview
Genetic Landscape of Common Epilepsies: Advancing towards Precision in Treatment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7784; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207784 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 217
Abstract
Epilepsy, a neurological disease characterized by recurrent seizures, is highly heterogeneous in nature. Based on the prevalence, epilepsy is classified into two types: common and rare epilepsies. Common epilepsies affecting nearly 95% people with epilepsy, comprise generalized epilepsy which encompass idiopathic generalized epilepsy [...] Read more.
Epilepsy, a neurological disease characterized by recurrent seizures, is highly heterogeneous in nature. Based on the prevalence, epilepsy is classified into two types: common and rare epilepsies. Common epilepsies affecting nearly 95% people with epilepsy, comprise generalized epilepsy which encompass idiopathic generalized epilepsy like childhood absence epilepsy, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, juvenile absence epilepsy and epilepsy with generalized tonic-clonic seizure on awakening and focal epilepsy like temporal lobe epilepsy and cryptogenic focal epilepsy. In 70% of the epilepsy cases, genetic factors are responsible either as single genetic variant in rare epilepsies or multiple genetic variants acting along with different environmental factors as in common epilepsies. Genetic testing and precision treatment have been developed for a few rare epilepsies and is lacking for common epilepsies due to their complex nature of inheritance. Precision medicine for common epilepsies require a panoramic approach that incorporates polygenic background and other non-genetic factors like microbiome, diet, age at disease onset, optimal time for treatment and other lifestyle factors which influence seizure threshold. This review aims to comprehensively present a state-of-art review of all the genes and their genetic variants that are associated with all common epilepsy subtypes. It also encompasses the basis of these genes in the epileptogenesis. Here, we discussed the current status of the common epilepsy genetics and address the clinical application so far on evidence-based markers in prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment management. In addition, we assessed the diagnostic predictability of a few genetic markers used for disease risk prediction in individuals. A combination of deeper endo-phenotyping including pharmaco-response data, electro-clinical imaging, and other clinical measurements along with genetics may be used to diagnose common epilepsies and this marks a step ahead in precision medicine in common epilepsies management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmacogenetics and Personalized Medicine 2.0)
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Open AccessReview
Early-Onset Infantile Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy: A Timely Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7783; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207783 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 177
Abstract
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD)—the worldwide third most common inherited muscular dystrophy caused by the heterozygous contraction of a 3.3 kb tandem repeat (D4Z4) on a chromosome with a 4q35 haplotype—is a progressive genetic myopathy with variable onset of symptoms, distribution of muscle weakness, [...] Read more.
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD)—the worldwide third most common inherited muscular dystrophy caused by the heterozygous contraction of a 3.3 kb tandem repeat (D4Z4) on a chromosome with a 4q35 haplotype—is a progressive genetic myopathy with variable onset of symptoms, distribution of muscle weakness, and clinical severity. While much is known about the clinical course of adult FSHD, data on the early-onset infantile phenotype, especially on the progression of the disease, are relatively scarce. Contrary to the classical form, patients with infantile FSHD more often have a rapid decline in muscle wasting and systemic features with multiple extramuscular involvements. A rough correlation between the phenotypic severity of FSHD and the D4Z4 repeat size has been reported, and the majority of patients with infantile FSHD obtain a very short D4Z4 repeat length (one to three copies, EcoRI size 10–14 kb), in contrast to the classical, slowly progressive, form of FSHD (15–38 kb). With the increasing identifications of case reports and the advance in genetic diagnostics, recent studies have suggested that the infantile variant of FSHD is not a genetically separate entity but a part of the FSHD spectrum. Nevertheless, many questions about the clinical phenotype and natural history of infantile FSHD remain unanswered, limiting evidence-based clinical management. In this review, we summarize the updated research to gain insight into the clinical spectrum of infantile FSHD and raise views to improve recognition and understanding of its underlying pathomechanism, and further, to advance novel treatments and standard care methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Basis and Epidemiology of Myopathies)
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Open AccessArticle
Programmed Cell Death in the Left and Right Ventricle of the Late Phase of Post-Infarction Heart Failure
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7782; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207782 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 167
Abstract
While necroptosis has been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of post-infarction heart failure (HF), the role of autophagy remains unclear. Likewise, linkage between these two cell death modalities has not been sufficiently investigated. HF was induced by 60-min left coronary occlusion in [...] Read more.
While necroptosis has been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of post-infarction heart failure (HF), the role of autophagy remains unclear. Likewise, linkage between these two cell death modalities has not been sufficiently investigated. HF was induced by 60-min left coronary occlusion in adult Wistar rats and heart function was assessed 6 weeks later followed by immunoblotting analysis of necroptotic and autophagic proteins in both the left (LV) and right ventricle (RV). HF had no effect on RIP1 and RIP3 expression. PhosphoSer229-RIP3, acting as a pro-necroptotic signal, was increased in LV while deceased in RV of failing hearts. Total MLKL was elevated in RV only. Decrease in pSer555-ULK1, increase in pSer473-Akt and no significant elevation in beclin-1 and LC3-II/I ratio indicated rather a lowered rate of autophagy in LV. No beclin-1 upregulation and decreased LC3 processing also suggested the inhibition of both autophagosome formation and maturation in RV of failing hearts. In contrast, p89 PARP1 fragment, a marker of executed apoptosis, was increased in RV only. This is the first study showing a different signaling in ventricles of the late phase of post-infarction HF, highlighting necroptosis itself rather than its linkage with autophagy in LV, and apoptosis in RV. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Toward G-Quadruplex-Based Anticancer Agents: Biophysical and Biological Studies of Novel AS1411 Derivatives
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7781; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207781 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 170
Abstract
Certain G-quadruplex forming guanine-rich oligonucleotides (GROs), including AS1411, are endowed with cancer-selective antiproliferative activity. They are known to bind to nucleolin protein, resulting in the inhibition of nucleolin-mediated phenomena. However, multiple nucleolin-independent biological effects of GROs have also been reported, allowing them to [...] Read more.
Certain G-quadruplex forming guanine-rich oligonucleotides (GROs), including AS1411, are endowed with cancer-selective antiproliferative activity. They are known to bind to nucleolin protein, resulting in the inhibition of nucleolin-mediated phenomena. However, multiple nucleolin-independent biological effects of GROs have also been reported, allowing them to be considered promising candidates for multi-targeted cancer therapy. Herein, with the aim of optimizing AS1411 structural features to find GROs with improved anticancer properties, we have studied a small library of AS1411 derivatives differing in the sequence length and base composition. The AS1411 derivatives were characterized by using circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies and then investigated for their enzymatic resistance in serum and nuclear extract, as well as for their ability to bind nucleolin, inhibit topoisomerase I, and affect the viability of MCF-7 human breast adenocarcinoma cells. All derivatives showed higher thermal stability and inhibitory effect against topoisomerase I than AS1411. In addition, most of them showed an improved antiproliferative activity on MCF-7 cells compared to AS1411 despite a weaker binding to nucleolin. Our results support the hypothesis that the antiproliferative properties of GROs are due to multi-targeted effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fasting Drives Nrf2-Related Antioxidant Response in Skeletal Muscle
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7780; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207780 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 260
Abstract
A common metabolic condition for living organisms is starvation/fasting, a state that could play systemic-beneficial roles. Complex adaptive responses are activated during fasting to help the organism to maintain energy homeostasis and avoid nutrient stress. Metabolic rearrangements during fasting cause mild oxidative stress [...] Read more.
A common metabolic condition for living organisms is starvation/fasting, a state that could play systemic-beneficial roles. Complex adaptive responses are activated during fasting to help the organism to maintain energy homeostasis and avoid nutrient stress. Metabolic rearrangements during fasting cause mild oxidative stress in skeletal muscle. The nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) controls adaptive responses and remains the major regulator of quenching mechanisms underlying different types of stress. Here, we demonstrate a positive role of fasting as a protective mechanism against oxidative stress in skeletal muscle. In particular, by using in vivo and in vitro models of fasting, we found that typical Nrf2-dependent genes, including those controlling iron (e.g., Ho-1) and glutathione (GSH) metabolism (e.g., Gcl, Gsr) are induced along with increased levels of the glutathione peroxidase 4 (Gpx4), a GSH-dependent antioxidant enzyme. These events are associated with a significant reduction in malondialdehyde, a well-known by-product of lipid peroxidation. Our results suggest that fasting could be a valuable approach to boost the adaptive anti-oxidant responses in skeletal muscle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Central and Peripheral Molecular Mechanisms of Metabolism Regulation)
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Open AccessArticle
Ligand-Based Pharmacophore Modeling, Molecular Docking, and Molecular Dynamic Studies of Dual Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor of EGFR and VEGFR2
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7779; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207779 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 241
Abstract
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) play an important role in cancer growth. Both of them have close relationships. Expression of EGFR will induce an angiogenic factor (VEGF) release for binding with VEGFR2. However, the existence [...] Read more.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) play an important role in cancer growth. Both of them have close relationships. Expression of EGFR will induce an angiogenic factor (VEGF) release for binding with VEGFR2. However, the existence of VEGF up-regulation independent of EGFR leads to cancer cell resistance to anti-EGFR. Therefore, a therapeutic approach targeting EGFR and VEGFR2 simultaneously may improve the outcome of cancer treatment. The present study was designed to identify potential compounds as a dual inhibitor of EGFR and VEGFR2 by the computational method. Firstly, the ligand-based pharmacophore model for each target was setup to screen of ZINC database of purchasable compounds. The hit compounds obtained by pharmacophore screening were then further screened by molecular docking studies. Taking erlotinib (EGFR inhibitor) and axitinib (VEGFR2 inhibitor) as reference drugs, six potential compounds (ZINC08398597, ZINC12047553, ZINC16525481, ZINC17418102, ZINC21942954, and ZINC38484632) were selected based on their docking scores and binding interaction. However, molecular dynamics simulations demonstrated that only ZINC16525481 and ZINC38484632 which have good binding free energy and stable hydrogen bonding interactions with EGFR and VEGFR2. The result represents a promising starting point for developing potent dual tyrosine kinases inhibitor of EGFR and VEGFR2. Full article
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