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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 21, Issue 23 (December-1 2020) – 452 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Tumors are heterogeneous tissues with tumor cells and cells of the tumor microenvironment. During malignant progression, tumors locally recruit immune cells that reject but also promote tumor growth and metastasis. The infiltrated immune cells express components of the endocannabinoid system, thereby forming an “immune-endocannabinoid system” within the tumor microenvironment. The review article by Kienzl et al. describes the role of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment and discusses the possibility that members of the endocannabinoid system, in particular, the cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids like 2-AG, and the enzymes for endocannabinoid degradation, may critically contribute to the shape of the microenvironment and thus to tumor progression. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Sensitivity of Rodent Microglia to Kynurenines in Models of Epilepsy and Inflammation In Vivo and In Vitro: Microglia Activation Is Inhibited by Kynurenic Acid and the Synthetic Analogue SZR104
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239333 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 417
Abstract
Kynurenic acid is an endogenous modulator of ionotropic glutamate receptors and a suppressor of the immune system. Since glutamate and microglia are important in the pathogenesis of epilepsy, we investigated the possible action of the synthetic kynurenic acid analogue, SZR104, in epileptic mice [...] Read more.
Kynurenic acid is an endogenous modulator of ionotropic glutamate receptors and a suppressor of the immune system. Since glutamate and microglia are important in the pathogenesis of epilepsy, we investigated the possible action of the synthetic kynurenic acid analogue, SZR104, in epileptic mice and the action of kynurenic acid and SZR104 on the phagocytotic activity of cultured microglia cells. Pilocarpine epilepsy was used to test the effects of SZR104 on morphological microglia transformation, as evaluated through ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1) immunohistochemistry. Microglia-enriched rat secondary cultures were used to investigate phagocytosis of fluorescent microbeads and Iba1 protein synthesis in control and lipopolysaccharide-challenged cultures. SZR104 inhibited microglia transformation following status epilepticus. Kynurenic acid and SZR104 inhibited lipopolysaccharide-stimulated phagocytotic activity of microglia cells. Although kynurenic acid and its analogues proved to be glutamate receptor antagonists, their immunosuppressive action was dominant in epilepsy. The inhibition of phagocytosis in vitro raised the possibility of the inhibition of genes encoding inflammatory cytokines in microglial cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunology of Neuropsychiatric Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic Instability Is an Early Event in Aluminium-Induced Tumorigenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9332; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239332 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1101
Abstract
Genomic instability is generally considered as a hallmark of tumorigenesis and a prerequisite condition for malignant transformation. Aluminium salts are suspected environmental carcinogens that transform mammary epithelial cells in vitro through unknown mechanisms. We report here that long-term culture in the presence of [...] Read more.
Genomic instability is generally considered as a hallmark of tumorigenesis and a prerequisite condition for malignant transformation. Aluminium salts are suspected environmental carcinogens that transform mammary epithelial cells in vitro through unknown mechanisms. We report here that long-term culture in the presence of aluminium chloride (AlCl3) enables HC11 normal mouse mammary epithelial cells to form tumours and metastases when injected into the syngeneic and immunocompetent BALB/cByJ strain. We demonstrate that AlCl3 rapidly increases chromosomal structural abnormalities in mammary epithelial cells, while we failed to detect direct modulation of specific mRNA pathways. Our observations provide evidence that clastogenic activity—a well-recognized inducer of genomic instability—might account in part for the transforming abilities of aluminium in mammary epithelial cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic and Transcriptomic Survey Provides New Insight into the Organization and Transposition Activity of Highly Expressed LTR Retrotransposons of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9331; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239331 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 692
Abstract
LTR retrotransposons (RTEs) play a crucial role in plant genome evolution and adaptation. Although RTEs are generally silenced in somatic plant tissues under non-stressed conditions, some expressed RTEs (exRTEs) escape genome defense mechanisms. As our understanding of exRTE organization in plants is rudimentary, [...] Read more.
LTR retrotransposons (RTEs) play a crucial role in plant genome evolution and adaptation. Although RTEs are generally silenced in somatic plant tissues under non-stressed conditions, some expressed RTEs (exRTEs) escape genome defense mechanisms. As our understanding of exRTE organization in plants is rudimentary, we systematically surveyed the genomic and transcriptomic organization and mobilome (transposition) activity of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) exRTEs. We identified 44 transcribed RTEs in the sunflower genome and demonstrated their distinct genomic features: more recent insertion time, longer open reading frame (ORF) length, and smaller distance to neighboring genes. We showed that GAG-encoding ORFs are present at significantly higher frequencies in exRTEs, compared with non-expressed RTEs. Most exRTEs exhibit variation in copy number among sunflower cultivars and one exRTE Gagarin produces extrachromosomal circular DNA in seedling, demonstrating recent and ongoing transposition activity. Nanopore direct RNA sequencing of full-length RTE RNA revealed complex patterns of alternative splicing in RTE RNAs, resulting in isoforms that carry ORFs for distinct RTE proteins. Together, our study demonstrates that tens of expressed sunflower RTEs with specific genomic organization shape the hidden layer of the transcriptome, pointing to the evolution of specific strategies that circumvent existing genome defense mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Genetics and Plant Breeding)
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Open AccessArticle
Differential Distribution of RBPMS in Pig, Rat, and Human Retina after Damage
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9330; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239330 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 363
Abstract
RNA binding protein with multiple splicing (RBPMS) is expressed exclusively in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the retina and can label all RGCs in normal retinas of mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, and monkeys, but its function in these cells is not [...] Read more.
RNA binding protein with multiple splicing (RBPMS) is expressed exclusively in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the retina and can label all RGCs in normal retinas of mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, and monkeys, but its function in these cells is not known. As a result of the limited knowledge regarding RBPMS, we analyzed the expression of RBPMS in the retina of different mammalian species (humans, pigs, and rats), in various stages of development (neonatal and adult) and with different levels of injury (control, hypoxia, and organotypic culture or explants). In control conditions, RBPMS was localized in the RGCs somas in the ganglion cell layer, whereas in hypoxic conditions, it was localized in the RGCs dendrites in the inner plexiform layer. Such differential distributions of RBPMS occurred in all analyzed species, and in adult and neonatal retinas. Furthermore, we demonstrate RBPMS localization in the degenerating RGCs axons in the nerve fiber layer of retinal explants. This is the first evidence regarding the possible transport of RBPMS in response to physiological damage in a mammalian retina. Therefore, RBPMS should be further investigated in relation to its role in axonal and dendritic degeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Neural Circuit Development and Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Altered PPARγ Expression Promotes Myelin-Induced Foam Cell Formation in Macrophages in Multiple Sclerosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9329; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239329 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 410
Abstract
Macrophages play a crucial role during the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), a neuroinflammatory autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system. Important regulators of the metabolic and inflammatory phenotype of macrophages are liver X receptors (LXRs) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs). Previously, it [...] Read more.
Macrophages play a crucial role during the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), a neuroinflammatory autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system. Important regulators of the metabolic and inflammatory phenotype of macrophages are liver X receptors (LXRs) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs). Previously, it has been reported that PPARγ expression is decreased in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of MS patients. The goal of the present study was to determine to what extent PPARγ, as well as the closely related nuclear receptors PPARα and β and LXRα and β, are differentially expressed in monocytes from MS patients and how this change in expression affects the function of monocyte-derived macrophages. We demonstrate that monocytes of relapsing-remitting MS patients display a marked decrease in PPARγ expression, while the expression of PPARα and LXRα/β is not altered. Interestingly, exposure of monocyte-derived macrophages from healthy donors to MS-associated proinflammatory cytokines mimicked this reduction in PPARγ expression. While a reduced PPARγ expression did not affect the inflammatory and phagocytic properties of myelin-loaded macrophages, it did impact myelin processing by increasing the intracellular cholesterol load of myelin-phagocytosing macrophages. Collectively, our findings indicate that an inflammation-induced reduction in PPARγ expression promotes myelin-induced foam cell formation in macrophages in MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms Underlying CNS Inflammation)
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Open AccessReview
Is the C-C Motif Ligand 2–C-C Chemokine Receptor 2 Axis a Promising Target for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9328; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239328 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 368
Abstract
C-C motif ligand 2 (CCL2) was originally reported as a chemical mediator attracting mononuclear cells to inflammatory tissue. Many studies have reported that CCL2 can directly activate cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms. CCL2 can also promote cancer progression indirectly through increasing [...] Read more.
C-C motif ligand 2 (CCL2) was originally reported as a chemical mediator attracting mononuclear cells to inflammatory tissue. Many studies have reported that CCL2 can directly activate cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms. CCL2 can also promote cancer progression indirectly through increasing the recruitment of tumor-associated macrophages into the tumor microenvironment. The role of CCL2 in cancer progression has gradually been understood, and various preclinical cancer models elucidate that CCL2 and its receptor C-C chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) are attractive targets for intervention in cancer development. However, clinically available drugs that regulate the CCL2–CCR2 axis as anticancer agents are not available at this time. The complete elucidation of not only the oncological but also the physiological functions of the CCL2–CCR2 axis is required for achieving a satisfactory effect of the CCL2–CCR2 axis-targeted therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cytokines/Chemokines in Cancer Metastasis)
Open AccessArticle
Carbamazepine Restores Neuronal Signaling, Protein Synthesis, and Cognitive Function in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9327; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239327 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 414
Abstract
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a leading genetic disorder of intellectual disability caused by the loss of the functional fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). To date, there is no efficacious mechanism-based medication for FXS. With regard to potential disease mechanisms in FXS, [...] Read more.
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a leading genetic disorder of intellectual disability caused by the loss of the functional fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). To date, there is no efficacious mechanism-based medication for FXS. With regard to potential disease mechanisms in FXS, it is widely accepted that the lack of FMRP causes elevated protein synthesis and deregulation of neuronal signaling. Abnormal enhancement of the ERK½ (extracellular signal-regulated kinase ½) and PI3K-Akt (Phosphoinositide 3 kinase-protein kinase B) signaling pathways has been identified in both FXS patients and FXS mouse models. In this study, we show that carbamazepine, which is an FDA-approved drug and has been mainly used to treat seizure and neuropathic pain, corrects cognitive deficits including passive avoidance and object location memory in FXS mice. Carbamazepine also rescues hyper locomotion and social deficits. At the cellular level, carbamazepine dampens the elevated level of ERK½ and Akt signaling as well as protein synthesis in FXS mouse neurons. Together, these results advocate repurposing carbamazepine for FXS treatment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Acceleration of Carbon Fixation in Chilling-Sensitive Banana under Mild and Moderate Chilling Stresses
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9326; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239326 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 389
Abstract
Banana is one of the most important food and fruit crops in the world and its growth is ceasing at 10–17 °C. However, the mechanisms determining the tolerance of banana to mild (>15 °C) and moderate chilling (10–15 °C) are elusive. Furthermore, the [...] Read more.
Banana is one of the most important food and fruit crops in the world and its growth is ceasing at 10–17 °C. However, the mechanisms determining the tolerance of banana to mild (>15 °C) and moderate chilling (10–15 °C) are elusive. Furthermore, the biochemical controls over the photosynthesis in tropical plant species at low temperatures above 10 °C is not well understood. The purpose of this research was to reveal the response of chilling-sensitive banana to mild (16 °C) and moderate chilling stress (10 °C) at the molecular (transcripts, proteins) and physiological levels. The results showed different transcriptome responses between mild and moderate chilling stresses, especially in pathways of plant hormone signal transduction, ABC transporters, ubiquinone, and other terpenoid-quinone biosynthesis. Interestingly, functions related to carbon fixation were assigned preferentially to upregulated genes/proteins, while photosynthesis and photosynthesis-antenna proteins were downregulated at 10 °C, as revealed by both digital gene expression and proteomic analysis. These results were confirmed by qPCR and immunofluorescence labeling methods. Conclusion: Banana responded to the mild chilling stress dramatically at the molecular level. To compensate for the decreased photosynthesis efficiency caused by mild and moderate chilling stresses, banana accelerated its carbon fixation, mainly through upregulation of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessReview
Autophagy—A Hidden but Important Actor on Oral Cancer Scene
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9325; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239325 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 404
Abstract
The duration of denture use, oral hygiene, smoking and male sex were identified as risk factors for oral mucosal lesions. As it is well known, all the oral mucosal lesions associated with risk factors have an important degree of malignity. Chronic mechanical irritation [...] Read more.
The duration of denture use, oral hygiene, smoking and male sex were identified as risk factors for oral mucosal lesions. As it is well known, all the oral mucosal lesions associated with risk factors have an important degree of malignity. Chronic mechanical irritation can be another cause of oral cancer and it is produced by the constant action of a deleterious agent from the oral cavity. Autophagy represents a complex evolutionary conserved catabolic process in which cells self-digest intracellular organelles in order to regulate their normal turnover and remove the damaged ones with compromised function to further maintain homeostasis. Autophagy is modulated by mTOR kinase and indirectly by PI3K/AKT survival pathway. Due to its dual capacity to either induce cell death or promote cell survival, important evidence pointed that autophagy has a two-faced role in response to chemotherapy in cancer. In conclusion, understanding how to overcome cytoprotective autophagy and how to take advantage of autophagic cell death is critical in order to enhance the cancer cells sensitivity to particular therapeutic agents. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Immunostimulatory Effects of Radiotherapy for Local and Systemic Control of Melanoma: A Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9324; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239324 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 335
Abstract
Recently, modern therapies involving immune checkpoint inhibitors, cytokines, and oncolytic virus have been developed. Because of the limited treatment effect of modern therapy alone, the immunostimulatory effect of radiotherapy attracted increasing attention. The combined use of radiotherapy and modern therapy has been examined [...] Read more.
Recently, modern therapies involving immune checkpoint inhibitors, cytokines, and oncolytic virus have been developed. Because of the limited treatment effect of modern therapy alone, the immunostimulatory effect of radiotherapy attracted increasing attention. The combined use of radiotherapy and modern therapy has been examined clinically and non-clinically, and its effectiveness has been confirmed recently. Because melanomas have high immunogenicity, better therapeutic outcomes are desired when using immunotherapy. However, sufficient therapeutic effects have not yet been achieved. Thus far, radiotherapy has been used only for local control of tumors. Although extremely rare, radiotherapy has also been reported for systemic control, i.e., abscopal effect. This is thought to be due to an antitumor immune response. Therefore, we herein summarize past information on not only the mechanism of immune effects on radiotherapy but also biomarkers reported in case reports on abscopal effects. We also reviewed the animal model suitable for evaluating abscopal effects. These results pave the way for further basic research or clinical studies on new treatment methods for melanoma. Currently, palliative radiation is administered to patients with metastatic melanoma for local control. If it is feasible to provide both systemic and local control, the treatment benefit for the patients is very large. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunotherapy of Melanoma: Challenges and Solutions)
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Open AccessArticle
Rational Computational Design of Fourth-Generation EGFR Inhibitors to Combat Drug-Resistant Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9323; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239323 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Although the inhibitors of singly mutated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase are effective for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), their clinical efficacy has been limited due to the emergence of various double and triple EGFR mutants with drug resistance. [...] Read more.
Although the inhibitors of singly mutated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase are effective for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), their clinical efficacy has been limited due to the emergence of various double and triple EGFR mutants with drug resistance. It has thus become urgent to identify potent and selective inhibitors of triple mutant EGFRs resistant to first-, second-, and third-generation EGFR inhibitors. Herein, we report the discovery of potent and highly selective inhibitors of EGFR exon 19 p.E746_A750del/EGFR exon 20 p.T790M/EGFR exon 20 p.C797S (d746-750/T790M/C797S) mutant, which were derived via two-track virtual screening and de novo design. This two-track approach was performed so as to maximize and minimize the inhibitory activity against the triple mutant and the wild type, respectively. Extensive chemical modifications of the initial hit compounds led to the identification of several low-nanomolar inhibitors of the d746-750/T790M/C797S mutant. Among them, two compounds exhibited more than 104-fold selectivity in the inhibition of EGFRd746-750/T790M/C797S over the wild type. The formations of a hydrogen bond with the mutated residue Ser797 and the van der Waals contact with the mutated residue Met790 were found to be a common feature in the interactions between EGFRd746-750/T790M/C797S and the fourth-generation inhibitors. Such an exceptionally high selectivity could also be attributed to the formation of the hydrophobic contact with a Gly loop residue or the hydrogen bond with Asp855 in the activation loop. The discovery of the potent and selective EGFRd746-750/T790M/C797S inhibitors were actually made possible by virtue of the modified protein–ligand binding free energy function involving a new hydration free energy term with enhanced accuracy. The fourth-generation EGFR inhibitors found in this work are anticipated to serve as a new starting point for the discovery of anti-NSCLC medicines to overcome the problematic drug resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Kinase Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessReview
Adaptive Immune Responses in Human Atherosclerosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9322; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239322 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 358
Abstract
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that is initiated by the deposition and accumulation of low-density lipoproteins in the artery wall. In this review, we will discuss the role of T- and B-cells in human plaques at different stages of atherosclerosis and the [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that is initiated by the deposition and accumulation of low-density lipoproteins in the artery wall. In this review, we will discuss the role of T- and B-cells in human plaques at different stages of atherosclerosis and the utility of profiling circulating immune cells to monitor atherosclerosis progression. Evidence supports a proatherogenic role for intraplaque T helper type 1 (Th1) cells, CD4+CD28null T-cells, and natural killer T-cells, whereas Th2 cells and regulatory T-cells (Treg) have an atheroprotective role. Several studies indicate that intraplaque T-cells are activated upon recognition of endogenous antigens including heat shock protein 60 and oxidized low-density lipoprotein, but antigens derived from pathogens can also trigger T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. Future studies are needed to assess whether circulating cellular biomarkers can improve identification of vulnerable lesions so that effective intervention can be implemented before clinical manifestations are apparent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dual mTOR/DNA-PK Inhibitor CC-115 Induces Cell Death in Melanoma Cells and Has Radiosensitizing Potential
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9321; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239321 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 3472
Abstract
CC-115 is a dual inhibitor of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase and the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) that is currently being studied in phase I/II clinical trials. DNA-PK is essential for the repair of DNA-double strand breaks (DSB). Radiotherapy is frequently [...] Read more.
CC-115 is a dual inhibitor of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase and the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) that is currently being studied in phase I/II clinical trials. DNA-PK is essential for the repair of DNA-double strand breaks (DSB). Radiotherapy is frequently used in the palliative treatment of metastatic melanoma patients and induces DSBs. Melanoma cell lines and healthy-donor skin fibroblast cell lines were treated with CC-115 and ionizing irradiation (IR). Apoptosis, necrosis, and cell cycle distribution were analyzed. Colony forming assays were conducted to study radiosensitizing effects. Immunofluorescence microscopy was performed to determine the activity of homologous recombination (HR). In most of the malign cell lines, an increasing concentration of CC-115 resulted in increased cell death. Furthermore, strong cytotoxic effects were only observed in malignant cell lines. Regarding clonogenicity, all cell lines displayed decreased survival fractions during combined inhibitor and IR treatment and supra-additive effects of the combination were observable in 5 out of 9 melanoma cell lines. CC-115 showed radiosensitizing potential in 7 out of 9 melanoma cell lines, but not in healthy skin fibroblasts. Based on our data CC-115 treatment could be a promising approach for patients with metastatic melanoma, particularly in the combination with radiotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multikinase Inhibitors and Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
Table Grapes during Postharvest Storage: A Review of the Mechanisms Implicated in the Beneficial Effects of Treatments Applied for Quality Retention
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9320; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239320 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 447
Abstract
Table grape is a fruit with increasing interest due to its attributes and nutritional compounds. During recent years, new cultivars such as those without seeds and with new flavors have reached countries around the world. For this reason, postharvest treatments that retain fruit [...] Read more.
Table grape is a fruit with increasing interest due to its attributes and nutritional compounds. During recent years, new cultivars such as those without seeds and with new flavors have reached countries around the world. For this reason, postharvest treatments that retain fruit quality need to be improved. However, little is known to date about the biochemical and molecular mechanisms related with observed quality improvements. This review aims to examine existing literature on the different mechanisms. Special attention will be placed on molecular mechanisms which activate and regulate the different postharvest treatments applied in order to improve table grape quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gene Transcriptional Regulation in Crops during Postharvest)
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Open AccessArticle
Regulation of Fetal Genes by Transitions among RNA-Binding Proteins during Liver Development
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239319 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 485
Abstract
Transcripts of alpha-fetoprotein (Afp), H19, and insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) genes are highly expressed in mouse fetal liver, but decrease drastically during maturation. While transcriptional regulation of these genes has been well studied, the post-transcriptional regulation of [...] Read more.
Transcripts of alpha-fetoprotein (Afp), H19, and insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) genes are highly expressed in mouse fetal liver, but decrease drastically during maturation. While transcriptional regulation of these genes has been well studied, the post-transcriptional regulation of their developmental decrease is poorly understood. Here, we show that shortening of poly(A) tails and subsequent RNA decay are largely responsible for the postnatal decrease of Afp, H19, and Igf2 transcripts in mouse liver. IGF2 mRNA binding protein 1 (IMP1), which regulates stability and translation efficiency of target mRNAs, binds to these fetal liver transcripts. When IMP1 is exogenously expressed in mouse adult liver, fetal liver transcripts show higher expression and possess longer poly(A) tails, suggesting that IMP1 stabilizes them. IMP1 declines concomitantly with fetal liver transcripts as liver matures. Instead, RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that promote RNA decay, such as cold shock domain containing protein E1 (CSDE1), K-homology domain splicing regulatory protein (KSRP), and CUG-BP1 and ETR3-like factors 1 (CELF1), bind to 3′ regions of fetal liver transcripts. These data suggest that transitions among RBPs associated with fetal liver transcripts shift regulation from stabilization to decay, leading to a postnatal decrease in those fetal transcripts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Open AccessReview
Modulation of Brain Hyperexcitability: Potential New Therapeutic Approaches in Alzheimer’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9318; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239318 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 557
Abstract
People with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have significantly higher rates of subclinical and overt epileptiform activity. In animal models, oligomeric Aβ amyloid is able to induce neuronal hyperexcitability even in the early phases of the disease. Such aberrant activity subsequently leads to downstream accumulation [...] Read more.
People with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have significantly higher rates of subclinical and overt epileptiform activity. In animal models, oligomeric Aβ amyloid is able to induce neuronal hyperexcitability even in the early phases of the disease. Such aberrant activity subsequently leads to downstream accumulation of toxic proteins, and ultimately to further neurodegeneration and neuronal silencing mediated by concomitant tau accumulation. Several neurotransmitters participate in the initial hyperexcitable state, with increased synaptic glutamatergic tone and decreased GABAergic inhibition. These changes appear to activate excitotoxic pathways and, ultimately, cause reduced long-term potentiation, increased long-term depression, and increased GABAergic inhibitory remodelling at the network level. Brain hyperexcitability has therefore been identified as a potential target for therapeutic interventions aimed at enhancing cognition, and, possibly, disease modification in the longer term. Clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate the potential efficacy in targeting hyperexcitability in AD, with levetiracetam showing some encouraging effects. Newer compounds and techniques, such as gene editing via viral vectors or brain stimulation, also show promise. Diagnostic challenges include identifying best biomarkers for measuring sub-clinical epileptiform discharges. Determining the timing of any intervention is critical and future trials will need to carefully stratify participants with respect to the phase of disease pathology. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Airway Redox Homeostasis and Inflammation Gone Awry: From Molecular Pathogenesis to Emerging Therapeutics in Respiratory Pathology
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9317; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239317 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 406
Abstract
As aerobic organisms, we are continuously and throughout our lifetime subjected to an oxidizing atmosphere and, most often, to environmental threats. The lung is the internal organ most highly exposed to this milieu. Therefore, it has evolved to confront both oxidative stress induced [...] Read more.
As aerobic organisms, we are continuously and throughout our lifetime subjected to an oxidizing atmosphere and, most often, to environmental threats. The lung is the internal organ most highly exposed to this milieu. Therefore, it has evolved to confront both oxidative stress induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and a variety of pollutants, pathogens, and allergens that promote inflammation and can harm the airways to different degrees. Indeed, an excess of ROS, generated intrinsically or from external sources, can imprint direct damage to key structural cell components (nucleic acids, sugars, lipids, and proteins) and indirectly perturb ROS-mediated signaling in lung epithelia, impairing its homeostasis. These early events complemented with efficient recognition of pathogen- or damage-associated recognition patterns by the airway resident cells alert the immune system, which mounts an inflammatory response to remove the hazards, including collateral dead cells and cellular debris, in an attempt to return to homeostatic conditions. Thus, any major or chronic dysregulation of the redox balance, the air–liquid interface, or defects in epithelial proteins impairing mucociliary clearance or other defense systems may lead to airway damage. Here, we review our understanding of the key role of oxidative stress and inflammation in respiratory pathology, and extensively report current and future trends in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory treatments focusing on the following major acute and chronic lung diseases: acute lung injury/respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle
Different Sensitivity of Control and MICU1- and MICU2-Ablated Trypanosoma cruzi Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter Complex to Ruthenium-Based Inhibitors
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9316; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239316 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 442
Abstract
The mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in trypanosomatids shares biochemical characteristics with that of animals. However, the composition of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter complex (MCUC) in these parasites is quite peculiar, suggesting lineage-specific adaptations. In this work, we compared the inhibitory activity of [...] Read more.
The mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in trypanosomatids shares biochemical characteristics with that of animals. However, the composition of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter complex (MCUC) in these parasites is quite peculiar, suggesting lineage-specific adaptations. In this work, we compared the inhibitory activity of ruthenium red (RuRed) and Ru360, the most commonly used MCUC inhibitors, with that of the recently described inhibitor Ru265, on Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease. Ru265 was more potent than Ru360 and RuRed in inhibiting mitochondrial Ca2+ transport in permeabilized cells. When dose-response effects were investigated, an increase in sensitivity for Ru360 and Ru265 was observed in TcMICU1-KO and TcMICU2-KO cells as compared with control cells. In the presence of RuRed, a significant increase in sensitivity was observed only in TcMICU2-KO cells. However, application of Ru265 to intact cells did not affect growth and respiration of epimastigotes, mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in Rhod-2-labeled intact cells, or attachment to host cells and infection by trypomastigotes, suggesting a low permeability for this compound in trypanosomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondrial Calcium Signaling)
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Open AccessArticle
p53 Enhances Artemisia annua L. Polyphenols-Induced Cell Death Through Upregulation of p53-Dependent Targets and Cleavage of PARP1 and Lamin A/C in HCT116 Colorectal Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239315 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Plant-derived natural polyphenols exhibit anticancer activity without showing any noticeable toxicities to normal cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of p53 on the anticancer effect of polyphenols isolated from Korean Artemisia annua L. (pKAL) in HCT116 human colorectal [...] Read more.
Plant-derived natural polyphenols exhibit anticancer activity without showing any noticeable toxicities to normal cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of p53 on the anticancer effect of polyphenols isolated from Korean Artemisia annua L. (pKAL) in HCT116 human colorectal cancer cells. We confirmed that pKAL induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, propidium iodide (PI) uptake, nuclear structure change, and acidic vesicles in a p53-independent manner in p53-null HCT116 cells through fluorescence microscopy analysis of DCF/PI-, DAPI-, and AO-stained cells. The pKAL-induced anticancer effects were found to be significantly higher in p53-wild HCT116 cells than in p53-null by hematoxylin staining, CCK-8 assay, Western blot, and flow cytometric analysis of annexin V/PI-stained cells. In addition, expression of ectopic p53 in p53-null cells was upregulated by pKAL in both the nucleus and cytoplasm, increasing pKAL-induced cell death. Moreover, Western bot analysis revealed that pKAL-induced cell death was associated with upregulation of p53-dependent targets such as p21, Bax and DR5 and cleavage of PARP1 and lamin A/C in p53-wild HCT116 cells, but not in p53-null. Taken together, these results indicate that p53 plays an important role in enhancing the anticancer effects of pKAL by upregulating p53 downstream targets and inducing intracellular cell death processes. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Hydroa Vacciniforme and Hydroa Vacciniforme-Like Lymphoproliferative Disorder: A Spectrum of Disease Phenotypes Associated with Ultraviolet Irradiation and Chronic Epstein–Barr Virus Infection
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9314; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239314 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Hydroa vacciniforme (HV) is a rare form of photosensitivity disorder in children and is frequently associated with Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection, whereas HV-like lymphoproliferative disorders (HVLPD) describe a spectrum of EBV-associated T-cell or natural killer (NK)-cell lymphoproliferations with HV-like cutaneous manifestations, including EBV-positive [...] Read more.
Hydroa vacciniforme (HV) is a rare form of photosensitivity disorder in children and is frequently associated with Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection, whereas HV-like lymphoproliferative disorders (HVLPD) describe a spectrum of EBV-associated T-cell or natural killer (NK)-cell lymphoproliferations with HV-like cutaneous manifestations, including EBV-positive HV, atypical HV, and HV-like lymphoma. Classic HV occurs in childhood with papulovesicules on sun-exposed areas, which is usually induced by sunlight and ultraviolet irradiation, and mostly resolves by early adult life. Unlike classic HV, atypical or severe HV manifests itself as recurrent papulovesicular eruptions in sun-exposed and sun-protected areas associated occasionally with facial edema, fever, lymphadenopathy, oculomucosal lesions, gastrointestinal involvement, and hepatosplenomegaly. Notably, atypical or severe HV may progress to EBV-associated systemic T-cell or natural killer (NK)-cell lymphoma after a chronic course. Although rare in the United States and Europe, atypical or severe HV and HV-like lymphoma are predominantly reported in children from Asia and Latin America with high EBV DNA levels, low numbers of NK cells, and T cell clones in the blood. In comparison with the conservative treatment used for patients with classic HV, systemic therapy such as immunomodulatory agents is recommended as the first-line therapy for patients with atypical or severe HV. This review aims to provide an integrated overview of current evidence and knowledge of HV and HVLPD to elucidate the pathophysiology, practical issues, environmental factors, and the impact of EBV infection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization and Transcriptome Analysis of Exosomal and Nonexosomal RNAs in Bovine Adipocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9313; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239313 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 337
Abstract
Exosomes are endosome-derived extracellular vesicles that allow intercellular communication. However, the biological significance of adipocyte exosomal RNAs remains unclear. To determine the role of RNAs from bovine adipocytes and exosomes in bovine adipogenesis, exosomal and nonexosomal RNAs were extracted from three bovine primary [...] Read more.
Exosomes are endosome-derived extracellular vesicles that allow intercellular communication. However, the biological significance of adipocyte exosomal RNAs remains unclear. To determine the role of RNAs from bovine adipocytes and exosomes in bovine adipogenesis, exosomal and nonexosomal RNAs were extracted from three bovine primary white adipocyte samples and then profiles were generated using DNBSEQ/BGISEQ-500 technology. The RNAome of adipocytes consisted of 12,082 mRNAs, 8589 lncRNAs, and 378 miRNAs for a higher complexity that that detected in exosomes, with 1083 mRNAs, 105 lncRNAs, and 48 miRNAs. Exosomal miRNA-mRNA and lncRNA–miRNA–mRNA networks were constructed and enrichment analysis was performed to predict functional roles and regulatory mechanisms. Our study provides the first characterization of RNAs from bovine adipocyte and exosomes. The findings reveal that some RNAs are specifically packaged in adipocyte-derived exosomes, potentially enabling crosstalk between adipocytes and/or other cells that is mediated by exosomes. Our results greatly expand our understanding of exosomal RNAs from bovine adipocytes, and provide a reference for future functional investigations of adipocyte exosomal RNAs under normal physiological conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functions of Non-coding DNA Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
A Celecoxib Derivative Eradicates Antibiotic-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Biofilms by Targeting YidC2 Translocase
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9312; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239312 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 341
Abstract
The treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infections is impeded by the prevalence of MRSA and the formation of persisters and biofilms. Previously, we identified two celecoxib derivatives, Cpd36 and Cpd46, to eradicate MRSA and other staphylococci. Through whole-genome resequencing, we obtained several lines of [...] Read more.
The treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infections is impeded by the prevalence of MRSA and the formation of persisters and biofilms. Previously, we identified two celecoxib derivatives, Cpd36 and Cpd46, to eradicate MRSA and other staphylococci. Through whole-genome resequencing, we obtained several lines of evidence that these compounds might act by targeting the membrane protein translocase YidC2. Our data showed that ectopic expression of YidC2 in S. aureus decreased the bacterial susceptibility to Cpd36 and Cpd46, and that the YidC2-mediated tolerance to environmental stresses was suppressed by both compounds. Moreover, the membrane translocation of ATP synthase subunit c, a substrate of YidC2, was blocked by Cpd46, leading to a reduction in bacterial ATP production. Furthermore, we found that the thermal stability of bacterial YidC2 was enhanced, and introducing point mutations into the substrate-interacting cavity of YidC2 had a dramatic effect on Cpd36 binding via surface plasmon resonance assays. Finally, we demonstrated that these YidC2 inhibitors could effectively eradicate MRSA persisters and biofilms. Our findings highlight the potential of impeding YidC2-mediated translocation of membrane proteins as a new strategy for the treatment of bacterial infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Biofilms and Antibiofilm Agents)
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Open AccessReview
Methylation: An Ineluctable Biochemical and Physiological Process Essential to the Transmission of Life
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9311; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239311 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 406
Abstract
Methylation is a universal biochemical process which covalently adds methyl groups to a variety of molecular targets. It plays a critical role in two major global regulatory mechanisms, epigenetic modifications and imprinting, via methyl tagging on histones and DNA. During reproduction, the two [...] Read more.
Methylation is a universal biochemical process which covalently adds methyl groups to a variety of molecular targets. It plays a critical role in two major global regulatory mechanisms, epigenetic modifications and imprinting, via methyl tagging on histones and DNA. During reproduction, the two genomes that unite to create a new individual are complementary but not equivalent. Methylation determines the complementary regulatory characteristics of male and female genomes. DNA methylation is executed by methyltransferases that transfer a methyl group from S-adenosylmethionine, the universal methyl donor, to cytosine residues of CG (also designated CpG). Histones are methylated mainly on lysine and arginine residues. The methylation processes regulate the main steps in reproductive physiology: gametogenesis, and early and late embryo development. A focus will be made on the impact of assisted reproductive technology and on the impact of endocrine disruptors (EDCs) via generation of oxidative stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Central and Local Modulators of Reproduction and Fertility: An Update)
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Open AccessReview
The Role of β-Arrestins in Regulating Stem Cell Phenotypes in Normal and Tumorigenic Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9310; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239310 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 381
Abstract
β-Arrestins (ARRBs) are ubiquitously expressed scaffold proteins that mediate inactivation of G-protein-coupled receptor signaling, and in certain circumstances, G-protein independent pathways. Intriguingly, the two known ARRBs, β-arrestin1 (ARRB1) and β-Arrestin2 (ARRB2), seem to have opposing functions in regulating signaling cascades in several models [...] Read more.
β-Arrestins (ARRBs) are ubiquitously expressed scaffold proteins that mediate inactivation of G-protein-coupled receptor signaling, and in certain circumstances, G-protein independent pathways. Intriguingly, the two known ARRBs, β-arrestin1 (ARRB1) and β-Arrestin2 (ARRB2), seem to have opposing functions in regulating signaling cascades in several models in health and disease. Recent evidence suggests that ARRBs are implicated in regulating stem cell maintenance; however, their role, although crucial, is complex, and there is no universal model for ARRB-mediated regulation of stem cell characteristics. For the first time, this review compiles information on the function of ARRBs in stem cell biology and will discuss the role of ARRBs in regulating cell signaling pathways implicated in stem cell maintenance in normal and malignant stem cell populations. Although promising targets for cancer therapy, the ubiquitous nature of ARRBs and the plethora of functions in normal cell biology brings challenges for treatment selectivity. However, recent studies show promising evidence for specifically targeting ARRBs in myeloproliferative neoplasms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GRKs and Arrestins in Human Health and Disease)
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Open AccessReview
The Contribution of Endothelial Dysfunction in Systemic Injury Subsequent to SARS-Cov-2 Infection
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9309; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239309 - 06 Dec 2020
Viewed by 566
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) infection is associated, alongside with lung infection and respiratory disease, to cardiovascular dysfunction that occurs at any stage of the disease. This includes ischemic heart disease, arrhythmias, and cardiomyopathies. The common pathophysiological link between SARS-CoV-2 infection [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) infection is associated, alongside with lung infection and respiratory disease, to cardiovascular dysfunction that occurs at any stage of the disease. This includes ischemic heart disease, arrhythmias, and cardiomyopathies. The common pathophysiological link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and the cardiovascular events is represented by coagulation abnormalities and disruption of factors released by endothelial cells, which contribute in maintaining the blood vessels into an anti-thrombotic state. Thus, early alteration of the functionality of endothelial cells, which may be found soon after SARS-CoV-2 infection, seems to represent the major target of a SARS CoV-2 disease state and accounts for the systemic vascular dysfunction that leads to a detrimental effect in terms of hospitalization and death accompanying the disease. In particular, the molecular interaction of SARS-CoV-2 with the ACE2 receptor located in the endothelial cell surface, either at the pulmonary and systemic level, leads to early impairment of endothelial function, which, in turn, is followed by vascular inflammation and thrombosis of peripheral blood vessels. This highlights systemic hypoxia and further aggravates the vicious circle that compromises the development of the disease, leading to irreversible tissue damage and death of people with SARS CoV-2 infection. The review aims to assess some recent advances to define the crucial role of endothelial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of vascular complications accompanying SARS-CoV-2 infection. In particular, the molecular mechanisms associated with the interaction of SARS CoV-2 with the ACE2 receptor located on the endothelial cells are highlighted to support its role in compromising endothelial cell functionality. Finally, the consequences of endothelial dysfunction in enhancing pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection are assessed in order to identify early therapeutic interventions able to reduce the impact of the disease in high-risk patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endothelial Dysfunction: Pathophysiology and Molecular Mechanisms 2.0)
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Open AccessReview
New Carbapenemase Inhibitors: Clearing the Way for the β-Lactams
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9308; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239308 - 06 Dec 2020
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Carbapenem resistance is a major global health problem that seriously compromises the treatment of infections caused by nosocomial pathogens. Resistance to carbapenems mainly occurs via the production of carbapenemases, such as VIM, IMP, NDM, KPC and OXA, among others. Preclinical and clinical trials [...] Read more.
Carbapenem resistance is a major global health problem that seriously compromises the treatment of infections caused by nosocomial pathogens. Resistance to carbapenems mainly occurs via the production of carbapenemases, such as VIM, IMP, NDM, KPC and OXA, among others. Preclinical and clinical trials are currently underway to test a new generation of promising inhibitors, together with the recently approved avibactam, relebactam and vaborbactam. This review summarizes the main, most promising carbapenemase inhibitors synthesized to date, as well as their spectrum of activity and current stage of development. We particularly focus on β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor combinations that could potentially be used to treat infections caused by carbapenemase-producer pathogens of critical priority. The emergence of these new combinations represents a step forward in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, especially in regard to metallo-β-lactamases and carbapenem-hydrolysing class D β-lactamases, not currently inhibited by any clinically approved inhibitor. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Downregulation of miR-506-3p Facilitates EGFR-TKI Resistance through Induction of Sonic Hedgehog Signaling in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cell Lines
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9307; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239307 - 06 Dec 2020
Viewed by 794
Abstract
Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation eventually develop resistance to EGFR-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Treatment resistance remains the primary obstacle to the successful treatment of NSCLC. Although drug resistance mechanisms have been studied extensively in NSCLC, [...] Read more.
Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation eventually develop resistance to EGFR-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Treatment resistance remains the primary obstacle to the successful treatment of NSCLC. Although drug resistance mechanisms have been studied extensively in NSCLC, the regulation of these mechanisms has not been completely understood. Recently, increasing numbers of microRNAs (miRNAs) are implicated in EGFR-TKI resistance, indicating that miRNAs may serve as novel targets and may hold promise as predictive biomarkers for anti-EGFR therapy. MicroRNA-506 (miR-506) has been identified as a tumor suppressor in many cancers, including lung cancer; however, the role of miR-506 in lung cancer chemoresistance has not yet been addressed. Here we report that miR-506-3p expression was markedly reduced in erlotinib-resistant (ER) cells. We identified Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) as a novel target of miR-506-3p, aberrantly activated in ER cells. The ectopic overexpression of miR-506-3p in ER cells downregulates SHH signaling, increases E-cadherin expression, and inhibits the expression of vimentin, thus counteracting the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT)-mediated chemoresistance. Our results advanced our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying EGFR-TKI resistance and indicated that the miR-506/SHH axis might represent a novel therapeutic target for future EGFR mutated lung cancer treatment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cyclodextrin-Based Nanostructure Efficiently Delivers siRNA to Glioblastoma Cells Preferentially via Macropinocytosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9306; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239306 - 06 Dec 2020
Viewed by 352
Abstract
Small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) has the potential to revolutionize therapeutics since it can knockdown very efficiently the target protein. It is starting to be widely used to interfere with cell infection by HIV. However, naked siRNAs are unable to get into the [...] Read more.
Small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) has the potential to revolutionize therapeutics since it can knockdown very efficiently the target protein. It is starting to be widely used to interfere with cell infection by HIV. However, naked siRNAs are unable to get into the cell, requiring the use of carriers to protect them from degradation and transporting them across the cell membrane. There is no information about which is the most efficient endocytosis route for high siRNA transfection efficiency. One of the most promising carriers to efficiently deliver siRNA are cyclodextrin derivatives. We have used nanocomplexes composed of siRNA and a β-cyclodextrin derivative, AMC6, with a very high transfection efficiency to selectively knockdown clathrin heavy chain, caveolin 1, and p21 Activated Kinase 1 to specifically block clathrin-mediated, caveolin-mediated and macropinocytosis endocytic pathways. The main objective was to identify whether there is a preferential endocytic pathway associated with high siRNA transfection efficiency. We have found that macropinocytosis is the preferential entry pathway for the nanoparticle and its associated siRNA cargo. However, blockade of macropinocytosis does not affect AMC6-mediated transfection efficiency, suggesting that macropinocytosis blockade can be functionally compensated by an increase in clathrin- and caveolin-mediated endocytosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV))
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Open AccessArticle
Dihydrotanshinone, a Natural Diterpenoid, Preserves Blood-Retinal Barrier Integrity via P2X7 Receptor
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239305 - 06 Dec 2020
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Activation of P2X7 signaling, due to high glucose levels, leads to blood retinal barrier (BRB) breakdown, which is a hallmark of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Furthermore, several studies report that high glucose (HG) conditions and the related activation of the P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) lead [...] Read more.
Activation of P2X7 signaling, due to high glucose levels, leads to blood retinal barrier (BRB) breakdown, which is a hallmark of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Furthermore, several studies report that high glucose (HG) conditions and the related activation of the P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) lead to the over-expression of pro-inflammatory markers. In order to identify novel P2X7R antagonists, we carried out virtual screening on a focused compound dataset, including indole derivatives and natural compounds such as caffeic acid phenethyl ester derivatives, flavonoids, and diterpenoids. Molecular Mechanics/Generalized Born Surface Area (MM/GBSA) rescoring and structural fingerprint clustering of docking poses from virtual screening highlighted that the diterpenoid dihydrotanshinone (DHTS) clustered with the well-known P2X7R antagonist JNJ47965567. A human-based in vitro BRB model made of retinal pericytes, astrocytes, and endothelial cells was used to assess the potential protective effect of DHTS against HG and 2′(3′)-O-(4-Benzoylbenzoyl)adenosine-5′-triphosphate (BzATP), a P2X7R agonist, insult. We found that HG/BzATP exposure generated BRB breakdown by enhancing barrier permeability (trans-endothelial electrical resistance (TEER)) and reducing the levels of ZO-1 and VE-cadherin junction proteins as well as of the Cx-43 mRNA expression levels. Furthermore, HG levels and P2X7R agonist treatment led to increased expression of pro-inflammatory mediators (TLR-4, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-8) and other molecular markers (P2X7R, VEGF-A, and ICAM-1), along with enhanced production of reactive oxygen species. Treatment with DHTS preserved the BRB integrity from HG/BzATP damage. The protective effects of DHTS were also compared to the validated P2X7R antagonist, JNJ47965567. In conclusion, we provided new findings pointing out the therapeutic potential of DHTS, which is an inhibitor of P2X7R, in terms of preventing and/or counteracting the BRB dysfunctions elicited by HG conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards an Understanding of Retinal Diseases and Novel Treatment)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Geomagnetic Shielding Enhances Radiation Resistance by Promoting DNA Repair Process in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9304; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239304 - 06 Dec 2020
Viewed by 425
Abstract
With the advent of long-duration space explorations, ionizing radiation (IR) may pose a constant threat to astronauts without the protection of Earth’s magnetic field, or hypomagnetic field (HMF). However, the potential biological effects of a HMF on the cellular response to IR have [...] Read more.
With the advent of long-duration space explorations, ionizing radiation (IR) may pose a constant threat to astronauts without the protection of Earth’s magnetic field, or hypomagnetic field (HMF). However, the potential biological effects of a HMF on the cellular response to IR have not been well characterized so far. In this study, immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells were exposed to X-rays under either a geomagnetic field (GMF, ~50 uT) or HMF (<50 nT) culture condition. A significant increase of the cell survival rate in HMF after radiation was observed by colony formation analysis. The kinetics of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), determined by γH2AX foci formation and disappearance, presented a faster decrease of foci-positive cells and a significantly lower mean number of γH2AX foci per nucleus in HMF-cultured cells than in GMF-cultured cells after radiation. In addition, a γH2AX/53BP1 colocalization assay showed an upregulated DSB recovery rate in HMF cultured cells. These findings provided the first evidence that HMF exposure may enhance the cellular DSB repair efficiency upon radiation, and consequently modulate the genotoxic effects of IR. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Radiation Toxicity in Cells)
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