Next Issue
Volume 21, February-2
Previous Issue
Volume 21, January-2
ijms-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Table of Contents

Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 21, Issue 3 (February-1 2020) – 487 articles

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Cover Story (view full-size image) RTB lectin is a non-toxic carbohydrate-binding subunit B of ricin toxin with a high affinity for [...] Read more.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessArticle
An Arabidopsis Mutant Over-Expressing Subtilase SBT4.13 Uncovers the Role of Oxidative Stress in the Inhibition of Growth by Intracellular Acidification
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031173 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 347
Abstract
Intracellular acid stress inhibits plant growth by unknown mechanisms and it occurs in acidic soils and as consequence of other stresses. In order to identify mechanisms of acid toxicity, we screened activation-tagging lines of Arabidopsis thaliana for tolerance to intracellular acidification induced by [...] Read more.
Intracellular acid stress inhibits plant growth by unknown mechanisms and it occurs in acidic soils and as consequence of other stresses. In order to identify mechanisms of acid toxicity, we screened activation-tagging lines of Arabidopsis thaliana for tolerance to intracellular acidification induced by organic acids. A dominant mutant, sbt4.13-1D, was isolated twice and shown to over-express subtilase SBT4.13, a protease secreted into endoplasmic reticulum. Activity measurements and immuno-detection indicate that the mutant contains less plasma membrane H+-ATPase (PMA) than wild type, explaining the small size, electrical depolarization and decreased cytosolic pH of the mutant but not organic acid tolerance. Addition of acetic acid to wild-type plantlets induces production of ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) measured by dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate. Acid-induced ROS production is greatly decreased in sbt4.13-1D and atrboh-D,F mutants. The latter is deficient in two major NADPH oxidases (NOXs) and is tolerant to organic acids. These results suggest that intracellular acidification activates NOXs and the resulting oxidative stress is important for inhibition of growth. The inhibition of acid-activated NOXs in the sbt4.13-1D mutant compensates inhibition of PMA to increase acid tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ROS and Abiotic Stress in Plants)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Transposon Insertion Mutagenesis in Mice for Modeling Human Cancers: Critical Insights Gained and New Opportunities
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031172 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 282
Abstract
Transposon mutagenesis has been used to model many types of human cancer in mice, leading to the discovery of novel cancer genes and insights into the mechanism of tumorigenesis. For this review, we identified over twenty types of human cancer that have been [...] Read more.
Transposon mutagenesis has been used to model many types of human cancer in mice, leading to the discovery of novel cancer genes and insights into the mechanism of tumorigenesis. For this review, we identified over twenty types of human cancer that have been modeled in the mouse using Sleeping Beauty and piggyBac transposon insertion mutagenesis. We examine several specific biological insights that have been gained and describe opportunities for continued research. Specifically, we review studies with a focus on understanding metastasis, therapy resistance, and tumor cell of origin. Additionally, we propose further uses of transposon-based models to identify rarely mutated driver genes across many cancers, understand additional mechanisms of drug resistance and metastasis, and define personalized therapies for cancer patients with obesity as a comorbidity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetically Engineered Mice to Study Cancer)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Surgical Management of Spinal Disorders in People with Mucopolysaccharidoses
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031171 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 215
Abstract
Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of inherited, multisystem, lysosomal storage disorders involving specific lysosomal enzyme deficiencies that result in the accumulation of glycosaminoglycans (GAG) secondary to insufficient degradation within cell lysosomes. GAG accumulation affects both primary bone formation and secondary bone growth, resulting [...] Read more.
Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of inherited, multisystem, lysosomal storage disorders involving specific lysosomal enzyme deficiencies that result in the accumulation of glycosaminoglycans (GAG) secondary to insufficient degradation within cell lysosomes. GAG accumulation affects both primary bone formation and secondary bone growth, resulting in growth impairment. Typical spinal manifestations in MPS are atlantoaxial instability, thoracolumbar kyphosis/scoliosis, and cervical/lumbar spinal canal stenosis. Spinal disorders and their severity depend on the MPS type and may be related to disease activity. Enzyme replacement therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has advantages regarding soft tissues; however, these therapeutic modalities are not effective for bone or cartilage and MPS-related bone deformity including the spine. Because spinal disorders show the most serious deterioration among patients with MPS, spinal surgeries are required although they are challenging and associated with high anesthesia-related risks. The aim of this review article is to provide the current comprehensive knowledge of representative spinal disease in MPS and its surgical management, including the related pathology, symptoms, and examinations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mucopolysaccharidoses: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
BDNF as a Promising Therapeutic Agent in Parkinson’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031170 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes neuroprotection and neuroregeneration. In animal models of Parkinson’s disease (PD), BDNF enhances the survival of dopaminergic neurons, improves dopaminergic neurotransmission and motor performance. Pharmacological therapies of PD are symptom-targeting, and their effectiveness decreases with the progression of the [...] Read more.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes neuroprotection and neuroregeneration. In animal models of Parkinson’s disease (PD), BDNF enhances the survival of dopaminergic neurons, improves dopaminergic neurotransmission and motor performance. Pharmacological therapies of PD are symptom-targeting, and their effectiveness decreases with the progression of the disease; therefore, new therapeutical approaches are needed. Since, in both PD patients and animal PD models, decreased level of BDNF was found in the nigrostriatal pathway, it has been hypothesized that BDNF may serve as a therapeutic agent. Direct delivery of exogenous BDNF into the patient’s brain did not relieve the symptoms of disease, nor did attempts to enhance BDNF expression with gene therapy. Physical training was neuroprotective in animal models of PD. This effect is mediated, at least partly, by BDNF. Animal studies revealed that physical activity increases BDNF and tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) expression, leading to inhibition of neurodegeneration through induction of transcription factors and expression of genes related to neuronal proliferation, survival, and inflammatory response. This review focuses on the evidence that increasing BDNF level due to gene modulation or physical exercise has a neuroprotective effect and could be considered as adjunctive therapy in PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor 2019)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
High Dosage Lithium Treatment Induces DNA Damage and p57Kip2 Decrease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031169 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 267
Abstract
Lithium salt is the first-line therapeutic option for bipolar disorder and has been proposed as a potential antitumoral drug. The effects of LiCl treatment were investigated in SH-SY5Y, a human neuroblastoma cell line and an in vitro model of dopaminergic neuronal differentiation. LiCl, [...] Read more.
Lithium salt is the first-line therapeutic option for bipolar disorder and has been proposed as a potential antitumoral drug. The effects of LiCl treatment were investigated in SH-SY5Y, a human neuroblastoma cell line and an in vitro model of dopaminergic neuronal differentiation. LiCl, at the dosage used in psychiatric treatment, does not affect cell proliferation, while at higher doses it delays the SH-SY5Y cell division cycle and for prolonged usage reduces cell viability. Moreover, the ion treatment affects DNA integrity as demonstrated by accumulation of p53 and γH2AX (the phosphorylated form of H2AX histone), two important markers of genome damage. p57Kip2, a CIP/Kip protein, is required for proper neuronal maturation and represents a main factor of response to stress including genotoxicity. We evaluated the effect of lithium on p57Kip2 levels. Unexpectedly, we found that lithium downregulates the level of p57Kip2 in a dose-dependent manner, mainly acting at the transcriptional level. A number of different approaches, mostly based on p57Kip2 content handling, confirmed that the CKI/Kip reduction plays a key role in the DNA damage activated by lithium and suggests the unanticipated view that p57Kip2 might be involved in DNA double-strand break responses. In conclusion, our study identified novel roles for p57Kip2 in the molecular mechanism of lithium at high concentration and, more in general, in the process of DNA repair. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Feature Papers in Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Is Sleep Disruption a Cause or Consequence of Alzheimer’s Disease? Reviewing Its Possible Role as a Biomarker
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031168 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 308
Abstract
In recent years, the idea that sleep is critical for cognitive processing has gained strength. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia worldwide and presents a high prevalence of sleep disturbances. However, it is difficult to establish causal relations, since [...] Read more.
In recent years, the idea that sleep is critical for cognitive processing has gained strength. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia worldwide and presents a high prevalence of sleep disturbances. However, it is difficult to establish causal relations, since a vicious circle emerges between different aspects of the disease. Nowadays, we know that sleep is crucial to consolidate memory and to remove the excess of beta-amyloid and hyperphosphorilated tau accumulated in AD patients’ brains. In this review, we discuss how sleep disturbances often precede in years some pathological traits, as well as cognitive decline, in AD. We describe the relevance of sleep to memory consolidation, focusing on changes in sleep patterns in AD in contrast to normal aging. We also analyze whether sleep alterations could be useful biomarkers to predict the risk of developing AD and we compile some sleep-related proposed biomarkers. The relevance of the analysis of the sleep microstructure is highlighted to detect specific oscillatory patterns that could be useful as AD biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peripheral Biomarkers in Neurodegenerative Diseases)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Angiotensin (1-7) Decreases Myostatin-Induced NF-κB Signaling and Skeletal Muscle Atrophy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031167 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 298
Abstract
Myostatin is a myokine that regulates muscle function and mass, producing muscle atrophy. Myostatin induces the degradation of myofibrillar proteins, such as myosin heavy chain or troponin. The main pathway that mediates protein degradation during muscle atrophy is the ubiquitin proteasome system, by [...] Read more.
Myostatin is a myokine that regulates muscle function and mass, producing muscle atrophy. Myostatin induces the degradation of myofibrillar proteins, such as myosin heavy chain or troponin. The main pathway that mediates protein degradation during muscle atrophy is the ubiquitin proteasome system, by increasing the expression of atrogin-1 and MuRF-1. In addition, myostatin activates the NF-κB signaling pathway. Renin–angiotensin system (RAS) also regulates muscle mass. Angiotensin (1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) has anti-atrophic properties in skeletal muscle. In this paper, we evaluated the effect of Ang-(1-7) on muscle atrophy and signaling induced by myostatin. The results show that Ang-(1-7) prevented the decrease of the myotube diameter and myofibrillar protein levels induced by myostatin. Ang-(1-7) also abolished the increase of myostatin-induced reactive oxygen species production, atrogin-1, MuRF-1, and TNF-α gene expressions and NF-κB signaling activation. Ang-(1-7) inhibited the activity mediated by myostatin through Mas receptor, as is demonstrated by the loss of all Ang-(1-7)-induced effects when the Mas receptor antagonist A779 was used. Our results show that the effects of Ang-(1-7) on the myostatin-dependent muscle atrophy and signaling are blocked by MK-2206, an inhibitor of Akt/PKB. Together, these data indicate that Ang-(1-7) inhibited muscle atrophy and signaling induced by myostatin through a mechanism dependent on Mas receptor and Akt/PKB. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Proteomics to Identify Nuclear RNA-Binding Proteins of Malat1
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031166 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 285
Abstract
The long non-coding RNA Malat1 has been implicated in several human cancers, while the mechanism of action is not completely understood. As RNAs in cells function together with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), the composition of their RBP complex can shed light on their functionality. [...] Read more.
The long non-coding RNA Malat1 has been implicated in several human cancers, while the mechanism of action is not completely understood. As RNAs in cells function together with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), the composition of their RBP complex can shed light on their functionality. We here performed quantitative interactomics of 14 non-overlapping fragments covering the full length of Malat1 to identify possible nuclear interacting proteins. Overall, we identified 35 candidates including 14 already known binders, which are able to interact with Malat1 in the nucleus. Furthermore, the use of fragments along the full-length RNA allowed us to reveal two hotspots for protein binding, one in the 5′-region and one in the 3′-region of Malat1. Our results provide confirmation on previous RNA-protein interaction studies and suggest new candidates for functional investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNA-Binding Proteins in Human Diseases—from Mechanisms to Therapies)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Overexpression of Tamarix hispida ThTrx5 Confers Salt Tolerance to Arabidopsis by Activating Stress Response Signals
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031165 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 266
Abstract
Salt stress inhibits normal plant growth and development by disrupting cellular water absorption and metabolism. Therefore, understanding plant salt tolerance mechanisms should provide a theoretical basis for developing salt-resistant varieties. Here, we cloned ThTrx5 from Tamarix hispida, a salt-resistant woody shrub, and [...] Read more.
Salt stress inhibits normal plant growth and development by disrupting cellular water absorption and metabolism. Therefore, understanding plant salt tolerance mechanisms should provide a theoretical basis for developing salt-resistant varieties. Here, we cloned ThTrx5 from Tamarix hispida, a salt-resistant woody shrub, and generated ThTrx5-overexpressing transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana lines. Under NaCl stress, the germination rate of overexpressing ThTrx5 lines was significantly increased relative to that of the nontransgenic line; under salt stress, superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione levels and root length and fresh weight values of transgenic ThTrx5 plants were significantly greater than corresponding values for wild-type plants. Moreover, with regard to the transcriptome, comparison of differential gene expression of transgenic versus nontransgenic lines at 0 h and 3 h of salt stress exposure revealed 500 and 194 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), respectively, that were mainly functionally linked to catalytic activity and binding process. Pull-down experiments showed that ThTrx bound 2-Cys peroxiredoxin BAS1-like protein that influences stress response-associated redox, hormone signal transduction, and transcription factor functions. Therefore, this work provides important insights into ThTrx5 mechanisms that promote salt tolerance in plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditorial
Kidney Inflammation, Injury and Regeneration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031164 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 194
Abstract
Damage to kidney cells can occur due to a variety of ischemic and toxic insults and leads to inflammation and cell death, which can result in acute kidney injury (AKI) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kidney Inflammation, Injury and Regeneration)
Open AccessReview
Extracellular Vesicles Mediated Early Embryo–Maternal Interactions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031163 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 277
Abstract
Embryo–maternal crosstalk is an important event that involves many biological processes, which must occur perfectly for pregnancy success. This complex communication starts from the zygote stage within the oviduct and continues in the uterus up to the end of pregnancy. Small extracellular vesicles [...] Read more.
Embryo–maternal crosstalk is an important event that involves many biological processes, which must occur perfectly for pregnancy success. This complex communication starts from the zygote stage within the oviduct and continues in the uterus up to the end of pregnancy. Small extracellular vesicles (EVs) are part of this communication and carry bioactive molecules such as proteins, lipids, mRNA, and miRNA. Small EVs are present in the oviductal and uterine fluid and have important functions during fertilization and early embryonic development. Embryonic cells are able to uptake oviductal and endometrium-derived small EVs. Conversely, embryo-derived EVs might modulate oviductal and uterine function. In this review, our aim is to demonstrate the role of extracellular vesicles modulating embryo–maternal interactions during early pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embryo-Maternal Interactions Underlying Reproduction in Mammals)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Speckle Tracking Echocardiography: New Ways of Translational Approaches in Preeclampsia to Detect Cardiovascular Dysfunction
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031162 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 261
Abstract
Several studies have shown that women with a preeclamptic pregnancy exhibit an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. Animal models are essential to investigate the causes of this increased risk and have the ability to assess possible [...] Read more.
Several studies have shown that women with a preeclamptic pregnancy exhibit an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. Animal models are essential to investigate the causes of this increased risk and have the ability to assess possible preventive and therapeutic interventions. Using the latest technologies such as speckle tracking echocardiography (STE), it is feasible to map subclinical changes in cardiac diastolic and systolic function as well as structural changes of the maternal heart. The aim of this work is to compare cardiovascular changes in an established transgenic rat model with preeclampsia-like pregnancies with findings from human preeclamptic pregnancies by STE. The same algorithms were used to evaluate and compare the changes in echoes of human and rodents. Parameters of functionality such as global longitudinal strain (animal −23.54 ± 1.82% vs. −13.79 ± 0.57%, human −20.60 ± 0.47% vs. −15.45 ± 1.55%) as well as indications of morphological changes such as relative wall thickness (animal 0.20 ± 0.01 vs. 0.25 ± 0.01, human 0.34 ± 0.01 vs. 0.40 ± 0.02) are significantly altered in both species after preeclamptic pregnancies. Thus, the described rat model simulates the human situation quite well and is a valuable tool for future investigations regarding cardiovascular changes. STE is a unique technique that can be applied in animal models and humans with a high potential to uncover cardiovascular maladaptation and subtle pathologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Preeclampsia)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
High-Cholesterol Diet Decreases the Level of Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Bisphosphate by Enhancing the Expression of Phospholipase C (PLCβ1) in Rat Brain
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031161 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 251
Abstract
Cholesterol is a critical component of eukaryotic membranes, where it contributes to regulating transmembrane signaling, cell–cell interaction, and ion transport. Dysregulation of cholesterol levels in the brain may induce neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, and Huntington disease. We previously reported [...] Read more.
Cholesterol is a critical component of eukaryotic membranes, where it contributes to regulating transmembrane signaling, cell–cell interaction, and ion transport. Dysregulation of cholesterol levels in the brain may induce neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, and Huntington disease. We previously reported that augmenting membrane cholesterol level regulates ion channels by decreasing the level of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2), which is closely related to β-amyloid (Aβ) production. In addition, cholesterol enrichment decreased PIP2 levels by increasing the expression of the β1 isoform of phospholipase C (PLC) in cultured cells. In this study, we examined the effect of a high-cholesterol diet on phospholipase C (PLCβ1) expression and PIP2 levels in rat brain. PIP2 levels were decreased in the cerebral cortex in rats on a high-cholesterol diet. Levels of PLCβ1 expression correlated with PIP2 levels. However, cholesterol and PIP2 levels were not correlated, suggesting that PIP2 level is regulated by cholesterol via PLCβ1 expression in the brain. Thus, there exists cross talk between cholesterol and PIP2 that could contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Role of Lipids in Metabolism and Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Volatile Organic Compounds from Orchids: From Synthesis and Function to Gene Regulation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031160 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 224
Abstract
Orchids are one of the most significant plants that have ecologically adapted to every habitat on earth. Orchids show a high level of variation in their floral morphologies, which makes them popular as ornamental plants in the global market. Floral scent and color [...] Read more.
Orchids are one of the most significant plants that have ecologically adapted to every habitat on earth. Orchids show a high level of variation in their floral morphologies, which makes them popular as ornamental plants in the global market. Floral scent and color are key traits for many floricultural crops. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play vital roles in pollinator attraction, defense, and interaction with the environment. Recent progress in omics technology has led to the isolation of genes encoding candidate enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis and regulatory circuits of plant VOCs. Uncovering the biosynthetic pathways and regulatory mechanisms underlying the production of floral scents is necessary not only for a better understanding of the function of relevant genes but also for the generation of new cultivars with desirable traits through molecular breeding approaches. However, little is known about the pathways responsible for floral scents in orchids because of their long life cycle as well as the complex and large genome; only partial terpenoid pathways have been reported in orchids. Here, we review the biosynthesis and regulation of floral volatile compounds in orchids. In particular, we focused on the genes responsible for volatile compounds in various tissues and developmental stages in Cymbidium orchids. We also described the emission of orchid floral volatiles and their function in pollination ecology. Taken together, this review will provide a broad scope for the study of orchid floral scents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Orchid Biochemistry)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Surgical Wound Fluids from Patients with Breast Cancer Reveal Similarities in the Biological Response Induced by Intraoperative Radiation Therapy and the Radiation-Induced Bystander Effect—Transcriptomic Approach
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031159 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 212
Abstract
In patients with breast cancer who undergo breast-conserving surgery (BCS), more than 90% of local recurrences occur in the same quadrant as the primary cancer. Surgical wound fluids (SWF) are believed to play a role in this process by inducing an inflammatory process [...] Read more.
In patients with breast cancer who undergo breast-conserving surgery (BCS), more than 90% of local recurrences occur in the same quadrant as the primary cancer. Surgical wound fluids (SWF) are believed to play a role in this process by inducing an inflammatory process in the scar tissue area. Despite strong clinical data demonstrating the benefits of intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT), the biological basis underlying this process remains poorly understood. Ionizing radiation (IR) directly affects cells by damaging DNA, thereby altering the cell phenotype. IR directly affects cancer cells and also influences unirradiated cells located nearby, a phenomenon known as the radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), significantly modifying the tumor microenvironment. We hypothesized that SWF obtained from patients after BCS and IORT would induce a radiobiological response (due to RIBE) in unirradiated cells, thereby modifying their phenotype. To confirm this hypothesis, breast cancer cells were incubated with SWF collected from patients after BCS: (1) without IORT (wound fluid (WF) group), (2) with IORT (radiotherapy wound fluid (RT-WF) group), and (3) WF with conditioned medium from irradiated cells (WF+RIBE group) and then subjected to microarray analysis. We performed gene set enrichment analysis to determine the biological processes present in these cells. This analysis showed that the RT-WF and WF+RIBE groups shared common biological processes, including the enhancement of processes involved in cell-cycle regulation, DNA repair, and oxidative phosphorylation. The WF group was characterized by overrepresentation of pathways involved in the INF-α and INF-γ response, inflammatory response, and the IL6 JAK/STAT3 signaling pathway. These findings show that MDA-MB-468 cells stimulated with surgical wound fluids obtained from patients who underwent BCS plus IORT and from cells stimulated with SWF plus RIBE share common biological processes. This confirms the role of the radiation-induced bystander effect in altering the biological properties of wound fluids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wound Repair and Regeneration 2.0)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
miR-128a Acts as a Regulator in Cardiac Development by Modulating Differentiation of Cardiac Progenitor Cell Populations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031158 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 379
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRs) appear to be major, yet poorly understood players in regulatory networks guiding cardiogenesis. We sought to identify miRs with unknown functions during cardiogenesis analyzing the miR-profile of multipotent Nkx2.5 enhancer cardiac progenitor cells (NkxCE-CPCs). Besides well-known candidates such as miR-1, we [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRs) appear to be major, yet poorly understood players in regulatory networks guiding cardiogenesis. We sought to identify miRs with unknown functions during cardiogenesis analyzing the miR-profile of multipotent Nkx2.5 enhancer cardiac progenitor cells (NkxCE-CPCs). Besides well-known candidates such as miR-1, we found about 40 miRs that were highly enriched in NkxCE-CPCs, four of which were chosen for further analysis. Knockdown in zebrafish revealed that only miR-128a affected cardiac development and function robustly. For a detailed analysis, loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments were performed during in vitro differentiations of transgenic murine pluripotent stem cells. MiR-128a knockdown (1) increased Isl1, Sfrp5, and Hcn4 (cardiac transcription factors) but reduced Irx4 at the onset of cardiogenesis, (2) upregulated Isl1-positive CPCs, whereas NkxCE-positive CPCs were downregulated, and (3) increased the expression of the ventricular cardiomyocyte marker Myl2 accompanied by a reduced beating frequency of early cardiomyocytes. Overexpression of miR-128a (4) diminished the expression of Isl1, Sfrp5, Nkx2.5, and Mef2c, but increased Irx4, (5) enhanced NkxCE-positive CPCs, and (6) favored nodal-like cardiomyocytes (Tnnt2+, Myh6+, Shox2+) accompanied by increased beating frequencies. In summary, we demonstrated that miR-128a plays a so-far unknown role in early heart development by affecting the timing of CPC differentiation into various cardiomyocyte subtypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessReview
Aristolochic Acid-Induced Nephrotoxicity: Molecular Mechanisms and Potential Protective Approaches
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031157 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 254
Abstract
Aristolochic acid (AA) is a generic term that describes a group of structurally related compounds found in the Aristolochiaceae plants family. These plants have been used for decades to treat various diseases. However, the consumption of products derived from plants containing AA has [...] Read more.
Aristolochic acid (AA) is a generic term that describes a group of structurally related compounds found in the Aristolochiaceae plants family. These plants have been used for decades to treat various diseases. However, the consumption of products derived from plants containing AA has been associated with the development of nephropathy and carcinoma, mainly the upper urothelial carcinoma (UUC). AA has been identified as the causative agent of these pathologies. Several studies on mechanisms of action of AA nephrotoxicity have been conducted, but the comprehensive mechanisms of AA-induced nephrotoxicity and carcinogenesis have not yet fully been elucidated, and therapeutic measures are therefore limited. This review aimed to summarize the molecular mechanisms underlying AA-induced nephrotoxicity with an emphasis on its enzymatic bioactivation, and to discuss some agents and their modes of action to reduce AA nephrotoxicity. By addressing these two aspects, including mechanisms of action of AA nephrotoxicity and protective approaches against the latter, and especially by covering the whole range of these protective agents, this review provides an overview on AA nephrotoxicity. It also reports new knowledge on mechanisms of AA-mediated nephrotoxicity recently published in the literature and provides suggestions for future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Toxicology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Genetic Base of Behavioral Disorders in Mucopolysaccharidoses: Transcriptomic Studies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031156 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 190
Abstract
Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of inherited metabolic diseases caused by mutations leading to defective degradation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and their accumulation in cells. Among 11 known types and subtypes of MPS, neuronopathy occurs in seven (MPS I, II, IIIA, IIIB, IIIC, IIID, [...] Read more.
Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of inherited metabolic diseases caused by mutations leading to defective degradation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and their accumulation in cells. Among 11 known types and subtypes of MPS, neuronopathy occurs in seven (MPS I, II, IIIA, IIIB, IIIC, IIID, VII). Brain dysfunctions, occurring in these seven types/subtypes include various behavioral disorders. Intriguingly, behavioral symptoms are significantly different between patients suffering from various MPS types. Molecular base of such differences remains unknown. Here, we asked if expression of genes considered as connected to behavior (based on Gene Ontology, GO terms) is changed in MPS. Using cell lines of all MPS types, we have performed transcriptomic (RNA-seq) studies and assessed expression of genes involved in behavior. We found significant differences between MPS types in this regard, with the most severe changes in MPS IIIA (the type considered as the behaviorally most severely affected), while the lowest changes in MPS IVA and MPS VI (types in which little or no behavioral disorders are known). Intriguingly, relatively severe changes were found also in MPS IVB (in which, despite no behavioral disorder noted, the same gene is mutated as in GM1 gangliosidosis, a severe neurodegenerative disease) and MPS IX (in which only a few patients were described to date, thus, behavioral problems are not well recognized). More detailed analyses of expression of certain genes allowed us to propose an association of specific changes in the levels of transcripts in specific MPS types to certain behavioral disorders observed in patients. Therefore, this work provides a principle for further studies on the molecular mechanism of behavioral changes occurring in MPS patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mucopolysaccharidoses: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Dynamic Transcriptome Analysis of Anther Response to Heat Stress during Anthesis in Thermotolerant Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031155 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 311
Abstract
High temperature at anthesis is one of the most serious stress factors for rice (Oryza sativa L.) production, causing irreversible yield losses and reduces grain quality. Illustration of thermotolerance mechanism is of great importance to accelerate rice breeding aimed at thermotolerance improvement. [...] Read more.
High temperature at anthesis is one of the most serious stress factors for rice (Oryza sativa L.) production, causing irreversible yield losses and reduces grain quality. Illustration of thermotolerance mechanism is of great importance to accelerate rice breeding aimed at thermotolerance improvement. Here, we identified a new thermotolerant germplasm, SDWG005. Microscopical analysis found that stable anther structure of SDWG005 under stress may contribute to its thermotolerance. Dynamic transcriptomic analysis totally identified 3559 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in SDWG005 anthers at anthesis under heat treatments, including 477, 869, 2335, and 2210 for 1, 2, 6, and 12 h, respectively; however, only 131 were regulated across all four-time-points. The DEGs were divided into nine clusters according to their expressions in these heat treatments. Further analysis indicated that some main gene categories involved in heat-response of SDWG005 anthers, such as transcription factors, nucleic acid and protein metabolisms related genes, etc. Comparison with previous studies indicates that a core gene-set may exist for thermotolerance mechanism. Expression and polymorphic analysis of agmatine-coumarin-acyltransferase gene OsACT in different accessions suggested that it may involve in SDWG005 thermotolerance. This study improves our understanding of thermotolerance mechanisms in rice anthers during anthesis, and also lays foundation for breeding thermotolerant varieties via molecular breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Rice: Agronomically Important Traits)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Chronic Mild Stress Modified Epigenetic Mechanisms Leading to Accelerated Senescence and Impaired Cognitive Performance in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031154 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 341
Abstract
Cognitive and behavioural disturbances are a growing public healthcare issue for the modern society, as stressful lifestyle is becoming more and more common. Besides, several pieces of evidence state that environment is crucial in the development of several diseases as well as compromising [...] Read more.
Cognitive and behavioural disturbances are a growing public healthcare issue for the modern society, as stressful lifestyle is becoming more and more common. Besides, several pieces of evidence state that environment is crucial in the development of several diseases as well as compromising healthy aging. Therefore, it is important to study the effects of stress on cognition and its relationship with aging. To address these queries, Chronic Mild Stress (CMS) paradigm was used in the senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8) and resistant 1 (SAMR1). On one hand, we determined the changes produced in the three main epigenetic marks after 4 weeks of CMS treatment, such as a reduction in histone posttranslational modifications and DNA methylation, and up-regulation or down-regulation of several miRNA involved in different cellular processes in mice. In addition, CMS treatment induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) damage accumulation and loss of antioxidant defence mechanisms, as well as inflammatory signalling activation through NF-κB pathway and astrogliosis markers, like Gfap. Remarkably, CMS altered mTORC1 signalling in both strains, decreasing autophagy only in SAMR1 mice. We found a decrease in glycogen synthase kinase 3 β (GSK-3β) inactivation, hyperphosphorylation of Tau and an increase in sAPPβ protein levels in mice under CMS. Moreover, reduction in the non-amyloidogenic secretase ADAM10 protein levels was found in SAMR1 CMS group. Consequently, detrimental effects on behaviour and cognitive performance were detected in CMS treated mice, affecting mainly SAMR1 mice, promoting a turning to SAMP8 phenotype. In conclusion, CMS is a feasible intervention to understand the influence of stress on epigenetic mechanisms underlying cognition and accelerating senescence. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessReview
Understanding the Role of the Transcription Factor Sp1 in Ovarian Cancer: from Theory to Practice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031153 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Ovarian cancer (OC) is one of the deadliest cancers among women contributing to high risk of mortality, mainly owing to delayed detection. There is no specific biomarker for its detection in early stages. However, recent findings show that over-expression of specificity protein 1 [...] Read more.
Ovarian cancer (OC) is one of the deadliest cancers among women contributing to high risk of mortality, mainly owing to delayed detection. There is no specific biomarker for its detection in early stages. However, recent findings show that over-expression of specificity protein 1 (Sp1) is involved in many OC cases. The ubiquitous transcription of Sp1 apparently mediates the maintenance of normal and cancerous biological processes such as cell growth, differentiation, angiogenesis, apoptosis, cellular reprogramming and tumorigenesis. Sp1 exerts its effects on cellular genes containing putative GC–rich Sp1–binding site in their promoters. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying Sp1 transcription factor (TF) regulation and functions in OC tumorigenesis could help identify novel prognostic markers, to target cancer stem cells (CSCs) by following cellular reprogramming and enable the development of novel therapies for future generations. In this review, we address the structure, function, and biology of Sp1 in normal and cancer cells, underpinning the involvement of Sp1 in OC tumorigenesis. In addition, we have highlighted the influence of Sp1 TF in cellular reprogramming of iPSCs and how it plays a role in controlling CSCs. This review highlights the drugs targeting Sp1 and their action on cancer cells. In conclusion, we predict that research in this direction will be highly beneficial for OC treatment, and chemotherapeutic drugs targeting Sp1 will emerge as a promising therapy for OC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Cell Reprogramming)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Testosterone Promotes the Proliferation of Chicken Embryonic Myoblasts Via Androgen Receptor Mediated PI3K/Akt Signaling Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031152 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 334
Abstract
Testosterone (T) is essential for muscle fiber formation and growth. However, the specific mechanism by which T regulates skeletal muscle development in chicken embryos remains unclear. In this study, the role of T in myoblast proliferation both in vivo and in vitro was [...] Read more.
Testosterone (T) is essential for muscle fiber formation and growth. However, the specific mechanism by which T regulates skeletal muscle development in chicken embryos remains unclear. In this study, the role of T in myoblast proliferation both in vivo and in vitro was investigated. Results showed that the T administration significantly increased the ratio of breast muscle and leg muscle. T induced a significant increase in the cross-sectional area (CSA) and density of myofiber and the ratio of PAX7-positive cells in the skeletal muscle. Exogenous T also induced the upregulation of myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK2)/Cyclin D1 (CCND1) and protein levels of androgen receptor (AR), p-Akt and PAX7. Furthermore, T treatment significantly promoted myoblasts cultured in vitro entering a new cell cycle and increased PAX7-positive cells. The mRNA and protein expression of AR and PAX7 were upregulated when treated with T compared to that of the control. The addition of T induced proliferation accompanied by increasing AR level as well as PI3K (Phosphoinositide 3-kinase)/Akt activation. However, T-induced proliferation was attenuated by AR, PI3K, and Akt-specific inhibitors. These data indicated that the pro-proliferative effect of T was regulated though AR in response to the activation of PI3K/Akt signalling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Expanding Role of Ubiquitin in Translational Control
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031151 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 515
Abstract
The eukaryotic proteome has to be precisely regulated at multiple levels of gene expression, from transcription, translation, and degradation of RNA and protein to adjust to several cellular conditions. Particularly at the translational level, regulation is controlled by a variety of RNA binding [...] Read more.
The eukaryotic proteome has to be precisely regulated at multiple levels of gene expression, from transcription, translation, and degradation of RNA and protein to adjust to several cellular conditions. Particularly at the translational level, regulation is controlled by a variety of RNA binding proteins, translation and associated factors, numerous enzymes, and by post-translational modifications (PTM). Ubiquitination, a prominent PTM discovered as the signal for protein degradation, has newly emerged as a modulator of protein synthesis by controlling several processes in translation. Advances in proteomics and cryo-electron microscopy have identified ubiquitin modifications of several ribosomal proteins and provided numerous insights on how this modification affects ribosome structure and function. The variety of pathways and functions of translation controlled by ubiquitin are determined by the various enzymes involved in ubiquitin conjugation and removal, by the ubiquitin chain type used, by the target sites of ubiquitination, and by the physiologic signals triggering its accumulation. Current research is now elucidating multiple ubiquitin-mediated mechanisms of translational control, including ribosome biogenesis, ribosome degradation, ribosome-associated protein quality control (RQC), and redox control of translation by ubiquitin (RTU). This review discusses the central role of ubiquitin in modulating the dynamism of the cellular proteome and explores the molecular aspects responsible for the expanding puzzle of ubiquitin signals and functions in translation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Control 2.0)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Genotoxic Properties of Synthetic Cannabinoids on TK6 Human Cells by Flow Cytometry
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031150 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) include several classes of substances such as synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs), an emerging alternative to marijuana, easily purchasable on internet. SCBs are more dangerous than Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol as a consequence of their stronger affinities for the CB1 and [...] Read more.
Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) include several classes of substances such as synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs), an emerging alternative to marijuana, easily purchasable on internet. SCBs are more dangerous than Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol as a consequence of their stronger affinities for the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which may result in longer duration of distinct effects, greater potency, and toxicity. The information on SCBs cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, mutagenicity, and long-term effects is scarce. This fact suggests the urgent need to increase available data and to investigate if some SCBs have an impact on the stability of genetic material. Therefore, the aim of the present study was the evaluation of the mutagenic effect of different SCBs belonging to indole- and indazole-structures. The analyzes were conducted in vitro on human TK6 cells and mutagenicity were measured as micronucleus fold increase by flow cytometry. Our results have highlighted, for the first time, the mutagenic capacity of four SCBs, in particular in terms of chromosomal damage induction. We underline the serious potential toxicity of SCBs that suggests the need to proceed with the studies of other different synthetic compounds. Moreover, we identified a method that allows a rapid but effective screening of NPS placed on the market increasingly faster. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Toxicology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Dynamic Analysis of Sphere-Like Iron Particles Based Magnetorheological Damper for Waveform-Generating Test System
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031149 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 315
Abstract
In this study, a new double pulse waveform-generating test system with an integrated magnetorheological (MR) damper is proposed. Since the total shear stress of MR fluid can be varied according to the shape of particles, sphere-like iron particles-based MR fluid is filled into [...] Read more.
In this study, a new double pulse waveform-generating test system with an integrated magnetorheological (MR) damper is proposed. Since the total shear stress of MR fluid can be varied according to the shape of particles, sphere-like iron particles-based MR fluid is filled into the MR damper. The test system consists of a velocity generator, three masses (impact, test, and dummy), a spring, and an MR damper. To tune the double pulse waveform profile, a damping force model is constructed to determine the fundamental parameters of the simulator. Then, the first and second shock waveform profiles are analyzed to solve the governing equation of motions representing the damping force and velocity. The mathematical model of the MR damper is formulated and applied to a simulator with a graphical user interface programmed using MATLAB. The effectiveness of the proposed simulator-featuring controllable MR damper is demonstrated by comparing the simulation and experimental results. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Short-Term versus Long-Term Culture of A549 Cells for Evaluating the Effects of Lipopolysaccharide on Oxidative Stress, Surfactant Proteins and Cathelicidin LL-37
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031148 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Alveolar epithelial type II (ATII) cells and their proper function are essential for maintaining lung integrity and homeostasis. However, they can be damaged by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) during Gram-negative bacterial infection. Thus, this study evaluated and compared the effects of LPS on short and [...] Read more.
Alveolar epithelial type II (ATII) cells and their proper function are essential for maintaining lung integrity and homeostasis. However, they can be damaged by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) during Gram-negative bacterial infection. Thus, this study evaluated and compared the effects of LPS on short and long-term cultures of A549 cells by determining the cell viability, levels of oxidative stress and antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin LL-37 and changes in the expression of surfactant proteins (SPs). Moreover, we compared A549 cell response to LPS in the presence of different serum concentrations. Additionally, the effect of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on LPS-induced oxidative stress as a possible treatment was determined. Our results indicate that A549 cells are relatively resistant to LPS and able to maintain integrity even at high LPS concentrations. Their response to endotoxin is partially dependent on serum concentration. NAC failed to lower LPS-induced oxidative stress in A549 cells. Finally, LPS modulates SP gene expression in A549 cells in a time dependent manner and differences between short and long-term cultures were present. Our results support the idea that long-term cultivation of A549 cells could promote a more ATII-like phenotype and thus could be a more suitable model for ATII cells, especially for in vitro studies dealing with surfactant production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Alveolar Epithelium: Mechanisms of Injury and Repair)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessReview
Stratifying Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms by Cyst Fluid Analysis: Present and Future
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031147 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 459
Abstract
A significant proportion of patients with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) undergo surgical resection in order to prevent or treat pancreatic cancer at the risk of significant perioperative morbidity. Efforts have been made to stratify the potential risk of malignancy based on the [...] Read more.
A significant proportion of patients with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) undergo surgical resection in order to prevent or treat pancreatic cancer at the risk of significant perioperative morbidity. Efforts have been made to stratify the potential risk of malignancy based on the clinical and radiographic features of IPMN to delineate which cysts warrant resection versus observation. An analysis of the cyst fluid obtained by preoperative endoscopic examination appears to be correlative of cyst type and risk, whereas serum markers and radiographic findings have not yet reached a level of sensitivity or specificity that proves they are clinically meaningful. In this review, we investigate the current cyst fluid analysis studies and present those that have shown promise in effectively stratifying high-risk versus low-risk lesions. While new cyst fluid markers continue to be identified, additional efforts in testing panels and marker composites in conjunction with clinical algorithms have also shown promise in distinguishing dysplasia and the risk of malignancy. These should be tested prospectively in order to determine their role in guiding the surveillance of low-risk lesions and to evaluate the new markers detected by proteomics and genetic sequencing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell and Molecular Biology of Pancreatic Disorders 2019)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
The Role of Connexin Channels in the Response of Mechanical Loading and Unloading of Bone
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031146 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 322
Abstract
The skeleton adapts to mechanical loading to promote bone formation and remodeling. While most bone cells are involved in mechanosensing, it is well accepted that osteocytes are the principal mechanosensory cells. The osteocyte cell body and processes are surrounded by a fluid-filled space, [...] Read more.
The skeleton adapts to mechanical loading to promote bone formation and remodeling. While most bone cells are involved in mechanosensing, it is well accepted that osteocytes are the principal mechanosensory cells. The osteocyte cell body and processes are surrounded by a fluid-filled space, forming an extensive lacuno-canalicular network. The flow of interstitial fluid is a major stress-related factor that transmits mechanical stimulation to bone cells. The long dendritic processes of osteocytes form a gap junction channel network connecting not only neighboring osteocytes, but also cells on the bone surface, such as osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Mechanosensitive osteocytes also form hemichannels that mediate the communication between the cytoplasmic and extracellular microenvironment. This paper will discuss recent research progress regarding connexin (Cx)-forming gap junctions and hemichannels in osteocytes, osteoblasts, and other bone cells, including those richly expressing Cx43. We will then cover the recent progress regarding the regulation of these channels by mechanical loading and the role of integrins and signals in mediating Cx43 channels, and bone cell function and viability. Finally, we will summarize the recent studies regarding bone responses to mechanical unloading in Cx43 transgenic mouse models. The osteocyte has been perceived as the center of bone remodeling, and connexin channels enriched in osteocytes are a likely major player in meditating the function of bone. Based on numerous studies, connexin channels may present as a potential new therapeutic target in the treatment of bone loss and osteoporosis. This review will primarily focus on Cx43, with some discussion in other connexins expressed in bone cells. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Phyllotaxis Turns Over a New Leaf—A New Hypothesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031145 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 313
Abstract
Phyllotaxis describes the periodic arrangement of plant organs most conspicuously floral. Oscillators generally underlie periodic phenomena. A hypothetical algorithm generates phyllotaxis regulated by the Hechtian growth oscillator of the stem apical meristem (SAM) protoderm. The oscillator integrates biochemical and mechanical force that regulate [...] Read more.
Phyllotaxis describes the periodic arrangement of plant organs most conspicuously floral. Oscillators generally underlie periodic phenomena. A hypothetical algorithm generates phyllotaxis regulated by the Hechtian growth oscillator of the stem apical meristem (SAM) protoderm. The oscillator integrates biochemical and mechanical force that regulate morphogenetic gradients of three ionic species, auxin, protons and Ca2+. Hechtian adhesion between cell wall and plasma membrane transduces wall stress that opens Ca2+ channels and reorients auxin efflux “PIN” proteins; they control the auxin-activated proton pump that dissociates Ca2+ bound by periplasmic arabinogalactan proteins (AGP-Ca2+) hence the source of cytosolic Ca2+ waves that activate exocytosis of wall precursors, AGPs and PIN proteins essential for morphogenesis. This novel approach identifies the critical determinants of an algorithm that generates phyllotaxis spiral and Fibonaccian symmetry: these determinants in order of their relative contribution are: (1) size of the apical meristem and the AGP-Ca2+ capacitor; (2) proton pump activity; (3) auxin efflux proteins; (4) Ca2+ channel activity; (5) Hechtian adhesion that mediates the cell wall stress vector. Arguably, AGPs and the AGP-Ca2+ capacitor plays a decisive role in phyllotaxis periodicity and its evolutionary origins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Wall Proteins and Development)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Caspase-6 Knockout in the 5xFAD Model of Alzheimer’s Disease Reveals Favorable Outcome on Memory and Neurological Hallmarks
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031144 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 371
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder and is the most common form of dementia in the elderly. Caspases, a family of cysteine proteases, are major mediators of apoptosis and inflammation. Caspase-6 is considered to be an up-stream modulator of AD pathogenesis [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder and is the most common form of dementia in the elderly. Caspases, a family of cysteine proteases, are major mediators of apoptosis and inflammation. Caspase-6 is considered to be an up-stream modulator of AD pathogenesis as active caspase-6 is abundant in neuropil threads, neuritic plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles of AD brains. In order to further elucidate the role of caspase-6 activity in the pathogenesis of AD, we produced a double transgenic mouse model, combining the 5xFAD mouse model of AD with caspase-6 knock out (C6-KO) mice. Behavioral examinations of 5xFAD/C6-KO double transgenic mice showed improved performance in spatial learning, memory, and anxiety/risk assessment behavior, as compared to 5xFAD mice. Hippocampal mRNA expression analyses showed significantly reduced levels of inflammatory mediator TNF-α, while the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was increased in 5xFAD/C6-KO mice. A significant reduction in amyloid-β plaques could be observed and immunohistochemistry analyses showed reduced levels of activated microglia and astrocytes in 5xFAD/C6-KO, compared to 5xFAD mice. Together, these results indicate a substantial role for caspase-6 in the pathology of the 5xFAD model of AD and suggest further validation of caspase-6 as a potential therapeutic target for AD. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Back to TopTop