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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 22, Issue 3 (February-1 2021) – 521 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Brain tissue partial oxygen pressure (PbtO2) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) neuromonitoring are frequently compared in the management of acute moderate and severe traumatic brain injury patients. However, the relationship between their respective output parameters flows from the complex pathogenesis of tissue respiration after brain trauma; the nature of these abnormalities makes PbtO2 insufficient to encapsulate alone and in full all aspects of the evolving pathophysiology. Thus, attempts to determine the applicability of NIRS as a valid neuromonitoring tool based solely on comparisons with PbtO2 neuromonitoring are conceivably sub-optimal. A different approach, based on the development of biosignatures from multimodal monitoring that includes NIRS, should be employed. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Therapeutic Potential of Regorafenib—A Multikinase Inhibitor in Pulmonary Hypertension
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1502; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031502 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 523
Abstract
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by a progressive elevation of mean arterial pressure followed by right ventricular failure and death. Previous studies have indicated that numerous inhibitors of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling could be either beneficial or detrimental for the treatment of PH. [...] Read more.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by a progressive elevation of mean arterial pressure followed by right ventricular failure and death. Previous studies have indicated that numerous inhibitors of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling could be either beneficial or detrimental for the treatment of PH. Here we investigated the therapeutic potential of the multi-kinase inhibitor regorafenib (BAY 73-4506) for the treatment of PH. A peptide-based kinase activity assay was performed using the PamStation®12 platform. The 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine proliferation and transwell migration assays were utilized in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Regorafenib was administered to monocrotaline- and hypoxia-induced PH in rats and mice, respectively. Functional parameters were analyzed by hemodynamic and echocardiographic measurements. The kinase activity assay revealed upregulation of twenty-nine kinases in PASMCs from patients with idiopathic PAH (IPAH), of which fifteen were established as potential targets of regorafenib. Regorafenib showed strong anti-proliferative and anti-migratory effects in IPAH-PASMCs compared to the control PASMCs. Both experimental models indicated improved cardiac function and reduced pulmonary vascular remodeling upon regorafenib treatment. In lungs from monocrotaline (MCT) rats, regorafenib reduced the phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2. Overall, our data indicated that regorafenib plays a beneficial role in experimental PH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Pulmonary Hypertension 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Cannabidiol on UV-Induced Changes in Intracellular Signaling of 3D-Cultured Skin Keratinocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031501 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 487
Abstract
Human epidermal keratinocytes are constantly exposed to UV radiation. As a result, there is a significant need for safe and effective compounds to protect skin cells against this environmental damage. This study aimed to analyze the effect of phytocannabinoid-cannabinoid (CBD)-on the proteome of [...] Read more.
Human epidermal keratinocytes are constantly exposed to UV radiation. As a result, there is a significant need for safe and effective compounds to protect skin cells against this environmental damage. This study aimed to analyze the effect of phytocannabinoid-cannabinoid (CBD)-on the proteome of UVA/B irradiated keratinocytes. The keratinocytes were cultured in a three-dimensional (3D) system, designed to mimic epidermal conditions closely. The obtained results indicate that CBD protected against the harmful effects of UVA/B radiation. CBD decreased the expression of proinflammatory proteins, including TNFα/NFκB and IκBKB complex and decreased the expression of proteins involved in de novo protein biosynthesis, which are increased in UVA/B-irradiated cells. Additionally, CBD enhanced the UV-induced expression of 20S proteasome subunits. CBD also protected protein structures from 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE)-binding induced by UV radiation, which primarily affects antioxidant enzymes. CBD-through its antioxidant/anti-inflammatory activity and regulation of protein biosynthesis and degradation-protects skin cells against UVA/B-induced changes. In the future, its long-term use in epidermal cells should be investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Antioxidants in Cell Signaling)
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Open AccessReview
Does C-C Motif Chemokine Ligand 2 (CCL2) Link Obesity to a Pro-Inflammatory State?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1500; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031500 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 420
Abstract
The mechanisms of how obesity contributes to the development of cardio-metabolic diseases are not entirely understood. Obesity is frequently associated with adipose tissue dysfunction, characterized by, e.g., adipocyte hypertrophy, ectopic fat accumulation, immune cell infiltration, and the altered secretion of adipokines. Factors secreted [...] Read more.
The mechanisms of how obesity contributes to the development of cardio-metabolic diseases are not entirely understood. Obesity is frequently associated with adipose tissue dysfunction, characterized by, e.g., adipocyte hypertrophy, ectopic fat accumulation, immune cell infiltration, and the altered secretion of adipokines. Factors secreted from adipose tissue may induce and/or maintain a local and systemic low-grade activation of the innate immune system. Attraction of macrophages into adipose tissue and altered crosstalk between macrophages, adipocytes, and other cells of adipose tissue are symptoms of metabolic inflammation. Among several secreted factors attracting immune cells to adipose tissue, chemotactic C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) (also described as monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1)) has been shown to play a crucial role in adipose tissue macrophage infiltration. In this review, we aimed to summarize and discuss the current knowledge on CCL2 with a focus on its role in linking obesity to cardio-metabolic diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adipokines 3.0)
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Open AccessReview
Silk Fibroin as a Functional Biomaterial for Tissue Engineering
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1499; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031499 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 543
Abstract
Tissue engineering (TE) is the approach to combine cells with scaffold materials and appropriate growth factors to regenerate or replace damaged or degenerated tissue or organs. The scaffold material as a template for tissue formation plays the most important role in TE. Among [...] Read more.
Tissue engineering (TE) is the approach to combine cells with scaffold materials and appropriate growth factors to regenerate or replace damaged or degenerated tissue or organs. The scaffold material as a template for tissue formation plays the most important role in TE. Among scaffold materials, silk fibroin (SF), a natural protein with outstanding mechanical properties, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and bioresorbability has attracted significant attention for TE applications. SF is commonly dissolved into an aqueous solution and can be easily reconstructed into different material formats, including films, mats, hydrogels, and sponges via various fabrication techniques. These include spin coating, electrospinning, freeze drying, physical, and chemical crosslinking techniques. Furthermore, to facilitate fabrication of more complex SF-based scaffolds with high precision techniques including micro-patterning and bio-printing have recently been explored. This review introduces the physicochemical and mechanical properties of SF and looks into a range of SF-based scaffolds that have been recently developed. The typical TE applications of SF-based scaffolds including bone, cartilage, ligament, tendon, skin, wound healing, and tympanic membrane, will be highlighted and discussed, followed by future prospects and challenges needing to be addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell-Biomaterial Interaction 2020)
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Open AccessReview
Mitochondrial Homeostasis Mediates Lipotoxicity in the Failing Myocardium
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1498; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031498 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Heart failure remains the most common cause of death in the industrialized world. In spite of new therapeutic interventions that are constantly being developed, it is still not possible to completely protect against heart failure development and progression. This shows how much more [...] Read more.
Heart failure remains the most common cause of death in the industrialized world. In spite of new therapeutic interventions that are constantly being developed, it is still not possible to completely protect against heart failure development and progression. This shows how much more research is necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms of this process. In this review, we give a detailed overview of the contribution of impaired mitochondrial dynamics and energy homeostasis during heart failure progression. In particular, we focus on the regulation of fatty acid metabolism and the effects of fatty acid accumulation on mitochondrial structural and functional homeostasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioenergetics, Mitochondrial Dynamics and Cardiac Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Distinct Effects of Escherichia coli,Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus Cell Wall Component-Induced Inflammation on the Iron Metabolism of THP-1 Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031497 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Macrophages are essential immune cells of the innate immune system. They participate in the development and regulation of inflammation. Macrophages play a fundamental role in fighting against bacterial infections by phagocytosis of bacteria, and they also have a specific role in immunomodulation by [...] Read more.
Macrophages are essential immune cells of the innate immune system. They participate in the development and regulation of inflammation. Macrophages play a fundamental role in fighting against bacterial infections by phagocytosis of bacteria, and they also have a specific role in immunomodulation by secreting pro-inflammatory cytokines. In bacterial infection, macrophages decrease the serum iron concentration by removing iron from the blood, acting as one of the most important regulatory cells of iron homeostasis. We examined whether the Gram-positive and Gram-negative cell wall components from various bacterial strains affect the cytokine production and iron transport, storage and utilization of THP-1 monocytes in different ways. We found that S. aureus lipoteichoic acid (LTA) was less effective in activating pro-inflammatory cytokine expression that may related to its effect on fractalkine production. LTA-treated cells increased iron uptake through divalent metal transporter-1, but did not elevate the expression of cytosolic and mitochondrial iron storage proteins, suggesting that the cells maintained iron efflux via the ferroportin iron exporter. E. coli and P. aeruginosa lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) acted similarly on THP-1 cells, but the rates of the alterations of the examined proteins were different. E. coli LPS was more effective in increasing the pro-inflammatory cytokine production, meanwhile it caused less dramatic alterations in iron metabolism. P. aeruginosa LPS-treated cells produced a smaller amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines, but caused remarkable elevation of both cytosolic and mitochondrial iron storage proteins and intracellular iron content compared to E. coli LPS. These results prove that LPS molecules from different bacterial sources alter diverse molecular mechanisms in macrophages that prepossess the outcome of the bacterial infection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Unusual Structural Features in the Adduct of Dirhodium Tetraacetate with Lysozyme
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1496; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031496 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 336
Abstract
The structures of the adducts formed upon reaction of the cytotoxic paddlewheel dirhodium complex [Rh2(μ-O2CCH3)4] with the model protein hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL) under different experimental conditions are reported. Results indicate that [Rh2 [...] Read more.
The structures of the adducts formed upon reaction of the cytotoxic paddlewheel dirhodium complex [Rh2(μ-O2CCH3)4] with the model protein hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL) under different experimental conditions are reported. Results indicate that [Rh2(μ-O2CCH3)4] extensively reacts with HEWL:it in part breaks down, at variance with what happens in reactions with other proteins. A Rh center coordinates the side chains of Arg14 and His15. Dimeric Rh–Rh units with Rh–Rh distances between 2.3 and 2.5 Å are bound to the side chains of Asp18, Asp101, Asn93, and Lys96, while a dirhodium unit with a Rh–Rh distance of 3.2–3.4 Å binds the C-terminal carboxylate and the side chain of Lys13 at the interface between two symmetry-related molecules. An additional monometallic fragment binds the side chain of Lys33. These data, which are supported by replicated structural determinations, shed light on the reactivity of dirhodium tetracarboxylates with proteins, providing useful information for the design of new Rh-containing biomaterials with an array of potential applications in the field of catalysis or of medicinal chemistry and valuable insight into the mechanism of action of these potential anticancer agents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Analysis Identifies Similarities between the Human and Murine Microglial Sensomes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1495; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031495 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 373
Abstract
One of the essential functions of microglia is to continuously sense changes in their environment and adapt to those changes. For this purpose, they use a set of genes termed the sensome. This sensome is comprised of the most abundantly expressed receptors on [...] Read more.
One of the essential functions of microglia is to continuously sense changes in their environment and adapt to those changes. For this purpose, they use a set of genes termed the sensome. This sensome is comprised of the most abundantly expressed receptors on the surface of microglia. In this study, we updated previously identified mouse microglial sensome by incorporating an additional published RNAseq dataset into the data-analysis pipeline. We also identified members of the human microglial sensome using two independent human microglia RNAseq data sources. Using both the mouse and human microglia sensomes, we identified a key set of genes conserved between the mouse and human microglial sensomes as well as some differences between the species. We found a key set of 57 genes to be conserved in both mouse and human microglial sensomes. We define these genes as the “microglia core sensome”. We then analyzed expression of genes in this core sensome in five different datasets from two neurodegenerative disease models at various stages of the diseases and found that, overall, changes in the level of expression of microglial sensome genes are specific to the disease or condition studied. Our results highlight the relevance of data generated in mice for understanding the biology of human microglia, but also stress the importance of species-specific gene sets for the investigation of diseases involving microglia. Defining this microglial specific core sensome may help identify pathological changes in microglia in humans and mouse models of human disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular, Cellular and Systemic Signature of Microglia)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Metabolome and Transcriptome Analysis Unveils Novel Pathway Involved in the Formation of Yellow Peel in Cucumber
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031494 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 377
Abstract
Yellow peel will adversely affect the appearance quality of cucumber fruit, but the metabolites and the molecular mechanism of pigment accumulation in cucumber peel remain unclear. Flavonoid metabolome and transcriptome analyses were carried out on the young peel and old peel of the [...] Read more.
Yellow peel will adversely affect the appearance quality of cucumber fruit, but the metabolites and the molecular mechanism of pigment accumulation in cucumber peel remain unclear. Flavonoid metabolome and transcriptome analyses were carried out on the young peel and old peel of the color mutant L19 and the near-isogenic line L14. The results showed that there were 165 differential flavonoid metabolites in the old peel between L14 and L19. The total content of representative flavonoid metabolites in the old peel of L14 was 95 times that of L19, and 35 times that of young peel of L14, respectively. This might explain the difference of pigment accumulation in yellow peel. Furthermore, transcriptome analysis showed that there were 3396 and 1115 differentially expressed genes in the yellow color difference group (Young L14 vs. Old L14 and Old L14 vs. Old L19), respectively. These differentially expressed genes were significantly enriched in the MAPK signaling pathway–plant, plant–pathogen interaction, flavonoid biosynthesis and cutin, suberine and wax biosynthesis pathways. By analyzing the correlation between differential metabolites and differentially expressed genes, six candidate genes related to the synthesis of glycitein, kaempferol and homoeriodictyol are potentially important. In addition, four key transcription factors that belong to R2R3-MYB, bHLH51 and WRKY23 might be the major drivers of transcriptional changes in the peel between L14 and L19. Then, the expression patterns of these important genes were confirmed by qRT-PCR. These results suggested that the biosynthesis pathway of homoeriodictyol was a novel way to affect the yellowing of cucumber peel. Together, the results of this study provide a research basis for the biosynthesis and regulation of flavonoids in cucumber peel and form a significant step towards identifying the molecular mechanism of cucumber peel yellowing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Potential Effects of Nonadherent on Adherent Human Umbilical Venous Endothelial Cells in Cell Culture
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1493; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031493 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
The adherence and shear-resistance of human umbilical venous endothelial cells (HUVEC) on polymers is determined in vitro in order to qualify cardiovascular implant materials. In these tests, variable fractions of HUVEC do not adhere to the material but remain suspended in the culture [...] Read more.
The adherence and shear-resistance of human umbilical venous endothelial cells (HUVEC) on polymers is determined in vitro in order to qualify cardiovascular implant materials. In these tests, variable fractions of HUVEC do not adhere to the material but remain suspended in the culture medium. Nonadherent HUVEC usually stop growing, rapidly lose their viability and can release mediators able to influence the growth and function of the adherent HUVEC. The aim of this study was the investigation of the time dependent behaviour of HUVEC under controlled nonadherent conditions, in order to gain insights into potential influences of these cells on their surrounding environment in particular adherent HUVEC in the context of in vitro biofunctionality assessment of cardiovascular implant materials. Data from adherent or nonadherent HUVEC growing on polystyrene-based cell adhesive tissue culture plates (TCP) or nonadhesive low attachment plates (LAP) allow to calculate the number of mediators released into the culture medium either from adherent or nonadherent cells. Thus, the source of the inflammatory mediators can be identified. For nonadherent HUVEC, a time-dependent aggregation without further proliferation was observed. The rate of apoptotic/dead HUVEC progressively increased over 90% within two days. Concomitant with distinct blebbing and loss of membrane integrity over time, augmented releases of prostacyclin (PGI2, up to 2.91 ± 0.62 fg/cell) and platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB, up to 1.46 ± 0.42 fg/cell) were detected. The study revealed that nonadherent, dying HUVEC released mediators, which can influence the surrounding microenvironment and thereby the results of in vitro biofunctionality assessment of cardiovascular implant materials. Neglecting nonadherent HUVEC bears the risk for under- or overestimation of the materials endothelialization potential, which could lead to the loss of relevant candidates or to uncertainty with regard to their suitability for cardiac applications. One approach to minimize the influence from nonadherent endothelial cells could be their removal shortly after observing initial cell adhesion. However, this would require an individual adaptation of the study design, depending on the properties of the biomaterial used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Endothelial Cell Biology)
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Open AccessReview
From Liver Cirrhosis to Cancer: The Role of Micro-RNAs in Hepatocarcinogenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1492; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031492 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 536
Abstract
In almost all cases, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) develops as the endpoint of a sequence that starts with chronic liver injury, progresses to liver cirrhosis, and finally, over years and decades, results in liver cancer. Recently, the role of non-coding RNA such as microRNA [...] Read more.
In almost all cases, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) develops as the endpoint of a sequence that starts with chronic liver injury, progresses to liver cirrhosis, and finally, over years and decades, results in liver cancer. Recently, the role of non-coding RNA such as microRNA (miRNA) has been demonstrated in the context of chronic liver diseases and HCC. Moreover, data from a phase II trial suggested a potential role of microRNAs as therapeutics in hepatitis-C-virus infection, representing a significant risk factor for development of liver cirrhosis and HCC. Despite progress in the clinical management of chronic liver diseases, pharmacological treatment options for patients with liver cirrhosis and/or advanced HCC are still limited. With their potential to regulate whole networks of genes, miRNA might be used as novel therapeutics in these patients but could also serve as biomarkers for improved patient stratification. In this review, we discuss available data on the role of miRNA in the transition from liver cirrhosis to HCC. We highlight opportunities for clinical translation and discuss open issues applicable to future developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathophysiology of Chronic Liver Disease Development)
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Open AccessArticle
N-palmitoyl-D-glucosamine, A Natural Monosaccharide-Based Glycolipid, Inhibits TLR4 and Prevents LPS-Induced Inflammation and Neuropathic Pain in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1491; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031491 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key receptors through which infectious and non-infectious challenges act with consequent activation of the inflammatory cascade that plays a critical function in various acute and chronic diseases, behaving as amplification and chronicization factors of the inflammatory response. Previous studies [...] Read more.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key receptors through which infectious and non-infectious challenges act with consequent activation of the inflammatory cascade that plays a critical function in various acute and chronic diseases, behaving as amplification and chronicization factors of the inflammatory response. Previous studies have shown that synthetic analogues of lipid A based on glucosamine with few chains of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids, bind MD-2 and inhibit TLR4 receptors. These synthetic compounds showed antagonistic activity against TLR4 activation in vitro by LPS, but little or no activity in vivo. This study aimed to show the potential use of N-palmitoyl-D-glucosamine (PGA), a bacterial molecule with structural similarity to the lipid A component of LPS, which could be useful for preventing LPS-induced tissue damage or even peripheral neuropathies. Molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations showed that PGA stably binds MD-2 with a MD-2/(PGA)3 stoichiometry. Treatment with PGA resulted in the following effects: (i) it prevented the NF-kB activation in LPS stimulated RAW264.7 cells; (ii) it decreased LPS-induced keratitis and corneal pro-inflammatory cytokines, whilst increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines; (iii) it normalized LPS-induced miR-20a-5p and miR-106a-5p upregulation and increased miR-27a-3p levels in the inflamed corneas; (iv) it decreased allodynia in peripheral neuropathy induced by oxaliplatin or formalin, but not following spared nerve injury of the sciatic nerve (SNI); (v) it prevented the formalin- or oxaliplatin-induced myelino-axonal degeneration of sciatic nerve. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We report that PGA acts as a TLR4 antagonist and this may be the basis of its potent anti-inflammatory activity. Being unique because of its potency and stability, as compared to other similar congeners, PGA can represent a tool for the optimization of new TLR4 modulating drugs directed against the cytokine storm and the chronization of inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Palmitoylethanolamide)
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Open AccessReview
Melatonin: From Pharmacokinetics to Clinical Use in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1490; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031490 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 408
Abstract
The role of melatonin has been extensively investigated in pathophysiological conditions, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Reduced melatonin secretion has been reported in ASD and led to many clinical trials using immediate-release and prolonged-release oral formulations of melatonin. However, melatonin’s effects in ASD [...] Read more.
The role of melatonin has been extensively investigated in pathophysiological conditions, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Reduced melatonin secretion has been reported in ASD and led to many clinical trials using immediate-release and prolonged-release oral formulations of melatonin. However, melatonin’s effects in ASD and the choice of formulation type require further study. Therapeutic benefits of melatonin on sleep disorders in ASD were observed, notably on sleep latency and sleep quality. Importantly, melatonin may also have a role in improving autistic behavioral impairments. The objective of this article is to review factors influencing treatment response and possible side effects following melatonin administration. It appears that the effects of exposure to exogenous melatonin are dependent on age, sex, route and time of administration, formulation type, dose, and association with several substances (such as tobacco or contraceptive pills). In addition, no major melatonin-related adverse effect was described in typical development and ASD. In conclusion, melatonin represents currently a well-validated and tolerated treatment for sleep disorders in children and adolescents with ASD. A more thorough consideration of factors influencing melatonin pharmacokinetics could illuminate the best use of melatonin in this population. Future studies are required in ASD to explore further dose-effect relationships of melatonin on sleep problems and autistic behavioral impairments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Expression Pattern of iNOS, BCL-2 and MMP-9 in the Hip Synovium Tissue of Patients with Osteoarthritis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031489 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 356
Abstract
Hip osteoarthritis (HOA) is characterized by degradation of the cartilage and synovitis. However, the pathohistological effects of synovial tissue inflammation on HOA are not clear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of iNOS, BCL-2 and MMP-9 markers in different [...] Read more.
Hip osteoarthritis (HOA) is characterized by degradation of the cartilage and synovitis. However, the pathohistological effects of synovial tissue inflammation on HOA are not clear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of iNOS, BCL-2 and MMP-9 markers in different synovial cell populations. A total of 32 patients were evaluated retrospectively. Age, sex, height, weight, body mass index were recorded and lymphocyte, fibrocytes and macrophages were analysed in tissue sections. Osteoarthritis cartilage histopathology assessment system (OARSI), Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), Krenn score, Harris Hip Score (HHS) and Kellgren–Lawrence (K-L) grading of the hip joints were performed. Total hip arthroplasty was performed on 32 patients and controls. Patients were divided into two groups according to their disease severity. The tissues were immunohistochemically analysed. K-L grade and Krenn score differ between all three groups, but also between moderate and severe OA. Synovial lining cell layer, resident cells in stroma and especially inflammatory infiltration were increasing with severity of OA. iNOS expression in both intima and subintima was positively correlated with Krenn score in moderate and severe osteoarthritis (OA) groups. Expression of BCL-2 in intima of severe OA patients was positively correlated with Krenn score. In conclusion, iNOS, BCL-2 and MMP-9 are involved in the regulation of HOA. Our study indicates a relationship between the pathohistological features, the synovial inflammation and the cartilage condition at the time of hip replacement due to OA or femoral neck fracture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research of Pathogenesis and Novel Therapeutics in Arthritis 3.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Stress Impairs Skin Barrier Function and Induces α2-3 Linked N-Acetylneuraminic Acid and Core 1 O-Glycans on Skin Mucins in Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031488 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 403
Abstract
The skin barrier consists of mucus, primarily comprising highly glycosylated mucins, and the epithelium. Host mucin glycosylation governs interactions with pathogens and stress is associated with impaired epithelial barrier function. We characterized Atlantic salmon skin barrier function during chronic stress (high density) and [...] Read more.
The skin barrier consists of mucus, primarily comprising highly glycosylated mucins, and the epithelium. Host mucin glycosylation governs interactions with pathogens and stress is associated with impaired epithelial barrier function. We characterized Atlantic salmon skin barrier function during chronic stress (high density) and mucin O-glycosylation changes in response to acute and chronic stress. Fish held at low (LD: 14–30 kg/m3) and high densities (HD: 50-80 kg/m3) were subjected to acute stress 24 h before sampling at 17 and 21 weeks after start of the experiment. Blood parameters indicated primary and secondary stress responses at both sampling points. At the second sampling, skin barrier function towards molecules was reduced in the HD compared to the LD group (Papp mannitol; p < 0.01). Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry revealed 81 O-glycan structures from the skin. Fish subjected to both chronic and acute stress had an increased proportion of large O-glycan structures. Overall, four of the O-glycan changes have potential as indicators of stress, especially for the combined chronic and acute stress. Stress thus impairs skin barrier function and induces glycosylation changes, which have potential to both affect interactions with pathogens and serve as stress indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fish Mucosal Physiology and Immunology)
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The Role of Lipids in Legionella-Host Interaction
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1487; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031487 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 387
Abstract
Legionella are Gram-stain-negative rods associated with water environments: either natural or man-made systems. The inhalation of aerosols containing Legionella bacteria leads to the development of a severe pneumonia termed Legionnaires’ disease. To establish an infection, these bacteria adapt to growth in the hostile [...] Read more.
Legionella are Gram-stain-negative rods associated with water environments: either natural or man-made systems. The inhalation of aerosols containing Legionella bacteria leads to the development of a severe pneumonia termed Legionnaires’ disease. To establish an infection, these bacteria adapt to growth in the hostile environment of the host through the unusual structures of macromolecules that build the cell surface. The outer membrane of the cell envelope is a lipid bilayer with an asymmetric composition mostly of phospholipids in the inner leaflet and lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in the outer leaflet. The major membrane-forming phospholipid of Legionella spp. is phosphatidylcholine (PC)—a typical eukaryotic glycerophospholipid. PC synthesis in Legionella cells occurs via two independent pathways: the N-methylation (Pmt) pathway and the Pcs pathway. The utilisation of exogenous choline by Legionella spp. leads to changes in the composition of lipids and proteins, which influences the physicochemical properties of the cell surface. This phenotypic plasticity of the Legionella cell envelope determines the mode of interaction with the macrophages, which results in a decrease in the production of proinflammatory cytokines and modulates the interaction with antimicrobial peptides and proteins. The surface-exposed O-chain of Legionella pneumophila sg1 LPS consisting of a homopolymer of 5-acetamidino-7-acetamido-8-O-acetyl-3,5,7,9-tetradeoxy-l-glycero-d-galacto-non-2-ulosonic acid is probably the first component in contact with the host cell that anchors the bacteria in the host membrane. Unusual in terms of the structure and function of individual LPS regions, it makes an important contribution to the antigenicity and pathogenicity of Legionella bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host–Pathogen Interaction 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
MC38 Tumors Induce Musculoskeletal Defects in Colorectal Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031486 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 498
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer-related death, and the prevalence of CRC in young adults is on the rise, making this a largescale clinical concern. Advanced CRC patients often present with liver metastases (LM) and an increased incidence of cachexia, [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer-related death, and the prevalence of CRC in young adults is on the rise, making this a largescale clinical concern. Advanced CRC patients often present with liver metastases (LM) and an increased incidence of cachexia, i.e., musculoskeletal wasting. Despite its high incidence in CRC patients, cachexia remains an unresolved issue, and animal models for the study of CRC cachexia, in particular, metastatic CRC cachexia, remain limited; therefore, we aimed to establish a new model of metastatic CRC cachexia. C57BL/6 male mice (8 weeks old) were subcutaneously (MC38) or intrasplenically injected (mMC38) with MC38 murine CRC cells to disseminate LM, while experimental controls received saline (n = 5–8/group). The growth of subcutaneous MC38 tumors was accompanied by a reduction in skeletal muscle mass (−16%; quadriceps muscle), plantarflexion force (−22%) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) contractility (−20%) compared to experimental controls. Meanwhile, the formation of MC38 LM (mMC38) led to heighted reductions in skeletal muscle mass (−30%; quadriceps), plantarflexion force (−28%) and EDL contractility (−35%) compared to sham-operated controls, suggesting exacerbated cachexia associated with LM. Moreover, both MC38 and mMC38 tumor hosts demonstrated a marked loss of bone indicated by reductions in trabecular (Tb.BV/TV: −49% in MC38, and −46% in mMC38) and cortical (C.BV/TV: −12% in MC38, and −8% in mMC38) bone. Cell culture experiments revealed that MC38 tumor-derived factors directly promote myotube wasting (−18%) and STAT3 phosphorylation (+5-fold), while the pharmacologic blockade of STAT3 signaling was sufficient to preserve myotube atrophy in the presence of MC38 cells (+21%). Overall, these results reinforce the notion that the formation of LM heightens cachexia in an experimental model of CRC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Estrogen Receptors Alpha and Beta Mediate Synaptic Transmission in the PFC and Hippocampus of Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031485 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 390
Abstract
Distinct from ovarian estradiol, the steroid hormone 17ß-estradiol (E2) is produced in the brain and is involved in numerous functions, particularly acting as a neurosteroid. However, the physiological role of E2 and the mechanism of its effects are not well known. In hippocampal [...] Read more.
Distinct from ovarian estradiol, the steroid hormone 17ß-estradiol (E2) is produced in the brain and is involved in numerous functions, particularly acting as a neurosteroid. However, the physiological role of E2 and the mechanism of its effects are not well known. In hippocampal slices, 17ß-estradiol has been found to cause a modest increase in fast glutamatergic transmission; because some of these effects are rapid and acute, they might be mediated by membrane-associated receptors via nongenomic action. Moreover, activation of membrane estrogen receptors can rapidly modulate neuron function in a sex-specific manner. To further investigate the neurological role of E2, we examined the effect of E2, as an estrogen receptor (ER) agonist, on synaptic transmission in slices of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus in both male and female mice. Whole-cell recordings of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSC) in the PFC showed that E2 acts as a neuromodulator in glutamatergic transmission in the PFC in both sexes, but often in a cell-specific manner. The sEPSC amplitude and/or frequency responded to E2 in three ways, namely by significantly increasing, decreasing or having no response. Additional experiments using an agonist selective for ERß, diarylpropionitrile (DPN) showed that in males the sEPSC and spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents sIPSC responses were similar to their E2 responses, but in females the estrogen receptor ß (ERß) agonist DPN did not influence excitatory transmission in the PFC. In contrast, in the hippocampus of both sexes E2 potentiated the gluatmatergic synaptic transmission in a subset of hippocampal cells. These data indicate that activation of E2 targeting probably a estrogen subtypes or different downstream signaling affect synaptic transmission in the brain PFC and hippocampus between males versus females mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pharmacology)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Transcript Discovery Expands the Repertoire of Pathologically-Associated, Long Non-Coding RNAs in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1484; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031484 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 492
Abstract
Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) provide vital contractile force within blood vessel walls, yet can also propagate cardiovascular pathologies through proliferative and pro-inflammatory activities. Such phenotypes are driven, in part, by the diverse effects of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) on gene expression. However, [...] Read more.
Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) provide vital contractile force within blood vessel walls, yet can also propagate cardiovascular pathologies through proliferative and pro-inflammatory activities. Such phenotypes are driven, in part, by the diverse effects of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) on gene expression. However, lncRNA characterisation in VSMCs in pathological states is hampered by incomplete lncRNA representation in reference annotation. We aimed to improve lncRNA representation in such contexts by assembling non-reference transcripts in RNA sequencing datasets describing VSMCs stimulated in vitro with cytokines, growth factors, or mechanical stress, as well as those isolated from atherosclerotic plaques. All transcripts were then subjected to a rigorous lncRNA prediction pipeline. We substantially improved coverage of lncRNAs responding to pro-mitogenic stimuli, with non-reference lncRNAs contributing 21–32% for each dataset. We also demonstrate non-reference lncRNAs were biased towards enriched expression within VSMCs, and transcription from enhancer sites, suggesting particular relevance to VSMC processes, and the regulation of neighbouring protein-coding genes. Both VSMC-enriched and enhancer-transcribed lncRNAs were large components of lncRNAs responding to pathological stimuli, yet without novel transcript discovery 33–46% of these lncRNAs would remain hidden. Our comprehensive VSMC lncRNA repertoire allows proper prioritisation of candidates for characterisation and exemplifies a strategy to broaden our knowledge of lncRNA across a range of disease states. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNAs in Brain and Heart Diseases - EU-CardioRNA COST Action)
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Open AccessArticle
Phosphofructokinases A and B from Mycobacterium tuberculosis Display Different Catalytic Properties and Allosteric Regulation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1483; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031483 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the major health concerns worldwide. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of TB, can flexibly change its metabolic processes during different life stages. Regulation of key metabolic enzyme activities by intracellular conditions, allosteric inhibition or feedback control can [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the major health concerns worldwide. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of TB, can flexibly change its metabolic processes during different life stages. Regulation of key metabolic enzyme activities by intracellular conditions, allosteric inhibition or feedback control can effectively contribute to Mtb survival under different conditions. Phosphofructokinase (Pfk) is one of the key enzymes regulating glycolysis. Mtb encodes two Pfk isoenzymes, Pfk A/Rv3010c and Pfk B/Rv2029c, which are differently expressed upon transition to the hypoxia-induced non-replicating state of the bacteria. While pfkB gene and protein expression are upregulated under hypoxic conditions, Pfk A levels decrease. Here, we present biochemical characterization of both Pfk isoenzymes, revealing that Pfk A and Pfk B display different kinetic properties. Although the glycolytic activity of Pfk A is higher than that of Pfk B, it is markedly inhibited by an excess of both substrates (fructose-6-phosphate and ATP), reaction products (fructose-1,6-bisphosphate and ADP) and common metabolic allosteric regulators. In contrast, synthesis of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase catalyzed by Pfk B is not regulated by higher levels of substrates, and metabolites. Importantly, we found that only Pfk B can catalyze the reverse gluconeogenic reaction. Pfk B thus can support glycolysis under conditions inhibiting Pfk A function. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection 20th Anniversary of IJMS: Advances in Biochemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Structural Insight into the Two-Step Mechanism of PAI-1 Inhibition by Small Molecule TM5484
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1482; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031482 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 320
Abstract
Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), a key regulator of the fibrinolytic system, is the main physiological inhibitor of plasminogen activators. By interacting with matrix components, including vitronectin (Vn), PAI-1 plays a regulatory role in tissue remodeling, cell migration, and intracellular signaling. Emerging evidence points [...] Read more.
Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), a key regulator of the fibrinolytic system, is the main physiological inhibitor of plasminogen activators. By interacting with matrix components, including vitronectin (Vn), PAI-1 plays a regulatory role in tissue remodeling, cell migration, and intracellular signaling. Emerging evidence points to a role for PAI-1 in various pathological conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and fibrosis. Targeting PAI-1 is therefore a promising therapeutic strategy in PAI-1-related pathologies. A class of small molecule inhibitors including TM5441 and TM5484, designed to bind the cleft in the central β-sheet A of PAI-1, showed to be potent PAI-1 inhibitors in vivo. However, their binding site has not yet been confirmed. Here, we report two X-ray crystallographic structures of PAI-1 in complex with TM5484. The structures revealed a binding site at the flexible joint region, which is distinct from the presumed binding site. Based on the structural analysis and biochemical data we propose a mechanism for the observed dose-dependent two-step mechanism of PAI-1 inhibition. By binding to the flexible joint region in PAI-1, TM5484 might restrict the structural flexibility of this region, thereby inducing a substrate form of PAI-1 followed by a conversion to an inert form. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Open AccessReview
Bioactive Lipids in MSCs Biology: State of the Art and Role in Inflammation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1481; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031481 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 330
Abstract
Lipidomics is a lipid-targeted metabolomics approach that aims to the comprehensive analysis of lipids in biological systems in order to highlight the specific functions of lipid species in health and disease. Lipids play pivotal roles as they are major structural components of the [...] Read more.
Lipidomics is a lipid-targeted metabolomics approach that aims to the comprehensive analysis of lipids in biological systems in order to highlight the specific functions of lipid species in health and disease. Lipids play pivotal roles as they are major structural components of the cellular membranes and energy storage molecules but also, as most recently shown, they act as functional and regulatory components of intra- and intercellular signaling. Herein, emphasis is given to the recently highlighted roles of specific bioactive lipids species, as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)-derived mediators (generally known as eicosanoids), endocannabinoids (eCBs), and lysophospholipids (LPLs), and their involvement in the mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)-related inflammatory scenario. Indeed, MSCs are a heterogenous population of multipotent cells that have attracted much attention for their potential in regulating inflammation, immunomodulatory capabilities, and reparative roles. The lipidomics of the inflammatory disease osteoarthritis (OA) and the influence of MSCs-derived lipids have also been addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Open AccessReview
Inflammatory Response Mechanisms of the Dentine–Pulp Complex and the Periapical Tissues
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031480 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 410
Abstract
The macroscopic and microscopic anatomy of the oral cavity is complex and unique in the human body. Soft-tissue structures are in close interaction with mineralized bone, but also dentine, cementum and enamel of our teeth. These are exposed to intense mechanical and chemical [...] Read more.
The macroscopic and microscopic anatomy of the oral cavity is complex and unique in the human body. Soft-tissue structures are in close interaction with mineralized bone, but also dentine, cementum and enamel of our teeth. These are exposed to intense mechanical and chemical stress as well as to dense microbiologic colonization. Teeth are susceptible to damage, most commonly to caries, where microorganisms from the oral cavity degrade the mineralized tissues of enamel and dentine and invade the soft connective tissue at the core, the dental pulp. However, the pulp is well-equipped to sense and fend off bacteria and their products and mounts various and intricate defense mechanisms. The front rank is formed by a layer of odontoblasts, which line the pulp chamber towards the dentine. These highly specialized cells not only form mineralized tissue but exert important functions as barrier cells. They recognize pathogens early in the process, secrete antibacterial compounds and neutralize bacterial toxins, initiate the immune response and alert other key players of the host defense. As bacteria get closer to the pulp, additional cell types of the pulp, including fibroblasts, stem and immune cells, but also vascular and neuronal networks, contribute with a variety of distinct defense mechanisms, and inflammatory response mechanisms are critical for tissue homeostasis. Still, without therapeutic intervention, a deep carious lesion may lead to tissue necrosis, which allows bacteria to populate the root canal system and invade the periradicular bone via the apical foramen at the root tip. The periodontal tissues and alveolar bone react to the insult with an inflammatory response, most commonly by the formation of an apical granuloma. Healing can occur after pathogen removal, which is achieved by disinfection and obturation of the pulp space by root canal treatment. This review highlights the various mechanisms of pathogen recognition and defense of dental pulp cells and periradicular tissues, explains the different cell types involved in the immune response and discusses the mechanisms of healing and repair, pointing out the close links between inflammation and regeneration as well as between inflammation and potential malignant transformation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Engineering and Assessing Cardiac Tissue Complexity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031479 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Cardiac tissue engineering is very much in a current focus of regenerative medicine research as it represents a promising strategy for cardiac disease modelling, cardiotoxicity testing and cardiovascular repair. Advances in this field over the last two decades have enabled the generation of [...] Read more.
Cardiac tissue engineering is very much in a current focus of regenerative medicine research as it represents a promising strategy for cardiac disease modelling, cardiotoxicity testing and cardiovascular repair. Advances in this field over the last two decades have enabled the generation of human engineered cardiac tissue constructs with progressively increased functional capabilities. However, reproducing tissue-like properties is still a pending issue, as constructs generated to date remain immature relative to native adult heart. Moreover, there is a high degree of heterogeneity in the methodologies used to assess the functionality and cardiac maturation state of engineered cardiac tissue constructs, which further complicates the comparison of constructs generated in different ways. Here, we present an overview of the general approaches developed to generate functional cardiac tissues, discussing the different cell sources, biomaterials, and types of engineering strategies utilized to date. Moreover, we discuss the main functional assays used to evaluate the cardiac maturation state of the constructs, both at the cellular and the tissue levels. We trust that researchers interested in developing engineered cardiac tissue constructs will find the information reviewed here useful. Furthermore, we believe that providing a unified framework for comparison will further the development of human engineered cardiac tissue constructs displaying the specific properties best suited for each particular application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcriptional Regulation of Cardiac Development and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of the FOXO1/β2-AR/p-NF-κB p65 Pathway in the Development of Endometrial Stromal Cells in Pregnant Mice under Restraint Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031478 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 326
Abstract
Restraint stress causes various maternal diseases during pregnancy. β2-Adrenergic receptor (β2-AR) and Forkhead transcription factor class O 1 (FOXO1) are critical factors not only in stress, but also in reproduction. However, the role of FOXO1 in restraint stress, causing [...] Read more.
Restraint stress causes various maternal diseases during pregnancy. β2-Adrenergic receptor (β2-AR) and Forkhead transcription factor class O 1 (FOXO1) are critical factors not only in stress, but also in reproduction. However, the role of FOXO1 in restraint stress, causing changes in the β2-AR pathway in pregnant mice, has been unclear. The aim of this research was to investigate the β2-AR pathway of restraint stress and its impact on the oxidative stress of the maternal uterus. In the study, maternal mice were treated with restraint stress by being restrained in a transparent and ventilated device before sacrifice on Pregnancy Day 5 (P5), Pregnancy Day 10 (P10), Pregnancy Day 15 (P15), and Pregnancy Day 20 (P20) as well as on Non-Pregnancy Day 5 (NP5). Restraint stress augmented blood corticosterone (CORT), norepinephrine (NE), and blood glucose levels, while oestradiol (E2) levels decreased. Moreover, restraint stress increased the mRNA levels of the FOXO family, β2-AR, and even the protein levels of FOXO1 and β2-AR in the uterus and ovaries. Furthermore, restraint stress increased uterine oxidative stress level. In vitro, the protein levels of FOXO1 were also obviously increased when β2-AR was activated in endometrial stromal cells (ESCs). In addition, phosphorylated-nuclear factor kappa-B p65 (p-NF-κB p65) and its target genes decreased significantly when FOXO1 was inhibited. Overall, it can be said that the β2-AR/FOXO1/p-NF-κB p65 pathway was activated when pregnant mice were under restraint stress. This study provides a scientific basis for the origin of psychological stress in pregnant women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Morphology and Function of Stromal Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
CLytA-DAAO Chimeric Enzyme Bound to Magnetic Nanoparticles. A New Therapeutical Approach for Cancer Patients?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1477; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031477 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 314
Abstract
D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO) is an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of D-amino acids generating H2O2. The enzymatic chimera formed by DAAO bound to the choline-binding domain of N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase (CLytA) induces cytotoxicity in several pancreatic and colorectal carcinoma [...] Read more.
D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO) is an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of D-amino acids generating H2O2. The enzymatic chimera formed by DAAO bound to the choline-binding domain of N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase (CLytA) induces cytotoxicity in several pancreatic and colorectal carcinoma and glioblastoma cell models. In the current work, we determined whether the effect of CLytA-DAAO immobilized in magnetic nanoparticles, gold nanoparticles, and alginate capsules offered some advantages as compared to the free CLytA-DAAO. Results indicate that the immobilization of CLytA-DAAO in magnetic nanoparticles increases the stability of the enzyme, extending its time of action. Besides, we compared the effect induced by CLytA-DAAO with the direct addition of hydrogen peroxide, demonstrating that the progressive generation of reactive oxygen species by CLytA-DAAO is more effective in inducing cytotoxicity than the direct addition of H2O2. Furthermore, a pilot study has been initiated in biopsies obtained from pancreatic and colorectal carcinoma and glioblastoma patients to evaluate the expression of the main genes involved in resistance to CLytA-DAAO cytotoxicity. Based on our findings, we propose that CLytA-DAAO immobilized in magnetic nanoparticles could be effective in a high percentage of patients and, therefore, be used as an anti-cancer therapy for pancreatic and colorectal carcinoma and glioblastoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Feature Papers in Molecular Biology)
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Open AccessReview
Flexibility and Adaptation of Cancer Cells in a Heterogenous Metabolic Microenvironment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031476 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 389
Abstract
The metabolic microenvironment, comprising all soluble and insoluble nutrients and co-factors in the extracellular milieu, has a major impact on cancer cell proliferation and survival. A large body of evidence from recent studies suggests that tumor cells show a high degree of metabolic [...] Read more.
The metabolic microenvironment, comprising all soluble and insoluble nutrients and co-factors in the extracellular milieu, has a major impact on cancer cell proliferation and survival. A large body of evidence from recent studies suggests that tumor cells show a high degree of metabolic flexibility and adapt to variations in nutrient availability. Insufficient vascular networks and an imbalance of supply and demand shape the metabolic tumor microenvironment, which typically contains a lower concentration of glucose compared to normal tissues. The present review sheds light on the recent literature on adaptive responses in cancer cells to nutrient deprivation. It focuses on the utilization of alternative nutrients in anabolic metabolic pathways in cancer cells, including soluble metabolites and macromolecules and outlines the role of central metabolic enzymes conferring metabolic flexibility, like gluconeogenesis enzymes. Moreover, a conceptual framework for potential therapies targeting metabolically flexible cancer cells is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment from a Precision Medicine Perspective)
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Open AccessArticle
The Regulator OmpR in Yersinia enterocolitica Participates in Iron Homeostasis by Modulating Fur Level and Affecting the Expression of Genes Involved in Iron Uptake
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031475 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 370
Abstract
In this study, we found that the loss of OmpR, the response regulator of the two-component EnvZ/OmpR system, increases the cellular level of Fur, the master regulator of iron homeostasis in Y. enterocolitica. Furthermore, we demonstrated that transcription of the fur gene [...] Read more.
In this study, we found that the loss of OmpR, the response regulator of the two-component EnvZ/OmpR system, increases the cellular level of Fur, the master regulator of iron homeostasis in Y. enterocolitica. Furthermore, we demonstrated that transcription of the fur gene from the YePfur promoter is subject to negative OmpR-dependent regulation. Four putative OmpR-binding sites (OBSs) were indicated by in silico analysis of the fur promoter region, and their removal affected OmpR-dependent fur expression. Moreover, OmpR binds specifically to the predicted OBSs which exhibit a distinct hierarchy of binding affinity. Finally, the data demonstrate that OmpR, by direct binding to the promoters of the fecA, fepA and feoA genes, involved in the iron transport and being under Fur repressor activity, modulates their expression. It seems that the negative effect of OmpR on fecA and fepA transcription is sufficient to counteract the indirect, positive effect of OmpR resulting from decreasing the Fur repressor level. The expression of feoA was positively regulated by OmpR and this mode of action seems to be direct and indirect. Together, the expression of fecA, fepA and feoA in Y. enterocolitica has been proposed to be under a complex mode of regulation involving OmpR and Fur regulators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of m6A RNA Methylation-Related Genes in Liver Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Their Correlation with Survival
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1474; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031474 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 465
Abstract
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification on RNA plays an important role in tumorigenesis and metastasis, which could change gene expression and even function at multiple levels such as RNA splicing, stability, translocation, and translation. In this study, we aim to conduct a comprehensive analysis on [...] Read more.
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification on RNA plays an important role in tumorigenesis and metastasis, which could change gene expression and even function at multiple levels such as RNA splicing, stability, translocation, and translation. In this study, we aim to conduct a comprehensive analysis on m6A RNA methylation-related genes, including m6A RNA methylation regulators and m6A RNA methylation-modified genes, in liver hepatocellular carcinoma, and their relationship with survival and clinical features. Data, which consist of the expression of widely reported m6A RNA methylation-related genes in liver hepatocellular carcinoma from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), were analyzed by one-way ANOVA, Univariate Cox regression, a protein–protein interaction network, gene enrichment analysis, feature screening, a risk prognostic model, correlation analysis, and consensus clustering analysis. In total, 405 of the m6A RNA methylation-related genes were found based on one-way ANOVA. Among them, DNA topoisomerase 2-alpha (TOP2A), exodeoxyribonuclease 1 (EXO1), ser-ine/threonine-protein kinase Nek2 (NEK2), baculoviral IAP repeat-containing protein 5 (BIRC5), hyaluronan mediated motility receptor (HMMR), structural maintenance of chromosomes protein 4 (SMC4), bloom syndrome protein (BLM), ca-sein kinase I isoform epsilon (CSNK1E), cytoskeleton-associated protein 5 (CKAP5), and inner centromere protein (INCENP), which were m6A RNA methylation-modified genes, were recognized as the hub genes based on the protein–protein interaction analysis. The risk prognostic model showed that gender, AJCC stage, grade, T, and N were significantly different between the subgroup with the high and low risk groups. The AUC, the evaluation parameter of the prediction model which was built by RandomForest, was 0.7. Furthermore, two subgroups were divided by consensus clustering analysis, in which stage, grade, and T differed. We identified the important genes expressed significantly among two clusters, including uridine-cytidine kinase 2 (UCK2), filensin (BFSP1), tubulin-specific chaperone D (TBCD), histone-lysine N-methyltransferase PRDM16 (PRDM16), phosphorylase b ki-nase regulatory subunit alpha (PHKA2), serine/threonine-protein kinase BRSK2 (BRSK2), Arf-GAP with coiled-coil (ACAP3), general transcription factor 3C polypep-tide 2 (GTF3C2), and guanine nucleotide exchange factor MSS4 (RABIF). In our study, the m6A RNA methylation-related genes in liver hepatocellular carcinoma were analyzed systematically, including the expression, interaction, function, and prognostic values, which provided an important theoretical basis for m6A RNA methylation in liver cancer. The nine important m6A-related genes could be prognostic markers in the survival time of patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle
ERK-Directed Phosphorylation of mGlu5 Gates Methamphetamine Reward and Reinforcement in Mouse
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1473; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031473 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Methamphetamine (MA) is a highly addictive psychomotor stimulant drug. In recent years, MA use has increased exponentially on a global scale, with the number of MA-involved deaths reaching epidemic proportions. There is no approved pharmacotherapy for treating MA use disorder, and we know [...] Read more.
Methamphetamine (MA) is a highly addictive psychomotor stimulant drug. In recent years, MA use has increased exponentially on a global scale, with the number of MA-involved deaths reaching epidemic proportions. There is no approved pharmacotherapy for treating MA use disorder, and we know relatively little regarding the neurobiological determinants of vulnerability to this disease. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is an important signaling molecule implicated in the long-lasting neuroadaptations purported to underlie the development of substance use disorders, but the role for this kinase in the propensity to develop addiction, particularly MA use disorder, is uncharacterized. In a previous MA-induced place-conditioning study of C57BL/6J mice, we characterized mice as MA-preferring, -neutral, or -avoiding and collected tissue from the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Using immunoblotting, we determined that elevated phosphorylated ERK expression within the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is a biochemical correlate of the affective valence of MA in a population of C57BL/6J mice. We confirmed the functional relevance for mPFC ERK activation for MA-induced place-preference via site-directed infusion of the MEK inhibitor U0126. By contrast, ERK inhibition did not have any effect upon MA-induced locomotion or its sensitization upon repeated MA treatment. Through studies of transgenic mice with alanine point mutations on T1123/S1126 of mGlu5 that disrupt ERK-dependent phosphorylation of the receptor, we discovered that ERK-dependent mGlu5 phosphorylation normally suppresses MA-induced conditioned place-preference (MA-CPP), but is necessary for this drug’s reinforcing properties. If relevant to humans, the present results implicate individual differences in the capacity of MA-associated cues/contexts to hyper-activate ERK signaling within mPFC in MA Use Disorder vulnerability and pose mGlu5 as one ERK-directed target contributing to the propensity to seek out and take MA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Macromolecules)
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