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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 23, Issue 11 (June-1 2022) – 497 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The Notch signaling pathway is an architecturally simple signaling mechanism, well known for its role in cell fate regulation during organ development and in tissue homeostasis. In this review, we discuss how aberrant Notch signaling can affect three types of cells in the tumor stroma—cancer-associated fibroblasts, immune cells and vascular cells—and how this influences their interactions with the tumor cells. Insights into the roles of Notch in cells of the tumor environment and the impact on tumor-stroma interactions will lead to a deeper understanding of Notch signaling in cancer and inspire new strategies for Notch-based tumor therapy. View this paper
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Review
Different Sources of Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Tissue Regeneration: A Guide to Identifying the Most Favorable One in Orthopedics and Dentistry Applications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6356; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116356 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 765
Abstract
The success of regenerative medicine in various clinical applications depends on the appropriate selection of the source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Indeed, the source conditions, the quality and quantity of MSCs, have an influence on the growth factors, cytokines, extracellular vesicles, and [...] Read more.
The success of regenerative medicine in various clinical applications depends on the appropriate selection of the source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Indeed, the source conditions, the quality and quantity of MSCs, have an influence on the growth factors, cytokines, extracellular vesicles, and secrete bioactive factors of the regenerative milieu, thus influencing the clinical result. Thus, optimal source selection should harmonize this complex setting and ensure a well-personalized and effective treatment. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be obtained from several sources, including bone marrow and adipose tissue, already used in orthopedic regenerative applications. In this sense, for bone, dental, and oral injuries, MSCs could provide an innovative and effective therapy. The present review aims to compare the properties (proliferation, migration, clonogenicity, angiogenic capacity, differentiation potential, and secretome) of MSCs derived from bone marrow, adipose tissue, and dental tissue to enable clinicians to select the best source of MSCs for their clinical application in bone and oral tissue regeneration to delineate new translational perspectives. A review of the literature was conducted using the search engines Web of Science, Pubmed, Scopus, and Google Scholar. An analysis of different publications showed that all sources compared (bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs), adipose tissue mesenchymal stem cells (AT-MSCs), and dental tissue mesenchymal stem cells (DT-MSCs)) are good options to promote proper migration and angiogenesis, and they turn out to be useful for gingival, dental pulp, bone, and periodontal regeneration. In particular, DT-MSCs have better proliferation rates and AT and G-MSC sources showed higher clonogenicity. MSCs from bone marrow, widely used in orthopedic regenerative medicine, are preferable for their differentiation ability. Considering all the properties among sources, BM-MSCs, AT-MSCs, and DT-MSCs present as potential candidates for oral and dental regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Stem Cell Differentiation and Applications)
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Article
Accumulation of Deleterious Effects in Gastric Epithelial Cells and Vascular Endothelial Cells In Vitro in the Milieu of Helicobacter pylori Components, 7-Ketocholesterol and Acetylsalicylic Acid
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6355; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116355 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 582
Abstract
The Gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori (HP) may influence the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). H. pylori induce reactive oxygen species (ROS), which transform cholesterol to 7-ketocholesterol (7-kCh), a CHD risk factor. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)—an Anti-aggregation drug used in CHD patients—may [...] Read more.
The Gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori (HP) may influence the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). H. pylori induce reactive oxygen species (ROS), which transform cholesterol to 7-ketocholesterol (7-kCh), a CHD risk factor. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)—an Anti-aggregation drug used in CHD patients—may increase gastric bleeding and inflammation. We examined whether H. pylori driven ROS effects in the cell cultures of gastric epithelial cells (AGS) and vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC) progress in the milieu of 7-kCh and ASA. Cell cultures, exposed to 7-kCh or ASA alone or pulsed with the H. pylori antigenic complex—Glycine acid extract (GE), urease (UreA), cytotoxin associated gene A (CagA) protein or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), alone or with 7-kCh and ASA—were examined for ROS, apoptosis, cell integrity, interleukin (IL)-8, the activation of signal transducer, the activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), and wound healing. ASA and 7-kCh alone, and particularly in conjunction with H. pylori components, increased the ROS level and the rate of apoptosis, which was followed by cell disintegration, the activation of STAT3, and IL-8 elevation. AGS cells were unable to undergo wound healing. The cell ROS response to H. pylori components may be elevated by 7-kCh and ASA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Helicobacter: Infection, Diagnosis and Treatment 2.0)
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Article
Artemisinin Attenuates Amyloid-Induced Brain Inflammation and Memory Impairments by Modulating TLR4/NF-κB Signaling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6354; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116354 - 06 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 751
Abstract
The abnormal immune response is an early change in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Microglial activation is a crucial regulator of the immune response, which contributes to progressive neuronal injury by releasing neurotoxic products. Therefore, finding effective drugs to regulate microglial homeostasis [...] Read more.
The abnormal immune response is an early change in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Microglial activation is a crucial regulator of the immune response, which contributes to progressive neuronal injury by releasing neurotoxic products. Therefore, finding effective drugs to regulate microglial homeostasis and neuroinflammation has become a new AD treatment strategy. Artemisinin has potent anti-inflammatory and immune activities. However, it is unclear whether Artemisinin contributes to the regulation of microglial activation, thereby improving AD pathology. This study found that Artemisinin significantly reduced amyloid beta-peptide 1–42 (Aβ1–42)-induced increases in nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species and inflammatory factors in BV2 cells. In addition, Artemisinin inhibited the migration of microglia and prevented the expansion of the inflammatory cascade. The mechanical studies showed Artemisinin inhibited neuroinflammation and exerted neuroprotective effects by regulating the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathway. Similar results were obtained in AD model mice, in which Artemisinin administration attenuated Aβ1–42-induced neuroinflammation and neuronal injury, reversing spatial learning and memory deficits. The anti-inflammatory effect of Artemisinin is also accompanied by the activation of the TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway in the animal model. Our results indicate that Artemisinin attenuated Aβ1–42-induced neuroinflammation and neuronal injury by stimulating the TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway. These findings suggest that Artemisinin is a potential therapeutic agent for AD. Full article
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Article
Anti-Growth, Anti-Angiogenic, and Pro-Apoptotic Effects by CX-4945, an Inhibitor of Casein Kinase 2, on HuCCT-1 Human Cholangiocarcinoma Cells via Control of Caspase-9/3, DR-4, STAT-3/STAT-5, Mcl-1, eIF-2α, and HIF-1α
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6353; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116353 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1964
Abstract
Overexpression of casein kinase 2 (CK2) has an oncogenic and pro-survival role in many cancers. CX-4945 (Silmitasertib) is a CK2 inhibitor with anti-cancerous and anti-angiogenic effects. Up to date, the anti-cancer effect and mechanism of CX-4945 on human cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) remain unclear. This [...] Read more.
Overexpression of casein kinase 2 (CK2) has an oncogenic and pro-survival role in many cancers. CX-4945 (Silmitasertib) is a CK2 inhibitor with anti-cancerous and anti-angiogenic effects. Up to date, the anti-cancer effect and mechanism of CX-4945 on human cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) remain unclear. This study investigated whether CX-4945 inhibits growth and induces apoptosis of HuCCT-1 cells, a human CCA cell line. Of note, treatment with CX-4945 at 20 μM markedly reduced survival and induced apoptosis of HuCCT-1 cells, as evidenced by nuclear DNA fragmentation, PARP cleavage, activation of caspase-9/3, and up-regulation of DR-4. Although CX-4945 did not affect the phosphorylation and expression of CK2, it vastly inhibited the phosphorylation of CK2 substrates, supporting the drug’s efficacy in inhibiting CK2 and its downstream pathway. Importantly, knockdown of CK2 that partially suppressed the phosphorylation of CK2 substrates resulted in a significant reduction of HuCCT-1 cell survival. In addition, CX-4945 reduced the phosphorylation and expression of STAT-3 and STAT-5 in HuCCT-1 cells, and pharmacological inhibition or respective knockdown of these proteins resulted in significant growth suppression of HuCCT-1 cells. CX-4945 also had abilities to decrease Mcl-1 expression while increasing eIF-2α phosphorylation in HuCCT-1 cells. Furthermore, there was a time-differential negative regulation of HIF-1α expression by CX-4945 in HuCCT-1 cells, and knockdown of HIF-1α caused a significant reduction of the cell survival. In summary, these results demonstrated that CX-4945 has anti-growth, anti-angiogenic, and pro-apoptotic effects on HuCCT-1 cells, which are mediated through control of CK2, caspase-9/3, DR-4, STAT-3/5, Mcl-1, eIF-2α, and HIF-1α. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease Remediation Using Phytochemicals and Nano-Materials)
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Article
The Hydrophilic Loop of Arabidopsis PIN1 Auxin Efflux Carrier Harbors Hallmarks of an Intrinsically Disordered Protein
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116352 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 541
Abstract
Much of plant development depends on cell-to-cell redistribution of the plant hormone auxin, which is facilitated by the plasma membrane (PM) localized PIN FORMED (PIN) proteins. Auxin export activity, developmental roles, subcellular trafficking, and polarity of PINs have been well studied, but their [...] Read more.
Much of plant development depends on cell-to-cell redistribution of the plant hormone auxin, which is facilitated by the plasma membrane (PM) localized PIN FORMED (PIN) proteins. Auxin export activity, developmental roles, subcellular trafficking, and polarity of PINs have been well studied, but their structure remains elusive besides a rough outline that they contain two groups of 5 alpha-helices connected by a large hydrophilic loop (HL). Here, we focus on the PIN1 HL as we could produce it in sufficient quantities for biochemical investigations to provide insights into its secondary structure. Circular dichroism (CD) studies revealed its nature as an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP), manifested by the increase of structure content upon thermal melting. Consistent with IDPs serving as interaction platforms, PIN1 loops homodimerize. PIN1 HL cytoplasmic overexpression in Arabidopsis disrupts early endocytic trafficking of PIN1 and PIN2 and causes defects in the cotyledon vasculature formation. In summary, we demonstrate that PIN1 HL has an intrinsically disordered nature, which must be considered to gain further structural insights. Some secondary structures may form transiently during pairing with known and yet-to-be-discovered interactors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Arabidopsis thaliana)
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Article
Hypothalamic NPY-Y1R Interacts with Gonadal Hormones in Protecting Female Mice against Obesity and Neuroinflammation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6351; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116351 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 475
Abstract
We previously demonstrated that Npy1rrfb mice, which carry the conditional inactivation of the Npy1r gene in forebrain principal neurons, display a sexually dimorphic phenotype, with male mice showing metabolic, hormonal and behavioral effects and females being only marginally affected. Moreover, exposure of [...] Read more.
We previously demonstrated that Npy1rrfb mice, which carry the conditional inactivation of the Npy1r gene in forebrain principal neurons, display a sexually dimorphic phenotype, with male mice showing metabolic, hormonal and behavioral effects and females being only marginally affected. Moreover, exposure of Npy1rrfb male mice to a high-fat diet (HFD) increased body weight growth, adipose tissue, blood glucose levels and caloric intake compared to Npy1r2lox male controls. We used conditional knockout Npy1rrfb and Npy1r2lox control mice to examine whether forebrain disruption of the Npy1r gene affects susceptibility to obesity and associated disorders of cycling and ovariectomized (ovx) female mice in a standard diet (SD) regimen or exposed to an HFD for 3 months. The conditional deletion of the Npy1r gene increased body weight and subcutaneous white adipose tissue weight in both SD- and HFD-fed ovx females but not in cycling females. Moreover, compared with ovx control females on the same diet regimen, Npy1rrfb females displayed increased microglia number and activation, increased expression of Neuropeptide Y (NPY)-immunoreactivity (IR) and decreased expression of proopiomelanocortin-IR in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC). These results suggest that in the ARC NPY-Y1R reduces the susceptibility to obesity of female mice with low levels of gonadal hormones and that this effect may be mediated via NPY-Y1R ability to protect the brain against neuroinflammation. Full article
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Review
Cross-Talk between the (Endo)Cannabinoid and Renin-Angiotensin Systems: Basic Evidence and Potential Therapeutic Significance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6350; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116350 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 508
Abstract
This review is dedicated to the cross-talk between the (endo)cannabinoid and renin angiotensin systems (RAS). Activation of AT1 receptors (AT1Rs) by angiotensin II (Ang II) can release endocannabinoids that, by acting at cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs), modify [...] Read more.
This review is dedicated to the cross-talk between the (endo)cannabinoid and renin angiotensin systems (RAS). Activation of AT1 receptors (AT1Rs) by angiotensin II (Ang II) can release endocannabinoids that, by acting at cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs), modify the response to AT1R stimulation. CB1R blockade may enhance AT1R-mediated responses (mainly vasoconstrictor effects) or reduce them (mainly central nervous system-mediated effects). The final effects depend on whether stimulation of CB1Rs and AT1Rs induces opposite or the same effects. Second, CB1R blockade may diminish AT1R levels. Third, phytocannabinoids modulate angiotensin-converting enzyme-2. Additional studies are required to clarify (1) the existence of a cross-talk between the protective axis of the RAS (Ang II—AT2 receptor system or angiotensin 1-7—Mas receptor system) with components of the endocannabinoid system, (2) the influence of Ang II on constituents of the endocannabinoid system and (3) the (patho)physiological significance of AT1R-CB1R heteromerization. As a therapeutic consequence, CB1R antagonists may influence effects elicited by the activation or blockade of the RAS; phytocannabinoids may be useful as adjuvant therapy against COVID-19; single drugs acting on the (endo)cannabinoid system (cannabidiol) and the RAS (telmisartan) may show pharmacokinetic interactions since they are substrates of the same metabolizing enzyme of the transport mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insight into Cannabinoid Effects)
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Article
Impact of N-Terminal Tags on De Novo Vimentin Intermediate Filament Assembly
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6349; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116349 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 464
Abstract
Vimentin, a type III intermediate filament protein, is found in most cells along with microfilaments and microtubules. It has been shown that the head domain folds back to associate with the rod domain and this association is essential for filament assembly. The N-terminally [...] Read more.
Vimentin, a type III intermediate filament protein, is found in most cells along with microfilaments and microtubules. It has been shown that the head domain folds back to associate with the rod domain and this association is essential for filament assembly. The N-terminally tagged vimentin has been widely used to label the cytoskeleton in live cell imaging. Although there is previous evidence that EGFP tagged vimentin fails to form filaments but is able to integrate into a pre-existing network, no study has systematically investigated or established a molecular basis for this observation. To determine whether a tag would affect de novo filament assembly, we used vimentin fused at the N-terminus with two different sized tags, AcGFP (239 residues, 27 kDa) and 3 × FLAG (22 residues; 2.4 kDa) to assemble into filaments in two vimentin-deficient epithelial cells, MCF-7 and A431. We showed that regardless of tag size, N-terminally tagged vimentin aggregated into globules with a significant proportion co-aligning with β-catenin at cell–cell junctions. However, the tagged vimentin aggregates could form filaments upon adding untagged vimentin at a ratio of 1:1 or when introduced into cells containing pre-existing filaments. The resultant filament network containing a mixture of tagged and untagged vimentin was less stable compared to that formed by only untagged vimentin. The data suggest that placing a tag at the N-terminus may create steric hinderance in case of a large tag (AcGFP) or electrostatic repulsion in case of highly charged tag (3 × FLAG) perhaps inducing a conformational change, which deleteriously affects the association between head and rod domains. Taken together our results shows that a free N-terminus is essential for filament assembly as N-terminally tagged vimentin is not only incapable of forming filaments, but it also destabilises when integrated into a pre-existing network. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Review
Benzo[a]pyrene—Environmental Occurrence, Human Exposure, and Mechanisms of Toxicity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116348 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is the main representative of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and has been repeatedly found in the air, surface water, soil, and sediments. It is present in cigarette smoke as well as in food products, especially when smoked [...] Read more.
Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is the main representative of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and has been repeatedly found in the air, surface water, soil, and sediments. It is present in cigarette smoke as well as in food products, especially when smoked and grilled. Human exposure to B[a]P is therefore common. Research shows growing evidence concerning toxic effects induced by this substance. This xenobiotic is metabolized by cytochrome P450 (CYP P450) to carcinogenic metabolite: 7β,8α-dihydroxy-9α,10α-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene (BPDE), which creates DNA adducts, causing mutations and malignant transformations. Moreover, B[a]P is epigenotoxic, neurotoxic, and teratogenic, and exhibits pro-oxidative potential and causes impairment of animals’ fertility. CYP P450 is strongly involved in B[a]P metabolism, and it is simultaneously expressed as a result of the association of B[a]P with aromatic hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), playing an essential role in the cancerogenic potential of various xenobiotics. In turn, polymorphism of CYP P450 genes determines the sensitivity of the organism to B[a]P. It was also observed that B[a]P facilitates the multiplication of viruses, which may be an additional problem with the widespread COVID-19 pandemic. Based on publications mainly from 2017 to 2022, this paper presents the occurrence of B[a]P in various environmental compartments and human surroundings, shows the exposure of humans to this substance, and describes the mechanisms of its toxicity. Full article
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Article
Repurposing Histaminergic Drugs in Multiple Sclerosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6347; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116347 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 503
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease with a strong neuroinflammatory component that contributes to severe demyelination, neurodegeneration and lesions formation in white and grey matter of the spinal cord and brain. Increasing attention is being paid to the signaling of the biogenic amine [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease with a strong neuroinflammatory component that contributes to severe demyelination, neurodegeneration and lesions formation in white and grey matter of the spinal cord and brain. Increasing attention is being paid to the signaling of the biogenic amine histamine in the context of several pathological conditions. In multiple sclerosis, histamine regulates the differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursors, reduces demyelination, and improves the remyelination process. However, the concomitant activation of histamine H1–H4 receptors can sustain either damaging or favorable effects, depending on the specifically activated receptor subtype/s, the timing of receptor engagement, and the central versus peripheral target district. Conventional drug development has failed so far to identify curative drugs for multiple sclerosis, thus causing a severe delay in therapeutic options available to patients. In this perspective, drug repurposing offers an exciting and complementary alternative for rapidly approving some medicines already approved for other indications. In the present work, we have adopted a new network-medicine-based algorithm for drug repurposing called SAveRUNNER, for quantifying the interplay between multiple sclerosis-associated genes and drug targets in the human interactome. We have identified new histamine drug-disease associations and predicted off-label novel use of the histaminergic drugs amodiaquine, rupatadine, and diphenhydramine among others, for multiple sclerosis. Our work suggests that selected histamine-related molecules might get to the root causes of multiple sclerosis and emerge as new potential therapeutic strategies for the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Multiple Sclerosis Pathology)
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Article
Insights to the Structural Basis for the Stereospecificity of the Escherichia coli Phytase, AppA
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6346; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116346 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 502
Abstract
AppA, the Escherichia coli periplasmic phytase of clade 2 of the histidine phosphatase (HP2) family, has been well-characterized and successfully engineered for use as an animal feed supplement. AppA is a 1D-6-phytase and highly stereospecific but transiently accumulates 1D-myo-Ins(2,3,4,5)P4 and [...] Read more.
AppA, the Escherichia coli periplasmic phytase of clade 2 of the histidine phosphatase (HP2) family, has been well-characterized and successfully engineered for use as an animal feed supplement. AppA is a 1D-6-phytase and highly stereospecific but transiently accumulates 1D-myo-Ins(2,3,4,5)P4 and other lower phosphorylated intermediates. If this bottleneck in liberation of orthophosphate is to be obviated through protein engineering, an explanation of its rather rigid preference for the initial site and subsequent cleavage of phytic acid is required. To help explain this behaviour, the role of the catalytic proton donor residue in determining AppA stereospecificity was investigated. Four variants were generated by site-directed mutagenesis of the active site HDT amino acid sequence motif containing the catalytic proton donor, D304. The identity and position of the prospective proton donor residue was found to strongly influence stereospecificity. While the wild-type enzyme has a strong preference for 1D-6-phytase activity, a marked reduction in stereospecificity was observed for a D304E variant, while a proton donor-less mutant (D304A) displayed exclusive 1D-1/3-phytase activity. High-resolution X-ray crystal structures of complexes of the mutants with a non-hydrolysable substrate analogue inhibitor point to a crucial role played by D304 in stereospecificity by influencing the size and polarity of specificity pockets A and B. Taken together, these results provide the first evidence for the involvement of the proton donor residue in determining the stereospecificity of HP2 phytases and prepares the ground for structure-informed engineering studies targeting the production of animal feed enzymes capable of the efficient and complete dephosphorylation of dietary phytic acid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advances in Enzymes and Protein Engineering)
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Article
Antifungal Activity of the Frog Skin Peptide Temporin G and Its Effect on Candida albicans Virulence Factors
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6345; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116345 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 458
Abstract
The increasing resistance to conventional antifungal drugs is a widespread concern, and a search for new compounds, active against different species of fungi, is demanded. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) hold promises in this context. Here we investigated the activity of the frog skin AMP [...] Read more.
The increasing resistance to conventional antifungal drugs is a widespread concern, and a search for new compounds, active against different species of fungi, is demanded. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) hold promises in this context. Here we investigated the activity of the frog skin AMP Temporin G (TG) against a panel of fungal strains, by following the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute protocols. TG resulted to be active against (i) Candida species and Cryptococcus neoformans, with MIC50 between 4 µM and 64 µM after 24 h of incubation; (ii) dermatophytes with MIC80 ranging from 4 to 32 µM, and (iii) Aspergillus strains with MIC80 of 128 µM. In addition, our tests revealed that TG reduced the metabolic activity of Candida albicans cells, with moderate membrane perturbation, as proven by XTT and Sytox Green assays, respectively. Furthermore, TG was found to be effective against some C. albicans virulence factors; indeed, at 64 µM it was able to inhibit ~90% of yeast–mycelial switching, strongly prevented biofilm formation, and led to a 50% reduction of metabolic activity in mature biofilm cells, and ~30–35% eradication of mature biofilm biomass. Even though further studies are needed to deepen our knowledge of the mechanisms of TG antifungal activity, our results suggest this AMP as an attractive lead compound for treatment of fungal diseases. Full article
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Article
A Single-Component Blue Light-Induced System Based on EL222 in Yarrowia lipolytica
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6344; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116344 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 415
Abstract
Optogenetics has the advantages of a fast response time, reversibility, and high spatial and temporal resolution, which make it desirable in the metabolic engineering of chassis cells. In this study, a light-induced expression system of Yarrowia lipolytica was constructed, which successfully achieved the [...] Read more.
Optogenetics has the advantages of a fast response time, reversibility, and high spatial and temporal resolution, which make it desirable in the metabolic engineering of chassis cells. In this study, a light-induced expression system of Yarrowia lipolytica was constructed, which successfully achieved the synthesis and functional verification of Bleomycin resistance protein (BleoR). The core of the blue light-induced system, the light-responsive element (TF), is constructed based on the blue photosensitive protein EL222 and the transcription activator VP16. The results show that the light-induced sensor based on TF, upstream activation sequence (C120)5, and minimal promoter CYC102 can respond to blue light and initiate the expression of GFPMut3 report gene. With four copies of the responsive promoter and reporter gene assembled, they can produce a 128.5-fold higher fluorescent signal than that under dark conditions after 8 h of induction. The effects of light dose and periodicity on this system were investigated, which proved that the system has good spatial and temporal controllability. On this basis, the light-controlled system was used for the synthesis of BleoR to realize the expression and verification of functional protein. These results demonstrated that this system has the potential for the transcriptional regulation of target genes, construction of large-scale synthetic networks, and overproduction of the desired product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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Nanoscale Calculation of Proton-Induced DNA Damage Using a Chromatin Geometry Model with Geant4-DNA
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6343; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116343 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Monte Carlo simulations can quantify various types of DNA damage to evaluate the biological effects of ionizing radiation at the nanometer scale. This work presents a study simulating the DNA target response after proton irradiation. A chromatin fiber model and new physics constructors [...] Read more.
Monte Carlo simulations can quantify various types of DNA damage to evaluate the biological effects of ionizing radiation at the nanometer scale. This work presents a study simulating the DNA target response after proton irradiation. A chromatin fiber model and new physics constructors with the ELastic Scattering of Electrons and Positrons by neutral Atoms (ELSEPA) model were used to describe the DNA geometry and the physical stage of water radiolysis with the Geant4-DNA toolkit, respectively. Three key parameters (the energy threshold model for strand breaks, the physics model and the maximum distance to distinguish DSB clusters) of scoring DNA damage were studied to investigate the impact on the uncertainties of DNA damage. On the basis of comparison of our results with experimental data and published findings, we were able to accurately predict the yield of various types of DNA damage. Our results indicated that the difference in physics constructor can cause up to 56.4% in the DNA double-strand break (DSB) yields. The DSB yields were quite sensitive to the energy threshold for strand breaks (SB) and the maximum distance to classify the DSB clusters, which were even more than 100 times and four times than the default configurations, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Damage in Biomolecules and Cells 2.0)
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Review
The Sedentary Lifestyle and Masticatory Dysfunction: Time to Review the Contribution to Age-Associated Cognitive Decline and Astrocyte Morphotypes in the Dentate Gyrus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6342; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116342 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 436
Abstract
As aging and cognitive decline progresses, the impact of a sedentary lifestyle on the appearance of environment-dependent cellular morphologies in the brain becomes more apparent. Sedentary living is also associated with poor oral health, which is known to correlate with the rate of [...] Read more.
As aging and cognitive decline progresses, the impact of a sedentary lifestyle on the appearance of environment-dependent cellular morphologies in the brain becomes more apparent. Sedentary living is also associated with poor oral health, which is known to correlate with the rate of cognitive decline. Here, we will review the evidence for the interplay between mastication and environmental enrichment and assess the impact of each on the structure of the brain. In previous studies, we explored the relationship between behavior and the morphological features of dentate gyrus glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive astrocytes during aging in contrasting environments and in the context of induced masticatory dysfunction. Hierarchical cluster and discriminant analysis of GFAP-positive astrocytes from the dentate gyrus molecular layer revealed that the proportion of AST1 (astrocyte arbors with greater complexity phenotype) and AST2 (lower complexity) are differentially affected by environment, aging and masticatory dysfunction, but the relationship is not straightforward. Here we re-evaluated our previous reconstructions by comparing dorsal and ventral astrocyte morphologies in the dentate gyrus, and we found that morphological complexity was the variable that contributed most to cluster formation across the experimental groups. In general, reducing masticatory activity increases astrocyte morphological complexity, and the effect is most marked in the ventral dentate gyrus, whereas the effect of environment was more marked in the dorsal dentate gyrus. All morphotypes retained their basic structural organization in intact tissue, suggesting that they are subtypes with a non-proliferative astrocyte profile. In summary, the increased complexity of astrocytes in situations where neuronal loss and behavioral deficits are present is counterintuitive, but highlights the need to better understand the role of the astrocyte in these conditions. Full article
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Review
The Primary Microglial Leukodystrophies: A Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6341; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116341 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Primary microglial leukodystrophy or leukoencephalopathy are disorders in which a genetic defect linked to microglia causes cerebral white matter damage. Pigmented orthochromatic leukodystrophy, adult-onset orthochromatic leukodystrophy associated with pigmented macrophages, hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with (axonal) spheroids, and adult-onset leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids and [...] Read more.
Primary microglial leukodystrophy or leukoencephalopathy are disorders in which a genetic defect linked to microglia causes cerebral white matter damage. Pigmented orthochromatic leukodystrophy, adult-onset orthochromatic leukodystrophy associated with pigmented macrophages, hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with (axonal) spheroids, and adult-onset leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids and pigmented glia (ALSP) are different terms apparently used to designate the same disease. However, ALSP linked to dominantly inherited mutations in CSF1R (colony stimulating factor receptor 1) cause CSF-1R-related leukoencephalopathy (CRP). Yet, recessive ALSP with ovarian failure linked to AARS2 (alanyl-transfer (t)RNA synthase 2) mutations (LKENP) is a mitochondrial disease and not a primary microglial leukoencephalopathy. Polycystic membranous lipomembranous osteodysplasia with sclerosing leukoencephalopathy (PLOSL; Nasu–Hakola disease: NHD) is a systemic disease affecting bones, cerebral white matter, selected grey nuclei, and adipose tissue The disease is caused by mutations of one of the two genes TYROBP or TREM2, identified as PLOSL1 and PLOSL2, respectively. TYROBP associates with receptors expressed in NK cells, B and T lymphocytes, dendritic cells, monocytes, macrophages, and microglia. TREM2 encodes the protein TREM2 (triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2), which forms a receptor signalling complex with TYROBP in macrophages and dendritic cells. Rather than pure microglial leukoencephalopathy, NHD can be considered a multisystemic “immunological” disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Glioblastoma: Cellular and Molecular)
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Article
Variations in Blood Platelet Proteome and Transcriptome Revealed Altered Expression of Transgelin-2 in Acute Coronary Syndrome Patients
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6340; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116340 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 369
Abstract
Proteomic analyses based on mass spectrometry provide a powerful tool for the simultaneous identification of proteins and their signatures. Disorders detection at the molecular level delivers an immense impact for a better understanding of the pathogenesis and etiology of various diseases. Acute coronary [...] Read more.
Proteomic analyses based on mass spectrometry provide a powerful tool for the simultaneous identification of proteins and their signatures. Disorders detection at the molecular level delivers an immense impact for a better understanding of the pathogenesis and etiology of various diseases. Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) refers to a group of heart diseases generally associated with rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque and partial or complete thrombotic obstruction of the blood flow in the infarct-related coronary artery. The essential role in the pathogenesis of ACS is related to the abnormal, pathological activation of blood platelets. The multifactorial and complex character of ACS indicates the need to explain the molecular mechanisms responsible for thrombosis. In our study, we performed screening and comparative analysis of platelet proteome from ACS patients and healthy donors. Two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis and nanoscale liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry showed altered expressions of six proteins (i.e., vinculin, transgelin-2, fibrinogen β and γ chains, apolipoprotein a1, and tubulin β), with the overlapping increased expression at the mRNA level for transgelin-2. Dysregulation in protein expression identified in our study may be associated with an increased risk of thrombotic events, correlated with a higher aggregability of blood platelets and induced shape change, thus explaining the phenomenon of the hyperreactivity of blood platelets in ACS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Platelet Function in Disease)
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Article
Secreted miR-153 Controls Proliferation and Invasion of Higher Gleason Score Prostate Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116339 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 481
Abstract
Prostate cancer (PC) is a male common neoplasm and is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. PC is traditionally diagnosed by the evaluation of prostate secreted antigen (PSA) in the blood. Due to the high levels of false positives, [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer (PC) is a male common neoplasm and is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. PC is traditionally diagnosed by the evaluation of prostate secreted antigen (PSA) in the blood. Due to the high levels of false positives, digital rectal examination and transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy are necessary in uncertain cases with elevated PSA levels. Nevertheless, the high mortality rate suggests that new PC biomarkers are urgently needed to help clinical diagnosis. In a previous study, we have identified a network of genes, altered in high Gleason Score (GS) PC (GS ≥ 7), being regulated by miR-153. Until now, no publication has explained the mechanism of action of miR-153 in PC. By in vitro studies, we found that the overexpression of miR-153 in high GS cell lines is required to control cell proliferation, migration and invasion rates, targeting Kruppel-like factor 5 (KLF5). Moreover, miR-153 could be secreted by exosomes and microvesicles in the microenvironment and, once entered into the surrounding tissue, could influence cellular growth. Being upregulated in high GS human PC, miR-153 could be proposed as a circulating biomarker for PC diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Regulation by Non-Coding RNAs)
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Article
Hyperelastic Properties of Bamboo Cellulosic Fibre–Reinforced Silicone Rubber Biocomposites via Compression Test
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6338; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116338 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 390
Abstract
Materials that exhibit highly nonlinear behaviour are intricate to study. This is due to their physical properties, as they possess a very large deformation. Silicone rubber is among the materials that can be classified as possessing such characteristics, despite their being soft and [...] Read more.
Materials that exhibit highly nonlinear behaviour are intricate to study. This is due to their physical properties, as they possess a very large deformation. Silicone rubber is among the materials that can be classified as possessing such characteristics, despite their being soft and frequently applied in medical applications. Due to their low mechanical properties, however, it is believed that a filler addition could enhance them. This study, therefore, aims to investigate the effect of the addition of bamboo cellulosic filler to silicone rubber in terms of its compressive properties in order to quantify its material constants using the hyperelastic theory, specifically the Neo-Hookean and Mooney–Rivlin models. The specimens’ compressive properties were also compared between specimens immersed in seawater and those not immersed in seawater. The findings showed that the compressive properties, stiffness, and compressive strength of the bamboo cellulosic fibre reinforced the silicone rubber biocomposites, improved with higher bamboo filler addition. Specimens immersed in seawater showed that they can withstand a compressive load of up to 83.16 kPa in comparison to specimens not immersed in seawater (up to 79.8 kPa). Using the hyperelastic constitutive models, the Mooney–Rivlin model displayed the most accurate performance curve fit with the experimental compression data with an R2 of up to 0.9999. The material constant values also revealed that the specimens immersed in seawater improved in stiffness property, as the C1 material constant values are higher than for the specimens not immersed in seawater. From these findings, this study has shown that bamboo cellulosic filler added into silicone rubber enhances the material’s compressive properties and that the rubber further improves with immersion in seawater. Thus, these findings contribute significantly towards knowledge of bamboo cellulosic fibre–reinforced silicone rubber biocomposite materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellulose and Its Applications)
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Article
Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) as Partaker in the Modulation of UV-Response in Cultured Human Conjunctival Fibroblasts
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6337; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116337 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 450
Abstract
Corroborating data sustain the pleiotropic effect of nerve growth factor (NGF) in the protection of the visual system from dangerous stimuli, including ultraviolet (UV). Since UV exposure might promote ocular surface changes (conjunctival inflammation and matrix rearrangement), as previously reported from in vivo [...] Read more.
Corroborating data sustain the pleiotropic effect of nerve growth factor (NGF) in the protection of the visual system from dangerous stimuli, including ultraviolet (UV). Since UV exposure might promote ocular surface changes (conjunctival inflammation and matrix rearrangement), as previously reported from in vivo studies sustaining some protective NGF effects, in vitro cultures of human conjunctival fibroblasts (FBs) were developed and exposed to a single UV exposure over 15 min (0.277 W/m2), either alone or supplemented with NGF (1–10–100 ng/mL). Conditioned media and cell monolayers were collected and analyzed for protein release (ELISA, ELLA microfluidic) and transcript expression (real-time PCR). A specific “inflammatory to remodeling” pattern (IL8, VEGF, IL33, OPN, and CYR61) as well as a few epigenetic transcripts (known as modulator of cell differentiation and matrix-remodeling (DNMT3a, HDAC1, NRF2 and KEAP1)) were investigated in parallel. UV-exposed FBs (i), showed no proliferation or significant cytoskeleton rearrangement; (ii), displayed a trkANGFR/p75NTR phenotype; and (iii), synthesized/released IL8, VEGF-A, IL33, OPN, and CYR61, as compared to unexposed ones. NGF addition counteracted IL8, IL33, OPN, and CYR61 protein release merely at lower NGF concentrations but not VEGF. NGF supplementation did not affect DNMT3a or HDAC1 transcripts, while it significantly upregulated NRF2 at lowest NGF doses and did not change KEAP1 expression. Taken together, a single UV exposure activated conjunctival FBs to release pro-inflammatory/fibrogenic factors in association with epigenetic changes. The effects were selectively counteracted by NGF supplementation in a dose-dependent fashion, most probably accountable to the trkANGFR/p75NTR phenotype. Further in vitro studies are underway to better understand this additional NGF pleiotropic effect. Since UV-shield impairments represent a worldwide alert and UV radiation can slowly affect ocular surface homeostasis (photo-ageing, cataract) or might exacerbate ocular diseases with a preexisting fibrosis (pterygium, VKC), these findings on NGF modulation of UV-exposed FBs might provide additional information for protecting the ocular surface (homeostasis) from low-grade long-lasting UV insults. Full article
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Review
Molecular Mechanism of Pathogenesis and Treatment Strategies for AL Amyloidosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6336; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116336 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 381
Abstract
In amyloid light-chain (AL) amyloidosis, small B-cell clones (mostly plasma cell clones) present in the bone marrow proliferate and secrete unstable monoclonal free light chains (FLCs), which form amyloid fibrils that deposit in the interstitial tissue, resulting in organ injury and dysfunction. AL [...] Read more.
In amyloid light-chain (AL) amyloidosis, small B-cell clones (mostly plasma cell clones) present in the bone marrow proliferate and secrete unstable monoclonal free light chains (FLCs), which form amyloid fibrils that deposit in the interstitial tissue, resulting in organ injury and dysfunction. AL amyloidosis progresses much faster than other types of amyloidosis, with a slight delay in diagnosis leading to a marked exacerbation of cardiomyopathy. In some cases, the resulting heart failure is so severe that chemotherapy cannot be administered, and death sometimes occurs within a few months. To date, many clinical studies have focused on therapeutics, especially chemotherapy, to treat this disease. Because it is necessary to promptly lower FLC, the causative protein of amyloid, to achieve a hematological response, various anticancer agents targeting neoplastic plasma cells are used for the treatment of this disease. In addition, many basic studies using human specimens to elucidate the pathophysiology of AL have been conducted. Gene mutations associated with AL, the characteristics of amyloidogenic LC, and the structural specificity of amyloid fibrils have been clarified. Regarding the mechanism of cellular and tissue damage, the mass effect due to amyloid deposition, as well as the toxicity of pre-fibrillar LC, is gradually being elucidated. This review outlines the pathogenesis and treatment strategies for AL amyloidosis with respect to its molecular mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Amyloidosis)
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Article
The Consequences of Mitochondrial T10432C Mutation in Cika Cattle: A “Potential” Model for Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6335; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116335 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 333
Abstract
While mitogenome mutations leading to pathological manifestations are rare, more than 200 such mutations have been described in humans. In contrast, pathogenic mitogenome mutations are rare in domestic animals and have not been described at all in cattle. In the small local Slovenian [...] Read more.
While mitogenome mutations leading to pathological manifestations are rare, more than 200 such mutations have been described in humans. In contrast, pathogenic mitogenome mutations are rare in domestic animals and have not been described at all in cattle. In the small local Slovenian cattle breed Cika, we identified (next-generation sequencing) two cows with the T10432C mitogenome mutation in the ND4L gene, which corresponds to the human T10663C mutation known to cause Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). Pedigree analysis revealed that the cows in which the mutation was identified belong to two different maternal lineages with 217 individual cows born between 1997 and 2020. The identified mutation and its maternal inheritance were confirmed by Sanger sequencing across multiple generations, whereas no single analysis revealed evidence of heteroplasmy. A closer clinical examination of one cow with the T10432C mutation revealed exophthalmos, whereas histopathological examination revealed retinal ablations, subretinal oedema, and haemorrhage. The results of these analyses confirm the presence of mitochondrial mutation T10432C with homoplasmic maternal inheritance as well as clinical and histopathological signs similar to LHON in humans. Live animals with the mutation could be used as a suitable animal model that can improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of LHON and other mitochondriopathies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria and Energy Metabolism in Rare Diseases)
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Article
A Comprehensive Identification and Expression Analysis of VQ Motif-Containing Proteins in Sugarcane (Saccharum spontaneum L.) under Phytohormone Treatment and Cold Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6334; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116334 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 501
Abstract
The VQ motif-containing proteins play a vital role in various processes such as growth, resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and development. However, there is currently no report on the VQ genes in sugarcane (Saccharum spp.). Herein, 78 VQ genes in Saccharum [...] Read more.
The VQ motif-containing proteins play a vital role in various processes such as growth, resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and development. However, there is currently no report on the VQ genes in sugarcane (Saccharum spp.). Herein, 78 VQ genes in Saccharum spontaneum were identified and classified into nine subgroups (I-IX) by comparative genomic analyses. Each subgroup had a similar structural and conservative motif. These VQ genes expanded mainly through whole-genome segmental duplication. The cis-regulatory elements (CREs) of the VQ genes were widely involved in stress responses, phytohormone responses and physiological regulation. The RNA-seq data showed that SsVQ gene expression patterns in 10 different samples, including different developmental stages, revealed distinct temporal and spatial patterns. A total of 23 SsVQ genes were expressed in all tissues, whereas 13 SsVQ genes were not expressed in any tissues. Sequence Read Archive (SRA) data showed that the majority of SsVQs responded to cold and drought stress. In addition, quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that the SsVQs were variously expressed under salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), abscisic acid (ABA) and cold treatment. This study conducted a full-scale analysis of the VQ gene family in sugarcane, which could be beneficial for the functional characterization of sugarcane VQ genes and provide candidate genes for molecular resistance breeding in cultivated sugarcane in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Stress Biology and Molecular Breeding)
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Review
A Review on the Role of Bicarbonate and Proton Transporters during Sperm Capacitation in Mammals
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116333 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 364
Abstract
Alkalinization of sperm cytosol is essential for plasma membrane hyperpolarization, hyperactivation of motility, and acrosomal exocytosis during sperm capacitation in mammals. The plasma membrane of sperm cells contains different ion channels implicated in the increase of internal pH (pHi) by favoring [...] Read more.
Alkalinization of sperm cytosol is essential for plasma membrane hyperpolarization, hyperactivation of motility, and acrosomal exocytosis during sperm capacitation in mammals. The plasma membrane of sperm cells contains different ion channels implicated in the increase of internal pH (pHi) by favoring either bicarbonate entrance or proton efflux. Bicarbonate transporters belong to the solute carrier families 4 (SLC4) and 26 (SLC26) and are currently grouped into Na+/HCO3 transporters and Cl/HCO3 exchangers. Na+/HCO3 transporters are reported to be essential for the initial and fast entrance of HCO3 that triggers sperm capacitation, whereas Cl/HCO3 exchangers are responsible for the sustained HCO3 entrance which orchestrates the sequence of changes associated with sperm capacitation. Proton efflux is required for the fast alkalinization of capacitated sperm cells and the activation of pH-dependent proteins; according to the species, this transport can be mediated by Na+/H+ exchangers (NHE) belonging to the SLC9 family and/or voltage-gated proton channels (HVCN1). Herein, we discuss the involvement of each of these channels in sperm capacitation and the acrosome reaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ion Channels in Sperm Physiology 2.0)
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Article
Uncommon Polyketides from Penicillium steckii AS-324, a Marine Endozoic Fungus Isolated from Deep-Sea Coral in the Magellan Seamount
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6332; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116332 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 365
Abstract
Four unusual steckwaic acids E–H (14), possessing a rarely described acrylic acid unit at C-4 (13) or a double bond between C-12 and C-13 (4) are reported for the first time, along with [...] Read more.
Four unusual steckwaic acids E–H (14), possessing a rarely described acrylic acid unit at C-4 (13) or a double bond between C-12 and C-13 (4) are reported for the first time, along with four new analogues (58) and two known congeners (9 and 10). They were purified from the organic extract of Penicillium steckii AS-324, an endozoic fungus obtained from a deep-sea coral Acanthogorgiidae sp., which was collected from the Magellan Seamount at a depth of 1458 m. Their structures were determined by the interpretation of NMR and mass spectroscopic data. The relative and absolute configurations were determined by NOESY correlations, X-ray crystallographic analysis, and ECD calculations. All compounds were tested for their antimicrobial activities against human- and aquatic-pathogenic bacteria and plant-related pathogenic fungi. Full article
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Perspective
Analysis of Nanomaterials on Biological and Environmental Systems and New Analytical Methods for Improved Detection
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6331; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116331 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 304
Abstract
The advancing field of nanoscience has produced lower mass, smaller size, and expanded chemical composition nanoparticles over recent years. These new nanoparticles have challenged traditional analytical methods of qualification and quantification. Such advancements in nanoparticles and nanomaterials have captured the attention of toxicologists [...] Read more.
The advancing field of nanoscience has produced lower mass, smaller size, and expanded chemical composition nanoparticles over recent years. These new nanoparticles have challenged traditional analytical methods of qualification and quantification. Such advancements in nanoparticles and nanomaterials have captured the attention of toxicologists with concerns regarding the environment and human health impacts. Given that nanoparticles are only limited by size (1–100 nm), their chemical and physical characteristics can drastically change and thus alter their overall nanotoxicity in unpredictable ways. A significant limitation to the development of nanomaterials is that traditional regulatory and scientific methods used to assess the biological and environmental toxicity of chemicals do not generally apply to the assessment of nanomaterials. Significant research effort has been initiated, but much more is still needed to develop new and improved analytical measurement methods for detecting and quantitating nanomaterials in biological and environmental systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Materials and Methods 3.0)
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Article
Mechanistic Insight into Permeation of Plasma-Generated Species from Vacuum into Water Bulk
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6330; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116330 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 543
Abstract
Due to their potential benefits, cold atmospheric plasmas (CAPs), as biotechnological tools, have been used for various purposes, especially in medical and agricultural applications. The main effect of CAP is associated with reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). In order to deliver these [...] Read more.
Due to their potential benefits, cold atmospheric plasmas (CAPs), as biotechnological tools, have been used for various purposes, especially in medical and agricultural applications. The main effect of CAP is associated with reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). In order to deliver these RONS to the target, direct or indirect treatment approaches have been employed. The indirect method is put into practice via plasma-activated water (PAW). Despite many studies being available in the field, the permeation mechanisms of RONS into water at the molecular level still remain elusive. Here, we performed molecular dynamics simulations to study the permeation of RONS from vacuum into the water interface and bulk. The calculated free energy profiles unravel the most favourable accumulation positions of RONS. Our results, therefore, provide fundamental insights into PAW and RONS chemistry to increase the efficiency of PAW in biological applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasma Bioscience and Medicine Molecular Research)
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Review
Advanced Nanostructured MXene-Based Materials for High Energy Density Lithium–Sulfur Batteries
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6329; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116329 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 343
Abstract
Lithium–sulfur batteries (LSBs) are one of the most promising candidates for next-generation high-energy-density energy storage systems, but their commercialization is hindered by the poor cycling stability due to the insulativity of sulfur and the reaction end products, and the migration of lithium polysulfide. [...] Read more.
Lithium–sulfur batteries (LSBs) are one of the most promising candidates for next-generation high-energy-density energy storage systems, but their commercialization is hindered by the poor cycling stability due to the insulativity of sulfur and the reaction end products, and the migration of lithium polysulfide. MXenes are a type of emerging two-dimensional material and have shown excellent electrochemical properties in LSBs due to their high conductivity and large specific surface area. Herein, several synthetic strategies developed for MXenes since their discovery are summarized alongside discussion of the excellent properties of MXenes for LSBs. Recent advances in MXene-based materials as cathodes for LSBs as well as interlayers are also reviewed. Finally, the future development strategy and prospect of MXene-based materials in high-energy-density LSBs are put forward. Full article
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Editorial
Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology of Transporters for Organic Cations 2.0
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6328; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116328 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 327
Abstract
This editorial summarizes the 12 scientific papers published in the Special Issue “Physiology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology of Transporters for Organic Cations 2 [...] Full article
Article
Regulatory and Enterotoxin Gene Expression and Enterotoxins Production in Staphylococcus aureus FRI913 Cultures Exposed to a Rotating Magnetic Field and trans-Anethole
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6327; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116327 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 384
Abstract
The study aimed to examine the influence of a rotating magnetic field (RMF) of two different frequencies (5 and 50 Hz) on the expression of regulatory (agrA, hld, rot) and staphylococcal enterotoxin (SE—sea, sec, sel) [...] Read more.
The study aimed to examine the influence of a rotating magnetic field (RMF) of two different frequencies (5 and 50 Hz) on the expression of regulatory (agrA, hld, rot) and staphylococcal enterotoxin (SE—sea, sec, sel) genes as well as the production of SEs (SEA, SEC, SEL) by the Staphylococcus aureus FRI913 strain cultured on a medium supplemented with a subinhibitory concentration of trans-anethole (TA). Furthermore, a theoretical model of interactions between the bacterial medium and bacterial cells exposed to RMF was proposed. Gene expression and SEs production were measured using quantitative real-time PCR and ELISA techniques, respectively. Based on the obtained results, it was found that there were no significant differences in the expression of regulatory and SE genes in bacteria simultaneously cultured on a medium supplemented with TA and exposed to RMF at the same time in comparison to the control (unexposed to TA and RMF). In contrast, when the bacteria were cultured on a medium supplemented with TA but were not exposed to RMF or when they were exposed to RMF of 50 Hz (but not to TA), a significant increase in agrA and sea transcripts as compared to the unexposed control was found. Moreover, the decreased level of sec transcripts in bacteria cultured without TA but exposed to RMF of 50 Hz was also revealed. In turn, a significant increase in SEA and decrease in SEC and SEL production was observed in bacteria cultured on a medium supplemented with TA and simultaneously exposed to RMFs. It can be concluded, that depending on SE and regulatory genes expression as well as production of SEs, the effect exerted by the RMF and TA may be positive (i.e., manifests as the increase in SEs and/or regulatory gene expression of SEs production) or negative (i.e., manifests as the reduction in both aforementioned features) or none. Full article
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