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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 23, Issue 3 (February-1 2022) – 914 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Glioblastoma is the most lethal brain tumor with the poorest overall survival. Current standard treatments are not effective. Hence, the identification of novel strategies to treat this devastating pathology is crucial. In this context, the dysregulation of alternative splicing process represents a valuable source for the identification of novel diagnostic and prognostic tools, as well as therapeutic targets, in different tumor pathologies. This study unveils that the truncated splicing variant of the somatostatin receptor subtype 5 (sst5TMD4) is overexpressed and associated with enhanced malignancy features in human glioblastoma, demonstrating the potential utility of sst5TMD4 as a potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarker. Furthermore, sst5TMD4 also represents a novel therapeutic target for glioblastoma patients. View this paper
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Review
Mitochondrial-Targeted Therapy for Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031912 - 09 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Anthracyclines, such as doxorubicin, are effective chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer, but their clinical use is associated with severe and potentially life-threatening cardiotoxicity. Despite decades of research, treatment options remain limited. The mitochondria is commonly considered to be the main target [...] Read more.
Anthracyclines, such as doxorubicin, are effective chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer, but their clinical use is associated with severe and potentially life-threatening cardiotoxicity. Despite decades of research, treatment options remain limited. The mitochondria is commonly considered to be the main target of doxorubicin and mitochondrial dysfunction is the hallmark of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity. Here, we review the pathogenic mechanisms of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and present an update on cardioprotective strategies for this disorder. Specifically, we focus on strategies that can protect the mitochondria and cover different therapeutic modalities encompassing small molecules, post-transcriptional regulators, and mitochondrial transfer. We also discuss the shortcomings of existing models of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and explore advances in the use of human pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes as a platform to facilitate the identification of novel treatments against this disorder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Therapies for Heart Failure)
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Review
Recent Advance in Biological Responsive Nanomaterials for Biosensing and Molecular Imaging Application
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1923; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031923 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 662
Abstract
In recent decades, as a subclass of biomaterials, biologically sensitive nanoparticles have attracted increased scientific interest. Many of the demands for physiologically responsive nanomaterials in applications involving the human body cannot be met by conventional technologies. Due to the field’s importance, considerable effort [...] Read more.
In recent decades, as a subclass of biomaterials, biologically sensitive nanoparticles have attracted increased scientific interest. Many of the demands for physiologically responsive nanomaterials in applications involving the human body cannot be met by conventional technologies. Due to the field’s importance, considerable effort has been expended, and biologically responsive nanomaterials have achieved remarkable success thus far. This review summarizes the recent advancements in biologically responsive nanomaterials and their applications in biosensing and molecular imaging. The nanomaterials change their structure or increase the chemical reaction ratio in response to specific bio-relevant stimuli (such as pH, redox potentials, enzyme kinds, and concentrations) in order to improve the signal for biologically responsive diagnosis. We use various case studies to illustrate the existing issues and provide a clear sense of direction in this area. Furthermore, the limitations and prospects of these nanomaterials for diagnosis are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Materials and Methods 3.0)
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Article
Enhanced Fear Memories and Altered Brain Glucose Metabolism (18F-FDG-PET) following Subanesthetic Intravenous Ketamine Infusion in Female Sprague–Dawley Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1922; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031922 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 769
Abstract
Although women and men are equally likely to receive ketamine following traumatic injury, little is known regarding sex-related differences in the impact of ketamine on traumatic memory. We previously reported that subanesthetic doses of an intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion following fear conditioning impaired [...] Read more.
Although women and men are equally likely to receive ketamine following traumatic injury, little is known regarding sex-related differences in the impact of ketamine on traumatic memory. We previously reported that subanesthetic doses of an intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion following fear conditioning impaired fear extinction and altered regional brain glucose metabolism (BGluM) in male rats. Here, we investigated the effects of IV ketamine infusion on fear memory, stress hormone levels, and BGluM in female rats. Adult female Sprague–Dawley rats received a single IV ketamine infusion (0, 2, 10, or 20 mg/kg, over a 2-h period) following auditory fear conditioning (three pairings of tone and footshock). Levels of plasma stress hormones, corticosterone (CORT) and progesterone, were measured after the ketamine infusion. Two days after ketamine infusion, fear memory retrieval, extinction, and renewal were tested over a three-day period. The effects of IV ketamine infusion on BGluM were determined using 18F-fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG-PET) and computed tomography (CT). The 2 and 10 mg/kg ketamine infusions reduced locomotor activity, while 20 mg/kg infusion produced reduction (first hour) followed by stimulation (second hour) of activity. The 10 and 20 mg/kg ketamine infusions significantly elevated plasma CORT and progesterone levels. All three doses enhanced fear memory retrieval, impaired fear extinction, and enhanced cued fear renewal in female rats. Ketamine infusion produced dose-dependent effects on BGluM in fear- and stress-sensitive brain regions of female rats. The current findings indicate that subanesthetic doses of IV ketamine produce robust effects on the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and brain energy utilization that may contribute to enhanced fear memory observed in female rats. Full article
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Article
Functional Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 and Vanilloid 1 Ion Channels Are Overexpressed in Human Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1921; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031921 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 605
Abstract
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a common cancer with poor prognosis. Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) and Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptors are non-selective cation channels expressed on primary sensory neurons and epithelial and immune cells. TRPV1 mRNA and immunopositivity, as well [...] Read more.
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a common cancer with poor prognosis. Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) and Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptors are non-selective cation channels expressed on primary sensory neurons and epithelial and immune cells. TRPV1 mRNA and immunopositivity, as well as TRPA1-like immunoreactivity upregulation, were demonstrated in OSCC, but selectivity problems with the antibodies still raise questions and their functional relevance is unclear. Therefore, here, we investigated TRPA1 and TRPV1 expressions in OSCC and analyzed their functions. TRPA1 and TRPV1 mRNA were determined by RNAscope in situ hybridization and qPCR. Radioactive 45Ca2+ uptake and ATP-based luminescence indicating cell viability were measured in PE/CA-PJ41 cells in response to the TRPA1 agonist allyl-isothiocyanate (AITC) and TRPV1 agonist capsaicin to determine receptor function. Both TRPA1 and TRPV1 mRNA are expressed in the squamous epithelium of the human oral mucosa and in PE/CA-PJ41 cells, and their expressions are significantly upregulated in OSCC compared to healthy mucosa. TRPA1 and TRPV1 activation (100 µM AITC, 100 nM capsaicin) induced 45Ca2+-influx into PE/CA-PJ41 cells. Both AITC (10 nM–5 µM) and capsaicin (100 nM–45 µM) reduced cell viability, reaching significant decrease at 100 nM AITC and 45 µM capsaicin. We provide the first evidence for the presence of non-neuronal TRPA1 receptor in the OSCC and confirm the expression of TRPV1 channel. These channels are functionally active and might regulate cancer cell viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Article
Erythrocyte Membrane Nanomechanical Rigidity Is Decreased in Obese Patients
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1920; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031920 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 630
Abstract
This work intends to describe the physical properties of red blood cell (RBC) membranes in obese adults. The hypothesis driving this research is that obesity, in addition to increasing the amount of body fat, will also modify the lipid composition of membranes in [...] Read more.
This work intends to describe the physical properties of red blood cell (RBC) membranes in obese adults. The hypothesis driving this research is that obesity, in addition to increasing the amount of body fat, will also modify the lipid composition of membranes in cells other than adipocytes. Forty-nine control volunteers (16 male, 33 female, BMI 21.8 ± 5.6 and 21.5 ± 4.2 kg/m2, respectively) and 52 obese subjects (16 male and 36 female, BMI 38.2± 11.0 and 40.7 ± 8.7 kg/m2, respectively) were examined. The two physical techniques applied were atomic force microscopy (AFM) in the force spectroscopy mode, which allows the micromechanical measurement of penetration forces, and fluorescence anisotropy of trimethylammonium diphenylhexatriene (TMA-DPH), which provides information on lipid order at the membrane polar–nonpolar interface. These techniques, in combination with lipidomic studies, revealed a decreased rigidity in the interfacial region of the RBC membranes of obese as compared to control patients, related to parallel changes in lipid composition. Lipidomic data show an increase in the cholesterol/phospholipid mole ratio and a decrease in sphingomyelin contents in obese membranes. ω-3 fatty acids (e.g., docosahexaenoic acid) appear to be less prevalent in obese patient RBCs, and this is the case for both the global fatty acid distribution and for the individual major lipids in the membrane phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylserine (PS). Moreover, some ω-6 fatty acids (e.g., arachidonic acid) are increased in obese patient RBCs. The switch from ω-3 to ω-6 lipids in obese subjects could be a major factor explaining the higher interfacial fluidity in obese patient RBC membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection State-of-the-Art Biochemistry in Spain)
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Review
Interactions between Radiation and One-Carbon Metabolism
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1919; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031919 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer. Cancer cells rewire one-carbon metabolism, a central metabolic pathway, to turn nutritional inputs into essential biomolecules required for cancer cell growth and maintenance. Radiation therapy, a common cancer therapy, also interacts and alters one-carbon metabolism. This [...] Read more.
Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer. Cancer cells rewire one-carbon metabolism, a central metabolic pathway, to turn nutritional inputs into essential biomolecules required for cancer cell growth and maintenance. Radiation therapy, a common cancer therapy, also interacts and alters one-carbon metabolism. This review discusses the interactions between radiation therapy, one-carbon metabolism and its component metabolic pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Biology and Molecular Radiation Oncology)
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Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Expression Analysis of Heat Shock Protein 70 (HSP70) Gene Family in Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) Rootstock under Drought Stress Suggested the Potential Role of these Chaperones in Stress Tolerance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1918; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031918 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 787
Abstract
Heat shock protein 70s (HSP70s) are highly conserved proteins that are involved in stress responses. These chaperones play pivotal roles in protein folding, removing the extra amounts of oxidized proteins, preventing protein denaturation, and improving the antioxidant system activities. This conserved family has [...] Read more.
Heat shock protein 70s (HSP70s) are highly conserved proteins that are involved in stress responses. These chaperones play pivotal roles in protein folding, removing the extra amounts of oxidized proteins, preventing protein denaturation, and improving the antioxidant system activities. This conserved family has been characterized in several crops under drought stress conditions. However, there is no study on HSP70s in pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata). Therefore, we performed a comprehensive analysis of this gene family, including phylogenetic relationship, motif and gene structure analysis, gene duplication, collinearity, and promoter analysis. In this research, we found 21 HSP70s that were classified into five groups (from A to E). These genes were mostly localized in the cytoplasm, chloroplast, mitochondria, nucleus, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). We could observe more similarity in closely linked subfamilies in terms of motifs, the number of introns/exons, and the corresponding cellular compartments. According to the collinearity analysis, gene duplication had occurred as a result of purifying selection. The results showed that the occurrence of gene duplication for all nine gene pairs was due to segmental duplication (SD). Synteny analysis revealed a closer relationship between pumpkin and cucumber than pumpkin and Arabidopsis. Promoter analysis showed the presence of various cis-regulatory elements in the up-stream region of the HSP70 genes, such as hormones and stress-responsive elements, indicating a potential role of this gene family in stress tolerance. We furtherly performed the gene expression analysis of the HSP70s in pumpkin under progressive drought stress. Pumpkin is widely used as a rootstock to improve stress tolerance, as well as fruit quality of cucumber scion. Since stress-responsive mobile molecules translocate through vascular tissue from roots to the whole plant body, we used the xylem of grafted materials to study the expression patterns of the HSP70 (potentially mobile) gene family. The results indicated that all CmoHSP70s had very low expression levels at 4 days after stress (DAS). However, the genes showed different expression patterns by progressing he drought period. For example, the expression of CmoHSP70-4 (in subgroup E) and CmoHSP70-14 (in subgroup C) sharply increased at 6 and 11 DAS, respectively. However, the expression of all genes belonging to subgroup A did not change significantly in response to drought stress. These findings indicated the diverse roles of this gene family under drought stress and provided valuable information for further investigation on the function of this gene family, especially under stressful conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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Article
Transferrin Saturation/Hepcidin Ratio Discriminates TMPRSS6-Related Iron Refractory Iron Deficiency Anemia from Patients with Multi-Causal Iron Deficiency Anemia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1917; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031917 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 731
Abstract
Pathogenic TMPRSS6 variants impairing matriptase-2 function result in inappropriately high hepcidin levels relative to body iron status, leading to iron refractory iron deficiency anemia (IRIDA). As diagnosing IRIDA can be challenging due to its genotypical and phenotypical heterogeneity, we assessed the transferrin saturation [...] Read more.
Pathogenic TMPRSS6 variants impairing matriptase-2 function result in inappropriately high hepcidin levels relative to body iron status, leading to iron refractory iron deficiency anemia (IRIDA). As diagnosing IRIDA can be challenging due to its genotypical and phenotypical heterogeneity, we assessed the transferrin saturation (TSAT)/hepcidin ratio to distinguish IRIDA from multi-causal iron deficiency anemia (IDA). We included 20 IRIDA patients from a registry for rare inherited iron disorders and then enrolled 39 controls with IDA due to other causes. Plasma hepcidin-25 levels were measured by standardized isotope dilution mass spectrometry. IDA controls had not received iron therapy in the last 3 months and C-reactive protein levels were <10.0 mg/L. IRIDA patients had significantly lower TSAT/hepcidin ratios compared to IDA controls, median 0.6%/nM (interquartile range, IQR, 0.4–1.1%/nM) and 16.7%/nM (IQR, 12.0–24.0%/nM), respectively. The area under the curve for the TSAT/hepcidin ratio was 1.000 with 100% sensitivity and specificity (95% confidence intervals 84–100% and 91–100%, respectively) at an optimal cut-off point of 5.6%/nM. The TSAT/hepcidin ratio shows excellent performance in discriminating IRIDA from TMPRSS6-unrelated IDA early in the diagnostic work-up of IDA provided that recent iron therapy and moderate-to-severe inflammation are absent. These observations warrant further exploration in a broader IDA population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Iron Metabolism, Ferritin and Hepcidin Research)
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Article
Plasma Metabolomics Profile of “Insulin Sensitive” Male Hypogonadism after Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1916; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031916 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Male hypogonadism is a disorder characterized by low levels of testosterone, but patients can either show normal insulin (insulin-sensitive (IS)) or over time they can become insulin-resistant (IR). Since the two groups showed different altered metabolisms, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) could achieve different [...] Read more.
Male hypogonadism is a disorder characterized by low levels of testosterone, but patients can either show normal insulin (insulin-sensitive (IS)) or over time they can become insulin-resistant (IR). Since the two groups showed different altered metabolisms, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) could achieve different results. In this paper, we analyzed plasma from 20 IS patients with low testosterone (<8 nmol/L) and HOMAi < 2.5. The samples, pre- and post-treatment with testosterone for 60 days, were analyzed by UHPLC and mass spectrometry. Glycolysis was significantly upregulated, suggesting an improved glucose utilization. Conversely, the pentose phosphate pathway was reduced, while the Krebs cycle was not used. Branched amino acids and carnosine metabolism were positively influenced, while β-oxidation of fatty acids (FFA) was not activated. Cholesterol, HDL, and lipid metabolism did not show any improvements at 60 days but did so later in the experimental period. Finally, both malate and glycerol shuttle were reduced. As a result, both NADH and ATP were significantly lower. Interestingly, a significant production of lactate was observed, which induced the activation of the Cori cycle between the liver and muscles, which became the main source of energy for these patients without involving alanine. Thus, the treatment must be integrated with chemicals which are not restored in order to reactivate energy production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insulin Sensitivity/Resistance: From Physiology to Disease)
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Article
Screening of Differentially Expressed Genes and Localization Analysis of Female Gametophyte at the Free Nuclear Mitosis Stage in Pinus tabuliformis Carr.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1915; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031915 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 378
Abstract
Female sterility is a common phenomenon in the plant world, and systematic research has not been carried out in gymnosperms. In this study, the ovules of No. 28 sterile line and No. 15 fertile line Pinus tabuliformis were used as materials, and a [...] Read more.
Female sterility is a common phenomenon in the plant world, and systematic research has not been carried out in gymnosperms. In this study, the ovules of No. 28 sterile line and No. 15 fertile line Pinus tabuliformis were used as materials, and a total of 18 cDNA libraries were sequenced by the HiSeqTM 4000 platform to analyze the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs) between the two lines. In addition, this study further analyzed the DEGs involved in the signal transduction of plant hormones, revealing that the signal pathways related to auxin, cytokinin, and gibberellin were blocked in the sterile ovule. Additionally, real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR verified that the expression trend of DEGs related to plant hormones was consistent with the results of high-throughput sequencing. Frozen sections and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were used to study the temporal and spatial expression patterns of PtRab in the ovules of P. tabuliformis. It was found that PtRab was significantly expressed in female gametophytes and rarely expressed in the surrounding diploid tissues. This study further explained the molecular regulation mechanism of female sterility in P. tabuliformis, preliminarily mining the key factors of ovule abortion in gymnosperms at the transcriptional level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Recent Advances in Plant Molecular Science in China 2021)
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Article
Fusarium graminearum Infection Strategy in Wheat Involves a Highly Conserved Genetic Program That Controls the Expression of a Core Effectome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1914; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031914 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Fusarium graminearum, the main causal agent of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), is one of the most damaging pathogens in wheat. Because of the complex organization of wheat resistance to FHB, this pathosystem represents a relevant model to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying [...] Read more.
Fusarium graminearum, the main causal agent of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), is one of the most damaging pathogens in wheat. Because of the complex organization of wheat resistance to FHB, this pathosystem represents a relevant model to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying plant susceptibility and to identify their main drivers, the pathogen’s effectors. Although the F. graminearum catalog of effectors has been well characterized at the genome scale, in planta studies are needed to confirm their effective accumulation in host tissues and to identify their role during the infection process. Taking advantage of the genetic variability from both species, a RNAseq-based profiling of gene expression was performed during an infection time course using an aggressive F. graminearum strain facing five wheat cultivars of contrasting susceptibility as well as using three strains of contrasting aggressiveness infecting a single susceptible host. Genes coding for secreted proteins and exhibiting significant expression changes along infection progress were selected to identify the effector gene candidates. During its interaction with the five wheat cultivars, 476 effector genes were expressed by the aggressive strain, among which 91% were found in all the infected hosts. Considering three different strains infecting a single susceptible host, 761 effector genes were identified, among which 90% were systematically expressed in the three strains. We revealed a robust F. graminearum core effectome of 357 genes expressed in all the hosts and by all the strains that exhibited conserved expression patterns over time. Several wheat compartments were predicted to be targeted by these putative effectors including apoplast, nucleus, chloroplast and mitochondria. Taken together, our results shed light on a highly conserved parasite strategy. They led to the identification of reliable key fungal genes putatively involved in wheat susceptibility to F. graminearum, and provided valuable information about their putative targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host-Pathogen Interaction 3.0)
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Article
ERAP2 Inhibition Induces Cell-Surface Presentation by MOLT-4 Leukemia Cancer Cells of Many Novel and Potentially Antigenic Peptides
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1913; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031913 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 607
Abstract
Recent studies have linked the activity of ER aminopeptidase 2 (ERAP2) to increased efficacy of immune-checkpoint inhibitor cancer immunotherapy, suggesting that pharmacological inhibition of ERAP2 could have important therapeutic implications. To explore the effects of ERAP2 inhibition on the immunopeptidome of cancer cells, [...] Read more.
Recent studies have linked the activity of ER aminopeptidase 2 (ERAP2) to increased efficacy of immune-checkpoint inhibitor cancer immunotherapy, suggesting that pharmacological inhibition of ERAP2 could have important therapeutic implications. To explore the effects of ERAP2 inhibition on the immunopeptidome of cancer cells, we treated MOLT-4 T lymphoblast leukemia cells with a recently developed selective ERAP2 inhibitor, isolated Major Histocompatibility class I molecules (MHCI), and sequenced bound peptides by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Inhibitor treatment induced significant shifts on the immunopeptidome so that more than 20% of detected peptides were either novel or significantly upregulated. Most of the inhibitor-induced peptides were 9mers and had sequence motifs and predicted affinity consistent with being optimal ligands for at least one of the MHCI alleles carried by MOLT-4 cells. Such inhibitor-induced peptides could serve as triggers for novel cytotoxic responses against cancer cells and synergize with the therapeutic effect of immune-checkpoint inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Pathway of Antigen Processing and Presentation)
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Article
AKR1B10, One of the Triggers of Cytokine Storm in SARS-CoV2 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1911; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031911 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 659
Abstract
Preventing the cytokine storm observed in COVID-19 is a crucial goal for reducing the occurrence of severe acute respiratory failure and improving outcomes. Here, we identify Aldo-Keto Reductase 1B10 (AKR1B10) as a key enzyme involved in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The analysis [...] Read more.
Preventing the cytokine storm observed in COVID-19 is a crucial goal for reducing the occurrence of severe acute respiratory failure and improving outcomes. Here, we identify Aldo-Keto Reductase 1B10 (AKR1B10) as a key enzyme involved in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The analysis of transcriptomic data from lung samples of patients who died from COVID-19 demonstrates an increased expression of the gene encoding AKR1B10. Measurements of the AKR1B10 protein in sera from hospitalised COVID-19 patients suggests a significant link between AKR1B10 levels and the severity of the disease. In macrophages and lung cells, the over-expression of AKR1B10 induces the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and Tumor Necrosis Factor a (TNFα), supporting the biological plausibility of an AKR1B10 involvement in the COVID-19-related cytokine storm. When macrophages were stressed by lipopolysaccharides (LPS) exposure and treated by Zopolrestat, an AKR1B10 inhibitor, the LPS-induced production of IL-6, IL-1β, and TNFα is significantly reduced, reinforcing the hypothesis that the pro-inflammatory expression of cytokines is AKR1B10-dependant. Finally, we also show that AKR1B10 can be secreted and transferred via extracellular vesicles between different cell types, suggesting that this protein may also contribute to the multi-organ systemic impact of COVID-19. These experiments highlight a relationship between AKR1B10 production and severe forms of COVID-19. Our data indicate that AKR1B10 participates in the activation of cytokines production and suggest that modulation of AKR1B10 activity might be an actionable pharmacological target in COVID-19 management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Pathophysiology)
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Article
Why Monoamine Oxidase B Preferably Metabolizes N-Methylhistamine over Histamine: Evidence from the Multiscale Simulation of the Rate-Limiting Step
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1910; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031910 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 522
Abstract
Histamine levels in the human brain are controlled by rather peculiar metabolic pathways. In the first step, histamine is enzymatically methylated at its imidazole Nτ atom, and the produced N-methylhistamine undergoes an oxidative deamination catalyzed by monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B), as [...] Read more.
Histamine levels in the human brain are controlled by rather peculiar metabolic pathways. In the first step, histamine is enzymatically methylated at its imidazole Nτ atom, and the produced N-methylhistamine undergoes an oxidative deamination catalyzed by monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B), as is common with other monoaminergic neurotransmitters and neuromodulators of the central nervous system. The fact that histamine requires such a conversion prior to oxidative deamination is intriguing since MAO-B is known to be relatively promiscuous towards monoaminergic substrates; its in-vitro oxidation of N-methylhistamine is about 10 times faster than that for histamine, yet this rather subtle difference appears to be governing the decomposition pathway. This work clarifies the MAO-B selectivity toward histamine and N-methylhistamine by multiscale simulations of the rate-limiting hydride abstraction step for both compounds in the gas phase, in aqueous solution, and in the enzyme, using the established empirical valence bond methodology, assisted by gas-phase density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The computed barriers are in very good agreement with experimental kinetic data, especially for relative trends among systems, thereby reproducing the observed MAO-B selectivity. Simulations clearly demonstrate that solvation effects govern the reactivity, both in aqueous solution as well as in the enzyme although with an opposing effect on the free energy barrier. In the aqueous solution, the transition-state structure involving histamine is better solvated than its methylated analog, leading to a lower barrier for histamine oxidation. In the enzyme, the higher hydrophobicity of N-methylhistamine results in a decreased number of water molecules at the active side, leading to decreased dielectric shielding of the preorganized catalytic electrostatic environment provided by the enzyme. This renders the catalytic environment more efficient for N-methylhistamine, giving rise to a lower barrier relative to histamine. In addition, the transition state involving N-methylhistamine appears to be stabilized by the surrounding nonpolar residues to a larger extent than with unsubstituted histamine, contributing to a lower barrier with the former. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics)
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Article
Oxidative DNA Damage and Cisplatin Neurotoxicity Is Exacerbated by Inhibition of OGG1 Glycosylase Activity and APE1 Endonuclease Activity in Sensory Neurons
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031909 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 711
Abstract
Cisplatin can induce peripheral neuropathy, which is a common complication of anti-cancer treatment and negatively impacts cancer survivors during and after completion of treatment; therefore, the mechanisms by which cisplatin alters sensory neuronal function to elicit neuropathy are the subject of much investigation. [...] Read more.
Cisplatin can induce peripheral neuropathy, which is a common complication of anti-cancer treatment and negatively impacts cancer survivors during and after completion of treatment; therefore, the mechanisms by which cisplatin alters sensory neuronal function to elicit neuropathy are the subject of much investigation. Our previous work suggests that the DNA repair activity of APE1/Ref-1, the rate-limiting enzyme of the base excision repair (BER) pathway, is critical for neuroprotection against cisplatin. A specific role for 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase-1 (OGG1), the glycosylase that removes the most common oxidative DNA lesion, and putative coordination of OGG1 with APE1/Ref-1 in sensory neurons, has not been investigated. We investigated whether inhibiting OGG1 glycosylase activity with the small molecule inhibitor, TH5487, and/or APE1/Ref-1 endonuclease activity with APE Repair Inhibitor III would alter the neurotoxic effects of cisplatin in sensory neuronal cultures. Sensory neuron function was assessed by calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) release, as a marker of sensitivity and by neurite outgrowth. Cisplatin altered neuropeptide release in an inverse U-shaped fashion, with low concentrations enhancing and higher concentrations diminishing CGRP release. Pretreatment with BER inhibitors exacerbated the functional effects of cisplatin and enhanced 8oxo-dG and adduct lesions in the presence of cisplatin. Our studies demonstrate that inhibition of OGG1 and APE1 endonuclease activity enhances oxidative DNA damage and exacerbates neurotoxicity, thus limiting oxidative DNA damage in sensory neurons that might alleviate cisplatin-induced neuropathy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genome Stability and Neurological Disease)
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Article
A Real-Time, Plate-Based BRET Assay for Detection of cGMP in Primary Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1908; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031908 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is a second messenger involved in the regulation of numerous physiological processes. The modulation of cGMP is important in many diseases, but reliably assaying cGMP in live cells in a plate-based format with temporal resolution is challenging. The Förster/fluorescence [...] Read more.
Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is a second messenger involved in the regulation of numerous physiological processes. The modulation of cGMP is important in many diseases, but reliably assaying cGMP in live cells in a plate-based format with temporal resolution is challenging. The Förster/fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensor cGES-DE5 has a high temporal resolution and high selectivity for cGMP over cAMP, so we converted it to use bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET), which is more compatible with plate-based assays. This BRET variant, called CYGYEL (cyclic GMP sensor using YFP-PDE5-Rluc8), was cloned into a lentiviral vector for use across different mammalian cell types. CYGYEL was characterised in HEK293T cells using the nitric oxide donor diethylamine NONOate (DEA), where it was shown to be dynamic, reversible, and able to detect cGMP with or without the use of phosphodiesterase inhibitors. In human primary vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells, CYGYEL successfully detected cGMP mediated through either soluble or particulate guanylate cyclase using DEA or C-type natriuretic peptide, respectively. Notably, CYGYEL detected differences in kinetics and strength of signal both between ligands and between cell types. CYGYEL remained selective for cGMP over cAMP, but this selectivity was reduced compared to cGES-DE5. CYGYEL streamlines the process of cGMP detection in plate-based assays and can be used to detect cGMP activity across a range of cell types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Kinase Inhibitors in Human Diseases)
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Article
Blood Bacteria-Free DNA in Septic Mice Enhances LPS-Induced Inflammation in Mice through Macrophage Response
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1907; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031907 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 714
Abstract
Although bacteria-free DNA in blood during systemic infection is mainly derived from bacterial death, translocation of the DNA from the gut into the blood circulation (gut translocation) is also possible. Hence, several mouse models with experiments on macrophages were conducted to explore the [...] Read more.
Although bacteria-free DNA in blood during systemic infection is mainly derived from bacterial death, translocation of the DNA from the gut into the blood circulation (gut translocation) is also possible. Hence, several mouse models with experiments on macrophages were conducted to explore the sources, influences, and impacts of bacteria-free DNA in sepsis. First, bacteria-free DNA and bacteriome in blood were demonstrated in cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) sepsis mice. Second, administration of bacterial lysate (a source of bacterial DNA) in dextran sulfate solution (DSS)-induced mucositis mice elevated blood bacteria-free DNA without bacteremia supported gut translocation of free DNA. The absence of blood bacteria-free DNA in DSS mice without bacterial lysate implies an impact of the abundance of bacterial DNA in intestinal contents on the translocation of free DNA. Third, higher serum cytokines in mice after injection of combined bacterial DNA with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), when compared to LPS injection alone, supported an influence of blood bacteria-free DNA on systemic inflammation. The synergistic effects of free DNA and LPS on macrophage pro-inflammatory responses, as indicated by supernatant cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10), pro-inflammatory genes (NFκB, iNOS, and IL-1β), and profound energy alteration (enhanced glycolysis with reduced mitochondrial functions), which was neutralized by TLR-9 inhibition (chloroquine), were demonstrated. In conclusion, the presence of bacteria-free DNA in sepsis mice is partly due to gut translocation of bacteria-free DNA into the systemic circulation, which would enhance sepsis severity. Inhibition of the responses against bacterial DNA by TLR-9 inhibition could attenuate LPS-DNA synergy in macrophages and might help improve sepsis hyper-inflammation in some situations. Full article
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Article
Identification of Corosolic and Oleanolic Acids as Molecules Antagonizing the Human RORγT Nuclear Receptor Using the Calculated Fingerprints of the Molecular Similarity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1906; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031906 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 549
Abstract
RORγT is a protein product of the RORC gene belonging to the nuclear receptor subfamily of retinoic-acid-receptor-related orphan receptors (RORs). RORγT is preferentially expressed in Th17 lymphocytes and drives their differentiation from naive CD4+ cells and is involved in the regulation of the [...] Read more.
RORγT is a protein product of the RORC gene belonging to the nuclear receptor subfamily of retinoic-acid-receptor-related orphan receptors (RORs). RORγT is preferentially expressed in Th17 lymphocytes and drives their differentiation from naive CD4+ cells and is involved in the regulation of the expression of numerous Th17-specific cytokines, such as IL-17. Because Th17 cells are implicated in the pathology of autoimmune diseases (e.g., psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis), RORγT, whose activity is regulated by ligands, has been recognized as a drug target in potential therapies against these diseases. The identification of such ligands is time-consuming and usually requires the screening of chemical libraries. Herein, using a Tanimoto similarity search, we found corosolic acid and other pentacyclic tritepenes in the library we previously screened as compounds highly similar to the RORγT inverse agonist ursolic acid. Furthermore, using gene reporter assays and Th17 lymphocytes, we distinguished compounds that exert stronger biological effects (ursolic, corosolic, and oleanolic acid) from those that are ineffective (asiatic and maslinic acids), providing evidence that such combinatorial methodology (in silico and experimental) might help wet screenings to achieve more accurate results, eliminating false negatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Design and Virtual Screening)
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Article
The Expression of TP53-Induced Glycolysis and Apoptosis Regulator (TIGAR) Can Be Controlled by the Antioxidant Orchestrator NRF2 in Human Carcinoma Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1905; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031905 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 572
Abstract
Hyperactivation of the KEAP1-NRF2 axis is a common molecular trait in carcinomas from different origin. The transcriptional program induced by NRF2 involves antioxidant and metabolic genes that render cancer cells more capable of dealing with oxidative stress. The TP53-Induced Glycolysis and Apoptosis Regulator [...] Read more.
Hyperactivation of the KEAP1-NRF2 axis is a common molecular trait in carcinomas from different origin. The transcriptional program induced by NRF2 involves antioxidant and metabolic genes that render cancer cells more capable of dealing with oxidative stress. The TP53-Induced Glycolysis and Apoptosis Regulator (TIGAR) is an important regulator of glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway that was described as a p53 response gene, yet TIGAR expression is detected in p53-null tumors. In this study we investigated the role of NRF2 in the regulation of TIGAR in human carcinoma cell lines. Exposure of carcinoma cells to electrophilic molecules or overexpression of NRF2 significantly increased expression of TIGAR, in parallel to the known NRF2 target genes NQO1 and G6PD. The same was observed in TP53KO cells, indicating that NRF2-mediated regulation of TIGAR is p53-independent. Accordingly, downregulation of NRF2 decreased the expression of TIGAR in carcinoma cell lines from different origin. As NRF2 is essential in the bone, we used mouse primary osteoblasts to corroborate our findings. The antioxidant response elements for NRF2 binding to the promoter of human and mouse TIGAR were described. This study provides the first evidence that NRF2 controls the expression of TIGAR at the transcriptional level. Full article
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Article
High, in Contrast to Low Levels of Acute Stress Induce Depressive-like Behavior by Involving Astrocytic, in Addition to Microglial P2X7 Receptors in the Rodent Hippocampus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1904; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031904 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 720
Abstract
Extracellular adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) in the brain is suggested to be an etiological factor of major depressive disorder (MDD). It has been assumed that stress-released ATP stimulates P2X7 receptors (Rs) at the microglia, thereby causing neuroinflammation; however, other central nervous system (CNS) cell [...] Read more.
Extracellular adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) in the brain is suggested to be an etiological factor of major depressive disorder (MDD). It has been assumed that stress-released ATP stimulates P2X7 receptors (Rs) at the microglia, thereby causing neuroinflammation; however, other central nervous system (CNS) cell types such as astrocytes also possess P2X7Rs. In order to elucidate the possible involvement of the MDD-relevant hippocampal astrocytes in the development of a depressive-like state, we used various behavioral tests (tail suspension test [TST], forced swim test [FST], restraint stress, inescapable foot shock, unpredictable chronic mild stress [UCMS]), as well as fluorescence immunohistochemistry, and patch-clamp electrophysiology in wild-type (WT) and genetically manipulated rodents. The TST and FST resulted in learned helplessness manifested as a prolongation of the immobility time, while inescapable foot shock caused lower sucrose consumption as a sign of anhedonia. We confirmed the participation of P2X7Rs in the development of the depressive-like behaviors in all forms of acute (TST, FST, foot shock) and chronic stress (UCMS) in the rodent models used. Further, pharmacological agonists and antagonists acted in a different manner in rats and mice due to their diverse potencies at the respective receptor orthologs. In hippocampal slices of mice and rats, only foot shock increased the current responses to locally applied dibenzoyl-ATP (Bz-ATP) in CA1 astrocytes; in contrast, TST and restraint depressed these responses. Following stressful stimuli, immunohistochemistry demonstrated an increased co-localization of P2X7Rs with a microglial marker, but no change in co-localization with an astroglial marker. Pharmacological damage to the microglia and astroglia has proven the significance of the microglia for mediating all types of depression-like behavioral reactions, while the astroglia participated only in reactions induced by strong stressors, such as foot shock. Because, in addition to acute stressors, their chronic counterparts induce a depressive-like state in rodents via P2X7R activation, we suggest that our data may have relevance for the etiology of MDD in humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Purinergic Signalling in Physiology and Pathophysiology)
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Article
The Biosynthesis and Transport of Ophiobolins in Aspergillus ustus 094102
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1903; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031903 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 462
Abstract
Ophiobolins are a group of sesterterpenoids with a 5-8-5 tricyclic skeleton. They exhibit a significant cytotoxicity and present potential medicinal prospects. However, the biosynthesis and transport mechanisms of these valuable compounds have not been fully resolved. Herein, based on a transcriptome analysis, gene [...] Read more.
Ophiobolins are a group of sesterterpenoids with a 5-8-5 tricyclic skeleton. They exhibit a significant cytotoxicity and present potential medicinal prospects. However, the biosynthesis and transport mechanisms of these valuable compounds have not been fully resolved. Herein, based on a transcriptome analysis, gene inactivation, heterologous expression and feeding experiments, we fully explain the biosynthesis pathway of ophiobolin K in Aspergillus ustus 094102, especially proved to be an unclustered oxidase OblCAu that catalyzes dehydrogenation at the site of C16 and C17 of both ophiobolin F and ophiobolin C. We also find that the intermediate ophiobolin C and final product ophiobolin K could be transported into a space between the cell wall and membrane by OblDAu to avoid the inhibiting of cell growth, which is proved by a fluorescence observation of the subcellular localization and cytotoxicity tests. This study completely resolves the biosynthesis mechanism of ophiobolins in strain A. ustus 094102. At the same time, it is revealed that the burden of strain growth caused by the excessive accumulation and toxicity of secondary metabolites is closely related to compartmentalized biosynthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pharmacology)
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Review
Calcium Signalling in Breast Cancer Associated Bone Pain
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1902; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031902 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 529
Abstract
Calcium (Ca2+) is involved as a signalling mediator in a broad variety of physiological processes. Some of the fastest responses in human body like neuronal action potential firing, to the slowest gene transcriptional regulation processes are controlled by pathways involving calcium [...] Read more.
Calcium (Ca2+) is involved as a signalling mediator in a broad variety of physiological processes. Some of the fastest responses in human body like neuronal action potential firing, to the slowest gene transcriptional regulation processes are controlled by pathways involving calcium signalling. Under pathological conditions these mechanisms are also involved in tumoral cells reprogramming, resulting in the altered expression of genes associated with cell proliferation, metastatisation and homing to the secondary metastatic site. On the other hand, calcium exerts a central function in nociception, from cues sensing in distal neurons, to signal modulation and interpretation in the central nervous system leading, in pathological conditions, to hyperalgesia, allodynia and pain chronicization. It is well known the relationship between cancer and pain when tumoral metastatic cells settle in the bones, especially in late breast cancer stage, where they alter the bone micro-environment leading to bone lesions and resulting in pain refractory to the conventional analgesic therapies. The purpose of this review is to address the Ca2+ signalling mechanisms involved in cancer cell metastatisation as well as the function of the same signalling tools in pain regulation and transmission. Finally, the possible interactions between these two cells types cohabiting the same Ca2+ rich environment will be further explored attempting to highlight new possible therapeutical targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Signalling in Cancer: Organelles and Beyond)
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Article
Inhibition of the Monocarboxylate Transporter 1 (MCT1) Promotes 3T3-L1 Adipocyte Proliferation and Enhances Insulin Sensitivity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1901; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031901 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 547
Abstract
Enlarged, hypertrophic adipocytes are less responsive to insulin and are a hallmark feature of obesity, contributing to many of the negative metabolic consequences of excess adipose tissue. Although the mechanisms remain unclear, the adipocyte size appears to be inversely correlated with insulin sensitivity [...] Read more.
Enlarged, hypertrophic adipocytes are less responsive to insulin and are a hallmark feature of obesity, contributing to many of the negative metabolic consequences of excess adipose tissue. Although the mechanisms remain unclear, the adipocyte size appears to be inversely correlated with insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, wherein smaller adipocytes are insulin-sensitive and larger adipocytes develop insulin resistance and exhibit an impaired glucose uptake. Thus, pharmacological strategies aimed at regulating adipocyte hypertrophy (increase in adipocyte size) in favor of promoting hyperplasia (increase in adipocyte number) have the potential to improve adipocyte insulin sensitivity and provide therapeutic benefits in the context of metabolic disorders. As white adipose tissue can metabolize large amounts of glucose to lactate, using transcriptomics and in vitro characterization we explore the functional consequences of inhibiting monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) activity in fully differentiated adipocytes. Our studies show that the pharmacological inhibition of MCT1, a key regulator of the cellular metabolism and proliferation, promotes the re-entry of mature adipocytes into the cell cycle. Furthermore, we demonstrate that inhibitor-treated adipocytes exhibit an enhanced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake as compared with untreated adipocytes, and that this outcome is dependent on the cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) activity. In summary, we identify a mechanism though which MCT1 inhibition improves the insulin sensitivity of mature adipocytes by inducing cell cycle re-entry. These results provide the foundation for future studies investigating the role MCT1 plays in adipocyte hyperplasia, and its therapeutic potential as a drug target for obesity and metabolic disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Article
Insights into the Steps of Breast Cancer–Brain Metastases Development: Tumor Cell Interactions with the Blood–Brain Barrier
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1900; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031900 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 592
Abstract
Brain metastases (BM) represent a growing problem for breast cancer (BC) patients. Recent studies have demonstrated a strong impact of the BC molecular subtype on the incidence of BM development. This study explores the interaction between BC cells of different molecular subtypes and [...] Read more.
Brain metastases (BM) represent a growing problem for breast cancer (BC) patients. Recent studies have demonstrated a strong impact of the BC molecular subtype on the incidence of BM development. This study explores the interaction between BC cells of different molecular subtypes and the blood–brain barrier (BBB). We compared the ability of BC cells of different molecular subtypes to overcome several steps (adhesion to the brain endothelium, disruption of the BBB, and invasion through the endothelial layer) during cerebral metastases formation, in vitro as well as in vivo. Further, the impact of these cells on the BBB was deciphered at the molecular level by transcriptome analysis of the triple-negative (TNBC) cells themselves as well as of hBMECs after cocultivation with BC cell secretomes. Compared to luminal BC cells, TNBC cells have a greater ability to influence the BBB in vitro and consequently develop BM in vivo. The brain-seeking subline and parental TNBC cells behaved similarly in terms of adhesion, whereas the first showed a stronger impact on the brain endothelium integrity and increased invasive ability. The comparative transcriptome revealed potential brain-metastatic-specific key regulators involved in the aforementioned processes, e.g., the angiogenesis-related factors TNXIP and CXCL1. In addition, the transcriptomes of the two TNBC cell lines strongly differed in certain angiogenesis-associated factors and in several genes related to cell migration and invasion. Based on the present study, we hypothesize that the tumor cell’s ability to disrupt the BBB via angiogenesis activation, together with increased cellular motility, is required for BC cells to overcome the BBB and develop brain metastases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Oncology)
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Article
Proglumide Reverses Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis by Interaction with the Farnesoid X Receptor and Altering the Microbiome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1899; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031899 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 551
Abstract
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and dysbiosis of the gut microbiome. Cholecystokinin (CCK) is released by saturated fats and plays an important role in bile acid secretion. CCK receptors are expressed on cholangiocytes, and CCK-B receptor expression increases in [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and dysbiosis of the gut microbiome. Cholecystokinin (CCK) is released by saturated fats and plays an important role in bile acid secretion. CCK receptors are expressed on cholangiocytes, and CCK-B receptor expression increases in the livers of mice with NASH. The farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is involved in bile acid transport and is a target for novel therapeutics for NASH. The aim of this study was to examine the role of proglumide, a CCK receptor inhibitor, in a murine model of NASH and its interaction at FXR. Mice were fed a choline deficient ethionine (CDE) diet to induce NASH. Some CDE-fed mice received proglumide-treated drinking water. Blood was collected and liver tissues were examined histologically. Proglumide’s interaction at FXR was evaluated by computer modeling, a luciferase reporter assay, and tissue FXR expression. Stool microbiome was analyzed by RNA-Sequencing. CDE-fed mice developed NASH and the effect was prevented by proglumide. Computer modeling demonstrated specific binding of proglumide to FXR. Proglumide binding in the reporter assay was consistent with a partial agonist at the FXR with a mean binding affinity of 215 nM. FXR expression was significantly decreased in livers of CDE-fed mice compared to control livers, and proglumide restored FXR expression to normal levels. Proglumide therapy altered the microbiome signature by increasing beneficial and decreasing harmful bacteria. These data highlight the potential novel mechanisms by which proglumide therapy may improve NASH through interaction with the FXR and consequent alteration of the gut microbiome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Fatty Liver and Metabolic/Malignant Events)
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Review
Blood–Brain Barrier Transporters: Opportunities for Therapeutic Development in Ischemic Stroke
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1898; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031898 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 679
Abstract
Globally, stroke is a leading cause of death and long-term disability. Over the past decades, several efforts have attempted to discover new drugs or repurpose existing therapeutics to promote post-stroke neurological recovery. Preclinical stroke studies have reported successes in identifying novel neuroprotective agents; [...] Read more.
Globally, stroke is a leading cause of death and long-term disability. Over the past decades, several efforts have attempted to discover new drugs or repurpose existing therapeutics to promote post-stroke neurological recovery. Preclinical stroke studies have reported successes in identifying novel neuroprotective agents; however, none of these compounds have advanced beyond a phase III clinical trial. One reason for these failures is the lack of consideration of blood–brain barrier (BBB) transport mechanisms that can enable these drugs to achieve efficacious concentrations in ischemic brain tissue. Despite the knowledge that drugs with neuroprotective properties (i.e., statins, memantine, metformin) are substrates for endogenous BBB transporters, preclinical stroke research has not extensively studied the role of transporters in central nervous system (CNS) drug delivery. Here, we review current knowledge on specific BBB uptake transporters (i.e., organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATPs in humans; Oatps in rodents); organic cation transporters (OCTs in humans; Octs in rodents) that can be targeted for improved neuroprotective drug delivery. Additionally, we provide state-of-the-art perspectives on how transporter pharmacology can be integrated into preclinical stroke research. Specifically, we discuss the utility of in vivo stroke models to transporter studies and considerations (i.e., species selection, co-morbid conditions) that will optimize the translational success of stroke pharmacotherapeutic experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Cerebrovascular Diseases)
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Article
Overexpression of MdZAT5, an C2H2-Type Zinc Finger Protein, Regulates Anthocyanin Accumulation and Salt Stress Response in Apple Calli and Arabidopsis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031897 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 556
Abstract
Zinc finger proteins are widely involved and play an important role in plant growth and abiotic stress. In this research, MdZAT5, a gene encoding C2H2-type zinc finger protein, was cloned and investigated. The MdZAT5 was highly expressed in flower tissues by qRT-PCR [...] Read more.
Zinc finger proteins are widely involved and play an important role in plant growth and abiotic stress. In this research, MdZAT5, a gene encoding C2H2-type zinc finger protein, was cloned and investigated. The MdZAT5 was highly expressed in flower tissues by qRT-PCR analyses and GUS staining. Promoter analysis showed that MdZAT5 contained multiple response elements, and the expression levels of MdZAT5 were induced by various abiotic stress treatments. Overexpression of MdZAT5 in apple calli positively regulated anthocyanin accumulation by activating the expressions of anthocyanin biosynthesis-related genes. Overexpression of MdZAT5 in Arabidopsis also enhanced the accumulation of anthocyanin. In addition, MdZAT5 increased the sensitivity to salt stress in apple calli. Ectopic expression of MdZAT5 in Arabidopsis reduced the expression of salt-stress-related genes (AtNHX1 and AtABI1) and improved the sensitivity to salt stress. In conclusion, these results suggest that MdZAT5 plays a positive regulatory role in anthocyanin accumulation and negatively regulates salt resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Article
Exposure to b-LED Light While Exerting Antimicrobial Activity on Gram-Negative and -Positive Bacteria Promotes Transient EMT-like Changes and Growth Arrest in Keratinocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1896; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031896 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 453
Abstract
While blue LED (b-LED) light is increasingly being studied for its cytotoxic activity towards bacteria in therapy of skin-related infections, its effects on eukaryotic cells plasticity are less well characterized. Moreover, since different protocols are often used, comparing the effect of b-LED towards [...] Read more.
While blue LED (b-LED) light is increasingly being studied for its cytotoxic activity towards bacteria in therapy of skin-related infections, its effects on eukaryotic cells plasticity are less well characterized. Moreover, since different protocols are often used, comparing the effect of b-LED towards both microorganisms and epithelial surfaces may be difficult. The aim of this study was to analyze, in the same experimental setting, both the bactericidal activity and the effects on human keratinocytes. Exposure to b-LED induced an intense cytocidal activity against Gram-positive (i.e, Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative (i.e., Pseudomonas aeruginosa) bacteria associated with catheter-related infections. Treatment with b-LED of a human keratinocyte cell line induced a transient cell cycle arrest. At the molecular level, exposure to b-LED induced a transient downregulation of Cyclin D1 and an upregulation of p21, but not signs of apoptosis. Interestingly, a transient induction of phosphor-histone γ-H2Ax, which is associated with genotoxic damages, was observed. At the same time, keratinocytes underwent a transient epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like phenotype, characterized by E-cadherin downregulation and SNAIL/SLUG induction. As a functional readout of EMT induction, a scratch assay was performed. Surprisingly, b-LED treatment provoked a delay in the scratch closure. In conclusion, we demonstrated that b-LED microbicidal activity is associated with complex responses in keratinocytes that certainly deserve further analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Radiation Toxicity)
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Article
Synergistic Effect of Co-Delivering Ciprofloxacin and Tetracycline Hydrochloride for Promoted Wound Healing by Utilizing Coaxial PCL/Gelatin Nanofiber Membrane
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031895 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 475
Abstract
Combining multiple drugs or biologically active substances for wound healing could not only resist the formation of multidrug resistant pathogens, but also achieve better therapeutic effects. Herein, the hydrophobic fluoroquinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin (CIP) and the hydrophilic broad-spectrum antibiotic tetracycline hydrochloride (TH) were introduced [...] Read more.
Combining multiple drugs or biologically active substances for wound healing could not only resist the formation of multidrug resistant pathogens, but also achieve better therapeutic effects. Herein, the hydrophobic fluoroquinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin (CIP) and the hydrophilic broad-spectrum antibiotic tetracycline hydrochloride (TH) were introduced into the coaxial polycaprolactone/gelatin (PCL/GEL) nanofiber mat with CIP loaded into the PCL (core layer) and TH loaded into the GEL (shell layer), developing antibacterial wound dressing with the co-delivering of the two antibiotics (PCL-CIP/GEL-TH). The nanostructure, physical properties, drug release, antibacterial property, and in vitro cytotoxicity were investigated accordingly. The results revealed that the CIP shows a long-lasting release of five days, reaching the releasing rate of 80.71%, while the cumulative drug release of TH reached 83.51% with a rapid release behavior of 12 h. The in vitro antibacterial activity demonstrated that the coaxial nanofiber mesh possesses strong antibacterial activity against E. coli and S. aureus. In addition, the coaxial mats showed superior biocompatibility toward human skin fibroblast cells (hSFCs). This study indicates that the developed PCL-CIP/GEL-TH nanofiber membranes hold enormous potential as wound dressing materials. Full article
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Systematic Review
The Potential Effect of Lidocaine, Ropivacaine, Levobupivacaine and Morphine on Breast Cancer Pre-Clinical Models: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1894; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031894 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 804
Abstract
Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most common types of cancer and the second leading cause of death in women. Local anaesthetics (LAs) and opioids have been shown to influence cancer progression and metastasis formation in several pre-clinical studies. However, their effects [...] Read more.
Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most common types of cancer and the second leading cause of death in women. Local anaesthetics (LAs) and opioids have been shown to influence cancer progression and metastasis formation in several pre-clinical studies. However, their effects do not seem to promote consensus. A systematic review was conducted using the databases Medline (via PubMed), Scopus, and Web of Science (2010 to December 2021). Search terms included “lidocaine”, “ropivacaine”, “levobupivacaine”, “morphine”, “methadone”, “breast cancer”, “breast carcinoma” and “breast neoplasms” in diverse combinations. The search yielded a total of 784 abstracts for initial review, 23 of which met the inclusion criteria. Here we summarise recent studies on the effect of analgesics and LAs on BC cell lines and animal models and in combination with other treatment regimens. The results suggest that local anaesthetics have anti-tumorigenic properties, hence their clinical application holds therapeutic potential. Regarding morphine, the findings are conflicting, but this opioid appears to be a tumour-promoting agent. Methadone-related results are scarce. Additional research is clearly required to further study the mechanisms underlying the controversial effects of each analgesic or LA to establish the implications upon the outcome and prognosis of BC patients’ treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges of Radiation Biology for Cancer Management)
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