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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 24, Issue 20 (October-2 2023) – 465 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Psychostimulant abuse poses a significant health concern, causing severe harm to individuals with substance use disorder, particularly in the form of neurotoxicity. The adverse effects of psychostimulant drugs have severely negative and possibly chronic impacts. Psychostimulant drugs exert their detrimental influence by compromising the integrity of the blood–brain barrier (BBB), an architectural barrier situated in the brain vessels. BBB plays a vital role in the separation between the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral blood circulation, meticulously regulating the passage of substances into the CNS to maintain brain homeostasis. This intricate balance is orchestrated by the interactions within the neurovascular unit (NVU). Here, we highlight the damage to the NVU caused by psychostimulants, leading to BBB dysfunction and subsequent neurotoxicity. View this paper
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18 pages, 10203 KiB  
Article
Photosynthesis Response and Transcriptional Analysis: Dissecting the Role of SlHB8 in Regulating Drought Resistance in Tomato Plants
by Yinghua Yang, Xinyue Zhang, Qiuxiang Zhong, Xiaojuan Liu, Hongling Guan, Riyuan Chen, Yanwei Hao and Xiaolong Yang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15498; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015498 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1292
Abstract
Deciphering drought resistance in crops is crucial for enhancing water productivity. Previous studies have highlighted the significant role of the transcription factor SlHB8 in regulating developmental processes in tomato plants but its involvement in drought resistance remains unclear. Here, gene overexpression (SlHB8 [...] Read more.
Deciphering drought resistance in crops is crucial for enhancing water productivity. Previous studies have highlighted the significant role of the transcription factor SlHB8 in regulating developmental processes in tomato plants but its involvement in drought resistance remains unclear. Here, gene overexpression (SlHB8-OE) and gene knockout (slhb8) tomato plants were utilized to study the role of SlHB8 in regulating drought resistance. Our findings showed that slhb8 plants exhibited a robust resistant phenotype under drought stress conditions. The stomata of slhb8 tomato leaves displayed significant closure, effectively mitigating the adverse effects of drought stress on photosynthetic efficiency. The slhb8 plants exhibited a decrease in oxidative damage and a substantial increase in antioxidant enzyme activity. Moreover, slhb8 effectively alleviated the degree of photoinhibition and chloroplast damage caused by drought stress. SlHB8 regulates the expression of numerous genes related to photosynthesis (such as SlPSAN, SlPSAL, SlPSBP, and SlTIC62) and stress signal transduction (such as SlCIPK25, SlABA4, and SlJA2) in response to drought stress. Additionally, slhb8 plants exhibited enhanced water absorption capacity and upregulated expression of several aquaporin genes including SlPIP1;3, SlPIP2;6, SlTIP3;1, SlNIP1;2, and SlXIP1;1. Collectively, our findings suggest that SlHB8 plays a negative regulatory role in the drought resistance of tomato plants. Full article
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26 pages, 3292 KiB  
Review
Molecular Mechanisms for the Regulation of Nuclear Membrane Integrity
by Ga-Eun Lee, Jiin Byun, Cheol-Jung Lee and Yong-Yeon Cho
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015497 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1450
Abstract
The nuclear membrane serves a critical role in protecting the contents of the nucleus and facilitating material and signal exchange between the nucleus and cytoplasm. While extensive research has been dedicated to topics such as nuclear membrane assembly and disassembly during cell division, [...] Read more.
The nuclear membrane serves a critical role in protecting the contents of the nucleus and facilitating material and signal exchange between the nucleus and cytoplasm. While extensive research has been dedicated to topics such as nuclear membrane assembly and disassembly during cell division, as well as interactions between nuclear transmembrane proteins and both nucleoskeletal and cytoskeletal components, there has been comparatively less emphasis on exploring the regulation of nuclear morphology through nuclear membrane integrity. In particular, the role of type II integral proteins, which also function as transcription factors, within the nuclear membrane remains an area of research that is yet to be fully explored. The integrity of the nuclear membrane is pivotal not only during cell division but also in the regulation of gene expression and the communication between the nucleus and cytoplasm. Importantly, it plays a significant role in the development of various diseases. This review paper seeks to illuminate the biomolecules responsible for maintaining the integrity of the nuclear membrane. It will delve into the mechanisms that influence nuclear membrane integrity and provide insights into the role of type II membrane protein transcription factors in this context. Understanding these aspects is of utmost importance, as it can offer valuable insights into the intricate processes governing nuclear membrane integrity. Such insights have broad-reaching implications for cellular function and our understanding of disease pathogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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19 pages, 6161 KiB  
Article
Melatonin and Its Metabolites Can Serve as Agonists on the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma
by Andrzej T. Slominski, Tae-Kang Kim, Radomir M. Slominski, Yuwei Song, Shariq Qayyum, Wojciech Placha, Zorica Janjetovic, Konrad Kleszczyński, Venkatram Atigadda, Yuhua Song, Chander Raman, Cornelis J. Elferink, Judith Varady Hobrath, Anton M. Jetten and Russel J. Reiter
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15496; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015496 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1602
Abstract
Melatonin is widely present in Nature. It has pleiotropic activities, in part mediated by interactions with high-affinity G-protein-coupled melatonin type 1 and 2 (MT1 and MT2) receptors or under extreme conditions, e.g., ischemia/reperfusion. In pharmacological concentrations, it is given to counteract the massive [...] Read more.
Melatonin is widely present in Nature. It has pleiotropic activities, in part mediated by interactions with high-affinity G-protein-coupled melatonin type 1 and 2 (MT1 and MT2) receptors or under extreme conditions, e.g., ischemia/reperfusion. In pharmacological concentrations, it is given to counteract the massive damage caused by MT1- and MT2-independent mechanisms. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a perfect candidate for mediating the latter effects because melatonin has structural similarity to its natural ligands, including tryptophan metabolites and indolic compounds. Using a cell-based Human AhR Reporter Assay System, we demonstrated that melatonin and its indolic and kynuric metabolites act as agonists on the AhR with EC50’s between 10−4 and 10−6 M. This was further validated via the stimulation of the transcriptional activation of the CYP1A1 promoter. Furthermore, melatonin and its metabolites stimulated AhR translocation from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in human keratinocytes, as demonstrated by ImageStream II cytometry and Western blot (WB) analyses of cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions of human keratinocytes. These functional analyses are supported by in silico analyses. We also investigated the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ as a potential target for melatonin and metabolites bioregulation. The binding studies using a TR-TFRET kit to assay the interaction of the ligand with the ligand-binding domain (LBD) of the PPARγ showed agonistic activities of melatonin, 6-hydroxymelatonin and N-acetyl-N-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine with EC50’s in the 10−4 M range showing significantly lower affinities that those of rosiglitazone, e.g., a 10−8 M range. These interactions were substantiated by stimulation of the luciferase activity of the construct containing PPARE by melatonin and its metabolites at 10−4 M. As confirmed by the functional assays, binding mode predictions using a homology model of the AhR and a crystal structure of the PPARγ suggest that melatonin and its metabolites, including 6-hydroxymelatonin, 5-methoxytryptamine and N-acetyl-N-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine, are excellent candidates to act on the AhR and PPARγ with docking scores comparable to their corresponding natural ligands. Melatonin and its metabolites were modeled into the same ligand-binding pockets (LBDs) as their natural ligands. Thus, functional assays supported by molecular modeling have shown that melatonin and its indolic and kynuric metabolites can act as agonists on the AhR and they can interact with the PPARγ at high concentrations. This provides a mechanistic explanation for previously reported cytoprotective actions of melatonin and its metabolites that require high local concentrations of the ligands to reduce cellular damage under elevated oxidative stress conditions. It also identifies these compounds as therapeutic agents to be used at pharmacological doses in the prevention or therapy of skin diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin D, Melatonin and Their Precursors in Natural Product)
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14 pages, 852 KiB  
Article
Mixed Connective Tissue Disease as Different Entity: Global Methylation Aspect
by Gabriela Filipowicz, Anna Wajda, Barbara Stypińska, Tomasz Kmiołek, Anna Felis-Giemza, Sandra Stańczyk, Zenobia Czuszyńska, Marcela Walczyk, Marzena Olesińska and Agnieszka Paradowska-Gorycka
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15495; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015495 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1150
Abstract
Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is a very rare disorder that belongs in the rare and clinically multifactorial groups of diseases. The pathogenesis of MCTD is still unclear. The best understood epigenetic alteration is DNA methylation whose role is to regulate gene expression. [...] Read more.
Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is a very rare disorder that belongs in the rare and clinically multifactorial groups of diseases. The pathogenesis of MCTD is still unclear. The best understood epigenetic alteration is DNA methylation whose role is to regulate gene expression. In the literature, there are ever-increasing assumptions that DNA methylation can be one of the possible reasons for the development of Autoimmune Connective Tissue Diseases (ACTDs) such as systemic sclerosis (SSc) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of this study was to define the global DNA methylation changes between MCTD and other ACTDs patients in whole blood samples. The study included 54 MCTD patients, 43 SSc patients, 45 SLE patients, and 43 healthy donors (HC). The global DNA methylation level was measured by ELISA. Although the global DNA methylation was not significantly different between MCTD and control, we observed that hypomethylation distinguishes the MCTD patients from the SSc and SLE patients. The present analysis revealed a statistically significant difference of global methylation between SLE and MCTD (p < 0.001), SLE and HC (p = 0.008), SSc and MCTD (p ≤ 0.001), and SSc and HC (p < 0.001), but neither between MCTD and HC (p = 0.09) nor SSc and SLE (p = 0.08). The highest % of global methylation (median, IQR) has been observed in the group of patients with SLE [0.73 (0.43, 1.22] and SSc [0,91 (0.59, 1.50)], whereas in the MCTD [0.29 (0.20, 0.54)], patients and healthy subjects [0.51 (0.24, 0.70)] were comparable. In addition, our study provided evidence of different levels of global DNA methylation between the SSc subtypes (p = 0.01). Our study showed that patients with limited SSc had a significantly higher global methylation level when compared to diffuse SSc. Our data has shown that the level of global DNA methylation may not be a good diagnostic marker to distinguish MCTD from other ACTDs. Our research provides the groundwork for a more detailed examination of the significance of global DNA methylation as a distinguishing factor in patients with MCTD compared to other ACTDs patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Research on Autoimmune Diseases)
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26 pages, 654 KiB  
Review
The Effects of Chronological Age on the Chondrogenic Potential of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: A Systematic Review
by Antonia Vogt, Konstantinos Kapetanos, Neophytos Christodoulou, Dimitrios Asimakopoulos, Mark A. Birch, Andrew W. McCaskie and Wasim Khan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15494; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015494 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Tissue engineering and cell therapy for regenerative medicine have great potential to treat chronic disorders. In musculoskeletal disorders, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been identified as a relevant cell type in cell and regenerative strategies due to their multi-lineage potential, although this is [...] Read more.
Tissue engineering and cell therapy for regenerative medicine have great potential to treat chronic disorders. In musculoskeletal disorders, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been identified as a relevant cell type in cell and regenerative strategies due to their multi-lineage potential, although this is likely to be a result of their trophic and immunomodulatory effects on other cells. This PRISMA systematic review aims to assess whether the age of the patient influences the chondrogenic potential of MSCs in regenerative therapy. We identified a total of 3027 studies after performing a search of four databases, including Cochrane, Web of Science, Medline, and PubMed. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, a total of 14 papers were identified that were reviewed, assessed, and reported. Cell surface characterization and proliferation, as well as the osteogenic, adipogenic, and chondrogenic differentiation, were investigated as part of the analysis of these studies. Most included studies suggest a clear link between aged donor MSCs and diminished clonogenic and proliferative potential. Our study reveals a heterogeneous and conflicting range of outcomes concerning the chondrogenic, osteogenic, and adipogenic potential of MSCs in relation to age. Further investigations on the in vitro effects of chronological age on the chondrogenic potential of MSCs should follow the outcomes of this systematic review, shedding more light on this complex relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Osteoarthritis 3.0: From Molecular Pathways to Therapeutic Advances)
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31 pages, 3066 KiB  
Review
The Combination of Antibiotic and Non-Antibiotic Compounds Improves Antibiotic Efficacy against Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria
by Gang Xiao, Jiyun Li and Zhiliang Sun
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15493; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015493 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2564
Abstract
Bacterial antibiotic resistance, especially the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains, urgently requires the development of effective treatment strategies. It is always of interest to delve into the mechanisms of resistance to current antibiotics and target them to promote the efficacy of existing antibiotics. [...] Read more.
Bacterial antibiotic resistance, especially the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains, urgently requires the development of effective treatment strategies. It is always of interest to delve into the mechanisms of resistance to current antibiotics and target them to promote the efficacy of existing antibiotics. In recent years, non-antibiotic compounds have played an important auxiliary role in improving the efficacy of antibiotics and promoting the treatment of drug-resistant bacteria. The combination of non-antibiotic compounds with antibiotics is considered a promising strategy against MDR bacteria. In this review, we first briefly summarize the main resistance mechanisms of current antibiotics. In addition, we propose several strategies to enhance antibiotic action based on resistance mechanisms. Then, the research progress of non-antibiotic compounds that can promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria through different mechanisms in recent years is also summarized. Finally, the development prospects and challenges of these non-antibiotic compounds in combination with antibiotics are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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14 pages, 3611 KiB  
Article
Cannabidiol Modulates Emotional Function and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Expression in Middle-Aged Female Rats Exposed to Social Isolation
by Nadya Saad, Danielle Raviv, Tomer Mizrachi Zer-Aviv and Irit Akirav
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15492; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015492 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Aging is associated with changes in cognitive and emotional function. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been reported to attenuate stress and anxiety in human and animal studies. In this study, we aimed to assess the therapeutic potential of CBD among middle-aged female rats exposed to [...] Read more.
Aging is associated with changes in cognitive and emotional function. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been reported to attenuate stress and anxiety in human and animal studies. In this study, we aimed to assess the therapeutic potential of CBD among middle-aged female rats exposed to social isolation (SI) and the potential involvement of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in these effects. Thirteen-month-old female rats were group-housed (GH) or exposed to social isolation (SI) and treated with vehicle or CBD (10 mg/kg). CBD restored the SI-induced immobility in the forced swim test and the SI-induced decrease in the expression of BDNF protein levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). CBD also increased the time that rats spent in the center in an open field, improved spatial training, and increased BDNF expression in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and basolateral amygdala (BLA). BDNF expression was found to be correlated with an antidepressant (in the NAc) and an anxiolytic (in the mPFC, BLA, NAc) phenotype, and with learning improvement in the PFC. Together, our results suggest that CBD may serve as a beneficial agent for wellbeing in old age and may help with age-related cognitive decline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State of the Art of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)
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10 pages, 4635 KiB  
Communication
Structural Characterization of an N-Acetyl Sugar Amidotransferase Involved in the Lipopolysaccharide Biosynthesis in Bacteria
by Jiajia Gao, Wenwen Xu, Tianqi Liu, Wenjie Sun, Na Wang, Jinming Ma and Honghua Ge
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15491; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015491 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 871
Abstract
N-acetyl sugar amidotransferase (NASAT) is involved in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis pathway that catalyzes the formation of the acetamido moiety (sugar-NC(=NH)CH3) on the O-chain. So far, little is known about its structural and functional properties. Here, we report the crystal structure of an [...] Read more.
N-acetyl sugar amidotransferase (NASAT) is involved in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis pathway that catalyzes the formation of the acetamido moiety (sugar-NC(=NH)CH3) on the O-chain. So far, little is known about its structural and functional properties. Here, we report the crystal structure of an N-acetyl sugar amidotransferase from Legionella pneumophila (LpNASAT) at 2.33 Å resolution. LpNASAT folds into a compact basin-shaped architecture with an unusually wide and open putative substrate-binding pocket and a conserved zinc ion-binding tetracysteine motif. The pocket contains a Rossmann-like fold with a PP-loop, suggesting that the NASAT-catalyzed amidotransfer reaction probably requires the conversion of ATP to AMP and PPi. Our data provide structural insights into the NASAT family of proteins, and allow us to possibly identify its functionally important regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Topics in Protein Crystallography)
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22 pages, 401 KiB  
Review
Molecular Marker-Assisted Mapping, Candidate Gene Identification, and Breeding in Melon (Cucumis melo L.): A Review
by Durre Shahwar, Zeba Khan and Younghoon Park
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15490; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015490 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1517
Abstract
Melon (Cucumis melo L.) is an important crop that is cultivated worldwide for its fleshy fruit. Understanding the genetic basis of a plant’s qualitative and quantitative traits is essential for developing consumer-favored varieties. This review presents genetic and molecular advances related to [...] Read more.
Melon (Cucumis melo L.) is an important crop that is cultivated worldwide for its fleshy fruit. Understanding the genetic basis of a plant’s qualitative and quantitative traits is essential for developing consumer-favored varieties. This review presents genetic and molecular advances related to qualitative and quantitative phenotypic traits and biochemical compounds in melons. This information guides trait incorporation and the production of novel varieties with desirable horticultural and economic characteristics and yield performance. This review summarizes the quantitative trait loci, candidate genes, and development of molecular markers related to plant architecture, branching patterns, floral attributes (sex expression and male sterility), fruit attributes (shape, rind and flesh color, yield, biochemical compounds, sugar content, and netting), and seed attributes (seed coat color and size). The findings discussed in this review will enhance demand-driven breeding to produce cultivars that benefit consumers and melon breeders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Melon Breeding and Molecular Research)
16 pages, 3313 KiB  
Article
Overexpression of Interleukin-8 Promotes the Progression of Fatty Liver to Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis in Mice
by Ye Eun Cho, Yeonsoo Kim, Seung-Jin Kim, Haeseung Lee and Seonghwan Hwang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015489 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1425
Abstract
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an advanced stage of fatty liver disease characterized by liver damage, inflammation, and fibrosis. Although neutrophil infiltration is consistently observed in the livers of patients with NASH, the precise role of neutrophil-recruiting chemokines and infiltrating neutrophils in NASH pathogenesis [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an advanced stage of fatty liver disease characterized by liver damage, inflammation, and fibrosis. Although neutrophil infiltration is consistently observed in the livers of patients with NASH, the precise role of neutrophil-recruiting chemokines and infiltrating neutrophils in NASH pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Here, we aimed to elucidate the role of neutrophil infiltration in the transition from fatty liver to NASH by examining hepatic overexpression of interleukin-8 (IL8), a major chemokine responsible for neutrophil recruitment in humans. Mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 3 months developed fatty liver without concurrent liver damage, inflammation, and fibrosis. Subsequent infection with an adenovirus overexpressing human IL8 for an additional 2 weeks increased IL8 levels, neutrophil infiltration, and liver injury in mice. Mechanistically, IL8-induced liver injury was associated with the upregulation of components of the NADPH oxidase 2 complex, which participate in neutrophil oxidative burst. IL8-driven neutrophil infiltration promoted macrophage aggregate formation and upregulated the expression of chemokines and inflammatory cytokines. Notably, IL8 overexpression amplified factors associated with fibrosis, including collagen deposition and hepatic stellate cell activation, in HFD-fed mice. Collectively, hepatic overexpression of human IL8 promotes neutrophil infiltration and fatty liver progression to NASH in HFD-fed mice. Full article
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14 pages, 1216 KiB  
Article
Variation in Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase Beta Gene and Its Effect on Carcass and Meat Traits in Gannan Yaks
by Chune Zhu, Youpeng Qi, Xiangyan Wang, Baohong Mi, Changze Cui, Shaopeng Chen, Zhidong Zhao, Fangfang Zhao, Xiu Liu, Jiqing Wang, Bingang Shi and Jiang Hu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015488 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 921
Abstract
Acetyl-CoA carboxylase beta (ACACB) is a functional candidate gene that impacts fat deposition. In the present study, we sequenced exon 37–intron 37, exon 46–intron 46, and intron 47 of yak ACACB using hybrid pool sequencing to search for variants and genotyped [...] Read more.
Acetyl-CoA carboxylase beta (ACACB) is a functional candidate gene that impacts fat deposition. In the present study, we sequenced exon 37–intron 37, exon 46–intron 46, and intron 47 of yak ACACB using hybrid pool sequencing to search for variants and genotyped the gene in 593 Gannan yaks via Kompetitive allele-specific polymerase chain (KASP) reaction to determine the effect of ACACB variants on carcass and meat quality traits. Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms were detected in three regions. Eight effective haplotypes and ten diplotypes were constructed. Among them, a missense variation g.50421 A > G was identified in exon 37 of ACACB, resulting in an amino acid shift from serine to glycine. Correlation analysis revealed that this variation was associated with the cooking loss rate and yak carcass weight (p = 0.024 and 0.012, respectively). The presence of haplotypes H5 and H6 decreased Warner–Bratzler shear force (p = 0.049 and 0.006, respectively), whereas that of haplotypes H3 and H4 increased cooking loss rate and eye muscle area (p = 0.004 and 0.034, respectively). Moreover, the presence of haplotype H8 decreased the drip loss rate (p = 0.019). The presence of one and two copies of haplotypes H1 and H8 decreased the drip loss rate (p = 0.028 and 0.004, respectively). However, haplotype H1 did not decrease hot carcass weight (p = 0.011), whereas H3 increased the cooking loss rate (p = 0.007). The presence of one and two copies of haplotype H6 decreased Warner–Bratzler shear force (p = 0.014). The findings of the present study suggest that genetic variations in ACACB can be a preferable biomarker for improving yak meat quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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14 pages, 5370 KiB  
Article
Beta-Caryophyllene, a Plant-Derived CB2 Receptor Agonist, Protects SH-SY5Y Cells from Cadmium-Induced Toxicity
by Federica Mannino, Giovanni Pallio, Chiara Imbesi, Alessandro Scarfone, Domenico Puzzolo, Antonio Micali, José Freni, Francesco Squadrito, Alessandra Bitto, Letteria Minutoli and Natasha Irrera
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15487; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015487 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
Cadmium (Cd) is a transition heavy metal that is able to accumulate in the central nervous system and may induce cell death through reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated mechanisms and inactivating the antioxidant processes, becoming an important risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases. The antioxidant [...] Read more.
Cadmium (Cd) is a transition heavy metal that is able to accumulate in the central nervous system and may induce cell death through reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated mechanisms and inactivating the antioxidant processes, becoming an important risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases. The antioxidant effects of cannabinoid receptor modulation have been extensively described, and, in particular, β-Caryophyllene (BCP), a plant-derived cannabinoid 2 receptor (CB2R) agonist, not only showed significant antioxidant properties but also anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and neuroprotective effects. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate BCP effects in a model of Cd-induced toxicity in the neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line used to reproduce Cd intoxication in humans. SH-SY5Y cells were pre-treated with BCP (25, 50, and 100 μM) for 24 h. The day after, cells were challenged with cadmium chloride (CdCl2; 10 μM) for 24 h to induce neuronal toxicity. CdCl2 increased ROS accumulation, and BCP treatment significantly reduced ROS production at concentrations of 50 and 100 μM. In addition, CdCl2 significantly decreased the protein level of nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2) compared to unstimulated cells; the treatment with BCP at a concentration of 50 μM markedly increased Nrf2 expression, thus confirming the BCP anti-oxidant effect. Moreover, BCP treatment preserved cells from death, regulated the apoptosis pathway, and showed a significant anti-inflammatory effect, thus reducing the pro-inflammatory cytokines increased by the CdCl2 challenge. The results indicated that BCP preserved neuronal damage induced by Cd and might represent a future candidate for protection in neurotoxic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Therapeutic Advances in Organ Toxicity and Metals)
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18 pages, 4464 KiB  
Article
Flavonoid-Rich Sambucus nigra Berry Extract Enhances Nrf2/HO-1 Signaling Pathway Activation and Exerts Antiulcerative Effects In Vivo
by Betul Cicek, Betul Danısman, Serkan Yildirim, Neslihan Yuce, Dragana Nikitovic, Ismail Bolat, Mehmet Kuzucu, Ertuğrul Ceyran, Ebru Bardas, Kirill S. Golokhvast, Aristidis Tsatsakis and Ali Taghizadehghalehjoughi
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015486 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1264
Abstract
Sambucus nigra (SN) berry extract is characterized by high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. The current study aimed to investigate the effect of SN berry extract against indomethacin (IND)-induced gastric ulcer in rats and the mechanism involved. SN berry extract alleviated IND-induced gastric ulcers, [...] Read more.
Sambucus nigra (SN) berry extract is characterized by high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. The current study aimed to investigate the effect of SN berry extract against indomethacin (IND)-induced gastric ulcer in rats and the mechanism involved. SN berry extract alleviated IND-induced gastric ulcers, as shown by assessing pathological manifestations in the gastric mucosa. These protective effects are attributed to attenuated oxidative damage to the gastric mucosa, correlated to increased activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), enhanced glutathione (GSH) levels, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), and upregulation of the Nrf2/HO-1 cascade. Moreover, oxidative stress markers, including malondialdehyde (MDA) and total oxidant status (TOS), were downregulated in SN-extract-treated animals. Furthermore, SN berry extract suppressed gastric mucosal inflammation by downregulating interleukin (IL)-33, IL-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) levels, and attenuating myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity. The protective effects of SN berry extract were similar to those exerted by esomeprazole (ESO), an acid-secretion-suppressive drug. In conclusion, SN berry extract has antiulcerative effects, alleviating oxidative stress and inflammation. Full article
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26 pages, 1069 KiB  
Review
The Role of Vitamin D and Its Molecular Bases in Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Cardiovascular Disease: State of the Art
by Christiano Argano, Luigi Mirarchi, Simona Amodeo, Valentina Orlando, Alessandra Torres and Salvatore Corrao
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015485 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4057
Abstract
In the last decade, an increasing awareness was directed to the role of Vitamin D in non-skeletal and preventive roles for chronic diseases. Vitamin D is an essential hormone in regulating calcium/phosphorous balance and in the pathogenesis of inflammation, insulin resistance, and obesity. [...] Read more.
In the last decade, an increasing awareness was directed to the role of Vitamin D in non-skeletal and preventive roles for chronic diseases. Vitamin D is an essential hormone in regulating calcium/phosphorous balance and in the pathogenesis of inflammation, insulin resistance, and obesity. The main forms of vitamin D, Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) and Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2) are converted into the active form (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) thanks to two hydroxylations in the liver, kidney, pancreas, and immune cells. Some anti-inflammatory cytokines are produced at higher levels by vitamin D, while some pro-inflammatory cytokines are released at lower levels. Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) expression is increased, and a pro-inflammatory state is also linked to low levels of vitamin D. Regardless of how it affects inflammation, various pathways suggest that vitamin D directly improves insulin sensitivity and secretion. The level of vitamin D in the body may change the ratio of pro- to anti-inflammatory cytokines, which would impact insulin action, lipid metabolism, and the development and function of adipose tissue. Many studies have demonstrated an inverse relationship between vitamin D concentrations and pro-inflammatory markers, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. It is interesting to note that several long-term studies also revealed an inverse correlation between vitamin D levels and the occurrence of diabetes mellitus. Vitamin D supplementation in people has controversial effects. While some studies demonstrated improvements in insulin sensitivity, glucose, and lipid metabolism, others revealed no significant effect on glycemic homeostasis and inflammation. This review aims to provide insight into the molecular basis of the relationship between vitamin D, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 1 and 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Vitamin D in Human Health and Diseases 3.0)
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29 pages, 4508 KiB  
Review
Recent Advances in Biomimetic Nanocarrier-Based Photothermal Therapy for Cancer Treatment
by Juan Gallo and Aranzazu Villasante
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15484; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015484 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1591
Abstract
Nanomedicine presents innovative solutions for cancer treatment, including photothermal therapy (PTT). PTT centers on the design of photoactivatable nanoparticles capable of absorbing non-toxic near-infrared light, generating heat within target cells to induce cell death. The successful transition from benchside to bedside application of [...] Read more.
Nanomedicine presents innovative solutions for cancer treatment, including photothermal therapy (PTT). PTT centers on the design of photoactivatable nanoparticles capable of absorbing non-toxic near-infrared light, generating heat within target cells to induce cell death. The successful transition from benchside to bedside application of PTT critically depends on the core properties of nanoparticles responsible for converting light into heat and the surface properties for precise cell-specific targeting. Precisely targeting the intended cells remains a primary challenge in PTT. In recent years, a groundbreaking approach has emerged to address this challenge by functionalizing nanocarriers and enhancing cell targeting. This strategy involves the creation of biomimetic nanoparticles that combine desired biocompatibility properties with the immune evasion mechanisms of natural materials. This review comprehensively outlines various strategies for designing biomimetic photoactivatable nanocarriers for PTT, with a primary focus on its application in cancer therapy. Additionally, we shed light on the hurdles involved in translating PTT from research to clinical practice, along with an overview of current clinical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Molecular Nanoscience)
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15 pages, 594 KiB  
Review
Mitochondrial Dysfunction in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Oral Inflammatory Diseases
by Zhili Dong, Liping Wu and Hong Hong
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15483; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015483 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2271
Abstract
Oral inflammatory diseases (OIDs) include many common diseases such as periodontitis and pulpitis. The causes of OIDs consist microorganism, trauma, occlusal factors, autoimmune dis-eases and radiation therapy. When treated unproperly, such diseases not only affect oral health but also pose threat to people’s [...] Read more.
Oral inflammatory diseases (OIDs) include many common diseases such as periodontitis and pulpitis. The causes of OIDs consist microorganism, trauma, occlusal factors, autoimmune dis-eases and radiation therapy. When treated unproperly, such diseases not only affect oral health but also pose threat to people’s overall health condition. Therefore, identifying OIDs at an early stage and exploring new therapeutic strategies are important tasks for oral-related research. Mitochondria are crucial organelles for many cellular activities and disruptions of mitochondrial function not only affect cellular metabolism but also indirectly influence people’s health and life span. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in many common polygenic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, increasing evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a critical role in the development and progression of OIDs and its associated systemic diseases. In this review, we elucidated the critical insights into mitochondrial dysfunction and its involvement in the inflammatory responses in OIDs. We also summarized recent research progresses on the treatment of OIDs targeting mitochondrial dysfunction and discussed the underlying mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oral Microbiome and Oral Diseases)
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17 pages, 1249 KiB  
Review
Unraveling the Immunopathological Landscape of Celiac Disease: A Comprehensive Review
by Yonatan Shneor Patt, Adi Lahat, Paula David, Chen Patt, Rowand Eyade and Kassem Sharif
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15482; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015482 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2004
Abstract
Celiac disease (CD) presents a complex interplay of both innate and adaptive immune responses that drive a variety of pathological manifestations. Recent studies highlight the role of immune-mediated pathogenesis, pinpointing the involvement of antibodies against tissue transglutaminases (TG2, TG3, TG6), specific HLA molecules [...] Read more.
Celiac disease (CD) presents a complex interplay of both innate and adaptive immune responses that drive a variety of pathological manifestations. Recent studies highlight the role of immune-mediated pathogenesis, pinpointing the involvement of antibodies against tissue transglutaminases (TG2, TG3, TG6), specific HLA molecules (DQ2/8), and the regulatory role of interleukin-15, among other cellular and molecular pathways. These aspects illuminate the systemic nature of CD, reflecting its wide-reaching impact that extends beyond gastrointestinal symptoms to affect other physiological systems and giving rise to a range of pathological landscapes, including refractory CD (RCD) and, in severe cases, enteropathy-associated T cell lymphoma. The existing primary therapeutic strategy, a gluten-free diet (GFD), poses significant challenges, such as low adherence rates, necessitating alternative treatments. Emerging therapies target various stages of the disease pathology, from preventing immunogenic gluten peptide absorption to enhancing intestinal epithelial integrity and modulating the immune response, heralding potential breakthroughs in CD management. As the understanding of CD deepens, novel therapeutic avenues are emerging, paving the way for more effective and sophisticated treatment strategies with the aim of enhancing the quality of life of CD patients. This review aims to delineate the immunopathology of CD and exploring its implications on other systems, its complications and the development of novel treatments. Full article
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18 pages, 798 KiB  
Review
Mechanistic Intimate Insights into the Role of Hydrogen Sulfide in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Recent Systematic Review
by Constantin Munteanu, Daniel Andrei Iordan, Mihail Hoteteu, Cristina Popescu, Ruxandra Postoiu, Ilie Onu and Gelu Onose
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15481; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015481 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1584
Abstract
In the rapidly evolving field of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) research, the intricate role of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) has garnered critical attention for its diverse involvement in both pathological substrates and prospective therapeutic paradigms. While conventional pathophysiological models of AD have primarily [...] Read more.
In the rapidly evolving field of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) research, the intricate role of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) has garnered critical attention for its diverse involvement in both pathological substrates and prospective therapeutic paradigms. While conventional pathophysiological models of AD have primarily emphasized the significance of amyloid-beta (Aβ) deposition and tau protein hyperphosphorylation, this targeted systematic review meticulously aggregates and rigorously appraises seminal contributions from the past year elucidating the complex mechanisms of H2S in AD pathogenesis. Current scholarly literature accentuates H2S’s dual role, delineating its regulatory functions in critical cellular processes—such as neurotransmission, inflammation, and oxidative stress homeostasis—while concurrently highlighting its disruptive impact on quintessential AD biomarkers. Moreover, this review illuminates the nuanced mechanistic intimate interactions of H2S in cerebrovascular and cardiovascular pathology associated with AD, thereby exploring avant-garde therapeutic modalities, including sulfurous mineral water inhalations and mud therapy. By emphasizing the potential for therapeutic modulation of H2S via both donors and inhibitors, this review accentuates the imperative for future research endeavors to deepen our understanding, thereby potentially advancing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in AD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Neurobiology)
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28 pages, 2113 KiB  
Review
Exploring the Role of the Plant Actin Cytoskeleton: From Signaling to Cellular Functions
by Guoqiang Yuan, Huanhuan Gao and Tao Yang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015480 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2164
Abstract
The plant actin cytoskeleton is characterized by the basic properties of dynamic array, which plays a central role in numerous conserved processes that are required for diverse cellular functions. Here, we focus on how actins and actin-related proteins (ARPs), which represent two classical [...] Read more.
The plant actin cytoskeleton is characterized by the basic properties of dynamic array, which plays a central role in numerous conserved processes that are required for diverse cellular functions. Here, we focus on how actins and actin-related proteins (ARPs), which represent two classical branches of a greatly diverse superfamily of ATPases, are involved in fundamental functions underlying signal regulation of plant growth and development. Moreover, we review the structure, assembly dynamics, and biological functions of filamentous actin (F-actin) from a molecular perspective. The various accessory proteins known as actin-binding proteins (ABPs) partner with F-actin to finely tune actin dynamics, often in response to various cell signaling pathways. Our understanding of the significance of the actin cytoskeleton in vital cellular activities has been furthered by comparison of conserved functions of actin filaments across different species combined with advanced microscopic techniques and experimental methods. We discuss the current model of the plant actin cytoskeleton, followed by examples of the signaling mechanisms under the supervision of F-actin related to cell morphogenesis, polar growth, and cytoplasmic streaming. Determination of the theoretical basis of how the cytoskeleton works is important in itself and is beneficial to future applications aimed at improving crop biomass and production efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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17 pages, 5185 KiB  
Article
Biological Characteristics and Functional Analysis of the Linoleic Acid Synthase Gene ZjFAD2 in Jujube
by Junjun Jiang, Qianqian Shi, Xi Li, Xueying He, Cuiyun Wu and Xingang Li
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015479 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 776
Abstract
Jujube fruit is rich in linoleic acid and other bioactive components and has great potential to be used for the development of functional foods. However, the roles of FAD2 genes in linoleic acid biosynthesis in jujube fruit remain unclear. Here, we identified 15 [...] Read more.
Jujube fruit is rich in linoleic acid and other bioactive components and has great potential to be used for the development of functional foods. However, the roles of FAD2 genes in linoleic acid biosynthesis in jujube fruit remain unclear. Here, we identified 15 major components in jujube and found that linoleic acid was the main unsaturated fatty acid; major differences in the content and distribution of linoleic acid in the pulp and seeds were observed, and levels of linoleic acid decreased during fruit maturation. Analysis of the fatty acid metabolome, genome, and gene expression patterns of cultivated and wild-type jujube revealed five ZjFAD2 family members highly related to linoleic acid biosynthesis. The heterologous expression of these five ZjFAD2 family members in tobacco revealed that all five of these genes increased the content of linoleic acid. Additionally, transient expression of these genes in jujube fruit and the virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) test further confirmed the key roles of ZjFAD2-11 and ZjFAD2-1 in the biosynthesis of linoleic acid. The results of this research provide valuable insights into the molecular mechanism underlying linoleic acid synthesis in jujube and will aid the development of quality-oriented breeding strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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17 pages, 3251 KiB  
Article
Garden Cress Seed Oil Abrogates Testicular Oxidative Injury and NF-kB-Mediated Inflammation in Diabetic Mice
by Rasha Abu-Khudir, Gehan M. Badr, Heba Ibrahim Abd El-Moaty, Rabab S. Hamad, Najla K. Al Abdulsalam, Aml Sayed Ali Abdelrahem, Saleha Alqarni, Mayyadah Abdullah Alkuwayti, Sherine Abdel Salam and Hanaa F. Abd El-Kareem
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015478 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1648
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder associated with various complications encompassing male reproductive dysfunction. The present study aimed to investigate the therapeutic potential of biologically active Lepidium sativum seed oil (LSO) against the testicular dysfunction associated with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes. Male adults (n [...] Read more.
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder associated with various complications encompassing male reproductive dysfunction. The present study aimed to investigate the therapeutic potential of biologically active Lepidium sativum seed oil (LSO) against the testicular dysfunction associated with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes. Male adults (n = 24) were divided into four groups: control, LSO-administered, diabetic (D), and LSO-treated diabetic (D+LSO) groups. LSO was extracted from L. sativum seeds, and its chemical composition was determined using GC-MS. Serum testosterone levels, testicular enzymatic antioxidants (catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD)), an oxidative stress (OS) biomarker, malondialdehyde (MDA), pro-inflammatory markers (NF-kB, IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α), and the expression level of NF-kB were assessed. In addition, histopathological changes were evaluated in testicular tissues. The results obtained showed that the chemical composition of LSO indicated its enrichment mainly with γ-tocopherol (62.1%), followed by 2-methylhexacosane (8.12%), butylated hydroxytoluene (8.04%), 10-Methylnonadecane (4.81%), and δ-tocopherol (3.91%). Moreover, LSO administration in the D+LSO mice significantly increased testosterone levels and ameliorated the observed testicular oxidative damage, inflammatory response, and reduced NF-kB expression compared to the diabetic mice. Biochemical and molecular analyses confirmed the histological results. In conclusion, LSO may prevent the progression of diabetes-induced impairment in the testes through inhibition of the OS- and NF-kB-mediated inflammatory response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bioactives and Nutraceuticals)
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15 pages, 5668 KiB  
Article
Exploration of the Biocontrol Activity of Bacillus atrophaeus Strain HF1 against Pear Valsa Canker Caused by Valsa pyri
by Hongbo Yuan, Bingke Shi, Zhuoni Wang, Genhong Qin, Hui Hou, Hongtao Tu and Li Wang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15477; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015477 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1010
Abstract
Valsa pyri-induced pear Valsa canker is among the most prevalent diseases to impact pear quality and yields. Biocontrol strategies to control plant disease represent an attractive alternative to the application of fungicides. In this study, the potential utility of Bacillus atrophaeus strain [...] Read more.
Valsa pyri-induced pear Valsa canker is among the most prevalent diseases to impact pear quality and yields. Biocontrol strategies to control plant disease represent an attractive alternative to the application of fungicides. In this study, the potential utility of Bacillus atrophaeus strain HF1 was assessed as a biocontrol agent against pear Valsa canker. Strain HF1 suppressed V. pyri mycelium growth by 61.20% and induced the development of malformed hyphae. Both culture filtrate and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) derived from strain HF1 were able to antagonize V. pyri growth. Treatment with strain HF1-derived culture filtrate or VOCs also induced the destruction of hyphal cell membranes. Headspace mixtures prepared from strain HF1 were analyzed, leading to the identification of 27 potential VOCs. Of the thirteen pure chemicals tested, iberverin, hexanoic acid, and 2-methylvaleraldehyde exhibited the strongest antifungal effects on V. pyri, with respective EC50 values of 0.30, 6.65, and 74.07 μL L−1. Fumigation treatment of pear twigs with each of these three compounds was also sufficient to prevent the development of pear Valsa canker. As such, these results demonstrate that B. atrophaeus strain HF1 and the volatile compounds iberverin, hexanoic acid, and 2-methylvaleraldehyde exhibit promise as novel candidate biocontrol agents against pear Valsa canker. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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15 pages, 3715 KiB  
Article
The Integration of Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Transcriptomics Identifies the Potential Genes That Regulate the Development of Skeletal Muscles in Ducks
by Yinglin Lu, Jing Zhou, Fan Li, Heng Cao, Xingyu Zhang, Debing Yu, Zongliang He, Hongjie Ji, Kunpeng Lv, Guansuo Wu and Minli Yu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015476 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
DNA methylation is a pivotal epigenetic regulatory mechanism in the development of skeletal muscles. Nonetheless, the regulators responsible for DNA methylation in the development of embryonic duck skeletal muscles remain unknown. In the present study, whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) and transcriptome sequencing [...] Read more.
DNA methylation is a pivotal epigenetic regulatory mechanism in the development of skeletal muscles. Nonetheless, the regulators responsible for DNA methylation in the development of embryonic duck skeletal muscles remain unknown. In the present study, whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) and transcriptome sequencing were conducted on the skeletal muscles of embryonic day 21 (E21) and day 28 (E28) ducks. The DNA methylation pattern was found to fall mainly within the cytosine-guanine (CG) context, with high methylation levels in the intron, exon, and promoter regions. Overall, 7902 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified, which corresponded to 3174 differentially methylated genes (DMGs). By using integrative analysis of both WGBS with transcriptomics, we identified 1072 genes that are DMGs that are negatively associated with differentially expressed genes (DEGs). The gene ontology (GO) analysis revealed significant enrichment in phosphorylation, kinase activity, phosphotransferase activity, alcohol-based receptors, and binding to cytoskeletal proteins. The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGGs) analysis showed significant enrichment in MAPK signaling, Wnt signaling, apelin signaling, insulin signaling, and FoxO signaling. The screening of enriched genes showed that hyper-methylation inhibited the expression of Idh3a, Got1, Bcl2, Mylk2, Klf2, Erbin, and Klhl38, and hypo-methylation stimulated the expression of Col22a1, Dnmt3b, Fn1, E2f1, Rprm, and Wfikkn1. Further predictions showed that the CpG islands in the promoters of Klhl38, Klf2, Erbin, Mylk2, and Got1 may play a crucial role in regulating the development of skeletal muscles. This study provides new insights into the epigenetic regulation of the development of duck skeletal muscles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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14 pages, 599 KiB  
Review
The Communication from Immune Cells to the Fibroblasts in Keloids: Implications for Immunotherapy
by Xiya Zhang, Xinfeng Wu and Dongqing Li
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15475; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015475 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1686
Abstract
Keloids are a type of fibrotic disease characterized by excessive collagen production and extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition. The symptoms of pain and itching and frequent recurrence after treatment significantly impact the quality of life and mental health of patients. A deeper understanding of [...] Read more.
Keloids are a type of fibrotic disease characterized by excessive collagen production and extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition. The symptoms of pain and itching and frequent recurrence after treatment significantly impact the quality of life and mental health of patients. A deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of keloids is crucial for the development of an effective therapeutic approach. Fibroblasts play a central role in the pathogenesis of keloids by producing large amounts of collagen fibers. Recent evidence indicates that keloids exhibit high immune cell infiltration, and these cells secrete cytokines or growth factors to support keloid fibroblast proliferation. This article provides an update on the knowledge regarding the keloid microenvironment based on recent single-cell sequencing literature. Many inflammatory cells gathered in keloid lesions, such as macrophages, mast cells, and T lymphocytes, indicate that keloids may be an inflammatory skin disease. In this review, we focus on the communication from immune cells to the fibroblasts and the potential of immunotherapy for keloids. We hope that this review will trigger interest in investigating keloids as an inflammatory disease, which may open up new avenues for drug development by targeting immune mediators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunological and Molecular Networks in the Skin and Skin Diseases)
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23 pages, 1105 KiB  
Concept Paper
The OSR9 Regimen: A New Augmentation Strategy for Osteosarcoma Treatment Using Nine Older Drugs from General Medicine to Inhibit Growth Drive
by Richard E. Kast
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15474; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015474 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1242
Abstract
As things stand in 2023, metastatic osteosarcoma commonly results in death. There has been little treatment progress in recent decades. To redress the poor prognosis of metastatic osteosarcoma, the present regimen, OSR9, uses nine already marketed drugs as adjuncts to current treatments. The [...] Read more.
As things stand in 2023, metastatic osteosarcoma commonly results in death. There has been little treatment progress in recent decades. To redress the poor prognosis of metastatic osteosarcoma, the present regimen, OSR9, uses nine already marketed drugs as adjuncts to current treatments. The nine drugs in OSR9 are: (1) the antinausea drug aprepitant, (2) the analgesic drug celecoxib, (3) the anti-malaria drug chloroquine, (4) the antibiotic dapsone, (5) the alcoholism treatment drug disulfiram, (6) the antifungal drug itraconazole, (7) the diabetes treatment drug linagliptin, (8) the hypertension drug propranolol, and (9) the psychiatric drug quetiapine. Although none are traditionally used to treat cancer, all nine have attributes that have been shown to inhibit growth-promoting physiological systems active in osteosarcoma. In their general medicinal uses, all nine drugs in OSR9 have low side-effect risks. The current paper reviews the collected data supporting the role of OSR9. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Oncology)
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24 pages, 2383 KiB  
Review
Metabolic-Dysfunction-Associated Steatotic Liver Disease—Its Pathophysiology, Association with Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Disease, and Treatments
by Hidekatsu Yanai, Hiroki Adachi, Mariko Hakoshima, Sakura Iida and Hisayuki Katsuyama
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15473; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015473 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3712
Abstract
Metabolic-dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) is a chronic liver disease that affects more than a quarter of the global population and whose prevalence is increasing worldwide due to the pandemic of obesity. Obesity, impaired glucose metabolism, high blood pressure and atherogenic dyslipidemia are [...] Read more.
Metabolic-dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) is a chronic liver disease that affects more than a quarter of the global population and whose prevalence is increasing worldwide due to the pandemic of obesity. Obesity, impaired glucose metabolism, high blood pressure and atherogenic dyslipidemia are risk factors for MASLD. Therefore, insulin resistance may be closely associated with the development and progression of MASLD. Hepatic entry of increased fatty acids released from adipose tissue, increase in fatty acid synthesis and reduced fatty acid oxidation in the liver and hepatic overproduction of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins may induce the development of MASLD. Since insulin resistance also induces atherosclerosis, the leading cause for death in MASLD patients is cardiovascular disease. Considering that the development of cardiovascular diseases determines the prognosis of MASLD patients, the therapeutic interventions for MASLD should reduce body weight and improve coronary risk factors, in addition to an improving in liver function. Lifestyle modifications, such as improved diet and increased exercise, and surgical interventions, such as bariatric surgery and intragastric balloons, have shown to improve MASLD by reducing body weight. Sodium glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) have been shown to improve coronary risk factors and to suppress the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. Both SGLT2i and GLP-1 have been reported to improve liver enzymes, hepatic steatosis and fibrosis. We recently reported that the selective peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARα) modulator pemafibrate improved liver function. PPARα agonists have multiple anti-atherogenic properties. Here, we consider the pathophysiology of MASLD and the mechanisms of action of such drugs and whether such drugs and the combination therapy of such drugs could be the treatments for MASLD. Full article
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29 pages, 803 KiB  
Review
Neurohumoral Activation in Heart Failure
by Antonis A. Manolis, Theodora A. Manolis and Antonis S. Manolis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15472; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015472 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3561
Abstract
In patients with heart failure (HF), the neuroendocrine systems of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) and the arginine vasopressin (AVP) system, are activated to various degrees producing often-observed tachycardia and concomitant increased systemic vascular resistance. Furthermore, sustained neurohormonal activation [...] Read more.
In patients with heart failure (HF), the neuroendocrine systems of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) and the arginine vasopressin (AVP) system, are activated to various degrees producing often-observed tachycardia and concomitant increased systemic vascular resistance. Furthermore, sustained neurohormonal activation plays a key role in the progression of HF and may be responsible for the pathogenetic mechanisms leading to the perpetuation of the pathophysiology and worsening of the HF signs and symptoms. There are biomarkers of activation of these neurohormonal pathways, such as the natriuretic peptides, catecholamine levels and neprilysin and various newer ones, which may be employed to better understand the mechanisms of HF drugs and also aid in defining the subgroups of patients who might benefit from specific therapies, irrespective of the degree of left ventricular dysfunction. These therapies are directed against these neurohumoral systems (neurohumoral antagonists) and classically comprise beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers and vaptans. Recently, the RAAS blockade has been refined by the introduction of the angiotensin receptor–neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI) sacubitril/valsartan, which combines the RAAS inhibition and neprilysin blocking, enhancing the actions of natriuretic peptides. All these issues relating to the neurohumoral activation in HF are herein reviewed, and the underlying mechanisms are pictorially illustrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Insights in Heart Failure)
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22 pages, 5153 KiB  
Article
Pharmacogenomic Landscape of Ivermectin and Selective Antioxidants: Exploring Gene Interplay in the Context of Long COVID
by Ying-Fei Yang and Sher Singh
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15471; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015471 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2168
Abstract
COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread panic and fear among the global population. As such, repurposing drugs are being used as viable therapeutic options due to the limited effective treatments for Long COVID symptoms. Ivermectin is one of the emerging repurposed drugs that has [...] Read more.
COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread panic and fear among the global population. As such, repurposing drugs are being used as viable therapeutic options due to the limited effective treatments for Long COVID symptoms. Ivermectin is one of the emerging repurposed drugs that has been shown effective to have antiviral effects in clinical trials. In addition, antioxidant compounds are also gaining attention due to their capabilities of reducing inflammation and severity of symptoms. Due to the absence of knowledge in pharmacogenomics and modes of actions in the human body for these compounds, this study aims to provide a pharmacogenomic profile for the combination of ivermectin and six selected antioxidants (epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), curcumin, sesamin, anthocyanins, quercetin, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC)) as potentially effective regimens for long COVID symptoms. Results showed that there were 12 interacting genes found among the ivermectin, 6 antioxidants, and COVID-19. For network pharmacology, the 12 common interacting genes/proteins had the highest associations with Pertussis pathway, AGE-RAGE signaling pathway in diabetic complications, and colorectal cancer in the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analyses. Disease analyses also revealed that the top three relevant diseases with COVID-19 infections were diabetes mellitus, ischemia, reperfusion injury. We also identified 6 potential target microRNAs (miRNAs) of the 12 commonly curated genes used as molecular biomarkers for COVID-19 treatments. The established pharmacogenomic network, disease analyses, and identified miRNAs could facilitate developments of effective regimens for chronic sequelae of COVID-19 especially in this post-pandemic era. However, further studies and clinical trials are needed to substantiate the effectiveness and dosages for COVID-19 treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Focus on Antioxidants and COVID-19)
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13 pages, 4891 KiB  
Article
Histopathological Gap in Aortic Diseases: A Prospective Analysis
by Cosmin Marian Banceu, Simona Gurzu, Catalin-Bogdan Satala, Dana Ghiga, Mihai Halic Neamtu, Vladimir Voth, Markus Liebrich and Horatiu Suciu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15470; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015470 - 23 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 796
Abstract
Aortic dissection (AD) is a critical cardiovascular condition with the potential for devastating consequences. This study evaluated the histological changes in the aorta wall in patients with AD and aortic aneurysm (AA) who received surgical aortic replacement. Histopathological data showed that modifications of [...] Read more.
Aortic dissection (AD) is a critical cardiovascular condition with the potential for devastating consequences. This study evaluated the histological changes in the aorta wall in patients with AD and aortic aneurysm (AA) who received surgical aortic replacement. Histopathological data showed that modifications of the media layer (p = 0.0197), myxomatous aspect (p = 0.0001), and subendothelial layer degeneration (p = 0.0107) were more frequently seen in AA versus AD samples. Patients with AA were approximately twice as likely to develop histological changes than those with AD (p = 0.0037). Patients with moderate or severe medial degeneration had a higher chance of developing AD (p = 0.0001). Because the histopathological score proved to be a predictor of both in-hospital and overall mortality, its evaluation should become the standard of care in any patients who undergo aortic replacement. Individualized postoperative management might be influenced by the histopathological aspect of the aortic layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Diseases: Histopathological and Molecular Diagnostics)
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16 pages, 2823 KiB  
Article
A Therapeutic DNA Vaccine Targeting HPV16 E7 in Combination with Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 Enhanced Tumor Regression and Cytotoxic Immune Responses
by Xuechao Han, Zhixiao Gao, Yeping Cheng, Shuoshuo Wu, Jianxing Chen and Weifang Zhang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015469 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1339
Abstract
Persistent infection of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and the expression of E6 and E7 oncoproteins are the main causes of cervical cancer. Several prophylactic HPV vaccines are used in the clinic, but these vaccines have limited efficacy in patients already infected with HPV. [...] Read more.
Persistent infection of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and the expression of E6 and E7 oncoproteins are the main causes of cervical cancer. Several prophylactic HPV vaccines are used in the clinic, but these vaccines have limited efficacy in patients already infected with HPV. Since HPV E7 is vital for tumor-specific immunity, developing a vaccine against HPV E7 is an attractive strategy for cervical cancer treatment. Here, we constructed an HPV16 E7 mutant that loses the ability to bind pRb while still eliciting a robust immune response. In order to build a therapeutic DNA vaccine, the E7 mutant was packaged in an adenovirus vector (Ad-E7) for efficient expression and enhanced immunogenicity of the vaccine. Our results showed that the Ad-E7 vaccine effectively inhibited tumor growth and increased the proportion of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)-secreting CD8+ T cells in the spleen, and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in a mouse cervical cancer model was achieved by injecting with HPV16-E6/E7-expressing TC-1 cells subcutaneously. Combining the Ad-E7 vaccine with the PD-1/PD-L1 antibody blockade significantly improved the control of TC-1 tumors. Combination therapy elicited stronger cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses, and IFN-γ secretion downregulated the proportion of Tregs and MDSCs significantly. The expressions of cancer-promoting factors, such as TNF-α, were also significantly down-regulated in the case of combination therapy. In addition, combination therapy inhibited the number of capillaries in tumor tissues and increased the thickness of the tumor capsule. Thus, Ad-E7 vaccination, in combination with an immune checkpoint blockade, may benefit patients with HPV16-associated cervical cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Biological Molecules for Cancer Treatments 2.0)
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