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Curr. Issues Mol. Biol., Volume 46, Issue 4 (April 2024) – 59 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Major tumor-suppressor genes such as TP53, CDKN2A and SMAD4 have been associated with pancreatic cancer. Each gene’s role, prevalence and impact on tumor development and progression are analyzed, focusing on the intricate molecular landscape of pancreatic cancer. Their prognostic significance seems promising. Potential targeted therapies tailored to these molecular signatures are under investigation. Literature findings highlight the importance of genomic analyses for risk assessment, early detection and the design of personalized treatment approaches in pancreatic cancer. View this paper
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11 pages, 3084 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Yield and Improving Grain Quality in Japonica Rice: Targeted EHD1 Editing via CRISPR-Cas9 in Low-Latitude Adaptation
by Jian Song, Liqun Tang, Honghuan Fan, Xiaozheng Xu, Xinlu Peng, Yongtao Cui and Jianjun Wang
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3741-3751; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040233 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 673
Abstract
The “Indica to Japonica” initiative in China focuses on adapting Japonica rice varieties from the northeast to the unique photoperiod and temperature conditions of lower latitudes. While breeders can select varieties for their adaptability, the sensitivity to light and temperature often [...] Read more.
The “Indica to Japonica” initiative in China focuses on adapting Japonica rice varieties from the northeast to the unique photoperiod and temperature conditions of lower latitudes. While breeders can select varieties for their adaptability, the sensitivity to light and temperature often complicates and prolongs the process. Addressing the challenge of cultivating high-yield, superior-quality Japonica rice over expanded latitudinal ranges swiftly, in the face of these sensitivities, is critical. Our approach harnesses the CRISPR-Cas9 technology to edit the EHD1 gene in the premium northeastern Japonica cultivars Jiyuanxiang 1 and Yinongxiang 12, which are distinguished by their exceptional grain quality—increased head rice rates, gel consistency, and reduced chalkiness and amylose content. Field trials showed that these new ehd1 mutants not only surpass the wild types in yield when grown at low latitudes but also retain the desirable traits of their progenitors. Additionally, we found that disabling Ehd1 boosts the activity of Hd3a and RFT1, postponing flowering by approximately one month in the ehd1 mutants. This research presents a viable strategy for the accelerated breeding of elite northeastern Japonica rice by integrating genomic insights with gene-editing techniques suitable for low-latitude cultivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Breeding and Genetics Research in Plants)
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12 pages, 2055 KiB  
Article
Phospho-Chitooligosaccharides below 1 kDa Inhibit HIV-1 Entry In Vitro
by Fatih Karadeniz and Se-Kwon Kim
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3729-3740; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040232 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Despite present antiviral agents that can effectively work against HIV-1 replication, side effects and drug resistance have pushed researchers toward novel approaches. In this context, there is a continued focus on discovering new and more effective antiviral compounds, particularly those that have a [...] Read more.
Despite present antiviral agents that can effectively work against HIV-1 replication, side effects and drug resistance have pushed researchers toward novel approaches. In this context, there is a continued focus on discovering new and more effective antiviral compounds, particularly those that have a natural origin. Polysaccharides are known for their numerous bioactivities, including inhibiting HIV-1 infection and replication. In the present study, phosphorylated chitosan oligosaccharides (PCOSs) were evaluated for their anti-HIV-1 potential in vitro. Treatment with PCOSs effectively protected cells from HIV-1-induced lytic effects and suppressed the production of HIV-1 p24 protein. In addition, results show that PCOSs lost their protective effect upon post-infection treatment. According to the results of ELISA, PCOSs notably disrupted the binding of HIV-1 gp120 protein to T cell surface receptor CD4, which is required for HIV-1 entry. Overall, the results point out that PCOSs might prevent HIV-1 infection at the entry stage, possibly via blocking the viral entry through disruption of virus–cell fusion. Nevertheless, the current results only present the potential of PCOSs, and further studies to elucidate its action mechanism in detail are needed to employ phosphorylation of COSs as a method to develop novel antiviral agents. Full article
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16 pages, 2890 KiB  
Article
Analysis of microRNA Expression Profiles in Broiler Muscle Tissues by Feeding Different Levels of Guanidinoacetic Acid
by Mengqian Liu, Mengyuan Li, Jinrui Ruan, Junjing Jia, Changrong Ge and Weina Cao
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3713-3728; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040231 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 663
Abstract
The aim of this study was to explore the molecular mechanisms through which different levels of GAA affect chicken muscle development by influencing miRNA expression, to lay a theoretical foundation for the identification of key functional small RNAs related to poultry muscle development, [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to explore the molecular mechanisms through which different levels of GAA affect chicken muscle development by influencing miRNA expression, to lay a theoretical foundation for the identification of key functional small RNAs related to poultry muscle development, and to provide new insights into the regulatory mechanisms of GAA on muscle development and meat quality in broilers. It provides a new theoretical basis for using GAA as a feed additive to improve feed performance. Small RNA sequencing technology was utilized to obtain the expression profiles of miRNA in the broiler pectoral muscle fed with different levels of GAA (0 g/kg, 1.2 g/kg and 3.6 g/kg). An analysis of differentially expressed miRNAs revealed 90 such miRNAs in the three combination comparisons, with gga-miR-130b-5p exhibiting significant differences across all three combinations. Furthermore, three of the differentially expressed miRNAs were performed by RT-qPCR verification, yielding results consistent with those obtained from small RNA sequencing. Target gene prediction, as well as the GO and KEGG enrichment analysis of differentially expressed miRNAs, indicated their involvement in muscle cell differentiation and other processes, particularly those associated with the MAPK signaling pathway. This study has, thus, provided valuable insights and resources for the further exploration of the miRNA molecular mechanism underlying the influence of guanidine acetic acid on broiler muscle development. Combined with previous studies and small RNA sequencing, adding 1.2 g/kg GAA to the diet can better promote the muscle development of broilers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology)
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19 pages, 2342 KiB  
Article
Effects of Lignin-Diverted Reductant with Polyphenol Oxidases on Cellulose Degradation by Wild and Mutant Types of Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenase
by Kai Li, Yuan Wang, Xiao Guo and Bo Wang
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3694-3712; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040230 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Establishing a multi-enzyme synergistic lignocellulosic biodegradation system using lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase (LPMO) and polyphenol oxidases is vital for efficiently utilizing plant biomass waste, ultimately benefiting the carbon cycle and promoting environmental protection. Single-residue mutations of LPMO can improve the efficiency of lignocellulosic biomass [...] Read more.
Establishing a multi-enzyme synergistic lignocellulosic biodegradation system using lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase (LPMO) and polyphenol oxidases is vital for efficiently utilizing plant biomass waste, ultimately benefiting the carbon cycle and promoting environmental protection. Single-residue mutations of LPMO can improve the efficiency of lignocellulosic biomass degradation. However, the activity of mutant-type LPMO in relation to lignin-diverted reducing agents has not been sufficiently explored. In this study, laccase and tyrosinase were initially investigated and their optimal conditions and impressive thermal stability were revealed, indicating their potential synergistic abilities with LPMO in lignocellulose biodegradation. When utilizing gallic acid as a reducing agent, the activities of LPMOs were increased by over 10%, which was particularly evident in mutant-type LPMOs after the addition of polyphenol oxidases. In particular, the combination of tyrosinase with either 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenylacetone or p-coumaric acid was shown to enhance the efficacy of LPMOs. Furthermore, the highest activity levels of wild-type LPMOs were observed with the addition of laccase and 3-methylcatechol. The similarities between wild and mutant LPMOs regarding their activities in lignin-diverted phenolic compounds and reducing agents are almost identical, suggesting that the single-residue mutation of LPMO does not have a detrimental effect on its performance. Above all, this study indicates that understanding the performance of both wild and mutant types of LPMOs in the presence of polyphenol oxidases and various reducing agents constitutes a key link in the industrialization of the multi-enzyme degradation of lignocellulose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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18 pages, 3643 KiB  
Article
Signaling Transduction Pathways and G-Protein-Coupled Receptors in Different Stages of the Embryonic Diapause Termination Process in Artemia
by Tong Hao, Zhentao Song, Mingzhi Zhang and Lingrui Zhang
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3676-3693; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040229 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 477
Abstract
Artemia is a widely distributed small aquatic crustacean, renowned for its ability to enter a state of embryonic diapause. The embryonic diapause termination (EDT) is closely linked to environmental cues, but the precise underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, ATAC-seq and RNA-seq [...] Read more.
Artemia is a widely distributed small aquatic crustacean, renowned for its ability to enter a state of embryonic diapause. The embryonic diapause termination (EDT) is closely linked to environmental cues, but the precise underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, ATAC-seq and RNA-seq sequencing techniques were employed to explore the gene expression profiles in Artemia cysts 30 min after EDT. These profiles were compared with those during diapause and 5 h after EDT. The regulatory mechanisms governing the EDT process were analyzed through Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis of differentially expressed genes. Furthermore, the active G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) were identified through structural analysis. The results unveiled that the signaling transduction during EDT primarily hinges on GPCRs and the cell surface receptor signaling pathway, but distinct genes are involved across different stages. Hormone-mediated signaling pathways and the tachykinin receptor signaling pathway exhibited heightened activity in the ‘0–30 min’ group, whereas the Wnt signaling pathway manifested its function solely in the ‘30 min–5 h’ group. These results imply a complete divergence in the mechanisms of signal regulation during these two stages. Moreover, through structural analysis, five GPCRs operating at different stages of EDT were identified. These findings provide valuable insights into the signal regulation mechanisms governing Artemia diapause. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Biology and Germ Cell Development)
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36 pages, 2328 KiB  
Review
The Role of Alarmins in the Pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Psoriasis
by Kajetan Kiełbowski, Wiktoria Stańska, Estera Bakinowska, Marcin Rusiński and Andrzej Pawlik
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3640-3675; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040228 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 878
Abstract
Alarmins are immune-activating factors released after cellular injury or death. By secreting alarmins, cells can interact with immune cells and induce a variety of inflammatory responses. The broad family of alarmins involves several members, such as high-mobility group box 1, S100 proteins, interleukin-33, [...] Read more.
Alarmins are immune-activating factors released after cellular injury or death. By secreting alarmins, cells can interact with immune cells and induce a variety of inflammatory responses. The broad family of alarmins involves several members, such as high-mobility group box 1, S100 proteins, interleukin-33, and heat shock proteins, among others. Studies have found that the concentrations and expression profiles of alarmins are altered in immune-mediated diseases. Furthermore, they are involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory conditions. The aim of this narrative review is to present the current evidence on the role of alarmins in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and psoriasis. We discuss their potential involvement in mechanisms underlying the progression of these diseases and whether they could become therapeutic targets. Moreover, we summarize the impact of pharmacological agents used in the treatment of these diseases on the expression of alarmins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Osteoarthritis and Osteoarticular Diseases)
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14 pages, 4155 KiB  
Article
Phytocannabinoids CBD, CBG, and their Derivatives CBD-HQ and CBG-A Induced In Vitro Cytotoxicity in 2D and 3D Colon Cancer Cell Models
by Dorota Bęben, Oliwia Siwiela, Anna Szyjka, Michał Graczyk, Daniel Rzepka, Ewa Barg and Helena Moreira
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3626-3639; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040227 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 962
Abstract
Phytocannabinoids, compounds found in Cannabis sativa L., are used in oncology and palliative care to reduce the adverse reactions of standard therapies. Cancer patients use formulations of Cannabis sativa L. to manage the anxiety, pain, and nausea associated with cancer treatment, and there [...] Read more.
Phytocannabinoids, compounds found in Cannabis sativa L., are used in oncology and palliative care to reduce the adverse reactions of standard therapies. Cancer patients use formulations of Cannabis sativa L. to manage the anxiety, pain, and nausea associated with cancer treatment, and there is growing evidence that some of them may exhibit anticancer properties. In this study, we tested the anticancer potential of selected cannabinoids CBD (cannabidiol) and its quinone derivative CBD-HQ (cannabidiol hydroquinone), CBG (cannabigerol) and its acid derivative CBG-A (cannabigerolic acid), as well as a combination of CBD+CBG on the colon cancer cell line SW-620. The MTT assay was used to determine the cannabinoids’ ability to induce colon cancer cell death. All cannabinoids were cytotoxic at the lowest concentration (3 μg/mL). The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) ranged from 3.90 to 8.24 μg/mL, depending on the substance. Cytotoxicity was confirmed in a 3D spheroidal cell culture with calcein and propidium iodide staining. The amount of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was examined using a DCF-DA assay. CBG showed the lowest antioxidant activity of all the cannabinoids tested. The level of intracellular ROS decreased only by 0.7–18%. However, CBG-A induced the strongest reduction in ROS level by 31–39%. Our results suggest that cannabinoids represent an interesting research direction with great implementation potential. These preliminary results represent the beginning of research into the potential of these substances for anticancer treatment and underscore the potential for further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals and Cancer, 2nd Edition)
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16 pages, 4478 KiB  
Article
Correlation between the RNA Expression and the DNA Methylation of Estrogen Receptor Genes in Normal and Malignant Human Tissues
by Ju Rong, Xiaojun Xie, Yongdong Niu and Zhongjing Su
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3610-3625; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040226 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Estrogen plays a multifaceted function in humans via interacting with the estrogen receptors ERα, ERβ, and G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1). Previous research has predominantly concentrated on elucidating the signaling route of estrogen. However, the comprehensive understanding of the expression profile and [...] Read more.
Estrogen plays a multifaceted function in humans via interacting with the estrogen receptors ERα, ERβ, and G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1). Previous research has predominantly concentrated on elucidating the signaling route of estrogen. However, the comprehensive understanding of the expression profile and control of these estrogen receptors in various human tissues is not well known. In the present study, the RNA levels of estrogen receptors in various normal and malignant human tissues were retrieved from the human protein atlas, the cancer genome atlas (TCGA), and the genotype-tissue expression (GTEx) databases for analyzing the expression profile of estrogen receptors through gene expression profiling interactive analysis (GEPIA). The status of DNA methylation of estrogen receptor genes from TCGA were analyzed through the software Wanderer and cBioPortal. The MethSurv tool was utilized to estimate the relevance between specific cytosine–guanine (CG) methylation and tumor survival. The expression profile analysis revealed that ERα, ERβ, and GPER1 have unique expression patterns in diverse tissues and malignancies. The interesting results were the higher expression of ERβ RNA in the male testis than in females and the positive association between the RNA level of ERα and the androgen receptor in different human normal tissues. Especially, the significant changes in GPER1 expression in multiple malignancies showed a consistent decrease with no exception, which indicates the role of GPER1 in common tumor inhibition. The finding on the expression profile provides clues for exploring novel potential physiological and pathophysiological functions of estrogen. The DNA methylation analysis manifested that the expression of GPER1 and ERα showed a substantial correlation with the methylation of specific CG sites in the cis-regulating region of the gene. However, no such association was observed for ERβ. When comparing tumor tissues to normal tissues, the DNA methylation of certain CG sites of estrogen receptors showed a correlation with tumor survival but did not always correlate with the expression of that gene or with the expression of DNA methyltransferases. We proposed that the variation in DNA methylation at different CG sites in estrogen receptor genes had other functions beyond its regulatory role in its gene expression, and this might be associated with the progression and therapy efficiency of the tumor based on the modulation of the chromatin configuration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Non-coding RNAs)
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15 pages, 1328 KiB  
Article
Microbiome Sex-Related Diversity in Non-Muscle-Invasive Urothelial Bladder Cancer
by Konrad Bilski, Natalia Żeber-Lubecka, Maria Kulecka, Michalina Dąbrowska, Aneta Bałabas, Jerzy Ostrowski, Aleksandra Dobruch and Jakub Dobruch
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3595-3609; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040225 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 653
Abstract
Sex-specific discrepancies in bladder cancer (BCa) are reported, and new studies imply that microbiome may partially explain the diversity. We aim to provide characterization of the bladder microbiome in both sexes diagnosed with non-muscle-invasive BCa with specific insight into cancer grade. In our [...] Read more.
Sex-specific discrepancies in bladder cancer (BCa) are reported, and new studies imply that microbiome may partially explain the diversity. We aim to provide characterization of the bladder microbiome in both sexes diagnosed with non-muscle-invasive BCa with specific insight into cancer grade. In our study, 16S rRNA next-generation sequencing was performed on midstream urine, bladder tumor sample, and healthy-appearing bladder mucosa. Bacterial DNA was isolated using QIAamp Viral RNA Mini Kit. Metagenomic analysis was performed using hypervariable fragments of the 16S rRNA gene on Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine platform. Of 41 sample triplets, 2153 taxa were discovered: 1739 in tumor samples, 1801 in healthy-appearing bladder mucosa and 1370 in midstream urine. Women were found to have smaller taxa richness in Chao1 index than men (p = 0.03). In comparison to low-grade tumors, patients with high-grade lesions had lower bacterial diversity and richness in urine. Significant differences between sexes in relative abundance of communities at family level were only observed in high-grade tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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16 pages, 2785 KiB  
Article
Association between KRAS and PIK3CA Mutations and Progesterone Resistance in Endometriotic Epithelial Cell Line
by Kosuke Kanno, Kentaro Nakayama, Sultana Razia, Sohel Hasibul Islam, Zahan Umme Farzana, Shahataj Begum Sonia, Hitomi Yamashita, Masako Ishikawa, Tomoka Ishibashi, Kayo Imamura, Tohru Kiyono and Satoru Kyo
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3579-3594; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040224 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 658
Abstract
Although endometriosis is a benign disease, it is associated with cancer-related gene mutations, such as KRAS or PIK3CA. Endometriosis is associated with elevated levels of inflammatory factors that cause severe pain. In a previous study, we demonstrated that KRAS or PIK3CA mutations [...] Read more.
Although endometriosis is a benign disease, it is associated with cancer-related gene mutations, such as KRAS or PIK3CA. Endometriosis is associated with elevated levels of inflammatory factors that cause severe pain. In a previous study, we demonstrated that KRAS or PIK3CA mutations are associated with the activation of cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in a patient-derived immortalized endometriotic cell line, HMOsisEC10. In this study, we investigated the effects of these mutations on progesterone resistance. Since the HMOsisEC10 had suppressed progesterone receptor (PR) expression, we transduced PR-B to HMOsisEc10 cell lines including KRAS mutant and PIK3CA mutant cell lines. We conducted a migration assay, invasion assay, and MTT assay using dienogest and medroxyprogestrone acetate. All cell lines showed progesterone sensitivity with or without mutations. Regarding inflammatory factors, real-time quantitative RT-PCR revealed that the KRAS mutation cell line exhibited no suppression of Cox-2 and mPGES-1 on progesterone treatment, whereas IL-6, MCP-1, VEGF, and CYP19A1 were significantly suppressed by progesterone in both mutated cell lines. Our results suggest that KRAS mutation and PIK3CA mutation in endometriotic cells may not be associated with progesterone resistance in terms of aggressiveness. However, KRAS mutations may be associated with progesterone resistance in the context of pain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Reproductive Biology, 2nd Edition)
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16 pages, 2676 KiB  
Article
Alginate Improves the Chondrogenic Capacity of 3D PCL Scaffolds In Vitro: A Histological Approach
by Lara Milián, María Oliver-Ferrándiz, Ignacio Peregrín, María Sancho-Tello, José Javier Martín-de-Llano, Cristina Martínez-Ramos, Carmen Carda and Manuel Mata
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3563-3578; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040223 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 557
Abstract
Polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds have demonstrated an effectiveness in articular cartilage regeneration due to their biomechanical properties. On the other hand, alginate hydrogels generate a 3D environment with great chondrogenic potential. Our aim is to generate a mixed PCL/alginate scaffold that combines the chondrogenic [...] Read more.
Polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds have demonstrated an effectiveness in articular cartilage regeneration due to their biomechanical properties. On the other hand, alginate hydrogels generate a 3D environment with great chondrogenic potential. Our aim is to generate a mixed PCL/alginate scaffold that combines the chondrogenic properties of the two biomaterials. Porous PCL scaffolds were manufactured using a modified salt-leaching method and embedded in a culture medium or alginate in the presence or absence of chondrocytes. The chondrogenic capacity was studied in vitro. Type II collagen and aggrecan were measured by immunofluorescence, cell morphology by F-actin fluorescence staining and gene expression of COL1A1, COL2A1, ACAN, COL10A1, VEGF, RUNX1 and SOX6 by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The biocompatibility of the scaffolds was determined in vivo using athymic nude mice and assessed by histopathological and morphometric analysis. Alginate improved the chondrogenic potential of PCL in vitro by increasing the expression of type II collagen and aggrecan, as well as other markers related to chondrogenesis. All scaffolds showed good biocompatibility in the in vivo model. The presence of cells in the scaffolds induced an increase in vascularization of the PCL/alginate scaffolds. The results presented here reinforce the benefits of the combined use of PCL and alginate for the regeneration of articular cartilage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Medicine)
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12 pages, 1845 KiB  
Article
Multi-Omics Integration for Liver Cancer Using Regression Analysis
by Aditya Raj, Ruben C. Petreaca and Golrokh Mirzaei
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3551-3562; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040222 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 707
Abstract
Genetic biomarkers have played a pivotal role in the classification, prognostication, and guidance of clinical cancer therapies. Large-scale and multi-dimensional analyses of entire cancer genomes, as exemplified by projects like The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), have yielded an extensive repository of data that [...] Read more.
Genetic biomarkers have played a pivotal role in the classification, prognostication, and guidance of clinical cancer therapies. Large-scale and multi-dimensional analyses of entire cancer genomes, as exemplified by projects like The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), have yielded an extensive repository of data that holds the potential to unveil the underlying biology of these malignancies. Mutations stand out as the principal catalysts of cellular transformation. Nonetheless, other global genomic processes, such as alterations in gene expression and chromosomal re-arrangements, also play crucial roles in conferring cellular immortality. The incorporation of multi-omics data specific to cancer has demonstrated the capacity to enhance our comprehension of the molecular mechanisms underpinning carcinogenesis. This report elucidates how the integration of comprehensive data on methylation, gene expression, and copy number variations can effectively facilitate the unsupervised clustering of cancer samples. We have identified regressors that can effectively classify tumor and normal samples with an optimal integration of RNA sequencing, DNA methylation, and copy number variation while also achieving significant p-values. Further, these regressors were trained using linear and logistic regression with k-means clustering. For comparison, we employed autoencoder- and stacking-based omics integration and computed silhouette scores to evaluate the clusters. The proof of concept is illustrated using liver cancer data. Our analysis serves to underscore the feasibility of unsupervised cancer classification by considering genetic markers beyond mutations, thereby emphasizing the clinical relevance of additional global cellular parameters that contribute to the transformative process in cells. This work is clinically relevant because changes in gene expression and genomic re-arrangements have been shown to be signatures of cellular transformation across cancers, as well as in liver cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bioinformatics and Systems Biology)
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18 pages, 4228 KiB  
Article
CCN1-Mediated Signaling in Placental Villous Tissues after SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Term Pregnant Women: Implications for Dysregulated Angiogenesis
by Yuyang Ma, Liyan Duan, Beatrix Reisch, Rainer Kimmig, Antonella Iannaccone and Alexandra Gellhaus
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3533-3550; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040221 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 703
Abstract
The global spread of SARS-CoV-2 has increased infections among pregnant women. This study aimed to explore placental pathology alterations and angiogenic factor levels in term pregnant women after SARS-CoV-2 infection in a retrospective single-center study. Additionally, we investigated the role and underlying mechanism [...] Read more.
The global spread of SARS-CoV-2 has increased infections among pregnant women. This study aimed to explore placental pathology alterations and angiogenic factor levels in term pregnant women after SARS-CoV-2 infection in a retrospective single-center study. Additionally, we investigated the role and underlying mechanism of the vascular inflammation-promoting, cysteine-rich protein 61 (CYR61/CCN1) in this context. All analyses were performed in term pregnant women infected with or without SARS-CoV-2. The sFlt-1, PlGF, and sEng serum levels were quantified using ELISA. Placental protein expressions were examined by immunoblot and immunostaining. Additionally, the effect of CCN1 protein on SGHPL-5 trophoblast cells was examined. We found that SARS-CoV-2 activated the inflammatory response in pregnant women, leading to pronounced vascular alterations in placental villous tissues. Elevated serum anti-angiogenic factors (sFlt-1, sEng) upon SARS-CoV-2 infection may directly contribute to these pathological changes. Upregulated CCN1 and pNF-κB in placental villous tissues of infected patients are identified as crucial factors in placental alterations. As a conclusion, CCN1 was significantly elevated in the placentas of term pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2. By activating a cascade of inflammatory responses, CCN1 induced the production of the anti-angiogenic factors sFlt-1 and sEng, which may lead to abnormal placental vascular architecture. Full article
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31 pages, 3629 KiB  
Review
Inflammasome Molecular Insights in Autoimmune Diseases
by Monica Neamțu, Veronica Bild, Alexandru Vasincu, Oana Dana Arcan, Delia Bulea, Daniela-Carmen Ababei, Răzvan-Nicolae Rusu, Ioana Macadan, Ana Maria Sciucă and Andrei Neamțu
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3502-3532; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040220 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1040
Abstract
Autoimmune diseases (AIDs) emerge due to an irregular immune response towards self- and non-self-antigens. Inflammation commonly accompanies these conditions, with inflammatory factors and inflammasomes playing pivotal roles in their progression. Key concepts in molecular biology, inflammation, and molecular mimicry are crucial to understanding [...] Read more.
Autoimmune diseases (AIDs) emerge due to an irregular immune response towards self- and non-self-antigens. Inflammation commonly accompanies these conditions, with inflammatory factors and inflammasomes playing pivotal roles in their progression. Key concepts in molecular biology, inflammation, and molecular mimicry are crucial to understanding AID development. Exposure to foreign antigens can cause inflammation, potentially leading to AIDs through molecular mimicry triggered by cross-reactive epitopes. Molecular mimicry emerges as a key mechanism by which infectious or chemical agents trigger autoimmunity. In certain susceptible individuals, autoreactive T or B cells may be activated by a foreign antigen due to resemblances between foreign and self-peptides. Chronic inflammation, typically driven by abnormal immune responses, is strongly associated with AID pathogenesis. Inflammasomes, which are vital cytosolic multiprotein complexes assembled in response to infections and stress, are crucial to activating inflammatory processes in macrophages. Chronic inflammation, characterized by prolonged tissue injury and repair cycles, can significantly damage tissues, thereby increasing the risk of AIDs. Inhibiting inflammasomes, particularly in autoinflammatory disorders, has garnered significant interest, with pharmaceutical advancements targeting cytokines and inflammasomes showing promise in AID management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Understanding Molecular Basis of Inflammatory Diseases)
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18 pages, 1486 KiB  
Review
Rhoa/ROCK, mTOR and Secretome-Based Treatments for Ischemic Stroke: New Perspectives
by Elena Anca Pinoșanu, Denisa Pîrșcoveanu, Carmen Valeria Albu, Emilia Burada, Andrei Pîrvu, Roxana Surugiu, Raluca Elena Sandu and Alina Florina Serb
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3484-3501; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040219 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 714
Abstract
Ischemic stroke triggers a complex cascade of cellular and molecular events leading to neuronal damage and tissue injury. This review explores the potential therapeutic avenues targeting cellular signaling pathways implicated in stroke pathophysiology. Specifically, it focuses on the articles that highlight the roles [...] Read more.
Ischemic stroke triggers a complex cascade of cellular and molecular events leading to neuronal damage and tissue injury. This review explores the potential therapeutic avenues targeting cellular signaling pathways implicated in stroke pathophysiology. Specifically, it focuses on the articles that highlight the roles of RhoA/ROCK and mTOR signaling pathways in ischemic brain injury and their therapeutic implications. The RhoA/ROCK pathway modulates various cellular processes, including cytoskeletal dynamics and inflammation, while mTOR signaling regulates cell growth, proliferation, and autophagy. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the neuroprotective effects of targeting these pathways in stroke models, offering insights into potential treatment strategies. However, challenges such as off-target effects and the need for tissue-specific targeting remain. Furthermore, emerging evidence suggests the therapeutic potential of MSC secretome in stroke treatment, highlighting the importance of exploring alternative approaches. Future research directions include elucidating the precise mechanisms of action, optimizing treatment protocols, and translating preclinical findings into clinical practice for improved stroke outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Medicine)
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14 pages, 4637 KiB  
Article
Kahweol Inhibits Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines and Chemokines in Tumor Necrosis Factor-α/Interferon-γ-Stimulated Human Keratinocyte HaCaT Cells
by Ye Jin Kwon, Hyun Hee Kwon, Jaechan Leem and Yoon Young Jang
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3470-3483; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040218 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 776
Abstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD), marked by intense itching and eczema-like lesions, is a globally increasing chronic skin inflammation. Kahweol, a diterpene that naturally occurs in coffee beans, boasts anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anti-cancer properties. This research explores the anti-inflammatory action of kahweol on HaCaT human [...] Read more.
Atopic dermatitis (AD), marked by intense itching and eczema-like lesions, is a globally increasing chronic skin inflammation. Kahweol, a diterpene that naturally occurs in coffee beans, boasts anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anti-cancer properties. This research explores the anti-inflammatory action of kahweol on HaCaT human keratinocytes stimulated by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ), focusing on key signal transduction pathways. Our results demonstrate that kahweol markedly reduces the production of IL-1β, IL-6, C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 8, and macrophage-derived chemokine in TNF-α/IFN-γ-activated HaCaT cells. Furthermore, it curtails the phosphorylation of key proteins in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, including c-Jun N-terminal kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and p38. Additionally, kahweol impedes the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of the NF-κB p65 subunit and constrains its DNA-binding capability. It also hampers the phosphorylation, nuclear translocation, and DNA-binding activities of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) and STAT3. Collectively, these findings suggest that kahweol hinders the generation of cytokines and chemokines in inflamed keratinocytes by inhibiting the MAPK, NF-κB, and STAT cascades. These insights position kahweol as a promising agent for dermatological interventions, especially in managing inflammatory skin conditions such as AD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product in Skin Inflammation and Barrier Function Damage)
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10 pages, 1591 KiB  
Communication
Frequency of Gene Polymorphisms in Admixed Venezuelan Women with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Microsomal Epoxy Hydroxylase (rs1051740) and Enos (rs1799983)
by María Johanna Peña, Claudia Valentina De Sanctis, Juan Bautista De Sanctis and Jenny Valentina Garmendia
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3460-3469; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040217 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) affects around 2% of women of reproductive age. Primary RPL is defined by ≥2 pregnancy losses and no normal birth delivery. In secondary RPL, the losses are after a normal pregnancy and delivery. Most cases have no clear aetiology, [...] Read more.
Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) affects around 2% of women of reproductive age. Primary RPL is defined by ≥2 pregnancy losses and no normal birth delivery. In secondary RPL, the losses are after a normal pregnancy and delivery. Most cases have no clear aetiology, although primary cases are the most complex. Several gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been associated with RPL. The frequency of some SNPs is increased in women suffering from RLP from Asian or Caucasian races; however, in admixed populations, the information on possible genetic links is scarce and contradictory. This study aimed to assess the frequency of two SNPs present in two different enzymes involved in medical conditions observed during pregnancy. It is a case–control study. Microsomal epoxy hydrolase (mEPH) is involved in detoxifying xenobiotics, is present in the ovaries, and is hormonally regulated. The endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3) that forms nitric is involved in vascular tone. Two SNPs, rs1051740 (mEPH) and rs1799983 (NOS3), were assessed. The study included 50 controls and 63 primary RPL patients. The frequency of mutated alleles in both SNPs was significantly higher in patients (p < 0.05). Double-mutated homozygotes were encountered only in RPL patients (p < 0.05). Genetic polymorphisms rs1051740 and rs1799983 may be involved in primary RPL in the Venezuelan admix population. Genetic studies could provide crucial information on the aetiology of primary RPL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Reproductive Biology, 2nd Edition)
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22 pages, 8462 KiB  
Article
MicroRNAs in the Pathogenesis of Preeclampsia—A Case-Control In Silico Analysis
by Ramanathan Kasimanickam and Vanmathy Kasimanickam
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3438-3459; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040216 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 738
Abstract
Preeclampsia (PE) occurs in 5% to 7% of all pregnancies, and the PE that results from abnormal placentation acts as a primary cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. The objective of this secondary analysis was to elucidate the pathogenesis of PE [...] Read more.
Preeclampsia (PE) occurs in 5% to 7% of all pregnancies, and the PE that results from abnormal placentation acts as a primary cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. The objective of this secondary analysis was to elucidate the pathogenesis of PE by probing protein–protein interactions from in silico analysis of transcriptomes between PE and normal placenta from Gene Expression Omnibus (GSE149812). The pathogenesis of PE is apparently determined by associations of miRNA molecules and their target genes and the degree of changes in their expressions with irregularities in the functions of hemostasis, vascular systems, and inflammatory processes at the fetal–maternal interface. These irregularities ultimately lead to impaired placental growth and hypoxic injuries, generally manifesting as placental insufficiency. These differentially expressed miRNAs or genes in placental tissue and/or in blood can serve as novel diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bioinformatics and Systems Biology)
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14 pages, 4198 KiB  
Communication
Surface Engineering of Escherichia coli to Display Its Phytase (AppA) and Functional Analysis of Enzyme Activities
by Patricia L. A. Muñoz-Muñoz, Celina Terán-Ramírez, Rosa E. Mares-Alejandre, Ariana B. Márquez-González, Pablo A. Madero-Ayala, Samuel G. Meléndez-López and Marco A. Ramos-Ibarra
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3424-3437; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040215 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Escherichia coli phytase (AppA) is widely used as an exogenous enzyme in monogastric animal feed mainly because of its ability to degrade phytic acid or its salt (phytate), a natural source of phosphorus. Currently, successful recombinant production of soluble AppA has been achieved [...] Read more.
Escherichia coli phytase (AppA) is widely used as an exogenous enzyme in monogastric animal feed mainly because of its ability to degrade phytic acid or its salt (phytate), a natural source of phosphorus. Currently, successful recombinant production of soluble AppA has been achieved by gene overexpression using both bacterial and yeast systems. However, some methods for the biomembrane immobilization of phytases (including AppA), such as surface display on yeast cells and bacterial spores, have been investigated to avoid expensive enzyme purification processes. This study explored a homologous protein production approach for displaying AppA on the cell surface of E. coli by engineering its outer membrane (OM) for extracellular expression. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of total bacterial lysates and immunofluorescence microscopy of non-permeabilized cells revealed protein expression, whereas activity assays using whole cells or OM fractions indicated functional enzyme display, as evidenced by consistent hydrolytic rates on typical substrates (i.e., p-nitrophenyl phosphate and phytic acid). Furthermore, the in vitro results obtained using a simple method to simulate the gastrointestinal tract of poultry suggest that the whole-cell biocatalyst has potential as a feed additive. Overall, our findings support the notion that biomembrane-immobilized enzymes are reliable for the hydrolysis of poorly digestible substrates relevant to animal nutrition. Full article
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16 pages, 698 KiB  
Review
Role of Filamin A in Growth and Migration of Breast Cancer—Review
by Patryk Zawadka, Wioletta Zielińska, Maciej Gagat and Magdalena Izdebska
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3408-3423; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040214 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 918
Abstract
Despite ongoing research in the field of breast cancer, the morbidity rates indicate that the disease remains a significant challenge. While patients with primary tumors have relatively high survival rates, these chances significantly decrease once metastasis begins. Thus, exploring alternative approaches, such as [...] Read more.
Despite ongoing research in the field of breast cancer, the morbidity rates indicate that the disease remains a significant challenge. While patients with primary tumors have relatively high survival rates, these chances significantly decrease once metastasis begins. Thus, exploring alternative approaches, such as targeting proteins overexpressed in malignancies, remains significant. Filamin A (FLNa), an actin-binding protein (ABP), is involved in various cellular processes, including cell migration, adhesion, proliferation, and DNA repair. Overexpression of the protein was confirmed in samples from patients with numerous oncological diseases such as prostate, lung, gastric, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer, as well as breast cancer. Although most researchers concur on its role in promoting breast cancer progression and aggressiveness, discrepancies exist among studies. Moreover, the precise mechanisms through which FLNa affects cell migration, invasion, and even cancer progression remain unclear, highlighting the need for further research. To evaluate FLNa’s potential as a therapeutic target, we have summarized its roles in breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adhesion, Metastasis and Inhibition of Cancer Cells, 2nd Edition)
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14 pages, 2858 KiB  
Article
A Computational Approach for the Discovery of Novel DNA Methyltransferase Inhibitors
by Eftichia Kritsi, Paris Christodoulou, Thalia Tsiaka, Panagiotis Georgiadis and Maria Zervou
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3394-3407; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040213 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 531
Abstract
Nowadays, the explosion of knowledge in the field of epigenetics has revealed new pathways toward the treatment of multifactorial diseases, rendering the key players of the epigenetic machinery the focus of today’s pharmaceutical landscape. Among epigenetic enzymes, DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) are first studied [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the explosion of knowledge in the field of epigenetics has revealed new pathways toward the treatment of multifactorial diseases, rendering the key players of the epigenetic machinery the focus of today’s pharmaceutical landscape. Among epigenetic enzymes, DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) are first studied as inhibition targets for cancer treatment. The increasing clinical interest in DNMTs has led to advanced experimental and computational strategies in the search for novel DNMT inhibitors. Considering the importance of epigenetic targets as a novel and promising pharmaceutical trend, the present study attempted to discover novel inhibitors of natural origin against DNMTs using a combination of structure and ligand-based computational approaches. Particularly, a pharmacophore-based virtual screening was performed, followed by molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations in order to establish an accurate and robust selection methodology. Our screening protocol prioritized five natural-derived compounds, derivatives of coumarins, flavones, chalcones, benzoic acids, and phenazine, bearing completely diverse chemical scaffolds from FDA-approved “Epi-drugs”. Their total DNMT inhibitory activity was evaluated, revealing promising results for the derived hits with an inhibitory activity ranging within 30–45% at 100 µM of the tested compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Bioactivity of Natural Products)
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16 pages, 2721 KiB  
Article
Decreased Serum Levels of the Insulin Resistance-Related microRNA miR-320a in Patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
by Sarina Vogt, Diana Handke, Hermann M. Behre and Thomas Greither
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3379-3393; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040212 - 15 Apr 2024
Viewed by 500
Abstract
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often associated with metabolic abnormalities in the affected patients such as obesity or a dysregulated glucose metabolism/insulin resistance (IR). IR affects the serum levels of several circulating microRNAs; however, studies on the association between IR-related microRNAs and PCOS [...] Read more.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often associated with metabolic abnormalities in the affected patients such as obesity or a dysregulated glucose metabolism/insulin resistance (IR). IR affects the serum levels of several circulating microRNAs; however, studies on the association between IR-related microRNAs and PCOS are scarce. Therefore, we quantified the serum levels of the IR-associated microRNAs miR-93, miR-148a, miR-216a, miR-224 and miR-320a via qPCR in a cohort of 358 infertility patients, of whom 136 were diagnosed with PCOS. In bivariate correlation analyses, the serum levels of miR-93 and miR-216a were inversely associated with dipeptidyl peptidase 4 serum concentrations, and the miR-320a serum levels were significantly downregulated in PCOS patients (p = 0.02, Mann–Whitney U test). Interestingly, in all patients who achieved pregnancy after Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) cycles, the serum levels of the five IR-associated microRNAs were significantly elevated compared to those of non-pregnant patients. In cell culture experiments, we detected a significant upregulation of miR-320a expression following testosterone stimulation over 24 and 48 h in KGN and COV434 granulosa carcinoma cells. In conclusion, we demonstrated a significantly reduced serum level of the IR-associated miR-320a in our patient cohort. This result once again demonstrates the close relationship between metabolic disorders and the dysregulation of microRNA expression patterns in PCOS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Medicine)
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15 pages, 2719 KiB  
Article
Charged Amino Acid Substitutions Affect Conformation of Neuroglobin and Cytochrome c Heme Groups
by Marina A. Semenova, Zhanna V. Bochkova, Olga M. Smirnova, Georgy V. Maksimov, Mikhail P. Kirpichnikov, Dmitry A. Dolgikh, Nadezda A. Brazhe and Rita V. Chertkova
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3364-3378; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040211 - 14 Apr 2024
Viewed by 671
Abstract
Neuroglobin (Ngb) is a cytosolic heme protein that plays an important role in protecting cells from apoptosis through interaction with oxidized cytochrome c (Cyt c) released from mitochondria. The interaction of reduced Ngb and oxidized Cyt c is accompanied by electron transfer [...] Read more.
Neuroglobin (Ngb) is a cytosolic heme protein that plays an important role in protecting cells from apoptosis through interaction with oxidized cytochrome c (Cyt c) released from mitochondria. The interaction of reduced Ngb and oxidized Cyt c is accompanied by electron transfer between them and the reduction in Cyt c. Despite the growing number of studies on Ngb, the mechanism of interaction between Ngb and Cyt c is still unclear. Using Raman spectroscopy, we studied the effect of charged amino acid substitutions in Ngb and Cyt c on the conformation of their hemes. It has been shown that Ngb mutants E60K, K67E, K95E and E60K/E87K demonstrate changed heme conformations with the lower probability of the heme planar conformation compared to wild-type Ngb. Moreover, oxidized Cyt c mutants K25E, K72E and K25E/K72E demonstrate the decrease in the probability of methyl-radicals vibrations, indicating the higher rigidity of the protein microenvironment. It is possible that these changes can affect electron transfer between Ngb and Cyt c. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology)
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11 pages, 1951 KiB  
Article
Effects of Trehalose Preconditioning on H9C2 Cell Viability and Autophagy Activation in a Model of Donation after Circulatory Death for Heart Transplantation
by Jingwen Gao, Yasushige Shingu and Satoru Wakasa
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3353-3363; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040210 - 12 Apr 2024
Viewed by 677
Abstract
Donation after circulatory death (DCD) is a promising strategy for alleviating donor shortage in heart transplantation. Trehalose, an autophagy inducer, has been shown to be cardioprotective in an ischemia-reperfusion (IR) model; however, its role in IR injury in DCD remains unknown. In the [...] Read more.
Donation after circulatory death (DCD) is a promising strategy for alleviating donor shortage in heart transplantation. Trehalose, an autophagy inducer, has been shown to be cardioprotective in an ischemia-reperfusion (IR) model; however, its role in IR injury in DCD remains unknown. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of trehalose on cardiomyocyte viability and autophagy activation in a DCD model. In the DCD model, cardiomyocytes (H9C2) were exposed to 1 h warm ischemia, 1 h cold ischemia, and 1 h reperfusion. Trehalose was administered before cold ischemia (preconditioning), during cold ischemia, or during reperfusion. Cell viability was measured using the Cell Counting Kit-8 after treatment with trehalose. Autophagy activation was evaluated by measuring autophagy flux using an autophagy inhibitor, chloroquine, and microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B light chain 3 B (LC3)-II by western blotting. Trehalose administered before the ischemic period (trehalose preconditioning) increased cell viability. The protective effects of trehalose preconditioning on cell viability were negated by chloroquine treatment. Furthermore, trehalose preconditioning increased autophagy flux. Trehalose preconditioning increased cardiomyocyte viability through the activation of autophagy in a DCD model, which could be a promising strategy for the prevention of cardiomyocyte damage in DCD transplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bioorganic Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry)
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11 pages, 3605 KiB  
Communication
Isolation and Identification of Salinity-Tolerant Rhizobia and Nodulation Phenotype Analysis in Different Soybean Germplasms
by Tong Yu, Xiaodong Wu, Yunshan Song, Hao Lv, Guoqing Zhang, Weinan Tang, Zefeng Zheng, Xiaohan Wang, Yumeng Gu, Xin Zhou, Jianlin Li, Siyi Tian, Xiuming Hou, Qingshan Chen, Dawei Xin and Hejia Ni
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3342-3352; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040209 - 12 Apr 2024
Viewed by 770
Abstract
Increasing the soybean-planting area and increasing the soybean yield per unit area are two effective solutions to improve the overall soybean yield. Northeast China has a large saline soil area, and if soybeans could be grown there with the help of isolated saline-tolerant [...] Read more.
Increasing the soybean-planting area and increasing the soybean yield per unit area are two effective solutions to improve the overall soybean yield. Northeast China has a large saline soil area, and if soybeans could be grown there with the help of isolated saline-tolerant rhizobia, the soybean cultivation area in China could be effectively expanded. In this study, soybeans were planted in soils at different latitudes in China, and four strains of rhizobia were isolated and identified from the soybean nodules. According to the latitudes of the soil-sampling sites from high to low, the four isolated strains were identified as HLNEAU1, HLNEAU2, HLNEAU3, and HLNEAU4. In this study, the isolated strains were identified for their resistances, and their acid and saline tolerances and nitrogen fixation capacities were preliminarily identified. Ten representative soybean germplasm resources in Northeast China were inoculated with these four strains, and the compatibilities of these four rhizobium strains with the soybean germplasm resources were analyzed. All four isolates were able to establish different extents of compatibility with 10 soybean resources. Hefeng 50 had good compatibility with the four isolated strains, while Suinong 14 showed the best compatibility with HLNEAU2. The isolated rhizobacteria could successfully establish symbiosis with the soybeans, but host specificity was also present. This study was a preliminary exploration of the use of salinity-tolerant rhizobacteria to help the soybean nitrogen fixation in saline soils in order to increase the soybean acreage, and it provides a valuable theoretical basis for the application of saline-tolerant rhizobia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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14 pages, 5607 KiB  
Article
In Silico and In Vitro Study of Isoquercitrin against Kidney Cancer and Inflammation by Triggering Potential Gene Targets
by Safia Iqbal, Md. Rezaul Karim, Shahnawaz Mohammad, Jong Chan Ahn, Anjali Kariyarath Valappil, Ramya Mathiyalagan, Deok-Chun Yang, Dae-Hyo Jung, Hyocheol Bae and Dong Uk Yang
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3328-3341; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040208 - 12 Apr 2024
Viewed by 653
Abstract
Kidney cancer has emerged as a major medical problem in recent times. Multiple compounds are used to treat kidney cancer by triggering cancer-causing gene targets. For instance, isoquercitrin (quercetin-3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside) is frequently present in fruits, vegetables, medicinal herbs, and foods and drinks made from [...] Read more.
Kidney cancer has emerged as a major medical problem in recent times. Multiple compounds are used to treat kidney cancer by triggering cancer-causing gene targets. For instance, isoquercitrin (quercetin-3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside) is frequently present in fruits, vegetables, medicinal herbs, and foods and drinks made from plants. Our previous study predicted using protein-protein interaction (PPI) and molecular docking analysis that the isoquercitrin compound can control kidney cancer and inflammation by triggering potential gene targets of IGF1R, PIK3CA, IL6, and PTGS2. So, the present study is about further in silico and in vitro validation. We performed molecular dynamic (MD) simulation, gene ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, cytotoxicity assay, and RT-PCR and qRT-PCR validation. According to the MD simulation (250 ns), we found that IGF1R, PIK3CA, and PTGS2, except for IL6 gene targets, show stable binding energy with a stable complex with isoquercitrin. We also performed gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analyses of the final targets to determine their regulatory functions and signaling pathways. Furthermore, we checked the cytotoxicity effect of isoquercitrin (IQ) and found that 5 μg/mL and 10 μg/mL doses showed higher cell viability in a normal kidney cell line (HEK 293) and also inversely showed an inhibition of cell growth at 35% and 45%, respectively, in the kidney cancer cell line (A498). Lastly, the RT-PCR and qRT-PCR findings showed a significant decrease in PTGS2, PIK3CA, and IGF1R gene expression, except for IL6 expression, following dose-dependent treatments with IQ. Thus, we can conclude that isoquercitrin inhibits the expression of PTGS2, PIK3CA, and IGF1R gene targets, which in turn controls kidney cancer and inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy)
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15 pages, 943 KiB  
Review
Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young: State-of-the-Art Review in Molecular Autopsy
by Cecilia Salzillo, Vincenza Sansone and Francesco Napolitano
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3313-3327; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040207 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 645
Abstract
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is defined as unexpected death due to a cardiac cause that occurs rapidly. Despite the identification of prevention strategies, SCD remains a serious public health problem worldwide, accounting for 15–20% of all deaths, and is therefore a challenge for [...] Read more.
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is defined as unexpected death due to a cardiac cause that occurs rapidly. Despite the identification of prevention strategies, SCD remains a serious public health problem worldwide, accounting for 15–20% of all deaths, and is therefore a challenge for modern medicine, especially when it affects young people. Sudden cardiac death in young people affects the population aged ≤ 35 years, including athletes and non-athletes, and it is due to various hereditary and non-hereditary causes. After an autopsy, if the cause remains unknown, it is called sudden unexplained death, often attributable to genetic causes. In these cases, molecular autopsy—post-mortem genetic testing—is essential to facilitate diagnostic and therapeutic pathways and/or the monitoring of family members of the cases. This review aims to elaborate on cardiac disorders marked by genetic mutations, necessitating the post-mortem genetic investigation of the deceased for an accurate diagnosis in order to facilitate informed genetic counseling and to implement preventive strategies for family members of the cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Review Papers in Molecular Biology 2024)
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19 pages, 3813 KiB  
Article
Plasticity of Response Properties of Mouse Visual Cortex Neurons Induced by Optogenetic Tetanization In Vivo
by Ivan V. Smirnov, Aksiniya A. Osipova, Maria P. Smirnova, Anastasia A. Borodinova, Maxim A. Volgushev and Alexey Y. Malyshev
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3294-3312; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040206 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 534
Abstract
Heterosynaptic plasticity, along with Hebbian homosynaptic plasticity, is an important mechanism ensuring the stable operation of learning neuronal networks. However, whether heterosynaptic plasticity occurs in the whole brain in vivo, and what role(s) in brain function in vivo it could play, remains unclear. [...] Read more.
Heterosynaptic plasticity, along with Hebbian homosynaptic plasticity, is an important mechanism ensuring the stable operation of learning neuronal networks. However, whether heterosynaptic plasticity occurs in the whole brain in vivo, and what role(s) in brain function in vivo it could play, remains unclear. Here, we used an optogenetics approach to apply a model of intracellular tetanization, which was established and employed to study heterosynaptic plasticity in brain slices, to study the plasticity of response properties of neurons in the mouse visual cortex in vivo. We show that optogenetically evoked high-frequency bursts of action potentials (optogenetic tetanization) in the principal neurons of the visual cortex induce long-term changes in the responses to visual stimuli. Optogenetic tetanization had distinct effects on responses to different stimuli, as follows: responses to optimal and orthogonal orientations decreased, responses to null direction did not change, and responses to oblique orientations increased. As a result, direction selectivity of the neurons decreased and orientation tuning became broader. Since optogenetic tetanization was a postsynaptic protocol, applied in the absence of sensory stimulation, and, thus, without association of presynaptic activity with bursts of action potentials, the observed changes were mediated by mechanisms of heterosynaptic plasticity. We conclude that heterosynaptic plasticity can be induced in vivo and propose that it may play important homeostatic roles in operation of neural networks by helping to prevent runaway dynamics of responses to visual stimuli and to keep the tuning of neuronal responses within the range optimized for the encoding of multiple features in population activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology)
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16 pages, 2006 KiB  
Article
The Vitamin K-Dependent Anticoagulant Factor, Protein S, Regulates Vascular Permeability
by Aurélie Joussaume, Chryso Kanthou, Olivier E. Pardo, Lucie Karayan-Tapon, Omar Benzakour and Fatima Dkhissi
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3278-3293; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040205 - 9 Apr 2024
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Protein S (PROS1) is a vitamin K-dependent anticoagulant factor, which also acts as an agonist for the TYRO3, AXL, and MERTK (TAM) tyrosine kinase receptors. PROS1 is produced by the endothelium which also expresses TAM receptors, but little is known about its effects [...] Read more.
Protein S (PROS1) is a vitamin K-dependent anticoagulant factor, which also acts as an agonist for the TYRO3, AXL, and MERTK (TAM) tyrosine kinase receptors. PROS1 is produced by the endothelium which also expresses TAM receptors, but little is known about its effects on vascular function and permeability. Transwell permeability assays as well as Western blotting and immunostaining analysis were used to monitor the possible effects of PROS1 on both endothelial cell permeability and on the phosphorylation state of specific signaling proteins. We show that human PROS1, at its circulating concentrations, substantially increases both the basal and VEGFA-induced permeability of endothelial cell (EC) monolayers. PROS1 induces p38 MAPK (Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase), Rho/ROCK (Rho-associated protein kinase) pathway activation, and actin filament remodeling, as well as substantial changes in Vascular Endothelial Cadherin (VEC) distribution and its phosphorylation on Ser665 and Tyr685. It also mediates c-Src and PAK-1 (p21-activated kinase 1) phosphorylation on Tyr416 and Ser144, respectively. Exposure of EC to human PROS1 induces VEC internalization as well as its cleavage into a released fragment of 100 kDa and an intracellular fragment of 35 kDa. Using anti-TAM neutralizing antibodies, we demonstrate that PROS1-induced VEC and c-Src phosphorylation are mediated by both the MERTK and TYRO3 receptors but do not involve the AXL receptor. MERTK and TYRO3 receptors are also responsible for mediating PROS1-induced MLC (Myosin Light Chain) phosphorylation on a site targeted by the Rho/ROCK pathway. Our report provides evidence for the activation of the c-Src/VEC and Rho/ROCK/MLC pathways by PROS1 for the first time and points to a new role for PROS1 as an endogenous vascular permeabilizing factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Current Issues in Molecular Biology)
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27 pages, 6460 KiB  
Article
Extracellular Vesicles Isolated from Equine Adipose-Derived Stromal Stem Cells (ASCs) Mitigate Tunicamycin-Induced ER Stress in Equine Corneal Stromal Stem Cells (CSSCs)
by Justyna M. Meissner, Aleksandra Chmielińska, Ron Ofri, Anna Cisło-Sankowska and Krzysztof Marycz
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3251-3277; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040204 - 9 Apr 2024
Viewed by 814
Abstract
Corneal ulcers, characterized by severe inflammation of the cornea, can lead to serious, debilitating complications and may be vision-threatening for horses. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in corneal stem progenitor cell (CSSC) dysfunction and [...] Read more.
Corneal ulcers, characterized by severe inflammation of the cornea, can lead to serious, debilitating complications and may be vision-threatening for horses. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in corneal stem progenitor cell (CSSC) dysfunction and explore the potential of equine adipose-derived stromal stem cell (ASC)-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) to improve corneal wound healing. We showed that CSSCs expressed high levels of CD44, CD45, and CD90 surface markers, indicating their stemness. Supplementation of the ER-stress-inducer tunicamycin to CSSCs resulted in reduced proliferative and migratory potential, accumulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stressed cells in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle, increased expression of proinflammatory genes, induced oxidative stress and sustained ER stress, and unfolded protein response (UPR). Importantly, treatment with EVs increased the proliferative activity and number of cells in the G2/Mitosis phase, enhanced migratory ability, suppressed the overexpression of proinflammatory cytokines, and upregulated the anti-inflammatory miRNA-146a-5p, compared to control and/or ER-stressed cells. Additionally, EVs lowered the expression of ER-stress master regulators and effectors (PERK, IRE1, ATF6, and XBP1), increased the number of mitochondria, and reduced the expression of Fis-1 and Parkin, thereby promoting metabolic homeostasis and protecting against apoptosis in equine CSSCs. Our findings demonstrate that MSCs-derived EVs represent an innovative and promising therapeutic strategy for the transfer of bioactive mediators which regulate various cellular and molecular signaling pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Stem Cells)
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