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Cells, Volume 13, Issue 7 (April-1 2024) – 93 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Host-parasitoid co-evolution generally involves a struggle for survival; therefore, it is one of the most important generators of variability and diversity of defense reactions. The co-evolution of drosophilids with their parasitoids has generated a broad diversity of effector cells, providing immune reactions with variable effectiveness. The highly effective cellular immune system in Drosophila willistoni involves an extended number of cell types and a high degree of plasticity, including a novel multinucleated giant hemocyte type. Unlike the so far identified anti-parasitoid effector cells, like lamellocytes and giant cell types, these cells have a binary function as they are both phagocytic and also involved in the encapsulation and elimination of parasitoids, similar to the vertebrate foreign body giant cells. View this paper
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23 pages, 4204 KiB  
Article
Interconnections between the Cation/Alkaline pH-Responsive Slt and the Ambient pH Response of PacC/Pal Pathways in Aspergillus nidulans
by Irene Picazo and Eduardo A. Espeso
Cells 2024, 13(7), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070651 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 697
Abstract
In the filamentous ascomycete Aspergillus nidulans, at least three high hierarchy transcription factors are required for growth at extracellular alkaline pH: SltA, PacC and CrzA. Transcriptomic profiles depending on alkaline pH and SltA function showed that pacC expression might be under SltA [...] Read more.
In the filamentous ascomycete Aspergillus nidulans, at least three high hierarchy transcription factors are required for growth at extracellular alkaline pH: SltA, PacC and CrzA. Transcriptomic profiles depending on alkaline pH and SltA function showed that pacC expression might be under SltA regulation. Additional transcriptional studies of PacC and the only pH-regulated pal gene, palF, confirmed both the strong dependence on ambient pH and the function of SltA. The regulation of pacC expression is dependent on the activity of the zinc binuclear (C6) cluster transcription factor PacX. However, we found that the ablation of sltA in the pacX mutant background specifically prevents the increase in pacC expression levels without affecting PacC protein levels, showing a novel specific function of the PacX factor. The loss of sltA function causes the anomalous proteolytic processing of PacC and a reduction in the post-translational modifications of PalF. At alkaline pH, in a null sltA background, PacC72kDa accumulates, detection of the intermediate PacC53kDa form is extremely low and the final processed form of 27 kDa shows altered electrophoretic mobility. Constitutive ubiquitination of PalF or the presence of alkalinity-mimicking mutations in pacC, such as pacCc14 and pacCc700, resembling PacC53kDa and PacC27kDa, respectively, allowed the normal processing of PacC but did not rescue the alkaline pH-sensitive phenotype caused by the null sltA allele. Overall, data show that Slt and PacC/Pal pathways are interconnected, but the transcription factor SltA is on a higher hierarchical level than PacC on regulating the tolerance to the ambient alkalinity in A. nidulans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant, Algae and Fungi Cell Biology)
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15 pages, 3277 KiB  
Article
Lysine Distinctively Manipulates Myogenic Regulatory Factors and Wnt/Ca2+ Pathway in Slow and Fast Muscles, and Their Satellite Cells of Postnatal Piglets
by Xiaofan Wang, Xiaoyin Zong, Mao Ye, Chenglong Jin, Tao Xu, Jinzeng Yang, Chunqi Gao, Xiuqi Wang and Huichao Yan
Cells 2024, 13(7), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070650 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 713
Abstract
Muscle regeneration, representing an essential homeostatic process, relies mainly on the myogenic progress of resident satellite cells, and it is modulated by multiple physical and nutritional factors. Here, we investigated how myogenic differentiation-related factors and pathways respond to the first limiting amino acid [...] Read more.
Muscle regeneration, representing an essential homeostatic process, relies mainly on the myogenic progress of resident satellite cells, and it is modulated by multiple physical and nutritional factors. Here, we investigated how myogenic differentiation-related factors and pathways respond to the first limiting amino acid lysine (Lys) in the fast and slow muscles, and their satellite cells (SCs), of swine. Thirty 28-day-old weaned piglets with similar body weights were subjected to three diet regimens: control group (d 0–28: 1.31% Lys, n = 12), Lys-deficient group (d 0–28: 0.83% Lys, n = 12), and Lys rescue group (d 0–14: 0.83% Lys; d 15–28: 1.31% Lys, n = 6). Pigs on d 15 and 29 were selectively slaughtered for muscular parameters evaluation. Satellite cells isolated from fast (semimembranosus) and slow (semitendinosus) muscles were also selected to investigate differentiation ability variations. We found Lys deficiency significantly hindered muscle development in both fast and slow muscles via the distinct manipulation of myogenic regulatory factors and the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway. In the SC model, Lys deficiency suppressed the Wnt/Ca2+ pathways and myosin heavy chain, myogenin, and myogenic regulatory factor 4 in slow muscle SCs but stimulated them in fast muscle SCs. When sufficient Lys was attained, the fast muscle-derived SCs Wnt/Ca2+ pathway (protein kinase C, calcineurin, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, and nuclear factor of activated T cells 1) was repressed, while the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway of its counterpart was stimulated to further the myogenic differentiation. Lys potentially manipulates the differentiation of porcine slow and fast muscle myofibers via the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway in opposite trends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Muscle Research in Health and Disease)
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19 pages, 5672 KiB  
Article
Antagonizing Activin A/p15INK4b Signaling as Therapeutic Strategy for Liver Disease
by Sowmya Mekala, Ravi Rai, Samantha Loretta Reed, Bill Bowen, George K. Michalopoulos, Joseph Locker, Reben Raeman and Michael Oertel
Cells 2024, 13(7), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070649 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 793
Abstract
Background/Aim: Activin A is involved in the pathogenesis of human liver diseases, but its therapeutic targeting is not fully explored. Here, we tested the effect of novel, highly specific small-molecule-based activin A antagonists (NUCC-474/555) in improving liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy and halting [...] Read more.
Background/Aim: Activin A is involved in the pathogenesis of human liver diseases, but its therapeutic targeting is not fully explored. Here, we tested the effect of novel, highly specific small-molecule-based activin A antagonists (NUCC-474/555) in improving liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy and halting fibrosis progression in models of chronic liver diseases (CLDs). Methods: Cell toxicity of antagonists was determined in rat hepatocytes and Huh-7 cells using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide assay. Hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) were treated with activin A and NUCC-555 and analyzed by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. Partial hepatectomized Fisher (F)344 rats were treated with NUCC-555, and bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation was determined at 18/24/36/120/240 h. NUCC-555 was administered into thioacetamide- or carbon tetrachloride-treated F344 rats or C57BL/6 mice, and the fibrosis progression was studied. Results: NUCC-474 showed higher cytotoxicity in cultured hepatic cells; therefore, NUCC-555 was used in subsequent studies. Activin A-stimulated overexpression of cell cycle-/senescence-related genes (e.g., p15INK4b, DEC1, Glb1) was near-completely reversed by NUCC-555 in hepatocytes. Activin A-mediated HSC activation was blocked by NUCC-555. In partial hepatectomized rats, antagonizing activin A signaling resulted in a 1.9-fold and 2.3-fold increase in BrdU+ cells at 18 and 24 h, respectively. Administration of NUCC-555 in rats and mice with progressing fibrosis significantly reduced collagen accumulation (7.9-fold), HSC activation indicated by reduced alpha smooth muscle actin+ and vimentin+ cells, and serum aminotransferase activity. Conclusions: Our studies demonstrate that activin A antagonist NUCC-555 promotes liver regeneration and halts fibrosis progression in CLD models, suggesting that blocking activin A signaling may represent a new approach to treating people with CLD. Full article
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20 pages, 3010 KiB  
Review
Mitochondrial Permeability Transition, Cell Death and Neurodegeneration
by Artyom Y. Baev, Andrey Y. Vinokurov, Elena V. Potapova, Andrey V. Dunaev, Plamena R. Angelova and Andrey Y. Abramov
Cells 2024, 13(7), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070648 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 986
Abstract
Neurodegenerative diseases are chronic conditions occurring when neurons die in specific brain regions that lead to loss of movement or cognitive functions. Despite the progress in understanding the mechanisms of this pathology, currently no cure exists to treat these types of diseases: for [...] Read more.
Neurodegenerative diseases are chronic conditions occurring when neurons die in specific brain regions that lead to loss of movement or cognitive functions. Despite the progress in understanding the mechanisms of this pathology, currently no cure exists to treat these types of diseases: for some of them the only help is alleviating the associated symptoms. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of most the neurodegenerative disorders. The fast and transient permeability of mitochondria (the mitochondrial permeability transition, mPT) has been shown to be an initial step in the mechanism of apoptotic and necrotic cell death, which acts as a regulator of tissue regeneration for postmitotic neurons as it leads to the irreparable loss of cells and cell function. In this study, we review the role of the mitochondrial permeability transition in neuronal death in major neurodegenerative diseases, covering the inductors of mPTP opening in neurons, including the major ones—free radicals and calcium—and we discuss perspectives and difficulties in the development of a neuroprotective strategy based on the inhibition of mPTP in neurodegenerative disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cellular Pathology)
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13 pages, 3536 KiB  
Review
Miro GTPases at the Crossroads of Cytoskeletal Dynamics and Mitochondrial Trafficking
by Pontus Aspenström
Cells 2024, 13(7), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070647 - 7 Apr 2024
Viewed by 847
Abstract
Miro GTPases are key components in the machinery responsible for transporting mitochondria and peroxisomes along microtubules, and also play important roles in regulating calcium homeostasis and organizing contact sites between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum. Moreover, Miro GTPases have been shown to interact [...] Read more.
Miro GTPases are key components in the machinery responsible for transporting mitochondria and peroxisomes along microtubules, and also play important roles in regulating calcium homeostasis and organizing contact sites between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum. Moreover, Miro GTPases have been shown to interact with proteins that actively regulate cytoskeletal organization and dynamics, suggesting that these GTPases participate in organizing cytoskeletal functions and organelle transport. Derailed mitochondrial transport is associated with neuropathological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. This review explores our recent understanding of the diverse roles of Miro GTPases under cytoskeletal control, both under normal conditions and during the course of human diseases such as neuropathological disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cytoskeletal Remodeling in Health and Disease)
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21 pages, 6133 KiB  
Article
Residual Cystine Transport Activity for Specific Infantile and Juvenile CTNS Mutations in a PTEC-Based Addback Model
by Louise Medaer, Dries David, Maxime Smits, Elena Levtchenko, Maurilio Sampaolesi and Rik Gijsbers
Cells 2024, 13(7), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070646 - 6 Apr 2024
Viewed by 821
Abstract
Cystinosis is a rare, autosomal recessive, lysosomal storage disease caused by mutations in the gene CTNS, leading to cystine accumulation in the lysosomes. While cysteamine lowers the cystine levels, it does not cure the disease, suggesting that CTNS exerts additional functions besides [...] Read more.
Cystinosis is a rare, autosomal recessive, lysosomal storage disease caused by mutations in the gene CTNS, leading to cystine accumulation in the lysosomes. While cysteamine lowers the cystine levels, it does not cure the disease, suggesting that CTNS exerts additional functions besides cystine transport. This study investigated the impact of infantile and juvenile CTNS mutations with discrepant genotype/phenotype correlations on CTNS expression, and subcellular localisation and function in clinically relevant cystinosis cell models to better understand the link between genotype and CTNS function. Using CTNS-depleted proximal tubule epithelial cells and patient-derived fibroblasts, we expressed a selection of CTNSmutants under various promoters. EF1a-driven expression led to substantial overexpression, resulting in CTNS protein levels that localised to the lysosomal compartment. All CTNSmutants tested also reversed cystine accumulation, indicating that CTNSmutants still exert transport activity, possibly due to the overexpression conditions. Surprisingly, even CTNSmutants expression driven by the less potent CTNS and EFS promoters reversed the cystine accumulation, contrary to the CTNSG339R missense mutant. Taken together, our findings shed new light on CTNS mutations, highlighting the need for robust assessment methodologies in clinically relevant cellular models and thus paving the way for better stratification of cystinosis patients, and advocating for the development of more personalized therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Lysosomal Storage Disorders)
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30 pages, 40572 KiB  
Article
Sex Dependent Disparities in the Central Innate Immune Response after Moderate Spinal Cord Contusion in Rat
by Mousumi Ghosh, Jinyoung Lee, Ashley N. Burke, Thomas A. Strong, Jacqueline Sagen and Damien D. Pearse
Cells 2024, 13(7), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070645 - 6 Apr 2024
Viewed by 834
Abstract
Subacute spinal cord injury (SCI) displays a complex pathophysiology associated with pro-inflammation and ensuing tissue damage. Microglia, the resident innate immune cells of the CNS, in concert with infiltrating macrophages, are the primary contributors to SCI-induced inflammation. However, subpopulations of activated microglia can [...] Read more.
Subacute spinal cord injury (SCI) displays a complex pathophysiology associated with pro-inflammation and ensuing tissue damage. Microglia, the resident innate immune cells of the CNS, in concert with infiltrating macrophages, are the primary contributors to SCI-induced inflammation. However, subpopulations of activated microglia can also possess immunomodulatory activities that are essential for tissue remodeling and repair, including the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors that are vital for SCI recovery. Recently, reports have provided convincing evidence that sex-dependent differences exist in how microglia function during CNS pathologies and the extent to which these cells contribute to neurorepair and endogenous recovery. Herein we employed flow cytometry and immunohistochemical methods to characterize the phenotype and population dynamics of activated innate immune cells within the injured spinal cord of age-matched male and female rats within the first week (7 days) following thoracic SCI contusion. This assessment included the analysis of pro- and anti-inflammatory markers, as well as the expression of critical immunomodulatory kinases, including P38 MAPK, and transcription factors, such as NFκB, which play pivotal roles in injury-induced inflammation. We demonstrate that activated microglia from the injured spinal cord of female rats exhibited a significantly diminutive pro-inflammatory response, but enhanced anti-inflammatory activity compared to males. These changes included lower levels of iNOS and TLR4 expression but increased levels of ARG-1 and CD68 in females after SCI. The altered expression of these markers is indicative of a disparate secretome between the microglia of males and females after SCI and that the female microglia possesses higher phagocytic capabilities (increased CD68). The examination of immunoregulatory kinases and transcription factors revealed that female microglia had higher levels of phosphorylated P38Thr180/Tyr182 MAPK and nuclear NFκB pp50Ser337 but lower amounts of nuclear NFκB pp65Ser536, suggestive of an attenuated pro-inflammatory phenotype in females compared to males after SCI. Collectively, this work provides novel insight into some of the sex disparities that exist in the innate immune response after SCI and indicates that sex is an important variable when designing and testing new therapeutic interventions or interpretating positive or negative responses to an intervention. Full article
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16 pages, 4530 KiB  
Article
ERβ Regulation of Indian Hedgehog Expression in the First Wave of Ovarian Follicles
by V. Praveen Chakravarthi, Iman Dilower, Subhra Ghosh, Shaon Borosha, Ryan Mohamadi, Vinesh Dahiya, Kevin Vo, Eun B. Lee, Anamika Ratri, Vishnu Kumar, Courtney A. Marsh, Patrick E. Fields and M. A. Karim Rumi
Cells 2024, 13(7), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070644 - 6 Apr 2024
Viewed by 677
Abstract
Increased activation of ovarian primordial follicles in Erβ knockout (ErβKO) rats becomes evident as early as postnatal day 8.5. To identify the ERβ-regulated genes that may control ovarian primordial follicle activation, we analyzed the transcriptome profiles of ErβKO rat [...] Read more.
Increased activation of ovarian primordial follicles in Erβ knockout (ErβKO) rats becomes evident as early as postnatal day 8.5. To identify the ERβ-regulated genes that may control ovarian primordial follicle activation, we analyzed the transcriptome profiles of ErβKO rat ovaries collected on postnatal days 4.5, 6.5, and 8.5. Compared to wildtype ovaries, ErβKO ovaries displayed dramatic downregulation of Indian hedgehog (Ihh) expression. IHH-regulated genes, including Hhip, Gli1, and Ptch1, were also downregulated in ErβKO ovaries. This was associated with a downregulation of steroidogenic enzymes Cyp11a1, Cyp19a1, and Hsd17b1. The expression of Ihh remained very low in ErβKO ovaries despite the high levels of Gdf9 and Bmp15, which are known upregulators of Ihh expression in the granulosa cells of activated ovarian follicles. Strikingly, the downregulation of the Ihh gene in ErβKO ovaries began to disappear on postnatal day 16.5 and recovered on postnatal day 21.5. In rat ovaries, the first wave of primordial follicles is rapidly activated after their formation, whereas the second wave of primordial follicles remains dormant in the ovarian cortex and slowly starts activating after postnatal day 12.5. We localized the expression of Ihh mRNA in postnatal day 8.5 wildtype rat ovaries but not in the age-matched ErβKO ovaries. In postnatal day 21.5 ErβKO rat ovaries, we detected Ihh mRNA mainly in the activated follicles in the ovaries’ peripheral regions. Our findings indicate that the expression of Ihh in the granulosa cells of the activated first wave of ovarian follicles depends on ERβ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hedgehog Signaling: Advances in Development and Cancer)
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20 pages, 1694 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Influence of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell Expansion in Neuroinflammation and Neurodegenerative Diseases
by Lorenza Tamberi, Alessia Belloni, Armanda Pugnaloni, Maria Rita Rippo, Fabiola Olivieri, Antonio Domenico Procopio and Giuseppe Bronte
Cells 2024, 13(7), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070643 - 6 Apr 2024
Viewed by 751
Abstract
The neuro-immune axis has a crucial function both during physiological and pathological conditions. Among the immune cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) exert a pivotal role in regulating the immune response in many pathological conditions, influencing neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative disease progression. In chronic neuroinflammation, [...] Read more.
The neuro-immune axis has a crucial function both during physiological and pathological conditions. Among the immune cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) exert a pivotal role in regulating the immune response in many pathological conditions, influencing neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative disease progression. In chronic neuroinflammation, MDSCs could lead to exacerbation of the inflammatory state and eventually participate in the impairment of cognitive functions. To have a complete overview of the role of MDSCs in neurodegenerative diseases, research on PubMed for articles using a combination of terms made with Boolean operators was performed. According to the search strategy, 80 papers were retrieved. Among these, 44 papers met the eligibility criteria. The two subtypes of MDSCs, monocytic and polymorphonuclear MDSCs, behave differently in these diseases. The initial MDSC proliferation is fundamental for attenuating inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and multiple sclerosis (MS), but not in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), where MDSC expansion leads to exacerbation of the disease. Moreover, the accumulation of MDSC subtypes in distinct organs changes during the disease. The proliferation of MDSC subtypes occurs at different disease stages and can influence the progression of each neurodegenerative disorder differently. Full article
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27 pages, 5066 KiB  
Article
Neuroprotection of Cholinergic Neurons with a Tau Aggregation Inhibitor and Rivastigmine in an Alzheimer’s-like Tauopathy Mouse Model
by Maciej Zadrozny, Patrycja Drapich, Anna Gasiorowska-Bien, Wiktor Niewiadomski, Charles R. Harrington, Claude M. Wischik, Gernot Riedel and Grazyna Niewiadomska
Cells 2024, 13(7), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070642 - 6 Apr 2024
Viewed by 879
Abstract
Basal forebrain cholinergic dysfunction, most likely linked with tau protein aggregation, is a characteristic feature of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Recent evidence suggests that tau protein is a putative target for the treatment of dementia, and the tau aggregation inhibitor, hydromethylthionine mesylate (HMTM), has [...] Read more.
Basal forebrain cholinergic dysfunction, most likely linked with tau protein aggregation, is a characteristic feature of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Recent evidence suggests that tau protein is a putative target for the treatment of dementia, and the tau aggregation inhibitor, hydromethylthionine mesylate (HMTM), has emerged as a potential disease-modifying treatment. However, its efficacy was diminished in patients already receiving approved acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. In this study, we ask whether this negative interaction can also be mimicked in experimental tau models of AD and whether the underlying mechanism can be understood. From a previous age profiling study, 6-month-old line 1 (L1) tau transgenic mice were characterized by a severe reduction in several cholinergic markers. We therefore assessed whether long-term pre-exposure with the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor rivastigmine alone and in conjunction with the tau aggregation inhibitor HMTM can reverse cholinergic deficits in L1. Rivastigmine and HMTM, and combinations of the two compounds were administered orally for 11 weeks to both L1 and wild-type mice. The brains were sectioned with a focus on the basal forebrain, motor cortex and hippocampus. Immunohistochemical staining and quantification of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), tyrosine kinase A (TrkA)-positive neurons and relative optical intensity (ROI) for vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT), and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) reactivity confirmed reversal of the diminished cholinergic phenotype of interneurons (nucleus accumbens, striatum) and projection neurons (medial septum, nucleus basalis magnocellularis) by HMTM, to a greater extent than by rivastigmine alone in L1 mice. Combined administration did not yield additivity but, in most proxies, led to antagonistic effects in which rivastigmine decreased the benefits shown with HMTM alone. Local markers (VAChT and AChE) in target structures of the basal forebrain, motor cortex and hippocampal CA3 seemed to be normalized by HMTM, but not by rivastigmine or the combination of both drugs. HMTM, which was developed as a tau aggregation inhibitor, strongly decreased the tau load in L1 mice, however, not in combination with rivastigmine. Taken together, these data confirm a cholinergic phenotype in L1 tau transgenic mice that resembles the deficits observed in AD patients. This phenotype is reversible by HMTM, but at the same time appears to be subject to a homeostatic regulation induced by chronic pre-treatment with an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, which interferes with the efficacy of HMTM. The strongest phenotypic reversal coincided with a normalization of the tau load in the cortex and hippocampus of L1, suggesting that tau accumulation underpins the loss of cholinergic markers in the basal forebrain and its projection targets. Full article
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22 pages, 11409 KiB  
Article
Cell Membrane Fragment-Wrapped Parenteral Nanoemulsions: A New Drug Delivery Tool to Target Gliomas
by Chiara Dianzani, Annalisa Bozza, Valentina Bordano, Luigi Cangemi, Chiara Ferraris, Federica Foglietta, Chiara Monge, Margherita Gallicchio, Stefania Pizzimenti, Elisabetta Marini, Elisabetta Muntoni, Maria Carmen Valsania and Luigi Battaglia
Cells 2024, 13(7), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070641 - 6 Apr 2024
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Poor prognosis in high-grade gliomas is mainly due to fatal relapse after surgical resection in the absence of efficient chemotherapy, which is severely hampered by the blood–brain barrier. However, the leaky blood–brain–tumour barrier forms upon tumour growth and vascularization, allowing targeted nanocarrier-mediated drug [...] Read more.
Poor prognosis in high-grade gliomas is mainly due to fatal relapse after surgical resection in the absence of efficient chemotherapy, which is severely hampered by the blood–brain barrier. However, the leaky blood–brain–tumour barrier forms upon tumour growth and vascularization, allowing targeted nanocarrier-mediated drug delivery. The homotypic targeting ability of cell-membrane fragments obtained from cancer cells means that these fragments can be exploited to this aim. In this experimental work, injectable nanoemulsions, which have a long history of safe clinic usage, have been wrapped in glioma-cell membrane fragments via co-extrusion to give targeted, homogeneously sized, sterile formulations. These systems were then loaded with three different chemotherapeutics, in the form of hydrophobic ion pairs that can be released into the target site thanks to interactions with physiological components. The numerous assays performed in two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) cell models demonstrate that the proposed approach is a versatile drug-delivery platform with chemo-tactic properties towards glioma cells, with adhesive interactions between the target cell and the cell membrane fragments most likely being responsible for the effect. This approach’s promising translational perspectives towards personalized nanomedicine mean that further in vivo studies are foreseen for the future. Full article
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22 pages, 5718 KiB  
Article
ZO-1 Regulates Hippo-Independent YAP Activity and Cell Proliferation via a GEF-H1- and TBK1-Regulated Signalling Network
by Alexis J. Haas, Mert Karakus, Ceniz Zihni, Maria S. Balda and Karl Matter
Cells 2024, 13(7), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070640 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 826
Abstract
Tight junctions are a barrier-forming cell–cell adhesion complex and have been proposed to regulate cell proliferation. However, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Here, we used cells deficient in the junction scaffold ZO-1 alone or together with its paralog ZO-2, which disrupts [...] Read more.
Tight junctions are a barrier-forming cell–cell adhesion complex and have been proposed to regulate cell proliferation. However, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Here, we used cells deficient in the junction scaffold ZO-1 alone or together with its paralog ZO-2, which disrupts the junctional barrier. We found that ZO-1 knockout increased cell proliferation, induced loss of cell density-dependent proliferation control, and promoted apoptosis and necrosis. These phenotypes were enhanced by double ZO-1/ZO-2 knockout. Increased proliferation was dependent on two transcriptional regulators: YAP and ZONAB. ZO-1 knockout stimulated YAP nuclear translocation and activity without changes in Hippo-dependent phosphorylation. Knockout promoted TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) activation and increased expression of the RhoA activator GEF-H1. Knockdown of ZO-3, another paralog interacting with ZO1, was sufficient to induce GEF-H1 expression and YAP activity. GEF-H1, TBK1, and mechanotransduction at focal adhesions were found to cooperate to activate YAP/TEAD in ZO-1-deficient cells. Thus, ZO-1 controled cell proliferation and Hippo-independent YAP activity by activating a GEF-H1- and TBK1-regulated mechanosensitive signalling network. Full article
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18 pages, 910 KiB  
Review
Ex Pluribus Unum: The CD4 T Cell Response against Influenza A Virus
by Caroline M. Finn and K. Kai McKinstry
Cells 2024, 13(7), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070639 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1084
Abstract
Current Influenza A virus (IAV) vaccines, which primarily aim to generate neutralizing antibodies against the major surface proteins of specific IAV strains predicted to circulate during the annual ‘flu’ season, are suboptimal and are characterized by relatively low annual vaccine efficacy. One approach [...] Read more.
Current Influenza A virus (IAV) vaccines, which primarily aim to generate neutralizing antibodies against the major surface proteins of specific IAV strains predicted to circulate during the annual ‘flu’ season, are suboptimal and are characterized by relatively low annual vaccine efficacy. One approach to improve protection is for vaccines to also target the priming of virus-specific T cells that can protect against IAV even in the absence of preexisting neutralizing antibodies. CD4 T cells represent a particularly attractive target as they help to promote responses by other innate and adaptive lymphocyte populations and can also directly mediate potent effector functions. Studies in murine models of IAV infection have been instrumental in moving this goal forward. Here, we will review these findings, focusing on distinct subsets of CD4 T cell effectors that have been shown to impact outcomes. This body of work suggests that a major challenge for next-generation vaccines will be to prime a CD4 T cell population with the same spectrum of functional diversity generated by IAV infection. This goal is encapsulated well by the motto ‘ex pluribus unum’: that an optimal CD4 T cell response comprises many individual specialized subsets responding together. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cellular Immunology)
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16 pages, 2334 KiB  
Review
Nanoquercetin and Extracellular Vesicles as Potential Anticancer Therapeutics in Hepatocellular Carcinoma
by Alok Raghav and Goo Bo Jeong
Cells 2024, 13(7), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070638 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 921
Abstract
Despite world-class sophisticated technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning approaches, cancer-associated mortalities and morbidities have shown continuous increments posing a healthcare burden. Drug-based interventions were associated with systemic toxicities and several limitations. Natural bioactive compounds derived nanoformulations, especially nanoquercetin (nQ), are alternative [...] Read more.
Despite world-class sophisticated technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning approaches, cancer-associated mortalities and morbidities have shown continuous increments posing a healthcare burden. Drug-based interventions were associated with systemic toxicities and several limitations. Natural bioactive compounds derived nanoformulations, especially nanoquercetin (nQ), are alternative options to overcome drug-associated limitations. Moreover, the EVs-based cargo targeted delivery of nQ can have enormous potential in treating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). EVs-based nQ delivery synergistically regulates and dysregulates several pathways, including NF-κB, p53, JAK/STAT, MAPK, Wnt/β-catenin, and PI3K/AKT, along with PBX3/ERK1/2/CDK2, and miRNAs intonation. Furthermore, discoveries on possible checkpoints of anticancer signaling pathways were studied, which might lead to the development of modified EVs infused with nQ for the development of innovative treatments for HCC. In this work, we abridged the control of such signaling systems using a synergetic strategy with EVs and nQ. The governing roles of extracellular vesicles controlling the expression of miRNAs were investigated, particularly in relation to HCC. Full article
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20 pages, 3575 KiB  
Article
GDF-15 Suppresses Puromycin Aminonucleoside-Induced Podocyte Injury by Reducing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Glomerular Inflammation
by Ekaterina von Rauchhaupt, Martin Klaus, Andrea Ribeiro, Mohsen Honarpisheh, Chenyu Li, Min Liu, Paulina Köhler, Karina Adamowicz, Christoph Schmaderer, Maja Lindenmeyer, Stefanie Steiger, Hans-Joachim Anders and Maciej Lech
Cells 2024, 13(7), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070637 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 903
Abstract
GDF15, also known as MIC1, is a member of the TGF-beta superfamily. Previous studies reported elevated serum levels of GDF15 in patients with kidney disorder, and its association with kidney disease progression, while other studies identified GDF15 to have protective effects. To investigate [...] Read more.
GDF15, also known as MIC1, is a member of the TGF-beta superfamily. Previous studies reported elevated serum levels of GDF15 in patients with kidney disorder, and its association with kidney disease progression, while other studies identified GDF15 to have protective effects. To investigate the potential protective role of GDF15 on podocytes, we first performed in vitro studies using a Gdf15-deficient podocyte cell line. The lack of GDF15 intensified puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN)-triggered endoplasmic reticulum stress and induced cell death in cultivated podocytes. This was evidenced by elevated expressions of Xbp1 and ER-associated chaperones, alongside AnnexinV/PI staining and LDH release. Additionally, we subjected mice to nephrotoxic PAN treatment. Our observations revealed a noteworthy increase in both GDF15 expression and secretion subsequent to PAN administration. Gdf15 knockout mice displayed a moderate loss of WT1+ cells (podocytes) in the glomeruli compared to wild-type controls. However, this finding could not be substantiated through digital evaluation. The parameters of kidney function, including serum BUN, creatinine, and albumin–creatinine ratio (ACR), were increased in Gdf15 knockout mice as compared to wild-type mice upon PAN treatment. This was associated with an increase in the number of glomerular macrophages, neutrophils, inflammatory cytokines, and chemokines in Gdf15-deficient mice. In summary, our findings unveil a novel renoprotective effect of GDF15 during kidney injury and inflammation by promoting podocyte survival and regulating endoplasmic reticulum stress in podocytes, and, subsequently, the infiltration of inflammatory cells via paracrine effects on surrounding glomerular cells. Full article
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23 pages, 6511 KiB  
Article
Role of Sphingosine Kinase 1 in Glucolipotoxicity-Induced Early Activation of Autophagy in INS-1 Pancreatic β Cells
by Nicolas Coant, Karima Rendja, Lara Bellini, Mélissa Flamment, Jeannine Lherminier, Bernard Portha, Patrice Codogno and Hervé Le Stunff
Cells 2024, 13(7), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070636 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 932
Abstract
Insulin-producing pancreatic β cells play a crucial role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis, and their failure is a key event for diabetes development. Prolonged exposure to palmitate in the presence of elevated glucose levels, termed gluco-lipotoxicity, is known to induce β cell [...] Read more.
Insulin-producing pancreatic β cells play a crucial role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis, and their failure is a key event for diabetes development. Prolonged exposure to palmitate in the presence of elevated glucose levels, termed gluco-lipotoxicity, is known to induce β cell apoptosis. Autophagy has been proposed to be regulated by gluco-lipotoxicity in order to favor β cell survival. However, the role of palmitate metabolism in gluco-lipotoxcity-induced autophagy is presently unknown. We therefore treated INS-1 cells for 6 and 24 h with palmitate in the presence of low and high glucose concentrations and then monitored autophagy. Gluco-lipotoxicity induces accumulation of LC3-II levels in INS-1 at 6 h which returns to basal levels at 24 h. Using the RFP-GFP-LC3 probe, gluco-lipotoxicity increased both autophagosomes and autolysosmes structures, reflecting early stimulation of an autophagy flux. Triacsin C, a potent inhibitor of the long fatty acid acetyl-coA synthase, completely prevents LC3-II formation and recruitment to autophagosomes, suggesting that autophagic response requires palmitate metabolism. In contrast, etomoxir and bromo-palmitate, inhibitors of fatty acid mitochondrial β-oxidation, are unable to prevent gluco-lipotoxicity-induced LC3-II accumulation and recruitment to autophagosomes. Moreover, bromo-palmitate and etomoxir potentiate palmitate autophagic response. Even if gluco-lipotoxicity raised ceramide levels in INS-1 cells, ceramide synthase 4 overexpression does not potentiate LC3-II accumulation. Gluco-lipotoxicity also still stimulates an autophagic flux in the presence of an ER stress repressor. Finally, selective inhibition of sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) activity precludes gluco-lipotoxicity to induce LC3-II accumulation. Moreover, SphK1 overexpression potentiates autophagic flux induced by gluco-lipotxicity. Altogether, our results indicate that early activation of autophagy by gluco-lipotoxicity is mediated by SphK1, which plays a protective role in β cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Signaling)
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18 pages, 982 KiB  
Review
Unlocking the Future: Pluripotent Stem Cell-Based Lung Repair
by Tobias Goecke, Fabio Ius, Arjang Ruhparwar and Ulrich Martin
Cells 2024, 13(7), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070635 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 890
Abstract
The human respiratory system is susceptible to a variety of diseases, ranging from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Today, lung diseases represent one of the major challenges to the health care sector and represent [...] Read more.
The human respiratory system is susceptible to a variety of diseases, ranging from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Today, lung diseases represent one of the major challenges to the health care sector and represent one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Current treatment options often focus on managing symptoms rather than addressing the underlying cause of the disease. The limitations of conventional therapies highlight the urgent clinical need for innovative solutions capable of repairing damaged lung tissue at a fundamental level. Pluripotent stem cell technologies have now reached clinical maturity and hold immense potential to revolutionize the landscape of lung repair and regenerative medicine. Meanwhile, human embryonic (HESCs) and human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) can be coaxed to differentiate into lung-specific cell types such as bronchial and alveolar epithelial cells, or pulmonary endothelial cells. This holds the promise of regenerating damaged lung tissue and restoring normal respiratory function. While methods for targeted genetic engineering of hPSCs and lung cell differentiation have substantially advanced, the required GMP-grade clinical-scale production technologies as well as the development of suitable preclinical animal models and cell application strategies are less advanced. This review provides an overview of current perspectives on PSC-based therapies for lung repair, explores key advances, and envisions future directions in this dynamic field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Respiratory Diseases)
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14 pages, 2784 KiB  
Article
Upregulation of the Renin–Angiotensin System Is Associated with Patient Survival and the Tumour Microenvironment in Glioblastoma
by Mathew Lozinski, Eugenie R. Lumbers, Nikola A. Bowden, Jennifer H. Martin, Michael F. Fay, Kirsty G. Pringle and Paul A. Tooney
Cells 2024, 13(7), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070634 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 734
Abstract
Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive disease with poor survival outcomes. An emerging body of literature links the role of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), well-known for its function in the cardiovascular system, to the progression of cancers. We studied the expression of RAS-related genes [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive disease with poor survival outcomes. An emerging body of literature links the role of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), well-known for its function in the cardiovascular system, to the progression of cancers. We studied the expression of RAS-related genes (ATP6AP2, AGTR1, AGTR2, ACE, AGT, and REN) in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) glioblastoma cohort, their relationship to patient survival, and association with tumour microenvironment pathways. The expression of RAS genes was then examined in 12 patient-derived glioblastoma cell lines treated with chemoradiation. In cases of glioblastoma within the TCGA, ATP6AP2, AGTR1, ACE, and AGT had consistent expressions across samples, while AGTR2 and REN were lowly expressed. High expression of AGTR1 was independently associated with lower progression-free survival (PFS) (p = 0.01) and had a non-significant trend for overall survival (OS) after multivariate analysis (p = 0.095). The combined expression of RAS receptors (ATP6AP2, AGTR1, and AGTR2) was positively associated with gene pathways involved in hypoxia, microvasculature, stem cell plasticity, and the molecular characterisation of glioblastoma subtypes. In patient-derived glioblastoma cell lines, ATP6AP2 and AGTR1 were upregulated after chemoradiotherapy and correlated with an increase in HIF1A expression. This data suggests the RAS is correlated with changes in the tumour microenvironment and associated with glioblastoma survival outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glioblastoma: What Do We Know?)
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10 pages, 1790 KiB  
Article
Peritumor Mucosa in Advanced Laryngeal Carcinoma Exhibits an Aberrant Proangiogenic Signature Distinctive from the Expression Pattern in Adjacent Tumor Tissue
by Silva G. Kyurkchiyan, Gergana Stancheva, Veronika Petkova, Stiliana Panova, Venera Dobriyanova, Iglika Stancheva, Venelin Marinov, Zahari Zahariev, Radka P. Kaneva and Todor M. Popov
Cells 2024, 13(7), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070633 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 751
Abstract
The field cancerization theory is an important paradigm in head and neck carcinoma as its oncological repercussions affect treatment outcomes in diverse ways. The aim of this study is to assess the possible interconnection between peritumor mucosa and the process of tumor neoangiogenesis. [...] Read more.
The field cancerization theory is an important paradigm in head and neck carcinoma as its oncological repercussions affect treatment outcomes in diverse ways. The aim of this study is to assess the possible interconnection between peritumor mucosa and the process of tumor neoangiogenesis. Sixty patients with advanced laryngeal carcinoma were enrolled in this study. The majority of patients express a canonical HIF-upregulated proangiogenic signature with almost complete predominancy of HIF-1α overexpression and normal expression levels of the HIF-2α isoform. Remarkably, more than 60% of the whole cohort also exhibited an HIF-upregulated proangiogenic signature in the peritumoral benign mucosa. Additionally, the latter subgroup had a distinctly shifted phenotype towards HIF-2α upregulation compared to the one in tumor tissue, i.e., a tendency towards an HIF switch is observed in contrast to the dominated by HIF-1α tumor phenotype. ETS-1 displays stable and identical significant overexpression in both the proangiogenic phenotypes present in tumor and peritumoral mucosa. In the current study, we report for the first time the existence of an abnormal proangiogenic expression profile present in the peritumoral mucosa in advanced laryngeal carcinoma when compared to paired distant laryngeal mucosa. Moreover, we describe a specific phenotype of this proangiogenic signature that is significantly different from the one present in tumor tissue as we delineate both phenotypes, quantitively and qualitatively. This finding is cancer heterogeneity, per se, which extends beyond the “classical” borders of the malignancy, and it is proof of a strong interconnection between field cancerization and one of the classical hallmarks of cancer—the process of tumor neoangiogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Novel Discoveries in Oncology)
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26 pages, 9175 KiB  
Article
A Novel Approach for Glioblastoma Treatment by Combining Apoptosis Inducers (TMZ, MTX, and Cytarabine) with E.V.A. (Eltanexor, Venetoclax, and A1210477) Inhibiting XPO1, Bcl-2, and Mcl-1
by Kai Zhao, Madita Braun, Leonie Meyer, Katharina Otte, Hartmann Raifer, Frederik Helmprobst, Vincent Möschl, Axel Pagenstecher, Hans Urban, Michael W. Ronellenfitsch, Joachim P. Steinbach, Jelena Pesek, Bernhard Watzer, Wolfgang A. Nockher, R. Verena Taudte, Andreas Neubauer, Christopher Nimsky, Jörg W. Bartsch and Tillmann Rusch
Cells 2024, 13(7), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070632 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 996
Abstract
Adjuvant treatment for Glioblastoma Grade 4 with Temozolomide (TMZ) inevitably fails due to therapeutic resistance, necessitating new approaches. Apoptosis induction in GB cells is inefficient, due to an excess of anti-apoptotic XPO1/Bcl-2-family proteins. We assessed TMZ, Methotrexate (MTX), and Cytarabine (Ara-C) (apoptosis inducers) [...] Read more.
Adjuvant treatment for Glioblastoma Grade 4 with Temozolomide (TMZ) inevitably fails due to therapeutic resistance, necessitating new approaches. Apoptosis induction in GB cells is inefficient, due to an excess of anti-apoptotic XPO1/Bcl-2-family proteins. We assessed TMZ, Methotrexate (MTX), and Cytarabine (Ara-C) (apoptosis inducers) combined with XPO1/Bcl-2/Mcl-1-inhibitors (apoptosis rescue) in GB cell lines and primary GB stem-like cells (GSCs). Using CellTiter-Glo® and Caspase-3 activity assays, we generated dose–response curves and analyzed the gene and protein regulation of anti-apoptotic proteins via PCR and Western blots. Optimal drug combinations were examined for their impact on the cell cycle and apoptosis induction via FACS analysis, paralleled by the assessment of potential toxicity in healthy mouse brain slices. Ara-C and MTX proved to be 150- to 10,000-fold more potent in inducing apoptosis than TMZ. In response to inhibitors Eltanexor (XPO1; E), Venetoclax (Bcl-2; V), and A1210477 (Mcl-1; A), genes encoding for the corresponding proteins were upregulated in a compensatory manner. TMZ, MTX, and Ara-C combined with E, V, and A evidenced highly lethal effects when combined. As no significant cell death induction in mouse brain slices was observed, we conclude that this drug combination is effective in vitro and expected to have low side effects in vivo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities in Glioblastoma)
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13 pages, 2861 KiB  
Article
Leflunomide Treatment Does Not Protect Neural Cells following Oxygen-Glucose Deprivation (OGD) In Vitro
by Claire J. M. Curel, Irene Nobeli and Claire Thornton
Cells 2024, 13(7), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070631 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 804
Abstract
Neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI) affects 2–3 per 1000 live births in developed countries and up to 26 per 1000 live births in developing countries. It is estimated that of the 750,000 infants experiencing a hypoxic-ischemic event during birth per year, more than 400,000 will [...] Read more.
Neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI) affects 2–3 per 1000 live births in developed countries and up to 26 per 1000 live births in developing countries. It is estimated that of the 750,000 infants experiencing a hypoxic-ischemic event during birth per year, more than 400,000 will be severely affected. As treatment options are limited, rapidly identifying new therapeutic avenues is critical, and repurposing drugs already in clinical use offers a fast-track route to clinic. One emerging avenue for therapeutic intervention in neonatal HI is to target mitochondrial dysfunction, which occurs early in the development of brain injury. Mitochondrial dynamics are particularly affected, with mitochondrial fragmentation occurring at the expense of the pro-fusion protein Optic Atrophy (OPA)1. OPA1, together with mitofusins (MFN)1/2, are required for membrane fusion, and therefore, protecting their function may also safeguard mitochondrial dynamics. Leflunomide, an FDA-approved immunosuppressant, was recently identified as an activator of MFN2 with partial effects on OPA1 expression. We, therefore, treated C17.2 cells with Leflunomide before or after oxygen-glucose deprivation, an in vitro mimic of HI, to determine its efficacy as a neuroprotection and inhibitor of mitochondrial dysfunction. Leflunomide increased baseline OPA1 but not MFN2 expression in C17.2 cells. However, Leflunomide was unable to promote cell survival following OGD. Equally, there was no obvious effect on mitochondrial morphology or bioenergetics. These data align with studies suggesting that the tissue and mitochondrial protein profile of the target cell/tissue are critical for taking advantage of the therapeutic actions of Leflunomide. Full article
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14 pages, 3443 KiB  
Article
A Custom Panel for Profiling Microglia Gene Expression
by Phani Sankar Potru, Natascha Vidovic, Susanne Wiemann, Tamara Russ, Marcel Trautmann and Björn Spittau
Cells 2024, 13(7), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070630 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 907
Abstract
Despite being immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS), microglia contribute to CNS development, maturation, and homeostasis, and microglia dysfunction has been implicated in several neurological disorders. Recent advancements in single-cell studies have uncovered unique microglia-specific gene expression. However, there is a [...] Read more.
Despite being immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS), microglia contribute to CNS development, maturation, and homeostasis, and microglia dysfunction has been implicated in several neurological disorders. Recent advancements in single-cell studies have uncovered unique microglia-specific gene expression. However, there is a need for a simple yet elegant multiplexed approach to quantifying microglia gene expression. To address this, we have designed a NanoString nCounter technology-based murine microglia-specific custom codeset comprising 178 genes. We analyzed RNA extracted from ex vivo adult mouse microglia, primary mouse microglia, the BV2 microglia cell line, and mouse bone marrow monocytes using our custom panel. Our findings reveal a pattern where homeostatic genes exhibit heightened expression in adult microglia, followed by primary cells, and are absent in BV2 cells, while reactive markers are elevated in primary microglia and BV2 cells. Analysis of publicly available data sets for the genes present in the panel revealed that the panel could reliably reflect the changes in microglia gene expression in response to various factors. These findings highlight that the microglia panel used offers a swift and cost-effective means to assess microglial cells and can be used to study them in varying contexts, ranging from normal homeostasis to disease models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cells of the Nervous System)
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20 pages, 3482 KiB  
Review
The Emerging Role of LPA as an Oncometabolite
by Theodoros Karalis and George Poulogiannis
Cells 2024, 13(7), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070629 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 893
Abstract
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a phospholipid that displays potent signalling activities that are regulated in both an autocrine and paracrine manner. It can be found both extra- and intracellularly, where it interacts with different receptors to activate signalling pathways that regulate a plethora [...] Read more.
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a phospholipid that displays potent signalling activities that are regulated in both an autocrine and paracrine manner. It can be found both extra- and intracellularly, where it interacts with different receptors to activate signalling pathways that regulate a plethora of cellular processes, including mitosis, proliferation and migration. LPA metabolism is complex, and its biosynthesis and catabolism are under tight control to ensure proper LPA levels in the body. In cancer patient specimens, LPA levels are frequently higher compared to those of healthy individuals and often correlate with poor responses and more aggressive disease. Accordingly, LPA, through promoting cancer cell migration and invasion, enhances the metastasis and dissemination of tumour cells. In this review, we summarise the role of LPA in the regulation of critical aspects of tumour biology and further discuss the available pre-clinical and clinical evidence regarding the feasibility and efficacy of targeting LPA metabolism for effective anticancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Cancer Cell Metabolism (2nd Edition))
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13 pages, 3141 KiB  
Communication
Generation of Artificial Blastoids Combining miR-200-Mediated Reprogramming and Mechanical Cues
by Georgia Pennarossa, Sharon Arcuri, Fulvio Gandolfi and Tiziana A. L. Brevini
Cells 2024, 13(7), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070628 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1656
Abstract
In vitro-generated blastocyst-like structures are of great importance since they recapitulate specific features or processes of early embryogenesis, thus avoiding ethical concerns as well as increasing scalability and accessibility compared to the use of natural embryos. Here, we combine cell reprogramming and mechanical [...] Read more.
In vitro-generated blastocyst-like structures are of great importance since they recapitulate specific features or processes of early embryogenesis, thus avoiding ethical concerns as well as increasing scalability and accessibility compared to the use of natural embryos. Here, we combine cell reprogramming and mechanical stimuli to create 3D spherical aggregates that are phenotypically similar to those of natural embryos. Specifically, dermal fibroblasts are reprogrammed, exploiting the miR-200 family property to induce a high plasticity state in somatic cells. Subsequently, miR-200-reprogrammed cells are either driven towards the trophectoderm (TR) lineage using an ad hoc induction protocol or encapsulated into polytetrafluoroethylene micro-bioreactors to maintain and promote pluripotency, generating inner cell mass (ICM)-like spheroids. The obtained TR-like cells and ICM-like spheroids are then co-cultured in the same micro-bioreactor and, subsequently, transferred to microwells to encourage blastoid formation. Notably, the above protocol was applied to fibroblasts obtained from young as well as aged donors, with results that highlighted miR-200′s ability to successfully reprogram young and aged cells with comparable blastoid rates, regardless of the donor’s cell age. Overall, the approach here described represents a novel strategy for the creation of artificial blastoids to be used in the field of assisted reproduction technologies for the study of peri- and early post-implantation mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Reproductive Cells and Development)
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23 pages, 39015 KiB  
Article
Silencing the Mitochondrial Gatekeeper VDAC1 as a Potential Treatment for Bladder Cancer
by Belal Alhozeel, Swaroop Kumar Pandey, Anna Shteinfer-Kuzmine, Manikandan Santhanam and Varda Shoshan-Barmatz
Cells 2024, 13(7), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070627 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1271
Abstract
The strategy for treating bladder cancer (BC) depends on whether there is muscle invasion or not, with the latter mostly treated with intravesical therapy, such as with bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG). However, BCG treatment is unsuccessful in 70% of patients, who are then subjected [...] Read more.
The strategy for treating bladder cancer (BC) depends on whether there is muscle invasion or not, with the latter mostly treated with intravesical therapy, such as with bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG). However, BCG treatment is unsuccessful in 70% of patients, who are then subjected to radical cystectomy. Although immune-checkpoint inhibitors have been approved as a second-line therapy for a subset of BC patients, these have failed to meet primary endpoints in clinical trials. Thus, it is crucial to find a new treatment. The mitochondrial gatekeeper protein, the voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), mediates metabolic crosstalk between the mitochondria and cytosol and is involved in apoptosis. It is overexpressed in many cancer types, as shown here for BC, pointing to its significance in high-energy-demanding cancer cells. The BC cell lines UM-UC3 and HTB-5 express high VDAC1 levels compared to other cancer cell lines. VDAC1 silencing in these cells using siRNA that recognizes both human and mouse VDAC1 (si-m/hVDAC1-B) reduces cell viability, mitochondria membrane potential, and cellular ATP levels. Here, we used two BC mouse models: subcutaneous UM-UC3 cells and chemically induced BC using the carcinogen N-Butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl) nitrosamine (BBN). Subcutaneous UM-UC3-derived tumors treated with si-m/hVDAC1 showed inhibited tumor growth and reprogrammed metabolism, as reflected in the reduced expression of metabolism-related proteins, including Glut1, hexokinase, citrate synthase, complex-IV, and ATP synthase, suggesting reduced metabolic activity. Furthermore, si-m/hVDAC1-B reduced the expression levels of cancer-stem-cell-related proteins (cytokeratin-14, ALDH1a), modifying the tumor microenvironment, including decreased angiogenesis, extracellular matrix, tumor-associated macrophages, and inhibited epithelial–mesenchymal transition. The BBN-induced BC mouse model showed a clear carcinoma, with damaged bladder morphology and muscle-invasive tumors. Treatment with si-m/hVDAC1-B encapsulated in PLGA-PEI nanoparticles that were administered intravesically directly to the bladder showed a decreased tumor area and less bladder morphology destruction and muscle invasion. Overall, the obtained results point to the potential of si-m/hVDAC1-B as a possible therapeutic tool for treating bladder cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cellular Metabolism)
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19 pages, 6995 KiB  
Article
SMAD4-Dependent Signaling Pathway Involves in the Pathogenesis of TGFBR2-Related CE-like Phenotype
by Yen-Chiao Wang, Olivia Betty Zolnik and Chia-Yang Liu
Cells 2024, 13(7), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070626 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 629
Abstract
(1) Background: Our previous data indicated that disturbance of the Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGFB) signaling pathway via its Type-2 Receptor (TGFBR2) can cause a Corneal Ectasia (CE)-like phenotype. The purpose of this study is to elucidate whether the SMAD4-dependent signaling pathway is [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Our previous data indicated that disturbance of the Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGFB) signaling pathway via its Type-2 Receptor (TGFBR2) can cause a Corneal Ectasia (CE)-like phenotype. The purpose of this study is to elucidate whether the SMAD4-dependent signaling pathway is involved in the TGFBR2-related CE-like pathogenesis. (2) Methods: Smad4 was designed to be conditionally knocked out from keratocytes. Novel triple transgenic mice, KerartTA; Tet-O-Cre; Smad4flox/flox (Smad4kera-cko), were administered with doxycycline (Dox). Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) was performed to examine Central Corneal Thickness (CCT), Corneal Radius, Anterior Chamber and CE-like phenotype and compared to the littermate Control group (Smad4Ctrl). (3) Results: The OCT revealed normal cornea in the Smad4Ctrl and a CE-like phenotype in the Smad4kera-cko cornea, in which the overall CCT in Smad4kera-cko was thinner than that of Smad4Ctrl at P42 (n = 6, p < 0.0001) and showed no significant difference when compared to that in Tgfbr2kera-cko. Furthermore, the measurements of the Anterior Chamber and Corneal Radius indicated a substantial ectatic cornea in the Smad4kera-cko compared to Smad4Ctrl. The H&E staining of Smad4kera-cko mimics the finding in the Tgfbr2kera-cko. The positive immunostaining of cornea-specific marker K12 indicating the cell fate of cornea epithelium remained unchanged in Smad4kera-cko and the Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) immunostaining further indicated an enhanced proliferation in the Smad4kera-cko. Both immunostainings recapitulated the finding in Tgfbr2kera-cko. The Masson’s Trichrome staining revealed decreased collagen formation in the corneal stroma from both Smad4kera-cko and Tgfbr2kera-cko. The collagen type 1 (Col1a1) immunostaining further confirmed the reduction in collagen type 1 formation in Smad4kera-cko. (4) Conclusions: The aforementioned phenotypes in the Smad4kera-cko strain indicated that the SMAD4-dependent signaling pathway is involved in the pathogenesis of the CE-like phenotype observed in Tgfbr2kera-cko. Full article
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15 pages, 3038 KiB  
Article
Paternal Age Amplifies Cryopreservation-Induced Stress in Human Spermatozoa
by Silvia Pérez Casasús, Francesca Paola Luongo, Alesandro Haxhiu, Martina Orini, Giorgia Scupoli, Laura Governini, Paola Piomboni, Jose Buratini, Mariabeatrice Dal Canto and Alice Luddi
Cells 2024, 13(7), 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070625 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 832
Abstract
The global fall in male fertility is a complicated process driven by a variety of factors, including environmental exposure, lifestyle, obesity, stress, and aging. The availability of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has allowed older couples to conceive, increasing the average paternal age at [...] Read more.
The global fall in male fertility is a complicated process driven by a variety of factors, including environmental exposure, lifestyle, obesity, stress, and aging. The availability of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has allowed older couples to conceive, increasing the average paternal age at first childbirth. Advanced paternal age (APA), most often considered male age ≥40, has been described to impact several aspects of male reproductive physiology. In this prospective cohort study including 200 normozoospermic patients, 105 of whom were ≤35 years (non-APA), and 95 of whom were ≥42 years (APA), we assessed the impact of paternal age on different endpoints representative of sperm quality and cryopreservation tolerance. Non-APA patients had superior fresh semen quality; DNA fragmentation was notably increased in APA as compared to non-APA individuals (21.7% vs. 15.4%). Cryopreservation further increased the DNA fragmentation index in APA (26.7%) but not in non-APA patients. Additionally, APA was associated with increased mtDNAcn in both fresh and frozen/thawed sperm, which is indicative of poorer mitochondrial quality. Cryopreservation negatively impacted acrosome integrity in both age groups, as indicated by reduced incidences of unreacted acrosome in relation to fresh counterparts in non-APA (from 71.5% to 57.7%) and APA patients (from 75% to 63%). Finally, cryopreservation significantly reduced the phosphorylation status of proteins containing tyrosine residues in sperm from young males. Therefore, the present findings shed light on the effects of paternal age and cryopreservation on sperm quality and serve as valuable new parameters to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying sperm developmental competence that are under threat in current ART practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Reproductive Cells and Development)
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13 pages, 901 KiB  
Review
Role of the Skin Immune System in Wound Healing
by Angela Cioce, Andrea Cavani, Caterina Cattani and Fernanda Scopelliti
Cells 2024, 13(7), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070624 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1631
Abstract
Wound healing is a dynamic and complex process, characterized by the coordinated activities of multiple cell types, each with distinct roles in the stages of hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. The cells of the immune system not only act as sentinels to monitor [...] Read more.
Wound healing is a dynamic and complex process, characterized by the coordinated activities of multiple cell types, each with distinct roles in the stages of hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. The cells of the immune system not only act as sentinels to monitor the skin and promote homeostasis, but they also play an important role in the process of skin wound repair. Skin-resident and recruited immune cells release cytokines and growth factors that promote the amplification of the inflammatory process. They also work with non-immune cells to remove invading pathogens and debris, as well as guide the regeneration of damaged host tissues. Dysregulation of the immune system at any stage of the process may lead to a prolongation of the inflammatory phase and the development of a pathological condition, such as a chronic wound. The present review aims to summarize the roles of different immune cells, with special emphasis on the different stages of the wound healing process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Basis of Wound Healing II)
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23 pages, 4682 KiB  
Article
Enrichment, Characterization, and Proteomic Profiling of Small Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Human Limbal Mesenchymal Stromal Cells and Melanocytes
by Sebastian Kistenmacher, Melanie Schwämmle, Gottfried Martin, Eva Ulrich, Stefan Tholen, Oliver Schilling, Andreas Gießl, Ursula Schlötzer-Schrehardt, Felicitas Bucher, Günther Schlunck, Irina Nazarenko, Thomas Reinhard and Naresh Polisetti
Cells 2024, 13(7), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070623 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 899
Abstract
Limbal epithelial progenitor cells (LEPC) rely on their niche environment for proper functionality and self-renewal. While extracellular vesicles (EV), specifically small EVs (sEV), have been proposed to support LEPC homeostasis, data on sEV derived from limbal niche cells like limbal mesenchymal stromal cells [...] Read more.
Limbal epithelial progenitor cells (LEPC) rely on their niche environment for proper functionality and self-renewal. While extracellular vesicles (EV), specifically small EVs (sEV), have been proposed to support LEPC homeostasis, data on sEV derived from limbal niche cells like limbal mesenchymal stromal cells (LMSC) remain limited, and there are no studies on sEVs from limbal melanocytes (LM). In this study, we isolated sEV from conditioned media of LMSC and LM using a combination of tangential flow filtration and size exclusion chromatography and characterized them by nanoparticle tracking analysis, transmission electron microscopy, Western blot, multiplex bead arrays, and quantitative mass spectrometry. The internalization of sEV by LEPC was studied using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. The isolated sEVs exhibited typical EV characteristics, including cell-specific markers such as CD90 for LMSC-sEV and Melan-A for LM-sEV. Bioinformatics analysis of the proteomic data suggested a significant role of sEVs in extracellular matrix deposition, with LMSC-derived sEV containing proteins involved in collagen remodeling and cell matrix adhesion, whereas LM-sEV proteins were implicated in other cellular bioprocesses such as cellular pigmentation and development. Moreover, fluorescently labeled LMSC-sEV and LM-sEV were taken up by LEPC and localized to their perinuclear compartment. These findings provide valuable insights into the complex role of sEV from niche cells in regulating the human limbal stem cell niche. Full article
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19 pages, 6687 KiB  
Article
A New Immortalized Human Lacrimal Gland Cell Line
by Sophie Gleixner, Ingrid Zahn, Jana Dietrich, Swati Singh, Alice Drobny, Yanni Schneider, Raphael Schwendner, Eileen Socher, Nicolas Blavet, Lars Bräuer, Antoniu-Oreste Gostian, Matthias Balk, Gundula Schulze-Tanzil, Claudia Günther, Friedrich Paulsen and Philipp Arnold
Cells 2024, 13(7), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13070622 - 3 Apr 2024
Viewed by 905
Abstract
The lacrimal gland is crucial for maintaining ocular health by producing the aqueous component of the tear film, which hydrates and nourishes the ocular surface. Decreased production of this component results in dry eye disease, a condition affecting over 250 million people worldwide. [...] Read more.
The lacrimal gland is crucial for maintaining ocular health by producing the aqueous component of the tear film, which hydrates and nourishes the ocular surface. Decreased production of this component results in dry eye disease, a condition affecting over 250 million people worldwide. However, the scarcity of primary human material for studying its underlying mechanisms and the absence of a cell model for human lacrimal gland epithelial cells present significant challenges. Here, we describe the generation of immortalized human lacrimal gland cell lines through the introduction of an SV40 antigen. We successfully isolated and characterized three cell clones from a female lacrimal gland donor, confirming their epithelial identity through genomic and protein analyses, including PCR, RNAseq, immunofluorescence and cultivation in a 3D spheroid model. Our findings represent a significant advancement, providing improved accessibility to investigate the molecular pathogenesis mechanisms of dry eye disease and potential therapeutic interventions. We identified the expression of typical epithelial cell marker genes and demonstrated the cells’ capability to form 2D cell sheets and 3D spheroids. This establishment of immortalized human lacrimal gland cells with epithelial characteristics holds promise for future comprehensive studies, contributing to a deeper understanding of dry eye disease and its cellular mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Cell Methods)
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