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Cells, Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2016) – 15 articles

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Review
Atypical Rho GTPases of the RhoBTB Subfamily: Roles in Vesicle Trafficking and Tumorigenesis
Cells 2016, 5(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020028 - 14 Jun 2016
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 3325
Abstract
RhoBTB proteins constitute a subfamily of atypical Rho GTPases represented in mammals by RhoBTB1, RhoBTB2, and RhoBTB3. Their characteristic feature is a carboxyl terminal extension that harbors two BTB domains capable of assembling cullin 3-dependent ubiquitin ligase complexes. The expression of all three [...] Read more.
RhoBTB proteins constitute a subfamily of atypical Rho GTPases represented in mammals by RhoBTB1, RhoBTB2, and RhoBTB3. Their characteristic feature is a carboxyl terminal extension that harbors two BTB domains capable of assembling cullin 3-dependent ubiquitin ligase complexes. The expression of all three RHOBTB genes has been found reduced or abolished in a variety of tumors. They are considered tumor suppressor genes and recent studies have strengthened their implication in tumorigenesis through regulation of the cell cycle and apoptosis. RhoBTB3 is also involved in retrograde transport from endosomes to the Golgi apparatus. One aspect that makes RhoBTB proteins atypical among the Rho GTPases is their proposed mechanism of activation. No specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors or GTPase activating proteins are known. Instead, RhoBTB might be activated through interaction with other proteins that relieve their auto-inhibited conformation and inactivated through auto-ubiquitination and destruction in the proteasome. In this review we discuss our current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of action of RhoBTB proteins and the implications for tumorigenesis and other pathologic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation and Function of Small GTPases)
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Review
Under Pressure: Mechanical Stress Management in the Nucleus
Cells 2016, 5(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020027 - 14 Jun 2016
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 4456
Abstract
Cells are constantly adjusting to the mechanical properties of their surroundings, operating a complex mechanochemical feedback, which hinges on mechanotransduction mechanisms. Whereas adhesion structures have been shown to play a central role in mechanotransduction, it now emerges that the nucleus may act as [...] Read more.
Cells are constantly adjusting to the mechanical properties of their surroundings, operating a complex mechanochemical feedback, which hinges on mechanotransduction mechanisms. Whereas adhesion structures have been shown to play a central role in mechanotransduction, it now emerges that the nucleus may act as a mechanosensitive structure. Here, we review recent advances demonstrating that mechanical stress emanating from the cytoskeleton can activate pathways in the nucleus which eventually impact both its structure and the transcriptional machinery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Lamins and Laminopathies)
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Review
Structural Mechanisms and Drug Discovery Prospects of Rho GTPases
Cells 2016, 5(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020026 - 13 Jun 2016
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3379
Abstract
Rho GTPases regulate cellular morphology and dynamics, and some are key drivers of cancer progression. This superfamily offers attractive potential targets for therapeutic intervention, with RhoA, Rac1 and Cdc42 being prime examples. The challenges in developing agents that act on these signaling enzymes [...] Read more.
Rho GTPases regulate cellular morphology and dynamics, and some are key drivers of cancer progression. This superfamily offers attractive potential targets for therapeutic intervention, with RhoA, Rac1 and Cdc42 being prime examples. The challenges in developing agents that act on these signaling enzymes include the lack of obvious druggable pockets and their membrane-bound activities. However, progress in targeting the similar Ras protein is illuminating new strategies for specifically inhibiting oncogenic GTPases. The structures of multiple signaling and regulatory states of Rho proteins have been determined, and the post-translational modifications including acylation and phosphorylation points have been mapped and their functional effects examined. The development of inhibitors to probe the significance of overexpression and mutational hyperactivation of these GTPases underscores their importance in cancer progression. The ability to integrate in silico, in vitro, and in vivo investigations of drug-like molecules indicates the growing tractability of GTPase systems for lead optimization. Although no Rho-targeted drug molecules have yet been clinically approved, this family is clearly showing increasing promise for the development of precision medicine and combination cancer therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation and Function of Small GTPases)
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Review
The Hagfish Gland Thread Cell: A Fiber-Producing Cell Involved in Predator Defense
Cells 2016, 5(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020025 - 31 May 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4481
Abstract
Fibers are ubiquitous in biology, and include tensile materials produced by specialized glands (such as silks), extracellular fibrils that reinforce exoskeletons and connective tissues (such as chitin and collagen), as well as intracellular filaments that make up the metazoan cytoskeleton (such as F-actin, [...] Read more.
Fibers are ubiquitous in biology, and include tensile materials produced by specialized glands (such as silks), extracellular fibrils that reinforce exoskeletons and connective tissues (such as chitin and collagen), as well as intracellular filaments that make up the metazoan cytoskeleton (such as F-actin, microtubules, and intermediate filaments). Hagfish gland thread cells are unique in that they produce a high aspect ratio fiber from cytoskeletal building blocks within the confines of their cytoplasm. These threads are elaborately coiled into structures that readily unravel when they are ejected into seawater from the slime glands. In this review we summarize what is currently known about the structure and function of gland thread cells and we speculate about the mechanism that these cells use to produce a mechanically robust fiber that is almost one hundred thousand times longer than it is wide. We propose that a key feature of this mechanism involves the unidirectional rotation of the cell’s nucleus, which would serve to twist disorganized filaments into a coherent thread and impart a torsional stress on the thread that would both facilitate coiling and drive energetic unravelling in seawater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond Cell Mechanics: Novel Functions of Intermediate Filaments)
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Review
Advances in Autophagy Regulatory Mechanisms
Cells 2016, 5(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020024 - 13 May 2016
Cited by 93 | Viewed by 6298
Abstract
Autophagy plays a critical role in cell metabolism by degrading and recycling internal components when challenged with limited nutrients. This fundamental and conserved mechanism is based on a membrane trafficking pathway in which nascent autophagosomes engulf cytoplasmic cargo to form vesicles that transport [...] Read more.
Autophagy plays a critical role in cell metabolism by degrading and recycling internal components when challenged with limited nutrients. This fundamental and conserved mechanism is based on a membrane trafficking pathway in which nascent autophagosomes engulf cytoplasmic cargo to form vesicles that transport their content to the lysosome for degradation. Based on this simple scheme, autophagy modulates cellular metabolism and cytoplasmic quality control to influence an unexpectedly wide range of normal mammalian physiology and pathophysiology. In this review, we summarise recent advancements in three broad areas of autophagy regulation. We discuss current models on how autophagosomes are initiated from endogenous membranes. We detail how the uncoordinated 51-like kinase (ULK) complex becomes activated downstream of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (MTORC1). Finally, we summarise the upstream signalling mechanisms that can sense amino acid availability leading to activation of MTORC1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autophagy)
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Review
The Ubiquitination of NF-κB Subunits in the Control of Transcription
Cells 2016, 5(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020023 - 12 May 2016
Cited by 51 | Viewed by 3849
Abstract
Nuclear factor (NF)-κB has evolved as a latent, inducible family of transcription factors fundamental in the control of the inflammatory response. The transcription of hundreds of genes involved in inflammation and immune homeostasis require NF-κB, necessitating the need for its strict control. The [...] Read more.
Nuclear factor (NF)-κB has evolved as a latent, inducible family of transcription factors fundamental in the control of the inflammatory response. The transcription of hundreds of genes involved in inflammation and immune homeostasis require NF-κB, necessitating the need for its strict control. The inducible ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of the cytoplasmic inhibitor of κB (IκB) proteins promotes the nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity of NF-κB. More recently, an additional role for ubiquitination in the regulation of NF-κB activity has been identified. In this case, the ubiquitination and degradation of the NF-κB subunits themselves plays a critical role in the termination of NF-κB activity and the associated transcriptional response. While there is still much to discover, a number of NF-κB ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases have now been identified which coordinate to regulate the NF-κB transcriptional response. This review will focus the regulation of NF-κB subunits by ubiquitination, the key regulatory components and their impact on NF-κB directed transcription. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Biology of NF-κB)
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Review
Post-Translational Modifications of RelB NF-κB Subunit and Associated Functions
Cells 2016, 5(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020022 - 04 May 2016
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 4671
Abstract
The family of NF-κB transcription factors plays a key role in diverse biological processes, such as inflammatory and immune responses, cell survival and tumor development. Beyond the classical NF-κB activation pathway, a second NF-κB pathway has more recently been uncovered, the so-called alternative [...] Read more.
The family of NF-κB transcription factors plays a key role in diverse biological processes, such as inflammatory and immune responses, cell survival and tumor development. Beyond the classical NF-κB activation pathway, a second NF-κB pathway has more recently been uncovered, the so-called alternative NF-κB activation pathway. It has been shown that this pathway mainly controls the activity of RelB, a member of the NF-κB family. Post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation, acetylation, methylation, ubiquitination and SUMOylation, have recently emerged as a strategy for the fine-tuned regulation of NF-κB. Our review discusses recent progress in the understanding of RelB regulation by post-translational modifications and the associated functions in normal and pathological conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Biology of NF-κB)
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Article
A Heterozygous ZMPSTE24 Mutation Associated with Severe Metabolic Syndrome, Ectopic Fat Accumulation, and Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Cells 2016, 5(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020021 - 25 Apr 2016
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3996
Abstract
ZMPSTE24 encodes the only metalloprotease, which transforms prelamin into mature lamin A. Up to now, mutations in ZMPSTE24 have been linked to Restrictive Dermopathy (RD), Progeria or Mandibulo-Acral Dysplasia (MAD). We report here the phenotype of a patient referred for severe metabolic syndrome [...] Read more.
ZMPSTE24 encodes the only metalloprotease, which transforms prelamin into mature lamin A. Up to now, mutations in ZMPSTE24 have been linked to Restrictive Dermopathy (RD), Progeria or Mandibulo-Acral Dysplasia (MAD). We report here the phenotype of a patient referred for severe metabolic syndrome and cardiomyopathy, carrying a mutation in ZMPSTE24. The patient presented with a partial lipodystrophic syndrome associating hypertriglyceridemia, early onset type 2 diabetes, and android obesity with truncal and abdominal fat accumulation but without subcutaneous lipoatrophy. Other clinical features included acanthosis nigricans, liver steatosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, and high myocardial and hepatic triglycerides content. Mutated fibroblasts from the patient showed increased nuclear shape abnormalities and premature senescence as demonstrated by a decreased Population Doubling Level, an increased beta-galactosidase activity and a decreased BrdU incorporation rate. Reduced prelamin A expression by siRNA targeted toward LMNA transcripts resulted in decreased nuclear anomalies. We show here that a central obesity without subcutaneous lipoatrophy is associated with a laminopathy due to a heterozygous missense mutation in ZMPSTE24. Given the high prevalence of metabolic syndrome and android obesity in the general population, and in the absence of familial study, the causative link between mutation and phenotype cannot be formally established. Nevertheless, altered lamina architecture observed in mutated fibroblasts are responsible for premature cellular senescence and could contribute to the phenotype observed in this patient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Lamins and Laminopathies)
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Review
Role of Intermediate Filaments in Vesicular Traffic
Cells 2016, 5(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020020 - 25 Apr 2016
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 6099
Abstract
Intermediate filaments are an important component of the cellular cytoskeleton. The first established role attributed to intermediate filaments was the mechanical support to cells. However, it is now clear that intermediate filaments have many different roles affecting a variety of other biological functions, [...] Read more.
Intermediate filaments are an important component of the cellular cytoskeleton. The first established role attributed to intermediate filaments was the mechanical support to cells. However, it is now clear that intermediate filaments have many different roles affecting a variety of other biological functions, such as the organization of microtubules and microfilaments, the regulation of nuclear structure and activity, the control of cell cycle and the regulation of signal transduction pathways. Furthermore, a number of intermediate filament proteins have been involved in the acquisition of tumorigenic properties. Over the last years, a strong involvement of intermediate filament proteins in the regulation of several aspects of intracellular trafficking has strongly emerged. Here, we review the functions of intermediate filaments proteins focusing mainly on the recent knowledge gained from the discovery that intermediate filaments associate with key proteins of the vesicular membrane transport machinery. In particular, we analyze the current understanding of the contribution of intermediate filaments to the endocytic pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond Cell Mechanics: Novel Functions of Intermediate Filaments)
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Article
Generation and Characterization of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Lines Derived from a Patient with a Bicuspid Aortic Valve
Cells 2016, 5(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020019 - 21 Apr 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2929
Abstract
Thoracic aortic dilation is the most common malformation of the proximal aorta and is responsible for 1%–2% of all deaths in industrialized countries. In approximately 50% of patients with a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), dilation of any or all segments of the aorta [...] Read more.
Thoracic aortic dilation is the most common malformation of the proximal aorta and is responsible for 1%–2% of all deaths in industrialized countries. In approximately 50% of patients with a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), dilation of any or all segments of the aorta occurs. BAV patients with aortic dilation show an increased incidence of cultured vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) loss. In this study, VSMC, isolated from the ascending aorta of BAV, was treated with Simian virus 40 to generate a BAV-originated VSMC cell line. To exclude any genomic DNA or cross-contamination, highly polymorphic short tandem repeats of the cells were profiled. The cells were then characterized using flow cytometry and karyotyping. The WG-59 cell line created is the first reported VSMC cell line isolated from a BAV patient. Using an RT2 Profiler PCR Array, genes within the TGFβ/BMP family that are dependent on losartan treatment were identified. Endoglin was found to be among the regulated genes and was downregulated in WG-59 cells following treatment with different losartan concentrations, when compared to untreated WG-59 cells. Full article
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Review
Vimentin in Bacterial Infections
Cells 2016, 5(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020018 - 18 Apr 2016
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 5972
Abstract
Despite well-studied bacterial strategies to target actin to subvert the host cell cytoskeleton, thus promoting bacterial survival, replication, and dissemination, relatively little is known about the bacterial interaction with other components of the host cell cytoskeleton, including intermediate filaments (IFs). IFs have not [...] Read more.
Despite well-studied bacterial strategies to target actin to subvert the host cell cytoskeleton, thus promoting bacterial survival, replication, and dissemination, relatively little is known about the bacterial interaction with other components of the host cell cytoskeleton, including intermediate filaments (IFs). IFs have not only roles in maintaining the structural integrity of the cell, but they are also involved in many cellular processes including cell adhesion, immune signaling, and autophagy, processes that are important in the context of bacterial infections. Here, we summarize the knowledge about the role of IFs in bacterial infections, focusing on the type III IF protein vimentin. Recent studies have revealed the involvement of vimentin in host cell defenses, acting as ligand for several pattern recognition receptors of the innate immune system. Two main aspects of bacteria-vimentin interactions are presented in this review: the role of vimentin in pathogen-binding on the cell surface and subsequent bacterial invasion and the interaction of cytosolic vimentin and intracellular pathogens with regards to innate immune signaling. Mechanistic insight is presented involving distinct bacterial virulence factors that target vimentin to subvert its function in order to change the host cell fate in the course of a bacterial infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond Cell Mechanics: Novel Functions of Intermediate Filaments)
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Review
The Regulation of Cellular Responses to Mechanical Cues by Rho GTPases
Cells 2016, 5(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020017 - 06 Apr 2016
Cited by 63 | Viewed by 3998
Abstract
The Rho GTPases regulate many cellular signaling cascades that modulate cell motility, migration, morphology and cell division. A large body of work has now delineated the biochemical cues and pathways, which stimulate the GTPases and their downstream effectors. However, cells also respond exquisitely [...] Read more.
The Rho GTPases regulate many cellular signaling cascades that modulate cell motility, migration, morphology and cell division. A large body of work has now delineated the biochemical cues and pathways, which stimulate the GTPases and their downstream effectors. However, cells also respond exquisitely to biophysical and mechanical cues such as stiffness and topography of the extracellular matrix that profoundly influence cell migration, proliferation and differentiation. As these cellular responses are mediated by the actin cytoskeleton, an involvement of Rho GTPases in the transduction of such cues is not unexpected. In this review, we discuss an emerging role of Rho GTPase proteins in the regulation of the responses elicited by biophysical and mechanical stimuli. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation and Function of Small GTPases)
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Review
The NF-κB Pathway and Cancer Stem Cells
Cells 2016, 5(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020016 - 06 Apr 2016
Cited by 139 | Viewed by 7515
Abstract
The NF-κB transcription factor pathway is a crucial regulator of inflammation and immune responses. Additionally, aberrant NF-κB signaling has been identified in many types of cancer. Downstream of key oncogenic pathways, such as RAS, BCR-ABL, and Her2, NF-κB regulates transcription of target genes [...] Read more.
The NF-κB transcription factor pathway is a crucial regulator of inflammation and immune responses. Additionally, aberrant NF-κB signaling has been identified in many types of cancer. Downstream of key oncogenic pathways, such as RAS, BCR-ABL, and Her2, NF-κB regulates transcription of target genes that promote cell survival and proliferation, inhibit apoptosis, and mediate invasion and metastasis. The cancer stem cell model posits that a subset of tumor cells (cancer stem cells) drive tumor initiation, exhibit resistance to treatment, and promote recurrence and metastasis. This review examines the evidence for a role for NF-κB signaling in cancer stem cell biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Biology of NF-κB)
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Review
Roles of NF-κB in Cancer and Inflammatory Diseases and Their Therapeutic Approaches
Cells 2016, 5(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020015 - 29 Mar 2016
Cited by 293 | Viewed by 7336
Abstract
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is a transcription factor that plays a crucial role in various biological processes, including immune response, inflammation, cell growth and survival, and development. NF-κB is critical for human health, and aberrant NF-κB activation contributes to development of various autoimmune, inflammatory [...] Read more.
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is a transcription factor that plays a crucial role in various biological processes, including immune response, inflammation, cell growth and survival, and development. NF-κB is critical for human health, and aberrant NF-κB activation contributes to development of various autoimmune, inflammatory and malignant disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, multiple sclerosis and malignant tumors. Thus, inhibiting NF-κB signaling has potential therapeutic applications in cancer and inflammatory diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Biology of NF-κB)
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Review
Regulation of the Adaptive Immune Response by the IκB Family Protein Bcl-3
Cells 2016, 5(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells5020014 - 24 Mar 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 6014
Abstract
Bcl-3 is a member of the IκB family of proteins and an important regulator of Nuclear Factor (NF)-κB activity. The ability of Bcl-3 to bind and regulate specific NF-κB dimers has been studied in great depth, but its physiological roles in vivo are [...] Read more.
Bcl-3 is a member of the IκB family of proteins and an important regulator of Nuclear Factor (NF)-κB activity. The ability of Bcl-3 to bind and regulate specific NF-κB dimers has been studied in great depth, but its physiological roles in vivo are still not fully understood. It is, however, becoming clear that Bcl-3 is essential for the proper development, survival and activity of adaptive immune cells. Bcl-3 dysregulation can be observed in a number of autoimmune pathologies, and Bcl3-deficient animals are more susceptible to bacterial and parasitic infection. This review will describe our current understanding of the roles played by Bcl-3 in the development and regulation of the adaptive immune response, including lymphoid organogenesis, immune tolerance, lymphocyte function and dendritic cell biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Biology of NF-κB)
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