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Cells, Volume 9, Issue 4 (April 2020) – 277 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Despite decades of intensive research, the clinical translation of nanoparticle-based treatments [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview
Visualising Silicon in Plants: Histochemistry, Silica Sculptures and Elemental Imaging
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041066 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 550
Abstract
Silicon is a non-essential element for plants and is available in biota as silicic acid. Its presence has been associated with a general improvement of plant vigour and response to exogenous stresses. Plants accumulate silicon in their tissues as amorphous silica and cell [...] Read more.
Silicon is a non-essential element for plants and is available in biota as silicic acid. Its presence has been associated with a general improvement of plant vigour and response to exogenous stresses. Plants accumulate silicon in their tissues as amorphous silica and cell walls are preferential sites. While several papers have been published on the mitigatory effects that silicon has on plants under stress, there has been less research on imaging silicon in plant tissues. Imaging offers important complementary results to molecular data, since it provides spatial information. Herein, the focus is on histochemistry coupled to optical microscopy, fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy of microwave acid extracted plant silica, techniques based on particle-induced X-ray emission, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and mass spectrometry imaging (NanoSIMS). Sample preparation procedures will not be discussed in detail, as several reviews have already treated this subject extensively. We focus instead on the information that each technique provides by offering, for each imaging approach, examples from both silicifiers (giant horsetail and rice) and non-accumulators (Cannabis sativa L.). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant, Algae and Fungi Cell Biology)
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Open AccessReview
Altered Mitochondrial Dynamics in Motor Neuron Disease: An Emerging Perspective
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1065; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041065 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Mitochondria plays privotal role in diverse pathways that regulate cellular function and survival, and have emerged as a prime focus in aging and age-associated motor neuron diseases (MNDs), such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Accumulating evidence suggests that many [...] Read more.
Mitochondria plays privotal role in diverse pathways that regulate cellular function and survival, and have emerged as a prime focus in aging and age-associated motor neuron diseases (MNDs), such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Accumulating evidence suggests that many amyloidogenic proteins, including MND-associated RNA/DNA-binding proteins fused in sarcoma (FUS) and TAR DNA binding protein (TDP)-43, are strongly linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. Animal model and patient studies have highlighted changes in mitochondrial structure, plasticity, replication/copy number, mitochondrial DNA instability, and altered membrane potential in several subsets of MNDs, and these observations are consistent with the evidence of increased excitotoxicity, induction of reactive oxygen species, and activation of intrinsic apoptotic pathways. Studies in MND rodent models also indicate that mitochondrial abnormalities begin prior to the clinical and pathological onset of the disease, suggesting a causal role of mitochondrial dysfunction. Our recent studies, which demonstrated the involvement of specific defects in DNA break-ligation mediated by DNA ligase 3 (LIG3) in FUS-associated ALS, raised a key question of its potential implication in mitochondrial DNA transactions because LIG3 is essential for both mitochondrial DNA replication and repair. This question, as well as how wild-type and mutant MND-associated factors affect mitochondria, remain to be elucidated. These new investigation avenues into the mechanistic role of mitochondrial dysfunction in MNDs are critical to identify therapeutic targets to alleviate mitochondrial toxicity and its consequences. In this article, we critically review recent advances in our understanding of mitochondrial dysfunction in diverse subgroups of MNDs and discuss challenges and future directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondrial Dynamics: Fusion and Fission)
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Open AccessArticle
AR/ER Ratio Correlates with Expression of Proliferation Markers and with Distinct Subset of Breast Tumors
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041064 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 349
Abstract
The co-expression of androgen (AR) and estrogen (ER) receptors, in terms of higher AR/ER ratio, has been recently associated with poor outcome in ER-positive (ER+) breast cancer (BC) patients. The aim of this study was to analyze if the biological aggressiveness, underlined in [...] Read more.
The co-expression of androgen (AR) and estrogen (ER) receptors, in terms of higher AR/ER ratio, has been recently associated with poor outcome in ER-positive (ER+) breast cancer (BC) patients. The aim of this study was to analyze if the biological aggressiveness, underlined in ER+ BC tumors with higher AR/ER ratio, could be due to higher expression of genes related to cell proliferation. On a cohort of 47 ER+ BC patients, the AR/ER ratio was assessed by immunohistochemistry and by mRNA analysis. The expression level of five gene proliferation markers was defined through TaqMan®-qPCR assays. Results were validated using 979 BC cases obtained from gene expression public databases. ER+ BC tumors with ratios of AR/ER ≥ 2 have higher expression levels of cellular proliferation genes than tumors with ratios of AR/ER < 2, in both the 47 ER+ BC patients (P < 0.001) and in the validation cohort (P = 0.005). Moreover, BC cases with ratios of AR/ER ≥ 2 of the validation cohort were mainly assigned to luminal B and HER2-enriched molecular subtypes, typically characterized by higher proliferation and poorer prognosis. These data suggest that joint routine evaluation of AR and ER expression may identify a unique subset of tumors, which show higher levels of cellular proliferation and therefore a more aggressive behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Receptor Signaling and Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Autophagy in Pancreatic Cancer: From Bench to the Dark Bedside
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041063 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancer types urgently requiring effective therapeutic strategies. Autophagy occurs in several compartments of pancreatic cancer tissue including cancer cells, cancer associated fibroblasts, and immune cells where it can be subjected to a multitude of stimulatory and [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancer types urgently requiring effective therapeutic strategies. Autophagy occurs in several compartments of pancreatic cancer tissue including cancer cells, cancer associated fibroblasts, and immune cells where it can be subjected to a multitude of stimulatory and inhibitory signals fine-tuning its activity. Therefore, the effects of autophagy on pancreatic carcinogenesis and progression differ in a stage and context dependent manner. In the initiation stage autophagy hinders development of preneoplastic lesions; in the progression stage however, autophagy promotes tumor growth. This double-edged action of autophagy makes it a hard therapeutic target. Indeed, autophagy inhibitors have not yet shown survival improvements in clinical trials, indicating a need for better evaluation of existing results and smarter targeting techniques. Clearly, the role of autophagy in pancreatic cancer is complex and many aspects have to be considered when moving from the bench to the bedside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Cancers: Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Inhibiting Monocyte Recruitment to Prevent the Pro-Tumoral Activity of Tumor-Associated Macrophages in Chondrosarcoma
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1062; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041062 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 394
Abstract
Chondrosarcomas (CHS) are malignant cartilaginous neoplasms with diverse morphological features, characterized by resistance to chemo- and radiation therapies. In this study, we investigated the role of tumor-associated macrophages (TAM)s in tumor tissues from CHS patients by immunohistochemistry. Three-dimensional organotypic co-cultures were set up [...] Read more.
Chondrosarcomas (CHS) are malignant cartilaginous neoplasms with diverse morphological features, characterized by resistance to chemo- and radiation therapies. In this study, we investigated the role of tumor-associated macrophages (TAM)s in tumor tissues from CHS patients by immunohistochemistry. Three-dimensional organotypic co-cultures were set up in order to evaluate the contribution of primary human CHS cells in driving an M2-like phenotype in monocyte-derived primary macrophages, and the capability of macrophages to promote growth and/or invasiveness of CHS cells. Finally, with an in vivo model of primary CHS cells engrafted in nude mice, we tested the ability of a potent peptide inhibitor of cell migration (Ac-d-Tyr-d-Arg-Aib-d-Arg-NH2, denoted RI-3) to reduce recruitment and infiltration of monocytes into CHS neoplastic lesions. We found a significant correlation between alternatively activated M2 macrophages and intratumor microvessel density in both conventional and dedifferentiated CHS human tissues, suggesting a link between TAM abundance and vascularization in CHS. In 3D and non-contact cu-culture models, soluble factors produced by CHS induced a M2-like phenotype in macrophages that, in turn, increased motility, invasion and matrix spreading of CHS cells. Finally, we present evidence that RI-3 successfully prevent both recruitment and infiltration of monocytes into CHS tissues, in nude mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Cancers: Bone Sarcomas)
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Open AccessArticle
Modification of Adenosine196 by Mettl3 Methyltransferase in the 5’-External Transcribed Spacer of 47S Pre-rRNA Affects rRNA Maturation
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041061 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 587
Abstract
Ribosome biogenesis is among the founding processes in the cell. During the first stages of ribosome biogenesis, polycistronic precursor of ribosomal RNA passes complex multistage maturation after transcription. Quality control of preribosomal RNA (pre-rRNA) processing is precisely regulated by non-ribosomal proteins and structural [...] Read more.
Ribosome biogenesis is among the founding processes in the cell. During the first stages of ribosome biogenesis, polycistronic precursor of ribosomal RNA passes complex multistage maturation after transcription. Quality control of preribosomal RNA (pre-rRNA) processing is precisely regulated by non-ribosomal proteins and structural features of pre-rRNA molecules, including modified nucleotides. However, many participants of rRNA maturation are still unknown or poorly characterized. We report that RNA m6A methyltransferase Mettl3 interacts with the 5′ external transcribed spacer (5′ETS) of the 47S rRNA precursor and modifies adenosine 196. We demonstrated that Mettl3 knockdown results in the increase of pre-rRNA processing rates, while intracellular amounts of rRNA processing machinery components (U3, U8, U13, U14, and U17 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA)and fibrillarin, nucleolin, Xrn2, and rrp9 proteins), rRNA degradation rates, and total amount of mature rRNA in the cell stay unchanged. Increased efficacy of pre-rRNA cleavage at A’ and A0 positions led to the decrease of 47S and 45S pre-rRNAs in the cell and increase of mature rRNA amount in the cytoplasm. The newly identified conserved motif DRACH sequence modified by Mettl3 in the 5′-ETS region is found and conserved only in primates, which may suggest participation of m6A196 in quality control of pre-rRNA processing at initial stages demanded by increased complexity of ribosome biogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ribosome Biogenesis in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Lithium Chloride and GSK3 Inhibition Reduce Aquaporin-2 Expression in Primary Cultured Inner Medullary Collecting Duct Cells Due to Independent Mechanisms
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041060 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 390
Abstract
Lithium chloride (LiCl) is a widely used drug for the treatment of bipolar disorders, but as a side effect, 40% of the patients develop diabetes insipidus. LiCl affects the activity of the glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3), and mice deficient for GSK3β showed [...] Read more.
Lithium chloride (LiCl) is a widely used drug for the treatment of bipolar disorders, but as a side effect, 40% of the patients develop diabetes insipidus. LiCl affects the activity of the glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3), and mice deficient for GSK3β showed a reduction in the urine concentration capability. The cellular and molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. We used primary cultured inner medullary collecting duct cells to analyze the underlying mechanisms. LiCl and the inhibitor of GSK3 (SB216763) induced a decrease in the aquaporin-2 (Aqp2) protein level. LiCl induced downregulation of Aqp2 mRNA expression while SB216763 had no effect and TWS119 led to increase in expression. The inhibition of the lysosomal activity with bafilomycin or chloroquine prevented both LiCl- and SB216763-mediated downregulation of Aqp2 protein expression. Bafilomycin and chloroquine induced the accumulation of Aqp2 in lysosomal structures, which was prevented in cells treated with dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (dbcAMP), which led to phosphorylation and membrane localization of Aqp2. Downregulation of Aqp2 was also evident when LiCl was applied together with dbcAMP, and dbcAMP prevented the SB216763-induced downregulation. We showed that LiCl and SB216763 induce downregulation of Aqp2 via different mechanisms. While LiCl also affected the mRNA level, SB216763 induced lysosmal degradation. Specific GSK3β inhibition had an opposite effect, indicating a more complex regulatory mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiopathology of Signaling Transmission in Renal Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Extracellular Vesicles isolated from Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Modulate CD4+ T Lymphocytes Toward a Regulatory Profile
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041059 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can generate immunological tolerance due to their regulatory activity in many immune cells. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) release is a pivotal mechanism by which MSCs exert their actions. In this study, we evaluate whether mesenchymal stromal cell extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs) [...] Read more.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can generate immunological tolerance due to their regulatory activity in many immune cells. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) release is a pivotal mechanism by which MSCs exert their actions. In this study, we evaluate whether mesenchymal stromal cell extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs) can modulate T cell response. MSCs were expanded and EVs were obtained by differential ultracentrifugation of the supernatant. The incorporation of MSC-EVs by T cells was detected by confocal microscopy. Expression of surface markers was detected by flow cytometry or CytoFLEX and cytokines were detected by RT-PCR, FACS and confocal microscopy and a miRNA PCR array was performed. We demonstrated that MSC-EVs were incorporated by lymphocytes in vitro and decreased T cell proliferation and Th1 differentiation. Interestingly, in Th1 polarization, MSC-EVs increased Foxp3 expression and generated a subpopulation of IFN-γ+/Foxp3+T cells with suppressive capacity. A differential expression profile of miRNAs in MSC-EVs-treated Th1 cells was seen, and also a modulation of one of their target genes, TGFbR2. MSC-EVs altered the metabolism of Th1-differentiated T cells, suggesting the involvement of the TGF-β pathway in this metabolic modulation. The addition of MSC-EVs in vivo, in an OVA immunization model, generated cells Foxp3+. Thus, our findings suggest that MSC-EVs are able to specifically modulate activated T cells at an alternative regulatory profile by miRNAs and metabolism shifting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ca2+–Calmodulin Dependent Wound Repair in Dictyostelium Cell Membrane
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041058 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Wound repair of cell membrane is a vital physiological phenomenon. We examined wound repair in Dictyostelium cells by using a laserporation, which we recently invented. We examined the influx of fluorescent dyes from the external medium and monitored the cytosolic Ca2+ after [...] Read more.
Wound repair of cell membrane is a vital physiological phenomenon. We examined wound repair in Dictyostelium cells by using a laserporation, which we recently invented. We examined the influx of fluorescent dyes from the external medium and monitored the cytosolic Ca2+ after wounding. The influx of Ca2+ through the wound pore was essential for wound repair. Annexin and ESCRT components accumulated at the wound site upon wounding as previously described in animal cells, but these were not essential for wound repair in Dictyostelium cells. We discovered that calmodulin accumulated at the wound site upon wounding, which was essential for wound repair. The membrane accumulated at the wound site to plug the wound pore by two-steps, depending on Ca2+ influx and calmodulin. From several lines of evidence, the membrane plug was derived from de novo generated vesicles at the wound site. Actin filaments also accumulated at the wound site, depending on Ca2+ influx and calmodulin. Actin accumulation was essential for wound repair, but microtubules were not essential. A molecular mechanism of wound repair will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanism for Wound Repair of Cell Membrane)
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Open AccessArticle
Chlorpromazine Induces Basolateral Aquaporin-2 Accumulation via F-Actin Depolymerization and Blockade of Endocytosis in Renal Epithelial Cells
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1057; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041057 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 373
Abstract
We previously showed that in polarized Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, aquaporin-2 (AQP2) is continuously targeted to the basolateral plasma membrane from which it is rapidly retrieved by clathrin-mediated endocytosis. It then undertakes microtubule-dependent transcytosis toward the apical plasma membrane. In this study, [...] Read more.
We previously showed that in polarized Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, aquaporin-2 (AQP2) is continuously targeted to the basolateral plasma membrane from which it is rapidly retrieved by clathrin-mediated endocytosis. It then undertakes microtubule-dependent transcytosis toward the apical plasma membrane. In this study, we found that treatment with chlorpromazine (CPZ, an inhibitor of clathrin-mediated endocytosis) results in AQP2 accumulation in the basolateral, but not the apical plasma membrane of epithelial cells. In MDCK cells, both AQP2 and clathrin were concentrated in the basolateral plasma membrane after CPZ treatment (100 µM for 15 min), and endocytosis was reduced. Then, using rhodamine phalloidin staining, we found that basolateral, but not apical, F-actin was selectively reduced by CPZ treatment. After incubation of rat kidney slices in situ with CPZ (200 µM for 15 min), basolateral AQP2 and clathrin were increased in principal cells, which simultaneously showed a significant decrease of basolateral compared to apical F-actin staining. These results indicate that clathrin-dependent transcytosis of AQP2 is an essential part of its trafficking pathway in renal epithelial cells and that this process can be inhibited by selectively depolymerizing the basolateral actin pool using CPZ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiopathology of Signaling Transmission in Renal Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
MiR-337-3p Promotes Adipocyte Browning by Inhibiting TWIST1
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041056 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 661
Abstract
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and obesity is an alarming health issue worldwide. Obesity is characterized by an excessive accumulation of white adipose tissue (WAT), and it is associated with diminished brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity. Twist1 acts as a negative feedback [...] Read more.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and obesity is an alarming health issue worldwide. Obesity is characterized by an excessive accumulation of white adipose tissue (WAT), and it is associated with diminished brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity. Twist1 acts as a negative feedback regulator of BAT metabolism. Therefore, targeting Twist1 could become a strategy for obesity and metabolic disease. Here, we have identified miR-337-3p as an upstream regulator of Twist1. Increased miR-337-3p expression paralleled decreased expression of TWIST1 in BAT compared to WAT. Overexpression of miR-337-3p in brown pre-adipocytes provoked a reduction in Twist1 expression that was accompanied by increased expression of brown/mitochondrial markers. Luciferase assays confirmed an interaction between the miR-337 seed sequence and Twist1 3′UTR. The inverse relationship between the expression of TWIST1 and miR-337 was finally validated in adipose tissue samples from non-MetS and MetS subjects that demonstrated a dysregulation of the miR-337-Twist1 molecular axis in MetS. The present study demonstrates that adipocyte miR-337-3p suppresses Twist1 repression and enhances the browning of adipocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms in Metabolic Disease)
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Open AccessReview
Mechanisms of the Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition and Tumor Microenvironment in Helicobacter pylori-Induced Gastric Cancer
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1055; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041055 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 551
Abstract
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is one of the most common human pathogens, affecting half of the world’s population. Approximately 20% of the infected patients develop gastric ulcers or neoplastic changes in the gastric stroma. An infection also leads to the progression [...] Read more.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is one of the most common human pathogens, affecting half of the world’s population. Approximately 20% of the infected patients develop gastric ulcers or neoplastic changes in the gastric stroma. An infection also leads to the progression of epithelial–mesenchymal transition within gastric tissue, increasing the probability of gastric cancer development. This paper aims to review the role of H. pylori and its virulence factors in epithelial–mesenchymal transition associated with malignant transformation within the gastric stroma. The reviewed factors included: CagA (cytotoxin-associated gene A) along with induction of cancer stem-cell properties and interaction with YAP (Yes-associated protein pathway), tumor necrosis factor α-inducing protein, Lpp20 lipoprotein, Afadin protein, penicillin-binding protein 1A, microRNA-29a-3p, programmed cell death protein 4, lysosomal-associated protein transmembrane 4β, cancer-associated fibroblasts, heparin-binding epidermal growth factor (HB-EGF), matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7), and cancer stem cells (CSCs). The review summarizes the most recent findings, providing insight into potential molecular targets and new treatment strategies for gastric cancer. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Exploring Biased Agonism at FPR1 as a Means to Encode Danger Sensing
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041054 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 472
Abstract
Ligand-based selectivity in signal transduction (biased signaling) is an emerging field of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) research and might allow the development of drugs with targeted activation profiles. Human formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) is a GPCR that detects potentially hazardous states characterized [...] Read more.
Ligand-based selectivity in signal transduction (biased signaling) is an emerging field of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) research and might allow the development of drugs with targeted activation profiles. Human formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) is a GPCR that detects potentially hazardous states characterized by the appearance of N-formylated peptides that originate from either bacteria or mitochondria during tissue destruction; however, the receptor also responds to several non-formylated agonists from various sources. We hypothesized that an additional layer of FPR signaling is encoded by biased agonism, thus allowing the discrimination of the source of threat. We resorted to the comparative analysis of FPR1 agonist-evoked responses across three prototypical GPCR signaling pathways, i.e., the inhibition of cAMP formation, receptor internalization, and ERK activation, and analyzed cellular responses elicited by several bacteria- and mitochondria-derived ligands. We also included the anti-inflammatory annexinA1 peptide Ac2-26 and two synthetic ligands, the W-peptide and the small molecule FPRA14. Compared to the endogenous agonists, the bacterial agonists displayed significantly higher potencies and efficacies. Selective pathway activation was not observed, as both groups were similarly biased towards the inhibition of cAMP formation. The general agonist bias in FPR1 signaling suggests a source-independent pathway selectivity for transmission of pro-inflammatory danger signaling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Annexin Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Lactate Increases Renal Cell Carcinoma Aggressiveness through Sirtuin 1-Dependent Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition Axis Regulation
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041053 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 377
Abstract
Background: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) displays a glycolytic phenotype (Warburg effect). Increased lactate production, impacting on tumor biology and microenvironment modulation, has been implicated in epigenetic mechanisms’ regulation, leading to histone deacetylases inhibition. Thus, in-depth knowledge of lactate’s impact on epigenome regulation of [...] Read more.
Background: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) displays a glycolytic phenotype (Warburg effect). Increased lactate production, impacting on tumor biology and microenvironment modulation, has been implicated in epigenetic mechanisms’ regulation, leading to histone deacetylases inhibition. Thus, in-depth knowledge of lactate’s impact on epigenome regulation of highly glycolytic tumors might allow for new therapeutic strategies. Herein, we investigated how extracellular lactate affected sirtuin 1 activity, a class III histone deacetylase (sirtuins, SIRTs) in RCC. Methods: In vitro and in vivo interactions between lactate and SIRT1 in RCC were investigated in normal kidney and RCC cell lines. Finally, SIRT1 and N-cadherin immunoexpression was assessed in human RCC and normal renal tissues. Results: Lactate inhibited SIRT1 expression in normal kidney and RCC cells, increasing global H3 and H3K9 acetylation. Cells exposed to lactate showed increased cell migration and invasion entailing a mesenchymal phenotype. Treatment with a SIRT1 inhibitor, nicotinamide (NAM), paralleled lactate effects, promoting cell aggressiveness. In contrast, alpha-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamate (CHC), a lactate transporter inhibitor, reversed them by blocking lactate transport. In vivo (chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay), lactate and NAM exposure were associated with increased tumor size and blood vessel recruitment, whereas CHC displayed the opposite effect. Moreover, primary RCC revealed N-cadherin upregulation whereas SIRT1 expression levels were downregulated compared to normal tissues. Conclusions: In RCC, lactate enhanced aggressiveness and modulated normal kidney cell phenotype, in part through downregulation of SIRT1, unveiling tumor metabolism as a promising therapeutic target. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Progenitor Cells Activated by Platelet Lysate in Human Articular Cartilage as a Tool for Future Cartilage Engineering and Reparative Strategies
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041052 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 373
Abstract
Regenerative strategies for human articular cartilage are still challenging despite the presence of resident progenitor cell population. Today, many efforts in the field of regenerative medicine focus on the use of platelet derivatives due to their ability to reactivate endogenous mechanisms supporting tissue [...] Read more.
Regenerative strategies for human articular cartilage are still challenging despite the presence of resident progenitor cell population. Today, many efforts in the field of regenerative medicine focus on the use of platelet derivatives due to their ability to reactivate endogenous mechanisms supporting tissue repair. While their use in orthopedics continues, mechanisms of action and efficacy need further characterization. We describe that the platelet lysate (PL) is able to activate chondro-progenitor cells in a terminally differentiated cartilage tissue. Primary cultures of human articular chondrocytes (ACs) and cartilage explants were set up from donor hip joint biopsies and were treated in vitro with PL. PL recruited a chondro-progenitors (CPCs)-enriched population from ex vivo cartilage culture, that showed high proliferation rate, clonogenicity and nestin expression. CPCs were positive for in vitro tri-lineage differentiation and formed hyaline cartilage-like tissue in vivo without hypertrophic fate. Moreover, the secretory profile of CPCs was analyzed, together with their migratory capabilities. Some CPC-features were also induced in PL-treated ACs compared to fetal bovine serum (FBS)-control ACs. PL treatment of human articular cartilage activates a stem cell niche responsive to injury. These facts can improve the PL therapeutic efficacy in cartilage applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intraglomerular Monocyte/Macrophage Infiltration and Macrophage–Myofibroblast Transition during Diabetic Nephropathy Is Regulated by the A2B Adenosine Receptor
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1051; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041051 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 299
Abstract
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is considered the main cause of kidney disease in which myofibroblasts lead to renal fibrosis. Macrophages were recently identified as the major source of myofibroblasts in a process known as macrophage–myofibroblast transition (MMT). Adenosine levels increase during DN and in [...] Read more.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is considered the main cause of kidney disease in which myofibroblasts lead to renal fibrosis. Macrophages were recently identified as the major source of myofibroblasts in a process known as macrophage–myofibroblast transition (MMT). Adenosine levels increase during DN and in vivo administration of MRS1754, an antagonist of the A2B adenosine receptor (A2BAR), attenuated glomerular fibrosis (glomerulosclerosis). We aimed to investigate the association between A2BAR and MMT in glomerulosclerosis during DN. Kidneys/glomeruli of non-diabetic, diabetic, and MRS1754-treated diabetic (DM+MRS1754) rats were processed for histopathologic, transcriptomic, flow cytometry, and cellular in vitro analyses. Macrophages were used for in vitro cell migration/transmigration assays and MMT studies. In vivo MRS1754 treatment attenuated the clinical and histopathological signs of glomerulosclerosis in DN rats. Transcriptomic analysis demonstrated a decrease in chemokine-chemoattractants/cell-adhesion genes of monocytes/macrophages in DM+MRS1754 glomeruli. The number of intraglomerular infiltrated macrophages and MMT cells increased in diabetic rats. This was reverted by MRS1754 treatment. In vitro cell migration/transmigration decreased in macrophages treated with MRS1754. Human macrophages cultured with adenosine and/or TGF-β induced MMT, a process which was reduced by MRS1754. We concluded that pharmacologic blockade of A2BAR attenuated some clinical signs of renal dysfunction and glomerulosclerosis, and decreased intraglomerular macrophage infiltration and MMT in DN rats. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Satellite Cells in Skeletal Muscle of the Hibernating Dormouse, a Natural Model of Quiescence and Re-Activation: Focus on the Cell Nucleus
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1050; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041050 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 317
Abstract
Satellite cells (SCs) participate in skeletal muscle plasticity/regeneration. Activation of SCs implies that nuclear changes underpin a new functional status. In hibernating mammals, periods of reduced metabolic activity alternate with arousals and resumption of bodily functions, thereby leading to repeated cell deactivation and [...] Read more.
Satellite cells (SCs) participate in skeletal muscle plasticity/regeneration. Activation of SCs implies that nuclear changes underpin a new functional status. In hibernating mammals, periods of reduced metabolic activity alternate with arousals and resumption of bodily functions, thereby leading to repeated cell deactivation and reactivation. In hibernation, muscle fibers are preserved despite long periods of immobilization. The structural and functional characteristics of SC nuclei during hibernation have not been investigated yet. Using ultrastructural and immunocytochemical analysis, we found that the SCs of the hibernating edible dormouse, Glis glis, did not show apoptosis or necrosis. Moreover, their nuclei were typical of quiescent cells, showing similar amounts and distributions of heterochromatin, pre-mRNA transcription and processing factors, as well as paired box protein 7 (Pax7) and the myogenic differentiation transcription factor D (MyoD), as in euthermia. However, the finding of accumulated perichromatin granules (i.e., sites of storage/transport of spliced pre-mRNA) in SC nuclei of hibernating dormice suggested slowing down of the nucleus-to-cytoplasm transport. We conclude that during hibernation, SC nuclei maintain similar transcription and splicing activity as in euthermia, indicating an unmodified status during immobilization and hypometabolism. Skeletal muscle preservation during hibernation is presumably not due to SC activation, but rather to the maintenance of some functional activity in myofibers that is able to counteract muscle wasting. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mechanistic Paradigms of Natural Plant Metabolites as Remedial Candidates for Systemic Lupus Erythromatosus
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041049 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 2360
Abstract
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disorder involving a dysregulated immune response which ultimately leads to multiple organ failure. Several immunological and cellular checkpoints are available as drug targets. However, the available chemosynthetic drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids [...] Read more.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disorder involving a dysregulated immune response which ultimately leads to multiple organ failure. Several immunological and cellular checkpoints are available as drug targets. However, the available chemosynthetic drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids provide limited therapy with extreme toxicities. Moreover, the disease heterogeneity in SLE is very difficult to manage by a single drug component. Hence, it is imperative to utilize the holistic capabilities of natural plant products as immunomodulators and intracellular signaling regulators, thereby providing an auxiliary option of treatment. Additionally, the herbal drugs also serve as symptomatic relief providers, thereby serving as a prophylactic remedy in case of cerebrovascular, hepatic, nephropathological, hematological, cardiopulmonary, mucocutaneous and musculoskeletal manifestations of SLE. The present review attempts to showcase the current state of knowledge regarding the utility of plant-derived phyto-metabolites with their probable mechanistic roles in treating SLE, by means of targeting the signaling cascade, proinflammatory cytokine production and B–T cell co-stimulation. It is hoped that further preclinical and clinical studies will be embarked upon in order to understand the underlying therapeutic and mechanistic aspects of these medicinal herbs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
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Open AccessCommunication
VEGF Treatment Ameliorates Depression-Like Behavior in Adult Offspring after Maternal Immune Activation
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041048 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Maternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy impacts offspring neurodevelopmental trajectories and induces lifelong consequences, including emotional and cognitive alterations. Using the polyinosinic:polycytidilic acid (PIC) MIA model we have previously demonstrated enhanced depression-like behavior in adult MIA offspring, which was associated with reduced expression [...] Read more.
Maternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy impacts offspring neurodevelopmental trajectories and induces lifelong consequences, including emotional and cognitive alterations. Using the polyinosinic:polycytidilic acid (PIC) MIA model we have previously demonstrated enhanced depression-like behavior in adult MIA offspring, which was associated with reduced expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2 (VEGFR2) in the hippocampus. Since VEGF mediates the effects of various antidepressant agents, we here set out to explore whether VEGF administration could rescue the depression-like behavioral deficits in MIA offspring. To test our hypothesis, control and MIA offspring were intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) infused with either VEGF or vehicle solution and depression-related behavior was assessed in the sucrose preference test (SPT) and the tail suspension test (TST). As a surrogate of VEGF activity, the phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in hippocampus was quantified. We found that VEGF treatment reduced depression-related behavioral despair in the TST in MIA offspring but had no effect on anhedonia-like behavior in the SPT. While VEGF administration induced the phosphorylation of ERK in the hippocampus of control offspring, this effect was blunted in the MIA offspring. We conclude that VEGF administration, at the dosage tested, beneficially affects some aspects of the depression-like phenotype in the adult MIA offspring, inviting further studies using different dosage regimes to further explore the therapeutic potential of VEGF treatment in MIA-related changes in brain function and behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotrophic Factors in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessReview
The P2X7 Receptor and NLRP3 Axis in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Brief Review
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1047; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041047 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 510
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide, and its prevalence is reaching epidemic characteristics both in adults and in children. The increase of NAFLD prevalence parallels that of obesity, now representing the major cause of liver inflammation, increasing [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide, and its prevalence is reaching epidemic characteristics both in adults and in children. The increase of NAFLD prevalence parallels that of obesity, now representing the major cause of liver inflammation, increasing the risk of cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma. Furthermore, NAFLD is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, two of the major leading causes of morbidity and mortality in western countries. Thus a significant amount of studies have dealt with the evaluation of the possible molecular mechanisms leading to NAFLD and its inflammatory consequences within the liver, the non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and cirrhosis. The inflammasome is a key player in the inflammation and fibrogenic responses in many different tissues, including the liver. The activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome requires the activation by extracellular adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) of a specific purinergic receptor named P2X7 located in the target cells, although other pathways have been described. To this regard, extracellular ATP acts as an internal danger signal coming from damaged cells participating in the activation of the inflammatory process, a signaling pathway common to many different tissues. Here, we briefly review the involvement of the P2X7 receptor/inflammasome NLRP3 axis in the pathophysiological events leading to NAFLD and its inflammatory and fibrotic evolutions, reporting the possible therapeutical strategies targeting the P2X7 receptor/NLRP3 inflammasome. Full article
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Open AccessReview
HSF1: Primary Factor in Molecular Chaperone Expression and a Major Contributor to Cancer Morbidity
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041046 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 495
Abstract
Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is the primary component for initiation of the powerful heat shock response (HSR) in eukaryotes. The HSR is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for responding to proteotoxic stress and involves the rapid expression of heat shock protein (HSP) molecular [...] Read more.
Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is the primary component for initiation of the powerful heat shock response (HSR) in eukaryotes. The HSR is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for responding to proteotoxic stress and involves the rapid expression of heat shock protein (HSP) molecular chaperones that promote cell viability by facilitating proteostasis. HSF1 activity is amplified in many tumor contexts in a manner that resembles a chronic state of stress, characterized by high levels of HSP gene expression as well as HSF1-mediated non-HSP gene regulation. HSF1 and its gene targets are essential for tumorigenesis across several experimental tumor models, and facilitate metastatic and resistant properties within cancer cells. Recent studies have suggested the significant potential of HSF1 as a therapeutic target and have motivated research efforts to understand the mechanisms of HSF1 regulation and develop methods for pharmacological intervention. We review what is currently known regarding the contribution of HSF1 activity to cancer pathology, its regulation and expression across human cancers, and strategies to target HSF1 for cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Chaperones: Cancer and Cell Death)
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Open AccessArticle
Association Analysis of Single-Cell RNA Sequencing and Proteomics Reveals a Vital Role of Ca2+ Signaling in the Determination of Skeletal Muscle Development Potential
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1045; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041045 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 484
Abstract
This study is aimed at exploring the mechanism underlying the homeostasis between myogenesis and adipogenesis in skeletal muscle using a special porcine model with a distinct phenotype on muscle growth rate and intramuscular fat deposition. Differentiation potential of muscle-derived Myo-lineage cells of lean-type [...] Read more.
This study is aimed at exploring the mechanism underlying the homeostasis between myogenesis and adipogenesis in skeletal muscle using a special porcine model with a distinct phenotype on muscle growth rate and intramuscular fat deposition. Differentiation potential of muscle-derived Myo-lineage cells of lean-type pigs was significantly enhanced relative to obese-type pigs, while that of their Adi-lineage cells was similar. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed that lean-type pigs reserved a higher proportion of Myo-lineage cells in skeletal muscle relative to obese-type pigs. Besides, Myo-lineage cells of the lean-type pig settled closer to the original stage of muscle-derived progenitor cells. Proteomics analysis found that differentially expressed proteins between two sources of Myo-lineage cells are mainly involved in muscle development, cell proliferation and differentiation, ion homeostasis, apoptosis, and the MAPK signaling pathway. The regulation of intracellular ion homeostasis, Ca2+ in particular, significantly differed between two sources of Myo-lineage cells. Ca2+ concentration in both cytoplasm and endoplasmic reticulum was lower in Myo-lineage cells of lean-type pigs relative to obese-type pigs. In conclusion, a higher proportion and stronger differentiation capacity of Myo-lineage cells are the main causes for the higher capability of myogenic differentiation and lower intramuscular fat deposition. Relative low concentration of cellular Ca2+ is advantageous for Myo-lineage cells to keep a potent differentiation potential. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Sorting Mechanisms for MicroRNAs into Extracellular Vesicles and Their Associated Diseases
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1044; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041044 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 756
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EV) are secretory membranous elements used by cells to transport proteins, lipids, mRNAs, and microRNAs (miRNAs). While their existence has been known for many years, only recently has research begun to identify their function in intercellular communication and gene regulation. Importantly, [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EV) are secretory membranous elements used by cells to transport proteins, lipids, mRNAs, and microRNAs (miRNAs). While their existence has been known for many years, only recently has research begun to identify their function in intercellular communication and gene regulation. Importantly, cells have the ability to selectively sort miRNA into EVs for secretion to nearby or distant targets. These mechanisms broadly include RNA-binding proteins such as hnRNPA2B1 and Argonaute-2, but also membranous proteins involved in EV biogenesis such as Caveolin-1 and Neural Sphingomyelinase 2. Moreover, certain disease states have also identified dysregulated EV-miRNA content, shedding light on the potential role of selective sorting in pathogenesis. These pathologies include chronic lung disease, immune response, neuroinflammation, diabetes mellitus, cancer, and heart disease. In this review, we will overview the mechanisms whereby cells selectively sort miRNA into EVs and also outline disease states where EV-miRNAs become dysregulated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Applications of Extracellular Vesicles)
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Open AccessReview
A STAT3 of Addiction: Adipose Tissue, Adipocytokine Signalling and STAT3 as Mediators of Metabolic Remodelling in the Tumour Microenvironment
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1043; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041043 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Metabolic remodelling of the tumour microenvironment is a major mechanism by which cancer cells survive and resist treatment. The pro-oncogenic inflammatory cascade released by adipose tissue promotes oncogenic transformation, proliferation, angiogenesis, metastasis and evasion of apoptosis. STAT3 has emerged as an important mediator [...] Read more.
Metabolic remodelling of the tumour microenvironment is a major mechanism by which cancer cells survive and resist treatment. The pro-oncogenic inflammatory cascade released by adipose tissue promotes oncogenic transformation, proliferation, angiogenesis, metastasis and evasion of apoptosis. STAT3 has emerged as an important mediator of metabolic remodelling. As a downstream effector of adipocytokines and cytokines, its canonical and non-canonical activities affect mitochondrial functioning and cancer metabolism. In this review, we examine the central role played by the crosstalk between the transcriptional and mitochondrial roles of STAT3 to promote survival and further oncogenesis within the tumour microenvironment with a particular focus on adipose-breast cancer interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of STAT3 Signaling Pathway in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Regulation of the RhoGAP GRAF3 and Its Capacity to Limit Blood Pressure In Vivo
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1042; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041042 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 292
Abstract
Anti-hypertensive therapies are usually prescribed empirically and are often ineffective. Given the prevalence and deleterious outcomes of hypertension (HTN), improved strategies are needed. We reported that the Rho-GAP GRAF3 is selectively expressed in smooth muscle cells (SMC) and controls blood pressure (BP) by [...] Read more.
Anti-hypertensive therapies are usually prescribed empirically and are often ineffective. Given the prevalence and deleterious outcomes of hypertension (HTN), improved strategies are needed. We reported that the Rho-GAP GRAF3 is selectively expressed in smooth muscle cells (SMC) and controls blood pressure (BP) by limiting the RhoA-dependent contractility of resistance arterioles. Importantly, genetic variants at the GRAF3 locus controls BP in patients. The goal of this study was to validate GRAF3 as a druggable candidate for future anti-HTN therapies. Importantly, using a novel mouse model, we found that modest induction of GRAF3 in SMC significantly decreased basal and vasoconstrictor-induced BP. Moreover, we found that GRAF3 protein toggles between inactive and active states by processes controlled by the mechano-sensing kinase, focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Using resonance energy transfer methods, we showed that agonist-induced FAK-dependent phosphorylation at Y376GRAF3 reverses an auto-inhibitory interaction between the GAP and BAR-PH domains. Y376 is located in a linker between the PH and GAP domains and is invariant in GRAF3 homologues and a phosphomimetic E376GRAF3 variant exhibited elevated GAP activity. Collectively, these data provide strong support for the future identification of allosteric activators of GRAF3 for targeted anti-hypertensive therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GTPase Pathways in Health and Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
The Emerging Role of MicroRNAs in NAFLD: Highlight of MicroRNA-29a in Modulating Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Beyond
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1041; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041041 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common cause of chronic liver disease and ranges from steatosis to steatohepatitis and to liver fibrosis. Lipotoxicity in hepatocytes, elevated oxidative stress and the activation of proinflammatory mediators of Kupffer cells, and fibrogenic pathways of activated [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common cause of chronic liver disease and ranges from steatosis to steatohepatitis and to liver fibrosis. Lipotoxicity in hepatocytes, elevated oxidative stress and the activation of proinflammatory mediators of Kupffer cells, and fibrogenic pathways of activated hepatic stellate cells can contribute to the development of NAFLD. MicroRNAs (miRs) play a crucial role in the dysregulated metabolism and inflammatory signaling connected with NAFLD and its progression towards more severe stages. Of note, the protective effect of non-coding miR-29a on liver damage and its versatile action on epigenetic activity, mitochondrial homeostasis and immunomodulation may improve our perception of the pathogenesis of NAFLD. Herein, we review the biological functions of critical miRs in NAFLD, as well as highlight the emerging role of miR-29a in therapeutic application and the recent advances in molecular mechanisms underlying its liver protective effect. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
E-Cadherin in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: A Multifaceted Actor during EMT
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1040; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041040 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 554
Abstract
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a step-wise process observed in normal and tumor cells leading to a switch from epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype. In tumors, EMT provides cancer cells with a metastatic phenotype characterized by E-cadherin down-regulation, cytoskeleton reorganization, motile and invasive potential. E-cadherin [...] Read more.
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a step-wise process observed in normal and tumor cells leading to a switch from epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype. In tumors, EMT provides cancer cells with a metastatic phenotype characterized by E-cadherin down-regulation, cytoskeleton reorganization, motile and invasive potential. E-cadherin down-regulation is known as a key event during EMT. However, E-cadherin expression can be influenced by the different experimental settings and environmental stimuli so that the paradigm of EMT based on the loss of E-cadherin determining tumor cell behavior and fate often becomes an open question. In this review, we aimed at focusing on some critical points in order to improve the knowledge of the dynamic role of epithelial cells plasticity in EMT and, specifically, address the role of E-cadherin as a marker for the EMT axis. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Wendy L. Havran, PhD: 1955–2020
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1039; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041039 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Wendy Havran, Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Scripps Research, passed away on January 20th, 2020 following a heart attack [...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Structural and Biophysical Insights into the Function of the Intrinsically Disordered Myc Oncoprotein
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041038 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 497
Abstract
Myc is a transcription factor driving growth and proliferation of cells and involved in the majority of human tumors. Despite a huge body of literature on this critical oncogene, our understanding of the exact molecular determinants and mechanisms that underlie its function is [...] Read more.
Myc is a transcription factor driving growth and proliferation of cells and involved in the majority of human tumors. Despite a huge body of literature on this critical oncogene, our understanding of the exact molecular determinants and mechanisms that underlie its function is still surprisingly limited. Indubitably though, its crucial and non-redundant role in cancer biology makes it an attractive target. However, achieving successful clinical Myc inhibition has proven challenging so far, as this nuclear protein is an intrinsically disordered polypeptide devoid of any classical ligand binding pockets. Indeed, Myc only adopts a (partially) folded structure in some contexts and upon interacting with some protein partners, for instance when dimerizing with MAX to bind DNA. Here, we review the cumulative knowledge on Myc structure and biophysics and discuss the implications for its biological function and the development of improved Myc inhibitors. We focus this biophysical walkthrough mainly on the basic region helix–loop–helix leucine zipper motif (bHLHLZ), as it has been the principal target for inhibitory approaches so far. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation and Function of the Myc Oncogene)
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Open AccessArticle
A Matter of Choice: Inhibition of c-Rel Shifts Neuronal to Oligodendroglial Fate in Human Stem Cells
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1037; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041037 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 430
Abstract
The molecular mechanisms underlying fate decisions of human neural stem cells (hNSCs) between neurogenesis and gliogenesis are critical during neuronal development and neurodegenerative diseases. Despite its crucial role in the murine nervous system, the potential role of the transcription factor NF-κB in the [...] Read more.
The molecular mechanisms underlying fate decisions of human neural stem cells (hNSCs) between neurogenesis and gliogenesis are critical during neuronal development and neurodegenerative diseases. Despite its crucial role in the murine nervous system, the potential role of the transcription factor NF-κB in the neuronal development of hNSCs is poorly understood. Here, we analyzed NF-κB subunit distribution during glutamatergic differentiation of hNSCs originating from neural crest-derived stem cells. We observed several peaks of specific NF-κB subunits. The most prominent nuclear peak was shown by c-REL subunit during a period of 2–5 days after differentiation onset. Furthermore, c-REL inhibition with pentoxifylline (PTXF) resulted in a complete shift towards oligodendroglial fate, as demonstrated by the presence of OLIG2+/O4+-oligodendrocytes, which showed PDGFRα, NG2 and MBP at the transcript level. In addition c-REL impairment further produced a significant decrease in neuronal survival. Transplantation of PTXF-treated predifferentiated hNSCs into an ex vivo oxidative-stress-mediated demyelination model of mouse organotypic cerebellar slices further led to integration in the white matter and differentiation into MBP+ oligodendrocytes, validating their functionality and therapeutic potential. In summary, we present a human cellular model of neuronal differentiation exhibiting a novel essential function of NF-κB-c-REL in fate choice between neurogenesis and oligodendrogenesis which will potentially be relevant for multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neural Stem Cell Systems to Study Brain Development and Diseases)
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