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Biology, Volume 10, Issue 4 (April 2021) – 98 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Genome organization shapes the “traffic patterns" of transcriptional regulators. The DNA-binding protein, CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) and the ring-shaped cohesin complex, regulate the three-dimensional (3D) organization of the genome by establishing chromatin loops that form topologically associating domains (TADs) and sub-TADs. To make DNA accessible or inaccessible to these players, ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers are likely required to mobilize the nucleosomes; however, studies elucidating the intersection between chromatin remodeling and 3D genome organization are only just emerging. This review highlights established and potential roles for specific remodelers in regulating various aspects of CTCF/cohesin-mediated genome organization. View this paper.
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Article
Lactobacillus Sps in Reducing the Risk of Diabetes in High-Fat Diet-Induced Diabetic Mice by Modulating the Gut Microbiome and Inhibiting Key Digestive Enzymes Associated with Diabetes
Biology 2021, 10(4), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040348 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1296
Abstract
Obesity caused by a high-fat diet (HFD) affects gut microbiota linked to the risk of type-2 diabetes (T2D). This study evaluates live cells and ethanolic extract (SEL) of Lactobacillus sakei Probio65 and Lactobacillus plantarum Probio-093 as natural anti-diabetic compounds. In-vitro anti-diabetic effects were [...] Read more.
Obesity caused by a high-fat diet (HFD) affects gut microbiota linked to the risk of type-2 diabetes (T2D). This study evaluates live cells and ethanolic extract (SEL) of Lactobacillus sakei Probio65 and Lactobacillus plantarum Probio-093 as natural anti-diabetic compounds. In-vitro anti-diabetic effects were determined based on the inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase enzymes. The SEL of Probio65 and Probio-093 significantly retarded α-glucosidase and α-amylase enzymes (p < 0.05). Live Probio65 and Probio-093 inhibited α-glucosidase and α-amylase, respectively (p < 0.05). In mice fed with a 45% kcal high-fat diet (HFD), the SEL and live cells of both strains reduced body weight significantly compared to HFD control (p < 0.05). Probio-093 also improved blood glucose level compared to control (p < 0.05). The gut microbiota modulatory effects of lactobacilli on HFD-induced diabetic mice were analyzed with qPCR method. The SEL and live cells of both strains reduced phyla Deferribacteres compared to HFD control (p < 0.05). The SEL and live cells of Probio-093 promoted more Actinobacteria (phyla), Bifidobacterium, and Prevotella (genus) compared to control (p < 0.05). Both strains exerted metabolic-modulatory effects, with strain Probio-093 showing more prominent alteration in gut microbiota, substantiating the role of probiotics in gut microbiome modulations and anti-diabetic effect. Both lactobacilli are potential candidates to lessen obesity-linked T2D. Full article
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Article
Quadruplex-Forming Motif Inserted into 3′UTR of Ty1his3-AI Retrotransposon Inhibits Retrotransposition in Yeast
Biology 2021, 10(4), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040347 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1063
Abstract
Guanine quadruplexes (G4s) serve as regulators of replication, recombination and gene expression. G4 motifs have been recently identified in LTR retrotransposons, but their role in the retrotransposon life-cycle is yet to be understood. Therefore, we inserted G4s into the 3′UTR of Ty1his3-AI retrotransposon [...] Read more.
Guanine quadruplexes (G4s) serve as regulators of replication, recombination and gene expression. G4 motifs have been recently identified in LTR retrotransposons, but their role in the retrotransposon life-cycle is yet to be understood. Therefore, we inserted G4s into the 3′UTR of Ty1his3-AI retrotransposon and measured the frequency of retrotransposition in yeast strains BY4741, Y00509 (without Pif1 helicase) and with G4-stabilization by N-methyl mesoporphyrin IX (NMM) treatment. We evaluated the impact of G4s on mRNA levels by RT-qPCR and products of reverse transcription by Southern blot analysis. We found that the presence of G4 inhibited Ty1his3-AI retrotransposition. The effect was stronger when G4s were on a transcription template strand which leads to reverse transcription interruption. Both NMM and Pif1p deficiency reduced the retrotransposition irrespective of the presence of a G4 motif in the Ty1his3-AI element. Quantity of mRNA and products of reverse transcription did not fully explain the impact of G4s on Ty1his3-AI retrotransposition indicating that G4s probably affect some other steps of the retrotransposon life-cycle (e.g., translation, VLP formation, integration). Our results suggest that G4 DNA conformation can tune the activity of mobile genetic elements that in turn contribute to shaping the eukaryotic genomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation of Mobile Genetic Elements at the Molecular Level)
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Review
ERK1/2: An Integrator of Signals That Alters Cardiac Homeostasis and Growth
Biology 2021, 10(4), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040346 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1079
Abstract
Integration of cellular responses to extracellular cues is essential for cell survival and adaptation to stress. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1 and 2 serve an evolutionarily conserved role for intracellular signal transduction that proved critical for cardiomyocyte homeostasis and cardiac stress responses. Considering [...] Read more.
Integration of cellular responses to extracellular cues is essential for cell survival and adaptation to stress. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1 and 2 serve an evolutionarily conserved role for intracellular signal transduction that proved critical for cardiomyocyte homeostasis and cardiac stress responses. Considering the importance of ERK1/2 in the heart, understanding how these kinases operate in both normal and disease states is critical. Here, we review the complexity of upstream and downstream signals that govern ERK1/2-dependent regulation of cardiac structure and function. Particular emphasis is given to cardiomyocyte hypertrophy as an outcome of ERK1/2 activation regulation in the heart. Full article
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Article
A New Approach to Quantifying Bioaccumulation of Elements in Biological Processes
Biology 2021, 10(4), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040345 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 743
Abstract
Bioaccumulation, expressed as the bioaccumulation factor (BAF), is a phenomenon widely investigated in the natural environment and at laboratory scale. However, the BAF is more suitable for ecological studies, while in small-scale experiments it has limitations, which are discussed in this article. We [...] Read more.
Bioaccumulation, expressed as the bioaccumulation factor (BAF), is a phenomenon widely investigated in the natural environment and at laboratory scale. However, the BAF is more suitable for ecological studies, while in small-scale experiments it has limitations, which are discussed in this article. We propose a new indicator, the bioaccumulation index (BAI). The BAI takes into account the initial load of test elements, which are added to the experimental system together with the biomass of the organism. This offers the opportunity to explore the phenomena related to the bioaccumulation and, contrary to the BAF, can also reveal the dilution of element concentration in the organism. The BAF can overestimate bioaccumulation, and in an extremal situation, when the dilution of element concentration during organism growth occurs, the BAF may produce completely opposite results to the BAI. In one of the examples presented in this work (Tschirner and Simon, 2015), the concentration of phosphorous in fly larvae was lower after the experiment than in the younger larvae before the experiment. Because the phosphorous concentration in the feed was low, the BAF indicated a high bioaccumulation of this element (BAF = 14.85). In contrast, the BAI showed element dilution, which is a more realistic situation (BAI = −0.32). By taking more data into account, the BAI seems to be more valid in determining bioaccumulation, especially in the context of entomoremediation research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology)
Article
Phytochemicals, Antioxidant Attributes and Larvicidal Activity of Mercurialis annua L. (Euphorbiaceae) Leaf Extracts against Tribolium confusum (Du Val) Larvae (Coleoptera; Tenebrionidae)
Biology 2021, 10(4), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040344 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1035
Abstract
This study reports the link between larvicidal activity and the phytochemical composition of male and female leaf extracts of Mercurialis annua L. (M. annua) from four Tunisian regions: Bizerte, Jandouba, Nabeul and Beja. Their antioxidant activity was evaluated using DPPH [...] Read more.
This study reports the link between larvicidal activity and the phytochemical composition of male and female leaf extracts of Mercurialis annua L. (M. annua) from four Tunisian regions: Bizerte, Jandouba, Nabeul and Beja. Their antioxidant activity was evaluated using DPPH (2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) assays. Phenolic compounds were identified and quantified using liquid chromatography coupled with a UV detector and mass spectrometry (LC-UV-ESI/MS). Higher antioxidant activity (AOA) was found in the leaves of male plant extracts than of female ones. The leaves of male and female plant extracts from Bizerte exhibited the highest AOA: 22.04 and 22.78 mg Trolox equivalent/g dry matter (mg TE/g DM), respectively. For both sexes, plant extracts from Beja had the lowest AOA with 19.71 and 19.67 mg TE/g DM for male and female plants, respectively. Some phenolic compounds such as narcissin, gallocatechin, rutin, epigallocatechin and epicatechin were identified and quantified using LC-MS, which highlighted the abundance of narcissin and rutin in the male leaves of M. annua. We noted that the interaction between the sex of plants and the provenance had a significant effect on TFC (F = 6.63; p = 0.004) and AOA (F = 6.53; p = 0.004) assays, but there was no interaction between sex and origins for TPC (F = 1.76; p = 0.19). The larvicidal activity of aqueous leaf extracts of M. annua against Tribolium confusum (Du Val) (T. confusum), an insect pest of flour and cereal seeds, showed that the mortality could reach 100% after 48 h of exposure in the Bizerte region. The LC50 values for the leaf extract were low in Bizerte, with 0.003 and 0.009 g/mL for male and female plants, respectively, succeeded by Jandouba, which displayed 0.006 and 0.024 g/mL for male and female plants, respectively. Nabeul showed 0.025 g/mL for male plants and 0.046 g/mL for female plants and Beja showed 0.037 and 0.072 g/mL for male and female plants, respectively. This is the first time that a study has revealed a negative correlation between the antioxidant activity and the larvicidal activity of the leaf extracts of M. annua with the following correlation coefficients of Perason: r = −0.975 and r = −0.760 for male and female plants, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Biology)
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Article
Identification of Differential N-Glycan Compositions in the Serum and Tissue of Colon Cancer Patients by Mass Spectrometry
Biology 2021, 10(4), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040343 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks second as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. N-glycosylation is one of the most common posttranslational protein modifications. Therefore, we studied the total serum N-glycome (TSNG) of 13 colon cancer patients compared to healthy controls using MALDI-TOF/MS and [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks second as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. N-glycosylation is one of the most common posttranslational protein modifications. Therefore, we studied the total serum N-glycome (TSNG) of 13 colon cancer patients compared to healthy controls using MALDI-TOF/MS and LC-MS. N-glycosylation of cancer tumor samples from the same cohort were further quantified using a similar methodology. In total, 23 N-glycan compositions were down-regulated in the serum of colon cancer patients, mostly galactosylated forms whilst the mannose-rich HexNAc2Hex7, the fucosylated bi-antennary glycan HexNAc4Hex5Fuc1NeuAc2, and the tetra-antennary HexNAc6Hex7NeuAc3 were up-regulated in serum. Hierarchical clustering analysis of TSNG correctly singled out 85% of the patients from controls. Albeit heterogenous, N-glycosylation of tumor samples showed overrepresented oligomannosidic, bi-antennary hypogalactosylated, and branched compositions related to normal colonic tissue, in both MALDI-TOF/MS and LC-MS analysis. Moreover, compositions found upregulated in tumor tissue were mostly uncorrelated to compositions in serum of cancer patients. Mass spectrometry-based N-glycan profiling in serum shows potential in the discrimination of patients from healthy controls. However, the compositions profile in serum showed no parallel with N-glycans in tumor microenvironment, which suggests a different origin of compositions found in serum of cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Biology)
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Editorial
Ancient Immunity. Phylogenetic Emergence of Recognition-Defense Mechanisms
Biology 2021, 10(4), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040342 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 741
Abstract
Although still scarcely considered by the majority of the biomedical world, invertebrates have greatly contributed to the elucidation of fundamental biological problems [...] Full article
Article
Genetic Diversity in Diospyros Germplasm in the Western Caucasus Based on SSR and ISSR Polymorphism
Biology 2021, 10(4), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040341 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
Persimmon germplasm in the Western Caucasus represent one of the most northerly collections. In our study, 51 commercial cultivars of D. kaki, 3 accessions of D. virginiana and 57 D. lotus accessions from six geographically distant populations were investigated using 19 microsatellite [...] Read more.
Persimmon germplasm in the Western Caucasus represent one of the most northerly collections. In our study, 51 commercial cultivars of D. kaki, 3 accessions of D. virginiana and 57 D. lotus accessions from six geographically distant populations were investigated using 19 microsatellite and 10 inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. After STRUCTURE analysis, the single accessions of Diospyros were allocated to three genetic clusters. Genetic admixtures in the important genotypes of D. kaki were revealed, whereas D. lotus accessions showed no admixture with other genetic clusters. The correspondence of genetic data and phenotypical traits was estimated in the D. kaki collection. The most frost tolerant genotypes of the collection, such as “Mountain Rogers”, “Nikitskaya Bordovaya”, “Rossiyanka”, “MVG Omarova”, “Meader”, “Costata”, “BBG”, and “Jiro”, showed a high percentage of genetic admixtures and were grouped close to D. virginiana. Some of these genotypes are known to be interspecific hybrids with D. virginiana. A low level of genetic diversity between the distant D. lotus populations was revealed and it can be speculated that D. lotus was introduced to the Western Caucasus from a single germplasm source. These results are an important basis for the implementation of conservation measures, developing breeding strategies, and improving breeding efficiency. Full article
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Article
Blastocystis sp. Carriage and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Is the Association Already Established?
Biology 2021, 10(4), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040340 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1047
Abstract
Background: The aim of the present study is to describe the occurrence of Blastocystis sp. detection among asymptomatic subjects and patients with irritable bowel syndrome in order to evaluate the potential association between irritable bowel syndrome and the parasitic infection. Methods: Cross-sectional study [...] Read more.
Background: The aim of the present study is to describe the occurrence of Blastocystis sp. detection among asymptomatic subjects and patients with irritable bowel syndrome in order to evaluate the potential association between irritable bowel syndrome and the parasitic infection. Methods: Cross-sectional study where adult patients with irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed according to Rome IV criteria were included. A control group was formed by asymptomatic subjects older than 18 years. Exclusion criteria were: immunosuppressive condition or having received any drug with demonstrated activity against Blastocystis sp. within the last 6 months before study inclusion. Epidemiological and clinical information was collected from all included participants. Two stool samples were obtained from all participants: one sample for microscopic examination and one sample for Blastocystis sp. PCR detection. Blastocystis sp. infection was defined by the positivity of any of the diagnostic techniques. Results: Seventy-two participants were included (36 asymptomatic subjects and 36 patients with irritable bowel syndrome). Thirty-five (48.6%) were men, and median age of participants was 34 (IQR 29–49) years. The overall rate of Blastocystis sp. carriage was 27.8% (20/72). The prevalence assessed through microscopic examination was 22.2% (16/72), while the prevalence measured by PCR was 15.3% (11/72). When comparing the presence of Blastocystis sp. between asymptomatic subjects and IBS patients, we did not find any statistically significant difference (36.1% vs. 19.4% respectively, p = 0.114). Conclusions: regarding the occurrence of Blastocystis sp., no differences were found between asymptomatic participants and patients with irritable bowel disease irrespective of the diagnostic technique performed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blastocystis in Health and Disease)
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Article
The Long-Term Effects of High-Fat and High-Protein Diets on the Metabolic and Endocrine Activity of Adipocytes in Rats
Biology 2021, 10(4), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040339 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1302
Abstract
The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity and the rising awareness of their negative consequences are forcing researchers to take a new view of nutrition and its consequences for the metabolism of whole organisms as well as the metabolism of their individual systems [...] Read more.
The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity and the rising awareness of their negative consequences are forcing researchers to take a new view of nutrition and its consequences for the metabolism of whole organisms as well as the metabolism of their individual systems and cells. Despite studies on nutrition having been carried out for a few decades, not many of them have focused on the impacts of these diets on changes in the metabolism and endocrine functions of isolated adipocytes. Therefore, we decided to investigate the effects of the long-term use (60 and 120 days) of a high-fat diet (HFD) and of a high-protein diet (HPD) on basic metabolic processes in fat cells—lipogenesis, lipolysis, and glucose uptake—and endocrine function, which was determined according to the secretion of adipokines into the incubation medium. Our results proved that the HPD diet improved insulin sensitivity, increased the intracellular uptake of glucose (p < 0.01) and its incorporation into lipids (p < 0.01) and modulated the endocrine function of these cells (decreasing leptin secretion; p < 0.01). The levels of biochemical parameters in the serum blood also changed in the HPD-fed rats. The effects of the HFD were inverse, as expected. We observed a decrease in adiponectin secretion and a diminished rate of lipogenesis (p < 0.01). Simultaneously, the secretion of leptin and resistin (p < 0.01) from isolated adipocytes increased. In conclusion, we noted that the long-term use of HPD and HFD diets modulates the metabolism and endocrine functions of isolated rat adipocytes. We summarize that an HFD had a negative effect on fat tissue functioning, whereas an HPD had positive results, such as increased insulin sensitivity and an improved metabolism of glucose and lipids in fat tissue. Moreover, we noticed that negative metabolic changes are reflected more rapidly in isolated cells than in the metabolism of the whole organism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Zoology)
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Article
Integration of Multiple Resolution Data in 3D Chromatin Reconstruction Using ChromStruct
Biology 2021, 10(4), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040338 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 938
Abstract
The three-dimensional structure of chromatin in the cellular nucleus carries important information that is connected to physiological and pathological correlates and dysfunctional cell behaviour. As direct observation is not feasible at present, on one side, several experimental techniques have been developed to provide [...] Read more.
The three-dimensional structure of chromatin in the cellular nucleus carries important information that is connected to physiological and pathological correlates and dysfunctional cell behaviour. As direct observation is not feasible at present, on one side, several experimental techniques have been developed to provide information on the spatial organization of the DNA in the cell; on the other side, several computational methods have been developed to elaborate experimental data and infer 3D chromatin conformations. The most relevant experimental methods are Chromosome Conformation Capture and its derivatives, chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing techniques (CHIP-seq), RNA-seq, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and other genetic and biochemical techniques. All of them provide important and complementary information that relate to the three-dimensional organization of chromatin. However, these techniques employ very different experimental protocols and provide information that is not easily integrated, due to different contexts and different resolutions. Here, we present an open-source tool, which is an expansion of the previously reported code ChromStruct, for inferring the 3D structure of chromatin that, by exploiting a multilevel approach, allows an easy integration of information derived from different experimental protocols and referred to different resolution levels of the structure, from a few kilobases up to Megabases. Our results show that the introduction of chromatin modelling features related to CTCF CHIA-PET data, histone modification CHIP-seq, and RNA-seq data produce appreciable improvements in ChromStruct’s 3D reconstructions, compared to the use of HI-C data alone, at a local level and at a very high resolution. Full article
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Article
Biochemical Characterization of the Amylase Activity from the New Haloarchaeal Strain Haloarcula sp. HS Isolated in the Odiel Marshlands
Biology 2021, 10(4), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040337 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1208
Abstract
Alpha-amylases are a large family of α,1-4-endo-glycosyl hydrolases distributed in all kingdoms of life. The need for poly-extremotolerant amylases encouraged their search in extreme environments, where archaea become ideal candidates to provide new enzymes that are able to work in the harsh conditions [...] Read more.
Alpha-amylases are a large family of α,1-4-endo-glycosyl hydrolases distributed in all kingdoms of life. The need for poly-extremotolerant amylases encouraged their search in extreme environments, where archaea become ideal candidates to provide new enzymes that are able to work in the harsh conditions demanded in many industrial applications. In this study, a collection of haloarchaea isolated from Odiel saltern ponds in the southwest of Spain was screened for their amylase activity. The strain that exhibited the highest activity was selected and identified as Haloarcula sp. HS. We demonstrated the existence in both, cellular and extracellular extracts of the new strain, of functional α-amylase activities, which showed to be moderately thermotolerant (optimum around 60 °C), extremely halotolerant (optimum over 25% NaCl), and calcium-dependent. The tryptic digestion followed by HPLC-MS/MS analysis of the partially purified cellular and extracellular extracts allowed to identify the sequence of three alpha-amylases, which despite sharing a low sequence identity, exhibited high three-dimensional structure homology, conserving the typical domains and most of the key consensus residues of α-amylases. Moreover, we proved the potential of the extracellular α-amylase from Haloarcula sp. HS to treat bakery wastes under high salinity conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extremophilic Archaea)
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Review
Macronutrient Determinants of Obesity, Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Health
Biology 2021, 10(4), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040336 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1693
Abstract
Obesity caused by the overconsumption of calories has increased to epidemic proportions. Insulin resistance is often associated with an increased adiposity and is a precipitating factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and altered metabolic health. Of the various factors [...] Read more.
Obesity caused by the overconsumption of calories has increased to epidemic proportions. Insulin resistance is often associated with an increased adiposity and is a precipitating factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and altered metabolic health. Of the various factors contributing to metabolic impairments, nutrition is the major modifiable factor that can be targeted to counter the rising prevalence of obesity and metabolic diseases. However, the macronutrient composition of a nutritionally balanced “healthy diet” are unclear, and so far, no tested dietary intervention has been successful in achieving long-term compliance and reductions in body weight and associated beneficial health outcomes. In the current review, we briefly describe the role of the three major macronutrients, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and their role in metabolic health, and provide mechanistic insights. We also discuss how an integrated multi-dimensional approach to nutritional science could help in reconciling apparently conflicting findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanistic Insights into the Pathogenesis of Type 2 Diabetes)
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Article
A Preliminary Study on the Effect of Psyllium Husk Ethanolic Extract on Hyperlipidemia, Hyperglycemia, and Oxidative Stress Induced by Triton X-100 Injection in Rats
Biology 2021, 10(4), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040335 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1357
Abstract
The aim of this study is to assess the efficiency of psyllium husk ethanolic extract (PHEE) on Triton X-100 induced hyperlipidemic rats by studying the changes in hepatic and pancreatic function and histopathology. Forty male albino rats (bodyweight 175–188 g) were grouped randomly [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to assess the efficiency of psyllium husk ethanolic extract (PHEE) on Triton X-100 induced hyperlipidemic rats by studying the changes in hepatic and pancreatic function and histopathology. Forty male albino rats (bodyweight 175–188 g) were grouped randomly into four sets with ten rats. The experimental groups included: (1) control group (CON); (2) Triton X-100 induced hyperlipidemic group—rats were intraperitoneally injected with a single dose of Triton X-100 (100 mg/kg body weight) on the 21st day of Trial onset; (3) PHEE group—PHEE was orally administered (100 mg/kg body weight dissolved in 1 mL of distilled water) by gastric tube from the first day of the experiment until the fortieth day, once daily, (PHEE); (4) PHEE +Triton group, which received PHEE orally with the induction of hyperlipidemia. Treating hyperlipidemic rats with PHEE showed a decrease in the total serum lipids, triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), atherogenic index (AI), and malondialdehyde (MDA) with an increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities. PHEE administration alleviated the negative impact of Triton on the serum levels of glucose, insulin, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA IR index), leptin hormone, Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST), Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) and proteinogram. The Triton-induced hyperlipidemic rats showed extensive histopathological changes in the liver and pancreas, which were alleviated with PHEE administration. It could be concluded that PHEE has potent effects against hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, and oxidative stress due to its biologically active constituents detected by GC-MS analysis. This study’s findings may help develop a novel trial against the effects of hyperlipidemia in the future. Full article
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Article
Salvage Boron Neutron Capture Therapy for Malignant Brain Tumor Patients in Compliance with Emergency and Compassionate Use: Evaluation of 34 Cases in Taiwan
Biology 2021, 10(4), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040334 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1896
Abstract
Although boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is a promising treatment option for malignant brain tumors, the optimal BNCT parameters for patients with immediately life-threatening, end-stage brain tumors remain unclear. We performed BNCT on 34 patients with life-threatening, end-stage brain tumors and analyzed the [...] Read more.
Although boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is a promising treatment option for malignant brain tumors, the optimal BNCT parameters for patients with immediately life-threatening, end-stage brain tumors remain unclear. We performed BNCT on 34 patients with life-threatening, end-stage brain tumors and analyzed the relationship between survival outcomes and BNCT parameters. Before BNCT, MRI and 18F-BPA-PET analyses were conducted to identify the tumor location/distribution and the tumor-to-normal tissue uptake ratio (T/N ratio) of 18F-BPA. No severe adverse events were observed (grade ≥ 3). The objective response rate and disease control rate were 50.0% and 85.3%, respectively. The mean overall survival (OS), cancer-specific survival (CSS), and relapse-free survival (RFS) times were 7.25, 7.80, and 4.18 months, respectively. Remarkably, the mean OS, CSS, and RFS of patients who achieved a complete response were 17.66, 22.5, and 7.50 months, respectively. Kaplan–Meier analysis identified the optimal BNCT parameters and tumor characteristics of these patients, including a T/N ratio ≥ 4, tumor volume < 20 mL, mean tumor dose ≥ 25 Gy-E, MIB-1 ≤ 40, and a lower recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) class. In conclusion, for malignant brain tumor patients who have exhausted all available treatment options and who are in an immediately life-threatening condition, BNCT may be considered as a therapeutic approach to prolong survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boron Neutron Capture Therapy: From Nuclear Physics to Biomedicine)
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Article
Mechanisms of Venoarteriolar Reflex in Type 2 Diabetes with or without Peripheral Neuropathy
Biology 2021, 10(4), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040333 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
The aim of this study is to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the venoarteriolar reflex (VAR) in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), with and without peripheral neuropathy. Laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) recordings were performed on the medial malleus and dorsal foot skin, before [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the venoarteriolar reflex (VAR) in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), with and without peripheral neuropathy. Laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) recordings were performed on the medial malleus and dorsal foot skin, before and during leg dependency in healthy controls, in persons with obesity, in those with T2DM, in those with T2DM and subclinical neuropathy, and in those with T2DM and confirmed neuropathy. LDF recordings were analyzed with the wavelet transform to evaluate the mechanisms controlling the flowmotion (i.e., endothelial nitric oxide-independent and -dependent, neurogenic, myogenic, respiratory and cardiac mechanisms). Skin blood perfusion decreased throughout leg dependency at both sites. The decrease was blunted in persons with confirmed neuropathy compared to those with T2DM alone and the controls. During leg dependency, total spectral power increased in all groups compared to rest. The relative contribution of the endothelial bands increased and of the myogenic band decreased, without differences between groups. Neurogenic contribution decreased in controls, in persons with obesity and in those with T2DM, whereas it increased in subclinical- and confirmed neuropathy. In conclusion, this study provides evidence that confirmed diabetic neuropathy alters the VAR through the neurogenic response to leg dependency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microcirculation in Health and Disease)
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Article
The Oxindole Derivatives, New Promising GSK-3β Inhibitors as One of the Potential Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease—A Molecular Dynamics Approach
Biology 2021, 10(4), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040332 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 912
Abstract
The glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) is a protein kinase involved in regulating numerous physiological processes such as embryonic development, transcription, insulin action, cell division cycle and multiple neuronal functions. The overexpression of this enzyme is related to many diseases such as schizophrenia, [...] Read more.
The glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) is a protein kinase involved in regulating numerous physiological processes such as embryonic development, transcription, insulin action, cell division cycle and multiple neuronal functions. The overexpression of this enzyme is related to many diseases such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer. One of the basic methods of treatment in these cases is the usage of ATP-competitive inhibitors. A significant group of such compounds are indirubin and its analogs, e.g., oxindole derivatives. The compounds considered in this work are 112 newly designed oxindole derivatives. In the first stage, such molecular properties of considered compounds as toxicity and LogP were estimated. The preliminary analysis of the binding capabilities of considered compounds towards the GSK-3β active site was conducted with the use of the docking procedure. Based on obtained molecular properties and docking simulations, a selected group of complexes that were analyzed in the molecular dynamics stage was nominated. The proposed procedure allowed for the identification of compounds such as Oxind_4_9 and Oxind_13_10, which create stable complexes with GSK-3β enzyme and are characterized by the highest values of binding affinity. The key interactions responsible for stabilization of considered ligand–protein complexes were identified, and their dynamic stability was also determined. Comparative analysis including analyzed compounds and reference molecule 3a, which is also an oxindole derivative with a confirmed inhibitory potential towards GSK3B protein, clearly indicates that the proposed compounds exhibit an analogous binding mechanism, and the obtained binding enthalpy values indicate a slightly higher binding potential than the reference molecule. Full article
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Article
Expression Profile of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors, Keratinocyte Differentiation Markers, and Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition-Related Genes in Actinic Keratosis: A Possible Predictive Factor for Malignant Progression?
Biology 2021, 10(4), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040331 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1055
Abstract
Actinic keratosis (AK) is the ultra violet (UV)-induced preneoplastic skin lesion clinically classified in low (KIN I), intermediate (KIN II), and high (KIN III) grade lesions. In this work we analyzed the expression of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (FGFRs), as well as of [...] Read more.
Actinic keratosis (AK) is the ultra violet (UV)-induced preneoplastic skin lesion clinically classified in low (KIN I), intermediate (KIN II), and high (KIN III) grade lesions. In this work we analyzed the expression of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (FGFRs), as well as of keratinocyte differentiation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related markers in differentially graded AK lesions, in order to identify specific expression profiles that could be predictive for direct progression of some KIN I lesions towards squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Our molecular analysis showed that the keratinocyte differentiation markers keratin 1 (K1), desmoglein-1 (DSG1), and filaggrin (FIL) were progressively downregulated in KIN I, II, and III lesions, while the modulation of epithelial/mesenchymal markers and the induction of the transcription factors Snail1 and Zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) compatible with pathological EMT, even if observable, did not appear to correlate with AK progression. Concerning FGFRs, a modulation of epithelial isoform of FGFR2 (FGFR2b) and the mesenchymal FGFR2c isoform compatible with an FGFR2 isoform switch, as well as FGFR4 upregulation were observed starting from KIN I lesions, suggesting that they could be events involved in early steps of AK pathogenesis. In contrast, the increase of FGFR3c expression, mainly appreciable in KIN II and KIN III lesions, suggested a correlation with AK late progression. Interestingly, the strong modulation of FIL, Snail1, as well as of FGFR2c, FGFR4, and of their ligand FGF2, observed in some of the KIN I samples, may indicate that they could be molecular markers predictive for those low graded lesions destined to a direct progression to SCC. In conclusion, our data point on the identification of molecular markers predictive for AK rapid progression through the “differentiated” pathway. Our results also represent an important step that, in future, will help to clarify the molecular mechanisms underlying FGFR signaling deregulation in epithelial tissues during the switch from the pre-neoplastic to the oncogenic malignant phenotype. Full article
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Article
Identification and Functional Analysis of a Lysozyme Gene from Coridius chinensis (Hemiptera: Dinidoridae)
Biology 2021, 10(4), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040330 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
Coridius chinensis is a valuable medicinal insect resource in China. Previous studies have indicated that the antibacterial and anticancer effects of the C. chinensis extract mainly come from the active polypeptides. Lysozyme is an effective immune effector in insect innate immunity and usually [...] Read more.
Coridius chinensis is a valuable medicinal insect resource in China. Previous studies have indicated that the antibacterial and anticancer effects of the C. chinensis extract mainly come from the active polypeptides. Lysozyme is an effective immune effector in insect innate immunity and usually has excellent bactericidal effects. There are two kinds of lysozymes in insects, c-type and i-type, which play an important role in innate immunity and intestinal digestion. Studying lysozyme in C. chinensis will be helpful to further explore the evolutionary relationship and functional differences among lysozymes of various species and to determine whether they have biological activity and medicinal value. In this study, a lysozyme CcLys2 was identified from C. chinensis. CcLys2 contains 223 amino acid residues, and possesses a typical domain of the c-type lysozyme and a putative catalytic site formed by two conserved residues Glu32 and Asp50. Phylogenetic analysis showed that CcLys2 belongs to the H-branch of the c-type lysozyme. The analysis of spatiotemporal expression patterns indicated that CcLys2 was mainly expressed in the fat body of C. chinensis adults and was highly expressed in the second- and fifth-instar nymphs. In addition, CcLys2 was significantly up-regulated after injecting and feeding bacteria. In the bacterial inhibition assay, it was found that CcLys2 had antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria at a low pH. These results indicate that CcLys2 has muramidase activity, involves in the innate immunity of C. chinensis, and is also closely related to the bacterial immune defense or digestive function of the intestine. Full article
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Article
The Evolution of Molybdenum Dependent Nitrogenase in Cyanobacteria
Biology 2021, 10(4), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040329 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1205
Abstract
Nitrogen fixation plays a crucial role in the nitrogen cycle by helping to convert nitrogen into a form usable by other organisms. Bacteria capable of fixing nitrogen are found in six phyla including Cyanobacteria. Molybdenum dependent nitrogenase (nif) genes are thought [...] Read more.
Nitrogen fixation plays a crucial role in the nitrogen cycle by helping to convert nitrogen into a form usable by other organisms. Bacteria capable of fixing nitrogen are found in six phyla including Cyanobacteria. Molybdenum dependent nitrogenase (nif) genes are thought to share a single origin as they have homologs in various phyla. However, diazotrophic bacteria have a mosaic distribution within the cyanobacterial lineage. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the cause of this mosaic distribution. We identified nif gene operon structures in the genomes of 85 of the 179 cyanobacterial strains for which whole genome sequences were available. Four nif operons were conserved in each diazotroph Cyanobacterium, although there were some gene translocations and insertions. Phylogenetic inference of these genes did not reveal horizontal gene transfer from outside the phylum Cyanobacteria. These results support the hypothesis that the mosaic distribution of diazotrophic bacteria in the cyanobacterial lineage is the result of the independent loss of nif genes inherited from common cyanobacterial ancestors in each lineage. Full article
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Article
Haslea silbo, A Novel Cosmopolitan Species of Blue Diatoms
Biology 2021, 10(4), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040328 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1617
Abstract
Specimens of a new species of blue diatoms from the genus Haslea Simonsen were discovered in geographically distant sampling sites, first in the Canary Archipelago, then North Carolina, Gulf of Naples, the Croatian South Adriatic Sea, and Turkish coast of the Eastern Mediterranean [...] Read more.
Specimens of a new species of blue diatoms from the genus Haslea Simonsen were discovered in geographically distant sampling sites, first in the Canary Archipelago, then North Carolina, Gulf of Naples, the Croatian South Adriatic Sea, and Turkish coast of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. An exhaustive characterization of these specimens, using a combined morphological and genomic approach led to the conclusion that they belong to a single new to science cosmopolitan species, Haslea silbo sp. nov. A preliminary characterization of its blue pigment shows similarities to marennine produced by Haslea ostrearia, as evidenced by UV–visible spectrophotometry and Raman spectrometry. Life cycle stages including auxosporulation were also observed, providing data on the cardinal points of this species. For the two most geographically distant populations (North Carolina and East Mediterranean), complete mitochondrial and plastid genomes were sequenced. The mitogenomes of both strains share a rare atp6 pseudogene, but the number, nature, and positions of the group II introns inside its cox1 gene differ between the two populations. There are also two pairs of genes fused in single ORFs. The plastid genomes are characterized by large regions of recombination with plasmid DNA, which are in both cases located between the ycf35 and psbA genes, but whose content differs between the strains. The two sequenced strains hosts three plasmids coding for putative serine recombinase protein whose sequences are compared, and four out of six of these plasmids were highly conserved. Full article
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Article
Oxygen Dependence of Flight Performance in Ageing Drosophila melanogaster
Biology 2021, 10(4), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040327 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1126
Abstract
Similar to humans, insects lose their physical and physiological capacities with age, which makes them a convenient study system for human ageing. Although insects have an efficient oxygen-transport system, we know little about how their flight capacity changes with age and environmental oxygen [...] Read more.
Similar to humans, insects lose their physical and physiological capacities with age, which makes them a convenient study system for human ageing. Although insects have an efficient oxygen-transport system, we know little about how their flight capacity changes with age and environmental oxygen conditions. We measured two types of locomotor performance in ageing Drosophila melanogaster flies: the frequency of wing beats and the capacity to climb vertical surfaces. Flight performance was measured under normoxia and hypoxia. As anticipated, ageing flies showed systematic deterioration of climbing performance, and low oxygen impeded flight performance. Against predictions, flight performance did not deteriorate with age, and younger and older flies showed similar levels of tolerance to low oxygen during flight. We suggest that among different insect locomotory activities, flight performance deteriorates slowly with age, which is surprising, given that insect flight is one of the most energy-demanding activities in animals. Apparently, the superior capacity of insects to rapidly deliver oxygen to flight muscles remains little altered by ageing, but we showed that insects can become oxygen limited in habitats with a poor oxygen supply (e.g., those at high elevations) during highly oxygen-demanding activities such as flight. Full article
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Article
Benefits of Local Treatment Including External Radiotherapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma with Portal Invasion
Biology 2021, 10(4), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040326 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 753
Abstract
We aimed to identify the oncologic benefits of local treatment including radiotherapy (LRT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) invading the portal vein. We used clinical data of patients with HCC invading the portal vein from 2008 to 2014 provided by 50 hospitals nationwide. A [...] Read more.
We aimed to identify the oncologic benefits of local treatment including radiotherapy (LRT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) invading the portal vein. We used clinical data of patients with HCC invading the portal vein from 2008 to 2014 provided by 50 hospitals nationwide. A total of 1163 patients were included in the analysis. The LRT group was younger than the best supportive care (BSC) group (p < 0.001). The mean Child-Pugh score of the LRT group (6.1) was significantly lower than that of the BSC group (7.7) (p < 0.001). Propensity score-matched analysis generated 222 pairs. The median survival of all patients, LRT, and BSC groups were 5.0, 8.0, and 2.0 months, respectively. The overall survival (OS) rates in the LRT and BSC groups were 34.2% and 16.2% at one year, and 12.6% and 6.8% at two years, respectively (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that LRT (HR 0.41, 95% CI 0.32–0.52), age >60 years, extrahepatic metastases, tumor size ≥10 cm, and Child-Pugh class (CPC) B or C were independent predictors of higher mortality (all p < 0.05). Statistical differences in survival were maintained in all CPC-albumin-bilirubin classes (all p < 0.05). LRT was significant in patients with HCC with portal invasion, valid for patients with CPC A and B. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biology)
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Review
Inflammatory Markers in Cancer Immunotherapy
Biology 2021, 10(4), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040325 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1865
Abstract
Chronic inflammation is considered a major risk factor for cancer formation. Inflammation within the tumor environment plays a role in its response to therapy, growth, and prognosis. Cancer associated inflammation is known to occur in the tumor microenvironment and in the systemic circulation, [...] Read more.
Chronic inflammation is considered a major risk factor for cancer formation. Inflammation within the tumor environment plays a role in its response to therapy, growth, and prognosis. Cancer associated inflammation is known to occur in the tumor microenvironment and in the systemic circulation, and is correlated with disease progression and prognosis in many cancers. Blood cells such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, platelets, and circulating proteins such as C-reactive protein, and interleukins, such as IL-6, have been associated with inflammatory responses, which contribute to tumorigenesis. Cancer has found ways to evade the immune response; a pathway that can attenuate the innate immune response is via blocking immune checkpoints. Development of monoclonal antibodies against inhibitory immune checkpoints such as cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) have given rise to immunotherapy, which has shown remarkable responses in anti-tumor activity resulting in several U.S. Federal and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved checkpoint inhibitors. Various inflammatory markers and their prognostic and predictive implications in malignancies treated with immunotherapy will be discussed in this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inflammation in Cancer: A Target for Prevention and Therapy)
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Communication
Induction of foxp3 during the Crosstalk between Antigen Presenting Like-Cells MHCII+CD83+ and Splenocytes CD4+IgM in Rainbow Trout
Biology 2021, 10(4), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040324 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1222
Abstract
In fish, the spleen is one of the major immune organs in the animal, and the splenocytes could play a key role in the activation and modulation of the immune response, both innate and adaptive. However, the crosstalk between different types of immune [...] Read more.
In fish, the spleen is one of the major immune organs in the animal, and the splenocytes could play a key role in the activation and modulation of the immune response, both innate and adaptive. However, the crosstalk between different types of immune cells in the spleen has been poorly understood. In this work, an in vitro strategy is carried out to obtain and characterize mononuclear splenocytes from rainbow trout, using biomarkers associated with lymphocytes (CD4 and IgM) and antigen-presenting cells (CD83 and MHC II). Using these splenocytes, co-cultures of 24 and 48 h are used to determine the gene expression of master transcriptional factors that coordinate the polarization of T cells (t-bet, gata3, and foxp3). The results show a proportional upregulation of foxp3 (compared to t-bet and gata3) in co-cultures (at 24 h) of IFNγ-induced splenocytes with and without stimulation of Piscirickettsia salmonis proteins. In addition, foxp3 upregulation was established in co-cultures with IFNγ-induced cells and in cells only stimulated previously with P. salmonis proteins at 48 h of co-culture. These results show a potential communication between antigen-presenting-like cells and lymphocyte in the spleen, which could be induced towards a Treg phenotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Fish Immunity: From Genomes to Functional Understanding)
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Article
Tachyporinae Revisited: Phylogeny, Evolution, and Higher Classification Based on Morphology, with Recognition of a New Rove Beetle Subfamily (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae)
Biology 2021, 10(4), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040323 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3220 | Correction
Abstract
Tachyporinae are one of the most phylogenetically problematic subfamilies in the mega-diverse rove beetle family Staphylinidae. Despite its high diversity and abundance in forest micro-environments, with over 1600 species worldwide, several previous studies had refuted the monophyly of this subfamily and its largest [...] Read more.
Tachyporinae are one of the most phylogenetically problematic subfamilies in the mega-diverse rove beetle family Staphylinidae. Despite its high diversity and abundance in forest micro-environments, with over 1600 species worldwide, several previous studies had refuted the monophyly of this subfamily and its largest tribe, Tachyporini. Based on the results of morphology-based phylogenetic analyses and direct examination of specimens encompassing two extinct and all forty extant genera, a new suprageneric classification of Tachyporinae is proposed here, with the removal of the tribe Mycetoporini into a newly recognized subfamily Mycetoporinae stat. nov. Four tribes with two subtribes are arranged within Tachyporinae sensu nov.: Tachyporini sensu nov. (Tachyporina stat. nov., sensu nov. and Euconosomatina stat. rev., sensu nov.), Vatesini sensu nov., Deropini, and Tachinusini stat. rev., sensu nov. (= Megarthropsini syn. nov.). Urolitus syn. nov. is placed as a junior synonym of Sepedophilus. Additionally, Palporus stat. nov. is raised to a distinct genus from a subgenus of Tachyporus sensu. nov., and †Mesotachyporus syn. nov. is synonymized with the latter. Mycetoporine Bobitobus stat. rev. is resurrected from synonymy with Lordithon sensu nov., and considered as a valid genus. My revised classification provides a novel framework for taxonomic inventories and ecological studies of these groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Zoology)
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Review
Multi-Strain Probiotics: Synergy among Isolates Enhances Biological Activities
Biology 2021, 10(4), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040322 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1755
Abstract
The use of probiotics for health benefits is becoming popular because of the quest for safer products with protective and therapeutic effects against diseases and infectious agents. The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance among pathogens had prompted restrictions over the non-therapeutic use [...] Read more.
The use of probiotics for health benefits is becoming popular because of the quest for safer products with protective and therapeutic effects against diseases and infectious agents. The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance among pathogens had prompted restrictions over the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics for prophylaxis and growth promotion, especially in animal husbandry. While single-strain probiotics are beneficial to health, multi-strain probiotics might be more helpful because of synergy and additive effects among the individual isolates. This article documents the mechanisms by which multi-strain probiotics exert their effects in managing infectious and non-infectious diseases, inhibiting antibiotic-resistant pathogens and health improvement. The administration of multi-strain probiotics was revealed to effectively alleviate bowel tract conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inhibition of pathogens and modulation of the immune system and gut microbiota. Finally, while most of the current research focuses on comparing the effects of multi-strain and single-strain probiotics, there is a dearth of information on the molecular mechanisms of synergy among multi-strain probiotics isolates. This forms a basis for future research in the development of multi-strain probiotics for enhanced health benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbiology)
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Article
Integrated Proteomics and Metabolomics Analysis of Perirenal Adipose Tissue in Obese Rabbits Treated with a Restricted Diet
Biology 2021, 10(4), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040321 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 917
Abstract
In recent years, many people have shown an excess of fat accumulation. Known as obesity, this lesion poses an increased risk for multiple diseases, such as endocrine disease, diabetes, and cancer, and has reached epidemic proportions. Accompanied by the development of obesity, concern [...] Read more.
In recent years, many people have shown an excess of fat accumulation. Known as obesity, this lesion poses an increased risk for multiple diseases, such as endocrine disease, diabetes, and cancer, and has reached epidemic proportions. Accompanied by the development of obesity, concern over body image and weight loss behavior is a growing social problem and public health threat, causing concern for many health professionals. However, the consequences of rapid weight loss remain largely unclear. Here, we applied an integrated proteomics and metabolomics analysis to investigate the effects of dieting on the proteins and metabolites in obese rabbits. Our study revealed that 343 differentially expressed proteins (136 upregulated and 207 downregulated) and 150 differentially expressed metabolites (91 upregulated and 59 downregulated) were identified. These molecules are mainly involved in the biological processes, including amino acid metabolism, lipid metabolism, and membrane and cytoskeleton reconstruction. The integrated analysis found that mevalonic acid, arachidonic acid, 15(S)-HpETE, cholecalciferol, hydrocortisone, lipoxin B4, lithocholic acid, etc. were associated with multiple pathways, and they may be the key factors to fight inflammation induced by a high-fat diet (HFD). Overall, this study provides further insight into the consequences of dieting-mediated weight loss and may contribute to the prevention and treatment of obesity. Full article
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Article
Growth Forms and Functional Guilds Distribution of Soil Fungi in Coastal Versus Inland Sites of Victoria Land, Antarctica
Biology 2021, 10(4), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040320 - 11 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1373
Abstract
In Victoria Land, Antarctica, ice-free areas are restricted to coastal regions and dominate the landscape of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. These two environments are subjected to different pressures that determine the establishment of highly adapted fungal communities. Within the kingdom of fungi, filamentous, [...] Read more.
In Victoria Land, Antarctica, ice-free areas are restricted to coastal regions and dominate the landscape of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. These two environments are subjected to different pressures that determine the establishment of highly adapted fungal communities. Within the kingdom of fungi, filamentous, yeasts and meristematic/microcolonial growth forms on one side and different lifestyles on the other side may be considered adaptive strategies of particular interest in the frame of Antarctic constraints. In this optic, soil fungal communities from both coastal and Dry Valleys sites, already characterized thorough ITS1 metabarcoding sequencing, have been compared to determine the different distribution of phyla, growth forms, and lifestyles. Though we did not find significant differences in the richness between the two environments, the communities were highly differentiated and Dry Valleys sites had a higher evenness compared to coastal ones. Additionally, the distribution of different growth forms and lifestyles were well differentiated, and their diversity and composition were likely influenced by soil abiotic parameters, among which soil granulometry, pH, P, and C contents were the potential main determinants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Soil Fungal Communities)
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Article
Effects on Steroid 5-Alpha Reductase Gene Expression of Thai Rice Bran Extracts and Molecular Dynamics Study on SRD5A2
Biology 2021, 10(4), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040319 - 11 Apr 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2378
Abstract
Steroid 5-alpha reductases (SRD5As) are responsible for the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a potent androgen, which is the aetiologic factor of androgenetic alopecia. This study aimed to compare the SRD5A gene expression suppression activity exerted by Thai rice bran extracts and their [...] Read more.
Steroid 5-alpha reductases (SRD5As) are responsible for the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a potent androgen, which is the aetiologic factor of androgenetic alopecia. This study aimed to compare the SRD5A gene expression suppression activity exerted by Thai rice bran extracts and their components and investigate the interactional mechanism between bioactive compounds and SRD5A2 using molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. Bran of Oryza sativa cv. Tubtim Chumphae (TRB), Yamuechaebia Morchor (YRB), Riceberry (RRB), and Malinil Surin (MRB), all rice milling by-products, was solvent-extracted. The ethanolic extract of TRB had the highest sum of overall bioactive compounds (γ-oryzanol; α-, β-, and γ-tocopherol; phenolics; and flavonoids). Among all extracts, TRB greatly downregulated the expression of SRD5A1, SRD5A2, and SRD5A3; there were no significant differences between TRB and finasteride regarding SRD5A suppression. The linear relationship and principal component analysis supported that the α-tocopherol content was correlated with the SRD5A suppression exerted by TRB. Furthermore, MD simulation demonstrated that α-tocopherol had the highest binding affinity towards SRD5A2 by interacting with residues Phe118 and Trp201. Our findings indicate that α-tocopherol effectively downregulates the expression of SRD5A genes and inhibits SRD5A2 activity, actions that are comparable to standard finasteride. TRB, a source of α-tocopherol, could be developed as an anti-hair loss product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactivity of Medicinal Plants and Extracts)
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