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Biology, Volume 13, Issue 2 (February 2024) – 68 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Obesity negatively influences ovarian function because productive and reproductive traits are negatively correlated. In this study, we utilized meat-type broiler chickens that are bred specifically for rapid growth, which exhibit ovarian dysfunction and egg loss if fed ad libitum. We discovered that leptin, a satiety-controlling hormone, and the different levels of protein in the diet alter ovarian growth-related genes in the pituitary and ovaries of young broiler chicks. These changes induced by leptin or dietary protein may influence ovarian growth toward sexual maturation and could lead to the irregular follicular hierarchy observed in broiler breeder hens. These findings may guide future dietary strategies to improve reproductive health in broiler breeder chicks from an early age. View this paper
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11 pages, 2275 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study of Lesions Obtained through Radiofrequency between the Irrigated Ablation Catheter with a Flexible Tip and the Non-Irrigated Catheter in Ex Vivo Porcine Hearts
by Francesco Vitali, Martina De Raffele, Michele Malagù, Cristina Balla, Giorgia Azzolini, Federico Gibiino, Alberto Boccadoro, Marco Micillo and Matteo Bertini
Biology 2024, 13(2), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020132 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 983
Abstract
Background: At the same conditions of delivered power and contact force, open-irrigated radiofrequency ablation catheters are believed to create deeper lesions, while non-irrigated ones produce shallower lesions. This ex vivo study aims to directly compare the lesion dimensions and characteristics of an irrigated [...] Read more.
Background: At the same conditions of delivered power and contact force, open-irrigated radiofrequency ablation catheters are believed to create deeper lesions, while non-irrigated ones produce shallower lesions. This ex vivo study aims to directly compare the lesion dimensions and characteristics of an irrigated ablation catheter with a flexible tip and a non-irrigated solid-tip catheter. Methods: Radiofrequency lesions were induced on porcine myocardial slabs using both open-tip irrigated and non-irrigated standard 4 mm catheters at three power settings (20 W, 30 W, and 40 W), maintaining a fixed contact force of 10 gr. A lesion assessment was conducted including the lesion depth, depth at the maximum diameter, and lesion surface diameters, with the subsequent calculation of the lesion volume and area being undertaken. Results: Irrigated catheters produced lesions with significantly higher superficial widths at all power levels (3.8 vs. 4.4 mm at 20 W; 3.9 mm vs. 4.4 mm at 30 W; 3.8 mm vs. 4.5 mm at 40 W; p = 0.001, p = 0.019, p = 0.003, respectively). Non-irrigated catheters resulted in significantly higher superficial areas at all power levels (23 mm2 vs. 18 mm2 at 20 W; 25 mm2 vs. 19 mm2 at 30 W; 26 mm2 vs. 19 mm2 at 40 W; p = 0.001, p = 0.005, p = 0.001, respectively). Irrigated catheters showed significantly higher values of lesion maximum depth at 40 W (4.6 mm vs. 5.5 mm; p = 0.007), while non-irrigated catheters had a significantly higher calculated volume at 20 W (202 µL vs. 134 µL; p = 0.002). Conclusions: Radiofrequency ablation using an irrigated catheter with a flexible tip has the potential to generate smaller superficial lesion areas compared with those obtained using a non-irrigated catheter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biophysics)
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16 pages, 488 KiB  
Review
Dietary Patterns and Fertility
by Martina Cristodoro, Enrica Zambella, Ilaria Fietta, Annalisa Inversetti and Nicoletta Di Simone
Biology 2024, 13(2), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020131 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1636
Abstract
Diet has a key role in the reproductive axis both in males and females. This review aims to analyze the impacts of different dietary patterns on fertility. It appears that the Mediterranean diet has a predominantly protective role against infertility, while the Western [...] Read more.
Diet has a key role in the reproductive axis both in males and females. This review aims to analyze the impacts of different dietary patterns on fertility. It appears that the Mediterranean diet has a predominantly protective role against infertility, while the Western diet seems to be a risk factor for infertility. Moreover, we focus attention also on dietary patterns in different countries of the World (Middle Eastern diet, Asian diet). In particular, when analyzing single nutrients, a diet rich in saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, animal proteins, and carbohydrates with high glycemic index is highly associated with male and female infertility. Finally, we evaluate the effects of vegetarian, vegan, and ketogenic diets on fertility, which seem to be still unclear. We believe that comprehension of the molecular mechanisms involved in infertility will lead to more effective and targeted treatments for infertile couples. Full article
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22 pages, 2676 KiB  
Review
The Reign of Follistatin in Tumors and Their Microenvironment: Implications for Drug Resistance
by Jennifer Sosa, Akinsola Oyelakin and Satrajit Sinha
Biology 2024, 13(2), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020130 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Follistatin (FST) is a potent neutralizer of the transforming growth factor-β superfamily and is associated with normal cellular programs and various hallmarks of cancer, such as proliferation, migration, angiogenesis, and immune evasion. The aberrant expression of FST by solid tumors is a well-documented [...] Read more.
Follistatin (FST) is a potent neutralizer of the transforming growth factor-β superfamily and is associated with normal cellular programs and various hallmarks of cancer, such as proliferation, migration, angiogenesis, and immune evasion. The aberrant expression of FST by solid tumors is a well-documented observation, yet how FST influences tumor progression and therapy response remains unclear. The recent surge in omics data has revealed new insights into the molecular foundation underpinning tumor heterogeneity and its microenvironment, offering novel precision medicine-based opportunities to combat cancer. In this review, we discuss these recent FST-centric studies, thereby offering an updated perspective on the protean role of FST isoforms in shaping the complex cellular ecosystem of tumors and in mediating drug resistance. Full article
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14 pages, 2217 KiB  
Article
Diet Diversity of the Fluviatile Masu Salmon, Oncorhynchus masou (Brevoort 1856) Revealed via Gastrointestinal Environmental DNA Metabarcoding and Morphological Identification of Contents
by Lijuan Li, Xuwang Yin, Qianruo Wan, Dilina Rusitanmu and Jie Han
Biology 2024, 13(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020129 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1041
Abstract
Masu salmon, Oncorhynchus masou (Brevoort 1856), a commercially important fish species endemic to the North Pacific Ocean, attained national second-level protected animal status in China in 2021. Despite this recognition, knowledge about the trophic ecology of this fish remains limited. This study investigated [...] Read more.
Masu salmon, Oncorhynchus masou (Brevoort 1856), a commercially important fish species endemic to the North Pacific Ocean, attained national second-level protected animal status in China in 2021. Despite this recognition, knowledge about the trophic ecology of this fish remains limited. This study investigated the diet diversity of fluviatile Masu salmon in the Mijiang River, China, utilizing the gastrointestinal tract environmental DNA (GITeDNA) metabarcoding and morphological identification. The results revealed a diverse prey composition, ranging from terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates to small fishes. The fluviatile Masu salmon in general consumed noteworthily more aquatic prey than terrestrial prey. There were much more prey taxa and a higher diet diversity detected by GITeDNA metabarcoding than by morphological identification. GITeDNA metabarcoding showed that larger and older Masu salmon consumed significantly more terrestrial insects than aquatic prey species did, with 7366 verses 5012 sequences in the group of ≥20 cm, 9098 verses 4743 sequences in the group of ≥100 g and 11,540 verses 729 sequences in the group of age 3+. GITeDNA metabarcoding also showed size- and age-related diet diversity, indicating that the dietary niche breadth and trophic diversity of larger and older Masu salmon increased with food resources expanding to more terrestrial prey. Terrestrial invertebrates of riparian habitats play a vital role in the diet of fluviatile Masu salmon, especially larger individuals, highlighting their importance in connecting aquatic and terrestrial food webs. Conservation plans should prioritize the protection and restoration of riparian habitats. This study advocates the combined use of GITeDNA metabarcoding and morphological observation for a comprehensive understanding of fish diet diversity. Full article
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16 pages, 3386 KiB  
Article
Ectopic Expression of a Wheat R2R3-Type MYB Gene in Transgenic Tobacco Enhances Osmotic Stress Tolerance via Maintaining ROS Balance and Improving Root System Architecture
by Omar Azab, Walid Ben Romdhane, Salah El-Hendawy, Abdelhalim Ghazy, Adel M. Zakri, Ahmed M. Abd-ElGawad and Abdullah Al-Doss
Biology 2024, 13(2), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020128 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 950
Abstract
Water scarcity is a critical cause of plant yield loss and decreased quality. Manipulation of root system architecture to minimize the impact of water scarcity stresses may greatly contribute towards an improved distribution of roots in the soil and enhanced water and nutrient [...] Read more.
Water scarcity is a critical cause of plant yield loss and decreased quality. Manipulation of root system architecture to minimize the impact of water scarcity stresses may greatly contribute towards an improved distribution of roots in the soil and enhanced water and nutrient uptake abilities. In this study, we explored the potential of TaMYB20 gene, a wheat gene belonging to the R2R3-MYB transcription factor family, to improve root system architecture in transgenic tobacco plants. The full-length TaMYB20 gene was isolated from Triticum aestivum.cv. Sakha94 and used to produce genetically engineered tobacco plants. The transgenic plants exhibited enhanced tolerance to extended osmotic stress and were able to maintain their root system architecture traits, including total root length (TRL), lateral root number (LRN), root surface area (RSa), and root volume (RV), while the wild-type plants failed to maintain the same traits. The transgenic lines presented greater relative water content in their roots associated with decreased ion leakage. The oxidative stress resulted in the loss of mitochondrial membrane integrity in the wild-type (WT) plants due to the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the root cells, while the transgenic lines were able to scavenge the excess ROS under stressful conditions through the activation of the redox system. Finally, we found that the steady-state levels of three PIN gene transcripts were greater in the TaMYB20-transgenic lines compared to the wild-type tobacco. Taken together, these findings confirm that TaMYB20 is a potentially useful gene candidate for engineering drought tolerance in cultivated plants. Full article
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14 pages, 2436 KiB  
Article
Exogenous Trehalose Improves Growth, Glycogen and Poly-3-Hydroxybutyrate (PHB) Contents in Photoautotrophically Grown Arthrospira platensis under Nitrogen Deprivation
by Nat-Anong Mudtham, Authen Promariya, Chanchanok Duangsri, Cherdsak Maneeruttanarungroj, Suchanit Ngamkala, Nattaphong Akrimajirachoote, Sorawit Powtongsook, Tiina A. Salminen and Wuttinun Raksajit
Biology 2024, 13(2), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020127 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1010
Abstract
Glycogen and poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) are excellent biopolymer products from cyanobacteria. In this study, we demonstrate that nitrogen metabolism is positively influenced by the exogenous application of trehalose (Tre) in Arthrospira platensis under nitrogen-deprived (−N) conditions. Cells were cultivated photoautotrophically for 5 days under [...] Read more.
Glycogen and poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) are excellent biopolymer products from cyanobacteria. In this study, we demonstrate that nitrogen metabolism is positively influenced by the exogenous application of trehalose (Tre) in Arthrospira platensis under nitrogen-deprived (−N) conditions. Cells were cultivated photoautotrophically for 5 days under −N conditions, with or without the addition of exogenous Tre. The results revealed that biomass and chlorophyll-a content of A. platensis experienced enhancement with the addition of 0.003 M and 0.03 M Tre in the −N medium after one day, indicating relief from growth inhibition caused by nitrogen deprivation. The highest glycogen content (54.09 ± 1.6% (w/w) DW) was observed in cells grown for 2 days under the −N + 0.003 M Tre condition (p < 0.05), while the highest PHB content (15.2 ± 0.2% (w/w) DW) was observed in cells grown for 3 days under the −N + 0.03 M Tre condition (p < 0.05). The RT-PCR analysis showed a significant increase in glgA and phaC transcript levels, representing approximately 1.2- and 1.3-fold increases, respectively, in A. platensis grown under −N + 0.003 M Tre and −N + 0.03 M Tre conditions. This was accompanied by the induction of enzyme activities, including glycogen synthase and PHA synthase with maximal values of 89.15 and 0.68 µmol min−1 mg−1 protein, respectively. The chemical structure identification of glycogen and PHB from A. platensis was confirmed by FTIR and NMR analysis. This research represents the first study examining the performance of trehalose in promoting glycogen and PHB production in cyanobacteria under nitrogen-deprived conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
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17 pages, 1165 KiB  
Review
The Role of Bcl11 Transcription Factors in Neurodevelopmental Disorders
by Franziska Anna Seigfried and Stefan Britsch
Biology 2024, 13(2), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020126 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1226
Abstract
Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) comprise a diverse group of diseases, including developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). NDDs are caused by aberrant brain development due to genetic and environmental factors. To establish specific and curative therapeutic approaches, [...] Read more.
Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) comprise a diverse group of diseases, including developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). NDDs are caused by aberrant brain development due to genetic and environmental factors. To establish specific and curative therapeutic approaches, it is indispensable to gain precise mechanistic insight into the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of NDDs. Mutations of BCL11A and BCL11B, two closely related, ultra-conserved zinc-finger transcription factors, were recently reported to be associated with NDDs, including developmental delay, ASD, and ID, as well as morphogenic defects such as cerebellar hypoplasia. In mice, Bcl11 transcription factors are well known to orchestrate various cellular processes during brain development, for example, neural progenitor cell proliferation, neuronal migration, and the differentiation as well as integration of neurons into functional circuits. Developmental defects observed in both, mice and humans display striking similarities, suggesting Bcl11 knockout mice provide excellent models for analyzing human disease. This review offers a comprehensive overview of the cellular and molecular functions of Bcl11a and b and links experimental research to the corresponding NDDs observed in humans. Moreover, it outlines trajectories for future translational research that may help to better understand the molecular basis of Bcl11-dependent NDDs as well as to conceive disease-specific therapeutic approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Regulation during Embryo Development)
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13 pages, 2069 KiB  
Article
PoxiPred: An Artificial-Intelligence-Based Method for the Prediction of Potential Antigens and Epitopes to Accelerate Vaccine Development Efforts against Poxviruses
by Gustavo Sganzerla Martinez, Mansi Dutt, David J. Kelvin and Anuj Kumar
Biology 2024, 13(2), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020125 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1151
Abstract
Poxviridae is a family of large, complex, enveloped, and double-stranded DNA viruses. The members of this family are ubiquitous and well known to cause contagious diseases in humans and other types of animals as well. Taxonomically, the poxviridae family is classified into two [...] Read more.
Poxviridae is a family of large, complex, enveloped, and double-stranded DNA viruses. The members of this family are ubiquitous and well known to cause contagious diseases in humans and other types of animals as well. Taxonomically, the poxviridae family is classified into two subfamilies, namely Chordopoxvirinae (affecting vertebrates) and Entomopoxvirinae (affecting insects). The members of the Chordopoxvirinae subfamily are further divided into 18 genera based on the genome architecture and evolutionary relationship. Of these 18 genera, four genera, namely Molluscipoxvirus, Orthopoxvirus, Parapoxvirus, and Yatapoxvirus, are known for infecting humans. Some of the popular members of poxviridae are variola virus, vaccine virus, Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox), cowpox, etc. There is still a pressing demand for the development of effective vaccines against poxviruses. Integrated immunoinformatics and artificial-intelligence (AI)-based methods have emerged as important approaches to design multi-epitope vaccines against contagious emerging infectious diseases. Despite significant progress in immunoinformatics and AI-based techniques, limited methods are available to predict the epitopes. In this study, we have proposed a unique method to predict the potential antigens and T-cell epitopes for multiple poxviruses. With PoxiPred, we developed an AI-based tool that was trained and tested with the antigens and epitopes of poxviruses. Our tool was able to locate 3191 antigen proteins from 25 distinct poxviruses. From these antigenic proteins, PoxiPred redundantly located up to five epitopes per protein, resulting in 16,817 potential T-cell epitopes which were mostly (i.e., 92%) predicted as being reactive to CD8+ T-cells. PoxiPred is able to, on a single run, identify antigens and T-cell epitopes for poxviruses with one single input, i.e., the proteome file of any poxvirus. Full article
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8 pages, 605 KiB  
Brief Report
The Comparative Effect of Occupational and Musical Enrichment on Fecal Glucocorticoid Metabolite Levels in a Captive Colony of Stumptail Macaques (Macaca arctoides)
by Lilian Mayagoitia-Novales, Ana Lilia Cerda-Molina, María Andrea Martín-Guerrero, Emmanuel Muñoz-Zamudio, Gema R. Estudillo-Mendoza and Javier I. Borráz-León
Biology 2024, 13(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020124 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 967
Abstract
Environmental enrichment improves captive animal welfare by reducing stress-related behaviors. Previous studies in a captive colony of stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides) reported a reduction of aggression, coprophilia, and stereotypic behaviors after an occupational enrichment program; however, the effect on stress hormones [...] Read more.
Environmental enrichment improves captive animal welfare by reducing stress-related behaviors. Previous studies in a captive colony of stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides) reported a reduction of aggression, coprophilia, and stereotypic behaviors after an occupational enrichment program; however, the effect on stress hormones such as glucocorticoids has not been investigated yet. The goal of this study was to compare the effect of sex, age, and social rank on changes in fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (fGCM) after applying two kinds of enrichments (occupational vs. musical) in a captive colony of stumptail macaques. We collected 234 fecal samples from 25 stumptail macaques under the following conditions: (1) basal (no enrichment), (2) three weeks of occupational enrichment, and (3) three weeks of relaxing/classical music. The Generalized Estimated Equation Model showed an increase in fGCM levels after the occupational enrichment only in adult subjects (p = 0.003 compared to basal). The fGCM levels reached by the adults after the occupational enrichment was higher than that of juveniles (p = 0.002) and subadults (p = 0.02). Occupational and musical enrichment decreased fGCM levels only in middle-ranking individuals (p < 0.001 and p = 0.013, respectively). No sex differences were found. In conclusion, there were age and rank differences in individuals’ physiological reactivity to the effects of environmental enrichment which need to be considered when planning enrichment programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioural Biology)
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19 pages, 5018 KiB  
Article
Differences of Pine Wood Nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) Developmental Stages under High-Osmotic-Pressure Stress
by Shuting Wang, Qiaoli Chen and Feng Wang
Biology 2024, 13(2), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020123 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1080
Abstract
Under ion imbalance, water deficiency, and salt stress, the osmotic pressure of the tree sap increases, and pine wood nematodes (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, PWN) parasitizing in the trees may be subjected to high-osmotic-pressure stress. KCl, L-malic acid, sucrose, and glycerol solutions were [...] Read more.
Under ion imbalance, water deficiency, and salt stress, the osmotic pressure of the tree sap increases, and pine wood nematodes (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, PWN) parasitizing in the trees may be subjected to high-osmotic-pressure stress. KCl, L-malic acid, sucrose, and glycerol solutions were used as osmolytes to explore the highest osmotic concentration that PWN can tolerate. Survival analysis showed that when the treatment concentration exceeded 90%, only a few nematodes in the glycerol group survived under 6 h treatment, and most of the survivors were third-stage dispersal juveniles (DJ3). Further examination revealed that under different concentrations of glycerol-induced high osmotic pressure, the survival rate and body length change rate were the highest in the DJ3 and the lowest in the second-stage propagative juveniles. In order to explore the molecular mechanism of resistance of DJ3 to high osmotic stress, transcriptome sequencing was performed at each developmental stage of PWN and differentially expressed genes that were up-regulated or down-regulated only in DJ3 were screened. The expression of genes related to CoA in DJ3, a key enzyme in metabolism, was significantly higher than the other developmental stages. In addition, the expression of the anti-reversal signal pathway-related gene AKT-1 in DJ3 was significantly lower than in the other development stages. Therefore, the specific expression of genes in DJ3 under high osmotic pressure may help them rapidly produce and accumulate energy-related compounds and activate the adenosine 5′-monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway to respond to damage caused by high-osmotic-pressure stress in time, thus promoting survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Diseases of Plants)
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17 pages, 1767 KiB  
Review
Insights into the Roles of Epigenetic Modifications in Ferroptosis
by Jinghua Kong, Hao Lyu, Qian Ouyang, Hao Shi, Rui Zhang, Shuai Xiao, Dong Guo, Qi Zhang, Xing-Zhen Chen, Cefan Zhou and Jingfeng Tang
Biology 2024, 13(2), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020122 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1545
Abstract
Ferroptosis is a non-apoptotic mode of cell death driven by membrane lipid peroxidation and is characterized by elevated intracellular levels of Fe2+, ROS, and lipid peroxidation. Studies have shown that ferroptosis is related to the development of multiple diseases, such as [...] Read more.
Ferroptosis is a non-apoptotic mode of cell death driven by membrane lipid peroxidation and is characterized by elevated intracellular levels of Fe2+, ROS, and lipid peroxidation. Studies have shown that ferroptosis is related to the development of multiple diseases, such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and acute myeloid leukemia. Ferroptosis plays a dual role in the occurrence and development of these diseases. Ferroptosis mainly involves iron metabolism, ROS, and lipid metabolism. Various mechanisms, including epigenetic regulation, have been reported to be deeply involved in ferroptosis. Abnormal epigenetic modifications have been reported to promote tumor onset or other diseases and resistance to chemotherapy drugs. In recent years, diversified studies have shown that epigenetic modification is involved in ferroptosis. In this review, we reviewed the current resistance system of ferroptosis and the research progress of epigenetic modification, such as DNA methylation, RNA methylation, non-coding RNAs, and histone modification in cancer and other diseases by regulating ferroptosis. Full article
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13 pages, 2309 KiB  
Article
The Diversity of Wolbachia across the Turtle Ants (Formicidae: Cephalotes spp.)
by Corey Reese, Leland C. Graber, Manuela O. Ramalho and Corrie S. Moreau
Biology 2024, 13(2), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020121 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1001
Abstract
Wolbachia is a widespread and well-known bacterium that can induce a wide range of changes within its host. Ants specifically harbor a great deal of Wolbachia diversity and are useful systems to study endosymbiosis. The turtle ants (Cephalotes) are a widespread [...] Read more.
Wolbachia is a widespread and well-known bacterium that can induce a wide range of changes within its host. Ants specifically harbor a great deal of Wolbachia diversity and are useful systems to study endosymbiosis. The turtle ants (Cephalotes) are a widespread group of tropical ants that rely on gut microbes to support their herbivorous diet for their survival, yet little is known of the extent of this diversity. Therefore, studying their endosymbionts and categorizing the diversity of bacteria within Cephalotes hosts could help to delimit species and identify new strains and can help lead to a further understanding of how the microbiome leads to survival and speciation in the wild. In our study, 116 individual samples were initially tested for positive infection with the wsp gene. Of the initial 116 samples, 9 samples were infected with only one strain of Wolbachia, and 7 were able to be used successfully for multilocus sequence typing (MLST). We used the new MLST data to infer a phylogeny with other Formicidae samples from the MLST online database to identify new Wolbachia strains and related genes, of which only one came back as an exact match. The 18 Wolbachia-positive samples ranged across 15 different species and 7 different countries, which we further test for species identity and geographic correlation. This study is the first comprehensive look into the diversity of Wolbachia in the turtle ants, providing insight into how endosymbionts are oriented in widespread species and providing a strong foundation for further research in host-microbe interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Conservation Biology and Biodiversity)
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21 pages, 4477 KiB  
Review
Structural and Functional Insights into CRF Peptides and Their Receptors
by Minos-Timotheos Matsoukas, Vasilis Panagiotopoulos, Vlasios Karageorgos, George P. Chrousos, Maria Venihaki and George Liapakis
Biology 2024, 13(2), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020120 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1069
Abstract
Corticotropin-releasing factor or hormone (CRF or CRH) and the urocortins regulate a plethora of physiological functions and are involved in many pathophysiological processes. CRF and urocortins belong to the family of CRF peptides (CRF family), which includes sauvagine, urotensin, and many synthetic peptide [...] Read more.
Corticotropin-releasing factor or hormone (CRF or CRH) and the urocortins regulate a plethora of physiological functions and are involved in many pathophysiological processes. CRF and urocortins belong to the family of CRF peptides (CRF family), which includes sauvagine, urotensin, and many synthetic peptide and non-peptide CRF analogs. Several of the CRF analogs have shown considerable therapeutic potential in the treatment of various diseases. The CRF peptide family act by interacting with two types of plasma membrane proteins, type 1 (CRF1R) and type 2 (CRF2R), which belong to subfamily B1 of the family B G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). This work describes the structure of CRF peptides and their receptors and the activation mechanism of the latter, which is compared with that of other GPCRs. It also discusses recent structural information that rationalizes the selective binding of various ligands to the two CRF receptor types and the activation of receptors by different agonists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biophysics)
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18 pages, 8971 KiB  
Article
Helenus and Ajax, Two Groups of Non-Autonomous LTR Retrotransposons, Represent a New Type of Small RNA Gene-Derived Mobile Elements
by Kenji K. Kojima
Biology 2024, 13(2), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020119 - 13 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
Terminal repeat retrotransposons in miniature (TRIMs) are short non-autonomous long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons found from various eukaryotes. Cassandra is a unique TRIM lineage which contains a 5S rRNA-derived sequence in its LTRs. Here, two new groups of TRIMs, designated Helenus and Ajax, [...] Read more.
Terminal repeat retrotransposons in miniature (TRIMs) are short non-autonomous long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons found from various eukaryotes. Cassandra is a unique TRIM lineage which contains a 5S rRNA-derived sequence in its LTRs. Here, two new groups of TRIMs, designated Helenus and Ajax, are reported based on bioinformatics analysis and the usage of Repbase. Helenus is found from fungi, animals, and plants, and its LTRs contain a tRNA-like sequence. It includes two LTRs and between them, a primer-binding site (PBS) and polypurine tract (PPT) exist. Fungal and plant Helenus generate 5 bp target site duplications (TSDs) upon integration, while animal Helenus generates 4 bp TSDs. Ajax includes a 5S rRNA-derived sequence in its LTR and is found from two nemertean genomes. Ajax generates 5 bp TSDs upon integration. These results suggest that despite their unique promoters, Helenus and Ajax are TRIMs whose transposition is dependent on autonomous LTR retrotransposon. These TRIMs can originate through an insertion of SINE in an LTR of TRIM. The discovery of Helenus and Ajax suggests the presence of TRIMs with a promoter for RNA polymerase III derived from a small RNA gene, which is here collectively termed TRIMp3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue De Novo Detection of Transposons)
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16 pages, 1449 KiB  
Review
Central Autonomic Mechanisms Involved in the Control of Laryngeal Activity and Vocalization
by Marta González-García, Laura Carrillo-Franco, Carmen Morales-Luque, Marc Stefan Dawid-Milner and Manuel Víctor López-González
Biology 2024, 13(2), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020118 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1137
Abstract
In humans, speech is a complex process that requires the coordinated involvement of various components of the phonatory system, which are monitored by the central nervous system. The larynx in particular plays a crucial role, as it enables the vocal folds to meet [...] Read more.
In humans, speech is a complex process that requires the coordinated involvement of various components of the phonatory system, which are monitored by the central nervous system. The larynx in particular plays a crucial role, as it enables the vocal folds to meet and converts the exhaled air from our lungs into audible sounds. Voice production requires precise and sustained exhalation, which generates an air pressure/flow that creates the pressure in the glottis required for voice production. Voluntary vocal production begins in the laryngeal motor cortex (LMC), a structure found in all mammals, although the specific location in the cortex varies in humans. The LMC interfaces with various structures of the central autonomic network associated with cardiorespiratory regulation to allow the perfect coordination between breathing and vocalization. The main subcortical structure involved in this relationship is the mesencephalic periaqueductal grey matter (PAG). The PAG is the perfect link to the autonomic pontomedullary structures such as the parabrachial complex (PBc), the Kölliker–Fuse nucleus (KF), the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), and the nucleus retroambiguus (nRA), which modulate cardiovascular autonomic function activity in the vasomotor centers and respiratory activity at the level of the generators of the laryngeal-respiratory motor patterns that are essential for vocalization. These cores of autonomic structures are not only involved in the generation and modulation of cardiorespiratory responses to various stressors but also help to shape the cardiorespiratory motor patterns that are important for vocal production. Clinical studies show increased activity in the central circuits responsible for vocalization in certain speech disorders, such as spasmodic dysphonia because of laryngeal dystonia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Autonomic Function: From Bench to Bedside)
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11 pages, 1520 KiB  
Case Report
Case Report: Emerging Losses of Managed Honey Bee Colonies
by Zachary S. Lamas, Yanping Chen and Jay D. Evans
Biology 2024, 13(2), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020117 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2887
Abstract
United States commercial beekeepers prepare honey bee colonies for almond pollination in California each year in late January to early February. This represents the largest managed pollination event in the world and involves more than half of all U.S. honey bee colonies. In [...] Read more.
United States commercial beekeepers prepare honey bee colonies for almond pollination in California each year in late January to early February. This represents the largest managed pollination event in the world and involves more than half of all U.S. honey bee colonies. In winter 2023, numerous colonies in Florida, which were graded as suitable for almonds (larger than ten frames of bees), dwindled suddenly or altogether died within several weeks, just prior to movement for almonds. The timing of these losses and the resulting morbidity caused severe economic harm to affected operations. This study reports interviews with affected stakeholders, their economic harm, and analyses of pathogens and parasites found in their colonies. Full article
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21 pages, 2327 KiB  
Article
Effect of CB1 Receptor Deficiency on Mitochondrial Quality Control Pathways in Gastrocnemius Muscle
by Rosalba Senese, Giuseppe Petito, Elena Silvestri, Maria Ventriglia, Nicola Mosca, Nicoletta Potenza, Aniello Russo, Francesco Manfrevola, Gilda Cobellis, Teresa Chioccarelli, Veronica Porreca, Vincenza Grazia Mele, Rosanna Chianese, Pieter de Lange, Giulia Ricci, Federica Cioffi and Antonia Lanni
Biology 2024, 13(2), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020116 - 11 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1306
Abstract
This study aims to explore the complex role of cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) signaling in the gastrocnemius muscle, assessing physiological processes in both CB1+/+ and CB1−/− mice. The primary focus is to enhance our understanding of how CB1 contributes to [...] Read more.
This study aims to explore the complex role of cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) signaling in the gastrocnemius muscle, assessing physiological processes in both CB1+/+ and CB1−/− mice. The primary focus is to enhance our understanding of how CB1 contributes to mitochondrial homeostasis. At the tissue level, CB1−/− mice exhibit a substantial miRNA-related alteration in muscle fiber composition, characterized by an enrichment of oxidative fibers. CB1 absence induces a significant increase in the oxidative capacity of muscle, supported by elevated in-gel activity of Complex I and Complex IV of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. The increased oxidative capacity is associated with elevated oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defense systems. Analysis of mitochondrial biogenesis markers indicates an enhanced capacity for new mitochondria production in CB1−/− mice, possibly adapting to altered muscle fiber composition. Changes in mitochondrial dynamics, mitophagy response, and unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways reveal a dynamic interplay in response to CB1 absence. The interconnected mitochondrial network, influenced by increased fusion and mitochondrial UPR components, underlines the dual role of CB1 in regulating both protein quality control and the generation of new mitochondria. These findings deepen our comprehension of the CB1 impact on muscle physiology, oxidative stress, and MQC processes, highlighting cellular adaptability to CB1−/−. This study paves the way for further exploration of intricate signaling cascades and cross-talk between cellular compartments in the context of CB1 and mitochondrial homeostasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondrial Metabolism and Function in Health and Disease)
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12 pages, 456 KiB  
Review
Rho-Kinase Inhibition of Active Force and Passive Tension in Airway Smooth Muscle: A Strategy for Treating Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Asthma
by Yuto Yasuda, Lu Wang, Pasquale Chitano and Chun Y. Seow
Biology 2024, 13(2), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020115 - 11 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1062
Abstract
Rho-kinase inhibitors have been identified as a class of potential drugs for treating asthma because of their ability to reduce airway inflammation and active force in airway smooth muscle (ASM). Past research has revealed that, besides the effect on the ASM’s force generation, [...] Read more.
Rho-kinase inhibitors have been identified as a class of potential drugs for treating asthma because of their ability to reduce airway inflammation and active force in airway smooth muscle (ASM). Past research has revealed that, besides the effect on the ASM’s force generation, rho-kinase (ROCK) also regulates actin filament formation and filament network architecture and integrity, thus affecting ASM’s cytoskeletal stiffness. The present review is not a comprehensive examination of the roles played by ROCK in regulating ASM function but is specifically focused on passive tension, which is partially determined by the cytoskeletal stiffness of ASM. Understanding the molecular basis for maintaining active force and passive tension in ASM by ROCK will allow us to determine the suitability of ROCK inhibitors and its downstream enzymes as a class of drugs in treating airway hyperresponsiveness seen in asthma. Because clinical trials using ROCK inhibitors in the treatment of asthma have yet to be conducted, the present review focuses on the in vitro effects of ROCK inhibitors on ASM’s mechanical properties which include active force generation, relaxation, and passive stiffness. The review provides justification for future clinical trials in the treatment of asthma using ROCK inhibitors alone and in combination with other pharmacological and mechanical interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms and New Targets of Refractory Asthma)
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27 pages, 10039 KiB  
Article
Dawn of the Delphinidans: New Remains of Kentriodon from the Lower Miocene of Italy Shed Light on the Early Radiation of the Most Diverse Extant Cetacean Clade
by Francesco Nobile, Alberto Collareta, Vittore Perenzin, Eliana Fornaciari, Luca Giusberti and Giovanni Bianucci
Biology 2024, 13(2), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020114 - 11 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2358
Abstract
Nowadays, the infraorder Delphinida (oceanic dolphins and kin) represents the most diverse extant clade of Cetacea, with delphinids alone accounting for more than 40% of the total number of living cetacean species. As for other cetacean groups, the Early Miocene represents a key [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the infraorder Delphinida (oceanic dolphins and kin) represents the most diverse extant clade of Cetacea, with delphinids alone accounting for more than 40% of the total number of living cetacean species. As for other cetacean groups, the Early Miocene represents a key interval for the evolutionary history of Delphinida, as it was during this time span that the delphinidans became broadly distributed worldwide, first and foremost with the widespread genus Kentriodon and closely related forms. Here, we report on a new odontocete find from Burdigalian (20.4–19.0 Ma) deposits of the Friulian-Venetian Basin of northeastern Italy, consisting of the partial cranium of a small delphinidan with associated ear bones (right periotic, stapes, malleus and tympanic bulla). Osteoanatomical considerations and comparisons allow us to assign the studied specimen to the genus Kentriodon. This is the first confirmed record of Kentriodon from Europe as well as from the whole proto-Mediterranean region. Stratigraphic and phylogenetic considerations suggest that our new specimen may represent the geologically oldest member of Kentriodon. The evolutionary success of Kentriodon may correlate with the emergence of narrow-band high-frequency echolocation as a possible strategy to escape acoustic detection by large marine predators such as the squalodontids. In addition, the relatively high encephalization quotient of Kentriodon spp. may have provided these early dolphins with some kind of competitive advantage over the coeval non-delphinidan odontocetes. Full article
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23 pages, 4322 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Climatic Niche Evolution of the Genus Falco (Aves: Falconidae) in Europe
by Simona Mariana Popescu, Cristian Tigae, Aurelian Dobrițescu and Dragoș Mihail Ștefănescu
Biology 2024, 13(2), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020113 - 11 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1027
Abstract
By integrating species distribution modeling techniques, phylogenetic comparative methods, and climatic data, we analyzed how European falcon climatic niches have changed over evolutionary time in order to understand their tempo and mode of evolution and gain phylogenetic insights related to the ecological context [...] Read more.
By integrating species distribution modeling techniques, phylogenetic comparative methods, and climatic data, we analyzed how European falcon climatic niches have changed over evolutionary time in order to understand their tempo and mode of evolution and gain phylogenetic insights related to the ecological context of falcon evolution. For this purpose, we tested the relative contributions of niche conservatism, convergent evolution, and divergent evolution in the evolutionary history of this group of species in Europe. The occupation of climatic niche spaces by falcon species in Europe was not similar, considering that their climatic niche evolution was characterized by heterotachy, especially after ca. 4 Mya. Our results indicate that convergent evolution and niche divergence played an important role in the evolutionary history of these species, with no significant evidence of closely related species retaining their fundamental niche over time (phylogenetic niche conservatism). In most analyses, less closely related falcon species occupied similar climatic environments. We found that speciation in the European genus Falco was influenced by climatic niche differentiation, more prevalent in the last 4 million years, with the main climatic niche shifts occurring between closely related falcon species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology)
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27 pages, 7436 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Tacrolimus’ Adverse Effects on Zebrafish in Larval and Adult Stages by Using Multiple Physiological and Behavioral Endpoints
by Wen-Wei Feng, Hsiu-Chao Chen, Gilbert Audira, Michael Edbert Suryanto, Ferry Saputra, Kevin Adi Kurnia, Ross D. Vasquez, Franelyne P. Casuga, Yu-Heng Lai, Chung-Der Hsiao and Chih-Hsin Hung
Biology 2024, 13(2), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020112 - 10 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Tacrolimus (FK506) is a common immunosuppressant that is used in organ transplantation. However, despite its importance in medical applications, it is prone to adverse side effects. While some studies have demonstrated its toxicities to humans and various animal models, very few studies have [...] Read more.
Tacrolimus (FK506) is a common immunosuppressant that is used in organ transplantation. However, despite its importance in medical applications, it is prone to adverse side effects. While some studies have demonstrated its toxicities to humans and various animal models, very few studies have addressed this issue in aquatic organisms, especially zebrafish. Here, we assessed the adverse effects of acute and chronic exposure to tacrolimus in relatively low doses in zebrafish in both larval and adult stages, respectively. Based on the results, although tacrolimus did not cause any cardiotoxicity and respiratory toxicity toward zebrafish larvae, it affected their locomotor activity performance in light–dark locomotion tests. Meanwhile, tacrolimus was also found to slightly affect the behavior performance, shoaling formation, circadian rhythm locomotor activity, and color preference of adult zebrafish in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, alterations in the cognitive performance of the fish were also displayed by the treated fish, indicated by a loss of short-term memory. To help elucidate the toxicity mechanism of tacrolimus, molecular docking was conducted to calculate the strength of the binding interaction between tacrolimus to human FKBP12. The results showed a relatively normal binding affinity, indicating that this interaction might only partly contribute to the observed alterations. Nevertheless, the current research could help clinicians and researchers to further understand the toxicology of tacrolimus, especially to zebrafish, thus highlighting the importance of considering the toxicity of tacrolimus prior to its usage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Applications of the Zebrafish Model)
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15 pages, 2672 KiB  
Review
Vascular Calcification: A Passive Process That Requires Active Inhibition
by Ricardo Villa-Bellosta
Biology 2024, 13(2), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020111 - 09 Feb 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1394
Abstract
The primary cause of worldwide mortality and morbidity stems from complications in the cardiovascular system resulting from accelerated atherosclerosis and arterial stiffening. Frequently, both pathologies are associated with the pathological calcification of cardiovascular structures, present in areas such as cardiac valves or blood [...] Read more.
The primary cause of worldwide mortality and morbidity stems from complications in the cardiovascular system resulting from accelerated atherosclerosis and arterial stiffening. Frequently, both pathologies are associated with the pathological calcification of cardiovascular structures, present in areas such as cardiac valves or blood vessels (vascular calcification). The accumulation of hydroxyapatite, the predominant form of calcium phosphate crystals, is a distinctive feature of vascular calcification. This phenomenon is commonly observed as a result of aging and is also linked to various diseases such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and several genetic disorders. A substantial body of evidence indicates that vascular calcification involves two primary processes: a passive process and an active process. The physicochemical process of hydroxyapatite formation and deposition (a passive process) is influenced significantly by hyperphosphatemia. However, the active synthesis of calcification inhibitors, including proteins and low-molecular-weight inhibitors such as pyrophosphate, is crucial. Excessive calcification occurs when there is a loss of function in enzymes and transporters responsible for extracellular pyrophosphate metabolism. Current in vivo treatments to prevent calcification involve addressing hyperphosphatemia with phosphate binders and implementing strategies to enhance the availability of pyrophosphate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Vascular Calcification)
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15 pages, 3378 KiB  
Article
CEBPA Overexpression Enhances β-Cell Proliferation and Survival
by Peter N. Ellsworth, Jacob A. Herring, Aaron H. Leifer, Jason D. Ray, Weston S. Elison, Peter Daniel Poulson, Jacqueline E. Crabtree, Pam M. Van Ry and Jeffery S. Tessem
Biology 2024, 13(2), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020110 - 09 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1293
Abstract
A commonality between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the decline in functional β-cell mass. The transcription factor Nkx6.1 regulates β-cell development and is integral for proper β-cell function. We have previously demonstrated that Nkx6.1 depends on c-Fos mediated upregulation and the [...] Read more.
A commonality between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the decline in functional β-cell mass. The transcription factor Nkx6.1 regulates β-cell development and is integral for proper β-cell function. We have previously demonstrated that Nkx6.1 depends on c-Fos mediated upregulation and the nuclear hormone receptors Nr4a1 and Nr4a3 to increase β-cell insulin secretion, survival, and replication. Here, we demonstrate that Nkx6.1 overexpression results in upregulation of the bZip transcription factor CEBPA and that CEBPA expression is independent of c-Fos regulation. In turn, CEBPA overexpression is sufficient to enhance INS-1 832/13 β-cell and primary rat islet proliferation. CEBPA overexpression also increases the survival of β-cells treated with thapsigargin. We demonstrate that increased survival in response to ER stress corresponds with changes in expression of various genes involved in the unfolded protein response, including decreased Ire1a expression. These data show that CEBPA is sufficient to enhance functional β-cell mass by increasing β-cell proliferation and modulating the unfolded protein response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue β-Cells at the Center of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes)
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19 pages, 2436 KiB  
Review
Bacterial Biofilm in Chronic Wounds and Possible Therapeutic Approaches
by Ilaria Cavallo, Francesca Sivori, Arianna Mastrofrancesco, Elva Abril, Martina Pontone, Enea Gino Di Domenico and Fulvia Pimpinelli
Biology 2024, 13(2), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020109 - 09 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1350
Abstract
Wound repair and skin regeneration is a very complex orchestrated process that is generally composed of four phases: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. Each phase involves the activation of different cells and the production of various cytokines, chemokines, and other inflammatory mediators affecting [...] Read more.
Wound repair and skin regeneration is a very complex orchestrated process that is generally composed of four phases: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. Each phase involves the activation of different cells and the production of various cytokines, chemokines, and other inflammatory mediators affecting the immune response. The microbial skin composition plays an important role in wound healing. Indeed, skin commensals are essential in the maintenance of the epidermal barrier function, regulation of the host immune response, and protection from invading pathogenic microorganisms. Chronic wounds are common and are considered a major public health problem due to their difficult-to-treat features and their frequent association with challenging chronic infections. These infections can be very tough to manage due to the ability of some bacteria to produce multicellular structures encapsulated into a matrix called biofilms. The bacterial species contained in the biofilm are often different, as is their capability to influence the healing of chronic wounds. Biofilms are, in fact, often tolerant and resistant to antibiotics and antiseptics, leading to the failure of treatment. For these reasons, biofilms impede appropriate treatment and, consequently, prolong the wound healing period. Hence, there is an urgent necessity to deepen the knowledge of the pathophysiology of delayed wound healing and to develop more effective therapeutic approaches able to restore tissue damage. This work covers the wound-healing process and the pathogenesis of chronic wounds infected by biofilm-forming pathogens. An overview of the strategies to counteract biofilm formation or to destroy existing biofilms is also provided. Full article
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12 pages, 1707 KiB  
Article
Targeted Overexpression of Claudin 11 in Osteoblasts Increases Trabecular Bone Mass by Stimulating Osteogenesis at the Expense of Adipogenesis in Mice
by Weirong Xing, Sheila Pourteymoor, Anakha Udayakumar, Yian Chen and Subburaman Mohan
Biology 2024, 13(2), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020108 - 09 Feb 2024
Viewed by 981
Abstract
Mice lacking Claudin11 (Cldn11) manifest reduced trabecular bone mass. However, the impact of Cldn11 expression in osteoblasts in vivo remains understudied. Herein, we generated osteoblast-specific transgenic (Tg) mice expressing Cldn11 and characterized their skeletal phenotype. Micro-CT analyses of the distal metaphysis [...] Read more.
Mice lacking Claudin11 (Cldn11) manifest reduced trabecular bone mass. However, the impact of Cldn11 expression in osteoblasts in vivo remains understudied. Herein, we generated osteoblast-specific transgenic (Tg) mice expressing Cldn11 and characterized their skeletal phenotype. Micro-CT analyses of the distal metaphysis of the femur showed a 50% and a 38% increase in trabecular bone mass in Tg male and female mice, respectively, due to a significant increase in trabecular number and a reduction in trabecular separation. Histomorphometry and serum biomarker studies uncovered that increased trabecular bone mass in Cldn11 Tg mice was the consequence of enhanced bone formation. Accordingly, an abundance of bone formation (Alp, Bsp), but not bone resorption (Ctsk), markers were augmented in the femurs of Cldn11 Tg mice. Since the trabecular bone density is known to inversely correlate with the amount of marrow adipose tissue (MAT), we measured the MAT in osmium-tetroxide-labeled bones by micro-CT scanning. We found 86% less MAT in the proximal tibia of the Tg males. Consistently, the expression levels of the adipogenic markers, adiponectin and leptin, were 50% lower in the femurs of the Tg males. Our data are consistent with the possibility that claudin11 exerts anabolic effects in osteoblastic lineage cells that act via promoting the differentiation of marrow stem cells towards osteoblasts at the expense of adipocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone Cell Biology)
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15 pages, 2251 KiB  
Article
11-Deoxycorticosterone (DOC)’s Action on the Gill Osmoregulation of Juvenile Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
by Rodrigo Zuloaga, Luciano Ahumada-Langer, Jorge Eduardo Aedo, Alfredo Molina and Juan Antonio Valdés
Biology 2024, 13(2), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020107 - 09 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1078
Abstract
In aquaculture, stress can negatively affect fish growth. For years, the cortisol hormone has been thought to play both glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid functions. Nevertheless, recent research has suggested that 11-deoxycorticosterone (DOC) released during stress could contribute to cortisol actions, though this process is [...] Read more.
In aquaculture, stress can negatively affect fish growth. For years, the cortisol hormone has been thought to play both glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid functions. Nevertheless, recent research has suggested that 11-deoxycorticosterone (DOC) released during stress could contribute to cortisol actions, though this process is still misunderstood. Here, we evaluated the DOC effects on physiological and early transcriptional responses by RNA-seq. Juvenile rainbow trout were treated with DOC and/or glucocorticoids (mifepristone) or mineralocorticoid (eplerenone) receptor antagonists. Subsequently, plasma was collected, and cDNA libraries were generated from the gills of vehicle (control), DOC, mifepristone, mifepristone with DOC, eplerenone, and eplerenone with DOC groups. Calcium and phosphate levels in plasma were changed. Results revealed 914 differentially expressed transcripts (DETs) induced by DOC compared with control, mainly associated with sodium ion transmembrane transport, gluconeogenesis, negative regulation of transmembrane transport, and activation of innate immune response. DOC versus eplerenone with DOC comparison displayed 444 DETs related to cell-cell junction organization, canonical glycolysis, positive regulation of immune response, and potassium ion transport. Conversely, no DETs were detected in DOC versus mifepristone with DOC comparison. These data suggest that DOC has a relevant role in gill stress response and ion transport, which is differentially regulated by mineralocorticoid receptors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic and Stress Responses in Aquatic Animals)
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16 pages, 11610 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Metabolic Basis of α-Gal A mRNA Therapy for Fabry Disease
by Zhendong Zhang, Qi Liu, Zhiwen Deng, Jun Liu, Shuang Li, Mei Hong and Yucai Peng
Biology 2024, 13(2), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020106 - 08 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1456
Abstract
mRNA injection-based protein supplementation has emerged as a feasible treatment for Fabry disease. However, whether the introduction of LNP-encapsulated mRNA results in the alteration of metabolomics in an in vivo system remains largely unknown. In the present study, α-galactosidase A (α-Gal A) mRNA [...] Read more.
mRNA injection-based protein supplementation has emerged as a feasible treatment for Fabry disease. However, whether the introduction of LNP-encapsulated mRNA results in the alteration of metabolomics in an in vivo system remains largely unknown. In the present study, α-galactosidase A (α-Gal A) mRNA was generated and injected into the Fabry disease mouse model. The α-Gal A protein was successfully expressed. The level of globotriaosylsphingosine (Lyso-Gb3), a biomarker for Fabry disease, as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines such as nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), were greatly decreased compared to the untreated control, indicating the therapeutic outcome of the mRNA drug. Metabolomics analysis found that the level of 20 metabolites was significantly altered in the plasma of mRNA-injected mice. These compounds are primarily enriched in the arachidonic acid metabolism, alanine, aspartate and glutamate metabolism, and glycolysis/gluconeogenesis pathways. Arachidonic acid and 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE), both of which are important components in the eicosanoid pathway and related to inflammation response, were significantly increased in the injected mice, possibly due to the presence of lipid nanoparticles. Moreover, mRNA can effectively alter the level of metabolites in the amino acid and energy metabolic pathways that are commonly found to be suppressed in Fabry disease. Taken together, the present study demonstrated that in addition to supplementing the deficient α-Gal A protein, the mRNA-based therapeutic agent can also affect levels of metabolites that may help in the recovery of metabolic homeostasis in the full body system. Full article
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28 pages, 2000 KiB  
Review
The Intrinsic Cardiac Nervous System: From Pathophysiology to Therapeutic Implications
by Giuseppe Giannino, Valentina Braia, Carola Griffith Brookles, Federico Giacobbe, Fabrizio D’Ascenzo, Filippo Angelini, Andrea Saglietto, Gaetano Maria De Ferrari and Veronica Dusi
Biology 2024, 13(2), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020105 - 07 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1819
Abstract
The cardiac autonomic nervous system (CANS) plays a pivotal role in cardiac homeostasis as well as in cardiac pathology. The first level of cardiac autonomic control, the intrinsic cardiac nervous system (ICNS), is located within the epicardial fat pads and is physically organized [...] Read more.
The cardiac autonomic nervous system (CANS) plays a pivotal role in cardiac homeostasis as well as in cardiac pathology. The first level of cardiac autonomic control, the intrinsic cardiac nervous system (ICNS), is located within the epicardial fat pads and is physically organized in ganglionated plexi (GPs). The ICNS system does not only contain parasympathetic cardiac efferent neurons, as long believed, but also afferent neurons and local circuit neurons. Thanks to its high degree of connectivity, combined with neuronal plasticity and memory capacity, the ICNS allows for a beat-to-beat control of all cardiac functions and responses as well as integration with extracardiac and higher centers for longer-term cardiovascular reflexes. The present review provides a detailed overview of the current knowledge of the bidirectional connection between the ICNS and the most studied cardiac pathologies/conditions (myocardial infarction, heart failure, arrhythmias and heart transplant) and the potential therapeutic implications. Indeed, GP modulation with efferent activity inhibition, differently achieved, has been studied for atrial fibrillation and functional bradyarrhythmias, while GP modulation with efferent activity stimulation has been evaluated for myocardial infarction, heart failure and ventricular arrhythmias. Electrical therapy has the unique potential to allow for both kinds of ICNS modulation while preserving the anatomical integrity of the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Autonomic Function: From Bench to Bedside)
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13 pages, 1568 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Impact of Population Management on the Genetic Parameters of Selected Spiral-Horned Antelopes
by Ema Cetkovská, Karolína Brandlová, Rob Ogden and Barbora Černá Bolfíková
Biology 2024, 13(2), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020104 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1144
Abstract
The rapid loss of biodiversity and the associated reduction and fragmentation of habitats means that ex situ populations have become an important part of species conservation. These populations, which are often established from a small number of founders, require careful management to avoid [...] Read more.
The rapid loss of biodiversity and the associated reduction and fragmentation of habitats means that ex situ populations have become an important part of species conservation. These populations, which are often established from a small number of founders, require careful management to avoid the negative effects of genetic drift and inbreeding. Although the inclusion of molecular data is recommended, their availability for captive breeding management remains limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the levels of genetic diversity in six spiral-horned antelope taxa bred under human care and their respective management strategies, conservation status, demography, and geographic origin, using 10 nuclear DNA microsatellite loci and mitochondrial control region DNA sequences. Our findings include associations between genetic diversity and management intensity but also with the diversity and contribution of wild populations to captive founders, with some populations apparently composed of animals from divergent wild lineages elevating captive genetic diversity. When population sizes are large, the potential advantages of maximizing genetic diversity in widely outcrossed populations may need careful consideration with respect to the potential disruption of adaptive diversity. Genetic data serve as a robust tool for managing captive populations, yet their interpretation necessitates a comprehensive understanding of species biology and history. Full article
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50 pages, 2313 KiB  
Review
Exploring beyond Common Cell Death Pathways in Oral Cancer: A Systematic Review
by Leonardo de Oliveira Siquara da Rocha, Everton Freitas de Morais, Lilianny Querino Rocha de Oliveira, Andressa Vollono Barbosa, Daniel W. Lambert, Clarissa A. Gurgel Rocha and Ricardo D. Coletta
Biology 2024, 13(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020103 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1444
Abstract
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most common and lethal type of head and neck cancer in the world. Variable response and acquisition of resistance to traditional therapies show that it is essential to develop novel strategies that can provide better outcomes [...] Read more.
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most common and lethal type of head and neck cancer in the world. Variable response and acquisition of resistance to traditional therapies show that it is essential to develop novel strategies that can provide better outcomes for the patient. Understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms of cell death control has increased rapidly in recent years. Activation of cell death pathways, such as the emerging forms of non-apoptotic programmed cell death, including ferroptosis, pyroptosis, necroptosis, NETosis, parthanatos, mitoptosis and paraptosis, may represent clinically relevant novel therapeutic opportunities. This systematic review summarizes the recently described forms of cell death in OSCC, highlighting their potential for informing diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Original studies that explored any of the selected cell deaths in OSCC were included. Electronic search, study selection, data collection and risk of bias assessment tools were realized. The literature search was carried out in four databases, and the extracted data from 79 articles were categorized and grouped by type of cell death. Ferroptosis, pyroptosis, and necroptosis represented the main forms of cell death in the selected studies, with links to cancer immunity and inflammatory responses, progression and prognosis of OSCC. Harnessing the potential of these pathways may be useful in patient-specific prognosis and individualized therapy. We provide perspectives on how these different cell death types can be integrated to develop decision tools for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of OSCC. Full article
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