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Biology, Volume 9, Issue 10 (October 2020) – 39 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Capture fisheries are reaching their limit, and the increasing demand for fish protein can only be [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Super-Resolution Fluorescence Microscopy Reveals Clustering Behaviour of Chlamydia pneumoniae’s Major Outer Membrane Protein
Biology 2020, 9(10), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100344 - 20 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Chlamydia pneumoniae is a Gram-negative bacterium responsible for a number of human respiratory diseases and linked to some chronic inflammatory diseases. The major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of Chlamydia is a conserved immunologically dominant protein located in the outer membrane, which, together with [...] Read more.
Chlamydia pneumoniae is a Gram-negative bacterium responsible for a number of human respiratory diseases and linked to some chronic inflammatory diseases. The major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of Chlamydia is a conserved immunologically dominant protein located in the outer membrane, which, together with its surface exposure and abundance, has led to MOMP being the main focus for vaccine and antimicrobial studies in recent decades. MOMP has a major role in the chlamydial outer membrane complex through the formation of intermolecular disulphide bonds, although the exact interactions formed are currently unknown. Here, it is proposed that due to the large number of cysteines available for disulphide bonding, interactions occur between cysteine-rich pockets as opposed to individual residues. Such pockets were identified using a MOMP homology model with a supporting low-resolution (~4 Å) crystal structure. The localisation of MOMP in the E. coli membrane was assessed using direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM), which showed a decrease in membrane clustering with cysteine-rich regions containing two mutations. These results indicate that disulphide bond formation was not disrupted by single mutants located in the cysteine-dense regions and was instead compensated by neighbouring cysteines within the pocket in support of this cysteine-rich pocket hypothesis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
From Classical to Unconventional: The Immune Receptors Facilitating Platelet Responses to Infection and Inflammation
Biology 2020, 9(10), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100343 - 20 Oct 2020
Viewed by 434
Abstract
Platelets have long been recognized for their role in maintaining the balance between hemostasis and thrombosis. While their contributions to blood clotting have been well established, it has been increasingly evident that their roles extend to both innate and adaptive immune functions during [...] Read more.
Platelets have long been recognized for their role in maintaining the balance between hemostasis and thrombosis. While their contributions to blood clotting have been well established, it has been increasingly evident that their roles extend to both innate and adaptive immune functions during infection and inflammation. In this comprehensive review, we describe the various ways in which platelets interact with different microbes and elicit immune responses either directly, or through modulation of leukocyte behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology)
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Open AccessArticle
Differential Production of Phenolics, Lipids, Carbohydrates and Proteins in Stressed and Unstressed Aquatic Plants, Azolla filiculoides and Azolla pinnata
Biology 2020, 9(10), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100342 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 275
Abstract
The metabolic plasticity of shikimate and phenylpropanoid pathways redirects carbon flow to different sink products in order to protect sessile plants from environmental stresses. This study assessed the biochemical responses of two Azolla species, A. filiculoides and A. pinnata, to the combined [...] Read more.
The metabolic plasticity of shikimate and phenylpropanoid pathways redirects carbon flow to different sink products in order to protect sessile plants from environmental stresses. This study assessed the biochemical responses of two Azolla species, A. filiculoides and A. pinnata, to the combined effects of environmental and nutritional stresses experienced while growing outdoors under Australian summer conditions. These stresses triggered a more than 2-fold increase in the production of total phenols and their representatives, anthocyanins (up to 18-fold), flavonoids (up to 4.7-fold), and condensed tannins (up to 2.7-fold), which led to intense red coloration of the leaves. These changes were also associated with an increase in the concentration of carbohydrates and a decrease in concentrations of lipids and total proteins. Changes in lipid biosynthesis did not cause significant changes in concentrations of palmitoleic acid (C16:0), linolenic acid (C18:3), and linoleic acid (C18:2), the fatty acid signatures of Azolla species. However, a reduction in protein production triggered changes in biosynthesis of alanine, arginine, leucine, tyrosine, threonine, valine, and methionine amino acids. Stress-triggered changes in key nutritional components, phenolics, lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates could have a significant impact on the nutritional value of both Azolla species, which are widely used as a sustainable food supplement for livestock, poultry, and fish industries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Expression of POU2F3 Transcription Factor Control Inflammation, Immunological Recruitment and Metastasis of Pancreatic Cancer in Mice
Biology 2020, 9(10), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100341 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 419
Abstract
TUFT cells have been described as strong modulators of inflammatory cells in several tissues including pancreas. TUFT cells, also known as DCLK1+ cells, are dependent of the transcriptional factor POU2F3. Several works report DCLK1+ cells in early stages of PDAC development [...] Read more.
TUFT cells have been described as strong modulators of inflammatory cells in several tissues including pancreas. TUFT cells, also known as DCLK1+ cells, are dependent of the transcriptional factor POU2F3. Several works report DCLK1+ cells in early stages of PDAC development suggesting an important role of TUFT cells in PDAC development. Therefore, we developed a mice model (PDX1-Cre;KrasG12D;Ink4afl/fl), known as PKI model, deficient or not of POU2F3. In this animal model, deficiency of POU2F3 results in the absence of TUFT cells in PDAC as expected. Although, tumor development and growth are not significantly influenced, the development of liver metastasis was almost completely inhibited in POU2F3-deficient mice. Surprisingly, the absence of metastasis was associated with a higher expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers, but to a lower inflammatory microenvironment suggesting that inflammation influences metastasis production more than epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in this animal model. We can conclude that POU2F3 could be a new therapeutic target for control PDAC progression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Coupling of the AQUATOX and EFDC Models for Ecological Impact Assessment of Chemical Spill Scenarios in the Jeonju River, Korea
Biology 2020, 9(10), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100340 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 384
Abstract
In this study, an ecological impact was assessed for the short-term leak scenario through the AQUATOX-EFDC model, which combines the proven ecological model AQUATOX with the hydrodynamic model EFDC. A case study of the coupled AQUATOX-EFDC model was conducted for 30–30,000 kg toluene [...] Read more.
In this study, an ecological impact was assessed for the short-term leak scenario through the AQUATOX-EFDC model, which combines the proven ecological model AQUATOX with the hydrodynamic model EFDC. A case study of the coupled AQUATOX-EFDC model was conducted for 30–30,000 kg toluene leak scenarios in the Jeonju River in South Korea. A 21-day scenario simulation was conducted, and the impact of the toluene spill accident was evaluated by comparing the biomass between the control simulation and the perturbed simulation. As a result of the simulation, it was found that in the scenario in which 3000 kg of toluene was leaked for a day, a substantial change was expected in the range of 0–640 m from the accident site. Additionally, for a 30,000 kg leak, a substantial change was expected in the range of 0–2300 m from the accident site, and the greatest damage was observed for the fish species group, the top predators. As a result, the AQUATOX-EFDC simulation showed a significant ecological impact, and the proposed model will be helpful to understand the ecological impact and establish the management strategy for the ecological risk of the chemical spill. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle
Signaling Mechanism of Transcriptional Bursting: A Technical Resolution-Independent Study
Biology 2020, 9(10), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100339 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 370
Abstract
Gene transcription has been uncovered to occur in sporadic bursts. However, due to technical difficulties in differentiating individual transcription initiation events, it remains debated as to whether the burst size, frequency, or both are subject to modulation by transcriptional activators. Here, to bypass [...] Read more.
Gene transcription has been uncovered to occur in sporadic bursts. However, due to technical difficulties in differentiating individual transcription initiation events, it remains debated as to whether the burst size, frequency, or both are subject to modulation by transcriptional activators. Here, to bypass technical constraints, we addressed this issue by introducing two independent theoretical methods including analytical research based on the classic two-model and information entropy research based on the architecture of transcription apparatus. Both methods connect the signaling mechanism of transcriptional bursting to the characteristics of transcriptional uncertainty (i.e., the differences in transcriptional levels of the same genes that are equally activated). By comparing the theoretical predictions with abundant experimental data collected from published papers, the results exclusively support frequency modulation. To further validate this conclusion, we showed that the data that appeared to support size modulation essentially supported frequency modulation taking into account the existence of burst clusters. This work provides a unified scheme that reconciles the debate on burst signaling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Biology)
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Open AccessReview
The Nuclear Envelope in Lipid Metabolism and Pathogenesis of NAFLD
Biology 2020, 9(10), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100338 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 522
Abstract
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a burgeoning public health problem worldwide. Despite its tremendous significance for public health, we lack a comprehensive understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms of NAFLD and its more advanced stage, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Identification of novel pathways or [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a burgeoning public health problem worldwide. Despite its tremendous significance for public health, we lack a comprehensive understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms of NAFLD and its more advanced stage, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Identification of novel pathways or cellular mechanisms that regulate liver lipid metabolism has profound implications for the understanding of the pathology of NAFLD and NASH. The nuclear envelope is topologically connected to the ER, where protein synthesis and lipid synthesis occurs. Emerging evidence points toward that the nuclear lamins and nuclear membrane-associated proteins are involved in lipid metabolism and homeostasis. We review published reports that link these nuclear envelope proteins to lipid metabolism. In particular, we focus on the recent work demonstrating the essential roles for the nuclear envelope-localized torsinA/lamina-associated polypeptide (LAP1) complex in hepatic steatosis, lipid secretion, and NASH development. We also discuss plausible pathogenic mechanisms by which the loss of either protein in hepatocytes leads to hepatic dyslipidemia and NASH development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Liver Injury)
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Open AccessArticle
Interactions between the Parasite Philasterides dicentrarchi and the Immune System of the Turbot Scophthalmus maximus. A Transcriptomic Analysis
Biology 2020, 9(10), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100337 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 418
Abstract
The present study analyses the interactions between Philasterides dicentrarchi (a ciliate parasite that causes high mortalities in cultured flatfish) and the peritoneal cells of the turbot Scophthalmus maximus during an experimental infection. The transcriptomic response was evaluated in the parasites and in the [...] Read more.
The present study analyses the interactions between Philasterides dicentrarchi (a ciliate parasite that causes high mortalities in cultured flatfish) and the peritoneal cells of the turbot Scophthalmus maximus during an experimental infection. The transcriptomic response was evaluated in the parasites and in the fish peritoneal cells, at 1, 2 and 4 h post-infection (hpi) in turbot injected intraperitoneally (ip) with 107 ciliates and at 12 and 48 hpi in turbot injected ip with 105 ciliates. Numerous genes were differentially expressed (DE) in P. dicentrarchi, relative to their expression in control ciliates (0 hpi): 407 (369 were up-regulated) at 1 hpi, 769 (415 were up-regulated) at 2 hpi and 507 (119 were up-regulated) at 4 hpi. Gene ontology (GO) analysis of the DE genes showed that the most representative categories of biological processes affected at 1, 2 and 4 hpi were biosynthetic processes, catabolic processes, biogenesis, proteolysis and transmembrane transport. Twelve genes of the ABC transporter family and eight genes of the leishmanolysin family were DE at 1, 2 and 4 hpi. Most of these genes were strongly up-regulated (UR), suggesting that they are involved in P. dicentrarchi infection. A third group of UR genes included several genes related to ribosome biogenesis, DNA transcription and RNA translation. However, expression of tubulins and tubulin associated proteins, such as kinesins or dyneins, which play key roles in ciliate division and movement, was down-regulated (DR). Similarly, genes that coded for lysosomal proteins or that participate in the cell cycle mitotic control, glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and/or in the electron transport chain were also DR. The transcriptomic analysis also revealed that in contrast to many parasites, which passively evade the host immune system, P. dicentrarchi strongly stimulated turbot peritoneal cells. Many genes related to inflammation were DE in peritoneal cells at 1, 2 and 4 hpi. However, the response was much lower at 12 hpi and almost disappeared completely at 48 hpi in fish that were able to kill P. dicentrarchi during the first few hpi. The genes that were DE at 1, 2 and 4 hpi were mainly related to the apoptotic process, the immune response, the Fc-epsilon receptor signalling pathway, the innate immune response, cell adhesion, cell surface receptors, the NF-kappaB signalling pathway and the MAPK cascade. Expression of toll-like receptors 2, 5 and 13 and of several components of NF-κB, MAPK and JAK/STAT signalling pathways was UR in the turbot peritoneal cells. Genes expressing chemokines and chemokine receptors, genes involved in prostaglandin and leukotriene synthesis, prostaglandins, leukotriene receptors, proinflammatory cytokines and genes involved in apoptosis were strongly UR during the first four hours of infection. However, expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as Il-10 and lipoxygenases with anti-inflammatory activity (i.e., arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase) were only UR at 12 and/or 48 hpi, indicating an anti-inflammatory state in these groups of fish. In conclusion, the present study shows the regulation of several genes in P. dicentrarchi during the early stages of infection, some of which probably play important roles in this process. The infection induced a potent acute inflammatory response, and many inflammatory genes were regulated in peritoneal cells, showing that the turbot uses all the protective mechanisms it has available to prevent the entry of the parasite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcriptome and Genome Analyses Applied to Aquaculture Research)
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Open AccessReview
Nanopharmaceuticals for Eye Administration: Sterilization, Depyrogenation and Clinical Applications
Biology 2020, 9(10), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100336 - 14 Oct 2020
Viewed by 332
Abstract
As an immune-privileged target organ, the eyes have important superficial and internal barriers, protecting them from physical and chemical damage from exogenous and/or endogenous origins that would cause injury to visual acuity or even vision loss. These anatomic, physiological and histologic barriers are [...] Read more.
As an immune-privileged target organ, the eyes have important superficial and internal barriers, protecting them from physical and chemical damage from exogenous and/or endogenous origins that would cause injury to visual acuity or even vision loss. These anatomic, physiological and histologic barriers are thus a challenge for drug access and entry into the eye. Novel therapeutic concepts are highly desirable for eye treatment. The design of an efficient ocular drug delivery system still remains a challenge. Although nanotechnology may offer the ability to detect and treat eye diseases, successful treatment approaches are still in demand. The growing interest in nanopharmaceuticals offers the opportunity to improve ophthalmic treatments. Besides their size, which needs to be critically monitored, nanopharmaceuticals for ophthalmic applications have to be produced under sterilized conditions. In this work, we have revised the different sterilization and depyrogenation methods for ophthalmic nanopharmaceuticals with their merits and drawbacks. The paper also describes clinical sterilization of drugs and the outcomes of inappropriate practices, while recent applications of nanopharmaceuticals for ocular drug delivery are also addressed. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective
Opioid-Induced Immunomodulation: Consequences for the Experimental Coxsackievirus B3-Induced Myocarditis Model
Biology 2020, 9(10), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100335 - 13 Oct 2020
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Myocarditis is an inflammatory disorder of the heart predominantly caused by infectious agents. Since more than sixty years, the Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3)-induced myocarditis mouse model is the experimental model used to investigate viral myocarditis. The pathogenesis of viral myocarditis is conceptually a multiphase [...] Read more.
Myocarditis is an inflammatory disorder of the heart predominantly caused by infectious agents. Since more than sixty years, the Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3)-induced myocarditis mouse model is the experimental model used to investigate viral myocarditis. The pathogenesis of viral myocarditis is conceptually a multiphase process, initiated by the infection of cardiomyocytes, followed by activation of the immune system, and resulting in myocardial fibrosis and left ventricular dysfunction. In parallel to the direct infection of the heart, CVB3 replicates in lymphatic organs such as the pancreas. Due to infection of the pancreas, the model of experimental CVB3-induced myocarditis is estimated as a severe burden for the challenged animals. Application of analgesics in frame of the animal welfare act (European directive 2010/63/EU) is more and more becoming a matter of debate. For this purpose, we summarized published studies for 13 different opioids and discussed their potential impact on CVB3-induced myocarditis. In addition, with this summary we also want to provide guidance for researchers beyond the myocarditis field to estimate the impact of opioids on the immune system for their specific model. In the literature, both immunosuppressive as well as immune-activating effects of opioids have been described, but examinations in experimental CVB3-induced myocarditis have still not been reported so far. Based on the existing publications, administration of opioids in experimental CVB3-induced myocarditis might result in more severe disease progression, including higher mortality, or a less pronounced myocarditis model, failing to be used for the establishment of new treatment options. Taken together, the applicability of opioids in experimental CVB3-induced myocarditis and in inflammatory models in general needs to be carefully evaluated and further investigated. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Recommendations, Practices and Infrastructural Model for the Dental Radiology Set-up in Clinical and Academic Institutions in the COVID-19 Era
Biology 2020, 9(10), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100334 - 13 Oct 2020
Viewed by 474
Abstract
The pandemic of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has emerged as a global catastrophe that is plaguing mankind. In the past eight months since the world discovered about COVID-19, we learned a lot about server acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2) and perhaps there [...] Read more.
The pandemic of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has emerged as a global catastrophe that is plaguing mankind. In the past eight months since the world discovered about COVID-19, we learned a lot about server acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2) and perhaps there is much more to discover and understand about the virus. With the current understanding of the disease, we assume it will remain in an active state of transmission and progression among the community for a long time. Thus, it is advisable to adopt the disease’s prevention protocol in our daily and work routine. During this pandemic patient requiring dental treatment cannot be neglected and the role of dental imaging is crucial in delivering treatment. Hence, this article attempts to provide an evidence-based compilation about the mode of transmission and clinical features of COVID-19. It also throws light on the potential source of disease transmission in the dental radiology setting. In addition, it suggests preventive measures to curb the infection and infrastructural model of the clinical setting that will assist in achieving control over the disease transmission. This article intends to project a strategy about protocols, infrastructure, and daily activities in a dental radiology office that institutions can adopt with modifications according to their local scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19))
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Open AccessCommunication
Bi-Pinnate Compound Serianthes nelsonii Leaf-Level Plasticity Magnifies Leaflet-Level Plasticity
Biology 2020, 9(10), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100333 - 13 Oct 2020
Viewed by 389
Abstract
Numerous leaf traits exhibit developmental plasticity in response to irradiance, an attribute that maximizes performance in the prevailing light. The use of leaflets to represent whole leaf traits of tree species with compound leaves is common in the acclimation literature. These methods ignore [...] Read more.
Numerous leaf traits exhibit developmental plasticity in response to irradiance, an attribute that maximizes performance in the prevailing light. The use of leaflets to represent whole leaf traits of tree species with compound leaves is common in the acclimation literature. These methods ignore the potential for whole leaf plasticity to augment leaflet plasticity. We grew Serianthes nelsonii plants in incident light ranging from 6% to 100% of sunlight and quantified numerous leaflet and leaf traits to determine plasticity index (PI: (maximum-minimum)/maximum)) of each. Leaflet acclimation such as changes in length of palisade mesophyll occurred as expected. However, leaf-level morphometric traits such as rachillae insertion angle also exhibited acclimation potential. The leaf-level plastic behavior enabled acclimation approaches that simple-leaved species do not possess. We illuminate the need to look at the entire leaf when quantifying acclimation potential of tree leaves, and indicate that the historical use of leaflets to represent species with compound leaves under-estimated the acclimation potential when compared to species with simple leaves. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Function of Drosophila USP14 in Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Retinal Degeneration in a Model for Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa
Biology 2020, 9(10), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100332 - 12 Oct 2020
Viewed by 574
Abstract
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and its adaptive cellular response, the unfolded protein response (UPR), are involved in various diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic diseases, and even cancers. Here, we analyzed the novel function of ubiquitin-specific peptidase 14 (USP14) in ER stress. The overexpression [...] Read more.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and its adaptive cellular response, the unfolded protein response (UPR), are involved in various diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic diseases, and even cancers. Here, we analyzed the novel function of ubiquitin-specific peptidase 14 (USP14) in ER stress. The overexpression of Drosophila USP14 protected the cells from ER stress without affecting the proteasomal activity. Null Hong Kong (NHK) and alpha-1-antitrypsin Z (ATZ) are ER-associated degradation substrates. The degradation of NHK, but not of ATZ, was delayed by USP14. USP14 restored the levels of rhodopsin-1 protein in a Drosophila model for autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa and suppressed the retinal degeneration in this model. In addition, we observed that proteasome complex is dynamically reorganized in response to ER stress in human 293T cells. These findings suggest that USP14 may be a therapeutic strategy in diseases associated with ER stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Folding, Aggregation, and Cell Death)
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Open AccessReview
Salmonid Antibacterial Immunity: An Aquaculture Perspective
Biology 2020, 9(10), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100331 - 11 Oct 2020
Viewed by 597
Abstract
The aquaculture industry is continuously threatened by infectious diseases, including those of bacterial origin. Regardless of the disease burden, aquaculture is already the main method for producing fish protein, having displaced capture fisheries. One attractive sector within this industry is the culture of [...] Read more.
The aquaculture industry is continuously threatened by infectious diseases, including those of bacterial origin. Regardless of the disease burden, aquaculture is already the main method for producing fish protein, having displaced capture fisheries. One attractive sector within this industry is the culture of salmonids, which are (a) uniquely under pressure due to overfishing and (b) the most valuable finfish per unit of weight. There are still knowledge gaps in the understanding of fish immunity, leading to vaccines that are not as effective as in terrestrial species, thus a common method to combat bacterial disease outbreaks is the use of antibiotics. Though effective, this method increases both the prevalence and risk of generating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To facilitate vaccine design and/or alternative treatment efforts, a deeper understanding of the teleost immune system is essential. This review highlights the current state of teleost antibacterial immunity in the context of salmonid aquaculture. Additionally, the success of current techniques/methods used to combat bacterial diseases in salmonid aquaculture will be addressed. Filling the immunology knowledge gaps highlighted here will assist in reducing aquaculture losses in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology)
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Open AccessReview
Over-Production of Therapeutic Growth Factors for Articular Cartilage Regeneration by Protein Production Platforms and Protein Packaging Cell Lines
Biology 2020, 9(10), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100330 - 09 Oct 2020
Viewed by 600
Abstract
This review article focuses on the current state-of-the-art cellular and molecular biotechnology for the over-production of clinically relevant therapeutic and anabolic growth factors. We discuss how the currently available tools and emerging technologies can be used for the regenerative treatment of osteoarthritis (OA). [...] Read more.
This review article focuses on the current state-of-the-art cellular and molecular biotechnology for the over-production of clinically relevant therapeutic and anabolic growth factors. We discuss how the currently available tools and emerging technologies can be used for the regenerative treatment of osteoarthritis (OA). Transfected protein packaging cell lines such as GP-293 cells may be used as “cellular factories” for large-scale production of therapeutic proteins and pro-anabolic growth factors, particularly in the context of cartilage regeneration. However, when irradiated with gamma or x-rays, these cells lose their capacity for replication, which makes them safe for use as a live cell component of intra-articular injections. This innovation is already here, in the form of TissueGene-C, a new biological drug that consists of normal allogeneic primary chondrocytes combined with transduced GP2-293 cells that overexpress the growth factor transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1). TissueGene-C has revolutionized the concept of cell therapy, allowing drug companies to develop live cells as biological drug delivery systems for direct intra-articular injection of growth factors whose half-lives are in the order of minutes. Therefore, in this paper, we discuss the potential for new innovations in regenerative medicine for degenerative diseases of synovial joints using mammalian protein production platforms, specifically protein packaging cell lines, for over-producing growth factors for cartilage tissue regeneration and give recent examples. Mammalian protein production platforms that incorporate protein packaging eukaryotic cell lines are superior to prokaryotic bacterial expression systems and are likely to have a significant impact on the development of new humanized biological growth factor therapies for treating focal cartilage defects and more generally for the treatment of degenerative joint diseases such as OA, especially when injected directly into the joint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology of Osteoarthritis)
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Open AccessCommunication
Prevalence and Factors Associated with High Concentration of Prostate-Specific Antigen: ELSIA Study
Biology 2020, 9(10), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100329 - 09 Oct 2020
Viewed by 374
Abstract
Background: Prostate cancer (PC) is the second most common cancer among men, behind only non-melanoma skin cancer, and the main method of screening for PC is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA). To analyze the prevalence and the factors associated with high concentration of PSA [...] Read more.
Background: Prostate cancer (PC) is the second most common cancer among men, behind only non-melanoma skin cancer, and the main method of screening for PC is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA). To analyze the prevalence and the factors associated with high concentration of PSA in the elderly is essential to understand this outcome, and building strategies to decrease their rates of morbidity and mortality. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study with 96 elderly men. A high level of PSA was defined by >4.0 ng/mL. In order to identify sociodemographic, health, functional and behavioral variables, which may be associated with high levels of PSA, we carried out a multivariate analysis using Poisson regression. Results: The prevalence of high levels of PSA was 21.9% (n = 21). High levels of PSA was associated with years of study, race/ethnicity and family arrangement, health perception, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, metabolic diseases, alcohol consumption and sedentary behavior. Conclusions: The study found a high prevalence of high PSA concentrations in the elderly and several aspects are associated, which can be a worrying factor for their health, since PSA is an important marker of prostate cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physiology)
Open AccessArticle
A Novel 3D Model for Visualization and Tracking of Fibroblast-Guided Directional Cancer Cell Migration
Biology 2020, 9(10), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100328 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 423
Abstract
Stromal fibroblasts surrounding cancer cells are a major and important constituent of the tumor microenvironment not least because they contain cancer-associated fibroblasts, a unique fibroblastic cell type that promotes tumorigenicity through extracellular matrix remodeling and secretion of soluble factors that stimulate cell differentiation [...] Read more.
Stromal fibroblasts surrounding cancer cells are a major and important constituent of the tumor microenvironment not least because they contain cancer-associated fibroblasts, a unique fibroblastic cell type that promotes tumorigenicity through extracellular matrix remodeling and secretion of soluble factors that stimulate cell differentiation and invasion. Despite much progress made in understanding the molecular mechanisms that underpin fibroblast–tumor cross-talk, relatively little is known about the way the two cell types interact from a physical contact perspective. In this study, we report a novel three-dimensional dumbbell model that would allow the physical interaction between the fibroblasts and cancer cells to be visualized and monitored by microscopy. To achieve the effect, the fibroblasts and cancer cells in 50% Matrigel suspension were seeded as independent droplets in separation from each other. To allow for cell migration and interaction, a narrow passage of Matrigel causeway was constructed in between the droplets, effectively molding the gel into the shape of a dumbbell. Under time-lapse microscopy, we were able to visualize and image the entire process of fibroblast-guided cancer cell migration event, from initial vessel-like structure formation by the fibroblasts to their subsequent invasion across the causeway, attracting and trapping the cancer cells in the process. Upon prolonged culture, the entire population of fibroblasts eventually infiltrated across the passage and condensed into a spheroid-like cell mass, encapsulating the bulk of the cancer cell population within. Suitable for almost every cell type, our model has the potential for a wider application as it can be adapted for use in drug screening and the study of cellular factors involved in cell–cell attraction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Clinical Veterinary Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) Studies in Dogs with Head and Neck Cancer: Bridging the Gap between Translational and Clinical Studies
Biology 2020, 9(10), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100327 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 592
Abstract
Translational Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) studies performed by our group and clinical BNCT studies worldwide have shown the therapeutic efficacy of BNCT for head and neck cancer. The present BNCT studies in veterinary patients with head and neck cancer were performed to [...] Read more.
Translational Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) studies performed by our group and clinical BNCT studies worldwide have shown the therapeutic efficacy of BNCT for head and neck cancer. The present BNCT studies in veterinary patients with head and neck cancer were performed to optimize the therapeutic efficacy of BNCT, contribute towards exploring the role of BNCT in veterinary medicine, put in place technical aspects for an upcoming clinical trial of BNCT for head and neck cancer at the RA-6 Nuclear Reactor, and assess the feasibility of employing the existing B2 beam to treat large, deep-seated tumors. Five dogs with head and neck cancer with no other therapeutic option were treated with two applications of BNCT mediated by boronophenyl-alanine (BPA) separated by 3–5 weeks. Two to three portals per BNCT application were used to achieve a potentially therapeutic dose over the tumor without exceeding normal tissue tolerance. Clinical and Computed Tomography results evidenced partial tumor control in all cases, with slight-moderate mucositis, excellent life quality, and prolongation in the survival time estimated at recruitment. These exploratory studies show the potential value of BNCT in veterinary medicine and contribute towards initiating a clinical BNCT trial for head and neck cancer at the RA-6 clinical facility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boron Neutron Capture Therapy: From Nuclear Physics to Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Treatment and Outcomes of Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Harboring Uncommon EGFR Mutations: Are They Different from Those with Common EGFR Mutations?
Biology 2020, 9(10), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100326 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 422
Abstract
Approximately 10% of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are uncommon EGFR mutations. Although the efficacy of second (2G) or third generation (3G) EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) in the patients with uncommon EGFR mutation [...] Read more.
Approximately 10% of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are uncommon EGFR mutations. Although the efficacy of second (2G) or third generation (3G) EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) in the patients with uncommon EGFR mutation has been proven, further studies are warranted to define the optimal treatment approach for uncommon EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC. This study retrospectively investigated the treatment patterns and outcomes of patients with uncommon EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC from January 2011 to December 2019 at the Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. During the study, 2121 patients with EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC received first-generation (1G, gefitinib or erlotinib) or 2G EGFR-TKI (afatinib) as the first-line (1L) systemic therapy. Of this, 135 (6.4%) patients harbored uncommon EGFR mutations. Of 135, 54 (40%, 54/135) patients had overlapping mutations with major EGFR mutations. The objective response rate (ORR) for the 1L EGFR-TKI was 63.3%. The median progression-free survivals (PFSs) were 8.6 months (95% CI: 3.8–13.5), 11.7 months (95% CI: 6.6–16.7), 7.7 months (95% CI: 4.9–17.4), and 5.0 months (95% CI: 3.7–6.1) for major uncommon EGFR mutation (G719X, L861Q), compound mutation with major EGFR mutation (Del 19 or EGFR exon 21 p.L858R), other compound mutation, and other uncommon mutations, respectively. The median overall survivals (OSs) were 25.6 months (16.9–34.2), 28.8 (95% CI: 24.4–33.4), 13.5 months (95% CI: 7.4–27.8), and 9.4 months (95% CI: 3.4–10.5) for major uncommon EGFR mutation (G719X), compound mutation with major EGFR mutation (Del 19 or EGFR exon 21 p.L858R), other compound mutation, and other uncommon mutations, respectively. The response rate, median PFS, and OS were 63.3%, 16.3 months (95% CI: 15.6–16.9), and 37.5 months (95% CI: 35.4–39.6) for common EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC. After failing 1L EGFR-TKI, repeated tissue or liquid biopsy were carried out on 44.9% (35/78) of patients with T790M detected in 10/35 (28.6%) patients. With subsequent 3G EGFR-TKI after failing the first-line EGFR-TKI, the ORR and PFS for 3G EGFR-TKI were 80% and 8.9 months (95% CI: 8.0–9.8). These patients showed a median OS of 34.6 months (95% CI: 29.8–39.4). The ORR, PFS and OS were poorer in patients with uncommon (especially other compound and other uncommon mutation) than those with common EGFR mutations. T790M was detected in 28.6% of the uncommon EGFR mutation-positive patients for whom prior 1G/2G EGFR-TKIs failed and underwent repeat biopsy at the time of progression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Machine Learning Model for Identifying Antioxidant Proteins Using Features Calculated from Primary Sequences
Biology 2020, 9(10), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100325 - 06 Oct 2020
Viewed by 516
Abstract
Antioxidant proteins are involved importantly in many aspects of cellular life activities. They protect the cell and DNA from oxidative substances (such as peroxide, nitric oxide, oxygen-free radicals, etc.) which are known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Free radical generation and antioxidant defenses [...] Read more.
Antioxidant proteins are involved importantly in many aspects of cellular life activities. They protect the cell and DNA from oxidative substances (such as peroxide, nitric oxide, oxygen-free radicals, etc.) which are known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Free radical generation and antioxidant defenses are opposing factors in the human body and the balance between them is necessary to maintain a healthy body. An unhealthy routine or the degeneration of age can break the balance, leading to more ROS than antioxidants, causing damage to health. In general, the antioxidant mechanism is the combination of antioxidant molecules and ROS in a one-electron reaction. Creating computational models to promptly identify antioxidant candidates is essential in supporting antioxidant detection experiments in the laboratory. In this study, we proposed a machine learning-based model for this prediction purpose from a benchmark set of sequencing data. The experiments were conducted by using 10-fold cross-validation on the training process and validated by three different independent datasets. Different machine learning and deep learning algorithms have been evaluated on an optimal set of sequence features. Among them, Random Forest has been identified as the best model to identify antioxidant proteins with the highest performance. Our optimal model achieved high accuracy of 84.6%, as well as a balance in sensitivity (81.5%) and specificity (85.1%) for antioxidant protein identification on the training dataset. The performance results from different independent datasets also showed the significance in our model compared to previously published works on antioxidant protein identification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Exogenous Abscisic Acid Can Influence Photosynthetic Processes in Peas through a Decrease in Activity of H+-ATP-ase in the Plasma Membrane
Biology 2020, 9(10), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100324 - 04 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 264
Abstract
Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important hormone in plants that participates in their acclimation to the action of stressors. Treatment by exogenous ABA and its synthetic analogs are a potential way of controlling the tolerance of agricultural plants; however, the mechanisms of influence [...] Read more.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important hormone in plants that participates in their acclimation to the action of stressors. Treatment by exogenous ABA and its synthetic analogs are a potential way of controlling the tolerance of agricultural plants; however, the mechanisms of influence of the ABA treatment on photosynthetic processes require further investigations. The aim of our work was to investigate the participation of inactivation of the plasma membrane H+-ATP-ase on the influence of ABA treatment on photosynthetic processes and their regulation by electrical signals in peas. The ABA treatment of seedlings was performed by spraying them with aqueous solutions (10−5 M). The combination of a Dual-PAM-100 PAM fluorometer and GFS-3000 infrared gas analyzer was used for photosynthetic measurements; the patch clamp system on the basis of a SliceScope Pro 2000 microscope was used for measurements of electrical activity. It was shown that the ABA treatment stimulated the cyclic electron flow around photosystem I and decreased the photosynthetic CO2 assimilation, the amplitude of burning-induced electrical signals (variation potentials), and the magnitude of photosynthetic responses relating to these signals; in contrast, treatment with exogenous ABA increased the heat tolerance of photosynthesis. An investigation of the influence of ABA treatment on the metabolic component of the resting potential showed that this treatment decreased the activity of the H+-ATP-ase in the plasma membrane. Inhibitor analysis using sodium orthovanadate demonstrated that this decrease may be a mechanism of the ABA treatment-induced changes in photosynthetic processes, their heat tolerance, and regulation by electrical signals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterisation and Mutagenesis Study of An Alternative Sigma Factor Gene (hrpL) from Erwinia mallotivora Reveal Its Central Role in Papaya Dieback Disease
Biology 2020, 9(10), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100323 - 03 Oct 2020
Viewed by 421
Abstract
The alternative sigma (σ) factor E, RpoE or HrpL, has been reported to be involved in stress- and pathogenicity-related transcription initiation in Escherichia coli and many other Gram-negative bacteria, including Erwinia spp. and Pseudomonas spp. A previous study identified the hrpL/rpoE [...] Read more.
The alternative sigma (σ) factor E, RpoE or HrpL, has been reported to be involved in stress- and pathogenicity-related transcription initiation in Escherichia coli and many other Gram-negative bacteria, including Erwinia spp. and Pseudomonas spp. A previous study identified the hrpL/rpoE transcript as one of the significant differentially expressed genes (DEGs) during early E. mallotivora infection in papaya and those data serve as the basis of the current project. Here, the full coding DNA sequence (CDS) of hrpL from E. mallotivora (EmhrpL) was determined to be 549 bp long, and it encoded a 21.3 kDa HrpL protein that possessed two highly conserved sigma-70 (σ70) motifs—σR2 and σR4. Nucleotide sequence alignment revealed the hrpL from E. mallotivora shared high sequence similarity to rpoE/hrpL from E. tracheiphila (83%), E. pyrifoliae (81%), and E. tasmaniensis (80%). Phylogenetics analysis indicated hrpL from E. mallotivora to be monophyletic with rpoEs/hrpLs from Pantoea vagans, E. herbicola, and E. tracheiphila. Structural analysis postulated that the E. mallotivora’s alternative σ factor was non-transmembranic and was an extracytoplasmic function (ECF) protein—characteristics shared by other σ factors in different bacterial species. Notably, the protein–protein interaction (PPI) study through molecular docking suggested the σ factor could be possibly inhibited by an anti-σ. Finally, a knockout of hrpL in E. mallotivoraEmhrpL) resulted in avirulence in four-month-old papaya plants. These findings have revealed that the hrpL is a necessary element in E. mallotivora pathogenicity and also predicted that the gene can be inhibited by an anti-σ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle
Circulating Biomarkers of Accelerated Sarcopenia in Respiratory Diseases
Biology 2020, 9(10), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100322 - 03 Oct 2020
Viewed by 565
Abstract
Skeletal muscle dysfunction is a critical finding in many respiratory diseases. However, a definitive biomarker to assess muscle decline in respiratory diseases is not known. We analyzed the association of plasma levels of glycoprotein Dickkopf-3 (Dkk-3), c-terminal agrin fragment-22 (CAF22) and microRNAs miR-21, [...] Read more.
Skeletal muscle dysfunction is a critical finding in many respiratory diseases. However, a definitive biomarker to assess muscle decline in respiratory diseases is not known. We analyzed the association of plasma levels of glycoprotein Dickkopf-3 (Dkk-3), c-terminal agrin fragment-22 (CAF22) and microRNAs miR-21, miR-134a, miR-133 and miR-206 with hand-grip strength (HGS) and appendicular skeletal mass index (ASMI) in male, 54–73-year-old patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), asthma or pulmonary TB (n = 83–101/group). Patients with respiratory diseases showed a reduction in HGS and gait speed, while a reduction in ASMI was only found in patients with pulmonary TB. Among the sarcopenia indexes, HGS showed the strongest correlation with plasma CAF22, miR-21 and miR-206 levels while ASMI showed the strongest correlation with Dkk-3 and miR-133 in respiratory diseases. We found a modest-to-significant increase in the plasma markers of inflammation, oxidative stress and muscle damage, which had varying degrees of correlations with Dkk-3, CAF22 and selected micro RNAs (miRs) in respiratory diseases. Taken together, our data show that plasma levels of Dkk-3, CAF22 and selected miRs can be useful tools to assess accelerated sarcopenia phenotype in the elderly with respiratory diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Larvicidal Action of Cannabidiol Oil and Neem Oil against Three Stored Product Insect Pests: Effect on Survival Time and in Progeny
Biology 2020, 9(10), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100321 - 01 Oct 2020
Viewed by 464
Abstract
Stored product pests can be detrimental to agricultural produce. As much as chemical pesticides are effective control agents, they involve several environmental and health risks. Within the framework of studies on alternative pest management methods, interest has focused on a plethora of plants [...] Read more.
Stored product pests can be detrimental to agricultural produce. As much as chemical pesticides are effective control agents, they involve several environmental and health risks. Within the framework of studies on alternative pest management methods, interest has focused on a plethora of plants whose extracts have demonstrated promising action as insecticides. Azadirachta indica and the derived neem oil have been extensively tested against many harmful insect species. In contrast, Cannabis sativa L. and its main compound, CBD, a highly concentrated cannabinoid, have not been investigated much. The present study examined the potential insecticidal activity of CBD and neem oils against 4th instar larvae of Tribolium confusum, Oryzaephilus surinamensis and Plodia interpunctella on wheat, rice and corn seeds. Treatment efficacy was expressed in terms of larval mortality. Mortality was observed in relation to dosage, time exposure intervals and product types. The results showed clear pesticidal activity for both oils, which at high doses induced significant mortality. The treatments produced significantly fewer offspring in the insect species tested than the control. The efficacy of treatment in progeny suppression was, as expected, dose dependent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Specific c-Jun N-Terminal Kinase Inhibitor, JNK-IN-8 Suppresses Mesenchymal Profile of PTX-Resistant MCF-7 Cells through Modulating PI3K/Akt, MAPK and Wnt Signaling Pathways
Biology 2020, 9(10), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100320 - 01 Oct 2020
Viewed by 614
Abstract
Paclitaxel (PTX) is a widely used chemotherapeutic agent in the treatment of breast cancer, and resistance to PTX is a common failure of breast cancer therapy. Therefore, understanding the effective molecular targets in PTX-resistance gains importance in identifying novel strategies in successful breast [...] Read more.
Paclitaxel (PTX) is a widely used chemotherapeutic agent in the treatment of breast cancer, and resistance to PTX is a common failure of breast cancer therapy. Therefore, understanding the effective molecular targets in PTX-resistance gains importance in identifying novel strategies in successful breast cancer therapy approaches. The aim of the study was to investigate the functional role of PTX resistance on MCF-7 cell survival and proliferation related to PI3K/Akt and MAPK pathways. The generated PTX-resistant (PTX-res) MCF-7 cells showed enhanced cell survival, proliferation, and colony formation potential with decreased cell death compared to wt MCF-7 cells. PTX-res MCF-7 cells exhibited increased motility profile with EMT, PI3K/Akt, and MAPK pathway induction. According to the significant SAPK/JNK activation in PTX-res MCF-7 cells, specific c-Jun N-terminal kinase inhibitor, JNK-IN-8 is shown to suppress the migration potential of cells. Treatment of JNK inhibitor suppressed the p38 and SAPK/JNK and Vimentin expression. However, the JNK inhibitor further downregulated Wnt signaling members in PTX-res MCF-7 cells. Therefore, the JNK inhibitor JNK-IN-8 might be used as a potential therapy model to reverse PTX-resistance related to Wnt signaling. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vaccination Route Determines the Kinetics and Magnitude of Nasal Innate Immune Responses in Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Biology 2020, 9(10), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100319 - 01 Oct 2020
Viewed by 564
Abstract
Many pathogens infect animal hosts via the nasal route. Thus, understanding how vaccination stimulates early nasal immune responses is critical for animal and human health. Vaccination is the most effective method to prevent disease outbreaks in farmed fish. Nasal vaccination induces strong innate [...] Read more.
Many pathogens infect animal hosts via the nasal route. Thus, understanding how vaccination stimulates early nasal immune responses is critical for animal and human health. Vaccination is the most effective method to prevent disease outbreaks in farmed fish. Nasal vaccination induces strong innate and adaptive immune responses in rainbow trout and was shown to be highly effective against infectious hematopoietic necrosis (IHN). However, direct comparisons between intranasal, injection and immersion vaccination routes have not been conducted in any fish species. Moreover, whether injection or immersion routes induce nasal innate immune responses is unknown. The goal of this study is to compare the effects of three different vaccine delivery routes, including intranasal (IN), intramuscular (i.m.) injection and immersion (imm) routes on the trout nasal innate immune response. Expression analyses of 13 immune-related genes in trout nasopharynx-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT), detected significant changes in immune expression in all genes analyzed in response to the three vaccination routes. However, nasal vaccination induced the strongest and fastest changes in innate immune gene expression compared to the other two routes. Challenge experiments 7 days post-vaccination (dpv) show the highest survival rates in the IN- and imm-vaccinated groups. However, survival rates in the imm group were significantly lower than the IN- and i.m.-vaccinated groups 28 dpv. Our results confirm that nasal vaccination of rainbow trout with live attenuated IHNV is highly effective and that the protection conferred by immersion vaccination is transient. These results also demonstrate for the first time that immersion vaccines stimulate NALT immune responses in salmonids. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Human Respiratory System and its Microbiome at a Glimpse
Biology 2020, 9(10), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100318 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 838
Abstract
The recent COVID-19 pandemic promoted efforts to better understand the organization of the respiratory microbiome and its evolution from birth to adulthood and how it interacts with external pathogens and the host immune system. This review aims to deepen understanding of the essential [...] Read more.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic promoted efforts to better understand the organization of the respiratory microbiome and its evolution from birth to adulthood and how it interacts with external pathogens and the host immune system. This review aims to deepen understanding of the essential physiological functions of the resident microbiome of the respiratory system on human health and diseases. First, the general characteristics of the normal microbiota in the different anatomical sites of the airways have been reported in relation to some factors such as the effect of age, diet and others on its composition and stability. Second, we analyze in detail the functions and composition and the correct functionality of the microbiome in the light of current knowledge. Several studies suggest the importance of preserving the micro-ecosystem of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microbes of the respiratory system, and, more recently, its relationship with the intestinal microbiome, and how it also leads to the maintenance of human health, has become better understood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiota and Immune System Crosstalk 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Sourcing and Propagation of Pontechium maculatum for Horticulture and Species Restoration
Biology 2020, 9(10), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100317 - 30 Sep 2020
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Pontechium maculatum, a species of ornamental, apicultural, health and medicinal value, is threatened in some Central European countries including Poland. Its propagation using seeds or in vitro techniques is needed for multiple applications including conservation. Generative propagation efficacy of P. maculatum plants [...] Read more.
Pontechium maculatum, a species of ornamental, apicultural, health and medicinal value, is threatened in some Central European countries including Poland. Its propagation using seeds or in vitro techniques is needed for multiple applications including conservation. Generative propagation efficacy of P. maculatum plants representing different genetic resources (received from botanical gardens in Germany and in Poland) propagated from seeds or in tissue culture was assessed. Moreover, an efficient technique of propagation of P. maculatum using in vitro shoot culture from seedlings was elaborated for the first time. The highest propagation efficacy was noted for German plants of seed origin. The ability of seeds to germinate was similar for all plants; however, seeds were in a state of dormancy, which was broken by GA3. After two years of storage, the seeds still retained the ability to germinate though seeds from propagated in vitro plants germinated more poorly than those from seed-originated plants. The ploidy assessment showed that some in vitro-origin plants had altered DNA content. The results indicate that efficacy of generative propagation of P. maculatum is resource dependent. Furthermore, results suggest that cultivation in vitro influenced some generative features of examined species, which makes this way of P. maculatum propagation a valuable source of genetic variation and a potential breeding tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Systematic Ancient DNA Species Identification Fails to Find Late Holocene Domesticated Cattle in Southern Africa
Biology 2020, 9(10), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100316 - 30 Sep 2020
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Establishing robust temporal control of the arrival of domesticated stock and the associated husbandry skills and lifeways in Southern Africa remains frustrated by the osteological similarities between domestic stock and wild endemic fauna. We report the results of a systematic ancient DNA survey [...] Read more.
Establishing robust temporal control of the arrival of domesticated stock and the associated husbandry skills and lifeways in Southern Africa remains frustrated by the osteological similarities between domestic stock and wild endemic fauna. We report the results of a systematic ancient DNA survey of appropriately sized bovid remains from Later Stone Age deposits in four South African archaeological sites. We show that none of the tested remains originated in domesticated cattle. The precise date of arrival of domestic cattle in the region awaits further study, although we also report new radiocarbon determinations which further refine the local chronology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle
Cholesterol Homeostasis: An In Silico Investigation into How Aging Disrupts Its Key Hepatic Regulatory Mechanisms
Biology 2020, 9(10), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9100314 - 30 Sep 2020
Viewed by 445
Abstract
The dysregulation of intracellular cholesterol homeostasis is associated with several age-related diseases, most notably cardiovascular disease (CVD). Research in this area has benefitted from using computational modelling to study the inherent complexity associated with the regulation of this system. In addition to facilitating [...] Read more.
The dysregulation of intracellular cholesterol homeostasis is associated with several age-related diseases, most notably cardiovascular disease (CVD). Research in this area has benefitted from using computational modelling to study the inherent complexity associated with the regulation of this system. In addition to facilitating hypothesis exploration, the utility of modelling lies in its ability to represent an array of rate limiting enzymatic reactions, together with multiple feedback loops, which collectively define the dynamics of cholesterol homeostasis. However, to date no model has specifically investigated the effects aging has on this system. This work addresses this shortcoming by explicitly focusing on the impact of aging on hepatic intracellular cholesterol homeostasis. The model was used to investigate the experimental findings that reactive oxygen species induce the total activation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase (HMGCR). Moreover, the model explored the impact of an age-related decrease in hepatic acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase 2 (ACAT2). The model suggested that an increase in the activity of HMGCR does not have as significant an impact on cholesterol homeostasis as a decrease in hepatic ACAT2 activity. According to the model, a decrease in the activity of hepatic ACAT2 raises free cholesterol (FC) and decreases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. Increased acetyl CoA synthesis resulted in a reduction in the number of hepatic low-density lipoprotein receptors, and increased LDL-C, FC, and cholesterol esters. The rise in LDL-C was restricted by elevated hepatic FC accumulation. Taken together these findings have important implications for healthspan. This is because emerging clinical data suggest hepatic FC accumulation is relevant to the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is associated with an increased risk of CVD. These pathophysiological changes could, in part, help to explain the phenomenon of increased mortality associated with low levels of LDL-C which have been observed in certain studies involving the oldest old (≥85 years). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Biology of Aging)
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