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Biology, Volume 9, Issue 3 (March 2020) – 22 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In this article, we develop a mathematical model to provide epidemic predictions for the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview
MYB Transcription Factors as Regulators of Secondary Metabolism in Plants
Biology 2020, 9(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030061 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 988
Abstract
MYB transcription factors (TFs), as one of the largest gene families in plants, play important roles in multiple biological processes, such as plant growth and development, cell morphology and pattern building, physiological activity metabolism, primary and secondary metabolic reactions, and responses to environmental [...] Read more.
MYB transcription factors (TFs), as one of the largest gene families in plants, play important roles in multiple biological processes, such as plant growth and development, cell morphology and pattern building, physiological activity metabolism, primary and secondary metabolic reactions, and responses to environmental stresses. The function of MYB TFs in crops has been widely studied, but few studies have been done on medicinal plants. In this review, we summarized the MYB TFs that play important roles in secondary metabolism and emphasized the possible mechanisms underlying how MYB TFs are regulated at the protein, posttranscriptional, and transcriptional levels, as well as how they regulate the downstream target gene networks related to secondary metabolism in plants, especially in medicinal plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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Open AccessReview
Oxidative Stress and Antioxidants in Atherosclerosis Development and Treatment
Biology 2020, 9(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030060 - 21 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
Atherosclerosis can be regarded as chronic inflammatory disease affecting the arterial wall. Despite the recent progress in studying the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, some of the pathogenic mechanisms remain to be fully understood. Among these mechanisms is oxidative stress, which is closely linked to [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis can be regarded as chronic inflammatory disease affecting the arterial wall. Despite the recent progress in studying the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, some of the pathogenic mechanisms remain to be fully understood. Among these mechanisms is oxidative stress, which is closely linked to foam cells formation and other key events in atherosclerosis development. Two groups of enzymes are involved in the emergence of oxidative stress: Pro-oxidant (including NADPH oxidases, xanthine oxidases, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase) and antioxidant (such as superoxide dismutase, catalases, and thioredoxins). Pro-oxidant enzymes in normal conditions produce moderate concentrations of reactive oxidant species that play an important role in cell functioning and can be fully utilized by antioxidant enzymes. Under pathological conditions, activities of both pro-oxidant and antioxidant enzymes can be modified by numerous factors that can be relevant for developing novel therapies. Recent studies have explored potential therapeutic properties of antioxidant molecules that are capable to eliminate oxidative damage. However, the results of these studies remain controversial. Other perspective approach is to inhibit the activity of pro-oxidant enzymes and thus to slow down the progression of atherosclerosis. In this review we summarized the current knowledge on oxidative stress in atherosclerosis and potential antioxidant approaches. We discuss several important antioxidant molecules of plant origin that appear to be promising for treatment of atherosclerosis. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Assessing Autophagy in Archived Tissue or How to Capture Autophagic Flux from a Tissue Snapshot
Biology 2020, 9(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030059 - 21 Mar 2020
Viewed by 993
Abstract
Autophagy is a highly conserved degradation mechanism that is essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis. In human disease, autophagy pathways are frequently deregulated and there is immense interest in targeting autophagy for therapeutic approaches. Accordingly, there is a need to determine autophagic activity in [...] Read more.
Autophagy is a highly conserved degradation mechanism that is essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis. In human disease, autophagy pathways are frequently deregulated and there is immense interest in targeting autophagy for therapeutic approaches. Accordingly, there is a need to determine autophagic activity in human tissues, an endeavor that is hampered by the fact that autophagy is characterized by the flux of substrates whereas histology informs only about amounts and localization of substrates and regulators at a single timepoint. Despite this challenging task, considerable progress in establishing markers of autophagy has been made in recent years. The importance of establishing clear-cut autophagy markers that can be used for tissue analysis cannot be underestimated. In this review, we attempt to summarize known techniques to quantify autophagy in human tissue and their drawbacks. Furthermore, we provide some recommendations that should be taken into consideration to improve the reliability and the interpretation of autophagy biomarkers in human tissue samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autophagy in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Silicates of Potassium and Aluminium (Kaolin); Comparative Foliar Mitigation Treatments and Biochemical Insight on Grape Berry Quality in Vitis vinifera L. (cv. Touriga National and Touriga Franca)
Biology 2020, 9(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030058 - 20 Mar 2020
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Grapevine physiology is influenced by several environmental factors, such as temperature, precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, and sunshine hours. Due to climatic changes, effects in grapevine physiology and consequently on the grape berry composition and quality have been observed. This work aims to make a [...] Read more.
Grapevine physiology is influenced by several environmental factors, such as temperature, precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, and sunshine hours. Due to climatic changes, effects in grapevine physiology and consequently on the grape berry composition and quality have been observed. This work aims to make a comparative study of the effect of foliar mitigation treatment with kaolin (5%) and potassium silicates (0.1% and 0.05%) on the grape berry quality; namely on berry weight, pH, probable alcohol, total phenolics, tannins, total anthocyanins, monomeric anthocyanins, calcium, potassium, and magnesium composition from Portuguese grapevines (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca). The results suggested that the phenolic composition and anthocyanin content differs between treatments while other parameters showed distinct behavior among the different applications. Qualitative parameters observed in the present study suggested non-significant changes upon both the applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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Open AccessCommunication
Unravelling Cellular Mechanisms of Stem Cell Senescence: An Aid from Natural Bioactive Molecules
Biology 2020, 9(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030057 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 660
Abstract
Cellular senescence plays a role in the onset of age-related pathologies and in the loss of tissue homeostasis. Natural compounds of food or plants exert an important antioxidant activity, counteracting the formation of harmful free radicals. In the presence of an intense stressing [...] Read more.
Cellular senescence plays a role in the onset of age-related pathologies and in the loss of tissue homeostasis. Natural compounds of food or plants exert an important antioxidant activity, counteracting the formation of harmful free radicals. In the presence of an intense stressing event, cells activate specific responses to counteract senescence or cell death. In the present paper, we aimed at evaluating the levels of expression of specific markers of senescence, in order to demonstrate that extracts from Myrtus Communis L. can prevent premature senescence in ADSCs exposed to oxidative stress. Cells were cultured in the presence of Myrtus extracts for 12–24 and 48 h and then incubated with H2O2 to induce senescence. We then evaluated the expression of senescence-related markers p16, p19, p21, p53, TERT, c-Myc, and the senescence-associated β-Galactoidase activity. Our results showed that pre-treatment with Myrtus extracts protects cells from premature senescence, by regulating the cell cycle, and inducing the expression of TERT and c-Myc. These findings suggest a potential application of these natural compounds in the prevention and treatment of various diseases, counteracting premature senescence and preserving tissue functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Meeting—Stem Cell Research Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Putative Protein Biomarkers of Escherichia coli Antibiotic Multiresistance Identified by MALDI Mass Spectrometry
Biology 2020, 9(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030056 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 692
Abstract
The commensal bacteria Escherichia coli causes several intestinal and extra-intestinal diseases, since it has virulence factors that interfere in important cellular processes. These bacteria also have a great capacity to spread the resistance genes, sometimes to phylogenetically distant bacteria, which poses an additional [...] Read more.
The commensal bacteria Escherichia coli causes several intestinal and extra-intestinal diseases, since it has virulence factors that interfere in important cellular processes. These bacteria also have a great capacity to spread the resistance genes, sometimes to phylogenetically distant bacteria, which poses an additional threat to public health worldwide. Here, we aimed to use the analytical potential of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS) to characterize E. coli isolates and identify proteins associated closely with antibiotic resistance. Thirty strains of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing E. coli were sampled from various animals. The phenotypes of antibiotic resistance were determined according to Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) methods, and they showed that all bacterial isolates were multi-resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, and ampicillin. To identify peptides characteristic of resistance to particular antibiotics, each strain was grown in the presence or absence of the different antibiotics, and then proteins were extracted from the cells. The protein fingerprints of the samples were determined by MALDI-TOF MS in linear mode over a mass range of 2 to 20 kDa. The spectra obtained were compared by using the ClinProTools bioinformatics software, using three machine learning classification algorithms. A putative species biomarker was also detected at a peak m/z of 4528.00. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Proteomics)
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Open AccessArticle
Metatranscriptomic and Metagenomic Analysis of Biological Diversity in Subglacial Lake Vostok (Antarctica)
Biology 2020, 9(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030055 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 818
Abstract
A combined metatranscriptomic and metagenomic study of Vostok (Antarctica) ice core sections from glacial, basal, and lake water accretion ice yielded sequences that indicated a wide variety of species and possible conditions at the base of the glacier and in subglacial Lake Vostok. [...] Read more.
A combined metatranscriptomic and metagenomic study of Vostok (Antarctica) ice core sections from glacial, basal, and lake water accretion ice yielded sequences that indicated a wide variety of species and possible conditions at the base of the glacier and in subglacial Lake Vostok. Few organisms were in common among the basal ice and accretion ice samples, suggesting little transmission of viable organisms from the basal ice meltwater into the lake water. Additionally, samples of accretion ice, each of which originated from water in several locations of the shallow embayment, exhibit only small amounts of mixing of species. The western-most portion of the embayment had very low numbers of organisms, likely due to biologically challenging conditions. Increasing numbers of organisms were found progressing from west to east, up to approximately 7 km into the embayment. At that point, the numbers of unique sequences and sequence reads from thermophilic, thermotolerant, psychrophilic, and psychrotolerant organisms increased dramatically, as did sequences from alkaliphilic, alkalitolerant, acidophilic, and acidotolerant sequences. The number of unique and total sequences were positively associated with increases in concentrations of Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, SO42−, Cl, total amino acids, and non-purgeable organic carbon. The numbers of unique sequences from organisms reported from soil, sediment, ice, aquatic, marine, animal, and plant (probably pollen) sources also peaked in this region, suggesting that this was the most biologically active region. The confluence of the high numbers of organisms, physiologies, and metabolic capabilities suggests the presence of energy and nutrient sources in the eastern half of the embayment. Data from the main basin suggested a cold oligotrophic environment containing fewer organisms. In addition to bacteria, both the basal ice and accretion ice contained sequences from a diverse assemblage of eukaryotes, as well as from bacteria that are known to be associated with multicellular eukaryotes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle
Ex Vivo Rat Transected Spinal Cord Slices as a Model to Assess Lentiviral Vector Delivery of Neurotrophin-3 and Short Hairpin RNA against NG2
Biology 2020, 9(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030054 - 15 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 762
Abstract
The failure of the spinal cord to regenerate can be attributed both to a lack of trophic support for regenerating axons and to upregulation of inhibitory factors such as chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans including NG2 following injury. Lentiviral vector-mediated gene therapy is a possible [...] Read more.
The failure of the spinal cord to regenerate can be attributed both to a lack of trophic support for regenerating axons and to upregulation of inhibitory factors such as chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans including NG2 following injury. Lentiviral vector-mediated gene therapy is a possible strategy for treating spinal cord injury (SCI). This study investigated the effect of lentiviral vectors expressing Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and short-hairpin RNA against NG2 (NG2 sh) to enhance neurite outgrowth in in vitro and ex vivo transection injury models. Conditioned medium from cells transduced with NT-3 or shNG2 lentiviruses caused a significant increase in neurite length of primary dorsal root ganglia neurons compared to the control group in vitro. In an ex vivo organotypic slice culture (OSC) transduction with Lenti-NT-3 promoted axonal growth. Transducing OSCs with a combination of Lenti-NT-3/NG2 sh lead to a further increase in axonal growth but only in injured slices and only within the region adjacent to the site of injury. These findings suggest that the combination of lentiviral NT-3 and NG2 sh reduced NG2 levels and provided a more favourable microenvironment for neuronal regeneration after SCI. This study also shows that OSCs may be a useful platform for studying glial scarring and potential SCI treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Models of CNS Regeneration: Mind the Gap!)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Imaging of Galectin-1 Expression as a Biomarker of Papillary Thyroid Cancer by Using Peptide-Functionalized Imaging Probes
Biology 2020, 9(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030053 - 14 Mar 2020
Viewed by 641
Abstract
Thyroid cancers are the most frequent endocrine cancers and their incidence is increasing worldwide. Thyroid nodules occur in over 19–68% of the population, but only 7–15% of them are diagnosed as malignant. Diagnosis relies on a fine needle aspiration biopsy, which is often [...] Read more.
Thyroid cancers are the most frequent endocrine cancers and their incidence is increasing worldwide. Thyroid nodules occur in over 19–68% of the population, but only 7–15% of them are diagnosed as malignant. Diagnosis relies on a fine needle aspiration biopsy, which is often inconclusive and about 90% of thyroidectomies are performed for benign lesions. Galectin-1 has been proposed as a confident biomarker for the discrimination of malignant from benign nodules. We previously identified by phage display two peptides (P1 and P7) targeting galectin-1, with the goal of developing imaging probes for non-invasive diagnosis of thyroid cancer. The peptides were coupled to ultra-small superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (USPIO) or to a near-infrared dye (CF770) for non-invasive detection of galectin-1 expression in a mouse model of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC, as the most frequent one) by magnetic resonance imaging and fluorescence lifetime imaging. The imaging probes functionalized with the two peptides presented comparable image enhancement characteristics. However, those coupled to P7 were more favorable, and showed decreased retention by the liver and spleen (known for their galectin-1 expression) and high sensitivity (75%) and specificity (100%) of PTC detection, which confirm the aptitude of this peptide to discriminate human malignant from benign nodules (80% sensitivity, 100% specificity) previously observed by immunohistochemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Targets and Targeting in Biomedical Sciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Upregulated Wnt-11 and miR-21 Expression Trigger Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition in Aggressive Prostate Cancer Cells
Biology 2020, 9(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030052 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1338
Abstract
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death among men. microRNAs have been identified as having potential roles in tumorigenesis. An oncomir, miR-21, is commonly highly upregulated in many cancers, including PCa, and showed correlation with the Wnt-signaling axis to increase [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death among men. microRNAs have been identified as having potential roles in tumorigenesis. An oncomir, miR-21, is commonly highly upregulated in many cancers, including PCa, and showed correlation with the Wnt-signaling axis to increase invasion. Wnt-11 is a developmentally regulated gene and has been found to be upregulated in PCa, but its mechanism is unknown. The present study aimed to investigate the roles of miR-21 and Wnt-11 in PCa in vivo and in vitro. First, different Gleason score PCa tissue samples were used; both miR-21 and Wnt-11 expressions correlate with high Gleason scores in PCa patient tissues. This data then was confirmed with formalin-fixed paraffin cell blocks using PCa cell lines LNCaP and PC3. Cell survival and colony formation studies proved that miR-21 involves in cells’ behaviors, as well as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Consistent with the previous data, silencing miR-21 led to significant inhibition of cellular invasiveness. Overall, these results suggest that miR-21 plays a significant role related to Wnt-11 in the pathophysiology of PCa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Efficacy and Safety of First-Line Everolimus Therapy Alone or in Combination with Octreotide in Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors. A Hellenic Cooperative Oncology Group (HeCOG) Study
Biology 2020, 9(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030051 - 09 Mar 2020
Viewed by 589
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the efficacy and safety of everolimus administered as a first-line treatment in newly diagnosed patients with metastatic or inoperable gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP NETs). This phase II, multicenter, single-arm study included patients with well-differentiated GEP [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to explore the efficacy and safety of everolimus administered as a first-line treatment in newly diagnosed patients with metastatic or inoperable gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP NETs). This phase II, multicenter, single-arm study included patients with well-differentiated GEP NETs and a Ki67 < 20%. Everolimus, at 10 mg/day, was administered until disease progression; 18 patients (72%) concomitantly received octreotide long-acting release (LAR), at 30 mg/month. The primary endpoint was the 15-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate. Twenty-five patients (grade 1: 11 patients, grade 2: 14 patients) were enrolled between August 2012 and October 2015. At a median follow-up of 58.1 months, the median PFS was 14.6 months, while the 15-month PFS rate was 48%; median overall survival had not been reached yet. Normal baseline chromogranin A (<4 nmol/l) confirmed a longer PFS (HR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.08–0.77, p = 0.016). Seven patients (28%) achieved an objective response (one complete response and six partial responses) in a median of 2.6 months. Twenty-three grade 3–4 events were recorded (14 patients). No fatal reactions occurred. This prospective phase II study unravels the notable activity of everolimus as a first-line treatment in patients with GEP NETS and contributes valuable information about the high activity of the combination of everolimus and octreotide LAR in this setting. Clinical trial information: NCT01648465. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Unreported Cases in the COVID-19 Epidemic Outbreak in Wuhan, China, and the Importance of Major Public Health Interventions
Biology 2020, 9(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030050 - 08 Mar 2020
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 7010
Abstract
We develop a mathematical model to provide epidemic predictions for the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China. We use reported case data up to 31 January 2020 from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission to parameterize [...] Read more.
We develop a mathematical model to provide epidemic predictions for the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China. We use reported case data up to 31 January 2020 from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission to parameterize the model. From the parameterized model, we identify the number of unreported cases. We then use the model to project the epidemic forward with varying levels of public health interventions. The model predictions emphasize the importance of major public health interventions in controlling COVID-19 epidemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Theoretical Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Commercial Formulation of Chlorpyrifos Alters Neurological Behaviors and Fertility
Biology 2020, 9(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030049 - 07 Mar 2020
Viewed by 701
Abstract
Pesticides are known to result in toxic insult. We aimed to evaluate Judo 40, the commercial formulation of chlorpyrifos on the neurological activities, fertility, and hormone levels of male rats. Male Wistar rats were treated orally with 1 mL of 20 or 50 [...] Read more.
Pesticides are known to result in toxic insult. We aimed to evaluate Judo 40, the commercial formulation of chlorpyrifos on the neurological activities, fertility, and hormone levels of male rats. Male Wistar rats were treated orally with 1 mL of 20 or 50 mg/kg Judo 40. The doses were administered four times, twice a day. Sexual and exploratory behavior indices, fertility indices, serum androgen levels, blood acetylcholinesterase (BChE) levels, and neurological and muscular effects were evaluated. Serum testosterone and luteinizing hormone were significantly reduced in the rats receiving 50 mg/kg Judo 40. A reduction in viable implantation sites and live pups born were evident in the female rats mated with the male rats treated with the highest dose. Similarly, in the rats treated with the highest dose of Judo 40, a significant reduction in plasma BChE enzyme was observed. According to the results, prolonged Judo 40 exposure can cause impairment of the neurological alterations and sex hormones leading to impaired fertility. Therefore, chemical handlers should be educated on protection and risk minimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavior Biology)
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Open AccessCase Report
Carotid Atherosclerosis Progression in Postmenopausal Women Receiving a Mixed Phytoestrogen Regimen: Plausible Parallels with Kronos Early Estrogen Replacement Study
Biology 2020, 9(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030048 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 599
Abstract
This randomized double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluated the progression of intima-media thickness of common carotid artery (cIMT) and the effect of phytoestrogen therapy on atherosclerosis development in early and late postmenopausal women. The 2-year cIMT progression was evaluated in 315 early postmenopausal women [...] Read more.
This randomized double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluated the progression of intima-media thickness of common carotid artery (cIMT) and the effect of phytoestrogen therapy on atherosclerosis development in early and late postmenopausal women. The 2-year cIMT progression was evaluated in 315 early postmenopausal women aged 40–55 years and in 231 late postmenopausal women aged 60–69 years free of cardiovascular disease. B-mode ultrasound was done at baseline and after 12 and 24 months of follow-up. The study revealed no significant changes in the rate of cIMT progression in 315 early postmenopausal women. By contrast, a statistically significant difference in the rate of atherosclerosis development was observed in late postmenopausal women treated with phytoestrogens compared to placebo (p = 0.008). The rate of cIMT progression in the placebo group was 0.019 mm/year led to a significant increase of cIMT during the observation period (p = 0.012), while the rate of cIMT progression in phytoestrogen late postmenopausal recipients was 0.011 mm/year, and total change did not reach statistical significance during the follow-up period (p = 0.101). These results suggest that late postmenopausal women can be a suitable cohort for trials assessing the anti-atherosclerosis effects of phytoestrogen preparations. In particular, the beneficial effect of phytoestrogens on cIMT progression was demonstrated in late postmenopausal women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Biology)
Open AccessReview
A Novel Model of Cancer Drug Resistance: Oncosomal Release of Cytotoxic and Antibody-Based Drugs
Biology 2020, 9(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030047 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1201
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), such as exosomes or oncosomes, often carry oncogenic molecules derived from tumor cells. In addition, accumulating evidence indicates that tumor cells can eject anti-cancer drugs such as chemotherapeutics and targeted drugs within EVs, a novel mechanism of drug resistance. The [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), such as exosomes or oncosomes, often carry oncogenic molecules derived from tumor cells. In addition, accumulating evidence indicates that tumor cells can eject anti-cancer drugs such as chemotherapeutics and targeted drugs within EVs, a novel mechanism of drug resistance. The EV-releasing drug resistance phenotype is often coupled with cellular dedifferentiation and transformation in cells undergoing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and the adoption of a cancer stem cell phenotype. The release of EVs is also involved in immunosuppression. Herein, we address different aspects by which EVs modulate the tumor microenvironment to become resistant to anticancer and antibody-based drugs, as well as the concept of the resistance-associated secretory phenotype (RASP). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Tillage System and Cover Crop on Maize Mycorrhization and Presence of Magnaporthiopsis maydis
Biology 2020, 9(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030046 - 03 Mar 2020
Viewed by 890
Abstract
The sustainability of agriculture requires the adoption of agricultural soil conservation practices with positive impacts on soil quality, which can promote beneficial soil microbiota like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and its diversity. This study aims to assess the influence of the presence of [...] Read more.
The sustainability of agriculture requires the adoption of agricultural soil conservation practices with positive impacts on soil quality, which can promote beneficial soil microbiota like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and its diversity. This study aims to assess the influence of the presence of intact extraradical mycelium as a preferential source of inoculum of the native AMF in order to guarantee a better colonization as well as its possible bioprotective effect against Magnaporthiopsis maydis. In order to vary the available extraradical mycelium, two experiments, with and without cover crop, were carried out, in which two tillage systems and two maize varieties were studied. The capitalization of the benefits, in terms of grain production and M. maydis presence, associated to the cover crop were only achieved with minimum tillage. Therefore, both cultural practices are necessary to reduce the fungus presence, coupling the effect of mycorrhization together with other benefits associated with the cover crop. Although in the absence of a cover crop and using conventional tillage, yields and lower levels of M. maydis are possibly achieved, this system is more dependent on the variety used, does not benefit from the advantages associated with the cover crop, is more expensive, and environmentally unsustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Retinoprotective Effect of 2-Ethyl-3-hydroxy-6-methylpyridine Nicotinate
Biology 2020, 9(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030045 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 902
Abstract
An important task of pharmacology is to find effective agents to improve retinal microcirculation and resistance to ischemia. The purpose of the study is to pharmacologically evaluate the retinoprotective effect of 2-ethyl-3-hydroxy-6-methylpyridine nicotinate in a rat model of retinal ischemia–reperfusion. A retinal ischemia–reperfusion [...] Read more.
An important task of pharmacology is to find effective agents to improve retinal microcirculation and resistance to ischemia. The purpose of the study is to pharmacologically evaluate the retinoprotective effect of 2-ethyl-3-hydroxy-6-methylpyridine nicotinate in a rat model of retinal ischemia–reperfusion. A retinal ischemia–reperfusion model was used, in which an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) to 110 mmHg was carried out within 30 min. The retinoprotective effect of 2-ethyl-3-hydroxy-6-methylpyridine nicotinate at a dose of 3.8 mg/kg, in comparison with nicotinic acid at a dose of 2 mg/kg and emoxipine at a dose of 2 mg/kg, was estimated by the changes in the eye fundus during ophthalmoscopy, the retinal microcirculation level with laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF), and electroretinography (ERG) after 72 h of reperfusion. The use of 2-ethyl-3-hydroxy-6-methylpyridine nicotinate prevented the development of ischemic injuries in the fundus and led to an increase in the retinal microcirculation level to 747 (median) (lower and upper quartiles: 693;760) perfusion units (p = 0.0002) in comparison with the group that underwent no treatment. In the group with the studied substance, the b-wave amplitude increased significantly (p = 0.0022), and the b/a coefficient increased reliably (p = 0.0002) in comparison with the group with no treatment. Thus, 2-ethyl-3-hydroxy-6-methylpyridine nicotinate has established itself as a potential retinoprotector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Human Cytomegalovirus Infection Induces High Expression of Prolactin and Prolactin Receptors in Ovarian Cancer
Biology 2020, 9(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030044 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 782
Abstract
One of the potential biomarkers for ovarian cancer patients is high serum level of prolactin (PRL), which is a growth factor that may promote tumor cell growth. The prolactin receptor (PRLR) and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) proteins are frequently detected in ovarian tumor tissue [...] Read more.
One of the potential biomarkers for ovarian cancer patients is high serum level of prolactin (PRL), which is a growth factor that may promote tumor cell growth. The prolactin receptor (PRLR) and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) proteins are frequently detected in ovarian tumor tissue specimens, but the potential impact of HCMV infection on the PRL system have so far not been investigated. In this study, HCMV’s effects on PRL and PRLR expression were assessed in infected ovarian cancer cells (SKOV3) by PCR and Western blot techniques. The levels of both PRL and PRLR transcripts as well as the corresponding proteins were highly increased in HCMV-infected SKOV3 cells. Tissue specimens obtained from 10 patients with ovarian cancer demonstrated high expression of PRLR, HCMV-IE, and pp65 proteins. Extensive expression of PRLR was detected in all examined ovarian tumor tissue specimens except for one from a patient who had focal expression of PRLR and this patient was HCMV-negative in her tumor. In conclusion, PRL and PRLR were induced to high levels in HCMV-infected ovarian cancer cells and PRLR expression was extensively detected in HCMV-infected ovarian tissue specimens. Highly induced PRL and PRLR by HCMV infection may be of relevance for the oncomodulatory role of this virus in ovarian cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Biology)
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Open AccessEditorial
Water Contamination Risks at the Dental Clinic
Biology 2020, 9(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030043 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 988
Abstract
Dental clinics, furnished with an array of specialized equipment, are commonplace, particularly in industrialized countries. Minimizing the risk of infection at the dental practice requires the formulation and implementation of strict protocols. These protocols must address the real risk posed by water contamination, [...] Read more.
Dental clinics, furnished with an array of specialized equipment, are commonplace, particularly in industrialized countries. Minimizing the risk of infection at the dental practice requires the formulation and implementation of strict protocols. These protocols must address the real risk posed by water contamination, particularly given that water is both integral to the function of some dental equipment, and is typically administered directly to the patient. The water in the dental clinic may be of local origin or from a water main, this can be problematic since the clinician often has little assurance regarding the quality of water reaching the dental chair. Though most modern dental equipment includes self-sterilization protocols, care must be taken that water does not stagnate anywhere in the dental equipment or clinic. The management of water quality at the dental clinic is an important part of respecting the protocols needed to manage the risk of patient infections. Full article
Open AccessCommentary
A Perspective on Body Size and Abundance Relationships across Ecological Communities
Biology 2020, 9(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030042 - 26 Feb 2020
Viewed by 744
Abstract
Recently, several studies have reported relationships between the abundance of organisms in an ecological community and their mean body size (called cross-community scaling relationships: CCSRs) that can be described by simple power functions. A primary focus of these studies has been on the [...] Read more.
Recently, several studies have reported relationships between the abundance of organisms in an ecological community and their mean body size (called cross-community scaling relationships: CCSRs) that can be described by simple power functions. A primary focus of these studies has been on the scaling exponent (slope) and whether it approximates −3/4, as predicted by Damuth’s rule and the metabolic theory in ecology. However, some CCSR studies have reported scaling exponents significantly different from the theoretical value of −3/4. Why this variation occurs is still largely unknown. The purpose of our commentary is to show the value of examining both the slopes and elevations of CCSRs and how various ecological factors may affect them. As a heuristic exercise, we reanalyzed three published data sets based on phytoplankton, rodent, and macroinvertebrate assemblages that we subdivided according to three distinctly different ecological factors (i.e., climate zone, season, and trophic level). Our analyses reveal significant variation in either or both the CCSR slopes and elevations for marine phytoplankton communities across climate zones, a desert rodent community across seasons, and saltwater lagoon macroinvertebrate communities across trophic levels. We conclude that achieving a comprehensive understanding of abundance-size relationships at the community level will require consideration of both slopes and elevations of these relationships and their possible variation in different ecological contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Ergot Alkaloid Elaboration by Selected Plectenchymatic Mycelia of Claviceps purpurea through Sequential Cycles of Axenic Culture and Plant Parasitism
Biology 2020, 9(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030041 - 25 Feb 2020
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Abstract
Ergot alkaloids have an established place in plant pathology and toxicology. As pharmaceuticals, their sourcing is via natural or managed agricultural occurrence of sclerotia of Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul. or through industrial fermentation processes with other Claviceps. The key factor for biosynthesis [...] Read more.
Ergot alkaloids have an established place in plant pathology and toxicology. As pharmaceuticals, their sourcing is via natural or managed agricultural occurrence of sclerotia of Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul. or through industrial fermentation processes with other Claviceps. The key factor for biosynthesis is differentiation of a particular mycelial anatomy. Previous study of these fungi from two disparate English grass genera, Spartina and Phragmites, has shown that only mycelia expressing a plectenchymatic sclerotium-like anatomy in specific axenic culture conditions elaborated ergot alkaloids, and then only as far as lysergic acid. The present report describes sequential cycles of axenic and parasitic cultivation for wild isolates from Dactylis and Alopecurus with intervention of a single ascospore step. This confirms the homozygous character of C. purpurea and defines several potential experimental axenic and parasitic conditions within the species for comparing genomic aspects of partial or full biosynthesis of cyclic tri-peptide alkaloids. Whereas Alopecurus ergot isolates readily parasitized rye, use of Dactylis isolates as inoculum for rye ovaries failed to cause the usual sphacelial fructification but supported growth of exceptionally thin sclerotia, sometimes two in a floret, with low alkaloid content attributed to reduced medullary component. However, after two cycles of axenic and rye-parasitic cultivation, and consistent re-selection of the plectenchymatic character in axenic mycelia, typical growth of ergot sclerotia occurred on rye. Caution thus seems necessary in tests for putative host specificity in any taxonomic realignments within the classical concept of C. purpurea. A Dactylis ergot isolate was also uniquely shown to parasitise the plumule of germinating rye seeds confirming the susceptibility of apical tissues. A key biosynthetic feature of a mycelial glyceride oil, rich in ricinoleic acid, as a prelude to axenic and parasitic formation of ergot alkaloids by C. purpurea is emphasised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Fish Predators on the Mass-Related Energetics of a Keystone Freshwater Crustacean
Biology 2020, 9(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030040 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1056
Abstract
Little is known about how predators or their cues affect the acquisition and allocation of energy throughout the ontogeny of prey organisms. To address this question, we have been comparing the ontogenetic body-mass scaling of various traits related to energy intake and use [...] Read more.
Little is known about how predators or their cues affect the acquisition and allocation of energy throughout the ontogeny of prey organisms. To address this question, we have been comparing the ontogenetic body-mass scaling of various traits related to energy intake and use between populations of a keystone amphipod crustacean inhabiting freshwater springs, with versus without fish predators. In this progress report, we analyze new and previously reported data to develop a synthetic picture of how the presence/absence of fish predators affects the scaling of food assimilation, fat content, metabolism, growth and reproduction in populations of Gammarus minus located in central Pennsylvania (USA). Our analysis reveals two major clusters of ‘symmorphic allometry’ (parallel scaling relationships) for traits related to somatic versus reproductive investment. In the presence of fish predators, the scaling exponents for somatic traits tend to decrease, whereas those for reproductive traits tend to increase. This divergence of scaling exponents reflects an intensified trade-off between somatic and reproductive investments resulting from low adult survival in the face of size-selective predation. Our results indicate the value of an integrated view of the ontogenetic size-specific energetics of organisms and its response to both top-down (predation) and bottom-up (resource supply) effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2019)
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