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Biomolecules, Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2020) – 122 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Membrane proteins are specifically targeted to distinct microdomains of organellar membranes, which [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Sirt1 Activity in PBMCs as a Biomarker of Different Heart Failure Phenotypes
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1590; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111590 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 265
Abstract
Heart Failure (HF) is a syndrome, which implies the existence of different phenotypes. The new categorization includes patients with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), mid-range EF (HFmrEF), and reduced EF (HFrEF) but the molecular mechanisms involved in these HF phenotypes have not yet been [...] Read more.
Heart Failure (HF) is a syndrome, which implies the existence of different phenotypes. The new categorization includes patients with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), mid-range EF (HFmrEF), and reduced EF (HFrEF) but the molecular mechanisms involved in these HF phenotypes have not yet been exhaustively investigated. Sirt1 plays a crucial role in biological processes strongly related to HF. This study aimed to evaluate whether Sirt1 activity was correlated with EF and other parameters in HFpEF, HFmrEF, and HFrEF. Seventy patients, HFpEF (n = 23), HFmrEF (n = 23) and HFrEF (n = 24), were enrolled at the Cardiology Unit of the University Hospital of Salerno. Sirt1 activity was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) activity, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α) and Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) levels were quantified in plasma. HFpEF showed lower Sirt1 and ACE2 activities than both HFmrEF and HFrEF (p < 0.0001), without difference compared to No HF controls. In HFmrEF and HFrEF a very strong correlation was found between Sirt1 activity and EF (r2 = 0.899 and r2 = 0.909, respectively), and between ACE2 activity and Sirt1 (r2 = 0.801 and r2 = 0.802, respectively). HFrEF showed the highest TNF-α levels without reaching statistical significance. Significant differences in BNP were found among the groups, with the highest levels in the HFrEF. Determining Sirt1 activity in PBMCs is useful to distinguish the HF patients’ phenotypes from each other, especially HFmrEF/HFrEF from HFpEF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biomarkers In Cardiology)
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Open AccessArticle
A Synthetic CPP33-Conjugated HOXA9 Active Domain Peptide Inhibits Invasion Ability of Non-Small Lung Cancer Cells
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1589; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111589 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 215
Abstract
Homeobox A9 (HOXA9) expression is associated with the aggressive growth of cancer cells and poor prognosis in lung cancer. Previously, we showed that HOXA9 can serve as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). [...] Read more.
Homeobox A9 (HOXA9) expression is associated with the aggressive growth of cancer cells and poor prognosis in lung cancer. Previously, we showed that HOXA9 can serve as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the present study, we have carried out additional studies toward the development of a peptide-based therapeutic agent. Vectors expressing partial DNA fragments of HOXA9 were used to identify a unique domain involved in the inhibition of NSCLC cell invasion. Next, we performed in vitro invasion assays and examined the expression of EMT-related genes in transfected NSCLC cells. The C-terminal fragment (HOXA9-C) of HOXA9 inhibited cell invasion and led to upregulation of CDH1 and downregulation of SNAI2 in A549 and NCI-H1299 cells. Reduced SNAI2 expression was consistent with the decreased binding of transcription factor NF-kB to the SNAI2 promoter region in HOXA9-C overexpressing cells. Based on the above results, we synthesized a cell-permeable peptide, CPP33-HADP (HOXA9 active domain peptide), for lung-specific delivery and tested its therapeutic efficiency. CPP33-HADP effectively reduced the invasion ability of NSCLC cells in both in vitro and in vivo mouse models. Our results suggest that CPP33-HADP has significant potential for therapeutic applications in metastatic NSCLC. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Validation of Omega Subunit of RNA Polymerase as a Functional Entity
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111588 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 231
Abstract
The bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) is a multi-subunit protein complex (α2ββ’ω σ) containing the smallest subunit, ω. Although identified early in RNAP research, its function remained ambiguous and shrouded with controversy for a considerable period. It was shown before that the protein has [...] Read more.
The bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) is a multi-subunit protein complex (α2ββ’ω σ) containing the smallest subunit, ω. Although identified early in RNAP research, its function remained ambiguous and shrouded with controversy for a considerable period. It was shown before that the protein has a structural role in maintaining the conformation of the largest subunit, β’, and its recruitment in the enzyme assembly. Despite evolutionary conservation of ω and its role in the assembly of RNAP, E. coli mutants lacking rpoZ (codes for ω) are viable due to the association of the global chaperone protein GroEL with RNAP. To get a better insight into the structure and functional role of ω during transcription, several dominant lethal mutants of ω were isolated. The mutants showed higher binding affinity compared to that of native ω to the α2ββ’ subassembly. We observed that the interaction between α2ββ’ and these lethal mutants is driven by mostly favorable enthalpy and a small but unfavorable negative entropy term. However, during the isolation of these mutants we isolated a silent mutant serendipitously, which showed a lethal phenotype. Silent mutant of a given protein is defined as a protein having the same sequence of amino acids as that of wild type but having mutation in the gene with alteration in base sequence from more frequent code to less frequent one due to codon degeneracy. Eventually, many silent mutants were generated to understand the role of rare codons at various positions in rpoZ. We observed that the dominant lethal mutants of ω having either point mutation or silent in nature are more structured in comparison to the native ω. However, the silent code’s position in the reading frame of rpoZ plays a role in the structural alteration of the translated protein. This structural alteration in ω makes it more rigid, which affects the plasticity of the interacting domain formed by ω and α2ββ’. Here, we attempted to describe how the conformational flexibility of the ω helps in maintaining the plasticity of the active site of RNA polymerase. The dominant lethal mutant of ω has a suppressor mapped near the catalytic center of the β’ subunit, and it is the same for both types of mutants. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Post-Myocardial Infarction Ventricular Remodeling Biomarkers—The Key Link between Pathophysiology and Clinic
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1587; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111587 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 185
Abstract
Studies in recent years have shown increased interest in developing new methods of evaluation, but also in limiting post infarction ventricular remodeling, hoping to improve ventricular function and the further evolution of the patient. This is the point where biomarkers have proven effective [...] Read more.
Studies in recent years have shown increased interest in developing new methods of evaluation, but also in limiting post infarction ventricular remodeling, hoping to improve ventricular function and the further evolution of the patient. This is the point where biomarkers have proven effective in early detection of remodeling phenomena. There are six main processes that promote the remodeling and each of them has specific biomarkers that can be used in predicting the evolution (myocardial necrosis, neurohormonal activation, inflammatory reaction, hypertrophy and fibrosis, apoptosis, mixed processes). Some of the biomarkers such as creatine kinase–myocardial band (CK-MB), troponin, and N-terminal-pro type B natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) were so convincing that they immediately found their place in the post infarction patient evaluation protocol. Others that are related to more complex processes such as inflammatory biomarkers, atheroma plaque destabilization biomarkers, and microRNA are still being studied, but the results so far are promising. This article aims to review the markers used so far, but also the existing data on new markers that could be considered, taking into consideration the most important studies that have been conducted so far. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biomarkers In Cardiology)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
PP2A-B55 Holoenzyme Regulation and Cancer
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1586; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111586 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 302
Abstract
Protein phosphorylation is a post-translational modification essential for the control of the activity of most enzymes in the cell. This protein modification results from a fine-tuned balance between kinases and phosphatases. PP2A is one of the major serine/threonine phosphatases that is involved in [...] Read more.
Protein phosphorylation is a post-translational modification essential for the control of the activity of most enzymes in the cell. This protein modification results from a fine-tuned balance between kinases and phosphatases. PP2A is one of the major serine/threonine phosphatases that is involved in the control of a myriad of different signaling cascades. This enzyme, often misregulated in cancer, is considered a tumor suppressor. In this review, we will focus on PP2A-B55, a particular holoenzyme of the family of the PP2A phosphatases whose specific role in cancer development and progression has only recently been highlighted. The discovery of the Greatwall (Gwl)/Arpp19-ENSA cascade, a new pathway specifically controlling PP2A-B55 activity, has been shown to be frequently altered in cancer. Herein, we will review the current knowledge about the mechanisms controlling the formation and the regulation of the activity of this phosphatase and its misregulation in cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Phosphorylation in Cancer: Unraveling the Signaling Pathways)
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Open AccessArticle
Digital Image Analysis of Picrosirius Red Staining: A Robust Method for Multi-Organ Fibrosis Quantification and Characterization
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1585; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111585 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 243
Abstract
Current understanding of fibrosis remains incomplete despite the increasing burden of related diseases. Preclinical models are used to dissect the pathogenesis and dynamics of fibrosis, and to evaluate anti-fibrotic therapies. These studies require objective and accurate measurements of fibrosis. Existing histological quantification methods [...] Read more.
Current understanding of fibrosis remains incomplete despite the increasing burden of related diseases. Preclinical models are used to dissect the pathogenesis and dynamics of fibrosis, and to evaluate anti-fibrotic therapies. These studies require objective and accurate measurements of fibrosis. Existing histological quantification methods are operator-dependent, organ-specific, and/or need advanced equipment. Therefore, we developed a robust, minimally operator-dependent, and tissue-transposable digital method for fibrosis quantification. The proposed method involves a novel algorithm for more specific and more sensitive detection of collagen fibers stained by picrosirius red (PSR), a computer-assisted segmentation of histological structures, and a new automated morphological classification of fibers according to their compactness. The new algorithm proved more accurate than classical filtering using principal color component (red-green-blue; RGB) for PSR detection. We applied this new method on established mouse models of liver, lung, and kidney fibrosis and demonstrated its validity by evidencing topological collagen accumulation in relevant histological compartments. Our data also showed an overall accumulation of compact fibers concomitant with worsening fibrosis and evidenced topological changes in fiber compactness proper to each model. In conclusion, we describe here a robust digital method for fibrosis analysis allowing accurate quantification, pattern recognition, and multi-organ comparisons useful to understand fibrosis dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Pathology)
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Open AccessReview
Cellular Dynamics of Transition Metal Exchange on Proteins: A Challenge but a Bonanza for Coordination Chemistry
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1584; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111584 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 309
Abstract
Transition metals interact with a large proportion of the proteome in all forms of life, and they play mandatory and irreplaceable roles. The dynamics of ligand binding to ions of transition metals falls within the realm of Coordination Chemistry, and it provides the [...] Read more.
Transition metals interact with a large proportion of the proteome in all forms of life, and they play mandatory and irreplaceable roles. The dynamics of ligand binding to ions of transition metals falls within the realm of Coordination Chemistry, and it provides the basic principles controlling traffic, regulation, and use of metals in cells. Yet, the cellular environment stands out against the conditions prevailing in the test tube when studying metal ions and their interactions with various ligands. Indeed, the complex and often changing cellular environment stimulates fast metal–ligand exchange that mostly escapes presently available probing methods. Reducing the complexity of the problem with purified proteins or in model organisms, although useful, is not free from pitfalls and misleading results. These problems arise mainly from the absence of the biosynthetic machinery and accessory proteins or chaperones dealing with metal / metal groups in cells. Even cells struggle with metal selectivity, as they do not have a metal-directed quality control system for metalloproteins, and serendipitous metal binding is probably not exceptional. The issue of metal exchange in biology is reviewed with particular reference to iron and illustrating examples in patho-physiology, regulation, nutrition, and toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Binding Proteins 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Diabetes on Microcirculation and Leukostasis in Retinal and Non-Ocular Tissues: Implications for Diabetic Retinopathy
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1583; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111583 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 225
Abstract
Changes in retinal microcirculation are associated with the development of diabetic retinopathy (DR). However, it is unclear whether such changes also develop in capillary beds of other non-retinal tissues. Here, we investigated microcirculatory changes involving velocity of rolling neutrophils, adherence of neutrophils, and [...] Read more.
Changes in retinal microcirculation are associated with the development of diabetic retinopathy (DR). However, it is unclear whether such changes also develop in capillary beds of other non-retinal tissues. Here, we investigated microcirculatory changes involving velocity of rolling neutrophils, adherence of neutrophils, and leukostasis during development of retinal vascular lesions in diabetes in other non-retinal tissues. Intravital microscopy was performed on post-capillary venules of cremaster muscle and ear lobe of mice with severe or moderate diabetes and compared to those of non-diabetic mice. Additionally, number and velocity of rolling leukocytes, number of adherent leukocytes, and areas of leukostasis were quantified, and retinal capillary networks were examined for acellular capillaries (AC) and pericyte loss (PL), two prominent vascular lesions characteristic of DR. The number of adherent neutrophils and areas of leukostasis in the cremaster and ear lobe post-capillary venules of diabetic mice was increased compared to those of non-diabetic mice. Similarly, a significant increase in the number of rolling neutrophils and decrease in their rolling velocities compared to those of non-diabetic control mice were observed and severity of diabetes exacerbated these changes. Understanding diabetes-induced microcirculatory changes in cremaster and ear lobe may provide insight into retinal vascular lesion development in DR. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Molybdenum Supply Alleviates the Cadmium Toxicity in Fragrant Rice by Modulating Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Gene Expression
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1582; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111582 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 245
Abstract
Increasing evidence shows that cadmium (Cd) toxicity causes severe perturbations on growth performance, physio-biochemical and molecular processes in crop plants. Molybdenum (Mo), an essential trace element, plays key roles in oxidative stress tolerance of higher plants. Hence, the present study has been conducted [...] Read more.
Increasing evidence shows that cadmium (Cd) toxicity causes severe perturbations on growth performance, physio-biochemical and molecular processes in crop plants. Molybdenum (Mo), an essential trace element, plays key roles in oxidative stress tolerance of higher plants. Hence, the present study has been conducted to investigate the possible role of Mo in alleviating Cd-induced inhibitions in two fragrant rice cultivars namely Guixiangzhan (GXZ) and Meixiangzhan-2 (MXZ-2). The results revealed that Mo application enhanced the plant dry biomass by 73.24% in GXZ and 58.09% in MXZ-2 under Cd stress conditions, suggesting that Mo supplementation alleviated Cd-induced toxicity effects in fragrant rice. The enhanced Cd-tolerance in fragrant rice plants prompted by Mo application could be ascribed to its ability to regulate Cd uptake and reduce Cd-induced oxidative stress as evident by lower hydrogen peroxide levels, electrolyte leakage and malondialdehyde contents in Cd-stressed plants. The ameliorative role of Mo against Cd-toxicity also reflected through its protection to the photosynthetic pigments, proline and soluble protein. Mo also induced antioxidant defense systems via maintaining higher contents of glutathione and ascorbate as well as enhancing the ROS-detoxifying enzymes such as catalase, peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and ascorbate peroxidase activities and up-regulating transcript abundance in both fragrant rice cultivars under Cd stress. Conclusively, Mo-mediated modulation of Cd toxicity in fragrant rice was through restricting Cd uptake, maintaining photosynthetic performance and alleviating oxidative damages via the strong anti-oxidative defense systems; however, GXZ cultivar is comparatively more Cd tolerant and Mo-efficient as evident from the less growth inhibition and biomass reduction as well as enhanced Mo-induced Cd stress tolerance and less oxidative damage than MXZ-2 fragrant rice cultivar. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Proteasome Activators Blm10/PA200 Enhance the Proteasomal Degradation of N-Terminal Huntingtin
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1581; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111581 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 464
Abstract
The Blm10/PA200 family of proteasome activators modulates the peptidase activity of the core particle (20S CP). They participate in opening the 20S CP gate, thus facilitating the degradation of unstructured proteins such as tau and Dnm1 in a ubiquitin- and ATP-independent manner. Furthermore, [...] Read more.
The Blm10/PA200 family of proteasome activators modulates the peptidase activity of the core particle (20S CP). They participate in opening the 20S CP gate, thus facilitating the degradation of unstructured proteins such as tau and Dnm1 in a ubiquitin- and ATP-independent manner. Furthermore, PA200 also participates in the degradation of acetylated histones. In our study, we use a combination of yeast and human cell systems to investigate the role of Blm10/PA200 in the degradation of N-terminal Huntingtin fragments (N-Htt). We demonstrate that the human PA200 binds to N-Htt. The loss of Blm10 in yeast or PA200 in human cells results in increased mutant N-Htt aggregate formation and elevated cellular toxicity. Furthermore, Blm10 in vitro accelerates the proteasomal degradation of soluble N-Htt. Collectively, our data suggest N-Htt as a new substrate for Blm10/PA200-proteasomes and point to new approaches in Huntington’s disease (HD) research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulating Proteasome Activity)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Surface-Exposed Polypeptide Is Successfully Employed as a Target for Developing a Prototype One-Step Immunochromatographic Strip for Specific and Sensitive Direct Detection of Staphylococcus aureus Causing Neonatal Sepsis
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1580; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111580 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Neonatal sepsis is a life-threatening condition and Staphylococcus aureus is one of its major causes. However, to date, no rapid and sensitive diagnostic tool has been developed for its direct detection. Bioinformatics analyses identified a surface-exposed 112-amino acid polypeptide of the cell wall [...] Read more.
Neonatal sepsis is a life-threatening condition and Staphylococcus aureus is one of its major causes. However, to date, no rapid and sensitive diagnostic tool has been developed for its direct detection. Bioinformatics analyses identified a surface-exposed 112-amino acid polypeptide of the cell wall protein NWMN_1649, a surface protein involved in cell aggregation and biofilm formation, as being a species-specific and highly conserved moiety. The polypeptide was cloned, purified, and used to immunize mice to raise specific immunoglobulins. The purified antibodies were conjugated to gold nano-particles and used to assemble an immunochromatographic strip (ICS). The developed prototype ICS detected as low as 5 µg purified polypeptide and 102 CFU/mL S. aureus within 15 min. The strip showed superior ability to directly detect S. aureus in neonatal sepsis blood specimens without prior sample processing. Moreover, it showed no cross-reaction in specimens infected with two other major causes of neonatal sepsis; coagulase-negative staphylococci and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The selected NWMN_1649-derived polypeptide demonstrates success as a promising biomolecule upon which a prototype ICS has been developed. This ICS provides a rapid, direct, sensitive, and specific option for the detection of S. aureus causing neonatal sepsis. Such a tool is urgently needed especially in resources-limited countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmacological Approach to Sepsis and Septic Shock)
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Open AccessReview
Acrolein: A Potential Mediator of Oxidative Damage in Diabetic Retinopathy
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1579; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111579 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 276
Abstract
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of vision loss among working-age adults. Extensive evidences have documented that oxidative stress mediates a critical role in the pathogenesis of DR. Acrolein, a product of polyamines oxidation and lipid peroxidation, has been demonstrated to be [...] Read more.
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of vision loss among working-age adults. Extensive evidences have documented that oxidative stress mediates a critical role in the pathogenesis of DR. Acrolein, a product of polyamines oxidation and lipid peroxidation, has been demonstrated to be involved in the pathogenesis of various human diseases. Acrolein’s harmful effects are mediated through multiple mechanisms, including DNA damage, inflammation, ROS formation, protein adduction, membrane disruption, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Recent investigations have reported the involvement of acrolein in the pathogenesis of DR. These studies have shown a detrimental effect of acrolein on the retinal neurovascular unit under diabetic conditions. The current review summarizes the existing literature on the sources of acrolein, the impact of acrolein in the generation of oxidative damage in the diabetic retina, and the mechanisms of acrolein action in the pathogenesis of DR. The possible therapeutic interventions such as the use of polyamine oxidase inhibitors, agents with antioxidant properties, and acrolein scavengers to reduce acrolein toxicity are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Astrocytic Connexin43 Channels as Candidate Targets in Epilepsy Treatment
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1578; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111578 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 289
Abstract
In epilepsy research, emphasis is put on exploring non-neuronal targets such as astrocytic proteins, since many patients remain pharmacoresistant to current treatments, which almost all target neuronal mechanisms. This paper reviews available data on astrocytic connexin43 (Cx43) signaling in seizures and epilepsy. Cx43 [...] Read more.
In epilepsy research, emphasis is put on exploring non-neuronal targets such as astrocytic proteins, since many patients remain pharmacoresistant to current treatments, which almost all target neuronal mechanisms. This paper reviews available data on astrocytic connexin43 (Cx43) signaling in seizures and epilepsy. Cx43 is a widely expressed transmembrane protein and the constituent of gap junctions (GJs) and hemichannels (HCs), allowing intercellular and extracellular communication, respectively. A plethora of research papers show altered Cx43 mRNA levels, protein expression, phosphorylation state, distribution and/or functional coupling in human epileptic tissue and experimental models. Human Cx43 mutations are linked to seizures as well, as 30% of patients with oculodentodigital dysplasia (ODDD), a rare genetic condition caused by mutations in the GJA1 gene coding for Cx43 protein, exhibit neurological symptoms including seizures. Cx30/Cx43 double knock-out mice show increased susceptibility to evoked epileptiform events in brain slices due to impaired GJ-mediated redistribution of K+ and glutamate and display a higher frequency of spontaneous generalized chronic seizures in an epilepsy model. Contradictory, Cx30/Cx43 GJs can traffic nutrients to high-energy demanding neurons and initiate astrocytic Ca2+ waves and hyper synchronization, thereby supporting proconvulsant effects. The general connexin channel blocker carbenoxolone and blockers from the fenamate family diminish epileptiform activity in vitro and improve seizure outcome in vivo. In addition, interventions with more selective peptide inhibitors of HCs display anticonvulsant actions. To conclude, further studies aiming to disentangle distinct roles of HCs and GJs are necessary and tools specifically targeting Cx43 HCs may facilitate the search for novel epilepsy treatments. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Clinical Applications of Patient-Specific 3D Printed Models in Cardiovascular Disease: Current Status and Future Directions
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1577; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111577 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 263
Abstract
Three-dimensional (3D) printing has been increasingly used in medicine with applications in many different fields ranging from orthopaedics and tumours to cardiovascular disease. Realistic 3D models can be printed with different materials to replicate anatomical structures and pathologies with high accuracy. 3D printed [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing has been increasingly used in medicine with applications in many different fields ranging from orthopaedics and tumours to cardiovascular disease. Realistic 3D models can be printed with different materials to replicate anatomical structures and pathologies with high accuracy. 3D printed models generated from medical imaging data acquired with computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound augment the understanding of complex anatomy and pathology, assist preoperative planning and simulate surgical or interventional procedures to achieve precision medicine for improvement of treatment outcomes, train young or junior doctors to gain their confidence in patient management and provide medical education to medical students or healthcare professionals as an effective training tool. This article provides an overview of patient-specific 3D printed models with a focus on the applications in cardiovascular disease including: 3D printed models in congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, pulmonary embolism, aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection, and aortic valvular disease. Clinical value of the patient-specific 3D printed models in these areas is presented based on the current literature, while limitations and future research in 3D printing including bioprinting of cardiovascular disease are highlighted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
HumiR: Web Services, Tools and Databases for Exploring Human microRNA Data
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1576; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111576 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 287
Abstract
For many research aspects on small non-coding RNAs, especially microRNAs, computational tools and databases are developed. This includes quantification of miRNAs, piRNAs, tRNAs and tRNA fragments, circRNAs and others. Furthermore, the prediction of new miRNAs, isomiRs, arm switch events, target and target pathway [...] Read more.
For many research aspects on small non-coding RNAs, especially microRNAs, computational tools and databases are developed. This includes quantification of miRNAs, piRNAs, tRNAs and tRNA fragments, circRNAs and others. Furthermore, the prediction of new miRNAs, isomiRs, arm switch events, target and target pathway prediction and miRNA pathway enrichment are common tasks. Additionally, databases and resources containing expression profiles, e.g., from different tissues, organs or cell types, are generated. This information in turn leads to improved miRNA repositories. While most of the respective tools are implemented in a species-independent manner, we focused on tools for human small non-coding RNAs. This includes four aspects: (1) miRNA analysis tools (2) databases on miRNAs and variations thereof (3) databases on expression profiles (4) miRNA helper tools facilitating frequent tasks such as naming conversion or reporter assay design. Although dependencies between the tools exist and several tools are jointly used in studies, the interoperability is limited. We present HumiR, a joint web presence for our tools. HumiR facilitates an entry in the world of miRNA research, supports the selection of the right tool for a research task and represents the very first step towards a fully integrated knowledge-base for human small non-coding RNA research. We demonstrate the utility of HumiR by performing a very comprehensive analysis of Alzheimer’s miRNAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinformatics Resource and Protocols for Small RNA Research)
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Open AccessReview
Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1575; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111575 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 455
Abstract
The potential therapeutic use of some Cannabis sativa plant compounds has been attracting great interest, especially for managing neuropsychiatric disorders due to the relative lack of efficacy of the current treatments. Numerous studies have been carried out using the main phytocannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) [...] Read more.
The potential therapeutic use of some Cannabis sativa plant compounds has been attracting great interest, especially for managing neuropsychiatric disorders due to the relative lack of efficacy of the current treatments. Numerous studies have been carried out using the main phytocannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD displays an interesting pharmacological profile without the potential for becoming a drug of abuse, unlike THC. In this review, we focused on the anxiolytic, antidepressant, and antipsychotic effects of CBD found in animal and human studies. In rodents, results suggest that the effects of CBD depend on the dose, the strain, the administration time course (acute vs. chronic), and the route of administration. In addition, certain key targets have been related with these CBD pharmacological actions, including cannabinoid receptors (CB1r and CB2r), 5-HT1A receptor and neurogenesis factors. Preliminary clinical trials also support the efficacy of CBD as an anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antidepressant, and more importantly, a positive risk-benefit profile. These promising results support the development of large-scale studies to further evaluate CBD as a potential new drug for the treatment of these psychiatric disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Endocannabinoid System in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Polyphenol Extract from Evening Primrose (Oenothera paradoxa) Inhibits Invasion Properties of Human Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Cells
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1574; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111574 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Extracts from the defatted evening primrose (Oenothera paradoxa Hudziok) seeds are the source of a range of stable polyphenolic compounds, including ellagic acid, gallic acid, and catechin. Our studies evaluate, for the first time, the influence of evening primrose isopropanol extract (EPE) [...] Read more.
Extracts from the defatted evening primrose (Oenothera paradoxa Hudziok) seeds are the source of a range of stable polyphenolic compounds, including ellagic acid, gallic acid, and catechin. Our studies evaluate, for the first time, the influence of evening primrose isopropanol extract (EPE) on malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) cells. MPM is rarely diagnosed, its high aggressiveness and frequently noted chemoresistance limit its treatment schemes and it is characterized by low prognostic features. Here, we demonstrate that EPE inhibited MPM growth in a dose-dependent manner in cells with increased invasion properties. Moreover, EPE treatment resulted in cell cycle arrest in the G2/M phase and increased apoptosis in invasive MPM cell lines. Additionally, EPE strongly limited invasion and MMP-7 secretion in MPM cancer cells. Our original data provide evidence about the potential anti-invasive effects of EPE in MPM therapy treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural and Bio-inspired Molecules)
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Open AccessArticle
SGLT2 Inhibition by Intraperitoneal Dapagliflozin Mitigates Peritoneal Fibrosis and Ultrafiltration Failure in a Mouse Model of Chronic Peritoneal Exposure to High-Glucose Dialysate
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1573; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111573 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 250
Abstract
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is limited by glucose-mediated peritoneal membrane (PM) fibrosis, angiogenesis, and ultrafiltration failure. Influencing PM integrity by pharmacologically targeting sodium-dependent glucose transporter (SGLT)-mediated glucose uptake has not been studied. In this study, wildtype C57Bl/6N mice were treated with high-glucose dialysate via [...] Read more.
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is limited by glucose-mediated peritoneal membrane (PM) fibrosis, angiogenesis, and ultrafiltration failure. Influencing PM integrity by pharmacologically targeting sodium-dependent glucose transporter (SGLT)-mediated glucose uptake has not been studied. In this study, wildtype C57Bl/6N mice were treated with high-glucose dialysate via an intraperitoneal catheter, with or without addition of selective SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin. PM structural changes, ultrafiltration capacity, and peritoneal equilibration testing (PET) status for glucose, urea, and creatinine were analyzed. Expression of SGLT and facilitative glucose transporters (GLUT) was analyzed by real-time PCR, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry. Peritoneal effluents were analyzed for cellular and cytokine composition. We found that peritoneal SGLT2 was expressed in mesothelial cells and in skeletal muscle. Dapagliflozin significantly reduced effluent transforming growth factor (TGF-β) concentrations, peritoneal thickening, and fibrosis, as well as microvessel density, resulting in improved ultrafiltration, despite the fact that it did not affect development of high-glucose transporter status. In vitro, dapagliflozin reduced monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 release under high-glucose conditions in human and murine peritoneal mesothelial cells. Proinflammatory cytokine release in macrophages was reduced only when cultured in high-glucose conditions with an additional inflammatory stimulus. In summary, dapagliflozin improved structural and functional peritoneal health in the context of high-glucose PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Peritoneal Membrane Pathophysiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Concentration- and pH-Dependent Oligomerization of the Thrombin-Derived C-Terminal Peptide TCP-25
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1572; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111572 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 367
Abstract
Peptide oligomerization dynamics affects peptide structure, activity, and pharmacodynamic properties. The thrombin C-terminal peptide, TCP-25 (GKYGFYTHVFRLKKWIQKVIDQFGE), is currently in preclinical development for improved wound healing and infection prevention. It exhibits turbidity when formulated at pH 7.4, particularly at concentrations of 0.3 mM or [...] Read more.
Peptide oligomerization dynamics affects peptide structure, activity, and pharmacodynamic properties. The thrombin C-terminal peptide, TCP-25 (GKYGFYTHVFRLKKWIQKVIDQFGE), is currently in preclinical development for improved wound healing and infection prevention. It exhibits turbidity when formulated at pH 7.4, particularly at concentrations of 0.3 mM or more. We used biochemical and biophysical approaches to explore whether the peptide self-associates and forms oligomers. The peptide showed a dose-dependent increase in turbidity as well as α-helical structure at pH 7.4, a phenomenon not observed at pH 5.0. By analyzing the intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence, we demonstrate that TCP-25 is more stable at high concentrations (0.3 mM) when exposed to high temperatures or a high concentration of denaturant agents, which is compatible with oligomer formation. The denaturation process was reversible above 100 µM of peptide. Dynamic light scattering demonstrated that TCP-25 oligomerization is sensitive to changes in pH, time, and temperature. Computational modeling with an active 18-mer region of TCP-25 showed that the peptide can form pH-dependent higher-order end-to-end oligomers and micelle-like structures, which is in agreement with the experimental data. Thus, TCP-25 exhibits pH- and temperature-dependent dynamic changes involving helical induction and reversible oligomerization, which explains the observed turbidity of the pharmacologically developed formulation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study of Morphological Features and Determination of the Fatty Acid Composition of the Microalgae Lipid Complex
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1571; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111571 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 267
Abstract
Microalgae are rich in nutrients and biologically active substances such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, pigments, phycobiliproteins, among others. The lipid composition of the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris, Arthrospira platensis, and Dunaliella salina was screened for the first time. The proposed method [...] Read more.
Microalgae are rich in nutrients and biologically active substances such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, pigments, phycobiliproteins, among others. The lipid composition of the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris, Arthrospira platensis, and Dunaliella salina was screened for the first time. The proposed method for purifying the lipid complex isolated from microalgae’s biomass involved dissolving the lipid-pigment complex in n-hexane for 4 h and stirring at 500 rpm. We found that the largest number of neutral lipids is contained in the biomass of microalgae Arthrospira platensis, fatty acids, polar lipids (glycerophospholipids), and unsaponifiable substances—in the biomass of microalgae Dunaliella salina, chlorophyll, and other impurities—in the biomass of microalgae Chlorella vulgaris. The developed method of purification of the fatty acid composition of the microalgae lipid complex confirmed the content of fatty acids in microalgae, which are of interest for practical use in the production of biologically active components. We also determined the potential of its use in the development of affordable technology for processing microalgae into valuable food and feed additives. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Validation of Carbonic Anhydrase II as the First Target of the Anti-Inflammatory Drug Actarit
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1570; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111570 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 311
Abstract
Background and purpose: Identifying the macromolecular targets of drug molecules is a fundamental aspect of drug discovery and pharmacology. Several drugs remain without known targets (orphan) despite large-scale in silico and in vitro target prediction efforts. Ligand-centric chemical-similarity-based methods for in silico target [...] Read more.
Background and purpose: Identifying the macromolecular targets of drug molecules is a fundamental aspect of drug discovery and pharmacology. Several drugs remain without known targets (orphan) despite large-scale in silico and in vitro target prediction efforts. Ligand-centric chemical-similarity-based methods for in silico target prediction have been found to be particularly powerful, but the question remains of whether they are able to discover targets for target-orphan drugs. Experimental Approach: We used one of these in silico methods to carry out a target prediction analysis for two orphan drugs: actarit and malotilate. The top target predicted for each drug was carbonic anhydrase II (CAII). Each drug was therefore quantitatively evaluated for CAII inhibition to validate these two prospective predictions. Key Results: Actarit showed in vitro concentration-dependent inhibition of CAII activity with submicromolar potency (IC50 = 422 nM) whilst no consistent inhibition was observed for malotilate. Among the other 25 targets predicted for actarit, RORγ (RAR-related orphan receptor-gamma) is promising in that it is strongly related to actarit’s indication, rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Conclusion and Implications: This study is a proof-of-concept of the utility of MolTarPred for the fast and cost-effective identification of targets of orphan drugs. Furthermore, the mechanism of action of actarit as an anti-RA agent can now be re-examined from a CAII-inhibitor perspective, given existing relationships between this target and RA. Moreover, the confirmed CAII-actarit association supports investigating the repositioning of actarit on other CAII-linked indications (e.g., hypertension, epilepsy, migraine, anemia and bone, eye and cardiac disorders). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis of Arthritis)
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Open AccessReview
The Role of APP O-Glycosylation in Alzheimer’s Disease
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1569; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111569 - 18 Nov 2020
Viewed by 472
Abstract
The number of people with dementia is increasing rapidly due to the increase in the aging population. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of neurodegenerative dementia caused by the accumulation of abnormal proteins. Genetic mutations, smoking, and several other factors have been reported [...] Read more.
The number of people with dementia is increasing rapidly due to the increase in the aging population. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of neurodegenerative dementia caused by the accumulation of abnormal proteins. Genetic mutations, smoking, and several other factors have been reported as causes of AD, but alterations in glycans have recently been demonstrated to play a role in AD. Amyloid-β (Aβ), a cleaved fragment of APP, is the source of senile plaque, a pathological feature of AD. APP has been reported to undergo N- and O-glycosylation, and several Polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferases (ppGalNAc-Ts) have been shown to have catalytic activity for the transfer of GalNAc to APP. Since O-glycosylation in the proximity of a cleavage site in many proteins has been reported to be involved in protein processing, O-glycans may affect the cleavage of APP during the Aβ production process. In this report, we describe new findings on the O-glycosylation of APP and Aβ production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Approach to the Glycan Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhanced 15-Lipoxygenase 1 Production is Related to Periostin Expression and Eosinophil Recruitment in Eosinophilic Chronic Rhinosinusitis
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1568; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111568 - 18 Nov 2020
Viewed by 300
Abstract
Background: The pathological features of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) tissues include an eosinophilic infiltration pattern (eosinophilic CRS (ECRS)) or a less eosinophilic pattern (non-ECRS). Recently, it has been suggested that 15-lipoxygenase 1 (15-LOX-1) may have significant roles in allergic disease; [...] Read more.
Background: The pathological features of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) tissues include an eosinophilic infiltration pattern (eosinophilic CRS (ECRS)) or a less eosinophilic pattern (non-ECRS). Recently, it has been suggested that 15-lipoxygenase 1 (15-LOX-1) may have significant roles in allergic disease; however, the significance of 15-LOX-1 in CRS is not well understood. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the expression of 15-LOX-1 in CRS. Methods: The mRNA expression levels of 15-LOX-1 and periostin in nasal tissues were measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. We also performed an immunofluorescence study of nasal tissues. Cells of the Eol-1 eosinophilic leukemic cell line were stimulated with interleukin-33 to test the induction of 15-LOX-1. Results: The expression level of 15-LOX-1 mRNA in nasal polyps (NPs) was significantly higher in ECRS patients than in non-ECRS patients. The immunofluorescence study revealed that both airway epithelial cells and eosinophils in NPs expressed 15-LOX-1. A significant correlation was seen between the number of eosinophils and the mRNA expression levels of 15-LOX-1 and periostin in nasal polyps. Moreover, interleukin-33 enhanced 15-LOX-1 expression in Eol-1 cells. Conclusions: 15-LOX-1 was shown to be a significant molecule that facilitates eosinophilic inflammation in ECRS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eosinophilic Inflammation)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptional Profiling Reveals Ribosome Biogenesis, Microtubule Dynamics and Expression of Specific lncRNAs to be Part of a Common Response to Cell-Penetrating Peptides
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1567; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111567 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short peptides that are able to efficiently penetrate cellular lipid bilayers. Although CPPs have been used as carriers in conjugation with certain cargos to target specific genes and pathways, how rationally designed CPPs per se affect global gene expression [...] Read more.
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short peptides that are able to efficiently penetrate cellular lipid bilayers. Although CPPs have been used as carriers in conjugation with certain cargos to target specific genes and pathways, how rationally designed CPPs per se affect global gene expression has not been investigated. Therefore, following time course treatments with 4 CPPs-penetratin, PepFect14, mtCPP1 and TP10, HeLa cells were transcriptionally profiled by RNA sequencing. Results from these analyses showed a time-dependent response to different CPPs, with specific sets of genes related to ribosome biogenesis, microtubule dynamics and long-noncoding RNAs being differentially expressed compared to untreated controls. By using an image-based high content phenotypic profiling platform we confirmed that differential gene expression in CPP-treated HeLa cells strongly correlates with changes in cellular phenotypes such as increased nucleolar size and dispersed microtubules, compatible with altered ribosome biogenesis and cell growth. Altogether these results suggest that cells respond to different cell penetrating peptides by alteration of specific sets of genes, which are possibly part of the common response to such stimulus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
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Open AccessReview
Cheminformatics to Characterize Pharmacologically Active Natural Products
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1566; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111566 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Natural products have a significant role in drug discovery. Natural products have distinctive chemical structures that have contributed to identifying and developing drugs for different therapeutic areas. Moreover, natural products are significant sources of inspiration or starting points to develop new therapeutic agents. [...] Read more.
Natural products have a significant role in drug discovery. Natural products have distinctive chemical structures that have contributed to identifying and developing drugs for different therapeutic areas. Moreover, natural products are significant sources of inspiration or starting points to develop new therapeutic agents. Natural products such as peptides and macrocycles, and other compounds with unique features represent attractive sources to address complex diseases. Computational approaches that use chemoinformatics and molecular modeling methods contribute to speed up natural product-based drug discovery. Several research groups have recently used computational methodologies to organize data, interpret results, generate and test hypotheses, filter large chemical databases before the experimental screening, and design experiments. This review discusses a broad range of chemoinformatics applications to support natural product-based drug discovery. We emphasize profiling natural product data sets in terms of diversity; complexity; acid/base; absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity (ADME/Tox) properties; and fragment analysis. Novel techniques for the visual representation of the chemical space are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Kidney Ischemia-Reperfusion Decreases Hydrogen Sulfide and Increases Oxidative Stress in the Heart
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1565; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111565 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The underlying mechanism of AKI-induced heart injury is not well-understood. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), at physiological concentrations, has been implicated in cardiovascular protection through redox balance and vessel relaxation. [...] Read more.
Patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The underlying mechanism of AKI-induced heart injury is not well-understood. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), at physiological concentrations, has been implicated in cardiovascular protection through redox balance and vessel relaxation. Cystathionine gamma-lyase (CSE) plays an essential role in H2S production in the heart. The present study investigated the effect of AKI on H2S production and oxidative stress in the heart. AKI was induced by kidney ischemia-reperfusion in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats, which led to an increase in plasma creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels. There was a significant increase in lipid peroxidation and a decrease in glutathione (antioxidant) levels in the plasma and heart, indicating systemic and cardiac oxidative stress. Kidney ischemia-reperfusion reduced CSE expression and H2S production in the heart. There was a decrease in antioxidant transcription factor Nrf2 level in the nucleus and an increase in inflammatory cytokine (IL-6, TNF-α) expression in the heart. These results suggest that AKI can down-regulate CSE-mediated H2S production, reduce glutathione levels and increase oxidative stress in the heart. This may contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in AKI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Homocysteine: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Role in Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Trypanosoma cruzi Presenilin-Like Transmembrane Aspartyl Protease: Characterization and Cellular Localization
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1564; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111564 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 218
Abstract
The increasing detection of infections of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease, in non-endemic regions beyond Latin America has risen to be a major public health issue. With an impact in the millions of people, current treatments rely on antiquated [...] Read more.
The increasing detection of infections of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease, in non-endemic regions beyond Latin America has risen to be a major public health issue. With an impact in the millions of people, current treatments rely on antiquated drugs that produce severe side effects and are considered nearly ineffective for the chronic phase. The minimal progress in the development of new drugs highlights the need for advances in basic research on crucial biochemical pathways in T. cruzi to identify new targets. Here, we report on the T. cruzi presenilin-like transmembrane aspartyl enzyme, a protease of the aspartic class in a unique phylogenetic subgroup with T. vivax separate from protozoans. Computational analyses suggest it contains nine transmembrane domains and an active site with the characteristic PALP motif of the A22 family. Multiple linear B-cell epitopes were identified by SPOT-synthesis analysis with Chagasic patient sera. Two were chosen to generate rabbit antisera, whose signal was primarily localized to the flagellar pocket, intracellular vesicles, and endoplasmic reticulum in parasites by whole-cell immunofluorescence. The results suggest that the parasitic presenilin-like enzyme could have a role in the secretory pathway and serve as a target for the generation of new therapeutics specific to the T. cruzi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Applicability of Ready-to-Use Human Cartilaginous Cells for Screening of Compounds with TNF-Alpha Inhibitory Activity
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1563; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111563 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 198
Abstract
In the context of modern drug discovery, there is an obvious advantage to designing phenotypic bioassays based on human disease-relevant cells that express disease-relevant markers. The specific aim of the study was to develop a convenient and reliable method for screening compounds with [...] Read more.
In the context of modern drug discovery, there is an obvious advantage to designing phenotypic bioassays based on human disease-relevant cells that express disease-relevant markers. The specific aim of the study was to develop a convenient and reliable method for screening compounds with Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α) inhibitory activity. This assay was developed using cryopreserved ready-to-use cartilage-derived cells isolated from juvenile donors diagnosed with polydactyly. It has been demonstrated that all donor (10 donors) cells were able to respond to TNF-α treatment by increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 into subcultural medium. Inhibition of TNF-α using commercially available TNF-α inhibitor etanercept resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in IL-6 production which was measured by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). TNF-α dependent IL-6 production was detected in the cells after both their prolonged cultivation in vitro (≥20 passages) and cryopreservation. This phenotypic bioassay based on ready-to-use primary human cells was developed for detection of novel TNF-α inhibitory compounds and profiling of biosimilar drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis of Arthritis)
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Open AccessArticle
4-Benzyloxylonchocarpin and Muracatanes A-C from Ranunculus muricatus L. and Their Biological Effects
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1562; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111562 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 324
Abstract
Ranunculus muricatus L. is a spiny fruit buttercup that is used in various traditional medicinal systems. In the current investigation of R. muricatus, the new chalcone 4-benzyloxylonchocarpin (1), the new anthraquinone muracatanes A (2), the new-to-nature anthraquinone muracatanes [...] Read more.
Ranunculus muricatus L. is a spiny fruit buttercup that is used in various traditional medicinal systems. In the current investigation of R. muricatus, the new chalcone 4-benzyloxylonchocarpin (1), the new anthraquinone muracatanes A (2), the new-to-nature anthraquinone muracatanes B (3), and the new naphthalene analog muracatanes C (4) were isolated, in addition to the three previously reported compounds, 4-methoxylonchocarpin (5), β-sitosterol (6), and β-sitosterol β-D-glucopyranoside (7). Their structures were elucidated using 1D (1H and 13C) and 2D (COSY, HSQC, and HMBC) NMR spectroscopy and HR-ESI-MS. Chalcone 1 showed potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitory effects with Ki of 5.39 µM and Ki′ of 3.54 µM, but none of the isolated compounds showed inhibitory activity towards butyrylcholinesterase. Anthraquinone 3 illustrated α-glucosidase inhibitory effects with IC50-values of 164.46 ± 83.04 µM. Compound 5 displayed moderate cytotoxic activity towards ovarian carcinoma (A2780, IC50 = 25.4 µM), colorectal adenocarcinoma (HT29, IC50 = 20.2 µM), breast cancer (MCF7, IC50 = 23.7 µM), and thyroid carcinoma (SW1736, IC50 = 26.2 µM) while it was inactive towards pharynx carcinoma (FaDu: IC50 > 30 µM). Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Pharmacology of Medicinal Plants)
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Open AccessReview
Emerging Concepts of Hybrid Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Cancer Progression
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1561; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111561 - 16 Nov 2020
Viewed by 297
Abstract
Epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a complex process through which epithelial (E) cells lose their adherens junctions, transform into mesenchymal (M) cells and attain motility, leading to metastasis at distant organs. Nowadays, the concept of EMT has shifted from a binary phase of [...] Read more.
Epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a complex process through which epithelial (E) cells lose their adherens junctions, transform into mesenchymal (M) cells and attain motility, leading to metastasis at distant organs. Nowadays, the concept of EMT has shifted from a binary phase of interconversion of pure E to M cells and vice versa to a spectrum of E/M transition states preferably coined as hybrid/partial/intermediate EMT. Hybrid EMT, being a plastic transient state, harbours cells which co-express both E and M markers and exhibit high tumourigenic properties, leading to stemness, metastasis, and therapy resistance. Several preclinical and clinical studies provided the evidence of co-existence of E/M phenotypes. Regulators including transcription factors, epigenetic regulators and phenotypic stability factors (PSFs) help in maintaining the hybrid state. Computational and bioinformatics approaches may be excellent for identifying new factors or combinations of regulatory elements that govern the different EMT transition states. Therapeutic intervention against hybrid E/M cells, though few, may evolve as a rational strategy against metastasis and drug resistance. This review has attempted to present the recent advancements on the concept and regulation of the process of hybrid EMT which generates hybrid E/M phenotypes, evidence of intermediate EMT in both preclinical and clinical setup, impact of partial EMT on promoting tumourigenesis, and future strategies which might be adapted to tackle this phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue EMT and Cancer)
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