Next Issue
Volume 12, March
Previous Issue
Volume 12, January

Biomolecules, Volume 12, Issue 2 (February 2022) – 194 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In conclusion, in this study, we report that complement opsonization of HIV-1, as well as local complement mobilization and generation of anaphylatoxin C5a, influences productive infection through TNT formation. View this paper
  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Section
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Systematic Review
Are Cell-Based Therapies Safe and Effective in the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases? A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020340 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 779
Abstract
Over the past two decades, significant advances have been made in the field of regenerative medicine. However, despite being of the utmost clinical urgency, there remains a paucity of therapeutic strategies for conditions with substantial neurodegeneration such as (progressive) multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal [...] Read more.
Over the past two decades, significant advances have been made in the field of regenerative medicine. However, despite being of the utmost clinical urgency, there remains a paucity of therapeutic strategies for conditions with substantial neurodegeneration such as (progressive) multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injury (SCI), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Different cell types, such as mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC), neuronal stem cells (NSC), olfactory ensheathing cells (OEC), neurons and a variety of others, already demonstrated safety and regenerative or neuroprotective properties in the central nervous system during the preclinical phase. As a result of these promising findings, in recent years, these necessary types of cell therapies have been intensively tested in clinical trials to establish whether these results could be confirmed in patients. However, extensive research is still needed regarding elucidating the exact mechanism of action, possible immune rejection, functionality and survival of the administered cells, dose, frequency and administration route. To summarize the current state of knowledge, we conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis. A total of 27,043 records were reviewed by two independent assessors and 71 records were included in the final quantitative analysis. These results show that the overall frequency of serious adverse events was low: 0.03 (95% CI: 0.01–0.08). In addition, several trials in MS and SCI reported efficacy data, demonstrating some promising results on clinical outcomes. All randomized controlled studies were at a low risk of bias due to appropriate blinding of the treatment, including assessors and patients. In conclusion, cell-based therapies in neurodegenerative disease are safe and feasible while showing promising clinical improvements. Nevertheless, given their high heterogeneity, the results require a cautious approach. We advocate for the harmonization of study protocols of trials investigating cell-based therapies in neurodegenerative diseases, adverse event reporting and investigation of clinical outcomes. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Imaging Techniques for Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections in Mice: Comparisons of Ex Vivo, In Situ, and Ultrasound Approaches
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020339 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 553
Abstract
Aortic aneurysms and dissections are life-threatening conditions that have a high risk for lethal bleeding and organ malperfusion. Many studies have investigated the molecular basis of these diseases using mouse models. In mice, ex vivo, in situ, and ultrasound imaging are major approaches [...] Read more.
Aortic aneurysms and dissections are life-threatening conditions that have a high risk for lethal bleeding and organ malperfusion. Many studies have investigated the molecular basis of these diseases using mouse models. In mice, ex vivo, in situ, and ultrasound imaging are major approaches to evaluate aortic diameters, a common parameter to determine the severity of aortic aneurysms. However, accurate evaluations of aortic dimensions by these imaging approaches could be challenging due to pathological features of aortic aneurysms. Currently, there is no standardized mode to assess aortic dissections in mice. It is important to understand the characteristics of each approach for reliable evaluation of aortic dilatations. In this review, we summarize imaging techniques used for aortic visualization in recent mouse studies and discuss their pros and cons. We also provide suggestions to facilitate the visualization of mouse aortas. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1 (HAVcr-1) Initiates Prostate Cancer Progression in Human Cells via Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF)-Induced Changes in Junctional Integrity
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020338 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 630
Abstract
Background: HAVcR-1 has been linked to cancer aetiology and may regulate junctional complexes, with its role in prostate cancer still unexplored. This study aims to investigate the expression of HAVcR-1 in prostate cancer samples and the exploration of the cellular/molecular impact of HAVcR-1. [...] Read more.
Background: HAVcR-1 has been linked to cancer aetiology and may regulate junctional complexes, with its role in prostate cancer still unexplored. This study aims to investigate the expression of HAVcR-1 in prostate cancer samples and the exploration of the cellular/molecular impact of HAVcR-1. Methods: Levels of HAVcR-1 ectodomain in the serum of prostate cancer patients were compared to healthy controls, and assessed as the total protein and gene expression of HAVcR-1 and tissues sections. The manipulation of HAVcR-1 levels within prostate cancer cell lines determined changes in cell behaviour using in vitro cell models and barrier function assays. Protein/phosphoprotein levels were assessed using Western blotting. Results: Levels of HAVcR-1 ectodomain from serum were decreased in patients with prostate cancer. Ectodomain levels correlated with the Gleason score. Histologically, the total protein/gene expression of HAVcR-1 was overexpressed in prostate cancer. The overexpression of HAVcR-1 in prostate cancer cell lines resulted in key changes in cell behaviour and the phosphorylation of β-catenin with a concurrent decrease in membranous E-cadherin, increased nuclear β-catenin and increased cyclin D1 protein expression, which were associated with HGF-promoted changes in the barrier function. Conclusions: HAVcR-1 expression and ectodomain release coincides with the presence of prostate cancer; thus, indicating HAVcR-1 as a potential biomarker to aid in diagnostics, and implicating HAVcR-1 in the dysregulation of junctional complexes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Biology of Cell Metastasis)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
The Complement System in the Central Nervous System: From Neurodevelopment to Neurodegeneration
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020337 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 694
Abstract
The functions of the complement system to both innate and adaptive immunity through opsonization, cell lysis, and inflammatory activities are well known. In contrast, the role of complement in the central nervous system (CNS) which extends beyond immunity, is only beginning to be [...] Read more.
The functions of the complement system to both innate and adaptive immunity through opsonization, cell lysis, and inflammatory activities are well known. In contrast, the role of complement in the central nervous system (CNS) which extends beyond immunity, is only beginning to be recognized as important to neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration. In addition to protecting the brain against invasive pathogens, appropriate activation of the complement system is pivotal to the maintenance of normal brain function. Moreover, overactivation or dysregulation may cause synaptic dysfunction and promote excessive pro-inflammatory responses. Recent studies have provided insights into the various responses of complement components in different neurological diseases and the regulatory mechanisms involved in their pathophysiology, as well as a glimpse into targeting complement factors as a potential therapeutic modality. However, there remain significant knowledge gaps in the relationship between the complement system and different brain disorders. This review summarizes recent key findings regarding the role of different components of the complement system in health and pathology of the CNS and discusses the therapeutic potential of anti-complement strategies for the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroimmune and Neuroglial Interactions in Health and Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Levels of Coenzyme Q10 and Several COQ Proteins in Human Astrocytoma Tissues Are Inversely Correlated with Malignancy
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020336 - 20 Feb 2022
Viewed by 493
Abstract
In a previous study, we reported the alterations of primary antioxidant enzymes and decreased citrate synthase (CS) activities in different grades of human astrocytoma tissues. Here, we further investigated coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels and protein levels of polyprenyl diphosphate synthase [...] Read more.
In a previous study, we reported the alterations of primary antioxidant enzymes and decreased citrate synthase (CS) activities in different grades of human astrocytoma tissues. Here, we further investigated coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels and protein levels of polyprenyl diphosphate synthase subunit (PDSS2) and several COQ proteins required for CoQ10 biosynthesis in these tissues. We found that the level of endogenous CoQ10, but not of exogenous α-tocopherol, was higher in nontumor controls than in all grades of astrocytoma tissues. The levels of COQ3, COQ5, COQ6, COQ7, COQ8A, and COQ9, but not of COQ4, were lower in Grade IV astrocytoma tissues than in controls or low-grade (Grades I and II) astrocytomas, but PDSS2 levels were higher in astrocytoma tissues than in controls. Correlation analysis revealed that the levels of CoQ10 and COQ proteins were negatively correlated with malignancy degree and positively correlated with CS activity, whereas PDSS2 level was positively correlated with malignancy. Moreover, lower level of mitochondrial DNA-encoded cytochrome c oxidase subunit 2 was not only associated with a higher malignancy degree but also with lower level of all COQ proteins detected. The results revealed that mitochondrial abnormalities are associated with impaired CoQ10 maintenance in human astrocytoma progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of the Mitochondrial Stress Response in Human Cancer Progression)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Nutrient Regulation of Pancreatic Islet β-Cell Secretory Capacity and Insulin Production
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020335 - 20 Feb 2022
Viewed by 723
Abstract
Pancreatic islet β-cells exhibit tremendous plasticity for secretory adaptations that coordinate insulin production and release with nutritional demands. This essential feature of the β-cell can allow for compensatory changes that increase secretory output to overcome insulin resistance early in Type 2 diabetes (T2D). [...] Read more.
Pancreatic islet β-cells exhibit tremendous plasticity for secretory adaptations that coordinate insulin production and release with nutritional demands. This essential feature of the β-cell can allow for compensatory changes that increase secretory output to overcome insulin resistance early in Type 2 diabetes (T2D). Nutrient-stimulated increases in proinsulin biosynthesis may initiate this β-cell adaptive compensation; however, the molecular regulators of secretory expansion that accommodate the increased biosynthetic burden of packaging and producing additional insulin granules, such as enhanced ER and Golgi functions, remain poorly defined. As these adaptive mechanisms fail and T2D progresses, the β-cell succumbs to metabolic defects resulting in alterations to glucose metabolism and a decline in nutrient-regulated secretory functions, including impaired proinsulin processing and a deficit in mature insulin-containing secretory granules. In this review, we will discuss how the adaptative plasticity of the pancreatic islet β-cell’s secretory program allows insulin production to be carefully matched with nutrient availability and peripheral cues for insulin signaling. Furthermore, we will highlight potential defects in the secretory pathway that limit or delay insulin granule biosynthesis, which may contribute to the decline in β-cell function during the pathogenesis of T2D. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Pancreatic Beta Cell)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Biomarkers in Patients with Left Ventricular Assist Device: An Insight on Current Evidence
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020334 - 19 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 813
Abstract
Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have been representing a cornerstone therapy for patients with end-stage heart failure during the last decades. However, their use induces several pathophysiological modifications which are partially responsible for the complications that typically characterize these patients, such as right [...] Read more.
Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have been representing a cornerstone therapy for patients with end-stage heart failure during the last decades. However, their use induces several pathophysiological modifications which are partially responsible for the complications that typically characterize these patients, such as right ventricular failure, thromboembolic events, as well as bleedings. During the last years, biomarkers involved in the pathways of neurohormonal activation, myocardial injury, adverse remodeling, oxidative stress and systemic inflammation have raised attention. The search and analysis of potential biomarkers in LVAD patients could lead to the identification of a subset of patients with an increased risk of developing these adverse events. This could then promote a closer follow-up as well as therapeutic modifications. Furthermore, it might highlight some new therapeutic pharmacological targets that could lead to improved long-term survival. The aim of this review is to provide current evidence on the role of different biomarkers in patients with LVAD, in particular highlighting their possible implications in clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biomarkers In Cardiology 2021)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Butyrate Ameliorates Mitochondrial Respiratory Capacity of The Motor-Neuron-like Cell Line NSC34-G93A, a Cellular Model for ALS
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020333 - 19 Feb 2022
Viewed by 660
Abstract
Mitochondrial defects in motor neurons are pathological hallmarks of ALS, a neuromuscular disease with no effective treatment. Studies have shown that butyrate, a natural gut-bacteria product, alleviates the disease progression of ALS mice overexpressing a human ALS-associated mutation, hSOD1G93A. In the [...] Read more.
Mitochondrial defects in motor neurons are pathological hallmarks of ALS, a neuromuscular disease with no effective treatment. Studies have shown that butyrate, a natural gut-bacteria product, alleviates the disease progression of ALS mice overexpressing a human ALS-associated mutation, hSOD1G93A. In the current study, we examined the potential molecular mechanisms underlying the effect of butyrate on mitochondrial function in cultured motor-neuron-like NSC34 with overexpression of hSOD1G93A (NSC34-G93A). The live cell confocal imaging study demonstrated that 1mM butyrate in the culture medium improved the mitochondrial network with reduced fragmentation in NSC34-G93A cells. Seahorse analysis revealed that NSC34-G93A cells treated with butyrate showed an increase of ~5-fold in mitochondrial Spare Respiratory Capacity with elevated Maximal Respiration. The time-dependent changes in the mRNA level of PGC1α, a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, revealed a burst induction with an early increase (~5-fold) at 4 h, a peak at 24 h (~19-fold), and maintenance at 48 h (8-fold) post-treatment. In line with the transcriptional induction of PGC1α, both the mRNA and protein levels of the key molecules (MTCO1, MTCO2, and COX4) related to the mitochondrial electron transport chain were increased following the butyrate treatment. Our data indicate that activation of the PGC1α signaling axis could be one of the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of butyrate treatment in improving mitochondrial bioenergetics in NSC34-G93A cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Section Molecular Medicine)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Network Approaches to Study Endogenous RNA Competition and Its Impact on Tissue-Specific microRNA Functions
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020332 - 19 Feb 2022
Viewed by 674
Abstract
microRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that play a key role in regulating gene expression. These molecules exert their function through sequence complementarity with microRNA responsive elements and are typically located in the 3′ untranslated region of mRNAs, negatively regulating expression. Even though the [...] Read more.
microRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that play a key role in regulating gene expression. These molecules exert their function through sequence complementarity with microRNA responsive elements and are typically located in the 3′ untranslated region of mRNAs, negatively regulating expression. Even though the relevant role of miRNA-dependent regulation is broadly recognized, the principles governing their ability to lead to specific functional outcomes in distinct cell types are still not well understood. In recent years, an intriguing hypothesis proposed that miRNA-responsive elements act as communication links between different RNA species, making the investigation of microRNA function even more complex than previously thought. The competing endogenous RNA hypothesis suggests the presence of a new level of regulation, whereby a specific RNA transcript can indirectly influence the abundance of other transcripts by limiting the availability of a common miRNA, acting as a “molecular sponge”. Since this idea has been proposed, several studies have tried to pinpoint the interaction networks that have been established between different RNA species and whether they contribute to normal cell function and disease. The focus of this review is to highlight recent developments and achievements made towards the process of characterizing competing endogenous RNA networks and their role in cellular function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Approaches for the Study of Biomolecular Networks)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Optimization of an Inclusion Body-Based Production of the Influenza Virus Neuraminidase in Escherichia coli
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020331 - 19 Feb 2022
Viewed by 479
Abstract
Neuraminidase (NA), as an important protein of influenza virus, represents a promising target for the development of new antiviral agents for the treatment and prevention of influenza A and B. Bacterial host strain Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3)pLysS containing the NA gene of the [...] Read more.
Neuraminidase (NA), as an important protein of influenza virus, represents a promising target for the development of new antiviral agents for the treatment and prevention of influenza A and B. Bacterial host strain Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3)pLysS containing the NA gene of the H1N1 influenza virus produced this overexpressed enzyme in the insoluble fraction of cells in the form of inclusion bodies. The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of independent variables (propagation time, isopropyl β-d-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) concentration and expression time) on NA accumulation in inclusion bodies and to optimize these conditions by response surface methodology (RSM). The maximum yield of NA (112.97 ± 2.82 U/g) was achieved under optimal conditions, namely, a propagation time of 7.72 h, IPTG concentration of 1.82 mM and gene expression time of 7.35 h. This study demonstrated that bacterially expressed NA was enzymatically active. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recombinant Enzymes/Proteins in Biotechnology)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
The Halophyte Dehydrin Sequence Landscape
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020330 - 19 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 417
Abstract
Dehydrins (DHNs) belong to the LEA (late embryogenesis abundant) family group II, that comprise four conserved motifs (the Y-, S-, F-, and K-segments) and are known to play a multifunctional role in plant stress tolerance. Based on the presence and order of these [...] Read more.
Dehydrins (DHNs) belong to the LEA (late embryogenesis abundant) family group II, that comprise four conserved motifs (the Y-, S-, F-, and K-segments) and are known to play a multifunctional role in plant stress tolerance. Based on the presence and order of these segments, dehydrins are divided into six subclasses: YnSKn, FnSKn, YnKn, SKn, Kn, and KnS. DHNs are rarely studied in halophytes, and their contribution to the mechanisms developed by these plants to survive in extreme conditions remains unknown. In this work, we carried out multiple genomic analyses of the conservation of halophytic DHN sequences to discover new segments, and examine their architectures, while comparing them with their orthologs in glycophytic plants. We performed an in silico analysis on 86 DHN sequences from 10 halophytic genomes. The phylogenetic tree showed that there are different distributions of the architectures among the different species, and that FSKn is the only architecture present in every plant studied. It was found that K-, F-, Y-, and S-segments are highly conserved in halophytes and glycophytes with a few modifications, mainly involving charged amino acids. Finally, expression data collected for three halophytic species (Puccinillia tenuiflora, Eutrema salsugenium, and Hordeum marinum) revealed that many DHNs are upregulated by salt stress, and the intensity of this upregulation depends on the DHN architecture. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Update on CSF Biomarkers in Parkinson’s Disease
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020329 - 18 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 861
Abstract
Progress in developing disease-modifying therapies in Parkinson’s disease (PD) can only be achieved through reliable objective markers that help to identify subjects at risk. This includes an early and accurate diagnosis as well as continuous monitoring of disease progression and therapy response. Although [...] Read more.
Progress in developing disease-modifying therapies in Parkinson’s disease (PD) can only be achieved through reliable objective markers that help to identify subjects at risk. This includes an early and accurate diagnosis as well as continuous monitoring of disease progression and therapy response. Although PD diagnosis still relies mainly on clinical features, encouragingly, advances in biomarker discovery have been made. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a biofluid of particular interest to study biomarkers since it is closest to the brain structures and therefore could serve as an ideal source to reflect ongoing pathologic processes. According to the key pathophysiological mechanisms, the CSF status of α-synuclein species, markers of amyloid and tau pathology, neurofilament light chain, lysosomal enzymes and markers of neuroinflammation provide promising preliminary results as candidate biomarkers. Untargeted approaches in the field of metabolomics provide insights into novel and interconnected biological pathways. Markers based on genetic forms of PD can contribute to identifying subgroups suitable for gene-targeted treatment strategies that might also be transferable to sporadic PD. Further validation analyses in large PD cohort studies will identify the CSF biomarker or biomarker combinations with the best value for clinical and research purposes. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Abnormal RasGRP1 Expression in the Post-Mortem Brain and Blood Serum of Schizophrenia Patients
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020328 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a polygenic severe mental illness. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have detected genomic variants associated with this psychiatric disorder and pathway analyses have indicated immune system and dopamine signaling as core components of risk in dorsolateral-prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and hippocampus, but [...] Read more.
Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a polygenic severe mental illness. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have detected genomic variants associated with this psychiatric disorder and pathway analyses have indicated immune system and dopamine signaling as core components of risk in dorsolateral-prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and hippocampus, but the mechanistic links remain unknown. The RasGRP1 gene, encoding for a guanine nucleotide exchange factor, is implicated in dopamine signaling and immune response. RasGRP1 has been identified as a candidate risk gene for SCZ and autoimmune disease, therefore representing a possible point of convergence between mechanisms involving the nervous and the immune system. Here, we investigated RasGRP1 mRNA and protein expression in post-mortem DLPFC and hippocampus of SCZ patients and healthy controls, along with RasGRP1 protein content in the serum of an independent cohort of SCZ patients and control subjects. Differences in RasGRP1 expression between SCZ patients and controls were detected both in DLPFC and peripheral blood of samples analyzed. Our results indicate RasGRP1 may mediate risk for SCZ by involving DLPFC and peripheral blood, thus encouraging further studies to explore its possible role as a biomarker of the disease and/or a target for new medication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Section Molecular Medicine)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Regulation of p53 Function by Formation of Non-Nuclear Heterologous Protein Complexes
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020327 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 754
Abstract
A transcription factor p53 is activated upon cellular exposure to endogenous and exogenous stresses, triggering either homeostatic correction or cell death. Depending on the stress level, often measurable as DNA damage, the dual outcome is supported by p53 binding to a number of [...] Read more.
A transcription factor p53 is activated upon cellular exposure to endogenous and exogenous stresses, triggering either homeostatic correction or cell death. Depending on the stress level, often measurable as DNA damage, the dual outcome is supported by p53 binding to a number of regulatory and metabolic proteins. Apart from the nucleus, p53 localizes to mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and cytosol. We consider non-nuclear heterologous protein complexes of p53, their structural determinants, regulatory post-translational modifications and the role in intricate p53 functions. The p53 heterologous complexes regulate the folding, trafficking and/or action of interacting partners in cellular compartments. Some of them mainly sequester p53 (HSP proteins, G6PD, LONP1) or its partners (RRM2B, PRKN) in specific locations. Formation of other complexes (with ATP2A2, ATP5PO, BAX, BCL2L1, CHCHD4, PPIF, POLG, SOD2, SSBP1, TFAM) depends on p53 upregulation according to the stress level. The p53 complexes with SIRT2, MUL1, USP7, TXN, PIN1 and PPIF control regulation of p53 function through post-translational modifications, such as lysine acetylation or ubiquitination, cysteine/cystine redox transformation and peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerization. Redox sensitivity of p53 functions is supported by (i) thioredoxin-dependent reduction of p53 disulfides, (ii) inhibition of the thioredoxin-dependent deoxyribonucleotide synthesis by p53 binding to RRM2B and (iii) changed intracellular distribution of p53 through its oxidation by CHCHD4 in the mitochondrial intermembrane space. Increasing knowledge on the structure, function and (patho)physiological significance of the p53 heterologous complexes will enable a fine tuning of the settings-dependent p53 programs, using small molecule regulators of specific protein–protein interactions of p53. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supramolecular Protein Structures)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Acute Immune Responses of the Common Carp Cyprinus carpio to PLGA Microparticles—The Interactions of a Teleost Fish with a Foreign Material
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020326 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 441
Abstract
Poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) particles safely and effectively deliver pharmaceutical ingredients, with many applications approved for clinical use in humans. In fishes, PLGA particles are being considered as carriers of therapeutic drugs and vaccine antigens. However, existing studies focus mainly on vaccine antigens, [...] Read more.
Poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) particles safely and effectively deliver pharmaceutical ingredients, with many applications approved for clinical use in humans. In fishes, PLGA particles are being considered as carriers of therapeutic drugs and vaccine antigens. However, existing studies focus mainly on vaccine antigens, the endpoint immune responses to these (e.g., improved antibody titres), without deeper understanding of whether fishes react to the carrier. To test whether or not PLGA are recognized by or interact at all with the immune system of a teleost fish, we prepared, characterized and injected PLGA microparticles intraperitoneally into common carp. The influx, phenotype of inflammatory leukocytes, and their capacity to produce reactive oxygen species and phagocytose PLGA microparticles were tested by flow cytometry, qPCR, and microscopy. PLGA microparticles were indeed recognized. However, they induced only transient recruitment of inflammatory leukocytes that was resolved 4 days later whereas only the smallest µm-sized particles were phagocytosed. The overall response resembled that described in mammals against foreign materials. Given the similarities between our findings and those described in mammals, PLGA particles can be adapted to play a dual role as both antigen and drug carriers in fishes, depending on the administered dose and their design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Medicine)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Potential Citrate Shunt in Erythrocytes of PKAN Patients Caused by Mutations in Pantothenate Kinase 2
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020325 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 550
Abstract
Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in the pantothenate kinase 2 (PANK2) gene and associated with iron deposition in basal ganglia. Pantothenate kinase isoforms catalyze the first step in coenzyme A (CoA) biosynthesis. Since PANK2 is the [...] Read more.
Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in the pantothenate kinase 2 (PANK2) gene and associated with iron deposition in basal ganglia. Pantothenate kinase isoforms catalyze the first step in coenzyme A (CoA) biosynthesis. Since PANK2 is the only isoform in erythrocytes, these cells are an excellent ex vivo model to study the effect of PANK2 point mutations on expression/stability and activity of the protein as well as on the downstream molecular consequences. PKAN erythrocytes containing the T528M PANK2 mutant had residual enzyme activities but variable PANK2 abundances indicating an impaired regulation of the protein. Patients with G521R/G521R, G521R/G262R, and R264N/L275fs PANK2 mutants had no residual enzyme activity and strongly reduced PANK2 abundance. G521R inactivates the catalytic activity of the enzyme, whereas G262R and the R264N point mutations impair the switch from the inactive to the active conformation of the PANK2 dimer. Metabolites in cytosolic extracts were analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and multivariate analytic methods revealing changes in the carboxylate metabolism of erythrocytes from PKAN patients as compared to that of the carrier and healthy control. Assuming low/absent CoA levels in PKAN erythrocytes, changes are consistent with a model of altered citrate channeling where citrate is preferentially converted to α-ketoglutarate and α-hydroxyglutarate instead of being used for de novo acetyl-CoA generation. This finding hints at the importance of carboxylate metabolism in PKAN pathology with potential links to reduced cytoplasmic acetyl-CoA levels in neurons and to aberrant brain iron regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemical and Biophysical Properties of Red Blood Cells in Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Hypothesis
Production of Recombinant Alpha-Synuclein: Still No Standardized Protocol in Sight
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020324 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 592
Abstract
Synucleinopathies are a group of neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by the abnormal accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein (aSyn). aSyn is an intrinsically disordered protein that can adopt different aggregation states, some of which may be associated with disease. Therefore, understanding the transitions between such [...] Read more.
Synucleinopathies are a group of neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by the abnormal accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein (aSyn). aSyn is an intrinsically disordered protein that can adopt different aggregation states, some of which may be associated with disease. Therefore, understanding the transitions between such aggregation states may be essential for deciphering the molecular underpinnings underlying synucleinopathies. Recombinant aSyn is routinely produced and purified from E. coli in many laboratories, and in vitro preparations of aSyn aggregated species became central for modeling neurodegeneration in cell and animal models. Thus, reproducibility and reliability of such studies largely depends on the purity and homogeneity of aSyn preparations across batches and between laboratories. A variety of different methods are in use to produce and purify aSyn, which we review in this commentary. We also show how extraction buffer composition can affect aSyn aggregation, emphasizing the importance of standardizing protocols to ensure reproducibility between different laboratories and studies, which are essential for advancing the field. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Vitamin D3 Stimulates Proliferation Capacity, Expression of Pluripotency Markers, and Osteogenesis of Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal/Stem Cells, Partly through SIRT1 Signaling
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020323 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 532
Abstract
The biology of vitamin D3 is well defined, as are the effects of its active metabolites on various cells, including mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs). However, the biological potential of its precursor, cholecalciferol (VD3), has not been sufficiently investigated, although its significance in regenerative [...] Read more.
The biology of vitamin D3 is well defined, as are the effects of its active metabolites on various cells, including mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs). However, the biological potential of its precursor, cholecalciferol (VD3), has not been sufficiently investigated, although its significance in regenerative medicine—mainly in combination with various biomaterial matrices—has been recognized. Given that VD3 preconditioning might also contribute to the improvement of cellular regenerative potential, the aim of this study was to investigate its effects on bone marrow (BM) MSC functions and the signaling pathways involved. For that purpose, the influence of VD3 on BM-MSCs obtained from young human donors was determined via MTT test, flow cytometric analysis, immunocytochemistry, and qRT-PCR. Our results revealed that VD3, following a 5-day treatment, stimulated proliferation, expression of pluripotency markers (NANOG, SOX2, and Oct4), and osteogenic differentiation potential in BM-MSCs, while it reduced their senescence. Moreover, increased sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression was detected upon treatment with VD3, which mediated VD3-promoted osteogenesis and, partially, the stemness features through NANOG and SOX2 upregulation. In contrast, the effects of VD3 on proliferation, Oct4 expression, and senescence were SIRT1-independent. Altogether, these data indicate that VD3 has strong potential to modulate BM-MSCs’ features, partially through SIRT1 signaling, although the precise mechanisms merit further investigation. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Cytoplasmic and Nuclear Functions of cIAP1
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020322 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 472
Abstract
Cellular inhibitor of apoptosis 1 (cIAP1) is a cell signaling regulator of the IAP family. Through its E3-ubiquitine ligase activity, it has the ability to activate intracellular signaling pathways, modify signal transduction pathways by changing protein-protein interaction networks, and stop signal transduction by [...] Read more.
Cellular inhibitor of apoptosis 1 (cIAP1) is a cell signaling regulator of the IAP family. Through its E3-ubiquitine ligase activity, it has the ability to activate intracellular signaling pathways, modify signal transduction pathways by changing protein-protein interaction networks, and stop signal transduction by promoting the degradation of critical components of signaling pathways. Thus, cIAP1 appears to be a potent determinant of the response of cells, enabling their rapid adaptation to changing environmental conditions or intra- or extracellular stresses. It is expressed in almost all tissues, found in the cytoplasm, membrane and/or nucleus of cells. cIAP1 regulates innate immunity by controlling signaling pathways mediated by tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily (TNFRs), some cytokine receptors and pattern recognition-receptors (PRRs). Although less documented, cIAP1 has also been involved in the regulation of cell migration and in the control of transcriptional programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Cell Death in France 2020-2021)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Communication
Terminalin from African Mango (Irvingia gabonensis) Stimulates Glucose Uptake through Inhibition of Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020321 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), along with protein tyrosine kinases, control signaling pathways involved in cell growth, metabolism, differentiation, proliferation, and survival. Several PTPs, such as PTPN1, PTPN2, PTPN9, PTPN11, PTPRS, and DUSP9, disrupt insulin signaling and trigger type 2 diabetes, indicating that PTPs [...] Read more.
Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), along with protein tyrosine kinases, control signaling pathways involved in cell growth, metabolism, differentiation, proliferation, and survival. Several PTPs, such as PTPN1, PTPN2, PTPN9, PTPN11, PTPRS, and DUSP9, disrupt insulin signaling and trigger type 2 diabetes, indicating that PTPs are promising drug targets for the treatment or prevention of type 2 diabetes. As part of an ongoing study on the discovery of pharmacologically active bioactive natural products, we conducted a phytochemical investigation of African mango (Irvingia gabonensis) using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC/MS)-based analysis, which led to the isolation of terminalin as a major component from the extract of the seeds of I. gabonensis. The structure of terminalin was characterized by spectroscopic methods, including one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and high-resolution (HR) electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectroscopy. Moreover, terminalin was evaluated for its antidiabetic property; terminalin inhibited the catalytic activity of PTPN1, PTPN9, PTPN11, and PTPRS in vitro and led to a significant increase in glucose uptake in differentiated C2C12 muscle cells, indicating that terminalin exhibits antidiabetic effect through the PTP inhibitory mechanism. These findings suggest that terminalin derived from African mango could be used as a functional food ingredient or pharmaceutical supplement for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
Targeting the Endocannabinoidome in Pancreatic Cancer
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020320 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 761
Abstract
Pancreatic Ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common malignancy of the pancreas, is an aggressive and lethal form of cancer with a very high mortality rate. High heterogeneity, asymptomatic initial stages and a lack of specific diagnostic markers result in an end-stage diagnosis when [...] Read more.
Pancreatic Ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common malignancy of the pancreas, is an aggressive and lethal form of cancer with a very high mortality rate. High heterogeneity, asymptomatic initial stages and a lack of specific diagnostic markers result in an end-stage diagnosis when the tumour has locally advanced or metastasised. PDAC is resistant to most of the available chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments, making surgery the most potent curative treatment. The desmoplastic tumour microenvironment contributes to determining PDAC pathophysiology, immune response and therapeutic efficacy. The existing therapeutic approaches such as FDA-approved chemotherapeutics, gemcitabine, abraxane and folfirinox, prolong survival marginally and are accompanied by adverse effects. Several studies suggest the role of cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents. Cannabinoid receptors are known to be expressed in pancreatic cells, with a higher expression reported in pancreatic cancer patients. Therefore, pharmacological targeting of the endocannabinoid system might offer therapeutic benefits in pancreatic cancer. In addition, emerging data suggest that cannabinoids in combination with chemotherapy can increase survival in transgenic pancreatic cancer murine models. This review provides an overview of the regulation of the expanded endocannabinoid system, or endocannabinoidome, in PDAC and will explore the potential of targeting this system for novel anticancer approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Recent Advances in Pancreatic Cancer)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Editorial
HMG Proteins from Molecules to Disease
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020319 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 350
Abstract
High Mobility Group (HMG) proteins are today the focus of interest due to their participation in human degenerative diseases and inflammatory responses [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HMG Proteins from Molecules to Disease)
Article
Degradation of CP4-EPSPS with a Psychrophilic Bacterium Stenotrophomonas maltophilia 780
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020318 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 429
Abstract
CP4-EPSPS (Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase) protein showed remarkable thermostability and was highly resistant to proteases, such as trypsin. In order to eliminate the pollution of CP4-EPSPS from the accumulated straws to the surrounding environment during the winter, the present study [...] Read more.
CP4-EPSPS (Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase) protein showed remarkable thermostability and was highly resistant to proteases, such as trypsin. In order to eliminate the pollution of CP4-EPSPS from the accumulated straws to the surrounding environment during the winter, the present study investigated the extracellular proteases of 21 psychrophilic strains isolated from the south polar region. The results indicated that Stenotrophomonas maltophilia 780 was able to degrade CP4-EPSPS at 18 °C efficiently. Further study indicated that it was able to grow in the extract of Roundup Ready soybean at 18 °C, with CP4-EPSPS degraded to an undetectable level within 72 h. The extracellular proteases of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia 780 are thermo-sensitive, with an optimal temperature of 65 °C. The genomic sequencing result indicated that this strain had more than a hundred putative protease and peptidase coding genes, which may explain its high capability in decomposing CP4-EPSPS. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Description of the Hemolytic Component in Sickle Leg Ulcer: The Role of Circulating miR-199a-5p, miR-144, and miR-126
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020317 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 421
Abstract
Sickle leg ulcers (SLU) are malleoli lesions with exuberant hemolytic pathophysiology. The microRNAs are potential genetic biomarkers for several pathologies. Thereby, we aimed to assess the expression of circulating miR-199a-5p, miR-144, and miR-126 in association with hemolytic biomarkers in SLU. This cross-sectional study [...] Read more.
Sickle leg ulcers (SLU) are malleoli lesions with exuberant hemolytic pathophysiology. The microRNAs are potential genetic biomarkers for several pathologies. Thereby, we aimed to assess the expression of circulating miR-199a-5p, miR-144, and miR-126 in association with hemolytic biomarkers in SLU. This cross-sectional study included 69 patients with sickle cell disease, 52 patients without SLU (SLU-) and 17 patients with active SLU or previous history (SLU+). The results demonstrated elevated expression of circulating miR-199a-5p and miR-144 in SLU+ patients while miR-126 expression was reduced. Circulating miR-199a-5p and miR-144 were associated with hemolytic biomarkers such as LDH, indirect bilirubin, AST, GGT, iron, ferritin, RBC, hemoglobin, and NOm, in addition to association with impaired clinical profile of SLU. Furthermore, in silico analyses indicated interactions of miR-199a-5p with HIF1A, Ets-1, and TGFB2 genes, which are associated with vasculopathy and reduced NO. In contrast, miR-126 was associated with an attenuating clinical profile of SLU, in addition to not characterizing hemolysis. In summary, this study demonstrates, for the first time, that hemolytic mechanism in SLU can be characterized by circulating miR-199a-5p and miR-144. The circulating miR-126 may play a protective role in SLU. Thus, these microRNAs can support to establish prognosis and therapeutic strategy in SLU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Endogenous Controls for the Evaluation of Osteoarthritis-Related miRNAs in Extracellular Vesicles from Bone-Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells and the Impact of Osteoarthritis Synovial Fluid
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020316 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Bone-marrow-derived stromal cells (BMSCs) have emerged as promising therapeutic option for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) due to their tissue regenerative and anti-inflammatory features. BMSCs’ clinical potential is mainly ascribed to their released factors and extracellular vesicles (EVs), whose therapeutic portfolio may be [...] Read more.
Bone-marrow-derived stromal cells (BMSCs) have emerged as promising therapeutic option for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) due to their tissue regenerative and anti-inflammatory features. BMSCs’ clinical potential is mainly ascribed to their released factors and extracellular vesicles (EVs), whose therapeutic portfolio may be modulated by the environment in vivo or specific priming in vitro. Within the array of molecules shaping EVs’ power, miRNAs are considered privileged players. In this frame, a correct EV-miRNA detection and quantification is mandatory to understand and possibly boost BMSCs potential, either when envisioned as cell therapeutics or when proposed as producer of cell-free and clinical grade EVs. The aim of this study is to identify reliable reference genes (RGs) to study miRNAs in BMSC-EVs cultivated under standard or OA synovial fluid (OA-SF). miR-23a-3p and miR-221-3p emerged as the best candidates, respectively. Moreover, when both conditions were analyzed together, miR-24-3p resulted the most stable RGs, allowing for a sharper comparison of EVs content, further validated on the OA-related miRNA-193b-5p. The different RG stability ranking depending on the culturing conditions, as well as its divergence with respect to adipose (ASCs) and amniotic (hAMSCs) MSCs, confirm that miRNA RG selection in EVs is a mandatory step and that the identification of the most reliable candidate is greatly depending on the cell type and culturing/environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mesenchymal Stem Cells)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Insulin-Degrading Enzyme Is a Non Proteasomal Target of Carfilzomib and Affects the 20S Proteasome Inhibition by the Drug
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020315 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 583
Abstract
Carfilzomib is a last generation proteasome inhibitor (PI) with proven clinical efficacy in the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. This drug is considered to be extremely specific in inhibiting the chymotrypsin-like activity of the 20S proteasome, encoded by the β5 subunit, overcoming some [...] Read more.
Carfilzomib is a last generation proteasome inhibitor (PI) with proven clinical efficacy in the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. This drug is considered to be extremely specific in inhibiting the chymotrypsin-like activity of the 20S proteasome, encoded by the β5 subunit, overcoming some bortezomib limitations, the first PI approved for multiple myeloma therapy which is however burdened by a significant toxicity profile, due also to its off-target effects. Here, molecular approaches coupled with molecular docking studies have been used to unveil that the Insulin-Degrading Enzyme, a ubiquitous and highly conserved Zn2+ peptidase, often found to associate with proteasome in cell-based models, is targeted by carfilzomib in vitro. The drug behaves as a modulator of IDE activity, displaying an inhibitory effect over 10-fold lower than for the 20S. Notably, the interaction of IDE with the 20S enhances in vitro the inhibitory power of carfilzomib on proteasome, so that the IDE-20S complex is an even better target of carfilzomib than the 20S alone. Furthermore, IDE gene silencing after delivery of antisense oligonucleotides (siRNA) significantly reduced carfilzomib cytotoxicity in rMC1 cells, a validated model of Muller glia, suggesting that, in cells, the inhibitory activity of this drug on cell proliferation is somewhat linked to IDE and, possibly, also to its interaction with proteasome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulating Proteasome Activity)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Reversal of G-Quadruplexes’ Role in Translation Control When Present in the Context of an IRES
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020314 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 532
Abstract
G-quadruplexes (GQs) are secondary nucleic acid structures that play regulatory roles in various cellular processes. G-quadruplex-forming sequences present within the 5′ UTR of mRNAs can function not only as repressors of translation but also as elements required for optimum function. Based upon previous [...] Read more.
G-quadruplexes (GQs) are secondary nucleic acid structures that play regulatory roles in various cellular processes. G-quadruplex-forming sequences present within the 5′ UTR of mRNAs can function not only as repressors of translation but also as elements required for optimum function. Based upon previous reports, the majority of the 5′ UTR GQ structures inhibit translation, presumably by blocking the ribosome scanning process that is essential for detection of the initiation codon. However, there are certain mRNAs containing GQs that have been identified as positive regulators of translation, as they are needed for translation initiation. While most cellular mRNAs utilize the 5′ cap structure to undergo cap-dependent translation initiation, many rely on cap-independent translation under certain conditions in which the cap-dependent initiation mechanism is not viable or slowed down, for example, during development, under stress and in many diseases. Cap-independent translation mainly occurs via Internal Ribosomal Entry Sites (IRESs) that are located in the 5′ UTR of mRNAs and are equipped with structural features that can recruit the ribosome or other factors to initiate translation without the need for a 5′ cap. In this review, we will focus only on the role of RNA GQs present in the 5′ UTR of mRNAs, where they play a critical role in translation initiation, and discuss the potential mechanism of this phenomenon, which is yet to be fully delineated. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
HIV-1 Trans Infection via TNTs Is Impeded by Targeting C5aR
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020313 - 15 Feb 2022
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Nonadjacent immune cells communicate through a complex network of tunneling nanotubes (TNTs). TNTs can be hijacked by HIV-1, allowing it to spread between connected cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) are among the first cells to encounter HIV-1 at mucosal sites, but they are usually [...] Read more.
Nonadjacent immune cells communicate through a complex network of tunneling nanotubes (TNTs). TNTs can be hijacked by HIV-1, allowing it to spread between connected cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) are among the first cells to encounter HIV-1 at mucosal sites, but they are usually efficiently infected only at low levels. However, HIV-1 was demonstrated to productively infect DCs when the virus was complement-opsonized (HIV-C). Such HIV-C-exposed DCs mediated an improved antiviral and T-cell stimulatory capacity. The role of TNTs in combination with complement in enhancing DC infection with HIV-C remains to be addressed. To this aim, we evaluated TNT formation on the surface of DCs or DC/CD4+ T-cell co-cultures incubated with non- or complement-opsonized HIV-1 (HIV, HIV-C) and the role of TNTs or locally produced complement in the infection process using either two different TNT or anaphylatoxin receptor antagonists. We found that HIV-C significantly increased the formation of TNTs between DCs or DC/CD4+ T-cell co-cultures compared to HIV-exposed DCs or co-cultures. While augmented TNT formation in DCs promoted productive infection, as was previously observed, a significant reduction in productive infection was observed in DC/CD4+ T-cell co-cultures, indicating antiviral activity in this setting. As expected, TNT inhibitors significantly decreased infection of HIV-C-loaded-DCs as well as HIV- and HIV-C-infected-DC/CD4+ T-cell co-cultures. Moreover, antagonizing C5aR significantly inhibited TNT formation in DCs as well as DC/CD4+ T-cell co-cultures and lowered the already decreased productive infection in co-cultures. Thus, local complement mobilization via DC stimulation of complement receptors plays a pivotal role in TNT formation, and our findings herein might offer an exciting opportunity for novel therapeutic approaches to inhibit trans infection via C5aR targeting. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Somatostatin and Somatostatin-Containing Interneurons—From Plasticity to Pathology
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020312 - 15 Feb 2022
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Despite the obvious differences in the pathophysiology of distinct neuropsychiatric diseases or neurodegenerative disorders, some of them share some general but pivotal mechanisms, one of which is the disruption of excitation/inhibition balance. Such an imbalance can be generated by changes in the inhibitory [...] Read more.
Despite the obvious differences in the pathophysiology of distinct neuropsychiatric diseases or neurodegenerative disorders, some of them share some general but pivotal mechanisms, one of which is the disruption of excitation/inhibition balance. Such an imbalance can be generated by changes in the inhibitory system, very often mediated by somatostatin-containing interneurons (SOM-INs). In physiology, this group of inhibitory interneurons, as well as somatostatin itself, profoundly shapes the brain activity, thus influencing the behavior and plasticity; however, the changes in the number, density and activity of SOM-INs or levels of somatostatin are found throughout many neuropsychiatric and neurological conditions, both in patients and animal models. Here, we (1) briefly describe the brain somatostatinergic system, characterizing the neuropeptide somatostatin itself, its receptors and functions, as well the physiology and circuitry of SOM-INs; and (2) summarize the effects of the activity of somatostatin and SOM-INs in both physiological brain processes and pathological brain conditions, focusing primarily on learning-induced plasticity and encompassing selected neuropsychological and neurodegenerative disorders, respectively. The presented data indicate the somatostatinergic-system-mediated inhibition as a substantial factor in the mechanisms of neuroplasticity, often disrupted in a plethora of brain pathologies. Full article
Show Figures

Scheme 1

Review
Status and Prospects of Botanical Biopesticides in Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020311 - 15 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
Concerning human and environmental health, safe alternatives to synthetic pesticides are urgently needed. Many of the currently used synthetic pesticides are not authorized for application in organic agriculture. In addition, the developed resistances of various pests against classical pesticides necessitate the urgent demand [...] Read more.
Concerning human and environmental health, safe alternatives to synthetic pesticides are urgently needed. Many of the currently used synthetic pesticides are not authorized for application in organic agriculture. In addition, the developed resistances of various pests against classical pesticides necessitate the urgent demand for efficient and safe products with novel modes of action. Botanical pesticides are assumed to be effective against various crop pests, and they are easily biodegradable and available in high quantities and at a reasonable cost. Many of them may act by diverse yet unexplored mechanisms of action. It is therefore surprising that only few plant species have been developed for commercial usage as biopesticides. This article reviews the status of botanical pesticides, especially in Europe and Mediterranean countries, deepening their active principles and mechanisms of action. Moreover, some constraints and challenges in the development of novel biopesticides are highlighted. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop