Abstract: Anodal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) has been shown to be an effective non-invasive brain stimulation method for improving cognitive and motor functioning in patients with neurological deficits. tDCS over motor cortex (M1), for instance, facilitates motor learning in stroke patients. However, the literature on anodal tDCS effects on motor learning in healthy participants is inconclusive, and the effects of tDCS on visuo-motor integration are not well understood. In the present study we examined whether tDCS over the contralateral motor cortex enhances learning of grip-force output in a visually guided feedback task in young and neurologically healthy volunteers. Twenty minutes of 1 mA anodal tDCS were applied over the primary motor cortex (M1) contralateral to the dominant (right) hand, during the first half of a 40 min power-grip task. This task required the control of a visual signal by modulating the strength of the power-grip for six seconds per trial. Each participant completed a two-session sham-controlled crossover protocol. The stimulation conditions were counterbalanced across participants and the sessions were one week apart. Performance measures comprised time-on-target and target-deviation, and were calculated for the periods of stimulation (or sham) and during the afterphase respectively. Statistical analyses revealed significant performance improvements over the stimulation and the afterphase, but this learning effect was not modulated by tDCS condition. This suggests that the form of visuomotor learning taking place in the present task was not sensitive to neurostimulation. These null effects, together with similar reports for other types of motor tasks, lead to the proposition that tDCS facilitation of motor learning might be restricted to cases or situations where the motor system is challenged, such as motor deficits, advanced age, or very high task demand.
Abstract: Constrained peptides are an attractive class as affinity reagents or drug leads owing to their excellent binding properties. Many kinds of these peptides, such as cyclic peptides containing disulfide bridges, are found in nature or designed artificially by directed evolution. However, confirming the binding properties of the disulfide-rich peptides can be generally difficult, because of oxidative folding problems in the preparation steps. Therefore, a method for evaluating the binding properties of such peptides rapidly and easily is required. Here, we report an easy and rapid method for preparing biotin-attached peptides containing disulfide bridges or a chemical cross-linker using a cell-free translation system and a puromycin-linker, which is applicable to pull-down assays for protein (or peptide) molecular interaction analysis.
Abstract: Oncostatin M (OSM) is a cytokine belonging to the gp130 family, whose members serve pleiotropic functions. However, several actions of OSM are unique from those of other gp130 cytokines, and these actions may have critical roles in inflammatory mechanisms influencing several metabolic and biological functions of insulin-sensitive tissues. In this review, the actions of OSM in adipose tissue and liver are discussed, with an emphasis on lipid metabolism.
Abstract: In eukaryotic cells, mitochondria host ancient essential bioenergetic and biosynthetic pathways. LYR (leucine/tyrosine/arginine) motif proteins (LYRMs) of the Complex1_LYR-like superfamily interact with protein complexes of bacterial origin. Many LYR proteins function as extra subunits (LYRM3 and LYRM6) or novel assembly factors (LYRM7, LYRM8, ACN9 and FMC1) of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) core complexes. Structural insights into complex I accessory subunits LYRM6 and LYRM3 have been provided by analyses of EM and X-ray structures of complex I from bovine and the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, respectively. Combined structural and biochemical studies revealed that LYRM6 resides at the matrix arm close to the ubiquinone reduction site. For LYRM3, a position at the distal proton-pumping membrane arm facing the matrix space is suggested. Both LYRMs are supposed to anchor an acyl-carrier protein (ACPM) independently to complex I. The function of this duplicated protein interaction of ACPM with respiratory complex I is still unknown. Analysis of protein-protein interaction screens, genetic analyses and predicted multi-domain LYRMs offer further clues on an interaction network and adaptor-like function of LYR proteins in mitochondria.
Abstract: Disorders of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and transport are responsible for the development of a large spectrum of pathologies, ranging from cardiovascular diseases, to metabolic syndrome, even to tumour development. Recently, a deeper knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that control our biological clock and circadian rhythms has been achieved. From these studies it has clearly emerged how the molecular clock tightly regulates every aspect of our lives, including our metabolism. This review analyses the organisation and functioning of the circadian clock and its relevance in the regulation of physiological processes. We also describe metabolism and transport of lipids and lipoproteins as an essential aspect for our health, and we will focus on how the circadian clock and lipid metabolism are greatly interconnected. Finally, we discuss how a deeper knowledge of this relationship might be useful to improve the recent spread of metabolic diseases.
Abstract: Cellular signaling is primarily directed via protein-protein interactions. PDZ (PSD-95/Discs large/ZO-1 homologous) domains are well known protein-protein interaction modules involved in various key signaling pathways. Human Tax-interacting protein 1 (TIP-1), also known as glutaminase interaction protein (GIP), is a Class I PDZ domain protein that recognizes the consensus binding motif X-S/T-X-V/I/L-COOH of the C-terminus of its target proteins. We recently reported that TIP-1 not only interacts via the C-terminus of its target partner proteins but also recognizes an internal motif defined by the consensus sequence S/T-X-V/L-D in the target protein. Identification of new target partners containing either a C-terminal or internal recognition motif has rapidly expanded the TIP-1 protein interaction network. TIP-1 being composed solely of a single PDZ domain is unique among PDZ containing proteins. Since it is involved in many important signaling pathways, it is a possible target for drug design. In this mini review, we have discussed human TIP-1, its structure, mechanism of function, its interactions with target proteins containing different recognition motifs, and its involvement in human diseases. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of TIP-1 interactions with distinct target partners and their role in human diseases will be useful for designing novel therapeutics.