Next Issue
Volume 22, January-2
Previous Issue
Volume 21, December-2
ijms-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 22, Issue 1 (January-1 2021) – 472 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): We successfully developed new a supramolecular polymer containing difunctional adenine-containing end groups that spontaneously self-assembles into nanosized spherical micelles in aqueous solution due to the presence of self-complementary hydrogen-bonded adenine interactions. Subsequently, a pro-photosensitizer and antitumor drug could be effectively encapsulated within supramolecular micelles, in order to achieve effective drug delivery combined with photo-chemotherapy. More importantly, pro-photosensitizer-loaded micelles exhibited significantly enhanced cellular uptake after visible light irradiation, and the light-triggered disassembly of micellar structures rapidly increased the production of reactive oxygen species within the cells, which thus accelerated apoptotic cell death. Thus, this newly developed photoresponsive nanocarrier could serve as a novel anticancer delivery system [...] Read more.
  • 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
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Article
Tryptophan Derivatives by Saccharomyces cerevisiae EC1118: Evaluation, Optimization, and Production in a Soybean-Based Medium
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 472; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010472 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 3081
Abstract
Given the pharmacological properti es and the potential role of kynurenic acid (KYNA) in human physiology and the pleiotropic activity of the neurohormone melatonin (MEL) involved in physiological and immunological functions and as regulator of antioxidant enzymes, this study aimed at evaluating the [...] Read more.
Given the pharmacological properti es and the potential role of kynurenic acid (KYNA) in human physiology and the pleiotropic activity of the neurohormone melatonin (MEL) involved in physiological and immunological functions and as regulator of antioxidant enzymes, this study aimed at evaluating the capability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae EC1118 to release tryptophan derivatives (dTRPs) from the kynurenine (KYN) and melatonin pathways. The setting up of the spectroscopic and chromatographic conditions for the quantification of the dTRPs in LC-MS/MS system, the optimization of dTRPs’ production in fermentative and whole-cell biotransformation approaches and the production of dTRPs in a soybean-based cultural medium naturally enriched in tryptophan, as a case of study, were included in the experimental plan. Variable amounts of dTRPs, with a prevalence of metabolites of the KYN pathway, were detected. The LC-MS/MS analysis showed that the compound synthesized at highest concentration is KYNA that reached 9.146 ± 0.585 mg/L in fermentation trials in a chemically defined medium at 400 mg/L TRP. Further experiments in a soybean-based medium confirm KYNA as the main dTRPs, whereas the other dTRPs reached very lower concentrations. While detectable quantities of melatonin were never observed, two MEL isomers were successfully measured in laboratory media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tryptophan in Nutrition and Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
More Than Just Simple Interaction between STIM and Orai Proteins: CRAC Channel Function Enabled by a Network of Interactions with Regulatory Proteins
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 471; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010471 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1969
Abstract
The calcium-release-activated calcium (CRAC) channel, activated by the release of Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), is critical for Ca2+ homeostasis and active signal transduction in a plethora of cell types. Spurred by the long-sought decryption of the molecular nature of [...] Read more.
The calcium-release-activated calcium (CRAC) channel, activated by the release of Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), is critical for Ca2+ homeostasis and active signal transduction in a plethora of cell types. Spurred by the long-sought decryption of the molecular nature of the CRAC channel, considerable scientific effort has been devoted to gaining insights into functional and structural mechanisms underlying this signalling cascade. Key players in CRAC channel function are the Stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) and Orai1. STIM1 proteins span through the membrane of the ER, are competent in sensing luminal Ca2+ concentration, and in turn, are responsible for relaying the signal of Ca2+ store-depletion to pore-forming Orai1 proteins in the plasma membrane. A direct interaction of STIM1 and Orai1 allows for the re-entry of Ca2+ from the extracellular space. Although much is already known about the structure, function, and interaction of STIM1 and Orai1, there is growing evidence that CRAC under physiological conditions is dependent on additional proteins to function properly. Several auxiliary proteins have been shown to regulate CRAC channel activity by means of direct interactions with STIM1 and/or Orai1, promoting or hindering Ca2+ influx in a mechanistically diverse manner. Various proteins have also been identified to exert a modulatory role on the CRAC signalling cascade although inherently lacking an affinity for both STIM1 and Orai1. Apart from ubiquitously expressed representatives, a subset of such regulatory mechanisms seems to allow for a cell-type-specific control of CRAC channel function, considering the rather restricted expression patterns of the specific proteins. Given the high functional and clinical relevance of both generic and cell-type-specific interacting networks, the following review shall provide a comprehensive summary of regulators of the multilayered CRAC channel signalling cascade. It also includes proteins expressed in a narrow spectrum of cells and tissues that are often disregarded in other reviews of similar topics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue STIMulating Ca2+ Homeostasis)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Apigenin, a Partial Antagonist of the Estrogen Receptor (ER), Inhibits ER-Positive Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation through Akt/FOXM1 Signaling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 470; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010470 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2084
Abstract
Approximately 80% of breast cancer (BC) cases express the estrogen receptor (ER), and 30–40% of these cases acquire resistance to endocrine therapies over time. Hyperactivation of Akt is one of the mechanisms by which endocrine resistance is acquired. Apigenin (Api), a flavone found [...] Read more.
Approximately 80% of breast cancer (BC) cases express the estrogen receptor (ER), and 30–40% of these cases acquire resistance to endocrine therapies over time. Hyperactivation of Akt is one of the mechanisms by which endocrine resistance is acquired. Apigenin (Api), a flavone found in several plant foods, has shown beneficial effects in cancer and chronic diseases. Here, we studied the therapeutic potential of Api in the treatment of ER-positive, endocrine therapy-resistant BC. To achieve this objective, we stably overexpressed the constitutively active form of the Akt protein in MCF-7 cells (named the MCF-7/Akt clone). The proliferation of MCF-7/Akt cells is partially independent of estradiol (E2) and exhibits an incomplete response to the anti-estrogen agent 4-hydroxytamoxifen, demonstrating the resistance of these cells to hormone therapy. Api exerts an antiproliferative effect on the MCF-7/Akt clone. Api inhibits the proliferative effect of E2 by inducing G2/M phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Importantly, Api inhibits the Akt/FOXM1 signaling pathway by decreasing the expression of FOXM1, a key transcription factor involved in the cell cycle. Api also alters the expression of genes regulated by FOXM1, including cell cycle-related genes, particularly in the MCF-7/Akt clone. Together, our results strengthen the therapeutic potential of Api for the treatment of endocrine-resistant BC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antitumor Activities of Natural Compounds From Plants)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Intracellular Ca2+ Signaling in Protozoan Parasites: An Overview with a Focus on Mitochondria
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 469; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010469 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1358
Abstract
Ca2+ signaling has been involved in controling critical cellular functions such as activation of proteases, cell death, and cell cycle control. The endoplasmatic reticulum plays a significant role in Ca2+ storage inside the cell, but mitochondria have long been recognized as [...] Read more.
Ca2+ signaling has been involved in controling critical cellular functions such as activation of proteases, cell death, and cell cycle control. The endoplasmatic reticulum plays a significant role in Ca2+ storage inside the cell, but mitochondria have long been recognized as a fundamental Ca2+ pool. Protozoan parasites such as Plasmodium falciparum, Toxoplasma gondii, and Trypanosoma cruzi display a Ca2+ signaling toolkit with similarities to higher eukaryotes, including the participation of mitochondria in Ca2+-dependent signaling events. This review summarizes the most recent knowledge in mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling in protozoan parasites, focusing on the mechanism involved in mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake by pathogenic protists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondrial Calcium Signaling)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Distinct Responses of Arabidopsis Telomeres and Transposable Elements to Zebularine Exposure
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 468; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010468 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1323
Abstract
Involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of telomeres and transposable elements (TEs), genomic regions with the protective and potentially detrimental function, respectively, has been frequently studied. Here, we analyzed telomere lengths in Arabidopsis thaliana plants of Columbia, Landsberg erecta and Wassilevskija ecotypes [...] Read more.
Involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of telomeres and transposable elements (TEs), genomic regions with the protective and potentially detrimental function, respectively, has been frequently studied. Here, we analyzed telomere lengths in Arabidopsis thaliana plants of Columbia, Landsberg erecta and Wassilevskija ecotypes exposed repeatedly to the hypomethylation drug zebularine during germination. Shorter telomeres were detected in plants growing from seedlings germinated in the presence of zebularine with a progression in telomeric phenotype across generations, relatively high inter-individual variability, and diverse responses among ecotypes. Interestingly, the extent of telomere shortening in zebularine Columbia and Wassilevskija plants corresponded to the transcriptional activation of TEs, suggesting a correlated response of these genomic elements to the zebularine treatment. Changes in lengths of telomeres and levels of TE transcripts in leaves were not always correlated with a hypomethylation of cytosines located in these regions, indicating a cytosine methylation-independent level of their regulation. These observations, including differences among ecotypes together with distinct dynamics of the reversal of the disruption of telomere homeostasis and TEs transcriptional activation, reflect a complex involvement of epigenetic processes in the regulation of crucial genomic regions. Our results further demonstrate the ability of plant cells to cope with these changes without a critical loss of the genome stability. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
AtPiezo Plays an Important Role in Root Cap Mechanotransduction
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 467; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010467 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1531
Abstract
Plants encounter a variety of mechanical stimuli during their growth and development. It is currently believed that mechanosensitive ion channels play an essential role in the initial perception of mechanical force in plants. Over the past decade, the study of Piezo, a mechanosensitive [...] Read more.
Plants encounter a variety of mechanical stimuli during their growth and development. It is currently believed that mechanosensitive ion channels play an essential role in the initial perception of mechanical force in plants. Over the past decade, the study of Piezo, a mechanosensitive ion channel in animals, has made significant progress. It has been proved that the perception of mechanical force in various physiological processes of animals is indispensable. However, little is still known about the function of its homologs in plants. In this study, by investigating the function of the AtPiezo gene in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, we found that AtPiezo plays a role in the perception of mechanical force in plant root cap and the flow of Ca2+ is involved in this process. These findings allow us to understand the function of AtPiezo from the perspective of plants and provide new insights into the mechanism of plant root cap in response to mechanical stimuli. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Determination of Intraprostatic and Intratesticular Androgens
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 466; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010466 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1228
Abstract
Androgens represent the main hormones responsible for maintaining hormonal balance and function in the prostate and testis. As they are involved in prostate and testicular carcinogenesis, more detailed information of their active concentration at the site of action is required. Since the introduction [...] Read more.
Androgens represent the main hormones responsible for maintaining hormonal balance and function in the prostate and testis. As they are involved in prostate and testicular carcinogenesis, more detailed information of their active concentration at the site of action is required. Since the introduction of the term intracrinology as the local formation of active steroid hormones from inactive precursors of the adrenal gland, mainly dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA-S, it is evident that blood circulating levels of sex steroid hormones need not reflect their actual concentrations in the tissue. Here, we review and critically evaluate available methods for the analysis of human intraprostatic and intratesticular steroid concentrations. Since analytical approaches have much in common in both tissues, we discuss them together. Preanalytical steps, including various techniques for separation of the analytes, are compared, followed by the end-point measurement. Advantages and disadvantages of chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS, GC-MS), immunoanalytical methods (IA), and hybrid (LC-IA) are discussed. Finally, the clinical information value of the determined steroid hormones is evaluated concerning differentiating between patients with cancer or benign hyperplasia and between patients with different degrees of infertility. Adrenal-derived 11-oxygenated androgens are mentioned as perspective prognostic markers for these purposes. Full article
Article
Prion-Associated Neurodegeneration Causes Both Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Proteasome Impairment in a Murine Model of Spontaneous Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 465; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010465 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1315
Abstract
Prion diseases are a group of neurodegenerative disorders that can be spontaneous, familial or acquired by infection. The conversion of the prion protein PrPC to its abnormal and misfolded isoform PrPSc is the main event in the pathogenesis of prion diseases [...] Read more.
Prion diseases are a group of neurodegenerative disorders that can be spontaneous, familial or acquired by infection. The conversion of the prion protein PrPC to its abnormal and misfolded isoform PrPSc is the main event in the pathogenesis of prion diseases of all origins. In spontaneous prion diseases, the mechanisms that trigger the formation of PrPSc in the central nervous system remain unknown. Several reports have demonstrated that the accumulation of PrPSc can induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and proteasome impairment from the early stages of the prion disease. Both mechanisms lead to an increment of PrP aggregates in the secretory pathway, which could explain the pathogenesis of spontaneous prion diseases. Here, we investigate the role of ER stress and proteasome impairment during prion disorders in a murine model of spontaneous prion disease (TgVole) co-expressing the UbG76V-GFP reporter, which allows measuring the proteasome activity in vivo. Spontaneously prion-affected mice showed a significantly higher accumulation of the PKR-like ER kinase (PERK), the ER chaperone binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP/Grp78), the ER protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) and the UbG76V-GFP reporter than age-matched controls in certain brain areas. The upregulation of PERK, BiP, PDI and ubiquitin was detected from the preclinical stage of the disease, indicating that ER stress and proteasome impairment begin at early stages of the spontaneous disease. Strong correlations were found between the deposition of these markers and neuropathological markers of prion disease in both preclinical and clinical mice. Our results suggest that both ER stress and proteasome impairment occur during the pathogenesis of spontaneous prion diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Neurobiology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Metabolome-Driven Regulation of Adenovirus-Induced Cell Death
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010464 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1393
Abstract
A viral infection that involves virus invasion, protein synthesis, and virion assembly is typically accompanied by sharp fluctuations in the intracellular levels of metabolites. Under certain conditions, dramatic metabolic shifts can result in various types of cell death. Here, we review different types [...] Read more.
A viral infection that involves virus invasion, protein synthesis, and virion assembly is typically accompanied by sharp fluctuations in the intracellular levels of metabolites. Under certain conditions, dramatic metabolic shifts can result in various types of cell death. Here, we review different types of adenovirus-induced cell death associated with changes in metabolic profiles of the infected cells. As evidenced by experimental data, in most cases changes in the metabolome precede cell death rather than represent its consequence. In our previous study, the induction of autophagic cell death was observed following adenovirus-mediated lactate production, acetyl-CoA accumulation, and ATP release, while apoptosis was demonstrated to be modulated by alterations in acetate and asparagine metabolism. On the other hand, adenovirus-induced ROS production and ATP depletion were demonstrated to play a significant role in the process of necrotic cell death. Interestingly, the accumulation of ceramide compounds was found to contribute to the induction of all the three types of cell death mentioned above. Eventually, the characterization of metabolite analysis could help in uncovering the molecular mechanism of adenovirus-mediated cell death induction and contribute to the development of efficacious oncolytic adenoviral vectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autophagy in Cancer Progression and Therapeutics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
The Association between Hepatic Encephalopathy and Diabetic Encephalopathy: The Brain-Liver Axis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 463; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010463 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1358
Abstract
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is one of the main consequences of liver disease and is observed in severe liver failure and cirrhosis. Recent studies have provided significant evidence that HE shows several neurological symptoms including depressive mood, cognitive dysfunction, impaired circadian rhythm, and attention [...] Read more.
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is one of the main consequences of liver disease and is observed in severe liver failure and cirrhosis. Recent studies have provided significant evidence that HE shows several neurological symptoms including depressive mood, cognitive dysfunction, impaired circadian rhythm, and attention deficits as well as motor disturbance. Liver disease is also a risk factor for the development of diabetes mellitus. Diabetic encephalopathy (DE) is characterized by cognitive dysfunction and motor impairment. Recent research investigated the relationship between metabolic changes and the pathogenesis of neurological disease, indicating the importance between metabolic organs and the brain. Given that a diverse number of metabolites and changes in the brain contribute to neurologic dysfunction, HE and DE are emerging types of neurologic disease. Here, we review significant evidence of the association between HE and DE, and summarise the common risk factors. This review may provide promising therapeutic information and help to design a future metabolic organ-related study in relation to HE and DE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Chronic Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Thyroid Hormone Transporter Mct8 Restricts Cathepsin-Mediated Thyroglobulin Processing in Male Mice through Thyroid Auto-Regulatory Mechanisms That Encompass Autophagy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 462; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010462 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1286
Abstract
The thyroid gland is both a thyroid hormone (TH) generating as well as a TH responsive organ. It is hence crucial that cathepsin-mediated proteolytic cleavage of the precursor thyroglobulin is regulated and integrated with the subsequent export of TH into the blood circulation, [...] Read more.
The thyroid gland is both a thyroid hormone (TH) generating as well as a TH responsive organ. It is hence crucial that cathepsin-mediated proteolytic cleavage of the precursor thyroglobulin is regulated and integrated with the subsequent export of TH into the blood circulation, which is enabled by TH transporters such as monocarboxylate transporters Mct8 and Mct10. Previously, we showed that cathepsin K-deficient mice exhibit the phenomenon of functional compensation through cathepsin L upregulation, which is independent of the canonical hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis, thus, due to auto-regulation. Since these animals also feature enhanced Mct8 expression, we aimed to understand if TH transporters are part of the thyroid auto-regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, we analyzed phenotypic differences in thyroid function arising from combined cathepsin K and TH transporter deficiencies, i.e., in Ctsk-/-/Mct10-/-, Ctsk-/-/Mct8-/y, and Ctsk-/-/Mct8-/y/Mct10-/-. Despite the impaired TH export, thyroglobulin degradation was enhanced in the mice lacking Mct8, particularly in the triple-deficient genotype, due to increased cathepsin amounts and enhanced cysteine peptidase activities, leading to ongoing thyroglobulin proteolysis for TH liberation, eventually causing self-thyrotoxic thyroid states. The increased cathepsin amounts were a consequence of autophagy-mediated lysosomal biogenesis that is possibly triggered due to the stress accompanying intrathyroidal TH accumulation, in particular in the Ctsk-/-/Mct8-/y/Mct10-/- animals. Collectively, our data points to the notion that the absence of cathepsin K and Mct8 leads to excessive thyroglobulin degradation and TH liberation in a non-classical pathway of thyroid auto-regulation. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Intermittent Hypoxic Conditioning Rescues Cognition and Mitochondrial Bioenergetic Profile in the Triple Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 461; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010461 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1592
Abstract
The lack of effective disease-modifying therapeutics to tackle Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is unsettling considering the actual prevalence of this devastating neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. Intermittent hypoxic conditioning (IHC) is a powerful non-pharmacological procedure known to enhance brain resilience. In this context, the aim of [...] Read more.
The lack of effective disease-modifying therapeutics to tackle Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is unsettling considering the actual prevalence of this devastating neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. Intermittent hypoxic conditioning (IHC) is a powerful non-pharmacological procedure known to enhance brain resilience. In this context, the aim of the present study was to investigate the potential long-term protective impact of IHC against AD-related phenotype, putting a special focus on cognition and mitochondrial bioenergetics and dynamics. For this purpose, six-month-old male triple transgenic AD mice (3×Tg-AD) were submitted to an IHC protocol for two weeks and the behavioral assessment was performed at 8.5 months of age, while the sacrifice of mice occurred at nine months of age and their brains were removed for the remaining analyses. Interestingly, IHC was able to prevent anxiety-like behavior and memory and learning deficits and significantly reduced brain cortical levels of amyloid-β (Aβ) in 3×Tg-AD mice. Concerning brain energy metabolism, IHC caused a significant increase in brain cortical levels of glucose and a robust improvement of the mitochondrial bioenergetic profile in 3×Tg-AD mice, as mirrored by the significant increase in mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and respiratory control ratio (RCR). Notably, the improvement of mitochondrial bioenergetics seems to result from an adaptative coordination of the distinct but intertwined aspects of the mitochondrial quality control axis. Particularly, our results indicate that IHC favors mitochondrial fusion and promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and transport and mitophagy in the brain cortex of 3×Tg-AD mice. Lastly, IHC also induced a marked reduction in synaptosomal-associated protein 25 kDa (SNAP-25) levels and a significant increase in both glutamate and GABA levels in the brain cortex of 3×Tg-AD mice, suggesting a remodeling of the synaptic microenvironment. Overall, these results demonstrate the effectiveness of the IHC paradigm in forestalling the AD-related phenotype in the 3×Tg-AD mouse model, offering new insights to AD therapy and forcing a rethink concerning the potential value of non-pharmacological interventions in clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
STAT3 Is an Upstream Regulator of Granzyme G in the Maternal-To-Zygotic Transition of Mouse Embryos
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 460; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010460 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 911
Abstract
The maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), which controls maternal signaling to synthesize zygotic gene products, promotes the preimplantation development of mouse zygotes to the two-cell stage. Our previous study reported that mouse granzyme g (Gzmg), a serine-type protease, is required for the MZT. In this [...] Read more.
The maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), which controls maternal signaling to synthesize zygotic gene products, promotes the preimplantation development of mouse zygotes to the two-cell stage. Our previous study reported that mouse granzyme g (Gzmg), a serine-type protease, is required for the MZT. In this study, we further identified the maternal factors that regulate the Gzmg promoter activity in the zygote to the two-cell stage of mouse embryos. A full-length Gzmg promoter from mouse genomic DNA, FL-pGzmg (−1696~+28 nt), was cloned, and four deletion constructs of this Gzmg promoter, Δ1-pGzmg (−1369~+28 nt), Δ2-pGzmg (−939~+28 nt), Δ3-pGzmg (−711~+28 nt) and Δ4-pGzmg (−417~+28 nt), were subsequently generated. Different-sized Gzmg promoters were used to perform promoter assays of mouse zygotes and two-cell stage embryos. The results showed that Δ4-pGzmg promoted the highest expression level of the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) reporter in the zygotes and two-cell embryos. The data suggested that time-specific transcription factors upregulated Gzmg by binding cis-elements in the −417~+28-nt Gzmg promoter region. According to the results of the promoter assay, the transcription factor binding sites were predicted and analyzed with the JASPAR database, and two transcription factors, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and GA-binding protein alpha (GABPα), were identified. Furthermore, STAT3 and GABPα are expressed and located in zygote pronuclei and two-cell nuclei were confirmed by immunofluorescence staining; however, only STAT3 was recruited to the mouse zygote pronuclei and two-cell nuclei injected with the Δ4-pGzmg reporter construct. These data indicated that STAT3 is a maternal transcription factor and may upregulate Gzmg to promote the MZT. Furthermore, treatment with a STAT3 inhibitor, S3I-201, caused mouse embryonic arrest at the zygote and two-cell stages. These results suggest that STAT3, a maternal protein, is a critical transcription factor and regulates Gzmg transcription activity in preimplantation mouse embryos. It plays an important role in the maternal-to-zygotic transition during early embryonic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation of Gene Expression During Embryonic Development)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Characterization of Urine Stem Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Reveals B Cell Stimulating Cargo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 459; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010459 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1286
Abstract
Elucidation of the biological functions of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their potential roles in physiological and pathological processes is an expanding field of research. In this study, we characterized USC–derived EVs and studied their capacity to modulate the human immune response in vitro. [...] Read more.
Elucidation of the biological functions of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their potential roles in physiological and pathological processes is an expanding field of research. In this study, we characterized USC–derived EVs and studied their capacity to modulate the human immune response in vitro. We found that the USC–derived EVs are a heterogeneous population, ranging in size from that of micro–vesicles (150 nm–1 μm) down to that of exosomes (60–150 nm). Regarding their immunomodulatory functions, we found that upon isolation, the EVs (60–150 nm) induced B cell proliferation and IgM antibody secretion. Analysis of the EV contents unexpectedly revealed the presence of BAFF, APRIL, IL–6, and CD40L, all known to play a central role in B cell stimulation, differentiation, and humoral immunity. In regard to their effect on T cell functions, they resembled the function of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)–derived EVs previously described, suppressing T cell response to activation. The finding that USC–derived EVs transport a potent bioactive cargo opens the door to a novel therapeutic avenue for boosting B cell responses in immunodeficiency or cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interaction of Nanomaterials with the Immune System)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Increasing Oxygen Partial Pressures Induce a Distinct Transcriptional Response in Human PBMC: A Pilot Study on the “Normobaric Oxygen Paradox”
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 458; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010458 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1316
Abstract
The term “normobaric oxygen paradox” (NOP), describes the response to the return to normoxia after a hyperoxic event, sensed by tissues as oxygen shortage, and resulting in up-regulation of the Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) transcription factor activity. The molecular characteristics of this response [...] Read more.
The term “normobaric oxygen paradox” (NOP), describes the response to the return to normoxia after a hyperoxic event, sensed by tissues as oxygen shortage, and resulting in up-regulation of the Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) transcription factor activity. The molecular characteristics of this response have not been yet fully characterized. Herein, we report the activation time trend of oxygen-sensitive transcription factors in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from healthy subjects after one hour of exposure to mild (MH), high (HH) and very high (VHH) hyperoxia, corresponding to 30%, 100%, 140% O2, respectively. Our observations confirm that MH is perceived as a hypoxic stress, characterized by the activation of HIF-1α and Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2), but not Nuclear Factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB). Conversely, HH is associated to a progressive loss of NOP response and to an increase in oxidative stress leading to NRF2 and NF-kB activation, accompanied by the synthesis of glutathione (GSH). After VHH, HIF-1α activation is totally absent and oxidative stress response, accompanied by NF-κB activation, is prevalent. Intracellular GSH and Matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP-9) plasma levels parallel the transcription factors activation pattern and remain elevated throughout the observation time. In conclusion, our study confirms that, in vivo, the return to normoxia after MH is sensed as a hypoxic trigger characterized by HIF-1α activation. On the contrary, HH and VHH induce a shift toward an oxidative stress response, characterized by NRF2 and NF-κB activation in the first 24 h post exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular Oxygen Homeostasis)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Delivery of the Radionuclide 131I Using Cationic Fusogenic Liposomes as Nanocarriers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 457; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010457 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1065
Abstract
Liposomes are highly biocompatible and versatile drug carriers with an increasing number of applications in the field of nuclear medicine and diagnostics. So far, only negatively charged liposomes with intercalated radiometals, e.g., 64Cu, 99mTc, have been reported. However, the process of [...] Read more.
Liposomes are highly biocompatible and versatile drug carriers with an increasing number of applications in the field of nuclear medicine and diagnostics. So far, only negatively charged liposomes with intercalated radiometals, e.g., 64Cu, 99mTc, have been reported. However, the process of cellular uptake of liposomes by endocytosis is rather slow. Cellular uptake can be accelerated by recently developed cationic liposomes, which exhibit extraordinarily high membrane fusion ability. The aim of the present study was the development of the formulation and the characterization of such cationic fusogenic liposomes with intercalated radioactive [131I]I for potential use in therapeutic applications. The epithelial human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 was used as a model for invasive cancer cells and cellular uptake of [131I]I was monitored in vitro. Delivery efficiencies of cationic and neutral liposomes were compared with uptake of free iodide. The best cargo delivery efficiency (~10%) was achieved using cationic fusogenic liposomes due to their special delivery pathway of membrane fusion. Additionally, human blood cells were also incubated with cationic control liposomes and free [131I]I. In these cases, iodide delivery efficiencies remained below 3%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
Emerging Options for the Diagnosis of Bacterial Infections and the Characterization of Antimicrobial Resistance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 456; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010456 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1323
Abstract
Precise and rapid identification and characterization of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance patterns are critical for the adequate treatment of infections, which represent an increasing problem in intensive care medicine. The current situation remains far from satisfactory in terms of turnaround times and overall [...] Read more.
Precise and rapid identification and characterization of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance patterns are critical for the adequate treatment of infections, which represent an increasing problem in intensive care medicine. The current situation remains far from satisfactory in terms of turnaround times and overall efficacy. Application of an ineffective antimicrobial agent or the unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antibiotics worsens the patient prognosis and further accelerates the generation of resistant mutants. Here, we provide an overview that includes an evaluation and comparison of existing tools used to diagnose bacterial infections, together with a consideration of the underlying molecular principles and technologies. Special emphasis is placed on emerging developments that may lead to significant improvements in point of care detection and diagnosis of multi-resistant pathogens, and new directions that may be used to guide antibiotic therapy. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
FUT8 Alpha-(1,6)-Fucosyltransferase in Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 455; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010455 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1799
Abstract
Aberrant glycosylation is a universal feature of cancer cells that can impact all steps in tumour progression from malignant transformation to metastasis and immune evasion. One key change in tumour glycosylation is altered core fucosylation. Core fucosylation is driven by fucosyltransferase 8 (FUT8), [...] Read more.
Aberrant glycosylation is a universal feature of cancer cells that can impact all steps in tumour progression from malignant transformation to metastasis and immune evasion. One key change in tumour glycosylation is altered core fucosylation. Core fucosylation is driven by fucosyltransferase 8 (FUT8), which catalyses the addition of α1,6-fucose to the innermost GlcNAc residue of N-glycans. FUT8 is frequently upregulated in cancer, and plays a critical role in immune evasion, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), and the regulation of TGF-β, EGF, α3β1 integrin and E-Cadherin. Here, we summarise the role of FUT8 in various cancers (including lung, liver, colorectal, ovarian, prostate, breast, melanoma, thyroid, and pancreatic), discuss the potential mechanisms involved, and outline opportunities to exploit FUT8 as a critical factor in cancer therapeutics in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glycobiology of Cancer)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
RNA-Seq Provides New Insights into the Molecular Events Involved in “Ball-Skin versus Bladder Effect” on Fruit Cracking in Litchi
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 454; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010454 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
Fruit cracking is a disorder of fruit development in response to internal or external cues, which causes a loss in the economic value of fruit. Therefore, exploring the mechanism underlying fruit cracking is of great significance to increase the economic yield of fruit [...] Read more.
Fruit cracking is a disorder of fruit development in response to internal or external cues, which causes a loss in the economic value of fruit. Therefore, exploring the mechanism underlying fruit cracking is of great significance to increase the economic yield of fruit trees. However, the molecular mechanism underlying fruit cracking is still poorly understood. Litchi, as an important tropical and subtropical fruit crop, contributes significantly to the gross agricultural product in Southeast Asia. One important agricultural concern in the litchi industry is that some famous varieties with high economic value such as ‘Nuomici’ are susceptible to fruit cracking. Here, the cracking-susceptible cultivar ‘Nuomici’ and cracking-resistant cultivar ‘Huaizhi’ were selected, and the samples including pericarp and aril during fruit development and cracking were collected for RNA-Seq analysis. Based on weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and the “ball-skin versus bladder effect” theory (fruit cracking occurs upon the aril expanding pressure exceeds the pericarp strength), it was found that seven co-expression modules genes (1733 candidate genes) were closely associated with fruit cracking in ‘Nuomici’. Importantly, we propose that the low expression level of genes related to plant hormones (Auxin, Gibberellins, Ethylene), transcription factors, calcium transport and signaling, and lipid synthesis might decrease the mechanical strength of pericarp in ‘Nuomici’, while high expression level of genes associated with plant hormones (Auxin and abscisic acid), transcription factors, starch/sucrose metabolism, and sugar/water transport might increase the aril expanding pressure, thereby resulting in fruit cracking in ‘Nuomici’. In conclusion, our results provide comprehensive molecular events involved in the “ball-skin versus bladder effect” on fruit cracking in litchi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Macrophage Autophagy and Silicosis: Current Perspective and Latest Insights
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 453; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010453 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1285
Abstract
Silicosis is an urgent public health problem in many countries. Alveolar macrophage (AM) plays an important role in silicosis progression. Autophagy is a balanced mechanism for regulating the cycle of synthesis and degradation of cellular components. Our previous study has shown that silica [...] Read more.
Silicosis is an urgent public health problem in many countries. Alveolar macrophage (AM) plays an important role in silicosis progression. Autophagy is a balanced mechanism for regulating the cycle of synthesis and degradation of cellular components. Our previous study has shown that silica engulfment results in lysosomal rupture, which may lead to the accumulation of autophagosomes in AMs of human silicosis. The excessive accumulation of autophagosomes may lead to apoptosis in AMs. Herein, we addressed some assumptions concerning the complex function of autophagy-related proteins on the silicosis pathogenesis. We also recapped the molecular mechanism of several critical proteins targeting macrophage autophagy in the process of silicosis fibrosis. Furthermore, we summarized several exogenous chemicals that may cause an aggravation or alleviation for silica-induced pulmonary fibrosis by regulating AM autophagy. For example, lipopolysaccharides or nicotine may have a detrimental effect combined together with silica dust via exacerbating the blockade of AM autophagic degradation. Simultaneously, some natural product ingredients such as atractylenolide III, dioscin, or trehalose may be the potential AM autophagy regulators, protecting against silicosis fibrosis. In conclusion, the deeper molecular mechanism of these autophagy targets should be explored in order to provide feasible clues for silicosis therapy in the clinical setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Intracerebroventricular Treatment with 2-Hydroxypropyl-β-Cyclodextrin Decreased Cerebellar and Hepatic Glycoprotein Nonmetastatic Melanoma Protein B (GPNMB) Expression in Niemann–Pick Disease Type C Model Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 452; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010452 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1368
Abstract
Niemann–Pick disease type C (NPC) is a recessive hereditary disease caused by mutation of the NPC1 or NPC2 gene. It is characterized by abnormality of cellular cholesterol trafficking with severe neuronal and hepatic injury. In this study, we investigated the potential of glycoprotein [...] Read more.
Niemann–Pick disease type C (NPC) is a recessive hereditary disease caused by mutation of the NPC1 or NPC2 gene. It is characterized by abnormality of cellular cholesterol trafficking with severe neuronal and hepatic injury. In this study, we investigated the potential of glycoprotein nonmetastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB) to act as a biomarker reflecting the therapeutic effect of 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) in an NPC mouse model. We measured serum, brain, and liver expression levels of GPNMB, and evaluated their therapeutic effects on NPC manifestations in the brain and liver after the intracerebroventricular administration of HP-β-CD in Npc1 gene-deficient (Npc1−/−) mice. Intracerebroventricular HP-β-CD inhibited cerebellar Purkinje cell damage in Npc1−/− mice and significantly reduced serum and cerebellar GPNMB levels. Interestingly, we also observed that the intracerebral administration significantly reduced hepatic GPNMB expression and elevated serum ALT in Npc1−/− mice. Repeated doses of intracerebroventricular HP-β-CD (30 mg/kg, started at 4 weeks of age and repeated every 2 weeks) drastically extended the lifespan of Npc1−/− mice compared with saline treatment. In summary, our results suggest that GPNMB level in serum is a potential biomarker for evaluating the attenuation of NPC pathophysiology by intracerebroventricular HP-β-CD treatment. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Impairment of IGF-1 Signaling and Antioxidant Response Are Associated with Radiation Sensitivity and Mortality
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 451; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010451 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 815
Abstract
Following exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation, diverse strains of vertebrate species will manifest varying levels of radiation sensitivity. To understand the inter-strain cellular and molecular mechanisms of radiation sensitivity, two mouse strains with varying radiosensitivity (C3H/HeN, and CD2F1), were exposed to [...] Read more.
Following exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation, diverse strains of vertebrate species will manifest varying levels of radiation sensitivity. To understand the inter-strain cellular and molecular mechanisms of radiation sensitivity, two mouse strains with varying radiosensitivity (C3H/HeN, and CD2F1), were exposed to total body irradiation (TBI). Since Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) signaling pathway is associated with radiosensitivity, we investigated the link between systemic or tissue-specific IGF-1 signaling and radiosensitivity. Adult male C3H/HeN and CD2F1 mice were irradiated using gamma photons at Lethal Dose-70/30 (LD70/30), 7.8 and 9.35 Gy doses, respectively. Those mice that survived up to 30 days post-irradiation, were termed the survivors. Mice that were euthanized prior to 30 days post-irradiation due to deteriorated health were termed decedents. The analysis of non-irradiated and irradiated survivor and decedent mice showed that inter-strain radiosensitivity and post-irradiation survival outcomes are associated with activation status of tissue and systemic IGF-1 signaling, nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation, and the gene expression profile of cardiac mitochondrial energy metabolism pathways. Our findings link radiosensitivity with dysregulation of IGF-1 signaling, and highlight the role of antioxidant gene response and mitochondrial function in radiation sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Toxicology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
CHID1 Is a Novel Prognostic Marker of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 450; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010450 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
There is an urgent need for identification of new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this study, we evaluated immune cells markers in 100 NSCLC specimens. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed no prognostic value for the markers studied, except [...] Read more.
There is an urgent need for identification of new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this study, we evaluated immune cells markers in 100 NSCLC specimens. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed no prognostic value for the markers studied, except CD163 and CD206. At the same time, macrophage markers iNOS and CHID1 were found to be expressed in tumor cells and associated with prognosis. We showed that high iNOS expression is a marker of favorable prognosis for squamous cell lung carcinoma (SCC), and NSCLC in general. Similarly, high CHID1 expression is a marker of good prognosis in adenocarcinoma and in NSCLC in general. Analysis of prognostic significance of a high CHID1/iNOS expression combination showed favorable prognosis with 20 months overall survival of patients from the low CHID1/iNOS expression group. For the first time, we demonstrated that CHID1 can be expressed by NSCLC cells and its high expression is a marker of good prognosis for adenocarcinoma and NSCLC in general. At the same time, high expression of iNOS in tumor cells is a marker of good prognosis in SCC. When used in combination, CHID1 and iNOS show a very good prognostic capacity for NSCLC. We suggest that in the case of lung cancer, tumor-associated macrophages are likely ineffective as a therapeutic target. At the same time, macrophage markers expressed by tumor cells may be considered as targets for anti-tumor therapy or, as in the case of CHID1, as potential anti-tumor agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Molecular Strategies under Development in Thoracic Oncology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Tranexamic Acid Promotes Murine Bone Marrow-Derived Osteoblast Proliferation and Inhibits Osteoclast Formation In Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 449; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010449 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 863
Abstract
Despite modern surgical trauma care, bleeding contributes to one-third of trauma-related death. A significant improvement was obtained through the introduction of tranexamic acid (TXA), which today is widely used in emergency and elective orthopedic surgery to control bleeding. However, concerns remain regarding potential [...] Read more.
Despite modern surgical trauma care, bleeding contributes to one-third of trauma-related death. A significant improvement was obtained through the introduction of tranexamic acid (TXA), which today is widely used in emergency and elective orthopedic surgery to control bleeding. However, concerns remain regarding potential adverse effects on bone turnover and regeneration. Therefore, we employed standardized cell culture systems including primary osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and macrophages to evaluate potential effects of TXA on murine bone cells. While osteoblasts derived from calvarial digestion were not affected, TXA increased cell proliferation and matrix mineralization in bone marrow-derived osteoblasts. Short-term TXA treatment (6 h) failed to alter the expression of osteoblast markers; however, long-term TXA stimulation (10 days) was associated with the increased expression of genes involved in osteoblast differentiation and extracellular matrix synthesis. Similarly, whereas short-term TXA treatment did not affect gene expression in terminally differentiated osteoclasts, long-term TXA stimulation resulted in the potent inhibition of osteoclastogenesis. Finally, in bone marrow-derived macrophages activated with LPS, simultaneous TXA treatment led to a reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Collectively, our study demonstrates a differential action of TXA on bone cells including osteoanabolic, anti-resorptive, and anti-inflammatory effects in vitro which suggests novel treatment applications. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
KRAS Promoter G-Quadruplexes from Sequences of Different Length: A Physicochemical Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 448; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010448 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 817
Abstract
DNA G-quadruplexes (G4s) form in relevant genomic regions and intervene in several biological processes, including the modulation of oncogenes expression, and are potential anticancer drug targets. The human KRAS proto-oncogene promoter region contains guanine-rich sequences able to fold into G4 structures. Here, by [...] Read more.
DNA G-quadruplexes (G4s) form in relevant genomic regions and intervene in several biological processes, including the modulation of oncogenes expression, and are potential anticancer drug targets. The human KRAS proto-oncogene promoter region contains guanine-rich sequences able to fold into G4 structures. Here, by using circular dichroism and differential scanning calorimetry as complementary physicochemical methodologies, we compared the thermodynamic stability of the G4s formed by a shorter and a longer version of the KRAS promoter sequence, namely 5′-AGGGCGGTGTGGGAATAGGGAA-3′ (KRAS 22RT) and 5′-AGGGCGGTGTGGGAAGAGGGAAGAGGGGGAGG-3′ (KRAS 32R). Our results show that the unfolding mechanism of KRAS 32R is more complex than that of KRAS 22RT. The different thermodynamic stability is discussed based on the recently determined NMR structures. The binding properties of TMPyP4 and BRACO-19, two well-known G4-targeting anticancer compounds, to the KRAS G4s were also investigated. The present physicochemical study aims to help in choosing the best G4 target for potential anticancer drugs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Evolution of A bHLH Interaction Motif
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 447; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010447 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1220
Abstract
Intrinsically disordered proteins and regions with their associated short linear motifs play key roles in transcriptional regulation. The disordered MYC-interaction motif (MIM) mediates interactions between MYC and MYB transcription factors in Arabidopsis thaliana that are critical for constitutive and induced glucosinolate (GLS) biosynthesis. [...] Read more.
Intrinsically disordered proteins and regions with their associated short linear motifs play key roles in transcriptional regulation. The disordered MYC-interaction motif (MIM) mediates interactions between MYC and MYB transcription factors in Arabidopsis thaliana that are critical for constitutive and induced glucosinolate (GLS) biosynthesis. GLSs comprise a class of plant defense compounds that evolved in the ancestor of the Brassicales order. We used a diverse set of search strategies to discover additional occurrences of the MIM in other proteins and in other organisms and evaluate the findings by means of structural predictions, interaction assays, and biophysical experiments. Our search revealed numerous MIM instances spread throughout the angiosperm lineage. Experiments verify that several of the newly discovered MIM-containing proteins interact with MYC TFs. Only hits found within the same transcription factor family and having similar characteristics could be validated, indicating that structural predictions and sequence similarity are good indicators of whether the presence of a MIM mediates interaction. The experimentally validated MIMs are found in organisms outside the Brassicales order, showing that MIM function is broader than regulating GLS biosynthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Intrinsic Disorder in Plant Biology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Theoretical and Experimental Study on the Potential Luminescent and Biological Activities of Diaminodicyanoquinodimethane Derivatives
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 446; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010446 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1177
Abstract
Recently, several studies have demonstrated that diaminodicyanoquinone derivatives (DADQs) could present interesting fluorescence properties. Furthermore, some DADQs under the solid state are capable of showing quantum yields that can reach values of 90%. Besides, the diaminodiacyanoquinone core represents a versatile building block propense [...] Read more.
Recently, several studies have demonstrated that diaminodicyanoquinone derivatives (DADQs) could present interesting fluorescence properties. Furthermore, some DADQs under the solid state are capable of showing quantum yields that can reach values of 90%. Besides, the diaminodiacyanoquinone core represents a versatile building block propense either to modification or integration into different systems to obtain and provide them unique photophysical features. Herein, we carried out a theoretical study on the fluorescence properties of three different diaminodicyanoquinodimethane systems. Therefore, time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) was used to obtain the values associated with the dipole moments, oscillator strengths, and the conformational energies between the ground and the first excited states of each molecule. The results suggest that only two of the three studied systems possess significant luminescent properties. In a further stage, the theoretical insights were confirmed by means of experimental measurements, which not only retrieved the photoluminescence of the DADQs, but also suggest a preliminary and promising antibacterial activity of these systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biophysics)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Switching between Ultrafast Pathways Enables a Green-Red Emission Ratiometric Fluorescent-Protein-Based Ca2+ Biosensor
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 445; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010445 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1132
Abstract
Ratiometric indicators with long emission wavelengths are highly preferred in modern bioimaging and life sciences. Herein, we elucidated the working mechanism of a standalone red fluorescent protein (FP)-based Ca2+ biosensor, REX-GECO1, using a series of spectroscopic and computational methods. Upon 480 nm [...] Read more.
Ratiometric indicators with long emission wavelengths are highly preferred in modern bioimaging and life sciences. Herein, we elucidated the working mechanism of a standalone red fluorescent protein (FP)-based Ca2+ biosensor, REX-GECO1, using a series of spectroscopic and computational methods. Upon 480 nm photoexcitation, the Ca2+-free biosensor chromophore becomes trapped in an excited dark state. Binding with Ca2+ switches the route to ultrafast excited-state proton transfer through a short hydrogen bond to an adjacent Glu80 residue, which is key for the biosensor’s functionality. Inspired by the 2D-fluorescence map, REX-GECO1 for Ca2+ imaging in the ionomycin-treated human HeLa cells was achieved for the first time with a red/green emission ratio change (ΔR/R0) of ~300%, outperforming many FRET- and single FP-based indicators. These spectroscopy-driven discoveries enable targeted design for the next-generation biosensors with larger dynamic range and longer emission wavelengths. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
PACAP for Retinal Health: Model for Cellular Aging and Rescue
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010444 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 683
Abstract
Retinal aging is the result of accumulating molecular and cellular damage with a manifest decline in visual functions. Somatostatin (SST) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) have been implicated in neuroprotection through regulating disparate aspects of neuronal activity (survival, proliferation and renewal). The [...] Read more.
Retinal aging is the result of accumulating molecular and cellular damage with a manifest decline in visual functions. Somatostatin (SST) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) have been implicated in neuroprotection through regulating disparate aspects of neuronal activity (survival, proliferation and renewal). The aim of the present study was to validate a transgenic model for SST-expressing amacrine cells and to investigate the chronic effect of PACAP on the aging of SSTergic and dopaminergic cells of the retina. SST-tdTomato transgenic mice that were 6, 12 and 18 months old were treated intravitreally with 100 pmol of PACAP every 3 months. The density of SST and dopaminergic amacrine cells was assessed in whole-mounted retinas. Cells displaying the transgenic red fluorescence were identified as SST-immunopositive amacrine cells. By comparing the three age groups. PACAP treatment was shown to induce a moderate elevation of cell densities in both the SST and dopaminergic cell populations in the 12- and 18-month-old animals. By contrast, the control untreated and saline-treated retinas showed a minor cell loss. In conclusion, we report a reliable transgenic model for examining SSTergic amacrine cells. The fundamental novelty of this study is that PACAP could increase the cell density in matured retinal tissue, anticipating new therapeutic potential in age-related pathological processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Temporomandibular Joint Osteoarthritis: Regenerative Treatment by a Stem Cell Containing Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP)—An In Vivo Animal Trial
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 443; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010443 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1366
Abstract
Temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJ-OA) is a chronic degenerative disease that is often characterized by progressive impairment of the temporomandibular functional unit. The aim of this randomized controlled animal trial was a comparative analysis regarding the chondroregenerative potency of intra-articular stem/stromal cell therapy. Four [...] Read more.
Temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJ-OA) is a chronic degenerative disease that is often characterized by progressive impairment of the temporomandibular functional unit. The aim of this randomized controlled animal trial was a comparative analysis regarding the chondroregenerative potency of intra-articular stem/stromal cell therapy. Four weeks after combined mechanical and biochemical osteoarthritis induction in 28 rabbits, therapy was initiated by a single intra-articular injection, randomized into the following groups: Group 1: AB Serum (ABS); Group 2: Hyaluronic acid (HA); Group 3: Mesenchymal stromal cells (STx.); Group 4: Mesenchymal stromal cells in hyaluronic acid (HA + STx.). After another 4 weeks, the animals were euthanized, followed by histological examination of the removed joints. The histological analysis showed a significant increase in cartilage thickness in the stromal cell treated groups (HA + STx. vs. ABS, p = 0.028; HA + ST.x vs. HA, p = 0.042; STx. vs. ABS, p = 0.036). Scanning electron microscopy detected a similar heterogeneity of mineralization and tissue porosity in the subchondral zone in all groups. The single intra-articular injection of a stem cell containing, GMP-compliant advanced therapy medicinal product for the treatment of iatrogen induced osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint shows a chondroregenerative effect. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Back to TopTop