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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 23, Issue 9 (May-1 2022) – 819 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In this work, a theranostic agent combining fullerene nanocrystals and gold nanoparticles for photoacoustic imaging and photothermal therapy was developed for cancer treatment. For their efficient energy transfer from gold nanoparticles to fullerene nanocrystals, the hybrid system could induce cell death toward cancer cells via a photothermal heating character and visualize tumor tissue in tumor xenograft model mice via photoacoustic imaging. View this paper
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Article
Short-Term Blockade of Pro-Inflammatory Alarmin S100A9 Favorably Modulates Left Ventricle Proteome and Related Signaling Pathways Involved in Post-Myocardial Infarction Recovery
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5289; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23095289 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 617
Abstract
Prognosis after myocardial infarction (MI) varies greatly depending on the extent of damaged area and the management of biological processes during recovery. Reportedly, the inhibition of the pro-inflammatory S100A9 reduces myocardial damage after MI. We hypothesize that a S100A9 blockade induces changes of [...] Read more.
Prognosis after myocardial infarction (MI) varies greatly depending on the extent of damaged area and the management of biological processes during recovery. Reportedly, the inhibition of the pro-inflammatory S100A9 reduces myocardial damage after MI. We hypothesize that a S100A9 blockade induces changes of major signaling pathways implicated in post-MI healing. Mass spectrometry-based proteomics and gene analyses of infarcted mice left ventricle were performed. The S100A9 blocker (ABR-23890) was given for 3 days after coronary ligation. At 3 and 7 days post-MI, ventricle samples were analyzed versus control and Sham-operated mice. Blockade of S100A9 modulated the expressed proteins involved in five biological processes: leukocyte cell–cell adhesion, regulation of the muscle cell apoptotic process, regulation of the intrinsic apoptotic signaling pathway, sarcomere organization and cardiac muscle hypertrophy. The blocker induced regulation of 36 proteins interacting with or targeted by the cellular tumor antigen p53, prevented myocardial compensatory hypertrophy, and reduced cardiac markers of post-ischemic stress. The blockade effect was prominent at day 7 post-MI when the quantitative features of the ventricle proteome were closer to controls. Blockade of S100A9 restores key biological processes altered post-MI. These processes could be valuable new pharmacological targets for the treatment of ischemic heart. Mass spectrometry data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD033683. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Cardiovascular Disease 2.0)
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Review
Molecular Research on Oral Diseases and Related Biomaterials: A Journey from Oral Cell Models to Advanced Regenerative Perspectives
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5288; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095288 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 581
Abstract
Oral diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and oral cancer affect millions of people worldwide. Much research has been conducted to understand the pathogenetic mechanisms of these diseases and translate this knowledge into therapeutics. This review aims to take the reader on a journey [...] Read more.
Oral diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and oral cancer affect millions of people worldwide. Much research has been conducted to understand the pathogenetic mechanisms of these diseases and translate this knowledge into therapeutics. This review aims to take the reader on a journey from the initial molecular discoveries to complex regenerative issues in oral medicine. For this, a semi-systematic literature search was carried out in Medline and Web of Science databases to retrieve the primary literature describing oral cell models and biomaterial applications in oral regenerative medicine. First, an in vitro cell model of gingival keratinocytes is discussed, which illustrates patho- and physiologic principles in the context of oral epithelial homeostasis and carcinogenesis and represents a cellular tool to understand biomaterial-based approaches for periodontal tissue regeneration. Consequently, a layered gradient nonwoven (LGN) is described, which demonstrates that the key features of biomaterials serve as candidates for oral tissue regeneration. LGN supports proper tissue formation and obeys the important principles for molecular mechanotransduction. Furthermore, current biomaterial-based tissue regeneration trends, including polymer modifications, cell-based treatments, antimicrobial peptides and optogenetics, are introduced to represent the full spectrum of current approaches to oral disease mitigation and prevention. Altogether, this review is a foray through established and new concepts in oral regenerative medicine and illustrates the process of knowledge translation from basic molecular and cell biological research to future clinical applications. Full article
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Article
Enrichment of Tumor-Infiltrating B Cells in Group 4 Medulloblastoma in Children
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5287; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095287 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 604
Abstract
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. It is classified into core molecular subgroups (wingless activated (WNT), sonic hedgehog activated (SHH), Group 3 (G3), and Group 4 (G4)). In this study, we analyzed the tumor-infiltrating immune cells and cytokine [...] Read more.
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. It is classified into core molecular subgroups (wingless activated (WNT), sonic hedgehog activated (SHH), Group 3 (G3), and Group 4 (G4)). In this study, we analyzed the tumor-infiltrating immune cells and cytokine profiles of 70 MB patients in Taiwan using transcriptome data. In parallel, immune cell composition in tumors from the SickKids cohort dataset was also analyzed to confirm the findings. The clinical cohort data showed the WNT and G4 MB patients had lower recurrence rates and better 5-year relapse-free survival (RFP) compared with the SHH and G3 MB patients, among the four subgroups of MB. We found tumor-infiltrating B cells (TIL-Bs) enriched in the G4 subgroups in the Taiwanese MB patients and the SickKids cohort dataset. In the G4 subgroups, the patients with a high level of TIL-Bs had better 5-year overall survival. Mast cells presented in G4 MB tumors were positively correlated with TIL-Bs. Higher levels of CXCL13, IL-36γ, and CCL27 were found compared to other subgroups or normal brains. These three cytokines, B cells and mast cells contributed to the unique immune microenvironment in G4 MB tumors. Therefore, B-cell enrichment is a G4-subgroup-specific immune signature and the presence of B cells may be an indicator of a better prognosis in G4 MB patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Molecular Biology of Brain Tumors)
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Article
High-Fat Diet Impairs Muscle Function and Increases the Risk of Environmental Heatstroke in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5286; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095286 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Environmental heat-stroke (HS) is a life-threatening response often triggered by hot and humid weather. Several lines of evidence indicate that HS is caused by excessive heat production in skeletal muscle, which in turn is the result of abnormal Ca2+ leak from the [...] Read more.
Environmental heat-stroke (HS) is a life-threatening response often triggered by hot and humid weather. Several lines of evidence indicate that HS is caused by excessive heat production in skeletal muscle, which in turn is the result of abnormal Ca2+ leak from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and excessive production of oxidative species of oxygen and nitrogen. As a high fat diet is known to increase oxidative stress, the objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of 3 months of high-fat diet (HFD) on the HS susceptibility of wild type (WT) mice. HS susceptibility was tested in an environmental chamber where 4 months old WT mice were exposed to heat stress (41 °C for 1 h). In comparison with mice fed with a regular diet, mice fed with HFD showed: (a) increased body weight and accumulation of adipose tissue; (b) elevated oxidative stress in skeletal muscles; (c) increased heat generation and oxygen consumption during exposure to heat stress; and finally, (d) enhanced sensitivity to both temperature and caffeine of isolated muscles during in-vitro contracture test. These data (a) suggest that HFD predisposes WT mice to heat stress and (b) could have implications for guidelines regarding food intake during periods of intense environmental heat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Skeletal Muscle Function and Metabolism)
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Editorial
Central and Local Modulators of Reproduction and Fertility: An Update
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5285; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095285 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Infertility is currently one of the most important health troubles in industrialised countries after cardio-vascular diseases and cancer [...] Full article
Review
Beyond Photoprotection: The Multifarious Roles of Flavonoids in Plant Terrestrialization
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5284; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095284 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 554
Abstract
Plants evolved an impressive arsenal of multifunctional specialized metabolites to cope with the novel environmental pressures imposed by the terrestrial habitat when moving from water. Here we examine the multifarious roles of flavonoids in plant terrestrialization. We reason on the environmental drivers, other [...] Read more.
Plants evolved an impressive arsenal of multifunctional specialized metabolites to cope with the novel environmental pressures imposed by the terrestrial habitat when moving from water. Here we examine the multifarious roles of flavonoids in plant terrestrialization. We reason on the environmental drivers, other than the increase in UV-B radiation, that were mostly responsible for the rise of flavonoid metabolism and how flavonoids helped plants in land conquest. We are reasonably based on a nutrient-deficiency hypothesis for the replacement of mycosporine-like amino acids, typical of streptophytic algae, with the flavonoid metabolism during the water-to-land transition. We suggest that flavonoids modulated auxin transport and signaling and promoted the symbiosis between plants and fungi (e.g., arbuscular mycorrhizal, AM), a central event for the conquest of land by plants. AM improved the ability of early plants to take up nutrients and water from highly impoverished soils. We offer evidence that flavonoids equipped early land plants with highly versatile “defense compounds”, essential for the new set of abiotic and biotic stressors imposed by the terrestrial environment. We conclude that flavonoids have been multifunctional since the appearance of plants on land, not only acting as UV filters but especially improving both nutrient acquisition and biotic stress defense. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Plant Secondary Metabolism 2022)
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Review
The Role of Nuclear Factor Kappa B (NF-κB) in Development and Treatment of COVID-19: Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5283; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095283 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 850
Abstract
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19), a disease that has affected more than 500 million people worldwide since the end of 2019. Due to its high complications and death rates, there is still a need to find [...] Read more.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19), a disease that has affected more than 500 million people worldwide since the end of 2019. Due to its high complications and death rates, there is still a need to find the best therapy for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The dysregulation of the inflammatory response in COVID-19 plays a very important role in disease progression. It has been observed that abnormal activity of Nuclear Factor kappa B (NF-κB) is directly associated with, inter alia, increased synthesis of proinflammatory factors. Therefore, this review paper focuses on the functions of NF-κB in the development of SARS-CoV-2 infection and potential application of NF-κB inhibitors in COVID-19 immunotherapy. A comprehensive literature search was performed using the MEDLINE/PubMed database. In the current review, it is highlighted that NF-κB plays important functions in the modulation of an adaptive inflammatory response, including inducing the expression of proinflammatory genes. Increased activation of NF-κB in SARS-CoV-2 infection was observed. The association between NF-κB activation and the expression of SARS-CoV-2 structural and non-structural proteins were also reported. It was observed that modulation of NF-κB using, e.g., traditional Chinese medicine or glucocorticosteroids resulted in decreased synthesis of proinflammatory factors caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. This review summarizes the role of NF-κB in COVID-19 and describes its potential immunotherapeutic target in treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, indisputably more studies involving patients with a severe course of COVID-19 are sorely needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Pathophysiology 2.0)
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Review
Role of Vitamin K in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Focus on Bone and Cardiovascular Health
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5282; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095282 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 592
Abstract
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is commonly associated with vitamin K deficiency. Some of the serious complications of CKD are represented by cardiovascular disease (CVD) and skeletal fragility with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. A complex pathogenetic link between hormonal and ionic [...] Read more.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is commonly associated with vitamin K deficiency. Some of the serious complications of CKD are represented by cardiovascular disease (CVD) and skeletal fragility with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. A complex pathogenetic link between hormonal and ionic disturbances, bone tissue and metabolism alterations, and vascular calcification (VC) exists and has been defined as chronic kidney disease–mineral and bone disorder (CKD-MBD). Poor vitamin K status seems to have a key role in the progression of CKD, but also in the onset and advance of both bone and cardiovascular complications. Three forms of vitamin K are currently known: vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), vitamin K2 (menaquinone), and vitamin K3 (menadione). Vitamin K plays different roles, including in activating vitamin K-dependent proteins (VKDPs) and in modulating bone metabolism and contributing to the inhibition of VC. This review focuses on the biochemical and functional characteristics of vitamin K vitamers, suggesting this nutrient as a possible marker of kidney, CV, and bone damage in the CKD population and exploring its potential use for promoting health in this clinical setting. Treatment strategies for CKD-associated osteoporosis and CV disease should include vitamin K supplementation. However, further randomized clinical studies are needed to assess the safety and the adequate dosage to prevent these CKD complications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection State-of-the-Art Bioactives and Nutraceuticals in Italy)
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Article
Captopril, a Renin–Angiotensin System Inhibitor, Attenuates Tumour Progression in the Regenerating Liver Following Partial Hepatectomy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5281; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095281 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 754
Abstract
(1) Liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy for colorectal liver metastasis (CRLM) has been linked to tumour recurrence. Inhibition of the renin–angiotensin system (RASi) attenuates CRLM growth in the non-regenerating liver. This study investigates whether RASi exerts an antitumour effect within the regenerating liver [...] Read more.
(1) Liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy for colorectal liver metastasis (CRLM) has been linked to tumour recurrence. Inhibition of the renin–angiotensin system (RASi) attenuates CRLM growth in the non-regenerating liver. This study investigates whether RASi exerts an antitumour effect within the regenerating liver following partial hepatectomy for CRLM and examines RASi-induced changes in the tumour immune microenvironment; (2) CRLM in mice was induced via intrasplenic injection of mouse colorectal tumour cells, followed by splenectomy on Day 0. Mice were treated with RASi captopril (250 mg/kg/day), or saline (control) from Day 4 to Day 16 (endpoint) and underwent 70% partial hepatectomy on Day 7. Liver and tumour samples were characterised by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence; (3) captopril treatment reduced tumour burden in mice following partial hepatectomy (p < 0.01). Captopril treatment reduced populations of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) (CD11b+Ly6CHi p < 0.05, CD11b+Ly6CLo p < 0.01) and increased PD-1 expression on infiltrating hepatic tissue-resident memory (TRM)-like CD8+ (p < 0.001) and double-negative (CD4-CD8-; p < 0.001) T cells; (4) RASi reduced CRLM growth in the regenerating liver and altered immune cell composition by reducing populations of immunosuppressive MDSCs and boosting populations of PD-1+ hepatic TRMs. Thus, RASi should be explored as an adjunct therapy for patients undergoing partial hepatectomy for CRLM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms and Therapies of Colorectal Cancer)
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Article
Plant Alkaloid Tetrandrine Is a Nuclear Receptor 4A1 Antagonist and Inhibits Panc-1 Cell Growth In Vitro and In Vivo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5280; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095280 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 525
Abstract
The orphan nuclear receptor 4A1 (NR4A1) is highly expressed in human pancreatic cancer cells and exerts pro-oncogenic activity. In a previous study, we demonstrated that fangchinoline (FCN), a natural inhibitor of nuclear NR4A1, induces NR4A1-dependent apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells. In this [...] Read more.
The orphan nuclear receptor 4A1 (NR4A1) is highly expressed in human pancreatic cancer cells and exerts pro-oncogenic activity. In a previous study, we demonstrated that fangchinoline (FCN), a natural inhibitor of nuclear NR4A1, induces NR4A1-dependent apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells. In this study, we evaluated FCN and its structural analogs (berbamine, isotetrandrine, tetrandrine, and tubocurarine) for their inhibitory effects on NR4A1 transactivity, and confirmed that tetrandrine (TTD) showed the highest inhibitory effect in pancreatic cancer cells. Moreover, in a tryptophan fluorescence quenching assay, TTD directly bound to the ligand binding domain (LBD) of NR4A1 with a KD value of 10.60 μM. Treatment with TTD decreased proliferation and induced apoptosis in Panc-1 human pancreatic cancer cells in part through the reduced expression of the Sp1-dependent anti-apoptotic gene survivin and induction of ROS-mediated endoplasmic reticulum stress, which are the well-known NR4A1-dependent proapoptotic pathways. Furthermore, at a dose of 25 mg/kg/day, TTD reduced tumor growth in an athymic nude mouse xenograft model bearing Panc-1 cells. These data show that TTD is an NR4A1 antagonist and that modulation of the NR4A1-mediated pro-survival pathways is involved in the antitumor effects of TTD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Bioactives and Phytochemicals in Cancer Prevention 2.0)
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Article
Dose Rate Effects on the Selective Radiosensitization of Prostate Cells by GRPR-Targeted Gold Nanoparticles
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5279; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095279 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 421
Abstract
For a while, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been recognized as potential radiosensitizers in cancer radiation therapy, mainly due to their physical properties, making them appealing for medical applications. Nevertheless, the performance of AuNPs as radiosensitizers still raises important questions that need further investigation. [...] Read more.
For a while, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been recognized as potential radiosensitizers in cancer radiation therapy, mainly due to their physical properties, making them appealing for medical applications. Nevertheless, the performance of AuNPs as radiosensitizers still raises important questions that need further investigation. Searching for selective prostate (PCa) radiosensitizing agents, we studied the radiosensitization capability of the target-specific AuNP-BBN in cancer versus non-cancerous prostate cells, including the evaluation of dose rate effects in comparison with non-targeted counterparts (AuNP-TDOTA). PCa cells were found to exhibit increased AuNP uptake when compared to non-tumoral ones, leading to a significant loss of cellular proliferation ability and complex DNA damage, evidenced by the occurrence of multiple micronucleus per binucleated cell, in the case of PC3 cells irradiated with 2 Gy of γ-rays, after incubation with AuNP-BBN. Remarkably, the treatment of the PC3 cells with AuNP-BBN led to a much stronger influence of the dose rate on the cellular survival upon γ-photon irradiation, as well as on their genomic instability. Overall, AuNP-BBN emerged in this study as a very promising nanotool for the efficient and selective radiosensitization of human prostate cancer PC3 cells, therefore deserving further preclinical evaluation in adequate animal models for prostate cancer radiotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges of Radiation Biology for Cancer Management)
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Brief Report
AOM/DSS Induced Colitis-Associated Colorectal Cancer in 14-Month-Old Female Balb/C and C57/Bl6 Mice—A Pilot Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5278; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095278 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 1997
Abstract
Colitis is a major risk factor for the development of colorectal cancer, leading to colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC). The most commonly used animal model to study CAC is the azoxymethane-dextran sulphate-sodium (AOM/DSS) model. The ideal experimental conditions of this model depend on several [...] Read more.
Colitis is a major risk factor for the development of colorectal cancer, leading to colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC). The most commonly used animal model to study CAC is the azoxymethane-dextran sulphate-sodium (AOM/DSS) model. The ideal experimental conditions of this model depend on several factors, including the used mouse strain. No data on feasibility and conditions for older mice, e.g., for aging studies, have yet been reported. Thus, we conducted a descriptive, observational pilot study where CAC was induced in 14-month-old female Balb/C and C57/Bl6 mice using 12.5 mg/kg AOM i.p. and three different concentrations of DSS (1, 2, and 3%) in drinking water (ad. lib.). The mice were monitored regularly during the three-month experimental phase. After euthanasia, the colons of the mice were evaluated macroscopically and microscopically. Both the mouse strains showed a DSS-concentration-dependent induction of CAC. Carcinomas were only observed at 3% DSS. The DSS dose was found to be significantly correlated with the histology score and % Ki67 positive cells only in C57/Bl6 mice but not in Balb/C mice, which showed a variable response to the CAC induction. No differences in colon length, weight, or mucin content were observed. Optimal conditions for CAC induction in these aged animals are thus considered to be 3% DSS, as carcinomas did not develop when 2% DSS was used. On the other hand, Balb/C mice reacted severely to 3% DSS, indicating that 2.5% DSS may be the “sweet spot” for future experiments comparing CAC in aged Balb/C and C57/Bl6 mice. This model will allow investigation of the effect of aging on CAC development and therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Molecular Oncology)
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Review
Granzymes—Their Role in Colorectal Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5277; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095277 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 704
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is among the most common malignancies worldwide. CRC is considered a heterogeneous disease due to various clinical symptoms, biological behaviours, and a variety of mutations. A number of studies demonstrate that as many as 50% of CRC patients have distant [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is among the most common malignancies worldwide. CRC is considered a heterogeneous disease due to various clinical symptoms, biological behaviours, and a variety of mutations. A number of studies demonstrate that as many as 50% of CRC patients have distant metastases at the time of diagnosis. However, despite the fact that social and medical awareness of CRC has increased in recent years and screening programmes have expanded, there is still an urgent need to find new diagnostic tools for early detection of CRC. The effectiveness of the currently used classical tumour markers in CRC diagnostics is very limited. Therefore, new proteins that play an important role in the formation and progression of CRC are being sought. A number of recent studies show the potential significance of granzymes (GZMs) in carcinogenesis. These proteins are released by cytotoxic lymphocytes, which protect the body against viral infection as well specific signalling pathways that ultimately lead to cell death. Some studies suggest a link between GZMs, particularly the expression of Granzyme A, and inflammation. This paper summarises the role of GZMs in CRC pathogenesis through their involvement in the inflammatory process. Therefore, it seems that GZMs could become the focus of research into new CRC biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biomarkers of Selected Diseases of Civilization 2.0)
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Article
Comparison of the Biochemical Properties and Roles in the Xyloglucan-Rich Biomass Degradation of a GH74 Xyloglucanase and Its CBM-Deleted Variant from Thielavia terrestris
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5276; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095276 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Xyloglucan is closely associated with cellulose and still retained with some modification in pretreated lignocellulose; however, its influence on lignocellulose biodegradation is less understood. TtGH74 from Thielavia terrestris displayed much higher catalytic activity than previously characterized fungal GH74 xyloglucanases. The carbohydrate-binding [...] Read more.
Xyloglucan is closely associated with cellulose and still retained with some modification in pretreated lignocellulose; however, its influence on lignocellulose biodegradation is less understood. TtGH74 from Thielavia terrestris displayed much higher catalytic activity than previously characterized fungal GH74 xyloglucanases. The carbohydrate-binding module 1 (CBM1) deleted variant (TtGH74ΔCBM) had the same optimum temperature and pH but an elevated thermostability. TtGH74 displayed a high binding affinity on xyloglucan and cellulose, while TtGH74ΔCBM completely lost the adsorption capability on cellulose. Their hydrolysis action alone or in combination with other glycoside hydrolases on the free xyloglucan, xyloglucan-coated phosphoric acid-swollen cellulose or pretreated corn bran and apple pomace was compared. CBM1 might not be essential for the hydrolysis of free xyloglucan but still effective for the associated xyloglucan to an extent. TtGH74 alone or synergistically acting with the CBH1/EG1 mixture was more effective in the hydrolysis of xyloglucan in corn bran, while TtGH74ΔCBM showed relatively higher catalytic activity on apple pomace, indicating that the role and significance of CBM1 are substrate-specific. The degrees of synergy for TtGH74 or TtGH74ΔCBM with the CBH1/EG1 mixture reached 1.22–2.02. The addition of GH10 xylanase in TtGH74 or the TtGH74ΔCBM/CBH1/EG1 mixture further improved the overall hydrolysis efficiency, and the degrees of synergy were up to 1.50–2.16. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Article
Topical Capsaicin in Poly(lactic-co-glycolic)acid (PLGA) Nanoparticles Decreases Acute Itch and Heat Pain
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5275; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095275 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 523
Abstract
Background: Capsaicin, the hot pepper agent, produces burning followed by desensitization. To treat localized itch or pain with minimal burning, low capsaicin concentrations can be repeatedly applied. We hypothesized that alternatively controlled release of capsaicin from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles desensitizes superficially terminating [...] Read more.
Background: Capsaicin, the hot pepper agent, produces burning followed by desensitization. To treat localized itch or pain with minimal burning, low capsaicin concentrations can be repeatedly applied. We hypothesized that alternatively controlled release of capsaicin from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles desensitizes superficially terminating nociceptors, reducing burning. Methods: Capsaicin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles were prepared (single-emulsion solvent evaporation) and characterized (size, morphology, capsaicin loading, encapsulation efficiency, in vitro release profile). Capsaicin-PLGA nanoparticles were applied to murine skin and evaluated in healthy human participants (n = 21) for 4 days under blinded conditions, and itch and nociceptive sensations evoked by mechanical, heat stimuli and pruritogens cowhage, β-alanine, BAM8-22 and histamine were evaluated. Results: Nanoparticles (loading: 58 µg capsaicin/mg) released in vitro 23% capsaicin within the first hour and had complete release at 72 h. In mice, 24 h post-application Capsaicin-PLGA nanoparticles penetrated the dermis and led to decreased nociceptive behavioral responses to heat and mechanical stimulation (desensitization). Application in humans produced a weak to moderate burning, dissipating after 3 h. A loss of heat pain up to 2 weeks was observed. After capsaicin nanoparticles, itch and nociceptive sensations were reduced in response to pruritogens cowhage, β-alanine or BAM8-22, but were normal to histamine. Conclusions: Capsaicin nanoparticles could be useful in reducing pain and itch associated with pruritic diseases that are histamine-independent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Nanomaterials for Healthcare)
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Review
Crosstalk between Mitochondrial Protein Import and Lipids
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5274; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095274 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 553
Abstract
Mitochondria import about 1000 precursor proteins from the cytosol. The translocase of the outer membrane (TOM complex) forms the major entry site for precursor proteins. Subsequently, membrane-bound protein translocases sort the precursor proteins into the outer and inner membrane, the intermembrane space, and [...] Read more.
Mitochondria import about 1000 precursor proteins from the cytosol. The translocase of the outer membrane (TOM complex) forms the major entry site for precursor proteins. Subsequently, membrane-bound protein translocases sort the precursor proteins into the outer and inner membrane, the intermembrane space, and the matrix. The phospholipid composition of mitochondrial membranes is critical for protein import. Structural and biochemical data revealed that phospholipids affect the stability and activity of mitochondrial protein translocases. Integration of proteins into the target membrane involves rearrangement of phospholipids and distortion of the lipid bilayer. Phospholipids are present in the interface between subunits of protein translocases and affect the dynamic coupling of partner proteins. Phospholipids are required for full activity of the respiratory chain to generate membrane potential, which in turn drives protein import across and into the inner membrane. Finally, outer membrane protein translocases are closely linked to organellar contact sites that mediate lipid trafficking. Altogether, intensive crosstalk between mitochondrial protein import and lipid biogenesis controls mitochondrial biogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipids and Mitochondria)
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Article
Morphological and Biological Evaluations of Human Periodontal Ligament Fibroblasts in Contact with Different Bovine Bone Grafts Treated with Low-Temperature Deproteinisation Protocol
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5273; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095273 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Several types of deproteinised bovine bone mineral (DBBM) are available on the market, and each one is obtained with a thermic and chemical process that can differ, achieving different results. Currently, several protocols using low temperature are suggested to reduce the possible particle [...] Read more.
Several types of deproteinised bovine bone mineral (DBBM) are available on the market, and each one is obtained with a thermic and chemical process that can differ, achieving different results. Currently, several protocols using low temperature are suggested to reduce the possible particle crystallisation during the production process. This study aimed to evaluate the biomorphological reaction of periodontal fibroblast cultures in contact with different DBBM particles treated with a low-temperature protocol (Thermagen®) and without exposure to sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Morphological evaluation was performed using light, confocal laser, and scanning electron microscopy, and the biological reaction in terms of proliferation was performed using an XTT proliferation assay at 24 h (T1), 72 h (T2), and 7 days (T3). The morphological analysis highlighted how the presence of the materials stimulated a change in the morphology of the cells into a polygonal shape, surface reactions with the thickening of the membrane, and expression of actin. In particular, the morphological changes were appreciable from T1, with a progressive increase in the considered morphological characteristics at T2 and T3 follow-ups. The proliferation assay showed a statistical significance between the different experimental materials and the negative control in T2 and T3 follow-ups. The post hoc analysis did not reveal any differences between the materials. In conclusion, the grafts obtained with the low-temperature extractions protocol and not exposed to NaOH solution showed positive morphological reactions with no differences in the sizes of particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Cells with Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine 2.0)
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Article
The Benefits of Fibrinolysis Combined with Venous Systemic Oxygen Persufflation (VSOP) in a Rat Model of Donation after Circulatory Death and Orthotopic Liver Transplantation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5272; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095272 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 386
Abstract
Organ shortage has led to the increasing utilization of livers retrieved from donors after circulatory death (DCD). These pre-damaged organs are susceptible to further warm ischemia and exhibit minimal tolerance for cold storage. The aim was thus to examine the effects of fibrinolysis [...] Read more.
Organ shortage has led to the increasing utilization of livers retrieved from donors after circulatory death (DCD). These pre-damaged organs are susceptible to further warm ischemia and exhibit minimal tolerance for cold storage. The aim was thus to examine the effects of fibrinolysis combined with Venous Systemic Oxygen Persufflation (VSOP) on the preservation of DCD livers in vivo. Livers of male Lewis rats were explanted after 45 min of warm ischemia, cold-stored for 18 h, and transplanted into a recipient animal. Livers were left untreated or underwent either VSOP or fibrinolysis via Streptokinase (SK) or received combined SK and VSOP. Combined treatment exhibited improved microvascular flow at 168 h (p = 0.0009) and elevated microperfusion velocity at 24 h post-transplantation (p = 0.0007). Combination treatment demonstrated increased portal venous flow (PVF) at 3 and 24 h post-transplantation (p = 0.0004, p < 0.0001), although SK and VSOP analogously achieved increases at 24 h (p = 0.0036, p = 0.0051). Enzyme release was decreased for combination treatment (p = 0.0002, p = 0.0223) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) measurements were lower at 24 h post-transplantation (p = 0.0287). Further supporting findings have been obtained in terms of serum cytokine levels and in the alterations of endothelial injury markers. The combination treatment of SK + VSOP might provide improved organ integrity and viability and may therefore warrant further investigation as a potential therapeutic approach in the clinical setting of DCD. Full article
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Review
Dormancy in Breast Cancer, the Role of Autophagy, lncRNAs, miRNAs and Exosomes
by and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5271; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095271 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 631
Abstract
Breast cancer (BC) is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women for which numerous diagnostic and therapeutic options have been developed. Namely, the targeted treatment of BC, for the most part, relies on the expression of growth factors and hormone receptors by these [...] Read more.
Breast cancer (BC) is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women for which numerous diagnostic and therapeutic options have been developed. Namely, the targeted treatment of BC, for the most part, relies on the expression of growth factors and hormone receptors by these cancer cells. Despite this, close to 30% of BC patients may experience relapse due to the presence of minimal residual disease (MRD) consisting of surviving disseminated tumour cells (DTCs) from the primary tumour which can colonise a secondary site. This can lead to either detectable metastasis or DTCs entering a dormant state for a prolonged period where they are undetectable. In the latter, cells can re-emerge from their dormant state due to intrinsic and microenvironmental cues leading to relapse and metastatic outgrowth. Pre- and clinical studies propose that targeting dormant DTCs may inhibit metastasis, but the choice between keeping them dormant or forcing their “awakening” is still controversial. This review will focus on cancer cells’ microenvironmental cues and metabolic and molecular properties, which lead to dormancy, relapse, and metastatic latency in BC. Furthermore, we will focus on the role of autophagy, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), miRNAs, and exosomes in influencing the induction of dormancy and awakening of dormant BC cells. In addition, we have analysed BC treatment from a viewpoint of autophagy, lncRNAs, miRNAs, and exosomes. We propose the targeted modulation of these processes and molecules as modern aspects of precision medicine for BC treatment, improving both novel and traditional BC treatment options. Understanding these pathways and processes may ultimately improve BC patient prognosis, patient survival, and treatment response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breast Cancer, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Therapeutic Approaches)
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Article
Activation of Free Fatty Acid Receptor 4 (FFA4) Ameliorates Ovalbumin-Induced Allergic Asthma by Suppressing Activation of Dendritic and Mast Cells in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5270; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095270 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Epidemiological and clinical studies have suggested that intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) reduces the incidence of allergic airway diseases and improves pulmonary function in patients with allergic asthma. However, the pharmacological targets of PUFA have not been elucidated upon. We investigated [...] Read more.
Epidemiological and clinical studies have suggested that intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) reduces the incidence of allergic airway diseases and improves pulmonary function in patients with allergic asthma. However, the pharmacological targets of PUFA have not been elucidated upon. We investigated whether free fatty acid receptor 4 (FFA4, also known as GPR120) is a molecular target for beneficial PUFA in asthma therapy. In an ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic asthma model, compound A (a selective agonist of FFA4) was administrated before OVA sensitization or OVA challenge in FFA4 wild-type (WT) and knock-out (KO) mice. Compound A treatment of RBL-2H3 cells suppressed mast cell degranulation in vitro in a concentration-dependent manner. Administration of compound A suppressed in vivo allergic characteristics in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lungs, such as inflammatory cytokine levels and eosinophil accumulation in BALF, inflammation and mucin secretion in the lungs. Compound A-induced suppression was not only observed in mice treated with compound A before OVA challenge, but in mice treated before OVA sensitization as well, implying that compound A acts on mast cells as well as dendritic cells. Furthermore, this suppression by compound A was only observed in FFA4-WT mice and was absent in FFA4-KO mice, implying that compound A action is mediated through FFA4. Activation of FFA4 may be a therapeutic target of PUFA in allergic asthma by suppressing the activation of dendritic cells and mast cells, suggesting that highly potent specific agonists of FFA4 could be a novel therapy for allergic asthma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Pharmacology of Fatty Acids and Fatty Acid Derivatives)
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Article
Exploiting the Metabolic Consequences of PTEN Loss and Akt/Hexokinase 2 Hyperactivation in Prostate Cancer: A New Role for δ-Tocotrienol
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5269; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095269 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 1868
Abstract
The Warburg effect is commonly recognized as a hallmark of nearly all tumors. In prostate cancer (PCa), it has been shown to be driven by PTEN loss- and Akt hyperactivation-associated upregulation of hexokinase 2 (HK2). δ-Tocotrienol (δ-TT) is an extensively studied antitumor compound; [...] Read more.
The Warburg effect is commonly recognized as a hallmark of nearly all tumors. In prostate cancer (PCa), it has been shown to be driven by PTEN loss- and Akt hyperactivation-associated upregulation of hexokinase 2 (HK2). δ-Tocotrienol (δ-TT) is an extensively studied antitumor compound; however, its role in affecting PCa glycolysis is still unclear. Herein, we demonstrated that δ-TT inhibits glucose uptake and lactate production in PTEN-deficient LNCaP and PC3 PCa cells, by specifically decreasing HK2 expression. Notably, this was accompanied by the inhibition of the Akt pathway. Moreover, the nutraceutical could synergize with the well-known hypoglycemic agent metformin in inducing PCa cell death, highlighting the crucial role of the above metabolic phenotype in δ-TT-mediated cytotoxicity. Collectively, these results unravel novel inhibitory effects of δ-TT on glycolytic reprogramming in PCa, thus providing new perspectives into the mechanisms of its antitumor activity and into its use in combination therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Oncology)
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Article
Dimerization Tendency of 3CLpros of Human Coronaviruses Based on the X-ray Crystal Structure of the Catalytic Domain of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5268; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095268 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 396
Abstract
3CLpro of SARS-CoV-2 is a promising target for developing anti-COVID19 agents. In order to evaluate the catalytic activity of 3CLpros according to the presence or absence of the dimerization domain, two forms had been purified and tested. Enzyme kinetic studies with a FRET [...] Read more.
3CLpro of SARS-CoV-2 is a promising target for developing anti-COVID19 agents. In order to evaluate the catalytic activity of 3CLpros according to the presence or absence of the dimerization domain, two forms had been purified and tested. Enzyme kinetic studies with a FRET method revealed that the catalytic domain alone presents enzymatic activity, despite it being approximately 8.6 times less than that in the full domain. The catalytic domain was crystallized and its X-ray crystal structure has been determined to 2.3 Å resolution. There are four protomers in the asymmetric unit. Intriguingly, they were packed as a dimer though the dimerization domain was absent. The RMSD of superimposed two catalytic domains was 0.190 for 182 Cα atoms. A part of the long hinge loop (LH-loop) from Gln189 to Asp197 was not built in the model due to its flexibility. The crystal structure indicates that the decreased proteolytic activity of the catalytic domain was due to the incomplete construction of the substrate binding part built by the LH-loop. A structural survey with other 3CLpros showed that SARS-CoV families do not have interactions between DM-loop due to the conformational difference at the last turn of helix α7 compared with others. Therefore, we can conclude that the monomeric form contains nascent enzyme activity and that its efficiency increases by dimerization. This new insight may contribute to understanding the behavior of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and thus be useful in developing anti-COVID-19 agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biophysics)
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Article
Visualization of the Crossroads between a Nascent Infection Thread and the First Cell Division Event in Phaseolus vulgaris Nodulation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5267; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095267 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 484
Abstract
The development of a symbiotic nitrogen-fixing nodule in legumes involves infection and organogenesis. Infection begins when rhizobia enter a root hair through an inward structure, the infection thread (IT), which guides the bacteria towards the cortical tissue. Concurrently, organogenesis takes place by inducing [...] Read more.
The development of a symbiotic nitrogen-fixing nodule in legumes involves infection and organogenesis. Infection begins when rhizobia enter a root hair through an inward structure, the infection thread (IT), which guides the bacteria towards the cortical tissue. Concurrently, organogenesis takes place by inducing cortical cell division (CCD) at the infection site. Genetic analysis showed that both events are well-coordinated; however, the dynamics connecting them remain to be elucidated. To visualize the crossroads between IT and CCD, we benefited from the fact that, in Phaseolus vulgaris nodulation, where the first division occurs in subepidermal cortical cells located underneath the infection site, we traced a Rhizobium etli strain expressing DsRed, the plant cytokinesis marker YFP-PvKNOLLE, a nuclear stain and cell wall auto-fluorescence. We found that the IT exits the root hair to penetrate an underlying subepidermal cortical (S-E) cell when it is concluding cytokinesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Review
Bilayer Forming Phospholipids as Targets for Cancer Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5266; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095266 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 498
Abstract
Phospholipids represent a crucial component for the structure of cell membranes. Phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine are two phospholipids that comprise the majority of cell membranes. De novo biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine occurs via the Kennedy pathway, and perturbations in the regulation of this [...] Read more.
Phospholipids represent a crucial component for the structure of cell membranes. Phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine are two phospholipids that comprise the majority of cell membranes. De novo biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine occurs via the Kennedy pathway, and perturbations in the regulation of this pathway are linked to a variety of human diseases, including cancer. Altered phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine membrane content, phospholipid metabolite levels, and fatty acid profiles are frequently identified as hallmarks of cancer development and progression. This review summarizes the research on how phospholipid metabolism changes over oncogenic transformation, and how phospholipid profiling can differentiate between human cancer and healthy tissues, with a focus on colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer. The potential for phospholipids to serve as biomarkers for diagnostics, or as anticancer therapy targets, is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Biological Molecules for Cancer Treatments)
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Article
Hedgehog Signaling Pathway Orchestrates Human Lung Branching Morphogenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5265; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095265 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 467
Abstract
The Hedgehog (HH) signaling pathway plays an essential role in mouse lung development. We hypothesize that the HH pathway is necessary for branching during human lung development and is impaired in pulmonary hypoplasia. Single-cell, bulk RNA-sequencing data, and human fetal lung tissues were [...] Read more.
The Hedgehog (HH) signaling pathway plays an essential role in mouse lung development. We hypothesize that the HH pathway is necessary for branching during human lung development and is impaired in pulmonary hypoplasia. Single-cell, bulk RNA-sequencing data, and human fetal lung tissues were analyzed to determine the spatiotemporal localization of HH pathway actors. Distal human lung segments were cultured in an air-liquid interface and treated with an SHH inhibitor (5E1) to determine the effect of HH inhibition on human lung branching, epithelial-mesenchymal markers, and associated signaling pathways in vitro. Our results showed an early and regulated expression of HH pathway components during human lung development. Inhibiting HH signaling caused a reduction in branching during development and dysregulated epithelial (SOX2, SOX9) and mesenchymal (ACTA2) progenitor markers. FGF and Wnt pathways were also disrupted upon HH inhibition. Finally, we demonstrated that HH signaling elements were downregulated in lung tissues of patients with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). In this study, we show for the first time that HH signaling inhibition alters important genes and proteins required for proper branching of the human developing lung. Understanding the role of the HH pathway on human lung development could lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for childhood pulmonary diseases. Full article
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Article
Sugar Transporters in Plasmodiophora brassicae: Genome-Wide Identification and Functional Verification
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5264; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095264 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 377
Abstract
Plasmodiophora brassicae, an obligate intracellular pathogen, can hijack the host’s carbohydrates for survival. When the host plant is infected by P. brassicae, a large amount of soluble sugar accumulates in the roots, especially glucose, which probably facilitates the development of this [...] Read more.
Plasmodiophora brassicae, an obligate intracellular pathogen, can hijack the host’s carbohydrates for survival. When the host plant is infected by P. brassicae, a large amount of soluble sugar accumulates in the roots, especially glucose, which probably facilitates the development of this pathogen. Although a complete glycolytic and tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle existed in P. brassicae, very little information about the hexose transport system has been reported. In this study, we screened 17 putative sugar transporters based on information about their typical domains. The structure of these transporters showed a lot of variation compared with that of other organisms, especially the number of transmembrane helices (TMHs). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that these sugar transporters were far from the evolutionary relationship of other organisms and were unique in P. brassicae. The hexose transport activity assay indicated that eight transporters transported glucose or fructose and could restore the growth of yeast strain EBY.VW4000, which was deficient in hexose transport. The expression level of these glucose transporters was significantly upregulated at the late inoculation time when resting spores and galls were developing and a large amount of energy was needed. Our study provides new insights into the mechanism of P. brassicae survival in host cells by hijacking and utilizing the carbohydrates of the host. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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Communication
Ablation of Tmcc2 Gene Impairs Erythropoiesis in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5263; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095263 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 468
Abstract
(1) Background: Transcriptomic and proteomic studies provide a wealth of new genes potentially involved in red blood cell (RBC) maturation or implicated in the pathogenesis of anemias, necessitating validation of candidate genes in vivo; (2) Methods: We inactivated one such candidate, transmembrane and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Transcriptomic and proteomic studies provide a wealth of new genes potentially involved in red blood cell (RBC) maturation or implicated in the pathogenesis of anemias, necessitating validation of candidate genes in vivo; (2) Methods: We inactivated one such candidate, transmembrane and coiled-coil domain 2 (Tmcc2) in mice, and analyzed the erythropoietic phenotype by light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and flow cytometry of erythrocytes and erythroid precursors; (3) Results: Tmcc2−/− pups presented pallor and reduced body weight due to the profound neonatal macrocytic anemia with numerous nucleated RBCs (nRBCs) and occasional multinucleated RBCs. Tmcc2−/− nRBCs had cytoplasmic intrusions into the nucleus and double membranes. Significantly fewer erythroid cells were enucleated. Adult knockouts were normocytic, mildly polycythemic, with active extramedullary erythropoiesis in the spleen. Altered relative content of different stage CD71+TER119+ erythroid precursors in the bone marrow indicated a severe defect of erythroid maturation at the polychromatic to orthochromatic transition stage; (4) Conclusions: Tmcc2 is required for normal erythropoiesis in mice. While several phenotypic features resemble congenital dyserythropoietic anemias (CDA) types II, III, and IV, the involvement of TMCC2 in the pathogenesis of CDA in humans remains to be determined. Full article
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Editorial
The Role of Fibrinolytic System in Health and Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5262; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095262 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 459
Abstract
The fibrinolytic system is composed of the protease plasmin, its precursor plasminogen and their respective activators, tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), counteracted by their inhibitors, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 (PAI-2), protein C [...] Read more.
The fibrinolytic system is composed of the protease plasmin, its precursor plasminogen and their respective activators, tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), counteracted by their inhibitors, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 (PAI-2), protein C inhibitor (PCI), thrombin activable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI), protease nexin 1 (PN-1) and neuroserpin. The action of plasmin is counteracted by α2-antiplasmin, α2-macroglobulin, TAFI, and other serine protease inhibitors (antithrombin and α2-antitrypsin) and PN-1 (protease nexin 1). These components are essential regulators of many physiologic processes. They are also involved in the pathogenesis of many disorders. Recent advancements in our understanding of these processes enable the opportunity of drug development in treating many of these disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Fibrinolytic System in Health and Disease)
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Article
Disulfiram Exerts Antifibrotic and Anti-Inflammatory Therapeutic Effects on Perimysial Orbital Fibroblasts in Graves’ Orbitopathy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5261; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095261 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 724
Abstract
Fibrosis of extraocular muscles (EOMs) is a marker of end-stage in Graves’ orbitopathy (GO). To determine the antifibrotic and anti-inflammatory therapeutic effects and the underlying molecular mechanisms of disulfiram (DSF) on perimysial orbital fibroblasts (pOFs) in a GO model in vitro, primary cultures [...] Read more.
Fibrosis of extraocular muscles (EOMs) is a marker of end-stage in Graves’ orbitopathy (GO). To determine the antifibrotic and anti-inflammatory therapeutic effects and the underlying molecular mechanisms of disulfiram (DSF) on perimysial orbital fibroblasts (pOFs) in a GO model in vitro, primary cultures of pOFs from eight patients with GO and six subjects without GO (NG) were established. CCK-8 and EdU assays, IF, qPCR, WB, three-dimensional collagen gel contraction assays, cell scratch experiments, and ELISAs were performed. After TGF-β1 stimulation of pOFs, the proliferation rate of the GO group but not the NG group increased significantly. DSF dose-dependently inhibited the proliferation, contraction, and migration of pOFs in the GO group. Additionally, DSF dose-dependently inhibited fibrosis and extracellular matrix production markers (FN1, COL1A1, α-SMA, CTGF) at the mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, DSF mediates antifibrotic effects on GO pOFs partially through the ERK-Snail signaling pathway. In addition, DSF attenuated HA production and suppressed inflammatory chemokine molecule expression induced by TGF-β1 in GO pOFs. In this in vitro study, we demonstrate the inhibitory effect of DSF on pOFs fibrosis in GO, HA production, and inflammation. DSF may be a potential drug candidate for preventing and treating tissue fibrosis in GO. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism)
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Article
Fluorescence Lifetime Phasor Analysis of the Decamer–Dimer Equilibrium of Human Peroxiredoxin 1
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5260; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23095260 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 2051
Abstract
Protein self-assembly is a common feature in biology and is often required for a myriad of fundamental processes, such as enzyme activity, signal transduction, and transport of solutes across membranes, among others. There are several techniques to find and assess homo-oligomer formation in [...] Read more.
Protein self-assembly is a common feature in biology and is often required for a myriad of fundamental processes, such as enzyme activity, signal transduction, and transport of solutes across membranes, among others. There are several techniques to find and assess homo-oligomer formation in proteins. Naturally, all these methods have their limitations, meaning that at least two or more different approaches are needed to characterize a case study. Herein, we present a new method to study protein associations using intrinsic fluorescence lifetime with phasors. In this case, the method is applied to determine the equilibrium dissociation constant (KD) of human peroxiredoxin 1 (hPrx1), an efficient cysteine-dependent peroxidase, that has a quaternary structure comprised of five head-to-tail homodimers non-covalently arranged in a decamer. The hPrx1 oligomeric state not only affects its activity but also its association with other proteins. The excited state lifetime of hPrx1 has distinct values at high and low concentrations, suggesting the presence of two different species. Phasor analysis of hPrx1 emission lifetime allowed for the identification and quantification of hPrx1 decamers, dimers, and their mixture at diverse protein concentrations. Using phasor algebra, we calculated the fraction of hPrx1 decamers at different concentrations and obtained KD (1.1 × 10−24 M4) and C0.5 (1.36 μM) values for the decamer–dimer equilibrium. The results were validated and compared with size exclusion chromatography. In addition, spectral phasors provided similar results despite the small differences in emission spectra as a function of hPrx1 concentration. The phasor approach was shown to be a highly sensitive and quantitative method to assess protein oligomerization and an attractive addition to the biophysicist’s toolkit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Fluorescence Methodologies: Focus on Molecular Research)
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