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Cells, Volume 10, Issue 1 (January 2021) – 194 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The role of extracellular vesicles (EV) in I/R settings remains controversial. This is particularly true for EV released by endothelial cells (EC) at the site of inflammation. Herein, the impact and the potential mechanisms of action of naïve EC-derived EV (eEV) and eEV released in response to interleukin-3 (IL-3) (eEV-IL-3) were explored in an I/R setting. We demonstrated that eEV, unlike eEV-IL-3, displays cardioprotective properties by activating the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK1/2)/eNOS/guanylyl-cyclase (GC) pathways and by boosting antiapoptotic signals involving the B-cell-lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) protein. Overall, our study demonstrated that the inflammatory cytokine IL-3 changes the eEV protein cargo and hampers eEV-mediated cardioprotection by transferring caveolin 1, as well as inflammatory and apoptosis cues. The role of extracellular vesicles (EV) in I/R settings [...] Read more.
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Open AccessEditorial
Advances in Plant Autophagy
Cells 2021, 10(1), 194; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010194 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 523
Abstract
Ubiquitin–proteasome and lysosome–autophagy are the two main cellular degradation systems controlling cellular homeostasis in eukaryotes [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Plant Autophagy)
Open AccessReview
New Prognostic Biomarkers in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
Cells 2021, 10(1), 193; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010193 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 585
Abstract
Prostate cancer is one of the most frequent cancers in men and is a common cause of cancer-related death. Despite significant progress in the diagnosis and treatment of this tumor, patients who relapse after radical treatments inevitably develop metastatic disease. Patient stratification is [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer is one of the most frequent cancers in men and is a common cause of cancer-related death. Despite significant progress in the diagnosis and treatment of this tumor, patients who relapse after radical treatments inevitably develop metastatic disease. Patient stratification is therefore key in this type of cancer, and there is an urgent need for prognostic biomarkers that can define patients’ risk of cancer-related death. In the last 10 years, multiple prognostic factors have been identified and studied. Here, we review the literature available and discuss the most common aberrant genomic pathways in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer shown to have a prognostic relevance in this setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Identification of Prognostic Markers in Cancer Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Unlike its Paralog LEDGF/p75, HRP-2 Is Dispensable for MLL-R Leukemogenesis but Important for Leukemic Cell Survival
Cells 2021, 10(1), 192; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010192 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 582
Abstract
HDGF-related protein 2 (HRP-2) is a member of the Hepatoma-Derived Growth Factor-related protein family that harbors the structured PWWP and Integrase Binding Domain, known to associate with methylated histone tails or cellular and viral proteins, respectively. Interestingly, HRP-2 is a paralog of Lens [...] Read more.
HDGF-related protein 2 (HRP-2) is a member of the Hepatoma-Derived Growth Factor-related protein family that harbors the structured PWWP and Integrase Binding Domain, known to associate with methylated histone tails or cellular and viral proteins, respectively. Interestingly, HRP-2 is a paralog of Lens Epithelium Derived Growth Factor p75 (LEDGF/p75), which is essential for MLL-rearranged (MLL-r) leukemia but dispensable for hematopoiesis. Sequel to these findings, we investigated the role of HRP-2 in hematopoiesis and MLL-r leukemia. Protein interactions were investigated by co-immunoprecipitation and validated using recombinant proteins in NMR. A systemic knockout mouse model was used to study normal hematopoiesis and MLL-ENL transformation upon the different HRP-2 genotypes. The role of HRP-2 in MLL-r and other leukemic, human cell lines was evaluated by lentiviral-mediated miRNA targeting HRP-2. We demonstrate that MLL and HRP-2 interact through a conserved interface, although this interaction proved less dependent on menin than the MLL-LEDGF/p75 interaction. The systemic HRP-2 knockout mice only revealed an increase in neutrophils in the peripheral blood, whereas the depletion of HRP-2 in leukemic cell lines and transformed primary murine cells resulted in reduced colony formation independently of MLL-rearrangements. In contrast, primary murine HRP-2 knockout cells were efficiently transformed by the MLL-ENL fusion, indicating that HRP-2, unlike LEDGF/p75, is dispensable for the transformation of MLL-ENL leukemogenesis but important for leukemic cell survival. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Towards a Functional Cure for Diabetes Using Stem Cell-Derived Beta Cells: Are We There Yet?
Cells 2021, 10(1), 191; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010191 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 675
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus is a pandemic metabolic disorder that results from either the autoimmune destruction or the dysfunction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. A promising cure is beta cell replacement through the transplantation of islets of Langerhans. However, donor shortage hinders the widespread implementation [...] Read more.
Diabetes mellitus is a pandemic metabolic disorder that results from either the autoimmune destruction or the dysfunction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. A promising cure is beta cell replacement through the transplantation of islets of Langerhans. However, donor shortage hinders the widespread implementation of this therapy. Human pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, represent an attractive alternative beta cell source for transplantation. Although major advances over the past two decades have led to the generation of stem cell-derived beta-like cells that share many features with genuine beta cells, producing fully mature beta cells remains challenging. Here, we review the current status of beta cell differentiation protocols and highlight specific challenges that are associated with producing mature beta cells. We address the challenges and opportunities that are offered by monogenic forms of diabetes. Finally, we discuss the remaining hurdles for clinical application of stem cell-derived beta cells and the status of ongoing clinical trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pluripotent Stem Cells for Regenerative Medicine)
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Open AccessReview
White Matter Interstitial Neurons in the Adult Human Brain: 3% of Cortical Neurons in Quest for Recognition
Cells 2021, 10(1), 190; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010190 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 429
Abstract
White matter interstitial neurons (WMIN) are a subset of cortical neurons located in the subcortical white matter. Although they were fist described over 150 years ago, they are still largely unexplored and often considered a small, functionally insignificant neuronal population. WMIN are adult [...] Read more.
White matter interstitial neurons (WMIN) are a subset of cortical neurons located in the subcortical white matter. Although they were fist described over 150 years ago, they are still largely unexplored and often considered a small, functionally insignificant neuronal population. WMIN are adult remnants of neurons located in the transient fetal subplate zone (SP). Following development, some of the SP neurons undergo apoptosis, and the remaining neurons are incorporated in the adult white matter as WMIN. In the adult human brain, WMIN are quite a large population of neurons comprising at least 3% of all cortical neurons (between 600 and 1100 million neurons). They include many of the morphological neuronal types that can be found in the overlying cerebral cortex. Furthermore, the phenotypic and molecular diversity of WMIN is similar to that of the overlying cortical neurons, expressing many glutamatergic and GABAergic biomarkers. WMIN are often considered a functionally unimportant subset of neurons. However, upon closer inspection of the scientific literature, it has been shown that WMIN are integrated in the cortical circuitry and that they exhibit diverse electrophysiological properties, send and receive axons from the cortex, and have active synaptic contacts. Based on these data, we are able to enumerate some of the potential WMIN roles, such as the control of the cerebral blood flow, sleep regulation, and the control of information flow through the cerebral cortex. Also, there is a number of studies indicating the involvement of WMIN in the pathophysiology of many brain disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. All of these data indicate that WMIN are a large population with an important function in the adult brain. Further investigation of WMIN could provide us with novel data crucial for an improved elucidation of the pathophysiology of many brain disorders. In this review, we provide an overview of the current WMIN literature, with an emphasis on studies conducted on the human brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Neocortical Circuit Formation)
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Open AccessReview
P2X7 Variants in Oncogenesis
Cells 2021, 10(1), 189; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010189 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 385
Abstract
The P2X7 receptor for extracellular ATP is a well-established mediator of tumoral development and progression both in solid cancers and hematological malignancies. The human P2X7 gene is highly polymorphic, and several splice variants of the receptor have been identified in time. P2X7 single-nucleotide [...] Read more.
The P2X7 receptor for extracellular ATP is a well-established mediator of tumoral development and progression both in solid cancers and hematological malignancies. The human P2X7 gene is highly polymorphic, and several splice variants of the receptor have been identified in time. P2X7 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been broadly analyzed by studies relating them to pathologies as different as infectious, inflammatory, nervous, and bone diseases, among which cancer is included. Moreover, in the last years, an increasing number of reports concentrated on P2X7 splice variants’ different roles and their implications in pathological conditions, including oncogenesis. Here, we give an overview of established and recent literature demonstrating a role for human P2X7 gene products in oncological conditions, mainly focusing on current data emerging on P2X7 isoform B and nfP2X7. We explored the role of these and other genetic variants of P2X7 in cancer insurgence, dissemination, and progression, as well as the effect of chemotherapy on isoforms expression. The described literature strongly suggests that P2X7 variants are potential new biomarkers and therapeutical targets in oncological conditions and that their study in carcinogenesis deserves to be further pursued. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Purine Signaling and Metabolism in Tumors)
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Open AccessReview
Adenine-Based Purines and Related Metabolizing Enzymes: Evidence for Their Impact on Tumor Extracellular Vesicle Activities
Cells 2021, 10(1), 188; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010188 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), mainly classified as small and large EVs according to their size/origin, contribute as multi-signal messengers to intercellular communications in normal/pathological conditions. EVs are now recognized as critical players in cancer processes by promoting transformation, growth, invasion, and drug-resistance of tumor [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), mainly classified as small and large EVs according to their size/origin, contribute as multi-signal messengers to intercellular communications in normal/pathological conditions. EVs are now recognized as critical players in cancer processes by promoting transformation, growth, invasion, and drug-resistance of tumor cells thanks to the release of molecules contained inside them (i.e., nucleic acids, lipids and proteins) into the tumor microenvironment (TME). Interestingly, secretion from donor cells and/or uptake of EVs/their content by recipient cells are regulated by extracellular signals present in TME. Among those able to modulate the EV-tumor crosstalk, purines, mainly the adenine-based ones, could be included. Indeed, TME is characterized by high levels of ATP/adenosine and by the presence of enzymes deputed to their turnover. Moreover, ATP/adenosine, interacting with their own receptors, can affect both host and tumor responses. However, studies on whether/how the purinergic system behaves as a modulator of EV biogenesis, release and functions in cancer are still poor. Thus, this review is aimed at collecting data so far obtained to stimulate further research in this regard. Hopefully, new findings on the impact of adenine purines/related enzymes on EV functions may be exploited in tumor management uncovering novel tumor biomarkers and/or druggable targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Purine Signaling and Metabolism in Tumors)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
mRNA-Enhanced Cell Therapy and Cardiovascular Regeneration
Cells 2021, 10(1), 187; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010187 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 699
Abstract
mRNA has emerged as an important biomolecule in the global call for the development of therapies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Synthetic in vitro-transcribed (IVT) mRNA can be engineered to mimic naturally occurring mRNA and can be used as a tool to target “undruggable” [...] Read more.
mRNA has emerged as an important biomolecule in the global call for the development of therapies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Synthetic in vitro-transcribed (IVT) mRNA can be engineered to mimic naturally occurring mRNA and can be used as a tool to target “undruggable” diseases. Recent advancement in the field of RNA therapeutics have addressed the challenges inherent to this drug molecule and this approach is now being applied to several therapeutic modalities, from cancer immunotherapy to vaccine development. In this review, we discussed the use of mRNA for stem cell generation or enhancement for the purpose of cardiovascular regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stem Cell-Immune Function and Cardiac Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
ICU Admission Levels of Endothelial Biomarkers as Predictors of Mortality in Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients
Cells 2021, 10(1), 186; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010186 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 481
Abstract
Endotheliopathy is suggested to be an important feature of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. To determine whether endotheliopathy is involved in COVID-19-associated mortality, markers of endothelial damage were assessed in critically ill COVID-19 patients upon intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Thirty-eight critically ill COVID-19 [...] Read more.
Endotheliopathy is suggested to be an important feature of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. To determine whether endotheliopathy is involved in COVID-19-associated mortality, markers of endothelial damage were assessed in critically ill COVID-19 patients upon intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Thirty-eight critically ill COVID-19 patients were included in this observational study, 10 of whom died in the ICU. Endothelial biomarkers, including soluble (s)E-selectin, sP-selectin, angiopoietin 1 and 2 (Ang-1 and Ang-2, respectively), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), soluble vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin, and von Willebrand factor (vWf), were measured upon ICU admission. The ICU cohort was subsequently divided into survivors and non-survivors; Kaplan–Meier analysis was used to explore associations between biomarkers and survival, while receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated to determine their potential prognostic value. sE-selectin, sP-selectin, Ang-2, and sICAM-1 were significantly elevated in ICU non-survivors compared to survivors, and also associated with a higher mortality probability in the Kaplan–Meier analysis. The prognostic values of sE-selectin, Ang-2, and sICAM-1 from the generated ROC curves were greater than 0.85. Hence, we conclude that in our cohort, ICU non-survivors had higher levels of specific endothelial markers compared to survivors. Elevated levels of these markers upon ICU admission could possibly predict mortality in COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Endothelial Cell in Lung Inflammation)
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Open AccessArticle
Beneficial Effects of Akkermansia muciniphila Are Not Associated with Major Changes in the Circulating Endocannabinoidome but Linked to Higher Mono-Palmitoyl-Glycerol Levels as New PPARα Agonists
Cells 2021, 10(1), 185; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010185 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1100
Abstract
Akkermansia muciniphila is considered as one of the next-generation beneficial bacteria in the context of obesity and associated metabolic disorders. Although a first proof-of-concept of its beneficial effects has been established in the context of metabolic syndrome in humans, mechanisms are not yet [...] Read more.
Akkermansia muciniphila is considered as one of the next-generation beneficial bacteria in the context of obesity and associated metabolic disorders. Although a first proof-of-concept of its beneficial effects has been established in the context of metabolic syndrome in humans, mechanisms are not yet fully understood. This study aimed at deciphering whether the bacterium exerts its beneficial properties through the modulation of the endocannabinoidome (eCBome). Circulating levels of 25 endogenous endocannabinoid-related lipids were quantified by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in the plasma of overweight or obese individuals before and after a 3 months intervention consisting of the daily ingestion of either alive or pasteurized A. muciniphila. Results from multivariate analyses suggested that the beneficial effects of A. muciniphila were not linked to an overall modification of the eCBome. However, subsequent univariate analysis showed that the decrease in 1-Palmitoyl-glycerol (1-PG) and 2-Palmitoyl-glycerol (2-PG), two eCBome lipids, observed in the placebo group was significantly counteracted by the alive bacterium, and to a lower extent by the pasteurized form. We also discovered that 1- and 2-PG are endogenous activators of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα). We hypothesize that PPARα activation by mono-palmitoyl-glycerols may underlie part of the beneficial metabolic effects induced by A. muciniphila in human metabolic syndrome. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Hippo Signaling Pathway in Gliomas
Cells 2021, 10(1), 184; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010184 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
The Hippo signaling pathway is a highly conserved pathway involved in tissue development and regeneration that controls organ size through the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. The core Hippo pathway is composed of a block of kinases, MST1/2 (Mammalian STE20-like protein kinase [...] Read more.
The Hippo signaling pathway is a highly conserved pathway involved in tissue development and regeneration that controls organ size through the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. The core Hippo pathway is composed of a block of kinases, MST1/2 (Mammalian STE20-like protein kinase 1/2) and LATS1/2 (Large tumor suppressor 1/2), which inhibits nuclear translocation of YAP/TAZ (Yes-Associated Protein 1/Transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif) and its downstream association with the TEAD (TEA domain) family of transcription factors. This pathway was recently shown to be involved in tumorigenesis and metastasis in several cancers such as lung, breast, or colorectal cancers but is still poorly investigated in brain tumors. Gliomas are the most common and the most lethal primary brain tumors representing about 80% of malignant central nervous system neoplasms. Despite intensive clinical protocol, the prognosis for patients remains very poor due to systematic relapse and treatment failure. Growing evidence demonstrating the role of Hippo signaling in cancer biology and the lack of efficient treatments for malignant gliomas support the idea that this pathway could represent a potential target paving the way for alternative therapeutics. Based on recent advances in the Hippo pathway deciphering, the main goal of this review is to highlight the role of this pathway in gliomas by a state-of-the-art synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Cancers: Glioblastoma)
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Open AccessCommentary
Putting Cells in Motion: Advantages of Endogenous Boosting of BDNF Production
Cells 2021, 10(1), 183; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010183 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 598
Abstract
Motor exercise, such as sport or musical activities, helps with a plethora of diseases by modulating brain functions in neocortical and subcortical regions, resulting in behavioural changes related to mood regulation, well-being, memory, and even cognitive preservation in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Although [...] Read more.
Motor exercise, such as sport or musical activities, helps with a plethora of diseases by modulating brain functions in neocortical and subcortical regions, resulting in behavioural changes related to mood regulation, well-being, memory, and even cognitive preservation in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Although evidence is accumulating on the systemic neural mechanisms mediating these brain effects, the specific mechanisms by which exercise acts upon the cellular level are still under investigation. This is particularly the case for music training, a much less studied instance of motor exercise than sport. With regards to sport, consistent neurobiological research has focused on the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an essential player in the central nervous system. BDNF stimulates the growth and differentiation of neurons and synapses. It thrives in the hippocampus, the cortex, and the basal forebrain, which are the areas vital for memory, learning, and higher cognitive functions. Animal models and neurocognitive experiments on human athletes converge in demonstrating that physical exercise reliably boosts BDNF levels. In this review, we highlight comparable early findings obtained with animal models and elderly humans exposed to musical stimulation, showing how perceptual exposure to music might affect BDNF release, similar to what has been observed for sport. We subsequently propose a novel hypothesis that relates the neuroplastic changes in the human brains after musical training to genetically- and exercise-driven BDNF levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotrophic Factors in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Cytosolic 5′-Nucleotidase II Is a Sensor of Energy Charge and Oxidative Stress: A Possible Function as Metabolic Regulator
Cells 2021, 10(1), 182; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010182 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 374
Abstract
Cytosolic 5′-nucleotidase II (NT5C2) is a highly regulated enzyme involved in the maintenance of intracellular purine and the pyrimidine compound pool. It dephosphorylates mainly IMP and GMP but is also active on AMP. This enzyme is highly expressed in tumors, and its activity [...] Read more.
Cytosolic 5′-nucleotidase II (NT5C2) is a highly regulated enzyme involved in the maintenance of intracellular purine and the pyrimidine compound pool. It dephosphorylates mainly IMP and GMP but is also active on AMP. This enzyme is highly expressed in tumors, and its activity correlates with a high rate of proliferation. In this paper, we show that the recombinant purified NT5C2, in the presence of a physiological concentration of the inhibitor inorganic phosphate, is very sensitive to changes in the adenylate energy charge, especially from 0.4 to 0.9. The enzyme appears to be very sensitive to pro-oxidant conditions; in this regard, the possible involvement of a disulphide bridge (C175-C547) was investigated by using a C547A mutant NT5C2. Two cultured cell models were used to further assess the sensitivity of the enzyme to oxidative stress conditions. NT5C2, differently from other enzyme activities, was inactivated and not rescued by dithiothreitol in a astrocytoma cell line (ADF) incubated with hydrogen peroxide. The incubation of a human lung carcinoma cell line (A549) with 2-deoxyglucose lowered the cell energy charge and impaired the interaction of NT5C2 with the ice protease-activating factor (IPAF), a protein involved in innate immunity and inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Purine Signaling and Metabolism in Tumors)
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Open AccessArticle
Contribution of the CK2 Catalytic Isoforms α and α’ to the Glycolytic Phenotype of Tumor Cells
Cells 2021, 10(1), 181; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010181 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 408
Abstract
CK2 is a Ser/Thr protein kinase overexpressed in many cancers. It is usually present in cells as a tetrameric enzyme, composed of two catalytic (α or α’) and two regulatory (β) subunits, but it is active also in its monomeric form, and the [...] Read more.
CK2 is a Ser/Thr protein kinase overexpressed in many cancers. It is usually present in cells as a tetrameric enzyme, composed of two catalytic (α or α’) and two regulatory (β) subunits, but it is active also in its monomeric form, and the specific role of the different isoforms is largely unknown. CK2 phosphorylates several substrates related to the uncontrolled proliferation, motility, and survival of cancer cells. As a consequence, tumor cells are addicted to CK2, relying on its activity more than healthy cells for their life, and exploiting it for developing multiple oncological hallmarks. However, little is known about CK2 contribution to the metabolic rewiring of cancer cells. With this study we aimed at shedding some light on it, especially focusing on the CK2 role in the glycolytic onco-phenotype. By analyzing neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma cell lines depleted of either one (α) or the other (α’) CK2 catalytic subunit, we also aimed at disclosing possible pro-tumor functions which are specific of a CK2 isoform. Our results suggest that both CK2 α and α’ contribute to cell proliferation, survival and tumorigenicity. The analyzed metabolic features disclosed a role of CK2 in tumor metabolism, and suggest prominent functions for CK2 α isoform. Results were also confirmed by CK2 pharmacological inhibition. Overall, our study provides new information on the mechanism of cancer cells addiction to CK2 and on its isoform-specific functions, with fundamental implications for improving future therapeutic strategies based on CK2 targeting. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Importance of Stromal Endometriosis in Thoracic Endometriosis
Cells 2021, 10(1), 180; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010180 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 853
Abstract
Thoracic endometriosis (TE) is a rare type of endometriosis, where endometrial tissue is found in or around the lungs and is frequent among extra-pelvic endometriosis patients. Catamenial pneumothorax (CP) is the most common form of TE and is characterized by recurrent lung collapses [...] Read more.
Thoracic endometriosis (TE) is a rare type of endometriosis, where endometrial tissue is found in or around the lungs and is frequent among extra-pelvic endometriosis patients. Catamenial pneumothorax (CP) is the most common form of TE and is characterized by recurrent lung collapses around menstruation. In addition to histology, immunohistochemical evaluation of endometrial implants is used more frequently. In this review, we compared immunohistochemical (CPE) with histological (CPH) characterizations of TE/CP and reevaluated arguments in favor of the implantation theory of Sampson. A summary since the first immunohistochemical description in 1998 until 2019 is provided. The emphasis was on classification of endometrial implants into glands, stroma, and both together. The most remarkable finding is the very high percentage of stromal endometriosis of 52.7% (CPE) compared to 10.2% (CPH). Chest pain, dyspnea, right-sided preference, and diaphragmatic endometrial implants showed the highest percentages in both groups. No significant association was found between the recurrence rate and the various appearances of endometriosis. Sometimes in CPE (6.8%) and CPH (30.6%) no endometrial implants were identified underlining the importance of sensitive detection of endometriosis during and after surgery. We suggest that immunohistochemical evaluation should become mandatory and will improve diagnosis and classification of the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Endometriosis)
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Open AccessArticle
A Splice Variant in SLC16A8 Gene Leads to Lactate Transport Deficit in Human iPS Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells
Cells 2021, 10(1), 179; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010179 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 552
Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a blinding disease for which most of the patients remain untreatable. Since the disease affects the macula at the center of the retina, a structure specific to the primate lineage, rodent models to study the pathophysiology of AMD [...] Read more.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a blinding disease for which most of the patients remain untreatable. Since the disease affects the macula at the center of the retina, a structure specific to the primate lineage, rodent models to study the pathophysiology of AMD and to develop therapies are very limited. Consequently, our understanding relies mostly on genetic studies highlighting risk alleles at many loci. We are studying the possible implication of a metabolic imbalance associated with risk alleles within the SLC16A8 gene that encodes for a retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-specific lactate transporter MCT3 and its consequences for vision. As a first approach, we report here the deficit in transepithelial lactate transport of a rare SLC16A8 allele identified during a genome-wide association study. We produced induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from the unique patient in our cohort that carries two copies of this allele. After in vitro differentiation of the iPSCs into RPE cells and their characterization, we demonstrate that the rare allele results in the retention of intron 2 of the SLC16A8 gene leading to the absence of MCT3 protein. We show using a biochemical assay that these cells have a deficit in transepithelial lactate transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Basis of Macular Degenerations)
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Open AccessArticle
SUMO-Activating Enzyme Subunit 1 (SAE1) Is a Promising Diagnostic Cancer Metabolism Biomarker of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Cells 2021, 10(1), 178; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010178 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most diagnosed malignancies and a leading cause of cancer-related mortality globally. This is exacerbated by its highly aggressive phenotype, and limitation in early diagnosis and effective therapies. The SUMO-activating enzyme subunit 1 (SAE1) is a component [...] Read more.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most diagnosed malignancies and a leading cause of cancer-related mortality globally. This is exacerbated by its highly aggressive phenotype, and limitation in early diagnosis and effective therapies. The SUMO-activating enzyme subunit 1 (SAE1) is a component of a heterodimeric small ubiquitin-related modifier that plays a vital role in SUMOylation, a post-translational modification involving in cellular events such as regulation of transcription, cell cycle and apoptosis. Reported overexpression of SAE1 in glioma in a stage-dependent manner suggests it has a probable role in cancer initiation and progression. In this study, hypothesizing that SAE1 is implicated in HCC metastatic phenotype and poor prognosis, we analyzed the expression of SAE1 in several cancer databases and to unravel the underlying molecular mechanism of SAE1-associated hepatocarcinogenesis. Here, we demonstrated that SAE1 is over-expressed in HCC samples compared to normal liver tissue, and this observed SAE1 overexpression is stage and grade-dependent and associated with poor survival. The receiver operating characteristic analysis of SAE1 in TCGA−LIHC patients (n = 421) showed an AUC of 0.925, indicating an excellent diagnostic value of SAE1 in HCC. Our protein-protein interaction analysis for SAE1 showed that SAE1 interacted with and activated oncogenes such as PLK1, CCNB1, CDK4 and CDK1, while simultaneously inhibiting tumor suppressors including PDK4, KLF9, FOXO1 and ALDH2. Immunohistochemical staining and clinicopathological correlate analysis of SAE1 in our TMU-SHH HCC cohort (n = 54) further validated the overexpression of SAE1 in cancerous liver tissues compared with ‘normal’ paracancerous tissue, and high SAE1 expression was strongly correlated with metastasis and disease progression. The oncogenic effect of upregulated SAE1 is associated with dysregulated cancer metabolic signaling. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that SAE1 is a targetable cancer metabolic biomarker with high potential diagnostic and prognostic implications for patients with HCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting Tumour Metabolism for Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Autophagy Involvement in the Postnatal Development of the Rat Retina
Cells 2021, 10(1), 177; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010177 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
During retinal development, a physiologic hypoxia stimulates endothelial cell proliferation. The hypoxic milieu warrants retina vascularization and promotes the activation of several mechanisms aimed to ensure homeostasis and energy balance of both endothelial and retinal cells. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic system [...] Read more.
During retinal development, a physiologic hypoxia stimulates endothelial cell proliferation. The hypoxic milieu warrants retina vascularization and promotes the activation of several mechanisms aimed to ensure homeostasis and energy balance of both endothelial and retinal cells. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic system that contributes to cellular adaptation to a variety of environmental changes and stresses. In association with the physiologic hypoxia, autophagy plays a crucial role during development. Autophagy expression profile was evaluated in the developing retina from birth to post-natal day 18 of rat pups, using qPCR, western blotting and immunostaining methodologies. The rat post-partum developing retina displayed increased active autophagy during the first postnatal days, correlating to the hypoxic phase. In latter stages of development, rat retinal autophagy decreases, reaching a normalization between post-natal days 14-18, when the retina is fully vascularized and mature. Collectively, the present study elaborates on the link between hypoxia and autophagy, and contributes to further elucidate the role of autophagy during retinal development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Circular RNA circMYL1 Inhibit Proliferation and Promote Differentiation of Myoblasts by Sponging miR-2400
Cells 2021, 10(1), 176; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010176 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 387
Abstract
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of endogenous non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) involved in regulating skeletal muscle development by sponging miRNAs. In this study, we found that the circMYL1 expression was down-regulated during myoblast proliferation, while gradually up-regulated in myoblast differentiation. The potential role [...] Read more.
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of endogenous non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) involved in regulating skeletal muscle development by sponging miRNAs. In this study, we found that the circMYL1 expression was down-regulated during myoblast proliferation, while gradually up-regulated in myoblast differentiation. The potential role of circMYL1 was identified in the proliferation of bovine myoblast through mRNA and protein expression of proliferation marker genes (PCNA, CyclinD1, and CDK2), cell counting kit-8 assay, flow cytometry analysis, and 5-ethynyl 2′-deoxyuridine (EdU) assay. Analysis of the expression of differentiation marker genes (MyoD, MyoG, and MYH2) and immunofluorescence of Myosin heavy chain (MyHC) was used to assess cell differentiation. The proliferation analysis revealed that circMYL1 inhibited the proliferation of bovine primary myoblast. Furthermore, the differentiation analysis demonstrated that circMYL1 promoted the differentiation of bovine primary myoblast. The luciferase screening and RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) assays found that circMYL1 could have interaction with miR-2400. Additionally, we demonstrated that miR-2400 promoted proliferation and inhibited differentiation of bovine primary myoblast, while circMYL1 may eliminate the effects of miR-2400, as showed by rescue experiments. Together, our results revealed that a novel circular RNA of circMYL1 could inhibit proliferation and promote differentiation of myoblast by sponging miR-2400. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Nuclei: Function, Transport and Receptors)
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Open AccessArticle
Exogenous Fatty Acids Modulate ER Lipid Composition and Metabolism in Breast Cancer Cells
Cells 2021, 10(1), 175; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010175 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 363
Abstract
(1) Background: Lipid metabolism is a fundamental hallmark of all tumors, especially of breast cancer. Few studies describe the different lipid metabolisms and sensitivities to the microenvironment of breast cancer cell subtypes that influence the proliferation, aggressiveness, and success of therapy. This study [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Lipid metabolism is a fundamental hallmark of all tumors, especially of breast cancer. Few studies describe the different lipid metabolisms and sensitivities to the microenvironment of breast cancer cell subtypes that influence the proliferation, aggressiveness, and success of therapy. This study describes the impact of lipid microenvironment on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane and metabolic activity in two breast cancer cell lines with Luminal A and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) features. (2) Methods: We investigated the peculiar lipid phenotype of a TNBC cell line, MDA-MB-231, and a Luminal A cell line, MCF7, and their different sensitivity to exogenous fatty acids (i.e., palmitic acid (PA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)). Moreover, we verified the impact of exogenous fatty acids on ER lipid composition. (3) Results: The data obtained demonstrate that MDA-MB-231 cells are more sensitive to the lipid microenvironment and that both PA and DHA are able to remodel their ER membranes with consequences on resident enzyme activity. On the contrary, MCF7 cells are less sensitive to PA, whereas they incorporate DHA, although less efficiently than MDA-MB-231 cells. (4) Conclusions: This study sustains the importance of lipid metabolism as an innovative hallmark to discriminate breast cancer subclasses and to develop personalized and innovative pharmacological strategies. The different sensitivities to the lipid environment shown by MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells might be related to cell malignancy and chemoresistance onset. In the future, this new approach could lead to a substantial decrease both in deleterious side effects for the patients and in the cost of entire therapeutic treatments coupled with increased therapy efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Impact of HIV- and ART-Induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Cellular Senescence and Aging
Cells 2021, 10(1), 174; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010174 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 498
Abstract
According to the WHO, 38 million individuals were living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 25.4 million of which were using antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the end of 2019. Despite ART-mediated suppression of viral replication, ART is not a cure and is associated with [...] Read more.
According to the WHO, 38 million individuals were living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 25.4 million of which were using antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the end of 2019. Despite ART-mediated suppression of viral replication, ART is not a cure and is associated with viral persistence, residual inflammation, and metabolic disturbances. Indeed, due to the presence of viral reservoirs, lifelong ART therapy is required to control viremia and prevent disease progression into acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Successful ART treatment allows people living with HIV (PLHIV) to achieve a similar life expectancy to uninfected individuals. However, recent studies have illustrated the presence of increased comorbidities, such as accelerated, premature immune aging, in ART-controlled PLHIV compared to uninfected individuals. Studies suggest that both HIV-infection and ART-treatment lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, ultimately resulting in cellular exhaustion, senescence, and apoptosis. Since mitochondria are essential cellular organelles for energy homeostasis and cellular metabolism, their compromise leads to decreased oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), ATP synthesis, gluconeogenesis, and beta-oxidation, abnormal cell homeostasis, increased oxidative stress, depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and upregulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations and cellular apoptosis. The progressive mitochondrial damage induced by HIV-infection and ART-treatment likely contributes to accelerated aging, senescence, and cellular dysfunction in PLHIV. This review discusses the connections between mitochondrial compromise and cellular dysfunction associated with HIV- and ART-induced toxicities, providing new insights into how HIV and current ART directly impact mitochondrial functions and contribute to cellular senescence and aging in PLHIV. Identifying this nexus and potential mechanisms may be beneficial in developing improved therapeutics for treating PLHIV. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Solution NMR Structure of the SH3 Domain of Human Caskin1 Validates the Lack of a Typical Peptide Binding Groove and Supports a Role in Lipid Mediator Binding
Cells 2021, 10(1), 173; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010173 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 302
Abstract
SH3 domains constitute an important class of protein modules involved in a variety of cellular functions. They participate in protein-protein interactions via their canonical ligand binding interfaces composed of several evolutionarily conserved aromatic residues forming binding grooves for typical (PxxP) and atypical (PxxxPR, [...] Read more.
SH3 domains constitute an important class of protein modules involved in a variety of cellular functions. They participate in protein-protein interactions via their canonical ligand binding interfaces composed of several evolutionarily conserved aromatic residues forming binding grooves for typical (PxxP) and atypical (PxxxPR, RxxK, RKxxY) binding motifs. The calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase (CASK)-interacting protein 1, or Caskin1, a multidomain scaffold protein regulating the cortical actin filaments, is enriched in neural synapses in mammals. Based on its known interaction partners and knock-out animal studies, Caskin1 may play various roles in neural function and it is thought to participate in several pathological processes of the brain. Caskin1 has a single, atypical SH3 domain in which key aromatic residues are missing from the canonical binding groove. No protein interacting partner for this SH3 domain has been identified yet. Nevertheless, we have recently demonstrated the specific binding of this SH3 domain to the signaling lipid mediator lysophospatidic acid (LPA) in vitro. Here we report the solution NMR structure of the human Caskin1 SH3 domain and analyze its structural features in comparison with other SH3 domains exemplifying different strategies in target selectivity. The key differences revealed by our structural study show that the canonical binding groove found in typical SH3 domains accommodating proline-rich motifs is missing in Caskin1 SH3, most likely excluding a bona fide protein target for the domain. The LPA binding site is distinct from the altered protein binding groove. We conclude that the SH3 domain of Caskin1 might mediate the association of Caskin1 with membrane surfaces with locally elevated LPA content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SH2 and SH3 Domains: Cellular Signalling and Diseases)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Future Directions in the Treatment of Osteosarcoma
Cells 2021, 10(1), 172; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010172 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 647
Abstract
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone sarcoma and is often diagnosed in the 2nd–3rd decades of life. Response to the aggressive and highly toxic neoadjuvant methotrexate-doxorubicin-cisplatin (MAP) chemotherapy schedule is strongly predictive of outcome. Outcomes for patients with osteosarcoma have not significantly [...] Read more.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone sarcoma and is often diagnosed in the 2nd–3rd decades of life. Response to the aggressive and highly toxic neoadjuvant methotrexate-doxorubicin-cisplatin (MAP) chemotherapy schedule is strongly predictive of outcome. Outcomes for patients with osteosarcoma have not significantly changed for over thirty years. There is a need for more effective treatment for patients with high risk features but also reduced treatment-related toxicity for all patients. Predictive biomarkers are needed to help inform clinicians to de-escalate or add therapy, including immune therapies, and to contribute to future clinical trial designs. Here, we review a variety of approaches to improve outcomes and quality of life for patients with osteosarcoma with a focus on incorporating toxicity reduction, immune therapy and molecular analysis to provide the most effective and least toxic osteosarcoma therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances and Therapy of Human Osteosarcoma)
Open AccessReview
Unravelling Genetic Factors Underlying Corticobasal Syndrome: A Systematic Review
Cells 2021, 10(1), 171; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010171 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 392
Abstract
Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) is an atypical parkinsonian presentation characterized by heterogeneous clinical features and different underlying neuropathology. Most CBS cases are sporadic; nevertheless, reports of families and isolated individuals with genetically determined CBS have been reported. In this systematic review, we analyze the [...] Read more.
Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) is an atypical parkinsonian presentation characterized by heterogeneous clinical features and different underlying neuropathology. Most CBS cases are sporadic; nevertheless, reports of families and isolated individuals with genetically determined CBS have been reported. In this systematic review, we analyze the demographical, clinical, radiological, and anatomopathological features of genetically confirmed cases of CBS. A systematic search was performed using the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases, included all publications in English from 1 January 1999 through 1 August 2020. We found forty publications with fifty-eight eligible cases. A second search for publications dealing with genetic risk factors for CBS led to the review of eight additional articles. GRN was the most common gene involved in CBS, representing 28 out of 58 cases, followed by MAPT, C9ORF72, and PRNP. A set of symptoms was shown to be significantly more common in GRN-CBS patients, including visuospatial impairment, behavioral changes, aphasia, and language alterations. In addition, specific demographical, clinical, biochemical, and radiological features may suggest mutations in other genes. We suggest a diagnostic algorithm to help in identifying potential genetic cases of CBS in order to improve the diagnostic accuracy and to better understand the still poorly defined underlying pathogenetic process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Predictive Value of miR-16, -29a and -134 for Early Identification of Gestational Diabetes: A Nested Analysis of the DALI Cohort
Cells 2021, 10(1), 170; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010170 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 543
Abstract
Early identification of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) aims to reduce the risk of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes. Currently, no circulating biomarker has proven clinically useful for accurate prediction of GDM. In this study, we tested if a panel of small non-coding circulating [...] Read more.
Early identification of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) aims to reduce the risk of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes. Currently, no circulating biomarker has proven clinically useful for accurate prediction of GDM. In this study, we tested if a panel of small non-coding circulating RNAs could improve early prediction of GDM. We performed a nested case-control study of participants from the European multicenter ‘Vitamin D and lifestyle intervention for GDM prevention (DALI)’ trial using serum samples from obese pregnant women (BMI ≥ 29 kg/m2) entailing 82 GDM cases (early- and late- GDM), and 41 age- and BMI-matched women with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) throughout pregnancy (controls). Anthropometric, clinical and biochemical characteristics were obtained at baseline (<20 weeks of gestation) and throughout gestation. Baseline serum microRNAs (miRNAs) were measured using quantitative real time PCR (qPCR). Elevated miR-16-5p, -29a-3p, and -134-5p levels were observed in women, who were NGT at baseline and later developed GDM, compared with controls who remained NGT. A combination of the three miRNAs could distinguish later GDM from NGT cases (AUC 0.717, p = 0.001, compared with fasting plasma glucose (AUC 0.687, p = 0.004)) as evaluated by area under the curves (AUCs) using Receiver Operator Characteristics (ROC) analysis. Elevated levels of individual miRNAs or a combination hereof were associated with higher odds ratios of GDM. Conclusively, circulating miRNAs early in pregnancy could serve as valuable predictive biomarkers of GDM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms in Metabolic Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
CD112 Regulates Angiogenesis and T Cell Entry into the Spleen
Cells 2021, 10(1), 169; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010169 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 338
Abstract
Junctional adhesion proteins play important roles in controlling angiogenesis, vascular permeability and leukocyte trafficking. CD112 (nectin-2) belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily and was shown to engage in homophilic and heterophilic interactions with a variety of binding partners expressed on endothelial cells and on [...] Read more.
Junctional adhesion proteins play important roles in controlling angiogenesis, vascular permeability and leukocyte trafficking. CD112 (nectin-2) belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily and was shown to engage in homophilic and heterophilic interactions with a variety of binding partners expressed on endothelial cells and on leukocytes. Recent in vitro studies suggested that CD112 regulates human endothelial cell migration and proliferation as well as transendothelial migration of leukocytes. However, so far, the role of CD112 in endothelial cell biology and in leukocyte trafficking has not been elucidated in vivo. We found CD112 to be expressed by lymphatic and blood endothelial cells in different murine tissues. In CD112-deficient mice, the blood vessel coverage in the retina and spleen was significantly enhanced. In functional in vitro studies, a blockade of CD112 modulated endothelial cell migration and significantly enhanced endothelial tube formation. An antibody-based blockade of CD112 also significantly reduced T cell transmigration across endothelial monolayers in vitro. Moreover, T cell homing to the spleen was significantly reduced in CD112-deficient mice. Overall, our results identify CD112 as a regulator of angiogenic processes in vivo and demonstrate a novel role for CD112 in T cell entry into the spleen. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Detecting Resistance to Therapeutic ALK Inhibitors in Tumor Tissue and Liquid Biopsy Markers: An Update to a Clinical Routine Practice
Cells 2021, 10(1), 168; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010168 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 359
Abstract
The survival of most patients with advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer is prolonged by several months when they are treated with first- and next-generation inhibitors targeting ALK rearrangements, but resistance inevitably emerges. Some of the mechanisms of resistance are sensitive to novel [...] Read more.
The survival of most patients with advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer is prolonged by several months when they are treated with first- and next-generation inhibitors targeting ALK rearrangements, but resistance inevitably emerges. Some of the mechanisms of resistance are sensitive to novel ALK inhibitors but after an initial tumor response, more or less long-term resistance sets in. Therefore, to adapt treatment it is necessary to repeat biological sampling over time to look for different mechanisms of resistance. To this aim it is essential to obtain liquid and/or tissue biopsies to detect therapeutic targets, in particular for the analysis of different genomic alterations. This review discusses the mechanisms of resistance to therapeutics targeting genomic alterations in ALK as well as the advantages and the limitations of liquid biopsies for their identification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Biopsy)
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Open AccessReview
The Metabolic Role of GRK2 in Insulin Resistance and Associated Conditions
Cells 2021, 10(1), 167; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010167 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 462
Abstract
Insulin resistance (IRES) is a pathophysiological condition characterized by the reduced response to insulin of several tissues, including myocardial and skeletal muscle. IRES is associated with obesity, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, evolves toward type 2 diabetes, and increases the risk of developing [...] Read more.
Insulin resistance (IRES) is a pathophysiological condition characterized by the reduced response to insulin of several tissues, including myocardial and skeletal muscle. IRES is associated with obesity, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, evolves toward type 2 diabetes, and increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Several studies designed to explore the mechanisms involved in IRES allowed the identification of a multitude of potential molecular targets. Among the most promising, G Protein Coupled Receptor Kinase type 2 (GRK2) appears to be a suitable one given its functional implications in many cellular processes. In this review, we will discuss the metabolic role of GRK2 in those conditions that are characterized by insulin resistance (diabetes, hypertension, heart failure), and the potentiality of its inhibition as a therapeutic strategy to revert both insulin resistance and its associated phenotypes. Full article
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Open AccessReview
MMP-9 Signaling Pathways That Engage Rho GTPases in Brain Plasticity
Cells 2021, 10(1), 166; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010166 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 390
Abstract
The extracellular matrix (ECM) has been identified as a critical factor affecting synaptic function. It forms a functional scaffold that provides both the structural support and the reservoir of signaling molecules necessary for communication between cellular constituents of the central nervous system (CNS). [...] Read more.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) has been identified as a critical factor affecting synaptic function. It forms a functional scaffold that provides both the structural support and the reservoir of signaling molecules necessary for communication between cellular constituents of the central nervous system (CNS). Among numerous ECM components and modifiers that play a role in the physiological and pathological synaptic plasticity, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) has recently emerged as a key molecule. MMP-9 may contribute to the dynamic remodeling of structural and functional plasticity by cleaving ECM components and cell adhesion molecules. Notably, MMP-9 signaling was shown to be indispensable for long-term memory formation that requires synaptic remodeling. The core regulators of the dynamic reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton and cell adhesion are the Rho family of GTPases. These proteins have been implicated in the control of a wide range of cellular processes occurring in brain physiology and pathology. Here, we discuss the contribution of Rho GTPases to MMP-9-dependent signaling pathways in the brain. We also describe how the regulation of Rho GTPases by post-translational modifications (PTMs) can influence these processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rho family of GTPases in Model Organisms and Systems)
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Open AccessReview
TRPing to the Point of Clarity: Understanding the Function of the Complex TRPV4 Ion Channel
Cells 2021, 10(1), 165; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10010165 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 538
Abstract
The transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 channel (TRPV4) belongs to the mammalian TRP superfamily of cation channels. TRPV4 is ubiquitously expressed, activated by a disparate array of stimuli, interacts with a multitude of proteins, and is modulated by a range of post-translational modifications, [...] Read more.
The transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 channel (TRPV4) belongs to the mammalian TRP superfamily of cation channels. TRPV4 is ubiquitously expressed, activated by a disparate array of stimuli, interacts with a multitude of proteins, and is modulated by a range of post-translational modifications, the majority of which we are only just beginning to understand. Not surprisingly, a great number of physiological roles have emerged for TRPV4, as have various disease states that are attributable to the absence, or abnormal functioning, of this ion channel. This review will highlight structural features of TRPV4, endogenous and exogenous activators of the channel, and discuss the reported roles of TRPV4 in health and disease. Full article
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