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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 24, Issue 22 (November-2 2023) – 530 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Predictions were made about how EPI-X4 interacts with CXCR4. Two key requirements emerged. First, the spatial conformation of EPI-X4 must be effectively matched to the CXCR4 receptor protein. Second, the functional groups on the surface of the inhibitor structure must complement the corresponding features of CXCR4 to cause an attraction between the two entities. These prediction results were based on a careful analysis of the conformers performed in a gaseous environment. Ultimately, this rigorous investigation led to a suitable EPI-X4 structure that fulfills the spatial and functional requirements for interaction with CXCR4, potentially opening new avenues for therapeutic development. View this paper
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22 pages, 3154 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study: Interleukin-31 Augments Morphine-Induced Antinociceptive Activity and Suppress Tolerance Development in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16548; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216548 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Morphine-induced antinociception is partially reduced in interleukin-31 (IL-31) receptor A (IL-31RA)-deficient mice, indicating that IL-31RA is crucial for morphine-induced peripheral antinociception. Herein, we examined the combined effects of IL-31 and morphine on the antinociceptive activity and itch-associated scratching behavior (LLS) in mice and [...] Read more.
Morphine-induced antinociception is partially reduced in interleukin-31 (IL-31) receptor A (IL-31RA)-deficient mice, indicating that IL-31RA is crucial for morphine-induced peripheral antinociception. Herein, we examined the combined effects of IL-31 and morphine on the antinociceptive activity and itch-associated scratching behavior (LLS) in mice and elucidated the regulatory mechanisms. A hot-plate test was used to assess antinociception. LLS was automatically detected and recorded via a computer. IL-31RA mRNA expression was assessed using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Repeated pre-treatment with IL-31 resulted in significant antinociceptive activity. Repeated administration of morphine decreased the morphine-induced antinociceptive activity, LLS counts, and regular dose and inhibited IL-31-induced LLS. These results suggested that the repeated administration of morphine depleted inter-neuronal IL-31RA levels, preventing morphine-induced antinociception. Therefore, IL-31 may be helpful as an adjunct analgesic to morphine. To explore the benefits of IL-31, its influence on morphine-induced antinociceptive tolerance in mice was examined. An IL-31 and morphine combination increased the analgesic action, which increased the expression of DRG neuronal IL-31RA, elucidating the site of peripheral antinociception of morphine. This site may induce exocytosis of IL-31RA in the sensory nervous system. Collectively, the suppressive effect of IL-31 on morphine-induced antinociceptive tolerance may result from IL-31RA supplementation in sensory nerves. Full article
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15 pages, 612 KiB  
Review
Virus-Encoded Circular RNAs: Role and Significance in Viral Infections
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16547; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216547 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 854
Abstract
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been the focus of intense scientific research to understand their biogenesis, mechanisms of action and regulatory functions. CircRNAs are single stranded, covalently closed RNA molecules lacking the 5′-terminal cap and the 3′-terminal polyadenine chain, characteristics that make them very [...] Read more.
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been the focus of intense scientific research to understand their biogenesis, mechanisms of action and regulatory functions. CircRNAs are single stranded, covalently closed RNA molecules lacking the 5′-terminal cap and the 3′-terminal polyadenine chain, characteristics that make them very stable and resistant. Synthesised by both cells and viruses, in the past circRNAs were considered to have no precise function. Today, increasing evidence shows that circRNAs are ubiquitous, some of them are tissue- and cell-specific, and critical in multiple regulatory processes (i.e., infections, inflammation, oncogenesis, gene expression). Moreover, circRNAs are emerging as important biomarkers of viral infection and disease progression. In this review, we provided an updated overview of current understanding of virus-encoded and cellular-encoded circRNAs and their involvement in cellular pathways during viral infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in circRNA Biology)
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17 pages, 4091 KiB  
Article
Distinct HAND2/HAND2-AS1 Expression Levels May Fine-Tune Mesenchymal and Epithelial Cell Plasticity of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16546; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216546 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 920
Abstract
We previously developed several successful decellularization strategies that yielded porcine cardiac extracellular matrices (pcECMs) exhibiting tissue-specific bioactivity and bioinductive capacity when cultured with various pluripotent and multipotent stem cells. Here, we study the tissue-specific effects of the pcECM on seeded human mesenchymal stem [...] Read more.
We previously developed several successful decellularization strategies that yielded porcine cardiac extracellular matrices (pcECMs) exhibiting tissue-specific bioactivity and bioinductive capacity when cultured with various pluripotent and multipotent stem cells. Here, we study the tissue-specific effects of the pcECM on seeded human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) phenotypes using reverse transcribed quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) arrays for cardiovascular related gene expression. We further corroborated interesting findings at the protein level (flow cytometry and immunological stains) as well as bioinformatically using several mRNA sequencing and protein databases of normal and pathologic adult and embryonic (organogenesis stage) tissue expression. We discovered that upon the seeding of hMSCs on the pcECM, they displayed a partial mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) toward endothelial phenotypes (CD31+) and morphologies, which were preceded by an early spike (~Day 3 onward after seeding) in HAND2 expression at both the mRNA and protein levels compared to that in plate controls. The CRISPR-Cas9 knockout (KO) of HAND2 and its associated antisense long non-coding RNA (HAND2-AS1) regulatory region resulted in proliferation arrest, hypertrophy, and senescent-like morphology. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that HAND2 and HAND2-AS1 are highly correlated in expression and are expressed in many different tissue types albeit at distinct yet tightly regulated expression levels. Deviation (downregulation or upregulation) from these basal tissue expression levels is associated with a long list of pathologies. We thus suggest that HAND2 expression levels may possibly fine-tune hMSCs’ plasticity through affecting senescence and mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition states, through yet unknown mechanisms. Targeting this pathway may open up a promising new therapeutic approach for a wide range of diseases, including cancer, degenerative disorders, and aging. Nevertheless, further investigation is required to validate these findings and better understand the molecular players involved, potential inducers and inhibitors of this pathway, and eventually potential therapeutic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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17 pages, 1295 KiB  
Review
Molecular Characteristics of Cisplatin-Induced Ototoxicity and Therapeutic Interventions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16545; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216545 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1938
Abstract
Cisplatin is a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent with proven efficacy in treating various malignancies, including testicular, ovarian, cervical, breast, bladder, head and neck, and lung cancer. Cisplatin is also used to treat tumors in children, such as neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, and hepatoblastoma. However, its [...] Read more.
Cisplatin is a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent with proven efficacy in treating various malignancies, including testicular, ovarian, cervical, breast, bladder, head and neck, and lung cancer. Cisplatin is also used to treat tumors in children, such as neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, and hepatoblastoma. However, its clinical use is limited by severe side effects, including ototoxicity, nephrotoxicity, neurotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, gastrointestinal toxicity, and retinal toxicity. Cisplatin-induced ototoxicity manifests as irreversible, bilateral, high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss in 40–60% of adults and in up to 60% of children. Hearing loss can lead to social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline in adults, and speech and language developmental delays in children. Cisplatin causes hair cell death by forming DNA adducts, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and inflammation, culminating in programmed cell death by apoptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis, or ferroptosis. Contemporary medical interventions for cisplatin ototoxicity are limited to prosthetic devices, such as hearing aids, but these have significant limitations because the cochlea remains damaged. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first therapy, sodium thiosulfate, to prevent cisplatin-induced hearing loss in pediatric patients with localized, non-metastatic solid tumors. Other pharmacological treatments for cisplatin ototoxicity are in various stages of preclinical and clinical development. This narrative review aims to highlight the molecular mechanisms involved in cisplatin-induced ototoxicity, focusing on cochlear inflammation, and shed light on potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory therapeutic interventions to prevent or mitigate the ototoxic effects of cisplatin. We conducted a comprehensive literature search (Google Scholar, PubMed) focusing on publications in the last five years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pharmacology)
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30 pages, 1600 KiB  
Review
Secretome as a Tool to Treat Neurological Conditions: Are We Ready?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16544; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216544 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1128
Abstract
Due to their characteristics, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered a potential therapy for brain tissue injury or degeneration. Nevertheless, despite the promising results observed, there has been a growing interest in the use of cell-free therapies in regenerative medicine, such as the [...] Read more.
Due to their characteristics, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered a potential therapy for brain tissue injury or degeneration. Nevertheless, despite the promising results observed, there has been a growing interest in the use of cell-free therapies in regenerative medicine, such as the use of stem cell secretome. This review provides an in-depth compilation of data regarding the secretome composition, protocols used for its preparation, as well as existing information on the impact of secretome administration on various brain conditions, pointing out gaps and highlighting relevant findings. Moreover, due to the ability of MSCs to respond differently depending on their microenvironment, preconditioning of MSCs has been used to modulate their composition and, consequently, their therapeutic potential. The different strategies used to modulate the MSC secretome were also reviewed. Although secretome administration was effective in improving functional impairments, regeneration, neuroprotection, and reducing inflammation in brain tissue, a high variability in secretome preparation and administration was identified, compromising the transposition of preclinical data to clinical studies. Indeed, there are no reports of the use of secretome in clinical trials. Despite the existing limitations and lack of clinical data, secretome administration is a potential tool for the treatment of various diseases that impact the CNS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Neurobiology)
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15 pages, 5675 KiB  
Article
Endothelial Glycocalyx of Peritubular Capillaries in Experimental Diabetic Nephropathy: A Target of ACE Inhibitor-Induced Kidney Microvascular Protection
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216543 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 831
Abstract
Peritubular capillary rarefaction is a recurrent aspect of progressive nephropathies. We previously found that peritubular capillary density was reduced in BTBR ob/ob mice with type 2 diabetic nephropathy. In this model, we searched for abnormalities in the ultrastructure of peritubular capillaries, [...] Read more.
Peritubular capillary rarefaction is a recurrent aspect of progressive nephropathies. We previously found that peritubular capillary density was reduced in BTBR ob/ob mice with type 2 diabetic nephropathy. In this model, we searched for abnormalities in the ultrastructure of peritubular capillaries, with a specific focus on the endothelial glycocalyx, and evaluated the impact of treatment with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEi). Mice were intracardially perfused with lanthanum to visualise the glycocalyx. Transmission electron microscopy analysis revealed endothelial cell abnormalities and basement membrane thickening in the peritubular capillaries of BTBR ob/ob mice compared to wild-type mice. Remodelling and focal loss of glycocalyx was observed in lanthanum-stained diabetic kidneys, associated with a reduction in glycocalyx components, including sialic acids, as detected through specific lectins. ACEi treatment preserved the endothelial glycocalyx and attenuated the ultrastructural abnormalities of peritubular capillaries. In diabetic mice, peritubular capillary damage was associated with an enhanced tubular expression of heparanase, which degrades heparan sulfate residues of the glycocalyx. Heparanase was also detected in renal interstitial macrophages that expressed tumor necrosis factor-α. All these abnormalities were mitigated by ACEi. Our findings suggest that, in experimental diabetic nephropathy, preserving the endothelial glycocalyx is important in order to protect peritubular capillaries from damage and loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kidney Diseases: Molecular Pathogenesis and Therapeutic Strategies)
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14 pages, 2018 KiB  
Article
The Natural Alkaloid Palmatine Selectively Induces Mitophagy and Restores Mitochondrial Function in an Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16542; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216542 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 835
Abstract
Palmatine, a natural alkaloid found in various plants, has been reported to have diverse pharmacological and biological effects, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cardiovascular effects. However, the role of palmatine in mitophagy, a fundamental process crucial for maintaining mitochondrial function, remains elusive. In this [...] Read more.
Palmatine, a natural alkaloid found in various plants, has been reported to have diverse pharmacological and biological effects, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cardiovascular effects. However, the role of palmatine in mitophagy, a fundamental process crucial for maintaining mitochondrial function, remains elusive. In this study, we found that palmatine efficiently induces mitophagy in various human cell lines. Palmatine specifically induces mitophagy and subsequently stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis. Palmatine did not interfere with mitochondrial function, similar to CCCP, suggesting that palmatine is not toxic to mitochondria. Importantly, palmatine treatment alleviated mitochondrial dysfunction in PINK1-knockout MEFs. Moreover, the administration of palmatine resulted in significant improvements in cognitive function and restored mitochondrial function in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. This study identifies palmatine as a novel inducer of selective mitophagy. Our results suggest that palmatine-mediated mitophagy induction could be a potential strategy for Alzheimer’s disease treatment and that natural alkaloids are potential sources of mitophagy inducers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria in Human Health and Disease 2.0)
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14 pages, 1731 KiB  
Article
The Feeder Effects of Cultured Rice Cells on the Early Development of Rice Zygotes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16541; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216541 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Feeder cells and the synthetic auxin 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in a culture medium promote mitosis and cell division in cultured cells. These are also added to nutrient medium for the cultivation of highly active in mitosis and dividing zygotes, produced in vitro or [...] Read more.
Feeder cells and the synthetic auxin 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in a culture medium promote mitosis and cell division in cultured cells. These are also added to nutrient medium for the cultivation of highly active in mitosis and dividing zygotes, produced in vitro or isolated from pollinated ovaries. In the study, an in vitro fertilization (IVF) system was used to study the precise effects of feeder cells and 2,4-D on the growth and development of rice (Oryza sativa L.) zygote. The elimination of 2,4-D from the culture medium did not affect the early developmental profiles of the zygotes, but decreased the division rates of multicellular embryos. The omission of feeder cells resulted in defective karyogamy, fusion between male and female nuclei, and the subsequent first division of the cultured zygotes. The culture of zygotes in a conditioned medium corrected developmental disorders. Proteome analyses of the conditioned medium revealed the presence of abundant hydrolases possibly released from the feeder cells. Exogenously applied α-amylase ameliorated karyogamy and promoted zygote development. It is suggested that hydrolytic enzymes, including α-amylase, released from feeder cells may be involved in the progression of zygotic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Molecular Plant Sciences in Japan)
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22 pages, 7495 KiB  
Article
Effects of Segment Length and Crosslinking via POSS on the Calorimetric and Dynamic Glass Transition of Polyurethanes with Aliphatic Hard Segments
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16540; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216540 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 737
Abstract
The glass transition in polyurethanes is a complicated phenomenon governed by a multitude of factors, including the microphase separation, which in turn depends strongly on the molar mass of the hard and soft segments, as well as the presence of additives. In this [...] Read more.
The glass transition in polyurethanes is a complicated phenomenon governed by a multitude of factors, including the microphase separation, which in turn depends strongly on the molar mass of the hard and soft segments, as well as the presence of additives. In this work, we study the effects of the segments’ length on the microphase separation and consequently on the calorimetric and dynamic glass transition of a polyurethane with aliphatic, “flexible” hard segments. It is found that the dependence of the calorimetric glass transition follows the same principles as those in systems with aromatic hard segments. Strikingly, however, the dynamic glass transition, as studied by dielectric spectroscopy, shows a slowing down of its dynamics despite a decrease in Tg. This discrepancy is discussed in terms of the strong dielectric response of the flexible segments, especially those close to the interface between the hard domains and soft phase, as opposed to a weak thermal one. In addition, polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS) are introduced in the soft phase of the three matrices as crosslinking centres. This modification has no visible effect on the calorimetric glass transition; nevertheless, it affects the microphase separation and the dielectric response in a non-monotonic manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glass Transition and Related Phenomena 2.0)
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14 pages, 4040 KiB  
Article
Smooth Muscle Actin as a Criterion for Gravisensitivity of Stomach and Jejunum in Laboratory Rodents
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16539; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216539 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1327
Abstract
Smooth muscle tissue (SMT) is one of the main structural components of visceral organs, acting as a key factor in the development of adaptive and pathological conditions. Despite the crucial part of SMT in the gastrointestinal tract activity, the mechanisms of its gravisensitivity [...] Read more.
Smooth muscle tissue (SMT) is one of the main structural components of visceral organs, acting as a key factor in the development of adaptive and pathological conditions. Despite the crucial part of SMT in the gastrointestinal tract activity, the mechanisms of its gravisensitivity are still insufficiently studied. The study evaluated the content of smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in the membranes of the gastric fundus and jejunum in C57BL/6N mice (30-day space flight), in Mongolian gerbils Meriones unguiculatus (12-day orbital flight) and after anti-orthostatic suspension according to E.R. Morey-Holton. A morphometric analysis of α-SMA in the muscularis externa of the stomach and jejunum of mice and Mongolian gerbils from space flight groups revealed a decreased area of the immunopositive regions, a fact indicating a weakening of the SMT functional activity. Gravisensitivity of the contractile structures of the digestive system may be due to changes in the myofilament structural components of the smooth myocytes or myofibroblast actin. A simulated antiorthostatic suspension revealed no significant changes in the content of the α-SMA expression level, a fact supporting an alteration in the functional properties of the muscularis externa of the digestive hollow organs under weightless environment. The data obtained contribute to the novel mechanisms of the SMT contractile apparatus remodeling during orbital flights and can be used to improve preventive measures in space biomedicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Signaling Meet the Space Environment 2.0)
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11 pages, 2426 KiB  
Article
Role of the p38/AKT Pathway in the Promotion of Cell Proliferation by Serum Heat Inactivation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16538; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216538 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Serum is a common biomaterial in cell culture that provides nutrients and essential growth factors for cell growth. Serum heat inactivation is a common treatment method whose main purpose is to remove complement factors and viruses. As serum contains many heat-labile factors, heat [...] Read more.
Serum is a common biomaterial in cell culture that provides nutrients and essential growth factors for cell growth. Serum heat inactivation is a common treatment method whose main purpose is to remove complement factors and viruses. As serum contains many heat-labile factors, heat inactivation may affect cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and other functions. However, the specific mechanism of its effect on cell function has not been studied. Thus, we investigate the exact effects of heat-inactivated FBS on the viability of various cells and explore the possible molecular mechanisms. We treated HCT116, HT-29, and HepG2 cell lines with heat-inactivated (56 °C for 30 min) medium, DMEM, or fetal bovine serum (FBS) for different times (0, 10, 15, 30, 60, or 90 min); we found that heat-inactivated FBS significantly promoted the viability of these cells, whereas DMEM did not have this effect. Moreover, heat-inactivated FBS stimulated cells to produce a small amount of ROS and activated intracellular signaling pathways, mainly the p38/AKT signaling pathway. These results indicate that heat-inactivated FBS may regulate the p38/AKT signaling pathway by promoting the production of appropriate amounts of ROS, thereby regulating cell viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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12 pages, 3377 KiB  
Article
Leucine-Rich Alpha-2 Glycoprotein 1 Accumulates in Complicated Atherosclerosis and Promotes Calcification
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16537; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216537 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of cardiovascular disease. The development of plaque complications, such as calcification and neo-angiogenesis, strongly impacts plaque stability and is a good predictor of mortality in patients with atherosclerosis. Despite well-known risk factors of plaque complications, such as diabetes [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of cardiovascular disease. The development of plaque complications, such as calcification and neo-angiogenesis, strongly impacts plaque stability and is a good predictor of mortality in patients with atherosclerosis. Despite well-known risk factors of plaque complications, such as diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease, the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. We and others have identified that the concentration of circulating leucine-rich α-2 glycoprotein 1 (LRG1) was increased in diabetic and chronic kidney disease patients. Using apolipoprotein E knockout mice (ApoE−/−) (fed with Western diet) that developed advanced atherosclerosis and using human carotid endarterectomy, we showed that LRG1 accumulated into an atherosclerotic plaque, preferentially in calcified areas. We then investigated the possible origin of LRG1 and its functions on vascular cells and found that LRG1 expression was specifically enhanced in endothelial cells via inflammatory mediators and not in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). Moreover, we identified that LRG1 was able to induce calcification and SMAD1/5-signaling pathways in VSMC. In conclusion, our results identified for the first time that LRG1 is a direct contributor to vascular calcification and suggest a role of this molecule in the development of plaque complications in patients with atherosclerosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Vascular Calcification 2.0)
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17 pages, 14378 KiB  
Article
The Protective Effects of Reineckia carnea Ether Fraction against Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology: An Exploration in Caenorhabditis elegans Models
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16536; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216536 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 781
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) presents a significant challenge to global healthcare systems, with current treatments offering only modest relief and often bringing unwanted side effects, necessitating the exploration of more effective and safer drugs. In this study, we employed the Caenorhabditis elegans (C. [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) presents a significant challenge to global healthcare systems, with current treatments offering only modest relief and often bringing unwanted side effects, necessitating the exploration of more effective and safer drugs. In this study, we employed the Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) model, specifically the AD-like CL4176 strain expressing the human Aβ(1–42) protein, to investigate the potential of Reineckia carnea extract and its fractions. Our results showed that the Reineckia carnea ether fraction (REF) notably diminished the paralysis rates of CL4176 worms. Additionally, REF also attenuated the neurotoxicity effects prompted by Tau proteins in the BR5270 worms. Moreover, REF was observed to counteract the accumulation of Aβ and pTau proteins and their induced oxidative stress in C. elegans AD-like models. Mechanistic studies revealed that REF’s benefits were associated with the induction of autophagy in worms; however, these protective effects were nullified when autophagy-related genes were suppressed using RNAi bacteria. Together, these findings highlight Reineckia carnea ether fraction as a promising candidate for AD treatment, warranting further investigation into its autophagy-inducing components and their molecular mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alzheimer's Disease: From Pathogenic Mechanisms to Therapy)
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14 pages, 2714 KiB  
Article
Liver Oxidative Status, Serum Lipids Levels after Bariatric Surgery and High-Fat, High-Sugar Diet in Animal Model of Induced Obesity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16535; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216535 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 589
Abstract
Nutritional status is a major determinant of hepatocyte injuries associated with changed metabolism and oxidative stress. This study aimed to determine the relations between oxidative stress, bariatric surgery, and a high-fat/high-sugar (HFS) diet in a diet-induced obesity rat model. Male rats were maintained [...] Read more.
Nutritional status is a major determinant of hepatocyte injuries associated with changed metabolism and oxidative stress. This study aimed to determine the relations between oxidative stress, bariatric surgery, and a high-fat/high-sugar (HFS) diet in a diet-induced obesity rat model. Male rats were maintained on a control diet (CD) or high-fat/high-sugar diet (HFS) inducing obesity. After 8 weeks, the animals underwent SHAM (n = 14) or DJOS (n = 14) surgery and the diet was either changed or unchanged. Eight weeks after the surgeries, the activity of superoxide dismutase isoforms (total SOD, MnSOD, and CuZnSOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), and lutathione S-transferase, as well as the thiol groups (-SH) concentration, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), total oxidative stress (TOS) levels, and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration liver tissue were assessed. The total cholesterol, triglycerides (TG), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations were measured in the serum. The total SOD and GPX activities were higher in the SHAM-operated rats than in the DJOS-operated rats. The MnSOD activity was higher in the HFS/HFS than the CD/CD groups. Higher CuZnSOD, GST, GR activities, -SH, and MDA concentrations in the liver, and the triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations in the serum were observed in the SHAM-operated rats than in the DJOS-operated rats. The CAT activity was significantly higher in the HFS-fed rats. Lower TAC and higher TOS values were observed in the SHAM-operated rats. Unhealthy habits after bariatric surgery may be responsible for treatment failure and establishing an obesity condition with increased oxidative stress. Full article
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16 pages, 2976 KiB  
Article
In Situ Gelling Hydroxypropyl Cellulose Formulation Comprising Cannabidiol-Loaded Block Copolymer Micelles for Sustained Drug Delivery
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16534; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216534 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 716
Abstract
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural terpenophenolic compound with known pharmacological activities, but the poor solubility of CBD in water limits its widespread use in medicine and pharmacy. Polymeric (nano)carriers demonstrated high potential for enhancing the solubility and therapeutic activity of lipophilic drugs such [...] Read more.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural terpenophenolic compound with known pharmacological activities, but the poor solubility of CBD in water limits its widespread use in medicine and pharmacy. Polymeric (nano)carriers demonstrated high potential for enhancing the solubility and therapeutic activity of lipophilic drugs such as CBD. Here, we report the elaboration of a novel hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC)-based in situ gelling formulation for controlled delivery of CBD. In the first stage, nanosized polymeric micelles from poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(α-cinnamyl-ε-caprolactone-co-ε-caprolactone) (PEO-b-P(CyCL-co-CL) diblock copolymers) were used to increase the solubility of CBD in water. Different copolymers were assessed, and the carrier with the highest encapsulation efficiency (EE) and drug loading capacity (DLC) was selected for further elaboration of nanocomposite in situ gel formulations. Next, the sol-to-gel transition behavior of HPC as a function of K2SO4 concentration in the aqueous solution was investigated by microcalorimetry and dynamic oscillatory rheology, and the optimal formulation capable of forming a physical gel under physiological conditions was determined. Finally, injectable nanocomposite hydrogels comprising cannabidiol were fabricated, and their drug release profile and cytotoxicity against human tumor cell lines were evaluated. The in situ gels exhibited prolonged drug release over 12 h, controlled by gel erosion, and the cytotoxicity of formulated cannabidiol was comparable with that of a free drug. Full article
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29 pages, 1530 KiB  
Review
Topical Cellular/Tissue and Molecular Aspects Regarding Nonpharmacological Interventions in Alzheimer’s Disease—A Systematic Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16533; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216533 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 912
Abstract
One of the most complex and challenging developments at the beginning of the third millennium is the alarming increase in demographic aging, mainly—but not exclusively—affecting developed countries. This reality results in one of the harsh medical, social, and economic consequences: the continuously increasing [...] Read more.
One of the most complex and challenging developments at the beginning of the third millennium is the alarming increase in demographic aging, mainly—but not exclusively—affecting developed countries. This reality results in one of the harsh medical, social, and economic consequences: the continuously increasing number of people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which accounts for up to 80% of all such types of pathology. Its large and progressive disabling potential, which eventually leads to death, therefore represents an important public health matter, especially because there is no known cure for this disease. Consequently, periodic reappraisals of different therapeutic possibilities are necessary. For this purpose, we conducted this systematic literature review investigating nonpharmacological interventions for AD, including their currently known cellular and molecular action bases. This endeavor was based on the PRISMA method, by which we selected 116 eligible articles published during the last year. Because of the unfortunate lack of effective treatments for AD, it is necessary to enhance efforts toward identifying and improving various therapeutic and rehabilitative approaches, as well as related prophylactic measures. Full article
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17 pages, 3782 KiB  
Article
Sedanolide Activates KEAP1–NRF2 Pathway and Ameliorates Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16532; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216532 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Sedanolide is a bioactive compound with anti-inflammatory and antitumor activities. Although it has been recently suggested that sedanolide activates the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (NRF2) pathway, there is little research on its effects on cellular resistance to oxidative stress. The objective of [...] Read more.
Sedanolide is a bioactive compound with anti-inflammatory and antitumor activities. Although it has been recently suggested that sedanolide activates the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (NRF2) pathway, there is little research on its effects on cellular resistance to oxidative stress. The objective of the present study was to investigate the function of sedanolide in suppressing hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative damage and the underlying molecular mechanisms in human hepatoblastoma cell line HepG2 cells. We found that sedanolide activated the antioxidant response element (ARE)-dependent transcription mediated by the nuclear translocation of NRF2. Pathway enrichment analysis of RNA sequencing data revealed that sedanolide upregulated the transcription of antioxidant enzymes involved in the NRF2 pathway and glutathione metabolism. Then, we further investigated whether sedanolide exerts cytoprotective effects against H2O2-induced cell death. We showed that sedanolide significantly attenuated cytosolic and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation induced by exposure to H2O2. Furthermore, we demonstrated that pretreatment with sedanolide conferred a significant cytoprotective effect against H2O2-induced cell death probably due to preventing the decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential and the increase in caspase-3/7 activity. Our study demonstrated that sedanolide enhanced cellular resistance to oxidative damage via the activation of the Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (KEAP1)–NRF2 pathway. Full article
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17 pages, 10521 KiB  
Article
Increased IGFBP2 Levels by Placenta-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Enhance Glucose Metabolism in a TAA-Injured Rat Model via AMPK Signaling Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16531; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216531 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
The insulin resistance caused by impaired glucose metabolism induces ovarian dysfunction due to the central importance of glucose as a source of energy. However, the research on glucose metabolism in the ovaries is still lacking. The objectives of this study were to analyze [...] Read more.
The insulin resistance caused by impaired glucose metabolism induces ovarian dysfunction due to the central importance of glucose as a source of energy. However, the research on glucose metabolism in the ovaries is still lacking. The objectives of this study were to analyze the effect of PD-MSCs on glucose metabolism through IGFBP2–AMPK signaling and to investigate the correlation between glucose metabolism and ovarian function. Thioacetamide (TAA) was used to construct a rat injury model. PD-MSCs were transplanted into the tail vein (2 × 106) 8 weeks after the experiment started. The expression of the IGFBP2 gene and glucose metabolism factors (e.g., AMPK, GLUT4) was significantly increased in the PD-MSC group compared to the nontransplantation (NTx) group (* p < 0.05). The levels of follicular development markers and the sex hormones AMH, FSH, and E2 were also higher than those in the TAA group. Using ex vivo cocultivation, the mRNA and protein expression of IGFBP2, AMPK, and GLUT4 were significantly increased in the cocultivation with the PD-MSCs group and the recombinant protein-treated group (* p < 0.05). These findings suggest that the increased IGFBP2 levels by PD-MSCs play an important role in glucose metabolism and ovarian function through the IGFBP2–AMPK signaling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism)
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18 pages, 1041 KiB  
Review
Protective Effects and Mechanism of Polysaccharides from Edible Medicinal Plants in Alcoholic Liver Injury: A Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16530; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216530 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 886
Abstract
Alcohol use accounts for a large variety of diseases, among which alcoholic liver injury (ALI) poses a serious threat to human health. In order to overcome the limitations of chemotherapeutic agents, some natural constituents, especially polysaccharides from edible medicinal plants (PEMPs), have been [...] Read more.
Alcohol use accounts for a large variety of diseases, among which alcoholic liver injury (ALI) poses a serious threat to human health. In order to overcome the limitations of chemotherapeutic agents, some natural constituents, especially polysaccharides from edible medicinal plants (PEMPs), have been applied for the prevention and treatment of ALI. In this review, the protective effects of PEMPs on acute, subacute, subchronic, and chronic ALI are summarized. The pathogenesis of alcoholic liver injury is analyzed. The structure–activity relationship (SAR) and safety of PEMPs are discussed. In addition, the mechanism underlying the hepatoprotective activity of polysaccharides from edible medicinal plants is explored. PEMPs with hepatoprotective activities mainly belong to the families Orchidaceae, Solanaceae, and Liliaceae. The possible mechanisms of PEMPs include activating enzymes related to alcohol metabolism, attenuating damage from oxidative stress, regulating cytokines, inhibiting the apoptosis of hepatocytes, improving mitochondrial function, and regulating the gut microbiota. Strategies for further research into the practical application of PEMPs for ALI are proposed. Future studies on the mechanism of action of PEMPs will need to focus more on the utilization of multi-omics approaches, such as proteomics, epigenomics, and lipidomics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research in Pharmacognosy: A Focus on Biological Activities)
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18 pages, 7404 KiB  
Article
Comparative Genomic and Transcriptomic Analysis of Phenol Degradation and Tolerance in Acinetobacter lwoffii through Adaptive Evolution
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16529; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216529 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 723
Abstract
Microorganism-based methods have been widely applied for the treatment of phenol-polluted environments. The previously isolated Acinetobacter lwoffii NL1 strain could completely degrade 0.5 g/L phenol within 12 h, but not higher concentrations of phenol. In this study, we developed an evolutionary strain NL115, [...] Read more.
Microorganism-based methods have been widely applied for the treatment of phenol-polluted environments. The previously isolated Acinetobacter lwoffii NL1 strain could completely degrade 0.5 g/L phenol within 12 h, but not higher concentrations of phenol. In this study, we developed an evolutionary strain NL115, through adaptive laboratory evolution, which possessed improved degradation ability and was able to degrade 1.5 g/L phenol within 12 h. Compared with that of the starting strain NL1, the concentration of degradable phenol by the developed strain increased three-fold; its phenol tolerance was also enhanced. Furthermore, comparative genomics showed that sense mutations mainly occurred in genes encoding alkyl hydroperoxide reductase, phenol hydroxylase, 30S ribosomal protein, and mercury resistance operon. Comparative transcriptomics between A. lwoffii NL115 and NL1 revealed the enrichment of direct degradation, stress resistance, and vital activity processes among the metabolic responses of A. lwoffii adapted to phenol stress. Among these, all the upregulated genes (log2fold-change > 5) encoded peroxidases. A phenotypic comparison of A. lwoffii NL1 and NL115 found that the adapted strain NL115 exhibited strengthened antioxidant capacity. Furthermore, the increased enzymatic activities of phenol hydroxylase and alkyl hydroperoxide reductase in A. lwoffii NL115 validated their response to phenol. Overall, this study provides insight into the mechanism of efficient phenol degradation through adaptive microbial evolution and can help to drive improvements in phenol bioremediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradation of Pollutants in the Environment: Omics Approaches 2.0)
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15 pages, 4032 KiB  
Article
StHsfB5 Promotes Heat Resistance by Directly Regulating the Expression of Hsp Genes in Potato
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16528; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216528 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 562
Abstract
With global warming, high temperatures have become a major environmental stress that inhibits plant growth and development. Plants evolve several mechanisms to cope with heat stress accordingly. One of the important mechanisms is the Hsf (heat shock factor)–Hsp (heat shock protein) signaling pathway. [...] Read more.
With global warming, high temperatures have become a major environmental stress that inhibits plant growth and development. Plants evolve several mechanisms to cope with heat stress accordingly. One of the important mechanisms is the Hsf (heat shock factor)–Hsp (heat shock protein) signaling pathway. Therefore, the plant transcription factor Hsf family plays important roles in response to heat stress. All Hsfs can be divided into three classes (A, B, and C). Usually, class-A Hsfs are transcriptional activators, while class-B Hsfs are transcriptional repressors. In potato, our previous work identified 27 Hsfs in the genome and analyzed HsfA3 and HsfA4C functions that promote potato heat resistance. However, the function of HsfB is still elusive. In this study, the unique B5 member StHsfB5 in potato was obtained, and its characterizations and functions were comprehensively analyzed. A quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) assay showed that StHsfB5 was highly expressed in root, and its expression was induced by heat treatment and different kinds of phytohormones. The subcellular localization of StHsfB5 was in the nucleus, which is consistent with the characterization of transcription factors. The transgenic lines overexpressing StHsfB5 showed higher heat resistance compared with that of the control nontransgenic lines and inhibitory lines. Experiments on the interaction between protein and DNA indicated that the StHsfB5 protein can directly bind to the promoters of target genes small Hsps (sHsp17.6, sHsp21, and sHsp22.7) and Hsp80, and then induce the expressions of these target genes. All these results showed that StHsfB5 may be a coactivator that promotes potato heat resistance ability by directly inducing the expression of its target genes sHsp17.6, sHsp21, sHsp22.7, and Hsp80. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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14 pages, 2576 KiB  
Article
Phytaspase Is Capable of Detaching the Endoplasmic Reticulum Retrieval Signal from Tobacco Calreticulin-3
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16527; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216527 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 574
Abstract
Soluble chaperones residing in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) play vitally important roles in folding and quality control of newly synthesized proteins that transiently pass through the ER en route to their final destinations. These soluble residents of the ER are themselves endowed with [...] Read more.
Soluble chaperones residing in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) play vitally important roles in folding and quality control of newly synthesized proteins that transiently pass through the ER en route to their final destinations. These soluble residents of the ER are themselves endowed with an ER retrieval signal that enables the cell to bring the escaped residents back from the Golgi. Here, by using purified proteins, we showed that Nicotiana tabacum phytaspase, a plant aspartate-specific protease, introduces two breaks at the C-terminus of the N. tabacum ER resident calreticulin-3. These cleavages resulted in removal of either a dipeptide or a hexapeptide from the C-terminus of calreticulin-3 encompassing part or all of the ER retrieval signal. Consistently, expression of the calreticulin-3 derivative mimicking the phytaspase cleavage product in Nicotiana benthamiana cells demonstrated loss of the ER accumulation of the protein. Notably, upon its escape from the ER, calreticulin-3 was further processed by an unknown protease(s) to generate the free N-terminal (N) domain of calreticulin-3, which was ultimately secreted into the apoplast. Our study thus identified a specific proteolytic enzyme capable of precise detachment of the ER retrieval signal from a plant ER resident protein, with implications for the further fate of the escaped resident. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
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15 pages, 2677 KiB  
Article
Ethanol Extract of Radix Asteris Suppresses Osteoclast Differentiation and Alleviates Osteoporosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16526; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216526 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Radix Asteris, the root of Aster tataricus L. f., is historically significant in East Asian medicine for treating respiratory conditions. Yet, its implications on bone health remain uncharted. This research investigated the impact of an aqueous ethanol extract of Radix Asteris (EERA) on [...] Read more.
Radix Asteris, the root of Aster tataricus L. f., is historically significant in East Asian medicine for treating respiratory conditions. Yet, its implications on bone health remain uncharted. This research investigated the impact of an aqueous ethanol extract of Radix Asteris (EERA) on osteoclast differentiation and its prospective contribution to osteoporosis management. We discerned that EERA retards osteoclast differentiation by inhibiting receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) expression and obstructing RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis. EERA markedly suppressed RANKL-induced expression of NFATc1, a pivotal osteoclastogenic factor, via modulating early RANK signaling. EERA’s therapeutic potential was underscored by its defense against trabecular bone degradation and its counteraction to increased body and perigonadal fat in ovariectomized mice, mirroring postmenopausal physiological changes. In the phytochemical analysis of EERA, we identified several constituents recognized for their roles in regulating bone and fat metabolism. Collectively, our findings emphasize the potential of EERA in osteoclast differentiation modulation and in the management of osteoporosis and associated metabolic changes following estrogen depletion, suggesting its suitability as an alternative therapeutic strategy for postmenopausal osteoporosis intertwined with metabolic imbalances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Bone Cells in Health and Disease)
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10 pages, 3175 KiB  
Article
Effect of a Total Extract and Saponins from Astragalus glycyphyllos L. on Human Coronavirus Replication In Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16525; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216525 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 541
Abstract
Members of the family Coronaviridae cause diseases in mammals, birds, and wildlife (bats), some of which may be transmissible to humans or specific to humans. In the human population, they can cause a wide range of diseases, mainly affecting the respiratory and digestive [...] Read more.
Members of the family Coronaviridae cause diseases in mammals, birds, and wildlife (bats), some of which may be transmissible to humans or specific to humans. In the human population, they can cause a wide range of diseases, mainly affecting the respiratory and digestive systems. In the scientific databases, there are huge numbers of research articles about the antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and anthelmintic activities of medicinal herbs and crops with different ethnobotanical backgrounds. The subject of our research is the antiviral effect of isolated saponins, a purified saponin mixture, and a methanol extract of Astragalus glycyphyllos L. In the studies conducted for the cytotoxic effect of the substances, CC50 (cytotoxic concentration 50) and MTC (maximum tolerable concentration) were determined by the colorimetric method (MTT assay). The virus was cultured in the MDBK cell line. As a result of the experiments carried out on the influence of substances on viral replication (using MTT-based colorimetric assay for detection of human Coronavirus replication inhibition), it was found that the extract and the purified saponin mixture inhibited 100% viral replication. The calculated selective indices are about 13 and 18, respectively. The obtained results make them promising for a preparation with anti-Coronavirus action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antiviral Activities of Plant Extracts)
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14 pages, 8475 KiB  
Article
High-Proportion Blue Light Irradiation at the End-of-Production Stage Promotes the Biosynthesis and Recycling of Ascorbate in Lettuce
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16524; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216524 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 561
Abstract
Ascorbate (AsA), an essential antioxidant for both plants and the human body, plays a vital role in maintaining proper functionality. Light plays an important role in metabolism of AsA in horticultural plants. Our previous research has revealed that subjecting lettuce to high light [...] Read more.
Ascorbate (AsA), an essential antioxidant for both plants and the human body, plays a vital role in maintaining proper functionality. Light plays an important role in metabolism of AsA in horticultural plants. Our previous research has revealed that subjecting lettuce to high light irradiation (HLI) (500 μmol·m−2·s−1) at the end-of-production (EOP) stage effectively enhances AsA levels, while the optimal light quality for AsA accumulation is still unknown. In this study, four combinations of red (R) and blue (B) light spectra with the ratio of 1:1 (1R1B), 2:1 (2R1B), 3:1 (3R1B), and 4:1 (4R1B) were applied to investigate the biosynthesis and recycling of AsA in lettuce. The results demonstrated that the AsA/total-AsA content in lettuce leaves was notably augmented upon exposure to 1R1B and 2R1B. Interestingly, AsA levels across all treatments increased rapidly at the early stage (2–8 h) of irradiation, while they increased slowly at the late stage (8–16 h). The activity of L-galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase was augmented under 1R1B treatment, which is pivotal to AsA production. Additionally, the activities of enzymes key to AsA cycling were enhanced by 1R1B and 2R1B treatments, including ascorbate peroxidase, dehydroascorbate reductase, and monodehydroascorbate reductase. Notably, hydrogen peroxide and malondialdehyde accumulation increased dramatically following 16 h of 1R1B and 2R1B treatments. In addition, although soluble sugar and starch contents were enhanced by EOP-HLI, this effect was comparatively subdued under the 1R1B treatment. Overall, these results indicated that AsA accumulation was improved by irradiation with a blue light proportion of over 50% in lettuce, aligning with the heightened activities of key enzymes responsible for AsA synthesis, as well as the accrual of hydrogen peroxide. The effective strategy holds the potential to enhance the nutritional quality of lettuce while bolstering its antioxidant defenses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Responses to Light)
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17 pages, 2388 KiB  
Review
Cannabinoids and Their Receptors in Skin Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16523; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216523 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2767
Abstract
The therapeutic application of cannabinoids has gained traction in recent years. Cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system in the skin. A large body of research indicates that cannabinoids could hold promise for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, acne, pruritus, hair disorders, and [...] Read more.
The therapeutic application of cannabinoids has gained traction in recent years. Cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system in the skin. A large body of research indicates that cannabinoids could hold promise for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, acne, pruritus, hair disorders, and skin cancer. However, most of the available data are at the preclinical stage. Comprehensive, large-scale, randomized, controlled clinical trials have not yet been fully conducted. In this article, we describe new findings in cannabinoid research and point out promising future research areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Skin Disease: From Pathology to Therapy)
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15 pages, 3428 KiB  
Article
Cancer Associated PRDM9: Implications for Linking Genomic Instability and Meiotic Recombination
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16522; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216522 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 804
Abstract
The PR domain-containing 9 or PRDM9 is a gene recognized for its fundamental role in meiosis, a process essential for forming reproductive cells. Recent findings have implicated alterations in the PRDM9, particularly its zinc finger motifs, in the onset and progression of cancer. [...] Read more.
The PR domain-containing 9 or PRDM9 is a gene recognized for its fundamental role in meiosis, a process essential for forming reproductive cells. Recent findings have implicated alterations in the PRDM9, particularly its zinc finger motifs, in the onset and progression of cancer. This association is manifested through genomic instability and the misregulation of genes critical to cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation. In our comprehensive study, we harnessed advanced bioinformatic mining tools to delve deep into the intricate relationship between PRDM9F and cancer. We analyzed 136,752 breakpoints and found an undeniable association between specific PRDM9 motifs and the occurrence of double-strand breaks, a phenomenon evidenced in every cancer profile examined. Utilizing R statistical querying and the Regioner package, 55 unique sequence variations of PRDM9 were statistically correlated with cancer, from a pool of 1024 variations. A robust analysis using the Enrichr tool revealed prominent associations with various cancer types. Moreover, connections were noted with specific phenotypic conditions and molecular functions, underlining the pervasive influence of PRDM9 variations in the biological spectrum. The Reactome tool identified 25 significant pathways associated with cancer, offering insights into the mechanistic underpinnings linking PRDM9 to cancer progression. This detailed analysis not only confirms the pivotal role of PRDM9 in cancer development, but also unveils a complex network of biological processes influenced by its variations. The insights gained lay a solid foundation for future research aimed at deciphering the mechanistic pathways of PRDM9, offering prospects for targeted interventions and innovative therapeutic approaches in cancer management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology: Computational and Experimental Approaches)
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19 pages, 11370 KiB  
Article
NopC/T/L Signal Crosstalk Gene GmPHT1-4
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16521; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216521 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 671
Abstract
Symbiotic nodulation between leguminous plants and rhizobia is a critical biological interaction. The type III secretion system (T3SS) employed by rhizobia manipulates the host’s nodulation signaling, analogous to mechanisms used by certain bacterial pathogens for effector protein delivery into host cells. This investigation [...] Read more.
Symbiotic nodulation between leguminous plants and rhizobia is a critical biological interaction. The type III secretion system (T3SS) employed by rhizobia manipulates the host’s nodulation signaling, analogous to mechanisms used by certain bacterial pathogens for effector protein delivery into host cells. This investigation explores the interactive signaling among type III effectors HH103ΩNopC, HH103ΩNopT, and HH103ΩNopL from SinoRhizobium fredii HH103. Experimental results revealed that these effectors positively regulate nodule formation. Transcriptomic analysis pinpointed GmPHT1-4 as the key gene facilitating this effector-mediated signaling. Overexpression of GmPHT1-4 enhances nodulation, indicating a dual function in nodulation and phosphorus homeostasis. This research elucidates the intricate regulatory network governing Rhizobium–soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) interactions and the complex interplay between type III effectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Novel Techniques for Soybean Pivotal Characters)
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13 pages, 1808 KiB  
Article
Interaction of TSG101 with the PTAP Motif in Distinct Locations of Gag Determines the Incorporation of HTLV-1 Env into the Retroviral Virion
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16520; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216520 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 767
Abstract
Human T-cell tropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is known to be mainly transmitted by cell-to-cell contact due to the lower infectivity of the cell-free virion. However, the reasons why cell-free HTLV-1 infection is poor remain unknown. In this study, we found that the [...] Read more.
Human T-cell tropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is known to be mainly transmitted by cell-to-cell contact due to the lower infectivity of the cell-free virion. However, the reasons why cell-free HTLV-1 infection is poor remain unknown. In this study, we found that the retrovirus pseudotyped with HTLV-1 viral envelope glycoprotein (Env) was infectious when human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) was used to produce the virus. We found that the incorporation of HTLV-1 Env into virus-like particles (VLPs) was low when HTLV-1 Gag was used to produce VLPs, whereas VLPs produced using HIV-1 Gag efficiently incorporated HTLV-1 Env. The production of VLPs using Gag chimeras between HTLV-1 and HIV-1 Gag and deletion mutants of HIV-1 Gag showed that the p6 domain of HIV-1 Gag was responsible for the efficient incorporation of HTLV-1 Env into the VLPs. Further mutagenic analyses of the p6 domain of HIV-1 Gag revealed that the PTAP motif in the p6 domain of HIV-1 Gag facilitates the incorporation of HTLV-1 Env into VLPs. Since the PTAP motif is known to interact with tumor susceptibility gene 101 (TSG101) during the budding process, we evaluated the effect of TSG101 knockdown on the incorporation of HTLV-1 Env into VLPs. We found that TSG101 knockdown suppressed the incorporation of HTLV-1 Env into VLPs and decreased the infectivity of cell-free HIV-1 pseudotyped with HTLV-1 Env. Our results suggest that the interaction of TSG101 with the PTAP motif of the retroviral L domain is involved not only in the budding process but also in the efficient incorporation of HTLV-1 Env into the cell-free virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Human Retrovirus Infection)
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20 pages, 2492 KiB  
Review
Adenoviral Gene Therapy Vectors in Clinical Use—Basic Aspects with a Special Reference to Replication-Competent Adenovirus Formation and Its Impact on Clinical Safety
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16519; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216519 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 774
Abstract
Adenoviral vectors are commonly used in clinical gene therapy. Apart from oncolytic adenoviruses, vector replication is highly undesired as it may pose a safety risk for the treated patient. Thus, careful monitoring for the formation of replication-competent adenoviruses (RCA) during vector manufacturing is [...] Read more.
Adenoviral vectors are commonly used in clinical gene therapy. Apart from oncolytic adenoviruses, vector replication is highly undesired as it may pose a safety risk for the treated patient. Thus, careful monitoring for the formation of replication-competent adenoviruses (RCA) during vector manufacturing is required. To render adenoviruses replication deficient, their genomic E1 region is deleted. However, it has been known for a long time that during their propagation, some viruses will regain their replication capability by recombination in production cells, most commonly HEK293. Recently developed RCA assays have revealed that many clinical batches contain more RCA than previously assumed and allowed by regulatory authorities. The clinical significance of the higher RCA content has yet to be thoroughly evaluated. In this review, we summarize the biology of adenovirus vectors, their manufacturing methods, and the origins of RCA formed during HEK293-based vector production. Lastly, we share our experience using minimally RCA-positive serotype 5 adenoviral vectors based on observations from our clinical cardiovascular gene therapy studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Molecular Microbiology)
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