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Cells, Volume 12, Issue 12 (June-2 2023) – 117 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The costimulatory TNFRs on T cells have emerged as promising targets for cancer immunotherapy, although there are still details to be discovered. To clarify the functional significance of four different TNFRs—OX40, 4-1BB, CD27 and GITR—we prepared corresponding single-chain TNF ligand proteins (scTNFLs) connected to the IgG Fc domain, i.e., Fc−scOX40L, Fc−sc4-1BBL, Fc−scCD27L (CD70) and Fc−scGITRL, forming a hexameric TNFL structure. Without intentional cross-linking, these soluble Fc−scTNFLs bound to corresponding TNFRs activated NF-kB and promoted proliferative and cytokine responses of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells with different dose-dependencies. Our findings would be valuable for investigators conducting basic research in cancer immunology, in addition to having implications for T cell-mediated immune regulation using designer TNFLs. View this paper
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66 pages, 15717 KiB  
Review
The PI3K-Akt-mTOR and Associated Signaling Pathways as Molecular Drivers of Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Skin Diseases: Update on Therapeutic Strategy Using Natural and Synthetic Compounds
by Tithi Roy, Samuel T. Boateng, Mohammad B. Uddin, Sergette Banang-Mbeumi, Rajesh K. Yadav, Chelsea R. Bock, Joy T. Folahan, Xavier Siwe-Noundou, Anthony L. Walker, Judy A. King, Claudia Buerger, Shile Huang and Jean Christopher Chamcheu
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1671; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121671 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3418
Abstract
The dysregulated phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has been implicated in various immune-mediated inflammatory and hyperproliferative dermatoses such as acne, atopic dermatitis, alopecia, psoriasis, wounds, and vitiligo, and is associated with poor treatment outcomes. Improved comprehension of the consequences of [...] Read more.
The dysregulated phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has been implicated in various immune-mediated inflammatory and hyperproliferative dermatoses such as acne, atopic dermatitis, alopecia, psoriasis, wounds, and vitiligo, and is associated with poor treatment outcomes. Improved comprehension of the consequences of the dysregulated PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in patients with inflammatory dermatoses has resulted in the development of novel therapeutic approaches. Nonetheless, more studies are necessary to validate the regulatory role of this pathway and to create more effective preventive and treatment methods for a wide range of inflammatory skin diseases. Several studies have revealed that certain natural products and synthetic compounds can obstruct the expression/activity of PI3K/Akt/mTOR, underscoring their potential in managing common and persistent skin inflammatory disorders. This review summarizes recent advances in understanding the role of the activated PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway and associated components in immune-mediated inflammatory dermatoses and discusses the potential of bioactive natural products, synthetic scaffolds, and biologic agents in their prevention and treatment. However, further research is necessary to validate the regulatory role of this pathway and develop more effective therapies for inflammatory skin disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue PI3K/AKT/mTOR Signaling Network in Human Health and Diseases 2.0)
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20 pages, 2962 KiB  
Article
NTRC and TRX-f Coordinately Affect the Levels of Enzymes of Chlorophyll Biosynthesis in a Light-Dependent Manner
by Daniel Wittmann, Peter Geigenberger and Bernhard Grimm
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1670; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121670 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1285
Abstract
Redox regulation of plastid gene expression and different metabolic pathways promotes many activities of redox-sensitive proteins. We address the question of how the plastid redox state and the contributing reducing enzymes control the enzymes of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis (TBS). In higher plants, this metabolic [...] Read more.
Redox regulation of plastid gene expression and different metabolic pathways promotes many activities of redox-sensitive proteins. We address the question of how the plastid redox state and the contributing reducing enzymes control the enzymes of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis (TBS). In higher plants, this metabolic pathway serves to produce chlorophyll and heme, among other essential end products. Because of the strictly light-dependent synthesis of chlorophyll, tight control of TBS requires a diurnal balanced supply of the precursor 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) to prevent the accumulation of photoreactive metabolic intermediates in darkness. We report on some TBS enzymes that accumulate in a light intensity-dependent manner, and their contents decrease under oxidizing conditions of darkness, low light conditions, or in the absence of NADPH-dependent thioredoxin reductase (NTRC) and thioredoxin f1 (TRX-f1). Analysis of single and double trxf1 and ntrc mutants revealed a decreased content of the early TBS enzymes glutamyl-tRNA reductase (GluTR) and 5-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) instead of an exclusive decrease in enzyme activity. This effect was dependent on light conditions and strongly attenuated after transfer to high light intensities. Thus, it is suggested that a deficiency of plastid-localized thiol-redox transmitters leads to enhanced degradation of TBS enzymes rather than being directly caused by lower catalytic activity. The effects of the proteolytic activity of the Clp protease on TBS enzymes were studied by using Clp subunit-deficient mutants. The simultaneous lack of TRX and Clp activities in double mutants confirms the Clp-induced degradation of some TBS proteins in the absence of reductive activity of TRXs. In addition, we verified previous observations that decreased chlorophyll and heme levels in ntrc could be reverted to WT levels in the ntrc/Δ2cp triple mutant. The decreased synthesis of 5-aminolevulinic acid and porphobilinogen in ntrc was completely restored in ntrc/Δ2cp and correlated with WT-like levels of GluTR, ALAD, and other TBS proteins. Full article
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12 pages, 3474 KiB  
Review
Role of Impaired Astrocyte Gap Junction Coupling in Epileptogenesis
by Peter Bedner and Christian Steinhäuser
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1669; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121669 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1452
Abstract
The gap-junction-coupled astroglial network plays a central role in the regulation of neuronal activity and synchronisation, but its involvement in the pathogenesis of neuronal diseases is not yet understood. Here, we present the current state of knowledge about the impact of impaired glial [...] Read more.
The gap-junction-coupled astroglial network plays a central role in the regulation of neuronal activity and synchronisation, but its involvement in the pathogenesis of neuronal diseases is not yet understood. Here, we present the current state of knowledge about the impact of impaired glial coupling in the development and progression of epilepsy and discuss whether astrocytes represent alternative therapeutic targets. We focus mainly on temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), which is the most common form of epilepsy in adults and is characterised by high therapy resistance. Functional data from TLE patients and corresponding experimental models point to a complete loss of astrocytic coupling, but preservation of the gap junction forming proteins connexin43 and connexin30 in hippocampal sclerosis. Several studies further indicate that astrocyte uncoupling is a causal event in the initiation of TLE, as it occurs very early in epileptogenesis, clearly preceding dysfunctional changes in neurons. However, more research is needed to fully understand the role of gap junction channels in epilepsy and to develop safe and effective therapeutic strategies targeting astrocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Astrocytes in CNS Disorders)
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20 pages, 9697 KiB  
Article
Starvation Protects Hepatocytes from Inflammatory Damage through Paradoxical mTORC1 Signaling
by Iqra Hussain, Harini K. Sureshkumar, Michael Bauer and Ignacio Rubio
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1668; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121668 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1391
Abstract
Background and aims: Sepsis-related liver failure is associated with a particularly unfavorable clinical outcome. Calorie restriction is a well-established factor that can increase tissue resilience, protect against liver failure and improve outcome in preclinical models of bacterial sepsis. However, the underlying molecular [...] Read more.
Background and aims: Sepsis-related liver failure is associated with a particularly unfavorable clinical outcome. Calorie restriction is a well-established factor that can increase tissue resilience, protect against liver failure and improve outcome in preclinical models of bacterial sepsis. However, the underlying molecular basis is difficult to investigate in animal studies and remains largely unknown. Methods: We have used an immortalized hepatocyte line as a model of the liver parenchyma to uncover the role of caloric restriction in the resilience of hepatocytes to inflammatory cell damage. In addition, we applied genetic and pharmacological approaches to investigate the contribution of the three major intracellular nutrient/energy sensor systems, AMPK, mTORC1 and mTORC2, in this context. Results: We demonstrate that starvation reliably protects hepatocytes from cellular damage caused by pro-inflammatory cytokines. While the major nutrient- and energy-related signaling pathways AMPK, mTORC2/Akt and mTORC1 responded to caloric restriction as expected, mTORC1 was paradoxically activated by inflammatory stress in starved, energy-deprived hepatocytes. Pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1 or genetic silencing of the mTORC1 scaffold Raptor, but not its mTORC2 counterpart Rictor, abrogated the protective effect of starvation and exacerbated inflammation-induced cell death. Remarkably, mTORC1 activation in starved hepatocytes was uncoupled from the regulation of autophagy, but crucial for sustained protein synthesis in starved resistant cells. Conclusions: AMPK engagement and paradoxical mTORC1 activation and signaling mediate protection against pro-inflammatory stress exerted by caloric restriction in hepatocytes. Full article
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15 pages, 3513 KiB  
Article
Silencing of circCacna1c Inhibits ISO-Induced Cardiac Hypertrophy through miR-29b-2-5p/NFATc1 Axis
by Peilei Lu, Danyu Zhang, Fan Ding, Jialu Ma, Yang K. Xiang and Meimi Zhao
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1667; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121667 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1333
Abstract
Pathological cardiac hypertrophy is one of the notable causes of heart failure. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been studied in association with cardiac hypertrophy; however, the mechanisms by which circRNAs regulate cardiac hypertrophy remain unclear. In this study, we identified a new circRNA, named [...] Read more.
Pathological cardiac hypertrophy is one of the notable causes of heart failure. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been studied in association with cardiac hypertrophy; however, the mechanisms by which circRNAs regulate cardiac hypertrophy remain unclear. In this study, we identified a new circRNA, named circCacna1c, in cardiac hypertrophy. Adult male C57BL/6 mice and H9c2 cells were treated with isoprenaline hydrochloride (ISO) to establish a hypertrophy model. We found that circCacna1c was upregulated in ISO-induced hypertrophic heart tissue and H9c2 cells. Western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction showed that silencing circCacna1c inhibited hypertrophic gene expression in ISO-induced H9c2 cells. Mechanistically, circCacna1c competitively bound to miR-29b-2-5p in a dual-luciferase reporter assay, which was downregulated in ISO-induced hypertrophic heart tissue and H9c2 cells. MiR-29b-2-5p inhibited the nuclear factor of activated T cells, cytoplasmic, calcineurin-dependent 1 (NFATc1) to control hypertrophic gene expression. After silencing circCacna1c, the expression of miR-29b-2-5p increased, which reduced hypertrophic gene expression by inhibiting NFATc1 expression. Together, these experiments indicate that circCacna1c promotes ISO-induced pathological hypertrophy through the miR-29b-2-5p/NFATc1 axis. Full article
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13 pages, 2797 KiB  
Article
Investigation of the Antifungal and Anticancer Effects of the Novel Synthesized Thiazolidinedione by Ion-Conductance Microscopy
by Nikita Savin, Alexander Erofeev, Roman Timoshenko, Alexander Vaneev, Anastasiia Garanina, Sergey Salikhov, Natalia Grammatikova, Igor Levshin, Yuri Korchev and Petr Gorelkin
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1666; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121666 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1159
Abstract
In connection with the emergence of new pathogenic strains of Candida, the search for more effective antifungal drugs becomes a challenge. Part of the preclinical trials of such drugs can be carried out using the innovative ion-conductance microscopy (ICM) method, whose unique [...] Read more.
In connection with the emergence of new pathogenic strains of Candida, the search for more effective antifungal drugs becomes a challenge. Part of the preclinical trials of such drugs can be carried out using the innovative ion-conductance microscopy (ICM) method, whose unique characteristics make it possible to study the biophysical characteristics of biological objects with high accuracy and low invasiveness. We conducted a study of a novel synthesized thiazolidinedione’s antimicrobial (for Candida spp.) and anticancer properties (on samples of the human prostate cell line PC3), and its drug toxicity (on a sample of the human kidney cell line HEK293). We used a scanning ion-conductance microscope (SICM) to obtain the topography and mechanical properties of cells and an amperometric method using Pt-nanoelectrodes to register reactive oxygen species (ROS) expression. All data and results are obtained and presented for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Scanning Probe Microscopy in Cell Biology)
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18 pages, 5015 KiB  
Article
Rabconnectin-3α/DMXL2 Is Locally Enriched at the Synaptic Ribbon of Rod Photoreceptor Synapses
by Alina Dittrich, Girish Ramesh, Martin Jung and Frank Schmitz
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1665; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121665 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1261
Abstract
Ribbon synapses reliably transmit synaptic signals over a broad signalling range. Rod photoreceptor ribbon synapses are capable of transmitting signals generated by the absorption of single photons. The high precision of ribbon synapses emphasizes the need for particularly efficient signalling mechanisms. Synaptic ribbons [...] Read more.
Ribbon synapses reliably transmit synaptic signals over a broad signalling range. Rod photoreceptor ribbon synapses are capable of transmitting signals generated by the absorption of single photons. The high precision of ribbon synapses emphasizes the need for particularly efficient signalling mechanisms. Synaptic ribbons are presynaptic specializations of ribbon synapses and are anchored to the active zone. Synaptic ribbons bind many synaptic vesicles that are delivered to the active zone for continuous and faithful signalling. In the present study we demonstrate with independent antibodies at the light- and electron microscopic level that rabconnectin-3α (RC3α)—alternative name Dmx-like 2 (DMXL2)—is localized to the synaptic ribbons of rod photoreceptor synapses in the mouse retina. In the brain, RC3α-containing complexes are known to interact with important components of synaptic vesicles, including Rab3-activating/inactivating enzymes, priming proteins and the vesicular H+-ATPase that acidifies the synaptic vesicle lumen to promote full neurotransmitter loading. The association of RC3α/DMXL2 with rod synaptic ribbons of the mouse retina could enable these structures to deliver only fully signalling-competent synaptic vesicles to the active zone thus contributing to reliable synaptic communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Retinal Cell Biology in Health and Disease)
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33 pages, 1499 KiB  
Review
Facing the Challenges in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era: From Standard Treatments to the Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells as a New Therapeutic Strategy
by Eleonora Russo, Simona Corrao, Francesca Di Gaudio, Giusi Alberti, Martin Caprnda, Peter Kubatka, Peter Kruzliak, Vitale Miceli, Pier Giulio Conaldi, Cesario Venturina Borlongan and Giampiero La Rocca
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1664; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121664 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1855
Abstract
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which counts more than 650 million cases and more than 6.6 million of deaths worldwide, affects the respiratory system with typical symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which counts more than 650 million cases and more than 6.6 million of deaths worldwide, affects the respiratory system with typical symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and fatigue. Other nonpulmonary manifestations are related with abnormal inflammatory response, the “cytokine storm”, that could lead to a multiorgan disease and to death. Evolution of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 provided multiple options to prevent the infection, but the treatment of the severe forms remains difficult to manage. The cytokine storm is usually counteracted with standard medical care and anti-inflammatory drugs, but researchers moved forward their studies on new strategies based on cell therapy approaches. The perinatal tissues, such as placental membranes, amniotic fluid, and umbilical cord derivatives, are enriched in mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) that exert a well-known anti-inflammatory role, immune response modulation, and tissue repair. In this review, we focused on umbilical-cord-derived MSCs (UC-MSCs) used in in vitro and in vivo studies in order to evaluate the weakening of the severe symptoms, and on recent clinical trials from different databases, supporting the favorable potential of UC-MSCs as therapeutic strategy. Full article
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8 pages, 2358 KiB  
Communication
Increased Prevalence of Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency in Patients with Biliary Tract Cancer and Its Associated Clinicopathological Features
by Martin Cornillet, Helen Zemack, Hannes Jansson, Ernesto Sparrelid, Ewa Ellis and Niklas K. Björkström
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1663; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121663 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1322
Abstract
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (A1ATD) is underdiagnosed and associated with liver diseases. Here, we genotyped 130 patients with biliary tract cancer (BTC) scheduled for liver resection and found A1ATD in 10.8% of the patients. A1ATD was found in all BTC subtypes, and patients had [...] Read more.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (A1ATD) is underdiagnosed and associated with liver diseases. Here, we genotyped 130 patients with biliary tract cancer (BTC) scheduled for liver resection and found A1ATD in 10.8% of the patients. A1ATD was found in all BTC subtypes, and patients had similar clinical features as non-A1ATD BTC, not permitting their identification using clinical routine liver tests. In intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA), the abundance of A1AT protein was increased in the tumor and appeared to be influenced by the genomic alterations. On the one hand, BTC with A1ATD had lower perineural invasion at histopathology and displayed a longer survival, suggesting that a deficiency in this protein is associated with a less aggressive phenotype. On the other hand, iCCA with high A1AT expression had more advanced tumor staging and enriched pathways for complement system and extracellular matrix interactions, indicating that A1AT protein might contribute to a more aggressive phenotype. With increased awareness, screening, and basic studies, A1ATD could represent one more layer of stratification for future targeted therapies in BTC. Full article
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13 pages, 2218 KiB  
Communication
Oleic Acid Status Positively Correlates with the Soluble Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-Products (sRAGE) in Healthy Adults Who Are Homozygous for G Allele of RAGE G82S Polymorphism
by Permal Deo, Varinderpal S. Dhillon, Philip Thomas and Michael Fenech
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1662; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121662 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
Background: The soluble form of receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE) have been implicated in the prevention of numerous pathologic states, and highlights as an attractive therapeutic target. Because diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) reduce postprandial oxidative stress and inflammation [...] Read more.
Background: The soluble form of receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE) have been implicated in the prevention of numerous pathologic states, and highlights as an attractive therapeutic target. Because diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) reduce postprandial oxidative stress and inflammation that is related to better health during aging, we investigated the association between red blood cell (RBC) fatty acids with circulatory AGE biomarkers and further stratified this correlation based on GG and GA + AA genotype. Methods: A total of 172 healthy participants (median age = 53.74 ± 0.61 years) were recruited for the study. RBC fatty acid was analysed using gas chromatography and sRAGE was measured using a commercial ELISA kit. Results: The result showed a non-significant correlation between total MUFA with sRAGE however oleic acid (C18:1) exhibited a positive correlation (r = 0.178, p = 0.01) that remained statistically significant (β = 0.178, p = 0.02) after a stepwise multivariate regression analysis after adjusting for age, BMI and gender. In a univariate analysis, a positive significant correlation between C18:1 and sRAGE in GG genotype (r = 0.169, p = 0.02) and a non-significant correlation with GA + AA genotype (r = 0.192, p = 0.21) was evident. When C18:1 was stratified, a significant difference was observed for oleic acid and G82S polymorphism: low C18:1/GA + AA versus high C18:1/GG (p = 0.015) and high C18:1/GA + AA versus high C18:1/GG (p = 0.02). Conclusion: Our study suggests that increased levels of C18:1 may be a potential therapeutic approach in increasing sRAGE in those with GG genotype and play a role in modulating AGE metabolism. Full article
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12 pages, 703 KiB  
Review
Mechanisms of Atrial Fibrillation in Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
by James Saleeb-Mousa, Demitris Nathanael, Andrew M. Coney, Manish Kalla, Keith L. Brain and Andrew P. Holmes
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121661 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2234
Abstract
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a strong independent risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF). Emerging clinical data cite adverse effects of OSA on AF induction, maintenance, disease severity, and responsiveness to treatment. Prevention using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is effective in some [...] Read more.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a strong independent risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF). Emerging clinical data cite adverse effects of OSA on AF induction, maintenance, disease severity, and responsiveness to treatment. Prevention using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is effective in some groups but is limited by its poor compliance. Thus, an improved understanding of the underlying arrhythmogenic mechanisms will facilitate the development of novel therapies and/or better selection of those currently available to complement CPAP in alleviating the burden of AF in OSA. Arrhythmogenesis in OSA is a multifactorial process characterised by a combination of acute atrial stimulation on a background of chronic electrical, structural, and autonomic remodelling. Chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), a key feature of OSA, is associated with long-term adaptive changes in myocyte ion channel currents, sensitising the atria to episodic bursts of autonomic reflex activity. CIH is also a potent driver of inflammatory and hypoxic stress, leading to fibrosis, connexin downregulation, and conduction slowing. Atrial stretch is brought about by negative thoracic pressure (NTP) swings during apnoea, promoting further chronic structural remodelling, as well as acutely dysregulating calcium handling and electrical function. Here, we provide an up-to-date review of these topical mechanistic insights and their roles in arrhythmia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular Mechanisms Associated with Intermittent Hypoxia)
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15 pages, 928 KiB  
Review
Leveraging Plasma Membrane Repair Therapeutics for Treating Neurodegenerative Diseases
by Hannah R. Bulgart, Isabella Goncalves and Noah Weisleder
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1660; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121660 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1771
Abstract
Plasma membrane repair is an essential cellular mechanism that reseals membrane disruptions after a variety of insults, and compromised repair capacity can contribute to the progression of many diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases are marked by membrane damage from many sources, reduced membrane integrity, elevated [...] Read more.
Plasma membrane repair is an essential cellular mechanism that reseals membrane disruptions after a variety of insults, and compromised repair capacity can contribute to the progression of many diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases are marked by membrane damage from many sources, reduced membrane integrity, elevated intracellular calcium concentrations, enhanced reactive oxygen species production, mitochondrial dysfunction, and widespread neuronal death. While the toxic intracellular effects of these changes in cellular physiology have been defined, the specific mechanism of neuronal death in certain neurodegenerative diseases remains unclear. An abundance of recent evidence indicates that neuronal membrane damage and pore formation in the membrane are key contributors to neurodegenerative disease pathogenesis. In this review, we have outlined evidence supporting the hypothesis that membrane damage is a contributor to neurodegenerative diseases and that therapeutically enhancing membrane repair can potentially combat neuronal death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward Understanding Wound Repair Mechanism)
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18 pages, 2448 KiB  
Article
Inverse Regulation of Cartilage Neogenesis at Physiologically Relevant Calcium Conditions by Human Articular Chondrocytes and Mesenchymal Stromal Cells
by Tim Hammersen, Justyna Buchert, Severin Zietzschmann, Solvig Diederichs and Wiltrud Richter
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1659; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121659 - 18 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1083
Abstract
Elaborate bioreactor cultivation or expensive growth factor supplementation can enhance extracellular matrix production in engineered neocartilage to provide sufficient mechanical resistance. We here investigated whether raising extracellular calcium levels in chondrogenic cultures to physiologically relevant levels would provide a simple and inexpensive alternative [...] Read more.
Elaborate bioreactor cultivation or expensive growth factor supplementation can enhance extracellular matrix production in engineered neocartilage to provide sufficient mechanical resistance. We here investigated whether raising extracellular calcium levels in chondrogenic cultures to physiologically relevant levels would provide a simple and inexpensive alternative to enhance cartilage neogenesis from human articular chondrocytes (AC) or bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSC). Interestingly, AC and BMSC-derived chondrocytes showed an opposite response to a calcium increase from 1.8 mM to 8 mM by which glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and collagen type II production were elevated during BMSC chondrogenesis but depressed in AC, leading to two-fold higher GAG/DNA values in BMSC-based neocartilage compared to the AC group. According to control treatments with Mg2+ or sucrose, these effects were specific for CaCl2 rather than divalent cations or osmolarity. Importantly, undesired pro-hypertrophic traits were not stimulated by calcium treatment. Specific induction of PTHrP mRNA and protein by 8.0mM calcium only in AC, along with negative effects of recombinant PTHrP1-34 on cartilage matrix production, suggested that the PTHrP pathway contributed to the detrimental effects in AC-based neocartilage. Altogether, raising extracellular calcium levels was discovered as a novel, simple and inexpensive stimulator for BMSC-based cartilage neogenesis without the need for special bioreactors, whereas such conditions should be avoided for AC. Full article
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20 pages, 4559 KiB  
Article
Targeted Deletion of Thymosin Beta 4 in Hepatic Stellate Cells Ameliorates Liver Fibrosis in a Transgenic Mouse Model
by Jieun Kim, Chanbin Lee, Jinsol Han, Hayeong Jeong, Sihyung Wang, Yung Hyun Choi and Youngmi Jung
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1658; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121658 - 18 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1360
Abstract
Liver fibrosis is the most common feature of liver disease, and activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the main contributors to liver fibrosis. Thus, finding key targets that modulate HSC activation is important to prevent liver fibrosis. Previously, we showed that thymosin β4 [...] Read more.
Liver fibrosis is the most common feature of liver disease, and activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the main contributors to liver fibrosis. Thus, finding key targets that modulate HSC activation is important to prevent liver fibrosis. Previously, we showed that thymosin β4 (Tβ4) influenced HSC activation by interacting with the Hedgehog pathway in vitro. Herein, we generated Tβ4 conditional knockout (Tβ4-flox) mice to investigate in vivo functions of Tβ4 in liver fibrosis. To selectively delete Tβ4 in activated HSCs, double-transgenic (DTG) mice were generated by mating Tβ4-flox mice with α-smooth muscle actin (α-Sma)-Cre-ERT2 mice, and these mice were administered carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) or underwent bile duct ligation to induce liver fibrosis. Tβ4 was selectively suppressed in the activated HSCs of DTG mouse liver, and this reduction attenuated liver injury, including fibrosis, in both fibrotic models by repressing Hedgehog (Hh) signaling. In addition, the re-expression of Tβ4 by an adeno-associated virus reversed the effect of HSC-specific Tβ4 deletion and led to liver fibrosis with Hh activation in CCl4-exposed mice treated with tamoxifen. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that Tβ4 is a crucial regulator of HSC activation, suggesting it as a novel therapeutic target for curing liver fibrosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liver Injury and Regeneration: From Basic to Translational Research)
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13 pages, 1356 KiB  
Review
Molecular Mechanisms of Colorectal Liver Metastases
by Diamantis I. Tsilimigras, Ioannis Ntanasis-Stathopoulos and Timothy M. Pawlik
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1657; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121657 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2042
Abstract
The liver is the most frequently target for metastasis among patients with colorectal cancer mainly because of the portal vein circulation that directly connects the colon and rectum with the liver. The liver tumor microenvironment consists of different cell types each with unique [...] Read more.
The liver is the most frequently target for metastasis among patients with colorectal cancer mainly because of the portal vein circulation that directly connects the colon and rectum with the liver. The liver tumor microenvironment consists of different cell types each with unique characteristics and functions that modulate the antigen recognition and immune system activation. Primary tumors from other sites “prime” the liver prior to the seeding of cancer cells, creating a pre-metastatic niche. Following invasion into the liver, four different phases are key to the development of liver metastases: a microvascular phase in which cancer cells infiltrate and become trapped in sinusoidal vessels; an extravascular, pre-angiogenic phase; an angiogenic phase that supplies oxygen and nutrients to cancer cells; and a growth phase in which metastatic cells multiply and enlarge to form detectable tumors. Exosomes carry proteins, lipids, as well as genetic information that can create a pre-metastatic niche in distant sites, including the liver. The complexity of angiogenic mechanisms and the exploitation of the vasculature in situ by cancer cells have limited the efficacy of currently available anti-angiogenic therapies. Delineating the molecular mechanisms implicated in colorectal liver metastases is crucial to understand and predict tumor progression; the development of distant metastases; and resistance to chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Liver Metastases)
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23 pages, 90241 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Growth Modification on Pollen Development in Spring Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Genotypes with Contrasting Drought Tolerance
by Piotr Ogrodowicz, Maria Katarzyna Wojciechowicz, Anetta Kuczyńska, Paweł Krajewski and Michał Kempa
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1656; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121656 - 18 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1100
Abstract
Drought stress inducing pollen sterility can reduce crop yield worldwide. The regulatory crosstalk associated with the effects of drought on pollen formation at the cellular level has not been explored in detail so far. In this study, we performed morphological and cytoembryological analysis [...] Read more.
Drought stress inducing pollen sterility can reduce crop yield worldwide. The regulatory crosstalk associated with the effects of drought on pollen formation at the cellular level has not been explored in detail so far. In this study, we performed morphological and cytoembryological analysis of anther perturbations and examined pollen development in two spring barley genotypes that differ in earliness and drought tolerance. The Syrian breeding line CamB (drought-tolerant) and the European cultivar Lubuski (drought-sensitive) were used as experimental materials to analyze the drought-induced changes in yield performance, chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics, the pollen grain micromorphology and ultrastructure during critical stages of plant development. In addition, fluctuations in HvGAMYB expression were studied, as this transcription factor is closely associated with the development of the anther. In the experiments, the studied plants were affected by drought, as was confirmed by the analyses of yield performance and chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics. However, contrary to our expectations, the pollen development of plants grown under specific conditions was not severely affected. The results also suggest that growth modification, as well as the perturbation in light distribution, can affect the HvGAMYB expression. This study demonstrated that the duration of the vegetation period can influence plant drought responses and, as a consequence, the processes associated with pollen development as every growth modification changes the dynamics of drought effects as well as the duration of plant exposition to drought. Full article
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22 pages, 5536 KiB  
Article
Human Adult Renal Progenitor Cells Prevent Cisplatin-Nephrotoxicity by Inducing CYP1B1 Overexpression and miR-27b-3p Down-Regulation through Extracellular Vesicles
by Rossana Franzin, Alessandra Stasi, Giuseppe De Palma, Angela Picerno, Claudia Curci, Serena Sebastiano, Monica Campioni, Antonella Cicirelli, Alessandro Rizzo, Vito Francesco Di Lorenzo, Paola Pontrelli, Giovanni Battista Pertosa, Giuseppe Castellano, Loreto Gesualdo and Fabio Sallustio
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1655; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121655 - 17 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1776
Abstract
Cisplatin is one of the most effective chemotherapeutic agents strongly associated with nephrotoxicity. Tubular adult renal progenitor cells (tARPC) can regenerate functional tubules and participate in the repair processes after cisplatin exposition. This study investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the protective effect of [...] Read more.
Cisplatin is one of the most effective chemotherapeutic agents strongly associated with nephrotoxicity. Tubular adult renal progenitor cells (tARPC) can regenerate functional tubules and participate in the repair processes after cisplatin exposition. This study investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the protective effect of tARPC on renal epithelium during cisplatin nephrotoxicity. By performing a whole-genome transcriptomic analysis, we found that tARPC, in presence of cisplatin, can strongly influence the gene expression of renal proximal tubular cell [RPTEC] by inducing overexpression of CYP1B1, a member of the cytochrome P450 superfamily capable of metabolizing cisplatin and of hypoxia/cancer-related lncRNAs as MIR210HG and LINC00511. Particularly, tARPC exerted renoprotection and regeneration effects via extracellular vesicles (EV) enriched with CYP1B1 and miR-27b-3p, a well-known CYP1B1 regulatory miRNA. The expression of CYP1B1 by tARPC was confirmed by analyzing biopsies of cisplatin-treated renal carcinoma patients that showed the colocalization of CYP1B1 with the tARPC marker CD133. CYP1B1 was also overexpressed in urinary EV purified from oncologic patients that presented nephrotoxicity episodes after cisplatin treatment. Interestingly CYP1B1 expression significantly correlated with creatinine and eGFR levels. Taken together, our results show that tARPC are able to counteract cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity via CYP1B1 release through EV. These findings provide a promising therapeutic strategy for nephrotoxicity risk assessment that could be related to abundance of renal progenitors. Full article
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24 pages, 1434 KiB  
Review
Pathophysiological Roles of the TRPV4 Channel in the Heart
by Sébastien Chaigne, Solène Barbeau, Thomas Ducret, Romain Guinamard and David Benoist
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1654; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121654 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2358
Abstract
The transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) channel is a non-selective cation channel that is mostly permeable to calcium (Ca2+), which participates in intracellular Ca2+ handling in cardiac cells. It is widely expressed through the body and is activated by [...] Read more.
The transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) channel is a non-selective cation channel that is mostly permeable to calcium (Ca2+), which participates in intracellular Ca2+ handling in cardiac cells. It is widely expressed through the body and is activated by a large spectrum of physicochemical stimuli, conferring it a role in a variety of sensorial and physiological functions. Within the cardiovascular system, TRPV4 expression is reported in cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells (ECs) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs), where it modulates mitochondrial activity, Ca2+ homeostasis, cardiomyocytes electrical activity and contractility, cardiac embryonic development and fibroblast proliferation, as well as vascular permeability, dilatation and constriction. On the other hand, TRPV4 channels participate in several cardiac pathological processes such as the development of cardiac fibrosis, hypertrophy, ischemia–reperfusion injuries, heart failure, myocardial infarction and arrhythmia. In this manuscript, we provide an overview of TRPV4 channel implications in cardiac physiology and discuss the potential of the TRPV4 channel as a therapeutic target against cardiovascular diseases. Full article
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20 pages, 4861 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Xevinapant Combined with Ionizing Radiation on HNSCC and Normal Tissue Cells and the Impact of Xevinapant on Its Targeted Proteins cIAP1 and XIAP
by Julia Fleischmann, Laura S. Hildebrand, Lukas Kuhlmann, Rainer Fietkau and Luitpold V. Distel
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1653; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121653 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1818
Abstract
The poor prognosis of HNSCC is partly due to treatment resistance. The SMAC mimetic Xevinapant is a promising new approach to targeted cancer therapy. Xevinapant inhibits cIAP1/2 and XIAP, leading to apoptosis, necroptosis and inhibition of prosurvival signaling. Combining Xevinapant with IR could [...] Read more.
The poor prognosis of HNSCC is partly due to treatment resistance. The SMAC mimetic Xevinapant is a promising new approach to targeted cancer therapy. Xevinapant inhibits cIAP1/2 and XIAP, leading to apoptosis, necroptosis and inhibition of prosurvival signaling. Combining Xevinapant with IR could improve therapeutic potential. The effect of Xevinapant in combination with IR on HNSCC and healthy tissue cells was investigated. Cell growth, cell death, clonogenic survival and DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) were studied, and intracellular cIAP1 and XIAP levels were evaluated. Xevinapant had cytostatic and cytotoxic, as well as radiosensitizing, effects on the malignant cells, while healthy tissue cells were less affected. Apoptotic and necrotic cell death was particularly affected, but the increase in residual DSBs and the reduced survival implied an additional effect of Xevinapant on DNA damage repair and other cell inactivation mechanisms. cIAP1 and XIAP levels varied for each cell line and were affected by Xevinapant and IR treatment. There was an association between higher IAP levels and increased cell death. Xevinapant appears to be a potent new drug for HNSCC therapy, especially in combination with IR. IAP levels could be an indicator for impaired DNA damage repair and increased susceptibility to cellular stress. Full article
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14 pages, 6291 KiB  
Article
Induction of Senescence by Loss of Gata4 in Cardiac Fibroblasts
by Zhentao Zhang, Gabriella Shayani, Yanping Xu, Ashley Kim, Yurim Hong, Haiyue Feng and Hua Zhu
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121652 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1467
Abstract
Cardiac fibroblasts are a major source of cardiac fibrosis during heart repair processes in various heart diseases. Although it has been shown that cardiac fibroblasts become senescent in response to heart injury, it is unknown how the senescence of cardiac fibroblasts is regulated [...] Read more.
Cardiac fibroblasts are a major source of cardiac fibrosis during heart repair processes in various heart diseases. Although it has been shown that cardiac fibroblasts become senescent in response to heart injury, it is unknown how the senescence of cardiac fibroblasts is regulated in vivo. Gata4, a cardiogenic transcription factor essential for heart development, is also expressed in cardiac fibroblasts. However, it remains elusive about the role of Gata4 in cardiac fibroblasts. To define the role of Gata4 in cardiac fibroblasts, we generated cardiac fibroblast-specific Gata4 knockout mice by cross-breeding Tcf21-MerCreMer mice with Gata4fl/fl mice. Using this mouse model, we could genetically ablate Gata4 in Tcf21 positive cardiac fibroblasts in an inducible manner upon tamoxifen administration. We found that cardiac fibroblast-specific deletion of Gata4 spontaneously induces senescence in cardiac fibroblasts in vivo and in vitro. We also found that Gata4 expression in both cardiomyocytes and non-myocytes significantly decreases in the aged heart. Interestingly, when αMHC-MerCreMer mice were bred with Gata4fl/fl mice to generate cardiomyocyte-specific Gata4 knockout mice, no senescent cells were detected in the hearts. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Gata4 deficiency in cardiac fibroblasts activates a program of cellular senescence, suggesting a novel molecular mechanism of cardiac fibroblast senescence. Full article
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16 pages, 5143 KiB  
Article
Peptide Lv Promotes Trafficking and Membrane Insertion of KCa3.1 through the MEK1–ERK and PI3K–Akt Signaling Pathways
by Dylan L. Pham, Autumn Niemi, Ria Blank, Gabriella Lomenzo, Jenivi Tham, Michael L. Ko and Gladys Y.-P. Ko
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1651; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121651 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1070
Abstract
Peptide Lv is a small endogenous secretory peptide that is proangiogenic through hyperpolarizing vascular endothelial cells (ECs) by enhancing the current densities of KCa3.1 channels. However, it is unclear how peptide Lv enhances these currents. One way to enhance the current [...] Read more.
Peptide Lv is a small endogenous secretory peptide that is proangiogenic through hyperpolarizing vascular endothelial cells (ECs) by enhancing the current densities of KCa3.1 channels. However, it is unclear how peptide Lv enhances these currents. One way to enhance the current densities of ion channels is to promote its trafficking and insertion into the plasma membrane. We hypothesized that peptide Lv-elicited KCa3.1 augmentation occurs through activating the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 (MEK1)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)–protein kinase B (Akt) signaling pathways, which are known to mediate ion channel trafficking and membrane insertion in neurons. To test this hypothesis, we employed patch-clamp electrophysiological recordings and cell-surface biotinylation assays on ECs treated with peptide Lv and pharmaceutical inhibitors of ERK and Akt. Blocking ERK or Akt activation diminished peptide Lv-elicited EC hyperpolarization and increase in KCa3.1 current densities. Blocking PI3K or Akt activation decreased the level of plasma membrane-bound, but not the total amount of KCa3.1 protein in ECs. Therefore, the peptide Lv-elicited EC hyperpolarization and KCa3.1 augmentation occurred in part through channel trafficking and insertion mediated by MEK1–ERK and PI3K–Akt activation. These results demonstrate the molecular mechanisms of how peptide Lv promotes EC-mediated angiogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Retinal Cell Biology in Health and Disease)
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13 pages, 846 KiB  
Review
The Role of RNA Sensors in Regulating Innate Immunity to Gammaherpesviral Infections
by Huirong Zhang, Praneet K. Sandhu and Blossom Damania
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1650; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121650 - 17 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1912
Abstract
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) are double-stranded DNA oncogenic gammaherpesviruses. These two viruses are associated with multiple human malignancies, including both B and T cell lymphomas, as well as epithelial- and endothelial-derived cancers. KSHV and EBV establish a life-long [...] Read more.
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) are double-stranded DNA oncogenic gammaherpesviruses. These two viruses are associated with multiple human malignancies, including both B and T cell lymphomas, as well as epithelial- and endothelial-derived cancers. KSHV and EBV establish a life-long latent infection in the human host with intermittent periods of lytic replication. Infection with these viruses induce the expression of both viral and host RNA transcripts and activates several RNA sensors including RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), protein kinase R (PKR) and adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADAR1). Activation of these RNA sensors induces the innate immune response to antagonize the virus. To counteract this, KSHV and EBV utilize both viral and cellular proteins to block the innate immune pathways and facilitate their own infection. In this review, we summarize how gammaherpesviral infections activate RNA sensors and induce their downstream signaling cascade, as well as how these viruses evade the antiviral signaling pathways to successfully establish latent infection and undergo lytic reactivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses and Cancer: From Cellular Mechanism to Therapeutic Aspects)
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3 pages, 213 KiB  
Editorial
LIM Kinases: From Molecular to Pathological Features
by Hélène Bénédetti and Béatrice Vallée
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1649; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121649 - 16 Jun 2023
Viewed by 719
Abstract
LIM kinases (LIMKs), LIMK1 and LIMK2, are atypical kinases, as they are the only two members of the LIM kinase family harbouring two LIM domains at their N-terminus and a kinase domain at their C-terminus [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue LIM Kinases: From Molecular to Pathological Features)
26 pages, 2289 KiB  
Review
A Review of Progress on Targeting LDL Receptor-Dependent and -Independent Pathways for the Treatment of Hypercholesterolemia, a Major Risk Factor of ASCVD
by Rai Ajit K. Srivastava
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1648; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121648 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2976
Abstract
Since the discovery of the LDL receptor in 1973 by Brown and Goldstein as a causative protein in hypercholesterolemia, tremendous amounts of effort have gone into finding ways to manage high LDL cholesterol in familial hypercholesterolemic (HoFH and HeFH) individuals with loss-of-function mutations [...] Read more.
Since the discovery of the LDL receptor in 1973 by Brown and Goldstein as a causative protein in hypercholesterolemia, tremendous amounts of effort have gone into finding ways to manage high LDL cholesterol in familial hypercholesterolemic (HoFH and HeFH) individuals with loss-of-function mutations in the LDL receptor (LDLR) gene. Statins proved to be the first blockbuster drug, helping both HoFH and HeFH individuals by inhibiting the cholesterol synthesis pathway rate-limiting enzyme HMG-CoA reductase and inducing the LDL receptor. However, statins could not achieve the therapeutic goal of LDL. Other therapies targeting LDLR include PCSK9, which lowers LDLR by promoting LDLR degradation. Inducible degrader of LDLR (IDOL) also controls the LDLR protein, but an IDOL-based therapy is yet to be developed. Among the LDLR-independent pathways, such as angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3), apolipoprotein (apo) B, apoC-III and CETP, only ANGPTL3 offers the advantage of treating both HoFH and HeFH patients and showing relatively better preclinical and clinical efficacy in animal models and hypercholesterolemic individuals, respectively. While loss-of-LDLR-function mutations have been known for decades, gain-of-LDLR-function mutations have recently been identified in some individuals. The new information on gain of LDLR function, together with CRISPR-Cas9 genome/base editing technology to target LDLR and ANGPTL3, offers promise to HoFH and HeFH individuals who are at a higher risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Full article
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9 pages, 1308 KiB  
Perspective
Hyperglycosylated-hCG: Its Role in Trophoblast Invasion and Intrauterine Growth Restriction
by Catalin Gabriel Herghelegiu, Alina Veduta, Miruna Florina Stefan, Stefania Lucia Magda, Iuliana Ionascu, Viorica Elena Radoi, Daniela Nuti Oprescu and Alina Mihaela Calin
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1647; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121647 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1369
Abstract
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced by the placenta and its roles have been studied for over a century, being the first known pregnancy-related protein. Although its main role is to stimulate the production of progesterone by corpus luteal cells, hCG does not [...] Read more.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced by the placenta and its roles have been studied for over a century, being the first known pregnancy-related protein. Although its main role is to stimulate the production of progesterone by corpus luteal cells, hCG does not represent just one biologically active molecule, but a group of at least five variants, produced by different cells and each with different functions. The hyperglycosylated variant of hCG (H-hCG) plays a key role in trophoblast invasion, placental development and fetal growth. During trophoblast invasion, H-hCG promotes extravillous cytotrophoblast cells to infiltrate the decidua, and also to colonize and remodel the spiral arteries in to low resistance, larger-diameter vessels. As fetal growth is heavily reliant on nutrient availability, impaired trophoblast invasion and remodeling of the uterine arteries, leads to a defective perfusion of the placenta and fetal growth restriction. Understanding the function of H-hCG in the evolution of the placenta might unveil new ways to manage and treat fetal growth restriction. Full article
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0 pages, 5340 KiB  
Article
Rlip Reduction Induces Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Mutant Tau-Expressed Immortalized Hippocampal Neurons: Mechanistic Insights
by P. Hemachandra Reddy, Sudhir Kshirsagar, Chhanda Bose, Jangampalli Adi Pradeepkiran, Ashly Hindle, Sharda P. Singh, Arubala P. Reddy and Javaria Baig
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1646; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121646 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1453 | Correction
Abstract
RalBP1 (Rlip) is a stress-activated protein that is believed to play a large role in aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other tauopathies. The purpose of our study was to understand the role of Rlip in mutant Tau-expressed immortalized [...] Read more.
RalBP1 (Rlip) is a stress-activated protein that is believed to play a large role in aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other tauopathies. The purpose of our study was to understand the role of Rlip in mutant Tau-expressed immortalized hippocampal HT22 cells. In the current study, we used mutant Tau (mTau)-expressed HT22 neurons and HT22 cells transfected with Rlip-cDNA and/or silenced RNA, and studied the cell survival, mitochondrial respiration, mitochondrial function, immunoblotting, and immunofluorescence analysis of synaptic and mitophagy proteins and the colocalization of Rlip and mTau proteins. We found Rlip protein levels were reduced in mTau-HT22 cells, Rlip silenced HT22 cells, and mTau + Rlip RNA silenced HT22 cells; on the other hand, increased Rlip levels were observed in Rlip cDNA transfected HT22 cells. We found cell survival was decreased in mTau-HT22 cells and RNA-silenced HT22 cells. However, cell survival was increased in Rlip-overexpressed mTau-HT22 cells. A significantly reduced oxygen consumption rate (OCR) was found in mTau-HT22 cells and in RNA-silenced Rlip-HT22 cells, with an even greater reduction in mTau-HT22 + Rlip RNA-silenced HT22 cells. A significantly increased OCR was found in Rlip-overexpressed HT22 cells and in all groups of cells that overexpress Rlip cDNA. Mitochondrial function was defective in mTau-HT22 cells, RNA silenced Rlip in HT22 cells, and was further defective in mTau-HT22 + Rlip RNA-silenced HT22 cells; however, it was rescued in Rlip overexpressed in all groups of HT22 cells. Synaptic and mitophagy proteins were decreased in mTau-HT22 cells, and further reductions were found in RNA-silenced mTau-HT22 cells. However, these were increased in mTau + Rlip-overexpressed HT22 cells. An increased number of mitochondria and decreased mitochondrial length were found in mTau-HT22 cells. These were rescued in Rlip-overexpressed mTau-HT22 cells. These observations strongly suggest that Rlip deficiency causes oxidative stress/mitochondrial dysfunction and Rlip overexpression reverses these defects. Overall, our findings revealed that Rlip is a promising new target for aging, AD, and other tauopathies/neurological diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria at the Crossroad of Health and Disease)
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24 pages, 14944 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic Analysis Reveals Candidate Ligand-Receptor Pairs and Signaling Networks Mediating Intercellular Communication between Hair Matrix Cells and Dermal Papilla Cells from Cashmere Goats
by Sen Ma, Dejun Ji, Xiaolong Wang, Yuxin Yang, Yinghua Shi and Yulin Chen
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1645; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121645 - 16 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1278
Abstract
Hair fiber growth is determined by the spatiotemporally controlled proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis of hair matrix cells (HMCs) inside the hair follicle (HF); however, dermal papilla cells (DPCs), the cell population surrounded by HMCs, manipulate the above processes via intercellular crosstalk with HMCs. [...] Read more.
Hair fiber growth is determined by the spatiotemporally controlled proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis of hair matrix cells (HMCs) inside the hair follicle (HF); however, dermal papilla cells (DPCs), the cell population surrounded by HMCs, manipulate the above processes via intercellular crosstalk with HMCs. Therefore, exploring how the mutual commutations between the cells are molecularly achieved is vital to understanding the mechanisms underlying hair growth. Here, based on our previous successes in cultivating HMCs and DPCs from cashmere goats, we combined a series of techniques, including in vitro cell coculture, transcriptome sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis, to uncover ligand-receptor pairs and signaling networks mediating intercellular crosstalk. Firstly, we found that direct cellular interaction significantly alters cell cycle distribution patterns and changes the gene expression profiles of both cells at the global level. Next, we constructed the networks of ligand-receptor pairs mediating intercellular autocrine or paracrine crosstalk between the cells. A few pairs, such as LEP-LEPR, IL6-EGFR, RSPO1-LRP6, and ADM-CALCRL, are found to have known or potential roles in hair growth by acting as bridges linking cells. Further, we inferred the signaling axis connecting the cells from transcriptomic data with the advantage of CCCExplorer. Certain pathways, including INHBA-ACVR2A/ACVR2B-ACVR1/ACVR1B-SMAD3, were predicted as the axis mediating the promotive effect of INHBA on hair growth via paracrine crosstalk between DPCs and HMCs. Finally, we verified that LEP-LEPR and IL1A-IL1R1 are pivotal ligand-receptor pairs involved in autocrine and paracrine communication of DPCs and HMCs to DPCs, respectively. Our study provides a comprehensive landscape of intercellular crosstalk between key cell types inside HF at the molecular level, which is helpful for an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms related to hair growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Signaling)
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18 pages, 7426 KiB  
Article
Isolation and Characterization of the Primary Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells
by Ha Young Jang, Chang Sik Cho, Young Mi Shin, Jina Kwak, Young Hoon Sung, Byeong-Cheol Kang and Jeong Hun Kim
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1644; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121644 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1385
Abstract
Marmosets have emerged as a valuable primate model in ophthalmic research due to their similarity to the human visual system and their potential for generating transgenic models to advance the development of therapies. In this study, we isolated and cultured primary retinal pigment [...] Read more.
Marmosets have emerged as a valuable primate model in ophthalmic research due to their similarity to the human visual system and their potential for generating transgenic models to advance the development of therapies. In this study, we isolated and cultured primary retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells from marmosets to investigate the mechanisms underlying RPE dysfunction in aging and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We confirmed that our culture conditions and materials supported the formation of RPE monolayers with functional tight junctions that closely resembled the in vivo RPE. Since serum has been shown to induce epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) in RPE cells, we compared the effects of fetal bovine serum (FBS) with serum-free supplements B27 on transepithelial electrical resistance (TER), cell proliferation, and morphological characteristics. Additionally, we assessed the age-related morphological changes of in vivo and primary RPE cells. Our results indicate that primary marmoset RPE cells exhibit in vivo-like characteristics, while cells obtained from an older donor show evidence of aging, including a failure to form a polarized monolayer, low TER, and delayed cell cycle. In conclusion, our primary marmoset RPE cells provide a reliable in vitro model for developing novel therapeutics for visual-threatening disorders such as AMD, which can be used before animal experiments using marmosets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Retinal Cell Biology in Health and Disease)
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37 pages, 1421 KiB  
Review
Cell-Penetrating Peptides as Valuable Tools for Nose-to-Brain Delivery of Biological Drugs
by Lisa Benedetta De Martini, Claudia Sulmona, Liliana Brambilla and Daniela Rossi
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1643; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121643 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2178
Abstract
Due to their high specificity toward the target and their low toxicity, biological drugs have been successfully employed in a wide range of therapeutic areas. It is yet to be mentioned that biologics exhibit unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties, are susceptible to degradation by endogenous [...] Read more.
Due to their high specificity toward the target and their low toxicity, biological drugs have been successfully employed in a wide range of therapeutic areas. It is yet to be mentioned that biologics exhibit unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties, are susceptible to degradation by endogenous enzymes, and cannot penetrate biological barriers such as the blood–brain barrier (i.e., the major impediment to reaching the central nervous system (CNS)). Attempts to overcome these issues have been made by exploiting the intracerebroventricular and intrathecal routes of administration. The invasiveness and impracticality of these procedures has, however, prompted the development of novel drug delivery strategies including the intranasal route of administration. This represents a non-invasive way to achieve the CNS, reducing systemic exposure. Nonetheless, biotherapeutics strive to penetrate the nasal epithelium, raising the possibility that direct delivery to the nervous system may not be straightforward. To maximize the advantages of the intranasal route, new approaches have been proposed including the use of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) and CPP-functionalized nanosystems. This review aims at describing the most impactful attempts in using CPPs as carriers for the nose-to-brain delivery of biologics by analyzing their positive and negative aspects. Full article
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18 pages, 2539 KiB  
Article
Identification of Small Molecules Affecting the Secretion of Therapeutic Antibodies with the Retention Using Selective Hook (RUSH) System
by Mathilde Coulet, Sylvie Lachkar, Marion Leduc, Marc Trombe, Zelia Gouveia, Franck Perez, Oliver Kepp, Guido Kroemer and Stéphane Basmaciogullari
Cells 2023, 12(12), 1642; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12121642 - 16 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1605
Abstract
Unlocking cell secretion capacity is of paramount interest for the pharmaceutical industry focused on biologics. Here, we leveraged retention using a selective hook (RUSH) system for the identification of human osteosarcoma U2OS cell secretion modulators, through automated, high-throughput screening of small compound libraries. [...] Read more.
Unlocking cell secretion capacity is of paramount interest for the pharmaceutical industry focused on biologics. Here, we leveraged retention using a selective hook (RUSH) system for the identification of human osteosarcoma U2OS cell secretion modulators, through automated, high-throughput screening of small compound libraries. We created a U2OS cell line which co-expresses a variant of streptavidin addressed to the lumen-facing membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and a recombinant anti-PD-L1 antibody. The heavy chain of the antibody was modified at its C-terminus, to which a furin cleavage site, a green fluorescent protein (GFP), and a streptavidin binding peptide (SBP) were added. We show that the U2OS cell line stably expresses the streptavidin hook and the recombinant antibody bait, which is retained in the ER through the streptavidin–SBP interaction. We further document that the addition of biotin to the culture medium triggers the antibody release from the ER, its trafficking through the Golgi where the GFP-SBP moiety is clipped off, and eventually its release in the extra cellular space, with specific antigen-binding properties. The use of this clone in screening campaigns led to the identification of lycorine as a secretion enhancer, and nigericin and tyrphostin AG-879 as secretion inhibitors. Altogether, our data support the utility of this approach for the identification of agents that could be used to improve recombinant production yields and also for a better understanding of the regulatory mechanism at work in the conventional secretion pathway. Full article
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