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Cells, Volume 13, Issue 2 (January-2 2024) – 96 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This study highlights TRPML1-mediated lysosomal exocytosis as crucial in ovarian cancer chemoresistance. The lysosome's key role in drug sequestration and exocytosis makes it a promising target for overcoming chemoresistance. Pharmacological and genetic interventions targeting TRPML1 successfully disrupted lysosomal exocytosis in cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells, sensitizing them to treatment. Metabolomic analysis revealed that exogenous arginine amplified lysosomal exocytosis. These findings deepen our understanding of the interplay between TRPML1-mediated lysosomal exocytosis and chemoresistance, offering a breakthrough in combating resistance mechanisms. Identified metabolites and pathways lay the groundwork for innovative therapeutic strategies, potentially revolutionizing ovarian cancer treatment. View this paper
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14 pages, 2739 KiB  
Review
The Importance of the Position of the Nucleus in Drosophila Oocyte Development
by Jean-Antoine Lepesant, Fanny Roland-Gosselin, Clémentine Guillemet, Fred Bernard and Antoine Guichet
Cells 2024, 13(2), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020201 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1219
Abstract
Oogenesis is a developmental process leading to the formation of an oocyte, a haploid gamete, which upon fertilisation and sperm entry allows the male and the female pronuclei to fuse and give rise to a zygote. In addition to forming a haploid gamete, [...] Read more.
Oogenesis is a developmental process leading to the formation of an oocyte, a haploid gamete, which upon fertilisation and sperm entry allows the male and the female pronuclei to fuse and give rise to a zygote. In addition to forming a haploid gamete, oogenesis builds up a store of proteins, mRNAs, and organelles in the oocyte needed for the development of the future embryo. In several species, such as Drosophila, the polarity axes determinants of the future embryo must be asymmetrically distributed prior to fertilisation. In the Drosophila oocyte, the correct positioning of the nucleus is essential for establishing the dorsoventral polarity axis of the future embryo and allowing the meiotic spindles to be positioned in close vicinity to the unique sperm entry point into the oocyte. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Underlying Meiotic Divisions)
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12 pages, 1133 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Potential of Montmorillonite as an Antiproliferative Nanoagent against MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells
by Alireza Ghannad Sabzevari, Hossein Sabahi, Mohsen Nikbakht, Mehdi Azizi, Hassan Dianat-Moghadam and Zohreh Amoozgar
Cells 2024, 13(2), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020200 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1333
Abstract
Unlike MCF-7 cells, MDA-MB-231 cells are unresponsive to hormone therapy and often show resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Here, the antiproliferative effect of biocompatible montmorillonite (Mt) nanosheets on MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 human breast cancer cells was evaluated by MTT assay, flow cytometry, and [...] Read more.
Unlike MCF-7 cells, MDA-MB-231 cells are unresponsive to hormone therapy and often show resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Here, the antiproliferative effect of biocompatible montmorillonite (Mt) nanosheets on MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 human breast cancer cells was evaluated by MTT assay, flow cytometry, and qRT-PCR. The results showed that the Mt IC50 for MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells in a fetal bovine serum (FBS)-free medium was ~50 and ~200 µg/mL, and in 10% FBS medium ~400 and ~2000 µg/mL, respectively. Mt caused apoptosis in both cells by regulating related genes including Cas-3, P53, and P62 in MDA-MB-231 cells and Bcl-2, Cas-8, Cas-9, P53, and P62 in MCF-7 cells. Also, Mt arrested MCF-7 cells in the G0/G1 phase by altering Cyclin-D1 and P21 expression, and caused sub-G1 arrest and necrosis in both cells, possibly through damaging the mitochondria. However, fewer gene expression changes and more sub-G1 arrest and necrosis were observed in MDA-MB-231 cells, confirming the higher vulnerability of MDA-MB-231 cells to Mt. Furthermore, MDA-MB-231 cells appeared to be much more vulnerable to Mt compared to other cell types, including normal lung fibroblast (MRC-5), colon cancer (HT-29), and liver cancer (HepG2) cells. The higher vulnerability of MDA-MB-231 cells to Mt was inferred to be due to their higher proliferation rate. Notably, Mt cytotoxicity was highly dependent on both the Mt concentration and serum level, which favors Mt for the local treatment of MDA-MB-231 cells. Based on these results, Mt can be considered as an antiproliferative nanoagent against MDA-MB-231 cells and may be useful in the development of local nanoparticle-based therapies. Full article
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19 pages, 3981 KiB  
Article
Nonsynonymous Mutations in Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder Gene PTCHD1 Disrupt N-Glycosylation and Reduce Protein Stability
by Connie T. Y. Xie, Stephen F. Pastore, John B. Vincent, Paul W. Frankland and Paul A. Hamel
Cells 2024, 13(2), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020199 - 21 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1282
Abstract
PTCHD1 has been implicated in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and/or intellectual disability, where copy-number-variant losses or loss-of-function coding mutations segregate with disease in an X-linked recessive fashion. Missense variants of PTCHD1 have also been reported in patients. However, the significance of these mutations [...] Read more.
PTCHD1 has been implicated in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and/or intellectual disability, where copy-number-variant losses or loss-of-function coding mutations segregate with disease in an X-linked recessive fashion. Missense variants of PTCHD1 have also been reported in patients. However, the significance of these mutations remains undetermined since the activities, subcellular localization, and regulation of the PTCHD1 protein are currently unknown. This paucity of data concerning PTCHD1 prevents the effective evaluation of sequence variants identified during diagnostic screening. Here, we characterize PTCHD1 protein binding partners, extending previously reported interactions with postsynaptic scaffolding protein, SAP102. Six rare missense variants of PTCHD1 were also identified from patients with neurodevelopmental disorders. After modelling these variants on a hypothetical three-dimensional structure of PTCHD1, based on the solved structure of NPC1, PTCHD1 variants harboring these mutations were assessed for protein stability, post-translational processing, and protein trafficking. We show here that the wild-type PTCHD1 post-translational modification includes complex N-glycosylation and that specific mutant proteins disrupt normal N-link glycosylation processing. However, regardless of their processing, these mutants still localized to PSD95-containing dendritic processes and remained competent for complexing SAP102. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Signaling Pathways In Development and Ageing)
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17 pages, 1756 KiB  
Review
AIBP: A New Safeguard against Glaucomatous Neuroinflammation
by Seunghwan Choi, Soo-Ho Choi, Tonking Bastola, Younggun Park, Jonghyun Oh, Keun-Young Kim, Sinwoo Hwang, Yury I. Miller and Won-Kyu Ju
Cells 2024, 13(2), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020198 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1562
Abstract
Glaucoma is a group of ocular diseases that cause irreversible blindness. It is characterized by multifactorial degeneration of the optic nerve axons and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), resulting in the loss of vision. Major components of glaucoma pathogenesis include glia-driven neuroinflammation and impairment [...] Read more.
Glaucoma is a group of ocular diseases that cause irreversible blindness. It is characterized by multifactorial degeneration of the optic nerve axons and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), resulting in the loss of vision. Major components of glaucoma pathogenesis include glia-driven neuroinflammation and impairment of mitochondrial dynamics and bioenergetics, leading to retinal neurodegeneration. In this review article, we summarize current evidence for the emerging role of apolipoprotein A-I binding protein (AIBP) as an important anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective factor in the retina. Due to its association with toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), extracellular AIBP selectively removes excess cholesterol from the plasma membrane of inflammatory and activated cells. This results in the reduced expression of TLR4-associated, cholesterol-rich lipid rafts and the inhibition of downstream inflammatory signaling. Intracellular AIBP is localized to mitochondria and modulates mitophagy through the ubiquitination of mitofusins 1 and 2. Importantly, elevated intraocular pressure induces AIBP deficiency in mouse models and in human glaucomatous retina. AIBP deficiency leads to the activation of TLR4 in Müller glia, triggering mitochondrial dysfunction in both RGCs and Müller glia, and compromising visual function in a mouse model. Conversely, restoring AIBP expression in the retina reduces neuroinflammation, prevents RGCs death, and protects visual function. These results provide new insight into the mechanism of AIBP function in the retina and suggest a therapeutic potential for restoring retinal AIBP expression in the treatment of glaucoma. Full article
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27 pages, 4057 KiB  
Review
Peto’s “Paradox” and Six Degrees of Cancer Prevalence
by Andras Szasz
Cells 2024, 13(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020197 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1457
Abstract
Peto’s paradox and the epidemiologic observation of the average six degrees of tumor prevalence are studied and hypothetically solved. A simple consideration, Petho’s paradox challenges our intuitive understanding of cancer risk and prevalence. Our simple consideration is that the more a cell divides, [...] Read more.
Peto’s paradox and the epidemiologic observation of the average six degrees of tumor prevalence are studied and hypothetically solved. A simple consideration, Petho’s paradox challenges our intuitive understanding of cancer risk and prevalence. Our simple consideration is that the more a cell divides, the higher the chance of acquiring cancerous mutations, and so the larger or longer-lived organisms have more cells and undergo more cell divisions over their lifetime, expecting to have a higher risk of developing cancer. Paradoxically, it is not supported by the observations. The allometric scaling of species could answer the Peto paradox. Another paradoxical human epidemiology observation in six average mutations is necessary for cancer prevalence, despite the random expectations of the tumor causes. To solve this challenge, game theory could be applied. The inherited and random DNA mutations in the replication process nonlinearly drive cancer development. The statistical variance concept does not reasonably describe tumor development. Instead, the Darwinian natural selection principle is applied. The mutations in the healthy organism’s cellular population can serve the species’ evolutionary adaptation by the selective pressure of the circumstances. Still, some cells collect multiple uncorrected mutations, adapt to the extreme stress in the stromal environment, and develop subclinical phases of cancer in the individual. This process needs extensive subsequent DNA replications to heritage and collect additional mutations, which are only marginal alone. Still, together, they are preparing for the first stage of the precancerous condition. In the second stage, when one of the caretaker genes is accidentally mutated, the caused genetic instability prepares the cell to fight for its survival and avoid apoptosis. This can be described as a competitive game. In the third stage, the precancerous cell develops uncontrolled proliferation with the damaged gatekeeper gene and forces the new game strategy with binary cooperation with stromal cells for alimentation. In the fourth stage, the starving conditions cause a game change again, starting a cooperative game, where the malignant cells cooperate and force the cooperation of the stromal host, too. In the fifth stage, the resetting of homeostasis finishes the subclinical stage, and in the fifth stage, the clinical phase starts. The prevention of the development of mutated cells is more complex than averting exposure to mutagens from the environment throughout the organism’s lifetime. Mutagenic exposure can increase the otherwise random imperfect DNA reproduction, increasing the likelihood of cancer development, but mutations exist. Toxic exposure is more challenging; it may select the tolerant cells on this particular toxic stress, so these mutations have more facility to avoid apoptosis in otherwise collected random mutational states. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Proliferation and Division)
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13 pages, 1865 KiB  
Article
Association between Plasma HLA-DR+ Placental Vesicles and Preeclampsia: A Pilot Longitudinal Cohort Study
by Marianna Onori, Rita Franco, Donatella Lucchetti, Silvio Tartaglia, Silvia Buongiorno, Giuliana Beneduce, Fabio Sannino, Silvia Baroni, Andrea Urbani, Antonio Lanzone, Giovanni Scambia, Nicoletta Di Simone and Chiara Tersigni
Cells 2024, 13(2), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020196 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1165
Abstract
(1) Background: Preeclampsia (PE) usually presents with hypertension and proteinuria, related to poor placentation. Reduced maternal–fetal immunological tolerance is a possible trigger of inadequate placentation. Aberrant antigen expression of HLA-DR has been observed in the syncytiotrophoblast of PE patients. In this study, we [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Preeclampsia (PE) usually presents with hypertension and proteinuria, related to poor placentation. Reduced maternal–fetal immunological tolerance is a possible trigger of inadequate placentation. Aberrant antigen expression of HLA-DR has been observed in the syncytiotrophoblast of PE patients. In this study, we analyzed plasma levels of Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-DR+ syncytiotrophoblast-derived extracellular vesicles (STEVs) during the three trimesters of pregnancy in relation to PE onset. (2) Methods: Pregnant women underwent venous blood sampling during the three trimesters. STEVs were collected from plasma via ultracentrifugation (120,000 g) and characterized by Western blot, nanotracking analysis and flow cytometry for the expression of Placental Alkaline Phosphatase (PLAP), a placental-derived marker, and HLA-DR. (3) Results: Out of 107 women recruited, 10 developed PE. STEVs were detected in all three trimesters of pregnancy with a zenith in the second trimester. A significant difference was found between the non-PE and PE groups in terms of plasma levels of HLA-DR+ STEVs during all three trimesters of pregnancy. (4) Conclusions: More research is needed to investigate HLA-DR+ as a potential early marker of PE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Extracellular Vesicles in Inflammatory Diseases)
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18 pages, 8354 KiB  
Article
Functional Classification and Interaction Selectivity Landscape of the Human SH3 Domain Superfamily
by Neda S. Kazemein Jasemi, Mehrnaz Mehrabipour, Eva Magdalena Estirado, Luc Brunsveld, Radovan Dvorsky and Mohammad R. Ahmadian
Cells 2024, 13(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020195 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1128
Abstract
SRC homology 3 (SH3) domains are critical interaction modules that orchestrate the assembly of protein complexes involved in diverse biological processes. They facilitate transient protein–protein interactions by selectively interacting with proline-rich motifs (PRMs). A database search revealed 298 SH3 domains in 221 human [...] Read more.
SRC homology 3 (SH3) domains are critical interaction modules that orchestrate the assembly of protein complexes involved in diverse biological processes. They facilitate transient protein–protein interactions by selectively interacting with proline-rich motifs (PRMs). A database search revealed 298 SH3 domains in 221 human proteins. Multiple sequence alignment of human SH3 domains is useful for phylogenetic analysis and determination of their selectivity towards PRM-containing peptides (PRPs). However, a more precise functional classification of SH3 domains is achieved by constructing a phylogenetic tree only from PRM-binding residues and using existing SH3 domain–PRP structures and biochemical data to determine the specificity within each of the 10 families for particular PRPs. In addition, the C-terminal proline-rich domain of the RAS activator SOS1 covers 13 of the 14 recognized proline-rich consensus sequence motifs, encompassing differential PRP pattern selectivity among all SH3 families. To evaluate the binding capabilities and affinities, we conducted fluorescence dot blot and polarization experiments using 25 representative SH3 domains and various PRPs derived from SOS1. Our analysis has identified 45 interacting pairs, with binding affinities ranging from 0.2 to 125 micromolar, out of 300 tested and potential new SH3 domain-SOS1 interactions. Furthermore, it establishes a framework to bridge the gap between SH3 and PRP interactions and provides predictive insights into the potential interactions of SH3 domains with PRMs based on sequence specifications. This novel framework has the potential to enhance the understanding of protein networks mediated by SH3 domain–PRM interactions and be utilized as a general approach for other domain–peptide interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Signaling)
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18 pages, 7679 KiB  
Article
Influence of Additional White, Red and Far-Red Light on Growth, Secondary Metabolites and Expression of Hormone Signaling Genes in Scots Pine under Sunlight
by Pavel Pashkovskiy, Mikhail Vereshchagin, Alexander Kartashov, Yury Ivanov, Alexandra Ivanova, Ilya Zlobin, Anna Abramova, Darya Ashikhmina, Galina Glushko, Vladimir D. Kreslavski and Vladimir V. Kuznetsov
Cells 2024, 13(2), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020194 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 860
Abstract
The influence of short-term additional white (WL), red (RL) and far-red (FRL) light and combined RL+FRL on the physiological morphological and molecular characteristics of two-year-old Scots pine plants grown in a greenhouse under sunlight was studied. Additional RL and RL+FRL increased the number [...] Read more.
The influence of short-term additional white (WL), red (RL) and far-red (FRL) light and combined RL+FRL on the physiological morphological and molecular characteristics of two-year-old Scots pine plants grown in a greenhouse under sunlight was studied. Additional RL and RL+FRL increased the number of xylem cells, transpiration and the expression of a group of genes responsible for the biosynthesis and signaling of auxins (AUX/IAA, ARF3/4, and ARF16) and brassinosteroids (BR-α-RED and BRZ2), while the expression of genes related to the signaling pathway related to jasmonic acid was reduced. Additionally, WL, RL and RL+FRL increased the content of proanthocyanidins and catechins in young needles; however, an increase in the expression of the chalcone synthase gene (CHS) was found under RL, especially under RL+FRL, which possibly indicates a greater influence of light intensity than observed in the spectrum. Additional WL increased photosynthetic activity, presumably by increasing the proportion and intensity of blue light; at the same time, the highest transpiration index was found under RL. The results obtained indicate that the combined effect of additional RL+FRL can accelerate the development of pine plants by increasing the number of xylem cells and increasing the number of aboveground parts but not the photosynthetic activity or the accumulation of secondary metabolites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant, Algae and Fungi Cell Biology)
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25 pages, 3282 KiB  
Review
Molecular Regulation and Oncogenic Functions of TSPAN8
by Jicheng Yang, Ziyan Zhang, Joanne Shi Woon Lam, Hao Fan and Nai Yang Fu
Cells 2024, 13(2), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020193 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1922
Abstract
Tetraspanins, a superfamily of small integral membrane proteins, are characterized by four transmembrane domains and conserved protein motifs that are configured into a unique molecular topology and structure in the plasma membrane. They act as key organizers of the plasma membrane, orchestrating the [...] Read more.
Tetraspanins, a superfamily of small integral membrane proteins, are characterized by four transmembrane domains and conserved protein motifs that are configured into a unique molecular topology and structure in the plasma membrane. They act as key organizers of the plasma membrane, orchestrating the formation of specialized microdomains called “tetraspanin-enriched microdomains (TEMs)” or “tetraspanin nanodomains” that are essential for mediating diverse biological processes. TSPAN8 is one of the earliest identified tetraspanin members. It is known to interact with a wide range of molecular partners in different cellular contexts and regulate diverse molecular and cellular events at the plasma membrane, including cell adhesion, migration, invasion, signal transduction, and exosome biogenesis. The functions of cell-surface TSPAN8 are governed by ER targeting, modifications at the Golgi apparatus and dynamic trafficking. Intriguingly, limited evidence shows that TSPAN8 can translocate to the nucleus to act as a transcriptional regulator. The transcription of TSPAN8 is tightly regulated and restricted to defined cell lineages, where it can serve as a molecular marker of stem/progenitor cells in certain normal tissues as well as tumors. Importantly, the oncogenic roles of TSPAN8 in tumor development and cancer metastasis have gained prominence in recent decades. Here, we comprehensively review the current knowledge on the molecular characteristics and regulatory mechanisms defining TSPAN8 functions, and discuss the potential and significance of TSPAN8 as a biomarker and therapeutic target across various epithelial cancers. Full article
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14 pages, 2812 KiB  
Article
A New Systemic Disease Mouse Model for Glioblastoma Capable of Single-Tumour-Cell Detection
by Thomas M. B. Ware, Rodney B. Luwor and Hong-Jian Zhu
Cells 2024, 13(2), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020192 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1173
Abstract
Background: Glioblastoma is characterised by extensive infiltration into the brain parenchyma, leading to inevitable tumor recurrence and therapeutic failure. Future treatments will need to target the specific biology of tumour recurrence, but our current understanding of the underlying mechanisms is limited. Significantly, there [...] Read more.
Background: Glioblastoma is characterised by extensive infiltration into the brain parenchyma, leading to inevitable tumor recurrence and therapeutic failure. Future treatments will need to target the specific biology of tumour recurrence, but our current understanding of the underlying mechanisms is limited. Significantly, there is a lack of available methods and models that are tailored to the examination of tumour recurrence. Methods: NOD-SCID mice were orthotopically implanted with luciferase-labelled donor U87MG or MU20 glioblastoma cells. Four days later, an unlabelled recipient tumor was implanted on the contralateral side. The mice were euthanised at a humane end-point and tissue and blood samples were collected for ex vivo analyses. Results: The ex vivo analyses of the firefly-labelled MU20 tumours displayed extensive invasion at the primary tumour margins, whereas the firefly-labelled U87MG tumours exhibited expansive phenotypes with no evident invasions at the tumour margins. Luciferase signals were detected in the contralateral unlabelled recipient tumours for both the U87MG and MU20 tumours compared to the non-implanted control brain. Remarkably, tumour cells were uniformly detected in all tissue samples of the supratentorial brain region compared to the control tissue, with single tumour cells detected in some tissue samples. Circulating tumour cells were also detected in the blood samples of most of the xenografted mice. Moreover, tumour cells were detected in the lungs of all of the mice, a probable event related to haematogenous dissemination. Similar results were obtained when the U87MG cells were alternatively labelled with gaussian luciferase. Conclusions: These findings describe a systemic disease model for glioblastoma which can be used to investigate recurrence biology and therapeutic efficacy towards recurrence. Full article
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22 pages, 2372 KiB  
Review
Regulating Androgen Receptor Function in Prostate Cancer: Exploring the Diversity of Post-Translational Modifications
by Lance Edward V. Lumahan, Mazia Arif, Amy E. Whitener and Ping Yi
Cells 2024, 13(2), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020191 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1190
Abstract
Androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity significantly influences prostate cancer (PCa) progression. In addition to ligand stimulation, AR transcriptional activity is also influenced by a variety of post-translational modifications (PTMs). A number of oncogenes and tumor suppressors have been observed leveraging PTMs to influence [...] Read more.
Androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity significantly influences prostate cancer (PCa) progression. In addition to ligand stimulation, AR transcriptional activity is also influenced by a variety of post-translational modifications (PTMs). A number of oncogenes and tumor suppressors have been observed leveraging PTMs to influence AR activity. Subjectively targeting these post-translational modifiers based on their impact on PCa cell proliferation is a rapidly developing area of research. This review elucidates the modifiers, contextualizes the effects of these PTMs on AR activity, and connects these cellular interactions to the progression of PCa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Androgen Receptor in Prostate Cancer—Revisited)
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17 pages, 5904 KiB  
Article
Heparan Sulfate Modulation Affects Breast Cancer Cell Adhesion and Transmigration across In Vitro Blood–Brain Barrier
by Yunfei Li, David B. Shteyman, Zeina Hachem, Afaf A. Ulay, Jie Fan and Bingmei M. Fu
Cells 2024, 13(2), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020190 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1167
Abstract
The disruption of endothelial heparan sulfate (HS) is an early event in tumor cell metastasis across vascular barriers, and the reinforcement of endothelial HS reduces tumor cell adhesion to endothelium. Our recent study showed that while vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) greatly reduces [...] Read more.
The disruption of endothelial heparan sulfate (HS) is an early event in tumor cell metastasis across vascular barriers, and the reinforcement of endothelial HS reduces tumor cell adhesion to endothelium. Our recent study showed that while vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) greatly reduces HS at an in vitro blood–brain barrier (BBB) formed by human cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (hCMECs), it significantly enhances HS on a breast cancer cell, MDA-MB-231 (MB231). Here, we tested that this differential effect of VEGF on the HS favors MB231 adhesion and transmigration. We also tested if agents that enhance endothelial HS may affect the HS of MB231 and reduce its adhesion and transmigration. To test these hypotheses, we generated an in vitro BBB by culturing hCMECs on either a glass-bottom dish or a Transwell filter. We first quantified the HS of the BBB and MB231 after treatment with VEGF and endothelial HS-enhancing agents and then quantified the adhesion and transmigration of MB231 across the BBB after pretreatment with these agents. Our results demonstrated that the reduced/enhanced BBB HS and enhanced/reduced MB231 HS increase/decrease MB231 adhesion to and transmigration across the BBB. Our findings suggest a therapeutic intervention by targeting the HS-mediated breast cancer brain metastasis. Full article
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17 pages, 4865 KiB  
Article
Age-Dependent and Aβ-Induced Dynamic Changes in the Subcellular Localization of HMGB1 in Neurons and Microglia in the Brains of an Animal Model of Alzheimer’s Disease
by Song-I Seol, Dashdulam Davaanyam, Sang-A Oh, Eun-Hwa Lee, Pyung-Lim Han, Seung-Woo Kim and Ja-Kyeong Lee
Cells 2024, 13(2), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020189 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1205
Abstract
HMGB1 is a prototypical danger-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecule that co-localizes with amyloid beta (Aβ) in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. HMGB1 levels are significantly higher in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients. However, the cellular and subcellular distribution of HMGB1 in [...] Read more.
HMGB1 is a prototypical danger-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecule that co-localizes with amyloid beta (Aβ) in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. HMGB1 levels are significantly higher in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients. However, the cellular and subcellular distribution of HMGB1 in relation to the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease has not yet been studied in detail. Here, we investigated whether HMGB1 protein levels in brain tissue homogenates (frontal cortex and striatum) and sera from Tg-APP/PS1 mice, along with its cellular and subcellular localization in those regions, differed. Total HMGB1 levels were increased in the frontal cortices of aged wildtype (7.5 M) mice compared to young (3.5 M) mice, whereas total HMGB1 levels in the frontal cortices of Tg-APP/PS1 mice (7.5 M) were significantly lower than those in age-matched wildtype mice. In contrast, total serum HMGB1 levels were enhanced in aged wildtype (7.5 M) mice and Tg-APP/PS1 mice (7.5 M). Further analysis indicated that nuclear HMGB1 levels in the frontal cortices of Tg-APP/PS1 mice were significantly reduced compared to those in age-matched wildtype controls, and cytosolic HMGB1 levels were also significantly decreased. Triple-fluorescence immunohistochemical analysis indicated that HMGB1 appeared as a ring shape in the cytoplasm of most neurons and microglia in the frontal cortices of 9.5 M Tg-APP/PS1 mice, indicating that nuclear HMGB1 is reduced by aging and in Tg-APP/PS1 mice. Consistent with these observations, Aβ treatment of both primary cortical neuron and primary microglial cultures increased HMGB1 secretion in the media, in an Aβ-dose-dependent manner. Our results indicate that nuclear HMGB1 might be translocated from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in both neurons and microglia in the brains of Tg-APP/PS1 mice, and that it may subsequently be secreted extracellularly. Full article
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21 pages, 5760 KiB  
Review
The Multifaceted Role of Cofilin in Neurodegeneration and Stroke: Insights into Pathogenesis and Targeting as a Therapy
by Faheem Shehjar, Daniyah A. Almarghalani, Reetika Mahajan, Syed A.-M. Hasan and Zahoor A. Shah
Cells 2024, 13(2), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020188 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1940
Abstract
This comprehensive review explores the complex role of cofilin, an actin-binding protein, across various neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s) and stroke. Cofilin is an essential protein in cytoskeletal dynamics, and any dysregulation could lead to potentially serious complications. [...] Read more.
This comprehensive review explores the complex role of cofilin, an actin-binding protein, across various neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s) and stroke. Cofilin is an essential protein in cytoskeletal dynamics, and any dysregulation could lead to potentially serious complications. Cofilin’s involvement is underscored by its impact on pathological hallmarks like Aβ plaques and α-synuclein aggregates, triggering synaptic dysfunction, dendritic spine loss, and impaired neuronal plasticity, leading to cognitive decline. In Parkinson’s disease, cofilin collaborates with α-synuclein, exacerbating neurotoxicity and impairing mitochondrial and axonal function. ALS and frontotemporal dementia showcase cofilin’s association with genetic factors like C9ORF72, affecting actin dynamics and contributing to neurotoxicity. Huntington’s disease brings cofilin into focus by impairing microglial migration and influencing synaptic plasticity through AMPA receptor regulation. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and schizophrenia exhibit 14-3-3 proteins in cofilin dysregulation as a shared pathological mechanism. In the case of stroke, cofilin takes center stage, mediating neurotoxicity and neuronal cell death. Notably, there is a potential overlap in the pathologies and involvement of cofilin in various diseases. In this context, referencing cofilin dysfunction could provide valuable insights into the common pathologies associated with the aforementioned conditions. Moreover, this review explores promising therapeutic interventions, including cofilin inhibitors and gene therapy, demonstrating efficacy in preclinical models. Challenges in inhibitor development, brain delivery, tissue/cell specificity, and long-term safety are acknowledged, emphasizing the need for precision drug therapy. The call to action involves collaborative research, biomarker identification, and advancing translational efforts. Cofilin emerges as a pivotal player, offering potential as a therapeutic target. However, unraveling its complexities requires concerted multidisciplinary efforts for nuanced and effective interventions across the intricate landscape of neurodegenerative diseases and stroke, presenting a hopeful avenue for improved patient care. Full article
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17 pages, 4667 KiB  
Article
Cannabidiol Combination Enhances Photodynamic Therapy Effects on MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells
by Dimakatso Mokoena, Blassan P. George and Heidi Abrahamse
Cells 2024, 13(2), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020187 - 18 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2022
Abstract
Cannabis sativa is a well-known plant for its psychoactive effects; however, its many derivatives, such as Cannabidiol (CBD), contain several therapeutic applications. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main cannabis derivative responsible for psychoactive properties, while CBD is non-psychotropic. For this reason, CBD has been [...] Read more.
Cannabis sativa is a well-known plant for its psychoactive effects; however, its many derivatives, such as Cannabidiol (CBD), contain several therapeutic applications. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main cannabis derivative responsible for psychoactive properties, while CBD is non-psychotropic. For this reason, CBD has been more exploited in the last decade. CBD has been connected to multiple anticancer properties, and when combined with photodynamic therapy (PDT), it is possible to eradicate tumors more effectively. In this study, CBD was utilized to treat MCF-7 breast cancer cells, followed by in vitro PDT combination therapy. Conventional breast cancer treatment modalities such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc. have been reported for inducing a number of undesirable side effects, recurrence of the disease, and low quality of life. In this study, cells were exposed to varying concentrations of CBD (i.e., 1.25, 2.5, 5, 10, and 20 μg/mL) and incubated 12 and 24 h after treatment. The optimal doses were then used in combination therapy. Morphology and biochemical assays, including lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) for membrane integrity, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for viability, and trypan blue exclusion assay for viability, were used to examine cellular responses after treatments. The optimal concentration was then utilized in Hypericin-Gold nanoparticles mediated PDT combination. The results revealed that, in a dose-dependent manner, conventional morphological characteristics of cell death, such as vacuolization, blebbing, and floating were observed in treated cells. The biochemical responses demonstrated an increase in LDH, a decrease in ATP, and a reduction in viability. This study demonstrated that CBD induces cell death in MCF-7 breast cancer cells cultured in vitro. The immunofluorescence results of combination therapy indicated that cell death occurred via apoptosis. In conclusion, this study proposes that the CBD and PDT combination therapy is effective in killing MCF-7 breast cancer cells in vitro by induction of apoptosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plants-Derived Bioactives for Cancer Treatment 2.0)
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21 pages, 14357 KiB  
Article
TGFβ and Hippo Signaling Pathways Coordinate to Promote Acinar to Ductal Metaplasia in Human Pancreas
by Michael Nipper, Yi Xu, Jun Liu, Xue Yin, Zhijie Liu, Zhengqing Ye, Jianmin Zhang, Yidong Chen and Pei Wang
Cells 2024, 13(2), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020186 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1328
Abstract
Background & Aims: Acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) serves as a precursor event in the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) upon constitutive environmental and genetical stress. While the role of ADM in PDAC progression has been established, the molecular mechanisms underlying human ADM remain [...] Read more.
Background & Aims: Acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) serves as a precursor event in the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) upon constitutive environmental and genetical stress. While the role of ADM in PDAC progression has been established, the molecular mechanisms underlying human ADM remain elusive. We previously demonstrated the induction of ADM in human acinar cells through the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signaling pathway. We aim to investigate the interaction between TGFβ and Hippo pathways in mediating ADM. Methods: RNA-sequencing was conducted on sorted normal primary human acinar, ductal, and AD (acinar cells that have undergone ADM) cells. ATAC-seq analysis was utilized to reveal the chromatin accessibility in these three cell types. ChIP-Seq of YAP1, SMAD4, and H3K27ac was performed to identify the gene targets of YAP1 and SMAD4. The role of YAP1/TAZ in ADM-driven cell proliferation, as well as in oncogenic KRAS driven proliferation, was assessed using sphere formation assay. Results: AD cells have a unique transcription profile, with upregulated genes in open chromatin states in acinar cells. YAP1 and SMAD4 co-occupy the loci of ADM-related genes, including PROM1, HES1, and MMP7, co-regulating biological functions such as cell adhesion, cell migration, and inflammation. Overexpression of YAP1/TAZ promoted acinar cell proliferation but still required the TGFβ pathway. YAP1/TAZ were also crucial for TGFβ-induced sphere formation and were necessary for KRAS-induced proliferation. Conclusions: Our study reveals the intricate transition between acinar and AD states in human pancreatic tissues. It unveils the complex interaction between the Hippo and TGF-β pathways during ADM, highlighting the pivotal role of YAP1/TAZ and SMAD4 in PDAC initiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Underpinnings of Cancer Vulnerability)
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25 pages, 3774 KiB  
Article
The Inhibition of the Membrane-Bound Transcription Factor Site-1 Protease (MBTP1) Alleviates the p.Phe508del-Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) Defects in Cystic Fibrosis Cells
by Raphaël Santinelli, Nathalie Benz, Julie Guellec, Fabien Quinquis, Ervin Kocas, Johan Thomas, Tristan Montier, Chandran Ka, Emilie Luczka-Majérus, Edouard Sage, Claude Férec, Christelle Coraux and Pascal Trouvé
Cells 2024, 13(2), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020185 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1199
Abstract
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is present due to mutations in the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene, the most frequent variant being p.phe508del. The CFTR protein is a chloride (Cl-) channel which is defective and almost absent of cell membranes when the p.Phe508del [...] Read more.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is present due to mutations in the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene, the most frequent variant being p.phe508del. The CFTR protein is a chloride (Cl-) channel which is defective and almost absent of cell membranes when the p.Phe508del mutation is present. The p.Phe508del-CFTR protein is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and together with inflammation and infection triggers the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR). During the UPR, the Activating Transcription Factor 6 (ATF6) is activated with cleavage and then decreases the expression of p.Phe508del-CFTR. We have previously shown that the inhibition of the activation of ATF6 alleviates the p.Phe508del-CFTR defects in cells overexpressing the mutated protein. In the present paper, our aim was to inhibit the cleavage of ATF6, and thus its activation in a human bronchial cell line with endogenous p.Phe508del-CFTR expression and in bronchial cells from patients, to be more relevant to CF. This was achieved by inhibiting the protease MBTP1 which is responsible for the cleavage of ATF6. We show here that this inhibition leads to increased mRNA and p.Phe508del-CFTR expression and, consequently, to increased Cl-efflux. We also explain the mechanisms linked to these increases with the modulation of genes when MBTP1 is inhibited. Indeed, RT-qPCR assays show that genes such as HSPA1B, CEBPB, VIMP, PFND2, MAPK8, XBP1, INSIG1, and CALR are modulated. In conclusion, we show that the inhibition of MBTP1 has a beneficial effect in relevant models to CF and that this is due to the modulation of genes involved in the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Cystic Fibrosis: Cells, Physiopathology and Emerging Therapies)
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12 pages, 3035 KiB  
Article
Microglia-Derived Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 Is Critical for Neurodevelopment
by Dominika Rusin, Lejla Vahl Becirovic, Gabriela Lyszczarz, Martin Krueger, Anouk Benmamar-Badel, Cecilie Vad Mathiesen, Eydís Sigurðardóttir Schiöth, Kate Lykke Lambertsen and Agnieszka Wlodarczyk
Cells 2024, 13(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020184 - 18 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a peptide hormone essential for the proper development and growth of the organism, as a complete knockout of Igf1 in mice is lethal, causing microcephaly, growth retardation and the defective development of organs. In the central nervous [...] Read more.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a peptide hormone essential for the proper development and growth of the organism, as a complete knockout of Igf1 in mice is lethal, causing microcephaly, growth retardation and the defective development of organs. In the central nervous system, neurons and glia have been reported to express Igf1, but their relative importance for postnatal development has not yet been fully defined. In order to address this, here, we obtained mice with a microglia-specific inducible conditional knockout of Igf1. We show that the deficiency in microglial Igf1, starting in the first postnatal week, leads to body and brain growth retardation, severely impaired myelination, changes in microglia numbers, and behavioral abnormalities. These results emphasize the importance of microglial-derived Igf1 for brain development and function and open new perspectives for the investigation of the role of microglial-Igf1 in neurological diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microglia in Neurological Diseases)
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17 pages, 2843 KiB  
Review
Autophagy and Apoptosis in Rabies Virus Replication
by Saisai Li, Bowen Xu, Yongwen Luo, Jun Luo, Shile Huang and Xiaofeng Guo
Cells 2024, 13(2), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020183 - 18 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1937
Abstract
Rabies virus (RABV) is a single-stranded negative-sense RNA virus belonging to the Rhabdoviridae family and Lyssavirus genus, which is highly neurotropic and can infect almost all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Autophagy and apoptosis are two evolutionarily conserved and genetically regulated processes that maintain [...] Read more.
Rabies virus (RABV) is a single-stranded negative-sense RNA virus belonging to the Rhabdoviridae family and Lyssavirus genus, which is highly neurotropic and can infect almost all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Autophagy and apoptosis are two evolutionarily conserved and genetically regulated processes that maintain cellular and organismal homeostasis, respectively. Autophagy recycles unnecessary or dysfunctional intracellular organelles and molecules in a cell, whereas apoptosis eliminates damaged or unwanted cells in an organism. Studies have shown that RABV can induce both autophagy and apoptosis in target cells. To advance our understanding of pathogenesis of rabies, this paper reviews the molecular mechanisms of autophagy and apoptosis induced by RABV and the effects of the two cellular events on RABV replication. 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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26 pages, 3509 KiB  
Article
Activated Human Adipose Tissue Transplantation Promotes Sensorimotor Recovery after Acute Spinal Cord Contusion in Rats
by Maxime Bonnet, Céline Ertlen, Mostafa Seblani, Jean-Michel Brezun, Thelma Coyle, Cristina Cereda, Gianvincenzo Zuccotti, Mattia Colli, Christophe Desouches, Patrick Decherchi, Stephana Carelli and Tanguy Marqueste
Cells 2024, 13(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020182 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1796
Abstract
Traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCIs) often result in sensory, motor, and vegetative function loss below the injury site. Although preclinical results have been promising, significant solutions for SCI patients have not been achieved through translating repair strategies to clinical trials. In this study, [...] Read more.
Traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCIs) often result in sensory, motor, and vegetative function loss below the injury site. Although preclinical results have been promising, significant solutions for SCI patients have not been achieved through translating repair strategies to clinical trials. In this study, we investigated the effective potential of mechanically activated lipoaspirated adipose tissue when transplanted into the epicenter of a thoracic spinal contusion. Male Sprague Dawley rats were divided into three experimental groups: SHAM (uninjured and untreated), NaCl (spinal cord contusion with NaCl application), and AF (spinal cord contusion with transplanted activated human fat). Pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α) were measured to assess endogenous inflammation levels 14 days after injury. Sensorimotor recovery was monitored weekly for 12 weeks, and gait and electrophysiological analyses were performed at the end of this observational period. The results indicated that AF reduced endogenous inflammation post-SCI and there was a significant improvement in sensorimotor recovery. Moreover, activated adipose tissue also reinstated the segmental sensorimotor loop and the communication between supra- and sub-lesional spinal cord regions. This investigation highlights the efficacy of activated adipose tissue grafting in acute SCI, suggesting it is a promising therapeutic approach for spinal cord repair after traumatic contusion in humans. Full article
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18 pages, 1620 KiB  
Article
Differentiation States of Phenotypic Transition of Melanoma Cells Are Revealed by 3D Cell Cultures
by Fabrizio Fontana, Michele Sommariva, Martina Anselmi, Francesca Bianchi, Patrizia Limonta and Nicoletta Gagliano
Cells 2024, 13(2), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020181 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1115
Abstract
Melanoma is characterized by high metastatic potential favored by the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), leading melanoma cells to exhibit a spectrum of typical EMT markers. This study aimed to analyze the expression of EMT markers in A375 and BLM melanoma cell lines cultured in [...] Read more.
Melanoma is characterized by high metastatic potential favored by the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), leading melanoma cells to exhibit a spectrum of typical EMT markers. This study aimed to analyze the expression of EMT markers in A375 and BLM melanoma cell lines cultured in 2D monolayers and 3D spheroids using morphological and molecular methods. The expression of EMT markers was strongly affected by 3D arrangement and revealed a hybrid phenotype for the two cell lines. Indeed, although E-cadherin was almost undetectable in both A375 and BLM cells, cortical actin was detected in A375 2D monolayers and 3D spheroids and was strongly expressed in BLM 3D spheroids. The mesenchymal marker N-cadherin was significantly up-regulated in A375 3D spheroids while undetectable in BLM cells, but vimentin was similarly expressed in both cell lines at the gene and protein levels. This pattern suggests that A375 cells exhibit a more undifferentiated/mesenchymal phenotype, while BLM cells have more melanocytic/differentiated characteristics. Accordingly, the Zeb1 and 2, Slug, Snail and Twist gene expression analyses showed that they were differentially expressed in 2D monolayers compared to 3D spheroids, supporting this view. Furthermore, A375 cells are characterized by a greater invasive potential, strongly influenced by 3D arrangement, compared to the BLM cell line, as evaluated by SDS-zymography and TIMPs gene expression analysis. Finally, TGF-β1, a master controller of EMT, and lysyl oxidase (LOX), involved in melanoma progression, were strongly up-regulated by 3D arrangement in the metastatic BLM cells alone, likely playing a role in the metastatic phases of melanoma progression. Overall, these findings suggest that A375 and BLM cells possess a hybrid/intermediate phenotype in relation to the expression of EMT markers. The former is characterized by a more mesenchymal/undifferentiated phenotype, while the latter shows a more melanocytic/differentiated phenotype. Our results contribute to the characterization of the role of EMT in melanoma cells and confirm that a 3D cell culture model could provide deeper insight into our understanding of the biology of melanoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Motility and Adhesion)
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14 pages, 3666 KiB  
Article
Tryptophanyl-Transfer RNA Synthetase Is Involved in a Negative Feedback Loop Mitigating Interferon-γ-Induced Gene Expression
by Ikrame Lazar, Ido Livneh, Aaron Ciechanover and Bertrand Fabre
Cells 2024, 13(2), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020180 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1336
Abstract
Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are essential enzymes responsible for linking a transfer RNA (tRNA) with its cognate amino acid present in all the kingdoms of life. Besides their aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase activity, it was described that many of these enzymes can carry out non-canonical functions. [...] Read more.
Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are essential enzymes responsible for linking a transfer RNA (tRNA) with its cognate amino acid present in all the kingdoms of life. Besides their aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase activity, it was described that many of these enzymes can carry out non-canonical functions. They were shown to be involved in important biological processes such as metabolism, immunity, development, angiogenesis and tumorigenesis. In the present work, we provide evidence that tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase might be involved in a negative feedback loop mitigating the expression of certain interferon-γ-induced genes. Mining the available TCGA and Gtex data, we found that WARS was highly expressed in cutaneous melanoma (SKCM) compared to other cancers and is of good prognosis for this particular cancer type. WARS expression correlates with genes involved in antigen processing and presentation but also transcription factors involved in IFN-γ signaling such as STAT1. In addition, WARS was found in complex with STAT1 in A375 cells treated with IFN-γ. Finally, we showed that knocking down WARS expression during IFN-γ stimulation further increases the expression of GBP2, APOL1, ISG15, HLA-A and IDO1. Full article
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38 pages, 2180 KiB  
Review
Beyond Vision: An Overview of Regenerative Medicine and Its Current Applications in Ophthalmological Care
by Francisco J. Santa Cruz-Pavlovich, Andres J. Bolaños-Chang, Ximena I. Del Rio-Murillo, Guillermo A. Aranda-Preciado, Esmeralda M. Razura-Ruiz, Arturo Santos and Jose Navarro-Partida
Cells 2024, 13(2), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020179 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1974
Abstract
Regenerative medicine (RM) has emerged as a promising and revolutionary solution to address a range of unmet needs in healthcare, including ophthalmology. Moreover, RM takes advantage of the body’s innate ability to repair and replace pathologically affected tissues. On the other hand, despite [...] Read more.
Regenerative medicine (RM) has emerged as a promising and revolutionary solution to address a range of unmet needs in healthcare, including ophthalmology. Moreover, RM takes advantage of the body’s innate ability to repair and replace pathologically affected tissues. On the other hand, despite its immense promise, RM faces challenges such as ethical concerns, host-related immune responses, and the need for additional scientific validation, among others. The primary aim of this review is to present a high-level overview of current strategies in the domain of RM (cell therapy, exosomes, scaffolds, in vivo reprogramming, organoids, and interspecies chimerism), centering around the field of ophthalmology. A search conducted on clinicaltrials.gov unveiled a total of at least 209 interventional trials related to RM within the ophthalmological field. Among these trials, there were numerous early-phase studies, including phase I, I/II, II, II/III, and III trials. Many of these studies demonstrate potential in addressing previously challenging and degenerative eye conditions, spanning from posterior segment pathologies like Age-related Macular Degeneration and Retinitis Pigmentosa to anterior structure diseases such as Dry Eye Disease and Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency. Notably, these therapeutic approaches offer tailored solutions specific to the underlying causes of each pathology, thus allowing for the hopeful possibility of bringing forth a treatment for ocular diseases that previously seemed incurable and significantly enhancing patients’ quality of life. As advancements in research and technology continue to unfold, future objectives should focus on ensuring the safety and prolonged viability of transplanted cells, devising efficient delivery techniques, etc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gene and Cell Therapy in Regenerative Medicine—Second Edition)
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17 pages, 1583 KiB  
Review
ALS’ Perfect Storm: C9orf72-Associated Toxic Dipeptide Repeats as Potential Multipotent Disruptors of Protein Homeostasis
by Paulien H. Smeele, Giuliana Cesare and Thomas Vaccari
Cells 2024, 13(2), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020178 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1495
Abstract
Protein homeostasis is essential for neuron longevity, requiring a balanced regulation between protein synthesis and degradation. The clearance of misfolded and aggregated proteins, mediated by autophagy and the ubiquitin–proteasome systems, maintains protein homeostasis in neurons, which are post-mitotic and thus cannot use cell [...] Read more.
Protein homeostasis is essential for neuron longevity, requiring a balanced regulation between protein synthesis and degradation. The clearance of misfolded and aggregated proteins, mediated by autophagy and the ubiquitin–proteasome systems, maintains protein homeostasis in neurons, which are post-mitotic and thus cannot use cell division to diminish the burden of misfolded proteins. When protein clearance pathways are overwhelmed or otherwise disrupted, the accumulation of misfolded or aggregated proteins can lead to the activation of ER stress and the formation of stress granules, which predominantly attempt to restore the homeostasis by suppressing global protein translation. Alterations in these processes have been widely reported among studies investigating the toxic function of dipeptide repeats (DPRs) produced by G4C2 expansion in the C9orf72 gene of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). In this review, we outline the modalities of DPR-induced disruptions in protein homeostasis observed in a wide range of models of C9orf72-linked ALS/FTD. We also discuss the relative importance of each DPR for toxicity, possible synergies between DPRs, and discuss the possible functional relevance of DPR aggregation to disease pathogenesis. Finally, we highlight the interdependencies of the observed effects and reflect on the importance of feedback and feedforward mechanisms in their contribution to disease progression. A better understanding of DPR-associated disease pathogenesis discussed in this review might shed light on disease vulnerabilities that may be amenable with therapeutic interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Pathomechanisms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS))
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19 pages, 1092 KiB  
Review
Psychiatric Comorbidities of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: It Is a Matter of Microglia’s Gut Feeling
by Gohar Fakhfouri, Nataša R. Mijailović and Reza Rahimian
Cells 2024, 13(2), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020177 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1365
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a common term for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic, relapse-remitting condition of the gastrointestinal tract that is increasing worldwide. Psychiatric comorbidities, including depression and anxiety, are more prevalent in IBD patients than in healthy individuals. Evidence [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a common term for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic, relapse-remitting condition of the gastrointestinal tract that is increasing worldwide. Psychiatric comorbidities, including depression and anxiety, are more prevalent in IBD patients than in healthy individuals. Evidence suggests that varying levels of neuroinflammation might underlie these states in IBD patients. Within this context, microglia are the crucial non-neural cells in the brain responsible for innate immune responses following inflammatory insults. Alterations in microglia’s functions, such as secretory profile, phagocytic activity, and synaptic pruning, might play significant roles in mediating psychiatric manifestations of IBD. In this review, we discuss the role played by microglia in IBD-associated comorbidities. Full article
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23 pages, 8935 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Mouse Hepatic Peroxisome Proteome—Identification of Novel Protein Constituents Using a Semi-Quantitative SWATH-MS Approach
by Öznur Singin, Artur Astapenka, Victor Costina, Sandra Kühl, Nina Bonekamp, Oliver Drews and Markus Islinger
Cells 2024, 13(2), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020176 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1196
Abstract
Ongoing technical and bioinformatics improvements in mass spectrometry (MS) allow for the identifying and quantifying of the enrichment of increasingly less-abundant proteins in individual fractions. Accordingly, this study reassessed the proteome of mouse liver peroxisomes by the parallel isolation of peroxisomes from a [...] Read more.
Ongoing technical and bioinformatics improvements in mass spectrometry (MS) allow for the identifying and quantifying of the enrichment of increasingly less-abundant proteins in individual fractions. Accordingly, this study reassessed the proteome of mouse liver peroxisomes by the parallel isolation of peroxisomes from a mitochondria- and a microsome-enriched prefraction, combining density-gradient centrifugation with a semi-quantitative SWATH-MS proteomics approach to unveil novel peroxisomal or peroxisome-associated proteins. In total, 1071 proteins were identified using MS and assessed in terms of their distribution in either high-density peroxisomal or low-density gradient fractions, containing the bulk of organelle material. Combining the data from both fractionation approaches allowed for the identification of specific protein profiles characteristic of mitochondria, the ER and peroxisomes. Among the proteins significantly enriched in the peroxisomal cluster were several novel peroxisomal candidates. Five of those were validated by colocalization in peroxisomes, using confocal microscopy. The peroxisomal import of HTATIP2 and PAFAH2, which contain a peroxisome-targeting sequence 1 (PTS1), could be confirmed by overexpression in HepG2 cells. The candidates SAR1B and PDCD6, which are known ER-exit-site proteins, did not directly colocalize with peroxisomes, but resided at ER sites, which frequently surrounded peroxisomes. Hence, both proteins might concentrate at presumably co-purified peroxisome-ER membrane contacts. Intriguingly, the fifth candidate, OCIA domain-containing protein 1, was previously described as decreasing mitochondrial network formation. In this work, we confirmed its peroxisomal localization and further observed a reduction in peroxisome numbers in response to OCIAD1 overexpression. Hence, OCIAD1 appears to be a novel protein, which has an impact on both mitochondrial and peroxisomal maintenance. Full article
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12 pages, 748 KiB  
Review
Targeted Protein Degradation Systems: Controlling Protein Stability Using E3 Ubiquitin Ligases in Eukaryotic Species
by Yoshitaka Ogawa, Taisei P. Ueda, Keisuke Obara, Kohei Nishimura and Takumi Kamura
Cells 2024, 13(2), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020175 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1525
Abstract
This review explores various methods for modulating protein stability to achieve target protein degradation, which is a crucial aspect in the study of biological processes and drug design. Thirty years have passed since the introduction of heat-inducible degron cells utilizing the N-end rule, [...] Read more.
This review explores various methods for modulating protein stability to achieve target protein degradation, which is a crucial aspect in the study of biological processes and drug design. Thirty years have passed since the introduction of heat-inducible degron cells utilizing the N-end rule, and methods for controlling protein stability using the ubiquitin–proteasome system have moved from academia to industry. This review covers protein stability control methods, from the early days to recent advancements, and discusses the evolution of techniques in this field. This review also addresses the challenges and future directions of protein stability control techniques by tracing their development from the inception of protein stability control methods to the present day. Full article
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24 pages, 3137 KiB  
Article
Towards Understanding the Development of Breast Cancer: The Role of RhoJ in the Obesity Microenvironment
by Lara J. Bou Malhab, Vidhya A. Nair, Rizwan Qaisar, Gianfranco Pintus and Wael M. Abdel-Rahman
Cells 2024, 13(2), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020174 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1136
Abstract
Obesity is a growing pandemic with an increasing risk of inducing different cancer types, including breast cancer. Adipose tissue is proposed to be a major player in the initiation and progression of breast cancer in obese people. However, the mechanistic link between adipogenicity [...] Read more.
Obesity is a growing pandemic with an increasing risk of inducing different cancer types, including breast cancer. Adipose tissue is proposed to be a major player in the initiation and progression of breast cancer in obese people. However, the mechanistic link between adipogenicity and tumorigenicity in breast tissues is poorly understood. We used in vitro and in vivo approaches to investigate the mechanistic relationship between obesity and the onset and progression of breast cancer. In obesity, adipose tissue expansion and remodeling are associated with increased inflammatory mediator’s release and anti-inflammatory mediators’ reduction.. In order to mimic the obesity micro-environment, we cultured cells in an enriched pro-inflammatory cytokine medium to which we added a low concentration of beneficial adipokines. Epithelial cells exposed to the obesity micro-environment were phenotypically transformed into mesenchymal-like cells, characterized by an increase in different mesenchymal markers and the acquisition of the major hallmarks of cancerous cells; these include sustained DNA damage, the activation of the ATR-Chk2 pathway, an increase in proliferation rate, cell invasion, and resistance to conventional chemotherapy. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that several genes, including RhoJ, CCL7, and MMP9, acted as potential major players in the observed phenomenon. The transcriptomics findings were confirmed in vitro using qRT-PCR and in vivo using high-fat-diet-fed mice. Our data suggests RhoJ as a potential novel molecular driver of tumor development in breast tissues and a mediator of cell resistance to conventional chemotherapy through PAK1 activation. These data propose that RhoJ is a potential target for therapeutic interventions in obese breast cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cellular and Molecular Research in Breast Cancer)
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15 pages, 1308 KiB  
Article
Coronavirus Receptor Expression Profiles in Human Mast Cells, Basophils, and Eosinophils
by Lina Degenfeld-Schonburg, Irina Sadovnik, Dubravka Smiljkovic, Barbara Peter, Gabriele Stefanzl, Clemens Gstoettner, Peter Jaksch, Konrad Hoetzenecker, Clemens Aigner, Christine Radtke, Michel Arock, Wolfgang R. Sperr and Peter Valent
Cells 2024, 13(2), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020173 - 17 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1392
Abstract
A major problem in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients is the massive tissue inflammation in certain target organs, including the lungs. Mast cells (MC), basophils (BA), and eosinophils (EO) are key effector cells in inflammatory processes. These cells have recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of [...] Read more.
A major problem in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients is the massive tissue inflammation in certain target organs, including the lungs. Mast cells (MC), basophils (BA), and eosinophils (EO) are key effector cells in inflammatory processes. These cells have recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infections. We explored coronavirus receptor (CoV-R) expression profiles in primary human MC, BA, and EO, and in related cell lines (HMC-1, ROSA, MCPV-1, KU812, and EOL-1). As determined using flow cytometry, primary MC, BA, and EO, and their corresponding cell lines, displayed the CoV-R CD13 and CD147. Primary skin MC and BA, as well as EOL-1 cells, also displayed CD26, whereas primary EO and the MC and BA cell lines failed to express CD26. As assessed using qPCR, most cell lines expressed transcripts for CD13, CD147, and ABL2, whereas ACE2 mRNA was not detectable, and CD26 mRNA was only identified in EOL-1 cells. We also screened for drug effects on CoV-R expression. However, dexamethasone, vitamin D, and hydroxychloroquine did not exert substantial effects on the expression of CD13, CD26, or CD147 in the cells. Together, MC, BA, and EO express distinct CoV-R profiles. Whether these receptors mediate virus–cell interactions and thereby virus-induced inflammation remains unknown at present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Mast Cells in Health and Diseases)
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16 pages, 3723 KiB  
Article
Role of Formyl Peptide Receptors and β-Arrestin-1 in suPAR Signal Transduction in Mouse Podocytes: Interactions with αVβ3-Integrin
by Eun Young Kim and Stuart E. Dryer
Cells 2024, 13(2), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13020172 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1046
Abstract
The soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) has been implicated in a wide range of pathological conditions including primary nephrotic syndromes and acute kidney injuries. suPAR can trigger transduction cascades in podocytes by outside-in activation of αVβ3-integrin, but there is evidence that the [...] Read more.
The soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) has been implicated in a wide range of pathological conditions including primary nephrotic syndromes and acute kidney injuries. suPAR can trigger transduction cascades in podocytes by outside-in activation of αVβ3-integrin, but there is evidence that the functional cell surface response element is actually a complex of different types of receptors, which may also include the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) and formyl peptide receptors (FPRs). Here we observed that ROS accumulation and Src activation could be evoked by continuous 24 h exposure to either suPAR or the FPR agonist fMLF. Responses to suPAR and fMLF were completely blocked by either the FPR antagonist WRW4 or by the αV-integrin inhibitor cilengitide. Moreover, endogenous podocyte mouse Fpr1 co-immunoprecipitates with β3-integrin, suggesting that these receptors occur as a complex on the cell surface. suPAR- and fMLF-evoked activation of Src and ROS differed in time course. Thus, robust pertussis toxin (PTX)-sensitive responses were evoked by 60 min exposures to fMLF but not to suPAR. By contrast, responses to 24 h exposures to either suPAR or fMLF were PTX-resistant and were instead abolished by knockdown of β-arrestin-1 (BAR1). FPRs, integrins, and RAGE (along with various Toll-like receptors) can all function as pattern-recognition receptors that respond to “danger signals” associated with infections and tissue injury. The fact that podocytes express such a wide array of pattern-recognition receptors suggests that the glomerular filter is designed to change its function under certain conditions, possibly to facilitate clearance of toxic macromolecules. Full article
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