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Biology, Volume 12, Issue 3 (March 2023) – 152 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The neuromodulatory systems are a unique set of brain structures responsible for the coordinated release of neurotransmitters across the brain. While the influence of these systems has been causally linked to the mediation of complex cognitive processes, their effects on widespread neuronal networks have remained largely unexplored. Each system's nuclei send dense projections to a variety of brain regions, potentially influencing coordinated neural activity through oscillatory dynamics. By highlighting the critical role these neuromodulatory systems play in regulating widespread neural oscillations, future brain stimulation paradigms can be further discretized to effectively modulate perceptual and cognitive functions, bringing to light the vital role they have in health and disease. View this paper
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24 pages, 13372 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Regulation Genes at Microtubule Plus Ends: A Novel Class of Glioma Biomarkers
by Wenwen Wang, Weilong Li, Lifang Pan, Lingjie Li, Yasi Xu, Yuqing Wang, Xiaochen Zhang and Shirong Zhang
Biology 2023, 12(3), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030488 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1743
Abstract
Glioma is the most prevalent and aggressive primary nervous system tumor with an unfavorable prognosis. Microtubule plus-end-related genes (MPERGs) play critical biological roles in the cell cycle, cell movement, ciliogenesis, and neuronal development by coordinating microtubule assembly and dynamics. This research seeks to [...] Read more.
Glioma is the most prevalent and aggressive primary nervous system tumor with an unfavorable prognosis. Microtubule plus-end-related genes (MPERGs) play critical biological roles in the cell cycle, cell movement, ciliogenesis, and neuronal development by coordinating microtubule assembly and dynamics. This research seeks to systematically explore the oncological characteristics of these genes in microtubule-enriched glioma, focusing on developing a novel MPERG-based prognostic signature to improve the prognosis and provide more treatment options for glioma patients. First, we thoroughly analyzed and identified 45 differentially expressed MPERGs in glioma. Based on these genes, glioma patients were well distinguished into two subgroups with survival and tumor microenvironment infiltration differences. Next, we further screened the independent prognostic genes (CTTNBP2, KIF18A, NAV1, SLAIN2, SRCIN1, TRIO, and TTBK2) using 36 prognostic-related differentially expressed MPERGs to construct a signature with risk stratification and prognostic prediction ability. An increased risk score was related to the malignant progression of glioma. Therefore, we also designed a nomogram model containing clinical factors to facilitate the clinical use of the risk signature. The prediction accuracy of the signature and nomogram model was verified using The Cancer Genome Atlas and Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas datasets. Finally, we examined the connection between the signature and tumor microenvironment. The signature positively correlated with tumor microenvironment infiltration, especially immunoinhibitors and the tumor mutation load, and negatively correlated with microsatellite instability and cancer stemness. More importantly, immune checkpoint blockade treatment and drug sensitivity analyses confirmed that this prognostic signature was helpful in anticipating the effect of immunotherapy and chemotherapy. In conclusion, this research is the first study to define and validate an MPERG-based signature closely associated with the tumor microenvironment as a reliable and independent prognostic biomarker to guide personalized choices of immunotherapy and chemotherapy for glioma patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinformatics and Machine Learning for Cancer Biology (Volume II))
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5 pages, 238 KiB  
Editorial
Paleontology in the 21st Century
by Mary H. Schweitzer
Biology 2023, 12(3), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030487 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1900
Abstract
For much of its 300+ year history, “modern” paleontology has been a descriptive science, firmly housed within geological sciences [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paleontology in the 21st Century)
21 pages, 1218 KiB  
Review
Specific Neural Mechanisms of Self-Cognition and the Application of Brainprint Recognition
by Rongkai Zhang, Ying Zeng, Li Tong and Bin Yan
Biology 2023, 12(3), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030486 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2118
Abstract
The important identity attribute of self-information presents unique cognitive processing advantages in psychological experiments and has become a research hotspot in psychology and brain science. The unique processing mode of own information has been widely verified in visual and auditory experiments, which is [...] Read more.
The important identity attribute of self-information presents unique cognitive processing advantages in psychological experiments and has become a research hotspot in psychology and brain science. The unique processing mode of own information has been widely verified in visual and auditory experiments, which is a unique neural processing method for own name, face, voice and other information. In the study of individual behavior, the behavioral uniqueness of self-information is reflected in the faster response of the human brain to self-information, the higher attention to self-information, and the stronger memory level of self-reference. Brain imaging studies have also presented the uniqueness of self-cognition in the brain. EEG studies have shown that self-information induces significant P300 components. fMRI and PET results show that the differences in self and non-self working patterns were located in the frontal and parietal lobes. In addition, this paper combines the self-uniqueness theory and brain-print recognition technology to explore the application of self-information in experimental design, channel combination strategy and identity feature selection of brainprints. Full article
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5 pages, 220 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial to the Special Issue “Eco-Physiological and Molecular Basis of Stress Tolerance in Plants”
by Lei Wang and Mohsin Tanveer
Biology 2023, 12(3), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030485 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
Farmers are currently facing the challenge of producing sufficient crop yield [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Physiological and Molecular Basis of Stress Tolerance in Plants)
16 pages, 3891 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Rhizophora mucronata along Coastal Areas in Thailand
by Chaiwat Naktang, Supaporn Khanbo, Chutintorn Yundaeng, Sonicha U-thoomporn, Wasitthee Kongkachana, Darunee Jiumjamrassil, Chatree Maknual, Poonsri Wanthongchai, Sithichoke Tangphatsornruang and Wirulda Pootakham
Biology 2023, 12(3), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030484 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2098
Abstract
Unique and biodiverse, mangrove ecosystems provide humans with benefits and contribute to coastal protection. Rhizophora mucronata, a member of the Rhizophoraceae family, is prevalent in the mangrove forests of Thailand. R. mucronata’s population structure and genetic diversity have received scant attention. [...] Read more.
Unique and biodiverse, mangrove ecosystems provide humans with benefits and contribute to coastal protection. Rhizophora mucronata, a member of the Rhizophoraceae family, is prevalent in the mangrove forests of Thailand. R. mucronata’s population structure and genetic diversity have received scant attention. Here, we sequenced the entire genome of R. mucronata using 10× Genomics technology and obtained an assembly size of 219 Mb with the N50 length of 542,540 bases. Using 2857 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, this study investigated the genetic diversity and population structure of 80 R. mucronata accessions obtained from the mangrove forests in Thailand. The genetic diversity of R. mucronata was moderate (I = 0.573, Ho = 0.619, He = 0.391). Two subpopulations were observed and confirmed from both population structure and principal component analysis (PCA). Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that there was more variation within populations than between them. Mean pairwise genetic differentiation (FST = 0.09) showed that there was not much genetic difference between populations. Intriguingly, the predominant clustering pattern in the R. mucronata population did not correspond to the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, which are separated by the Malay Peninsula. Several factors could have influenced the R. mucronata genetic pattern, such as hybridization and anthropogenic factors. This research will provide important information for the future conservation and management of R. mucronata in Thailand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Functional Genomics in the Era of Omics Approaches)
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15 pages, 11078 KiB  
Article
Live to Die Another Day: Regeneration in Diopatra aciculata Knox and Cameron, 1971 (Annelida: Onuphidae) Collected as Bait in Knysna Estuary, South Africa
by Stephanie Schoeman and Carol A. Simon
Biology 2023, 12(3), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030483 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1515
Abstract
Regeneration is critical for survivorship after injury, sublethal predation, and asexual reproduction; it allows individuals to recover, potentially enabling populations of bait species to overcome the effects of bait collection through incidental asexual reproduction. Opportunities for regeneration are created when worms break during [...] Read more.
Regeneration is critical for survivorship after injury, sublethal predation, and asexual reproduction; it allows individuals to recover, potentially enabling populations of bait species to overcome the effects of bait collection through incidental asexual reproduction. Opportunities for regeneration are created when worms break during collection (which happens more often than not) and are thrown back into the estuary. Additionally, the trade and movement of bait could result in the range expansion of invasive species. This study investigated bait collection habits of local fishermen and the in situ incidence of regeneration in the estuarine moonshine worm, Diopatra aciculata. The evidence shows that this species is capable of anterior and posterior regeneration. The disproportionately small percentage of worms that seem to be recovering from the degree of damage that may be inflicted during bait collection suggests that regeneration may not help worms to withstand the effects of bait collection. However, the continuous movement and discarding of even small numbers of bait in other estuaries can lead to range expansion through incremental build-up, forming new populations, if these fragments are large enough to regenerate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diopatra: The Amazing Ecosystem Engineering Polychaetous Annelid)
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23 pages, 2041 KiB  
Article
Effects of Hydrologic Regime Changes on a Taxonomic and Functional Trait Structure of Earthworm Communities in Mountain Wetlands
by Václav Pižl, Maria Sterzyńska, Karel Tajovský, Josef Starý, Paweł Nicia, Paweł Zadrożny and Romualda Bejger
Biology 2023, 12(3), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030482 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1401
Abstract
Disturbances, both natural and anthropogenic, influence the patterning of species and species traits. The shift in species composition and distribution pattern of functional traits can demonstrate if the community is resistant, sensitive or resilient to the disturbance. Based on species- and trait-based approaches, [...] Read more.
Disturbances, both natural and anthropogenic, influence the patterning of species and species traits. The shift in species composition and distribution pattern of functional traits can demonstrate if the community is resistant, sensitive or resilient to the disturbance. Based on species- and trait-based approaches, we examined the response of the earthworm community to changing hydrologic conditions caused by the artificial drainage of mountain fens, in which cumulative effects of disturbance events over space and time are much less dynamic than in riverine wetlands. We hypothesized that the drainage-related changes of mountain fen peat soils have an effect on the earthworm community composition and its functional structure. We assume that the shift in species composition and value of community-weighted functional traits reflect changes in the resilience or resistance of the earthworm community to environmental change. Our results demonstrate that the total density of earthworms was almost three times lower under drained conditions compared to natural ones. Artificial drainage of fens had a neutral effect on the species-based diversity indices. However, there were species-specific traits that responded to hydrologic changes and which led to the species’ replacements and to the co-occurrence of eurytopic, surface-browsing and more drought- and low-pH-resistant earthworm species in the drained fens. Based on these results, we conclude that abiotic-based environmental filtering was the main process responsible for sorting earthworms according to species and traits in the disturbed hydrologic conditions. The greater earthworm functional trait variations in semi-natural hydrologic conditions emphasizes the impact of transient dynamics in an altered disturbance regime on the earthworm assembly. Results also showed that in the changing hydrologic conditions of mountain fens, the functional trait approach revealed only slightly more predictive power than the taxonomic one, but it proved better with processes responsible for earthworm species filtering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology)
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15 pages, 2282 KiB  
Article
The Oncosuppressive Properties of KCTD1: Its Role in Cell Growth and Mobility
by Giovanni Smaldone, Giovanni Pecoraro, Katia Pane, Monica Franzese, Alessia Ruggiero, Luigi Vitagliano and Marco Salvatore
Biology 2023, 12(3), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030481 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1703
Abstract
The KCTD protein family is traditionally regarded as proteins that play key roles in neurological physiopathology. However, new studies are increasingly demonstrating their involvement in many other biological processes, including cancers. This is particularly evident for KCTD proteins not involved in protein ubiquitination [...] Read more.
The KCTD protein family is traditionally regarded as proteins that play key roles in neurological physiopathology. However, new studies are increasingly demonstrating their involvement in many other biological processes, including cancers. This is particularly evident for KCTD proteins not involved in protein ubiquitination and degradation, such as KCTD1. We explored the role of KCTD1 in colorectal cancer by knocking down this protein in the human colon adenocarcinoma cell line, SW480. We re-assessed its ability to downregulate β-catenin, a central actor in the WNT/β-catenin signalling pathway. Interestingly, opposite effects are observed when the protein is upregulated in CACO2 colorectal cancer cells. Moreover, interrogation of the TCGA database indicates that KCTD1 downregulation is associated with β-catenin overexpression in colorectal cancer patients. Indeed, knocking down KCTD1 in SW480 cells led to a significant increase in their motility and stemness, two important tumorigenesis traits, suggesting an oncosuppressor role for KCTD1. It is worth noting that similar effects are induced on colorectal cancer cells by the misregulation of KCTD12, a protein that is distantly related to KCTD1. The presented results further expand the spectrum of KCTD1 involvement in apparently unrelated physiopathological processes. The similar effects produced on colorectal cancer cell lines by KCTD1 and KCTD12 suggest novel, previously unreported analogous activities among members of the KCTD protein family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biology)
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22 pages, 6178 KiB  
Article
Environmental Enrichment and Metformin Improve Metabolic Functions, Hippocampal Neuron Survival, and Hippocampal-Dependent Memory in High-Fat/High-Sucrose Diet-Induced Type 2 Diabetic Rats
by Teh Rasyidah Ismail, Christina Gertrude Yap, Rakesh Naidu and Narendra Pamidi
Biology 2023, 12(3), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030480 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1923
Abstract
Background: The Western-style diet-induced type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) may eventually trigger neurodegeneration and memory impairment. Thus, it is essential to identify effective therapeutic strategies to overcome T2D complications. This study aimed to investigate the effects of environmental enrichment (EE) and metformin [...] Read more.
Background: The Western-style diet-induced type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) may eventually trigger neurodegeneration and memory impairment. Thus, it is essential to identify effective therapeutic strategies to overcome T2D complications. This study aimed to investigate the effects of environmental enrichment (EE) and metformin interventions on metabolic dysfunctions, hippocampal neuronal death, and hippocampal-dependent memory impairments in high-fat/high-sucrose (HFS) diet-induced T2D rats. Methods: Thirty-two male rats (200–250 g) were divided into four groups: C group (standard diet + conventional cage); D group (HFS diet + conventional cage); DE group (HFS diet + EE cage/6hr daily); and DM group (HFS diet + metformin + conventional cage). Body weight was measured every week. T-maze tasks, anthropometric, biochemical, histological, and morphometric parameters were measured. The expression changes of hippocampal genes were also analyzed. Results: The anthropometric and biochemical parameters were improved in DE and DM groups compared with the D group. DE and DM groups had significantly higher T-maze percentages than the D group. These groups also had better histological and morphometric parameters than the D group. The interventions of EE and metformin enhanced the expression of hippocampal genes related to neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity (BDNF/TrkB binding, PI3K-Akt, Ras–MAPK, PLCγ–Ca2+, and LTP). Conclusion: Environmental enrichment (EE) and metformin improved metabolic functions, hippocampal neuron survival, and hippocampal-dependent memory in HFS diet-induced T2D rats. The underlying mechanisms of these interventions involved the expression of genes that regulate neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroscience)
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11 pages, 1138 KiB  
Article
Applicability of International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group (IAIHG) Scoring System for Autoimmune Hepatitis in Pediatrics
by Vorada Sakulsaengprapha, Paul Wasuwanich, Gayathri Naraparaju, Yelena Korotkaya, Supharerk Thawillarp, Kiyoko Oshima, Christine Karwowski, Ann O. Scheimann and Wikrom Karnsakul
Biology 2023, 12(3), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030479 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1445 | Correction
Abstract
Introduction: Many hepatologic pathologies mimic autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). Researchers developed the International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group (IAIHG) scoring system to compensate for the lack of specific diagnostic tests for AIH. The scoring system was not designed with pediatric patients in mind, so there are [...] Read more.
Introduction: Many hepatologic pathologies mimic autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). Researchers developed the International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group (IAIHG) scoring system to compensate for the lack of specific diagnostic tests for AIH. The scoring system was not designed with pediatric patients in mind, so there are limits to its pediatric use. Additionally, there is limited information on the value of a liver biopsy in conjunction with its use. Methods: In this retrospective study, we evaluated the effect of liver biopsy scores on the IAIHG scoring system in patients that were 0–18 years old with suspected AIH. We also analyzed demographic data and laboratory values associated with a final AIH diagnosis. Results: We found that interface hepatitis and predominant plasma cells found during the biopsy were significantly associated with a final AIH diagnosis. We also found that abnormal laboratory values were associated with an AIH diagnosis. We found that IAIHG scores calculated post-liver biopsy showed a greater area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.95, which was compared to 0.88 for the scores calculated before a liver biopsy. Including biopsy metrics lowered the optimized cutoff score and test specificity. Conclusion: Incorporating liver histopathological features improved the performance of the IAIHG scoring system. Further studies to identify other potential elements in liver histology may improve the performance metrics of the IAIHG test in the pediatric population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Liver Disease)
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25 pages, 4596 KiB  
Article
Helminth Communities of Common Fish Species in the Coastal Zone off Crimea: Species Composition, Diversity, and Structure
by Mariana P. Plaksina, Evgenija V. Dmitrieva and Alexander G. Dvoretsky
Biology 2023, 12(3), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030478 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1906
Abstract
In this paper, we analyzed the diversity and structure of helminth communities of 12 common fish species from the coastal zone of Crimea. A total of 53 helminth species were found. The total number of parasite species per host fish ranged from 3 [...] Read more.
In this paper, we analyzed the diversity and structure of helminth communities of 12 common fish species from the coastal zone of Crimea. A total of 53 helminth species were found. The total number of parasite species per host fish ranged from 3 to 18. Species richness at the infracommunity and component community levels were from 1.4–4.2 to 1.7–7, respectively. The Brillouin index for the infracommunites was 0.1–1, while the Shannon index for the component communities was 0.3–1.2. Component communities demonstrated a bi- or tri-modal distribution of the parasite prevalence and positive correlations between the prevalence and log-transformed abundance indices, thus following the “core–satellite” conception. Overall, the prevalence and abundance index of the dominant parasite in the component communities ranged from 18 to 80% and from 0.6 to 61.5 ind. per fish, respectively. The structure of the helminth component communities demonstrated good accordance with the nestedness mode where the rarest species occurred in the most diverse infracommunities, while the poorest infracommunities were composed of a few dominating species. More than two-thirds of the studied helminth species had an aggregated distribution indicating well-structured and developed communities. Our data provide a basis for further research and may be used for fish resource monitoring and management. Full article
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14 pages, 310 KiB  
Article
Army Combat Fitness Test Relationships to Tactical Foot March Performance in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets
by Kevin L. Withrow, Daniela A. Rubin, J. Jay Dawes, Robin M. Orr, Scott K. Lynn and Robert G. Lockie
Biology 2023, 12(3), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030477 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2948
Abstract
The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), consisting of deadlift, standing power throw, hand release push-up, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck or plank, and 2-mile run, is the United States Army’s new fitness test. The ACFT is designed to measure multiple fitness components required to perform [...] Read more.
The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), consisting of deadlift, standing power throw, hand release push-up, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck or plank, and 2-mile run, is the United States Army’s new fitness test. The ACFT is designed to measure multiple fitness components required to perform combat tasks. One critical task is the tactical foot march (TFM), where soldiers cover long distances while carrying loads comprised of mission-essential equipment. As the ACFT is meant to predict soldier task performance, determining the relationships between the ACFT and the TFM is important. Data from 29 cadets (♂ = 20, ♀ = 9) from one university Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program were analyzed. The ACFT was recorded in raw and scaled scores. The TFM was performed over 6.44 km, with time recorded. Cadets carried a 15.88-kg rucksack, fighting load carrier, 3-L hydration pack, and replica M4 carbine. Independent samples t-tests evaluated ACFT and TFM between-sex differences. Partial correlations, controlling for sex, determined ACFT event and TFM relationships. Male cadets outperformed females in all ACFT tasks (p ≤ 0.039), except the push-up. ACFT total score, leg tuck, 2-mile run, and sprint-drag-carry showed large correlations with the TFM (r = ±0.463–0.531, p ≤ 0.026). Aerobic and anaerobic capacity and upper body/trunk strength were important fitness components for cadet TFM performance. Full article
19 pages, 2281 KiB  
Article
Intraspecific Comparative Analysis Reveals Genomic Variation of Didymella arachidicola and Pathogenicity Factors Potentially Related to Lesion Phenotype
by Shaojian Li, Zhenyu Wang, Meng Gao, Tong Li, Xiaowei Cui, Junhuai Zu, Suling Sang, Wanwan Fan and Haiyan Zhang
Biology 2023, 12(3), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030476 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1717
Abstract
Didymella arachidicola is one of the most important fungal pathogens, causing foliar disease and leading to severe yield losses of peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.) in China. Two main lesion phenotypes of peanut web blotch have been identified as reticulation type (R type) [...] Read more.
Didymella arachidicola is one of the most important fungal pathogens, causing foliar disease and leading to severe yield losses of peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.) in China. Two main lesion phenotypes of peanut web blotch have been identified as reticulation type (R type) and blotch type (B type). As no satisfactory reference genome is available, the genomic variations and pathogenicity factors of D. arachidicola remain to be revealed. In the present study, we collected 41 D. arachidicola isolates from 26 geographic locations across China (33 for R type and 8 for B type). The chromosome-scale genome of the most virulent isolate (YY187) was assembled as a reference using PacBio and Hi-C technologies. In addition, we re-sequenced 40 isolates from different sampling sites. Genome-wide alignments showed high similarity among the genomic sequences from the 40 isolates, with an average mapping rate of 97.38%. An average of 3242 SNPs and 315 InDels were identified in the genomic variation analysis, which revealed an intraspecific polymorphism in D. arachidicola. The comparative analysis of the most and least virulent isolates generated an integrated gene set containing 512 differential genes. Moreover, 225 genes individually or simultaneously harbored hits in CAZy-base, PHI-base, DFVF, etc. Compared with the R type reference, the differential gene sets from all B type isolates identified 13 shared genes potentially related to lesion phenotype. Our results reveal the intraspecific genomic variation of D. arachidicola isolates and pathogenicity factors potentially related to different lesion phenotypes. This work sets a genomic foundation for understanding the mechanisms behind genomic diversity driving different pathogenic phenotypes of D. arachidicola. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Genomics)
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31 pages, 1046 KiB  
Systematic Review
Cingulum and Uncinate Fasciculus Microstructural Abnormalities in Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review of Diffusion Tensor Imaging Studies
by Fatemeh Rashidi, Mohammad Hossein Khanmirzaei, Farbod Hosseinzadeh, Zahra Kolahchi, Niloofar Jafarimehrabady, Bardia Moghisseh and Mohammad Hadi Aarabi
Biology 2023, 12(3), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030475 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1897
Abstract
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is gaining traction in neuroscience research as a tool for evaluating neural fibers. The technique can be used to assess white matter (WM) microstructure in neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson disease (PD). There is evidence that the uncinate fasciculus and [...] Read more.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is gaining traction in neuroscience research as a tool for evaluating neural fibers. The technique can be used to assess white matter (WM) microstructure in neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson disease (PD). There is evidence that the uncinate fasciculus and the cingulum bundle are involved in the pathogenesis of PD. These fasciculus and bundle alterations correlate with the symptoms and stages of PD. PRISMA 2022 was used to search PubMed and Scopus for relevant articles. Our search revealed 759 articles. Following screening of titles and abstracts, a full-text review, and implementing the inclusion criteria, 62 papers were selected for synthesis. According to the review of selected studies, WM integrity in the uncinate fasciculus and cingulum bundles can vary according to symptoms and stages of Parkinson disease. This article provides structural insight into the heterogeneous PD subtypes according to their cingulate bundle and uncinate fasciculus changes. It also examines if there is any correlation between these brain structures’ structural changes with cognitive impairment or depression scales like Geriatric Depression Scale-Short (GDS). The results showed significantly lower fractional anisotropy values in the cingulum bundle compared to healthy controls as well as significant correlations between FA and GDS scores for both left and right uncinate fasciculus regions suggesting that structural damage from disease progression may be linked to cognitive impairments seen in advanced PD patients. This review help in developing more targeted treatments for different types of Parkinson’s disease, as well as providing a better understanding of how cognitive impairments may be related to these structural changes. Additionally, using DTI scans can provide clinicians with valuable information about white matter tracts which is useful for diagnosing and monitoring disease progression over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroscience)
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11 pages, 778 KiB  
Systematic Review
HOXA10 DNA Methylation Level in the Endometrium Women with Endometriosis: A Systematic Review
by Marjanu Hikmah Elias, Nurunnajah Lazim, Zulazmi Sutaji, Mohammad Azrai Abu, Abdul Kadir Abdul Karim, Azizah Ugusman, Saiful Effendi Syafruddin, Mohd Helmy Mokhtar and Mohd Faizal Ahmad
Biology 2023, 12(3), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030474 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1642
Abstract
Endometriosis is an inflammatory chronic systemic disease resulting in pelvic pain and infertility. However, despite a high prevalence of endometriosis, disease identification is still insufficient, and a high percentage of misdiagnosing was observed. Hence, a comprehensive study needs to be done to improve [...] Read more.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory chronic systemic disease resulting in pelvic pain and infertility. However, despite a high prevalence of endometriosis, disease identification is still insufficient, and a high percentage of misdiagnosing was observed. Hence, a comprehensive study needs to be done to improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of endometriosis. Aberrant hypermethylation of HOXA10 has been reported to play a role in endometriosis. Thus, a comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify the DNA methylation level of HOXA10 among endometriosis patients across populations. The literature search was done using PubMed, Scopus, EBSCOhost, and Science Direct applying (HOXA10 OR “homeobox A10” OR “HOXA-10” OR HOX1) AND (“DNA methylation” OR methylation) AND (endometriosis OR endometrioma) as keywords. From 491 retrieved studies, five original articles investigating the DNA methylation level of HOXA10 from endometrium tissues among endometriosis women were included. All five included studies were classified as high-quality studies. High HOXA10 DNA methylation level was observed in the endometrium tissue of women with endometriosis in all the included studies. The secretory phase was identified as the best sampling time for HOXA10 DNA methylation study in endometriosis, and the most studied DNA methylation site is the promoter region of the HOXA10. However, more studies are needed to expose the HOXA10 mechanism in the pathogenesis of endometriosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Methylation and Epigenetics 2.0)
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21 pages, 3254 KiB  
Article
Occurrence Prediction of Riffle Beetles (Coleoptera: Elmidae) in a Tropical Andean Basin of Ecuador Using Species Distribution Models
by Gonzalo Sotomayor, Jorge Romero, Daniela Ballari, Raúl F. Vázquez, Iván Ramírez-Morales, Henrietta Hampel, Xavier Galarza, Bolívar Montesinos, Marie Anne Eurie Forio and Peter L. M. Goethals
Biology 2023, 12(3), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030473 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2395
Abstract
Genera and species of Elmidae (riffle beetles) are sensitive to water pollution; however, in tropical freshwater ecosystems, their requirements regarding environmental factors need to be investigated. Species distribution models (SDMs) were established for five elmid genera in the Paute river basin (southern Ecuador) [...] Read more.
Genera and species of Elmidae (riffle beetles) are sensitive to water pollution; however, in tropical freshwater ecosystems, their requirements regarding environmental factors need to be investigated. Species distribution models (SDMs) were established for five elmid genera in the Paute river basin (southern Ecuador) using the Random Forest (RF) algorithm considering environmental variables, i.e., meteorology, land use, hydrology, and topography. Each RF-based model was trained and optimised using cross-validation. Environmental variables that explained most of the Elmidae spatial variability were land use (i.e., riparian vegetation alteration and presence/absence of canopy), precipitation, and topography, mainly elevation and slope. The highest probability of occurrence for elmids genera was predicted in streams located within well-preserved zones. Moreover, specific ecological niches were spatially predicted for each genus. Macrelmis was predicted in the lower and forested areas, with high precipitation levels, towards the Amazon basin. Austrelmis was predicted to be in the upper parts of the basin, i.e., páramo ecosystems, with an excellent level of conservation of their riparian ecosystems. Austrolimnius and Heterelmis were also predicted in the upper parts of the basin but in more widespread elevation ranges, in the Heterelmis case, and even in some areas with a medium level of anthropisation. Neoelmis was predicted to be in the mid-region of the study basin in high altitudinal streams with a high degree of meandering. The main findings of this research are likely to contribute significantly to local conservation and restoration efforts being implemented in the study basin and could be extrapolated to similar eco-hydrological systems. Full article
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17 pages, 1537 KiB  
Review
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Associated Myocarditis and Cardiomyopathy: A Translational Review
by Dong Wang, Johann Bauersachs and Dominik Berliner
Biology 2023, 12(3), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030472 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3617
Abstract
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized oncology and transformed the treatment of various malignancies. By unleashing the natural immunological brake of the immune system, ICIs were initially considered an effective, gentle therapy with few side effects. However, accumulated clinical knowledge reveals that ICIs [...] Read more.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized oncology and transformed the treatment of various malignancies. By unleashing the natural immunological brake of the immune system, ICIs were initially considered an effective, gentle therapy with few side effects. However, accumulated clinical knowledge reveals that ICIs are associated with inflammation and tissue damage in multiple organs, leading to immune-related adverse effects (irAEs). Most irAEs involve the skin and gastrointestinal tract; however, cardiovascular involvement is associated with very high mortality rates, and its underlying pathomechanisms are poorly understood. Ranging from acute myocarditis to chronic cardiomyopathies, ICI-induced cardiotoxicity can present in various forms and entities. Revealing the inciting factors, understanding the pathogenesis, and identifying effective treatment strategies are needed to improve the care of tumor patients and our understanding of the immune and cardiovascular systems. Full article
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12 pages, 1310 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Ponticulus Posticus and Migraine in 220 Orthodontic Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Monica Macrì, Fabiola Rendina, Beatrice Feragalli, Francesco Pegreffi and Felice Festa
Biology 2023, 12(3), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030471 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1894
Abstract
Background: Ponticulus posticus (PP) is a medical term that describes an anomaly of the atlas (C1), which has a complete or partial bone bridge over the vertebral artery (VA) groove. The purpose of the study is to estimate the prevalence of PP in [...] Read more.
Background: Ponticulus posticus (PP) is a medical term that describes an anomaly of the atlas (C1), which has a complete or partial bone bridge over the vertebral artery (VA) groove. The purpose of the study is to estimate the prevalence of PP in patients with a diagnosis of migraine. Methods: Cone beam CT (CBCT) scans (n = 220) were reviewed for the detection of PP in the University “G. D’Annunzio” of Chieti in the Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences. The sample included 220 Italian patients between 18 and 87 years. Pearson chi-square analysis (p < 0.05 and 95% CI) was used to establish an association between migraine and PP. Results: The present study found a prevalence of PP of 20.9% and a prevalence of migraine of 12.272%. The association between migraine and PP was confirmed by the chi-square statistic, since the p-value was 0.008065 (significant at p < 0.05). PP was more frequent in the migraine without aura group, without a statistical difference relative to the migraine with aura group. Conclusions. The study concluded that PP is positively associated with migraine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pain: Neurobiology, Pathophysiology, and Therapeutic Approaches)
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1 pages, 186 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Peguda et al. The Activity of Polyhomoarginine against Acanthamoeba castellanii. Biology 2022, 11, 1726
by Hari Kumar Peguda, Rajamani Lakshminarayanan, Nicole A. Carnt, Zi Gu and Mark D. P. Willcox
Biology 2023, 12(3), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030470 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 819
Abstract
In the original publication [...] Full article
33 pages, 1406 KiB  
Review
Neurobiology of Aggression—Review of Recent Findings and Relationship with Alcohol and Trauma
by Michael Fritz, Sarah-Maria Soravia, Manuela Dudeck, Layal Malli and Marc Fakhoury
Biology 2023, 12(3), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030469 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 6944
Abstract
Aggression can be conceptualized as any behavior, physical or verbal, that involves attacking another person or animal with the intent of causing harm, pain or injury. Because of its high prevalence worldwide, aggression has remained a central clinical and public safety issue. Aggression [...] Read more.
Aggression can be conceptualized as any behavior, physical or verbal, that involves attacking another person or animal with the intent of causing harm, pain or injury. Because of its high prevalence worldwide, aggression has remained a central clinical and public safety issue. Aggression can be caused by several risk factors, including biological and psychological, such as genetics and mental health disorders, and socioeconomic such as education, employment, financial status, and neighborhood. Research over the past few decades has also proposed a link between alcohol consumption and aggressive behaviors. Alcohol consumption can escalate aggressive behavior in humans, often leading to domestic violence or serious crimes. Converging lines of evidence have also shown that trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could have a tremendous impact on behavior associated with both alcohol use problems and violence. However, although the link between trauma, alcohol, and aggression is well documented, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms and their impact on behavior have not been properly discussed. This article provides an overview of recent advances in understanding the translational neurobiological basis of aggression and its intricate links to alcoholism and trauma, focusing on behavior. It does so by shedding light from several perspectives, including in vivo imaging, genes, receptors, and neurotransmitters and their influence on human and animal behavior. Full article
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14 pages, 998 KiB  
Review
Animal Disease Models and Patient-iPS-Cell-Derived In Vitro Disease Models for Cardiovascular Biology—How Close to Disease?
by Nanako Kawaguchi and Toshio Nakanishi
Biology 2023, 12(3), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030468 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2239
Abstract
Currently, zebrafish, rodents, canines, and pigs are the primary disease models used in cardiovascular research. In general, larger animals have more physiological similarities to humans, making better disease models. However, they can have restricted or limited use because they are difficult to handle [...] Read more.
Currently, zebrafish, rodents, canines, and pigs are the primary disease models used in cardiovascular research. In general, larger animals have more physiological similarities to humans, making better disease models. However, they can have restricted or limited use because they are difficult to handle and maintain. Moreover, animal welfare laws regulate the use of experimental animals. Different species have different mechanisms of disease onset. Organs in each animal species have different characteristics depending on their evolutionary history and living environment. For example, mice have higher heart rates than humans. Nonetheless, preclinical studies have used animals to evaluate the safety and efficacy of human drugs because no other complementary method exists. Hence, we need to evaluate the similarities and differences in disease mechanisms between humans and experimental animals. The translation of animal data to humans contributes to eliminating the gap between these two. In vitro disease models have been used as another alternative for human disease models since the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Human cardiomyocytes have been generated from patient-derived iPSCs, which are genetically identical to the derived patients. Researchers have attempted to develop in vivo mimicking 3D culture systems. In this review, we explore the possible uses of animal disease models, iPSC-derived in vitro disease models, humanized animals, and the recent challenges of machine learning. The combination of these methods will make disease models more similar to human disease. Full article
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21 pages, 1649 KiB  
Review
Therapeutic Delivery of Tumor Suppressor miRNAs for Breast Cancer Treatment
by Sonali S. Shinde, Sakeel Ahmed, Jonaid Ahmad Malik, Umme Hani, Afreen Khanam, Faisal Ashraf Bhat, Suhail Ahmad Mir, Mohammed Ghazwani, Shadma Wahab, Nazima Haider and Abdulrahman A. Almehizia
Biology 2023, 12(3), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030467 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2886
Abstract
The death rate from breast cancer (BC) has dropped due to early detection and sophisticated therapeutic options, yet drug resistance and relapse remain barriers to effective, systematic treatment. Multiple mechanisms underlying miRNAs appear crucial in practically every aspect of cancer progression, including carcinogenesis, [...] Read more.
The death rate from breast cancer (BC) has dropped due to early detection and sophisticated therapeutic options, yet drug resistance and relapse remain barriers to effective, systematic treatment. Multiple mechanisms underlying miRNAs appear crucial in practically every aspect of cancer progression, including carcinogenesis, metastasis, and drug resistance, as evidenced by the elucidation of drug resistance. Non-coding RNAs called microRNAs (miRNAs) attach to complementary messenger RNAs and degrade them to inhibit the expression and translation to proteins. Evidence suggests that miRNAs play a vital role in developing numerous diseases, including cancer. They affect genes critical for cellular differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis, and metabolism. Recently studies have demonstrated that miRNAs serve as valuable biomarkers for BC. The contrast in the expression of miRNAs in normal tissue cells and tumors suggest that miRNAs are involved in breast cancer. The important aspect behind cancer etiology is the deregulation of miRNAs that can specifically influence cellular physiology. The main objective of this review is to emphasize the role and therapeutic capacity of tumor suppressor miRNAs in BC and the advancement in the delivery system that can deliver miRNAs specifically to cancerous cells. Various approaches are used to deliver these miRNAs to the cancer cells with the help of carrier molecules, like nanoparticles, poly D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) particles, PEI polymers, modified extracellular vesicles, dendrimers, and liposomes. Additionally, we discuss advanced strategies of TS miRNA delivery techniques such as viral delivery, self-assembled RNA-triple-helix hydrogel drug delivery systems, and hyaluronic acid/protamine sulfate inter-polyelectrolyte complexes. Subsequently, we discuss challenges and prospects on TS miRNA therapeutic delivery in BC management so that miRNAs will become a routine technique in developing individualized patient profiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy in Breast Cancer)
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29 pages, 1269 KiB  
Review
Advances in Viral Aquatic Animal Disease Knowledge: The Molecular Methods’ Contribution
by Enrico Volpe, Francesca Errani, Luciana Mandrioli and Sara Ciulli
Biology 2023, 12(3), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030466 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2286
Abstract
Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food-producing sector, with a global production of 122.6 million tonnes in 2020. Nonetheless, aquatic animal production can be hampered by the occurrence of viral diseases. Furthermore, intensive farming conditions and an increasing number of reared fish species have boosted [...] Read more.
Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food-producing sector, with a global production of 122.6 million tonnes in 2020. Nonetheless, aquatic animal production can be hampered by the occurrence of viral diseases. Furthermore, intensive farming conditions and an increasing number of reared fish species have boosted the number of aquatic animals’ pathogens that researchers have to deal with, requiring the quick development of new detection and study methods for novel unknown pathogens. In this respect, the molecular tools have significantly contributed to investigating thoroughly the structural constituents of fish viruses and providing efficient detection methods. For instance, next-generation sequencing has been crucial in reassignment to the correct taxonomic family, the sturgeon nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses, a group of viruses historically known, but mistakenly considered as iridoviruses. Further methods such as in situ hybridisation allowed objectifying the role played by the pathogen in the determinism of disease, as the cyprinid herpesvirus 2, ostreid herpesvirus 1 and betanodaviruses. Often, a combination of molecular techniques is crucial to understanding the viral role, especially when the virus is detected in a new aquatic animal species. With this paper, the authors would critically revise the scientific literature, dealing with the molecular techniques employed hitherto to study the most relevant finfish and shellfish viral pathogens. Full article
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21 pages, 7789 KiB  
Article
Antineoplastic Nature of WWOX in Glioblastoma Is Mainly a Consequence of Reduced Cell Viability and Invasion
by Żaneta Kałuzińska-Kołat, Katarzyna Kośla, Damian Kołat, Elżbieta Płuciennik and Andrzej K. Bednarek
Biology 2023, 12(3), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030465 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1529
Abstract
Following the discovery of WWOX, research has moved in many directions, including the role of this putative tumor suppressor in the central nervous system and related diseases. The task of determining the nature of WWOX in glioblastoma (GBM) is still considered to [...] Read more.
Following the discovery of WWOX, research has moved in many directions, including the role of this putative tumor suppressor in the central nervous system and related diseases. The task of determining the nature of WWOX in glioblastoma (GBM) is still considered to be at the initial stage; however, the influence of this gene on the GBM malignant phenotype has already been reported. Because most of the available in vitro research does not consider several cellular GBM models or a wide range of investigated biological assays, the present study aimed to determine the main processes by which WWOX exhibits anticancer properties in GBM, while taking into account the phenotypic heterogeneity between cell lines. Ectopic WWOX overexpression was studied in T98G, DBTRG-05MG, U251MG, and U87MG cell lines that were compared with the use of assays investigating cell viability, proliferation, apoptosis, adhesion, clonogenicity, three-dimensional and anchorage-independent growth, and invasiveness. Observations presenting the antineoplastic properties of WWOX were consistent for T98G, U251MG, and U87MG. Increased proliferation and tumor growth were noted in WWOX-overexpressing DBTRG-05MG cells. A possible explanation for this, arrived at via bioinformatics tools, was linked to the TARDBP transcription factor and expression differences of USP25 and CPNE2 that regulate EGFR surface abundance. Collectively, and despite various cell line-specific circumstances, WWOX exhibits its anticancer nature mainly via a reduction of cell viability and invasiveness of glioblastoma. Full article
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9 pages, 1761 KiB  
Brief Report
Calumenin, a Ca2+ Binding Protein, Is Required for Dauer Formation in Caenorhabditis elegans
by Kyung Eun Lee, Jeong Hoon Cho and Hyun-Ok Song
Biology 2023, 12(3), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030464 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1633
Abstract
Caenorhabditis elegans can adapt and survive in dynamically changing environments by the smart and delicate switching of molecular plasticity. C. elegans dauer diapause is a form of phenotypic and developmental plasticity that induces reversible developmental arrest upon environmental cues. An ER (endoplasmic reticulum)-resident [...] Read more.
Caenorhabditis elegans can adapt and survive in dynamically changing environments by the smart and delicate switching of molecular plasticity. C. elegans dauer diapause is a form of phenotypic and developmental plasticity that induces reversible developmental arrest upon environmental cues. An ER (endoplasmic reticulum)-resident Ca2+ binding protein, calumenin has been reported to function in a variety of malignant diseases in vertebrates and in the process of muscle contraction–relaxation. In C. elegans, CALU-1 is known to function in Ca2+-regulated behaviors (pharyngeal pumping and defecation) and cuticle formation. The cuticles of dauer larvae are morphologically distinct from those of larvae that develop in favorable conditions. The structure of the dauer cuticle is thicker and more highly reinforced than that of other larval stages to protect dauer larvae from various environmental insults. Since the calu-1(tm1783) mutant exhibited abnormal cuticle structures such as highly deformed annuli and alae, we investigated whether CALU-1 is involved in dauer formation or not. Ascaroside pheromone (ascr#2) and crude daumone were used under starvation conditions to analyze the rate of dauer formation in the calu-1(tm1783) mutant. Surprisingly, the dauer ratio of the calu-1(tm1783) mutant was extremely low compared to that of the wild type. In fact, the calu-1(tm1783) mutants were mostly unable to enter diapause. We also found that calu-1 is expressed in body-wall muscle and AIA interneurons at the dauer stage. Taken together, our results suggest that CALU-1 is required for normal entry into diapause in C. elegans. Full article
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20 pages, 2922 KiB  
Article
FGFR2c Upregulation Contributes to Cancer-Associated Fibroblast Program Activation and to Enhanced Autophagy in Actinic Keratosis-Derived Dermal Fibroblasts: A Possible Role in Precancerous Cell/Stromal Cell Crosstalk
by Luisa Guttieri, Salvatore Raffa, Gerardo Salerno, Rachele Bigi, Flavia Persechino, Vincenzo Visco, Maria Rosaria Torrisi, Danilo Ranieri and Francesca Belleudi
Biology 2023, 12(3), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030463 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
Actinic keratosis (AK) is a preneoplastic skin disorder which can rapidly progress to cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). In light of our previous findings, indicating a possible oncogenic role of the mesenchymal isoform of FGFR2 (FGFR2c) aberrantly expressed in AK keratinocytes, we analyzed [...] Read more.
Actinic keratosis (AK) is a preneoplastic skin disorder which can rapidly progress to cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). In light of our previous findings, indicating a possible oncogenic role of the mesenchymal isoform of FGFR2 (FGFR2c) aberrantly expressed in AK keratinocytes, we analyzed the possible tumor-promoting role of this receptor in the stromal AK counterpart in this work. Molecular analysis showed that, particularly in early AK lesions, FGFR2c dermal upregulation is accompanied by the downregulation of the cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) transcription repressor CSL, the upregulation of the CAF activator ULK3, and the consequent CAF gene induction. Immunofluorescence and molecular analysis, coupled with silencing approaches by siRNA, applied on primary cultures of KIN I-derived fibroblasts, indicated that FGFR2c upregulation contribute to CAF signature and the increased autophagy in response to FGF2. Magnetic bead-based multiplex assay, combined with FGFR2 signaling shut-off approaches, indicated that, especially in response to FGF2, IL-6 secretion could depend on FGFR2c high expression and signaling, suggesting the possible establishment of FGFR2c-dependent secretory autophagy, contributing to tumor-promoting factor release. Overall, our results identified FGFR2c as a signaling molecule involved in controlling precancerous/stromal cell oncogenic crosstalk, pointing to this receptor as a possible early molecular marker predictive for AK’s rapid malignant progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advance in Tumorigenesis Research and Cancer Cell Therapy)
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16 pages, 2723 KiB  
Article
Lipidomic Analysis of Liver Lipid Droplets after Chronic Alcohol Consumption with and without Betaine Supplementation
by Madan Kumar Arumugam, Sathish Kumar Perumal, Karuna Rasineni, Terrence M. Donohue, Jr., Natalia A. Osna and Kusum K. Kharbanda
Biology 2023, 12(3), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030462 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
The earliest manifestation of alcohol-associated liver disease is hepatic steatosis, which is characterized by fat accumulation in specialized organelles called lipid droplets (LDs). Our previous studies reported that alcohol consumption elevates the numbers and sizes of LDs in hepatocytes, which is attenuated by [...] Read more.
The earliest manifestation of alcohol-associated liver disease is hepatic steatosis, which is characterized by fat accumulation in specialized organelles called lipid droplets (LDs). Our previous studies reported that alcohol consumption elevates the numbers and sizes of LDs in hepatocytes, which is attenuated by simultaneous treatment with the methyl group donor, betaine. Here, we examined changes in the hepatic lipidome with respect to LD size and dynamics in male Wistar rats fed for 6 weeks with control or ethanol-containing liquid diets that were supplemented with or without 10 mg betaine/mL. At the time of sacrifice, three hepatic LD fractions, LD1 (large droplets), LD2 (medium-sized droplets), and LD3 (small droplets) were isolated from each rat. Untargeted lipidomic analyses revealed that each LD fraction of ethanol-fed rats had higher phospholipids, cholesteryl esters, diacylglycerols, ceramides, and hexosylceramides compared with the corresponding fractions of pair-fed controls. Interestingly, the ratio of phosphatidylcholine to phosphatidylethanolamine (the two most abundant phospholipids on the LD surface) was lower in LD1 fraction compared with LD3 fraction, irrespective of treatment; however, this ratio was significantly lower in ethanol LD fractions compared with their respective control fractions. Betaine supplementation significantly attenuated the ethanol-induced lipidomic changes. These were mainly associated with the regulation of LD surface phospholipids, ceramides, and glycerolipid metabolism in different-sized LD fractions. In conclusion, our results show that ethanol-induced changes in the hepatic LD lipidome likely stabilizes larger-sized LDs during steatosis development. Furthermore, betaine supplementation could effectively reduce the size and dynamics of LDs to attenuate alcohol-associated hepatic steatosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-alcoholic and Alcohol-Associated Liver Injury)
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17 pages, 61986 KiB  
Article
Spatial Patterns of Species Diversity of Amphibians in a Nature Reserve in Eastern China
by Yanmei Wang, Huali Hu, Lei Feng, Jingyi Chen, Junjie Zhong, Rachel Wan Xin Seah and Guohua Ding
Biology 2023, 12(3), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030461 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1802
Abstract
Elevational gradients provide an excellent opportunity to assess biodiversity patterns and community structure. Previous studies mainly focus on higher elevations or are limited to small areas in mountainous regions. Little information can be found on amphibian biodiversity in middle- and low-elevational areas, hence [...] Read more.
Elevational gradients provide an excellent opportunity to assess biodiversity patterns and community structure. Previous studies mainly focus on higher elevations or are limited to small areas in mountainous regions. Little information can be found on amphibian biodiversity in middle- and low-elevational areas, hence our study was devoted to filling up the current gaps in these research areas. To understand the variability of biodiversity of amphibian species in the Fujian Junzifeng National Nature Reserve in eastern China, our study included taxonomic and phylogenetic components to describe the various patterns of regional and elevational distribution. The results showed that (1) most of the taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity metrics were correlated; with regard to the surveyed area, Faith’s phylogenetic diversity index (PD) and net relatedness index (NRI) were positively correlated with the Shannon–Wiener index (H’), Margalef index (DMG), and species richness (S), while negatively with the Pielou index; whereas for elevation, only the Pielou index was positively correlated with the nearest taxon index (NTI), but negatively with other indices; (2) taxonomic and phylogenetic diversities did not differ among the three survey locations but differed significantly along the elevational gradient; Simpson index, H’, S, and DMG had a hump-shaped relationship with elevations, and PD decreased gradually with the increase in elevation, whereas NRI and NTI sharply increased at the elevation above 900 m; (3) the species range size and the corresponding midpoint of amphibians were affected by a strong phylogenetic signal, which supports the elevational Rapoport’s rule upon removal of Pachytriton brevipes and Boulenophrys sanmingensis from the study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation of Amphibians)
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13 pages, 2306 KiB  
Article
Ischemic Conditioning to Reduce Fatigue in Isometric Skeletal Muscle Contraction
by Ruben Allois, Pasquale Pagliaro and Silvestro Roatta
Biology 2023, 12(3), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030460 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) is a non-invasive protective maneuver that alternates short periods of occlusion and reperfusion of tissue blood flow. Given the heterogeneity in the magnitude and frequency of IPC-induced improvements in physical performance, here we aimed to investigate, in a well-controlled experimental [...] Read more.
Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) is a non-invasive protective maneuver that alternates short periods of occlusion and reperfusion of tissue blood flow. Given the heterogeneity in the magnitude and frequency of IPC-induced improvements in physical performance, here we aimed to investigate, in a well-controlled experimental set-up, the local effects of IPC in exposed muscles in terms of tissue oxygenation and muscle fatigue. Nineteen subjects were enrolled in one of the two groups, IPC (3 × 5/5 min right arm ischemia/reperfusion; cuff inflations 250 mmHg) and SHAM (3 × 5/5 min pseudo ischemia/reperfusion; 20 mmHg). The subjects performed a fatiguing contraction protocol before and 30 min after the IPC treatment, consisting of unilateral intermittent isometric elbow flexions (3 s ON/OFF, 80% of maximal voluntary contraction) until exhaustion. While muscle strength did not differ between groups, post- vs. pre-treatment endurance was significantly reduced in the SHAM group (4.1 ± 1.9 vs. 6.4 ± 3.1 repetitions until exhaustion, p < 0.05) but maintained in IPC (7.3 ± 2.0 vs. 7.1 ± 4.3, n.s.). The decrease in tissue oxygenation and the increase in deoxygenated hemoglobin were significantly reduced post- vs. pre-IPC (p < 0.05), but not post- vs. pre-SHAM. The results suggest that IPC delays the onset of fatigue likely through improved metabolic efficiency of muscles. Full article
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10 pages, 2566 KiB  
Communication
miR-4432 Targets FGFBP1 in Human Endothelial Cells
by Roberta Avvisato, Pasquale Mone, Stanislovas S. Jankauskas, Fahimeh Varzideh, Urna Kansakar, Jessica Gambardella, Antonio De Luca, Alessandro Matarese and Gaetano Santulli
Biology 2023, 12(3), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12030459 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1884
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding RNAs that modulate the expression of several target genes. Fibroblast growth factor binding protein 1 (FGFBP1) has been associated with endothelial dysfunction at the level of the blood–brain barrier (BBB). However, the underlying mechanisms are mostly unknown and [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding RNAs that modulate the expression of several target genes. Fibroblast growth factor binding protein 1 (FGFBP1) has been associated with endothelial dysfunction at the level of the blood–brain barrier (BBB). However, the underlying mechanisms are mostly unknown and there are no studies investigating the relationship between miRs and FGFBP1. Thus, the overarching aim of the present study was to identify and validate which miR can specifically target FGFBP1 in human brain microvascular endothelial cells, which represent the best in vitro model of the BBB. We were able to identify and validate miR-4432 as a fundamental modulator of FGFBP1 and we demonstrated that miR-4432 significantly reduces mitochondrial oxidative stress, a well-established pathophysiological hallmark of hypertension. Full article
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