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Biology, Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2024) – 64 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Zebrafish larvae serve as an optimal model for investigating various ophthalmological and neurological conditions, with optokinetic reflex (OKR) assays proving invaluable. Despite the assay's growing popularity, a deficiency in clear reporting guidelines hinders the field. Enhanced reporting standards contribute to research reproducibility, diminish bias, and mitigate underreporting. This systematic literature review explores animal, environmental, and technical factors critical for the OKR assay in zebrafish. The analysis exposes inadequacies in past reporting, emphasizing the need for a systematic approach. To address this gap, we present the zebrafish optokinetic (ZOK) reflex minimal reporting guideline. This guideline aims to empower researchers to avoid future errors and foster more reliable and transparent research practices. View this paper
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14 pages, 2051 KiB  
Article
Impacts, Potential Benefits and Eradication Feasibility of Aquatic Alien Species in an Integral Natural State Reserve
by Daniele Paganelli, Adriana Bellati, Andrea Gazzola, Francesco Bracco and Daniele Pellitteri-Rosa
Biology 2024, 13(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010064 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1138
Abstract
Riverine wetlands are stepping-stone environments for the protection of local biodiversity, but they are particularly vulnerable to biological invasions. In order to take action against biological invasions, it is crucial to assess the impacts of alien species. However, it is also important to [...] Read more.
Riverine wetlands are stepping-stone environments for the protection of local biodiversity, but they are particularly vulnerable to biological invasions. In order to take action against biological invasions, it is crucial to assess the impacts of alien species. However, it is also important to assess the potential benefits on ecosystem services that alien species could have. Once it has been verified that negative impacts are higher than potential benefits, it is important to propose feasible actions to contrast them. In this study, we assessed eight freshwater alien species recorded in an integral protected wetland using the Invasive Species Effects Assessment Tool (INSEAT) to quantify their negative impacts and potential benefits on ecosystem services. Moreover, for each species, we evaluated the feasibility of the main eradication techniques currently proposed in the literature using the Non-Native Risk Management scheme (NNRM), with the final aim of suggesting effective actions for their management. The INSEAT results indicated that all the assessed species had more impacts than benefits while NNRM provided useful indications on the best practical conservation actions to use for reducing the density, and therefore, the negative impacts on ecosystem services and the local biodiversity of the assessed alien species. Full article
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16 pages, 2756 KiB  
Article
Inhibition of Hyperglycemia and Hyperlipidemia by Blocking Toll-like Receptor 4: Comparison of Wild-Type and Toll-like Receptor 4 Gene Knockout Mice on Obesity and Diabetes Modeling
by Xingyu Zhao, Jiawei Zheng, Jing Wang, Bin Li and Wuyang Huang
Biology 2024, 13(1), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010063 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Innate immune receptor TLR4 plays an important role in glycolipid metabolism. The objective of this study is to investigate the inhibitory effects of blocking TLR4 on hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia by comparing WT and TLR4−/− mice in obesity and diabetes modeling. The knockout [...] Read more.
Innate immune receptor TLR4 plays an important role in glycolipid metabolism. The objective of this study is to investigate the inhibitory effects of blocking TLR4 on hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia by comparing WT and TLR4−/− mice in obesity and diabetes modeling. The knockout of the TLR4 gene could prevent weight gain induced by a high-fat diet (HFD)/high-sugar and high-fat diet (HSHFD), and the differences in the responses existed between the sexes. It extends the time required to reach the obesity criteria. However, when mice were injected with intraperitoneal streptozotocin (STZ) after being fed by HSHFD for two months, TLR4−/− mice exhibited less weight loss than WT. Blocking TLR4 alleviated the changes in body weight and blood glucose, consequently reducing the efficiency of diabetes modeling, especially for male mice. Additionally, male TLR4−/− obese mice exhibit lower total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in serum and less formation of fat droplets in the liver compared to WT. On the other hand, the knockout of TLR4 significantly increased the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) of male mice. This study should provide new insights into the role of TLR4, as well as opportunities to target novel approaches to the prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes. Full article
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12 pages, 1339 KiB  
Article
Common Variants rs429358 and rs7412 in APOE Gene Are Not Associated with POAG in a Saudi Cohort
by Altaf A. Kondkar, Tahira Sultan, Taif A. Azad, Tanvir Khatlani, Abdulaziz A. Alshehri, Essam A. Osman, Glenn P. Lobo, Faisal A. Almobarak and Saleh A. Al-Obeidan
Biology 2024, 13(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010062 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1127
Abstract
Adult-onset glaucoma, an age-related neurodegenerative disease, is very prevalent among the elderly Arabs of Saudi origin. This study investigated the association between apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene variants (rs429358 and rs7412) and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) in Arabs of Saudi origin. A [...] Read more.
Adult-onset glaucoma, an age-related neurodegenerative disease, is very prevalent among the elderly Arabs of Saudi origin. This study investigated the association between apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene variants (rs429358 and rs7412) and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) in Arabs of Saudi origin. A case-control genetic association study involving 179 POAG patients and 251 controls utilized Sanger sequencing to genotype APOE gene variants. The allele frequencies and genotype distributions for rs429358 and rs7412 did not show significant associations with POAG. The haplotype analysis revealed apoε3 (87.6% and 87.4%) as the most prevalent, followed by ε4 (2.8% and 3.6%) and ε2 (9.6% and 8.9%) in the controls and POAG patients, respectively. Although the ε2/ε3 genotype and ε2-carriers displayed a more than two-fold increased risk, statistical significance was not reached. Notably, these polymorphisms did not affect clinical markers, such as intraocular pressure and cup/disc ratio. The logistic regression analysis demonstrated no significant influence of age, sex, rs429358, or rs7412 polymorphisms on POAG. In conclusion, within the Saudi cohort, APOE variants (rs429358 and rs7412) do not appear to be associated with POAG and are not substantial risk factors for its development. However, additional population-based studies are required to validate these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Pathways Underlying Chronic and Age-Related Disease)
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14 pages, 1631 KiB  
Review
The Role of NMNAT2/SARM1 in Neuropathy Development
by Olga Tarasiuk, Laura Molteni, Alessio Malacrida and Gabriella Nicolini
Biology 2024, 13(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010061 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1460
Abstract
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) commonly arises as a side effect of diverse cancer chemotherapy treatments. This condition presents symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and altered sensation in patients, often accompanied by neuropathic pain. Pathologically, CIPN is characterized by an intensive “dying-back” axonopathy, starting [...] Read more.
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) commonly arises as a side effect of diverse cancer chemotherapy treatments. This condition presents symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and altered sensation in patients, often accompanied by neuropathic pain. Pathologically, CIPN is characterized by an intensive “dying-back” axonopathy, starting at the intra-epidermal sensory innervations and advancing retrogradely. The lack of comprehensive understanding regarding its underlying mechanisms explains the absence of effective treatments for CIPN. Recent investigations into axon degeneration mechanisms have pinpointed nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 2 (NMNAT2) and sterile alpha and TIR motif-containing 1 protein (SARM1) as pivotal mediators of injury-induced axonal degeneration. In this review, we aim to explore various studies shedding light on the interplay between NMNAT2 and SARM1 proteins and their roles in the progression of CIPN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroscience)
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21 pages, 3288 KiB  
Article
DNA Interactions and Biological Activity of 2,9-Disubstituted 1,10-Phenanthroline Thiosemicarbazone-Based Ligands and a 4-Phenylthiazole Derivative
by Álvaro Nicolás, Julia G. Quero, Marta Barroso, Zoila Gándara and Lourdes Gude
Biology 2024, 13(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010060 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1251
Abstract
Four 1,10-phenanthroline derivatives (14) were synthesized as potential telomeric DNA binders, three substituted in their chains with thiosemicarbazones (TSCs) and one 4-phenylthiazole derivative. The compounds were characterized using NMR, HRMS, FTIR-spectroscopy and combustion elemental analysis. Quadruplex and dsDNA interactions [...] Read more.
Four 1,10-phenanthroline derivatives (14) were synthesized as potential telomeric DNA binders, three substituted in their chains with thiosemicarbazones (TSCs) and one 4-phenylthiazole derivative. The compounds were characterized using NMR, HRMS, FTIR-spectroscopy and combustion elemental analysis. Quadruplex and dsDNA interactions were preliminarily studied, especially for neutral derivative 1, using FRET-based DNA melting assays, equilibrium dialysis (both competitive and non-competitive), circular dichroism and viscosity titrations. The TSC derivatives bind and stabilize the telomeric Tel22 quadruplex more efficiently than dsDNA, with an estimated 24-fold selectivity determined through equilibrium dialysis for compound 1. In addition, cytotoxic activity against various tumor cells (PC-3, DU145, HeLa, MCF-7 and HT29) and two normal cell lines (HFF-1 and RWPE-1) was evaluated. Except for the 4-phenylthiazole derivative, which was inactive, the compounds showed moderate cytotoxic properties, with the salts displaying lower IC50 values (30–80 μM), compared to the neutral TSC, except in PC-3 cells (IC50 (1) = 18 μM). However, the neutral derivative was the only compound that exhibited a modest selectivity in the case of prostate cells (tumor PC-3 versus healthy RWPE-1). Cell cycle analysis and Annexin V/PI assays revealed that the compounds can produce cell death by apoptosis, an effect that has proven to be similar to that demonstrated by other known 1,10-phenanthroline G4 ligands endowed with antitumor properties, such as PhenDC3 and PhenQE8. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
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20 pages, 337 KiB  
Review
Assessing Antimicrobial Efficacy on Plastics and Other Non-Porous Surfaces: A Closer Look at Studies Using the ISO 22196:2011 Standard
by Teresa Bento de Carvalho, Joana Bastos Barbosa and Paula Teixeira
Biology 2024, 13(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010059 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1195
Abstract
The survival and spread of foodborne and nosocomial-associated bacteria through high-touch surfaces or contamination-prone sites, in either healthcare, domestic or food industry settings, are not always prevented by the employment of sanitary hygiene protocols. Antimicrobial surface coatings have emerged as a solution to [...] Read more.
The survival and spread of foodborne and nosocomial-associated bacteria through high-touch surfaces or contamination-prone sites, in either healthcare, domestic or food industry settings, are not always prevented by the employment of sanitary hygiene protocols. Antimicrobial surface coatings have emerged as a solution to eradicate pathogenic bacteria and prevent future infections and even outbreaks. Standardised antimicrobial testing methods play a crucial role in validating the effectiveness of these materials and enabling their application in real-life settings, providing reliable results that allow for comparison between antimicrobial surfaces while assuring end-use product safety. This review provides an insight into the studies using ISO 22196, which is considered the gold standard for antimicrobial surface coatings and examines the current state of the art in antimicrobial testing methods. It primarily focuses on identifying pitfalls and how even small variations in methods can lead to different results, affecting the assessment of the antimicrobial activity of a particular product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Contamination and Food Safety (Volume II))
25 pages, 8083 KiB  
Article
Axonal Lysosomal Assays for Characterizing the Effects of LRRK2 G2019S
by Priyanka Bhatia, Marc Bickle, Amay A. Agrawal, Buster Truss, Aikaterina Nikolaidi, Kathrin Brockmann, Lydia Reinhardt, Stefanie Vogel, Eva M. Szegoe, Arun Pal, Andreas Hermann, Ivan Mikicic, Maximina Yun, Björn Falkenburger and Jared Sterneckert
Biology 2024, 13(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010058 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1413
Abstract
The degeneration of axon terminals before the soma, referred to as “dying back”, is a feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Axonal assays are needed to model early PD pathogenesis as well as identify protective therapeutics. We hypothesized that defects in axon lysosomal trafficking [...] Read more.
The degeneration of axon terminals before the soma, referred to as “dying back”, is a feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Axonal assays are needed to model early PD pathogenesis as well as identify protective therapeutics. We hypothesized that defects in axon lysosomal trafficking as well as injury repair might be important contributing factors to “dying back” pathology in PD. Since primary human PD neurons are inaccessible, we developed assays to quantify axonal trafficking and injury repair using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons with LRRK2 G2019S, which is one of the most common known PD mutations, and isogenic controls. We observed a subtle axonal trafficking phenotype that was partially rescued by a LRRK2 inhibitor. Mutant LRRK2 neurons showed increased phosphorylated Rab10-positive lysosomes, and lysosomal membrane damage increased LRRK2-dependent Rab10 phosphorylation. Neurons with mutant LRRK2 showed a transient increase in lysosomes at axotomy injury sites. This was a pilot study that used two patient-derived lines to develop its methodology; we observed subtle phenotypes that might correlate with heterogeneity in LRRK2-PD patients. Further analysis using additional iPSC lines is needed. Therefore, our axonal lysosomal assays can potentially be used to characterize early PD pathogenesis and test possible therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroscience)
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13 pages, 535 KiB  
Review
Strain-Specific Targeting and Destruction of Cells by Prions
by Sara M. Simmons and Jason C. Bartz
Biology 2024, 13(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010057 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1085
Abstract
Prion diseases are caused by the disease-specific self-templating infectious conformation of the host-encoded prion protein, PrPSc. Prion strains are operationally defined as a heritable phenotype of disease under controlled conditions. One of the hallmark phenotypes of prion strain diversity is tropism [...] Read more.
Prion diseases are caused by the disease-specific self-templating infectious conformation of the host-encoded prion protein, PrPSc. Prion strains are operationally defined as a heritable phenotype of disease under controlled conditions. One of the hallmark phenotypes of prion strain diversity is tropism within and between tissues. A defining feature of prion strains is the regional distribution of PrPSc in the CNS. Additionally, in both natural and experimental prion disease, stark differences in the tropism of prions in secondary lymphoreticular system tissues occur. The mechanism underlying prion tropism is unknown; however, several possible hypotheses have been proposed. Clinical target areas are prion strain-specific populations of neurons within the CNS that are susceptible to neurodegeneration following the replication of prions past a toxic threshold. Alternatively, the switch from a replicative to toxic form of PrPSc may drive prion tropism. The normal form of the prion protein, PrPC, is required for prion formation. More recent evidence suggests that it can mediate prion and prion-like disease neurodegeneration. In vitro systems for prion formation have indicated that cellular cofactors contribute to prion formation. Since these cofactors can be strain specific, this has led to the hypothesis that the distribution of prion formation cofactors can influence prion tropism. Overall, there is evidence to support several mechanisms of prion strain tropism; however, a unified theory has yet to emerge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selective Vulnerability in Neurodegenerative Diseases)
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20 pages, 3223 KiB  
Article
Recruitment Patterns and Environmental Sensitivity of Glass Eels of Anguilla japonica in the Yangtze Estuary, China
by Hongyi Guo, Xuguang Zhang, Ya Zhang, Wenqiao Tang and Kai Liu
Biology 2024, 13(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010056 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 949
Abstract
The decline of Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) populations in the Yangtze River estuary represents a critical conservation concern. Eleven-years of daily catch data during recruitment periods (i.e., January–April, 2012–2022) indicate that annual catch averaged from 153 to 1108 eels, and show [...] Read more.
The decline of Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) populations in the Yangtze River estuary represents a critical conservation concern. Eleven-years of daily catch data during recruitment periods (i.e., January–April, 2012–2022) indicate that annual catch averaged from 153 to 1108 eels, and show a bimodal pattern in glass eel arrivals. Utilizing seasonal-trend decomposition and generalized additive models, we demonstrated a strong correlation between catch abundance, optimal water temperatures, and lunar cycles. An auto-regressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model predicts an increase in glass eel numbers for 2023–2024 but also points to a concerning trend of delayed recruitment timing since 2016, attributable to the 0.48 °C per decade rise in sea surface temperatures. This delay correlates with a significant decrease in the average body weight of glass eels, suggesting potential energy deficits that may hinder successful upstream migration. This study not only furthers our understanding of glass eel recruitment dynamics but also underscores the urgent need for targeted conservation measures. Additionally, it highlights the importance of sustained, detailed monitoring to mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change on these eels, vital for preserving the Yangtze River’s ecological integrity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Water Quality and Aquatic Organisms)
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15 pages, 5701 KiB  
Review
Looking Back, Going Forward: Understanding Cardiac Pathophysiology from Pressure–Volume Loops
by Ilaria Protti, Antoon van den Enden, Nicolas M. Van Mieghem, Christiaan L. Meuwese and Paolo Meani
Biology 2024, 13(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010055 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1792
Abstract
Knowing cardiac physiology is essential for health care professionals working in the cardiovascular field. Pressure–volume loops (PVLs) offer a unique understanding of the myocardial working and have become pivotal in complex pathophysiological scenarios, such as profound cardiogenic shock or when mechanical circulatory supports [...] Read more.
Knowing cardiac physiology is essential for health care professionals working in the cardiovascular field. Pressure–volume loops (PVLs) offer a unique understanding of the myocardial working and have become pivotal in complex pathophysiological scenarios, such as profound cardiogenic shock or when mechanical circulatory supports are implemented. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the left and right ventricle physiology, based on the PVL interpretation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physiology)
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16 pages, 6569 KiB  
Article
Microalgae Inoculation Significantly Shapes the Structure, Alters the Assembly Process, and Enhances the Stability of Bacterial Communities in Shrimp-Rearing Water
by Chen Lian, Jie Xiang, Huifeng Cai, Jiangdong Ke, Heng Ni, Jinyong Zhu, Zhongming Zheng, Kaihong Lu and Wen Yang
Biology 2024, 13(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010054 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1072
Abstract
Intensive shrimp farming may lead to adverse environmental consequences due to discharged water effluent. Inoculation of microalgae can moderate the adverse effect of shrimp-farming water. However, how bacterial communities with different lifestyles (free-living (FL) and particle-attached (PA)) respond to microalgal inoculation is unclear. [...] Read more.
Intensive shrimp farming may lead to adverse environmental consequences due to discharged water effluent. Inoculation of microalgae can moderate the adverse effect of shrimp-farming water. However, how bacterial communities with different lifestyles (free-living (FL) and particle-attached (PA)) respond to microalgal inoculation is unclear. In the present study, we investigated the effects of two microalgae (Nannochloropsis oculata and Thalassiosira weissflogii) alone or in combination in regulating microbial communities in shrimp-farmed water and their potential applications. PERMANOVA revealed significant differences among treatments in terms of time and lifestyle. Community diversity analysis showed that PA bacteria responded more sensitively to different microalgal treatments than FL bacteria. Redundancy analysis (RDA) indicated that the bacterial community was majorly influenced by environmental factors, compared to microalgal direct influence. Moreover, the neutral model analysis and the average variation degree (AVD) index indicated that the addition of microalgae affected the bacterial community structure and stability during the stochastic process, and the PA bacterial community was the most stable with the addition of T. weissflogii. Therefore, the present study revealed the effects of microalgae and nutrient salts on bacterial communities in shrimp aquaculture water by adding microalgae to control the process of community change. This study is important for understanding the microbial community assembly and interpreting complex interactions among zoo-, phyto-, and bacterioplankton in shrimp aquaculture ecosystems. Additionally, these findings may contribute to the sustainable development of shrimp aquaculture and ecosystem conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Water Quality and Aquatic Organisms)
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22 pages, 45933 KiB  
Article
CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Generation of Mutant Lines in Medicago truncatula Indicates a Symbiotic Role of MtLYK10 during Nodule Formation
by Chun-Xiao Zhang, Ru-Jie Li, Laura Baude, Didier Reinhardt, Zhi-Ping Xie and Christian Staehelin
Biology 2024, 13(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010053 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1364
Abstract
CRISPR/Cas9 systems are commonly used for plant genome editing; however, the generation of homozygous mutant lines in Medicago truncatula remains challenging. Here, we present a CRISPR/Cas9-based protocol that allows the efficient generation of M. truncatula mutants. Gene editing was performed for the LysM [...] Read more.
CRISPR/Cas9 systems are commonly used for plant genome editing; however, the generation of homozygous mutant lines in Medicago truncatula remains challenging. Here, we present a CRISPR/Cas9-based protocol that allows the efficient generation of M. truncatula mutants. Gene editing was performed for the LysM receptor kinase gene MtLYK10 and two major facilitator superfamily transporter genes. The functionality of CRISPR/Cas9 vectors was tested in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves by editing a co-transformed GUSPlus gene. Transformed M. truncatula leaf explants were regenerated to whole plants at high efficiency (80%). An editing efficiency (frequency of mutations at a given target site) of up to 70% was reached in the regenerated plants. Plants with MtLYK10 knockout mutations were propagated, and three independent homozygous mutant lines were further characterized. No off-target mutations were identified in these lyk10 mutants. Finally, the lyk10 mutants and wild-type plants were compared with respect to the formation of root nodules induced by nitrogen-fixing Sinorhizobium meliloti bacteria. Nodule formation was considerably delayed in the three lyk10 mutant lines. Surprisingly, the size of the rare nodules in mutant plants was higher than in wild-type plants. In conclusion, the symbiotic characterization of lyk10 mutants generated with the developed CRISPR/Cas9 protocol indicated a role of MtLYK10 in nodule formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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14 pages, 2039 KiB  
Article
Maternal Effects of Habitats Induce Stronger Salt Tolerance in Early-Stage Offspring of Glycyrrhiza uralensis from Salinized Habitats Compared with Those from Non-Salinized Habitats
by Junjun Gu, Shaoxuan Yao and Miao Ma
Biology 2024, 13(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010052 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 853
Abstract
(1) Wild Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch (licorice) seeds from different habitats are often mixed for cultivation. However, differences in the responses of seeds from different habitats to salt at the early-stage offspring stage are unclear. (2) Our objective was to evaluate the salt tolerance [...] Read more.
(1) Wild Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch (licorice) seeds from different habitats are often mixed for cultivation. However, differences in the responses of seeds from different habitats to salt at the early-stage offspring stage are unclear. (2) Our objective was to evaluate the salt tolerance of G. uralensis germplasms by comparing differences in seed germination and seedling vigor in salinized (abandoned farmland and meadow) and non-salinized (corn farmland edge) soil habitats under different sodium chloride (NaCl) concentrations. (3) The germination rates and germination indexes of seeds from the two salinized habitats with 0–320 mmol·L−1 NaCl were higher and their germination initiation times were earlier. Only seeds from salinized habitats were able to elongate their germs at 240 mmol·L−1 NaCl. Seedlings from salinized habitats had higher fresh weights and relative water contents, while they exhibited lower accumulation of malondialdehyde and less cell electrolyte leakages. Under NaCl treatment, seedlings from the salinized habitats displayed higher superoxide dismutase, catalase, and peroxidase (SOD, CAT, and POD) activities and lower superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide (O2 and H2O2) contents. Their comprehensive scores showed that the vigor of licorice seeds from salinized habitats was higher. (4) The salt tolerances of different wild G. uralensis seeds were different, and the offspring of licorice from salinized habitats had stronger early-stage salt tolerances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seed Germination and Dormancy)
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17 pages, 2473 KiB  
Article
A Long-Chain Dextran Produced by Weissella cibaria Boosts the Diversity of Health-Related Gut Microbes Ex Vivo
by Maria Tintoré, Jordi Cuñé, Lam Dai Vu, Jonas Poppe, Pieter Van den Abbeele, Aurélien Baudot and Carlos de Lecea
Biology 2024, 13(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010051 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1297
Abstract
Long-chain dextrans are α-glucans that can be produced by lactic acid bacteria. NextDextTM, a specific long-chain dextran with a high degree of polymerisation, produced using Weissella cibaria, was recently shown to exert prebiotic potential in vitro. In this study, the [...] Read more.
Long-chain dextrans are α-glucans that can be produced by lactic acid bacteria. NextDextTM, a specific long-chain dextran with a high degree of polymerisation, produced using Weissella cibaria, was recently shown to exert prebiotic potential in vitro. In this study, the ex vivo SIFR® technology, recently validated to provide predictive insights into gut microbiome modulation down to the species level, was used to investigate the effects of this long-chain dextran on the gut microbiota of six human adults that altogether covered different enterotypes. A novel community modulation score (CMS) was introduced based on the strength of quantitative 16S rRNA gene sequencing and the highly controlled ex vivo conditions. This CMS overcomes the limitations of traditional α-diversity indices and its application in the current study revealed that dextran is a potent booster of microbial diversity compared to the reference prebiotic inulin (IN). Long-chain dextran not only exerted bifidogenic effects but also consistently promoted Bacteroides spp., Parabacteroides distasonis and butyrate-producing species like Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Anaerobutyricum hallii. Further, long-chain dextran treatment resulted in lower gas production compared to IN, suggesting that long-chain dextran could be better tolerated. The additional increase in Bacteroides for dextran compared to IN is likely related to the higher propionate:acetate ratio, attributing potential to long-chain dextran for improving metabolic health and weight management. Moreover, the stimulation of butyrate by dextran suggests its potential for improving gut barrier function and inflammation. Overall, this study provides a novel tool for assessing gut microbial diversity ex vivo and positions long-chain dextran as a substrate that has unique microbial diversity enhancing properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure, Function and Diversity of Gut Microbes in Animals)
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16 pages, 714 KiB  
Article
Quantitive Assessment of Gustatory Function and Its Association with Demographics, and Systemic Morbidity
by Doron J. Aframian, Alaa Zedan, Weaam Agbariah, Andra Rettman and Galit Almoznino
Biology 2024, 13(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010050 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 930
Abstract
This study aimed to analyze the associations of gustatory dysfunction as measured by validated taste strips with demographics and co-morbidities. This cross-sectional study retrospectively analyzed records of patients who attended the Orofacial Chemosensory Center of Hadassah Medical Center between 2017 and 2020. Taste [...] Read more.
This study aimed to analyze the associations of gustatory dysfunction as measured by validated taste strips with demographics and co-morbidities. This cross-sectional study retrospectively analyzed records of patients who attended the Orofacial Chemosensory Center of Hadassah Medical Center between 2017 and 2020. Taste strips were used as a validated method to determine taste dysfunction. A total of 272 subjects were included, 137 (50.4%) women and 135 (49.6%) men, with a mean age of 53.5 ± 19.3 years and age range of 18–98 years. The total taste score among the study population was 8.53 ± 4.03 (scale range 0–16). Age had a significant negative correlation with the total taste score (p = 0.001), and men exhibited worse total (p < 0.001), salty (p = 0.003), and bitter (p < 0.001) scores. Major trauma was associated with worse total (p < 0.001) and specialized taste assessments (sweet (p = 0.001), sour (p = 0.002), salty (p = 0.016), and bitter (p < 0.001)). Chemotherapy was associated with reduced total (p < 0.001), salty (p = 0.003), and bitter (p = 0.001) taste scores. Zinc deficiency exhibited worse salty (p = 0.027) and total (p = 0.038) taste scores. Patients with burning mouth syndrome (BMS) showed higher salty scores (p = 0.017). Patients who experienced exposure to toxic chemicals exhibited worse salty scores (p = 0.024). We conclude that gustatory dysfunction is associated with older age, male sex, and co-morbidities of major trauma, current chemotherapy, zinc deficiency, BMS, and exposure to toxins. The study highlights the importance of systemic evaluation and quantitive gustatory dysfunction assessment as part of the diagnostic process of patients with subjective complaints of taste disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physiology)
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22 pages, 2265 KiB  
Article
Validation of the Intermolecular Disulfide Bond in Caspase-2
by Megan E. Amason, Lupeng Li, Carissa K. Harvest, Carolyn A. Lacey and Edward A. Miao
Biology 2024, 13(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010049 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1062
Abstract
Caspases are a family of proteins involved in cell death. Although several caspase members have been well characterized, caspase-2 remains enigmatic. Caspase-2 has been implicated in several phenotypes, but there has been no consensus in the field about its upstream activating signals or [...] Read more.
Caspases are a family of proteins involved in cell death. Although several caspase members have been well characterized, caspase-2 remains enigmatic. Caspase-2 has been implicated in several phenotypes, but there has been no consensus in the field about its upstream activating signals or its downstream protein targets. In addition, the unique ability of caspase-2 to form a disulfide-bonded dimer has not been studied in depth. Herein, we investigate the disulfide bond in the context of inducible dimerization, showing that disulfide bond formation is dimerization dependent. We also explore and review several stimuli published in the caspase-2 field, test ferroptosis-inducing stimuli, and study in vivo infection models. We hypothesize that the disulfide bond will ultimately prove to be essential for the evolved function of caspase-2. Proving this will require the discovery of cell death phenotypes where caspase-2 is definitively essential. Full article
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17 pages, 2476 KiB  
Review
Schistosome Transgenesis: The Long Road to Success
by Bernd H. Kalinna, Allen G. Ross and Anna K. Walduck
Biology 2024, 13(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010048 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1215
Abstract
As research on parasitic helminths has entered the post-genomic era, research efforts have turned to deciphering the function of genes in the public databases of genome sequences. It is hoped that, by understanding the role of parasite genes in maintaining their parasitic lifestyle, [...] Read more.
As research on parasitic helminths has entered the post-genomic era, research efforts have turned to deciphering the function of genes in the public databases of genome sequences. It is hoped that, by understanding the role of parasite genes in maintaining their parasitic lifestyle, critical insights can be gained to develop new intervention and control strategies. Methods to manipulate and transform parasitic worms are now developed to a point where it has become possible to gain a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying host–parasite interplay, and here, we summarise and discuss the advances that have been made in schistosome transgenesis over the past 25 years. The ability to genetically manipulate schistosomes holds promise in finding new ways to control schistosomiasis, which ultimately may lead to the eradication of this debilitating disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Genomics)
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15 pages, 7017 KiB  
Article
Peptide-Guided Nanoparticle Drug Delivery for Cardiomyocytes
by Dong Li, Austin Taylor, Haiwang Shi, Fang Zhou, Pengsheng Li, Jyotsna Joshi, Wuqiang Zhu and Shu Wang
Biology 2024, 13(1), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010047 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1143
Abstract
Background: Nanoparticles (NPs) have been extensively utilized as a drug delivery system to control the release of therapeutic agents to treat cardiac injuries. However, despite the advantages of utilizing NP-based drug delivery for treating heart diseases, the current delivery system lacks specificity in [...] Read more.
Background: Nanoparticles (NPs) have been extensively utilized as a drug delivery system to control the release of therapeutic agents to treat cardiac injuries. However, despite the advantages of utilizing NP-based drug delivery for treating heart diseases, the current delivery system lacks specificity in targeting the cardiac tissue, thus limiting its application. Methods: We created three linear peptides, each consisting of 16–24 amino acids. These peptides were conjugated on the surface of NPs, resulting in the formation of cardiac targeting peptide (CTP)-NPs (designated as CTP-NP1, CTP-NP2, and CTP-NP3). To assess their effectiveness, we compared the binding efficiency of these three CTP-NPs to human and mouse cardiomyocytes. Additionally, we determined their distribution 24 h after injecting the CTP-NPs intravenously into adult C57BL/6J mice. Results: When compared to control NPs without CTP (Con-NPs), all three CTP-NPs exhibited significantly increased binding affinity to both human and mouse cardiomyocytes in vitro and enhanced retention in mouse hearts in vivo. A thorough assessment of the heart sections demonstrated that the binding specificity of CTP-NP3 to cardiomyocytes in vivo was significantly greater than that of Con-NPs. None of the three CTP-NPs were proven to cause cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Conclusions: Biocompatible and safe CTP-NP3 can target the heart via binding to cardiomyocytes. This approach of targeting specific molecules-coated NPs may help in delivering therapeutic compounds to cardiomyocytes for the treatment of heart diseases with high efficacy and low toxicity to other tissues. Full article
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1 pages, 184 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Arias et al. An Introduction to Diopatra, the Amazing Ecosystem Engineering Polychaete. Biology 2023, 12, 1027
by Andrés Arias, Sarah A. Woodin and Hannelore Paxton
Biology 2024, 13(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010046 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 711
Abstract
The authors wish to make an erratum to the published version of the paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Biology)
23 pages, 3365 KiB  
Article
Phytochemical Profiles and Biological Activities of Plant Extracts from Aromatic Plants Cultivated in Cyprus
by Antonios Chrysargyris, Jovana D. Petrovic, Ekaterina-Michaela Tomou, Kalia Kyriakou, Panayiota Xylia, Andria Kotsoni, Vasiliki Gkretsi, Panagiota Miltiadous, Helen Skaltsa, Marina D. Soković and Nikolaos Tzortzakis
Biology 2024, 13(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010045 - 15 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1649
Abstract
Medicinal and aromatic plants’ properties, still an interesting research area, are attributed to the presence of various specialized products that possess important pharmacological activities. In the present study, six medicinal/aromatic plants (Sideritis cypria, Origanum dubium, Melissa officinalis, Mentha piperita [...] Read more.
Medicinal and aromatic plants’ properties, still an interesting research area, are attributed to the presence of various specialized products that possess important pharmacological activities. In the present study, six medicinal/aromatic plants (Sideritis cypria, Origanum dubium, Melissa officinalis, Mentha piperita, Thymus capitatus, and Salvia fruticosa) were evaluated for their phytochemical and nutritive composition, as well as their biological activities, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, and cytotoxic properties. The results obtained indicate that M. piperita was rich in proteins and minerals such as N and Mg, while S. cypria accumulated more K, Na, P, and Ca. The highest content of phenols and flavonoids was observed in M. piperita, followed by O. dubium and T. capitatus, which eventually influenced their high antioxidant capacity. NMR screening revealed the presence of (i) triterpenoids and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives in M. officinalis; (ii) terpenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acid derivatives in S. fruticosa; (iii) flavonoids and phenolic acid derivatives in M. piperita; (iv) phenolic monoterpenes in O. dubium and T. capitatus; and (v) terpenoids, flavones, and phenylethanoid glycosides in S. cypria. The results of the antimicrobial activity showed that the tested samples overall had quite good antimicrobial potential. High antibacterial activity was found in O. dubium and T. capitatus, while O. dubium and S. cypria exhibited great antifungal activities. The studied species also had an important effect on the viability of female-derived and colon cancer cells. In particular, in colon cancer cells, the extracts from T. capitatus, M. officinalis, M. piperita, and S. fruticosa exhibited a stronger effect on cell viability in the more metastatic cell line at significantly lower concentrations, indicating an important therapeutic potential in targeting highly metastatic tumors. This finding is worth further investigation. The present study unveiled interesting phytochemical profiles and biological properties of the six medicinal/aromatic plants, which should be further explored, contributing to green chemistry and the possible creation of natural health products for humans’ health/nutrition and additives in cosmetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Contamination and Food Safety (Volume II))
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20 pages, 2218 KiB  
Article
Effects of Aquatic Plant Coverage on Diversity and Resource Use Efficiency of Phytoplankton in Urban Wetlands: A Case Study in Jinan, China
by Hongjingzheng Jiang, Aoran Lu, Jiaxin Li, Mengdi Ma, Ge Meng, Qi Chen, Gang Liu and Xuwang Yin
Biology 2024, 13(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010044 - 14 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1022
Abstract
With the acceleration of urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem functions of urban wetlands are facing serious challenges. The loss of aquatic plants in urban wetlands is becoming more frequent and intense due to human activities; nevertheless, the effects of aquatic plants on wetland ecosystems [...] Read more.
With the acceleration of urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem functions of urban wetlands are facing serious challenges. The loss of aquatic plants in urban wetlands is becoming more frequent and intense due to human activities; nevertheless, the effects of aquatic plants on wetland ecosystems have received less attention. Therefore, we conducted field investigations across 10 urban wetlands in Jinan, Shandong Province, as a case in North China to examine the relationships between aquatic plant coverage and phytoplankton diversity, as well as resource use efficiency (RUE) in urban wetlands. Multivariate regression and partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) were used to analyze the water quality, phytoplankton diversity, and RUE. The results demonstrate that the increase in aquatic plant coverage significantly reduced the concentration of total nitrogen and suspended solids’ concentrations and significantly increased the phytoplankton diversity (e.g., species richness and functional diversity). The aquatic plant coverage significantly affected the composition of phytoplankton functional groups; for example, functional groups that had adapted to still-water and low-light conditions became dominant. Furthermore, the increase in phytoplankton diversity improved phytoplankton RUE, highlighting the importance of aquatic plants in maintaining wetland ecosystem functions. This study may provide a scientific basis for the management strategy of aquatic plants in urban wetlands, emphasizing the key role of appropriate aquatic plant cover in maintaining the ecological stability and ecosystem service functions of wetlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Water Quality and Aquatic Organisms)
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32 pages, 7408 KiB  
Article
Unraveling the Life History of Past Populations through Hypercementosis: Insights into Cementum Apposition Patterns and Possible Etiologies Using Micro-CT and Confocal Microscopy
by Léa Massé, Emmanuel d’Incau, Antoine Souron, Nicolas Vanderesse, Frédéric Santos, Bruno Maureille and Adeline Le Cabec
Biology 2024, 13(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010043 - 13 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1720
Abstract
The “teeth-as-tools” hypothesis posits that Neanderthals used their anterior teeth as a tool or a third hand for non-dietary purposes. These non- or para-masticatory activities (e.g., tool-making or food preparation prior to ingestion) have also been described in other past and extant human [...] Read more.
The “teeth-as-tools” hypothesis posits that Neanderthals used their anterior teeth as a tool or a third hand for non-dietary purposes. These non- or para-masticatory activities (e.g., tool-making or food preparation prior to ingestion) have also been described in other past and extant human populations, and other Primates. Cementum is the mineralized tissue that covers the tooth root surface and anchors it to the alveolar bone. Under certain conditions (e.g., mechanical stress, infection), its production becomes excessive (i.e., beyond the physiological state) and is called ‘hypercementosis’. Several studies in dental anthropology have established a correlation between the teeth-as-tools and hypercementosis. The present work aims to characterize the different patterns of cementum apposition on archeological teeth and discuss their supposed etiology. Using microtomography and confocal microscopy, the patterns of cementum apposition (i.e., thickness, location, and surface characteristics) were analyzed in 35 hypercementotic teeth (Sains-en-Gohelle, France; 7th–17th c. A.D.). Four groups were identified with distinct hypercementosis patterns: (1) impacted, (2) infected, (3) hypofunctional, and (4) hyperfunctional teeth. Characterizing hypercementosis can contribute to documenting the oral health status (paleopathology) and/or masticatory activity of individuals, even from isolated teeth. This has implications for the study of fossil hominins, particularly Neanderthals, known for their use of anterior teeth as tools and frequent and substantial occurrence of hypercementosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Insights into Life History)
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17 pages, 4558 KiB  
Article
Recognition of Aedes aegypti Mosquito Saliva Protein LTRIN by the Human Receptor LTβR for Controlling the Immune Response
by Su Ning Loh, Ian Russell Anthony, Edem Gavor, Xin Shan Lim, R. Manjunatha Kini, Yu Keung Mok and J. Sivaraman
Biology 2024, 13(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010042 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1164
Abstract
Salivary proteins from mosquitoes have received significant attention lately due to their potential to develop therapeutic treatments or vaccines for mosquito-borne diseases. Here, we report the characterization of LTRIN (lymphotoxin beta receptor inhibitor), a salivary protein known to enhance the pathogenicity of ZIKV [...] Read more.
Salivary proteins from mosquitoes have received significant attention lately due to their potential to develop therapeutic treatments or vaccines for mosquito-borne diseases. Here, we report the characterization of LTRIN (lymphotoxin beta receptor inhibitor), a salivary protein known to enhance the pathogenicity of ZIKV by interrupting the LTβR-initiated NF-κB signaling pathway and, therefore, diminish the immune responses. We demonstrated that the truncated C-terminal LTRIN (ΔLTRIN) is a dimeric protein with a stable alpha helix-dominant secondary structure, which possibly aids in withstanding the temperature fluctuations during blood-feeding events. ΔLTRIN possesses two Ca2+ binding EF-hand domains, with the second EF-hand motif playing a more significant role in interacting with LTβR. Additionally, we mapped the primary binding regions of ΔLTRIN on LTβR using hydrogen–deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) and identified that 91QEKAHIAEHMDVPIDTSKMSEQELQFHY118 from the N-terminal of ΔLTRIN is the major interacting region. Together, our studies provide insight into the recognition of LTRIN by LTβR. This finding may aid in a future therapeutic and transmission-blocking vaccine development against ZIKV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
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20 pages, 851 KiB  
Review
Aquaculture of Animal Species: Their Eukaryotic Parasites and the Control of Parasitic Infections
by Henry Madsen and Jay Richard Stauffer, Jr.
Biology 2024, 13(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010041 - 11 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1427
Abstract
Parasites are very diverse and common in both natural populations and in stocks kept in aquacultural facilities. For most cultured species, there are important bacteria and viruses causing diseases, but eukaryotic parasites are also very important. We review the various combinations of aquacultured [...] Read more.
Parasites are very diverse and common in both natural populations and in stocks kept in aquacultural facilities. For most cultured species, there are important bacteria and viruses causing diseases, but eukaryotic parasites are also very important. We review the various combinations of aquacultured species and eukaryotic parasitic groups and discuss other problems associated with aquaculture such as eutrophication, zoonotic species, and invasive species, and we conclude that further development of aquaculture in a sustainable manner must include a holistic approach (One Health) where many factors (e.g., human health, food safety, animal health and welfare, environmental and biodiversity protection and marketability mechanisms, etc.) are considered. Full article
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18 pages, 12546 KiB  
Article
Stimulation of Osteogenic Activity of Autologous Teeth Hard Tissues as Bone Augmentation Material
by Jan Kučera, František Lofaj, Zuzana Nagyová-Krchova, Natália Šurín Hudáková, Marek Vojtko and Vitěslav Březina
Biology 2024, 13(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010040 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 971
Abstract
The issue of bone volume loss is playing an increasing role in bone tissue engineering. Research has focused on studying the preparation and use of different types of human or xenogenic materials and their osteogenic properties. An alternative source for this purpose could [...] Read more.
The issue of bone volume loss is playing an increasing role in bone tissue engineering. Research has focused on studying the preparation and use of different types of human or xenogenic materials and their osteogenic properties. An alternative source for this purpose could be autologous extracted teeth. The simple preparation protocol, minimal immune response, and rapid organizing of the newly formed bone with optimal mechanical properties predispose autologous hard teeth tissues (HTTs) as a promising material suitable in the indication of augmentation of maxillary and mandible defects, comparable to other high-end augmentation materials. The aim of this study was to experimentally evaluate the osteogenic potential of ground native autologous HTTs prepared by different demineralization procedures, aimed at potentiating the osteoinductive and osteoconductive properties of their organic components. The results indicate that the most effective preparation process for HTT stimulation is the application of Cleanser for 10 min followed by exposure to 0.6 N HCl for 5 min with a wash in phosphate-buffered saline solution. Full article
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19 pages, 4533 KiB  
Article
Loss of Function of the Retinoblastoma Gene Affects Gap Junctional Intercellular Communication and Cell Fate in Osteoblasts
by Elisha Pendleton, Anthony Ketner, Phil Ransick, Doug Ardekani, Thomas Bodenstine and Nalini Chandar
Biology 2024, 13(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010039 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1070
Abstract
Loss of function of the Retinoblastoma gene (RB1) due to mutations is commonly seen in human osteosarcomas. One of the Rb1 gene functions is to facilitate cell fate from mesenchymal stem cells to osteoblasts and prevent adipocyte differentiations. In this study, we demonstrate [...] Read more.
Loss of function of the Retinoblastoma gene (RB1) due to mutations is commonly seen in human osteosarcomas. One of the Rb1 gene functions is to facilitate cell fate from mesenchymal stem cells to osteoblasts and prevent adipocyte differentiations. In this study, we demonstrate that a stable reduction of Rb1 expression (RbKD) in murine osteoblasts causes them to express higher levels of PPAR-ɣ and other adipocyte-specific transcription factors while retaining high expression of osteoblast-specific transcription factors, Runx2/Cbfa1 and SP7/Osterix. Inhibition of gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) in osteoblasts is another mechanism that causes osteoblasts to transdifferentiate to adipocytes. We found that preosteoblasts exposed to osteoblast differentiating media (DP media) increased GJIC. RbKD cells showed reduced GJIC along with a reduction in expression of Cx43, the protein that mediates GJIC. Other membrane associated adhesion protein Cadherin 11 (Cad11) was also decreased. Since PPAR-ɣ is increased with Rb1 loss, we wondered if the reduction of this transcription factor would reverse the changes observed. Reduction of PPAR-ɣ in control osteoblasts slightly increased bone-specific expression and reduced adipocytic expression as expected along with an increase in Cad11 and Cx43 expression. GJIC remained high and was unaffected by a reduction in PPAR-ɣ in control cells. Knockdown of PPAR-ɣ in RbKD cells reduced adipocyte gene expression, while osteoblast-specific expression showed improvement. Cx43, Cad11 and GJIC remained unaffected by PPAR-ɣ reduction. Our observations suggest that increased PPAR-ɣ that happens with Rb1 loss only affects osteoblast-adipocyte-specific gene expression but does not completely reverse Cx43 gene expression or GJIC. Therefore, these effects may represent independent events triggered by Rb1loss and/or the differentiation process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Osteoimmunology and Bone Biology)
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20 pages, 2048 KiB  
Article
The Vagus Nerve Regulates Immunometabolic Homeostasis in the Ovine Fetus near Term: The Impact on Terminal Ileum
by Mingju Cao, Shikha Kuthiala, Keven Jason Jean, Hai Lun Liu, Marc Courchesne, Karen Nygard, Patrick Burns, André Desrochers, Gilles Fecteau, Christophe Faure and Martin G. Frasch
Biology 2024, 13(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010038 - 09 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1167
Abstract
BACKGROUND. Glucosensing elements are widely distributed throughout the body and relay information about circulating glucose levels to the brain via the vagus nerve. However, while anatomical wiring has been established, little is known about the physiological role of the vagus nerve in glucosensing. [...] Read more.
BACKGROUND. Glucosensing elements are widely distributed throughout the body and relay information about circulating glucose levels to the brain via the vagus nerve. However, while anatomical wiring has been established, little is known about the physiological role of the vagus nerve in glucosensing. The contribution of the vagus nerve to inflammation in the fetus is poorly understood. Increased glucose levels and inflammation act synergistically when causing organ injury, but their interplay remains incompletely understood. We hypothesized that vagotomy (Vx) will trigger a rise in systemic glucose levels and this will be enhanced during systemic and organ-specific inflammation. Efferent vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) should reverse this phenotype. METHODS. Near-term fetal sheep (n = 57) were surgically prepared using vascular catheters and ECG electrodes as the control and treatment groups (lipopolysaccharide (LPS), Vx + LPS, Vx + LPS + selective efferent VNS). The experiment was started 72 h postoperatively to allow for post-surgical recovery. Inflammation was induced with LPS bolus intravenously (LPS group, 400 ng/fetus/day for 2 days; n = 23). For the Vx + LPS group (n = 11), a bilateral cervical vagotomy was performed during surgery; of these n = 5 received double the LPS dose, LPS800. The Vx + LPS + efferent VNS group (n = 8) received cervical VNS probes bilaterally distal from Vx in eight animals. Efferent VNS was administered for 20 min on days 1 and 2 +/10 min around the LPS bolus. Fetal arterial blood samples were drawn on each postoperative day of recovery (-72 h, -48 h, and -24 h) as well as at the baseline and seven selected time points (3–54 h) to profile inflammation (ELISA IL-6, pg/mL), insulin (ELISA), blood gas, and metabolism (glucose). At 54 h post-LPS, a necropsy was performed, and the terminal ileum macrophages’ CD11c (M1 phenotype) immunofluorescence was quantified to detect inflammation. The results are reported for p < 0.05 and for Spearman R2 > 0.1. The results are presented as the median (IQR). RESULTS. Across the treatment groups, blood gas and cardiovascular changes indicated mild septicemia. At 3 h in the LPS group, IL-6 peaked. That peak was decreased in the Vx + LPS400 group and doubled in the Vx + LPS800 group. The efferent VNS sped up the reduction in the inflammatory response profile over 54 h. The M1 macrophage activity was increased in the LPS and Vx + LPS800 groups only. The glucose and insulin concentrations in the Vx + LPS group were, respectively, 1.3-fold (throughout the experiment) and 2.3-fold higher vs. control (at 3 h). The efferent VNS normalized the glucose concentrations. CONCLUSIONS. The complete withdrawal of vagal innervation resulted in a 72-h delayed onset of a sustained increase in glucose for at least 54 h and intermittent hyperinsulinemia. Under the conditions of moderate fetal inflammation, this was related to higher levels of gut inflammation. The efferent VNS reduced the systemic inflammatory response as well as restored both the concentrations of glucose and the degree of terminal ileum inflammation, but not the insulin concentrations. Supporting our hypothesis, these findings revealed a novel regulatory, hormetic, role of the vagus nerve in the immunometabolic response to endotoxin in near-term fetuses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroscience)
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19 pages, 3926 KiB  
Review
Significance of Histidine Hydrogen–Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry in Protein Structural Biology
by Masaru Miyagi and Takashi Nakazawa
Biology 2024, 13(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010037 - 09 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1341
Abstract
Histidine residues play crucial roles in shaping the function and structure of proteins due to their unique ability to act as both acids and bases. In other words, they can serve as proton donors and acceptors at physiological pH. This exceptional property is [...] Read more.
Histidine residues play crucial roles in shaping the function and structure of proteins due to their unique ability to act as both acids and bases. In other words, they can serve as proton donors and acceptors at physiological pH. This exceptional property is attributed to the side-chain imidazole ring of histidine residues. Consequently, determining the acid-base dissociation constant (Ka) of histidine imidazole rings in proteins often yields valuable insights into protein functions. Significant efforts have been dedicated to measuring the pKa values of histidine residues in various proteins, with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy being the most commonly used technique. However, NMR-based methods encounter challenges in assigning signals to individual imidazole rings and require a substantial amount of proteins. To address these issues associated with NMR-based approaches, a mass-spectrometry-based method known as histidine hydrogen–deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (His-HDX-MS) has been developed. This technique not only determines the pKa values of histidine imidazole groups but also quantifies their solvent accessibility. His-HDX-MS has proven effective across diverse proteins, showcasing its utility. This review aims to clarify the fundamental principles of His-HDX-MS, detail the experimental workflow, explain data analysis procedures and provide guidance for interpreting the obtained results. Full article
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12 pages, 4932 KiB  
Article
Red Ginseng Attenuates the Hepatic Cellular Senescence in Aged Mice
by Da-Yeon Lee, Juliana Arndt, Jennifer F. O’Connell, Josephine M. Egan and Yoo Kim
Biology 2024, 13(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010036 - 08 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1605
Abstract
Cellular senescence is defined as an irreversible cell cycle arrest accompanied by morphological and physiological alterations during aging. Red ginseng (RG), processed from fresh ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) with a one-time steaming and drying process, is a well-known beneficial herbal medicine [...] Read more.
Cellular senescence is defined as an irreversible cell cycle arrest accompanied by morphological and physiological alterations during aging. Red ginseng (RG), processed from fresh ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) with a one-time steaming and drying process, is a well-known beneficial herbal medicine showing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties. The current study aimed to investigate the benefits of RG in alleviating hepatic cellular senescence and its adverse effects in 19-month-old aged mice. We applied two different intervention methods and durations to compare RG’s effects in a time-dependent manner: (1) oral gavage injection for 4 weeks and (2) ad libitum intervention for 14 weeks. We observed that 4-week RG administration was exerted to maintain insulin homeostasis against developing age-associated insulin insensitivity and suppressed cellular senescence pathway in the liver and primary hepatocytes. Moreover, with remarkable improvement of insulin homeostasis, 14-week RG supplementation downregulated the activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and its downstream transcriptional factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) in aged mice. Lastly, RG treatment significantly reduced the senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal)-positive cells in primary hepatocytes and ionizing radiation (IR)-exposed mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Taken together, we suggest that RG can be a promising candidate for a senolytic substance by preventing hepatic cellular senescence. Full article
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25 pages, 19280 KiB  
Article
Development of Serotonergic and Dopaminergic Neuronal Networks of the Central Nervous System in King Crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus
by Elena Kotsyuba, Arman Pahlevaniane, Sergei Maslennikov and Vyacheslav Dyachuk
Biology 2024, 13(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010035 - 08 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1167
Abstract
This article presents recent findings as regards distribution of cells producing serotonin and dopamine in the larval central nervous system at different developmental stages, including four pelagic larval stages (zoea I–IV), a semibenthic postlarval stage glaucothoe (megalopa), benthic juveniles, and adult red king [...] Read more.
This article presents recent findings as regards distribution of cells producing serotonin and dopamine in the larval central nervous system at different developmental stages, including four pelagic larval stages (zoea I–IV), a semibenthic postlarval stage glaucothoe (megalopa), benthic juveniles, and adult red king crabs, Paralithodes camtschaticus, made by using immunocytochemistry and confocal laser scanning microscopy. We have shown that the serotonergic and dopaminergic neurons are present long before the onset of metamorphosis. In the red king crab b larval nervous system, the changes become particularly pronounced during the first metamorphosis from zoea IV to glaucothoe, which may be related to the development of the segmental appendages and maturation of motor behaviors in decapods. This work presents the distribution and dynamics of the development of serotonergic and dopaminergic neuronal networks in king crab show, the potential roles of serotonin and dopamine in the modulation of olfactory and visual processing in the early stages of larval development, and also the mechanosensory and chemosensory processing in the glaucothoe stage during settlement and in their transition from a pelagic to benthic lifestyle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiology of Invertebrates Inaccessible from Mammalian Studies)
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