Results in Journal Journal of Biomedical Science: 3,062
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Published: 30 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-8; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00729-3
Background The spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), has been characterized as a worldwide pandemic. Currently, there are few preclinical animal models that suitably represent infection, as the main point of entry to human cells is via human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) which is not present in typical preclinical mouse strains. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2 is highly virulent and unsafe for use in many research facilities. Here we describe the development of a preclinical animal model using intranasal administration of ACE2 followed by non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus (PsV) challenge. Methods To specifically generate our SARS-CoV-2 PsV, we used a lentivirus system. Following co-transfection with a packaging plasmid containing HIV Gag and Pol, luciferase-expressing lentiviruses, and a plasmid carrying the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, SARS-CoV-2 PsVs can be isolated and purified. To better understand and maximize the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 PsV, we generated PsV carrying spike protein variants known to have varying human ACE2 binding properties, including 19 deletion (19del) and 19del + D614G. Results Our system demonstrated the ability of PsVs to infect the respiratory passage of mice following intranasal hACE2 transduction. Additionally, we demonstrate in vitro and in vivo manipulability of our system using recombinant receptor-binding domain protein to prevent PsV infection. Conclusions Our PsV system is able to model SARS-CoV-2 infections in a preclinical mouse model and can be used to test interventions or preventative treatments. We believe that this method can be extended to work in various mouse strains or to model infection with different coronaviruses. A simple in vivo system such as our model is crucial for rapidly and effectively responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic in addition to preparing for future potential coronavirus outbreaks.
Published: 28 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-21; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00730-w
The Ras homolog gene family member A (RhoA) is the founding member of Rho GTPase superfamily originally studied in cancer cells where it was found to stimulate cell cycle progression and migration. RhoA acts as a master switch control of actin dynamics essential for maintaining cytoarchitecture of a cell. In the last two decades, however, RhoA has been coined and increasingly investigated as an essential molecule involved in signal transduction and regulation of gene transcription thereby affecting physiological functions such as cell division, survival, proliferation and migration. RhoA has been shown to play an important role in cardiac remodeling and cardiomyopathies; underlying mechanisms are however still poorly understood since the results derived from in vitro and in vivo experiments are still inconclusive. Interestingly its role in the development of cardiomyopathies or heart failure remains largely unclear due to anomalies in the current data available that indicate both cardioprotective and deleterious effects. In this review, we aimed to outline the molecular mechanisms of RhoA activation, to give an overview of its regulators, and the probable mechanisms of signal transduction leading to RhoA activation and induction of downstream effector pathways and corresponding cellular responses in cardiac (patho)physiology. Furthermore, we discuss the existing studies assessing the presented results and shedding light on the often-ambiguous data. Overall, we provide an update of the molecular, physiological and pathological functions of RhoA in the heart and its potential in cardiac therapeutics.
Published: 27 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00726-6
Background Leiomyosarcoma (LMS), the most common soft tissue sarcoma, exhibits heterogeneous and complex genetic karyotypes with severe chromosomal instability and rearrangement and poor prognosis. Methods Clinical variables associated with NKX6-1 were obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). NKX6-1 mRNA expression was examined in 49 human uterine tissues. The in vitro effects of NXK6-1 in LMS cells were determined by reverse transcriptase PCR, western blotting, colony formation, spheroid formation, and cell viability assays. In vivo tumor growth was evaluated in nude mice. Results Using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and human uterine tissue datasets, we observed that NKX6-1 expression was associated with poor prognosis and malignant potential in LMS. NKX6-1 enhanced in vitro tumor cell aggressiveness via upregulation of cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth and promoted in vivo tumor growth. Moreover, overexpression and knockdown of NKX6-1 were associated with upregulation and downregulation, respectively, of stem cell transcription factors, including KLF8, MYC, and CD49F, and affected sphere formation, chemoresistance, NOTCH signaling and Sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathways in human sarcoma cells. Importantly, treatment with an SHH inhibitor (RU-SKI 43) but not a NOTCH inhibitor (DAPT) reduced cell survival in NKX6-1-expressing cancer cells, indicating that an SHH inhibitor could be useful in treating LMS. Finally, using the TCGA dataset, we demonstrated that LMS patients with high expression of NKX6-1 and HHAT, an SHH pathway acyltransferase, had poorer survival outcomes compared to those without. Conclusions Our findings indicate that NKX6-1 and HHAT play critical roles in the pathogenesis of LMS and could be promising diagnostic and therapeutic targets for LMS patients.
Published: 26 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-2; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00723-9
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.
Published: 22 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-16; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00728-4
A brain organoid is a self-organizing three-dimensional tissue derived from human embryonic stem cells or pluripotent stem cells and is able to simulate the architecture and functionality of the human brain. Brain organoid generation methods are abundant and continue to improve, and now, an in vivo vascularized brain organoid has been encouragingly reported. The combination of brain organoids with immune-staining and single-cell sequencing technology facilitates our understanding of brain organoids, including the structural organization and the diversity of cell types. Recent publications have reported that brain organoids can mimic the dynamic spatiotemporal process of early brain development, model various human brain disorders, and serve as an effective preclinical platform to test and guide personalized treatment. In this review, we introduce the current state of brain organoid differentiation strategies, summarize current progress and applications in the medical domain, and discuss the challenges and prospects of this promising technology.
Published: 22 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00727-5
Background Due to the difficulties in early diagnosing and treating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), prognoses for patients remained poor in the past decade. In this study, we established a screening model to discover novel prognostic biomarkers in HCC patients. Methods Candidate biomarkers were screened by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analyses of five HCC normal (N)/tumor (T) paired tissues and preliminarily verified them through several in silico database analyses. Expression levels and functional roles of candidate biomarkers were respectively evaluated by immunohistochemical staining in N/T paired tissue (n = 120) and MTS, colony formation, and transwell migration/invasion assays in HCC cell lines. Associations of clinicopathological features and prognoses with candidate biomarkers in HCC patients were analyzed from GEO and TCGA datasets and our recruited cohort. Results We found that the transmembrane P24 trafficking protein 9 (TMED9) protein was elevated in HCC tissues according to a global proteomic analysis. Higher messenger (m)RNA and protein levels of TMED9 were observed in HCC tissues compared to normal liver tissues or pre-neoplastic lesions. The TMED9 mRNA expression level was significantly associated with an advanced stage and a poor prognosis of overall survival (OS, p = 0.00084) in HCC patients. Moreover, the TMED9 protein expression level was positively correlated with vascular invasion (p = 0.026), OS (p = 0.044), and disease-free survival (p = 0.015) in our recruited Taiwanese cohort. In vitro, manipulation of TMED9 expression in HCC cells significantly affected cell migratory, invasive, proliferative, and colony-forming abilities. Conclusions Ours is the first work to identify an oncogenic role of TMED9 in HCC cells and may provide insights into the application of TMED9 as a novel predictor of clinical outcomes and a potential therapeutic target in patients with HCC.
Published: 14 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-38; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00725-7
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are a promising resource for cell-based therapy because of their high immunomodulation ability, tropism towards inflamed and injured tissues, and their easy access and isolation. Currently, there are more than 1200 registered MSC clinical trials globally. However, a lack of standardized methods to characterize cell safety, efficacy, and biodistribution dramatically hinders the progress of MSC utility in clinical practice. In this review, we summarize the current state of MSC-based cell therapy, focusing on the systemic safety and biodistribution of MSCs. MSC-associated risks of tumor initiation and promotion and the underlying mechanisms of these risks are discussed. In addition, MSC biodistribution methodology and the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of cell therapies are addressed. Better understanding of the systemic safety and biodistribution of MSCs will facilitate future clinical applications of precision medicine using stem cells.
Published: 12 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00724-8
Breast cancer is the most diagnosed malignancy in women. Increasing evidence has highlighted the importance of chronic inflammation at the local and/or systemic level in breast cancer pathobiology, influencing its progression, metastatic potential and therapeutic outcome by altering the tumor immune microenvironment. These processes are mediated by a variety of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors that exert their biological functions either locally or distantly. Inflammasomes are protein signaling complexes that form in response to damage- and pathogen-associated molecular patterns (DAMPS and PAMPS), triggering the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The dysregulation of inflammasome activation can lead to the development of inflammatory diseases, neurodegeneration, and cancer. A crucial signaling pathway leading to acute and chronic inflammation occurs through the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome followed by caspase 1-dependent release of IL-1β and IL-18 pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as, by gasdermin D-mediated pyroptotic cell death. In this review we focus on the role of NLRP3 inflammasome and its components in breast cancer signaling, highlighting that a more detailed understanding of the clinical relevance of these pathways could significantly contribute to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for breast cancer.
Published: 12 April 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-58; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00721-x
Epigenetic drug discovery field has evidenced significant advancement in the recent times. A plethora of small molecule inhibitors have progressed to clinical stage investigations and are being explored exhaustively to ascertain conclusive benefits in diverse malignancies. Literature precedents indicates that substantial amount of efforts were directed towards the use of epigenetic tools in monotherapy as well as in combination regimens at the clinical level, however, the preclinical/preliminary explorations were inclined towards the identification of prudent approaches that can leverage the anticancer potential of small molecule epigenetic inhibitors as single agents only. This review article presents an update of FDA approved epigenetic drugs along with the epigenetic inhibitors undergoing clinical stage investigations in different cancer types. A detailed discussion of the pragmatic strategies that are expected to steer the progress of the epigenetic therapy through the implementation of emerging approaches such as PROTACS and CRISPR/Cas9 along with logical ways for scaffold fabrication to selectively approach the enzyme isoforms in pursuit of garnering amplified antitumor effects has been covered. In addition, the compilation also presents the rational strategies for the construction of multi-targeting scaffold assemblages employing previously identified pharmacophores as potential alternatives to the combination therapy.
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-13; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00722-w
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are considered the predominant cause of morbidity and mortality globally. Of these, myocardial infarction (MI) is the most common cause of CVD mortality. MI is a life-threatening condition which occurs when coronary perfusion is interrupted leading to cardiomyocyte death. Subsequent to MI, consequences include adverse cardiac remodeling and cardiac dysfunction mainly contribute to the development of heart failure (HF). It has been shown that loss of functional cardiomyocytes in MI-induced HF are associated with several cell death pathways, in particular necroptosis. Although the entire mechanism underlying necroptosis in MI progression is still not widely recognized, some recent studies have reported beneficial effects of necroptosis inhibitors on cell viability and cardiac function in chronic MI models. Therefore, extensive investigation into the necroptosis signaling pathway is indicated for further study. This article comprehensively reviews the context of the underlying mechanisms of necroptosis in chronic MI-induced HF in in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies. These findings could inform ways of developing novel therapeutic strategies to improve the clinical outcomes in MI patients from this point forward.
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-13; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00719-5
Thyroid hormone analogues—particularly, l-thyroxine (T4) has been shown to be relevant to the functions of a variety of cancers. Integrin αvβ3 is a plasma membrane structural protein linked to signal transduction pathways that are critical to cancer cell proliferation and metastasis. Thyroid hormones, T4 and to a less extend T3 bind cell surface integrin αvβ3, to stimulate the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) pathway to stimulate cancer cell growth. Thyroid hormone analogues also engage in crosstalk with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-Ras pathway. EGFR signal generation and, downstream, transduction of Ras/Raf pathway signals contribute importantly to tumor cell progression. Mutated Ras oncogenes contribute to chemoresistance in colorectal carcinoma (CRC); chemoresistance may depend in part on the activity of ERK1/2 pathway. In this review, we evaluate the contribution of thyroxine interacting with integrin αvβ3 and crosstalking with EGFR/Ras signaling pathway non-genomically in CRC proliferation. Tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac), the deaminated analogue of T4, and its nano-derivative, NDAT, have anticancer functions, with effectiveness against CRC and other tumors. In Ras-mutant CRC cells, tetrac derivatives may overcome chemoresistance to other drugs via actions initiated at integrin αvβ3 and involving, downstream, the EGFR-Ras signaling pathways.
Published: 30 March 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00718-6
Objective To evaluate the impact of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination via interferon (IFN)-based therapy on gene expression profiles related to the immune system in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients. Methods We conducted a prospective study in 28 HIV/HCV-coinfected patients receiving IFN-based therapy at baseline (HIV/HCV-b) and week 24 after sustained virological response (HIV/HCV-f). Twenty-seven HIV-monoinfected patients (HIV-mono) were included as a control. RNA-seq analysis was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Genes with a fold-change (FC) ≥ 1.5 (in either direction) and false discovery rate (FDR) ≤ 0.05 were identified as significantly differentially expressed (SDE). Results HIV/HCV-b showed six SDE genes compared to HIV-mono group, but no significantly enriched pathways were observed. For HIV/HCV-f vs. HIV/HCV-b, we found 58 SDE genes, 34 upregulated and 24 downregulated in the HIV/HCV-f group. Of these, the most overexpressed were CXCL2, PDCD6IP, ATP5B, IGSF9, RAB26, and CSRNP1, and the most downregulated were IFI44 and IFI44L. These 58 SDE genes revealed two significantly enriched pathways (FDR < 0.05), one linked to Epstein-Barr virus infection and another related to p53 signaling. For HIV/HCV-f vs. HIV-mono group, we found 44 SDE genes that revealed 31 enriched pathways (FDR < 0.05) related to inflammation, cancer/cell cycle alteration, viral and bacterial infection, and comorbidities associated with HIV/HCV-coinfection. Five genes were overrepresented in most pathways (JUN, NFKBIA, PIK3R2, CDC42, and STAT3). Conclusion HIV/HCV-coinfected patients who eradicated hepatitis C with IFN-based therapy showed profound gene expression changes after achieving sustained virological response. The altered pathways were related to inflammation and liver-related complications, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, underscoring the need for active surveillance for these patients.
Published: 29 March 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-19; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00720-y
Background Obesity-related cardiovascular risk, end points, and mortality are strongly related to arterial stiffening. Current therapeutic approaches for arterial stiffening are not focused on direct targeting within the vessel. Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) surrounding the artery has been shown to modulate vascular function and inflammation. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) activation significantly decreases arterial stiffness and inflammation in diabetic patients with coronary artery disease. Thus, we hypothesized that PPARγ activation alters the PVAT microenvironment, thereby creating a favorable environment for the attenuation of arterial stiffening in obesity. Methods Obese ob/ob mice were used to investigate the effect of PPARγ activation on the attenuation of arterial stiffening. Various cell types, including macrophages, fibroblasts, adipocytes, and vascular smooth muscle cells, were used to test the inhibitory effect of pioglitazone, a PPARγ agonist, on the expression of elastolytic enzymes. Results PPARγ activation by pioglitazone effectively attenuated arterial stiffening in ob/ob mice. This beneficial effect was not associated with the repartitioning of fat from or changes in the browning of the PVAT depot but was strongly related to improvement of the PVAT microenvironment, as evidenced by reduction in the expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidative factors. Pioglitazone treatment attenuated obesity-induced elastin fiber fragmentation and elastolytic activity and ameliorated the obesity-induced upregulation of cathepsin S and metalloproteinase 12, predominantly in the PVAT. In vitro, pioglitazone downregulated Ctss and Mmp12 in macrophages, fibroblasts, and adipocytes—cell types residing within the adventitia and PVAT. Ultimately, several PPARγ binding sites were found in Ctss and Mmp12 in Raw 264.7 and 3T3-L1 cells, suggesting a direct regulatory mechanism by which PPARγ activation repressed the expression of Ctss and Mmp-12 in macrophages and fibroblasts. Conclusions PPARγ activation attenuated obesity-induced arterial stiffening and reduced the inflammatory and oxidative status of PVAT. The improvement of the PVAT microenvironment further contributed to the amelioration of elastin fiber fragmentation, elastolytic activity, and upregulated expression of Ctss and Mmp12. Our data highlight the PVAT microenvironment as an important target against arterial stiffening in obesity and provide a novel strategy for the potential clinical use of PPARγ agonists as a therapeutic against arterial stiffness through modulation of PVAT function.
Published: 25 March 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-18; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00715-9
Breast cancer is the most common solid cancer that affects female population globally. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that can regulate post-transcriptional modification of multiple downstream genes. Autophagy is a conserved cellular catabolic activity that aims to provide nutrients and degrade un-usable macromolecules in mammalian cells. A number of in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies have reported that some miRNAs could modulate autophagy activity in human breast cancer cells, and these would influence human breast cancer progression and treatment response. Therefore, this review was aimed to discuss the roles of autophagy-regulating miRNAs in influencing breast cancer development and treatment response. The review would first introduce autophagy types and process, followed by the discussion of the roles of different miRNAs in modulating autophagy in human breast cancer, and to explore how would this miRNA-autophagy regulatory process affect the disease progression or treatment response. Lastly, the potential applications and challenges of utilizing autophagy-regulating miRNAs as breast cancer biomarkers and novel therapeutic agents would be discussed.
Published: 15 March 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-17; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00711-z
Background and aims Previous study disclosed Fucosyltransferase 2 (Fut2) gene as a IBD risk locus. This study aimed to explore the mechanism of Fut2 in IBD susceptibility and to propose a new strategy for the treatment of IBD. Methods Intestinal epithelium-specific Fut2 knockout (Fut2 △IEC) mice was used. Colitis was induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). The composition and diversity of gut microbiota were assessed via 16S rRNA analysis and the metabolomic findings was obtained from mice feces via metabolite profiling. The fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) experiment was performed to confirm the association of gut microbiota and LPC. WT mice were treated with Lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to verify its impact on colitis. Results The expression of Fut2 and α-1,2-fucosylation in colonic tissues were decreased in patients with UC (UC vs. control, P = 0.036) and CD (CD vs. control, P = 0.031). When treated with DSS, in comparison to WT mice, more severe intestinal inflammation and destructive barrier functions in Fut2 △IEC mice was noted. Lower gut microbiota diversity was observed in Fut2 △IEC mice compared with WT mice (p < 0.001). When exposed to DSS, gut bacterial diversity and composition altered obviously in Fut2 △IEC mice and the fecal concentration of LPC was increased. FMT experiment revealed that mice received the fecal microbiota from Fut2 △IEC mice exhibited more severe colitis and higher fecal LPC concentration. Correlation analysis showed that the concentration of LPC was positively correlated with four bacteria—Escherichia, Bilophila, Enterorhabdus and Gordonibacter. Furthermore, LPC was proved to promote the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and damage epithelial barrier in vitro and in vivo. Conclusion Fut2 and α-1,2-fucosylation in colon were decreased not only in CD but also in UC patients. Gut microbiota in Fut2 △IEC mice is altered structurally and functionally, promoting generation of LPC which was proved to promote inflammation and damage epithelial barrier.
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-18; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00706-2
Background The bile salt export pump (BSEP) is a pivotal apical/canalicular bile salt transporter in hepatocytes that drives the bile flow. Defects in BSEP function and canalicular expression could lead to a spectrum of cholestatic liver diseases. One prominent manifestation of BSEP-associated cholestasis is the defective canalicular localization and cytoplasmic retention of BSEP. However, the etiology of impaired BSEP targeting to the canalicular membrane is not fully understood. Our goal was to discover what molecule could interact with BSEP and affect its post-Golgi sorting. Methods The human BSEP amino acids (a.a.) 491-630 was used as bait to screen a human fetal liver cDNA library through yeast two-hybrid system. We identified a BSEP-interacting candidate and showed the interaction and colocalization in the co-immunoprecipitation in hepatoma cell lines and histological staining in human liver samples. Temperature shift assays were used to study the post-Golgi trafficking of BSEP. We further determine the functional impacts of the BSEP-interacting candidate on BSEP in vitro. A hydrodynamically injected mouse model was established for in vivo characterizing the long-term impacts on BSEP. Results We identified that charged multivesicular body protein 5 (CHMP5), a molecule of the endosomal protein complex required for transport subcomplex-III (ESCRT-III), interacted and co-localized with BSEP in the subapical compartments (SACs) in developing human livers. Cholestatic BSEP mutations in the CHMP5-interaction region have defects in canalicular targeting and aberrant retention at the SACs. Post-Golgi delivery of BSEP and bile acid secretion were impaired in ESCRT-III perturbation or CHMP5-knockdown hepatic cellular and mouse models. This ESCRT-III-mediated BSEP sorting preceded Rab11A-regulated apical cycling of BSEP. Conclusions Our results showed the first example that ESCRT-III is essential for canalicular trafficking of apical membrane proteins, and provide new targets for therapeutic approaches in BSEP associated cholestasis.
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-10; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00717-7
Glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor that is usually considered fatal even with treatment. This is often a result for tumor to develop resistance. Regarding the standard chemotherapy, the alkylating agent temozolomide is effective in disease control but the recurrence will still occur eventually. The mechanism of the resistance is various, and differs in terms of innate or acquired. To date, aberrations in O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase are the clear factor that determines drug susceptibility. Alterations of the other DNA damage repair genes such as DNA mismatch repair genes are also known to affect the drug effect. Together these genes have roles in the innate resistance, but are not sufficient for explaining the mechanism leading to acquired resistance. Recent identification of specific cellular subsets with features of stem-like cells may have role in this process. The glioma stem-like cells are known for its superior ability in withstanding the drug-induced cytotoxicity, and giving the chance to repopulate the tumor. The mechanism is complicated to administrate cellular protection, such as the enhancing ability against reactive oxygen species and altering energy metabolism, the important steps to survive. In this review, we discuss the possible mechanism for these specific cellular subsets to evade cancer treatment, and the possible impact to the following treatment courses. In addition, we also discuss the possibility that can overcome this obstacle.
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-7; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00716-8
Innate immunity is the first line of host defense against viral infection. After invading into the cells, pathogen-associated-molecular-patterns derived from viruses are recognized by pattern recognition receptors to activate the downstream signaling pathways to induce the production of type I interferons (IFN-I) and inflammatory cytokines, which play critical functions in the host antiviral innate immune responses. Guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs) are IFN-inducible antiviral effectors belonging to the guanosine triphosphatases family. In addition to exerting direct antiviral functions against certain viruses, a few GBPs also exhibit regulatory roles on the host antiviral innate immunity. However, our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of GBPs' roles in viral infection and host antiviral innate immune signaling is still very limited. Therefore, here we present an updated overview of the functions of GBPs during viral infection and in antiviral innate immunity, and highlight discrepancies in reported findings and current challenges for future studies, which will advance our understanding of the functions of GBPs and provide a scientific and theoretical basis for the regulation of antiviral innate immunity.
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-9; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00713-x
Galectins are animal lectins that recognize carbohydrates and play important roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Recent studies have indicated that under a variety of challenges, intracellular galectins bind to host glycans displayed on damaged endocytic vesicles and accumulate around these damaged organelles. Accumulated galectins then engage cellular proteins and subsequently control cellular responses, such as autophagy. In this review, we have summarized the stimuli that lead to the accumulation of galectins, the molecular mechanisms of galectin accumulation, and galectin-mediated cellular responses, and elaborate on the differential regulatory effects among galectins.
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-16; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00714-w
Although rheumatoid arthritis affects 1% of the global population, the role of rheumatoid cachexia, which occurs in up to a third of patients, is relatively neglected as research focus, despite its significant contribution to decreased quality of life in patients. A better understanding of the cellular and molecular processes involved in rheumatoid cachexia, as well as its potential treatment, is dependent on elucidation of the intricate interactions of the cells involved, such as myoblasts, fibroblasts and macrophages. Persistent RA-associated inflammation results in a relative depletion of the capacity for regeneration and repair in the satellite cell niche. The repair that does proceed is suboptimal due to dysregulated communication from the other cellular role players in this multi-cellular environment. This includes the incomplete switch in macrophage phenotype resulting in a lingering pro-inflammatory state within the tissues, as well as fibroblast-associated dysregulation of the dynamic control of the extracellular matrix. Additional to this endogenous dysregulation, some treatment strategies for RA may exacerbate muscle wasting and no multi-cell investigation has been done in this context. This review summarizes the most recent literature characterising clinical RA cachexia and links these features to the roles of and complex communication between multiple cellular contributors in the muscle niche, highlighting the importance of a targeted approach to therapeutic intervention.
Published: 20 February 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-16; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00712-y
Background Glutaminase isoenzymes GLS and GLS2 play apparently opposing roles in cancer: GLS acts as an oncoprotein, while GLS2 (GAB isoform) has context specific tumour suppressive activity. Some microRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in progression of tumours, including gliomas. The aim was to investigate the effect of GLS and GAB expression on both miRNAs and oxidative status in glioblastoma cells. Methods Microarray profiling of miRNA was performed in GLS-silenced LN229 and GAB-transfected T98G human glioblastoma cells and their wild-type counterparts. Results were validated by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Oxidative status and antioxidant enzymes were determined by spectrophotometric or fluorescence assays in GLS-silenced LN229 and T98G, and GAB-transfected LN229 and T98G. Results MiRNA-146a-5p, miRNA-140-3p, miRNA-21-5p, miRNA-1260a, and miRNA-92a-3p were downregulated, and miRNA-1246 was upregulated when GLS was knocked down. MiRNA-140-3p, miRNA-1246, miRNA-1260a, miRNA-21-5p, and miRNA-146a-5p were upregulated when GAB was overexpressed. Oxidative status (lipid peroxidation, protein carbonylation, total antioxidant capacity, and glutathione levels), as well as antioxidant enzymes (catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione reductase) of silenced GLS glioblastoma cells and overexpressed GAB glioblastoma cells significantly changed versus their respective control glioblastoma cells. MiRNA-1246, miRNA-1260a, miRNA-146a-5p, and miRNA-21-5p have been characterized as strong biomarkers of glioblastoma proliferation linked to both GLS silencing and GAB overexpression. Total glutathione is a reliable biomarker of glioblastoma oxidative status steadily associated to both GLS silencing and GAB overexpression. Conclusions Glutaminase isoenzymes are related to the expression of some miRNAs and may contribute to either tumour progression or suppression through certain miRNA-mediated pathways, proving to be a key tool to switch cancer proliferation and redox status leading to a less malignant phenotype. Accordingly, GLS and GAB expression are especially involved in glutathione-dependent antioxidant defence.
Published: 9 February 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00705-3
Background Although the availability of therapeutic options including temozolomide, radiotherapy and some target agents following neurosurgery, the prognosis of glioma patients remains poor. Thus, there is an urgent need to explore possible targets for clinical treatment of this disease. Methods Tissue microarrays and immunohistochemistry were used to detect FKBP10, Hsp47, p-AKT (Ser473), p-CREB (Ser133) and PCNA expression in glioma tissues and xenografts. CCK-8 tests, colony formation assays and xenograft model were performed to test proliferation ability of FKBP10 in glioma cells in vitro and in vivo. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR, western-blotting, GST-pull down, co-immunoprecipitation and confocal-immunofluorescence staining assay were used to explore the molecular mechanism underlying the functions of overexpressed FKBP10 in glioma cells. Results FKBP10 was highly expressed in glioma tissues and its expression was positively correlates with grade, poor prognosis. FKBP10-knockdown suppressed glioma cell proliferation in vitro and subcutaneous/orthotopic xenograft tumor growth in vivo. Silencing of FKBP10 reduced p-AKT (Ser473), p-CREB (Ser133), PCNA mRNA and PCNA protein expression in glioma cells. FKBP10 interacting with Hsp47 enhanced the proliferation ability of glioma cells via AKT-CREB-PCNA cascade. In addition, correlation between these molecules were also found in xenograft tumor and glioma tissues. Conclusions We showed for the first time that FKBP10 is overexpressed in glioma and involved in proliferation of glioma cells by interacting with Hsp47 and activating AKT-CREB-PCNA signaling pathways. Our findings suggest that inhibition of FKBP10 related signaling might offer a potential therapeutic option for glioma patients.
Published: 3 February 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-17; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00710-0
Background Helicobacter pylori-mediated gastric carcinogenesis is initiated by a plethora of signaling events in the infected gastric epithelial cells (GECs). The E3 ubiquitin ligase seven in absentia homolog 2 (Siah2) is induced in GECs in response to H. pylori infection. Posttranslational modifications of Siah2 orchestrate its function as well as stability. The aim of this study was to evaluate Siah2 phosphorylation status under the influence of H. pylori infection and its impact in gastric cancer progression. Methods H. pylori-infected various GECs, gastric tissues from H. pylori-infected GC patients and H. felis-infected C57BL/6 mice were evaluated for Siah2 phosphorylation by western blotting or immunofluorescence microscopy. Coimmunoprecipitation assay followed by mass spectrometry were performed to identify the kinases interacting with Siah2. Phosphorylation sites of Siah2 were identified by using various plasmid constructs generated by site-directed mutagenesis. Proteasome inhibitor MG132 was used to investigate proteasome degradation events. The importance of Siah2 phosphorylation on tumorigenicity of infected cells were detected by using phosphorylation-null mutant and wild type Siah2 stably-transfected cells followed by clonogenicity assay, cell proliferation assay, anchorage-independent growth and transwell invasion assay. Results Siah2 was phosphorylated in H. pylori-infected GECs as well as in metastatic GC tissues at residues serine6 (Ser6) and threonine279 (Thr279). Phosphorylation of Siah2 was mediated by MRCKβ, a Ser/Thr protein kinase. MRCKβ was consistently expressed in uninfected GECs and noncancer gastric tissues but its level decreased in infected GECs as well as in metastatic tissues which had enhanced Siah2 expression. Infected murine gastric tissues showed similar results. MRCKβ could phosphorylate Siah2 but itself got ubiquitinated from this interaction leading to the proteasomal degradation of MRCKβ and use of proteasomal inhibitor MG132 could rescue MRCKβ from Siah2-mediated degradation. Ser6 and Thr279 phosphorylated-Siah2 was more stable and tumorigenic than its non-phosphorylated counterpart as revealed by the proliferation, invasion, migration abilities and anchorage-independent growth of stable-transfected cells. Conclusions Increased level of Ser6 and Thr279-phosphorylated-Siah2 and downregulated MRCKβ were prominent histological characteristics of Helicobacter-infected gastric epithelium and metastatic human GC. MRCKβ-dependent Siah2 phosphorylation stabilized Siah2 which promoted anchorage-independent survival and proliferative potential of GECs. Phospho-null mutants of Siah2 (S6A and T279A) showed abated tumorigenicity.
Published: 22 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00709-7
Therapeutic antibodies are instrumental in improving the treatment outcome for certain disease conditions. However, to enhance their efficacy and specificity, many efforts are continuously made. One of the approaches that are increasingly explored in this field are pH-responsive antibodies capable of binding target antigens in a pH-dependent manner. We reviewed suitability and examples of these antibodies that are functionally modulated by the tumor microenvironment. Provided in this review is an update about antigens targeted by pH-responsive, sweeping, and recycling antibodies. Applicability of the pH-responsive antibodies in the engineering of chimeric antigen receptor T-cells (CAR-T) and in improving drug delivery to the brain by the enhanced crossing of the blood–brain barrier is also discussed. The pH-responsive antibodies possess strong treatment potential. They emerge as next-generation programmable engineered biologic drugs that are active only within the targeted biological space. Thus, they are valuable in targeting acidified tumor microenvironment because of improved spatial persistence and reduced on-target off-tumor toxicities. We predict that the programmable pH-dependent antibodies become powerful tools in therapies of cancer.
Published: 15 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-12; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00708-8
Viruses from the genus Enterovirus (EV) of the Picornaviridae family are known to cause diseases such as hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD), respiratory diseases, encephalitis and myocarditis. The capsid of EV is an attractive target for the development of direct-acting small molecules that can interfere with viral entry. Some of the capsid binders have been evaluated in clinical trials but the majority have failed due to insufficient efficacy or unacceptable off-target effects. Furthermore, most of the capsid binders exhibited a low barrier to resistance. Alternatively, host-targeting inhibitors such as peptides derived from the capsid of EV that can recognize cellular receptors have been identified. However, the majority of these peptides displayed low anti-EV potency (µM range) as compared to the potency of small molecule compounds (nM range). Nonetheless, the development of anti-EV peptides is warranted as they may complement the small-molecules in a drug combination strategy to treat EVs. Lastly, structure-based approach to design antiviral peptides should be utilized to unearth potent anti-EV peptides.
Published: 12 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-18; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00703-5
Background Gaining further insights into SARS-CoV-2 routes of infection and the underlying pathobiology of COVID-19 will support the design of rational treatments targeting the life cycle of the virus and/or the adverse effects (e.g., multi-organ collapse) that are triggered by COVID-19-mediated adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and/or other pathologies. Main body COVID-19 is a two-phase disease being marked by (phase 1) increased virus transmission and infection rates due to the wide expression of the main infection-relatedACE2,TMPRSS2andCTSB/Lhuman genes in tissues of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, as well as by (phase 2) host- and probably sex- and/or age-specific uncontrolled inflammatory immune responses which drive hyper-cytokinemia, aggressive inflammation and (due to broad organotropism of SARS-CoV-2) collateral tissue damage and systemic failure likely because of imbalanced ACE/ANGII/AT1R and ACE2/ANG(1–7)/MASR axes signaling. Conclusion Here we discuss SARS-CoV-2 life cycle and a number of approaches aiming to suppress viral infection rates or propagation; increase virus antigen presentation in order to activate a robust and durable adaptive immune response from the host, and/or mitigate the ARDS-related “cytokine storm” and collateral tissue damage that triggers the severe life-threatening complications of COVID-19.
Published: 12 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-21; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00707-1
Background Congenital myopathy (CM) is a group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous muscle disorders, characterized by muscle weakness and hypotonia from birth. Currently, no definite treatment exists for CM. A de novo mutation in Tropomyosin 3-TPM3(E151G) was identified from a boy diagnosed with CM, previously TPM3(E151A) was reported to cause CM. However, the role of TPM3(E151G) in CM is unknown. Methods Histopathological, swimming behavior, and muscle endurance were monitored in TPM3 wild-type and mutant transgenic fish, modelling CM. Gene expression profiling of muscle of the transgenic fish were studied through RNAseq, and mitochondria respiration was investigated. Results While TPM3(WT) and TPM3(E151A) fish show normal appearance, amazingly a few TPM3(E151G) fish display either no tail, a crooked body in both F0 and F1 adults. Using histochemical staining for the muscle biopsy, we found TPM3(E151G) displays congenital fiber type disproportion and TPM3(E151A) resembles nemaline myopathy. TPM3(E151G) transgenic fish dramatically swimming slower than those in TPM3(WT) and TPM3(E151A) fish measured by DanioVision and T-maze, and exhibit weaker muscle endurance by swimming tunnel instrument. Interestingly, l-carnitine treatment on TPM3(E151G) transgenic larvae significantly improves the muscle endurance by restoring the basal respiration and ATP levels in mitochondria. With RNAseq transcriptomic analysis of the expression profiling from the muscle specimens, it surprisingly discloses large downregulation of genes involved in pathways of sodium, potassium, and calcium channels, which can be rescued by l-carnitine treatment, fatty acid metabolism was differentially dysregulated in TPM3(E151G) fish and rescued by l-carnitine treatment. Conclusions These results demonstrate that TPM3(E151G) and TPM3(E151A) exhibit different pathogenicity, also have distinct gene regulatory profiles but the ion channels were downregulated in both mutants, and provides a potential mechanism of action of TPM3 pathophysiology. Our results shed a new light in the future development of potential treatment for TPM3-related CM.
Published: 11 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-17; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00701-7
Background The comparative evolutionary genomics analysis was used to study the functions of novel Ka/Ks-predicted human exons in a zebrafish model. The Yulink (MIOS, Entrez Gene: 54,468), a conserved gene from zebrafish to human with WD40 repeats at N-terminus, was identified and found to encode an 875 amino acid in human. The biological function of this Yulink gene in cardiomyocytes remains unexplored. The purpose of this study is to determine the involvement of Yulink in the functions of cardiomyocytes and to investigate its molecular regulatory mechanism. Methods Knockdown of Yulink was performed using morpholino or shRNA in zebrafish, mouse HL-1 cardiomyocytes, and human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. The expression levels of mRNA and protein were quantified by qPCR and western blots. Other methods including DNA binding, ligand uptake, agonists treatment and Ca2+ imaging assays were used to study the molecular regulatory mechanism by Yulink. Statistical data were shown as mean ± SD or mean ± standard error. Results The knockdown of yulink with three specific morpholinos in zebrafish resulted in cardiac dysfunctions with pericardial edema, decreased heart beats and cardiac output. The Yulink knockdown in mouse HL-1 cardiomyocytes disrupted Ca2+ cycling, reduced DNA binding activity of PPARγ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma) and resulted in a reduction of Serca2 (sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase 2) expression. Expression of Serca2 was up-regulated by PPARγ agonists and down-regulated by PPARγ-shRNA knockdown, suggesting that Yulink regulates SERCA2 expression through PPARγ in mouse HL-1 cardiomyocytes. On the other hand, YULINK, PPARγ or SERCA2 over-expression rescued the phenotypes of Yulink KD cells. In addition, knockdown of YULINK in human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes also disrupted Ca2+ cycling via decreased SERCA2 expression. Conclusions Overall, our data showed that Yulink is an evolutionarily conserved gene from zebrafish to human. Mechanistically Yulink regulated Serca2 expression in cardiomyocytes, presumably mediated through PPARγ nuclear entry. Deficiency of Yulink in mouse and human cardiomyocytes resulted in irregular Ca2+ cycling, which may contribute to arrhythmogenesis.
Published: 8 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-30; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00702-6
Sepsis, a dysregulated immune response due to life-threatening organ dysfunction, caused by drug-resistant pathogens, is a major global health threat contributing to high disease burden. Clinical outcomes in sepsis depend on timely diagnosis and appropriate early therapeutic intervention. There is a growing interest in the evaluation of nanotechnology-based solutions for sepsis management due to the inherent and unique properties of these nano-sized systems. This review presents recent advancements in nanotechnology-based solutions for sepsis diagnosis and management. Development of nanosensors based on electrochemical, immunological or magnetic principals provide highly sensitive, selective and rapid detection of sepsis biomarkers such as procalcitonin and C-reactive protein and are reviewed extensively. Nanoparticle-based drug delivery of antibiotics in sepsis models have shown promising results in combating drug resistance. Surface functionalization with antimicrobial peptides further enhances efficacy by targeting pathogens or specific microenvironments. Various strategies in nanoformulations have demonstrated the ability to deliver antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents, simultaneously, have been reviewed. The critical role of nanoformulations of other adjuvant therapies including antioxidant, antitoxins and extracorporeal blood purification in sepsis management are also highlighted. Nanodiagnostics and nanotherapeutics in sepsis have enormous potential and provide new perspectives in sepsis management, supported by promising future biomedical applications included in the review.
Published: 5 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00698-z
Background The accumulation of lipid-laden macrophages, foam cells, within sub-endothelial intima is a key feature of early atherosclerosis. Siglec-E, a mouse orthologue of human Siglec-9, is a sialic acid binding lectin predominantly expressed on the surface of myeloid cells to transduce inhibitory signal via recruitment of SH2-domain containing protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1/2 upon binding to its sialoglycan ligands. Whether Siglec-E expression on macrophages impacts foam cell formation and atherosclerosis remains to be established. Methods ApoE-deficient (apoE−/−) and apoE/Siglec-E-double deficient (apoE−/−/Siglec-E−/−) mice were placed on high fat diet for 3 months and their lipid profiles and severities of atherosclerosis were assessed. Modified low-density lipoprotein (LDL) uptake and foam cell formation in wild type (WT) and Siglec-E−/−- peritoneal macrophages were examined in vitro. Potential Siglec-E-interacting proteins were identified by proximity labeling in conjunction with proteomic analysis and confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation experiment. Impacts of Siglec-E expression and cell surface sialic acid status on oxidized LDL uptake and signaling involved were examined by biochemical assays. Results Here we show that genetic deletion of Siglec-E accelerated atherosclerosis without affecting lipid profile in apoE−/−mice. Siglec-E deficiency promotes foam cell formation by enhancing acetylated and oxidized LDL uptake without affecting cholesterol efflux in macrophages in vitro. By performing proximity labeling and proteomic analysis, we identified scavenger receptor CD36 as a cell surface protein interacting with Siglec-E. Further experiments performed in HEK293T cells transiently overexpressing Siglec-E and CD36 and peritoneal macrophages demonstrated that depletion of cell surface sialic acids by treatment with sialyltransferase inhibitor or sialidase did not affect interaction between Siglec-E and CD36 but retarded Siglec-E-mediated inhibition on oxidized LDL uptake. Subsequent experiments revealed that oxidized LDL induced transient Siglec-E tyrosine phosphorylation and recruitment of SHP-1 phosphatase in macrophages. VAV, a downstream effector implicated in CD36-mediated oxidized LDL uptake, was shown to interact with SHP-1 following oxidized LDL treatment. Moreover, oxidized LDL-induced VAV phosphorylation was substantially lower in WT macrophages comparing to Siglec-E−/−counterparts. Conclusions These data support the protective role of Siglec-E in atherosclerosis. Mechanistically, Siglec-E interacts with CD36 to suppress downstream VAV signaling involved in modified LDL uptake.
Published: 4 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-16; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00697-0
Background Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have caught increasing attentions and interests for their important involvement in cancer initiation and progression. This study aims to investigate the biological functions of circNOL10 and its potential molecular mechanisms in breast cancer (BC). Materials and methods qRT-PCR and western blot assays were performed to measure the expression of related genes. CCK-8, colony formation, flow cytomerty and transwell assays were used to assess cell proliferation, cell cycle, migration and invasion. RNA pull-down, luciferase reporter and RIP assays were applied to address the potential regulatory mechanism of circNOL10. Results CircNOL10 was down-regulated in BC tissues and cells. Low expression of circNOL10 was associated with larger tumor size, advanced TNM stage, lymph node metastasis and unfavorable prognosis. Overexpression of circNOL10 inhibited cell proliferation, migration, invasion and EMT in vitro and slowed xenograft tumor growth in vivo. Mechanistically, circNOL10 could act as a molecular sponge for miR-767-5p, leading to the up-regulation of suppressors of cytokine signaling 2 (SOCS2) and inactivation of JAK2/STAT5 pathway. Moreover, circNOL10-mediated suppression of malignant phenotypes was attenuated by miR-767-5p. Similar to circNOL10, enforced expression of SOCS2 also resulted in the suppression of cell proliferation and metastasis. Furthermore, knockdown of SOCS2 reversed the tumor-suppressive effect induced by circNOL10. Conclusions CircNOL10 repressed BC development via inactivation of JAK2/STAT5 signaling by regulating miR-767-5p/SOCS2 axis. Our findings offer the possibility of exploiting circNOL10 as a therapeutic and prognostic target for BC patients.
Published: 4 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00704-4
Background Successful pregnancy is supported by a healthy maternal–fetal interface (i.e., the decidual tissues) which holds the conceptus and safeguards it against stressors from the beginning of pregnancy. Any disturbance of this interface can presumably lead to the loss of pregnancy. The use of the immunosuppressive drug mycophenolic acid (MPA) should be discontinued in pregnancy given its abortive and embryotoxic effects. Direct teratogenic effects have been observed in mammalian embryos cultured in MPA, but the underlying mechanisms of abortion by MPA are less understood. Methods Decidual stromal cells isolated from human placentas are cultured in the presence of clinically relevant doses of MPA. Data regarding the effects of MPA on the proliferation and viability of decidua cultures are first analysed and then, molecular pathways contributing to these effects are unravelled. Results MPA treatment of decidual stromal cells results in loss of proliferation capacity and a decrease in the viability of decidua cultures. The molecular pathways involved in the effects of MPA on decidual stromal cells are a reduction in pre-rRNA synthesis and subsequent disruption of the nucleolus. The nucleolar stress stabilizes p53, which in turn, leads to a p21–mediated cell cycle arrest in late S and G2 phases, preventing the progression of the decidua cells into the mitosis. Furthermore, MPA does not induce apoptosis but activate mechanisms of autophagy and senescence in decidual stromal cells. Conclusion The irreversible growth arrest of decidua cells, whose role in the maintenance of the pregnancy microenvironment is known, may be one cause of miscarriage in MPA treated pregnant women.
Published: 4 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-21; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00699-y
Background The homologous recombination (HR) pathway is involved in DNA damage response (DDR), which is crucial to cancer cell survival after treatment with DNA damage agents. O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is associated with cisplatin (CDDP) resistance in cancer cells; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we explored the interactions between MGMT and the HR pathway in CDDP-activated DDR and their clinical implications in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Methods Human NPC cells were assessed using loss-of-function approaches in vitro. The expression correlations between MGMT and major proteins of the HR pathway were analyzed through Western blotting, quantitative real-time PCR, and bioinformatic analysis by using a public database. The physical interactions between MGMT and HR proteins were studied using co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence analyses. Cell comet tails and γ-H2AX expression levels were examined to evaluate double-strand break (DSB) formation. Established immunofluorescence and reporter analyses were conducted to measure HR activity. Xenograft and cell viability studies were used to assess the therapeutic potential of MGMT inhibition in combination with CDDP and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, respectively. Results Among major proteins of the HR pathway, MGMT suppression inhibited CDDP-induced RAD51 expression. Bioinformatic analyses showed a positive correlation between MGMT and RAD51 expression in patients with NPC. Moreover, MGMT physically interacted with BRCA1 and regulated CDDP-induced BRCA1 phosphorylation (ser 988). In functional assays, MGMT inhibition increased CDDP-induced DSB formation through attenuation of HR activity. NPC xenograft studies demonstrated that MGMT inhibition combined with CDDP treatment reduced tumor size and downregulated RAD51 expression and BRCA1 phosphorylation. Furthermore, MGMT suppression increased PARP inhibitor–induced cell death and DSB formation in NPC cells. Conclusion MGMT is crucial in the activation of the HR pathway and regulates DDR in NPC cells treated with CDDP and PARP inhibitor. Thus, MGMT is a promising therapeutic target for cancer treatments involving HR-associated DDR.
Published: 2 January 2021
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 28, pp 1-17; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00700-8
Background Emergence ofCandida glabrata, which causes potential life-threatening invasive candidiasis, has been widely associated with high morbidity and mortality. In order to cause disease in vivo, a robust and highly efficient metabolic adaptation is crucial for the survival of this fungal pathogen in human host. In fact, reprogramming of the carbon metabolism is believed to be indispensable for phagocytosedC. glabratawithin glucose deprivation condition during infection. Methods In this study, the metabolic responses ofC. glabrataunder acetate growth condition was explored using high-throughput transcriptomic and proteomic approaches. Results Collectively, a total of 1482 transcripts (26.96%) and 242 proteins (24.69%) were significantly up- or down-regulated. Both transcriptome and proteome data revealed that the regulation of alternative carbon metabolism inC. glabrataresembled other fungal pathogens such asCandida albicansandCryptococcus neoformans, with up-regulation of many proteins and transcripts from the glyoxylate cycle and gluconeogenesis, namely isocitrate lyase (ICL1), malate synthase (MLS1), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1) and fructose 1,6-biphosphatase (FBP1). In the absence of glucose,C. glabratashifted its metabolism from glucose catabolism to anabolism of glucose intermediates from the available carbon source. This observation essentially suggests that the glyoxylate cycle and gluconeogenesis are potentially critical for the survival of phagocytosedC. glabratawithin the glucose-deficient macrophages. Conclusion Here, we presented the first global metabolic responses ofC. glabratato alternative carbon source using transcriptomic and proteomic approaches. These findings implicated that reprogramming of the alternative carbon metabolism during glucose deprivation could enhance the survival and persistence ofC. glabratawithin the host.
Published: 20 December 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-23; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00695-2
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new type of coronavirus that causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has been the most challenging pandemic in this century. Considering its high mortality and rapid spread, an effective vaccine is urgently needed to control this pandemic. As a result, the academia, industry, and government sectors are working tightly together to develop and test a variety of vaccines at an unprecedented pace. In this review, we outline the essential coronavirus biological characteristics that are important for vaccine design. In addition, we summarize key takeaways from previous vaccination studies of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), highlighting the pros and cons of each immunization strategy. Finally, based on these prior vaccination experiences, we discuss recent progress and potential challenges of COVID-19 vaccine development.
Published: 1 December 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-18; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00696-1
Background Dendritic spines, the actin-rich protrusions emerging from dendrites, are the subcellular locations of excitatory synapses in the mammalian brain. Many actin-regulating molecules modulate dendritic spine morphology. Since dendritic spines are neuron-specific structures, it is reasonable to speculate that neuron-specific or -predominant factors are involved in dendritic spine formation. KLHL17 (Kelch-like 17, also known as Actinfilin), an actin-binding protein, is predominantly expressed in brain. Human genetic study has indicated an association of KLHL17/Actinfilin with infantile spasms, a rare form of childhood epilepsy also resulting in autism and mental retardation, indicating that KLHL17/Actinfilin plays a role in neuronal function. However, it remains elusive if and how KLHL17/Actinfilin regulates neuronal development and brain function. Methods Fluorescent immunostaining and electrophysiological recording were performed to evaluate dendritic spine formation and activity in cultured hippocampal neurons. Knockdown and knockout of KLHL17/Actinfilin and expression of truncated fragments of KLHL17/Actinfilin were conducted to investigate the function of KLHL17/Actinfilin in neurons. Mouse behavioral assays were used to evaluate the role of KLHL17/Actinfilin in brain function. Results We found that KLHL17/Actinfilin tends to form circular puncta in dendritic spines and are surrounded by or adjacent to F-actin. Klhl17 deficiency impairs F-actin enrichment at dendritic spines. Knockdown and knockout of KLHL17/Actinfilin specifically impair dendritic spine enlargement, but not the density or length of dendritic spines. Both N-terminal Broad-Complex, Tramtrack and Bric-a-brac (BTB) domain and C-terminal Kelch domains of KLHL17/Actinfilin are required for F-actin remodeling and enrichment at dendritic spines, as well as dendritic spine enlargement. A reduction of postsynaptic and presynsptic markers at dendritic spines and altered mEPSC profiles due to Klhl17 deficiency evidence impaired synaptic activity in Klhl17-deficient neurons. Our behavioral assays further indicate that Klhl17 deficiency results in hyperactivity and reduced social interaction, strengthening evidence for the physiological role of KLHL17/Actinfilin. Conclusion Our findings provide evidence that KLHL17/Actinfilin modulates F-actin remodeling and contributes to regulation of neuronal morphogenesis, maturation and activity, which is likely relevant to behavioral impairment in Klhl17-deficient mice. Trial registration Non-applicable.
Published: 30 November 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-9; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00694-3
Background Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARG) belongs to the nuclear receptor superfamily functioning as transcription factors to regulate cellular differentiation, development and metabolism. Moreover, it has been implicated in the regulation of lipid metabolism, as well as the maturation of monocytes/macrophages and the control of inflammatory reactions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the Pro12Ala (rs1808212) PPARG gene polymorphism on immune molecular and cellular components in mothers and their offspring participating in the PREOBE study. Methods DNA from maternal venous blood samples at 24, 34 and 40 gestational weeks, plus cord blood samples was extracted. Pro12Ala PPARG polymorphism genotyping was performed, and immune system markers were analyzed by flow cytometry. Results Study findings revealed no effect of rs1808212 PPARG genotypes on innate immune parameters in mothers and their offspring; however, CD4 + /CD8 + ratio were decreased at 24 and 34 weeks in pregnant women carrying the CG (Pro12Ala) rs1808212 polymorphism, (p = 0,012 and p = 0,030; respectively). Only CD19 levels in peripheral blood were significantly higher at delivery in pregnant women carrying the CC (Pro12Pro) genotype (p ≤ 0.001). Moreover, there were statistically significant differences in leukocytes and neutrophils maternal levels at 34 weeks of gestation, being lower in carriers of Pro12Ala genotype (p = 0.028 and p = 0.031, respectively). Conclusions Results suggest that Pro12Ala PPARG polymorphism may have an effect on some cell and immune parameters in pregnant women during pregnancy and at time of delivery. However, newborn innate immune system does not seems to be influenced by PPARG Pro12Ala polymorphism in cord blood.
Published: 28 November 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00693-4
Background Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is widely prevalent in Taiwan, and high metastatic spread of ESCC leads to poor survival rate. Fibronectin (FN) assembly on the cell membrane may induce ESCC mobility. MicroRNAs (MiRNAs) are abundant in and participate in tumorigenesis in many cancers. However, the role of MiRNA in FN assembly-related ESCC mobility remains unexplored. Methods We divided ESCC CE81T cells into high-FN assembly (CE81FN+) and low-FN assembly (CE81FN−) groups by flow cytometry. MiRNA microarray analysis identified miR-146a expression as the most down-regulated miRNA in comparison of CE81FN+ and CE81FN− cells. Results Cell proliferation and migration were decreased when CE81FN+ cells overexpressed transgenic miR-146a compared to the parental cells, indicating an inverse correlation between low miR-146a expression and high proliferation as well as motility of FN assembly ESCC cells. Furthermore, vimentin is the target gene of miR-146a involved in ESCC tumorigenesis. MiR-146a suppressed cell proliferation, migration and invasion of CE81FN+ cells through the inhibition of vimentin expression, as confirmed by real-time PCR, Western blotting and Transwell™ assay. Analysis of one hundred and thirty-six paired ESCC patient specimens revealed that low miR-146a and high vimentin levels were frequently detected in tumor, and that the former was associated with late tumor stages (III and IV). Notably, either low miR-146a expression or high vimentin level was significantly associated with poor overall survival rate among ESCC patients. Conclusions This is the first report to link FN assembly in the cell membrane with miR-146a, vimentin and ESCC tumorigenesis both in vitro and in ESCC patients.
Published: 8 November 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-2; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00687-2
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.
Published: 8 November 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27
Published: 30 October 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-22; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00692-5
Background Global ischemia is the resulting effect of a cardiopulmonary arrest (CPA). Presently there is no effective treatment to address neurological deficits in patients who survived a CPA. Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor is a growth factor (G-CSF) with a plethora of beneficial effects, including neuroprotection. Clinical application of human G-CSF (hG-CSF) is limited due to its plasma half-life of 4 h. Therefore, novel approaches need to be investigated that would (1) enable prolonged manifestation of hG-CSF and (2) demonstrate G-CSF efficacy from studying the underlying protective mechanisms of hG-CSF. In our previous work, we used the self-complementary adeno-associated virus (stereotype2: scAAV2) as a vector to transfect the hG-CSF gene into the global ischemic brain of a mouse. As an extension of that work, we now seek to elucidate the protective mechanisms of hG-CSF gene therapy against endoplasmic reticulum induced stress, mitochondrial dynamics and autophagy in global ischemia. Method A single drop of either AAV-CMV-hG-CSF or AAV-CMV-GFP was dropped into the conjunctival sac of the Swiss Webster mouse’s left eye, 30–60 min after bilateral common artery occlusion (BCAO). The efficacy of the expressed hG-CSF gene product was analyzed by monitoring the expression levels of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER), mitochondrial dynamics and autophagic proteins over 4- and 7-days post-BCAO in vulnerable brain regions including the striatum, overlying cortex (frontal brain regions) and the hippocampus (middle brain regions). Statistical analysis was performed using mostly One-Way Analysis of variance (ANOVA), except for behavioral analysis, which used Repeated Measures Two-Way ANOVA, post hoc analysis was performed using the Tukey test. Results Several biomarkers that facilitated cellular death, including CHOP and GRP78 (ER stress) DRP1 (mitochondrial dynamics) and Beclin 1, p62 and LC3-ll (autophagy) were significantly downregulated by hG-CSF gene transfer. hG-CSF gene therapy also significantly upregulated antiapoptotic Bcl2 while downregulating pro-apoptotic Bax. The beneficial effects of hG-CSF gene therapy resulted in an overall improvement in functional behavior. Conclusion Taken together, this study has substantiated the approach of sustaining the protein expression of hG-CSF by eye drop administration of the hG-CSF gene. In addition, the study has validated the efficacy of using hG-CSF gene therapy against endoplasmic reticulum induced stress, mitochondrial dynamics and autophagy in global ischemia.
Published: 24 October 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00689-0
Post-translational modifications (PTMs) are crucial for the adaptation of various signalling pathways to ensure cellular homeostasis and proper adaptation to stress. PTM is a covalent addition of a small chemical functional group such as a phosphate group (phosphorylation), methyl group (methylation), or acetyl group (acetylation); lipids like hydrophobic isoprene polymers (isoprenylation); sugars such as a glycosyl group (glycosylation); or even small peptides such as ubiquitin (ubiquitination), SUMO (SUMOylation), NEDD8 (neddylation), etc. SUMO modification changes the function and/or fate of the protein especially under stress conditions, and the consequences of this conjugation can be appreciated from development to diverse disease processes. The impact of SUMOylation in disease has not been monotonous, rather SUMO is found playing a role on both sides of the coin either facilitating or impeding disease progression. Several recent studies have implicated SUMO proteins as key regulators in various cardiovascular disorders. The focus of this review is thus to summarize the current knowledge on the role of the SUMO family in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases.
Published: 22 October 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-6; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00691-6
Autophagy is a process in which a myriad membrane structures called autophagosomes are formed de novo in a single cell, which deliver the engulfed substrates into lysosomes for degradation. The size of the autophagosomes is relatively uniform in non-selective autophagy and variable in selective autophagy. It has been recently established that autophagosome formation occurs near the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In this review, we have discussed recent advances in the relationship between autophagosome formation and endoplasmic reticulum. Autophagosome formation occurs near the ER subdomain enriched with phospholipid synthesizing enzymes like phosphatidylinositol synthase (PIS)/CDP-diacylglycerol-inositol 3-phosphatidyltransferase (CDIPT) and choline/ethanolamine phosphotransferase 1 (CEPT1). Autophagy-related protein 2 (Atg2), which is involved in autophagosome formation has a lipid transfer capacity and is proposed to directly transfer the lipid molecules from the ER to form autophagosomes. Vacuole membrane protein 1 (VMP1) and transmembrane protein 41b (TMEM41b) are ER membrane proteins that are associated with the formation of the subdomain. Recently, we have reported that an uncharacterized ER membrane protein possessing the DNAJ domain, called ERdj8/DNAJC16, is associated with the regulation of the size of autophagosomes. The localization of ERdj8/DNAJC16 partially overlaps with the PIS-enriched ER subdomain, thereby implying its association with autophagosome size determination.
Published: 2 October 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-9; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00690-7
Background A lung transplant is the last resort treatment for many patients with advanced lung disease. The majority of donated lungs come from donors following brain death (BD). The endothelin axis is upregulated in the blood and lung of the donor after BD resulting in systemic inflammation, lung damage and poor lung graft outcomes in the recipient. Tezosentan (endothelin receptor blocker) improves the pulmonary haemodynamic profile; however, it induces adverse effects on other organs at high doses. Application of ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) allows the development of organ-specific hormone resuscitation, to maximise and optimise the donor pool. Therefore, we investigate whether the combination of EVLP and tezosentan administration could improve the quality of donor lungs in a clinically relevant 6-h ovine model of brain stem death (BSD). Methods After 6 h of BSD, lungs obtained from 12 sheep were divided into two groups, control and tezosentan-treated group, and cannulated for EVLP. The lungs were monitored for 6 h and lung perfusate and tissue samples were processed and analysed. Blood gas variables were measured in perfusate samples as well as total proteins and pro-inflammatory biomarkers, IL-6 and IL-8. Lung tissues were collected at the end of EVLP experiments for histology analysis and wet-dry weight ratio (a measure of oedema). Results Our results showed a significant improvement in gas exchange [elevated partial pressure of oxygen (P = 0.02) and reduced partial pressure of carbon dioxide (P = 0.03)] in tezosentan-treated lungs compared to controls. However, the lungs hematoxylin–eosin staining histology results showed minimum lung injuries and there was no difference between both control and tezosentan-treated lungs. Similarly, IL-6 and IL-8 levels in lung perfusate showed no difference between control and tezosentan-treated lungs throughout the EVLP. Histological and tissue analysis showed a non-significant reduction in wet/dry weight ratio in tezosentan-treated lung tissues (P = 0.09) when compared to control. Conclusions These data indicate that administration of tezosentan could improve pulmonary gas exchange during EVLP.
Published: 28 September 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-19; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00688-1
Due to a lack of specific or sensitive biomarkers, drug discovery advances have been limited for individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While current therapies provide symptomatic relief, inflammation itself is relatively neglected, despite the presence of chronic immune activation and innate immune system dysfunction. Moreover, considering the microgenderome concept, gender is a significant aetiological risk factor. We believe that we have pinpointed a “missing link” that connects gender, dysbiosis, diet, and inflammation in the context of IBS, which may be manipulated as therapeutic target. The trace aminergic system is conveniently positioned at the interface of the gut microbiome, dietary nutrients and by-products, and mucosal immunity. Almost all leukocyte populations express trace amine associated receptors and significant amounts of trace amines originate from both food and the gut microbiota. Additionally, although IBS-specific data are sparse, existing data supports an interpretation in favour of a gender dependence in trace aminergic signalling. As such, trace aminergic signalling may be altered by fluctuations of especially female reproductive hormones. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, this review discusses potential mechanisms of actions, which include hyperreactivity of the immune system and aberrant serotonin signalling, and links outcomes to the symptomology clinically prevalent in IBS. Taken together, it is feasible that the additional level of regulation by the trace aminergic system in IBS has been overlooked, until now. As such, we suggest that components of the trace aminergic system be considered targets for future therapeutic action, with the specific focus of reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
Published: 21 September 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-1; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00686-3
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.
Published: 9 September 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-16; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00684-5
The use of in silico strategies to develop the structural basis for a rational optimization of glycan-protein interactions remains a great challenge. This problem derives, in part, from the lack of technologies to quantitatively and qualitatively assess the complex assembling between a glycan and the targeted protein molecule. Since there is an unmet need for developing new sugar-targeted therapeutics, many investigators are searching for technology platforms to elucidate various types of molecular interactions within glycan-protein complexes and aid in the development of glycan-targeted therapies. Here we discuss three important technology platforms commonly used in the assessment of the complex assembly of glycosylated biomolecules, such as glycoproteins or glycosphingolipids: Biacore analysis, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics simulations. We will also discuss the structural investigation of glycosylated biomolecules, including conformational changes of glycans and their impact on molecular interactions within the glycan-protein complex. For glycoproteins, secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC), which is associated with various lung disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, will be taken as an example showing that the core fucosylation of N-glycan in SPARC regulates protein-binding affinity with extracellular matrix collagen. For glycosphingolipids (GSLs), Globo H ceramide, an important tumor-associated GSL which is being actively investigated as a target for new cancer immunotherapies, will be used to demonstrate how glycan structure plays a significant role in enhancing angiogenesis in tumor microenvironments.
Published: 4 September 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00682-7
The Taiwan Human Disease iPSC Service Consortium was established to accelerate Taiwan’s growing stem cell research initiatives and provide a platform for researchers interested in utilizing induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology. The consortium has generated and characterized 83 iPSC lines: 11 normal and 72 disease iPSC lines covering 21 different diseases, several of which are of high incidence in Taiwan. Whether there are any reprogramming-induced recurrent copy number variant (CNV) hotspots in iPSCs is still largely unknown. We performed genome-wide copy number variant screening of 83 Han Taiwanese iPSC lines and compared them with 1093 control subjects using an Affymetrix genome-wide human SNP array. In the iPSCs, we identified ten specific CNV loci and seven “polymorphic” CNV regions that are associated with the reprogramming process. Additionally, we established several differentiation protocols for our iPSC lines. We demonstrated that our iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes respond to pharmacological agents and were successfully engrafted into the mouse myocardium demonstrating their potential application in cell therapy. The CNV hotspots induced by cell reprogramming have successfully been identified in the current study. This finding may be used as a reference index for evaluating iPSC quality for future clinical applications. Our aim was to establish a national iPSC resource center generating iPSCs, made available to researchers, to benefit the stem cell community in Taiwan and throughout the world.
Published: 1 September 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-13; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00685-4
Preconditioning before bone marrow transplantation such as irradiation causes vascular endothelial cells damage and promoting the repair of damaged endothelial cells is beneficial for hematopoietic reconstitution. Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) regulates vascular permeability. However, PEDF’s role in the repair of damaged endothelial cells during preconditioning remains unclear. The purpose of our study is to investigate PEDF’s effect on preconditioning-induced damage of endothelial cells and hematopoietic reconstitution. Damaged endothelial cells induced by irradiation was co-cultured with hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) in the absence or presence of PEDF followed by analysis of HSC number, cell cycle, colony formation and differentiation. In addition, PEDF was injected into mice model of bone marrow transplantation followed by analysis of bone marrow injury, HSC number and peripheral hematopoietic reconstitution as well as the secretion of cytokines (SCF, TGF-β, IL-6 and TNF-α). Comparisons between two groups were performed by student t-test and multiple groups by one-way or two-way ANOVA. Damaged endothelial cells reduced HSC expansion and colony formation, induced HSC cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and promoted HSC differentiation as well as decreased PEDF expression. Addition of PEDF increased CD144 expression in damaged endothelial cells and inhibited the increase of endothelial permeability, which were abolished after addition of PEDF receptor inhibitor Atglistatin. Additionally, PEDF ameliorated the inhibitory effect of damaged endothelial cells on HSC expansion in vitro. Finally, PEDF accelerated hematopoietic reconstitution after bone marrow transplantation in mice and promoted the secretion of SCF, TGF-β and IL-6. PEDF inhibits the increased endothelial permeability induced by irradiation and reverse the inhibitory effect of injured endothelial cells on hematopoietic stem cells and promote hematopoietic reconstruction.
Published: 27 August 2020
Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 27, pp 1-18; doi:10.1186/s12929-020-00683-6
The probability of local tumor control after radiotherapy (RT) remains still miserably poor in pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). Thus, understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible of tumor relapse is essential to identify personalized RT-based strategies. Contrary to what has been done so far, a correct characterization of cellular radioresistance should be performed comparing radioresistant and radiosensitive cells with the same isogenic background. Clinically relevant radioresistant (RR) embryonal (RD) and alveolar (RH30) RMS cell lines have been developed by irradiating them with clinical-like hypo-fractionated schedule. RMS-RR cells were compared to parental isogenic counterpart (RMS-PR) and studied following the radiobiological concept of the “6Rs”, which stand for repair, redistribution, repopulation, reoxygenation, intrinsic radioresistance and radio-immuno-biology. RMS-RR cell lines, characterized by a more aggressive and in vitro pro-metastatic phenotype, showed a higher ability to i) detoxify from reactive oxygen species; ii) repair DNA damage by differently activating non-homologous end joining and homologous recombination pathways; iii) counteract RT-induced G2/M cell cycle arrest by re-starting growth and repopulating after irradiation; iv) express cancer stem-like profile. Bioinformatic analyses, performed to assess the role of 41 cytokines after RT exposure and their network interactions, suggested TGF-β, MIF, CCL2, CXCL5, CXCL8 and CXCL12 as master regulators of cancer immune escape in RMS tumors. These results suggest that RMS could sustain intrinsic and acquire radioresistance by different mechanisms and indicate potential targets for future combined radiosensitizing strategies.