International Journal of Molecular Sciences

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ISSN / EISSN : 1422-0067 / 1422-0067
Current Publisher: MDPI AG (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 37,427
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International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094988

Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) typically act as transporters of odor molecules and play an important role in insect host location. Here, we identified an OBP in brown planthopper (BPH) Nilaparvata lugens salivary glands via transcriptome sequencing. Real-time quantitative PCR and Western blotting analysis results showed that NlugOBP11 was highly expressed in salivary glands and secreted into rice plant during feeding, suggesting that it assists in BPH feeding on rice. Functional analysis in N. lugens saliva revealed that silencing this gene by RNA interference decreased the BPH stylet performance in the phloem of rice plants, reduced sap sucking, and ultimately led to insect death. Moreover, overexpression of NlugOBP11 in rice protoplasts or Nicotiana benthamiana leaves inhibited the production of defense-related signaling molecule salicylic acid in rice plant. The results demonstrate that NlugOBP11 is not only essential for BPH feeding, but also acts as an effector that inhibits plant defense.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094989

Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) belong to the superfamily of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The family of mAChRs is composed of five subtypes, M1, M2, M3, M4 and M5, which have distinct expression patterns and functions. In the eye and its adnexa, mAChRs are widely expressed and exert multiple functions, such as modulation of tear secretion, regulation of pupil size, modulation of intraocular pressure, participation in cell-to-cell signaling and modula-tion of vascular diameter in the retina. Due to this variety of functions, it is reasonable to assume that abnormalities in mAChR signaling may contribute to the development of various ocular diseases. On the other hand, mAChRs may offer an attractive therapeutic target to treat ocular diseases. Thus far, non-subtype-selective mAChR ligands have been used in ophthalmology to treat dry eye disease, myopia and glaucoma. However, these drugs were shown to cause various side-effects. Thus, the use of subtype-selective ligands would be useful to circumvent this problem. In this review, we give an overview on the localization and on the functional role of mAChR subtypes in the eye and its adnexa with a special focus on the retina. Moreover, we describe the pathophysiological role of mAChRs in retinal diseases and discuss potential therapeutic approaches.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094950

Previous studies suggest that statins may disturb skeletal muscle lipid metabolism potentially causing lipotoxicity with insulin resistance. We investigated this possibility in wild-type mice (WT) and mice with skeletal muscle PGC-1α overexpression (PGC-1α OE mice). In WT mice, simvastatin had only minor effects on skeletal muscle lipid metabolism but reduced glucose uptake, indicating impaired insulin sensitivity. Muscle PGC-1α overexpression caused lipid droplet accumulation in skeletal muscle with increased expression of the fatty acid transporter CD36, fatty acid binding protein 4, perilipin 5 and CPT1b but without significant impairment of muscle glucose uptake. Simvastatin further increased the lipid droplet accumulation in PGC-1α OE mice and stimulated muscle glucose uptake. In conclusion, the impaired muscle glucose uptake in WT mice treated with simvastatin cannot be explained by lipotoxicity. PGC-1α OE mice are protected from lipotoxicity of fatty acids and triglycerides by increased the expression of FABP4, formation of lipid droplets and increased expression of CPT1b.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094951

Diagnostic evaluation of specific antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is mainly based on spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins. Despite the critical functions in virus infection and contribution to the pattern of immunodominance in COVID-19, exploitation of the most abundant membrane (M) protein in the SARS-CoV-2 serology tests is minimal. This study investigated the recombinant M protein’s immunoreactivity with the sera from COVID-19 convalescents. In silico designed protein was created from the outer N-terminal part (19 aa) and internal C-terminal tail (101–222 aa) of the M protein (YP_009724393.1) and was recombinantly produced and purified. The designed M protein (16,498.74 Da, pI 8.79) revealed both IgM and IgG reactivity with serum samples from COVID-19 convalescents in Western blot. In ELISA, more than 93% (28/30) of COVID-19 sera were positive for IgM detection, and more than 96% (29/30) were positive for specific IgG detection to M protein. Based on the capacity to provoke an immune response and its strong antigenic properties, as shown here, and the fact that it is also involved in the virion entry into host cells, the M protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as a good antigen has the potential in diagnostic purposes and vaccine design.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094958

Brain small vessel disease (SVD) refers to a variety of structural and functional changes affecting small arteries and micro vessels, and manifesting as white matter changes, microbleeds and lacunar infarcts. Growing evidence indicates that SVD might play a significant role in the neurobiology of central nervous system (CNS) neurodegenerative disorders, namely Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD), and neuroinflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). These disorders share different pathophysiological pathways and molecular mechanisms (i.e., protein misfolding, derangement of cellular clearance systems, mitochondrial impairment and immune system activation) having neurodegeneration as biological outcome. In these diseases, the actual contribution of SVD to the clinical picture, and its impact on response to pharmacological treatments, is not known yet. Due to the high frequency of SVD in adult-aged patients, it is important to address this issue. In this review, we report preclinical and clinical data on the impact of SVD in AD, PD and MS, with the main aim of clarifying the predictability of SVD on clinical manifestations and treatment response.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094977

The widespread use of glyphosate as a herbicide in agriculture can lead to the presence of its residues and metabolites in food for human consumption and thus pose a threat to human health. It has been found that glyphosate reduces energy metabolism in the brain, its amount increases in white muscle fibers. At the same time, the effect of chronic use of glyphosate on the dynamic properties of skeletal muscles remains practically unexplored. The selected biomechanical parameters (the integrated power of muscle contraction, the time of reaching the muscle contraction force its maximum value and the reduction of the force response by 50% and 25% of the initial values during stimulation) of muscle soleus contraction in rats, as well as blood biochemical parameters (the levels of creatinine, creatine phosphokinase, lactate, lactate dehydrogenase, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, hydrogen peroxide, reduced glutathione and catalase) were analyzed after chronic glyphosate intoxication (oral administration at a dose of 10 μg/kg of animal weight) for 30 days. Water-soluble C60 fullerene, as a poweful antioxidant, was used as a therapeutic nanoagent throughout the entire period of intoxication with the above herbicide (oral administration at doses of 0.5 or 1 mg/kg). The data obtained show that the introduction of C60 fullerene at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg reduces the degree of pathological changes by 40–45%. Increasing the dose of C60 fullerene to 1 mg/kg increases the therapeutic effect by 55–65%, normalizing the studied biomechanical and biochemical parameters. Thus, C60 fullerenes can be effective nanotherapeutics in the treatment of glyphosate-based herbicide poisoning.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094970

Pancreatic fibrosis is caused by the excessive deposits of extracellular matrix (ECM) and collagen fibers during repeated necrosis to repair damaged pancreatic tissue. Pancreatic fibrosis is frequently present in chronic pancreatitis (CP) and pancreatic cancer (PC). Clinically, pancreatic fibrosis is a pathological feature of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. However, many new studies have found that pancreatic fibrosis is involved in the transformation from pancreatitis to pancreatic cancer. Thus, the role of fibrosis in the crosstalk between pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer is critical and still elusive; therefore, it deserves more attention. Here, we review the development of pancreatic fibrosis in inflammation and cancer, and we discuss the therapeutic strategies for alleviating pancreatic fibrosis. We further propose that cellular stress response might be a key driver that links fibrosis to cancer initiation and progression. Therefore, targeting stress proteins, such as nuclear protein 1 (NUPR1), could be an interesting strategy for pancreatic fibrosis and PC treatment.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094959

DNA replication timing (RT), reflecting the temporal order of origin activation, is known as a robust and conserved cell-type specific process. Upon low replication stress, the slowing of replication forks induces well-documented RT delays associated to genetic instability, but it can also generate RT advances that are still uncharacterized. In order to characterize these advanced initiation events, we monitored the whole genome RT from six independent human cell lines treated with low doses of aphidicolin. We report that RT advances are cell-type-specific and involve large heterochromatin domains. Importantly, we found that some major late to early RT advances can be inherited by the unstressed next-cellular generation, which is a unique process that correlates with enhanced chromatin accessibility, as well as modified replication origin landscape and gene expression in daughter cells. Collectively, this work highlights how low replication stress may impact cellular identity by RT advances events at a subset of chromosomal domains.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094960

Heterotypic interactions between newly transformed cells and normal surrounding cells define tumor’s fate in incipient carcinomas. Once homeostasis has been lost, normal resident fibroblasts become carcinoma-associated fibroblasts, conferring protumorogenic properties on these normal cells. Here we describe the IL1β-mediated interplay between cancer cells and normal colonic myofibroblasts (NCFs), which bestows differential sensitivity to cytotoxic drugs on tumor cells. We used NCFs, their conditioned media (CM), and cocultures with tumor cells to characterize the IL1β-mediated crosstalk between both cell types. We silenced IL1β in tumor cells to demonstrate that such cells do not exert an influence on NCFs inflammatory phenotype. Our results shows that IL1β is overexpressed in cocultured tumor cells. IL1β enables paracrine signaling in myofibroblasts, converting them into inflammatory-CAFs (iCAF). IL1β-stimulated-NCF-CM induces migration and differential sensitivity to oxaliplatin in colorectal tumor cells. Such chemoprotective effect has not been evidenced for TGFβ1-driven NCFs. IL1β induces the loss of a myofibroblastic phenotype in NCFs and acquisition of iCAF traits. In conclusion, IL1β-secreted by cancer cells modify surrounding normal fibroblasts to confer protumorogenic features on them, particularly tolerance to cytotoxic drugs. The use of IL1β-blocking agents might help to avoid the iCAF traits acquisition and consequently to counteract the protumorogenic actions these cells.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22094964

Glioblastomas (GBM)—the most common, therapy-resistant, and lethal tumors driven by populations of glioma stem cells (GSCs) are still on the list of the most complicated pathologies. Thus, deeper understanding and characterization of GSCs is indispensable to find suitable targets and develop more effective therapies. In the present study, we applied native glioblastoma cells and GSCs sequencing, screened for GSC-specific targets and checked if the signature is related to GBM patient pathological, clinical data as well as molecular subtypes applying TCGA cohort. Data analysis revealed that tumors of proneural and mesenchymal subtypes are branching in separate clusters based on screened gene expression. Samples of the same subtype revealed significantly different patient survival prognosis as well as recurrence chance between the clusters. Recently, different subpopulations of mesenchymal GSC demonstrating different properties were shown, which indicates possible internal heterogeneity of GBM subtypes as well. Current findings also revealed branching of molecular GBM subtypes that were significantly linked to patient outcome and that might be decided by distinct GSC subpopulations.
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