International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ISSN / EISSN : 14220067 / 14220067
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 21,905
Google Scholar h5-index: 104
Latest articles in this journal
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225643
Abstract:The history of “mitochondrial pathologies”, namely genetic pathologies affecting mitochondrial metabolism because of mutations in nuclear DNA-encoded genes for proteins active inside mitochondria or mutations in mitochondrial DNA-encoded genes, began in 1988. In that year, two different groups of researchers discovered, respectively, large-scale single deletions of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in muscle biopsies from patients with “mitochondrial myopathies” and a point mutation in the mtDNA gene for subunit 4 of NADH dehydrogenase (MTND4), associated with maternally inherited Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). Henceforth, a novel conceptual “mitochondrial genetics”, separate from mendelian genetics, arose, based on three features of mtDNA: (1) polyplasmy; (2) maternal inheritance; and (3) mitotic segregation. Diagnosis of mtDNA-related diseases became possible through genetic analysis and experimental approaches involving histochemical staining of muscle or brain sections, single-fiber polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of mtDNA, and the creation of patient-derived “cybrid” (cytoplasmic hybrid) immortal fibroblast cell lines. The availability of the above-mentioned techniques along with the novel sensitivity of clinicians to such disorders led to the characterization of a constantly growing number of pathologies. Here is traced a brief historical perspective on the discovery of autonomous pathogenic mtDNA mutations and on the related mendelian pathology altering mtDNA integrity.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225645
Abstract:The discovery of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) dates back to 1948, when Mandel and Metais found it in the sera of cancer patients
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225646
Abstract:Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease hallmarked by progressive and irreversible joint destruction. RA pathogenesis is a T cell-regulated and B cell-mediated process in which activated lymphocyte-produced chemokines and cytokines promote leukocyte infiltration that ultimately leads to destruction of the joints. There is an obvious need to discover new drugs for RA treatment that have different biological targets or modes of action than the currently employed therapeutics. Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, certain diet components, and oral pathogens can significantly affect gene regulation via epigenetic factors. Epigenetics opened a new field for pharmacology, and DNA methylation and histone modification-implicated factors are feasible targets for RA therapy. Exploring RA pathogenesis involved epigenetic factors and mechanisms is crucial for developing more efficient RA therapies. Here we review epigenetic alterations associated with RA pathogenesis including DNA methylation and interacting factors. Additionally, we will summarize the literature revealing the involved molecular structures and interactions. Finally, potential epigenetic factor-based therapies will be discussed that may help in better management of RA in the future.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225649
Abstract:Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a disabling neurodegenerative disease that manifests with resting tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity and postural instability. Since the discovery of microRNAs (miRNAs) in 1993, miRNAs have been shown to be important biological molecules involved in diverse processes to maintain normal cellular functions. Over the past decade, many studies have reported dysregulation of miRNA expressions in PD. Here, we identified 15 miRNAs from 34 reported screening studies that demonstrated dysregulation in the brain and/or neuronal models, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood. Specific miRNAs-of-interest that have been implicated in PD pathogenesis include miR-30, miR-29, let-7, miR-485 and miR-26. However, there are several challenges and limitations in drawing definitive conclusions due to the small sample size in clinical studies, varied laboratory techniques and methodologies and their incomplete penetrance of the blood–brain barrier. Developing an optimal delivery system and unravelling druggable targets of miRNAs in both experimental and human models and clinical validation of the results may pave way for novel therapeutics in PD.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225650
Abstract:We have developed an automated device for the measurement of oxygen consumption rate (OCR) called Chip-sensing Embryo Respiratory Measurement system (CERMs). To verify the safety and the significance of the OCR measurement by CERMs, we conducted comprehensive tests using a mouse model prior to clinical trials in a human in vitro fertilization (IVF) program. Embryo transfer revealed that the OCR measured by CERMs did not compromise the full-term development of mice or their future fertility, and was positively correlated with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), thereby indirectly reflecting mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) activity. We demonstrated that the OCR is independent of embryo morphology (the size) and number of mitochondria (mitochondrial DNA copy number). The OCR correlated with the total cell numbers, whereas the inner cell mass (ICM) cell numbers and the fetal developmental rate were not. Thus, the OCR may serve as an indicator of the numbers of trophectoderm (TE) cells, rather than number or quality of ICM cells. However, implantation ability was neither correlated with the OCR, nor the embryo size in this model. This can probably be attributed to the limitation that chimeric embryos contain non-physiological high TE cells counts that are beneficial for implantation. CERMs can be safely employed in clinical IVF owing to it being a safe, highly effective, non-invasive, accurate, and quantitative tool for OCR measurement. Utilization of CERMs for clinical testing of human embryos would provide further insights into the nature of oxidative metabolism and embryonic viability.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225651
Abstract:Maternal genes play an important role in the early embryonic development of the silkworm. Early embryonic development without new transcription depends on maternal components stored in the egg during oocyte maturation. The maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT) is a tightly regulated process that includes maternal mRNAs elimination and zygotic transcription initiation. This process has been extensively studied within model species. Each model organism has a unique pattern of maternal transcriptional clearance classes in MZT. In this study, we identified 66 maternal genes through bioinformatics analysis and expression analysis in the eggs of silkworm virgin moths (Bombyx mori). All 66 maternal genes were expressed in vitellogenesis in day eight female pupae. During MZT, the degradation of maternal gene mRNAs could be divided into three clusters. We found that eight maternal genes of cluster 1 remained stable from 0 to 3.0 h, 17 maternal genes of cluster 2 were significantly decayed from 0.5 to 1.0 h and 41 maternal genes of cluster 3 were significantly decayed after 1.5 h. Therefore, the initial time-point of degradation of cluster 2 was earlier than that of cluster 3. The maternal gene mRNAs decay of clusters 2 and 3 is first initiated by maternal degradation activity. Our study expands upon the identification of silkworm maternal genes and provides a perspective for further research of the embryo development in Bombyx mori.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225648
Abstract:The use of nanoparticles, in combination with ionizing radiation, is considered a promising method to improve the performance of radiation therapies. In this work, we engineered mono- and bimetallic core-shell gold–platinum nanoparticles (NPs) grafted with poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG). Their radio-enhancing properties were investigated using plasmids as bio-nanomolecular probes and gamma radiation. We found that the presence of bimetallic Au:Pt-PEG NPs increased by 90% the induction of double-strand breaks, the signature of nanosize biodamage, and the most difficult cell lesion to repair. The radio-enhancement of Au:Pt-PEG NPs were found three times higher than that of Au-PEG NPs. This effect was scavenged by 80% in the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide, demonstrating the major role of hydroxyl radicals in the damage induction. Geant4-DNA Monte Carlo simulations were used to elucidate the physical processes involved in the radio-enhancement. We predicted enhancement factors of 40% and 45% for the induction of nanosize damage, respectively, for mono- and bimetallic nanoparticles, which is attributed to secondary electron impact processes. This work contributed to a better understanding of the interplay between energy deposition and the induction of nanosize biomolecular damage, being Monte Carlo simulations a simple method to guide the synthesis of new radio-enhancing agents.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225647
Abstract:Actin-depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilins accelerate actin turnover by severing aged actin filaments and promoting the dissociation of actin subunits. In the cell, ADF/cofilins are assisted by other proteins, among which cyclase-associated proteins 1 and 2 (CAP1,2) are particularly important. The N-terminal half of CAP has been shown to promote actin filament dynamics by enhancing ADF-/cofilin-mediated actin severing, while the central and C-terminal domains are involved in recharging the depolymerized ADP–G-actin/cofilin complexes with ATP and profilin. We analyzed the ability of the N-terminal fragments of human CAP1 and CAP2 to assist human isoforms of “muscle” (CFL2) and “non-muscle” (CFL1) cofilins in accelerating actin dynamics. By conducting bulk actin depolymerization assays and monitoring single-filament severing by total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, we found that the N-terminal domains of both isoforms enhanced cofilin-mediated severing and depolymerization at similar rates. According to our analytical sedimentation and native mass spectrometry data, the N-terminal recombinant fragments of both human CAP isoforms form tetramers. Replacement of the original oligomerization domain of CAPs with artificial coiled-coil sequences of known oligomerization patterns showed that the activity of the proteins is directly proportional to the stoichiometry of their oligomerization; i.e., tetramers and trimers are more potent than dimers, which are more effective than monomers. Along with higher binding affinities of the higher-order oligomers to actin, this observation suggests that the mechanism of actin severing and depolymerization involves simultaneous or consequent and coordinated binding of more than one N-CAP domain to F-actin/cofilin complexes.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225653
Abstract:Breast cancer is the current leading cause of cancer death in females worldwide. Although current chemotherapeutic drugs effectively reduce the progression of breast cancer, most of these drugs have many unwanted side effects. Salvianolic acid B (Sal-B) is a bioactive compound isolated from the root of Danshen Radix with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Since free radicals play a key role in the initiation and progression of tumor cells growth and enhance their metastatic potential, the current study was designed to investigate the antitumor activity of Sal-B and compare it with the antitumor activity of the traditional anticancer drug, cisplatin. In vitro, Sal-B decreased the human breast cancer adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) cells proliferation in a concentration and time dependent manner. In vivo and similar to cisplatin treatment, Sal-B significantly reduced tumor volume and increased the median survival when compared to tumor positive control mice group injected with Ehrlich solid carcinoma cell line (ESC). Sal-B decreased plasma level of malondialdehyde as a marker of oxidative stress and increased plasma level of reduced glutathione (GSH) as a marker of antioxidant defense when compared to control ESC injected mice. Either Sal-B or cisplatin treatment decreased tumor tissue levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8), and Cyclin D1 in ESC treated mice. Contrary to cisplatin treatment, Sal-B did not decrease tumor tissue Ki-67 protein in ESC injected mice. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that Sal-B or cisplatin treatment increased the expression of the apoptotic markers caspase-3 and P53. Although Sal-B or cisplatin significantly reduced the expression of the angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in ESC injected mice, only Sal-B reduced expression level of COX-2 in ESC injected mice. Our data suggest that Sal-B exhibits antitumor features against breast cancer cells possibly via enhancing apoptosis and reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and angiogenesis.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20225654
Abstract:Sirtuins, a family of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)-dependent lysine deacetylases, are promising targets for anticancer treatment. Recently, we characterized a novel pan-sirtuin (SIRT) inhibitor, MC2494, displaying antiproliferative effects and able to induce death pathways in several human cancer cell lines and decrease tumor growth in vivo. Based on the chemical scaffold of MC2494, and by applying a structure–activity relationship approach, we developed a small library of derivative compounds and extensively analyzed their enzymatic action at cellular level as well as their ability to induce cell death. We also investigated the effect of MC2494 on regulation of cell cycle progression in different cancer cell lines. Our investigations indicated that chemical substitutions applied to MC2494 scaffold did not confer higher efficacy in terms of biological activity and SIRT1 inhibition, but carbethoxy-containing derivatives showed higher SIRT2 specificity. The carbethoxy derivative of MC2494 and its 2-methyl analog displayed the strongest enzymatic activity. Applied chemical modifications improved the enzymatic selectivity of these SIRT inhibitors. Additionally, the observed activity of MC2494 via cell cycle and apoptotic regulation and inhibition of cell migration supports the potential role of SIRTs as targets in tumorigenesis and makes SIRT-targeting molecules good candidates for novel pharmacological approaches in personalized medicine.