International Journal of Molecular Sciences

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ISSN / EISSN : 14220067 / 14220067
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 20,846
Google Scholar h5-index: 104
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Latest articles in this journal

Fumika Mi-Ichi, Hiroki Yoshida
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194679

Abstract:Sulfur metabolism is essential for all living organisms. Recently, unique features of the Entamoeba metabolic pathway for sulfated biomolecules have been described. Entamoeba is a genus in the phylum Amoebozoa and includes the causative agent for amoebiasis, a global public health problem. This review gives an overview of the general features of the synthesis and degradation of sulfated biomolecules, and then highlights the characteristics that are unique to Entamoeba. Future biological and pharmaceutical perspectives are also discussed.
Yu Mizuno, Takeshi Yamamotoya, Yusuke Nakatsu, Koji Ueda, Yasuka Matsunaga, Masa-Ki Inoue, Hideyuki Sakoda, Midori Fujishiro, Hiraku Ono, Takako Kikuchi, et al.
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194680

Abstract:Hyperuricemia has been recognized as a risk factor for insulin resistance as well as one of the factors leading to diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Since DKD is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease, we investigated whether febuxostat, a xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibitor, exerts a protective effect against the development of DKD. We used KK-Ay mice, an established obese diabetic rodent model. Eight-week-old KK-Ay mice were provided drinking water with or without febuxostat (15 μg/mL) for 12 weeks and then subjected to experimentation. Urine albumin secretion and degrees of glomerular injury judged by microscopic observations were markedly higher in KK-Ay than in control lean mice. These elevations were significantly normalized by febuxostat treatment. On the other hand, body weights and high serum glucose concentrations and glycated albumin levels of KK-Ay mice were not affected by febuxostat treatment, despite glucose tolerance and insulin tolerance tests having revealed febuxostat significantly improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Interestingly, the IL-1β, IL-6, MCP-1, and ICAM-1 mRNA levels, which were increased in KK-Ay mouse kidneys as compared with normal controls, were suppressed by febuxostat administration. These data indicate a protective effect of XO inhibitors against the development of DKD, and the underlying mechanism likely involves inflammation suppression which is independent of hyperglycemia amelioration.
Lloyd Wahl, Jessica Watt, Hiu Yim, Danielle De Bourcier, James Tolchard, Surinder Soond, Tharin Blumenschein, Andrew Chantry
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194682

Abstract:WWP2 is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that differentially regulates the contextual tumour suppressor/progressor TGFβ signalling pathway by alternate isoform expression. WWP2 isoforms select signal transducer Smad2/3 or inhibitor Smad7 substrates for degradation through different compositions of protein–protein interaction WW domains. The WW4 domain-containing WWP2-C induces Smad7 turnover in vivo and positively regulates the metastatic epithelial–mesenchymal transition programme. This activity and the overexpression of these isoforms in human cancers make them candidates for therapeutic intervention. Here, we use NMR spectroscopy to solve the solution structure of the WWP2 WW4 domain and observe the binding characteristics of Smad7 substrate peptide. We also reveal that WW4 has an enhanced affinity for a Smad7 peptide phosphorylated at serine 206 adjacent to the PPxY motif. Using the same approach, we show that the WW3 domain also binds Smad7 and has significantly enhanced Smad7 binding affinity when expressed in tandem with the WW4 domain. Furthermore, and relevant to these biophysical findings, we present evidence for a novel WWP2 isoform (WWP2C-ΔHECT) comprising WW3–WW4 tandem domains and a truncated HECT domain that can inhibit TGFβ signalling pathway activity, providing a further layer of complexity and feedback to the WWP2 regulatory apparatus. Collectively, our data reveal a structural platform for Smad substrate selection by WWP2 isoform WW domains that may be significant in the context of WWP2 isoform switching linked to tumorigenesis.
Jara Parrilla-Doblas, Teresa Roldán-Arjona, Rafael Ariza, Dolores Córdoba-Cañero
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194683

Abstract:Methylation of cytosine (5-meC) is a critical epigenetic modification in many eukaryotes, and genomic DNA methylation landscapes are dynamically regulated by opposed methylation and demethylation processes. Plants are unique in possessing a mechanism for active DNA demethylation involving DNA glycosylases that excise 5-meC and initiate its replacement with unmodified C through a base excision repair (BER) pathway. Plant BER-mediated DNA demethylation is a complex process involving numerous proteins, as well as additional regulatory factors that avoid accumulation of potentially harmful intermediates and coordinate demethylation and methylation to maintain balanced yet flexible DNA methylation patterns. Active DNA demethylation counteracts excessive methylation at transposable elements (TEs), mainly in euchromatic regions, and one of its major functions is to avoid methylation spreading to nearby genes. It is also involved in transcriptional activation of TEs and TE-derived sequences in companion cells of male and female gametophytes, which reinforces transposon silencing in gametes and also contributes to gene imprinting in the endosperm. Plant 5-meC DNA glycosylases are additionally involved in many other physiological processes, including seed development and germination, fruit ripening, and plant responses to a variety of biotic and abiotic environmental stimuli.
Juan Fernández-Martínez, Enrique De Andrés-Galiana, Francisco Fernández-Ovies, Ana Cernea, Andrzej Kloczkowski
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194681

Abstract:We present the analysis of defective pathways in multiple myeloma (MM) using two recently developed sampling algorithms of the biological pathways: The Fisher’s ratio sampler, and the holdout sampler. We performed the retrospective analyses of different gene expression datasets concerning different aspects of the disease, such as the existing difference between bone marrow stromal cells in MM and healthy controls (HC), the gene expression profiling of CD34+ cells in MM and HC, the difference between hyperdiploid and non-hyperdiploid myelomas, and the prediction of the chromosome 13 deletion, to provide a deeper insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the disease. Our analysis has shown the importance of different altered pathways related to glycosylation, infectious disease, immune system response, different aspects of metabolism, DNA repair, protein recycling and regulation of the transcription of genes involved in the differentiation of myeloid cells. The main difference in genetic pathways between hyperdiploid and non-hyperdiploid myelomas are related to infectious disease, immune system response and protein recycling. Our work provides new insights on the genetic pathways involved in this complex disease and proposes novel targets for future therapies.
Nils Ludwig, Theresa Whiteside, Torsten Reichert
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194684

Abstract:A growing body of evidence emphasizes the important role exosomes in different physiological and pathological conditions. Exosomes, virus-size extracellular vesicles (EVs), carry a complex molecular cargo, which is actively processed in the endocytic compartment of parental cells. Exosomes carry and deliver this cargo to recipient cells, serving as an intercellular communication system. The methods for recovery of exosomes from supernatants of cell lines or body fluids are not uniformly established. Yet, studies of the quality and quantity of exosome cargos underlie the concept of “liquid biopsy.” Exosomes are emerging as a potentially useful diagnostic tool and a predictor of disease progression, response to therapy and overall survival. Although many novel approaches to exosome isolation and analysis of their cargos have been introduced, the role of exosomes as diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers of disease remains unconfirmed. This review considers existing challenges to exosome validation as disease biomarkers. Focusing on advantages and limitations of methods for exosome isolation and characterization, approaches are proposed to facilitate further progress in the development of exosomes as biomarkers in human disease.
Jenia Zadeh, Andreas Garcia-Bardon, Erik Hartmann, Norbert Pfeiffer, Wael Omran, Marion Ludwig, Andreas Patzak, Ning Xia, Huige Li, Adrian Gericke
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194685

Abstract:Visual impairment and blindness are often caused by retinal ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. We aimed to characterize a new model of I/R in pigs, in which the intraocular pathways were not manipulated by invasive methods on the ocular system. After 12 min of ischemia followed by 20 h of reperfusion, reactivity of retinal arterioles was measured in vitro by video microscopy. Dihydroethidium (DHE) staining, qPCR, immunohistochemistry, quantification of neurons in the retinal ganglion cell layer, and histological examination was performed. Retinal arterioles of I/R-treated pigs displayed marked attenuation in response to the endothelium-dependent vasodilator, bradykinin, compared to sham-treated pigs. DHE staining intensity and messenger RNA levels for HIF-1α, VEGF-A, NOX2, and iNOS were elevated in retinal arterioles following I/R. Immunoreactivity to HIF-1α, VEGF-A, NOX2, and iNOS was enhanced in retinal arteriole endothelium after I/R. Moreover, I/R evoked a substantial decrease in Brn3a-positive retinal ganglion cells and noticeable retinal thickening. In conclusion, the results of the present study demonstrate that short-time ocular ischemia impairs endothelial function and integrity of retinal blood vessels and induces structural changes in the retina. HIF-1α, VEGF-A, iNOS, and NOX2-derived reactive oxygen species appear to be involved in the pathophysiology.
Michal Cibulka, Maria Brodnanova, Marian Grendar, Milan Grofik, Egon Kurca, Ivana Pilchova, Oto Osina, Zuzana Tatarkova, Dusan Dobrota, Martin Kolisek
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194688

Abstract:Gene SLC41A1 (A1) is localized within Parkinson’s disease-(PD)-susceptibility locus PARK16 and encodes for the Na+/Mg2+-exchanger. The association of several A1 SNPs with PD has been studied. Two, rs11240569 and rs823156, have been associated with reduced PD-susceptibility primarily in Asian populations. Here, we examined the association of rs11240569, rs708727, and rs823156 with PD in the Slovak population and their power to discriminate between PD patients and healthy controls. The study included 150 PD patients and 120 controls. Genotyping was performed with the TaqMan® approach. Data were analyzed by conventional statistics and Random Forest machine-learning (ML) algorithm. Individually, none of the three SNPs is associated with an altered risk for PD-onset in Slovaks. However, a combination of genotypes of SNP-triplet GG(rs11240569)/AG(rs708727)/AA(rs823156) is significantly (p < 0.05) more frequent in the PD (13.3%) than in the control (5%) cohort. ML identified the power of the tested SNPs in isolation or of their singlets (joined), duplets and triplets to discriminate between PD-patients and healthy controls as zero. Our data further substantiate differences between diverse populations regarding the association of A1 polymorphisms with PD-susceptibility. Lack of power of the tested SNPs to discriminate between PD and healthy cases render their clinical/diagnostic relevance in the Slovak population negligible.
José Colmenero-Flores, Juan Franco-Navarro, Paloma Cubero-Font, Procopio Peinado-Torrubia, Miguel Rosales
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194686

Abstract:Chloride (Cl−) has traditionally been considered a micronutrient largely excluded by plants due to its ubiquity and abundance in nature, its antagonism with nitrate (NO3−), and its toxicity when accumulated at high concentrations. In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in this regard since Cl− has gone from being considered a harmful ion, accidentally absorbed through NO3− transporters, to being considered a beneficial macronutrient whose transport is finely regulated by plants. As a beneficial macronutrient, Cl− determines increased fresh and dry biomass, greater leaf expansion, increased elongation of leaf and root cells, improved water relations, higher mesophyll diffusion to CO2, and better water- and nitrogen-use efficiency. While optimal growth of plants requires the synchronic supply of both Cl− and NO3− molecules, the NO3−/Cl− plant selectivity varies between species and varieties, and in the same plant it can be modified by environmental cues such as water deficit or salinity. Recently, new genes encoding transporters mediating Cl− influx (ZmNPF6.4 and ZmNPF6.6), Cl− efflux (AtSLAH3 and AtSLAH1), and Cl− compartmentalization (AtDTX33, AtDTX35, AtALMT4, and GsCLC2) have been identified and characterized. These transporters have proven to be highly relevant for nutrition, long-distance transport and compartmentalization of Cl−, as well as for cell turgor regulation and stress tolerance in plants.
Matthew Kelly, Kimihiro Igari, Dai Yamanouchi
Published: 21 September 2019
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194689

Abstract:Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is among the top 20 causes of death in the United States. Surgical repair is the gold standard for AAA treatment, therefore, there is a need for non-invasive therapeutic interventions. Aneurysms are more closely associated with the osteoclast-like catabolic degradation of the artery, rather than the osteoblast-like anabolic processes of arterial calcification. We have reported the presence of osteoclast-like cells (OLCs) in human and mouse aneurysmal tissues. The aim of this study was to examine OLCs from aneurysmal tissues as a source of degenerative proteases. Aneurysmal and control tissues from humans, and from the mouse CaPO4 and angiotensin II (AngII) disease models, were analyzed via flow cytometry and immunofluorescence for the expression of osteoclast markers. We found higher expression of the osteoclast markers tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and cathepsin K, and the signaling molecule, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), in aneurysmal tissue compared to controls. Aneurysmal tissues also contained more OLCs than controls. Additionally, more OLCs from aneurysms express HIF-1α, and produce more MMP-9 and cathepsin K, than myeloid cells from the same tissue. These data indicate that OLCs are a significant source of proteases known to be involved in aortic degradation, in which the HIF-1α signaling pathway may play an important role. Our findings suggest that OLCs may be an attractive target for non-surgical suppression of aneurysm formation due to their expression of degradative proteases.