International Journal of Molecular Sciences

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ISSN / EISSN : 1422-0067 / 1422-0067
Published by: MDPI (10.3390)
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Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111535

Abstract:
Tissue remodeling contributes to ongoing inflammation and refractoriness of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). During this process, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays an important role in dysregulated remodeling and both microRNA (miR)-29b and heat shock protein 47 (HSP47) may be engaged in the pathophysiology of CRS. This study aimed to determine the role of miR-29b and HSP47 in modulating transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-induced EMT and migration in airway epithelial cells. Expression levels of miR-29b, HSP47, E-cadherin, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), vimentin and fibronectin were assessed through real-time PCR, Western blotting, and immunofluorescence staining. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted against miR-29b and HSP47 were transfected to regulate the expression of EMT-related markers. Cell migration was evaluated with wound scratch and transwell migration assay. miR-29b mimic significantly inhibited the expression of HSP47 and TGF-β1-induced EMT-related markers in A549 cells. However, the miR-29b inhibitor more greatly induced the expression of them. HSP47 knockout suppressed TGF-β1-induced EMT marker levels. Functional studies indicated that TGF-β1-induced EMT was regulated by miR-29b and HSP47 in A549 cells. These findings were further verified in primary nasal epithelial cells. miR-29b modulated TGF-β1-induced EMT-related markers and migration via HSP47 expression modulation in A549 and primary nasal epithelial cells. These results suggested the importance of miR-29b and HSP47 in pathologic tissue remodeling progression in CRS.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111518

Abstract:
Inhibition of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC) has previously been shown to be a potential target for novel cancer therapeutics. One downstream consequence of PC-PLC activity is the activation of NF-κB, a nuclear transcription factor responsible for transcribing genes related to oncogenic traits, such as proliferation, angiogenesis, metastasis, and cancer cell survival. Another biological pathway linked to NF-κB is the exogenous delivery of nitric oxide (NO), which decreases NF-κB activity through an apparent negative-feedback loop. In this study, we designed and synthesised 13 novel NO-releasing derivatives of our previously reported class of PC-PLC inhibitors, 2-morpholinobenzoic acids. These molecules contained a secondary benzylamine group, which was readily nitrosylated and subsequently confirmed to release NO in vitro using a DAF-FM fluorescence-based assay. It was then discovered that these NO-releasing derivatives possessed significantly improved anti-proliferative activity in both MDA-MB-231 and HCT116 cancer cell lines compared to their non-nitrosylated parent compounds. These results confirmed that the inclusion of an exogenous NO-releasing functional group onto a known PC-PLC inhibitor enhances anti-proliferative activity and that this relationship can be exploited in order to further improve the anti-proliferative activity of current/future PC-PLC inhibitors.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111559

Abstract:
Chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MRI is a promising molecular imaging tool which allows the specific detection of metabolites that contain exchangeable amide, amine, and hydroxyl protons. Decades of development have progressed CEST imaging from an initial concept to a clinical imaging tool that is used to assess tumor metabolism. The first translation efforts involved brain imaging, but this has now progressed to imaging other body tissues. In this review, we summarize studies using CEST MRI to image a range of tumor types, including breast cancer, pelvic tumors, digestive tumors, and lung cancer. Approximately two thirds of the published studies involved breast or pelvic tumors which are sites that are less affected by body motion. Most studies conclude that CEST shows good potential for the differentiation of malignant from benign lesions with a number of reports now extending to compare different histological classifications along with the effects of anti-cancer treatments. Despite CEST being a unique ‘label-free’ approach with a higher sensitivity than MR spectroscopy, there are still some obstacles for implementing its clinical use. Future research is now focused on overcoming these challenges. Vigorous ongoing development and further clinical trials are expected to see CEST technology become more widely implemented as a mainstream imaging technology.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111541

Abstract:
The intrinsic defense mechanisms of plants toward pathogenic bacteria have been widely investigated for years and are still at the center of interest in plant biosciences research. This study investigated the role of the AtbZIP62 gene encoding a transcription factor (TF) in the basal defense and systemic acquired resistance in Arabidopsis using the reverse genetics approach. To achieve that, the atbzip62 mutant line (lacking the AtbZIP62 gene) was challenged with Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst DC3000) inoculated by infiltration into Arabidopsis leaves at the rosette stage. The results indicated that atbzip62 plants showed an enhanced resistance phenotype toward Pst DC3000 vir over time compared to Col-0 and the susceptible disease controls, atgsnor1-3 and atsid2. In addition, the transcript accumulation of pathogenesis-related genes, AtPR1 and AtPR2, increased significantly in atbzip62 over time (0–72 h post-inoculation, hpi) compared to that of atgsnor1-3 and atsid2 (susceptible lines), with AtPR1 prevailing over AtPR2. When coupled with the recorded pathogen growth (expressed as a colony-forming unit, CFU mL−1), the induction of PR genes, associated with the salicylic acid (SA) defense signaling, in part explained the observed enhanced resistance of atbzip62 mutant plants in response to Pst DC3000 vir. Furthermore, when Pst DC3000 avrB was inoculated, the expression of AtPR1 was upregulated in the systemic leaves of Col-0, while that of AtPR2 remained at a basal level in Col-0. Moreover, the expression of AtAZI (a systemic acquired resistance -related) gene was significantly upregulated at all time points (0–24 h post-inoculation, hpi) in atbzip62 compared to Col-0 and atgsnor1-3 and atsid2. Under the same conditions, AtG3DPH exhibited a high transcript accumulation level 48 hpi in the atbzip62 background. Therefore, all data put together suggest that AtPR1 and AtPR2 coupled with AtAZI and AtG3DPH, with AtAZI prevailing over AtG3DPH, would contribute to the recorded enhanced resistance phenotype of the atbzip62 mutant line against Pst DC3000. Thus, the AtbZIP62 TF is proposed as a negative regulator of basal defense and systemic acquired resistance in plants under Pst DC3000 infection.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111526

Abstract:
Soft tissue and bone sarcomas represent a group of aggressive neoplasms often accompanied by dismal patient prognosis, especially when distant metastases are present. Moreover, effective treatment can pose a challenge, as recurrences are frequent and almost half of patients present with advanced disease. Researchers have unveiled the molecular abnormalities implicated in sarcomas’ carcinogenesis, paving the way for novel treatment strategies based on each individual tumor’s characteristics. Therefore, the development of new techniques aiding in early disease detection and tumor molecular profiling is imperative. Liquid biopsy refers to the sampling and analysis of patients’ fluids, such as blood, to identify tumor biomarkers, through a variety of methods, including qRT-PCR, qPCR, droplet digital PCR, magnetic microbeads and digital PCR. Assessment of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), circulating free DNA (ctDNA), micro RNAs (miRs), long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), exosomes and exosome–associated proteins can yield a plethora of information on tumor molecular signature, histologic type and disease stage. In addition, the minimal invasiveness of the procedure renders possible its wide application in the clinical setting, and, therefore, the early detection of the presence of tumors. In this review of the literature, we gathered information on biomarkers assessed through liquid biopsy in soft tissue and bone sarcoma patients and we present the information they can yield for each individual tumor type.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111538

Abstract:
Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are essential for proper cell functioning as they regulate many molecular effectors. Careful regulation of MAPKs is therefore required to avoid MAPK pathway dysfunctions and pathologies. The mammalian genome encodes about 200 phosphatases, many of which dephosphorylate the MAPKs and bring them back to an inactive state. In this review, we focus on the normal and pathological functions of dual-specificity phosphatase 9 (DUSP9)/MAP kinase phosphatases-4 (MKP-4). This cytoplasmic phosphatase, which belongs to the threonine/tyrosine dual-specific phosphatase family and was first described in 1997, is known to dephosphorylate ERK1/2, p38, JNK and ASK1, and thereby to control various MAPK pathway cascades. As a consequence, DUSP9 plays a major role in human pathologies and more specifically in cardiac dysfunction, liver metabolic syndromes, diabetes, obesity and cancer including drug response and cell stemness. Here, we recapitulate the mechanism of action of DUSP9 in the cell, its levels of regulation and its roles in the most frequent human diseases, and discuss its potential as a therapeutic target.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111543

Abstract:
The practice of combining external stimulation therapy alongside stimuli-responsive bio-scaffolds has shown massive potential for tissue engineering applications. One promising example is the combination of electrical stimulation (ES) and electroactive scaffolds because ES could enhance cell adhesion and proliferation as well as modulating cellular specialization. Even though electroactive scaffolds have the potential to revolutionize the field of tissue engineering due to their ability to distribute ES directly to the target tissues, the development of effective electroactive scaffolds with specific properties remains a major issue in their practical uses. Conductive polymers (CPs) offer ease of modification that allows for tailoring the scaffold’s various properties, making them an attractive option for conductive component in electroactive scaffolds. This review provides an up-to-date narrative of the progress of CPs-based electroactive scaffolds and the challenge of their use in various tissue engineering applications from biomaterials perspectives. The general issues with CP-based scaffolds relevant to its application as electroactive scaffolds were discussed, followed by a more specific discussion in their applications for specific tissues, including bone, nerve, skin, skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle scaffolds. Furthermore, this review also highlighted the importance of the manufacturing process relative to the scaffold’s performance, with particular emphasis on additive manufacturing, and various strategies to overcome the CPs’ limitations in the development of electroactive scaffolds.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111574

Abstract:
Psoriasis is a recurrent, chronic, immune-mediated, systemic inflammatory disease of the skin, joints, and other organic systems. After atopic dermatitis, chronic stationary psoriasis is the most common inflammatory skin disease, affecting an average of 2–4% of the world’s population. The disease carries a significant burden due to its numerous comorbidities and the major impact on patients’ social and emotional aspects of life. According to current knowledge, psoriasis is a multifactorial disease that occurs in genetically predisposed individuals under various environmental factors, which trigger an immune response disorder with a series of complex inflammatory cascades. The disease is initiated and maintained by mutual interaction of the innate and adaptive immune cells, primarily dendritic cells, T lymphocytes, and keratinocytes, whose leading role alternates at different stages of the disease, consisting mainly in the IL-23/Th17 pathway. Inflammatory events result in consequent epidermal and dermal changes and evolution of the characteristic psoriatic phenotype, respectively. This paper aims to present a comprehensive overview of current knowledge on psoriasis genetic and environmental etiological factors, immunopathogenesis, and the leading cellular and cytokine participants in the inflammatory pathways of this disease.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111544

Abstract:
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term encompassing several neurodevelopmental disorders such as Asperger syndrome or autism. It is characterised by the occurrence of distinct deficits in social behaviour and communication and repetitive patterns of behaviour. The symptoms may be of different intensity and may vary in types. Risk factors for ASD include disturbed brain homeostasis, genetic predispositions, or inflammation during the prenatal period caused by viruses or bacteria. The number of diagnosed cases is growing, but the main cause and mechanism leading to ASD is still uncertain. Recent findings from animal models and human cases highlight the contribution of glia to the ASD pathophysiology. It is known that glia cells are not only “gluing” neurons together but are key players participating in different processes crucial for proper brain functioning, including neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, inflammation, myelination, proper glutamate processing and many others. Despite the prerequisites for the involvement of glia in the processes related to the onset of autism, there are far too little data regarding the engagement of these cells in the development of ASD.
Published: 26 October 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111570

Abstract:
Along with the cells that are exposed to radiation, non-irradiated cells can unveil radiation effects as a result of intercellular communication, which are collectively defined as radiation induced bystander effects (RIBE). Exosome-mediated signalling is one of the core mechanisms responsible for multidirectional communication of tumor cells and their associated microenvironment, which may result in enhancement of malignant tumor phenotypes. Recent studies show that exosomes and exosome-mediated signalling also play a dynamic role in RIBE in cancer cell lines, many of which focused on altered exosome cargo or their effects on DNA damage. However, there is a lack of knowledge regarding how these changes in exosome cargo are reflected in other functional characteristics of cancer cells from the aspects of invasiveness and metastasis. Therefore, in the current study, we aimed to investigate exosome-mediated bystander effects of 2 Gy X-ray therapeutic dose of ionizing radiation on the invasive potential of MCF-7 breast cancer cells in vitro via assessing Matrigel invasion potential, epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) characteristics and the extent of glycosylation, as well as underlying plausible molecular mechanisms. The findings show that exosomes derived from irradiated MCF-7 cells enhance invasiveness of bystander MCF-7 cells, possibly through altered miRNA and protein content carried in exosomes.
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