EISSN : 2399-3642
Published by: Springer Nature (10.1038)
Total articles ≅ 2,459
Latest articles in this journal
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-17; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02630-z
The research into the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis has considerably increased our understanding of the disease complexity, but still many questions remain unanswered, both mechanistically and pharmacologically. Here, we provided evidence that the pro-oxidant enzyme Prenylcysteine Oxidase 1 (PCYOX1), in the human atherosclerotic lesions, is both synthesized locally and transported within the subintimal space by proatherogenic lipoproteins accumulating in the arterial wall during atherogenesis. Further, Pcyox1 deficiency in Apoe-/- mice retards atheroprogression, is associated with decreased features of lesion vulnerability and lower levels of lipid peroxidation, reduces plasma lipid levels and inflammation. PCYOX1 silencing in vitro affects the cellular proteome by influencing multiple functions related to inflammation, oxidative stress, and platelet adhesion. Collectively, these findings identify the pro-oxidant enzyme PCYOX1 as an emerging player in atherogenesis and, therefore, understanding the biology and mechanisms of all functions of this unique enzyme is likely to provide additional therapeutic opportunities in addressing atherosclerosis.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-11; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02621-0
In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), which is encoded by TARDBP, forms aggregates in the motor cortex. This aggregate formation may be triggered by an increase in the TDP-43 level with aging. However, the amount of TDP-43 is autoregulated by alternative splicing of the TARDBP 3′UTR, and how this autoregulation is affected by aging remains to be elucidated. We found that DNA demethylation in the autoregulatory region in the TARDBP 3′UTR reduced alternative splicing and increased TARDBP mRNA expression. Furthermore, in the human motor cortex, we found that this region was demethylated with aging, resulting in increased expression of TARDBP mRNA. The acceleration of DNA demethylation in the motor cortex was associated with the age of ALS onset. In summary, the dysregulation of TDP-43 autoregulation by age-related DNA demethylation in the motor cortex may explain the contribution of aging and motor system selectivity in ALS.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-11; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02639-4
The activation of thermogenesis in adipose tissue has emerged as an important target for the development of novel anti-obesity therapies. Using multi-well isothermal microcalorimetry, we have demonstrated that mature murine brown and brite adipocytes produce quantifiable heat upon β3-AR stimulation, independently of any anaerobic mechanisms. Additionally, in brite adipocytes lacking UCP1 protein, β3-AR stimulation still induces heat production, albeit to a much lower extent than in their wildtype counterparts, suggesting that UCP1 is an essential component of adrenergic induced thermogenesis in murine brite adipocytes exvivo. Similarly, we could observe an increase in heat production in human-derived adipocytes (hMADS) upon β-AR stimulation. Collectively, these results establish the use of isothermal microcalorimetry as a sensitive and accurate technique for measuring thermogenic responses in intact mature brite adipocytes from murine and human origin.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-14; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02633-w
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, potentially with a biological basis; however, its exact cause remains unknown. Thyroid hormone (TH) abnormalities are more prevalent in patients with ADHD than in the general population, indicating a shared pathogenetic mechanism for these conditions. Previously, we identified that overexpression of thyroid hormone-responsive protein (THRSP), a gene highly responsive to TH status, induced inattention in male mice. Herein, we sought to explore whether TH function in THRSP-overexpressing (THRSP OE) mice influences ADHD-like (inattention) behavior. We now confirm that THRSP overexpression in male mice reproduces behavioral features of ADHD, including sustained inattention and memory impairment, accompanied by excessive theta waves that were found normal in both the THRSP-knockout and hetero groups. Physiological characterization revealed low striatal T3 levels in the THRSP OE mice due to reduced striatal T3-specific monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8), indicating brain-specific hypothyroidism in this transgenic mouse strain. TH replacement for seven days rescued inattention and memory impairment and the normalization of theta waves. This study further supports the involvement of the upregulated THRSP gene in ADHD pathology and indicates that THRSP OE mice can serve as an animal model for the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-14; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02637-6
Phylogenetic reconstruction of cancer cell populations remains challenging. There is a particular lack of tools that deconvolve clones based on copy number aberration analyses of multiple tumor biopsies separated in time and space from the same patient. This has hampered investigations of tumors rich in aneuploidy but few point mutations, as in many childhood cancers and high-risk adult cancer. Here, we present DEVOLUTION, an algorithm for subclonal deconvolution followed by phylogenetic reconstruction from bulk genotyping data. It integrates copy number and sequencing information across multiple tumor regions throughout the inference process, provided that the mutated clone fraction for each mutation is known. We validate DEVOLUTION on data from 56 pediatric tumors comprising 253 tumor biopsies and show a robust performance on simulations of bulk genotyping data. We also benchmark DEVOLUTION to similar bioinformatic tools using an external dataset. DEVOLUTION holds the potential to facilitate insights into the development, progression, and response to treatment, particularly in tumors with high burden of chromosomal copy number alterations.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-10; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02593-1
Metazoans normally possess a single lineage of mitochondria inherited from the mother (♀-type mitochondria) while paternal mitochondria are absent or eliminated in fertilized eggs. In doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI), which is specific to the bivalve clade including the ocean quahog, Arctica islandica, ♂-type mitochondria are retained in male gonads and, in a few species, small proportions of ♂-type mitochondria co-exist with ♀-type in somatic tissues. To the best of our knowledge, we report, for the first time in metazoan, the natural occurrence of male and female individuals with exclusively ♂-type mitochondria in somatic tissues of the bivalve A. islandica. Mitochondrial genomes differ by ~5.5% at DNA sequence level. Exclusive presence of ♂-type mitochondria affects mitochondrial complexes partially encoded by mitochondrial genes and leads to a sharp drop in respiratory capacity. Through a combination of whole mitochondrial genome sequencing and molecular assays (gene presence and expression), we demonstrate that 1) 11% of individuals of an Icelandic population appear homoplasmic for ♂-type mitochondria in somatic tissues, 2) ♂-type mitochondrial genes are transcribed and 3) individuals with ♂-type mitochondria in somatic cells lose 30% of their wild-type respiratory capacity. This mitochondrial pattern in A. islandica is a special case of DUI, highlighted in individuals from both sexes with functional consequences at cellular and conceivably whole animal level.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-2; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02654-5
Sahika Inal is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at KAUST and has been leading the Organic Bioelectronics group since 2016. With a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from the University of Potsdam (Potsdam, Germany) and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Bioelectronics at the Centre Microelectronique de Provence in France, she is an expert in the characterization of conjugated polymers and biomedical device development. In this Q&A, Dr. Inal tells us about her research interests, excitement of constantly learning in the lab and the expanding biosensor field.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-16; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02635-8
Seizures are a prominent feature in N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptor antibody (NMDAR antibody) encephalitis, a distinct neuro-immunological disorder in which specific human autoantibodies bind and crosslink the surface of NMDAR proteins thereby causing internalization and a state of NMDAR hypofunction. To further understand ictogenesis in this disorder, and to test a potential treatment compound, we developed an NMDAR antibody mediated rat seizure model that displays spontaneous epileptiform activity in vivo and in vitro. Using a combination of electrophysiological and dynamic causal modelling techniques we show that, contrary to expectation, reduction of synaptic excitatory, but not inhibitory, neurotransmission underlies the ictal events through alterations in the dynamical behaviour of microcircuits in brain tissue. Moreover, in vitro application of a neurosteroid, pregnenolone sulphate, that upregulates NMDARs, reduced established ictal activity. This proof-of-concept study highlights the complexity of circuit disturbances that may lead to seizures and the potential use of receptor-specific treatments in antibody-mediated seizures and epilepsy.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-13; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02631-y
Doublecortin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1) is an understudied bi-functional kinase with a proven role in tumour growth and development. However, the presence of tissue-specific spliced DCLK1 isoforms with distinct biological functions have challenged the development of effective strategies to understand the role of DCLK1 in oncogenesis. Recently, DCLK1-IN-1 was reported as a highly selective DCLK1 inhibitor, a powerful tool to dissect DCLK1 biological functions. Here, we report the crystal structures of DCLK1 kinase domain in complex with DCLK1-IN-1 and its precursors. Combined, our data rationalises the structure-activity relationship that informed the development of DCLK1-IN-1 and provides the basis for the high selectivity of DCLK1-IN-1, with DCLK1-IN-1 inducing a drastic conformational change of the ATP binding site. We demonstrate that DCLK1-IN-1 binds DCLK1 long isoforms but does not prevent DCLK1’s Microtubule-Associated Protein (MAP) function. Together, our work provides an invaluable structural platform to further the design of isoform-specific DCLK1 modulators for therapeutic intervention.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-8; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02640-x
Emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been shown to rapidly replace original circulating strains in humans soon after they emerged. There is a lack of experimental evidence to explain how these natural occurring variants spread more efficiently than existing strains of SARS-CoV-2 in transmission. We found that the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) increased competitive fitness over earlier parental D614G lineages in in-vitro and in-vivo systems. Using hamster transmission model, we further demonstrated that the Alpha variant is able to replicate and shed more efficiently in the nasal cavity of hamsters than other variants with low dose and short duration of exposure. The capability to initiate effective infection with low inocula may be one of the key factors leading to the rapid transmission of emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.