ISSN / EISSN : 2056-5968 / 2056-5968
Current Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC (10.1038)Former Publisher:
Total articles ≅ 423
Latest articles in this journal
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-12; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00273-2
Overflow metabolism-caused acetate accumulation is a major problem that restricts industrial applications of various bacteria. 2,3-Butanediol (2,3-BD) synthesis in microorganisms is an ancient metabolic process with unidentified functions. We demonstrate here that acetate increases and then decreases during the growth of a bacterium Enterobacter cloacae subsp. dissolvens SDM. Both bifunctional acetaldehyde/ethanol dehydrogenase AdhE-catalyzed ethanol production and acetate-induced 2,3-BD biosynthesis are indispensable for the elimination of acetate generated during overflow metabolism. 2,3-BD biosynthesis from glucose supplies NADH required for acetate elimination via AdhE-catalyzed ethanol production. The coupling strategy involving 2,3-BD biosynthesis and ethanol production is widely distributed in bacteria and is important for toxic acetate elimination. Finally, we realized the co-production of ethanol and acetoin from chitin, the second most abundant natural biopolymer whose catabolism involves inevitable acetate production through the coupling acetate elimination strategy. The synthesis of a non-toxic chemical such as 2,3-BD may be viewed as a unique overflow metabolism with desirable metabolic functions.
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-19; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00274-1
The pathophysiology of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) involves a multitude of host responses, yet how they unfold during the course of disease progression remains unclear. Here, through integrative analysis of clinical laboratory tests, targeted proteomes, and transcriptomes of 963 patients in Shanghai, we delineate the dynamics of multiple circulatory factors within the first 30 days post-illness onset and during convalescence. We show that hypercortisolemia represents one of the probable causes of acute lymphocytopenia at the onset of severe/critical conditions. Comparison of the transcriptomes of the bronchoalveolar microenvironment and peripheral blood indicates alveolar macrophages, alveolar epithelial cells, and monocytes in lungs as the potential main sources of elevated cytokines mediating systemic immune responses and organ damages. In addition, the transcriptomes of patient blood cells are characterized by distinct gene regulatory networks and alternative splicing events. Our study provides a panorama of the host responses in COVID-19, which may serve as the basis for developing further diagnostics and therapy.
Cell Discovery, Volume 7; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00269-y
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-4; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00263-4
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-18; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00278-x
RIPK1, a death domain-containing kinase, has been recognized as an important therapeutic target for inhibiting apoptosis, necroptosis, and inflammation under pathological conditions. RIPK1 kinase inhibitors have been advanced into clinical studies for the treatment of various human diseases. One of the current bottlenecks in developing RIPK1 inhibitors is to discover new approaches to inhibit this kinase as only limited chemotypes have been developed. Here we describe Necrostatin-34 (Nec-34), a small molecule that inhibits RIPK1 kinase with a mechanism distinct from known RIPK1 inhibitors such as Nec-1s. Mechanistic studies suggest that Nec-34 stabilizes RIPK1 kinase in an inactive conformation by occupying a distinct binding pocket in the kinase domain. Furthermore, we show that Nec-34 series of compounds can synergize with Nec-1s to inhibit RIPK1 in vitro and in vivo. Thus, Nec-34 defines a new strategy to target RIPK1 kinase and provides a potential option of combinatorial therapy for RIPK1-mediated diseases.
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-11; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00275-0
The newly emerging coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causes severe lung disease and substantial mortality. How the virus evades host defense for efficient replication is not fully understood. In this report, we found that the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (NP) impaired stress granule (SG) formation induced by viral RNA. SARS-CoV-2 NP associated with the protein kinase PKR after dsRNA stimulation. SARS-CoV-2 NP did not affect dsRNA-induced PKR oligomerization, but impaired dsRNA-induced PKR phosphorylation (a hallmark of its activation) as well as SG formation. SARS-CoV-2 NP also targeted the SG-nucleating protein G3BP1 and impaired G3BP1-mediated SG formation. Deficiency of PKR or G3BP1 impaired dsRNA-triggered SG formation and increased SARS-CoV-2 replication. The NP of SARS-CoV also targeted both PKR and G3BP1 to impair dsRNA-induced SG formation, whereas the NP of MERS-CoV targeted PKR, but not G3BP1 for the impairment. Our findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 NP promotes viral replication by impairing formation of antiviral SGs, and reveal a conserved mechanism on evasion of host antiviral responses by highly pathogenic human betacoronaviruses.
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-17; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00271-4
The current pathological and molecular classification of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) provides limited guidance for treatment options, especially for immunotherapy. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are major players of desmoplastic stroma in PDAC, modulating tumor progression and therapeutic response. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, we explored the intertumoral heterogeneity among PDAC patients with different degrees of desmoplasia. We found substantial intertumoral heterogeneity in CAFs, ductal cancer cells, and immune cells between the extremely dense and loose types of PDACs (dense-type, high desmoplasia; loose-type, low desmoplasia). Notably, no difference in CAF abundance was detected, but a novel subtype of CAFs with a highly activated metabolic state (meCAFs) was found in loose-type PDAC compared to dense-type PDAC. MeCAFs had highly active glycolysis, whereas the corresponding cancer cells used oxidative phosphorylation as a major metabolic mode rather than glycolysis. We found that the proportion and activity of immune cells were much higher in loose-type PDAC than in dense-type PDAC. Then, the clinical significance of the CAF subtypes was further validated in our PDAC cohort and a public database. PDAC patients with abundant meCAFs had a higher risk of metastasis and a poor prognosis but showed a dramatically better response to immunotherapy (64.71% objective response rate, one complete response). We characterized the intertumoral heterogeneity of cellular components, immune activity, and metabolic status between dense- and loose-type PDACs and identified meCAFs as a novel CAF subtype critical for PDAC progression and the susceptibility to immunotherapy.
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-4; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00264-3
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-25; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00279-w
Treatment options for COVID-19 remain limited, especially during the early or asymptomatic phase. Here, we report a novel SARS-CoV-2 viral replication mechanism mediated by interactions between ACE2 and the epigenetic eraser enzyme LSD1, and its interplay with the nuclear shuttling importin pathway. Recent studies have shown a critical role for the importin pathway in SARS-CoV-2 infection, and many RNA viruses hijack this axis to re-direct host cell transcription. LSD1 colocalized with ACE2 at the cell surface to maintain demethylated SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain lysine 31 to promote virus–ACE2 interactions. Two newly developed peptide inhibitors competitively inhibited virus–ACE2 interactions, and demethylase access to significantly inhibit viral replication. Similar to some other predominantly plasma membrane proteins, ACE2 had a novel nuclear function: its cytoplasmic domain harbors a nuclear shuttling domain, which when demethylated by LSD1 promoted importin-α-dependent nuclear ACE2 entry following infection to regulate active transcription. A novel, cell permeable ACE2 peptide inhibitor prevented ACE2 nuclear entry, significantly inhibiting viral replication in SARS-CoV-2-infected cell lines, outperforming other LSD1 inhibitors. These data raise the prospect of post-exposure prophylaxis for SARS-CoV-2, either through repurposed LSD1 inhibitors or new, nuclear-specific ACE2 inhibitors.
Cell Discovery, Volume 7, pp 1-15; doi:10.1038/s41421-021-00260-7
Spermatozoa acquire their fertilizing ability and forward motility during epididymal transit, suggesting the importance of the epididymis. Although the cell atlas of the epididymis was reported recently, the heterogeneity of the cells and the gene expression profile in the epididymal tube are still largely unknown. Considering single-cell RNA sequencing results, we thoroughly studied the cell composition, spatio-temporal differences in differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in epididymal segments and mitochondria throughout the epididymis with sufficient cell numbers. In total, 40,623 cells were detected and further clustered into 8 identified cell populations. Focused analyses revealed the subpopulations of principal cells, basal cells, clear/narrow cells, and halo/T cells. Notably, two subtypes of principal cells, the Prc7 and Prc8 subpopulations were enriched as stereocilia-like cells according to GO analysis. Further analysis demonstrated the spatially specific pattern of the DEGs in each cell cluster. Unexpectedly, the abundance of mitochondria and mitochondrial transcription (MT) was found to be higher in the corpus and cauda epididymis than in the caput epididymis by scRNA-seq, immunostaining, and qPCR validation. In addition, the spatio-temporal profile of the DEGs from the P42 and P56 epididymis, including transiting spermatozoa, was depicted. Overall, our study presented the single-cell transcriptome atlas of the mouse epididymis and revealed the novel distribution pattern of mitochondria and key genes that may be linked to sperm functionalities in the first wave and subsequent wave of sperm, providing a roadmap to be emulated in efforts to achieve sperm maturation regulation in the epididymis.