Background. Acetone, β-hydroxybutyric acid, and acetoacetic acid are three types of ketone body that may be found in the breath, blood, and urine. Detecting altered concentrations of ketones in the breath, blood, and urine is crucial for the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic ketosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the advantages of different detection methods for ketones, and to establish whether detection of the concentration of ketones in the breath is an effective and practical technique. Methods. We measured the concentrations of acetone in the breath using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and β-hydroxybutyrate in fingertip blood collected from 99 patients with diabetes assigned to groups 1 (−), 2 (±), 3 (+), 4 (++), or 5 (+++) according to urinary ketone concentrations. Results. There were strong relationships between fasting blood glucose, age, and diabetic ketosis. Exhaled acetone concentration significantly correlated with concentrations of fasting blood glucose, ketones in the blood and urine, LDL-C, creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen. Conclusions. Breath testing for ketones has a high sensitivity and specificity and appears to be a noninvasive, convenient, and repeatable method for the diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of diabetic ketosis.
Bamboos, regarded as therapeutic agents in ethnomedicine, have been used to inhibit inflammation and enhance natural immunity for a long time in Asia, and there are many bamboo associated fungi with medical and edible value. In the present study, a total of 350 fungal strains were isolated from the uncommon moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) seeds for the first time. The molecular diversity of these endophytic fungi was investigated and bioactive compound producers were screened for the first time. All the fungal endophytes were categorized into 69 morphotypes according to culturable characteristics and their internal transcriber spacer (ITS) regions were analyzed by BLAST search with the NCBI database. The fungal isolates showed high diversity and were divided in Ascomycota (98.0%) and Basidiomycota (2.0%), including at least 19 genera in nine orders. Four particular genera were considered to be newly recorded bambusicolous fungi, including Leptosphaerulina, Simplicillium, Sebacina and an unknown genus in Basidiomycetes. Furthermore, inhibitory effects against clinical pathogens and phytopathogens were screened preliminarily and strains B09 (Cladosporium sp.), B34 (Curvularia sp.), B35 (undefined genus 1), B38 (Penicillium sp.) and zzz816 (Shiraia sp.) displayed broad-spectrum activity against clinical bacteria and yeasts by the agar diffusion method. The crude extracts of isolates B09, B34, B35, B38 and zzz816 under submerged fermentation, also demonstrated various levels of bioactivities against bambusicolous pathogenic fungi. This study is the first report on the antimicrobial activity of endophytic fungi associated with moso bamboo seeds, and the results show that they could be exploited as a potential source of bioactive compounds and plant defense activators. In addition, it is the first time that strains of Shiraia sp. have been isolated and cultured from moso bamboo seeds, and one of them (zzz816) could produce hypocrellin A at high yield, which is significantly different from the other strains published.
The novel archaea belonging to Rumen Cluster C (RCC), which may play an important role in methane production in the rumen have received increased attention. However, the present information on RCC in the rumen is limited by the unsuccessful isolation of axenic pure RCC from the rumen. In the present study, RCC grown in anaerobic fungal subcultures was identified by the molecular and culture methods.
A novel RCC species existing in the fungal subcultures was identified and demonstrated by the 16S rRNA gene clone library. Interestingly, the novel RCC species survived in the fungal cultures over all the subculture transferring, even in the 62nd subculture, in contrast to the other methanogens, which disappeared during subcultures. Further work showed that subculture transfer frequency significantly affected the relative abundance of the novel RCC species in the fungal subcultures. The five-day and seven-day transfer frequencies increased the relative abundance of the RCC species (P<0.05). In addition, quantitative real-time PCR revealed that high concentrate diets did not affect the abundance of archaea, but numerically reduced the abundance of the novel RCC species in the rumen. In addition, the relative abundance of the RCC species was numerically higher in the rumen liquid fraction than in the rumen epithelium and solid fractions. Finally, a purified fungal culture containing the RCC species was successfully obtained. PCR and sequencing analysis showed that the novel RCC species contained a mcrA gene, which is known to play a crucial role in methanogenesis, and thus could be identified as a methanogen.
In this study, a novel RCC species was identified as a methanogen and closely associated with anaerobic fungi. This novel approach by using co-culture with anaerobic fungi may provide a feasible way to culture and investigate not yet identified methanogens.
Periostin was proved to play an important role in extra-cellular matrix remodeling after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Myocardial periostin was markedly up-regulated after AMI and participated in the maladaptive process of cardiac remodeling. However, few researches focused on the circulating periostin and its significance. This study aims to investigate the association of serum periostin level with cardiac function and short-term prognosis in AMI patients.
We totally recruited 50 patients diagnosed as ST-elevation myocardial infarction. Blood samples were taken within 12 hours after the onset of AMI before emergency coronary revascularization procedures. Serum periostin was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. All patients received echocardiography examination within one week after hospitalization. Correlations of serum periostin with echocardiography parameters, Killip class and myocardium injury biomarkers (CK-MB/troponin T) were investigated. AMI patients were divided into two groups by serum periostin level (higher/lower periostin group) and followed up for six months. Primary endpoints included cardiovascular mortality, nonfatal stroke/transient ischemic attack, chest pain occurrence and re-hospitalization. Secondary endpoint referred to composite cardiovascular events including all the primary endpoints.
Serum periostin was in negative association with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (r = −0.472, *p<0.01) and left atrium diameter (LAD) (r = −0.328, *p<0.05). Positive correlation was found between serum periostin level and Killip class (r = 0.395, *p<0.01). There was no association between serum periostin and CK-MB or troponin T (p>0.05). After six months follow up, patients in higher periostin group showed increased composite cardiovascular events (*p<0.05). Patients showed no significant difference in primary endpoints between the two groups.
Serum periostin was in negative correlation with LVEF and LAD, in positive association with Killip class and higher serum periostin level may be predictive for worse short-term disease prognosis indicated as more composite cardiovascular events six months post AMI.
Ehrlichia chaffeensis is an obligately intracellular bacterium that resides and multiplies within cytoplasmic vacuoles of phagocytes. The Ehrlichia-containing vacuole (ECV) does not fuse with lysosomes, an essential condition for Ehrlichia to survive inside phagocytes, but the mechanism of inhibiting the fusion of the phagosome with lysosomes is not clear. Understanding the ECV molecular composition may decipher the mechanism by which Ehrlichia inhibits phagosome-lysosome fusion. In this study, we obtained highly purified ECVs from E. chaffeensis-infected DH82 cells by sucrose density gradient centrifugation and analyzed their composition by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. The ECV composition was compared with that of phagolysosomes containing latex beads. Lysosomal proteins such as cathepsin D, cathepsin S, and lysosomal acid phosphatase were not detected in E. chaffeensis phagosome preparations. Some small GTPases, involved in membrane dynamics and phagocytic trafficking, were detected in ECVs. A notable finding was that Rab7, a late endosomal marker, was consistently detected in E. chaffeensis phagosomes by mass spectrometry. Confocal microscopy confirmed that E. chaffeensis phagosomes contained Rab7 and were acidified at approximately pH 5.2, suggesting that the E. chaffeensis vacuole was an acidified late endosomal compartment. Our results also demonstrated by mass spectrometry and immunofluorescence analysis that Ehrlichia morulae were not associated with the autophagic pathway. Ehrlichia chaffeensis did not inhibit phagosomes containing latex beads from fusing with lysosomes in infected cells. We concluded that the E. chaffeensis vacuole was a late endosome and E. chaffeensis might inhibit phagosome-lysosome fusion by modifying its vacuolar membrane composition, rather than by regulating the expression of host genes involved in trafficking.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress induces both autophagy and apoptosis yet the molecular mechanisms and pathways underlying the regulation of these two cellular processes in cells undergoing ER stress remain less clear. We report here that eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase (EEF2K) is a critical controller of the ER stress-induced autophagy and apoptosis in tumor cells. DDIT4, a stress-induced protein, was required for transducing the signal for activation of EEF2K under ER stress. We further showed that phosphorylation of EEF2K at Ser398 was essential for induction of autophagy, while phosphorylation of the kinase at Ser366 and Ser78 exerted an inhibitory effect on autophagy. Suppression of the ER stress-activated autophagy via silencing of EEF2K aggravated ER stress and promoted apoptotic cell death in tumor cells. Moreover, inhibiting EEF2K by either RNAi or NH125, a small molecule inhibitor of the enzyme, rendered tumor cells more sensitive to curcumin and velcade, two anticancer agents that possess ER stress-inducing action. Our study indicated that the DDIT4-EEF2K pathway was essential for inducing autophagy and for determining the fate of tumor cells under ER stress, and suggested that inhibiting the EEF2K-mediated autophagy can deteriorate ER stress and lead to a greater apoptotic response, thereby potentiating the efficacy of the ER stress-inducing agents against cancer.
EEF2K; ER stress; autophagy; apoptosis; tumor cells
The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays a key role during hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) genesis and development. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway on the expression of angiogenic growth factors involved in HCC. The HCC HepG2 cell line was transfected with small interfering RNA (siRNA) against β-catenin. After 72 and 96 h, protein was extracted and the expression levels of β-catenin, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-9, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, VEGF-C and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) were detected by western blot analysis. β-catenin protein expression was inhibited at both time points. Notably, MMP-2, MMP-9, VEGF-A, VEGF-C and bFGF protein expression levels decreased at 72 h and then increased at 96 h after transfection. Our results demonstrated that in HCC cells, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway may regulate the protein expression of the angiogenic factors, MMP-2, MMP-9, VEGF-A, VEGF-C and bFGF. These proteins were downstream of β-catenin signaling and were also regulated by other factors. In conclusion, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway may contribute to the regulation of HCC angiogenesis, infiltration and metastasis through regulating the expression of these angiogenic factors.
hepatocellular carcinoma; RNA interference; β-catenin; signaling pathway; angiogenesis factor
The aim of this paper is to develop two delayed SEIR epidemic models with nonlinear incidence rate, continuous treatment, and impulsive vaccination for a class of epidemic with latent period and vertical transition. For continuous treatment, we obtain a basic reproductive number ℜ0 and prove the global stability by using the Lyapunov functional method. We obtain two thresholds ℜ* and ℜ∗ for impulsive vaccination and prove that if ℜ* < 1, then the disease-free periodic solution is globally attractive and if ℜ∗ > 1, then the disease is permanent by using the comparison theorem of impulsive differential equation. Numerical simulations indicate that pulse vaccination strategy or a longer latent period will make the population size infected by a disease decrease.
Neuroblastoma is an embryonal tumor of childhood with a heterogenous clinical presentation that reflects differences in activation of complex biological signaling pathways. Protein phosphorylation is a key component of cellular signal transduction and plays a critical role in processes that control cancer cell growth and survival. We used shotgun LC/MS to compare phosphorylation between a human MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cell line (NB10), modeling a resistant tumor, and a human neural precursor cell line (NPC), modeling a normal baseline neural crest cell. 2181 unique phosphorylation sites representing 1171 proteins and 2598 phosphopeptides were found. Protein kinases accounted for 6% of the proteome, with a predominance of tyrosine kinases, supporting their prominent role in oncogenic signaling pathways. Highly abundant receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) phosphopeptides in the NB10 cell line relative to the NPC cell line included RET, insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor/insulin receptor (IGF-1R/IR), and fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1). Multiple phosphorylated peptides from downstream mediators of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and RAS pathways were also highly abundant in NB10 relative to NPC. Our analysis highlights the importance of RET, IGF-1R/IR and FGFR1 as RTKs in neuroblastoma and suggests a methodology that can be used to identify potential novel biological therapeutic targets. Furthermore, application of this previously unexploited technology in the clinic opens the possibility of providing a new wide-scale molecular signature to assess disease progression and prognosis.
Microsomal (m) prostaglandin (PG) E2 synthase (S)-1 catalyzes the formation of PGE2 from PGH2, a cyclooxygenase (COX) product that is derived from arachidonic acid. Previous studies in mice suggest that targeting mPGES-1 may be less likely to cause hypertension or thrombosis than COX-2 selective inhibition or deletion in vivo. Indeed, deletion of mPGES-1 retards atherogenesis and angiotensin II-induced aortic aneurysm formation. The role of mPGES-1 in the response to vascular injury is unknown.
Methods and Results
Mice were subjected to wire injury of the femoral artery. Both neointimal area and vascular stenosis were reduced significantly four weeks after injury in mPGES-1 knock out (KO) mice compared to wild type (WT) controls (65.6±5.7 vs 37.7±5.1×103 pixel area and 70.5±13.4% vs 47.7±17.4%, respectively; p < 0.01). Induction of tenascin C (TN-C) after injury, a pro-proliferative and promigratory extracellular matrix protein, was attenuated in the KOs. Consistent with in vivo rediversion of PG biosynthesis, mPGES-1 deleted vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) generated less PGE2, but more PGI2 and expressed reduced TN-C when compared with WT cells. Both suppression of PGE2 and augmentation of PGI2 attenuate TN-C expression, VSMC proliferation and migration in vitro.
Deletion of mPGES-1 in mice attenuates neointimal hyperplasia after vascular injury, in part by regulating TN-C expression. This raises for consideration the therapeutic potential of mPGES-1 inhibitors as adjuvant therapy for percutaneous coronary intervention.
Injury; percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty; prostacyclin; prostaglandins; vascular response
Microenvironmental conditions such as hypoxia potentiate the local invasion of malignant tumors including glioblastomas by modulating signal transduction and protein modification, yet the mechanism by which hypoxia controls cytoskeletal dynamics to promote the local invasion is not well defined. Here, we show that cyclin G2 plays pivotal roles in the cytoskeletal dynamics in hypoxia-driven invasion by glioblastoma cells. Cyclin G2 is a hypoxia-induced and cytoskeleton-associated protein and is required for glioblastoma expansion. Mechanistically, cyclin G2 recruits cortactin to the juxtamembrane through its SH3 domain-binding motif and consequently promotes the restricted tyrosine phosphorylation of cortactin in concert with src. Moreover, cyclin G2 interacts with filamentous actin to facilitate the formation of membrane ruffles. In primary glioblastoma, cyclin G2 is abundantly expressed in severely hypoxic regions such as pseudopalisades, which consist of actively migrating glioma cells. Furthermore, we show the effectiveness of dasatinib against hypoxia-driven, cyclin G2-involved invasion in vitro and in vivo. Our findings elucidate the mechanism of cytoskeletal regulation by which severe hypoxia promotes the local invasion and may provide a therapeutic target in glioblastoma.
Schizophrenic patients show lower incidences of cancer, implicating schizophrenia may be a protective factor against cancer. To study the genetic correlation between the two diseases, a specific PPI network was constructed with candidate genes of both schizophrenia and hepatocellular carcinoma. The network, designated schizophrenia-hepatocellular carcinoma network (SHCN), was analysed and cliques were identified as potential functional modules or complexes. The findings were compared with information from pathway databases such as KEGG, Reactome, PID and ConsensusPathDB.
The functions of mediator genes from SHCN show immune system and cell cycle regulation have important roles in the eitology mechanism of schizophrenia. For example, the over-expressing schizophrenia candidate genes, SIRPB1, SYK and LCK, are responsible for signal transduction in cytokine production; immune responses involving IL-2 and TREM-1/DAP12 pathways are relevant for the etiology mechanism of schizophrenia. Novel treatments were proposed by searching the target genes of FDA approved drugs with genes in potential protein complexes and pathways. It was found that Vitamin A, retinoid acid and a few other immune response agents modulated by RARA and LCK genes may be potential treatments for both schizophrenia and hepatocellular carcinoma.
This is the first study showing specific mediator genes in the SHCN which may suppress tumors. We also show that the schizophrenic protein interactions and modulation with cancer implicates the importance of immune system for etiology of schizophrenia.
Saikosaponin-d (SSd), a monomer terpenoid purified from the Chinese herbal drug Radix bupleuri, has multiple effects, including anticancer properties. However, the effect of SSd on tumors exposed to radiation is largely unknown. To investigate the radiosensitizing effect of SSd and its possible mechanism, we combined SSd with radiation therapy to treat SMMC-7721 hepatocellular carcinoma cells under oxia and hypoxia.
Cell growth, apoptosis, and cell cycle distribution were examined after treatment with SSd alone, radiation alone, and their combinations under oxia and hypoxia. The protein and mRNA levels of p53, Bcl2, and BAX were measured using western blot analysis and RT-PCR, respectively.
Treatment with SSd alone and radiation alone inhibited cell growth and increased apoptosis rate at the concentration used. These effects were enhanced when SSd was combined with radiation. Moreover, SSd potentiated the effects of radiation to induce G0/G1 arrest in SMMC-7721 cells, and reduced the G2/M-phase population under hypoxia. However, under oxia, SSd only potentiated the effects of radiation to induce G0/G1 arrest, but not G2/M-phase arrest. These effects of SSd alone, radiation alone, and their combination, were accompanied by upregulated expression of p53 and BAX and downregulation of Bcl2 expression under oxia and hypoxia.
SSd potentiates the effects of radiation on SMMC-7721 cells; thus, it is a promising radiosensitizer. The radiosensitizing effect of SSd may contribute to its effect on the G0/G1 and G2/M checkpoints of the cell cycle.
influenza; surveillance; serology; avian-like influenza A(H1N1); viruses
The metabolomic profile of the anaerobic fungus Piromyces sp. F1, isolated from the rumen of goats, and how this is affected by the presence of naturally associated methanogens, was analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The major metabolites in the fungal monoculture were formate, lactate, ethanol, acetate, succinate, sugars/amino acids and α-ketoglutarate, whereas the co-cultures of anaerobic fungi and associated methanogens produced citrate. This is the first report of citrate as a major metabolite of anaerobic fungi. Univariate analysis showed that the mean values of formate, lactate, ethanol, citrate, succinate and acetate in co-cultures were significantly higher than those in the fungal monoculture, while the mean values of glucose and α-ketoglutarate were significantly reduced in co-cultures. Unsupervised principal components analysis revealed separation of metabolite profiles of the fungal mono-culture and co-cultures. In conclusion, the novel finding of citrate as one of the major metabolites of anaerobic fungi associated with methanogens may suggest a new yet to be identified pathway exists in co-culture. Anaerobic fungal metabolism was shifted by associated methanogens, indicating that anaerobic fungi are important providers of substrates for methanogens in the rumen and thus play a key role in ruminal methanogenesis.
Piromyces sp. F1; Methanobrevibacter thaueri; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; Citrate
Imaging of β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques in the brain may facilitate the diagnosis of cerebral β-amyloidosis, risk prediction of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and effectiveness of anti-amyloid therapies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate novel 123I-labeled pyridyl benzofuran derivatives as SPECT probes for Aβ imaging. The formation of a pyridyl benzofuran backbone was accomplished by Suzuki coupling. [123I/125I]-labeled pyridyl benzofuran derivatives were readily prepared by an iododestannylation reaction. In vitro Aβ binding assays were carried out using Aβ(1–42) aggregates and postmortem human brain sections. Biodistribution experiments were conducted in normal mice at 2, 10, 30, and 60 min postinjection. Aβ labeling in vivo was evaluated by small-animal SPECT/CT in Tg2576 transgenic mice injected with [123I]8. Ex vivo autoradiography of the brain sections was performed after SPECT/CT. Iodinated pyridyl benzofuran derivatives showed excellent affinity for Aβ(1–42) aggregates (2.4 to 10.3 nM) and intensely labeled Aβ plaques in autoradiographs of postmortem AD brain sections. In biodistribution experiments using normal mice, all these derivatives displayed high initial uptake (4.03–5.49% ID/g at 10 min). [125I]8 displayed the quickest clearance from the brain (1.30% ID/g at 60 min). SPECT/CT with [123I]8 revealed higher uptake of radioactivity in the Tg2576 mouse brain than the wild-type mouse brain. Ex vivo autoradiography showed in vivo binding of [123I]8 to Aβ plaques in the Tg2576 mouse brain. These combined results warrant further investigation of [123I]8 as a SPECT imaging agent for visualizing Aβ plaques in the AD brain.
Neutrophil antigens are involved in a variety of clinical conditions including transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) and other transfusion-related diseases. Recently, there are five characterized groups of human neutrophil antigen (HNA) systems, the HNA1 to 5. Characterization of all neutrophil antigens from whole genome sequencing (WGS) data may be accomplished for revealing complete genotyping formats of neutrophil antigens collectively at genome level with molecular variations which may respectively be revealed with available genotyping techniques for neutrophil antigens conventionally.
We developed a computing method for the genotyping of human neutrophil antigens. Six samples from two families, available from the 1000 Genomes projects, were used for a HNA typing test. There are 500 ~ 3000 reads per sample filtered from the adopted human WGS datasets in order for identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of neutrophil antigens. The visualization of read alignment shows that the yield reads from WGS dataset are enough to cover all of the SNP loci for the antigen system: HNA1, HNA3, HNA4 and HNA5. Consequently, our implemented Bioinformatics tool successfully revealed HNA types on all of the six samples including sequence-based typing (SBT) as well as PCR sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (SSOP), PCR sequence-specific primers (SSP) and PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) along with parentage possibility.
The next-generation sequencing technology strives to deliver affordable and non-biased sequencing results, hence the complete genotyping formats of HNA may be reported collectively from mining the output data of WGS. The study shows the feasibility of HNA genotyping through new WGS technologies. Our proposed algorithmic methodology is implemented in a HNATyping software package with user’s guide available to the public at http://sourceforge.net/projects/hnatyping/.
Antigens; Neutrophil; Genotyping; Whole genome sequencing
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as indomethacin (IN), inhibit colorectal cancer (CRC) growth through cyclooxygenase (COX)-independent mechanisms, however, the precise biological mechanisms are not completely understood. The aim of the present study was to investigate new molecular factors potentially associated with IN in HCT116 human CRC cells, which do not express COX, using a proteomic approach. The total proteins from the IN-treated and untreated groups were separated by immobilized pH gradient-based two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. The differentially-expressed proteins were identified by peptide mass fingerprint (PMF) based on matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry. The PMF maps were searched in the SWISS-PROT/TrEMBL database using the PeptIdent software. Between the IN-treated and untreated groups, a total of 45 differential protein spots were detected and 15 differentially-expressed proteins were identified by PMF. IN downregulated Wnt1-inducible signaling pathway protein 1, Bcl-2-related protein A1 and mitogen-activated protein kinase, inhibited HCT116 cell growth and induced apoptosis. In conclusion, IN may exert its effects on CRC to induce HCT116 cell apoptosis and suppress growth through COX-independent pathways.
indomethacin; 2-DE; MALDI-TOF-MS; proteome; colorectal cancer
Nucleus accumbens-1 (NAC1), a nuclear factor belonging to the BTB/POZ gene family, has emerging roles in cancer. We report here that NAC1 acts as a negative regulator of cellular senescence in transformed and non-transformed cells, and dysfunction of NAC1 induces senescence and inhibits its oncogenic potential. We show that NAC1 deficiency markedly activates senescence and inhibits proliferation in tumor cells treated with sub-lethal doses of γ-irradiation. In mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from NAC1 knockout mice, following infection with a Ras virus, NAC1−/− cells undergo significantly more senescence and are either non- or less transformed in vitro and less tumorigenic in vivo when compared with NAC1+/+ cells. Furthermore, we show that the NAC1-caused senescence blunting is mediated by ΔNp63, which exerts its effect on senescence through p21, and that NAC1 activates transcription of ΔNp63 under stressful conditions. Our results not only reveal a previously unrecognized function of NAC1, the molecular pathway involved and its impact on pathogenesis of tumor initiation and development, but also identify a novel senescence regulator that may be exploited as a potential target for cancer prevention and treatment.
NAC1; senescence; ΔNp63; oncogene; tumorigenesis
Eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase (eEF-2K) is a Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent enzyme that negatively regulates protein synthesis. eEF-2K has been shown to be up-regulated in cancer, and to play an important role in cell survival through inhibition of protein synthesis. Post-translational modification of protein synthesis machinery is important for its regulation and could be critical for survival of cancer cells encountering stress. The purpose of our study was to examine the regulation of eEF-2K during stress with a focus on the roles of phosphorylation in determining the stability of eEF-2K. We found that stress conditions (nutrient deprivation and hypoxia) increase eEF-2K protein. mRNA levels are only transiently increased and shortly return to normal, while eEF-2K protein levels continue to increase after further exposure to stress. A seemingly paradoxical decrease in eEF-2K stability was found when glioma cells were subjected to stress despite increased protein expression. We further demonstrated that phosphorylation of eEF-2K differentially affects the enzyme’s turnover under both normal and stress conditions, as evidenced by the different half-lives of phosphorylation-defective mutants of eEF-2K. We further found that the eEF-2K site (Ser398) phosphorylated by AMPK is pivotal to the protein’s stability, as the half-life of S398A mutant increases to greater than 24 h under both normal and stress conditions. These data indicate that eEF-2K is regulated at multiple levels with phosphorylation playing a critical role in the enzyme’s turnover under stressful conditions. The complexity of eEF-2K phosphorylation highlights the intricacies of protein synthesis control during cellular stress.
eEF-2K; Phosphorylation; Enzyme stability; Protein synthesis; Glioblastoma; AMPK
Breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp) is an ATP-dependent efflux drug transporter. It has a diverse spectrum of hydrophilic and hydrophobic substrates ranging from anticancer, antiviral and antihypertensive drugs, to organic anions, antibiotics, phytoestrogens (e.g., genistein, daidzein, coumestrol), xenoestrogens and steroids (e.g., dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate). Bcrp is an integral membrane protein in cancer and normal cells within multiple organs (e.g., brain, placenta, intestine and testis) that maintains cellular homeostasis by extruding drugs and harmful substances from the inside of cells. In the brain, Bcrp is a major component of the blood–brain barrier located on endothelial cells near tight junctions (TJs). However, Bcrp is absent at the Sertoli cell blood–testis barrier (BTB); instead, it is localized almost exclusively to the endothelial TJ in microvessels in the interstitium and the peritubular myoid cells in the tunica propria. Recent studies have shown that Bcrp is also expressed stage specifically and spatiotemporally by Sertoli and germ cells in the seminiferous epithelium of rat testes, limited only to a testis-specific cell adhesion ultrastructure known as the apical ectoplasmic specialisation (ES) in stage VI–early VIII tubules. These findings suggest that Bcrp is equipped by late spermatids and Sertoli cells to protect late-stage spermatids completing spermiogenesis. Furthermore, Bcrp was found to be associated with F (filamentous)-actin and several actin regulatory proteins at the apical ES and might be involved in the organisation of actin filaments at the apical ES in stage VII–VIII tubules. These findings will be carefully evaluated in this brief review.
actin filaments; breast cancer resistant protein; ectoplasmic specialisation; effux drug transporter; germ cells; Sertoli cells; spermatids; spermatogenesis; spermiogenesis; testis
In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
LC3; autolysosome; autophagosome; flux; lysosome; phagophore; stress; vacuole
RAI14 (retinoic acid induced protein 14) is an actin-binding protein first identified in the liver. In the testis, RAI14 is expressed by both Sertoli and germ cells in the seminiferous epithelium. Besides binding to actin in the testis, RAI14 is also a binding protein for palladin, an actin cross-linking and bundling protein. A recent report has shown that RAI14 displays stage-specific and spatiotemporal expression at the ES [ectoplasmic specialization, a testis-specific filamentous (F)-actin-rich adherens junction] in the seminiferous epithelium of adult rat testes during the epithelial cycle of spermatogenesis, illustrating its likely involvement in F-actin organization at the ES. Functional studies in which RAI14 was knocked down by RNAi in Sertoli cells in vitro and also in testicular cells in vivo have illustrated its role in conferring the integrity of actin filament bundles at the ES, perturbing the Sertoli cell tight junction (TJ)-pemeability barrier function in vitro, and also spermatid polarity and adhesion in vivo, thereby regulating spermatid transport at spermiation. Herein, we critically evaluate these earlier findings and also provide a likely hypothetic model based on the functional role of RAI14 at the ES, and how RAI14 is working with palladin and other actin regulatory proteins in the testis to regulate the transport of (1) spermatids and (2) preleptotene spermatocytes across the seminiferous epithelium and the blood-testis barrier (BTB), respectively, during spermatogenesis. This model should serve as a framework upon which functional experiments can be designed to better understand the biology of RAI14 and other actin-binding and regulatory proteins in the testis.
testis; RAI14; F-actin; spermatogenesis; ectoplasmic specialization; adherens junction; blood-testis barrier; spermatid adhesion
For non-hormonal male contraceptives that exert their effects in the testis locally instead of via the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis, such as adjudin that disrupts germ cell adhesion, a major hurdle in their development is to improve their bioavailability so that they can be efficiently delivered to the seminiferous epithelium by transporting across the blood-testis barrier (BTB). If this can be done, it would widen the gap between their efficacy and general toxicity. However, Sertoli cells that constitute the BTB, peritubular myoid cells in the tunica propria, germ cells at different stages of their development, as well as endothelial cells that constitute the microvessels in the interstitium are all equipped with multiple drug transporters, most notably efflux drug transporters, such as P-glycoprotein, multidrug resistance-related protein 1 (MRP1) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) that can actively prevent drugs (e.g., adjudin) from entering the seminiferous epithelium to exert their effects. Recent studies have shown that BCRP is highly expressed by endothelial cells of the microvessels in the interstitium in the testis and also peritubular myoid cells in tunica propria even though it is absent from Sertoli cells at the site of the BTB. Furthermore, BCRP is also expressed spatiotemporally by Sertoli cells and step 19 spermatids in the rat testis and stage-specifically, limiting to stage VII‒VIII of the epithelial cycle, and restricted to the apical ectoplasmic specialization [apical ES, a testis-specific F-actin-rich adherens junction (AJ)]. Interestingly, adjudin was recently shown to be capable of downregulating BCRP expression at the apical ES. In this Opinion article, we critically discuss the latest findings on BCRP; in particular, we provide some findings utilizing molecular modeling to define the interacting domains of BCRP with adjudin. Based on this information, it is hoped that the next generation of adjudin analogs to be synthesized can improve their efficacy in downregulating BCRP and perhaps other drug efflux transporters in the testis to improve their efficacy to traverse the BTB by modifying their interacting domains.
testis; adjudin; male contraception; ectoplasmic specialization; Bcrp; spermatogenesis