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Concept: Cytoplasm


Brown and beige adipocytes are characterised as expressing the unique mitochondrial uncoupling protein (UCP)1 for which the primary stimulus in vivo is cold exposure. The extent to which cold-induced UCP1 activation can also be achieved in vitro, and therefore perform a comparable cellular function, is unknown. We report an in vitro model to induce adipocyte browning using bone marrow (BM) derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), which relies on differentiation at 32 °C instead of 37 °C. The low temperature promoted browning in adipogenic cultures, with increased adipocyte differentiation and upregulation of adipogenic and thermogenic factors, especially UCP1. Cells exhibited enhanced uncoupled respiration and metabolic adaptation. Cold-exposed differentiated cells showed a marked translocation of leptin to adipocyte nuclei, suggesting a previously unknown role for leptin in the browning process. These results indicate that BM-MSC can be driven to forming beige-like adipocytes in vitro by exposure to a reduced temperature. This in vitro model will provide a powerful tool to elucidate the precise role of leptin and related hormones in hitherto functions in the browning process.

Concepts: Stem cell, Mesenchymal stem cell, Bone marrow, Cellular respiration, Cytoplasm, Cellular differentiation, Adipocyte, Uncoupling protein


Neuronal loss in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is associated with aberrant mitochondrial function and impaired proteostasis. Identifying the mechanisms that link these pathologies is critical to furthering our understanding of PD pathogenesis. Using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) that allow comparison of cells expressing mutant SNCA (encoding α-synuclein (α-syn)) with isogenic controls, or SNCA-transgenic mice, we show that SNCA-mutant neurons display fragmented mitochondria and accumulate α-syn deposits that cluster to mitochondrial membranes in response to exposure of cardiolipin on the mitochondrial surface. Whereas exposed cardiolipin specifically binds to and facilitates refolding of α-syn fibrils, prolonged cardiolipin exposure in SNCA-mutants initiates recruitment of LC3 to the mitochondria and mitophagy. Moreover, we find that co-culture of SNCA-mutant neurons with their isogenic controls results in transmission of α-syn pathology coincident with mitochondrial pathology in control neurons. Transmission of pathology is effectively blocked using an anti-α-syn monoclonal antibody (mAb), consistent with cell-to-cell seeding of α-syn.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Bacteria, Mitochondrion, Stem cell, Cell biology, Cytoplasm, Translocase of the outer membrane


The human deubiquitinase USP1 plays important roles in cancer-related processes, such as the DNA damage response, and the maintenance of the undifferentiated state of osteosarcoma cells. USP1 deubiquitinase activity is critically regulated by its interaction with the WD40 repeat-containing protein UAF1. Inhibiting the function of the USP1/UAF1 complex sensitizes cancer cells to chemotherapy, suggesting that this complex is a relevant anticancer target. Intriguingly, whereas UAF1 has been reported to locate in the cytoplasm, USP1 is a nuclear protein, although the sequence motifs that mediate its nuclear import have not been functionally characterized. Here, we identify two nuclear localization signals (NLSs) in USP1 and show that these NLSs mediate the nuclear import of the USP1/UAF1 complex. Using a cellular relocation assay based on these results, we map the UAF1-binding site to a highly conserved 100 amino acid motif in USP1. Our data support a model in which USP1 and UAF1 form a complex in the cytoplasm that subsequently translocates to the nucleus through import mediated by USP1 NLSs. Importantly, our findings have practical implications for the development of USP1-directed therapies. First, the UAF1-interacting region of USP1 identified here might be targeted to disrupt the USP1/UAF1 interaction with therapeutic purposes. On the other hand, we describe a cellular relocation assay that can be easily implemented in a high throughput setting to search for drugs that may dissociate the USP1/UAF1 complex.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cell biology, Cytoplasm, Nuclear localization signal


As an important factor affecting meat quality, intramuscular fat (IMF) content is a topic of worldwide concern. Emerging evidences indicate that microRNAs play important roles in adipocyte differentiation. However, miRNAome has neither been studied during porcine intramuscular preadipocyte differentiation, nor compared with subcutaneous preadipocytes. The objectives of this study were to identify porcine miRNAs involved in adipogenesis in primary preadipocytes, and to determine whether intramuscular and subcutaneous adipocytes differ in the expression and regulation of miRNAs.

Concepts: Gene expression, Mesenchymal stem cell, Cytoplasm, Cellular differentiation, Fat, Adipose tissue, Adipocyte


Type IV P-type ATPases (P4-ATPases) and CDC50 family proteins form a putative phospholipid flippase complex that mediates the translocation of aminophospholipids such as phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) from the outer to inner leaflets of the plasma membrane. In Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, at least eight members of P4-ATPases were identified, while only a single CDC50 family protein, CDC50A, was expressed. We demonstrated that CDC50A associated with and recruited P4-ATPase ATP8A1 to the plasma membrane. Overexpression of CDC50A induced extensive cell spreading and greatly enhanced cell migration. Depletion of either CDC50A or ATP8A1 caused a severe defect in the formation of membrane ruffles, thereby inhibiting cell migration. Analyses of phospholipid translocation at the plasma membrane revealed that the depletion of CDC50A inhibited the inward translocation of both PS and PE, while the depletion of ATP8A1 inhibited the translocation of PE but not that of PS, suggesting that the inward translocation of cell-surface PE is involved in cell migration. This hypothesis was further examined by using a PE-binding peptide and a mutant cell line with defective PE synthesis; either cell-surface immobilization of PE by the PE-binding peptide or reduction in the cell-surface content of PE inhibited the formation of membrane ruffles, causing a severe defect in cell migration. These results indicate that the phospholipid flippase complex of ATP8A1 and CDC50A plays a major role in cell migration and suggest that the flippase-mediated translocation of PE at the plasma membrane is involved in the formation of membrane ruffles to promote cell migration.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Cell, Signal transduction, Cell membrane, Cytoplasm, Phospholipid, Flippase


Prolonged hypothermic storage causes ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) in the renal graft, which is considered to contribute to the occurrence of the delayed graft function (DGF) and chronic graft failure. Strategies are required to protect the graft and to prolong renal graft survival. We demonstrated that xenon exposure to human proximal tubular cells (HK-2) led to activation of range of protective proteins. Xenon treatment prior to or after hypothermia-hypoxia challenge stabilized the HK-2 cellular structure, diminished cytoplasmic translocation of high-mobility group box (HMGB) 1 and suppressed NF-κB activation. In the syngeneic Lewis-to-Lewis rat model of kidney transplantation, xenon exposure to donors before graft retrieval or to recipients after engraftment decreased caspase-3 expression, localized HMGB-1 within nuclei and prevented TLR-4/NF-κB activation in tubular cells; serum pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α were reduced and renal function was preserved. Xenon treatment of graft donors or of recipients prolonged renal graft survival following IRI in both Lewis-to-Lewis isografts and Fischer-to-Lewis allografts. Xenon induced cell survival or graft functional recovery was abolished by HIF-1α siRNA. Our data suggest that xenon treatment attenuates DGF and enhances graft survival. This approach could be translated into clinical practice leading to a considerable improvement in long-term graft survival.

Concepts: Protein, Kidney, Nephrology, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cytoplasm, Organ transplant, Protection


Activity-guided isolation of a methanolic extract of Galla Rhois using pancreatic lipase and 3T3-L1 adipocytes led to the isolation of seven phenolic compounds: protoaphin-fb (1), 2-O-digalloyl-1,3,4,6-tetra-O-galloyl-b-D-glucose (2), 1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-b-D-glucose (3), 1,2,4,6-tetra-O-galloyl-b-D-glucose (4), 3-hydroxy-5-methoxy-phenol 1-O-b-D-glucoside (5), methylgallate (6), and gallic acid (7). Their structures were established on the basis of NMR and MS spectroscopic data interpretation. All isolates were evaluated for their inhibitory effects on pancreatic lipase, and compounds 1-5 exhibited potent inhibitory effects on this enzyme, with IC50 values ranging from 30.6 ± 2.4 to 3.5 ± 0.5 mM. In addition, the highly galloylated compound 2 was also found to induce potent inhibition of adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells.

Concepts: Enzyme, Pancreas, Cytoplasm, Fat, Adipocyte, Lipase, Gallic acid, Pancreatic lipase


Ionizing radiation is a universal tool in tumor therapy but may also cause secondary cancers or cell invasiveness. These negative side effects could be causally related to the human-intermediate-conductance Ca(2+)-activated-K(+)-channel (hIK), which is activated by X-ray irradiation and affects cell proliferation and migration. To analyze the signaling cascade downstream of ionizing radiation we use genetically encoded reporters for H2O2 (HyPer) and for the dominant redox-buffer glutathione (Grx1-roGFP2) to monitor with high spatial and temporal resolution, radiation-triggered excursions of H2O2 in A549 and HEK293 cells. The data show that challenging cells with ≥1 Gy X-rays or with UV-A laser micro-irradiation causes a rapid rise of H2O2 in the nucleus and in the cytosol. This rise, which is determined by the rate of H2O2 production and glutathione-buffering, is sufficient for triggering a signaling cascade that involves an elevation of cytosolic Ca(2+) and eventually an activation of hIK channels.

Concepts: DNA, Cell nucleus, Cancer, Ionizing radiation, X-ray, Cytosol, Cytoplasm, Electromagnetic spectrum


To date, the exact targets and mechanism of action of curcumin, a natural product with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, remain elusive. Here we synthesized a cell permeable curcumin probe (Cur-P) with an alkyne moiety, which can be tagged with biotin for affinity enrichment, or with a fluorescent dye for visualization of the direct-binding protein targets of curcumin in situ. iTRAQ™ quantitative proteomics approach was applied to distinguish the specific binding targets from the non-specific ones. In total, 197 proteins were confidently identified as curcumin binding targets from HCT116 colon cancer cell line. Gene Ontology analysis showed that the targets are broadly distributed and enriched in the nucleus, mitochondria and plasma membrane, and they are involved in various biological functions including metabolic process, regulation, response to stimulus and cellular process. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis™ (IPA) suggested that curcumin may exert its anticancer effects over multiple critical biological pathways including the EIF2, eIF4/p70S6K, mTOR signaling and mitochondrial dysfunction pathways. Functional validations confirmed that curcumin downregulates cellular protein synthesis, and induces autophagy, lysosomal activation and increased ROS production, thus leading to cell death.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cell, Metabolism, Mitochondrion, Cell biology, Cytoplasm


Successful formation of electronic interfaces between living cells and semiconductors hinges on being able to obtain an extremely close and high surface-area contact, which preserves both cell viability and semiconductor performance. To accomplish this, we introduce organic semiconductor assemblies consisting of a hierarchical arrangement of nanocrystals. These are synthesised via a colloidal chemical route that transforms the nontoxic commercial pigment quinacridone into various biomimetic three-dimensional arrangements of nanocrystals. Through a tuning of parameters such as precursor concentration, ligands and additives, we obtain complex size and shape control at room temperature. We elaborate hedgehog-shaped crystals comprising nanoscale needles or daggers that form intimate interfaces with the cell membrane, minimising the cleft with single cells without apparent detriment to viability. Excitation of such interfaces with light leads to effective cellular photostimulation. We find reversible light-induced conductance changes in ion-selective or temperature-gated channels.Nanomaterials that form a bioelectronic interface with cells are fascinating tools for controlling cellular behavior. Here, the authors photostimulate single cells with spiky assemblies of semiconducting quinacridone nanocrystals, whose nanoscale needles maximize electronic contact with the cells.

Concepts: Protein, Cell membrane, Cytoplasm