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Concept: Cytosol


The study of host-parasite interactions has increased considerably in the last decades, with many studies focusing on the identification of parasite molecules (i.e. surface or excretory/secretory proteins (ESP)) as potential targets for new specific treatments and/or diagnostic tools. In parallel, in the last few years there have been significant advances in the field of extracellular vesicles research. Among these vesicles, exosomes of endocytic origin, with a characteristic size ranging from 30-100 nm, carry several atypical secreted proteins in different organisms, including parasitic protozoa. Here, we present experimental evidence for the existence of exosome-like vesicles in parasitic helminths, specifically the trematodes Echinostoma caproni and Fasciola hepatica. These microvesicles are actively released by the parasites and are taken up by host cells. Trematode extracellular vesicles contain most of the proteins previously identified as components of ESP, as confirmed by proteomic, immunogold labeling and electron microscopy studies. In addition to parasitic proteins, we also identify host proteins in these structures. The existence of extracellular vesicles explains the secretion of atypical proteins in trematodes, and the demonstration of their uptake by host cells suggests an important role for these structures in host-parasite communication, as described for other infectious agents.

Concepts: Cell, Bacteria, Cytosol, Cell membrane, Endoplasmic reticulum, Intestinal parasite, Digenea, Fasciola hepatica


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


B7-H4, one of the costimulatory molecules of B7 family, has been found to be widely expressed in many kinds of tumor tissues and to play an important part in tumor progression and poor prognosis. However, the role of B7-H4 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cells has not been elucidated. In this study, we found that, compared with normal esophageal tissue, B7-H4 was highly expressed in three ESCC cell lines, Eca109, TE1 and TE13. Besides, B7-H4 silence suppressed cells proliferation and colony formation. Additionally, compared with control cells, B7-H4 silence cells showed higher apoptosis rate, Bcl-2 and Survivin upregulation as well as BAX downregulation. Further study demonstrated that B7-H4 silence cells also exhibited reduction of IL-6 secretion, STAT3 activation and p-STAT3 translocation from cytoplasm to nucleus. Moreover, B7-H4 depletion inhibited the IL-6 secretion of control cells but not JAK2/STAT3 inhibitor FLLL32 treated cells. IL-6 receptor antagonist Tocilizumab didn’t block the p-JAK2 and p-STAT3 downregulation induced by B7-H4 silence. It was suggested that B7-H4 silence suppressed IL-6 secretion through JAK2/STAT3 inactivation. Furthermore, cells proliferation and colony formation were downregulated by Tocilizumab in control cells but not B7-H4 silence cells demonstrating that IL-6 upregulation induced by B7-H4 was necessary for cells growth. On the other hand, B7-H4 expression was downregulated by Tocilizumab. In all, our study provided the first evidence that B7-H4 facilitated ESCC cells proliferation through promoting IL-6/STAT3 positive loopback pathway activation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Cell, Cancer, Cytosol, Cell biology, Squamous cell carcinoma, Downregulation and upregulation


Nonreplicating type I uracil auxotrophic mutants of Toxoplasma gondii possess a potent ability to activate therapeutic immunity to established solid tumors by reversing immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment. Here we engineered targeted deletions of parasite secreted effector proteins using a genetically tractable Δku80 vaccine strain to show that the secretion of specific rhoptry (ROP) and dense granule (GRA) proteins by uracil auxotrophic mutants of T. gondii in conjunction with host cell invasion activates antitumor immunity through host responses involving CD8α+ dendritic cells, the IL-12/interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) TH1 axis, as well as CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Deletion of parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) associated proteins ROP5, ROP17, ROP18, ROP35 or ROP38, intravacuolar network associated dense granule proteins GRA2 or GRA12, and GRA24 which traffics past the PVM to the host cell nucleus severely abrogated the antitumor response. In contrast, deletion of other secreted effector molecules such as GRA15, GRA16, or ROP16 that manipulate host cell signaling and transcriptional pathways, or deletion of PVM associated ROP21 or GRA3 molecules did not affect the antitumor activity. Association of ROP18 with the PVM was found to be essential for the development of the antitumor responses. Surprisingly, the ROP18 kinase activity required for resistance to IFN-γ activated host innate immunity related GTPases and virulence was not essential for the antitumor response. These data show that PVM functions of parasite secreted effector molecules, including ROP18, manipulate host cell responses through ROP18 kinase virulence independent mechanisms to activate potent antitumor responses. Our results demonstrate that PVM associated rhoptry effector proteins secreted prior to host cell invasion and dense granule effector proteins localized to the intravacuolar network and host nucleus that are secreted after host cell invasion coordinately control the development of host immune responses that provide effective antitumor immunity against established ovarian cancer.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cancer, Bacteria, Cytosol, Cell biology


The uptake of cytoplasmic calcium into mitochondria is critical for a variety of physiological processes, including calcium buffering, metabolism, and cell survival. Here, we demonstrate that inhibiting the mitochondrial calcium uniporter in the Drosophila mushroom body neurons (MBn)-a brain region critical for olfactory memory formation-causes memory impairment without altering the capacity to learn. Inhibiting uniporter activity only during pupation impaired adult memory, whereas the same inhibition during adulthood was without effect. The behavioral impairment was associated with structural defects in MBn, including a decrease in synaptic vesicles and an increased length in the axons of the αβ MBn. Our results reveal an in vivo developmental role for the mitochondrial uniporter complex in establishing the necessary structural and functional neuronal substrates for normal memory formation in the adult organism.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Cell, Bacteria, Eukaryote, Mitochondrion, Cytosol, Action potential


Cells use multiple feedback controls to regulate metabolism in response to nutrient and signaling inputs. However, feedback creates the potential for unstable network responses. We examined how concentrations of key metabolites and signaling pathways interact to maintain homeostasis in proliferating human cells, using fluorescent reporters for AMPK activity, Akt activity, and cytosolic NADH/NAD+ redox. Across various conditions, including glycolytic or mitochondrial inhibition or cell proliferation, we observed distinct patterns of AMPK activity, including both stable adaptation and highly dynamic behaviors such as periodic oscillations and irregular fluctuations that indicate a failure to reach a steady state. Fluctuations in AMPK activity, Akt activity, and cytosolic NADH/NAD+ redox state were temporally linked in individual cells adapting to metabolic perturbations. By monitoring single-cell dynamics in each of these contexts, we identified PI3K/Akt regulation of glycolysis as a multifaceted modulator of single-cell metabolic dynamics that is required to maintain metabolic stability in proliferating cells.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Mitochondrion, Cytosol, Cellular respiration, Systems theory, Homeostasis


The bacterial Type VI secretion system (T6SS) delivers proteins into target cells using fast contraction of a long sheath anchored to the cell envelope and wrapped around an inner Hcp tube associated with the secreted proteins. Mechanisms of sheath assembly and length regulation are unclear. Here we study these processes using spheroplasts formed from ampicillin-treated Vibrio cholerae. We show that spheroplasts secrete Hcp and deliver T6SS substrates into neighbouring cells. Imaging of sheath dynamics shows that the sheath length correlates with the diameter of spheroplasts and may reach up to several micrometres. Analysis of sheath assembly after partial photobleaching shows that subunits are exclusively added to the sheath at the end that is distal from the baseplate and cell envelope attachment. We suggest that this mode of assembly is likely common for all phage-like contractile nanomachines, because of the conservation of the structures and connectivity of sheath subunits.

Concepts: Cell, Bacteria, Microbiology, Cytosol, Golgi apparatus, Secretion, Endoplasmic reticulum, Cell biology


A number of mitochondrial diseases arise from single-nucleotide variant (SNV) accumulation in multiple mitochondria. Here, we present a method for identification of variants present at the single-mitochondrion level in individual mouse and human neuronal cells, allowing for extremely high-resolution study of mitochondrial mutation dynamics. We identified extensive heteroplasmy between individual mitochondrion, along with three high-confidence variants in mouse and one in human that were present in multiple mitochondria across cells. The pattern of variation revealed by single-mitochondrion data shows surprisingly pervasive levels of heteroplasmy in inbred mice. Distribution of SNV loci suggests inheritance of variants across generations, resulting in Poisson jackpot lines with large SNV load. Comparison of human and mouse variants suggests that the two species might employ distinct modes of somatic segregation. Single-mitochondrion resolution revealed mitochondria mutational dynamics that we hypothesize to affect risk probabilities for mutations reaching disease thresholds.

Concepts: DNA, Mutation, Adenosine triphosphate, Eukaryote, Mitochondrion, Mitochondrial DNA, Cytosol, Cytoplasm


Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is the major route of receptor internalization at the plasma membrane. Analysis of constitutive CME is difficult because the initiation of endocytic events is unpredictable. When and where a clathrin-coated pit will form and what cargo it will contain are difficult to foresee. Here we describe a series of genetically encoded reporters that allow the initiation of CME on demand. A clathrin-binding protein fragment (“hook”) is inducibly attached to an “anchor” protein at the plasma membrane, which triggers the formation of new clathrin-coated vesicles. Our design incorporates temporal and spatial control by the use of chemical and optogenetic methods for inducing hook-anchor attachment. Moreover, the cargo is defined. Because several steps in vesicle creation are bypassed, we term it “hot-wiring.” We use hot-wired endocytosis to describe the functional interactions between clathrin and AP2. Two distinct sites on the β2 subunit, one on the hinge and the other on the appendage, are necessary and sufficient for functional clathrin engagement.

Concepts: Cell, Cytosol, Cell membrane, Cell biology, Membrane biology, Endocytosis, Necessary and sufficient condition, Clathrin


We employed electron cryo-tomography to visualize cytosolic ribosomes on the surface of mitochondria. Translation-arrested ribosomes reveal the clustered organization of the TOM complex, corroborating earlier reports of localized translation. Ribosomes are shown to interact specifically with the TOM complex, and nascent chain binding is crucial for ribosome recruitment and stabilization. Ribosomes are bound to the membrane in discrete clusters, often in the vicinity of the crista junctions. This interaction highlights how protein synthesis may be coupled with transport. Our work provides unique insights into the spatial organization of cytosolic ribosomes on mitochondria.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Cytosol, Organelle, Ribosome, Cytoplasm, Messenger RNA, Protein biosynthesis