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Concept: Organelle


Organ replacement regenerative therapy is purported to enable the replacement of organs damaged by disease, injury or aging in the foreseeable future. Here we demonstrate fully functional hair organ regeneration via the intracutaneous transplantation of a bioengineered pelage and vibrissa follicle germ. The pelage and vibrissae are reconstituted with embryonic skin-derived cells and adult vibrissa stem cell region-derived cells, respectively. The bioengineered hair follicle develops the correct structures and forms proper connections with surrounding host tissues such as the epidermis, arrector pili muscle and nerve fibres. The bioengineered follicles also show restored hair cycles and piloerection through the rearrangement of follicular stem cells and their niches. This study thus reveals the potential applications of adult tissue-derived follicular stem cells as a bioengineered organ replacement therapy.

Concepts: Cell, Organelle, Cell division, Stem cell, Organ, Embryonic stem cell, Skin, Organ transplant


Autophagy is a conserved catabolic process that plays a housekeeping role in eliminating protein aggregates and organelles and is activated during nutrient deprivation to generate metabolites and energy. Autophagy plays a significant role in tumorigenesis, although opposing context-dependent functions of autophagy in cancer have complicated efforts to target autophagy for therapeutic purposes. We demonstrate that autophagy inhibition reduces tumor cell migration and invasion in vitro and attenuates metastasis in vivo. Numerous abnormally large focal adhesions (FAs) accumulate in autophagy-deficient tumor cells, reflecting a role for autophagy in FA disassembly through targeted degradation of paxillin. We demonstrate that paxillin interacts with processed LC3 through a conserved LIR motif in the amino-terminal end of paxillin and that this interaction is regulated by oncogenic SRC activity. Together, these data establish a function for autophagy in FA turnover, tumor cell motility, and metastasis.

Concepts: Protein, Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Organelle, Cell biology, Tumor


We have previously shown increased cardiac stanniocalcin-1 (STC1) in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. STC1 localizes to the inner mitochondrial membrane and transgenic over-expression of STC1 is associated with increased energy utilization.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Mitochondrial DNA, Organelle, Muscle, Dilated cardiomyopathy, Crista


Transglutaminases function as biological glues in animal cells, plant cells and microbes. In energy producing organelles such as chloroplasts the presence of transglutaminases was recently confirmed. Furthermore, a plastidial transglutaminase has been cloned from maize and the first plants overexpressing tgz are available (Nicotiana tabacum TGZ OE). Our hypothesis is that the overexpression of plastidal transglutaminase will alter photosynthesis via increased polyamination of the antenna of photosystem II. We have used standard analytical tools to separate the antenna from photosystem II in wild type and modified plants, 6 specific antibodies against LHCbs to confirm their presence and sensitive HPLC method to quantify the polyamination level of these proteins. We report that bound spermidine and spermine were significantly increased (∼80%) in overexpressors. Moreover, we used recent advances in in vivo probing to study simultaneously the proton and electron circuit of thylakoids. Under physiological conditions overexpressors show a 3-fold higher sensitivity of the antenna down regulation loop (qE) to the elicitor (luminal protons) which is estimated as the ΔpH component of thylakoidal proton motive force. In addition, photosystem (hyper-PSIIα) with an exceptionally high antenna (large absorption cross section), accumulate in transglutaminase over expressers doubling the rate constant of light energy utilization (Kα) and promoting thylakoid membrane stacking. Polyamination of antenna proteins is a previously unrecognized mechanism for the modulation of the size (antenna absorption cross section) and sensitivity of photosystem II to down regulation. Future research will reveal which peptides and which residues of the antenna are responsible for such effects.

Concepts: DNA, Photosynthesis, Protein, Cell, Plastid, Eukaryote, Organelle, Chloroplast


The Ayurvedic medicinal system claims Mucuna pruriens (MP) to possess pro-male fertility, aphrodisiac and adaptogenic properties. Some scientific evidence also supports its pro-male fertility properties; however, the mechanism of its action is not yet clear. The present study aimed at demonstrating spermatogenic restorative efficacy of MP and its major constituent L-DOPA (LD), and finding the possible mechanism of action thereof in a rat model.

Concepts: Present, Mitochondrion, Organelle, Reactive oxygen species, Alternative medicine, Cytochrome c, Mucuna pruriens


Lipid rafts in eukaryotic cells are sphingolipid and cholesterol-rich, ordered membrane regions that have been postulated to play roles in many membrane functions, including infection. We previously demonstrated the existence of cholesterol-lipid-rich domains in membranes of the prokaryote, B. burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease [LaRocca et al. (2010) Cell Host & Microbe 8, 331-342]. Here, we show that these prokaryote membrane domains have the hallmarks of eukaryotic lipid rafts, despite lacking sphingolipids. Substitution experiments replacing cholesterol lipids with a set of sterols, ranging from strongly raft-promoting to raft-inhibiting when mixed with eukaryotic sphingolipids, showed that sterols that can support ordered domain formation are both necessary and sufficient for formation of B. burgdorferi membrane domains that can be detected by transmission electron microscopy or in living organisms by Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Raft-supporting sterols were also necessary and sufficient for formation of high amounts of detergent resistant membranes from B. burgdorferi. Furthermore, having saturated acyl chains was required for a biotinylated lipid to associate with the cholesterol-lipid-rich domains in B. burgdorferi, another characteristic identical to that of eukaryotic lipid rafts. Sterols supporting ordered domain formation were also necessary and sufficient to maintain B. burgdorferi membrane integrity, and thus critical to the life of the organism. These findings provide compelling evidence for the existence of lipid rafts and show that the same principles of lipid raft formation apply to prokaryotes and eukaryotes despite marked differences in their lipid compositions.

Concepts: Archaea, Bacteria, Organism, Eukaryote, Organelle, Prokaryote, Lipid raft, Spirochaete


New specimens of the kleptoplastidal dinoflagellate Gymnodinium eucyaneum Hu were collected in China. We investigated the systematics of the dinoflagellate and the origin of its endosymbiont based on light morphology and phylogenetic analyses using multiple DNA sequences. Cells were dorsoventrally flattened with a sharply acute hypocone and a hemispherical epicone. The confusion between G. eucyaneum and G. acidotum Nygaard still needs to be resolved. We found that the hypocone was conspicuously larger than the epicone in most G. eucyaneum cells, which differed from G. acidotum, but there were a few cells whose hypocone and epicone were of nearly the same size. In addition, there was only one site difference in the partial nuclear LSU rDNA sequences of a sample from Japan given the name G. acidotum and G. eucyaneum in the present study, which suggest that G. eucyaneum may be a synonym of G. acidotum. Spectroscopic analyses and phylogenetic analyses based on nucleomorph SSU rDNA sequences and chloroplast 23 s rDNA sequences suggested that the endosymbiont of G. eucyaneum was derived from Chroomonas (Cryptophyta), and that it was most closely related to C. coerulea Skuja. Moreover, the newly reported kleptoplastidal dinoflagellates G. myriopyrenoides and G. eucyaneum in our study were very similar, and the taxonomy of kleptoplastidal dinoflagellates was discussed.

Concepts: Algae, DNA, Eukaryote, Organelle, Chloroplast, Endosymbiont, Dinoflagellate, Cryptomonad


The Golgi apparatus has attracted intense attentions due to its fascinating morphology and vital role as the pivot of cellular secretory pathway since its discovery. However, its complex structure at the molecular level remains elusive due to limited approaches. In this study, the structure of Golgi apparatus, including the Golgi stack, cisternal structure, relevant tubules and vesicles, were directly visualized by high-resolution atomic force microscope. We imaged both sides of Golgi apparatus membranes and revealed that the outer leaflet of Golgi membranes is relatively smooth while the inner membrane leaflet is rough and covered by dense proteins. With the treatment of methyl-β-cyclodextrin and Triton X-100, we confirmed the existence of lipid rafts in Golgi apparatus membrane, which are mostly in the size of 20 nm -200 nm and appear irregular in shape. Our results may be of significance to reveal the structure-function relationship of the Golgi complex and pave the way for visualizing the endomembrane system in mammalian cells at the molecular level.

Concepts: Cell, Cell membrane, Golgi apparatus, Organelle, Endoplasmic reticulum, Protein targeting, Endomembrane system, Secretory pathway


In order to be able to fertilize oocytes, human sperm must undergo a series of morphological and structural alterations, known as capacitation. It has been shown that the production of endogenous sperm reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays a key role in causing cells to undergo a massive acrosome reaction (AR). Astaxanthin (Asta), a photo-protective red pigment belonging to the carotenoid family, is recognized as having anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties and is present in many dietary supplements. This study evaluates the effect of Asta in a capacitating buffer which induces low ROS production and low percentages of acrosome-reacted cells (ARC). Sperm cells were incubated in the presence or absence of increasing concentrations of Asta or diamide (Diam) and analyzed for their ROS production, Tyr-phosphorylation (Tyr-P) pattern and percentages of ARC and non-viable cells (NVC). Results show that Asta ameliorated both sperm head Tyr-P and ARC values without affecting the ROS generation curve, whereas Diam succeeded in enhancing the Tyr-P level but only of the flagellum without increasing ARC values. It is suggested that Asta can be inserted in the membrane and therefore create capacitation-like membrane alteration which allow Tyr-P of the head. Once this has occurred, AR can take place and involves a higher numbers of cells.

Concepts: Organelle, Antioxidant, Sperm, Reactive oxygen species, Fertility, Spermatozoon, Germ cells, Acrosome


In subfamily Salsoloideae (family Chenopodiaceae) most species are C4 plants having terete leaves with Salsoloid Kranz anatomy characterized by a continuous dual chlorenchyma layer of Kranz cells (KCs) and mesophyll (M) cells, surrounding water storage and vascular tissue. From section Coccosalsola sensu Botschantzev, leaf structural and photosynthetic features were analysed on selected species of Salsola which are not performing C4 based on leaf carbon isotope composition. The results infer the following progression in distinct functional and structural forms from C3 to intermediate to C4 photosynthesis with increased leaf succulence without changes in vein density: From species performing C3 photosynthesis with Sympegmoid anatomy with two equivalent layers of elongated M cells, with few organelles in a discontinuous layer of bundle sheath (BS) cells (S. genistoides, S. masenderanica, S. webbii) > development of proto-Kranz BS cells having mitochondria in a centripetal position and increased chloroplast number (S. montana) > functional C3-C4 intermediates having intermediate CO2 compensation points with refixation of photorespired CO2, development of Kranz-like anatomy with reduction in the outer M cell layer to hypodermal-like cells, and increased specialization (but not size) of a Kranz-like inner layer of cells with increased cell wall thickness, organelle number, and selective expression of mitochondrial glycine decarboxylase (Kranz-like Sympegmoid, S. arbusculiformis; and Kranz-like Salsoloid, S. divaricata) > selective expression of enzymes between the two cell types for performing C4 with Salsoloid-type anatomy. Phylogenetic analysis of tribe Salsoleae shows the occurrence of C3 and intermediates in several clades, and lineages of interest for studying different forms of anatomy.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Cell, Bacteria, Eukaryote, Mitochondrion, Organelle, Plant physiology, C4 carbon fixation