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Journal: International journal of molecular sciences


Argonaute (Ago) protein family plays a key role in the RNA interference (RNAi) process in different insects including Lepidopteran. However, the role of Ago proteins in the RNAi pathway of Plutella xylostella is still unknown. We cloned an Argonaute3 gene in P. xylostella (PxAgo3) with the complete coding sequence of 2832 bp. The encoded protein had 935 amino acids with an expected molecular weight of 108.9 kDa and an isoelectric point of 9.29. It contained a PAZ (PIWI/Argonaute/Zwile) domain and PIWI (P-element-induced whimpy testes) domain. PxAgo3 was classified into the Piwi subfamily of Ago proteins with a high similarity of 93.0% with Bombyx mori Ago3 (BmAgo3). The suppression of PxAgo3 by dsPxAgo3 was observed 3 h after treatment and was maintained until 24 h. Knockdown of PxAgo3 decreased the suppression level of PxActin by dsPxActin in P. xylostella cells, while overexpression of PxAgo3 increased the RNAi efficiency. Our results suggest that PxAgo3 play a key role in the double stranded RNA (dsRNA)-regulated RNAi pathway in P. xylostella.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Amino acid, Molecular biology, Virus, RNA, RNA interference


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most prevalent form of chronic liver disease in the world, paralleling the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). NAFLD exhibits a histological spectrum, ranging from “bland steatosis” to the more aggressive necro-inflammatory form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which may accumulate fibrosis to result in cirrhosis. Emerging data suggests fibrosis, rather than NASH per se, to be the most important histological predictor of liver and non-liver related death. Nevertheless, only a small proportion of individuals develop cirrhosis, however the large proportion of the population affected by NAFLD has led to predictions that NAFLD will become a leading cause of end stage liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and indication for liver transplantation. HCC may arise in non-cirrhotic liver in the setting of NAFLD and is associated with the presence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and male gender. The MetS and its components also play a key role in the histological progression of NAFLD, however other genetic and environmental factors may also influence the natural history. The importance of NAFLD in terms of overall survival extends beyond the liver where cardiovascular disease and malignancy represents additional important causes of death.

Concepts: Cancer, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Cirrhosis, Metabolic syndrome, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Fatty liver, Steatosis


The shape of an animal body plan is constructed from protein components encoded by the genome. However, bioelectric networks composed of many cell types have their own intrinsic dynamics, and can drive distinct morphological outcomes during embryogenesis and regeneration. Planarian flatworms are a popular system for exploring body plan patterning due to their regenerative capacity, but despite considerable molecular information regarding stem cell differentiation and basic axial patterning, very little is known about how distinct head shapes are produced. Here, we show that after decapitation in G. dorotocephala, a transient perturbation of physiological connectivity among cells (using the gap junction blocker octanol) can result in regenerated heads with quite different shapes, stochastically matching other known species of planaria (S. mediterranea, D. japonica, and P. felina). We use morphometric analysis to quantify the ability of physiological network perturbations to induce different species-specific head shapes from the same genome. Moreover, we present a computational agent-based model of cell and physical dynamics during regeneration that quantitatively reproduces the observed shape changes. Morphological alterations induced in a genomically wild-type G. dorotocephala during regeneration include not only the shape of the head but also the morphology of the brain, the characteristic distribution of adult stem cells (neoblasts), and the bioelectric gradients of resting potential within the anterior tissues. Interestingly, the shape change is not permanent; after regeneration is complete, intact animals remodel back to G. dorotocephala-appropriate head shape within several weeks in a secondary phase of remodeling following initial complete regeneration. We present a conceptual model to guide future work to delineate the molecular mechanisms by which bioelectric networks stochastically select among a small set of discrete head morphologies. Taken together, these data and analyses shed light on important physiological modifiers of morphological information in dictating species-specific shape, and reveal them to be a novel instructive input into head patterning in regenerating planaria.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Developmental biology, Stem cell, Cellular differentiation, Regeneration, Adult stem cell, Planarian


UV radiation (UV) is classified as a “complete carcinogen” because it is both a mutagen and a non-specific damaging agent and has properties of both a tumor initiator and a tumor promoter. In environmental abundance, UV is the most important modifiable risk factor for skin cancer and many other environmentally-influenced skin disorders. However, UV also benefits human health by mediating natural synthesis of vitamin D and endorphins in the skin, therefore UV has complex and mixed effects on human health. Nonetheless, excessive exposure to UV carries profound health risks, including atrophy, pigmentary changes, wrinkling and malignancy. UV is epidemiologically and molecularly linked to the three most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma, which together affect more than a million Americans annually. Genetic factors also influence risk of UV-mediated skin disease. Polymorphisms of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene, in particular, correlate with fairness of skin, UV sensitivity, and enhanced cancer risk. We are interested in developing UV-protective approaches based on a detailed understanding of molecular events that occur after UV exposure, focusing particularly on epidermal melanization and the role of the MC1R in genome maintenance.

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Ultraviolet, Oncology, Squamous cell carcinoma, Basal cell carcinoma, Skin cancer, Sunscreen


The clinical benefit of ketosis has historically and almost exclusively centered on neurological conditions, lending insight into how ketones alter mitochondrial function in neurons. However, there is a gap in our understanding of how ketones influence mitochondria within skeletal muscle cells. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the specific effects of β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) on muscle cell mitochondrial physiology. In addition to increased cell viability, murine myotubes displayed beneficial mitochondrial changes evident in reduced H₂O₂ emission and less mitochondrial fission, which may be a result of a β-HB-induced reduction in ceramides. Furthermore, muscle from rats in sustained ketosis similarly produced less H₂O₂ despite an increase in mitochondrial respiration and no apparent change in mitochondrial quantity. In sum, these results indicate a general improvement in muscle cell mitochondrial function when β-HB is provided as a fuel.


Despite the ever-increasing role of pesticides in modern agriculture, their deleterious effects are still underexplored. Here we examine the effect of A6, a pesticide derived from the naturally-occurring α-terthienyl, and structurally related to the endocrine disrupting pesticides anilinopyrimidines, on living zebrafish larvae. We show that both A6 and an anilinopyrimidine, cyprodinyl, decrease larval survival and affect central neurons at micromolar concentrations. Focusing on a superficial and easily observable sensory system, the lateral line system, we found that defects in axonal and sensory cell regeneration can be observed at much lower doses, in the nanomolar range. We also show that A6 accumulates preferentially in lateral line neurons and hair cells. We examined whether A6 affects the expression of putative target genes, and found that genes involved in apoptosis/cell proliferation are down-regulated, as well as genes reflecting estrogen receptor activation, consistent with previous reports that anilinopyrimidines act as endocrine disruptors. On the other hand, canonical targets of endocrine signaling are not affected, suggesting that the neurotoxic effect of A6 may be due to the binding of this compound to a recently identified, neuron-specific estrogen receptor.

Concepts: Effect, Endocrinology, Affect, Sense, Pesticide, Endocrine system, Endocrine disruptor, Neurotoxicity


Gut bacteria are an important component of the microbiota ecosystem in the human gut, which is colonized by 1014 microbes, ten times more than the human cells. Gut bacteria play an important role in human health, such as supplying essential nutrients, synthesizing vitamin K, aiding in the digestion of cellulose, and promoting angiogenesis and enteric nerve function. However, they can also be potentially harmful due to the change of their composition when the gut ecosystem undergoes abnormal changes in the light of the use of antibiotics, illness, stress, aging, bad dietary habits, and lifestyle. Dysbiosis of the gut bacteria communities can cause many chronic diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, cancer, and autism. This review summarizes and discusses the roles and potential mechanisms of gut bacteria in human health and diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Epidemiology, Human, Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Death


Cancer-associated stroma (CAS) plays a key role in cancer initiation and progression. Spontaneously occurring canine mammary carcinomas are viewed as excellent models of human breast carcinomas. Considering the importance of CAS for human cancer, it likely plays a central role in canine tumours as well. So far, however, canine CAS lacks characterisation, and it remains unclear whether the biology between CAS from canine and human tumours is comparable. In this proof-of-principle study, using laser-capture microdissection, we isolated CAS and normal stroma from 13 formalin-fixed paraffin embedded canine simple mammary carcinomas and analysed the expression of seven known human CAS markers by RT-qPCR (Reverse Transcription quantitative PCR) and validated some targets by immunohistochemistry. We found that Col1a1 (Collagen1α1), αSMA (alpha Smooth Muscle Actin), FAP (Fibroblast activation protein), PDGFRβ (Platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta), and Caveolin-1 were significantly upregulated in canine CAS, and the expression of CXCL12 (Stromal cell derived factor 1) significantly decreased, whereas MMP2 (Matrix Metalloproteinase 1) and IL6 (Interleukin 6) did not change. Our results suggest strong similarities in CAS biology in canine and human mammary carcinomas but also reveal some differences. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to provide a comprehensive expression analysis of the most important CAS markers in canine simple mammary carcinomas and further supports the validity of the dog as model for human cancer.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Cancer, Evolution, Molecular biology


Lysosomes clear macromolecules, maintain nutrient and cholesterol homeostasis, participate in tissue repair, and in many other cellular functions. To assume these tasks, lysosomes rely on their large arsenal of acid hydrolases, transmembrane proteins and membrane-associated proteins. It is therefore imperative that, post-synthesis, these proteins are specifically recognized as lysosomal components and are correctly sorted to this organelle through the endosomes. Lysosomal transmembrane proteins contain consensus motifs in their cytosolic regions (tyrosine- or dileucine-based) that serve as sorting signals to the endosomes, whereas most lysosomal acid hydrolases acquire mannose 6-phosphate (Man-6-P) moieties that mediate binding to two membrane receptors with endosomal sorting motifs in their cytosolic tails. These tyrosine- and dileucine-based motifs are tickets for boarding in clathrin-coated carriers that transport their cargo from the trans-Golgi network and plasma membrane to the endosomes. However, increasing evidence points to additional mechanisms participating in the biogenesis of lysosomes. In some cell types, for example, there are alternatives to the Man-6-P receptors for the transport of some acid hydrolases. In addition, several “non-consensus” sorting motifs have been identified, and atypical transport routes to endolysosomes have been brought to light. These “unconventional” or “less known” transport mechanisms are the focus of this review.

Concepts: Protein, Cell, Cell membrane, Golgi apparatus, Organelle, Endoplasmic reticulum, Transmembrane protein, Lysosome


Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS) are generated by electrolysis of NaCl solutions, and demonstrate broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and high environmental compatibility. The biocidal efficacy of ECAS at the point of production is widely reported in the literature, as are its credentials as a “green biocide.” Acidic ECAS are considered most effective as biocides at the point of production and ill suited for extended storage. Acidic ECAS samples were stored at 4 °C and 20 °C in glass and polystyrene containers for 398 days, and tested for free chlorine, pH, ORP and bactericidal activity throughout. ORP and free chlorine (mg/L) in stored ECAS declined over time, declining at the fastest rate when stored at 20 °C in polystyrene and at the slowest rate when stored at 4 °C in glass. Bactericidal efficacy was also affected by storage and ECAS failed to produce a 5 log(10) reduction on five occasions when stored at 20 °C. pH remained stable throughout the storage period. This study represents the longest storage evaluation of the physiochemical parameters and bactericidal efficacy of acidic ECAS within the published literature and reveals that acidic ECAS retain useful bactericidal activity for in excess of 12 months, widening potential applications.

Concepts: Acid, Electrochemistry, Effectiveness, PH, Sodium hydroxide, Chlorine, Antimicrobial, Biocide