Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Journal of cellular and molecular medicine


Autophagy and exosome secretion play important roles in a variety of physiological and disease states, including the development of age-related macular degeneration. Previous studies have demonstrated that these cellular mechanisms share common pathways of activation. Low oxidative damage in ARPE-19 cells, alters both autophagy and exosome biogenesis. Moreover, oxidative stress modifies the protein and genetic cargo of exosomes, possibly affecting the fate of surrounding cells. In order to understand the connection between these two mechanisms and their impact on angiogenesis, stressed ARPE-19 cells were treated with a siRNA-targeting Atg7, a key protein for the formation of autophagosomes. Subsequently, we observed the formation of multivesicular bodies and the release of exosomes. Released exosomes contained VEGFR2 as part of their cargo. This receptor for VEGF-which is critical for the development of new blood vessels-was higher in exosome populations released from stressed ARPE-19. While stressed exosomes enhanced tube formation, exosomes became ineffective after silencing VEGFR2 in ARPE-19 cells and were, consequently, unable to influence angiogenesis. Moreover, vessel sprouting in the presence of stressed exosomes seems to follow a VEGF-independent pathway. We propose that abnormal vessel growth correlates with VEGFR2-expressing exosomes release from stressed ARPE-19 cells, and is directly linked to autophagy.


Mitochondria are physically and biochemically in contact with other organelles including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Such contacts are formed between mitochondria-associated ER membranes (MAM), specialized subregions of ER, and the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). We have previously shown increased expression of MAM-associated proteins and enhanced ER to mitochondria Ca(2+) transfer from ER to mitochondria in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and amyloid β-peptide (Aβ)-related neuronal models. Here, we report that siRNA knockdown of mitofusin-2 (Mfn2), a protein that is involved in the tethering of ER and mitochondria, leads to increased contact between the two organelles. Cells depleted in Mfn2 showed increased Ca(2+) transfer from ER to mitchondria and longer stretches of ER forming contacts with OMM. Interestingly, increased contact resulted in decreased concentrations of intra- and extracellular Aβ40 and Aβ42 . Analysis of γ-secretase protein expression, maturation and activity revealed that the low Aβ concentrations were a result of impaired γ-secretase complex function. Amyloid-β precursor protein (APP), β-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 and neprilysin expression as well as neprilysin activity were not affected by Mfn2 siRNA treatment. In summary, our data shows that modulation of ER-mitochondria contact affects γ-secretase activity and Aβ generation. Increased ER-mitochondria contact results in lower γ-secretase activity suggesting a new mechanism by which Aβ generation can be controlled.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, DNA, Cell, Metabolism, Mitochondrion, Cell membrane, Organelle, Endoplasmic reticulum


Colon crypts are recognized as a mechanical and biochemical Turing patterning model. Colon epithelial Caco-2 cell monolayer demonstrated 2D Turing patterns via force analysis of apical tight junction live cell imaging which illuminated actomyosin meshwork linking the actomyosin network of individual cells. Actomyosin forces act in a mechanobiological manner that alters cell/nucleus/tissue morphology. We observed the rotational motion of the nucleus in Caco-2 cells that appears to be driven by actomyosin during the formation of a differentiated confluent epithelium. Single- to multi-cell ring/torus-shaped genomes were observed prior to complex fractal Turing patterns extending from a rotating torus centre in a spiral pattern consistent with a gene morphogen motif. These features may contribute to the well-described differentiation from stem cells at the crypt base to the luminal colon epithelium along the crypt axis. This observation may be useful to study the role of mechanogenomic processes and the underlying molecular mechanisms as determinants of cellular and tissue architecture in space and time, which is the focal point of the 4D nucleome initiative. Mathematical and bioengineer modelling of gene circuits and cell shapes may provide a powerful algorithm that will contribute to future precision medicine relevant to a number of common medical disorders.


Diagnostics and therapies have shown evident advances. Tumour surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the main techniques in treat cancers. Targeted therapy and drug resistance are the main focus in cancer research, but many molecular intracellular mechanisms remain unknown. Src homology region 2-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase 2 (Shp2) is associated with breast cancer, leukaemia, lung cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer, laryngeal cancer, oral cancer and other cancer types. Signalling pathways involving Shp2 have also been discovered. Shp2 is related to many diseases. Mutations in the ptpn11 gene cause Noonan syndrome, LEOPARD syndrome and childhood leukaemia. Shp2 is also involved in several cancer-related processes, including cancer cell invasion and metastasis, apoptosis, DNA damage, cell proliferation, cell cycle and drug resistance. Based on the structure and function of Shp2, scientists have investigated specific mechanisms involved in cancer. Shp2 may be a potential therapeutic target because this phosphatase is implicated in many aspects. Furthermore, Shp2 inhibitors have been used in experiments to develop treatment strategies. However, conflicting results related to Shp2 functions have been presented in the literature, and such results should be resolved in future studies.

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Lung cancer, Chemotherapy, Tyrosine kinase


Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA: leucine, isoleucine and valine) are essential amino acids implicated in glucose metabolism and maintenance of correct brain function. Elevated BCAA levels can promote an inflammatory response in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. However, there are no studies analysing the direct effects of BCAA on endothelial cells (ECs) and its possible modulation of vascular function. In vitro and ex vivo studies were performed in human ECs and aorta from male C57BL/6J mice, respectively. In ECs, BCAA (6 mmol/L) increased eNOS expression, reactive oxygen species production by mitochondria and NADPH oxidases, peroxynitrite formation and nitrotyrosine expression. Moreover, BCAA induced pro-inflammatory responses through the transcription factor NF-κB that resulted in the release of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and E-selectin conferring endothelial activation and adhesion capacity to inflammatory cells. Pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1 intracellular signalling pathway decreased BCAA-induced pro-oxidant and pro-inflammatory effects in ECs. In isolated murine aorta, BCAA elicited vasoconstrictor responses, particularly in pre-contracted vessels and after NO synthase blockade, and triggered endothelial dysfunction, effects that were inhibited by different antioxidants, further demonstrating the potential of BCAA to induce oxidative stress with functional impact. In summary, we demonstrate that elevated BCAA levels generate inflammation and oxidative stress in ECs, thereby facilitating inflammatory cells adhesion and endothelial dysfunction. This might contribute to the increased cardiovascular risk observed in patients with elevated BCAA blood levels.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disorder that affects motor neurons in motor cortex and spinal cord, and the degeneration of both neuronal populations is a critical feature of the disease. Abnormalities in protein homeostasis (proteostasis) are well established in ALS. However, they have been investigated mostly in spinal cord but less so in motor cortex. Herein, we monitored the unfolded protein (UPR) and heat shock response (HSR), two major proteostasis regulatory pathways, in human post-mortem tissue derived from the motor cortex of sporadic ALS (SALS) and compared them to those occurring in spinal cord. Although the UPR was activated in both tissues, specific expression of select UPR target genes, such as PDIs, was observed in motor cortex of SALS cases strongly correlating with oligodendrocyte markers. Moreover, we found that endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) and HSR genes, which were activated predominately in spinal cord, correlated with the expression of neuronal markers. Our results indicate that proteostasis is strongly and selectively activated in SALS motor cortex and spinal cord where subsets of these genes are associated with specific cell type. This study expands our understanding of convergent molecular mechanisms occurring in motor cortex and spinal cord and highlights cell type-specific contributions.


Our aim was to identify biophysical biomarkers of ventricular remodelling in tachycardia-induced dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Our study includes healthy controls (N = 7) and DCM pigs (N = 10). Molecular analysis showed global myocardial metabolic abnormalities, some of them related to myocardial hibernation in failing hearts, supporting the translationality of our model to study cardiac remodelling in dilated cardiomyopathy. Histological analysis showed unorganized and agglomerated collagen accumulation in the dilated ventricles and a higher percentage of fibrosis in the right (RV) than in the left (LV) ventricle (P = .016). The Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) 1st and 2nd indicators, which are markers of the myofiber/collagen ratio, were reduced in dilated hearts, with the 1st indicator reduced by 45% and 53% in the RV and LV, respectively, and the 2nd indicator reduced by 25% in the RV. The 3rd FTIR indicator, a marker of the carbohydrate/lipid ratio, was up-regulated in the right and left dilated ventricles but to a greater extent in the RV (2.60-fold vs 1.61-fold, P = .049). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) showed a depression of the freezable water melting point in DCM ventricles - indicating structural changes in the tissue architecture - and lower protein stability. Our results suggest that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd FTIR indicators are useful markers of cardiac remodelling. Moreover, the 2nd and 3rd FITR indicators, which are altered to a greater extent in the right ventricle, are associated with greater fibrosis.


Recently, most of evidence shows that caloric restriction could induce antidepressant-like effects in animal model of depression. Based on studies of the brain-gut axis, some signal pathways were common between the control of caloric restriction and depression. However, the specific mechanism of the antidepressant-like effects induced by caloric restriction remains unclear. Therefore, in this article, we summarized clinical and experimental studies of caloric restriction on depression. This review may provide a new therapeutic strategy for depression.

Concepts: Game theory, Effect, Effectiveness, Model organism, Affect, Effects unit, Induced demand, Jimi Hendrix


Many B-cell acute and chronic leukaemias tend to be resistant to killing by natural killer (NK) cells. The introduction of chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) into T cells or NK cells could potentially overcome this resistance. Here, we extend our previous observations on the resistance of malignant lymphoblasts to NK-92 cells, a continuously growing NK cell line, showing that anti-CD19-CAR (αCD19-CAR) engineered NK-92 cells can regain significant cytotoxicity against CD19 positive leukaemic cell lines and primary leukaemia cells that are resistant to cytolytic activity of parental NK-92 cells. The ‘first generation’ CAR was generated from a scFv (CD19) antibody fragment, coupled to a flexible hinge region, the CD3ζ chain and a Myc-tag and cloned into a retrovirus backbone. No difference in cytotoxic activity of NK-92 and transduced αCD19-CAR NK-92 cells towards CD19 negative targets was found. However, αCD19-CAR NK-92 cells specifically and efficiently lysed CD19 expressing B-precursor leukaemia cell lines as well as lymphoblasts from leukaemia patients. Since NK-92 cells can be easily expanded to clinical grade numbers under current Good Manufactoring Practice (cGMP) conditions and its safety has been documented in several phase I clinical studies, treatment with CAR modified NK-92 should be considered a treatment option for patients with lymphoid malignancies.

Concepts: Immune system, Lymphocyte, Antibody, Cell, Cell biology, Natural killer cell, T cell, Cytotoxicity


Reducing infarct size during a cardiac ischaemic-reperfusion episode is still of paramount importance, because the extension of myocardial necrosis is an important risk factor for developing heart failure. Cardiac ischaemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is in principle a metabolic pathology as it is caused by abruptly halted metabolism during the ischaemic episode and exacerbated by sudden restart of specific metabolic pathways at reperfusion. It should therefore not come as a surprise that therapy directed at metabolic pathways can modulate IRI. Here, we summarize the current knowledge of important metabolic pathways as therapeutic targets to combat cardiac IRI. Activating metabolic pathways such as glycolysis (eg AMPK activators), glucose oxidation (activating pyruvate dehydrogenase complex), ketone oxidation (increasing ketone plasma levels), hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (O-GlcNAcylation; administration of glucosamine/glutamine) and deacetylation (activating sirtuins 1 or 3; administration of NAD+ -boosting compounds) all seem to hold promise to reduce acute IRI. In contrast, some metabolic pathways may offer protection through diminished activity. These pathways comprise the malate-aspartate shuttle (in need of novel specific reversible inhibitors), mitochondrial oxygen consumption, fatty acid oxidation (CD36 inhibitors, malonyl-CoA decarboxylase inhibitors) and mitochondrial succinate metabolism (malonate). Additionally, protecting the cristae structure of the mitochondria during IR, by maintaining the association of hexokinase II or creatine kinase with mitochondria, or inhibiting destabilization of FO F1 -ATPase dimers, prevents mitochondrial damage and thereby reduces cardiac IRI. Currently, the most promising and druggable metabolic therapy against cardiac IRI seems to be the singular or combined targeting of glycolysis, O-GlcNAcylation and metabolism of ketones, fatty acids and succinate.