SciCombinator

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

Journal: Molecules and cells

154

Gintonin is a novel ginseng-derived lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) receptor ligand. Oral administration of gintonin ameliorates learning and memory dysfunctions in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) animal models. The brain cholinergic system plays a key role in cognitive functions. The brains of AD patients show a reduction in acetylcholine concentration caused by cholinergic system impairments. However, little is known about the role of LPA in the cholinergic system. In this study, we used gintonin to investigate the effect of LPA receptor activation on the cholinergic system in vitro and in vivo using wild-type and AD animal models. Gintonin induced [Ca2+]i transient in cultured mouse hippocampal neural progenitor cells (NPCs). Gintonin-mediated [Ca2+]i transients were linked to stimulation of acetylcholine release through LPA receptor activation. Oral administration of gintonin-enriched fraction (25, 50, or 100 mg/kg, 3 weeks) significantly attenuated scopolamine-induced memory impairment. Oral administration of gintonin (25 or 50 mg/kg, 2 weeks) also significantly attenuated amyloid-β protein (Aβ)-induced cholinergic dysfunctions, such as decreased acetylcholine concentration, decreased choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity and immunoreactivity, and increased acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activity. In a transgenic AD mouse model, long-term oral administration of gintonin (25 or 50 mg/kg, 3 months) also attenuated ADrelated cholinergic impairments. In this study, we showed that activation of G protein-coupled LPA receptors by gintonin is coupled to the regulation of cholinergic functions. Furthermore, this study showed that gintonin could be a novel agent for the restoration of cholinergic system damages due to Aβ and could be utilized for AD prevention or therapy.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Brain, Animal testing, Receptor, Progenitor cell, In vivo, Acetylcholine, Ligand-gated ion channel

154

We previously reported that the SbROMT3syn recombinant protein catalyzes the production of the methylated resveratrol derivatives pinostilbene and pterostilbene by methylating substrate resveratrol in recombinant E. coli. To further study the production of stilbene compounds in E. coli by the expression of enzymes involved in stilbene biosynthesis, we isolated three stilbene synthase (STS) genes from rhubarb, peanut, and grape as well as two resveratrol O-methyltransferase (ROMT) genes from grape and sorghum. The ability of RpSTS to produce resveratrol in recombinant E. coli was compared with other AhSTS and VrSTS genes. Out of three STS, only AhSTS was able to produce resveratrol from p-coumaric acid. Thus, to improve the solubility of RpSTS, VrROMT, and SbROMT3 in E. coli, we synthesized the RpSTS, VrROMT and SbROMT3 genes following codonoptimization and expressed one or both genes together with the cinnamate/4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (CCL) gene from Streptomyces coelicolor. Our HPLC and LC-MS analyses showed that recombinant E. coli expressing both ScCCL and RpSTSsyn led to the production of resveratrol when p-coumaric acid was used as the precursor. In addition, incorporation of SbROMT3syn in recombinant E. coli cells produced resveratrol and its mono-methylated derivative, pinostilbene, as the major products from p-coumaric acid. However, very small amounts of pterostilbene were only detectable in the recombinant E. coli cells expressing the ScCCL, RpSTSsyn and SbROMT3syn genes. These results suggest that RpSTSsyn exhibits an enhanced enzyme activity to produce resveratrol and SbROMT3syn catlyazes the methylation of resveratrol to produce pinostilbene in E. coli cells.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Genetics, Gene expression, Bacteria, Enzyme, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli

149

Superovulation induced by exogenous gonadotropin treatment (PMSG/hCG) increases the number of available oocytes in humans and animals. However, Superovulatory PMSG/hCG treatment is known to affect maternal environment, and these effects may result from PMSG/hCG treatment-induced oxidative stress. 2-Cys peroxiredoxins (2-Cys Prxs) act as antioxidant enzymes that protect cells from oxidative stress induced by various exogenous stimuli. Therefore, the objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that repeated PMSG/hCG treatment induces 2-Cys Prx expression and overoxidation in the reproductive tracts of female mice. Immunohistochemistry and western blotting analyses further demonstrated that, after PMSG/hCG treatment, the protein expression levels of 2-Cys Prxs increased most significantly in the ovaries, while that of Prx1 was most affected by PMSG/hCG stimulation in all tissues of the female reproductive tract. Repeated PMSG/hCG treatment eventually leads to 2-Cys Prxs overoxidation in all reproductive organs of female mice, and the abundance of the 2-Cys Prxs-SO2/3 proteins reported here supports the hypothesis that repeated superovulation induces strong oxidative stress and damage to the female reproductive tract. Our data suggest that excessive oxidative stress caused by repeated PMSG/hCG stimulation increases 2-Cys Prxs expression and overoxidation in the female reproductive organs. Intracellular 2-Cys Prx therefore plays an important role in maintaining the reproductive organ environment of female mice upon exogenous gonadotropin treatment.

Concepts: Human, Reproduction, Molecular biology, Antioxidant, Organ, Reproductive system, Sexual reproduction, Sex organ

140

The primary cilium is a non-motile microtubule-based organelle that protrudes from the surface of most human cells and works as a cellular antenna to accept extracellular signals. Primary cilia assemble from the basal body during the resting stage (G0 phase) and simultaneously disassemble with cell cycle re-entry. Defective control of assembly or disassembly causes diverse human diseases including ciliopathy and cancer. To identify the effective compounds for studying primary cilium disassembly, we have screened 297 natural compounds and identified 18 and 17 primary cilium assembly and disassembly inhibitors, respectively. Among them, the application of KY-0120, identified as Brefeldin A, disturbed Dvl2- Plk1-mediated cilium disassembly via repression of the interaction of CK1e-Dvl2 and the expression of Plk1 mRNA. Therefore, our study may suggest useful compounds for studying the cellular mechanism of primary cilium disassembly to prevent ciliopathy and cancer.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Cell, Cancer, Eukaryote, Organelle, Cilium, Ciliopathy, Antenna

140

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), one of the common metabolic disorders of pregnancy, leads to functional alterations in various cells including stem cells as well as some abnormalities in fetal development. Perivascular stem cells (PVCs) have gained more attention in recent years, for the treatment of various diseases. However, the effect of GDM on PVC function has not been investigated. In our study, we isolated PVCs from umbilical cord of normal pregnant women and GDM patients and compared their phenotypes and function. There is no significant difference in phenotypic expression, response to bFGF exposure and adipogenic differentiation capacity between normal PVCs and GDM-PVCs. However, when compared with normal PVCs, early passage GDMPVCs displayed decreased initial rates of cell yield and proliferation as well as a reduced ability to promote wound closure. These results suggest that maternal metabolic dysregulation during gestation can alter the function of endogenous multipotent stem cells, which may impact their therapeutic effectiveness.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Embryo, Prenatal development, Fetus, Diabetes mellitus, Developmental biology, Obstetrics, Gestational diabetes

4

Most of the axons in the vertebrate nervous system are surrounded by a lipid-rich membrane called myelin, which promotes rapid conduction of nerve impulses and protects the axon from being damaged. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating disease of the CNS characterized by infiltration of immune cells and progressive damage to myelin and axons. One potential way to treat MS is to enhance the endogenous remyelination process, but at present there are no available treatments to promote remyelination in patients with demyelinating diseases. Sulfasalazine is an anti-inflammatory and immunemodulating drug that is used in rheumatology and inflammatory bowel disease. Its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties prompted us to test the ability of sulfasalazine to promote remyelination. In this study, we found that sulfasalazine promotes remyelination in the CNS of a transgenic zebrafish model of NTR/MTZ-induced demyelination. We also found that sulfasalazine treatment reduced the number of macrophages/microglia in the CNS of demyelinated zebrafish larvae, suggesting that the acceleration of remyelination is mediated by the immunomodulatory function of sulfasalazine. Our data suggest that temporal modulation of the immune response by sulfasalazine can be used to overcome MS by enhancing myelin repair and remyelination in the CNS.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Nervous system, Neuron, Action potential, Multiple sclerosis, Axon, Myelin

3

Afflicted neurons in various neurodegenerative diseases generally display diverse and complex pathological features before catastrophic occurrence of massive neuronal loss at the late stages of the diseases. This complex nature of neuronal pathophysiology inevitably implicates systemwide changes in basic cellular activities such as transcriptional controls and signal cascades, and so on, as a cause. Recently, as one of these systemwide cellular changes associated with neurodegenerative diseases, epigenetic changes caused by protein toxicity have begun to be highlighted. Notably, recent advances in related techniques including next-generation sequencing (NGS) and mass spectrometry enable us to monitor changes in the post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histone proteins and to link these changes in histone PTMs to the specific transcriptional changes. Indeed, epigenetic alterations and consequent changes in neuronal transcriptome are now begun to be extensively studied in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this review, we will discuss details of our current understandings on epigenetic changes associated with two representative neurodegenerative diseases [AD and polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases] and further discuss possible future development of pharmaceutical treatment of the diseases through modulating these epigenetic changes.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Protein structure, Neuron, Histone, Medical terms, Posttranslational modification, Methylation, Acetylcholine

3

Programmable nucleases, which include zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and RNA-guided engineered nucleases (RGENs) repurposed from the type II clustered, regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) system are now widely used for genome editing in higher eukaryotic cells and whole organisms, revolutionising almost every discipline in biological research, medicine, and biotechnology. All of these nucleases, however, induce off-target mutations at sites homologous in sequence with on-target sites, limiting their utility in many applications including gene or cell therapy. In this review, we compare methods for detecting nuclease off-target mutations. We also review methods for profiling genome-wide off-target effects and discuss how to reduce or avoid offtarget mutations.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Cell nucleus, Cell, Bacteria, Biology, Organism

3

Autophagy is a lysosome-dependent intracellular degradation process that allows recycling of cytoplasmic constituents into bioenergetic and biosynthetic materials for maintenance of homeostasis. Since the function of autophagy is particularly important in various stress conditions, perturbation of autophagy can lead to cellular dysfunction and diseases. Accumulation of abnormal protein aggregates, a common cause of neurodegenerative diseases, can be reduced through autophagic degradation. Recent studies have revealed defects in autophagy in most cases of neurodegenerative disorders. Moreover, deregulated excessive autophagy can also cause neurodegeneration. Thus, healthy activation of autophagy is essential for therapeutic approaches in neurodegenerative diseases and many autophagy-regulating compounds are under development for therapeutic purposes. This review describes the overall role of autophagy in neurodegeneration, focusing on various therapeutic strategies for modulating specific stages of autophagy and on the current status of drug development.

Concepts: Neurodegeneration, Neurodegenerative disorders, Neurodegenerative diseases

2

Tissue-specific transcription is critical for normal development, and abnormalities causing undesirable gene expression may lead to diseases such as cancer. Such highly organized transcription is controlled by enhancers with specific DNA sequences recognized by transcription factors. Enhancers are associated with chromatin modifications that are distinct epigenetic features in a tissue-specific manner. Recently, superenhancers comprising enhancer clusters co-occupied by lineage-specific factors have been identified in diverse cell types such as adipocytes, hair follicle stem cells, and mammary epithelial cells. In addition, noncoding RNAs, named eRNAs, are synthesized at super-enhancer regions before their target genes are transcribed. Many functional studies revealed that super-enhancers and eRNAs are essential for the regulation of tissue-specific gene expression. In this review, we summarize recent findings concerning enhancer function in tissuespecific gene regulation and cancer development.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Cell, Promoter, Transcription