SciCombinator

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The recent outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) infections and associated microcephaly in newborns has resulted in an unprecedented effort by researchers to target this virus. Significant advances have been made in developing vaccine candidates, treatment strategies and diagnostic assays in a relatively short period of time. Being a preventable disease, the first line of defense against ZIKV would be to vaccinate the highly susceptible target population, especially pregnant women. Along those lines, several vaccine candidates including purified inactivated virus (PIV), live attenuated virus (LAV), virus like particles (VLP), DNA, modified RNA, viral vectors and subunit vaccines have been in the pipeline with several advancing to clinical trials. As the primary objective of Zika vaccination is the prevention of vertical transmission of the virus to the unborn fetus, the safety and efficacy requirements for this vaccine remain unique when compared to other diseases. This review will discuss these recent advances in the field of Zika vaccine development.

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The cell entry mechanism of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) is not fully understood. Previous studies showed that AcMNPV entered host cells primarily through clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and could efficiently infect cells via fusion with the plasma membrane after a low-pH trigger. However, whether AcMNPV enters cells via these two pathways simultaneously, and the exact manner in which AcMNPV particles are internalized into cells remains unclear. In this study, using single-virus tracking, we observed that AcMNPV particles were first captured by pre-existing clathrin-coated pits (CCP), and were then delivered to early endosomes. Population-based analysis of single-virus tracking and quantitative electron microscopy demonstrated that the majority of particles were captured by CCPs and internalized via invagination. In contrast, a minority of virus particles were not delivered to CCPs, and were internalized through direct fusion with the plasma membrane without invagination. Quantitative electron microscopy also showed that, while inhibition of CCP assembly significantly impaired viral internalization, inhibition of endosomal acidification blocked virus particles out of vesicles. Collectively, these findings demonstrated that approximately 90% of AcMNPV particles entered cells through clathrin-mediated endocytosis and 10% entered via direct fusion with the plasma membrane. This study will lead toward a better understanding of AcMNPV infection.

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Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a mosquito-borne Flavivirus, the leading cause of viral-induced encephalitis. Several host molecules have been identified as the JEV attachment factor; however, the molecules involved in JEV entry remain poorly understood. In the present study, we demonstrate that TIM-1 is important for efficient infection by JEV. Firstly, three TIM-1 variants (V1, V2, and V3) were cloned from A549 cells, and we revealed that only ectopically TIM-1 V2 expression in 293T cells significantly promotes JEV attachment, entry and infection. Point mutation of phosphatidylserine (Ptdser) binding pocket in the TIM-1 IgV domain dampened JEV entry, indicating that TIM-1-mediated JEV infection is Ptdser-dependent. Furthermore, we found the cytoplasmic domain of TIM-1 is also required for enhancing JEV entry. Additionally, knock down of TIM-1 expression in A549 cells impaired JEV entry and infection, but not attachment, suggesting that additional factors exist in A549 cells that allow the virus to bind. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that TIM-1 promotes JEV infection as an entry cofactor, and the polymorphism of TIM-1 is associated with JEV susceptibility to host cells.

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Pressure ulcers are one of the most common forms of skin injury, particularly in the spinal cord injured (SCI). Pressure ulcers are difficult to heal in this population requiring at least six months of bed rest. Surgical treatment (grafting) is the fastest recovery time, but it still requires six weeks of bed rest plus significant additional costs and a high recurrence rate. A significant clinical benefit would be obtained by speeding the healing rate of a non-surgical treatment to close to that of surgical treatment (approximately doubling of healing rate). Current non-surgical treatment is mostly inactive wound coverings. The goal of this project was to look at the feasibility of doubling the healing rate of a full-thickness defect using combinations of three treatments, for the first time, each shown to increase healing rate: application of transforming growth factor-β₃ (TGF-β₃), an albumin based scaffold, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). At one week following surgery, the combined treatment showed the greatest increase in healing rate, particularly for the epithelialization rate. Although the target level of a 100% increase in healing rate over the control was not quite achieved, it is anticipated that the goal would be met with further optimization of the treatment.

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Sulforaphane (SFN), an isothiocyanate (ITC) derived from cruciferous vegetables, particularly broccoli and broccoli sprouts, has been widely investigated due to its promising health-promoting properties in disease, and low toxicity in normal tissue. Although not yet fully understood, many mechanisms of anticancer activity at each step of cancer development have been attributed to this ITC. Given the promising data available regarding SFN, this review aimed to provide an overview on the potential activities of SFN related to the cellular mechanisms involved in glioblastoma (GBM) progression. GBM is the most frequent malignant brain tumor among adults and is currently an incurable disease due mostly to its highly invasive phenotype, and the poor efficacy of the available therapies. Despite all efforts, the median overall survival of GBM patients remains approximately 1.5 years under therapy. Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide support for translating the progress in understanding the molecular background of GBM into more complex, but promising therapeutic strategies, in which SFN may find a leading role.

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Multiple sclerosis (MuS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system characterized by neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, and degradation of the myelin sheath. Epidemiological studies have shown that the female gender is more susceptible than the male gender to MuS development, with a female-to-male ratio of 2:1. Despite this high onset, women have a better prognosis than men, and the frequency of the relapsing phase decreases during pregnancy, while it increases soon after birth. Therefore, it is interesting to investigate hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and whether they correlate with metabolic signatures. To gain a deeper inside into the biochemical mechanism of such a multifactorial disease, we adopted targeted metabolomics approaches for the determination of many serum metabolites in 12 pregnant women affected by MuS by mass spectrometry analysis. Our data show a characteristic hormonal fluctuation for estrogens and progesterone, as expected. They also highlight other interesting hormonal alterations for cortisol, corticosterone, 11-deoxycortisol, 4-androstene-3,17-dione, testosterone, and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone. Furthermore, a negative correlation with progesterone levels was observed for amino acids and for acylcarnitines, while an imbalance of different sphingolipids pathways was found during pregnancy. In conclusion, these data are in agreement with the characteristic clinical signs of MuS patients during pregnancy and, if confirmed, they may add an important tessera in the complex mosaic of maternal neuroprotection.

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This study explored the associations between family support and satisfaction with life, food-related life and family life. It also assessed the associations between both parents' work-life balance and satisfaction with life, food-related life and family life among adolescent children from dual-earner families. Questionnaires were administered to 303 dual-earner families with one child between 10 and 17 years in Temuco, Chile. Adolescents answered the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), Satisfaction with Food-related Life scale (SWFoL), Satisfaction with Family Life scale (SWFaL) and the Family subscale of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Both parents answered the Work-life Balance (WLB) scale. Using structural equation modelling and having controlled for adolescents' gender, age and socioeconomic status, we confirmed that adolescent life satisfaction is associated with satisfaction with family life and food-related life. Food-related life satisfaction and family life satisfaction had complete mediating roles between perceived family support and adolescents' life satisfaction. Satisfaction with food-related life also had a complete mediating role between both parents' WLB and adolescents' life satisfaction. Satisfaction with family life had a complete mediating role between mothers' WLB and adolescents' life satisfaction. In addition, mothers' WLB was positively associated with perceived family support among adolescents. These findings suggest the need to improve family support and work-life balance among mothers in order to enhance adolescents' satisfaction with different domains of life in dual-earner families.

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Evaluation of impact damage to mango (Mangifera indica Linn) as a result of dropping from three different heights, namely, 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 m, was conducted by hyperspectral imaging (HSI). Reflectance spectra in the 900⁻1700 nm region were used to develop prediction models for pulp firmness (PF), total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA) and chroma (∆b*) by a partial least squares (PLS) regression algorithm. The results showed that the changes in the mangoes' quality attributes, which were also reflected in the spectra, had a strong relationship with dropping height. The best predictive performance measured by coefficient of determination (R²) and root mean square errors of prediction (RMSEP) values were: 0.84 and 31.6 g for PF, 0.9 and 0.49 oBrix for TSS, 0.65 and 0.1% for TA, 0.94 and 0.96 for chroma, respectively. Classification of the degree of impact damage to mango achieved an accuracy of more than 77.8% according to ripening index (RPI). The results show the potential of HSI to evaluate impact damage to mango by combining with changes in quality attributes.

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Upon binding with the chemokine CXCL12, the chemokine receptor CXCR4 has been shown to promote breast cancer progression. This process, however, can be affected by the expression of the atypical chemokine receptor ACKR3. Given ACKR3’s ability to form heterodimers with CXCR4, we investigated how dual expression of both receptors differed from their lone expression in terms of their signalling pathways. We created single and double CXCR4 and/or ACKR3 Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell transfectants. ERK and Akt phosphorylation after CXCL12 stimulation was assessed and correlated with receptor internalization. Functional consequences in cell migration and proliferation were determined through wound healing assays and calcium flux. Initial experiments showed that CXCR4 and ACKR3 were upregulated in primary breast cancer and that CXCR4 and ACKR3 could form heterodimers in transfected CHO cells. This co-expression modified CXCR4’s Akt activation after CXCL12’s stimulation but not ERK phosphorylation (p < 0.05). To assess this signalling disparity, receptor internalization was assessed and it was observed that ACKR3 was recycled to the surface whilst CXCR4 was degraded (p < 0.01), a process that could be partially inhibited with a proteasome inhibitor (p < 0.01). Internalization was also assessed with the ACKR3 agonist VUF11207, which caused both CXCR4 and ACKR3 to be degraded after internalization (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001), highlighting its potential as a dual targeting drug. Interestingly, we observed that CXCR4 but not ACKR3, activated calcium flux after CXCL12 stimulation (p < 0.05) and its co-expression could increase cellular migration (p < 0.01). These findings suggest that both receptors can signal through ERK and Akt pathways but co-expression can alter their kinetics and internalization pathways.

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Among the most recently discovered chemical regulators of plant growth and development are extracellular nucleotides, especially extracellular ATP (eATP) and extracellular ADP (eADP). Plant cells release ATP into their extracellular matrix under a variety of different circumstances, and this eATP can then function as an agonist that binds to a specific receptor and induces signaling changes, the earliest of which is an increase in the concentration of cytosolic calcium ([Ca2+]cyt). This initial change is then amplified into downstream-signaling changes that include increased levels of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide, which ultimately lead to major changes in the growth rate, defense responses, and leaf stomatal apertures of plants. This review presents and discusses the evidence that links receptor activation to increased [Ca2+]cyt and, ultimately, to growth and diverse adaptive changes in plant development. It also discusses the evidence that increased [Ca2+]cyt also enhances the activity of apyrase (nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase) enzymes that function in multiple subcellular locales to hydrolyze ATP and ADP, and thus limit or terminate the effects of these potent regulators.