The electron microscope has become an important tool for determining the structure of biological materials of all kinds. Many technical advances in specimen preparation and in sophisticated methods of image analysis, initially based on optical systems but latterly on computer processing, have contributed to the development of the subject. Viruses of various kinds have often provided a convenient and appropriate test specimen. This paper describes the major technical advances and shows how viruses have had an important role in most of the developments.
Evidence is strong that a reduction in risk for breast cancer is associated with moderate to vigorous physical activity (PA); however, there is limited understanding of the role of type, intensity, duration, and frequency of PA and their mechanisms in accounting for this health benefit. The objective of this review is to stimulate investigations of candidate mechanisms that may account for the effects of the intensity and duration of aerobic PA on breast cancer risk and tumor burden. Three hypotheses are considered: 1) the mTOR network hypothesis: PA inhibits carcinogenesis by suppressing the activation of the mTOR signaling network in mammary carcinomas; 2) the hormesis hypothesis: the carcinogenic response to PA is non linear and accounted for by a physiological cellular stress response; and 3) the metabolic reprogramming hypothesis: PA limits the amount of glucose and glutamine available to mammary carcinomas thereby inducing apoptosis because tumor-associated metabolic programming is reversed. To link these hypotheses to systemic effects of PA, it is recommended that consideration be given to determining : 1) what contracting muscle releases into circulation or removes from circulation that would directly modulate the carcinogenic process in epithelial cells; 2) whether the effects of muscle contraction on epithelial cell carcinogenesis are exerted in an endocrine, paracrine, autocrine, or intracrine manner; and 3) if the effects of muscle contraction on malignant cells differ from effects on normal or pre-malignant cells that do not manifest the hallmarks of malignancy.
Although low-dose radiation (LDR) regulates a wide range of biological processes, limited information is available on the effects of LDR on the chondrocyte phenotype. Here, we found that LDR, at doses of 0.5–2 centiGray (cGy), inhibited interleukin (IL)-1β-induced chondrocyte destruction without causing side effects, such as cell death and senescence. IL-1β treatment induced an increase in the expression of α-, β-, and γ-catenin proteins in chondrocytes via Akt signaling, thereby promoting dedifferentiation through catenin-dependent suppression of Sox-9 transcription factor expression and induction of inflammation through activation of the NF-κB pathway. Notably, LDR blocked cartilage disorders by inhibiting IL-1β-induced catenin signaling and subsequent catenin-dependent suppression of the Sox-9 pathway and activation of the NF-κB pathway, without directly altering catenin expression. LDR also inhibited chondrocyte destruction through the catenin pathway induced by epidermal growth factor, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, and retinoic acid. Collectively, these results identify the molecular mechanisms by which LDR suppresses pathophysiological processes and establish LDR as a potentially valuable therapeutic tool for patients with cytokine- or soluble factors-mediated cartilage disorders.
Aging is the progressive decline in cellular, tissue, and organ function. This complex process often manifests as loss of muscular strength, cardiovascular function, and cognitive ability. Mitochondrial dysfunction and decreased mitochondrial biogenesis are believed to participate in metabolic abnormalities and loss of organ function, which will eventually contribute to aging and decreased lifespan. In this review, we discuss what is currently known about mitochondrial dysfunction in the aging skeletal muscle and heart. We focused our discussion on the role of PGC-1 coactivators in the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and function and possible therapeutic benefits of increased mitochondrial biogenesis in compensating for mitochondrial dysfunction and circumventing aging and aging-related diseases.
The short interspersed elements (SINEs) Alu and B2 are retrotransposons that litter the human and mouse genomes, respectively. Given their abundance, the manner in which these elements impact the host genome and what their biological functions might be is of significant interest. Finding that Alu and B2 SINEs are transcribed, both as distinct RNA polymerase III transcripts and as part of RNA polymerase II transcripts, and that these SINE encoded RNAs indeed have biological functions has refuted the historical notion that SINEs are merely “junk DNA.” This article reviews currently known cellular functions of both RNA polymerase II and RNA polymerase III transcribed Alu and B2 RNAs. These RNAs, in different forms, control gene expression by participating in processes as diverse as mRNA transcriptional control, A-to-I editing, nuclear retention, and alternative splicing. Future studies will likely reveal additional contributions of Alu and B2 RNAs as regulators of gene expression.
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a small signaling lipid that is capable of stimulating a plethora of different cellular responses through the activation of its family of cognate G protein-coupled receptors. LPA mediates a wide range of biological effects in many tissue types that have been recently reviewed, however its effects on vasculature development and function have received comparatively less examination. In this review, literature on the actions of LPA in three main aspects of vascular development (vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, and vascular maturation) is discussed. In addition, evidence for the roles of LPA signaling in the formation of secondary vascular structures, such as the blood brain barrier, is considered, consistent with significant roles for LPA signaling in vascular development, function, and disease.
Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) kinase (PASK, PASKIN, and PSK) is a member of the group of nutrient sensing protein kinases. These protein kinases sense the energy or nutrient status of the cell and regulate cellular metabolism appropriately. PAS kinase responds to glucose availability and regulates glucose homeostasis in yeast, mice, and man. Despite this pivotal role, the molecular mechanisms of PAS kinase regulation and function are largely unknown. This review focuses on what is known about PAS kinase, including its conservation from yeast to man, identified substrates, associated phenotypes and role in metabolic disease.
Systems biology and network analysis are emerging as valuable tools for the discovery of novel relationships, the identification of key regulatory factors, and the prediction of phenotypic changes in complex biological systems. Redox homeostasis in the vasculature is maintained by an intricate balance between oxidant-generating and antioxidant systems. When these systems are perturbed, conditions are permissive for oxidant stress, which, in turn, promotes vascular dysfunction and structural remodeling. Owing to the number of elements involved in redox regulation and the different vascular pathophenotypes associated with oxidant stress, vascular oxidant stress represents an ideal system to study by network analysis. Networks offer a method to organize experimentally derived factors, including proteins, metabolites, and DNA, that are represented as nodes into an unbiased comprehensive platform for study. Through analysis of the network it is possible to determine essential or regulatory nodes, identify previously unknown connections between nodes, and locate modules, which are groups of nodes located within the same neighborhood that function together and have implications for phenotype. Investigators have only recently begun to construct oxidant stress-related networks to examine vascular structure and function; however, these early studies have provided mechanistic insight to further our understanding of this complicated biological system.
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most commonly occurring malignant tumor in Europe and America. Normal and neoplastic growth of prostate gland are dependent on androgen receptor (AR) expression and function. PCa is driven by androgen and its receptor, and they continue to be the key drivers of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). CRPC is the terminal stage of PCa and seriously jeopardizes the patient's quality of life and lifespan. miRNAs are small noncoding RNAs, 18–25 nt in length that destabilize mRNA or repress protein synthesis by interacting with the 3′-untranslated regions (3'-UTR) of target mRNAs. miRNAs can regulate AR or be regulated by AR and then affect various signaling pathways related to cellular functions and tumor processes. In this review, we focus on the relationship between miRNAs and AR in PCa and elucidate their roles in the induction of malignant changes in PCa. ? 2014 The Authors IUBMB Life published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 66(6):379–386, 2014
Obesity is recognized as a major worldwide health problem. Excess weight gain is the most common cause of elevated blood pressure (BP) and markedly increases the risk of metabolic, cardiovascular and renal diseases. Although the mechanisms linking obesity with hypertension have not been fully elucidated, increased sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity contributes to elevated BP in obese subjects. Recent evidence indicates that leptin and the central nervous system (CNS) melanocortin system, including melanocortin 4 receptors (MC4R), play a key role in linking obesity with increased SNS activity and hypertension. Leptin, a peptide-hormone produced by adipose tissue, crosses the blood–brain barrier and activates brain centers that control multiple metabolic functions as well as SNS activity and BP via the CNS melanocortin system. The crosstalk between peripheral signals (e.g., leptin) and activation of CNS pathways (e.g., MC4R) that regulate energy balance, SNS activity and BP represents an important target for treating obesity and its metabolic and cardiovascular consequences.
The American Cancer Society estimated 1.5 million new cancer cases in the US in 2012. Although the exact number is not known, it is estimated that brain metastases occur in 20–40% of cancer patients (NCI). Due to the complexity of development and the variation in tumor etiology, therapy options have been limited for a number of cancers while progressive treatments have been successful for some malignancies. Combining treatment strategies has shown potential to increase positive outcomes, however cancer remains a formidable diagnosis with no true cure. Many researchers have focused on alternative forms of cancer prevention or treatment to slow cancer progression. Studies have shown that with moderate, regular exercise signaling pathways associated with increased antioxidant activity and cellular repair are upregulated in vascular tissue, however the physiological mechanisms are poorly understood. The purpose of this review is to examine the current literature in order to better understand the impact of exercise on cancer progression and tumor metastasis and discuss potential redox related signaling in the vasculature that may be involved.
MicroRNAs (miRNA) are endogenous short non-coding RNAs which regulate virtually all major cellular processes by inhibiting target gene expression. In kidneys, miRNAs have been implicated in renal development, homeostasis and physiological functions. In addition, miRNAs play important roles in the pathogenesis of various renal diseases, including renal carcinoma, diabetic nephropathy, acute kidney injury, hypertensive nephropathy, polycystic kidney disease and others. Furthermore, miRNAs may have great values as biomarkers in different kidney diseases.
Loss of cardiomyocytes plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of heart failure. With fewer myocytes, the heart is unable to sustain efficient contraction. Much attention has been focused on understanding mechanisms of cell death in myocytes with the ultimate goal being to reduce the extent of injury and improve function in the failing myocardium. Both necrosis and apoptosis contribute to loss of myocytes, and this loss of cells is a hallmark of cardiac pathologies, including ischemia/reperfusion, myocardial infarction, and heart failure. Apoptosis is a highly regulated process that is activated via death receptors in the plasma membrane or via permeabilization of the mitochondria. Necrosis is generally viewed as an uncontrolled process that leads to mitochondrial swelling, cell rupture, and subsequent inflammation. However, recent studies have uncovered a signaling pathway that mediate regulated necrosis, or necroptosis. Mitochondria play an important role in both apoptosis and necrosis, and changes in their morphology can affect the cells’ susceptibility to stress. This review focuses on the various modes of cell death in the myocardium and highlights how they contribute to loss of myocytes in response to stress.
Adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) are key intracellular constituents involved in energy transfer and redox homeostasis in the cell. ATP is also released in the extracellular space and in the past half century it has been assumed to be the purinergic neurotransmitter in many systems including smooth muscle. In some smooth muscles (i.e., the human urinary bladder detrusor muscle) ATP does appear to be primarily released from nerves upon action potential firings, but in other smooth muscles (i.e., the human large intestine) ATP does not mimic the endogenous purine neurotransmitter. It was recently found that NAD+, another ubiquitous intracellular adenine nucleotide, also follows a regulated release in neurosecretory cells, vascular and visceral smooth muscles, and the brain. In some cases NAD+fulfills pre- and postsynaptic criteria for a neurotransmitter better than ATP. Therefore, the purine hypothesis of neural regulation in smooth muscle is in need of reevaluation. This article will briefly review the current understanding of neuronal and extraneuronal release of purines in smooth muscle with emphasis on the roles of extracellular ATP and NAD+, and, further, will discuss more recent information about the likely involvement of multiple purines in smooth muscle neurotransmission.
Lafora disease (LD) is a fatal, autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder that results in progressive myoclonus epilepsy. A hallmark of LD is the accumulation of insoluble, aberrant glycogen-like structures called Lafora bodies. LD is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the E3 ubiquitin ligase malin or the glucan phosphatase laforin. Although LD was first described in 1911, its symptoms are still lacking a consistent molecular explanation and consequently a cure is far from being achieved. Some data suggest that malin forms a functional complex with laforin. This complex promotes the ubiquitination of proteins involved in glycogen metabolism and misregulation of pathways involved in this process results in Lafora body formation. In addition, recent results obtained from both cell culture and LD mouse models have highlighted a role of the laforin-malin complex in the regulation of ER-stress and protein clearance pathways. These results suggest that LD should be considered as a novel member of the group of protein clearance diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, or Alzheimer’s, in addition to being a glycogen metabolism disease. Herein, we review the latest results concerning the role of malin in LD and attempt to decipher its function.
Protein phosphatase activity acts as a primary determinant of the extent and duration of phosphorylation of cellular proteins in response to physiological stimuli. Ser/Thr protein phosphatase-1 (PP1) belongs to the PPP superfamily, and is associated with regulatory subunits that confer substrate specificity, allosteric regulation and subcellular compartmentalization. In addition, all eukaryotic cells contain multiple heat-stable proteins that originally were thought to inhibit phosphatase catalytic subunits released from the regulatory subunits, as a fail-safe mechanism. However, discovery of CPI-17 required fresh thinking about the endogenous inhibitors as specific regulators of particular phosphatase complexes, acting in addition to, not instead of, regulatory subunits. The cellular actions of the endogenous inhibitors are controlled by phosphorylation, connecting them to kinase pathways. More recent progress has unveiled additional functions of PP1 inhibitor-2 (I-2), including regulation of protein kinases. Transcriptional mechanisms govern the expression levels of CPI-17 in response to stimuli. If true for other inhibitor proteins, they have the potential of being diagnostic markers for pathological conditions. We discuss specific examples of PP1 inhibitor proteins regulating particular cellular functions and the rationale for incorporating phosphatase inhibitor proteins in development of new therapeutic strategies.
The aromatic amino acid hydroxylases tryptophan hydroxylase and tyrosine hydroxylase are responsible for the initial steps in the formation of serotonin and the catecholamine neurotransmitters, respectively. Both enzymes are nonheme iron-dependent monooxygenases that catalyze the insertion of one atom of molecular oxygen onto the aromatic ring of their amino acid substrates, using a tetrahydropterin as a two electron donor to reduce the second oxygen atom to water. This review discusses the current understanding of the catalytic mechanism of these two enzymes. The reaction occurs as two sequential half reactions: a reaction between the active site iron, oxygen, and the tetrahydropterin to form a reactive FeIVO intermediate and hydroxylation of the amino acid by the FeIVO. The mechanism of formation of the FeIVO is unclear; however, considerable evidence suggests the formation of an FeII-peroxypterin intermediate. The amino acid is hydroxylated by the FeIVO intermediate in an electrophilic aromatic substitution mechanism.
The CAS family of scaffolding proteins has increasingly attracted scrutiny as important for regulation of cancer-associated signaling. BCAR1 (also known as p130Cas), NEDD9 (HEF1, Cas-L), EFS (Sin), and CASS4 (HEPL) are regulated by and mediate cell attachment, growth factor, and chemokine signaling. Altered expression and activity of CAS proteins is now known to promote metastasis and drug resistance in cancer, influence normal development, and contribute to the pathogenesis of heart and pulmonary disease. In this article, we provide an update on recently published studies describing signals regulating and regulated by CAS proteins, and evidence for biological activity of CAS proteins in normal development, cancer and other pathological conditions.