• MinireviewAugust 31, 2020

    0 1050 2090

    Abstract : Autophagy is an intracellular degradation system that breaks down damaged organelles or damaged proteins using intracellular lysosomes. Recent studies have also revealed that various forms of selective autophagy play specific physiological roles under different cellular conditions. Lipid droplets, which are mainly found in adipocytes and hepatocytes, are dynamic organelles that store triglycerides and are critical to health. Lipophagy is a type of selective autophagy that targets lipid droplets and is an essential mechanism for maintaining homeostasis of lipid droplets. However, while processes that regulate lipid droplets such as lipolysis and lipogenesis are relatively well known, the major factors that control lipophagy remain largely unknown. This review introduces the underlying mechanism by which lipophagy is induced and regulated, and the current findings on the major roles of lipophagy in physiological and pathological status. These studies will provide basic insights into the function of lipophagy and may be useful for the development of new therapies for lipophagy dysfunction-related diseases.

  • MinireviewJuly 31, 2020

    0 440 851

    Abstract : Numerous physiological processes in nature have multiple oscillations within 24 h, that is, ultradian rhythms. Compared to the circadian rhythm, which has a period of approximately one day, these short oscillations range from seconds to hours, and the mechanisms underlying ultradian rhythms remain largely unknown. This review aims to explore and emphasize the implications of ultradian rhythms and their underlying regulations. Reproduction and developmental processes show ultradian rhythms, and these physiological systems can be regulated by short biological rhythms. Specifically, we recently uncovered synchronized calcium oscillations in the organotypic culture of hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARN) kisspeptin neurons that regulate reproduction. Synchronized calcium oscillations were dependent on voltage-gated ion channel-mediated action potentials and were repressed by chemogenetic inhibition, suggesting that the network within the ARN and between the kisspeptin population mediates the oscillation. This minireview describes that ultradian rhythms are a general theme that underlies biological features, with special reference to calcium oscillations in the hypothalamic ARN from a developmental perspective. We expect that more attention to these oscillations might provide insight into physiological or developmental mechanisms, since many oscillatory features in nature still remain to be explored.

  • MinireviewJuly 31, 2020

    0 1035 1677

    Abstract : Complex cell-to-cell communication underlies the basic processes essential for homeostasis in the given tissue architecture. Obtaining quantitative gene-expression of cells in their native context has significantly advanced through single-cell RNA sequencing technologies along with mechanical and enzymatic tissue manipulation. This approach, however, is largely reliant on the physical dissociation of individual cells from the tissue, thus, resulting in a library with unaccounted positional information. To overcome this, positional information can be obtained by integrating imaging and positional barcoding. Collectively, spatial transcriptomics strategies provide tissue architecture-dependent as well as position-dependent cellular functions. This review discusses the current technologies for spatial transcriptomics ranging from the methods combining mechanical dissociation and single-cell RNA sequencing to computational spatial re-mapping.

  • MinireviewJune 30, 2020

    0 538 1180

    SNAREs in Plant Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses

    Chian Kwon , Jae-Hoon Lee , and Hye Sup Yun

    Mol. Cells 2020; 43(6): 501-508

    Abstract : In eukaryotes, membraneous cellular compartmentation essentially requires vesicle trafficking for communications among distinct organelles. A donor organelle-generated vesicle releases its cargo into a target compartment by fusing two distinct vesicle and target membranes. Vesicle fusion, the final step of vesicle trafficking, is driven intrinsically by complex formation of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs). Although SNAREs are well-conserved across eukaryotes, genomic studies revealed that plants have dramatically increased the number of SNARE genes than other eukaryotes. This increase is attributed to the sessile nature of plants, likely for more sensitive and harmonized responses to environmental stresses. In this review, we therefore try to summarize and discuss the current understanding of plant SNAREs function in responses to biotic and abiotic stresses.

  • MinireviewJune 30, 2020

    0 384 904

    Abstract : To perceive fluctuations in light quality, quantity, and timing, higher plants have evolved diverse photoreceptors including UVR8 (a UV-B photoreceptor), cryptochromes, phototropins, and phytochromes (Phys). In contrast to plants, prokaryotic oxygen-evolving photosynthetic organisms, cyanobacteria, rely mostly on bilin-based photoreceptors, namely, cyanobacterial phytochromes (Cphs) and cyanobacteriochromes (CBCRs), which exhibit structural and functional differences compared with plant Phys. CBCRs comprise varying numbers of light sensing domains with diverse color-tuning mechanisms and signal transmission pathways, allowing cyanobacteria to respond to UV-A, visible, and far-red lights. Recent genomic surveys of filamentous cyanobacteria revealed novel CBCRs with broader chromophore-binding specificity and photocycle protochromicity. Furthermore, a novel Cph lineage has been identified that absorbs blue-violet/yellow-orange light. In this minireview, we briefly discuss the diversity in color sensing and signal transmission mechanisms of Cphs and CBCRs, along with their potential utility in the field of optogenetics.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2020

    0 803 1403

    Ceramide and Sphingosine 1-Phosphate in Liver Diseases

    Woo-Jae Park , Jae-Hwi Song , Goon-Tae Kim , and Tae-Sik Park

    Mol. Cells 2020; 43(5): 419-430

    Abstract : The liver is an important organ in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism. It is responsible for systemic energy homeostasis. When energy need exceeds the storage capacity in the liver, fatty acids are shunted into nonoxidative sphingolipid biosynthesis, which increases the level of cellular ceramides. Accumulation of ceramides alters substrate utilization from glucose to lipids, activates triglyceride storage, and results in the development of both insulin resistance and hepatosteatosis, increasing the likelihood of major metabolic diseases. Another sphingolipid metabolite, sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive signaling molecule that acts via S1P-specific G protein coupled receptors. It regulates many cellular and physiological events. Since an increase in plasma S1P is associated with obesity, it seems reasonable that recent studies have provided evidence that S1P is linked to lipid pathophysiology, including hepatosteatosis and fibrosis. Herein, we review recent findings on ceramides and S1P in obesity-mediated liver diseases and the therapeutic potential of these sphingolipid metabolites.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2020

    0 696 1220

    Cellular Contributors to Hypothalamic Inflammation in Obesity

    Chan Hee Lee , Kyoungho Suk , Rina Yu , and Min-Seon Kim

    Mol. Cells 2020; 43(5): 431-437

    Abstract : The hypothalamus is a crucial organ for the maintenance of appropriate body fat storage. Neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARH) detect energy shortage or surplus via the circulating concentrations of metabolic hormones and nutrients, and then coordinate energy intake and expenditure to maintain energy homeostasis. Malfunction or loss of hypothalamic ARH neurons results in obesity. Accumulated evidence suggests that hypothalamic inflammation is a key pathological mechanism that links chronic overconsumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) with the development of obesity and related metabolic complications. Interestingly, overnutrition-induced hypothalamic inflammation occurs specifically in the ARH, where microglia initiate an inflammatory response by releasing proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in response to excessive fatty acid flux. Upon more prolonged HFD consumption, astrocytes and perivascular macrophages become involved and sustain hypothalamic inflammation. ARH neurons are victims of hypothalamic inflammation, but they may actively participate in hypothalamic inflammation by sending quiescence or stress signals to surrounding glia. In this mini-review, we describe the current state of knowledge regarding the contributions of neurons and glia, and their interactions, to HFD-induced hypothalamic inflammation.

  • MinireviewApril 30, 2020

    0 498 2977

    Abstract : Eukaryotes transport biomolecules between intracellular organelles and between cells and the environment via vesicle trafficking. Soluble N -ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNARE proteins) play pivotal roles in vesicle and membrane trafficking. These proteins are categorized as Qa, Qb, Qc, and R SNAREs and form a complex that induces vesicle fusion for targeting of vesicle cargos. As the core components of the SNARE complex, the SNAP25 Qbc SNAREs perform various functions related to cellular homeostasis. The Arabidopsis thaliana SNAP25 homolog AtSNAP33 interacts with Qa and R SNAREs and plays a key role in cytokinesis and in triggering innate immune responses. However, other Arabidopsis SNAP25 homologs, such as AtSNAP29 and AtSNAP30, are not well studied; this includes their localization, interactions, structures, and functions. Here, we discuss three biological functions of plant SNAP25 orthologs in the context of AtSNAP33 and highlight recent findings on SNAP25 orthologs in various plants. We propose future directions for determining the roles of the less well-characterized AtSNAP29 and AtSNAP30 proteins.

  • MinireviewApril 30, 2020

    0 567 994

    Zinc and Its Transporters in Epigenetics

    Sofia Brito , Mi-Gi Lee , Bum-Ho Bin , and Jong-Soo Lee

    Mol. Cells 2020; 43(4): 323-330

    Abstract : Epigenetic events like DNA methylation and histone modification can alter heritable phenotypes. Zinc is required for the activity of various epigenetic enzymes, such as DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), histone acetyltransferases (HATs), histone deacetylases (HDACs), and histone demethylases, which possess several zinc binding sites. Thus, the dysregulation of zinc homeostasis can lead to epigenetic alterations. Zinc homeostasis is regulated by Zinc Transporters (ZnTs), Zrt- and Irt-like proteins (ZIPs), and the zinc storage protein metallothionein (MT). Recent advances revealed that ZIPs modulate epigenetics. ZIP10 deficiency was found to result in reduced HATs, confirming its involvement in histone acetylation for rigid skin barrier formation. ZIP13 deficiency, which is associated with Spondylocheirodysplastic Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (SCD-EDS), increases DNMT activity, leading to dysgenesis of dermis via improper gene expressions. However, the precise molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Future molecular studies investigating the involvement of zinc and its transporters in epigenetics are warranted.

  • MinireviewMarch 31, 2020

    0 513 1700

    Abstract : Post-translational modifications play major roles in the stability, function, and localization of target proteins involved in the nervous system. The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway uses small ubiquitin molecules to degrade neuronal proteins. Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) reverse this degradation and thereby control neuronal cell fate, synaptic plasticity,axonal growth, and proper function of the nervous system.Moreover, mutations or downregulation of certain DUBshave been found in several neurodegenerative diseases, as well as gliomas and neuroblastomas. Based on emerging findings, DUBs represent an important target for therapeutic intervention in various neurological disorders. Here, we summarize advances in our understanding of the roles of DUBs related to neurobiology.

  • MinireviewMarch 31, 2020

    0 390 835

    Distinct Developmental Features of Olfactory Bulb Interneurons

    Jae Yeon Kim , Jiyun Choe , and Cheil Moon

    Mol. Cells 2020; 43(3): 215-221

    Abstract : The olfactory bulb (OB) has an extremely higher proportion of interneurons innervating excitatory neurons than other brain regions, which is evolutionally conserved across species.Despite the abundance of OB interneurons, little is known about the diversification and physiological functions of OB interneurons compared to cortical interneurons. In this review, an overview of the general developmental process of interneurons from the angles of the spatial and temporal specifications was presented. Then, the distinct features shown exclusively in OB interneurons development and molecular machinery recently identified were discussed.Finally, we proposed an evolutionary meaning for the diversity of OB interneurons.

  • MinireviewFebruary 29, 2020

    0 588 1491

    Role of RUNX Family Transcription Factors in DNA Damage Response

    Ann Sanoji Samarakkody , Nah-Young Shin , and Alan B. Cantor

    Mol. Cells 2020; 43(2): 99-106

    Abstract : Cells are constantly exposed to endogenous and exogenous stresses that can result in DNA damage. In response, they have evolved complex pathways to maintain genomic integrity. RUNX family transcription factors (RUNX1, RUNX2, and RUNX3 in mammals) are master regulators of development and differentiation, and are frequently dysregulated in cancer. A growing body of research also implicates RUNX proteins as regulators of the DNA damage response, often acting in conjunction with the p53 and Fanconi anemia pathways. In this review, we discuss the functional role and mechanisms involved in RUNX factor mediated response to DNA damage and other cellular stresses. We highlight the impact of these new findings on our understanding of cancer predisposition associated with RUNX factor dysregulation and their implications for designing novel approaches to prevent cancer formation in affected individuals.

Mol. Cells
Jul 31, 2022 Vol.45 No.7, pp. 435~512
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells capable of differentiating into mesodermal lineages like adipogenic, osteogenic, and chondrogenic. Alcian blue-positive extracellular matrix secreted by chondrocytes in the lacuna confirmed the chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs (Bashyal et al., pp. 479-494).

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