• MinireviewAugust 31, 2022

    0 155 49

    Abstract : Cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is an immune checkpoint molecule that is mainly expressed on activated T cells and regulatory T (Treg) cells that inhibits T-cell activation and regulates immune homeostasis. Due to the crucial functions of CTLA-4 in T-cell biology, CTLA-4-targeted immunotherapies have been developed for autoimmune disease as well as cancers. CTLA-4 is known to compete with CD28 to interact with B7, but some studies have revealed that its downstream signaling is independent of its ligand interaction. As a signaling domain of CTLA-4, the tyrosine motif plays a role in inhibiting T-cell activation. Recently, the lysine motif has been shown to be required for the function of Treg cells, emphasizing the importance of CTLA-4 signaling. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of CTLA-4 biology and molecular signaling events and discuss strategies to target CTLA-4 signaling for immune modulation and disease therapy.

  • MinireviewAugust 31, 2022

    0 127 43

    Z-DNA–Containing Long Terminal Repeats of Human Endogenous Retrovirus Families Provide Alternative Promoters for Human Functional Genes

    Du Hyeong Lee , Woo Hyeon Bae , Hongseok Ha , Eun Gyung Park , Yun Ju Lee , Woo Ryung Kim , and Heui-Soo Kim

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(8): 522-530

    Abstract : Transposable elements (TEs) account for approximately 45% of the human genome. TEs have proliferated randomly and integrated into functional genes during hominoid radiation. They appear as right-handed B-DNA double helices and slightly elongated left-handed Z-DNAs. Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) families are widely distributed in human chromosomes at a ratio of 8%. They contain a 5′-long terminal repeat (LTR)-gag-pol-env-3′-LTR structure. LTRs contain the U3 enhancer and promoter region, transcribed R region, and U5 region. LTRs can influence host gene expression by acting as regulatory elements. In this review, we describe the alternative promoters derived from LTR elements that overlap Z-DNA by comparing Z-hunt and DeepZ data for human functional genes. We also present evidence showing the regulatory activity of LTR elements containing Z-DNA in GSDML. Taken together, the regulatory activity of LTR elements with Z-DNA allows us to understand gene function in relation to various human diseases.

  • MinireviewJuly 31, 2022

    1 714 194

    m6A in the Signal Transduction Network

    Ki-Hong Jang , Chloe R. Heras , and Gina Lee

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(7): 435-443

    Abstract : In response to environmental changes, signaling pathways rewire gene expression programs through transcription factors. Epigenetic modification of the transcribed RNA can be another layer of gene expression regulation. N6-adenosine methylation (m6A) is one of the most common modifications on mRNA. It is a reversible chemical mark catalyzed by the enzymes that deposit and remove methyl groups. m6A recruits effector proteins that determine the fate of mRNAs through changes in splicing, cellular localization, stability, and translation efficiency. Emerging evidence shows that key signal transduction pathways including TGFβ (transforming growth factor-β), ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase), and mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) regulate downstream gene expression through m6A processing. Conversely, m6A can modulate the activity of signal transduction networks via m6A modification of signaling pathway genes or by acting as a ligand for receptors. In this review, we discuss the current understanding of the crosstalk between m6A and signaling pathways and its implication for biological systems.

  • MinireviewJuly 31, 2022

    0 413 88

    Abstract : Multivalent macromolecular interactions underlie dynamic regulation of diverse biological processes in ever-changing cellular states. These interactions often involve binding of multiple proteins to a linear lattice including intrinsically disordered proteins and the chromosomal DNA with many repeating recognition motifs. Quantitative understanding of such multivalent interactions on a linear lattice is crucial for exploring their unique regulatory potentials in the cellular processes. In this review, the distinctive molecular features of the linear lattice system are first discussed with a particular focus on the overlapping nature of potential protein binding sites within a lattice. Then, we introduce two general quantitative frameworks, combinatorial and conditional probability models, dealing with the overlap problem and relating the binding parameters to the experimentally measurable properties of the linear lattice-protein interactions. To this end, we present two specific examples where the quantitative models have been applied and further extended to provide biological insights into specific cellular processes. In the first case, the conditional probability model was extended to highlight the significant impact of nonspecific binding of transcription factors to the chromosomal DNA on gene-specific transcriptional activities. The second case presents the recently developed combinatorial models to unravel the complex organization of target protein binding sites within an intrinsically disordered region (IDR) of a nucleoporin. In particular, these models have suggested a unique function of IDRs as a molecular switch coupling distinct cellular processes. The quantitative models reviewed here are envisioned to further advance for dissection and functional studies of more complex systems including phase-separated biomolecular condensates.

  • MinireviewJune 30, 2022

    0 579 132

    Abstract : Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a multifactorial, heterogeneous disease characterized by persistent inflammation of the sinonasal mucosa and tissue remodeling, which can include basal/progenitor cell hyperplasia, goblet cell hyperplasia, squamous cell metaplasia, loss or dysfunction of ciliated cells, and increased matrix deposition. Repeated injuries can stimulate airway epithelial cells to produce inflammatory mediators that activate epithelial cells, immune cells, or the epithelial–mesenchymal trophic unit. This persistent inflammation can consequently induce aberrant tissue remodeling. However, the molecular mechanisms driving disease within the different molecular CRS subtypes remain inadequately characterized. Numerous secreted and cell surface proteins relevant to airway inflammation and remodeling are initially synthesized as inactive precursor proteins, including growth/differentiation factors and their associated receptors, enzymes, adhesion molecules, neuropeptides, and peptide hormones. Therefore, these precursor proteins require post-translational cleavage by proprotein convertases (PCs) to become fully functional. In this review, we summarize the roles of PCs in CRS-associated tissue remodeling and discuss the therapeutic potential of targeting PCs for CRS treatment.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2022

    0 796 182

    Abstract : During meiosis, homologous chromosomes (homologs) pair and undergo genetic recombination via assembly and disassembly of the synaptonemal complex. Meiotic recombination is initiated by excess formation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), among which a subset are repaired by reciprocal genetic exchange, called crossovers (COs). COs generate genetic variations across generations, profoundly affecting genetic diversity and breeding. At least one CO between homologs is essential for the first meiotic chromosome segregation, but generally only one and fewer than three inter-homolog COs occur in plants. CO frequency and distribution are biased along chromosomes, suppressed in centromeres, and controlled by pro-CO, anti-CO, and epigenetic factors. Accurate and high-throughput detection of COs is important for our understanding of CO formation and chromosome behavior. Here, we review advanced approaches that enable precise measurement of the location, frequency, and genomic landscapes of COs in plants, with a focus on Arabidopsis thaliana.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2022

    1 1297 323

    Manufacturing Therapeutic Exosomes: from Bench to Industry

    So-Hee Ahn , Seung-Wook Ryu , Hojun Choi , Sangmin You , Jun Park , and Chulhee Choi

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(5): 284-290

    Abstract : Process of manufacturing therapeutics exosome development for commercialization. The development of exosome treatment starts at the bench, and in order to be commercialized, it goes through the manufacturing, characterization, and formulation stages, production under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) conditions for clinical use, and close consultation with regulatory authorities. Exosome, a type of nanoparticles also known as small extracellular vesicles are gaining attention as novel therapeutics for various diseases because of their ability to deliver genetic or bioactive molecules to recipient cells. Although many pharmaceutical companies are gradually developing exosome therapeutics, numerous hurdles remain regarding manufacture of clinical-grade exosomes for therapeutic use. In this mini-review, we will discuss the manufacturing challenges of therapeutic exosomes, including cell line development, upstream cell culture, and downstream purification process. In addition, developing proper formulations for exosome storage and, establishing good manufacturing practice facility for producing therapeutic exosomes remains as challenges for developing clinicalgrade exosomes. However, owing to the lack of consensus regarding the guidelines for manufacturing therapeutic exosomes, close communication between regulators and companies is required for the successful development of exosome therapeutics. This review shares the challenges and perspectives regarding the manufacture and quality control of clinical grade exosomes.

  • MinireviewApril 30, 2022

    0 935 280

    Mechanisms of Weight Control by Primary Cilia

    Chan Hee Lee , Gil Myoung Kang , and Min-Seon Kim

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(4): 169-176

    Abstract : A primary cilium, a hair-like protrusion of the plasma membrane, is a pivotal organelle for sensing external environmental signals and transducing intracellular signaling. An interesting linkage between cilia and obesity has been revealed by studies of the human genetic ciliopathies Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Alström syndrome, in which obesity is a principal manifestation. Mouse models of cell type-specific cilia dysgenesis have subsequently demonstrated that ciliary defects restricted to specific hypothalamic neurons are sufficient to induce obesity and hyperphagia. A potential mechanism underlying hypothalamic neuron cilia-related obesity is impaired ciliary localization of G protein-coupled receptors involved in the regulation of appetite and energy metabolism. A well-studied example of this is melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R), mutations in which are the most common cause of human monogenic obesity. In the paraventricular hypothalamus neurons, a blockade of ciliary trafficking of MC4R as well as its downstream ciliary signaling leads to hyperphagia and weight gain. Another potential mechanism is reduced leptin signaling in hypothalamic neurons with defective cilia. Leptin receptors traffic to the periciliary area upon leptin stimulation. Moreover, defects in cilia formation hamper leptin signaling and actions in both developing and differentiated hypothalamic neurons. The list of obesity-linked ciliary proteins is expending and this supports a tight association between cilia and obesity. This article provides a brief review on the mechanism of how ciliary defects in hypothalamic neurons facilitate obesity.

  • MinireviewMarch 31, 2022

    0 838 230

    Intrinsic and Extrinsic Regulation of Hematopoiesis in Drosophila

    Ferdinand Koranteng , Bumsik Cho , and Jiwon Shim

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(3): 101-108

    Abstract : Drosophila melanogaster lymph gland, the primary site of hematopoiesis, contains myeloid-like progenitor cells that differentiate into functional hemocytes in the circulation of pupae and adults. Fly hemocytes are dynamic and plastic, and they play diverse roles in the innate immune response and wound healing. Various hematopoietic regulators in the lymph gland ensure the developmental and functional balance between progenitors and mature blood cells. In addition, systemic factors, such as nutrient availability and sensory inputs, integrate environmental variabilities to synchronize the blood development in the lymph gland with larval growth, physiology, and immunity. This review examines the intrinsic and extrinsic factors determining the progenitor states during hemocyte development in the lymph gland and provides new insights for further studies that may extend the frontier of our collective knowledge on hematopoiesis and innate immunity.

  • MinireviewFebruary 28, 2022

    1 833 259

    Abstract : Three-dimensional cultures of human neural tissue/organlike structures in vitro can be achieved by mimicking the developmental processes occurring in vivo. Rapid progress in the field of neural organoids has fueled the hope (and hype) for improved understanding of brain development and functions, modeling of neural diseases, discovery of new drugs, and supply of surrogate sources of transplantation. In this short review, we summarize the state-of-the-art applications of this fascinating tool in various research fields and discuss the reality of the technique hoping that the current limitations will soon be overcome by the efforts of ingenious researchers.

  • MinireviewFebruary 28, 2022

    2 756 231

    Role of Hypothalamic Reactive Astrocytes in Diet-Induced Obesity

    Moonsun Sa , Mingu Gordon Park , and C. Justin Lee

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(2): 65-75

    Abstract : Hypothalamus is a brain region that controls food intake and energy expenditure while sensing signals that convey information about energy status. Within the hypothalamus, molecularly and functionally distinct neurons work in concert under physiological conditions. However, under pathological conditions such as in diet-induced obesity (DIO) model, these neurons show dysfunctional firing patterns and distorted regulation by neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Concurrently, resident glial cells including astrocytes dramatically transform into reactive states. In particular, it has been reported that reactive astrogliosis is observed in the hypothalamus, along with various neuroinflammatory signals. However, how the reactive astrocytes control and modulate DIO by influencing neighboring neurons is not well understood. Recently, new lines of evidence have emerged indicating that these reactive astrocytes directly contribute to the pathology of obesity by synthesizing and tonically releasing the major inhibitory transmitter GABA. The released GABA strongly inhibits the neighboring neurons that control energy expenditure. These surprising findings shed light on the interplay between reactive astrocytes and neighboring neurons in the hypothalamus. This review summarizes recent discoveries related to the functions of hypothalamic reactive astrocytes in obesity and raises new potential therapeutic targets against obesity.

  • MinireviewFebruary 28, 2022

    1 647 259

    Neurons-on-a-Chip: In Vitro NeuroTools

    Nari Hong and Yoonkey Nam

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(2): 76-83

    Abstract : Neurons-on-a-Chip technology has been developed to provide diverse in vitro neuro-tools to study neuritogenesis, synaptogensis, axon guidance, and network dynamics. The two core enabling technologies are soft-lithography and microelectrode array technology. Soft lithography technology made it possible to fabricate microstamps and microfluidic channel devices with a simple replica molding method in a biological laboratory and innovatively reduced the turn-around time from assay design to chip fabrication, facilitating various experimental designs. To control nerve cell behaviors at the single cell level via chemical cues, surface biofunctionalization methods and micropatterning techniques were developed. Microelectrode chip technology, which provides a functional readout by measuring the electrophysiological signals from individual neurons, has become a popular platform to investigate neural information processing in networks. Due to these key advances, it is possible to study the relationship between the network structure and functions, and they have opened a new era of neurobiology and will become standard tools in the near future.

Mol. Cells
Aug 31, 2022 Vol.45 No.8, pp. 513~602
Cryo-EM structure of human porphyrin transporter ABCB6 (main figure) shows that binding of hemin (inset, magenta) in concert with two glutathione molecules (cyan) primes ABCB6 for high ATP turnover (Kim et al., pp. 575-587).

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