• MinireviewSeptember 30, 2023

    0 211 67

    Updates on the Immune Cell Basis of Hepatic Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury

    Mi Jeong Heo , Ji Ho Suh , Kyle L. Poulsen , Cynthia Ju , and Kang Ho Kim

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(9): 527-534

    Abstract : Liver ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is the main cause of organ dysfunction and failure after liver surgeries including organ transplantation. The mechanism of liver IRI is complex and numerous signals are involved but cellular metabolic disturbances, oxidative stress, and inflammation are considered the major contributors to liver IRI. In addition, the activation of inflammatory signals exacerbates liver IRI by recruiting macrophages, dendritic cells, and neutrophils, and activating NK cells, NKT cells, and cytotoxic T cells. Technological advances enable us to understand the role of specific immune cells during liver IRI. Accordingly, therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat liver IRI have been proposed but no definitive and effective therapies exist yet. This review summarizes the current update on the immune cell functions and discusses therapeutic potentials in liver IRI. A better understanding of this complex and highly dynamic process may allow for the development of innovative therapeutic approaches and optimize patient outcomes.

  • MinireviewAugust 31, 2023

    0 468 116

    Abstract : The tail of the striatum (TS) is located at the caudal end in the striatum. Recent studies have advanced our knowledge of the anatomy and function of the TS but also raised questions about the differences between rodent and primate TS. In this review, we compare the anatomy and function of the TS in rodent and primate brains. The primate TS is expanded more caudally during brain development in comparison with the rodent TS. Additionally, five sensory inputs from the cortex and thalamus converge in the rodent TS, but this convergence is not observed in the primate TS. The primate TS, including the caudate tail and putamen tail, primarily receives inputs from the visual areas, implying a specialized function in processing visual inputs for action generation. This anatomical difference leads to further discussion of cellular circuit models to comprehend how the primate brain processes a wider range of complex visual stimuli to produce habitual behavior as compared with the rodent brain. Examining these differences and considering possible neural models may provide better understanding of the anatomy and function of the primate TS.

  • MinireviewJuly 31, 2023

    0 894 223

    The Pleiotropic Face of CREB Family Transcription Factors

    Md. Arifur Rahman Chowdhury , Jungeun An , and Sangyun Jeong

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(7): 399-413

    Abstract : cAMP responsive element-binding protein (CREB) is one of the most intensively studied phosphorylation-dependent transcription factors that provide evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of differential gene expression in vertebrates and invertebrates. Many cellular protein kinases that function downstream of distinct cell surface receptors are responsible for the activation of CREB. Upon functional dimerization of the activated CREB to cis-acting cAMP responsive elements within the promoters of target genes, it facilitates signal-dependent gene expression. From the discovery of CREB, which is ubiquitously expressed, it has been proven to be involved in a variety of cellular processes that include cell proliferation, adaptation, survival, differentiation, and physiology, through the control of target gene expression. In this review, we highlight the essential roles of CREB proteins in the nervous system, the immune system, cancer development, hepatic physiology, and cardiovascular function and further discuss a wide range of CREB-associated diseases and molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of these diseases.

  • MinireviewJune 30, 2023

    0 890 247

    How Extracellular Reactive Oxygen Species Reach Their Intracellular Targets in Plants

    Jinsu Lee , Minsoo Han , Yesol Shin , Jung-Min Lee , Geon Heo , and Yuree Lee

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(6): 329-336

    Abstract : Reactive oxygen species (ROS) serve as secondary messengers that regulate various developmental and signal transduction processes, with ROS primarily generated by NADPH OXIDASEs (referred to as RESPIRATORY BURST OXIDASE HOMOLOGs [RBOHs] in plants). However, the types and locations of ROS produced by RBOHs are different from those expected to mediate intracellular signaling. RBOHs produce O2•− rather than H2O2 which is relatively long-lived and able to diffuse through membranes, and this production occurs outside the cell instead of in the cytoplasm, where signaling cascades occur. A widely accepted model explaining this discrepancy proposes that RBOH-produced extracellular O2•− is converted to H2O2 by superoxide dismutase and then imported by aquaporins to reach its cytoplasmic targets. However, this model does not explain how the specificity of ROS targeting is ensured while minimizing unnecessary damage during the bulk translocation of extracellular ROS (eROS). An increasing number of studies have provided clues about eROS action mechanisms, revealing various mechanisms for eROS perception in the apoplast, crosstalk between eROS and reactive nitrogen species, and the contribution of intracellular organelles to cytoplasmic ROS bursts. In this review, we summarize these recent advances, highlight the mechanisms underlying eROS action, and provide an overview of the routes by which eROS-induced changes reach the intracellular space.

  • MinireviewJune 30, 2023

    0 708 221

    Structure-Based Insight on the Mechanism of N-Glycosylation Inhibition by Tunicamycin

    Danbi Yoon , Ju Heun Moon , Anna Cho , Hyejoon Boo , Jeong Seok Cha *, Yoonji Lee *, and Jiho Yoo *

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(6): 337-344

    Abstract : N-glycosylation, a common post-translational modification, is widely acknowledged to have a significant effect on protein stability and folding. N-glycosylation is a complex process that occurs in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and requires the participation of multiple enzymes. GlcNAc-1-P-transferase (GPT) is essential for initiating N-glycosylation in the ER. Tunicamycin is a natural product that inhibits N-glycosylation and produces ER stress, and thus it is utilized in research. The molecular mechanism by which GPT triggers N-glycosylation is discussed in this review based on the GPT structure. Based on the structure of the GPT-tunicamycin complex, we also discuss how tunicamycin reduces GPT activity, which prevents N-glycosylation. This review will be highly useful for understanding the role of GPT in the N-glycosylation of proteins, as well as presents a potential for considering tunicamycin as an antibiotic treatment.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2023

    1 1226 570

    The Role of Pyruvate Metabolism in Mitochondrial Quality Control and Inflammation

    Min-Ji Kim , Hoyul Lee , Dipanjan Chanda , Themis Thoudam , Hyeon-Ji Kang , Robert A. Harris , and In-Kyu Lee

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(5): 259-267

    Abstract : Pyruvate metabolism, a key pathway in glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, is crucial for energy homeostasis and mitochondrial quality control (MQC), including fusion/fission dynamics and mitophagy. Alterations in pyruvate flux and MQC are associated with reactive oxygen species accumulation and Ca2+ flux into the mitochondria, which can induce mitochondrial ultrastructural changes, mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic dysregulation. Perturbations in MQC are emerging as a central mechanism for the pathogenesis of various metabolic diseases, such as neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and insulin resistance-related diseases. Mitochondrial Ca2+ regulates the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), which is central to pyruvate metabolism, by promoting its dephosphorylation. Increase of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK) is associated with perturbation of mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs) function and Ca2+ flux. Pyruvate metabolism also plays an important role in immune cell activation and function, dysregulation of which also leads to insulin resistance and inflammatory disease. Pyruvate metabolism affects macrophage polarization, mitochondrial dynamics and MAM formation, which are critical in determining macrophage function and immune response. MAMs and MQCs have also been intensively studied in macrophage and T cell immunity. Metabolic reprogramming connected with pyruvate metabolism, mitochondrial dynamics and MAM formation are important to macrophages polarization (M1/M2) and function. T cell differentiation is also directly linked to pyruvate metabolism, with inhibition of pyruvate oxidation by PDKs promoting proinflammatory T cell polarization. This article provides a brief review on the emerging role of pyruvate metabolism in MQC and MAM function, and how dysfunction in these processes leads to metabolic and inflammatory diseases.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2023

    0 723 202

    Abstract : Obesity is a significant global health risk that can cause a range of serious metabolic problems, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Adipose tissue plays a pivotal role in regulating energy and lipid storage. New research has underlined the crucial role of splicing factors in the physiological and functional regulation of adipose tissue. By generating multiple transcripts from a single gene, alternative splicing allows for a greater diversity of the proteome and transcriptome, which subsequently influence adipocyte development and metabolism. In this review, we provide an outlook on the part of splicing factors in adipogenesis and thermogenesis, and investigate how the different spliced isoforms can affect the development and function of adipose tissue.

  • MinireviewApril 30, 2023

    1 1122 415

    Golgi Stress Response: New Insights into the Pathogenesis and Therapeutic Targets of Human Diseases

    Won Kyu Kim , Wooseon Choi , Barsha Deshar , Shinwon Kang , and Jiyoon Kim

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(4): 191-199

    Abstract : The Golgi apparatus modifies and transports secretory and membrane proteins. In some instances, the production of secretory and membrane proteins exceeds the capacity of the Golgi apparatus, including vesicle trafficking and the post-translational modification of macromolecules. These proteins are not modified or delivered appropriately due to insufficiency in the Golgi function. These conditions disturb Golgi homeostasis and induce a cellular condition known as Golgi stress, causing cells to activate the ‘Golgi stress response,’ which is a homeostatic process to increase the capacity of the Golgi based on cellular requirements. Since the Golgi functions are diverse, several response pathways involving TFE3, HSP47, CREB3, proteoglycan, mucin, MAPK/ETS, and PERK regulate the capacity of each Golgi function separately. Understanding the Golgi stress response is crucial for revealing the mechanisms underlying Golgi dynamics and its effect on human health because many signaling molecules are related to diseases, ranging from viral infections to fatal neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, it is valuable to summarize and investigate the mechanisms underlying Golgi stress response in disease pathogenesis, as they may contribute to developing novel therapeutic strategies. In this review, we investigate the perturbations and stress signaling of the Golgi, as well as the therapeutic potentials of new strategies for treating Golgi stress-associated diseases.

  • MinireviewApril 30, 2023

    0 1189 286

    DNA-Dependent Protein Kinase Catalytic Subunit (DNA-PKcs): Beyond the DNA Double-Strand Break Repair

    Ye-Rim Lee , Gi-Sue Kang , Taerim Oh , Hye-Ju Jo , Hye-Joon Park , and G-One Ahn *

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(4): 200-205

    Abstract : DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase related kinase family is a well-known player in repairing DNA double strand break through non-homologous end joining pathway. This mechanism has allowed us to understand its critical role in T and B cell development through V(D)J recombination and class switch recombination, respectively. We have also learned that the defects in these mechanisms lead to severely combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Here we highlight some of the latest evidence where DNA-PKcs has been shown to localize not only in the nucleus but also in the cytoplasm, phosphorylating various proteins involved in cellular metabolism and cytokine production. While it is an exciting time to unveil novel functions of DNA-PKcs, one should carefully choose experimental models to study DNA-PKcs as the experimental evidence has been shown to differ between cells of defective DNA-PKcs and those of DNA-PKcs knockout. Moreover, while there are several DNA-PK inhibitors currently being evaluated in the clinical trials in attempt to increase the efficacy of radiotherapy or chemotherapy, multiple functions and subcellular localization of DNA-PKcs in various types of cells may further complicate the effects at the cellular and organismal level.

  • MinireviewMarch 31, 2023

    3 826 392

    Abstract : Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) mediates the cellular antioxidant response, allowing adaptation and survival under conditions of oxidative, electrophilic and inflammatory stress, and has a role in metabolism, inflammation and immunity. Activation of Nrf2 provides broad and long-lasting cytoprotection, and is often hijacked by cancer cells, allowing their survival under unfavorable conditions. Moreover, Nrf2 activation in established human tumors is associated with resistance to chemo-, radio-, and immunotherapies. In addition to cancer cells, Nrf2 activation can also occur in tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and facilitate an anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive tumor immune microenvironment (TIME). Several cancer cell-derived metabolites, such as itaconate, L-kynurenine, lactic acid and hyaluronic acid, play an important role in modulating the TIME and tumor-TAMs crosstalk, and have been shown to activate Nrf2. The effects of Nrf2 in TIME are context-depended, and involve multiple mechanisms, including suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, increased expression of programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1), macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and kynureninase, accelerated catabolism of cytotoxic labile heme, and facilitating the metabolic adaptation of TAMs. This understanding presents both challenges and opportunities for strategic targeting of Nrf2 in cancer.

  • MinireviewMarch 31, 2023

    5 975 439

    Molecular Basis of the KEAP1-NRF2 Signaling Pathway

    Takafumi Suzuki , Jun Takahashi , and Masayuki Yamamoto

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(3): 133-141

    Abstract : Transcription factor NRF2 (NF-E2-related factor 2) is a master regulator of cellular responses against environmental stresses. NRF2 induces expression of detoxification and antioxidant enzymes and suppresses inductions of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes. KEAP1 (Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1) is an adaptor subunit of CULLIN 3 (CUL3)-based E3 ubiquitin ligase. KEAP1 regulates the activity of NRF2 and acts as a sensor for oxidative and electrophilic stresses. NRF2 has been found to be activated in many types of cancers with poor prognosis. Therapeutic strategies to control NRF2-overeactivated cancers have been considered not only by targeting cancer cells with NRF2 inhibitors or NRF2 synthetic lethal chemicals, but also by targeting host defense with NRF2 inducers. Understanding precise molecular mechanisms how the KEAP1-NRF2 system senses and regulates the cellular response is critical to overcome intractable NRF2-activated cancers.

  • MinireviewMarch 31, 2023

    1 678 231

    Emerging Role of NRF2 Signaling in Cancer Stem Cell Phenotype

    Steffanus P. Hallis , Jin Myung Kim , and Mi-Kyoung Kwak

    Mol. Cells 2023; 46(3): 153-164

    Abstract : Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a small population of tumor cells characterized by self-renewal and differentiation capacity. CSCs are currently postulated as the driving force that induces intra-tumor heterogeneity leading to tumor initiation, metastasis, and eventually tumor relapse. Notably, CSCs are inherently resistant to environmental stress, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy due to high levels of antioxidant systems and drug efflux transporters. In this context, a therapeutic strategy targeting the CSC-specific pathway holds a promising cure for cancer. NRF2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-like 2; NFE2L2) is a master transcription factor that regulates an array of genes involved in the detoxification of reactive oxygen species/electrophiles. Accumulating evidence suggests that persistent NRF2 activation, observed in multiple types of cancer, supports tumor growth, aggressive malignancy, and therapy resistance. Herein, we describe the core properties of CSCs, focusing on treatment resistance, and review the evidence that demonstrates the roles of NRF2 signaling in conferring unique properties of CSCs and the associated signaling pathways.

Mol. Cells
Sep 30, 2023 Vol.46 No.9, pp. 527~572
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is marked by airspace enlargement (emphysema) and small airway fibrosis, leading to airflow obstruction and eventual respiratory failure. Shown is a microphotograph of hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained histological sections of the enlarged alveoli as an indicator of emphysema. Piao et al. (pp. 558-572) demonstrate that recombinant human hyaluronan and proteoglycan link protein 1 (rhHAPLN1) significantly reduces the extended airspaces of the emphysematous alveoli by increasing the levels of TGF-β receptor I and SIRT1/6, as a previously unrecognized mechanism in human alveolar epithelial cells, and consequently mitigates COPD.

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