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  • EditorialMay 31, 2021

    0 331 274

    Immune Networks in Health and Disease

    Heung Kyu Lee and Doo Hyun Chung

    Mol. Cells 2021; 44(5): 279-280 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0117
  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    13 1042 1273
    Abstract

    Abstract : Tissue-resident macrophages play an important role in maintaining tissue homeostasis and innate immune defense against invading microbial pathogens. Brain-resident macrophages can be classified into microglia in the brain parenchyma and non-parenchymal brain macrophages, also known as central nervous system-associated or border-associated macrophages, in the brain-circulation interface. Microglia and non-parenchymal brain macrophages, including meningeal, perivascular, and choroid plexus macrophages, are mostly produced during embryonic development, and maintained their population by self-renewal. Microglia have gained much attention for their dual roles in the maintenance of brain homeostasis and the induction of neuroinflammation. In particular, diverse phenotypes of microglia have been increasingly identified under pathological conditions. Single-cell phenotypic analysis revealed that microglia are highly heterogenous and plastic, thus it is difficult to define the status of microglia as M1/M2 or resting/activated state due to complex nature of microglia. Meanwhile, physiological function of non-parenchymal brain macrophages remain to be fully demonstrated. In this review, we have summarized the origin and signatures of brain-resident macrophages and discussed the unique features of microglia, particularly, their phenotypic polarization, diversity of subtypes, and inflammasome responses related to neurodegenerative diseases.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    6 988 1025

    Development and Functions of Alveolar Macrophages

    Yeon Duk Woo , Dongjin Jeong , and Doo Hyun Chung

    Mol. Cells 2021; 44(5): 292-300 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0058
    Abstract

    Abstract : Macrophages residing in various tissue types are unique in terms of their anatomical locations, ontogenies, developmental pathways, gene expression patterns, and immunological functions. Alveolar macrophages (AMs) reside in the alveolar lumen of the lungs and serve as the first line of defense for the respiratory tract. The immunological functions of AMs are implicated in the pathogenesis of various pulmonary diseases such as allergic asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP), viral infection, and bacterial infection. Thus, the molecular mechanisms driving the development and function of AMs have been extensively investigated. In this review article, we discuss the roles of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β in AM development, and provide an overview of the anti-inflammatory and proinflammatory functions of AMs in various contexts. Notably, we examine the relationships between the metabolic status of AMs and their development processes and functions. We hope that this review will provide new information and insight into AM development and function.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    4 704 615

    Innate Lymphoid Cells in Tissue Homeostasis and Disease Pathogenesis

    Jihyun Kim , Seungwon Ryu , and Hye Young Kim

    Mol. Cells 2021; 44(5): 301-309 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0053
    Abstract

    Abstract : Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are the most recently discovered family of innate immune cells. ILCs can be categorized into three groups on the basis of the transcription factors that direct their functions and the cytokines they produce. Notably, these functions parallel the effector functions of T lymphocytes. ILCs play a frontline role in host defense and tissue homeostasis by responding rapidly to environmental factors, conducting effector responses in a tissue-specific manner, and interacting with hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells throughout the body. Moreover, recent studies reveal that ILCs are involved in development of various inflammatory diseases, such as respiratory diseases, autoimmune diseases, or cancer. In this review, we discuss the recent findings regarding the biology of ILCs in health and inflammatory diseases.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    1 542 721

    Current Understanding of the Roles of CD1a-Restricted T Cells in the Immune System

    Hyun Jung Yoo , Na Young Kim , and Ji Hyung Kim ,*

    Mol. Cells 2021; 44(5): 310-317 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0059
    Abstract

    Abstract : Cluster of differentiation 1 (CD1) is a family of cell-surface glycoproteins that present lipid antigens to T cells. Humans have five CD1 isoforms. CD1a is distinguished by the small volume of its antigen-binding groove and its stunted A′ pocket, its high and exclusive expression on Langerhans cells, and its localization in the early endosomal and recycling intracellular trafficking compartments. Its ligands originate from self or foreign sources. There are three modes by which the T-cell receptors of CD1a-restricted T cells interact with the CD1a:lipid complex: they bind to both the CD1a surface and the antigen or to only CD1a itself, which activates the T cell, or they are unable to bind because of bulky motifs protruding from the antigen-binding groove, which might inhibit autoreactive T-cell activation. Recently, several studies have shown that by producing TH2 or TH17 cytokines, CD1a-restricted T cells contribute to inflammatory skin disorders, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, and wasp/bee venom allergy. They may also participate in other diseases, including pulmonary disorders and cancer, because CD1a-expressing dendritic cells are also located in non-skin tissues. In this mini-review, we discuss the current knowledge regarding the biology of CD1a-reactive T cells and their potential roles in disease.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    6 617 558
    Abstract

    Abstract : CD4+ T helper (Th) cells play a crucial role in the modulation of innate and adaptive immune responses through the differentiation of Th precursor cells into several subsets, including Th1, Th2, Th17, and regulatory T (Treg) cells. Effector Th and Treg cells are distinguished by the production of signature cytokines and are important for eliminating intracellular and extracellular pathogens and maintaining immune homeostasis. Stimulation of naïve Th cells by T cell receptor and specific cytokines activates master transcription factors and induces lineage specification during the differentiation of Th cells. The master transcription factors directly activate the transcription of signature cytokine genes and also undergo post-translational modifications to fine-tune cytokine production and maintain immune balance through cross-regulation with each other. This review highlights the post-translational modifications of master transcription factors that control the differentiation of effector Th and Treg cells and provides additional insights on the immune regulation mediated by protein arginine-modifying enzymes in effector Th cells.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    3 584 889
    Abstract

    Abstract : The advent of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) multimer technology has led to a breakthrough in the quantification and analysis of antigen-specific T cells. In particular, this technology has dramatically advanced the measurement and analysis of CD8 T cells and is being applied more widely. In addition, the scope of application of MHC multimer technology is gradually expanding to other T cells such as CD4 T cells, natural killer T cells, and mucosal-associated invariant T cells. MHC multimer technology acts by complementing the T-cell receptor-MHC/peptide complex affinity, which is relatively low compared to antigen-antibody affinity, through a multivalent interaction. The application of MHC multimer technology has expanded to include various functions such as quantification and analysis of antigen-specific T cells, cell sorting, depletion, stimulation to replace antigen-presenting cells, and single-cell classification through DNA barcodes. This review aims to provide the latest knowledge of MHC multimer technology, which is constantly evolving, broaden understanding of this technology, and promote its widespread use.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    15 912 822

    Regulatory Role of Zinc in Immune Cell Signaling

    Bonah Kim and Won-Woo Lee

    Mol. Cells 2021; 44(5): 335-341 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0061
    Abstract

    Abstract : Zinc is an essential micronutrient with crucial roles in multiple facets of biological processes. Dysregulated zinc homeostasis impairs overall immune function and resultantly increases susceptibility to infection. Clinically, zinc supplementation is practiced for treatment of several infectious diseases, such as diarrhea and malaria. Recent focus on zinc as a beneficial element for immune system support has resulted in investigation of the immunomodulatory roles of zinc in a variety of immune cells. Besides its classical role as a cofactor that regulates the structural function of thousands of proteins, accumulating evidence suggests that zinc also acts, in a manner similar to calcium, as an ionic regulator of immune responses via participation as an intracellular messenger in signaling pathways. In this review, we focus on the role of zinc as a signaling molecule in major pathways such as those downstream of Toll-like receptors-, T cell receptor-, and cytokine-mediated signal transduction that regulate the activity and function of monocytes/macrophages and T cells, principal players in the innate and adaptive immune systems.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    1 827 941

    MiT Family Transcriptional Factors in Immune Cell Functions

    Seongryong Kim , Hyun-Sup Song , Jihyun Yu , and You-Me Kim

    Mol. Cells 2021; 44(5): 342-355 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0067
    Abstract

    Abstract : The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor family (MiT family) proteins are evolutionarily conserved transcription factors that perform many essential biological functions. In mammals, the MiT family consists of MITF (microphthalmia-associated transcription factor or melanocyte-inducing transcription factor), TFEB (transcription factor EB), TFE3 (transcription factor E3), and TFEC (transcription factor EC). These transcriptional factors belong to the basic helix-loop-helix-leucine zipper (bHLH-LZ) transcription factor family and bind the E-box DNA motifs in the promoter regions of target genes to enhance transcription. The best studied functions of MiT proteins include lysosome biogenesis and autophagy induction. In addition, they modulate cellular metabolism, mitochondria dynamics, and various stress responses. The control of nuclear localization via phosphorylation and dephosphorylation serves as the primary regulatory mechanism for MiT family proteins, and several kinases and phosphatases have been identified to directly determine the transcriptional activities of MiT proteins. In different immune cell types, each MiT family member is shown to play distinct or redundant roles and we expect that there is far more to learn about their functions and regulatory mechanisms in host defense and inflammatory responses.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2021

    3 844 867
    Abstract

    Abstract : An increasing number of studies have revealed an interaction between gut microbiota and tumors. The enrichment of specific bacteria strains in the intestines has been found to modulate tumor growth and influence the mechanisms of tumor treatment. Various bacteria are involved in modulating the effects of chemotherapeutic drugs currently used to treat patients with cancer, and they affect not only gastrointestinal tract tumors but also distant organ tumors. In addition, changes in the gut microbiota are known to be involved in the antitumor immune response as well as the modulation of the intestinal immune system. As a result, the gut microbiota plays an important role in modulating the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors. Therefore, gut microbiota could be considered as an adjuvant treatment option with other cancer treatment or as another marker for predicting treatment response. In this review, we examine how gut microbiota affects cancer treatments.

Mol. Cells
Sep 30, 2022 Vol.45 No.9
COVER PICTURE
The Target of Rapamycin Complex (TORC) is a central regulatory hub in eukaryotes, which is well conserved in diverse plant species, including tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Inhibition of TORC genes (SlTOR, SlLST8, and SlRAPTOR) by VIGS (virus-induced gene silencing) results in early fruit ripening in tomato. The red/ orange tomatoes are early-ripened TORC-silenced fruits, while the green tomato is a control fruit. Top, left, control fruit (TRV2-myc); top, right, TRV2-SlLST8; bottom, left, TRV2-SlTOR; bottom, right, TRV2-SlRAPTOR(Choi et al., pp. 660-672).

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