Abstract : The discovery of human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) at the turn of the century opened the door to a new generation of regenerative medicine research. Among PSCs, the donors available for induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are greatest, providing a potentially universal cell source for all types of cell therapies including cancer immunotherapies using natural killer (NK cells). Unlike primary NK cells, those prepared from iPSCs can be prepared with a homogeneous quality and are easily modified to exert a desired response to tumor cells. There already exist several protocols to genetically modify and differentiate iPSCs into NK cells, and each has its own advantages with regards to immunotherapies. In this short review, we detail the benefits of using iPSCs in NK cell immunotherapies and discuss the challenges that must be overcome before this approach becomes mainstream in the clinic.
Abstract : Decoding the molecular mechanisms underlying axon guidance is key to precise understanding of how complex neural circuits form during neural development. Although substantial progress has been made over the last three decades in identifying numerous axon guidance molecules and their functional roles, little is known about how these guidance molecules collaborate to steer growth cones to their correct targets. Recent studies in Drosophila point to the importance of the combinatorial action of guidance molecules, and further show that selective fasciculation and defasciculation at specific choice points serve as a fundamental strategy for motor axon guidance. Here, I discuss how attractive and repulsive guidance cues cooperate to ensure the recognition of specific choice points that are inextricably linked to selective fasciculation and defasciculation, and correct pathfinding decision-making.
Abstract : Global knockout of the BK channel has been proven to affect bone formation; however, whether it directly affects osteoblast differentiation and the mechanism are elusive. In the current study, we further investigated the role of BK channels in bone development and explored whether BK channels impacted the differentiation and proliferation of osteoblasts via the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. Our findings demonstrated that knockout of Kcnma1 disrupted the osteogenesis of osteoblasts and inhibited the stabilization of β-catenin. Western blot analysis showed that the protein levels of Axin1 and USP7 increased when Kcnma1 was deficient. Together, this study confirmed that BK ablation decreased bone mass via the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Our findings also showed that USP7 might have the ability to stabilize the activity of Axin1, which would increase the degradation of β-catenin in osteoblasts.
Abstract : Cyclase-associated protein 2 (CAP2) has been addressed as a candidate biomarker in various cancer types. Previously, we have shown that CAP2 is expressed during multi-step hepatocarcinogenesis; however, its underlying mechanisms in liver cancer cells are not fully elucidated yet. Here, we demonstrated that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress induced CAP2 expression, and which promoted migration and invasion of liver cancer cells. We also found that the ER stress-induced CAP2 expression is mediated through activation of protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) and the promotor binding of activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2). In addition, we further demonstrated that CAP2 expression promoted epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) through activation of Rac1 and ERK. In conclusion, we suggest that ER stress induces CAP2 expression promoting EMT in liver cancers cells. Our results shed light on the novel functions of CAP2 in the metastatic process of liver cancer cells.
Abstract : Patients with severe asthma have unmet clinical needs for effective and safe therapies. One possibility may be mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy, which can improve asthma in murine models. However, it remains unclear how MSCs exert their beneficial effects in asthma. Here, we examined the effect of human umbilical cord blood-derived MSCs (hUC-MSC) on two mouse models of severe asthma, namely, Alternaria alternata-induced and house dust mite (HDM)/diesel exhaust particle (DEP)-induced asthma. hUC-MSC treatment attenuated lung type 2 (Th2 and type 2 innate lymphoid cell) inflammation in both models. However, these effects were only observed with particular treatment routes and timings. In vitro co-culture showed that hUC-MSC directly downregulated the interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-13 production of differentiated mouse Th2 cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from asthma patients. Thus, these results showed that hUC-MSC treatment can ameliorate asthma by suppressing the asthmogenic cytokine production of effector cells. However, the successful clinical application of MSCs in the future is likely to require careful optimization of the route, dosage, and timing.
Abstract : Cilia are highly specialized organelles that extend from the cell membrane and function as cellular signaling hubs. Thus, cilia formation and the trafficking of signaling molecules into cilia are essential cellular processes. TULP3 and Tubby (TUB) are members of the tubby-like protein (TULP) family that regulate the ciliary trafficking of G-protein coupled receptors, but the functions of the remaining TULPs (i.e., TULP1 and TULP2) remain unclear. Herein, we explore whether these four structurally similar TULPs share a molecular function in ciliary protein trafficking. We found that TULP3 and TUB, but not TULP1 or TULP2, can rescue the defective cilia formation observed in TULP3-knockout (KO) hTERT RPE-1 cells. TULP3 and TUB also fully rescue the defective ciliary localization of ARL13B, INPP5E, and GPR161 in TULP3 KO RPE-1 cells, while TULP1 and TULP2 only mediate partial rescues. Furthermore, loss of TULP3 results in abnormal IFT140 localization, which can be fully rescued by TUB and partially rescued by TULP1 and TULP2. TUB’s capacity for binding IFT-A is essential for its role in cilia formation and ciliary protein trafficking in RPE-1 cells, whereas its capacity for PIP2 binding is required for proper cilia length and IFT140 localization. Finally, chimeric TULP1 containing the IFT-A binding domain of TULP3 fully rescues ciliary protein trafficking, but not cilia formation. Together, these two TULP domains play distinct roles in ciliary protein trafficking but are insufficient for cilia formation in RPE-1 cells. In addition, TULP1 and TULP2 play other unknown molecular roles that should be addressed in the future.
Abstract : DNA methylation is an important epigenetic mechanism affecting genome structure, gene regulation, and the silencing of transposable elements. Cell- and tissue-specific methylation patterns are critical for differentiation and development in eukaryotes. Dynamic spatiotemporal methylation data in these cells or tissues is, therefore, of great interest. However, the construction of bisulfite sequencing libraries can be challenging if the starting material is limited or the genome size is small, such as in Arabidopsis. Here, we describe detailed methods for the purification of Arabidopsis embryos at all stages, and the construction of comprehensive bisulfite libraries from small quantities of input. We constructed bisulfite libraries by releasing embryos from intact seeds, using a different approach for each developmental stage, and manually picking single-embryo with microcapillaries. From these libraries, reliable Arabidopsis methylome data were collected allowing, on average, 11-fold coverage of the genome using as few as five globular, heart, and torpedo embryos as raw input material without the need for DNA purification step. On the other hand, purified DNA from as few as eight bending torpedo embryos or a single mature embryo is sufficient for library construction when RNase A is treated before DNA extraction. This method can be broadly applied to cells from different tissues or cells from other model organisms. Methylome construction can be achieved using a minimal amount of input material using our method; thereby, it has the potential to increase our understanding of dynamic spatiotemporal methylation patterns in model organisms.
Abstract : In vertebrate eyes, the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) provides structural and functional homeostasis to the retina. The RPE takes up retinol (ROL) to be dehydrogenated and isomerized to 11-cis-retinaldehyde (11-cis-RAL), which is a functional photopigment in mammalian photoreceptors. As excessive ROL is toxic, the RPE must also establish mechanisms to protect against ROL toxicity. Here, we found that the levels of retinol dehydrogenases (RDHs) are commonly decreased in phosphatase tensin homolog (Pten)-deficient mouse RPE, which degenerates due to elevated ROL and that can be rescued by feeding a ROL-free diet. We also identified that RDH gene expression is regulated by forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factors, which are inactivated by hyperactive Akt in the Pten-deficient mouse RPE. Together, our findings suggest that a homeostatic pathway comprising PTEN, FOXO, and RDH can protect the RPE from ROL toxicity.