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.
Abstract : The formation of uniform vitreous ice is a crucial step in the preparation of samples for cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Despite the rapid technological progress in EM, controlling the thickness of vitreous ice on sample grids with reproducibility remains a major obstacle to obtaining high-quality data in cryo-EM imaging. The commonly employed classical blotting process faces the problem of excess water that cannot be absorbed by the filter paper, resulting in the formation of thick and heterogeneous ice. In this study, we propose a novel approach that combines the recently developed nanowire self-wicking technique with the classical blotting method to effectively control the thickness and homogeneity of vitrified ice. With simple procedures, we generated a copper oxide spike (COS) grid by inducing COSs on commercially available copper grids, which can effectively remove excess water during the blotting procedure without damaging the holey carbon membrane. The ice thickness could be controlled with good reproducibility compared to non-oxidized grids. Incorporated into other EM techniques, our new modification method is an effective option for obtaining high-quality data during cryo-EM imaging.
Abstract : Sphingomyelinase (SMase) catalyzes ceramide production from sphingomyelin. Ceramides are critical in cellular responses such as apoptosis. They enhance mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) through self-assembly in the mitochondrial outer membrane to form channels that release cytochrome c from intermembrane space (IMS) into the cytosol, triggering caspase-9 activation. However, the SMase involved in MOMP is yet to be identified. Here, we identified a mitochondrial Mg2+-independent SMase (mt-iSMase) from rat brain, which was purified 6,130-fold using a Percoll gradient, pulled down with biotinylated sphingomyelin, and subjected to Mono Q anion exchange. A single peak of mt-iSMase activity was eluted at a molecular mass of approximately 65 kDa using Superose 6 gel filtration. The purified enzyme showed optimal activity at pH of 6.5 and was inhibited by dithiothreitol and Mg2+, Mn2+, N2+, Cu2+, Zn2+, Fe2+, and Fe3+ ions. It was also inhibited by GW4869, which is a non-competitive inhibitor of Mg2+-dependent neutral SMase 2 (encoded by SMPD3), that protects against cytochrome c release-mediated cell death. Subfractionation experiments showed that mt-iSMase localizes in the IMS of the mitochondria, implying that mt-iSMase may play a critical role in generating ceramides for MOMP, cytochrome c release, and apoptosis. These data suggest that the purified enzyme in this study is a novel SMase.
Abstract : Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. One of its components, emphysema, has been defined as a lung disease that irreversibly damages the lungs’ alveoli. Treatment is currently unavailable for emphysema symptoms and complete cure of the disease. Hyaluronan (HA) and proteoglycan link protein 1 (HAPLN1), an HA-binding protein linking HA in the extracellular matrix to stabilize the proteoglycan structure, forms a bulky hydrogel-like aggregate. Studies on the biological role of the full-length HAPLN1, a simple structure-stabilizing protein, are limited. Here, we demonstrated for the first time that treating human alveolar epithelial type 2 cells with recombinant human HAPLN1 (rhHAPLN1) increased TGF-β receptor 1 (TGF-β RI) protein levels, but not TGF-β RII, in a CD44-dependent manner with concurrent enhancement of the phosphorylated Smad3 (p-Smad3), but not p-Smad2, upon TGF-β1 stimulation. Furthermore, rhHAPLN1 significantly increased sirtuins levels (i.e., SIRT1/2/6) without TGF-β1 and inhibited acetylated p300 levels that were increased by TGF-β1. rhHAPLN1 is crucial in regulating cellular senescence, including p53, p21, and p16, and inflammation markers such as p-NF-κB and Nrf2. Both senile emphysema mouse model induced via intraperitoneal rhHAPLN1 injections and porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE)-induced COPD mouse model generated via rhHAPLN1-containing aerosols inhalations showed a significantly potent efficacy in reducing alveolar spaces enlargement. Preclinical trials are underway to investigate the effects of inhaled rhHAPLN1-containing aerosols on several COPD animal models.