Abstract : In eukaryotes, membraneous cellular compartmentation essentially requires vesicle trafficking for communications among distinct organelles. A donor organelle-generated vesicle releases its cargo into a target compartment by fusing two distinct vesicle and target membranes. Vesicle fusion, the final step of vesicle trafficking, is driven intrinsically by complex formation of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs). Although SNAREs are well-conserved across eukaryotes, genomic studies revealed that plants have dramatically increased the number of SNARE genes than other eukaryotes. This increase is attributed to the sessile nature of plants, likely for more sensitive and harmonized responses to environmental stresses. In this review, we therefore try to summarize and discuss the current understanding of plant SNAREs function in responses to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Abstract : To perceive fluctuations in light quality, quantity, and timing, higher plants have evolved diverse photoreceptors including UVR8 (a UV-B photoreceptor), cryptochromes, phototropins, and phytochromes (Phys). In contrast to plants, prokaryotic oxygen-evolving photosynthetic organisms, cyanobacteria, rely mostly on bilin-based photoreceptors, namely, cyanobacterial phytochromes (Cphs) and cyanobacteriochromes (CBCRs), which exhibit structural and functional differences compared with plant Phys. CBCRs comprise varying numbers of light sensing domains with diverse color-tuning mechanisms and signal transmission pathways, allowing cyanobacteria to respond to UV-A, visible, and far-red lights. Recent genomic surveys of filamentous cyanobacteria revealed novel CBCRs with broader chromophore-binding specificity and photocycle protochromicity. Furthermore, a novel Cph lineage has been identified that absorbs blue-violet/yellow-orange light. In this minireview, we briefly discuss the diversity in color sensing and signal transmission mechanisms of Cphs and CBCRs, along with their potential utility in the field of optogenetics.
Abstract : Carboxyl-terminal binding proteins (CtBPs) are transcription regulators that control gene expression in multiple cellular processes. Our recent findings indicated that overexpression of CtBP2 caused the repression of multiple bone development and differentiation genes, resulting in atrophic nonunion. Therefore, disrupting the CtBP2-associated transcriptional complex with small molecules may be an effective strategy to prevent nonunion. In the present study, we developed an in vitro screening system in yeast cells to identify small molecules capable of disrupting the CtBP2-p300 interaction. Herein, we focus our studies on revealing the in vitro and in vivo effects of a small molecule NSM00158, which showed the strongest inhibition of the CtBP2-p300 interaction in vitro. Our results indicated that NSM00158 could specifically disrupt CtBP2 function and cause the disassociation of the CtBP2-p300-Runx2 complex. The impairment of this complex led to failed binding of Runx2 to its downstream targets, causing their upregulation. Using a mouse fracture model, we evaluated the in vivo effect of NSM00158 on preventing nonunion. Consistent with the in vitro results, the NSM00158 treatment resulted in the upregulation of Runx2 downstream targets. Importantly, we found that the administration of NSM00158 could prevent the occurrence of nonunion. Our results suggest that NSM00158 represents a new potential compound to prevent the occurrence of nonunion by disrupting CtBP2 function and impairing the assembly of the CtBP2-p300-Runx2 transcriptional complex.
Abstract : The Gustatory system enables animals to detect toxic bitter chemicals, which is critical for insects to survive food induced toxicity. Cucurbitacin is widely present in plants such as cucumber and gourds that acts as an anti-herbivore chemical and an insecticide. Cucurbitacin has a harmful effect on insect larvae as well. Although various beneficial effects of cucurbitacin such as alleviating hyperglycemia have also been documented, it is not clear what kinds of molecular sensors are required to detect cucurbitacin in nature. Cucurbitacin B, a major bitter component of bitter melon, was applied to induce action potentials from sensilla of a mouth part of the fly, labellum. Here we identify that only Gr33a is required for activating bitter-sensing gustatory receptor neurons by cucurbitacin B among available 26 Grs, 23 Irs, 11 Trp mutants, and 26 Gr-RNAi lines. We further investigated the difference between control and Gr33a mutant by analyzing binary food choice assay. We also measured toxic effect of Cucurbitacin B over 0.01 mM range. Our findings uncover the molecular sensor of cucurbitacin B in Drosophila melanogaster. We propose that the discarded shell of Cucurbitaceae can be developed to make a new insecticide.
Abstract : Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a fatal malignant tumor that is characterized by diffusive growth of tumor cells into the surrounding brain parenchyma. However, the diffusive nature of GBM and its relationship with the tumor microenvironment (TME) is still unknown. Here, we investigated the interactions of GBM with the surrounding microenvironment in orthotopic xenograft animal models using two human glioma cell lines, U87 and LN229. The GBM cells in our model showed different features on the aspects of cell growth rate during their development, dispersive nature of glioma tumor cells along blood vessels, and invasion into the brain parenchyma. Our results indicated that these differences in the two models are in part due to differences in the expression of CXCR4 and STAT3, both of which play an important role in tumor progression. In addition, the GBM shows considerable accumulation of resident microglia and peripheral macrophages, but polarizes differently into tumor-supporting cells. These results suggest that the intrinsic factors of GBM and their interaction with the TME determine the diffusive nature and probably the responsiveness to non-cancer cells in the TME.
Abstract : Nuclear receptor-related 1 (Nurr1) protein has been identified as an obligatory transcription factor in midbrain dopaminergic neurogenesis, but the global set of human NURR1 target genes remains unexplored. Here, we identified direct gene targets of NURR1 by analyzing genome-wide differential expression of NURR1 together with NURR1 consensus sites in three human neural stem cell (hNSC) lines. Microarray data were validated by quantitative PCR in hNSCs and mouse embryonic brains and through comparison to published human data, including genome-wide association study hits and the BioGPS gene expression atlas. Our analysis identified ~40 NURR1 direct target genes, many of them involved in essential protein modules such as synapse formation, neuronal cell migration during brain development, and cell cycle progression and DNA replication. Specifically, expression of genes related to synapse formation and neuronal cell migration correlated tightly with NURR1 expression, whereas cell cycle progression correlated negatively with it, precisely recapitulating midbrain dopaminergic development. Overall, this systematic examination of NURR1-controlled regulatory networks provides important insights into this protein’s biological functions in dopamine-based neurogenesis.
Abstract : Transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 from rattlesnakes (rsTRPA1) and boas (bTRPA1) was previously proposed to underlie thermo-sensitive infrared sensing based on transcript enrichment in infrared-sensing neurons and hyper-thermosensitivity expressed in Xenopus oocytes. It is unknown how these TRPA1s show thermosensitivities that overwhelm other thermoreceptors, and why rsTRPA1 is more thermosensitive than bTRPA1. Here, we show that snake TRPA1s differentially require Ca2+ for hyper-thermosensitivity and that predisposition to cytosolic Ca2+ potentiation correlates with superior thermosensitivity. Extracellularly applied Ca2+ upshifted the temperature coefficients (Q10s) of both TRPA1s, for which rsTRPA1, but not bTRPA1, requires cytosolic Ca2+. Intracellular Ca2+ chelation and substitutive mutations of the conserved cytosolic Ca2+-binding domain lowered rsTRPA1 thermosensitivity comparable to that of bTRPA1. Thapsigargin-evoked Ca2+ or calmodulin little affected rsTRPA1 activity or thermosensitivity, implying the importance of precise spatiotemporal action of Ca2+. Remarkably, a single rattlesnake-mimicking substitution in the conserved but presumably dormant cytosolic Ca2+-binding domain of bTRPA1 substantially enhanced thermosensitivity through cytosolic Ca2+ like rsTRPA1, indicating the capability of this single site in the determination of both cytosolic Ca2+ dependence and thermosensitivity. Collectively, these data suggest that Ca2+ is essential for the hyper-thermosensitivity of these TRPA1s, and cytosolic potentiation by permeating Ca2+ may contribute to the natural variation of infrared senses between rattlesnakes and boas.
Abstract : Neurons have multiple dendrites and single axon. This neuronal polarity is gradually established during early processes of neuronal differentiation: generation of multiple neurites (stages 1-2); differentiation (stage 3) and maturation (stages 4-5) of an axon and dendrites. In this study, we demonstrated that the neuron-specific n-glycosylated protein NELL2 is important for neuronal polarization and axon growth using cultured rat embryonic hippocampal neurons. Endogenous NELL2 expression was gradually increased in parallel with the progression of developmental stages of hippocampal neurons, and overexpression of NELL2 stimulated neuronal polarization and axon growth. In line with these results, knockdown of NELL2 expression resulted in deterioration of neuronal development, including inhibition of neuronal development progression, decreased axon growth and increased axon branching. Inhibitor against extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) dramatically inhibited NELL2-induced progression of neuronal development and axon growth. These results suggest that NELL2 is an important regulator for the morphological development for neuronal polarization and axon growth.
Xinxin Wang, Shanshan Ma, Nan Meng, Ning Yao, Kun Zhang, Qinghua Li, Yanting Zhang, Qu Xing, Kang Han, Jishi Song, Bo Yang, and Fangxia GuanMol. Cells 2020; 43(6): 590-590 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2020.1345